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ROGER SIMON: Trump 2024 Is (Practically) Inevitable.

Trump will be the Republican candidate in 2024.

You don’t have to been sitting fifty or sixty feet from him during his electric CPAC speech, as I was, to know that. You only have to be a sentient human being.

Donald Trump loved being president and he does not like to lose. Only a force majeure of untold dimensions or a serious health setback would stop him, as he blithely put it, from winning the presidency a “third time.”

Now I’m not going to weigh in on the controversy over who won in 2020.  Others will do that.  But I will ask one “Zen-ish” question.  The Democrats and their press buddies keep demanding the concrete evidence the Republicans have that Trump won.  What concrete evidence do they have that he lost?

Anyway, whether it will be 2.0 or 3.0, what should we look for in the Trump of 2024?  Will he change?  Has he changed?  Or will Trump always be Trump?

I am going to suggest that we may be getting an improved version.

For one thing, as many mentioned, he looked younger and fitter at CPAC.  But that could be transitory.  What is more interesting is that he has ceased, for the most part, one of his more irritating flaws—punching down.  When is the last time you have heard him go after the likes of Rosie O’Donnell?  Not for a while.

He picks his enemies better now—for legitimate reasons and to more effect.  He brushed aside Mitch McConnell in an almost casual manner during the CPAC speech that made it clear who is really the boss of the Republican Party—and it’s not the now minority leader.

This may lead to the correction of what, in the view of many, was Trump’s greatest overall flaw—a surprising inability to pick right people to work with him.

What in the Sam Hill was Anthony Scaramucci ever doing in the White House, even for five minutes? Or Omarosa?

More importantly, Trump did not immediately fire James Comey.  I suppose he thought he could win over the treacherous FBI director with his charm, forgetting or ignorant of Truman’s famous admonition “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.”

Of course, it could be argued that Obama was worse.  The Reverend Al Sharpton practically lived in the West Wing but Barack had his own reasons for exploiting the notorious race-baiter.

Still, as Reagan aptly put it, “People are policy,” and I strongly suspect the 2024 Trump would be much more careful about who is around him. You can bet Christopher Wray will be out the door in a heartbeat, among many others.

In fairness, Trump also had some extraordinary people on his team, many of whom we can assume will be brought back—Larry Kudlow, Steve Mnuchin, Stephen Miller, Peter Navarro, Robert Lighthizer, not to mention son-in-law Jared Kushner of Abraham Accords fame, to name just a few of many.

And speaking of those Abraham Accords—quite possibly the most important peace agreement of this century and some decades before—you can look for them to be extended to Saudi Arabia and many others under Trump 2024, even if they luff or are undermined during the Biden Administration.

Trump, I would argue, has grown and learned a great deal as president.  Nothing is better training for president than being president.  It’s the ultimate on the job training.

He will be an improved version.  He will seem more presidential and, at CPAC, he already did, oddly because he was out of office.

But his biggest weakness in his second (or third, whatever) presidency will be the obvious one.  He will be a lame duck.  That’s what happens.

In our system, presidents lose power in their second term because they no longer hold the threat of re-election.

But one thing is more certain than any of this.  Years from now, decades, possibly centuries, pundits, writers, historians, college professors (if they still exist) will be going over and over the United States in the first quarter of the Twenty-First Century that will be known as the Age of Trump.

Why, they will ponder endlessly, was America so passionately, even violently split, almost as never before, over a man who did no more than lower taxes a few percent, build part of a border wall similar to those in many other countries and try to help settle an enmity between Arabs and Israelis that had gone for over seventy years?

That is a mystery that will take 22nd Century versions of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Ian Fleming, John LeCarré, Graham Greene and Raymond Chandler, all working together, to solve.

Because the people who most believe in “nuance,” “tolerance,” “change,” and “give peace a chance” all know that #orangemanbad.

ROGER SIMON: CPAC Grand Finale — If Not Trump, Who?

As he put it himself in the speech: “I stand before you today to declare that the incredible journey we began together four years ago is far from over …”

What did he mean by that? Well, we know.

But things happen to a man of a “certain age,” even though we don’t want them to… or they can change their minds, unlikely as that seems.

So let’s play a game. If not Trump, who? (Beyond being academic, it might tell us who will be his vice-presidential pick as well. We can forget about Mike Pence.)

For starters, like it or not, the Republican Party is Trump’s now. The old Bush party, already a faint and diminishing speck on the horizon, can only dream of resuscitation. Further, Trump’s critics in the monumentally misnamed Lincoln Project have imploded spectacularly.

A staggering 95 percent of CPAC attendees supported all of Trump’s policies, according to the Washington Times Straw Poll. His job-approval level was even higher—97 percent. Who does that? (Only Stalin, but this was a free election.)

If you’re not “Trumpy,” forget about the nomination—for just about anything.

Republican officials not on Trump’s team and upholding his policies should therefore beware, those who waffled also. Primaries are coming and on the minds of many.

Again in Trump’s words from his speech: “The Republican Party is united. The only division is between a handful of Washington, D.C., establishment political hacks, and everybody else all over the country.”

CPAC itself was a ratification of this, but also an audition of sorts for a possible replacement for the former [sic] president, if necessary, or, looking far ahead, probably too far, the election of 2028.

What follows are my reactions to this audition, but my sense of the room is that they are not that far from the view of many attendees. (Overall, the CPAC atmosphere was surprisingly optimistic considering the very much still-festering wound of the dubious 2020 election.)

The three most obvious favorites in no particular order (so ladies first) are South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

None of these people have made previous runs at the presidency, at least in any obvious manner. To have done so would, to some degree unfairly, have made them damaged goods, having come under assault by Trump’s take-no-prisoners style during the 2016 primary season.

Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, both with eyes on the prize for some time, have undergone that, so are in essence disqualified. (Cruz’s unfortunate jetaway to Cancun while his state power grid was down has not helped him either.)

 

 

Earlier: Trump eviscerates Biden’s record in CPAC speech.

DISPATCHES FROM THE “IT’S DIFFERENT WHEN WE DO IT” PARTY: After Leading School Closures, Berkeley Teachers’ Union President Spotted Dropping Daughter Off at In-Person Preschool.

Looking to prove a double-standard by the Berkeley Federation of Teachers union president, they followed Meyer and his 2-year-old daughter to her preschool, camera in hand. The footage they captured has ignited the ire of parents groups fighting teachers unions — and Meyer in particular.

“It’s completely opposite of what he’s pushing,” said Jonathan Zachreson, the founder of Reopen California Schools, which counts Berkeley parents among many of its members. “So why is that safe for him and those people who work there (at the preschool), but not for all of the kids in Berkeley Unified and the teachers? The answer is: It is safe.”

Flashbacks:

De Blasio under fire for dancing in deserted Times Square.

Dr. Birx Took Family Trip to Delaware After Thanksgiving, Despite Her Own COVID Advice.

Gavin Newsom’s French Laundry Outing Crystallizes the Arrogance of COVID-19 Dictators.

San Jose Mayor Attends Thanksgiving Party After Telling Citizens to ‘Cancel Big Gatherings This Year.’

San Francisco Mayor London Breed had her own French Laundry party — the night after Gavin Newsom’s.

As Stephen Kruiser suggested: Let’s Start Jailing Lawmakers Who Violate Their Own COVID Restrictions. “Imagine the pure, poetic justice of seeing Newsom, Cuomo, and some of the other Hitler youth (stole that from Animal House) cooling their heels in a holding cell after being caught with their masks off and their pants down.”

HMMMM: A Modest Proposal For Republicans: Use The Word “Class.”

3. War On The Upper-Class Media: This is your new term for “mainstream media”. Being against the “mainstream media” sounds kind of conspiratorial. Instead, you’re against the upper-class media, which gains its status by systematically excluding lower-class voices, and which exists mostly as a tool of the upper classes to mock and humiliate the lower class. You are not against journalism, you’re not against being well-informed, you’re against a system that exists to marginalize people like you. Tell the upper-class media that if they want your respect, they need to stop class discrimination.

67% of US families watch the Super Bowl – what percent of New York Times editors and reporters do? 20% of Americans go to religious services weekly – how many of those work for the New York Times? How come 96% of political donations from journalists go to Democrats? Your job is to take a page from the Democratic playbook and insist there is no reason any of this could be true except systemic classism, that any other explanation is offensive, and it’s the upper-class media’s moral duty to do something about this immediately. Until they do so you are absolutely justified in ignoring them and trusting less bigoted and exclusionary sources (I hear Substack is pretty good!)

Insist that working-class people have the right to communicate with each other without interference from upper-class gatekeepers. Make sure people know every single fact about @Jack and what a completely ridiculous person he is, and point out that somehow this is the guy who decides what you’re allowed to communicate with your Twitter friends. Every time tech companies censor social media, even if they’re censoring left-wing views, call their CEOs in for long and annoying Congressional hearings where you use the words “Silicon Valley elites” a lot.

Read the whole thing. Exit quote: “There’s a theory that the US party system realigns every 50-or-so years. Last time, in 1965, it switched from the Democrats being the party of the South and the Republicans being the party for blacks, to vice versa. If the theory’s right, we’re in the middle of an equally big switch. Wouldn’t it be great if the Republicans became the racially diverse party of the working class? You can make it happen!”

GOOD ADVICE: Stop Worrying About Extremely Unlikely Covid Risks.

For the past year, there’s been too much spin, too much moralizing, and not enough in the way of clear explanation. People still wrongly fear that passing others on the street is a big danger because scientists and the press lump all risks together — substantial with astronomically unlikely.

Vaccine messaging is now playing up post-vaccination risks, with health authorities saying vaccinated people will have to continue take exactly the same precautions. As New York Times columnist David Leonhardt found, many people took that recommendation so seriously that they’re questioning the point of getting the shots, or are refusing them.

In fact, having a dinner party with a few vaccinated friends would be reasonable, says Babak Javid, an infectious disease doctor at the University of California, San Francisco. Could someone transmit the disease — maybe? “I think the risks of that are so remotely low,” he says. He would go if invited.

It’s true that even 95% vaccine efficacy means a few people might still get the disease post-vaccination — and some might get a silent case and give it to someone else — but the vaccine is proving close to 100% effective at preventing the most severe and deadly cases. And as more people get vaccinated, incidence of the disease should plunge even lower. The risks will plunge with it. . . .

Javid was one of the very first proponents of masking, fighting for it back when it was unpopular with other public health leaders — but even he draws the line at making runners and cyclists or solitary walkers mask up. “In the context of the pandemic where there are literally hundreds of million cases worldwide, even rare events can happen,” he says. “So I am not going to say it is impossible. I think the risks of, you know, someone cycling past you and giving you COVID is minimal, to say the least.” . . .

Scientists and journalists may feel magnifying small risks is erring on the side of caution. But if freaking people out about small things is distracting from the risks that have led to most of the 500,000 deaths, then perhaps true caution would instead dictate erring as little as possible.

If your rules aren’t based on science, they’re arbitrary invasions of freedom.

BARI WEISS: Gina Carano and Crowd-Sourced McCarthyism.

There are different standards—or ought to be—for actors, who get paid to play other people, and politicians, who serve the public and should know the history and implications of such an image. When the then-leader of the Labour Party objected to the destruction of that mural, it was in the context of a litany of other data points.

As I wrote in The New York Times in November 2018:

He paid respects at the memorial of the Palestinian perpetrators of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre. . .  He participated for over a decade in the activities of a group called Deir Yassin Remembered, which was led by a Holocaust denier. He publicly defended a virulently antisemitic vicar named Stephen Sizer. He invited an Islamist preacher who believes Jews use gentile blood for religious reasons to tea at Parliament. And so on.”

Still, I wondered, was I wrong to have leapt to Carano’s support? Was this meme proof of a darker worldview?

So I reached out to Carano for answers.

Read the whole thing.

Related: The Culture War is Coming For You Whether You Like it Or Not.

IT’S EASY TO TELL WHO’S ON THE PAYROLL, OR AT LEAST ON THE TEAM: ‘Economist’ Rejects Uighur Genocide Determination. “A series of Washington Free Beacon reports revealed ties between the Economist and the Chinese Communist Party. Last year, the magazine published several advertorials from the CCP-backed Beijing Review, which contained highly favorable coverage of Xi Jinping’s coronavirus response. The outlet failed to disclose its agreement with the CCP-funded entity, a potential violation of federal disclosure laws.”

DEATH TO ME! The New York Times and the creepy personal and ideological logic of public confessions.

If I were Donald G. McNeil Jr., I would want to tell The New York Times, and its publisher, A.G. Sulzberger, to go jump in a lake. Instead, McNeil chose to declare his love for the paper and proclaim his guilt for having “hurt” many hundreds of people. For McNeil’s professional death to have meaning, the party—or the paper—must be infallible. Death to me!

* * * * * * * *

Reporting for The New York Times about the Moscow Trials of 1936, Walter Duranty commented that “it was unthinkable that Stalin and Voroshilov … could have sentenced their friends to death unless the proofs of guilt were overwhelming.” Other newspapers signed off on Stalin’s executions, too. In fact, the New Statesman (Sept. 5, 1936) argued, the defendants had demanded the death sentence for themselves! Surely they must have been guilty.

Stalin’s most celebrated victims were themselves used to humiliation and self-abasement. As Robert Conquest writes in his indispensable book The Great Terror, “Their surrender was not a single and exceptional act in their careers, but the culmination of a whole series of submissions to the Party that they knew to be ‘objectively’ false.” Conquest tells of a former member of the Soviet Supreme Court who was informed by an interrogator, “Well, the Party demands that you, as a Bolshevik, confess that you are an English spy.” The man responded: “If the Party demands it, I confess.”

These days we repeatedly confess our racism and misogyny, suppressing any sense that we are perhaps not as sinful as we are told. Maybe we haven’t harassed, demeaned, or insulted anyone—but the very impulse to defend ourselves indicates our guilt. After all, we are all part of “the system,” and only a thoroughgoing racist would dispute the idea that the system is guilty.

Of course, America is not Soviet Russia, or, for that matter, Xi’s China. Our new political commissars don’t use torture, prison cells, and executions. Today’s woke ideology can be publicly attacked, unlike communism in the Soviet Union. Its critics are in fact legion: According to polls, most Americans of all genders and ethnicities think political correctness is a problem. But people are afraid for their careers, and so they remain silent—no matter how much “power” or “privilege” they ostensibly have.

And speaking of power and privilege: New York Times Defends Star Journalist Who Doxxed Free Beacon Reporter on Twitter.

Eileen Murphy, a senior vice president of communications for the Times, wrote in an email to National Review that “The inclusion of the phone number was inadvertent and when it was brought to Nikole’s attention, she deleted it.”

However, a Twitter exchange on Saturday – two days before she deleted the tweet – indicates that Hannah-Jones was aware even then that she’d posted Sibarium’s phone number. In the exchange, Uché Blackstock, a Yahoo News medical contributor, replied to Hannah-Jones, “Lol, and he included his phone number and thought you would actually call him,” to which Hannah-Jones replied only “Girl.”

According to the Times’ social media guidelines, “newsroom employees should avoid posting anything on social media that damages our reputation for neutrality and fairness.” According to the guidelines, Times employees are to “always treat others with respect on social media” and avoid making “offensive comments or do anything else that undercuts The Times’s journalistic reputation.” Employees who tweet an error or something inappropriate and wish to delete the tweet are directed to “be sure to quickly acknowledge the deletion in a subsequent tweet.”

Washington Free Beacon Editor in Chief Eliana Johnson told National Review in an email that “The behavior and the Times’s disingenuous response speak for themselves.” Sibarium similarly responded that Hannah-Jones’s “behavior speaks for itself.”

As does this:

In general, the New York Times is really delivering the goods these days:

What has the New York Times got against Ayaan Hirsi Ali?
N.Y. Times Doxxes Scott Alexander Because They Hate Free Speech.
New York Times Turns Vital School Re-Openings Into Cynical Republican ‘Seizure.’
The New York Times Retracts the Sicknick Story.

One author makes a modest proposal to solve the Times’ myriad woes: Starve the octopus. “The first step to ridding ourselves of the octopus is to stop being afraid of it. Oh my how terrified people are of the octopus. What if it comes down on you? What if it attacks you? What if you are cancelled and your reputation is ruined and your name dragged through the mud and you can never again get a job or a friend or enjoy a meal in peace. That is just another deception. The New York Times does not have guns and tanks to send against you. It cannot really hurt you. The next step of ridding ourselves of the octopus is to stop feeding it. Stop feeding the octopus. Just stop. Stop reading the New York Times. Right now. Never again visit that awful web site or look at that awful paper or that tweet or that awful article. Do not have that conversation. Do not click or press on the link your friend sent you who is trapped in its clutches. It is a boogeyman and if you fear it it will only get stronger and if you ignore it it will go away.”

UPDATE: Half of New York Times employees feel they can’t speak freely: survey.

More:

Hannah-Jones (and Stelter) stumble over Michael Crichton’s Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect.

WELL, YES. THE DEMOCRATS’ AND MEDIA’S — BUT I REPEAT MYSELF — EFFORT TO MAKE ELECTION FRAUD CLAIMS SUDDENLY OUT OF BOUNDS IS RISIBLE: Majority agrees: Don’t punish Trump for election theft claims.

Flashback, November 2, 2020: Will your ballot be safe? Computer experts sound warnings on America’s voting machines.

All election systems are for the most part black boxes: proprietary software and hardware jealously guarded by the handful of companies selling them. But state reviews and court cases opening up DRE systems of all makes and models for examination have for years flagged problems.

In New Jersey in 2008, Princeton computer scientist Andrew Appel and a five-member team got a rare look under the hood of an AVC Advantage DRE, part of a lawsuit alleging DREs could not reliably count votes.

Among the findings: The system sometimes only seemed to record a vote. It sometimes did record a vote but seemed not to. It would take one screwdriver and seven minutes to insert a vote-stealing program. That kind of hack would probably be invisible, Appel concluded.

More than a decade later, Appel is still talking about DRE vulnerabilities. And although the New Jersey governor, citing COVID-19, has created a nearly all-mail election, 19 New Jersey counties still have their DRE equipment on hand for the next contest, according to state records.

Nationally, if the surge in absentee ballots has not decreased in-person voting, more than 14 million registered voters would be going Tuesday to polls that are equipped with DREs.

“The whole community of computer scientists is mystified why election officials will not listen to experts about technology but will listen to the vendors (selling and maintaining it),” said Duncan Buell, a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of South Carolina who examined that state’s system.

Plus: Democrats question election results: ‘We just trust the machines, and we shouldn’t.’

Matt Luceen didn’t vote for former President Donald Trump in 2020, but he came to Washington last week to protest President Biden’s inauguration, saying the election was flawed.

Mr. Luceen, a supporter of Sen. Bernard Sanders, said he toted signs that read “COUNT OUR VOTES BY HAND,” and “End the charade.”

“We don’t ever really put the paper into piles and count them by hand anymore,” the 34-year-old computer programmer said. “We just trust the machines, and we shouldn’t because we have documented proof that these machines are vulnerable.”

While Mr. Trump and his supporters have been explosively vocal about their distrust of the election system, discontent runs through a broad swath of voters from across the political spectrum.

In 2016, it was Democrats complaining that the election had been tainted by Russian interference. Two years later, the party complained that Stacey Abrams had been denied the Georgia governorship because of shenanigans with voting rolls.

Ms. Abrams never conceded, and Democrats — who took control of the U.S. House in those 2018 elections — made her cause a rallying cry, vowing to repair elections.

In 2020, it was Mr. Trump sowing complaints early and often.

And remember this? Democratic senators warned of potential ‘vote switching’ by Dominion voting machines prior to 2020 election.

In a December 2019 letter to Dominion Voting Systems, which has been mired in controversy after a human error involving its machines in Antrim County, Michigan, resulted in incorrect counts, Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Ron Wyden, and Amy Klobuchar and congressman Mark Pocan warned about reports of machines “switching votes,” “undisclosed vulnerabilities,” and “improbable” results that “threaten the integrity of our elections.”

“In 2018 alone, ‘voters in South Carolina [were] reporting machines that switched their votes after they’d inputted them, scanners [were] rejecting paper ballots in Missouri, and busted machines [were] causing long lines in Indiana,’” the letter reads. “In addition, researchers recently uncovered previously undisclosed vulnerabilities in “nearly three dozen backend election systems in 10 states.” And, just this year, after the Democratic candidate’s electronic tally showed he received 164 votes out of 55,000 cast in a Pennsylvania state judicial election in 2019, the county’s Republican chairwoman said, “nothing went right on Election Day. Everything went wrong. That’s a problem.”

The letter continued: “These problems threaten the integrity of our elections and demonstrate the importance of election systems that are strong, durable, and not vulnerable to attack.”

Dominion’s suing Rudy Giuliani, but not these Democrats. But an “unbiased” voting machine company that only sues Republicans has kind of blown its credibility already.

IT’S THE RETURN OF THE PALACE GUARD MEDIA! Late Night Entertainment Moves Radical Left To Salvage Post-Trump Ratings. “Stephen Colbert’s writer calls for reparations, calls Founding Fathers slave-owning ‘douche nozzles’…Late Night with Seth Meyers recently went to bat for Ilhan Omar. Meyers was outraged that anyone would compare her to Marjorie Taylor Greene”… Without Trump, late-night ‘comedy’ becomes even more insufferable.”

Then and now, it’s all about placating the dwindling base:

This is also my theory about the big entertainment awards shows like the Oscars and the Emmys. If the big, broad, general audience you used to have is gone, and deep down you think it’s never coming back, then why not make a harder bid for the loyalty of the smaller audience you’ve got left? In a time when the entertainment industry is (or thinks it is) a one-party state with no dissenters, you had better echo that politics back to your base.

What were once cultural institutions with a broad, bipartisan audience are becoming niche players with a narrow fan base. They no longer view partisan politics as a dangerous move that will shrink their audience. Instead, they’re using partisan politics as a lure to secure the loyalty of their audience, or what is left of it. Not that it’s going to work over the long term, because people who want to have their biases confirmed will just watch the five-minute YouTube clip Chris Cillizza links to the next day.

Why Late Night Hosts Like Jimmy Kimmel Are Suddenly So Political, Robert Tracinski, the Federalist, October 5, 2017.

TO MY FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE, YOU’LL REGRET THIS AND YOU MAY REGRET IT A LOT SOONER THAN YOU THINK: Kevin McCarthy got exactly what he wanted from the Marjorie Taylor Greene vote.

While McCarthy said many of Greene’s statements — most made before she was elected to Congress — “do not represent the values of my party”, he still condemned the very idea of voting to remove her from committee posts as “cynical” and “hypocritical”. He also cited a number of controversial statements made by Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota (a Black Muslim woman who was a frequent Trump target) and House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters of California.

But a number of current and former House staffers — as well as a prominent historian of the House — say that in their opinion, McCarthy’s opposition to Thursday’s vote to remove Greene from her committee assignments was all for show. Instead, the entire exercise was meant to goad Democrats into giving him a weapon to entrench one-party Republican rule by targeting their members wholesale if he is ever permitted to hold power.

“Kevin is just about as happy as a pig in s**t right now,” said one House veteran, an aide to a long-serving Republican member who called the events of the past few days an “entirely predictable” exercise that will be cited in the future as a failure by Democrats to think in the longer term.

Kurt Bardella, a former aide to Republican Representative Darrell Issa, suggested that McCarthy got exactly what he wanted by Greene being voted off committees without his support.

And note this:

Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, posited that McCarthy’s refusal to take any action was possibly deliberate, meant to goad Democrats into giving him the precedent for future revenge.

“We’ve seen that the Republicans have often weaponized the kind of mechanisms that are intended to make Congress better or create more accountability and use them for partisan gain,” he said. “The fact that Republicans decided not to really do anything about their Congresswoman Greene problem suggests that the scenario [of letting Democrats give them the power to remove minority members from committees] wouldn’t be outrageous in their mind.”

It’s different when we do it. How dare the GOP use our own tactics against us when they’re in power!

(Classical reference in headline.)

ROGER SIMON: All Republican State Legislatures Should Follow Gov. DeSantis’ Lead to End Big Tech Domination.

The Big Tech giants have created the most sophisticated and seductive form of fascist mind control in human history.

In so doing, not only have they enabled and promulgated the “cancel culture,” sabotaging the freedom and liberty envisioned in our country’s founding, along with the First Amendment, they have addicted our youth, miseducated, and corrupted them.

They have also, through their dominance, which almost no one predicted, heavily and unfairly influenced elections and become the greatest threat to our democratic republic extant.

Many have complained about this, some with eloquence, but other than unfulfilled rumblings about reforming Section 230—the legalism that shields these companies from being sued for what they publish—nothing has been done. No one has really stepped up.

Until Ron DeSantis.

On Feb. 2, the Florida governor gave a speech outlining a series of concrete proposals for his state that would have a serious impact on these companies. (Details in a moment)

I am writing this column to urge all Republican state legislatures and governors to pay close attention to what DeSantis has proposed and emulate, even expand on, these new regulations and legislative solutions in their states.

This would create pronounced and consequential change, and these legislatures and governors have the power to do it. Twenty-four states are fully under Republican control, and in several more they have a majority in the legislatures.

According to Americans for Tax Reform, states with Republican-controlled legislatures have populations of nearly 186 million, Democrat-controlled only about 134 million.

That’s Republican clout, should the states choose to use it. And they should because federal action on Big Tech is somewhere between unlikely and impossible given the current situation in D.C., not to mention that these companies are the biggest political contributors in history with the deepest pockets.

Moreover, the national Republican Party cannot be relied upon, its congressional leadership being, to be kind, remarkably tepid.

Here are DeSantis’ proposals, as outlined by Breitbart.com:

  • Mandatory opt-outs from big tech’s content filters, a solution to tech censorship first proposed by Breitbart News in 
  • A private right of action for Floridian citizens against tech companies that violate this condition.
  • Fines of $100,000 per day levied on tech companies that suspend candidates for elected office in Florida from their platforms.
  • Daily fines for any tech company “that uses their content and user-related algorithms to suppress or prioritize the access of any content related to a political candidate or cause on the ballot.”
  • Greater transparency requirements.
  • Disclosure requirements enforced by Florida’s election authorities for tech companies that favor one candidate over another.
  • Power for the Florida attorney general to bring cases against tech companies that violate these conditions under the state’s Unfair and Deceptive Practices Act.

Every one of these proposals is worthy. Undoubtedly more could be added if the Republican states, working together or separately, address the problem.

Governor DeSantis shouldn’t have to do it all by himself, brave as he is.

The transparency issue especially must be delved into. It relates directly to the question of algorithms referred to immediately above it, since everything in our culture is political, not just electoral politics. Entertainment and (most importantly) education are also heavily politicized and subject to manipulation by algorithms.

Missing too is the increasingly dangerous area of data collection, which can lead to people being fired, blacklisted or, particularly for younger people, socially ostracized for their views.

This last has led to an epidemic of depression among the young. We have Big Tech to thank for that.

So, states, do your thing. Don’t wait. This is your time!

Related: From Stephen Kruiser: Can Ron DeSantis Teach Media Relations to Weak Republicans?

KRUISER’S MORNING BRIEF: Can Ron DeSantis Teach Media Relations to Weak Republicans? “That’s precisely what the Republican party needs — leaders who don’t fall for the false promise of respect from the mainstream media. It was bad enough before Trump won in 2016. The MSM hacks would dangle carrots for witless Republicans. If the Republicans in question did what they were told — like back stab other Republicans — they’d be treated slightly less awfully in the press. As soon as their service was no longer required, it was back to crap treatment as usual.”

THE GREATEST HOLLYWOOD MEMOIR EVER WRITTEN:

Lowe never made it as far as Cruise, but he was right there beside dozens of figures who helped define our culture. Through his stepfather he was invited onto the set, in 1976, to watch an effects sequence from a movie he was told was going to be some sort of “Western in space” — Star Wars. He rode a plane — Flight 77 from Dulles to LAX — with the 9/11 terrorists who used that trip as a dry run two weeks before they hijacked the same flight. Less momentous, he once saw Chris Farley eat two giant porterhouse steaks for dinner, placing an entire pat of butter on each bite. One of the first friends Lowe made when, as an adolescent, his mom moved them from Ohio to Malibu (then peopled by middle-class hippies and surfers) was Emilio Estevez, whose dad was off in the Philippines shooting a Vietnam movie. Lowe first met Emilio’s dad, Martin Sheen, on a Halloween night when the old man jumped out of the bushes, Captain Willard–like, in full camouflage gear, brandishing a baseball bat and issuing crazy threats. It was pure coincidence that Sheen would later be hired to play the president beside Lowe on The West Wing.

That show had a cultural impact, just as Lowe’s early efforts did. He points out that The Outsiders (1983) not only kicked off a new genre of all-teen movies after a decade in which young people were largely relegated to background parts but provided a raft of new male pinups to star in them: Matt Dillon (who was already somewhat established) plus then-unknowns C. Thomas Howell, Patrick Swayze, Ralph Macchio, Estevez, Cruise, and Lowe. Proud of his efforts in that film (even though his climactic scene at the very end was simply cut out), Lowe nevertheless has a knack for undercutting showbiz hype with dry wit. And he’s well aware of how fortunate he has been. Auditioning for Class, Lowe had to win the part over another hopeful:

My competition is an actor who is one of those guys who gets white-hot overnight and is in the mix on a number of big films. He has everyone in Hollywood talking, and I just hope he doesn’t get this one. His name is Raphael Sbarge.

But I haven’t gotten to the most important aspect of the book: how Lowe learned to be a man, a husband, a father — a person as opposed to a celebrity. He was presented with more temptations than most of us can imagine, allowed himself to be led down a path of self-destruction that proved irresistible to many of his contemporaries, then found a way back. Once a pretty boy/party boy, he became a grounded family man of deep commitment and contentment, a process that required a personality overhaul. That story is worth a column in itself, so I’ll get to it in a follow-up piece.

Read the whole thing.

VODKAPUNDIT PRESENTS YOUR DAILY INSANITY WRAP: China Virus, China Virus, China Virus.

Insanity Wrap needs to know: When is a virus from China not a China virus?

Answer: When CCP Joe tells you so, prole.

Before we get to the sordid details, a quick preview of today’s Wrap.

  • It turns out 1984 was an instruction manual after all
  • Florida teachers party on the beach while teachers union fights re-opening
  • BBC gueat reveals way too much on air

Bonus Sanity: Big Tech (finally) comes out in favor of decoupling.

And so much more at the link, you’d have to be crazy to miss it.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Florida teachers working remotely amid COVID caught ‘partying, traveling and failing to wear masks.’

HMM: Trump Won’t Start a Third Party, but Instead Will Target Never-Trump Republicans.

CHARLES LIPSON: Biden’s Biggest Decision.

How will President Biden resolve tensions between his party’s left wing and its establishment-corporate center? His first day in office showed one way. He will signal his virtue to progressives on hot-button issues like Keystone XL pipeline, the Guantanamo Bay detention center, and the Paris climate accord. He won’t build another new mile of border barrier. He wants a higher minimum wage. Those gestures are meant to please party activists without, he hopes, costing too much with average voters. Best of all, they don’t require any pesky, time-consuming procedures, like passing actual laws or ratifying treaties. They will be implemented by presidential orders and bureaucratic regulations

More broadly, President Biden will use EOs, bureaucratic regulations, and sub-Cabinet appointments to placate his party’s vital interest groups in education (teachers unions), criminal justice, race relations, immigration, and the environment. Important as those policies are, Biden has no intention of meeting the far-reaching socialist demands of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

They seem more or less happy to wait him out, which might not take all that much waiting.

OLD AND BUSTED: It Usually Begins With Ayn Rand

The New Hotness? It Usually Begins With David Brooks! ‘WTF are you smoking?’ Lincoln Project senior adviser blames NYT’s David Brooks for ‘that Capitol insurrection’ and even Tom Nichols’ jaw is on the floor.

The “conservative intelligentsia” who worships Barack Obama’s trouser creases. Who knew that Bobos in Paradise was the gateway drug to Capitol Hill erections, err, Capitol Hill insurrections?

Or possibly, the Lincoln Project itself! In his best-selling 2000 book, Brooks wrote:

To get the most attention, the essay should be wrong. Logical essays are read and understood. But an illogical or wrong essay will prompt dozens of other writers co rise and respond, thus giving the author mounds of publicity. Yale professor Paul Kennedy had a distinguished but unglamorous career under his belt when he wrote The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, predicting American decline. He was wrong, and hundreds of other commentators rose to say so, thus making him famous and turning his book into a bestseller. Francis Fukuyama wrote an essay called “The End of History,” which seemed wrong to people who read only the title. Thousands of essayists wrote pieces pointing out that history had not ended, and Fukuyama became a global sensation.

The Lincoln Project in general seems determined to take the advice of this member of the “conservative intelligentsia” to spectacular heights.

JOHN COCHRANE: Low Interest Rates and Government Debt. “Default is not impossible, just because the US and eurozone print our own currencies. Imagine my scenario and add policy chaos. The US is just getting going on political chaos. Bond markets are demanding 5% or 10%. Are the US Congress and Administration, really going to put interest payments to the Chinese central bank, ‘the rich,’ and ‘Wall Street’ ahead of writing checks to needy Americans? Don’t bet on it. It won’t be a simple default. It will be a complex restructuring, as it always is. T bills may get forcibly rolled over to low-coupon long term debt for example.”

Related: My thoughts: “Right now, yearly deficits are going up, but the debt — essentially the sum of all previous deficits — is skyrocketing. It has done that for a decade, except for a couple of years when it briefly leveled off due to the influence of the Tea Party movement. I’m sorry to say I’ve kind of given up talking about it because nobody seems to care, and I’m afraid the politicians in both parties will kick the can down the road until something really drastic happens. I’m guessing that might happen in the next decade, but although the rule is something that can’t go on forever, won’t, there’s no guarantee as to when it will stop. I feel safe in predicting, though, that it won’t stop due to a sudden infusion of virtue and self-control into our political class.”

A LITTLE MORE FROM THAT STACY MCCAIN PIECE I LINKED EARLIER:

What we are actually confronting is the boomerang effect of political paranoia. Democrats began flinging around this weapon during the Clinton years, when Hillary claimed that her husband’s sexual affair with Monica Lewinsky was actually a plot by a “vast right-wing conspiracy.” The American Spectator played an instrumental role in that saga and was subsequently targeted by the IRS. Just a coincidence, I’m sure. Democratic paranoia further escalated after the 2000 election recount fiasco in Florida, and many Democrats also claimed that George W. Bush somehow defrauded John Kerry in the 2004 election.

Over the years, Democrats used a series of demonized bogeymen to inspire fear and loathing among their grassroots “base.” During the Clinton presidency, the chief bogeymen were the Religious Right and Richard Mellon Scaife. Once Bush was elected, liberals decided chose as their new bogeymen White House adviser Karl Rove and war-mongering “neonconservatives,” the latter term being a liberal code word for Jews. Any researcher concerned about anti-Semitism in America would do well to examine how leftists exploited the “neoconservative” conspiracy theory to demonize Jewish Republicans during the Bush era. What’s remarkable is how swiftly Democrats can switch targets, choosing a new bogeyman to replace the old one almost instantaneously. A few months into the Bush administration, the much-demonized Scaife was utterly forgotten, and the Bible-thumpers of the Religious Right faded into the background, while liberals ranted on cable TV about those treacherous neocons!

Now, 12 years after the end of the Bush era, this seems like ancient history, but the point is that Democrats must always have a right-wing enemy with which to frighten their grassroots constituency. During the Obama years, the enemy was first Sarah Palin — remember when Joe McGinniss moved in next door to her place in Wasilla? — and then it was Andrew Breitbart for a while. By 2010, however, Democrats and their media allies had decided that the Tea Party was the real enemy, which in turn led to the Koch brothers becoming the scary bogeymen. Charles and David Koch had long supported libertarian causes, without provoking any great controversy, until their sponsorship of the Tea Party movement made them a Dangerous Extremist Menace.

In November 2011, I saw first-hand consequences of the Left’s demonization of the Koch brothers, when a mob of “Occupy” protesters stormed a D.C. event hosted by Americans for Prosperity where one of the Koch brothers was in attendance. Another reporter and I found ourselves trapped between the mob and the glass front doors of the building, with one D.C. cop to protect us from hundreds of angry “Occupy” maniacs (see “The Mob Who Came to Dinner,” Nov. 7, 2011). Trust me when I say, no Democrat in Congress had more reason to fear the unruly mob of Trump supporters at the Capitol than we had to fear that screaming scrum of deranged “Occupy” protesters in 2011.

All that Democrats and their allies have done over the years to foster a climate of hatred and paranoia in America has conveniently been forgotten by the media in the two months since the last election. We are not supposed to compare the riot at the Capitol two weeks ago to the riots that wrecked several major U.S. cities last summer. The media worked overtime to convince Americans that George Floyd’s fentanyl overdose was a “murder” by racist police. Anyone who doubted that narrative was labeled a “white supremacist” — facts are now hate, according to our media overlords — and this same label has since been used to smear all Trump supporters as complicit in what CNN viewers are told was a right-wing terrorist attack on the Capitol. More than 100 participants in that riot are now facing federal charges, and at least one Trump supporter has committed suicide after he was “doxed” by left-wing activists trying to get him fired from his job as a bank executive.

Read the whole thing.

DISPATCHES FROM THE PARTY OF SCIENCE: Biden’s Climate Team: “Systemic Racism” Is To Blame For Climate Change.

ROGER SIMON: Should the Real ‘Resistance’ Start Now?

Literally within minutes of the 2016 election of Donald J. Trump, his opponents took to the streets declaring themselves “The Resistance.”

Some of us, myself included, considered that an act of what the “woke” like to call “cultural appropriation,” indeed an extreme—I would even say obscene—one.

CA is a term, many will recall, applied to those insensitive souls who allegedly steal from another group for their own gain or amusement, as in fraternity boys donning sombreros and drinking margaritas for Cinco de Mayo.

What was appropriated back in 2016 was something quite serious—“La Résistance”—the clandestine and highly-dangerous underground movement to subvert Nazi Germany’s control of France during the Second World War.

Although an astonishing number of younger Americans have little or no knowledge of the Holocaust, I would imagine most readers of this outlet realize that Germany’s takeover with the Vichy government’s compliance resulted in such events as the notorious July 1942 night time roundup in suburban Paris of 7000 Jews, including 4000 children, before they were shipped off for extermination.

Comparing that to the election of Donald Trump really is obscene, and also wildly anti-Semitic, unless, of course, you think saying nasty things about your opponents on Twitter is the equivalent of Auschwitz.

Many of our supposedly “progressive” friends evidently did, overwhelmed by a delusional case of moral narcissism all out of proportion to reality, allowing them to “act out” in the most self-aggrandizing manner, identifying with the true heroes of “La Résistance” when there was no discernible threat to them whatsoever.

Indeed, what actually happened to the daily lives of our liberal friends during the Trump administration was next to nothing.

Until COVID came along, they got to enjoy the lowest unemployment virtually ever, including minorities, with actual wages going up for the lower classes for the first time in years, a booming stock market, lower gas prices through energy independence, peace in the Middle East and peace in general.

They weren’t censored in any way and maintained control of most of the media, entertainment, and the schools throughout.

Yet still they raged.

But to continue with the French analogy, what’s going on today is “toute autre chose,” entirely different.

The now victorious left is attempting to erase the right, to drive it out of existence forever.

We see signs of this everywhere, from the clearly fascistic actions of Big Tech in destroying upstart Parler on grounds of hosting some violent posts (something they themselves have been doing for years) to ridiculous virtue signaling like Macaulay Culkin signing on for having Donald Trump’s cameo removed from “Home Alone 2.”

Communist Chinese-style “social credit” controls are being instituted across our economy with the likes of Master Card, PayPal and Stripe canceling conservative groups that protested the election and automated business email systems doing the same.

In many ways this is more effective and dangerous than the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution because we are so reliant on technology now and because it is so sub rosa. No need for prancing around in dunce caps. An individuals’ access to his or her daily needs can be turned off with the click of an invisible mouse.

American versions of “Good Germans” are coming out of the woodwork as many are beginning to live in fear of what this could do to their lives. Others have been asked to recant or soon will be.

The traditional Republican Party politicians have been of little help, disconnected, as many, maybe most, are from their rank-and-file.

So is this time for a new, and more justified, “Resistance”?

As Caroline Glick writes, Biden is continuing the left’s shopworn tradition of comparing conservative Republicans to National Socialists: Goebbels and the New American Terror.

What purpose did it serve for President-elect Joe Biden to liken Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) to Adolf Hitler’s top propagandist Joseph Goebbels?

In response to a question about the two Republican lawmakers following remarks on January 8, Biden said, “I was being reminded by a friend of mine…when we’re told [about] Goebbels and the great lie, you keep repeating the lie, repeating the lie.”

Although Biden’s comparison was imperfectly stated, it was clear enough to follow. He was saying that the lawmakers’ efforts to challenge the Electoral College votes from disputed states was a Nazi-like effort.

By speaking this way, Biden did many things at once. First, he whitewashed Goebbels’ barbaric crimes. Goebbels was the chief architect of totalitarianism in Nazi Germany and one of the lead architects of the Holocaust.

In his literary warning about the fragility of freedom and the allure of totalitarianism, 1984, George Orwell demonstrated that total control over a society is achieved through total control over the information its members can see.

Goebbels implemented this in Nazi Germany. As Hitler’s propagandist, Goebbels exerted total control over information. He ensured that Germans would view Hitler as their infallible savior. He conditioned them to view Jews as subhuman vermin, to be exterminated like cockroaches. And he made them believe that all Germans who didn’t accept what they were told were enemies of the people.

Goebbels achieved all of these things by blocking public access to accurate information while inundating the Germans with images and words that repeated and amplified his monstrous lies. Goebbels’ success in controlling information was the necessary precondition for all he and his comrades unleashed on Jews, and on humanity as a whole.

The second thing Biden did by comparing Hawley and Cruz to Goebbels was to whitewash the unspeakable crimes of Nazi Germany. After all, if merely questioning certain election returns is the moral equivalent of Goebbels’ “Big Lie,” then the Big Lie was actually no big deal.

The third thing Biden did by comparing Hawley and Cruz to Goebbels was set them up for what Orwell referred to as “un-personing”—or in today’s culture, “canceling.”

Obviously, if Cruz and Hawley are Goebbels, then all right-thinking people must work to silence them and remove them from positions of influence in the Senate and larger society.

As if on cue, shortly after Biden said what he did, Senate Democrats began debating whether to censure the lawmakers. Senate Republicans, for their part, began discussing the possibility of denying the two members cherished committee assignments. According to Senate officials, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is leaning toward denying the two their subcommittee chairmanships—thereby removing them from the line of seniority.

As Glick writes, “A sense of foreboding and fear now grips millions of Americans—and, indeed, conservatives worldwide. Unless something is done quickly by those who wield power to restore freedom, it is impossible to see a happy end to this story.” #Unity!

READ IT. CURSE AND WEEP. THEN FIGHT: The State Department’s Fact Sheet: Activity at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Aw heck, I’m just gonna post The Whole Damned Thing:

For more than a year, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has systematically prevented a transparent and thorough investigation of the COVID-19 pandemic’s origin, choosing instead to devote enormous resources to deceit and disinformation. Nearly two million people have died. Their families deserve to know the truth. Only through transparency can we learn what caused this pandemic and how to prevent the next one.

The U.S. government does not know exactly where, when, or how the COVID-19 virus—known as SARS-CoV-2—was transmitted initially to humans. We have not determined whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan, China.

The virus could have emerged naturally from human contact with infected animals, spreading in a pattern consistent with a natural epidemic. Alternatively, a laboratory accident could resemble a natural outbreak if the initial exposure included only a few individuals and was compounded by asymptomatic infection. Scientists in China have researched animal-derived coronaviruses under conditions that increased the risk for accidental and potentially unwitting exposure.

The CCP’s deadly obsession with secrecy and control comes at the expense of public health in China and around the world. The previously undisclosed information in this fact sheet, combined with open-source reporting, highlights three elements about COVID-19’s origin that deserve greater scrutiny:

Illnesses inside the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV):

The U.S. government has reason to believe that several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illnesses. This raises questions about the credibility of WIV senior researcher Shi Zhengli’s public claim that there was “zero infection” among the WIV’s staff and students of SARS-CoV-2 or SARS-related viruses.

Accidental infections in labs have caused several previous virus outbreaks in China and elsewhere, including a 2004 SARS outbreak in Beijing that infected nine people, killing one.

The CCP has prevented independent journalists, investigators, and global health authorities from interviewing researchers at the WIV, including those who were ill in the fall of 2019. Any credible inquiry into the origin of the virus must include interviews with these researchers and a full accounting of their previously unreported illness.

Research at the WIV:

Starting in at least 2016 – and with no indication of a stop prior to the COVID-19 outbreak – WIV researchers conducted experiments involving RaTG13, the bat coronavirus identified by the WIV in January 2020 as its closest sample to SARS-CoV-2 (96.2% similar). The WIV became a focal point for international coronavirus research after the 2003 SARS outbreak and has since studied animals including mice, bats, and pangolins.
The WIV has a published record of conducting “gain-of-function” research to engineer chimeric viruses. But the WIV has not been transparent or consistent about its record of studying viruses most similar to the COVID-19 virus, including “RaTG13,” which it sampled from a cave in Yunnan Province in 2013 after several miners died of SARS-like illness.
WHO investigators must have access to the records of the WIV’s work on bat and other coronaviruses before the COVID-19 outbreak. As part of a thorough inquiry, they must have a full accounting of why the WIV altered and then removed online records of its work with RaTG13 and other viruses.

Secret military activity at the WIV:

Secrecy and non-disclosure are standard practice for Beijing. For many years the United States has publicly raised concerns about China’s past biological weapons work, which Beijing has neither documented nor demonstrably eliminated, despite its clear obligations under the Biological Weapons Convention.
Despite the WIV presenting itself as a civilian institution, the United States has determined that the WIV has collaborated on publications and secret projects with China’s military. The WIV has engaged in classified research, including laboratory animal experiments, on behalf of the Chinese military since at least 2017.

The United States and other donors who funded or collaborated on civilian research at the WIV have a right and obligation to determine whether any of our research funding was diverted to secret Chinese military projects at the WIV.

Today’s revelations just scratch the surface of what is still hidden about COVID-19’s origin in China. Any credible investigation into the origin of COVID-19 demands complete, transparent access to the research labs in Wuhan, including their facilities, samples, personnel, and records.

As the world continues to battle this pandemic – and as WHO investigators begin their work, after more than a year of delays – the virus’s origin remains uncertain. The United States will continue to do everything it can to support a credible and thorough investigation, including by continuing to demand transparency on the part of Chinese authorities.

But go ahead, though it’s posted here, click the link and read the whole damned thing. (RTWDT)

VERY RELATED: Chinese commies lied, millions of human beings died.

MATT TAIBBI: Who’s Promoting A Civil War? The Media.

The moment a group of people stormed the Capitol building last Wednesday, news companies began the process of sorting and commoditizing information that long ago became standard in American media.

Media firms work backward. They first ask, “How does our target demographic want to understand what’s just unfolded?” Then they pick both the words and the facts they want to emphasize.

It’s why Fox News uses the term, “Pro-Trump protesters,” while New York and The Atlantic use “Insurrectionists.” It’s why conservative media today is stressing how Apple, Google, and Amazon shut down the “Free Speech” platform Parler over the weekend, while mainstream outlets are emphasizing a new round of potentially armed protests reportedly planned for January 19th or 20th.

What happened last Wednesday was the apotheosis of the Hate Inc. era, when this audience-first model became the primary means of communicating facts to the population. For a hundred reasons dating back to the mid-eighties, from the advent of the Internet to the development of the 24-hour news cycle to the end of the Fairness Doctrine and the Fox-led discovery that news can be sold as character-driven, episodic TV in the manner of soap operas, the concept of a “Just the facts” newscast designed to be consumed by everyone died out.

News companies now clean world events like whalers, using every part of the animal, funneling different facts to different consumers based upon calculations about what will bring back the biggest engagement kick. The Migrant Caravan? Fox slices off comments from a Homeland Security official describing most of the border-crossers as single adults coming for “economic reasons.” The New York Times counters by running a story about how the caravan was deployed as a political issue by a Trump White House staring at poor results in midterm elections.

Repeat this info-sifting process a few billion times and this is how we became, as none other than Mitch McConnell put it last week, a country: “drifting into two separate tribes.” . . .

The media used to derive its institutional power from this perception of separateness. Politicians feared investigation by the news media precisely because they knew audiences perceived them as neutral arbiters.

Now there are no major commercial outlets not firmly associated with one or the other political party.

Yes, the country badly needs an even semi-neutral interlocutor. But instead we just have various flavors of Chaos Umpire, who by deciding more embroils the fray by which he reigns.

Plus: “What we’ve been watching for four years, and what we saw explode last week, is a paradox: a political and informational system that profits from division and conflict, and uses a factory-style process to stimulate it, but professes shock and horror when real conflict happens. It’s time to admit this is a failed system. You can’t sell hatred and seriously expect it to end.”

XI’S GOTTA HAVE IT: Chinese Media Told to Use Capitol Riot to Attack Democracy.

A reporter from Chinese state media shared with me the guidelines she received on how to report the Capitol riot.

She was told to focus on how the United States’ global reputation would be damaged and deteriorated in her article, mentioning how world leaders were shocked by this insurrection and were concerned about their alliance with the United States. She was also asked to write on how democracy could be hijacked by a group of uneducated people and how democracy could only be realized when the population is highly educated—and that China’s current education level is not suitable for democracy.

In the morning of Jan. 7, a reporter from Phoenix Media told me that an article published by her team about how social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube had all put restrictions on President Donald Trump’s accounts had spawned a series of online discussions about how Western countries such as the United States “don’t even have freedom of speech.”

These discussions were led by China’s Foreign Ministry and were fueled by a number of pro-Chinese Communist Party bloggers. A large number of Chinese netizens have long been under the impression—picking up cues from right-wing media elsewhere—that there is no real freedom of speech in Western countries. They accuse the Western world of holding double standards when criticizing the Chinese government for blocking website content, monitoring internet access, banning dissent and disagreement, and deleting social media accounts.

The reporter expressed concerns about how people interpreted her article and how that would make it even harder to start any discussion about freedom of speech and human rights in China. She had recently interviewed a few #MeToo victims and felt saddened seeing feminists fighting in an environment where the government’s control over the internet, media, and individual bloggers is tighter than it has been in the past decade—and where patriarchy is resurgent. The violence at the Capitol had aided the Chinese government, she said, by giving it another justification for arguing that control of speech is necessary.

Silicon Valley agrees, sadly. As Rod Dreher warned in November China’s “social credit system” was coming to America. The Capitol Hill riot was all the pretext Big Tech needed.

SO MUCH FOR COOLER HEADS PREVAILING:

Then there is the matter of Twitter banning the President’s Twitter account. The consequences of that action, as well as Google and Apple taking steps to ban Parler, will reach far and beyond the events at the Capitol. What those moves certainly won’t do is lead to any form of depolarization. These tech platforms are not going to be able to disappear 70 million people from the internet. Those people will simply be chased further underground where they will develop more mistrust that corporate media and Big Tech are in fact their enemy. Neither the media or Big Tech will do much to earn the trust of those people back.

Trump will slink away and out of power, just as he did at the conclusion of his speech on Wednesday. That much is known. However if Joe Biden and the media have any intent on ‘healing’ and ‘unifying’ post-Trump and Trumpism, they haven’t done much to show it. Maybe this is because it’s in the best interest of the Biden agenda, and the revenue of Big Tech, and the audience retention of the corporate media to keep us as we are — a nation divided.

When Obama was elected, the DNC-MSM loved cranking out pieces headlined, “We Are All Socialists Now,” “The Death of Conservatism,” and “James Carville Angles For ’40 More Years,'” as NPR gushed about Carville’s then-latest book in May of 2009. It was part wish fulfillment, and part propping up their nervous core readers — “We don’t have to worry about those guys anymore.” And then the Tea Party coalesced, and by mid-2016, NPR was reduced to running this headline: The Democratic Party Got Crushed During The Obama Presidency. Here’s Why.

In 2021, Democrats don’t care how much they’re angering the right, partly because of their hatred of Trump and his “Deplorables,” as Hillary would say, and partly because, as Stephen Miller writes above, it suits their business model. Once again, this could be a very big mistake on their part.

MANCHIN: Biden push for new stimulus checks runs into roadblock from key Democratic senator.

President-elect Joe Biden’s plans for a major new economic relief package boosting stimulus payments to $2,000 ran into possibly fatal opposition from his own party Friday as Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) said he would “absolutely not” support a new round of checks.

Manchin, a moderate who will hold great sway in a Senate split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, made his views known even as the Biden team worked to develop a coronavirus relief package that would include new stimulus checks, extended unemployment benefits, and more. . . .

Without united Democratic support Biden would need to attract Republican votes for his proposal. And while some Republicans have supported $2,000 stimulus payments, but there is scant GOP support for other elements of Biden’s emerging plan, such as extending unemployment benefits.

That means Manchin’s opposition to new stimulus payments could kill Biden’s proposal altogether, or force him to reshape it dramatically. And it offers an early preview of the challenges Biden will face in governing over the next four years even with his party controlling both chambers of Congress.

Have fun, guys.

FLASHBACK:

Brooks is, of course, horrified at Trump and his supporters, whom he finds childish, thuggish and contemptuous of the things that David Brooks likes about today’s America. It’s clear that he’d like a social/political revolution that was more refined, better-mannered, more focused on the Constitution and, well, more bourgeois as opposed to in-your-face and working class.

The thing is, we had that movement. It was the Tea Party movement. . . .

Yet the tea party movement was smeared as racist, denounced as fascist, harassed with impunity by the IRS and generally treated with contempt by the political establishment — and by pundits like Brooks, who declared “I’m not a fan of this movement.” After handing the GOP big legislative victories in 2010 and 2014, it was largely betrayed by the Republicans in Congress, who broke their promises to shrink government and block Obama’s initiatives.

So now we have Trump instead, who tells people to punch counterprotesters instead of picking up their trash.

When politeness and orderliness are met with contempt and betrayal, do not be surprised if the response is something less polite, and less orderly. Brooks closes his Trump column with Psalm 73, but a more appropriate verse is Hosea 8:7 “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” Trump’s ascendance is a symptom of a colossal failure among America’s political leaders, of which Brooks’ mean-spirited insularity is only a tiny part. God help us all.

Still true. I’ve been warning about this for years, but apparently to no effect. Maybe this time the people in charge will get serious?

ROGER SIMON: In Praise of Josh Hawley.

President Donald Trump is obviously the leader of the Republican Party (see the latest Gallup poll on the most admired American) but should the 2020 election remain in its current dubious state and should Trump decide not to run in the future, Josh Hawley, the senator from Missouri, has moved to the head of the class for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.

He has done this by being the first Republican senator to commit to objecting to electoral college certification for presidential election 2020.

This courageous act, in conjunction with similar pledges already made by members of the House, opens the door to serious discussion of the election on the floor of Congress

In so doing Hawley has cited problems that several states had, particularly Pennsylvania, in not following their own election laws. (Georgia’s problems were demonstrated today by the testimony of IT expert Garland Favorito and others in front of their Judiciary Committee.)

But equally, if not more, importantly to the future of our country, and the democratic world in general, Hawley has called out the undue influence of Big Tech in our presidential election, in this case Facebook and Twitter. (He could easily have added the giant of giants, Google, as well.)

Many have asserted these entities, as private companies, have the right to do as they wish. In a perfect world, that is correct. But this world is far from perfect and getting less so.

Big Tech controls the flow of information globally to a degree no one has ever conceived, not even Orwell or Huxley. Traditional anti-trust legislation is virtually Paleolithic when it comes to adjudicating the capabilities of these companies.

Curiously, Hawley seems to have run afoul of Walmart as well: Walmart blames deleted ‘#SoreLoser’ reply to Sen. Josh Hawley on social media team ‘mistake’ (but not before Hawley fired back hard).

 

VDH: Biden Should Beware of Nemesis.

To win, the Democrats knowingly drafted the 77-year old Biden (who has since turned 78) to put a familiar veneer on radical agendas that had frightened primary voters. At times, Democrats seemed fated to be directly tied to the statue toppling, protesting, rioting and violence that plagued American cities for much of the summer.

Given the Democrats’ Faustian bargain with their leftmost faction, destructive rumors about Biden’s faculties or his family’s financial escapades will more likely come from his own party’s left wing, eager for a Harris presidency, rather than from the Republican opposition.

Biden will enter office with an ethical cloud hanging over his head — one that could have been vetted and adjudicated rather than blacked out for most of 2020. His son, brother and perhaps family associates may talk if faced with FBI and IRS probes, if not a special counsel investigation.

It will not help Biden that to defeat Trump, many of our institutions were deformed. Special counsels usually never receive a blank check — 22 months and $32 million — to assemble a team of partisans to investigate a new president on mostly hearsay evidence and an opposition-concocted dossier.

But that precedent ended with the ill-conceived Robert Muller investigation. By spring, Biden could have done to him what was done to Trump — and what Biden himself so frequently cheered on.

The “shock” that Democrats will feign when 2021 onward turns into a funhouse mirror version of the last four years will be astonishing to watch. As Michael Barone wrote earlier this month, Democrats are now reaping the whirlwind of their 2016 election ‘Resistance.’ “Democrats who are dismayed that many Americans aren’t meekly accepting the legitimacy of the Biden presidency are in the process of learning a lesson taught a very long time ago. You reap what you sow.”


And on the flip-side: CNN’s Jake Tapper Accidentally Previews Media’s New Biden Defense Strategy, and It Is Pathetic.

ANNALS OF LEFTIST AUTOPHAGY: After Trump, The Flood…

Most of the other November 2020 Biden supporters are destined to be on a collision course, and they will soon enough realize that their differences are much stronger than what united them and that they were taken for fools. None will be disappointed more than the so-called ‘Progressives’.

The definition of the term progressive has morphed quite significantly over the last decade or so. Currently, it seems to include any one who stands up against Trump; and this is the primordial cause of the confusion and reason for future conflict between them. In reality, what defines the term ‘progressive’ in any existing progressive movement can be totally different from that of another movement; and the difference is not necessarily marginal. Being ‘progressive’ in the 21st Century implies the presence of a very specific agenda or slogan that may or may not be compatible with other ‘progressive’ agendas.

Take the Assange supporters for example. The moment they wake up from their deep slumber, they will realize that the man they supported to become President is actually the leader of the political party that has put Assange in jail for exposing his party’s dirt. I hope that Trump pulls the rug from underneath their feet and pardons Assange before the 20th of January 2021. But will this show the Assange supporters who is who? Not necessarily because if they wanted to open up their eyes and see, they would have seen from day one that Assange’s biggest enemy is none but Hillary Clinton and that she is the one responsible for his demise; not Trump.

But the Assange supporters did not play a major role in the elections; at least not directly, and at least not as much as their closest ‘progressives’; the peace activists.

The Democrats and their cohorts have portrayed Trump as a warmonger. When peace activists eventually see that Biden will have to serve his warlord masters and start new wars across the globe, they will have to think again. He is already touting hiring well known hawks in key positions in his forthcoming cabinet and team of advisors, with his Defense Secretary reportedly selected.

When it comes to street power however, none has been more powerful and effective as the combination of BLM and the environmentalists.

BLM activists have just fallen a tad short of blaming Trump for an American five-century long history of racism. But how much do BLM activists really care about Climate Change and specifically about Greta-type environmental vision of how the world should run? Moreover, most environmentalists, if not all of them, are anti-vaxxers. When they see that Biden is the trump card for the vaccine empire, they may wish they didn’t take to the streets to unseat the Trump card they had in the Whitehouse. If there is/was one person standing up against the malevolent “Gates vaccine”, it has to be Trump, and the single-issue anti-vaxxers are against Trump. Try to make sense of this.

This is not to forget and ignore that the Climate Change activists will soon find out, the hard way, that Biden will not come clean on the zero-emission promise; not only because he doesn’t want to, not only because he goes to bed with the petro-dollar lobby, but also because he does not have the alternative technology to replace fossil fuel with.

Read the whole thing.

 

HOW NBC NEWS HELPED THE BIDEN CAMPAIGN RUIN AN INNOCENT MAN AND BURY THE HUNTER LAPTOP STORY:

Instead of investigating the claims about Hunter Biden’s Chinese connections, NBC News suppressed the report and attacked the messenger. They carried water for the Biden campaign, and other media outlets followed suit. The American public was largely unaware of this information as Election Day approached, which had an obvious effect on the outcome. Any credible news outlet would at least ask the question: Is anything in this report true? If so, how dangerous is that for America? Instead, a major media company, with an agenda to advance, set out to destroy a researcher and discredit an explosive report that questioned the shady dealings of a major party’s presidential candidate and his family.

Who benefits from that hit piece from NBC News? The Biden-Harris ticket, and the Chinese Communist Party.

Xi’s gotta have it. Earlier: Did Hunter Biden Help Facilitate NBCUniversal’s Beijing Theme Park?

Portions of Hunter Biden’s hard drive have now been shared with TAC. On the drive is an email from president of Rosemont Seneca Eric Schwerin, a company co-founded by Hunter and John Kerry’s stepson, saying that Chinese state-owned enterprise CITIC was hoping they would make introductions with Universal employees and propose the Beijing theme park.

“They’d like an introduction to Universal (Comcast) as they’d like to open a Universal Studios China theme park outside of Beijing,” Schwerin writes. “As I said, that one should be easy via Melissa Mayfield/David Cohen [two Comcast executives].”

Related:

And NBC knows how to circle the wagons at election time: Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw Defend Dan Rather Who Sees Effort to “Smear” Him.

 

JOANNE JACOBS: It’s relevant, but is it really math?

A new book with equity-based lessons for high school math teachers has become a bestseller.

Some districts are looking at teaching math through a “social-justice lens,” writes Gewertz. “The Seattle school district developed a framework last year that weaves questions of power and oppression into math instruction, along with explorations of ethnic identity, but it hasn’t been adopted.”

2 + 2 = whatever the Party requires it to.

JIM TREACHER: So, Hunter Biden’s Laptop Was Real After All, Huh?

Well, they did it. They swept the story under the rug because they knew it was bad for the guy who wanted to replace Trump, and they didn’t care about anything but replacing Trump. They weren’t worried about integrity, reputation, professionalism, or anything else that might have kept them from lying.

After all, who’s gonna stop ’em? You? Me? They don’t care about us. All journalists care about is giving each other awards and basking in the praise of their bosses in the Democratic Party.

Now they’re doing the same thing with Eric Swalwell. He’s embroiled in a huge scandal, and they’re just pretending it isn’t happening. After all, he has a (D) after his name and they’re team players.

I don’t believe the Democrats stole the election. But via their enablers in NYC and Silicon Valley, they covered up the truth about the Biden family to sway the outcome of the election.

If you didn’t trust them before Election Day, all they’ve done is prove you right. And now they’ll hate you even more for it.

Earlier: ‘This Was Bad Faith All The Way Down:’ Drew Holden pulls the receipts on those who buried the Hunter Biden story.

And: CNN anchor touts $380 ‘facts first’ cashmere sweater after network spiked Hunter Biden story during campaign.

KRUISER’S MORNING BRIEF: Trump Flexes His Rally Muscle In GA and It Is GLORIOUS. “This was Trump at his finest. He IS the Republican party now and he knew that he had to do this. He’s suffering through the fact that China hooked up with the Democrats (yeah, I really believe this) to steal an election from him but he’s still out there swinging for the fences.”

BLUE ON BLUE: Tulsi Gabbard Lets Joe Biden Have It For Choosing Neera Tanden For OMB.

Gabbard shared a screenshot of an old email, allegedly sent by Tanden, in which she appeared to support the idea of confiscating oil from countries in which the United States had participated in nation building. (RELATED: Tulsi Gabbard Bucks Party, Supports SCOTUS Decision That Reined In Andrew Cuomo)

“Neera Tanden thinks the way to reduce our deficit is to steal oil from countries like Libya to pay us back for bombing them, toppling their government, and turning them into a failed state. @JoeBiden Is this really the person you want in charge of managing our budget?” she asked.

Previously: ‘Don’t back down’: Tulsi Gabbard tells Trump he has her full support in terminating Section 230.

MICHAEL OREN: It Takes a Village: French World War II Drama  Un Village Francais Courageously Depicts The Country’s Holocaust Crimes, Then Whitewashes Them With Moral Equivalence.

For decades after the war, French governments from both the left and the right insisted that the true France had resided with de Gaulle in London and not with Pétain in Vichy, and that all anti-Jewish measures were imposed on them by the Germans. But beginning in 1969 with Marcel Ophuls’ documentary The Sorrow and the Pity, followed by Columbia professor Robert Paxton’s 1972 classic, Vichy France: Old Guard and New Order, and then Louis Malle’s Oscar-nominated 1973 film Lacombe Lucien, the myth steadily collapsed. These works portrayed a France that willingly collaborated with the occupation, disdained the Resistance, and sometimes surpassed the Germans in its persecution of the Jews.

Still, it took years before French authorities agreed to assist the efforts of Nazi-hunter Serge Klarsfeld to try former Vichy officials for war crimes. Not until 1995 did President Jacques Chirac finally acknowledge France’s role in the deportation of more than 75,000 Jews, most of whom didn’t return. Only in July 2017 did President Emmanuel Macron state unequivocally that “It was indeed France that organized the roundup, the deportation, and thus [the] deaths.”

Un Village Français continues this process of self-reckoning yet takes it a giant step further. The Holocaust is no longer peripheral to the occupation, but its essence. The Germans did not bring anti-Semitism to France; they gave the French license for its pursuit. Jews, according to many of the series’ characters, are dishonest, conniving, treacherous, and cheap. One of them observes, “Of course, one cannot be Jewish and French.”

This bold and still-controversial statement was the work of the series’ creator, Frédéric Krivine. He is the son of radical left-wing parents and the nephew of Alain Krivine, who was jailed by de Gaulle for leading the 1968 protests. As chief consultant for his production, the writer chose Jean-Pierre Azéma, a noted leftist historian. This no doubt explains the sentimental portrayal of the communists and the brutal depiction of every American GI. But Krivine is also Jewish and has described Un Village Français as “a good Jewish story.” But good in what way?

Clearly it cannot be in France, where the survivors see no future. For two of them, the answer is Palestine. “A land without a people for a people without a land,” one of them says, unknowingly quoting a 19th-century Christian Zionist. “I just want to live in a place without fighting.” All of this is meant ironically, though, as we see in the final season in which the now-married pair—the woman is played by Krivine’s wife, Axelle Maricq—is driving a Haganah ambulance. Ambushed by Arabs shouting “Deir Yassin! Deir Yassin!” the husband explains that this was a Palestinian village in which “our people killed two hundred innocent men, women, and children”—curiously echoing the Palestinian narrative of that event, which is strongly disputed by most Israeli historians. His wife cries, “We’re no better than those who oppressed us in France!”

Voilà. So, this, after 72 episodes, is what Un Village Français is ultimately about. Yes, we were horrible to the Jews, but look—they’re no better toward the Arabs than we were toward them. French guilt for the Holocaust can be conveniently cleansed by the invocation of supposedly equivalent Israeli wrongdoing—which must be monstrously magnified and exaggerated in order to make the equation work. Interviewed by The Nation, Frédéric Krivine compared French indifference to the plight of Jews during WWII to the Israeli public’s lack of response to the IDF’s killing of Gazans.

Far from indicting France for its Holocaust crimes, Krivine has in fact forgiven it. That message was conveyed to the 3.4 million French viewers who, on average, watched every hour of Un Village Français and to the many millions more in the 40 countries that rebroadcast it. They received first-class drama and acting, a courageous reexamination of French history—and a not-too-subliminal message about Israel being the ultimate guilty party, whose Nazi-like actions perversely cleanse the French of their own crimes in a bath of invented equivalence.

Read the whole thing.

BIDEN GETTING THE OLD ANTI-ISRAEL BAND BACK TOGETHER: Jeff Dunetz at The Lid digs into the Israel views of Biden’s foreign policy team and finds it “is as anti-Israel as is much of his track record and the sentiments of the Democratic Party base.”

For example, Reema Dodin, slated to be deputy director of the White House Office of Legislative affairs, for example, “joined with Palestinians and their supporters who used to routinely and openly justify the most heinous terror attacks, blowing up buses and pizza shops, and Passover seders,” Dunetz writes.

Dunetz has more, much more, and, while it doesn’t surprise,  it still ought to give pause to anybody who cares about defending and preserving America’s most loyal and dependable ally in the Middle East.

SHOCKER: CNN: The Wuhan files: Leaked documents reveal China’s mishandling of the early stages of Covid-19.

Flashback: A year after Wuhan alarm, China seeks to change Covid origin story: Reports in state media signal an intensifying propaganda effort to place the birth of the virus in other countries.

It’s a Chinese virus. It came from China.

Flashback: Time to put China on lockdown for its dishonesty amid coronavirus crisis.

A competent, honest response would have placed the world on notice much earlier. A China that cared about the rest of the world would have halted flights abroad while this disease was spreading, instead of allowing its citizens to spread willy-nilly around the globe. (As Brian Kennedy writes: “China seems to have taken the position that if they were to suffer the coronavirus, so too was the United States and the rest of the world. What else is to explain the continuation of flights from China to the United States at the rate of some 20,000 passengers a day, until President Trump wisely shut them down?”)

Related: Blame the Chinese Communist Party for the coronavirus crisis. “From the moment the coronavirus emerged in central China, Beijing has acted in a way that made a pandemic possible and then inevitable. It covered up what was happening in Wuhan. It silenced whistleblowers who sought to warn the world. It stole medical supplies from other countries, even while claiming the sickness was no big deal. . . . If Beijing had given the real number of infected people and deaths, other countries would have recognized the danger, and taken necessary steps.”

OF COURSE: A year after Wuhan alarm, China seeks to change Covid origin story: Reports in state media signal an intensifying propaganda effort to place the birth of the virus in other countries.

It’s a Chinese virus. It came from China.

Flashback: Time to put China on lockdown for its dishonesty amid coronavirus crisis.

A competent, honest response would have placed the world on notice much earlier. A China that cared about the rest of the world would have halted flights abroad while this disease was spreading, instead of allowing its citizens to spread willy-nilly around the globe. (As Brian Kennedy writes: “China seems to have taken the position that if they were to suffer the coronavirus, so too was the United States and the rest of the world. What else is to explain the continuation of flights from China to the United States at the rate of some 20,000 passengers a day, until President Trump wisely shut them down?”)

Related: Blame the Chinese Communist Party for the coronavirus crisis. “From the moment the coronavirus emerged in central China, Beijing has acted in a way that made a pandemic possible and then inevitable. It covered up what was happening in Wuhan. It silenced whistleblowers who sought to warn the world. It stole medical supplies from other countries, even while claiming the sickness was no big deal. . . . If Beijing had given the real number of infected people and deaths, other countries would have recognized the danger, and taken necessary steps.”

THE CORBYNIZATION OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY CONTINUES APACE: Biden To Name Tanden as Budget Chief, Rouse to Economic Council.

Flashback: “Israel is depressing,” Tanden wrote in 2016:

The co-chair of Hillary Clinton’s transition team called the March re-election of hard-line Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “depressing” in an e-mail to Clinton’s campaign chair.

Neera Tanden moaned to John Podesta the day after Netanyahu’s win.

“Israel is depressing,” Tanden wrote.

The hacked message was among thousands released by WikiLeaks. “It’s a good lesson that the wing nuts are just ruthless in every country,” Tanden added.

“Bad,” Podesta replied.

And speaking of “bad:” The Center For American Progress Staff Was Shocked After Neera Tanden Named The Anonymous Harassment Victim In An All-Staff Meeting.

As Glenn noted earlier this month, “A Biden presidency would be the death of #Metoo, just as Clinton’s was.”

UPDATE: “‘The good thing about a Biden run,’ Neera Tanden, Clinton’s close aide who also advised the Obama administration on health policy, wrote to Podesta in 2015, in an email later exposed by WikiLeaks, ‘is that he would make Hillary look so much better.’”

‘The President Was Not Encouraging’: What Obama Really Thought About Biden, The Politico, August 14th.

AP SOUNDS THE ALARM: Biden’s win hides a dire warning for Democrats in rural U.S.

Democrats once dominated Koochiching County in the blue-collar Iron Range of northern Minnesota. But in this month’s presidential election, President Donald Trump won it with 60% of the vote.

That’s not because voters there are suddenly shifting to the right, said Tom Bakk, who represents the area in the state Senate. It’s because, he said, Democrats have steadily moved too far to the left for many rural voters.

“We’ve got to see if we can get the Democratic Party to moderate and accept the fact that rural Minnesota is not getting more conservative,” said Bakk, who announced last week that he would become an independent after serving 25 years as a Democrat. “It’s that you guys are leaving them behind.”

While Democrats powered through cities and suburbs to reclaim the White House, the party slid further behind in huge rural swaths of northern battlegrounds. The party lost House seats in the Midwest, and Democratic challengers in Iowa, Kansas, Montana and North Carolina Senate races, all once viewed as serious threats to Republican incumbents, fell, some of them hard.

Though Democrats’ rural woes aren’t new, they now heap pressure on Biden to begin reversing the trend. Failure to do so endangers goals such as curbing climate change and winning a Senate majority, especially with GOP Senate seats in Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin up in 2022.

“The pressure for Democrats has to be on conveying an economic message for rural America,” said Iowa Democrat John Norris, a former candidate for governor. “We have a great one to convey, but we haven’t put enough emphasis on it.”

Gee, I’m not sure that “learn to code” has the flyover country selling power the left thinks it has.

ANNALS OF LEFTIST AUTOPHAGY: Former Cuomo aide Alexis Grenell in The Nation on The Collapse of the Cuomosexual.

The whole thing was already very Through the Looking Glass before the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced on Friday that they were awarding the governor an Emmy for his “television shows with characters, plot lines, and stories of success and failure.” Next he’ll be playing himself in an Aaron Sorkin movie, taking three points off the back end. Aside from having just barely survived the delusion that elevated a reality TV character to the presidency, we’re now giving a real-life governor an entertainment award for doing his actual job. Where does that leave governors like Michigan’s Gretchen Witmer, who also gave press briefings, but didn’t take a bow—and got death threats instead?

There’s something genuinely depressing about seeing the son of a man who refused a seat on the Supreme Court so eager to be flattered by Ben Stiller. It’s almost hard to remember how he ridiculed two-time Emmy Award–winner Cynthia Nixon back in 2018 for being an unqualified celebrity.

Turns out he just wanted to trade places all along.

As Jeff Dunetz adds, “It turns out that Alexis Grenell, a Democratic Party consultant, has got Andrew Cuomo down to a ‘T.’ He doesn’t act like a politician. He acts like an absolute ruler—a tyrannical one.”

Which is why, you’re gonna need much more Cuomosexual Conversion Therapy:

But in the last few days, more New Yorkers have enrolled in Cuomosexual Conversion Therapy. Their two major sticking points? Vaccines and schools.

There was widespread optimism when Pfizer-BionTECH and Moderna announced success rates of over 90 percent for their COVID-19 vaccines. For the first time in months it seemed as though there was hope for America. Enter Andy-Vaxxer Cuomo, using his platform as governor to undermine public trust in the FDA’s potential authorization of vaccine which we will all need to take. ‘We can’t let this vaccination plan go forward the way that Trump and his administration is designing it,’ he said last week, with all the scientific expertise of an Instagram wellness blogger. ‘I’m pushing hard to make sure that we have a process in place to check what the FDA says before people start getting the vaccine in New York.’

People were happy to put up with Cuomo’s pettiness when he was moving his daughter’s boyfriend to the Canadian border, or deploying the State Liquor Authority to target bars that mocked his dumb food rule by serving ‘Cuomo pizza’. But the prospect that his tussling with Trump might delay the climax of the COVID carnage has given many pause for thought.

The governor compounded his misstep with another display of logger-headed machismo posturing this week, clashing with Mayor Bill de Blasio over school closures. The mayor, after dithering for days, introduced an arbitrary 3 percent positivity rate to re-close NYC’s public schools. The governor contradicted this, saying at a Wednesday press conference that schools could remain open as the positivity rate was only 2.5 percent. A Wall Street Journal reporter expressed confusion on behalf of parents — and Cuomo, acting as hard as a pierced nipple in winter, snapped:

The delivery of Cuomosexual deprogramming tools should be prioritized so that Emmy Award voters receive theirs first:

GET READY FOR ROILING POPULIST COVID LOCKDOWN BACKLASH:

The backlash is coming.

It already seems clear that the first major political and cultural eruption of the Biden years will be a roiling populist backlash against the next round of COVID-19 lockdowns and other restrictions on ordinary life.

We saw this sentiment play out in sporadic anti-lockdown demonstrations last spring, and it has driven ongoing resistance to masks. But it is, in all likelihood, about to reach a entirely new level — fueled by exhaustion with the virus, infuriating displays of elite hypocrisy and the shattered credibility of the public-health establishment.

The ascension of Joe Biden will add force to the reaction. It is an iron law of American politics that whichever party doesn’t control the presidency will suspect the other of plotting to impose a tyranny, so the fear and loathing of COVID-19 restrictions, somewhat muted on the right while Donald Trump was president, will deepen and intensify.

The right’s populism and limited-government impulse, which separated in the Trump years, will presumably be reunited in the push against lockdowns in a way that they haven’t been since the days of the Tea Party.

“Lockdowns. Mask police. Curfews. What about freedom?” asked conservative Rep. Jim Jordan in a recent tweet, forecasting things to come.

Why would there be any backlash, when AP is “reporting” that “The pandemic has forced people to spend more time with themselves than ever. It has reshaped and broadened the way many think about how they treat themselves — what has come to be called self-care. People are baking, gardening and learning new skills.” Lockdowns are a wonderful thing in the AP collective mindset!

As Twitchy asks, “Remember when the AP was something you could trust? Good times.” Yes, but that was quite a long time ago. At the end of the otherwise calm spring of 2008, AP was busy reminding people that “Everything Seemingly is Spinning Out of Control,” to help prime the pump for the coming Obama era.

SO, HELEN AND I DROPPED BY THE KNOX COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT BUILDING TO SEE THE ANTI-LOCKDOWN PROTEST. There were over 200 people there, a mix of small business people, waitresses and bartenders, etc. The class conflict angle was real. As the Board of Health met via Zoom, one of the speakers remarked: “It’s the upper elite that meet by zoom. The rest of us have to go to work.” The vibe very much reminded me of early Tea Party rallies, as did a remark I overheard from one of the organizers, “I thought we’d be lucky to get 5 or 10 people but we got all these.” I also heard people saying how much fun it was to get out and protest.

Also heard: “Limit Wal-Mart first!”

The protest opened with a prayer, which was preceded by a statement that those who were not into it were still respected and valued and welcome. There were also calls for courtesy, and a critic who showed up was even allowed to speak, though he opened by telling the crowd that its failure to wear masks was the reason for new restrictions. This was poorly received.

I think the coronavirus overreach is producing blowback. And I think that the deplorables aren’t going to sit down and shut up as some people hoped.

I took a few pictures:

And it made a difference: Knox Co. Board of Health approves blunted measures with 10 p.m. dine-in curfew, table size restrictions. “After hearing discussion from business owners and seeing blunted measures recently passed in the Memphis and Nashville areas, the Board of Health opted not to vote on the stricter measures it had discussed Friday that would have cut restaurant capacity to 25%.” And closing gyms, which was on the agenda last week, wasn’t discussed at all.

Related: Protests show two Americas — those who lost their jobs and those still getting paid.

Also, from a lefty source:

There’s a huge Covid class divide. The economy has not just bounded back for upper income Americans; it’s given them higher housing values and lower interest rates. Meanwhile, 12 million service industry workers are still out of work. Small businesses are struggling. The affluent see Covid as a health problem, while for the working class it’s about economic survival. And liberals are doing the same thing they did with Trump: Clothing their class privilege as science and facts and morality.

The politicians are even worse. Instead of coming up with a clean Covid bill, Democrats are now trying to pressure Biden into student loan forgiveness. Can you believe it? What kind of society thinks it’s ok to ask 12 million people who lost their jobs to Covid to foot the bill for the student loans of the top 40% of earners? Sure, maybe it will accidentally help someone in a food line who dropped out of college. But college-educated Americans are back at work. The Covid recession is over for them. Why are the Democrats designing legislation to help the people who need it least, in the belief that some of the benefits might trickle down to help those who need it most?

Oh, I think I know why. And this whole interview is pretty sensible.

A TALE OF TWO CAMPAIGNS: As all good Instapundit readers know by now, Proposition 16 has been soundly rejected by California voters. This happened despite its supporters having spent $27 million to the NO side’s $1.72 million.

I thought you might be interested in a list the top donors to the YES campaign. They were:

Quinn Delaney ($7,900,000)

ACLU, Inc. ($2,450,538.70)

Open Society Policy Center ($2,000,000)

Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. ($1,500,000)

ACLU of Northern California Issues Committee ($1,253,599.14)

Patricia Quillin ($1,000,000)

California Teachers Association/Issue PAC ($574,229.70)

Neighbors for a Better San Francisco ($536,000)

Anne E. Delaney ($500,000)

Blue Shield of California ($500,000)

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO (MPO) ($500,000)

Connie E. Ballmer ($500,000)

Steven A. Ballmer ($500,000)

Our Voice, Our Vote-Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Ballot Measure Committee   Yes on Prop 16 ($389,365.50)

Salesforce.com ($375,000)

SF Workforce Housing Alliance PAC 2020, Sponsored by Neighbors for a Better San Francisco ($300,000)

California Nurses Association Initiative Political Action Committee ($300,000) California Democratic Party ($290,346.50)

Pacific Gas & Electric ($250,000)

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 3299 ($235,540.00)

Cisco ($200,000)

Cabrera Capital Market, LLC (Martin Cabrera, Jr.) ($200,000)

SEIU Local 1021 ($200,000)

Facebook, Inc. ($200,000)

Gwendolyn Marion Mathilde Sontheim ($200,000)

The San Francisco Foundation ($200,000)

Genentech USA ($200,000).

The No campaign did not receive a single donation that large. Its largest donation came from Students for Fair Admissions for $50,000. The second largest donation was from … uh … me. We won anyway, because Californians aren’t buying identity politics.

A list of the 34 largest donors to NO side (contributing $5000 or more) is available here.  If you donated (as many Instapundit readers did), thank you!

ALL THE SERIOUS PEOPLE TODAY: IT’S IRRESPONSIBLE AND HIGHLY DESTRUCTIVE TO ENTERTAIN UNPROVEN CLAIMS OF ELECTION FRAUD.

Three Weeks Ago:

Related:

Democrats overwhelmingly say fake news spread by Russia was at least somewhat likely to have affected the results of the presidential election – just under half (46%) say that it was very likely. Republicans disagree – except for those Republicans who think that Russian-sponsored spreading of fake news actually took place. A majority in this group believe it was in fact likely that the effort did affect the election outcome.

Two out of three Democrats also claim Russia tampered with vote tallies on Election Day to help the President – something for which there has been no credible evidence.

Plus:

In response to the oncoming deluge of fraud claims, many of which will be clearly dubious, you’ll see the usual suspect crowd of journalist/activist types dropping giant heaps of gleeful scorn. They’ll laugh at the absurdity of supposed “conspiracy theories” being proffered about the vote counts in Arizona or wherever else. They’ll mock those who can’t accept reality. And they’ll be right in certain instances that the claims will be preposterous. But what will be even more preposterous is the profoundly misplaced sense of smug superiority they won’t be able to help themselves from exuding, given everything they just put us through over the past 4+ years.

I know we’re all tired of the polling-industrial complex and rightly so, but let’s please remember that a December 2016 YouGov poll found half of all Clinton voters that year didn’t just believe that Russia “interfered” in the election to the advantage of Trump, but that they tampered with the ballot tallies and effectively hacked the voting machines. By 2018, a supermajority of Democratic voters expressed this belief. And the belief didn’t become widely-adopted as a result of standard looney-tunes off-the-reservation conspiracy-theorizing, which is typically understood to emanate from the fringes of society. Instead these crazy, evidence-free beliefs were deliberately engineered by the most Serious precincts of mainstream respectable opinion, particularly those allied with the Democratic Party and its think tank / media affiliates.

The phrase “hacked the election” entered wide circulation by December 2016, with the New York Times among others spouting it without compunction. If you’re not a particularly sophisticated news consumer, and you have a pro-Democratic predisposition, what exactly do you think you’d have tended to infer from the phrase “hacked the election”? Trump winning the election was unfathomable to many, and people were understandably searching for answers. They were provided with self-deluding fantasies by sources they’d come to regard as authoritative. The people who used the phrase over and over again, like chronic liar Adam Schiff, aren’t stupid. They knew it would engender doubt as to the legitimacy of the election; that was the entire purpose.

One particularly egregious example from November 2016 was when Gabriel Sherman, then of New York Magazine, totally mischaracterized the views of a group of “prominent computer scientists” by attributing to them the belief that they had “found persuasive evidence that results in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania may have been manipulated or hacked.” The group had then supposedly advised the Hillary campaign to request recounts on that basis. Sherman’s article caused a huge firestorm and clearly contributed to the patently false belief that Russia had tampered with the vote count. But it was bunk; the computer scientist in question renounced Sherman’s article. By then it was too late though, and the legitimacy of the 2016 election would never be accepted by huge swaths of the population — all thanks to the ineptitude/depravity/deceptions of the media class.

I’m going with depravity, for the most part. And note that Hillary eventually did concede — but then proceeded to spend the next four years calling Trump illegitimate as she and her allies spread unfounded claims of “Russian collusion” and produced an absurdly baseless impeachment vote.

Trump, on the other hand, is challenging things via litigation and entirely within the system. And yet he’s somehow the threat to our norms and institutions.

Related: Robert F. Kennedy claims 2004 election was stolen. “It’s a scandal and people should be prosecuted for it, there should be hearings, people should go to jail.” And for extra laughs,he says that exit polls are “an exact science” that could be used to overturn the election.

DEMOCRATIC PARTY ACTIVISTS WITH BYLINES LOOKING FORWARD TO THEIR UPCOMING FOUR YEAR NAP: An obituary for the press in the post-Trump era.

The New York Times in October published a collection of essays claiming the Trump presidency has “cost” the United States its “innocence,” its “generosity,” and its “apathy.”

However, what the collaboration does not mention are the things that the Biden administration will “cost” the country, including that it will bring an end to what Vanity Fair calls the “golden age for journalism.”

We say goodbye, then, to journalists elevating as worthy of public notice obvious liars and lunatics, including convicted felon Michael Avenatti, gossip columnist Michael Wolff, mental health quack Bandy Lee, and conspiracy theorist Louise Mensch — all because they oppose the administration.

Goodbye to weekly “bombshells” that land with a “splat!” instead of a “boom!”

Goodbye to near-daily input from presidential historians turned political assassins.

Goodbye to members of the press acting as if the cover artwork of the latest edition of a prestige news magazine is in some way provocativestunning, or even particularly interesting.

Goodbye to White House correspondents pretending as if they are reporting from an active war zone or claiming they feel safer covering authoritarian regimes.

Goodbye to the Holocaust being invoked against the administration on a near-daily basis.

Read the whole thing. Exit quote: “Goodbye, all. It has been a crazy four years. See you all back here the next time a Republican is president.”

Credit to the Trump administration for finally treating “reporters” like the Democratic Party activists with bylines the rest of us knew they were, and for providing a template for future Republican administrations in dealing with a massively hostile “press:” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany Starches the Media On the Issue of “Peaceful Transition of Power.” Exit quote: “I don’t call on activists.”

BYRON YORK: How do Republicans see Trump refusal to concede? “On the House side, the representative described a situation in which a significant number of House GOP lawmakers — he said he had talked to between 30 and 40 — believe that some sort of voter fraud occurred. They look at Republicans coming remarkably close to winning the House in an election in which they were predicted to lose seats. They look at a House race like the 23rd District in Texas, which Democrats targeted after the retirement of Republican Rep. Will Hurd. It was often cited as a big potential pickup for Democrats, but the GOP candidate, Tony Gonzales, won. So they ask how Republicans could outperform expectations and Trump lose. And they strongly believe that activists in the Democratic Party and on the left did something to manipulate, to hack the results in key states.”

Plus: “Trump also has support on the transition question. The senator discounted reports of the Biden team not receiving intelligence briefings. It’s not a big deal, he said. Nor is any other lack of cooperation in the transition so far. Look at the last transition, he said, the transition from Obama to Trump. There was a pretense of a smooth transition, but at the same time the outgoing Obama team sicced U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies on the incoming Trump administration. They tried to sabotage the new president even as they pretended to conduct a gracious transition. So now, the senator said, using a common vulgar expression, the Democrats can stick their desire for a gracious transition in a place where the sun don’t shine.”

ONE HAND WASHES THE OTHER: Joe Biden, Black Lives Matter activists helped you win Wisconsin. Don’t forget us. “These demands are not coming from Kenosha alone, but from all across the country, where the Black Lives Matter movement – the largest social uprising in our nation’s history – has inspired a new generation of voters and activists. So while racial justice leaders may have helped Biden take back the White House, come January 2021, we’ll be reminding him exactly who got him there.”

“By whatever means necessary,” one presumes.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): A friend texts: “Not to pick nits but the Tea Party actually got a swath of congressmen elected. BLM appears to have had the opposite effect.”

SALENA ZITO: The Election Day Michigan Massacre That Never Came To Be.

The 30-plus square miles sprinkled with endless pristine lakes, well-kept homes, and tidy streets that make up West Bloomfield Township can only be described as the perfect illustration of what an Oakland County suburb looks like. A few years ago, it was one of the most reliable suburbs for Republican candidates in the state, and a few weeks ago, races up and down the ballot in this county were supposed to be a bloodbath for the Michigan Republican Party. State Rep. Ryan Berman, the Republican incumbent who represents this area, was supposed to be a dead man walking. His expected loss was going to help flip the Republican state House majority here blue for the first time since the 2008 elections.

Except, the bloodbath never happened.

Democrats thought they were going to get all of this township to win the state House seats. Instead, the voters split their decision. . . .

Berman beat back Democratic challenger Julia Pulver, a nurse, by getting 51.9% to her 46.5%. If you paid attention to the race, it was easy to see who had the better message for these suburban achievers: She ran on a public option healthcare platform, and her win could have helped give Democrats more control in Lansing, the state capitol. Berman ran on the economy, law and order, auto insurance reform, and education. His message was not overtly partisan and reflected his district’s values.

Going into Election Day, Democrats were confident they were on the road to flip four suburban state House seats held by Republicans en route to flipping the GOP’s 58-52 majority. But as of this Tuesday afternoon, with two races still too close to call, Michigan Republicans have already secured 57 seats.

That’s the story all over. So much for the Blue Wave.

Plus: “Whitmer and state Democrats have to wonder if this is a step backward for their party and their push for control. The results seem to be a message from voters on how Michigan Democrats have managed the pandemic and their heavy emphasis on national politics and power rather than local politics and governing.”

CHRIS RUFO: Riots and Looting: How the Democratic Party and its allies used the threat of violence as a campaign tactic.

The rest of us shouldn’t move on so easily. Riot preparations are unprecedented in modern American electoral history. The media have quickly moved to establish a new narrative—the “return to normalcy” under a presumptive Biden presidency—and would prefer to relegate the much-discussed pre-election tensions to the memory hole.

The threat of election violence should be understood in the context of the months-long rioting that began with the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Despite a handful of incidents involving right-wing agitators, most urban unrest has been driven by the activist Left, loosely organized under the banners of Antifa and Black Lives Matter. This reality has been exhaustively documented in newspaper reporting, activist livestreams, and police-blotter mugshots.

While the national media can afford to peddle a largely imaginary narrative about “white supremacist violence,” business owners in New York, Minneapolis, and Portland have no illusions about where the real threats come from: they’ve spent the past five months defending themselves against vandalism, looting, and robbery from black-bloc rioters and criminal opportunists. Across the country, many downtown stores put up signs declaring their allegiance to Black Lives Matter, implicitly saying: “we’re on your team, please don’t burn us down.”

In political terms, the activist Left’s campaign of violent protest provided a convenient foil for the Biden campaign. Biden adopted the high-minded language of racial justice, promising to combat “systemic racism,” while benefiting from the implicit threat of violence from far-left shock troops on the ground. It’s the same logic of extortion that any thug would use—vote for us and things will return to normal; vote for Trump and your cities will burn.

Yes, and they were pretty open about it.

ROGER SIMON: Libertarian Ideas Are Great, Voting Libertarian Self-Defeating.

As of this writing, the votes separating Donald Trump and Joe Biden in the swing states of Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin are less than the numbers gained by Libertarian Party candidate Jo Jorgensen who garnered close to 1.7 percent of the popular vote.

As Joel Pollak wrote on breitbart.com, “If Jorgensen’s votes went to Trump, instead of allowing Biden to win these states, the president would win re-election, with 289 Electoral College votes.”

Whether this is absolutely true is, of course, unknowable, but given the current leftward-lurching Democratic Party that seems about as libertarian as Chairman Mao, if push came to the proverbial shove, the majority of Ms. Jorgensen’s voters likely would have gone to Trump.

She seems like a decent person but Jorgensen—interviewed here by Jan Jekielek for his compelling American Thought Leaders series—is a textbook example of what I termed a “moral narcissist” in my 2016 book “I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already. “

What the moral narcissist claims she believes (in this case Jorgensen, but there are many similar self-described liberals and progressives as well)—not the actual results of those beliefs—is what defines her as a person and makes her good.

Joel Pollak made those results in Jorgensen’s case painfully clear in the link above, but they are arguably even worse in the long run.

The more libertarian ideas are debated within the Republican Party, the more that party’s candidates will have to respond to them and, potentially, espouse them. They will have real world implications.

When you waste them on something as inconsequential as a fringe and almost entirely ignored Libertarian Party candidacy, particularly in something so hotly contested as a presidential election, you vitiate them and are ultimately self-defeating, not to mention, as we have seen, sabotaging the only viable candidate who best carries your ideas.

Trump is far from a pure, or even relatively pure, libertarian, but compared to Joe Biden—especially given what surrounds him from Bernie Sanders to Kamala Harris to AOC—he’s a veritable Ron Raul.

Moreover, the “deplorables” who are, oddly, more libertarian than Trump on the street level—they wish more than anything to be left alone by government—could push or could have pushed Trump more in their direction during a second term, especially after the pandemic.

Exit question from Roger: “Which leads to the ultimately more important question of the efficacy of ideological purity. Is it self-defeating in and of itself?”

DISPATCHES FROM THE “IT’S DIFFERENT WHEN WE DO IT” PARTY: DC Mayor Defends Trip To ‘High-Risk’ Delaware For Biden Victory Speech.

The photo sparked a flurry of critical responses, with people alleging that Bowser was flouting her own coronavirus travel orders by failing to quarantine for 14 days upon her return to D.C. She held a press conference Monday with DC Health director LaQuandra Nesbitt and D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson.

In a statement Tuesday, a spokesperson for Bowser says the mayor’s trip to Wilmington for Biden’s speech was “essential travel.” “She went on Saturday evening and returned the same evening,” the spokesperson adds, noting that Bowser met with “a few people” on Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ team.

D.C.’s newest travel advisory went into effect Monday. Under it, residents who return from states designated high-risk no longer have to strictly quarantine for 14 days, but do have to monitor their health and limit their activities for that length of time—or until they receive a negative COVID-19 test result.

As Jim Treacher asked yesterday, Are We in a Pandemic or Not? “The virus is deadly when it fits the narrative of Jake Tapper and his comrades, and it’s not deadly when they don’t need it to be. It all depends on the observer. It’s Schrodinger’s Cough. Sorry, but I will not be scolded about COVID by people who were just passing around champagne bottles in the street because they finally got their cookie after throwing a fit for four years. Congratulations, you won. I hope you enjoyed your Biden party, and I hope it doesn’t literally kill you.”

SALENA ZITO: Voters stood up to the culture and declared their center-right values.

Had you spent any space of time in this northern suburb of Pittsburgh listening to voters, finding out what things mattered to them when it came to schools, community growth, economic prosperity, and the emotional impact of COVID-19 lockdowns, you would have at least been skeptical of the media narrative and the polls that claimed suburban voters here are no longer center-right.

Not Republican per se, just center-right.

Most reporters certainly didn’t take the time to do so. Instead, they relied on the scolding of our cultural curators in sports, media, and Hollywood as an indicator of how these college-educated, affluent voters would vote. Surely, they thought, these suburbs would cave under the cultural pressure, push left, and their votes would send a blue shock wave across the country.

These reporters put their faith in what they saw in polls or on Twitter, and they predicted the vilification of center-rightism would drag the country leftward — except the people who voted here, and in down-ballot races across the country, vigorously rejected that pressure.

Democrats are figuring this out, which is why AOC is suddenly on the defensive within her own party.

WAIT, I THOUGHT WE ALREADY DID THAT BY ELECTING OBAMA*. Biden: By Electing Me, Americans ‘Bent the Arc of the Moral Universe More Toward Justice.’

While Biden aimed for soaring rhetoric with his “arc of the moral universe” line, he actually undercut the message of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous words.

In his sermon at the Temple Israel of Hollywood in 1965, King warned against indifference and violence, and he declared his firm belief that “right here in America we will reach the promised land of brotherhood.” He expressed his faith that the civil rights movement would prevail against segregation because “somehow the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.”

Many left-leaning activists have twisted this language, claiming that it is up to human beings to “bend the arc of the moral universe toward justice.” Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) has repeatedly used this line. Yet the whole point of King’s statement is that God is ultimately in control, and it is not the job of human beings to “bend the arc of the moral universe.”

Biden exuded reverence in his speech, but his line about the arc of the moral universe actually undercuts God’s authority. If human beings can bend that arc, then King’s faith in the ultimate victory of the civil rights movement was misplaced.

Even in this speech, Biden could not avoid gaffes. In referencing the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic, he said, “230 million — thousand Americans” had died, as if he caught himself in mid-sentence. Biden and his running-mate, Kamala Harris, have repeatedly inflated the death toll using “million” instead of “thousand.”

Finally, while many media outlets have declared Biden the winner, and while he leads in the vote counts in most of the swing states, the results of the election are still premature.

As the New York Sun notes, “Bum’s Rush for Trump Is Biden’s First Mistake:”

The better way for Mr. Biden to have handled this situation, however awkward, would have been to thank the networks for their support and for calling the election for him — but then to remind them, and the American people, that the result has yet to be certified. And to say that out of respect for both the president and the presidency, he’d prefer to wait until the electoral college and the courts have disposed of any challenges.

That would have been the sort of unifying gesture that we would have expected from a man confident of his victory. And of a leader genuinely committed, as Mr. Biden claims he is, to healing the country. It’s an enormous thing that Mr. Biden has won the largest popular vote in history. Why try, then, to preempt the electoral due process for, in President Trump, the winner of the second largest popular vote in our history?

In the country that Mr. Biden insists he wants to unify, after all, Mr. Trump’s voters represent nearly half the population. It was Secretary Clinton’s politically fatal blunder to have failed to recognize that if one maligns an adversary one maligns his followers. That’s as true in respect of Mr. Trump as, say, George Washington. A failure to grasp the point cost Mrs. Clinton the presidency.

Then again, too, Mr. Biden and Senator Harris have their own party to unify. That may require the same moves as any outreach they plan to Mr. Trump’s followers. It’s also unlikely to be any walk in the park. The Democrats have had their margin cut in the House, and they are — for good reason — taking it out on Speaker Pelosi, a fact made clear by an astonishingly bitter leaked phone call among the Democratic caucus.

CNN are the proverbial “progressives in a hurry” – in this case, to throw Biden under the bus: CNN’s Anderson Cooper and David Axelrod Speculate About Biden Possibly Serving Just One Term: Kamala is 2024 ‘Presumed Frontrunner.’

* Obama Loves Martin Luther King’s Great Quote—But He Uses It Incorrectly.

MICHAEL WALSH: Democrats and Media Collude to Steal Presidential Election.

The president’s legal team is already filing suits and exploring other legal avenues. If this actually turns out to be a way to finally convince the public of the fundamental dishonesty of Tammany-style elections, great. But the optics are terrible: “see!” the Democrats exclaim, “we told you he wouldn’t go quietly!”

Chief Justice John Roberts didn’t do his country any favors by blocking the Supreme Court from considering the legality of Pennsylvania’s arbitrary extension of the election period when his vote deadlocked the court in October. Maybe now, sometime after the next inauguration, they’ll rule on the illegality of it, with Amy Coney Barrett finally being allowed to have a say, but by then it will be too late.

Ah, but the “integrity” of the Court will have been upheld.

Also, where is Attorney General Bill Barr, the do-nothing AG who is starting to make the hapless Jeff Sessions look good? Granted, under our constitution, the states are tasked with running their own separate elections for national office.

But Barr’s flaccid leadership at Justice has been a disgrace, as has been U.S. attorney John Durham’s supposed investigation into the origins of the “Russian collusion” hoax. Where are the results? The American people had a right to know if any crimes were committed by the Deep State munchkins four years ago—but no. In the interests of “getting convictions,” Durham couldn’t bring himself either to bring indictments or dismiss speculation before the election, when it might have made a difference.

Trump should fire them both, today. If this is indeed the last three months of his administration, immediate wholesale dismissals of political appointees should be the order of the day: Christopher Wray at the FBI, who would rather investigate phantom nooses in NASCAR garages than clean his own house; Gina Haspel at the CIA, Deep State Central and an agency badly in need from top-down reformation if not actual elimination.

This, after all, was the issue upon which the president was elected. There’s still plenty of time for him to make good on that pledge. Up and down the federal government, meaningful changes can still be wrought, and a newly liberated Trump could and should finally act on his desires to drain as much of the Swamp as he can before ceding power.

Media Power

Whatever happens, one change must be wrought: the power of the media to declare outcomes must be broken. Who died and made the Associated Press and the cable networks the arbiters of the election? Who gave them the power to “call” the states for one candidate or another? There’s nothing either legal or constitutional about this.

With reporters having abandoned all pretense of fairness in covering this president, why should anyone believe a thing they say? For four years we’ve read in the New York Times—the Pravda of today—that the president “falsely,” “baselessly,” or “without evidence” made a statement with which they disagree. If the Times and other publications have unilaterally abandoned their promises of fairness and objectivity (and they have), why can’t we reciprocate?

With the first amendment already abrogated—something the journalists have cheered as long as it doesn’t apply to them—perhaps it’s time to rethink the whole “freedom of the press” thing along with freedom of speech, et al. Holding the media responsible for libel by reversing the Sullivan decision—something Justice Clarence Thomas has signaled he’d be open to—would be a good start.

In short, make the media suffer for what they’ve put the country through. Now that would be “change” the country could believe in.

Just think of the media as Democratic Party operatives with bylines to understand that they’ll never learn a thing from their election coverage: Trump’s still president but The Atlantic’s already ‘laying the groundwork for ‘Worse Than Trump.’

KRUISER’S MORNING BRIEF: RIP America—The Mail-In Voter Fraud Fix Is In. “Progressives are all about tearing down institutions in the United States, and introducing the potential for fraud into presidential elections is the cornerstone of their plan to render asunder the fabric of the Republic. When every election can be called into question and thrown to the courts, a power-hungry party doesn’t have to develop a sound strategy or run a viable candidate to win.”

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS:

Shot:

Chaser:

If Sarah Palin, whose website put and today scrubbed bullseye targets on 20 Representatives including Gabby Giffords, does not repudiate her own part in amplifying violence and violent imagery in politics, she must be dismissed from politics – she must be repudiated by the members of her own party, and if they fail to do so, each one of them must be judged to have silently defended this tactic that today proved so awfully foretelling, and they must in turn be dismissed by the responsible members of their own party…

If the Tea Party leaders who took out of context a Jefferson quote about blood and tyranny and the tree of liberty do not understand – do not understand tonight, now what that really means, and these leaders do not tell their followers to abhor violence and all threat of violence, then those Tea Party leaders must be repudiated by the Republican Party…

If Glenn Beck, who obsesses nearly as strangely as Mr. Loughner did about gold and debt and who wistfully joked about killing Michael Moore, and Bill O’Reilly, who blithely repeated “Tiller the Killer” until the phrase was burned into the minds of his viewers, do not begin their next broadcasts with solemn apologies for ever turning to the death-fantasies and the dreams of bloodlust, for ever having provided just the oxygen to those deep in madness to whom violence is an acceptable solution, then those commentators and the others must be repudiated by their viewers, and by all politicians, and by sponsors, and by the networks that employ them.

* * * * * * * *

Here, once, in a clumsy metaphor, I made such an unintended statement about the candidacy of then-Senator Clinton. It sounded as if it was a call to physical violence. It was wrong, then. It is even more wrong tonight. I apologize for it again.

Olbermann Connects Giffords Shooting To Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck And Apologizes For His Own Remarks, Business Insider, January 9, 2011.

 

CHARLES LIPSON: Recent news about Hunter Biden’s emails puts our country’s institutions in a harsh spotlight.

Since the New York Post story broke last Wednesday, the Biden campaign has been curiously silent. Reporters expected swift denials that the computer was Hunter’s and that the emails were his. Crickets. Crickets, too, about the Cooney emails.

Instead, the Biden campaign has maintained strict radio silence, like Allied ships traversing the North Atlantic during World War II. Loose lips might sink Biden’s ship of state. So far, the former vice president’s only public comment has been to snarl at a CBS reporter who dared raise the question. It was all a “smear,” Biden said. Other reporters didn’t even bother to ask or questioned the story’s sources and moved on. George Stephanopoulos of ABC News conducted a 90-minute town hall with Biden after the Post story broke and never raised the issue. Nor did Biden himself raise it so he could swat it down as false. The mainstream media has buried the story, as have the country’s two social media giants. Twitter initially blocked links to the New York Post story before eventually changing tack and allowing it to be shared. The company has still blocked the Post’s Twitter account until it withdraws the links to the story, which it has so far refused to do. Meanwhile, Facebook publicly flagged the Post story for review, which normally reduces readership by 80%. Attempts to smother a major political news story like this, published in a major newspaper, are unprecedented.

One major Biden ally has come forward to defend his party’s candidate. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who chairs the House Select Committee on Intelligence, says flatly that the Delaware emails are a Russian disinformation campaign. Other Democrats have backed him up. Prominent mainstream news outlets haven’t gone that far, although they have dropped hints to support Biden and Schiff, saying the “FBI is investigating” whether the emails are Russian disinformation. The implication is, “It’s questionable.”

Is there any basis for these claims of fraud and disinformation? None, so far.

Biden the Elder has called a lid until Thursday night’s debate, which is a long naptime even for him.

SO USA TODAY DIDN’T WANT TO RUN MY HUNTER BIDEN COLUMN THIS WEEK. My regular editor is on vacation, and I guess everyone else was afraid to touch it. So I’m sending them another column next week, and just publishing this one here. Enjoy! This is as filed, with no editing from USAT.

_____

BIG TECH BURNED BY BIDEN BLUNDER

Glenn Harlan Reynolds

In my 2019 book, The Social Media Upheaval, I warned that the Big Tech companies — especially social media giants like Facebook and Twitter — had grown into powerful monopolists, who were using their power over the national conversation to not only sell ads, but also to promote a political agenda. That was pretty obvious last year, but it was even more obvious last week, when Facebook and Twitter tried to black out the New York Post’s blockbuster report about emails found on a laptop abandoned by Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son Hunter.

The emails, some of which have been confirmed as genuine with their recipients, show substantial evidence that Hunter Biden used his position as Vice President Joe Biden’s son to extract substantial payments from “clients” in other countries. There are also photos of Hunter with a crack pipe, and engaging in various other unsavory activities. And they demolished the elder Biden’s claim that he never discussed business with his son.

That’s a big election-year news story. Some people doubted its genuineness, and of course it’s always fair to question a big election-year news story, especially one that comes out shortly before the election. (Remember CBS newsman Dan Rather’s promotion of what turned out to be forged memos about George W. Bush’s Air National Guard service?)

But the way you debate whether a story is accurate or not is by debating. (In the case of the Rather memos, it turned out the font was from Microsoft Word, which of course didn’t exist back during the Vietnam War era.) Big Tech could have tried an approach that fostered such a debate. But instead of debate, they went for a blackout: Both services actually blocked links to the New York Post story. That’s right: They blocked readers from discussing a major news story by a major paper, one so old that it was founded by none other than Alexander Hamilton.

I wasn’t advising them — they tend not to ask me for my opinion — but I would have advised against such a blackout. There’s a longstanding Internet term called “the Streisand effect,” going back to when Barbara Streisand demanded that people stop sharing pictures of her beach house. Unsurprisingly, the result was a massive increase in the number of people posting pictures of her beach house. The Big Tech Blackout produced the same result: Now even people who didn’t care so much about Hunter Biden’s racket nonetheless became angry, and started talking about the story.

As lefty journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote in The Intercept, Twitter and Facebook crossed a line far more dangerous than what they censored. Greenwald writes: “Just two hours after the story was online, Facebook intervened. The company dispatched a life-long Democratic Party operative who now works for Facebook — Andy Stone, previously a communications operative for Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, among other D.C. Democratic jobs — to announce that Facebook was ‘reducing [the article’s] distribution on our platform’: in other words, tinkering with its own algorithms to suppress the ability of users to discuss or share the news article. The long-time Democratic Party official did not try to hide his contempt for the article, beginning his censorship announcement by snidely noting: ‘I will intentionally not link to the New York Post.’”

“Twitter’s suppression efforts went far beyond Facebook’s. They banned entirely all users’ ability to share the Post article — not just on their public timeline but even using the platform’s private Direct Messaging feature.”

“Early in the day, users who attempted to link to the New York Post story either publicly or privately received a cryptic message rejecting the attempt as an ‘error.’ Later in the afternoon, Twitter changed the message, advising users that they could not post that link because the company judged its contents to be ‘potentially harmful.’ Even more astonishing still, Twitter locked the account of the New York Post, banning the paper from posting any content all day and, evidently, into Thursday morning.”

This went badly. The heads Facebook and of Twitter, Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey, are now facing Senate subpoenas, the RNC has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, arguing that Twitter’s action in blacking out a damaging story constituted an illegal in-kind donation to the Biden Campaign, and most significantly, everyone is talking about the story now, with many understandably assuming that if the story were false, it would have been debunked rather than blacked out.

CNN’s Jake Tapper tweeted: ”Congrats to Twitter on its Streisand Effect award!!!” Big Tech shot itself in the foot, and it didn’t stop the signal.

Regardless of who wins in November, it’s likely that there will be substantial efforts to rein in Big Tech. As Greenwald writes, “State censorship is not the only kind of censorship. Private-sector repression of speech and thought, particularly in the internet era, can be as dangerous and consequential. Imagine, for instance, if these two Silicon Valley giants united with Google to declare: henceforth we will ban all content that is critical of President Trump and/or the Republican Party, but will actively promote criticisms of Joe Biden and the Democrats.

“Would anyone encounter difficulty understanding why such a decree would constitute dangerous corporate censorship? Would Democrats respond to such a policy by simply shrugging it off on the radical libertarian ground that private corporations have the right to do whatever they want? To ask that question is to answer it.”

“To begin with, Twitter and particularly Facebook are no ordinary companies. Facebook, as the owner not just of its massive social media platform but also other key communication services it has gobbled up such as Instagram and WhatsApp, is one of the most powerful companies ever to exist, if not the most powerful.”

He’s right. And while this heavyhanded censorship effort failed, there’s no reason to assume that other such efforts won’t work in the future. Not many stories are as hard to squash as a major newspaper’s front page expose during an presidential election.

As I wrote in The Social Media Upheaval, the best solution is probably to apply antitrust law to break up these monopolies: Competing companies would police each other, and if they colluded could be prosecuted under antitrust law. There are also moves to strip them of their immunity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects them from being sued for things posted or linked on their sites on the theory that they are platforms, not publishers who make publication decisions. And Justice Clarence Thomas has recently called for the Supreme Court to revisit the lower courts’ interpretation of Section 230, which he argues has been overbroad. A decade ago there would have been much more resistance to such proposals, but Big Tech has tarnished its own image since then.

Had Facebook and Twitter approached this story neutrally, as they would have a decade ago, it would probably already be old news to a degree — as Greenwald notes, Hunter’s pay-for-play efforts were already well known, if not in such detail — but instead the story is still hot. More importantly, their heavy handed action has brought home just how much power they wield, and how crudely they’re willing to wield it. They shouldn’t be surprised at the consequences.

(Bumped).

UPDATE: Can’t stop the signal: It’s front-paged at PJM.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Two months later, safely past the election, NBC is running stories based on Hunter’s laptop. The embargo is over, and it’s no longer “Russian disinformation.” Get this: “The email was made available by Rudy Giuliani’s attorney Robert Costello. Costello has said he was given a copy of one of Hunter Biden’s hard drives from the owner of a computer repair shop in Delaware.”

COLIN KAEPERNICK, ESSAYIST: The Athlete Pens a Series on the Superior Safety of No Prisons or Police.

It’s all about hope and change:

“Despite the steady cascade of anti-Black violence across this country, I am hopeful we can build a future that imagines justice differently. A future without the terror of policing and prisons. … The more that I have learned about the history and evolution of policing in the United States, the more I understand its roots in white supremacy and anti-Blackness. Black Panther Party co-founder Huey P. Newton once said, ‘The police are in our community not to promote our welfare or for our security or our safety, but they are there to contain us, to brutalize us, and murder us.’ … Will you continue to be actively complicit in the perpetuation of these systems, or will you take action to dismantle them for the benefit of a just future? … Another world is possible, a world grounded in love, justice, and accountability, a world grounded in safety and good health, a world grounded in meeting the needs of the people.”

What if a “need of the people” is for murderers to be stopped?

Also, after Newton returned from a visit to Communist China, the Black Panthers developed a serious crush on Communist North Korea:

The article was testament to an unexpected alliance. On one side was the California-based revolutionary socialist movement, declared by FBI director J Edgar Hoover “the greatest threat to the internal security of the country”.

On the other was “hermit kingdom” North Korea, with its ideological tenet of ‘juche’ or self-reliance; a country which then seemed something of a “Stalinist Switzerland”, recalls former Black Panther Kathleen Cleaver, now a law professor at Yale.

The ties between the two are more than a historical curiosity, says Benjamin Young, a contributor to NK News whose Masters research at the State University of New York: the college at Brockport, uncovered surprising details of the relationship.

It is a reminder that North Korea was not always “an economic basket case”, as declared by the Obama administration. At the time it appeared to be an east Asian success story, outperforming the South. The alliance also demonstrates the North’s long term interest in cultivating high profile international visitors and the Panthers’ search for support around the world.

“North Korea at this point was really on a global publicity campaign, even putting adverts in the New York Times and Washington Post promoting juche and peaceful reunification,” says Young.

Passing the juche on the left-hand side requires far more policing than the US has.

ROGER SIMON: China and Iran Want You to Vote for Biden.

It’s no secret the totalitarian governments of China and Iran favor Joe Bidenin the presidential election.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) would like nothing more than to go back to the status quo ante, the pre-Trump world when American politicians convinced themselves (or pretended to) China would turn democratic if we gave them favorable trade terms and shut up about their monstrous repressive policies, including the hundreds of thousands—or is it millions—languishing in “reeducation” camps while the rest of their population becomes subject to the pervasive Orwellian surveillance of the “social credit“ system.

Then there’s the little matter of the as yet still mysterious provenance of the novel coronavirus, appropriately called the CCP virus hereabouts, that has wreaked such havoc across the globe. When we will know the truth about what really happened in the Wuhan virology lab?  Would a Biden administration even want to know?

And, yes, as most of us realize, there’s considerably more, but it was all okay in the view of Democrats like Biden and Sen. Dianne Feinstein—she of the Chinese chauffeur who, mirabile dictu, was suddenly exposed as a spy after twenty years of service to her—as long as there was money to be made.

And there was, a lot, as Hunter Biden, not to mention Feinstein’s husband and Michael Bloomberg, can attest.

Hunter’s father had to revise his initial praise of China, pooh-poohing the idea they might be an enemy, when things started to get a little obvious and handlers whispered in his ear this was not exactly the road to the White House.

So it’s hard to feel reassured about how Joe would behave toward the communist regime once in office. There’s a great deal more reason, actual evidence of deals, to believe the Chinese have “special leverage” with Biden than there ever was that the Russians had something on Trump.

And politicians like Biden and Feinstein are far from alone in their fealty to Beijing. They have plenty of support among American progressives. As is well known, many of our universities, from Harvard on down, have been bribed with huge sums by the CCP to regard them favorably, even have had spies on the faculty, with Confucius Institutes, essentially communist propaganda arms, installed on many campuses.

Would a President Biden fight this network of corruption that actually justifies and teaches totalitarianism to our youth?  Does he even think or know about it?

We know Trump would because he already has. He does it.

Related: Biden stands up for China:

 

ANTIFA WILL EXPLOIT YELP’S NEW “RACISM” WARNING:

However, should Yelp flag itself about its own racism? Newsweek notes Republicans are pouncing! Yelp Racist Behavior Alert Decried by Conservatives over Fears It Will Destroy Businesses:

Director Robby Starbuck added: “So Yelp if we accuse you of racism will you mark your own site as being accused of racism?

“This idiotic policy will be weaponized. It’ll destroy families and their businesses which will hurt their kids. Will Yelp get a ‘you’ve been accused of hurting kids’ badge?”

Other social media users pointed out that Yelp’s office in Phoenix was the subject of racism allegations last month.

The link in the above Newsweek article goes to a September 19th USA Today article that now redirects to the regularly updated USA Today latest news page. However, it’s still in the Google cache for now, and is headlined, “At Yelp’s Phoenix office, some insiders say a ‘boy’s club’ atmosphere fueled racism, sexism, and a hard-partying culture — on top of regular verbal abuse from customers:”

One of Yelp’s Black employees says she was getting tired of the racist abuse hurled at her while working.

As a member of the company’s inbound sales team, she was responsible for handling angry businesses that were listed on the online directory service, trying to sell them advertising even as they called in to complain.

“I was getting called the n-word every day defending the algorithm,” she recalled, along with sexist and homophobic slurs. When she let her manager know, she was given sympathy, but little in the way of material support. The manager told her “don’t let your last call affect your next call” — and sent her a BuzzFeed article of puppies dressed up in costumes.

Such verbal abuse from aggrieved customers was commonplace for the employees in Yelp’s Phoenix, Arizona office who dealt with them, as was Yelp’s failure to offer affected employees meaningful assistance, some employees say.

But, according to some current and former employees from Yelp’s sales team, most based in Phoenix, it wasn’t the only problematic conduct that many employees had to face.

Business Insider spoke to nine current or former employees of Yelp, who described a workplace that at times featured racist comments, inappropriate conduct, bacchanalian parties, a clique-y atmosphere, failures of trust in management, and drug use in the office. (Sources were granted anonymity as they weren’t authorized to discuss their experiences.)

Yelp’s Phoenix office housed much of the local sales team, which is the largest team but also tends to be younger and less experienced — and away from senior management in San Francisco. One source from another of Yelp’s sales teams said they felt much of the problematic conduct would not be accepted elsewhere in the company.

Obviously, there’s only one way for Yelp to atone — flag itself as racist under its new system:

The Blaze rounds up additional reaction from conservatives:

“Didn’t think this one through, did you? You are going to be buried under lawsuits you’ll never recover from, rightfully so,” said Amber Smith, former deputy assistant to the Secretary of Defense.

Harmeet K. Dhillon, lawyer and founder of the Center For American Liberty, said Yelp is “weaponizing defamation,” adding, “More work for me, more litigation for you.”

As Robert Conquest’s Third Law of Politics states, “The simplest way to explain the behavior of any bureaucratic organization is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies.”

MICHAEL WALSH: Having Experienced the CCP Virus, Trump Can Help Free Us by Teaching About Limits.

Everybody knows the story of King Canute, the 11th-century Viking king of England, who raised his hand to stop the roll of the tide—and yet the tide rolled in anyway. The almost certainly apocryphal story has come down to us as an illustration of hubris: even the proud monarch could not command the elements.

But that’s wrong. The real moral of the story is that the king commanded the tides to stop in order to show his courtiers that there are limits to man’s temporal authority, and that not even a monarch can command God or nature.

That’s the lesson President Trump—not to mention a swath of senior Republicans as well as the nation itself—should be taking away from Trump’s brush with the CCP virus (often known as the novel coronavirus) over the weekend. And indeed, it seems that the president has: “Don’t let it dominate your life. This is America, this is the United States. . . . we have to confront problems.”

Leaving aside the amazing coincidence of why, in the immediate aftermath of Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court and last week’s debate, so much of the GOP brain trust suddenly came down with the Chinese Communist Party virus—and thus far not a single Democrat—the president’s seemingly quick recovery from Covid-19 was just the reality check an increasingly buffaloed and fearful America needed.

The Democrats, it seems, have gone all in on the novel coronavirus, the better to permanently destroy the economic gains of the administration and, worse, insisting against much medical evidence, that the American people should be muzzled as a sign of their subordination to government at all levels. Indeed, after dodging the issue repeatedly, Joe Biden has issued a call for mandatory mask-wearing even outdoors, for “the next three months minimum.”

But there’s no meaningful evidence that wearing masks—even along with constant hand-washing and “social distancing”—does much of anything to “defeat” a virus. Nor do destructive lockdowns that crush both spirit and body, devastate businesses, destroy livelihoods, and—in their arbitrariness and capriciousness—dishearten and discourage the maintenance and formation of new businesses.

Worst of all has been the damage done to our constitution, which explicitly protects freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and the free exercise of religion. There is no constitutional exception for “pandemics”—and the Founding Fathers, as men of the 18th century, were certainly experienced with infectious diseases, among them cholera, tuberculosis, and yellow fever. In fact, a yellow fever swept through Philadelphia—then the nation’s capital—in 1793, just two years after the ratification of the Constitution.

And yet, here is the thuggish governor of New York State, Andrew Cuomo, this week threatening his state’s large Orthodox Jewish communities: “I will have to tell them ‘if you are not willing to live with these rules, I will have to close the synagogues’.”

And to add to the Soviet feel of Cuomo’s diktat: Cuomo used 14-year-old photo to show mass Orthodox gatherings during pandemic.

A REAL HUMAN RIGHTS HERO, RIP YURI ORLOV: Natan Sharansky: With Yuri Orlov’s bold vision, we lit a fire under the Soviet regime. While Orlov was being sent to a prison camp in Siberia, woke-hero-de jure Angela Davis was acting a shill for the USSR as a prominent member of the Soviet-controlled U.S. Communist Party. It’s worth recounting this anecdote from Alan Dershowitz’ book, Chutzpah. In the late 1979, when Jews in the USSR were being locked up for asserting their right to live Jewish lives, teach and learn Hebrew, and emigrate to Israel, Alan Dershowitz appealed to Davis, with her very close relationship with the USSR to intercede on their behalf. “Several days later, I [Dershowitz] received a call back from Ms. Davis’ secretary informing me that Davis had looked into the people on my list and none were political prisoners. ‘They are all Zionist fascists and opponents of socialism.’ Davis would urge that they be kept in prison where they belonged.” Yet somehow Ibram Kendi makes her the primary “anti-racist” hero of his book Stamped.

FILL THE SEAT:

The constitutional process unfolding as designed by the Framers is not a crisis — no amount of tweets or New York Times opinion pieces can make it so. Nor can the celebrities making threats to take to the streets while never leaving their palaces; nor can antifa activists burning down businesses. Lululemon cosplayers will once more attempt to barnstorm elevators, just as they have done for the past four months in cities across the country. If you’re the political side threatening violence if you don’t get what you want politically, perhaps you should revisit your assertion that Mitch McConnell or the Republican party are the power-hungry fascists. If the ne’er-do-well Twitter punditocracy are looking for a scapegoat, might I suggest directing your ire toward former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, without whom we would not even be entertaining this ‘crisis’.

The system is working as designed. Though it may have been Ginsburg’s final wish to not fill her seat until after the election, it’s not her call, with all due respect. Instead it falls to the people who voted for a Republican majority and a Republican president in 2016. The people threatening violence are the people without the constitution or guns on their side.

Related: There it is! GQ writer predicts new and improved riots if Mitch McConnell holds SCOTUS vote before the election.

UPDATE: Chuck Schumer basically just promised that Dems will increase the number of Supreme Court justices if the GOP moves to fill RBG’s seat.

MORE:

VDH: The News as We Once Knew It Is Dead.

An embargoed and bankrupt Iran is teetering on the brink. Its international terrorist appendages, including Hezbollah, are broke.

China is increasingly being ostracized by much of the world.

The U.S. has cut its carbon emissions, often at a rate superior to those nations still adhering to the Paris climate accord targets.

Cross-border illegal immigration has been reduced, according to many metrics.

ISIS was bombed into near dissolution. Moderate regimes in the Middle East are ascendant; radical cliques like Hamas and al-Qaeda are not.

More NATO members are meeting their commitments. The alliance’s aggregate defense investments are way up.

Is any of that considered news? Not really.

Instead, every three or four days the public is fed a series of fantasy “bombshells” much like the daily hysterias of the Robert Mueller investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump team and Russia — a two-year, media-hyped dud.

In recent weeks the media warned us that Trump was dismantling the Post Office to disrupt mail-in balloting.

Trump, we are told, has decided never to concede his sure loss in November and might have to be forcibly removed, perhaps by the military.

We read that Trump defiled the memory of fallen American soldiers in cemeteries abroad. We are lectured that Trump supposedly never took COVID-19 seriously.

All of these stories were either demonstrably untrue, were supported only by anonymous sources, or were the sensationalism of authors hawking books.

Yet such concocted melodramas will continue each week up to Election Day, while fundamental geostrategic shifts abroad brought about by American diplomacy will by intent go unnoticed.

The news as we once understood it is dead.

Well yes, but it’s been dead for well over a decade. In 2008, PJM alumnus Michael Malone wrote at ABC News(!): Media’s Presidential Bias and Decline.

Why? I think I know, because had my life taken a different path, I could have been one: Picture yourself in your 50s in a job where you’ve spent 30 years working your way to the top, to the cockpit of power … only to discover that you’re presiding over a dying industry. The Internet and alternative media are stealing your readers, your advertisers and your top young talent. Many of your peers shrewdly took golden parachutes and disappeared. Your job doesn’t have anywhere near the power and influence it did when your started your climb. The Newspaper Guild is too weak to protect you any more, and there is a very good chance you’ll lose your job before you cross that finish line, 10 years hence, of retirement and a pension.

In other words, you are facing career catastrophe — and desperate times call for desperate measures. Even if you have to risk everything on a single Hail Mary play. Even if you have to compromise the principles that got you here. After all, newspapers and network news are doomed anyway — all that counts is keeping them on life support until you can retire.

And then the opportunity presents itself — an attractive young candidate whose politics likely matches yours, but more important, he offers the prospect of a transformed Washington with the power to fix everything that has gone wrong in your career.

With luck, this monolithic, single-party government will crush the alternative media via a revived fairness doctrine, re-invigorate unions by getting rid of secret votes, and just maybe be beholden to people like you in the traditional media for getting it there.

And besides, you tell yourself, it’s all for the good of the country …

See also: the career arc of James Bennet, late of the New York Times, who was such a true believer that he bought into the Sarah Palin clip art myth, before his woke underlings came for his scalp: The Day the New York Times Redefined ‘Liberal’ as ‘Closed-minded Outrage Mob.’

COMMUNIST FRONT CORPORATIONS: Chinese Communist Party Document Reveals Plans for Greater Party Control Over Companies.

At the top of the CCP’s list of how to compel tougher adherence to the party line, the CCP hopes to “improve the selection mechanism” for supporting business leaders and investing in their enterprises.

“We will raise and strengthen private enterprise figures and teams who staunchly and steadfastly walk together with the party, and develop as one heart and one mind,” the document reads.

The phrase “one heart and one mind” is standard CCP language used frequently throughout party speeches and documents. It is used to emphasize unified thought and action in Chinese leadership, shutting the door to differing opinions.

That sound you hear is the death rattle of innovation in Communist-run mainland China.

DENVER POLICE OFFICER FILES ETHICS COMPLAINT AGAINST ANTI-COP CITY COUNCILWOMAN:

In the EEO Complaint, Officer Mallory Lutkin outlines an incident from Aug. 19, 2020.

“I responded to the area of 2900 Glenarm on a disturbance while District 2 officers were arresting an armed party and officers had been assaulted. Upon my arrival I was advised to hold a perimeter post to secure the scene as a large crowd was gathering. While on this line I had my body worn camera activated,” said Officer Lutkin in the complaint.

Before getting to the details, this video from the local KDVR News outlet has video of the Councilwoman in action, tearing into the police and then encouraging the “protesters” to get the police to get into a physical confrontation with them and then sue them.

This is pretty amazing. A sitting member of the City Council was not only joining in with the protests (which is perfectly her right) but publicly launching verbal attacks on the police. For the record, the cops were there cleaning up and relocating a homeless encampment to connect the residents with public resources available to the needy. But Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca immediately began berating the police, telling a Black officer that she should be “ashamed of herself” for performing her duty. A second (White) officer with her was told that she “expected that” from the White guy. She referred to her own police department as the “attack dogs” of the Mayor.

Read the whole thing, and watch the video of the mini-de Blasio hurling insults at someone who is effectively another government official.

At the end of the video, the newsreader notes that “the board of ethics will take this up tomorrow morning at its monthly meeting; the five member board will make a decision if it has jurisdiction, and if so, they’ll decide if they need a hearing and further investigation, or if the complaint should be dismissed.” And of course, it’s the latter: Denver’s Board of Ethics dismissed the complaint, citing a lack of jurisdiction.

However, a lack of jurisdiction is not a ruling on the merits. Hopefully this isn’t the end of the line for Lutkin’s complaint against CdeBaca. At a minimum he’s created a strong campaign video for the opponent of the self-described “democratic socialist” in the next election.

CHARLES LIPSON: What Bahrain’s Deal with Israel Really Means.

President Trump’s foreign policy is significantly different from that of his predecessors. Unlike George W. Bush, who fought a land war in Iraq post 9/11 and deployed thousands of troops throughout the region, Trump is pulling back. He is instead emphasizing the geopolitical threat from China while withdrawing troops from the Middle East, including both Syria and Iraq, where Iran is a major presence.

Second, unlike Barack Obama, Trump is not seeking a ‘more balanced’, friendly relationship with Iran and a less supportive one with Saudi Arabia and Israel. Trump is vocally opposed to Iran’s mullahs. He is determined to isolate them diplomatically, punish them economically, and block them strategically. His policy to prevent them from building a nuclear weapon is not a joint agreement, like the one signed by the Obama administration and its European partners, but military deterrence and covert attacks on Iran’s nuclear program. Trump is openly supportive of both Israel and Saudi Arabia. He was willing to move the US embassy to Jerusalem despite opposition from the Arabists in the State Department, the Democratic party, the vast majority of foreign-policy experts from Boston to Washington, as well as and nearly all of Europe. They predicted huge pushback across the Muslim world. They were wrong. Trump was right.

Change you can believe in, to coin a phrase.

‘YOU LYING FRAUD:’ Candace Owens calls down the thunder on Cardi B in vicious back and forth about Joe Biden, racism, and taxes.

If you’re asking yourself, “who’s Cardi B?” be thankful for living such a sheltered life: Joe Biden, President Of Cardi B(abylon). Biden gave Cardi B (whose real name is Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar) an interview (of sorts) that was published by Elle magazine on the first day of the Democratic National Convention Last month:

The host asked them about the mega-hit “WAP” by Cardi B. and Megan Thee Stallion. I wrote about it here last week. Here are some of the lyrics that I posted:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, you fu*kin’ with some wet-a*s pu*sy
Bring a bucket and a mop for this wet-a*s pu*sy
Give me everything you got for this wet-a*s pu*sy

Those are among the cleanest lyrics in the entire song. Here is a link to lyrics for the whole thing. 

If you don’t want to read them — and I don’t blame you — you should at least know that the two women who sing it talk about how they want to be forced to perform oral sex until they are gagging and choking. They portray themselves as whores (their word) who have sex for money. And

I’m a freak bitch, handcuffs, leashes … You can’t hurt my feelings, but I like pain.

There’s even dirtier stuff, but you get the picture.

This song debuted at No. 1. It was streamed a record 93 million times in the US in its first week of release, and the video was seen over 60 million times within 48 hours of its release. Cardi B., who once worked as a stripper, and has spoken of how back then, she would invite men to hotel rooms to drug and rob them, instagrammed about being so grateful that “I want to hug the LORD.”

OK, so that’s “WAP”. It is the cultural mainstream. If you haven’t heard of it, then that just shows how far out of the mainstream you are in 2020. How mainstream is Cardi B.? Elle magazine, which put her on the cover, had Cardi B. do a live Zoom interview with the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

Joe Biden told her that:

“One of the things that I admire about you is that you keep talking about what I call equity—decency, fairness, and treating people with respect.”

Right. Nothing says “respect” like rapping about how you want a man to put his genitals in your mouth until you choke.

What a sick joke this culture is. I’ve said before that I believe Donald Trump is a morally repulsive man. But I don’t want to hear anyone talk about how Joe Biden is such a moral exemplar when he is willing to embrace someone who stands for the things that Cardi B. does. This is something I do not understand about the progressive elites. On NPR this morning, the guests on 1A (here, just past the 13:00 mark) were talking about “WAP” and the reaction to it. A writer for Billboard lauds “the sexual freedom of this song,” and laments the double standard that lets male rappers get away with sexually explicit songs without criticism. He adds that — “Cardi and Megan have huge young fan bases,” the writer said. He believes that the fact that women rappers have triumphed with such a sexually explicit song is therefore “really remarkable as a cultural shift.”

What he means in context — listen to it yourself to understand — is that Cardi B. and Megan Thee Stallion are teaching young girls that they can be just as raunchy as boys, with no apology.

I linked yesterday to Niall Ferguson’s “‘Weimar America?’ The Trump Show Is No Cabaret. Detractors have been equating the U.S. with 1920s Germany for 85 years, and they are still wrong.” As far as the notion that the US is about to be partying like it’s 1939, I agree. Or as Tom Wolfe famously wrote, “The dark night of fascism is always descending in the United States and yet lands only in Europe.” But in terms of pop culture, and its intersection with politics, it’s been Weimar America for quite some time. Joe buddying up to the singer of “W.A.P.” is no different than his former boss meeting with rapper Kendrick Lamar before delivering his last State of the Union address:

Obama announced that Lamar’s hit “How Much a Dollar Cost” was his favorite song of 2015. Obama announced that Lamar’s hit “How Much a Dollar Cost” was his favorite song of 2015. The song comes from the album To Pimp a Butterfly; the album cover shows a crowd of young African-American men massed in front of the White House. In celebratory fashion, all are gripping champagne bottles and hundred-dollar bills; in front of them lies the corpse of a white judge, with two Xs drawn over his closed eyes. So why wouldn’t the president’s advisors at least have advised him that such a gratuitous White House sanction might be incongruous with a visual message of racial hatred? Was Obama seeking cultural authenticity, of the sort he seeks by wearing a T-shirt, with his baseball cap on backwards and thumb up?

To play the old “what if” game that is necessary in the bewildering age of Obama: what if President George W. Bush had invited to the White House a controversial country Western singer, known for using the f- and n- words liberally in his music and celebrating attacks on Bureau of Land Management officers?

Meanwhile, back in 2020, the Biden campaign continues to take a wrecking ball to feminism’s recent obsession with #metoo: Kamala Harris Told Jacob Blake She Was ‘Proud’ of Him, Lawyer Says. However, “For every Jacob Blake, there are millions of Jacob Blake’s victims,” Tiana Lowe opines in the Washington Examiner:  “This story is a tragedy, and it’s being ignored. That is the story of a woman subjected to repeated domestic abuse and sexual assault at the hands of an intimate partner. But unlike the overwhelming majority of the millions of people who suffer some sort of domestic violence or sexual assault per year, Blake’s victim nearly got justice. Consider, it was already exceptional that Blake’s victim reported the crime to the police — just one in four victims does. Of the cases that do get reported, just one in five will lead to an arrest. Even then, the odds were overwhelming that Blake would never spend a day in jail. Of the 5% of alleged rapists who do get arrested, just one in ten will wind up incarcerated. The conviction rate is about as awful for general domestic abuse cases, though the number of victims each year are likely orders of magnitude greater than those of rape.”

XI’S GOTTA HAVE IT: Disney remake of Mulan criticised for filming in Xinjiang.

After the film’s release last Friday, observers noted another controversial element: in the final credits Disney offers “special thanks” to eight government entities in Xinjiang, including the public security bureau in Turpan, a city in eastern Xinjiang where several re-education camps have been documented.

The film also expresses thanks to the “publicity department of CPC Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomy Region Committee”, the Chinese Communist party’s propaganda department in Xinjiang. Disney has been approached for comment.

China has faced international scrutiny over its treatment of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, where it is estimated at least 1 million residents have been detained in extrajudicial internment camps. Uighur women have reported forced sterilisations and birth control as part of a government campaign to suppress birthrates, in what experts have described as “demographic genocide”.

Disney’s reliance on China as a filming, distribution, and theme park location also explains their soft news coverage of the Communist nation:

Flashback: Biden Sold Out America To China While Working For Hollywood.

CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES: Pyrotechnic device at gender reveal party blamed for Southern California blaze. The El Dorado Fire has grown to 7,050 acres as of early Monday morning and containment is listed at 5%.

 In accordance with the prophecy: Thousands Dead As Missile Carrying Blue Confetti For Gender Reveal Party Accidentally Detonates Its Nuclear Payload.

 Found via Tablet magazine’s Noam Blum, aka Neontaster, who tweets, “(I may or may not have written that Babylon Bee story).”

Related: “Cal Fire spokesman Bennet Milloy said the group could be on the hook for millions to cover the hundreds of firefighters, helicopters and planes employed to tackle the El Dorado Fire, the Daily Mail reported. They also could face a ‘variety of charges,’ including arson, which carries a sentence of up to nine years, Milloy said.”

DON’T STEAL THIS BOOK: On In Defense of Looting.

Steal This Book could stand alone as a work of assiduous experimental journalism, filled as it was with “survival techniques” for life underground he’d gleaned in multiple innovative ways, including responses to ads placed in revolutionary newspapers. Hoffman even supposedly fact-checked the anonymous tips about places on the map to find free food, get treated for sexually-transmitted diseases, score drugs, etc.

Steal This Book was also an equal opportunity offender, as cutting toward phonies within the revolutionary ranks as it was toward the “Pig Empire”:

The duty of a revolutionary is to make love and that means staying alive and free. That doesn’t allow for cop-outs. Smoking dope and hanging up Che’s picture is no more a commitment than drinking milk or collecting postage stamps.

There are a lot of things one can say about Abbie Hoffman, but he was no LARPer. He wrote the introduction for Steal this Book in jail, doing time for contempt for his memorable lunacy at the Chicago Seven trial, when he among other things told the judge to “stick it up his bowling ball.” He once tried to halt the Vietnam war by using psychic energy to levitate the Pentagon 300 feet in the air, where it would turn “orange and vibrate until all evil emissions had fled.” Abbie Hoffman was interesting.

Then there’s Vicky Osterweil.

Like Hoffman, Osterweil is a self-proclaimed leftist revolutionary who justifies stealing on the grounds that property is a crime. The similarities pretty much end there.

Plus:

Adherents to this theology are characterized by a boundless, almost Trumpian capacity for self-pity, even as they’re advocating setting you on fire. They can make wrapping fishwiches sound like digging coal in Matewan, being deprived of a smartphone like being whipped by Centurions, and they matter because everyone, including especially Democratic Party politicians, is afraid of the fallout that comes with telling them to shut the fuck up. So their “ideas” spread like cancer.

If no one in the party says anything, Trump will argue, with some justice, this is the true face of his opposition. The first Sister Souljah moment was a drag, but this moment actually calls for one. Will there ever be a more perfect candidate than this book?

I doubt that what’s left of Joe Biden’s cerebral cortex agrees with Osterweil’s In Defense of Looting. But since Joe’s far-left handlers are running the show, it’s difficult to see him making an easy lay-up of a Sister Souljah moment. As Ben Shapiro noted last week, during Biden’s speech on generic violence, “Biden name-checked ‘white nationalists’ once, ‘white supremacists’ once, ‘right-wing militias’ twice and ‘armed militias’ once in his supposedly unifying anti-violence speech yesterday. He did not mention Antifa or BLM. This is gaslighting and cowardice.” No enemies to the left.

HEY, THAT OVERTON WINDOW DOESN’T MOVE ITSELF, YOU KNOW: NPR regrets elevating pro-looting anti-Semite.

Did anyone at NPR read the book, which includes a chapter titled “All Cops Are Bastards”? Did no one at NPR question the wisdom of elevating an activist whose Twitter handle even bears the acronym for “All Cops Are Bastards”? Did it not occur to anyone that, instead of elevating a provocative but worthwhile voice, they were actually amplifying an ignorant bigot with no basic understanding of history or community?

Apparently not, which is why NPR is in the embarrassing position this week of having to issue mea culpas for what was always an extremely avoidable fiasco.

“This piece was fact-checked, but we should have done more,” Code Switch editor Steve Drummond said of the interview, which has been updated to correct Osterweil’s many false assertions.

But even with the corrections, NPR’s McBride explained Thursday, “this failure to challenge this author’s statements is harmful on two levels. Publishing false information leaves the audience misinformed. On top of that, news consumers are watching closely to see who is challenged and who isn’t.”

Too much to quote in the above article, so read the whole thing. I have no problem with NPR interviewing Osterweil. If somebody writes a book with the provocative title of In Defense of Looting — A Riotous History of Uncivil Action, complete with a crowbar on the front cover, and gets it published by the subsidiary of a major publisher*, it’s news after all. Alex Haley famously interviewed American Nazi Party founder George Lincoln Rockwell for Playboy in 1966 — but he asked the appropriately tough questions. In contrast, Natalie Escobar, who interviewed Osterweil for NPR, tweeted (and eventually deleted) the following, which was still cached by Google as of yesterday:

* Bold Type Books, Osterweil’s publisher, is a division of Hachette Book Group, the firm whose staff got the vapors over publishing Woody Allen’s recent autobiography.

TIME TO DECLARE YOUR WEEKEND PARTY A BLM PROTEST: Coronavirus enforcement teams ready to strike illegal Labor Day parties, Massachusetts governor says.

JIM TREACHER: Colorado Woman Beats Up Child for Carrying Trump Sign.

And get ready for more of this madness. Just today, WaPo has informed us:

This sounds like extortion, doesn’t it? “Vote for our team or there’ll be trouble.” And it’s a tacit admission that Trump supporters won’t get violent if he loses. That would poke a hole in the ol’ liberal media narrative, if they allowed themselves to stop for a minute and think about it.

Could somebody please explain to me why I should vote for a political party that’s expected to explode into even more rioting, looting, public assaults, and other chaos if they lose? I will not be coerced, by either side. If you can’t earn my vote, you’re not going to get it under threat of violence.

To be fair, Democrats have been the party of extortion long before Trump; I created this Photoshop back in 2010:

Oh, and note who the Post used to represent the Trump side in their “wargames scenario:”

For obvious reasons, we couldn’t ask Trump or Biden — or their campaign aides — to play themselves in these exercises, so we did the next best thing: We recruited participants with similar backgrounds. On the GOP side, our “players” included former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, conservative commentator Bill Kristol and former Kentucky secretary of state Trey Grayson. On the Democratic side, participants included John Podesta, chair of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and a top White House adviser to Bill Clinton and Barack Obama; Donna Brazile, the campaign chair for Al Gore’s 2000 presidential run; and Jennifer Granholm, former governor of Michigan. Other participants included political strategists, journalists, polling experts, tech and social media experts, and former career officials from the intelligence community, the Justice Department, the military and the Department of Homeland Security.

I wasn’t familiar with Trey Greyson (you can check out his bio here) but I’m obviously familiar with Michael Steele and Bill Kristol. These were the people picked to represent the Trump administration. Steele recently wrote, “Instead of fighting for that future, Republicans gave credence to a man who traffics in conspiracies, fear, racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and believes that he can rewrite the Constitution in his own image.” Not a fan I think it’s fair to say.

As for Bill Kristol…

Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase garbage in, garbage out? Having the “all Republicans must go” guy play the role of team Trump is like asking AOC to represent Joe Biden in a simulation of the Democratic primary. The outcome is surely going to be heavily biased by the contempt the players hold for their team. And so, sure enough, the outcome of the game was a disaster:

In 2009, the Post, through its then-subsidiary magazine Newsweek declared “We Are All Socialists Now.” And evidently, that applies to their RINOs they interview as well.

RUSH LIMBAUGH: Trump’s Running to Save Us from a Race War Fomented by Democrats. I think that’s exactly right.

It was during the Republican convention last week and it was obvious what the Democrat Party was attempting to do. And they’re building on it now with the attempt to blame Trump for all of the domestic terrorism that is going on. I believe the Democrat Party, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, whoever, I think they are attempting, and have been for a while, to literally foment a race war. I think that has been the objective. And they have been throwing so much hate at Donald Trump that they have been goading him into responding with his own version of hate. And that is where Trump has been brilliant.

He has not responded in kind. He has not responded with hate. They have ladled it on. They have just hammered hate at him, hoping that he will hammer hate back at them. You look at that Republican convention, there wasn’t any hate. You couldn’t find a shred of it. All you found was love, appreciation. You found one of the most diverse political conventions I have ever seen, one that was uplifting to me. And I needed it at the point that it happened last week. And it did. Trump and that convention lifted me at a time I needed it. And I hope that it had the same effect on a lot of other people.

Trump is not just running for reelection. There’s so much more going on here. The story that the president told at the Republican National Convention — and believe me, it was his story, and it was well assembled. It was brilliantly conceived, flawlessly executed by virtually everybody who had a role in it. The story he was telling is about saving this country from the race war that I firmly believe the left is attempting to foment.

The left in this country — it’s patently obvious now — they want this election to be, they want the current American circumstance to be black versus white, not left versus right, not male versus female, not straight versus gay. They want it to be black versus white. Immigrant versus native maybe, but as long as it has a racial component, that’s what the Democrats are attempting to foment. And Trump didn’t buy it. He didn’t buy into it. He didn’t take the bait. He didn’t respond in kind. All last week the president made clear that it’s about people who are constructive, who are productive and generally happy. That’s us. Versus people who are — let’s face it — miserably unhappy. . . .

I think it’s a very underappreciated message that Trump had all during the convention last week. And by promoting it at this time, I literally believe that Donald Trump may be saving America from a fate you and I don’t want to contemplate. We don’t want another civil war based on race. We don’t want race wars. We don’t want any of that because it’s not something naturally occurring. The Democrats are trying, they are literally trying to foment hate. And it isn’t working because it’s not who the American people are, ladies and gentlemen.

The critics were hoping that as the Democrats — Biden, Kamala Harris, the whole mess of them — as they throw hate, as they harass people that attended Trump’s acceptance speech Thursday night at the White House, they were assaulted. They were attacked. The D.C. mayor had insufficient police resources. It was a setup. People had to walk to leave the White House grounds where the acceptance speech had taken place.

It was purposely designed to force Trump, I believe, into responding with his own brand of hate that would have been driven by anger. I think they hoped to make Trump so mad that he would react to these people, but he didn’t react the way they hoped and the way they attempted to manipulate. There was no hate for hate. Look at all the white people bashing at the Democrat National Convention. The platform mentioning white people 15 times, all negative.

The Republican convention didn’t return fire in such a way. It simply promoted the diversity that’s in the party. There was nothing but love and accomplishment and achievement, possibilities, soaring possibilities. Not a return volley of hate. They were hoping Trump would throw divisiveness right back at them. Instead, he brought up all of these positive, successful minority people and told his supporters, “Look. These are our kind of people. And we’re glad to have them.” Met hate with love.

The Democrat Party is the biggest hate group in America today, and Trump met it all last week with love.

Exactly right. (Bumped).

DON’T GET COCKY: “How bad do things look for Joe Biden’s campaign right now? Consider this: Democrats are worried about Minnesota, a state no Republican presidential candidate has carried since Richard Nixon’s 1972 landslide. Yet polls show President Trump gaining ground in Minnesota, and Democrats are worried because they haven’t seen any appearances by Biden or his running mate Kamala Harris. ‘Why aren’t they here?’ one Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party official told Minnesota Public Radio last week. ‘We need to hear from them. We need to see their presence on the ground.'”

WHAT A NASTY PIECE OF WORK: John McCain associate planned leaks to Post’s Ignatius.

The associate of John McCain who spread anti-Trump dossier claims around Washington post-election planned to leak a story to Washington Post columnist David Ignatius about Paul Manafort, according to court testimony.

Mr. Ignatius wrote the Jan. 12, 2017 column that eventually doomed retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Mr. Trump’s first and brief national security adviser. The source was an Obama administration official, Mr. Ignatius wrote.

The McCain evidence emerged in July in a London courtroom, where dossier creator Christopher Steele faces a defamation lawsuit from a Russian CEO. Mr. Steele compiled the dossier for the Democratic Party. After Donald Trump won the presidency Mr. Steele provided memo copies to the Republican McCain and his associate David J. Kramer.

Trial evidence showed that Mr. Kramer not only took the dossier to the Obama White House and news media, he also tried to help reporters confirm its dozen or so felony allegations against Mr. Trump.

Mr. Kramer and Mr. Steele engaged in across-the-Atlantic messaging as the former State Department official would receive followup questions from reporters and relay them to the former British intelligence officer.

Andrew Caldecott, the attorney for Russian Aleksej Gubarev, read in court messages between Mr. Kramer and Mr. Steele, according to transcripts obtained by The Washington Times.

“The Flynn calls story is picking up legs,” Mr. Kramer says. This is a reference to the Ignatius column that Mr. Flynn had spoken to Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition.

Then Mr. Kramer tells Mr. Steele, “I think it’s time to get that other [Manafort] story out there. Get some sleep. Best, D [avid].”

“Thanks.”

Mr. Kramer says, “And Ignatius is the one I’ll feed it to.”

By then, the dossier had been published by BuzzFeed. Mr. Steele alleged that Mr. Manafort, the campaign manager, and volunteer Carter Page worked as a team to conspire with the Kremlin on election interference.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s March 2019 report disproved this claim. The two men did not know each other.

This was a seditious coup attempt.

GOOD AND HARD: The Democrat Party’s Riots.

Among political parties, only the Democrats allowed and tacitly encouraged the destruction of our cities. Of our businesses. Of our way of life. They’ve consistently tried to hide and downplay what has actually occurred. But most people aren’t that far removed from the reality around us—especially with the most important election of their lifetimes coming around the bend like a freight train. Now, after ceaseless riots in the wake of the unnecessary total shutdown of our economy, the Democrats’ panicked ploys to elect Joe Biden are causing millions of people across America to consider moving from their homes.

You have abetted the destruction of our cities so you could win an election. You—you corporate stooges, you glib and sinister Nurse Ratcheds, you elegant child abusers and mob apologists—have become a new party all your own. You are now the BLM-Antifa Party. You are too scared or too complicit to denounce either group.

Yet you now heap fearful denunciations on those who, however ill-advisedly, try to defend the life, liberty, and property that their complicit and incompetent governments will not. We will not mindlessly accept your kneejerk narrative about Kyle Rittenhouse being some kind of crazed Nazi who gunned down innocent protestors in cold blood. Your convenient narrative does not comport with the facts that even the New York Times recently set forth. We will wait for more facts. We will watch all the video. We will not throw him under the bus, and neither should any American who believes in equality under the law.

Of course we don’t want citizens roaming the streets with guns drawn. Of course this tempts fate—and risks more tragic, needless violence. But that’s the point for the BLM-Antifa Party. That’s exactly what they want. That’s exactly what you asked for when you unleashed them.

Related: About that Kenosha Shooter: “Let’s stipulate starting out that Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old from Antioch, Illinois, who has been arrested and charged with murder for shooting two people during the Kenosha riots two nights ago, should not have been present at the scene with a semi-auto rifle… That said, there appears to be a decent case that Rittenhouse acted in self-defense. Who says this? Sit down for the answer: a team of reporters from the New York Times. I’m starting to think someone from Fox News has spiked the water at the Times, as this story makes two sensible news stories in one day from the Times. Or maybe the panic is that high at DNC headquarters.”

Flashback: “Larry Correia’s scorching reply to lefties who ask why gun owners aren’t rushing to confront feds in Portland, etc. Here’s an excerpt, but do read it all.”

JOANNE JACOBS: Say It Ain’t So, Joe. “The Democratic Party’s platform, based on a Biden-Sanders ‘unity’ task force’s recommendations, ‘steer Biden away from the coalition of Black and low-income voters who brought him the nomination,’ write Aldeman and Spurrier. ‘Maybe this shouldn’t come as a surprise — given that two of the eight members of the task force are the heads of the two major teachers unions.'”

A FRIEND ON FACEBOOK COMMENTS: “They should’ve called it a protest and they would’ve been congratulated by the administration instead of suspended. Think guys!” Syracuse University suspends 23 students after ‘incredibly reckless’ gathering.

JOANNE JACOBS: Say it ain’t so, Joe. “The Democratic Party’s platform, based on a Biden-Sanders ‘unity’ task force’s recommendations, ‘steer Biden away from the coalition of Black and low-income voters who brought him the nomination,’ write Aldeman and Spurrier. ‘Maybe this shouldn’t come as a surprise — given that two of the eight members of the task force are the heads of the two major teachers unions’.”

JULIE KELLY: The Democratic Party is Unwell.

The party’s ailments have been on full display this week. Look no further than the freakish music video that closed out the first night of the Democratic National Convention. Billy Porter, a gay black Broadway star, and geriatric Steven Stills of Crosby, Stills, and Nash teamed up to remake Stills’ 1966 classic, “For What It’s Worth.”

The video was a performative display of the party’s schizophrenia: A white ’60s counterculture icon and a Dracula-costumed POC LGBTQ activist offering an inharmonious version of a Vietnam-era tune as the official anthem for the candidacy of a feeble establishment codger and his unaccomplished cackling sidekick quickly shredding their faux moderate façade in fealty to the party’s lunatic fringe of America-hating nihilists.

Read the whole thing.

YES: Joe Biden’s Flip-Flops Prove He’s Not Running His Own Campaign.

After watching Biden over his career, and more closely this year, I’m left feeling like a panelist on the old “To Tell the Truth” television show. Somebody please say it: “Will the real Joe Biden please stand up?”

Biden has been known for a few things over the years: a moderate-Democrat voting record, an outstanding ability to plagiarize (it takes quite a lot of chutzpah to steal another man’s life story), a penchant for telling entertaining and sometimes untrue stories, and an almost unparalleled tendency to say the wrong thing at the wrong time (“Chuck, stand up. … Let them see ya!”).

But after comparing his long voting record to the proposals of his presidential campaign, I’m left wondering if this is even the same Joe Biden.

It’s as though the party’s hard-left watched Simon one too many times and launched their own version of the Nixon Substitution Scenario.

But really, Biden will do or say anything to get elected, and stipulating for the moment that he’s still aware of what he’s doing and saying, he knows the hardcore progressive left is in full control of the party now.

MICHAEL ANTON: THE CASE FOR TRUMP.

Yes, President Trump enjoys the overwhelming loyalty of Republican voters—but his hold on Republican donors, and especially officials, is much more tenuous. He ran against them and won—and most of them will never forgive him. They play nice to his face and undermine him behind his back. That’s before we even get to the ones in open rebellion. No president—Democrat or Republican—has ever come to power facing organized efforts by his own party’s middle management to tally lists of people declaring on the record that under no circumstances will they work for the incoming administration. It’s been hard, to say the least, to staff up when a good chunk of the party is dead-set against their leader, and nearly all the rest spent their careers furthering policies diametrically opposed to those he ran—and won—on.

And that’s just President Trump’s ostensible own side. Then factor in all his open enemies from the other party, and virtually every other power center in our society, plus the steadfast opposition of the so-called “deep state”—i.e., the very federal bureaucrats whom he was elected to oversee and direct. Viewed from this angle, one may fairly wonder how it’s been possible for him to accomplish anything at all.

More fundamentally: where do you think the country would be without him?

In the crapper.

PHONING IT IN: Low-energy virtual Democratic Convention fails to inspire.

Remember how Donald Trump brought Jeb Bush low by characterizing him as “low energy”? Few major American events in my lifetime have been as low energy as the Democratic National Convention’s first night.

It was the opposite of stirring, motivating, thrilling, exciting. By the time the two hours were over, America was so dehydrated it needed a saline drip.

The proceedings were exactly what you’d actually watch at a quadrennial party gathering if you were in attendance, on the floor as a delegate or in the cheap seats as an audience member or the press.

The thing is, normal folks have never actually seen all this nonsense because the TV networks wisely refuse to show it, as it’s just pablum partisan propaganda. Instead, they cut to their own reporters and anchors to try and manufacture drama and excitement to carry the audience through the four days of the proceedings.

Last night, we got it all. We watched bathetic videos of ordinary people representing ordinary people, and second-rank celebrities reading teleprompter messages. There were awkward musical breaks. And very short speeches by unmemorable elected politicians.

And speaking of phoning it in: Here’s why Michelle Obama appeared to snub Kamala Harris in DNC speech. “That’s because the former first lady recorded her rousing speech before Joe Biden selected Sen. Harris of California as his running mate. The speech was delivered remotely like all others at the DNC because of the coronavirus pandemic, and The Associated Press reports it was filmed before Harris was named last week as Biden’s VP candidate, indicating the choice was so close to the vest and down to the wire that even the Obamas were not in the loop.”

When does Joe find out himself?

PUBLIC HEALTH’S TREATMENT OF THIS PANDEMIC HAS BEEN A DEBACLE ON ALL LEVELS: The Fun Police Should Stand Down: Social gatherings provoke moral indignation—but bringing in law enforcement will promote injustice, not reduce infections.

As long as any clusters of infections are linked to parties, public-health officials will need to figure out how to help people avoid these dangers. Public health is a service industry, and it cannot serve customers without first trying to understand them. Instead of yelling at people for being careless and selfish—a perfectly understandable reaction—let’s start by asking why people are partying.

The end of the coronavirus pandemic is not, unfortunately, nigh. As these months drag on, people are seeking out social contact not out of selfishness but because, like going to the grocery store, human connection is an essential activity. Americans are experiencing a pervasive, long-term collective trauma, and our endurance will come from the relationships we’re able to sustain during the pandemic. Social capital—that is, the norms, values, and connections that people share—is an important determinant of how well they can weather and recover from a crisis. If public-health professionals want Americans to persist, they need to adopt messaging and policies that minimize infection while also maximizing resilience and well-being. Instead of turning partygoers into criminals, officials can offer safer ways for people to stay connected—and support struggling businesses in the process—by opening, redesigning, and loosening restrictions on the use of outdoor spaces. . . . The combination of criminalization and unscientific moralism is ineffective and counterproductive, and often leads authorities to take actions that may yield more infection.

It’s also rapidly robbing public health officials of any moral authority. But people tend to be control freaks in this field, and they mostly hear from angry, control-obsessed Karens.

A MINORITY NO MORE: I’ve been a terrible blogger lately. Instead, I’ve been co-chairing the campaign to defeat Proposition 16 (I’ll write more on that later). As a result, I’m late on finishing three academic articles and late on an anthology that I am editing for Encounter Books. I’m also trying to get a Commissioner statement done that’s due on Thursday. Things will get better, but not soon. Instead, classes start at USD today. Argh!

Nevertheless, I can’t help but celebrate. One part of my life has just gotten a lot better: For several years, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has been 6-2 in favor of the Commission’s Progressive Caucus. The two conservatives—Pete Kirsanow and I—have been outnumbered.

Fortunately, we now have reinforcements. President Trump has filled both the seats that he is entitled to fill during this term. Consequently, the Commission is now 4-4.  My two new colleagues are Stephen Gilchrist and (most recently) Christian Adams.

Conservatives (if we can manage to stick together) can now block anything that we believe needs to be blocked. Ditto for our four Progressive colleagues. We all will have to start practicing the art of compromise.

I didn’t know Stephen Gilchrist prior to his appointment, but I know he has a lot of fans. Christian Adams I have known since he was a witness before the Commission ten year ago in connection with the Obama Administration’s bizarre handling of the New Black Panther Party case. I couldn’t be happier to be working with them both.

This is going to be a different Commission.

ATTORNEY GENERAL BARR: Why are Democrat-run cities such cesspits of racism?

“People talk about implicit racism or systemic racism: rhe racism in this country, look no further than our public education system,” Barr said during an interview with Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity. “That’s a racist system maintained by the Democratic party and the teachers union, keeping inner city kids in failing schools instead of putting the resources in the hands of the parents to choose the schools to send their kids to. That’s empowering kids, that’s giving them a future.”

He’s right, you know.

A TRUMP SUCCESS SO BIG THAT NOT EVEN THOMAS FRIEDMAN CAN FIGURE OUT HOW TO MINIMIZE IT: A Geopolitical Earthquake Just Hit the Mideast.

For once, I am going to agree with President Trump in his use of his favorite adjective: “huge.”

The agreement brokered by the Trump administration for the United Arab Emirates to establish full normalization of relations with Israel, in return for the Jewish state forgoing, for now, any annexation of the West Bank, was exactly what Trump said it was in his tweet: a “HUGE breakthrough.” . . .

Just go down the scorecard, and you see how this deal affects every major party in the region — with those in the pro-American, pro-moderate Islam, pro-ending-the-conflict-with-Israel-once-and-for-all camp benefiting the most and those in the radical pro-Iran, anti-American, pro-Islamist permanent-struggle-with-Israel camp all becoming more isolated and left behind.

It’s a geopolitical earthquake.

To fully appreciate why, you need to start with the internal dynamics of the deal. It was Trump’s peace plan drawn up by Jared Kushner, and their willingness to stick with it, that actually created the raw material for this breakthrough.

Well, yes. And without even a Nobel Peace Prize first.

Plus:

This deal will certainly encourage the other gulf sheikhdoms — Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia — all of which have had covert and overt business and intelligence dealings with Israel, to follow the Emirates’ lead. They will not want to let the U.A.E. have a leg up in being able to marry its financial capital with Israel’s cybertechnology, agriculture technology and health care technology, with the potential to make both countries stronger and more prosperous.

I think it’s a stretch to call Joe Biden a winner here, though, except in the sense that if he’s elected in November he’ll inherit a U.S. that is at peace in a more peaceful world, instead of the dog’s breakfast of a diplomacy that Trump inherited from Obama. (And I predict that Joe and Kamala will manage to make a hash of things again if given a chance.) And note that Trump has barely even gotten credit for making peace in the Middle East and — hey, did you notice? — a near elimination of Islamist terror of the sort that we experienced worldwide under Obama.

Related: National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien On The Israel-United Arab Emirates Accord: Under Any Other Circumstances, Jared Kushner Would Be Hailed As One Of The Great Dealmakers In American History. It’s been obvious for three years that Kushner has been a successful dealmaker in the region, but it doesn’t fit the narrative.

HOW DO YOU KNOW THE URBAN INSURRECTION HAS FAILED? BECAUSE THE NYT, AFTER FLYING COVER FOR MONTHS, IS THROWING DEMOCRATIC MAYORS UNDER THE BUS: Abolish the Police? Those Who Survived the Chaos in Seattle Aren’t So Sure. What is it like when a city abandons a neighborhood and the police vanish? Business owners describe a harrowing experience of calling for help and being left all alone.

What follows is excellent reporting, a sign that the NYT can still do that if it wants to. But until today it hasn’t wanted to. The Democrats’ internal polling must be truly horrific. Excerpts:

Faizel Khan was being told by the news media and his own mayor that the protests in his hometown were peaceful, with “a block party atmosphere.”

But that was not what he saw through the windows of his Seattle coffee shop. He saw encampments overtaking the sidewalks. He saw roving bands of masked protesters smashing windows and looting.

Young white men wielding guns would harangue customers as well as Mr. Khan, a gay man of Middle Eastern descent who moved here from Texas so he could more comfortably be out. To get into his coffee shop, he sometimes had to seek the permission of self-appointed armed guards to cross a border they had erected.

“They barricaded us all in here,” Mr. Khan said. “And they were sitting in lawn chairs with guns.”

For 23 days in June, about six blocks in the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood were claimed by left-wing demonstrators and declared police-free. Protesters hailed it as liberation — from police oppression, from white supremacy — and a catalyst for a national movement. . . .

Now a group of local businesses owners — including a locksmith, the owner of a tattoo parlor, a mechanic, the owners of a Mexican restaurant and Mr. Khan — is suing the city. The lawsuit claims that “Seattle’s unprecedented decision to abandon and close off an entire city neighborhood, leaving it unchecked by the police, unserved by fire and emergency health services, and inaccessible to the public” resulted in enormous property damage and lost revenue. . . .

The Seattle lawsuit — and interviews with shop owners in cities like Portland and Minneapolis — underscores a key question: Can businesses still rely on local governments, which are now rethinking the role of the police, to keep them safe? The issue is especially tense in Seattle, where the city government not only permitted the establishment of a police-free zone, but provided infrastructure like concrete barriers and portable toilets to sustain it.

Plus:

Many are nervous about speaking out lest they lend ammunition to a conservative critique of the Black Lives Matter movement. In Portland, Elizabeth Snow McDougall, the owner of Stevens-Ness legal printers, emphasized her support for the cause before describing the damage done to her business.

“One window broken, then another, then another, then another. Garbage to clean off the sidewalk in front of the store every morning. Urine to wash out of our doorway alcove. Graffiti to remove,” Ms. McDougall wrote in an email. “Costs to board up and later we’ll have costs to repair.”

The impact of the occupation on Cafe Argento, Mr. Khan’s coffee shop on Capitol Hill, has been devastating. Very few people braved the barricades set up by the armed occupiers to come in for his coffee and breakfast sandwiches. Cars coming to pick up food orders would turn around. At two points, he and his workers felt scared and called 911. “They said they would not come into CHOP,” said Mr. Khan, referring to one of the names that protesters gave to the occupied Capitol Hill area. “It was lawless.” . . .

He had to start chipping in for private security, a hard thing to do when his business had already been hurt by the coronavirus.

But he considers himself lucky — and he was. Even weeks after the protests, blocks of his previously bustling neighborhood remained boarded up and covered in shattered glass. Many business owners are scared to speak out, Mr. Khan said, because of worries that they would be targeted further.

And:

A confusing array of security teams wandered around, armed with handguns and rifles. Some wore official-looking private security uniforms. Others wore casual clothes and lanyards identifying their affiliation with Black Lives Matter. A third group wore all black with no identifying labels and declined to name their group affiliation.

When a tall man in a trench coat and hiking boots walked over to question Mr. Khan, the man spread his coat open, revealing several pistols on harnesses around his chest and waist. He presented a badge on a lanyard that read “Black Lives Matter Community Patrol.”

His name is Rick Hearns and he identified himself as a longtime security guard and mover who is now a Black Lives Matter community guard, in charge of several others. Local merchants pay for his protection, he said as he handed out his business card. (Mr. Khan said he and his neighbors are now paying thousands of dollars a month for protection from Iconic Global, a Washington State-based private security contractor.)

But even the guy asking for protection money is appalled:

Mr. Hearns has had bad experiences with the police in his own life. He says he wants police reform, but he was appalled by the violent tactics and rhetoric he witnessed during the occupation.

He blamed the destruction and looting on “opportunists,” but also said that much of the damage on Capitol Hill came from a distinct contingent of violent, armed white activists. “It’s antifa,” he said. “They don’t want to see the progress we’ve made. They want chaos.”

Many of the business owners on Capitol Hill agreed: Much of the violence they saw and the intimidation of their patrons came from a group these business owners identified as antifa, which they distinguished from the Black Lives Matter movement. “The idea of taking up the Black movement and turning it into a white occupation, it’s white privilege in its finest definition,” Mr. Khan said. “And that’s what they did.”

So InstaPundit readers have known this stuff for months, but people who got their news from the New York Times are only now catching up. Advantage: InstaPundit! But the real question is why is the NYT breaking its relative silence now? Again, I think the polls must be awful, and they’re readying a Biden law and order pivot.

VODKAPUNDIT PRESENTS YOUR DAILY INSANITY WRAP: Tonight We’re Gonna Party Like It’s 1699.

Insanity Wrap needs to know: Why does Joe Biden think black people are all alike?

Answer: Shut up, racist.

Before we get to the sordid details, a quick preview of today’s Wrap.

• LA Mayor Garcetti steals a page from Kim Jong-un’s psychotic playbook.

• Nancy Pelosi melts down on PBS.

• The very latest in home defense/lawn maintenance.

And so much more at the link, you’d have to be crazy to miss it.

OLD AND BUSTED: ‘I’m Not A Witch,’ Republican Candidate Christine O’Donnell Tells Delaware Voters.

The New Hotness? ‘I’m not a communist:’ Potential Biden running mate Rep. Bass reassures Cuban American voters.

Bass may have her work cut out for her, particularly in Florida: Trump Ad Ties Biden to Fidel Castro as Dem Considers Former Castro Sympathizer for VP.

UPDATE: Karen Bass eulogized Communist Party USA leader.

Awesome vetting by team Biden.

(Updated and bumped.)

HUGH HEWITT IN THE WASHINGTON POST: The Case For Trump Will Come Down To His Record: It’s A Strong One.

President Trump’s record of accomplishments is easy to compile.

Most significantly, he has brought the existential threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party into the sunlight. No more nice words. No more treating the Tiananmen Square massacre as a bug, not a feature. The light is on. Trump has pulled the cord.

With huge help from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Trump has put two justices on the Supreme Court, 53 judges on the federal courts of appeals, 144 and counting on the District courts, and more than 20 on the specialty courts. The Constitution has been buttressed.

Trump’s tax cuts, along with the massive deregulation he orchestrated, led to 3.5 percent unemployment until the regime in Beijing acted with criminal recklessness toward a virus that has devastated the world. Economic recovery depends on those rule rollbacks, and not just grotesque overreaches such as the Clean Power Plan and “Waters of the United States” rule, but on hundreds of other intrusions into the private businesses and onto the private property of Americans.

Trump took a military operating in President Barack Obama’s last years at about $600 billion and moved that budget by his third year to $738 billion, with more in the budget coming soon. The Navy necessary to meet China on the high seas, all 355 ships of it, is being planned and built.

Trump tore up the so-called Iran nuclear deal, which was a tower of absurd hopes built on a policy of appeasement and a foundation of hostility to Israel.

Trump moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and blessed Israel’s necessary annexation of the Golan Heights. His peace plan is the closest to reality of any since Oslo.

Trump took the United States out of the unbalanced, absurd, doomed-to-fail Paris Climate Agreement and has instead focused on and delivered American energy independence. People have real job security in Pennsylvania as a result, if not in jetting off to Paris for follow-up seminars.

Trump ordered Iran’s master terrorist, Gen. Qasem Soleimani, killed, accomplished the complete physical destruction of the Islamic State caliphate and successfully hunted down its terrorist chieftain, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The former was never contemplated by Obama, the latter couldn’t get done by him even though his scampering from Iraq in 2011 led to the rise of Islamic State and its thousand barbarities. The Syrian butcher, Bashar al-Assad, has twice used chemical weapons and twice had cruise missiles remind him that the red line is back and is real. Russian mercenaries attacked U.S. troops in Syria and were mowed down. Not an American was killed. Those are “Trump rules of engagement.” Even Cuba is back in its box, joined there by Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro.

At home, Trump pushed through the long-overdue justice reform legislation and the reorganization of Veterans Affairs, and, this year, the Great American Outdoors Act that fully funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund. House Democrats passed a piffling bill when covid-19 arrived, while Trump, McConnell and Senate Republicans advanced the innovative and massive Paycheck Protection Program that kept the U.S. economy from collapsing even as it contracted by nearly 10 percent in the second quarter as the China’s principal export, covid-19, ravaged the country.

Trump’s border wall, proceeding apace, makes obvious sense. More than 200 miles completed, with Trump tweeting Thursday the length with be 300 miles by September. . . .

Trump’s brawling, slugging, tempestuous approach to everything in every hour has worn down many, but his road is marked by these accomplishments. Former vice president Joe Biden’s near-50-year run in government is marked by . . . well, you fill that in. Polls say Biden is far ahead. We shall see.

There’s an aesthetic critique of Trump that has convinced elites that he must be beaten, that he is cruel and beneath the office. But Americans want their jobs and security back. They like the police. And, yes, most of the time they mostly admire Trump’s style and, almost always, his results.

It is a hallmark of elites — and especially decadent elites — that style is valued more than substance. One hopes voters feel differently.

HMM: 90 Chinese nuclear scientists resigned; investigation underway.

The State Council, China’s Cabinet, has sent an investigative team with other government agencies to look into the recent resignation of over 90 nuclear security scientists at an institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the academy said on Tuesday.

The mystery surrounding the resignation of half of the employees in that research institute became one of the most talked-about topics in China.

The team consists of officials from the State Council’s general office, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the CAS and other departments. It will head to Hefei, Anhui province, to thoroughly investigate the situation, the academy said.

The recent resignation of over 90 nuclear security scientists at the academy’s Institute of Nuclear Energy Safety Technology has ignited public speculation on institutional bureaucracy, employee poaching and inadequate financial support for young scientific talent.

Plus this zinger at the end: “The timing of their resignation also made the Chinese netizens wonder if the scientists wanted to break their ties with the Chinese Communist Party before its imminent demise.”

TERRORISM, INSURRECTION, WHATEVER: DHS’s Ken Cuccinelli: ‘It’s terrorism’ in Portland, ‘not peaceful protests.’ The press, of course, got more agitated about Tea Party protesters who cleaned up after themselves, but that’s just a function of whose side the press is on.