Anywhere ideology trumps science, public service, history, art, and entertainment, ruin surely follows.
In the 21st century, hallmark American and international institutions have lost much of their prestige and respect.
Politics and biases explain the lack of public confidence in organizations and institutions such as the World Health Organization, the Commission on Presidential Debates, the Nobel Peace Prize, the Pulitzer Prizes, and the Academy Awards.
The overseers entrusted with preserving these institutions all caved to short-term political pressures. As a result, they have mostly destroyed what they inherited.
The World Health Organization’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is the first person without a medical degree to hold that position. Why? No one really knows.
In the critical first days of the rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic, almost every statement issued by Tedros and the WHO about the origins, transmission, prevention, and treatment of the virus was inaccurate. Worse, the announcements predictably reflected the propaganda of the Chinese government.
The bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates was formed in 1987 for two purposes: to ensure that during every presidential campaign, candidates would agree to debate; and to ensure that the debates would be impartial and not favor either major party.
Unfortunately, in 2020, the commission so far has a checkered record on both counts.
Conservatives have argued that the moderators of the first presidential debate and the vice-presidential debate — Chris Wallace of Fox News and Susan Page of USA Today — were systematically asymmetrical in their questioning.
The moderators asked both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to explain prior controversial quotes and then to reply to critics’ accusations. The moderators did not pose the same sort of gotcha-type “When did you stop beating your wife?” questions to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden or vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris.
Although the vice-presidential debate was conducted with proper social distancing, along with screens and testing to protect the candidates, the commission abruptly canceled the second live presidential debate for safety’s sake and insisted it be conducted remotely.
Yet White House doctors have cleared Trump, who recently contracted COVID-19, as both medically able to debate and no longer infectious.
The public perception was that a remote debate would favor the frequently teleprompted Biden, who has been largely ensconced in his home during the last six months, and would be less advantageous to Trump, who thrives on live, ad hoc television.
Susan Page is currently writing a biography of Trump’s chief antagonist, House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.). The designated moderator of the now-canceled second president debate, Steve Scully of C-SPAN, once interned for Vice President Joe Biden.All Our Opinion in Your Inbox
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The Nobel Peace Prize has been subject to criticism over the years for failing to adequately recognize either diplomatic or humanitarian achievement.
Yasser Arafat of the Palestine Liberation Organization won the prize in 1994, despite conducting lethal terrorist operations. He allegedly gave the final order to execute U.S. Ambassador to Sudan Cleo Noel and two other diplomats in 1973.
In 2009, the Nobel Peace Prize went to President Barack Obama, despite the fact that Obama had only been president for eight months when the prize was announced. Many felt the award was a political statement — aimed at empowering Obama and criticizing the policies of his then-unpopular predecessor, George W. Bush.
Much later, Geir Lundestad, the longtime director of the Nobel Institute, confessed that the prize committee had indeed hoped the award would strengthen Obama’s future agendas and wasn’t really in recognition of anything he had actually done.
“Even many of Obama’s supporters believed that the prize was a mistake,” Lundestad lamented in his memoir. “In that sense the committee didn’t achieve what it had hoped for.”
Earlier this year, New York Times reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for her work on the 1619 Project. She has argued that 1619, the year African slaves first arrived on North American soil, and not 1776 marked the real founding of America.
Almost immediately, distinguished American historians cited factual errors and general incoherence in the 1619 Project — especially Hannah-Jones’s claim that the United States was created to promote and protect slavery.
Facing a storm of criticism, Hannah-Jones falsely countered that she had never advanced a revisionist date of American’s “real” founding. Yet even the New York Times — without explanation — erased from its own website Hannah-Jones’s earlier description of 1619 as “our true founding.”
The annual Academy Awards were once among the most watched events in America. In 2020, however, Oscar viewership crashed to its lowest level in history, due in large part to backlash against the left-wing politicking, sermonizing, and virtue-signaling of award winners.
Recently, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which oversees the Oscars, announced that it will adopt racial, gender, and sexual identity quotas for nominees — refuting the ancient idea of “art for art’s sake”
Such ideology has also infected, and thus tarnished, the Grammy and Emmy awards, and left-wing virtue-signaling has also become part of the NFL and the NBA.59
The lesson in all these debacles is that anywhere ideology trumps science, public service, history, art, and entertainment, ruin surely follows.
Generations before Facebook or Twitter, Tocqueville warned that censoring the press would endanger the survival of freedom and democracy in America.
With the recent suppression of a New York Post story damaging to Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, many Americans have finally had enough of the one-sided censorious behavior of tech giants. Less than three weeks before one the most contentious and fraught elections in American history, Facebook and Twitter users were alarmed when it became clear they were prevented from sharing the Post’s article detailing the sordid dealings of Joe Biden’s son, Hunter.
Both citizens and lawmakers justifiably fear the enormous influence wielded by entities like Facebook, Google, and Twitter; the rise of an unchecked tech-tyranny where one side of the political aisle has its views promoted while the other side has its views punished. Nearly two centuries ago, the author of one of the most penetrating insights on American life shared similar fears of what would happen should a free press remain free in name only.
Traveling across America in the 1830s, young French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville saw a nation filled with both promise and peril. Amidst boundless opportunities, an economically vibrant workforce, and an ever-increasing equalization of conditions, the potential for tyranny lurked underneath an otherwise promising future. Tocqueville feared some of the forces at work in the young republic could lead to despotism.
To prevent this future, Tocqueville sung the praises of two essential safeguards: a free press connected with freedom of association. Armed with these two weapons, Tocqueville argues the United States can help prevent a tyranny of the majority as well as the chilling and repressive effects of a nascent soft despotism. Yet, of the two, Tocqueville’s principal solution for America is a free press.
Unfortunately, as Tocqueville noted — and we’ve now witnessed — the free press he prescribes functions as a double-edged sword. To be sure, the press and modern media can help cultivate liberty. It can do a marvelous job of keeping the people informed of politics, sustaining their activity in local government, and helping to make their voices heard. In doing so, it can help train the populace in the necessary exercise of freedom. Liberty, after all, is like a muscle: if it is not used regularly it will atrophy.
On the contrary, an unhealthy, ill-functioning press can create problems rather than prevent them. If the press or powerful media organs can influence such a vast number of people at once; if there isn’t enough volume granted to dissenting voices; if the levers of media and press control are too tightly concentrated, a deadly homogenization of the American mind may occur.
When this happens, the former sovereignty of the people is transformed into something both helplessly docile and malevolent — worse, something deadly to liberty. These were the stakes back during the time of Andrew Jackson. Today, the situation is all the more dire.
In “Democracy in America,” Tocqueville writes Americans should strive to be continually “making liberty emerge from within the democratic society in which God makes us live.” One of the most effective avenues to pursuing this is to give some degree of local administrative power to bodies of private citizens such as would be found in newspapers, periodicals, or pamphlets — and today’s social media platforms.
A free press made up of numerous varied newspapers fulfilled this role in 19th-century America. In the 21st century, websites and social media should — hypothetically — join traditional print publications to prevent the dangers of the tyranny of the majority. When operating fairly and nobly, they provide a way for every voice to be heard.
Of course, a free press and media aren’t just useful vehicles for spreading ideas or forming associations, but for ensuring that new associations can connect their ideas over large distances. Furthermore, in a free nation, the press can and should help to disperse power — not concentrate it within itself. The answer to ideas some citizens disagree with is not to stifle, curtail, or limit such speech, it is to encourage more of it.
Beyond this, protecting freedom of the press is vitally important because it can often serve as an individual’s best or only means of appeal. Tocqueville writes:
A citizen who is oppressed has therefore only one means of defending himself; it is to address himself to the whole nation, and if it is deaf to him, to humanity; he has only one means to do it, it is the press. Thus liberty of the press is infinitely more precious among democratic nations than among all others; it alone cures most of the evils that equality can produce. Equality isolates and weakens men; but the press places beside each one of them a very powerful weapon, which the weakest and most isolated can use.
As Tocqueville observes in “Democracy in America,” opening and running an American newspaper in the 19th century was both relatively inexpensive and unregulated. As such, this meant a truly free press was an accessible weapon available to the common man to beat back the tyranny of the majority and the homogenization of the mind.
Thousands of newspapers operating throughout the country and representing various individuals, associations, and interests, was both a way of protecting divergent opinions as well as checking against the rise of despotic or tyrannical forces. In the current climate of Big Tech censorship, men and women of all political stripes should be asking themselves if this can be said of America any longer.
A healthy and truly free press is one of the mechanisms that can help prevent the public from being manipulated into having one set of “approved” opinions. Freedom of the press, says Tocqueville, does not just hold important influence over the success or failure of political parties, it makes its power felt “over all of the opinions of men”; not only that, it modifies both the laws and the mores of a society.
Indeed, if laws can affect the mores of a society, and the mores of society can affect the laws, something that can simultaneously change both is a weapon capable of either awe-inspiring good or tremendous evil. Tocqueville argues a free press has the power to do just that.
What happens if this power is used to stifle speech rather than spread it? The result, unfortunately, is not good for any polity featuring democratic institutions. As University of Oklahoma professor Donald J. Maletz puts it: “Tocqueville associates democracy with freedom of the press as a matter of principle.” As one goes, so goes the other. Forebodingly, Tocqueville calls the issue of how to handle a free press “the greatest problem of modern societies.”
Due to its non-institutional nature, a free press is unique in its role in helping prevent tyranny because it exists apart from the governmental arena. Separations of power and varied institutions are not enough to prevent tyranny if all interests involved are the same — you need associations or organizations outside of government as well.
Ultimately, the freedom of the press may well be the final bulwark of liberty against a rising tide of corruption. By Tocqueville’s reasoning, once the press ceases to be free, it’s hard for any society wishing to regain freedom for its citizens to do so, as the best avenues for opposition will be closed. Because of this reality, those who love liberty and value an open society must guard against any censorship of the press.
Tocqueville acknowledges in “Democracy in America” that an unfettered press can create problems, and is only so virtuous because it prevents more problems than it creates. Even so, Tocqueville goes on to powerfully proclaim one cannot be “moderate” in support of a free press. For Tocqueville, there’s no sustainable or workable “middle ground” when it comes to press censorship.
To “reap the inestimable advantages” brought by the freedom of the press, society must learn how to handle its potential pitfalls. This much is clear, however: liberty starts to evaporate the moment powerful entities within society start to censor its press or suppress the work of reporters and writers.
As historian Thomas G. West points out, James Madison saw free speech as a natural, retained right, not a privilege created by the government. West puts it in clear terms:
There is an absolute right to freedom of speech, just as there is an absolute or inalienable right to liberty in general. … For the founders, speech is simply a part of the overall natural right to liberty, which it is the main job of government to secure.
Indeed, the 1780 Massachusetts Declaration of Rights went so far as to say: “The liberty of the press is essential to the security of freedom in a state: it ought not, therefore to be restrained.”
In her analysis of “Democracy in America,” the University of Notre Dame’s Catherine Zuckert believes Tocqueville saw freedom of speech as an “essential part of liberal democracy.” She’s right. Tocqueville warned stifling press freedom, even a little, will lead to a chilling silence, and society will find itself “under the feet of a despot.”
The publication of Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” shows the power of a free press during turbulent times. Paine’s pamphlet, which sold around 100,000 copies in 1776, is called by historian Grant S. Wood “the most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire revolutionary era.” It is an exemplary case of a political tract in layman’s language that shaped the future of a continent — all made possible by the press.
Freedom of the press, when combined with associations, acts as an incentivization to participate and be active in politics. For Tocqueville, the relationship between newspapers and free associations is symbiotic and correlative: “newspapers make associations, and associations make newspapers.”
Properly functioning and free, the press can encourage debate instead of hindering it. It can foster statesmanship instead of leading to the rise of despots. The exchange of ideas and the proliferation of the best new civic and societal notions can be a chief tool in preserving the essential balance between liberty and virtue in America.
While the left’s current stranglehold on corporate media is formidable, Tocqueville would at least be partially hopeful that the rise of conservative voices on the internet, new media, and outlets like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter will at put up a fight to uphold liberty — that is, as long as they aren’t silenced in turn by the very platforms that are supposed to aid in the spread of ideas.
The “press” may look a lot different than in 1831, but it remains pivotal in the struggle to preserve freedom. Until enough Americans unite their voices and demand that tech giants like Facebook and Twitter stop their oppressive censorship of the very press and media outlets essential to the health of our republic, things will only get worse, and Tocqueville’s worst nightmares will inch closer to becoming reality.
The issue driving the populist revolt has disappeared in 2020
It is a sign of the times that immigration has not been mentioned in three hours of debate between the presidential tickets. A review of the transcripts of both the presidential and vice-presidential encounters finds no questions asked nor answers proffered about an issue that until only recently defined much of our politics and distinguished our two parties. Needless to say, both moderators wanted to know where the candidates stand on climate change, which routinely drifts toward the bottom of any list of public priorities.
Why the omission? It is tempting to say that immigration did not come up because the elites who manage the presidential debates are uncomfortable with the topic, are worried that the issue favors Republican border hawks, and are more interested in subjects relevant to their cultural coterie. But it is also true that presidential debates tend to focus on current events and pressing challenges, and that immigration just does not seem as great a concern today as the coronavirus, the economy, race relations and civil unrest, and California brushfires.
The apparent irrelevance of immigration and border security to the election might also be attributed to the achievements of the Trump administration. But these achievements are partial, tenuous, and dependent on events and relationships and court decisions. And they are easily reversed. What should worry the president is that the somnolence on the border deprives him of the very issue that propelled his rise to power, and that drove the populist revolt against the Washington establishment whose offshoots included the Ron Paul candidacies, the Tea Party, and Republican victories in 2014 and 2016. Immigration is next only to the economy and to the courts as a place where the president can contrast his record and agenda with Biden’s and appeal to national solidarity and historical tradition. His parlous electoral status may be related to the fact that immigration is not much of a factor in this most unusual campaign.
There is no gainsaying immigration’s importance to the Trump presidency. It was immigration that triggered the grassroots rebellion against the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, and against congressional supporters of amnesty for illegal immigrants, culminating in Trump’s 2016 primary victory. Immigration became the touchstone of Trump’s campaign on day one and served as the cudgel by which he defeated Jeb Bush and other Republicans for whom the Bush-Obama approach to legalization was correct. The border wall was not only a rallying cry but also a symbol of how a Trump presidency would privilege American citizens above all else. And Trump fused immigration to economics, by opposing H-1B visas; to crime, by highlighting gang activity; and to national security, by enacting his travel ban against countries that sponsor terrorism.
When Kamala Harris offhandedly mentioned the travel ban during the vice-presidential debate, it almost seemed like an anachronism, so far removed are we from the world of January 2017. The coronavirus imposed its own sort of prohibition. It radically interrupted the mechanisms of globalization, including the flow of labor. Global air travel plunged, and so did apprehensions along the southwest border. The virus ushered in a condition of emergency, in which the Trump administration tightened visa and asylum procedures.
The pandemic accelerated an ongoing trend. The growth in the illegal immigrant population appears to have stopped abruptly during the 2008 global financial crisis and has trended slightly downward since. The composition of that population has also changed, from able-bodied men seeking work to women, children, and the impaired fleeing gangs and state collapse. Border crossers are less likely to be Mexican and more likely to be from Central America or Asia. The Trump administration’s wide-ranging actions, in particular its Migration Protection Protocols, further discouraged unauthorized entry. By 2019, according to the Brookings Institution, the net increase of immigrants in the U.S. population was at its lowest level in years. (And, it might be added, the best job market in half a century was producing income gains across the population.) There is every reason to expect that the combined effects of the pandemic, the lockdowns, and executive orders will keep the number of migrants low.
But for how long? Harris attacked Trump for his “Muslim ban,” but she did not say on stage what the Biden administration would do about it. For answers, one has to turn to the Biden-Harris campaign website. There, the Democrats write that they would “rescind the un-American travel and refugee bans, also referred to as ‘Muslim bans.'” They would “end Trump’s detrimental asylum policies,” including the Migrant Protection Protocols. They would reverse the public charge rule, which makes it harder for welfare beneficiaries to become permanent residents. They would halt construction of the border wall and “direct federal resources to smart border enforcement efforts, like investments in improving screening infrastructure at our ports of entry.” They would reinstate the DACA protections for illegal immigrants brought here as children, and for their parents. And Biden and Harris would “create a roadmap to citizenship,” not permanent legal residency, for the remaining millions of illegal immigrants “who register, are up-to-date on their taxes, and pass a background check.”
In short, a President Biden would return immigration policy to the status quo before Trump. With this difference: Biden, unlike Obama, would be dealing with a Democratic Party whose left wing has been radicalized and includes prominent officials who support such extreme measures as decriminalizing border crossing and abolishing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Senator Harris herself has called for “restructuring” ICE (and for abolishing private health insurance, banning fracking, and imposing universal background checks for gun purchases through administrative fiat). The leftward drift of the Democrats makes immigration politics more fraught, and more polarizing. Having learned nothing from the Trump phenomenon, Biden and Harris are eager to reinstate the exact policies that gave birth to it.ADVERTISING
The failure to control the border and to think politically, rather than economically, about immigration was part of a larger failure. Republican and Democratic elites neither recognized nor acknowledged that the globalized world of the 21st century, while beneficial to them, carried costs for large parts of the population far greater than they had assumed. It is therefore ironic that a pandemic originating in China, which America treated for too long as a “responsible stakeholder” rather than a revisionist great power, has overwhelmed practically every issue but the economy in the final month of the election.
If the Trump campaign fails to raise the question of immigration, the Democratic establishment that stands to gain from the public’s judgment of the president’s coronavirus response will happily ignore it. But they will not be able to avoid immigration forever. Or the furies it unleashes.
Leave it to Michael Barone to point out to us all what should be obvious: It’s the Democrats, not the Republicans, who are being hypocrites when it comes to filling the latest vacancy on the United States Supreme Court.
Up to now, all you’ve heard from the mouthpieces of the mainstream media and the Democratic Party is that, under rules established by the Republicans during the Obama administration, the Senate should not vote on President Donald Trump’s nomination of a judge to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg this close to a presidential election.
This is wrong on many fronts. First, there is no such rule, at least none formally adopted by the Senate as part of its procedures. Second, any such rule would conflict with the president’s Article II authority in the Constitution to nominate members of the High Court. Third, the last time a nominee was confirmed close to an election when the presidency and Senate were controlled by different parties was in the late 19th century.
There’s a lot more to it than that, but you get the idea. In this case, with the GOP and the presidency both in the hands of the Republicans, it is natural, even essential that both move to nominate and confirm a new Justice as quickly as possible. Leave it to Barone, who knows more than just about anyone else writing today about American politics that “Democrats are the ones being inconsistent.”
“If you think a president’s nominee is entitled to a vote from an opposition Senate, then a fortiori, you must think the nominee is entitled to a vote from the [president’s own] party’s Senate,” he wrote correctly. The hypocrites in this instance are every current Democrat in the U.S. Senate who demanded the GOP majority allow the confirmation of Merrick Garland to the High Court following the untimely death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.
Those like Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who demanded Garland get a vote and are now trying to find a way to block the Trump nominee—expected to be announced at 5 p.m. Saturday—are playing a desperate political game designed to convince their funders and their base that they’re on top of the situation.
There’s little they can do to stop the process from moving forward. That’s because former Senate majority leader Harry Reid decided to abolish the filibuster for judicial nominations below the level of the Supreme Court. That allowed Barack Obama and the Democrats to pack the nation’s second most important court—the U.S. Court of Appeals of the D.C. Circuit—with judges who favored their view of the Constitution. Once in the majority, and to no one’s real surprise, the GOP went on to abolish the filibuster for nominees to the High Court as well.
The Democrats, whose frustration is causing them to lash out, are promising to leave no stone unturned in their attempt to upend Trump’s coming nomination. It’s almost certain they’ll find ways to slow its progress through the Senate Judiciary Committee and on the Senate floor, perhaps in hopes some last-minute bombshell might delay the vote until after the Nov. 3 election. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has threatened to launch impeachment proceedings against the president if he moves forward—a further lowering of the bar her party will live to regret—while other members of the House are contemplating the introduction of legislation reducing the tenure of a Supreme Court Justice to 18 years.
That last idea would require a constitutional amendment, something its proponents seem not to have figured out. If they wanted to be clever, they could perhaps enact a law saying Justices could continue to serve but could no longer be paid after 18 years—which would be within Congress’s purview but would likely be ruled unconstitutional.
The most damaging threat, one that many Democrats have made, is the one that involves “packing the Court.” Fearful of losing decisions on controversial issues like abortion, health care, unionization, taxes and gun rights by 5-4 or 6-3 margins for at least the next few years, there are some calling for the size of the Court to be increased to twelve or sixteen members, which could be accomplished by a change in the statute and would not require a constitutional amendment.
Again, the hypocrisy of this proposal is staggering. Back in the 1990s, Republican House majority whip Tom DeLay proposed that the House take up the impeachment of several federal judges who had issued rulings that were, in his opinion and the opinion of others, outrageous. For this DeLay was slammed by the liberal press and by the Democrats who attempted to unduly influence the independence of the judiciary. Yet many of those who complained about that then are cheerleading, if silently, the talk of creating an insurmountable liberal bloc on the Supreme Court that will lock in as constitutional anything Democrats from Joe Biden to Bernie Sanders to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez can come up with. If America ever does become a “banana republic,” as some liberals have charged it has become under President Trump, it will be because the progressives first took control of the Court by special means and not through the exercise of the democratic process.
The 45th President of the United States is opposed by several identifiable groups of people.
There are those who believe unquestionably the portrait of an evil man whose character encompasses nearly every sin imaginable, from a “pathological liar” to a greed-driven, narcissistic buffoon, to a Russian spy, and so on. This is the description put forth by the large corporate press, which has its own reasons for what many know is often completely without any factual basis.
This “alternative universe” is inhabited by many true believers, and led by the Democrat Party which provides the organization, funding, and candidates to continually feed the narrative they have created with the help of the “Deep State” bureaucrats by leaks of both true and false information to the willing Press. The most visible supporters of this view of Mr. Trump are the leaders of the Democrat Party, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and most of their followers in the Congress.
These leaders vary in their personal acceptance of the received Party dogma, with Nancy Pelosi, the most radical true believer, and others more likely to realize the extent of their deception – Nancy being too gullible to make such distinctions.
The deliberate and thoroughly conscious liars of this narrative are the professionals who have justified their truly immoral behavior on the basis of the ends justifying any means. The end in this case is their retention (or regaining) of the ultimate power of government, which for them means maintaining their personal future and fortune. They see Trump as the major threat to their own future which they hope will include their total power over the USA. They began to taste this power in the Obama administration. Even a taste is addictive and these people are addicted to victory at all costs, even turning their backs on the Ten Commandments (Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor”).
There also exists, however, another opposing group, namely, Republican and conservative voters who oppose Trump for personal reasons. The most prominent of these “Never Trumpers” are former Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, now senator from Utah, and former Republican Governor of Ohio, John Kasich, and the Bush family with two former Presidents and former Florida Governor, Jeb Bush. All have chosen different ways of expressing their anger at Mr. Trump, but all were deeply offended by his criticism during the 2016 campaign.
The Bushes have maintained a dignified silence regarding Mr. Trump, although they have been rumored to quietly support opposition to Trump initiatives. Romney ran for the Senate after Trump’s election and has consistently opposed most Trump-supported legislation. Kasich, in the most direct “bad loser” manner, has publicly and loudly endorsed Joe Biden for president.
The man with the most direct Never Trump attitude was Republican Arizona Senator John McCain, who defeated repeal of Obamacare by casting the final, deciding vote against it. Senator McCain died with a deep and permanent grudge against Donald Trump. However, his family has decided according to son-in-law Ben Domenech to let bygones be bygones with respect to President Trump and make their political judgements for the good of the country. In their case, they have decided to support the President because they believe that a victory of the Left in this election would be disastrous for the American people.
The 2020 election
I have agreed with this judgment as I watched carefully the rapid growth of confidence and anti-American activity over the years of the Obama administration, starting with foreign policy and spreading to the weaponization of whole segments of the bureaucracy into instruments of silencing opponents of the administration, especially the IRS, and eventually the Department of Justice (although we did not realize the extent of that corruption until later), and other agencies with direct contact with the American people.
The ultimate act of defiance was the nomination of Hillary Clinton for president, one of the most corrupt people ever to stand for public office. She and her husband sold American interests to foreign countries for a fortune – at the same time she was in charge of America’s foreign policy. But her platform was nearly pure socialism, the next step up from Obama’s efforts to pull America toward that goal.
Now we have an even more brazen attack on American institutions and free market capitalism in the form of a very weak (and probably corrupt) f candidate for president and a strong socialist for vice resident.
Never-Trumpers: Now is the time
For the good of the nation, it behooves the Never Trumpers to put aside their private objections and bruised egos and vote for the greater good of the United States. They know better than to believe all the rubbish about Trump but especially the doubts about his patriotism and dedication to American values. They are neither dupes nor cynics. They should have enough patriotism to follow the example of John McCain’s family and support America’s last defense against the sinister forces we have been witnessing in America’s cities all summer and in the halls of Congress and the nations’ courtrooms for the past generation.
This is the last half of the ninth inning, the two-minute warning is blasting. If the socialists win this election, we may never get another chance.
Is feudalism our future?
The closer the 2020 election comes, the more urgent the necessity for understanding the wealth gap which underlies the entire debate.
The fundamental issue at stake in this election is how America will deal with the fact that the American Dream we all pursue has in fact become unattainable for many Americans. With most national politicians in their 70’s – or even older – the reality is that they simply do not understand that too many Americans today face a gloomy future. They are at a loss to explain why the nightly riots and violence can happen at all let alone why the public officials at least tacitly, and some openly, support such chaos.
What they don’t understand is that there is a great deal of anger in our land, that the traditional mantras of the American ethic just don’t work anymore for a segment of the American population. “Work hard, keep your nose clean, and you too can live the American dream” just isn’t true for these folks, and hasn’t been for a long time.
Who are these people? And why are they so desperate for change?
One of the oldest questions in the American lexicon is, “What happens to the manual workers when the American quest for labor-saving technologies finally succeeds and the need for human labor ends?”
Now we know the answer to that question: The many American workers who have lost their jobs to technology are still there. But now they have nothing – not even their pride.
There is, of course, another segment of our society which has done somewhat better financially through these years. They are the so-called “upper middle class” who have adapted to the technological society, although they are concentrated now in the service industries, since manufacturing has all but disappeared.
Even their children, however, have been affected by their estrangement from two work-alcoholic parents, whose closeness to their children is questionable as is their loyalty to each other. Many of the protesters are white, middle class youths, whose sympathies lie closer to their African American comrades than to their befuddled parents.
It is well known that a coalition opposing this President exists, consisting of the Democrat Party, the Deep State bureaucracy, and the Press, as well as the dedicated Far Left organizers and followers, who have coalesced around the issues of class and race so prominently featured in the violent summer of 2020.
It is clear that while these players have picked by various names the wealth gap as the key issue in this campaign, their timing of the current crisis was not dependent on their discovery of this issue. They have simply taken advantage of the uproar as it occurred.
So, what did happen?
What happened was the transfer of the asset wealth of the American population from the middle class (approximately 50% of the population) to the super rich (1% of the population). (The term, “assets”, is used instead of “income” because income can go up and down while assets tend to be more stable.)
How did this happen? Many factors came together and finally created one of the worst nightmares Americans have ever faced. The most obvious of these factors are three:
The result of this movement on the US working man was catastrophic. As the factories left American soil, the skilled workers were left behind with no job, no marketable skill, and eventually no hope.
The principle victims of this exodus were American men. Whereas their place in society and the family had always been respected and secure, they lost that place in both as they sought and were forced to take lower paying jobs or welfare.
Their self esteem followed their decline. Divorce rates soared along with family abuse, alcoholism, drug addiction, desertion, homelessness, and suicide and the decline of our cities left social services rare and bankruptcy all too common.
Through all this, the latch-key children bounced around helplessly, caught up in the whirlwind that their life had become. As they grew older, they asked “Work hard?” –“At what?” “College?” — “OK” and then no jobs available. “American dream?” — “What a crock!”
What they want is change. The old system isn’t working for them. Why is socialism suddenly becoming so popular? After all, it has been around since the 1930’s. Franklin Roosevelt’s Vice President, Norman Thomas, was an avowed socialist. Few believed in socialism as long as we had the American dream. People believe in socialism now because for them the American dream is gone. And socialists are the only ones listening to the cries of our suffering youth.
First, we must all recognize the underlying problem: it is the transfer of wealth! Prosperity for all tends to reduce all social tensions, as the Trump economy was beginning to show before COVID.
Secondly, if we do not want to watch our beloved country go the way of Venezuela, we had better face the realities of our situation and find a solution.
Finally, while some our people were caught in a vortex of tribulation, others were developing a new way, a new path to the American dream.
A third way: Luckily, many of these pioneers of a new capitalism have been not only inventing a new type of business process, but also organizing a potentially vast new movement to what will become, in my estimation, a new America, open to all races, genders and religions.
The most advanced of these renewed American businesses seem to be the Conscious Capitalistorganization, currently with 16,000 member companies, representing 3 million workers.
It aspires to become a new kind of business, one which is driven by its service to the community – whether that be a local factory, a retailer, or a worldwide marketplace.
The idealism of this brand of business is appealing to the young, who may not know socialism from a community swimming pool, but who do know that they are Americans who value their personal freedom and the room to grow into a happy future without a government telling them what they can and cannot do.
The dilemma facing this country is that conscious capitalists see politics, as do most Americans, in the light of partisanship. As a result, they want to be apolitical so that all sides feel welcome.
Nevertheless, in today’s America, you are either a socialist or a capitalist, either in favor of big government controlling the transfer of wealth from the 1% or in favor of devising a solution which is voluntary and based on merit rather than welfare.
Unfortunately, there are no candidates running for national office who present new alternatives to the socialist programs of the Democrats. The Republican alternative stands for continuing to implement Reagan economics, believing that the wealth gap will solve itself in time.
It seems clear that this is a better alternative than the opposition. At least a victory here would buy us time. By 2024 perhaps a “third way” capitalist will come forward.
As Alexander Pope wrote in 1734, “Hope springs eternal in the human breast.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden, who’s deliberately projecting a moderate image in his campaign against President Donald J. Trump, was accused Monday of being “firmly planted to the left” by Republican National Committee Chairman Ronna Romney McDaniel.
Ms. McDaniel, the niece of one-time GOP presidential nominee Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, told FBN’s Stuart Varney that Biden, to win the backing of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and other hard-left leaders in the Democratic Party, had positioned himself well outside the mainstream of U.S. politics in his latest effort to win the White House.
“I do think he is firmly planted in the left,” the top RNC official said, citing Biden policies that would raise taxes and abolish jobs in the U.S. energy industry to underscore her point. Rather than be vague or misleading about his intentions as he has been doing, she said it would be fairer to the voters if the onetime U.S. Senator from Delaware went “on the road with Bernie and AOC” to talk about his real agenda.
Objectively, Biden is running farthest to the left of any Democrat seeking the presidency since Michael Dukakis ran in 1988. After famously bragging that he was a “card-carrying member of the ACLU” and defending the controversial state prison furlough program that allowed even those convicted of murder in the first degree and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole to be allowed out on weekend passes, the former Massachusetts governor ended up losing the popular vote to then-Vice President George H.W. Bush in what amounted to an Electoral College landslide.
Biden has vowed to roll back the recent tax cuts that sparked considerable job creation and growth in the U.S. economy before the economic lockdowns instituted in many states because of the onset of the novel coronavirus brought on a recession. He’s also pledged to end fracking, which would severely threaten America’s new-found energy independence, expand Obamacare, and has suggested he would abolish the federal law preventing labor unions from requiring workers to join them as a condition of employment. He’s also suggested that as president he would push for the repeal of the so-called “Hyde Amendment” that prohibits federal dollars from being used directly to fund abortions.
The political potency of the abortion issue, which generally adheres to the benefit of candidates who take what is known as “the right to life” position, will be tested in the upcoming election. Trump has made his opposition to abortion rights a cornerstone of both his campaign and his presidency, pointing frequently to the number of judges he has appointed to the federal bench whom he believes are in sync with his thinking on the issue. Stunningly, several recent polls suggest that Biden is nonetheless gaining support among Catholics and self-described evangelicals who the abortion issue is a major motivating factor in determining how they will vote.
Biden and his running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, are also on the leftward edge of the gun issue. During the campaign, both have talked openly about banning the private ownership of certain kinds of weapons and accessories like high-capacity magazines as well as suggesting they are willing to consider confiscation of firearms already in private hands.
Michael Cohen seems to believe his former boss threw him under the bus. If he did, it was only because the man called Donald J. Trump’s one-time “fixer” was standing in front of it at the time. Now, disgraced, disbarred, and in need of money, he’s written a book and is trying to get even.
Good luck with that. The public may be eating up what the major media is hyping in some detail but everything Cohen has to say, no matter how vile, won’t have much of an effect on the upcoming election. Neither will anything the other salacious books say about him – and that includes the books written by his niece, by a former confidant of the first lady, and by former members of his administration. As far as his conduct in business and in office is concerned, the president is bulletproof.
The country knows Trump and the voters have made up their minds. They either love him or hate him, with not much space in between. Some consider him the savior of a nation rapidly descending into permanent decline. Others see him as the cause of the decline. Either way, one more book about what a bad guy he is and who and why people might have gotten paid off and whatever else Cohen mentions in his book won’t move the needle.
Character counts, not just for the president but for the people who cover and criticize him in the public square. Cohen’s skirts aren’t exactly clean, which raises plenty of issues about whether anything he has to say now can be trusted. After all, he’s currently confined to his home while serving out a three-year sentence for tax evasion, violating campaign finance rules, and lying to Congress.
Cohen may have his regrets but most of them probably have more to do with getting caught than with any genuine pangs of conscience. Maybe he’s a transformed person but that doesn’t explain why he stayed in his employ for so long if Trump was so evil as to merit being called, among other things a “cult leader” and a “mob boss”.
Rather than take Cohen and the other “tell-allists” at their word we ought to be at least considering their motivations even if we don’t go into as much detail as the investigations of the president have. These former associates have, alongside the anonymous sources and so-called whistleblowers who’ve helped populate the pages of the daily paper with powerful allegations of political and presidential misconduct throughout the entire Trump administration, imperiled not just a presidency but the nation and the constitutional process.
Are these attacks coordinated? Probably. It takes more imagination than most people have to believe the way they all dovetail together to the benefit of the Democrats – especially to Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden – is mere coincidence. Most people believed Hillary Clinton when she blamed a “vast, right-wing conspiracy” for the problems her husband experienced while in office. Is it therefore that much of a stretch to believe a similar but ideologically opposite group are at work now?
Former Vice President Joe Biden may think it’s nice to have Washington on his side. That’s his world, the one in which he’s lived since the early ’70s, when he first entered the U.S. Senate. He may have been commuting much of the time back and forth from Delaware, but it’s inside the beltway that has been his home.
That’s a liability going into the November election. Biden has lived in a bubble all those years. He may be from Scranton, Pennsylvania, originally, but it’s doubtful he has a feel for what the folks living there now think and feel and how many of they view the government as impeding what they want to do with their lives. His ad guys may understand “real America”—and some of the spots they produced have been masterful—but it’s doubtful he does.
By contrast, and many people will no doubt find this surprising, it’s Donald Trump who has his finger on America’s pulse. The just-concluded Republican National Convention, truncated though it was, made that clear. The folks who spoke in support of his second term were surprisingly, even refreshingly diverse. They all had stories to tell that not only fit Trump’s narrative but the country’s, representing one nation in which we are best defined by those things that make us similar.
The speakers at the Democrats’ convention, on the other hand, ranked gender, race and economic status above their “Americanness.” Almost everyone who took to the podium at the DNC took great plans to place themselves in a category or categories before launching into a denunciation of the president and an articulation of what he’d done that was offensive to his or her particular group. They had four days to make Trump seem like the devil incarnate—and used virtually every moment of their program to do so.
Where this approach fails, and there are already polls suggesting that’s what’s happening, is that Trump and company had four days over the following week to argue that’s just not so.
Moreover, the Democrats’ decision to spend more of their convention talking about why Trump is wrong for America than why Biden is right is highly risky. Once the fall campaign moves to a discussion of issues—and there’s no way to prevent that from happening—character becomes an ancillary consideration for many voters. There’s an argument to be made that shouldn’t be the case, that character should always count, but as the GOP found out in the Clinton v. Dole contest, it generally falls on deaf ears. And, unlike in 1996, the 2020 race will play out with the mainstream media and most of the pundits saying over and over again it’s the most important issue in the race.
It will help the GOP if some of the president’s supporters get together on an independent ad campaign in which rank-and-file Republicans explain why they’re voting for Trump even if they don’t like him or have concerns about his conduct. That message—that what Trump does is less important than what a Biden-Harris administration would do to America over the next four years—would likely resonate with independents who are still unsure which way to turn, as well as with dissident Republicans who can still be brought home.
These same voters can likely be moved on the two issues you didn’t hear the Democrats talk about much during their convention: China and the protests, which, despite abundant evidence to the contrary, Biden continues to describe generally as “peaceful.”
The American people understand instinctively the folks engaged in the rioting, the ones occupying sections of major cities, and whose demands increasingly resemble threats to disrupt the day-to-day activities of law-abiding businesses and their customers are a political force the Democrats can ill afford to offend. Democratic Party leaders continue to distort what Trump said about what happened in Charlottesville, but when it comes to Portland, Seattle, Louisville, Washington, D.C., and now Kenosha, they’ve had little to say. Biden’s recent condemnation of “needless violence” hit with all the impact of a wet noodle and came only after the issue of the riots, as Don Lemon observed, started showing up int eh polls.
Likewise, while the president has promised to get tough on China, not just on trade but because it needs to be held responsible for unleashing the novel coronavirus on the world and then lying about it, Biden and company seem ready to hold hands with President Xi Jinping and sing “Kumbaya,” while getting back to business as usual as quickly as possible. That’s not going to sell with Americans either—especially when they realize the former vice president’s plan for handling the virus and his willingness to consider another lockdown owes more to Beijing than he’s probably willing to admit.
The Donald Trump Show
The 2020 political conventions have drawn to a close with the dramatic (and late night) end of the Republican Convention. And what a show each party presented.
Last week we discussed the Democrats’ effort based on two criteria, technical and content. We’ll do the same for the Republicans.
The Republican National Committee (RNC) broke new ground technically with this production. The bulk of the time for the first 3 ½ sessions was a series of testimonies by a vast variety of people, mostly non-politicians, who told their personal stories. All were interesting, many were gripping – like the widow of the retired police chief in St. Louis who was killed by the rioters, or the young Congressional candidate, who rose from his wheel chair to salute the flag, or the young ex-Planned Parenthood staffer who was appalled by what she saw in a live abortion – and the list goes on.
From a technical point of view, the variety of settings for each presentation, the musical interludes, and, most of all, the pacing of the program was exceptional. The only way so many speeches could have been packed into the time allowed depended on strict discipline of timing, variety of material, insertions of video clips to dramatize the speaker’s prose, and of the settings – all of which were exceptional. This discipline included even time limits on usually long-winded politicians – one of the more impressive features of the program.
The program ended with a brief but spectacular fireworks display and a closing few songs featuring tenor, Christopher Macchio, although the lateness of the hour may have made this segment harder to appreciate.
In all, the technical framework of the convention set a new standard for this type of program, using many of the techniques of documentaries for live presentations. Actually, it is hard to imagine anything but a state-of-the-art production for a man who topped TV ratings for years.
Like last week’s content, the content of either party tends to be controversial, appreciated by the advocates, scorned by the opposition. So, it is with this convention. As a sympathizer with the Republicans, my vies are colored by my own preferences.
That having been said, I was very impressed by the messages of this convention. Among the most impressive features were the number and variety of the presenters. Most were ordinary Americans, whose stories varied in content, tone, accent, and perspective. All, of course, came to the same conclusion – they were voting Republican. The interesting part was the individual starting points. Especially interesting were the Black endorsements, some from Democrats. Also impressive were the young men and women who are the future of the party, led by Nikki Haley, Rand Paul, and Tim Scott, among several others.
The last half of the last evening was devoted to Donald J. Trump, sitting 45th President of the United States of America. The earlier testimonials were a mixture of endorsements of the President, criticisms of the Biden/Harris ticket, and explanations of generic preference for either the Republican party or specific issues, especially reasons for Black support for Trump over Biden. This last segment was devoted to endorsements of Trump by a variety of people, ranging from ordinary Americans to politicians. Finally, the President himself gave his acceptance speech for the Republican nomination for the presidency.
The speech was an indictment of the Democrats’ prospective policies, Mr. Biden himself, based on his half century record of public service, recap of Mr. Trump’s own record of the past three+ years, and his plans for the future. His agenda is mostly well known, although he supplied a surprising detail of some of the planned initiatives. His tone was somewhat subdued compared to some other speeches, but he covered a wide range of subjects. As expected, his speech was very long.
While we on the subject of Mr. Trump, here are some observations I would like to share. I recently had occasion to watch some of his 2015-16 debates. There is no question that he was a brutal, bullying candidate. Never have I seen such behavior before in a formal setting like a presidential debate. It was prompted, I believe, by his distain for all politicians, especially in national office, although he also criticized Dr. Ben Carson as being “low-energy”. Looking back, I think that it was this behavior which gained him a bad reputation among many otherwise open-minded people. I believe he is still paying for that period, even though it did not stop him from winning both the nomination and the election.
I believe that Donald J. Trump has experienced some significant changes since he became President. One of the most significant changes has been his attitude towards politicians. He quickly realized that he needed their support in order to get done some of his most important priorities. He has succeeded in converting some of his most offended victims (but not the Bushes) as well as virtually all the Republicans in Congress from enemies into fervent advocates. Prime examples are Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. He even persuaded Dr. Carson to join his cabinet. Since taking office, he has turned into a great advocate of the Republican Party, campaigning religiously for Republican candidates throughout the country. He has accepted the mantle of head of the Party and pursued it with his characteristic vigor.
Another area of his life has also seen change in my opinion. That is his private life, particularly his personal conduct and his religious practice. Like many other presidents, (not all) he has “grown into the job”. His life is now lived in a glass house – everything he does or says is noted and publicized. He cannot afford to be seen in any questionable behavior. He has become a straight arrow.
He also has, I believe, become more aware that he depends on a force beyond his or anyone’s control. Never known to be particularly religious, he is now seen praying in church and in public, seen as a strong advocate of freedom of religion, and generally deserving of the strong support he received from the evangelical community. Some would say he is masquerading. I believe he is sincere, influenced perhaps by Melania. Sincere or not, it is hard to contest the behavior.
The case for a Trump electoral victory was strengthened by the 2020 Republican convention, with its message of hope, prosperity and equality. We will see how long it lasts.
Voter skepticism of politicians remains high, according to a new survey released Friday yet President Donald J. Trump gets high marks for keeping the promises he made in his first run for the White House. According to a new Rasmussen Reports poll, nearly half of all voters believe he “has delivered more than most” on the pledges he made in 2016.- Advertisement –
The survey, conducted by telephone and online, found general disappointment widespread with elected officials when it came to them doing what they said they would do when running for office. Just 16 percent of those surveyed viewed successful candidates as promise keepers while a whopping 70 percent said they were not with the remaining 14 percent undecided on the question.
Rasmussen Reports called the results “a noticeable improvement” over voters’ response to the question in previous years. In November 2009, the first year the question was posed, only 4 percent of those surveyed said winning politicians “kept their campaign promises.”
Trump fares better than most in this latest poll. Of the voters who participated, 45 percent said they believed he “has kept his campaign promise more than most presidents,” up from 38 percent in a March 2018 survey.
Unsurprisingly, Democrats were more critical of Trump than Republicans, with 66 percent saying Trump had kept his promises “less than most presidents” while 68 percent of Republicans said he’d kept them more. Nearly half of the unaffiliated voters in the survey, 47 percent, sided with the GOP.
Overall, Democrats are “a lot more likely” than either Republicans or independents to believe politicians follow through on their campaign commitments after they are elected. Just 14 percent of those in the GOP and 9 percent of unaffiliated voters believe most politicians can be counted on to govern on the platform they ran on compared to 23 percent of Democrats who agreed with the statement.
The lack of confidence the American electorate has in Washington is probably explained to a considerable degree by these numbers. Neither party finds the political class trustworthy.
The results should be a boon for Trump who, according to every recent national survey, is trailing Joe Biden by as much as double-digits in their battle for the presidency. In his speech accepting his party’s nomination Thursday night, the former vice president seems to say repeatedly he wanted voters to base their vote on how they felt about the character of the men running for the nation’s highest office.
In a contest of competence versus character, a theme likely to underscore the GOP fall campaign, Trump may have a narrow lead. Among voters who think most politicians don’t keep their campaign promises, 48 percent said “Trump is doing better than most presidents” while 38 percent disagreed.
The survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted August 18-19, 2020 by Rasmussen Reports and has a +/- 3 percent sampling error at a 95 percent level of confidence.
Is he St. Joseph or Joe the Terrible?
The Democrat Convention, held last week, was the first time in American history that a major party convention was held on television with no live crowd in attendance. Being the first to do anything is always a uniquely difficult challenge which requires imagination, originality and the courage to risk failure. All these attributes are magnified substantially when your new, experimental product will be seen for the first time – with no trial runs – by tens of millions of people for four days — with the outcome likely to have a major impact on the future of the most famous nation in world history.
This is the nature of the challenge which faced the planners of the recent Democrat convention. They deserve a lot of credit for meeting that challenge with imagination and courage. Their product has been judged on two levels: technical and content.
Technically, the production was excellent. They chose to utilize their Hollywood connections for a news broadcast format, where a host/anchor introduces a series of guests. The hostesses were young, attractive actresses, who performed their commentaries and introductions flawlessly. The “guests” were a mixture of children and ordinary people with a personal story to tell, celebrity entertainers who performed very hip music, and, as the nights advanced, an increasingly dominant collection of politicians, both obscure and prominent. All seemed well-rehearsed and the programs flowed smoothly through every night’s performance –logistical and technical difficulties well in hand.
In all, the technical accomplishments deserve a great deal of recognition and credits to the planners, organizers and implementors of the week.
The content and overall message of the four days was always bound to be controversial since it was designed to present one of the two major political visions. While the major theme of the convention was proclaimed to “unify America”, there seemed to be a sub-text of “dump Trump”. The truly vicious attacks and name-calling of the President did not seem conducive to joining hands with his followers. In fact, it seemed intentionally aimed at infuriating them. The overwhelming impression of the entire program seemed to have been an obsession with defeating Mr. Trump – to the extent of omitting any details of their plans to bring about the unity they originally set as their goal.
They did detail some of their perceptions of the Americans who have suffered in various ways in recent times, including prejudice, police brutality, and loss of medical insurance. The net impression of this emphasis on the evil Donald Trump and of white racism with its effects on the poor African American community was a very dark picture of present day America, accompanied by promises to make it all better, but no attention to how they intend to do it.
If the final criterion of success is audience ratings, then we have to point to the fact that the ratings of this year’s Democrat Convention were down from 2016 by 18% at 22.6 million households according to early estimates. It is impossible to tell how many additional viewers watched on live stream computers. Also, there is no way to evaluate what this means, since there is no similar program to compare it with. The first comparable program will start on Monday evening, when the GOP convention goes live.
The Joe Biden Show
The unquestionable star of the convention was former Vice President, Joseph Biden, enjoying his day in the sun after nearly 50 years in politics. Not only were many of the politicians praising him in the most glowing terms, but they were joined by his wife, children and grandchildren. The praise was most extravagant even by his former rivals, who a few months ago were telling us how deficient he was for the nomination. But then that is politics – all for the party, including setting aside personal opinions of winners. The most prominent critic of Biden in that group was Kamala Harris, who called him a racist (as she does all her enemies). This time, as his Vice Presidential nominee, she professed him to be a man of so many talents and accomplishments that he sounded like a candidate for sainthood.
Everyone was waiting anxiously for Mr. Biden’s acceptance speech on Thursday night, some with trepidation that he would make one of his well known bloopers. He has been accused by many critics of being in the early stages of dementia, but there has been no clinical evidence to support this judgement, even though some unscrupulous physicians have contributed public diagnoses of dementia — or reduced mental capacity – without ever having examined him or even encountered him socially. Such allegations should be discounted immediately and totally.
Another factor may figure in his lifelong tendency to make mistakes in diction, and that is his battle against stuttering. A person who stutters may learn better diction, but the attention that effort requires is a constant distraction from what he is saying. This distraction can cause losing one’s train of thought, hesitation while trying to remember a name or a word or a fact and mispronouncing some word – to name a few of the hazards unique to stutterers. (For more on this, read John Hendrickson, “What Joe Biden can’t bring himself to say”, The Atlantic, Jan-Feb 2020). Stuttering cannot, however, be equated with low intelligence or dementia, no matter what popular opinion dictates.
So, what about the Biden speech of his life last Thursday evening? My first impression was that it was very well done and very effective, the best speech of his long career. It was very much an answer to “Who am I?”, very emotional and personal. It was a testimony to his intent to do his best to achieve the goals of the campaign, in the most compassionate and comprehensive way possible.
What it wasn’t was an illustration of his solutions to the challenges so urgent in American life at this troubled time in our history. There was no mention of China, of Iran, NATO, Al Qaeda, North Korea or any other foreign policy issue. Nor was he specific about internal American affairs – the riots in our streets, the COVID-19 pandemic, the trade deficit, American manufacturing, the current supply chain, among many other issues. Blaming Donald Trump is not an answer. It raises a question, what would you do?” At the end of Mr. Biden’s speech, along with 22.8 million other viewers, we couldn’t answer that question.
Saint or just another corrupt Democrat?
We will close this reaction to the 2020 Democrat Convention with a comment on Mr. Biden as a public servant. There are sharply contrasting views of his history. On the one hand, the praise he received for four long convention sessions left the overall impression that he possesses every virtue a public servant can exemplify. He is a family man, a survivor of terrible personal tragedy, a dedicated public servant, skilled in crossing the aisle in the Senate, a listener, compassionate, with a deep knowledge of all the functions of government, including the Oval Office, selfless and sinless.
On the other hand, his critics cite his record of complaints of illicit touching and fondling of women – bolstered by TV clips of his unduly familiar hands on various women – and then the accusations of his unethically paving the way for his son, Hunter Biden’s, profiting from transactions with Ukraine and China. These accusations are yet to be proven in court.
It is, however, a matter of public record that he has accumulated a net worth estimated by CBS to be $9 million. Peter Schweizer’s book, Profiles in Corruption (2020) details Biden’s actions as Vice President to benefit five members of Biden’s family, although no specific steps have been taken to prove that Schweizer’s charges, even if true, were illegal or criminal. Nevertheless, even such detailed accusations begin to tarnish the saintly profile ascribed to Mr. Biden by the Convention. If proven, they would mark the end of his career as a politician. We will see what happens.
In Ecclesiastes 1:4-11, the author muses over the eternal cycles of human existence. Among the many examples that he brings up, the most compelling one states the following: “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.”
To illustrate the sagacity of this insight, it should suffice to examine the history of minority rules. From times immemorial, all forms of minority rules have been based on mutual fears. Majorities have been afraid of their kings, emperors, dictators, and despots. In turn, the rulers have feared the people, because their reign has been based on oppression and not the consent of the governed. Ultimately, these cycles of mutual fears have always grown exponentially until they have led to violent and all consuming political explosions.
Belarus (in Russian: Belorussia), ruled with an iron fist since July 20,1994, by President Alyaksandr Ryhoravich Lukashenka (in Russian: Alexander Grigoryevich Lukashenko), is no exception. Prior to being engaged in politics, President Lukashenka was the director of a Soviet-style collective farm, called kolkhoz. Before this job, he became a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) and a uniformed guard of the Soviet Border Troops. Having been appointed as a deputy to the Supreme Council of Belarus, he earned the dubious distinction of having cast the only vote against the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Having been labeled “Europe’s last dictatorship,” President Lukashenka has steadfastly prevented Belarus to even begin its transformation as a sovereign state from a Soviet-style dictatorship to a more Westernized pluralistic country. However, like Stalin’s constitution of 1936, the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus of 1994, are modelled in its language after the Western constitutions and at least formally entails all the institutional as well as the personal guarantees, rights and freedoms of a normal, pluralistic state. Accordingly, Section One solemnly declares that the government of the Republic of Belorus belongs to the people. The government is defined as a multi-party representative democracy. While the government guarantees the protection of rights and freedoms of all citizens, Section One also states that the individual citizen “bears a responsibility towards the State to discharge unwaveringly the duties imposed upon him by the Constitution.”
During Lukashenka’s reign, there were three crucial Amendments to the constitution. All Amendments were designed to significantly enhance the powers of the presidency. Approved by a fraudulent national referendum in May 1995 by a majority of 77%, the First Amendment authorized the President to unilaterally disband the Parliament.
The Second Amendment, unilaterally initiated by President Lukashenka, further strengthened his powers. The unicameral parliament, fittingly named the Supreme Soviet, was simply abolished. It was replaced by the National Assembly, a bicameral parliament. Demonstrating President Lukashenka’s increasing arrogance and megalomania, this Amendment was allegedly approved by 84% of the electorate. As a result, all opposition parties were excluded from the new parliament. To wit, due to the lack of transparency as well as ballot stuffing, the United States of America, the European Union, and many other states refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of either Amendment.
Finally, the Third Amendment abolished the presidential term limits in its entirety in 2004. Again, approved by a national referendum, 77.3% of the people consented to President Lukashenka’s demand to serve in the highest office for life. As with the 1996 referendum, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) called the legitimacy of this referendum into question. The organization bluntly declared that the referendum did not meet the requirements of “free and fair elections.” To add a final political insult to the death of legality, the Minister of Justice of Belorus and almost all the legal scholars in the country came up with a completely novel interpretation of the rule of law. In their opinion, laws are constitutional if they follow the will of President Lukashenka and the people. Those laws that do not fall into this category are non-existent and shall be ignored. As a result, the Constitution and most of the legal provisions are in contradiction.
Similarly, the economy of Belarus, which is the world’s 72nd largest, is almost totally controlled by the state. Dubbing his economic policies “Market Socialism,” he reintroduced in 1994 a purely Socialist economy in Belorus. Politically motivated Russian oil and gas deliveries have rendered Belorus completely energy dependent on the Kremlin. President Lukashenka’s feeble attempts to flirt with the West only made him another East European political prostitute of the region.
The most recent Soviet-style presidential election, held on August 9, 2020, delivered the expected result. Proving that in an orderly dictatorship there are no miracles, President Lukashenka beat the stand-in candidate of the opposition for her jailed husband Sergey Tsikhnousky, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya by 80.10% to 10.12%. The opposition cried foul, while President Lukashenka declared that “You speak about unfair elections and want fair ones? I have an answer for you. We had the elections. Unless you kill me, there will be no other elections.” The ensuing protests have been answered with brutal and ruthless crackdown. Calling the protesters “bands of criminals” and “rats,” President Lukashenka has pleaded with Russian President Putin to come to his rescue immediately. Meanwhile, thousands have been detained and at least two persons have died. More importantly, however, President for life Lukashenka has proved again that the mentality of the Soviet Union is well alive and kicking strongly in the eastern part of the continent.
His soulmate in governance, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been strangely silent throughout President Lukashenka’s ordeal. Clearly, he must have learned something from the events that surrounded former Ukrainian President Yanukovich’s dismal performance at the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014 in Kyiv and across Ukraine. President Putin’s restraint might have also been motivated by the potential threat of additional sanctions against his country. Be that as it may, Russia would only save President Lukashenka’s hide if Belorus would move decisively into the orbit of the European Union and NATO. Otherwise, a relaxation or even the demise of President Lukashenka’s severe dictatorship would not rattle the Kremlin.
Yet, the people of Belarus deserve the sympathy and support of the rest of the world. Russia’s eventual intervention should not discourage the United States of America and the European Union to provide political and any other support for the people who have unequivocally expressed their desire to finally live free in a democracy. Clearly, President Lukashenka’s days are numbers. Politically, he is done and not even Russia could save his dictatorship. In the Kremlin, President Putin and his colleagues must finally comprehend that the days of dictators in Europe are coming to an end. In case they would resist, their countries would become not only the graveyards of failed ideas, but also the economic catastrophes of the rest of the world.
It always amazes me just how stupid reporters are. Maybe stupid isn’t the right word, ignorant is more like it. How do people who claim to be the arbiters of what is news not follow the news? Seems like knowing what you’re talking about would be an important component of journalism, especially since journalism considers itself “the first draft of history.” But for too many of these left-wing teleprompter readers and Democratic Party stenographers, history just started yesterday.
MSNBC anchor Katy Tur is known not for her depth of knowledge on important issues, but her basic ignorance of things that happened in her lifetime is disturbing. In a debate in 2017 with a Republican congressman (because why wouldn’t a “news” anchor debate a Republican?), she exposed how unaware she was of something that happened in 2012 – when then-President Barack Obama told then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to tell Vladimir Putin he’d have “more flexibility” after the election. It was news to Tur, whose excuse was, “To be fair, I didn’t touch politics in 2012. I almost exclusively covered fires and shootings in NYC area.” Apparently New York City doesn’t have cable news or newspapers.
But all the ignorance of things that happened before today isn’t limited to television personalities. Colby Itkowitz, who covers national politics for the Washington Post, showed just how oblivious a reporter could be and still hold a job. Saturday, after President Trump signed executive orders related to tax policy and coronavirus relief, Colby tweeted, “Let’s ponder the most played out question of the last four years, but can you imagine if Obama had broken up a congressional stalemate over funding by simply signing an executive order and saying it was so? (jinx @pbump).”
This is particularly stupid for a number of reasons. First, in tagging her co-worker Phillip Bump, she showed she was quite proud of beating him to this declaration, that this sort of talk is common around the Post. Second, President Obama changed large sections of Obamacare with the stroke of his magic pen well within her lifetime. Third, if history didn’t start until Trump was elected, you’d at least think a reporter covering national politics for a major newspaper would be aware of the legal challenges to the DACA program, especially since the Supreme Court just ruled on it in June.
All of these escaped Itkowitz’s notice, somehow. When her ignorance was made apparent to her, she did what all good “journalists” would do – deleted the tweet and pretended it never happened.
Lest you think it’s just the younger media types who are ignorant of history, the senior citizen-set appears to have a memory rivaling Joe Biden’s as well.
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote a column titled “No Wrist Corsages, Please,” Saturday about how it’s been since 1984 that Democrats had a man and a woman on their presidential ticket. “It’s hard to fathom, but it has been 36 years since a man and a woman ran together on a Democratic Party ticket, writes @MaureenDowd,” the Times tweeted about a column Down had written proclaiming the same.
I understand why liberals would want to forget the 2016 election, and why everyone would like to forget Hillary Clinton, but you’d think someone in the multi-person editorial process that takes place before anything gets published by the Times would have a memory of it. (Not to mention ignoring the 2008 Republican “mixed-gender ticket.) You’d be wrong. The correction, “An earlier version of this column incorrectly stated the history of the Democratic ticket. It has been 36 years since a man chose a woman to run as his vice-president on the Democratic ticket, not 36 years since a man and a woman ran together on a Democratic Party ticket,” is one for the record books.
These are but three examples of ignorance of recent history from people working in a profession noted for the smugness of its practitioners.
Sadly, journalism is important. Unfortunately, we aren’t getting any. We’re getting self-righteous lectures from arrogant know-nothings who, whenever possible, ignore their mistakes, which uniformly go in one direction – against Republicans. Is it any wonder that 86 percent of the public in a recent survey said they find either “a great deal” (49 percent) or “a fair amount” (37 percent) of bias in media? They used to at least pretend to be honest.
Of course, when you operate in an ever-shrinking bubble of likeminded colleagues, you don’t even notice the problem. A new study found“Beltway journalism ‘may be even more insular than previously thought,’” which the authors say raises “‘additional concerns about vulnerability to groupthink and blind spots.’”
If there’s no one in your circle who knows any better, you’ll never think you’re wrong and not know when you’ve crossed a line. If everyone you know is polishing their resume in the hope of getting a job in a Biden administration, you’d better update yours too. If Joe loses, you can fill that hole in your heart with the awards you’ll be showered with for your biased, incorrect reporting. And you don’t have to worry about being haunted by thoughts of betraying the ideals of your profession since history starts all over again tomorrow.