The effort to redraw congressional and state legislative district lines in Michigan may be upended after two alleged “independents’ serving on the 13-member of the commission overseeing the remap were exposed as Democrats.
Anthony Eid and Rebecca Szetela, both claimed to be political independents when seeking slots on the Michigan Independent Citizens’ Redistricting Commission but, according to a Washington Free Beacon review of their social media and campaign contribution, the two appear to be partisan Democrats.Normally, such things would be considered trivial, but an initiative approved in 2018 by Michigan voters marketed as providing a way to take the politics out of the redistricting process specifically created seats on the MICRC for four Democrats and four Republicans while setting aside five spots to be filled by non-aligned voters.
Eid’s social media includes posts supportive of Democrats including one that asserts he is “proud to live in a state that voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary” but not Republicans. Szetela has a history of contributing to Democratic candidates and reportedly addressed the Muskegon County, Mich., Progressive Democratic Women’s Caucus.
These activities are helping cast suspicion on the work of the MICRC which the voters who approved it intended to be an independent and balanced commission whose recommendations must have the support of at least seven of its members — including two Democrats, two Republicans, and two independents – before a new map can go into effect. According to The Center Square, a news website covering state politics, more than 9,300 Michigan voters applied to serve on the committee.
After the partisan history of Eid and Szetela became known, Tori Sachs, executive director of the conservative Michigan Freedom Fund, quickly called on both to resign. “The staggering dishonesty of these commissioners is now tainting the hard, important work of the other 11 members,” she said in a statement. “It’s time they resign before they fully shatter voters’ trust in this critical process as well.
”But trust in the process may already be on the verge of breaking. The group that spearheaded the petition drive to get the initiative creating the MICRC on the 2018 ballot, Voters Not Politicians, was, The Center Square reported, “funded mostly by liberal nonprofit organizations.
”Nearly two-thirds of the money donated to VNP came from two organizations: the Texas-based Action Now Initiative gave $5.1 million and The Sixteen Thirty Fund, a Washington-based social welfare organization, contributed $6 million, The Center Square said, citing figures obtained from the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. Other donors identified by the news site included the SEIU-United Healthcare Workers ($500,000); the Open Society Policy Center ($100,000); and the National Redistricting Action Fund ($250,000), an affiliate of the Democratic Party chaired by former Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder.
The stakes are high. Michigan lost a seat in the latest congressional reapportionment, conducted after the 2020 Census was complete. With the U.S. House of Representatives almost evenly split, control of Congress could again come down to a handful of seats in the 2022 elections, making every seat count.The ability to place a thumb on the redistricting scale in a state where the total number of seats will change could have a dramatic effect on the partisan balance of a state delegation. In Illinois, which also lost a seat in reapportionment, most of the population loss has been in the heavily Democratic Chicago area but the proposed remap currently under discussion would see at least one and perhaps more seats coming out of the Republican column thanks to a process known as gerrymandering.
The initiative that created the MICRC was supposed to prevent the districts in Michigan from being gerrymandered. The alleged presence of partisan Democrats on the commission masquerading as independents violates the spirit of what the voters appeared to want to do and deserves further investigation.
The nation’s colleges and universities market themselves to prospective attendees and their families as places where academics and inquiry combine to produce well-rounded students capable of advanced thinking and prepared for the world of tomorrow. The reality, a recently published database of campus incidents shows, is quite different.
The College Fix, a website sponsored by the Student Free Press Association that provides student journalists with the opportunity to expose the insanities and inanities that occurred regularly in contemporary higher education recently compiled a database of incidents showing the so-called “cancel culture” to be alive, well, and growing throughout American institutions of higher learning.
The organization’s work, it says, is the first real attempt to quantify the problem. According to The Fix, the intolerant, politically correct crowd who are both socially prominent and academic decision-makers on so many campuses can claim, at minimum, to have taken “650 scalps” over the past ten years.
Among the outrages large and small identified in the database are:
–A move by the University of Pennsylvania to rename its Alice Paul Center – named for a suffragette who was instrumental in securing the passage and ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment giving women the right to vote – as the “Center for Research in Feminist, Queer, and Transgender Studies” to signal a “commitment” to LGBTQ “intellectual and political movements.”
–A public apology delivered in 2021 by the president of Muhlenberg College – a private college well known for its theater arts department – for a production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Mikado” put on in 2010 followed by the deletion of all the photos of the performance from the school’s website.
–The expulsion from the University of Louisville (KY) School of Medicine of fourth-year student Austin Clark, allegedly over his expression of pro-life beliefs school officials labeled unprofessional.
–The dismissal of Hannah Berliner Fischthal, an adjunct instructor at St. John’s University in Queens, NY after she read a passage containing the N-word from Twain’s anti-slavery novel “Pudd’nhead Wilson” in her “Literature of Satire” class – but not before first explaining the context of the word and saying she hoped it would not offend anyone.
“What we have witnessed over the last decade is nothing short of a new Red Guard enforcing its cultural revolution on American college campuses,” said Jennifer Kabbany, editor of The College Fix. “This database stands athwart the campaign to condemn, erase and rewrite our shared history.”
The number of incidents cited in the database amount to roughly one per week for every week for ten years. The College Fix said updates would be made regularly as part of an ongoing effort “to document every example of targeting and suppression in an age of censorship, memory-holing, and soft totalitarianism.” What has been uncovered so far, the group said, is likely just the tip of a very large iceberg “but there are likely more examples out there, and much more to come.”
The Veep is down, the mayor is up.
It was all hands on deck last month at the home of Washington, D.C., powerbroker Kiki McLean, according to the irrefragable Jonathan Swan of Axios. Some of the Democratic Party’s most experienced and influential female political operatives—Donna Brazile, Jen Palmieri, Stephanie Cutter, Minyon Moore—gathered for dinner to discuss a germinating crisis within their party. “These were old friends getting together for the first time since the pandemic began, and celebrating a Democratic president after the Trump years,” Swan reports. “But the dinner had an urgent purpose.” Its object was to salvage the career of Vice President Kamala Harris. I hope there was plenty on hand to drink.
The brain trust arrived at two conclusions. First, Harris should emphasize her years as California’s attorney general, thereby reducing her exposure to the charge that the Democrats are soft on crime. Second, the poohbahs decided that much of the criticism of Harris’s job performance amounts to sexism. “Many of us lived through the Clinton campaign, and want to help curb some of the gendered dynamics in press coverage that impacted HRC,” a source told Swan. The problem with ascribing your candidate’s difficulties to “gendered dynamics,” of course, is that it doesn’t work. A candidate is truly “impacted” by their own attributes and competence. Sexism didn’t bury Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Clinton did—with a big assist from Robby Mook.
The subtext of Swan’s article, and much of the Harris commentary these days, is the 2024 election. President Biden is 78 years old. Professional Washington appears convinced that he will decide against running for a second term. Harris, as vice president, is Biden’s presumed successor. But the enthusiasm for her candidacy is not exactly overwhelming. Indeed, one of the most entertaining sideshows in the nation’s capital since January has been the steel cage match between Harris and her rival within the cabinet, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. The prize is the Democratic Party. At the moment, Mr. Secretary can say—in seven languages—that he’s winning.
Recent months have not been pleasant for Harris. Her policy portfolio, consisting of voting rights and the southern border, has seen diminishing returns. Neither the unconstitutional “For the People Act” nor the anachronistic “John Lewis Voting Rights Act” is headed for passage. The Justice Department lawsuit against Georgia’s recent election reform is likely to be tossed out of court. Meanwhile, illegal immigrants continue to cross the border in record numbers. Immigration is Biden’s worst issue—thanks, Kamala—and the ploy to address the “root causes” of migration in Central America is diversionary and futile.
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D., Texas) recently teamed up with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) and called on the president to install Jeh Johnson, former secretary of homeland security, as “border czar.” It is unlikely that Biden will follow their advice—the rebuke of Harris would be too obvious. But Cuellar’s desperation is impossible to ignore. “Democrats would do well to remember that public opinion polling over the years has consistently shown overwhelming majorities in favor of more spending and emphasis on border security,” writes demographer Ruy Teixeira in his invaluable newsletter the Liberal Patriot. And Democrats would do well to remember Vice President Harris’s approval rating: It’s upside down.
Buttigieg, by contrast, is cycling his way toward a bipartisan success. It’s true that transportation wasn’t his first pick: He wanted, by all accounts, to be U.N. ambassador. But there was no way Harris was going to let Biden park Buttigieg in the Ritz-Carlton in New York City, where he could spend four years burnishing his diplomatic credentials and wining and dining the financial services crowd that funds presidential campaigns. The U.N. job went to a career foreign serviceofficer instead.
As it happens, though, the transportation gig is working out for the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Buttigieg’s interviews are as gaffe-free (and as somnolent) as one might expect from someone who as a youth tested talking points in the mirror and dressed up as a “politician” for Halloween. The legislation with which he is most associated—the 2,700-page, $1 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework now under debate in the Senate—has a good chance of becoming law. And it’s popular.
Could Buttigieg leverage his experience managing a mid-level department into a winning presidential bid? Stranger things have happened, I suppose. What must keep Buttigieg up at night is his utter lack of appeal to the Democratic Party’s most important constituency: Recall the CNN poll from the summer of 2019 showing him with zero support among black voters. True, he tied Bernie Sanders in the Iowa caucus. But Iowa doesn’t make Democratic nominees—South Carolina does. And Buttigieg placed fourth in the Palmetto State.
Then again, Harris doesn’t have much of a track record with black voters, either. She dropped out of the Democratic primary before the voting began, so it’s hard to judge her against actual results. Which raises this conundrum: How can the Biden Democrats succeed—or even exist—without Joe Biden?
Harris and Buttigieg, the two most prominent options in 2024, are gentry liberals with tenuous connections to working-class Democrats and suburban independents. It’s fun to watch them one-up each other. But Democratic professionals, including Kiki McLean’s dinner companions, must be wondering who else is on offer. Or might it be the case that President Biden has set up his heirs for failure on purpose, so that his party three years from now has no choice but to renominate his 81-year-old self? Sure, Joe Biden is a little crazy. But maybe he’s crazy like a fox.
Reports that Costco, one of the nation’s largest warehouse shopping chains, was no longer offering products manufactured by MyPillow to its members are being met with cheerful enthusiasm by progressives from coast to coast.
On Tuesday MoveOn.org, the leftwing group that pioneered the use of online petitions during the Clinton impeachment sent a message to its followers in which one of them, identified as “Dennis C.” of Tennessee, bragged about how an effort he started led to Costco’s decision to remove MyPillow products from its shelves several months ago.
“Within weeks, my petition grew to tens of thousands of signatures from people across the country, and over 250,000 MoveOn members signed onto my campaign in the following months. In April, I burst out in simultaneous laughter and tears of joy when I heard the good news that Costco stores stopped selling MyPillow products!”
MyPillow was founded by Mike Lindell, a conservative Minnesota businessman who transformed himself into a household name through a series of ads in which he pitched his products that appeared mostly on late night and cable television. An ally of President Donald J. Trump, Lindell campaigned vigorously in support of re-election and, later, was a major supporter of efforts intended to show the results of that election had been significantly tainted by voter fraud.
Lindell’s support for the controversial theory that the 2020 election was “stolen” by the Democrats has proven costly, as it led to the bedding products made by his company being “canceled” by Costco, which currently does not offer them for sale on its website.
When I learned that Costco was selling millions of dollars worth of MyPillow products, I was overwhelmed with confusion, disappointment, and anger. I love Costco and am a regular customer, but MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell is a massive supporter of far-right political activity and pushes conspiracy theories, including those espoused by the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol.
I didn’t want one of my favorite companies, Costco, helping right-wing extremists make millions of dollars—especially as the gravity of the attack on the Capitol grew more clear by the day.
That’s when I thought of MoveOn and—inspired by previous experiences signing petitions—decided to start a petition of my own in January.
Within weeks, my petition grew to tens of thousands of signatures from people across the country, and over 250,000 MoveOn members signed onto my campaign in the following months. In April, I burst out in simultaneous laughter and tears of joy when I heard the good news that Costco stores stopped selling MyPillow products!1
This would not have been possible without the help of MoveOn members and our collective power. For that, I am eternally grateful.
I encourage you and all MoveOn members to find something that motivates you to start your own petition.
It’s incredibly frustrating at times for me to be living in a “red” state and unsure of who else will share my progressive values. It’s also frustrating to see the national news about how Congress is often slow to act on such massive problems as the rising cost of health care, obstacles to voting rights, fixing racism in the criminal justice system, and implementing immediate action on climate change.
However, my incredible experience working with MoveOn’s team and the free petition platform made the process of promoting and winning my campaign a lot more rewarding than I could have ever imagined.
Thank you to the hundreds of thousands of MoveOn members who signed my petition and remember that each of us has the power to create change when we work together.
Start a petition
MoveOn member in Tennessee
The woke ice cream company veers into anti-Semitism
The left-wing ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s announced on Monday that it will stop selling its ice cream in the West Bank and East Jerusalem—or, as the company termed them, Occupied Palestinian Territory. In a move that perfectly captures how left-wing activism is increasingly bleeding into naked anti-Semitism, Ben & Jerry’s said that selling ice cream in the West Bank is “inconsistent with our values.”
We’re not clear how exactly removing Ben & Jerry’s ice cream from grocery stores in the West Bank will benefit the Palestinians. The move appears to be primarily an act of guerrilla theater and a demonstration of base prejudice.
The most common expression of anti-Semitism on the left is the application of double standards to Jews and the Jewish state.
Look no further than Ben & Jerry’s partnership with Unilever, which acquired the ice cream company in 2000. There is no comparison between Israeli policy in the West Bank and the practices of the world’s greatest human rights abusers. Unilever happily does business everywhere from occupied Northern Cyprus to occupied Tibet and Xinjiang, home to Uyghur concentration camps. We won’t hold our breath for the ice cream boycott of China or Russia. But hey, there are no Jews in Xinjiang.
This sort of casual anti-Semitism is not a one-off for Ben & Jerry’s or its left-wing allies. The company defended its partnership with the anti-Trump and anti-Semitic Women’s March as three of its leaders, including the execrable Linda Sarsour, were pushed out thanks to their anti-Semitic remarks.
First, the social justice warriors at Ben & Jerry’s assured us the Women’s March had been “unequivocal” in its denunciations of anti-Semitism—even as it praised Sarsour for her “undeniably important” work. Then the company issued a mealy-mouthed statement that said little about the Women’s March but declared, “Ben & Jerry’s is neither anti-Semitic nor do we support anti-Semitism in any form.”
Monday’s move gave the lie to that blather, and we urge friends of Israel and the Jewish people to vote with their spoons. Morton Williams co-president Avi Kaner is leading the way: He said late Monday that his board would meet to discuss ridding its supermarkets of Ben & Jerry’s.
As the new Israeli prime minister, Naftali Bennett, told Israeli reporters, “There are many ice cream brands, but only one Jewish state.”
Big Tech is not fighting fair in its push back against former President Donald J. Trump’s campaign to prevent it from censoring conservative opinions and opinion leaders, the American Conservative Union said, citing the recent suspension of its network on YouTube, an internet platform used for video sharing as a prime example of its misconduct.
The ACU, which is the primary sponsor of the Conservative Political Action Conference called the recent removal by YouTube of a recent episode of its “America UnCanceled” posted on its CPAC NOW page censorship.
“YouTube censored CPAC because we stood with former President Donald Trump on his lawsuit against Big Tech,” ACU Chairman Matt Schlapp said in a release, calling the action “another example of Big Tech censoring content with which they disagree in order to promote the political positions they favor.”
The episode in question included coverage of the former president’s attempt to mount a class action suit against tech platforms including Google, YouTube’s parent company. The ACU is a party to the suit, which is being brought on the former president’s behalf by the America First Policy Institute, a group he formed shortly after he left office.
Trump spoke Sunday in Dallas, Texas to the most recent CPAC gathering. That speech also could not be seen on the CPAC NOW YouTube page due to a one-week ban on posting the platform imposed on the organization when it removed the program, the ACU said.
When imposing the ban, the ACU said YouTube cited “medical misinformation” related to COVID-19 conveyed by the program as the reason for it but did not state specifically what the so-called misinformation was. In a statement, the group said it believed Trump’s reference to the possible therapeutic value of hydroxychloroquine as documented in what the ACU described as “sound medical research conducted by the Smith Center for Infectious Diseases & Urban Health and Saint Barnabas Medical Center” may have prompted the internet platform to take the action it did.
The use of hydroxychloroquine to prevent or treat the novel coronavirus, which Trump often promoted while president, is controversial in many political, editorial, and medical circles.
“It is clear that YouTube censored CPAC because we stood with former President Donald Trump on his lawsuit against Big Tech,” said ACU Chairman Matt Schlapp. “This is yet another example of Big Tech censoring content with which they disagree in order to promote the political positions they favor.”
In his remarks to the Dallas confab, Trump called the way Big Tech handles free speech issues, particularly expressions of opinion that conflict with the values of the founders of the major tech platforms “unlawful,” “unconstitutional” and “completely un-American.”
Trump used the speech to continue as well his crusade for an audit of the 2020 presidential election results which, he maintains, was tainted by fraudulent ballots. “The truth was covered up, and it had a giant impact on the election,” he said. “This must never happen to another party’s presidential candidate again. We are the laughingstock of the world.”
In a ghoulish turn of events, progressive legal activists are invoking Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg‘s legacy in an attempt to persuade Justice Stephen Breyer to step down from the United States Supreme Court.
Speaking to CBS News about the 82-year-old Breyer, Demand Justice’s Brian Fallon said, “We want to avoid a repeat of the unfortunate situation that occurred last fall,” when Ginsburg—a liberal icon—died while a Republican was in the White House and a GOP-controlled Senate was able to confirm her replacement.
Justices are appointed to the Supreme Court for terms ending only upon their death, resignation or removal. The Founding Fathers wrote this provision into the Constitution to insulate the Court and its members from political pressure.
Ginsburg’s death after a long, valiant struggle with cancer produced a rare moment of bipartisanship in the nation’s capital. Republicans and Democrats alike praised the justice for her devotion to her work, her tremendous success as an attorney who championed equality under the law and her longtime friendship with the late Justice Antonin Scalia, which proved that people with wildly divergent views could work together and be genuine friends.
That era of good feeling shattered shortly after President Joe Biden entered the White House. Progressives immediately started whispering about Breyer, a stalwart defender of the Court’s independence, needing to step down.
“There are a lot of people that were filled with regret after [Ginsburg’s] passing because she did not take the opportunity to step down when Barack Obama was president,” Fallon said on CBS News. He faulted Ginsburg for refusing to resign after the severity of her eventually terminal illness became known, which would have allowed the then-president to replace her with someone even further to the left. “We don’t want to have that situation reprise itself this time with Justice Breyer who is—the Court’s oldest justice,” Fallon told the CBS anchor.
As the Court has moved rightward, it has come under increased scrutiny from liberals and progressives who once accepted its decisions as binding and unassailable, at least when they liked the outcome. Nowadays, those progressives are enthralled with the idea that Congress can overturn rulings they consider incorrect, such as Citizens United v. FEC.
Rhode Island Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse has been especially hard on the justices. Recently he attempted to use his Senate subcommittee to demonstrate the influence of the “dark money” Citizens United set loose. He demanded that justices share their time and travel records so their critics could uncover any unsavory relationships between them and what Teddy Roosevelt called the “malefactors of great wealth.”
There’s an argument to be made that Supreme Court justices stricken with severe illnesses should step down. The Court faced a crisis after Justice William O. Douglass suffered a debilitating stroke and refused to resign even though his colleagues said he could no longer fulfill his duties. Breyer, by contrast, seems to be in the best of health and does not show signs of impairment or loss of enthusiasm for the job. He has no apparent reason to retire unless he himself has decided it’s time.
What progressives are doing now is unseemly and ugly. Were the shoe on the other foot, they might call it ageist and discriminatory. Some will, no doubt, suggest that conservatives would do the same. But liberals tend to advance their agenda and their candidates for elected office and the federal bench by saying they are better. They themselves ask to be held to higher standards.
The jockeying over federal judges didn’t begin with Trump. It started back in the 1980s when Ted Kennedy waded into the slime and ooze on a mission to destroy Robert Bork’s reputation along with his nomination to the highest Court in the land. Judging by what progressives are now saying about Justice Breyer, they’re still stuck in the muck.
The president’s ‘transformative’ agenda runs into reality
Sometime in the last week, Democrats looked at the calendar and realized that President Biden is in trouble.
My theory is that the moment of truth arrived on May 27. That was when Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had to scramble to save one of his priorities, the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, from falling apart. Then, on May 28, the proposed commission into the January 6 riot at the Capitol failed to clear the filibuster.
The panic started. You began seeing articles about the “summer slump” that afflicts presidencies. You started hearing that Biden can’t let negotiations with Republicans drag on. Before leaving for Memorial Day recess, Schumer told reporters that when the Senate returns he plans to hold votes not only on the constitutionally dubious “For the People Act,” but also on the Paycheck Fairness Act, the Equality Act, and two gun-control bills.
And that’s just what the House has passed already. The president’s $4 trillion American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan haven’t come to a vote in either chamber of Congress. They haven’t been put into legislation. The fate of these projects depends in large part on Biden’s ability to strike a deal on infrastructure with Republican senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia. The likelihood of a bargain? Not great.
For Democrats, the Biden presidency is an hourglass and the sand is running out. They have two years to enact the “transformational” agenda that, presto change-o, will turn Biden into the new Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And since they have incredibly narrow margins in the Congress—four votes in the House, a tied Senate—they have to remain unified. “That is a problem with the Democratic Party,” the activist Rev. William J. Barber II told the Washington Post. “What you see with Republicans—they stick together no matter what.” He must not see many Republicans.
It is still a problem with the Democratic Party, though, because Democrats agree on one thing alone: They oppose Donald Trump. They’re happy he’s not president. They don’t want him to be president again. Beyond Trump, however, Democrats are all over the place. They have Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema on one side of the caucus and Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren on the other.
The coalition that elected Biden is even broader, stretching from Cindy McCain to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. An alliance formed on the basis of opposition to one personality is never going to be ideologically uniform. Nor is it going to be stable. The Democrats face a similar problem as the coalition government that was agreed to in Israel this week: What do you do after the boogeyman is gone?
The Senate filibuster isn’t the Democrats’ chief obstacle. Coherence is. Biden is pretending he has 60 votes for the liberal wish list. In reality, he doesn’t have 50. So what does he do? He blames his party’s congressional majority of “effectively, four votes in the House and a tie in the Senate, with two members of the Senate who vote more with my Republican friends.” He doesn’t ask why the majority is so small. He doesn’t rethink his plans. Instead, he amps up the rhetoric. He says Republicans are engaged in an “un-American,” “truly unprecedented assault on our democracy.”
It’s part of a strategy to browbeat Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia into reversing his well-documented support of the filibuster and becoming the 50th vote for the “For the People” Act. More than 100 left-wing groups sent a letter to Schumer this week demanding that the filibuster be junked. As Rev. Barber told the Post, Democrats “need to let Manchin understand we elected Joe Biden—not Joe Manchin—to be president.”
Joe Manchin isn’t president, of course. He’s a senator from a state that gave Donald Trump a 39-percent margin of victory in the last election. Nor is it only Manchin who’s keeping the filibuster alive. Sinema, who won a narrow victory in 2018 in a state that went for Biden by some 10,000 votes in 2020, is too. And Dianne Feinstein seems to agree with them—at least when her staff isn’t around. There are probably several other Democratic senators who are happy to let Manchin and Sinema take the heat for a policy they privately agree with.
If you listened only to Biden, you might conclude that the 2020 election was a victory for the left. It was not. The election continued a three-decade-long partisan stalemate and, for at least two years, handed slight control of government to the Democrats. Why? Because the public disapproved of Donald Trump.
It is this failure to recognize the limited nature of his electoral mandate that has set Biden up for disappointment. “June should be a month of action on Capitol Hill,” he told the audience during his speech in Tulsa, Oklahoma, this week. It more likely will be a month of frustration. The president’s long hot summer is just getting started.
The advertised purpose of the “Endless Frontier Act” is to increase high tech competition with China. This, of course, is a goal that every American should be able to get behind. However, the advertised purpose of the bill, as laudable as it may be, is not actually what the bill will do. In other words, the “Endless Frontier Act” was sold under false pretenses and using fabricated promises.
If the Senate were serious about helping America win the high tech competition with China, it would do a number of important things, including, but not limited to: (1) protect our nation’s intellectual property from theft and abuse by the Chinese; (2) make our tax code more competitive; (3) allow research and development costs to be deducted more easily thus encouraging capital investment in high tech solutions; (4) review and reform our regulatory regime that in many cases is outdated and hindering the development of new technologies and making us less competitive.
But the Senate isn’t considering any of that. Instead, their so-called plan is to spend about $110 billion in taxpayer dollars via government grants to promote new technologies to be administered by the National Science Foundation. In other words, a government agency with a horrific record of waste, fraud and abuse is going to decide what technologies look most promising and then hand out taxpayer dollars to give them a boost. This sounds like the Solyndra scandal on steroids.
So in an era when our national debt has been rapidly increasing at unsustainable rates, we are going to borrow even more money from China and become even more indebted to China — all for the purpose of being more competitive with China. Let that sink in.
But the problem doesn’t end there. The truth is the National Science Foundation (NSF) has a horrible record of waste. The NSF has funded a project to develop a robot that could fold a towel in 25 minutes. A child could fold a whole load of towels in 25 minutes, but for this stupidity you paid $1.5 million. They’ve funded studies of shrimp running on a miniature treadmill. That wasted $500,000 of your hard earned dollars. They’ve spent millions studying what motivates individuals to make political donations. They’ve spent millions studying if athlete’s perception that the basketball rim is as large as a hula-hoop, or that a baseball is as large as a grapefruit, or a golf hole appeared as big as a manhole cover impacts the athlete’s performance.
As Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) highlighted on the floor of the Senate, the NSF spent $700,000 that had been allotted to study autism to listen to a tape of Neil Armstrong’s first moon walk. They wanted to determine if he said “one small step for man …” or “one small step for a man …” It took them a year and $700,000 of your money to determine that they couldn’t tell. And that was money that was supposed to be spent on autism. The NSF also spent half a million dollars developing a climate change themed video game to help children feel more alarmed.
Government is inherently wasteful. For example, our government spent over $40 million building a natural gas station to refuel cars that run on natural gas in Afghanistan to help them reduce their carbon footprint. Yet Afghanistan is a nation where the annual income is about $800 and often cook their food on open fires, and few drive any sort of car, much less a natural gas powered car. Any high schooler could have told you that building a natural gas station in a nation that doesn’t have many cars is a dumb idea.
Government has funded studying whether you and I are more or less likely to eat food that has been sneezed or coughed on by someone else. You and I could answer that question for free. We’d prefer food that hasn’t been sneezed on — even before the pandemic. But government bureaucrats spent $2 million to get the same answer.
So now we are going to rely on these same government bureaucrats to make sure we compete in the high tech arena with the Chinese and we will borrow the money that these bureaucrats decide to spend from the Chinese. What could possibly go wrong?!
I have grown to expect liberals to gladly fund such utter foolishness from our paychecks. But it isn’t just them, there were 19 Republicans who voted for this insanity: Blunt (MO), Capito (WV), Collins (ME), Cornyn (TX), Crapo (ID), Daines (MT), Graham (SC), Grassley (IA), McConnell (KY), Murkowski (AL), Portman (OH), Risch (ID), Romney (UT), Rounds (SD), Sasse (NE), Sullivan (AK), Tillis (NC), Wicker (MS), and Young (IN).
Those who voted for this bill will undoubtedly defend their vote telling you that they want America to compete and win against China in the high tech arena. We all would like that! But let’s try something novel. Let’s do things that would actually help our innovators innovate; and help our businesses and industries compete and win. Also let’s not put a wasteful and often silly government agency in charge of the program. Instead, let’s unleash America’s entrepreneurial and innovative spirit. And let’s not borrow the money from the very nation we claim to be trying to out compete.
Political extremism is by definition problematic. Extremism prevents meaningful discussion and debate and it precludes appropriate compromise — something that in a pluralistic society is necessary as only a tyrant can get 100% of what he wants. The rest of us must, discuss, debate, and work with others to find reasonable and workable compromises.
But extremism isn’t simply believing you’re right. Virtually, everyone who has thought about an issue believes that they are right. That’s entirely normal and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Extremism creeps in when you are so sure you’re right that you feel everyone must agree with you, and that anyone who doesn’t must be forced to accept your views. An extremist doesn’t believe he needs to engage in discussion or debate or build support for his ideas by the logic and power of his arguments. An extremist is willing to use the societal levers of power to force compliance. An extremist has no respect for others to see things differently.
We’ve seen extremists kill others that they deem unworthy or to promote their ideology through fear. This, of course, is extremism in its most heinous and obvious form. We’ve also seen extremism when mobs destroy property, kill others, endanger lives, and demand that the rest of us capitulate to their demands as a result of their threats. This too is easy to condemn. But sadly, some won’t condemn this sort of behavior when it is done by people that they see as aligned with their own views.
But there is another more subtle form of extremism that is widely used in America today and stunningly it is used by many who vociferously claim to be fighting against extremism. What is this form of extremism? Labeling everyone with whom you disagree an extremist, and using the levers of societal power to silence, dismiss and marginalize them.
In the extremist’s mind, other views are not merely wrong — they are so wrong and so entirely without merit that the idea must be silenced and the people who hold that idea must be marginalized and punished. Despite all the talk of unity since the election, there is little evidence that unity is actually sought by the extremists. They demand capitulation and compliance.
For the past decade or longer, Americans who believe that a nation must have secure borders and that immigration must be done according to reasonable and fair laws have been routinely called racists and extremists. Many of these positions were bipartisan or mainstream points as recently as a decade ago.
Likewise, Americans who believe that forcibly shutting down the economy and closing schools during the COVID pandemic was unwise, unnecessary, and even unhelpful are routinely dismissed as not caring about health or life, and now even as Neanderthals. Even the science and data that show little if any benefit from the most strict lockdowns is derided and deemed unworthy of public conversation. The extremists decided that such things couldn’t even be discussed by medical doctors and researchers. In the name of science these topics were forbidden — proving that they have no understanding of what science means.
The label “extremist” is not thrown about because millions of Americans are actually fanatical extremists. Generally, their views have some measure of rationality — if you bother to listen. You don’t have to agree with them. You just have to realize that they are not raving lunatics. You might have different priorities and different interpretations of the facts, but that doesn’t mean their views are so utterly stupid that they must be silenced and marginalized.
The truth is the label “extremist” is too often used as a weapon to silence a large segment of the population, or if it cannot silence them, to dismiss them as unworthy of participating in a national debate. Falsely using the label “extremist” to silence, marginalize and delegitimize others is itself an extremist instinct. A rational and reasonable person is willing to discuss and debate the issues. An extremist doesn’t feel the need to discuss or debate because they already know that they are 100% right, that you are 100% wrong, and that you must be silenced.
This is done daily online with ideological bullies like FaceBook, Instagram, Twitter and Google. The so-called fact checkers label false and misleading almost anything that they disagree with. The “fact checkers” tend to do this zealously to one side, but are more tolerant of the “satirical” or “metaphorical” posts of those they generally agree with. I’ve also noticed that their claims of wanting to provide more “context” is disingenuous because they seem to provide said context mostly for the views with which they disagree and rarely for the ones that support their bias.
Sadly, many of the so-called fact checkers have extremist instincts, and exercise those instincts daily — all while telling us that they are combatting extremism.
The entire point of a debate is to allow both sides to make their best case. If both sides make good cases, great. If one side makes a good case and one does not, that’s good too. It all helps inform the public. But when fact-checkers try to intervene and declare one side is correct, they are simply short-circuiting the debate process. That is far more dangerous than most appreciate — particularly when it is so clearly politically motivated.
I’ve recently seen how this type of extremism can even encourage violence. My mother, also a great grandmother, attended a sign wave during the presidential election, along with about a dozen other senior citizens.
Only a few minutes after gathering, a very angry man in his 20s or 30s stormed over, ripped the signs out of their hands, and shouted threatening profanity while denouncing the senior citizen’s support for the then-current President. My mother asked for her sign back and he hit her so hard that he knocked her to the ground and she lost consciousness. Fortunately, police were nearby and stopped the man and arrested him. My mother has since had surgery to repair her arm that was damaged in the politically motivated attack.
This man was so sure that he was 100% right and that my mother and the others were so completely wrong, that he didn’t need to engage them in a discussion because they were not worthy of a discussion. The online bullies and the media bullies taught him that he needn’t respect people who supported that man. So he decided it was acceptable to steal their signs, physically intimidate them, and assault them.
Additionally, a week or two before the election, I got a call from a concerned citizen warning me that an extremist group with a history of organizing and promoting mob violence had created an online interactive map that was marked with targets that they were directing their groupies to “visit.” I learned that my name and address were marked on the map as a “target” to help the angry mob find me. Evidently, because I’m a conservative, I am worthy of intimidation, threats and perhaps even violence.
This is extremism at its core. And yet, the self-proclaimed opponents of extremism online and in the media are generally silent. It is now acceptable for people to maintain an “enemies” list for the purpose of preventing political adversaries from finding gainful employment. The people who do this are not silenced or marginalized. But the people they do it to are silenced and marginalized.
We should all stand up for free speech and robust discussion and debate. Let’s oppose violence and intimidation wherever and wherever we see it, and not make excuses for it if its practitioners are sympathetic to us. Likewise, let’s oppose the extremist instinct to silence and marginalize people that we disagree with. Sadly, this form of extremism is alive and well in America and it does great harm to the health of our society.
The effort to knock off U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski – the last legitimately pro-life Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives – was a multi-year project undertaken by some of the progressive movement’s most important and influential organizations. When it finally succeeded, it automatically conferred rising star status on the woman who beat him.
Now that woman – US. Rep. Marie Newman – is midway through her first term in Congress and finds that star tarnished by allegations she promised a job to a potential primary opponent in exchange for him agreeing not to enter the 2020 Illinois Democratic congressional primary.
According to CBS’s Chicago affiliate, WBBM-TV, Iymen Chehade, a Palestinian-American adjunct professor at Columbia College Chicago, is suing Newman saying she agreed to give him a well-paying job on her staff if he stayed out of the primary “so she could win more easily.”
Newman won the 2020 Democratic nomination for Illinois’ 3rd congressional district seat with 47.3 percent of the vote against three other candidates including Lipinski, in no small part by emphasizing her support for legalized abortion. There’s no way to tell if an additional candidate might have made a difference in either 2018 — when Lipinski eked out a win, 51-49 percent — or in 2020. Given that Newman’s eventual margin of victory over Lipinski was just about 3,000 votes, the possibility exists that the presence of one more office-seeker on the ballot might have produced a different outcome.
Newman, Chehade’s suit alleges, promised him a government job with a $135,000 to $140,000 salary and the twin titles of “foreign policy advisor” and “legislative or district director” if she won. This was memorialized in an employment contract entered into in December 2018 in which he agreed to help her as an “informal advisor” to draft her campaign stance on Israeli-Palestinian relations.
“Newman was conscious of the fact that there was a large Palestinian-American community in her district and that her chances of success in the Democratic primary would improve if she had significant support within that community,” the suit he filed against Newman charges. Through a spokesman, Newman denied what Chehade claims in his suit.
“Mr. Chehade was never and has never been a candidate in a congressional race for Illinois’ 3rd District. Mr. Chehade was not hired in part because he not only misrepresented his qualifications but was ill-suited for a senior role in a congressional office, as demonstrated by his interactions with Ms. Newman and her campaign volunteers,” the spokesman told Chicago’s Channel 2.
“In fact, in the summer of 2019, Mr. Chehade explicitly conveyed to Ms. Newman over the phone that he could not work with her. It was only after several months of no direct communication between the two that Mr. Chehade contacted Ms. Newman pleading to her to hire him in her official office,” the unidentified spokesman continued, claiming also that Chehade had “spent over a month making false statements to the press.”
The suit, of course, is not Newman’s only problem. What Chehade has alleged is bigger than just a dispute between him and the congresswoman over her failure to live up to an employment contract, says noted election law attorney Cleta Mitchell.
“It is a criminal offense under federal law to promise a job or appointment of any kind for the purpose of securing support for a candidacy. If the facts of the complaint have any merit whatsoever, the FBI should be investigating this matter. In addition, the Office of Congressional Ethics should open its own investigation, which it can do without any third party filing a complaint,” Mitchell says. “OCE has the authority to open the investigation on its own and that is what they should do. This is the kind of law-breaking we’ve come to expect from leftists who preach about how idealistic they are when, in reality, they are just partisan thugs. “
The Democrats are returning to their roots during Joe Biden‘s presidency. The Clintonian concession that the “era of big government” was over has been nullified. The bigger-is-better approach to public policy fueled by “tax and spend” is back.
Biden was portrayed as the moderate candidate in the last election, so this switch may seem odd. Those who follow politics closely know, however, that was spin. He’s only “middle of the road” because the party has moved so far left since he first achieved national prominence.
Over his first hundred days, Biden has embarked on an ambitious program that will lead to a radical change in the role, scope and size of government.
In recent weeks, the president has announced the creation of a commission to study the makeup of the federal judiciary, as he promised he would during the campaign. Former president Donald Trump‘s achievements in remaking the third branch of government—ably supported by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell—might be Trump’s most significant achievement, making it the thing that irks progressives the most. Rather than waiting on Father Time and the Grim Reaper to do their work so they may make major changes to the Supreme Court‘s makeup, congressional Democrats have introduced legislation increasing the number of justices from nine to 13.
The last time Biden took a position on the idea, he denounced it as “boneheaded.” That was back during the Reagan-Bush years. Challenged on the issue by Trump in 2020, he punted to the idea of a commission rather than answer “yes” or “no” to the question.
The dodge worked, and reminded us all what a skilled politician Biden is.
Since changing the direction of the Court can only be accomplished by changing the justices—right now there’s a soft six-to-three center-right majority—the only quick way to bring about change is to change the justices. Packing the Court may be fashionable among progressives not content to wait for Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito to depart, but it isn’t popular with the American people.
According to one recent survey, a majority of likely voters said they opposed enlarging the Court, especially if the purpose of adding justices was to change the direction of its rulings. Just 33 percent of those surveyed by Rasmussen Reports said they were in favor of adopting a proposal like the one put forward by congressional Democrats to add four justices as quickly as it can be done. A solid majority—55 percent—said they were opposed.
“On the specific question of increasing the number of Supreme Court justices to 13,” the polling firm said, “voters divide along party lines much as they do on the more general question. Fifty-six percent of Democratic voters approve increasing the number of justices to 13.” That includes the 29 percent who “strongly approve” of the proposal that congressional Democrats have already put forth as legislation even before Biden’s commission on the judiciary can make its report. Meanwhile, the pollster continued, “Seventy-four percent of GOP voters disapprove of the plan, including 70 percent who strongly disapprove. Among unaffiliated voters, 59 percent disapprove of increasing the number of Supreme Court justices to 13, including 49 percent who strongly disapprove.”
According to the pollster, those numbers are “little changed since October,” when 53 percent of those asked said they opposed packing the Court. Rasmussen found a slim majority in both surveys supporting term limits for appointments to the federal bench—though making that change would require a constitutional amendment, while the number of justices on the Supreme Court can be changed through legislation.
The idea of packing the High Court to change the direction of its rulings has been tried before. Franklin Delano Roosevelt tried to do it in the late 1930s but was rebuffed by a Congress controlled by Democrats—who were nonetheless punished for FDR’s overreach at the next election. There’s something about changing the rules to change an outcome that disturbs most voters. The Democrats had better figure that out fast, or they’ll suffer at the ballot box for their mistake.
The folks who came up with the term “fake news” – no one has ever claimed credit for it – probably rue the day they did. Originally the term was going to be used to discredit anything that appeared in an outlet that wasn’t part of the media elite which contradicted the dominant liberal narrative or painted progressives and their policies in an unfavorable light.
Oh, for the schemes of mice and men, as Robert Burns put it.
Before those behind this grand experiment in thought control could get all the fact-checkers, news outlets, and academics ready to make it work, Donald Trump appeared on the scene and expropriated the term. In the blink of an eye, what was supposed to be an ad hominem attack on Fox News and other conservative outlets came to be synonymous with liberal media distortions of the day’s news.
Now, say published reports, it appears “fake news” is a real thing and, just as the liberals alleged, there are a couple of Murdochs behind it all. Only it’s not Rupert. It’s his younger son from his first marriage James who, along with his wife Kathryn reportedly made significant contributions to a political action committee linked to a genuinely fake news operation allied with the Democrats.
The younger Murdoch, who at one time occupied senior management positions in companies owned by his father as well as a member of the News Corp. board of directors, severed his ties with the family business several years ago, allegedly over concerns of information bias. How odd it is then that he and his wife are now linked to a $500,000 contribution to Pacronym, a super PAC that, according to its website is “affiliated with ACRONYM” – a group that Federal Elections Commission records indicate funded a pseudo-news outlet called “Courier Newsroom,” which circulated Democratic Party and anti-Trump propaganda disguised as legitimate reporting.
The “Courier Newsroom” operated what one newspaper called a network of “impostor news outlets” in electorally critical states such as Arizona, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Democratic Party talking points and candidate press releases were rewritten by the outlets and uploaded to the web as though they were legitimate news stories. It was essentially a political operation, National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Michael McAdams told National Review last October, “funded by a host of liberal billionaire donors” and “poster child for House Democrats’ complete and total hypocrisy when it comes to dark money and fake news.”
It’s a remarkable turn of events given the younger Murdoch’s outrage, purportedly shared by his wife, at the way so-called disinformation propagated by media outlets like those controlled by News Corp. created an atmosphere leading to events like Trump’s 2016 election, the contest of his 2020 loss, and the disturbance at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 – which led directly to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., launching an effort to impeach the 45th president of the United States for a second time and have him removed from office before the end of his term.
“Spreading disinformation — whether about the election, public health or climate change — has real-world consequences,” the younger Murdochs recently said to the Financial Times. “Many media property owners have as much responsibility as the elected officials who know the truth but instead choose to propagate lies. We hope the awful scenes we have all been seeing (at the U.S. Capitol) will finally convince those enablers to repudiate the toxic politics they have promoted once and forever.”
One is tempted to shout “physician heal thyself’ at James and Kathryn Murdoch but it would likely do little good. Whether the contempt he’s shown for honest reporting through this and potential other contributions – neither are talking about how they’ve been spending their political money – is driven by a familial dispute, ideological concerns, or the kind of liberal social consciousness commonly found among the members of the second and third-generation descendants of those who built great companies of tremendous value is not important; sad perhaps, but not a critical component of a drama that some might say has hints of Shakespeare about it.
What truly matters is the shameful way the younger Murdochs have allegedly used resources at their disposal thanks to their father’s success to distort both the news and the political process.
Thanks to the technological advances that have made the Internet the main source of news about global current, it is easier than it once was to pull the wool over the eyes of the people. And, because P.T. Barnum’s still not been proved wrong, information that appears on the web that looks real is too often mistaken as being real.
James Murdoch and his billionaire cohorts who allegedly funded it all and the political operatives who came up with the idea for who knows how many pseudo-news platforms ought to be ashamed of their actions. They cheapened the process and the news business, a vocation some of us still consider to be an honorable profession.
President Biden and the Democratic Party still cannot answer a simple question: “Will you, or will you not, blow up the judicial branch of the United States government?”
This should not be a tough one — especially for Joe Biden. Last time a Democratic president considered destroying the Supreme Court, his party described the proposal as “the most terrible threat to constitutional government that has arisen in the entire history of the country” and recommended that it “be so emphatically rejected that its parallel will never again be presented to the free representatives of the free people of America.” As a senator, Biden concurred with this assessment. “Roosevelt,” Biden said, “I remember this old adage about power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely — corrupted by power, in my view, unveiled his Court-packing plan.”
Evidently, the presidency does that to some men.
Perhaps aware of the gravity of what they are attempting, the Democrats are running a two-track play. President Biden, through whom many of the party’s most radical ideas are laundered, is simply refusing to answer whether he supports the idea, and, in an attempt to extend the uncertainty, has unveiled a bipartisan commission to “study” the issue. Equally wishy-washy is Nancy Pelosi, who generated headlines yesterday by saying that the current proposal would not get a vote in the House, but did not rule out the idea so much as hide behind Biden’s commission and insist that it needed to be “considered” and is “not out of the question.” In the meantime, less protean Democrats are making the affirmative case. A bill introduced by no less than the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and the chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet would add four new justices to the Court — exactly the number needed to hand Democrat-approved judges a majority.
Subtle, this is not.
The justifications that the Democrats have proffered are ridiculous on their face. They claim that the Republicans “packed” the Court themselves when, as the party in the majority in the Senate, they merely used their constitutional powers to approve or reject the candidates they were sent. They claim that the Court must be expanded to keep up with population growth and the workload that results — a contention that miscasts what the judicial branch does, and that does not make sense on its own terms (because all justices participate in every case, a court of 13 will not be able to take more cases than a court of nine, and in any event, the Court’s docket is smaller than it was a half century ago). And, finally, they claim that the Court is suffering through a crisis of legitimacy — which, given that it is more popular and more trusted than it was prior to the additions of Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett, represents the very opposite of the truth.
What is the truth? That, as it grows more progressive, the Democratic Party senses that it will more frequently hit up against the Constitution itself, and that, when it does so, it is going to need judges who are not interested in what that Constitution actually says. To comprehend this is to comprehend the whole grubby initiative, which will confer benefits upon the Democrats irrespective of its success. If Biden and Co. succeed in their undertaking, the Court will become merely another legislature, there to rubber-stamp the Democratic Party’s transgressions. If the endeavor fails, the Court may nevertheless be so intimidated by the attempt that they begin to bend at the knees. And, either way, the public is taught to mistrust Article III.
There is only one way out of this treacherous scheme, and that is the emphatic rejection that the congressional Democrats of 1937 envisioned. It must be rejected by the Republicans. It must be rejected by the Democrats. And, ultimately, it must be rejected by the people — who did not vote for a regime consumed with freeing itself from any meaningful constitutional restraint, and do not deserve to live under one.