Sunday, October 31, 2021
Saturday, October 30, 2021
Biden's Build Back Better plan builds back bureaucracy
By William Haupt III | The Center Square contributor
President Joe Biden - AP Photo/Matt Slocum
"Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery." – Calvin Coolidge, 1925
Political historians agree, the Republican Convention of 1924 in Cleveland is considered the most dull and uninteresting presidential convention in history. Delegates didn't even attend many of the sessions. The most popular drink was a "keep-cool-Coolidge" fruit juice highball. Will Rogers said, "There was more entertainment at local church bingo games than there was at this convention."
This is a reminder that politics is not about drama but principle. It is not about charisma, it's all about character. No presidential convention since 1924 has yielded such a principled candidate as Calvin Coolidge. He promised to cut the deficit, taxes and welfare dependence. Calvin Coolidge's pledge resonated with concerned voters and he defeated southern Democrat John Davis by a landslide.
Nicknamed “Silent Cal” for his quiet and steadfast nature, he succeeded Warren Harding, who died in office. He cleaned up the rampant corruption in Washington and was a model of stability, respect and cohesion for the American people. He was pro-business, against big government and abusive taxes. Coolidge’s honesty and integrity helped restore American confidence in central government.
Coolidge's strong belief in capitalism and small government brought America its strongest growth in decades. He avoided foreign conflicts, slashed taxes, federal spending and increased import tariffs. Americans enjoyed their highest standard of living in history. Coolidge was one of the most popular presidents ever elected. Coolidge told us, “The chief business of the American people is business.”
The quiet, respectable Coolidge was a comforting symbol of virtue and honesty for America. At the end of his term, Coolidge chose not to run again, claiming he had done his duty for America. He was responsible for the prosperity of the roaring 20s and America's unique cultural and social evolution.
When Democrats recently proposed the largest tax increase in almost a century, members of the GOP hastily began seeking a wizard who could resurrect the spirit of Calvin Coolidge for advice!
The goal of the progressive's tax proposal is to put more economic resources under the control of progressive bureaucrats, and limit private sector economic independence. It weighs in at over 880 pages! It is obvious why the left keeps the details of Biden's ambiguous “Build Back Better Act” hidden from U.S. taxpayers.
"Once we pass the bill and you read it you will like it." – Nancy Pelosi
When government spends money, it spends the taxpayer's money. They actually believe that they have an endless reserve of capital to spend. With more than $2 trillion in tax increases, Biden's tax-and-spend misadventure will eclipse Obamacare’s $500 billion in tax hikes that punished America.
Biden's tax increases will fund costly, controversial liberal programs targeting identity and special interests that take over huge segments of the economy. It expands dependence on government and control over Americans and it reduces the socioeconomic benefits of free market capitalism.
Although Biden continues to claim his tax package will not increase taxes on people earning less than $400,000 per year, official scorekeepers at the Joint Committee on Taxation detailed that the "Build Back Better Act" will inherently raise taxes on middle income Americans. Under Biden's tax plan, taxes will go up for families making $50,000 or more per year, contrary to what Biden claimed in the past.
"My tax increases will not affect anyone making under $400,000 a year." – Joe Biden
Biden's tax hike will increase the individual top tax rate to 46.4%. It will add a substantial marriage penalty. These higher taxes that apply to individuals earning $400,000 will hit married couples at $450,000. The bill will add a new 3% surtax for all taxpayers earning more than $5 million a year.
Currently, most small businesses are not subject to the corporate income tax. They are taxed under the individual income tax. These are referred to as "pass-through businesses." These include sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies and S-corporations. Biden will end that.
By increasing the top marginal income-tax rates, Biden's tax bill will substantially increase taxes on small businesses that file as "pass-throughs." They currently pay their taxes through the individual income-tax system. This will also limit the Section 199A deduction for small business pass-through prototypes and impose the "Obamacare Net Investment Income Tax penalty" on them as well.
Biden's bill will increase the top capital gains tax from 20% to 25%. This is another layer of taxation on business. This higher capital gains tax and other tax increases will expand the tax code’s unfair double taxation on investments and savings. This will diminish business output and cut production.
The U.S. tax rate will be higher than communist China's 25%. These taxes will be paid by every American. Industry covers tax increases with reduced wages, increased prices and diminished investment in expanding operations and employment. Businesses don't pay taxes, consumers do.
"Those that depend on government for support forget they are the government." – Calvin Coolidge
This bill was designed by progressives to double tax the cost of doing business in America. It isn’t just a liberal tax-and-spend bill. By increasing the cost of doing business and building the economy though the private sector, this empowers progressive central planners to run the economy for us.
Calvin Coolidge told us, "Civilization and profit go hand in hand." Calvin Coolidge ran America like it was a business. He cut the size of government, lowered taxes and reduced business regulations. His modest, hands off approach to governing grew the economy 8% from 1924 to 1929. The Dow averaged 26% growth in five years. All Americans benefited from Coolidge's limited government.
Biden's "Build Back Better Act" creates $2.1 trillion in new taxes for every American and business. The Tax Foundation determined it would reduce U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) by 1% and result in 165,000 fewer jobs within 18 months. It will reduce America's standard of living. The left's all inclusive tax penalties will give progressives more money to spend than the total wages earned by every U.S. worker.
"Politicians think that all public money is theirs to spend." – Calvin Coolidge
Any tax system that penalizes production and investment in our nation's future is un-American and anti-republican. Biden's tax hikes have nothing to do with people paying their fair share. This slaps American enterprise in the face. It destroys the ability of market capitalism to manage the economy through the private sector. This bill confiscates capital so government can "redistribute wealth and misery." Biden's "Build Back Better Act" is bad for America.
"The chief meaning of freedom is when the American people work less for the government and more for themselves." – Calvin Coolidge
Friday, October 29, 2021
Condoleezza Rice Speaks Her Mind About Critical Race Theory on ‘The View’ — And the Audience is on Her Side
By BCN Senior Editor | The Black Community News
Rice grew up under Jim Crow, but her parents taught her that despite growing up in a world of prejudice, she could still succeed. That’s what we should be teaching our kids. Rice said one of the worries she has when talking about race is that white people have to feel guilty for the past, or that black people have to feel disempowered. She doesn’t agree with this.
Listen to what Rice says about what she wants for black children. It’s inspiring, and it’s clear the audience was on her side.
Thursday, October 28, 2021
Watch: Thousands of Anti-Biden NYC Employees Shut Down Brooklyn Bridge with Protest
By Grant Atkinson | The Western Journal
In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced all city employees who want to keep their jobs must get their first COVID-19 vaccine dose by the end of the week. Thousands of the city’s employees did not take too kindly to that news, and they made their displeasure known Monday.
Approximately 5,000 protesters marched across the historic Brooklyn Bridge to protest the vaccine mandate, the New York Post reported. Many of them were unvaccinated NYC employees, including police officers and firefighters.
“Now, [after] working after countless of emergencies — Hurricane Sandy, the snowstorms … I am under threat,” FDNY firefighter Sofia Medina said. “We are under threat of losing our livelihood for simply retaining the choice of protecting our bodies.”
“Why now are we being bribed and coerced to take a medication. … We are not now nor have ever been a public health threat.”
Protesters carried signs that read, “Recognize Natural Immunity,” “Do Not Comply” and countless other sayings. Many of the protesters chanted, “Hold the Line!” as they marched.
In a tweet at 11:49 a.m. eastern, the NYPD 84th Precinct said they had shut down vehicle traffic into Manhattan on the Brooklyn Bridge because of the protest.
Nearly 3 hours later, they announced via tweet that all lanes had been re-opened.
While shutting down traffic may or may not be the best way to make your voice heard, these employees certainly had a valid point. Governments at the city, state and federal levels have no right to mandate vaccines for their constituents.
Vaccines should be a personal choice, not one that is forced. To make matters worse, many of the people losing their jobs over this mandate are public servants who put their lives on the line to protect others.
One protester named Paul Schweit, who was proudly wearing a FDNY shirt, pointed out the hypocrisy of de Blasio’s rhetoric, the Post reported.
“Mayor de Blasio wants to paint us as immoral, unsafe, and a danger to the public,” Schweit said. “To the citizens of the city, we want to continue protecting you.”
Monday’s protest follows a smaller one on Sunday, when protesters made their way to the Barclays Center. They were speaking out against the vaccine mandate barring star Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving from playing because of his vaccination status.
The Post said any municipal employee who does not get their first dose by 5 p.m. this Friday will be put on unpaid leave. If the number of protesters is any indication, New York City could lose a large chunk of employees under that plan.
In a city where crime is already rampant, the last thing citizens need is for the mayor to reduce the presence of first responders. If de Blasio really wanted to protect his citizens, he would realize that simple fact.
Wednesday, October 27, 2021
Lawmakers demand answers from Fauci on allegedly experimenting on puppies
By Elizabeth Faddis| The Washington Examiner
Dr. Anthony Fauci is facing a demand from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to divulge information regarding the alleged use of an experimental drug on puppies.
Democratic and Republican lawmakers sent a letter Friday to President Joe Biden and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases requesting that they share information regarding the alleged infection of 44 beagle puppies with parasites in order to test an experimental drug on them, the Hill reported.
"We write with grave concerns about reports of costly, cruel, and unnecessary tax-payer funded experiments on dogs commissioned by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases," said the letter, signed by Republican South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace and 23 other lawmakers.
The letter continues on to state that according to invoices obtained through a Freedom of Information Act filing, cordectomies were performed on six- to eight-month-old dogs.
"As you are likely aware, a cordectomy, also known as 'devocalization,' involves splitting a dog's vocal cords in order to prevent them from barking, howling, or crying," the letter points out, explaining that this type of procedure is opposed by organizations such as the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Animal Hospital Association.
The letter comes following several accusations from the White Coat Waste Project that Fauci and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases allegedly used taxpayer money to fund a "wasteful and brutal" experiment on the beagles via laboratories in Africa, California, Georgia, and Maryland.
Mace and Democratic Pennsylvania Rep. Brendan Boyle introduced the Animal Freedom from Testing, Experiments and Research (AFTER) Act on Sept. 14, which directs federal agencies "to develop and maintain" policies geared toward allowing animals no longer needed for research to be adopted or retired, according to a press release from Boyle's office.
The letter continues on to request answers on how many drug tests have been performed on dogs since the beginning of 2018, the exact amount of taxpayer money being spent on these experiments, and the reasoning behind using procedures such as cordectomies, especially given that they are "medically unnecessary," among other questions.
The Washington Examiner reached out to Rep. Nancy Mace's office and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for comment but did not immediately receive a response.
Tuesday, October 26, 2021
National School Boards Association Apologizes to Members for Letter Asking Feds to Investigate Angry Parents at Local School Board Meetings
By BCN Senior Editor | The Black Community News
The National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) letter to President Joe Biden requesting that the federal government investigate parents has caused enough backlash to prompt the organization’s board of directors to issue an apology to members.
NSBA president Viola M. Garcia and Interim Executive Director and CEO Chip Slaven asked President Biden in September to bring the power of the federal government down on irate parents who speak and protest at school board meetings about “transgender” policies and exposing their children to “critical race theory” indoctrination. Parents are also concerned about whether it’s necessary for their children to wear masks all day.
The letter was criticized far and wide for suggesting that the federal government cite the Patriot Act to investigate parents for “domestic terrorism.”
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland wrote in response (PDF) that he would direct federal law enforcement officials to discuss strategies for dealing with a “disturbing spike” in “threats of violence.”
The Free Beacon reported that the White House knew about the letter before Garcia and Slaven sent it and suggested that the White House might have collaborated with them.
The board wrote in its letter of apology to members that while safety for all concerned is a priority, “there was no justification for some of the language included in the letter,” and apologized for the “strain and stress.”
The letter mentions parents in the third paragraph.
“As we’ve reiterated since the letter was sent, we deeply value not only the work of local school boards that make important contributions within our communities, but also parents, who should and must continue to be heard when it comes to decisions about their children’s health, education, and safety.”
The board said it would conduct a “formal review” of its processes and procedures and announce “specific improvements” to ensure that staff, the board, and members would be consulted.
The NSBA did not apologize to parents.
Parents Defending Education asked 47 state school board associations to comment on the NSBA’s letter. Questions include whether they agree with the assertions, how they define “intimidation,” harassment,” and “threat,” and whether they plan to report parents to the U.S. Department of Justice. So far, 21 states distanced themselves from the NSBA’s letter.
Some states said they were are not consulted about it. Indiana said the federal response was overreach. Idaho wrote that had the NSBA asked its opinion before sending the letter, “we would have readily pointed out the mischaracterization of parents and patrons in our communities as domestic terrorists who merited federal investigation. We want parents and patrons engaged in our public schools – we have sought that for years.”
At a House Judiciary Committee hearing last week, lawmakers asked Attorney General Garland about the memo. He said the memo didn’t mention domestic terrorism or the Patriot Act — although the NBSA’s letter did.
“Like you, I can’t imagine any circumstance in which the Patriot Act would be used in the circumstances of parents complaining about their children nor can I imagine a circumstance where they would be labeled as domestic terrorists,” he told the committee.
Monday, October 25, 2021
Twitter Suspends GOP Congressman for Saying Rachel Levine Is a Man
BY MATT MARGOLIS | PJ MEDIA
Photo by: Caroline Brehman/Pool via AP
The official Twitter account of Congressman Jim Banks (R-Ind.) was suspended for tweeting, “The title of first female four-star officer gets taken by a man” in reference to Rachel Levine, Biden’s assistant secretary for Health & Human Services (HHS), being sworn in as a four-star admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps earlier this week.
When Biden promoted Levine, the administration called him the “first-ever female four-star admiral,” effectively robbing a real woman from ever holding that title.
“My tweet was a statement of fact. Big Tech doesn’t have to agree with me, but they shouldn’t cancel me,” Banks said in a statement posted to Instagram. “If they silence me, they will silence you. We can’t allow Big Tech to prevent us from telling the truth.”
Twitter similarly suspended me earlier this week for pointing out the same biological fact as Congressman Banks.
Banks, the chairman of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), also called on Republicans to “restore honesty to our public forums and hold Big Tech accountable” if they win back control of Congress next year.
For the time being, Banks is posting to his personal Twitter account.
“Twitter has suspended my official account for posting a statement of FACT. I won’t back down.”
Twitter similarly flagged a tweet by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene for violating their hateful conduct policy, which “determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”
“A dude who lived the first 50 years of his life as a man isn’t the first female anything. China is laughing at us,” Greene tweeted.
Indeed they are.
Sunday, October 24, 2021
The Farce of American Despotism
By Roger Kimball |
The Soviets had the gulag, we have “cancel culture” in our universities and a brittle obsession with race and weirdo sexuality everywhere.
Reflecting on Joe Biden’s disastrous “town hall” with Anderson Cooper on Thursday, The Spectator’s Dominic Green asks a question that has to weigh heavily on the mind of every American adult: “Is it more worrisome that Joe Biden might not be in charge, or that he actually is in charge?” I have long argued that allowing Biden to appear in public is a form of elder abuse, and I have speculated that he really is not in control of his actions but is manipulated, puppet-like, by a shadowy cadre of unnamed string-pullers I have called “The Committee.”
I do not have any proof that such is the case. I infer the existence and machinations of The Committee from Biden’s ostentatious incompetence and apparent senility. Has any president in the history of the Republic overseen such a destructive litany of failures so early in his tenure? Observers around the world caught their breath in August as our botched exit from Afghanistan went from appalling to something much worse and more deadly. What will be its defining image? The desperate Afghans clinging to and then falling from the landing gear of a transport plane as it took off from the Kabul airport? Or will it be the images of the slaughter perpetrated by a suicide (that is, a homicide) bomber outside the airport, an incident that killed some 170 people include more than a dozen U.S. military personnel?
Or maybe it will be the image of the drone strike launched in retaliation for that slaughter, a strike that was supposed to have targeted an ISIS-K operative but in fact killed zero terrorists and instead blew to bits 10 Afghan civilians, including seven children. The United States initially said they had obliterated an ISIS-K operative along with the collateral damage, but eventually they had to admit that, nope, they got no bad guys, just 10 innocent Afghans.
General Mark “White Rage” Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, initially called the attack a “righteous strike,” but then walked that back to describe it as a “heart-wrenching” “horrible tragedy of war.” Meanwhile, Joe Biden himself called the evacuation from Afghanistan an “extraordinary success.”
I wonder what the hundreds of Americans stranded in Afghanistan think about that? The administration initially said that everyone who wanted to get out could get out, then it acknowledged that a handful of Americans were left behind, then “about a hundred.” That number has just been adjusted up to more than 400. I wonder, too, what the families of those murdered by the Taliban, and then hanged from construction cranes as “examples” to the populace, think of that judgment? Something similar, I suspect, to what the husband and children of Negar Masoomi, the pregnant policewoman who allegedly was murdered in front of them by Taliban agents in September, think.
But whether Joe is calling the shots or is merely the Howdy Doody mannequin manipulated by others, it is clear for all to see that the United States, as Green puts it, is “heading nowhere good.” And the volume keeps getting turned up on the awfulness.
Everyone has minuted the disaster at our southern border, where thousands upon thousands of illegal aliens are pouring into the country, only to be packed off and resettled in a town near you. It was horrible a couple of months ago. Now it is a screaming catastrophe, as another huge caravan of migrants is wending its way through Mexico towards America. Just so, inflation had spiked over the summer, but now it is out of control, the worst in decades, a situation compounded by a crippled supply chain as hundreds of cargo ships loiter off the coasts of California and New York, unable to make port or be unloaded.
Meanwhile Pete Buttigieg, Biden’s transportation secretary is off on paternity leave with his hubby and their adopted child. Santa is predicted to be leaving the North Pole a little light this holiday season, since many of the gifts people ordered will be delayed. And it’s a good thing his sleigh is powered by reindeer, since gas is going to be awfully dear by Christmas. At some spots in California, it is already north of $8 a gallon.
Last week, the world, including our so-called “intelligence” services was surprised the the news that the Chinese had recently tested a nuclear capable hypersonic rocket. The news of that broke right around the time that the State Department issued a tweet proudly announcing “International Pronouns Day.” “Today on International Pronouns Day,” it read, “we share why many people list pronouns on their email and social media profiles.”
Noting that until recently, the United States set “the
global standard in political imagery,” Green argues that that day has passed.
“The US no longer defines that global standard,” he writes.
The Chinese are the masters of political performance these days, whether it’s allegorical nationalist ballets at sporting events or the other nationalist ballet, the synchronized ovation in the Great Hall of the People. Yet our politicians feel they have to keep up with the old American standard. The result, as it was for the Soviets, is farce. We are now beating ourselves at our own game.
Indeed. And one result of that farce is that the mummers’ play of political correctness increasingly substitutes for serious politics, even as the ideology of wokeness replaces genuine enlightenment. “Twenty-first century America,” Green rightly comments, “is a shadow of its former self, so its politics have become a shadow play of propaganda.”
Marx famously adapted Hegel’s observations about history repeating itself, noting Hegel forgot to add that it does so first as tragedy, then as farce. That is the mode of American despotism at the moment. The Soviets had the gulag, we have “cancel culture” in our universities and a brittle obsession with race and weirdo sexuality everywhere. Are we supposed to be proud or alarmed that Rachel Levine, (né Richard) is the first “transgender” Assistant Secretary of Health and four-star admiral? Tocqueville saw the essentials of our peculiar servitude in his brilliant analysis of “democratic despotism.” Naturally, though, he missed some of the more farcical aspects for who, in 1830, could have predicted “International Pronouns Day” or phenomena like Rachel Levine?
Montesquieu put his finger on our situation when, in Considerations of the Causes of the Greatness of the Romans and Their Decline, he noted that “in a free state in which sovereignty has just been usurped, whatever can establish the unlimited authority of one man is called good order, and whatever can maintain the honest liberty of the subjects is called commotion, dissension, or bad government.” Montesquieu was talking about the moment when the Roman republic gave way to the autocracy of Augustus. Mutatis mutandis, what he says applies equally to our situation in which sovereignty has been usurped and concentrated in the hand of a tiny oligarchy that mouths clichés about “our democracy” the better to subvert it.
Saturday, October 23, 2021
High Stakes in Virginia
By Thomas Sowell | Townhall.com
One of the reasons is that many Virginia parents are outraged by the "woke" propaganda their children are being subjected to in the public schools -- and the governor has sided with the education bureaucrats and the teachers union.
This is one battle in a much bigger war, and the stakes are far higher than the governorship of Virginia or the Democrats and Republicans. The stakes are the future of this nation.
When school propaganda teaches black kids to hate white people, that is a danger to all Americans of every race. Anyone at all familiar with the history of group-identity politics in other countries knows that it has often ended up producing sickening atrocities that have torn whole societies apart.
If you have a strong stomach, read about the 1915 atrocities against the Armenians in Turkey, "ethnic cleansing" in the Balkans, or the reciprocal atrocities between the Sinhalese and Tamils during their civil war in Sri Lanka.
Do not kid yourself that this cannot happen in America. The relations between the Sinhalese and Tamils in Sri Lanka were once held up to the world as a model of intergroup harmony.
They got along better than blacks and whites have ever gotten along in the U.S. But then a talented demagogue polarized the country with group-identity politics, to get himself elected prime minister.
Once he was elected, he was ready to moderate his position. But you cannot just turn group hatred on and off, like a light bulb. He was assassinated and the hatred continued on.
There is a point of no return in America as well. And we may be nearing it, or perhaps past it.
Low-income minority students, especially, cannot afford the luxury of having their time wasted on ideological propaganda in the schools, when they are not getting a decent education in mathematics or the English language.
When they graduate, and go on to higher education that could prepare them for professional careers, hating white people is not likely to do them nearly as much good as knowing math and English.
This may be a new issue to some people, but such irresponsible indoctrination has been going on for decades. Back in 1993, my book "Inside American Education" had a long chapter titled "Classroom Brainwashing."
Anyone who reads the school propagandists' own words quoted there can find that a sickening experience as well.
Parents who protest the arrogant abuse of a captive audience of children are performing an important public service. They deserve something better than having the Biden administration's Attorney General threatening them.
But this whole issue is far older and far bigger than the Biden administration. It will be a cancerous threat to this country, long after the current administration is over.
Poisonous indoctrination will not stop unless it gets stopped. But most parents and voters have lives to lead, and cannot keep monitoring everything the schools do.
Most low-income parents lack the one thing that would get them taken seriously by the education establishment -- an ability to take their children to other schools.
Parents and voters in New York state can go on the Internet and see the State Education Department's data on how many students in traditional public schools and in charter schools pass the math and English tests. People in other states may have something similar.
In low-income minority neighborhoods, most of the students in unionized public schools fail both these statewide tests. But most students in charter schools in the same neighborhoods pass those same tests -- several times more often.
In 2013, a 5th-grade class in a Harlem charter school scored higher in math than any other 5th-grade class in the state.
Neither the educational problems nor the propaganda problems can be solved without allowing parents the option to take their children out of the failing schools they are forced to attend.
Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His website is www.tsowell.com.
Friday, October 22, 2021
The Confusing Mr. Biden
By The Editorial Board | The Wall Street
President Joe Biden participates in a CNN town hall at Baltimore Center Stage in Baltimore, Oct. 21. - PHOTO: NICHOLAS KAMM/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
The President’s town hall performance is cause for concern.
White House handlers shield President Biden from the press as much as possible, and Thursday’s town hall on CNN shows why. Even with a friendly audience and softball questions, Mr. Biden’s performance revealed why so many Americans are losing confidence in his Presidency.
One big problem is that Mr. Biden often doesn’t seem to know what he’s talking about. Take rising gas prices that are a growing public concern. Mr. Biden blamed the OPEC cartel for not producing more oil, but then he said the answer is “ultimately . . . investing in renewable energy.”
Most cars still run on gasoline, not solar or wind power. Electric cars remain impractical for most Americans. The way to reduce gas prices is to produce more oil to increase the supply. Mr. Biden wouldn’t have to plead with OPEC to produce more if he weren’t working so hard to limit U.S. oil production.
How about the supply-chain bottlenecks contributing to shortages and inflation? Mr. Biden blamed Covid and employers who won’t pay enough to attract workers. But employers are bidding up wages nearly across the economy and they still can’t fill the more than 10 million job openings nationwide.
Asked if he’d call in the National Guard to address the shortage of truckers, Mr. Biden said he would. But the deployment of the Guard is actually controlled by Governors, as the White House later clarified.
Mr. Biden’s confusion extended to foreign policy, which is supposed to be his strength. Regarding Taiwan—a crucial issue with China—Mr. Biden misstated U.S. policy. Asked “can you vow to protect Taiwan,” Mr. Biden said “yes.”
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper must have figured this was news, because he gave Mr. Biden another chance: “So are you saying that the United States would come to Taiwan’s defense if—”
Mr. Biden: “Yes.”
Mr. Cooper: —“China attacked?”
Mr. Biden: “Yes, we have a commitment to do that.”
The actual U.S. policy toward Taiwan is “strategic ambiguity” about U.S. intentions. The Taiwan Relations Act commits the U.S. to help Taiwan defend itself but does not include a NATO-like commitment to go to war to defend the island democracy. Many people think the U.S. should make such a commitment explicit so Beijing doesn’t miscalculate and invade the island. Was Mr. Biden announcing a change in U.S. policy?
Apparently not, because the White House soon walked back Mr. Biden’s words. Strategic ambiguity lives, or perhaps we should say strategic confusion in the case of Mr. Biden. You have to wonder what the hard men in Beijing think of this performance. Does the fast White House retreat from Mr. Biden’s words mean the U.S. doesn’t intend to defend Taiwan? What is U.S. policy? Wars have started amid such mixed signals to adversaries.
We take no pleasure in pointing this out, since the U.S. needs a President who can handle the strains of the job. Mr. Biden was never Demosthenes, and all Presidents stumble in speech. But Mr. Biden’s frequent public confusion about the major issues of the day is a reason for the growing public concern.
Thursday, October 21, 2021
‘Woke Racism’ by John McWhorter
By Tunku Varadarajan
Illustration of John McWhorter by BARBARA KELLEY
For the left, antiracism is the new religion, and ‘pious, unempirical virtue signaling’ is a form of political activism.
‘This book frankly leapt out of me,” writes John McWhorter, “during the summer of 2020.” The country was convulsed not just with Covid-19, but with protests in response to the killing of an unarmed black man by a white policeman whose actions were caught on camera. Mr. McWhorter began to write in the first week of August. Eight weeks later, he’d finished “Woke Racism,” a book that hits back at the “antiracists” who prowl public life in search of transgression, and whose mission to rid America of “racist” thought he likens to that of a religious cult. His book is a cry from the heart, and readers should gauge the depth of his indignation from the fact that its working title was “F*** ’Em.”
This eloquent manifesto is Mr. McWhorter’s 22nd book, a majority of those on the subject of linguistics. His is a split personality: A linguist in his day job as a professor at Columbia University (specializing in creoles, particularly the Saramaccan language in Suriname), he’s also an outspoken commentator on race whenever the national mood requires it. As Mr. McWhorter’s thinking on race is in conflict with that of the black American political mainstream, he’s often miscast as a black conservative by glib taxonomists. But he’s careful to point out that he wasn’t “thinking of right-wing America as my audience,” even as he acknowledges that many liberal readers will think him “traitorous” for writing this book.
Mr. McWhorter’s target audience is, precisely, the one that would regard him as racially incendiary. It includes white progressives who have “fallen under the impression that pious, unempirical virtue signaling about race is a form of moral enlightenment and political activism.” Equally, it comprises black people who have succumbed to the “misimpression” that the way to their own salvation lies in “a curated persona as eternally victimized souls.”
Mr. McWhorter’s targets in “Woke Racism” are antiracist crusaders whom he calls the Elect—borrowing a term used by the essayist Joseph Bottum in his book “An Anxious Age” (2014). Mr. McWhorter chooses not to call these people Social Justice Warriors or Inquisitors, deeming those labels “unsuitably dismissive” and “mean,” respectively. He’s not the first to trace the “rootstock” of their ideology to critical race theory. This is a once-fringe belief, now muscling its way into mainstream thought, that every individual’s fate is determined by racial “hierarchy” and power. The theory contends, writes Mr. McWhorter, that a nonwhite in America is “akin to the captive oarsman slave straining belowdecks in chains.”
The Elect, Mr. McWhorter notes, pursue a proselytizing brand of antiracism that has had a particularly harmful effect on academic inquiry, “sometimes strangling it like kudzu.” Bestselling books like Robin DiAngelo’s “White Fragility”—which flagellates white people for their incurable racism—and Ibram X. Kendi’s “How to Be an Antiracist” are the gospels of the antiracist left.
The Elect have a weapon in their arsenal that lends them outsize power. As a result of the “genuine and invaluable change” that has occurred in the modern white American since the Civil Rights movement, “being called a racist is all but equivalent to being called a pedophile.” Those who police our minds for racism believe that Americans who don’t fight to overturn “the systemic pervasiveness of white supremacy” must be regarded as racist themselves. The world of the Elect is “Manichaean,” its fervor “absolutist.”
How can academics, journalists, CEOs and others combat this new culture of race-based anathema? Mr. McWhorter’s answer is refreshingly non-theoretical. Do not debate the Elect, he counsels, for “they seek not conversation but conversion.” Asking them to heed the post-Enlightenment commitment to free speech is a waste of time. We must “work around” them.
Invoking Alexander Solzhenitsyn—who wrote of the everyday courage needed to resist Soviet oppression—Mr. McWhorter says that America needs “civil valor” to combat the Elect. A critical mass of people must steel itself and start confronting the tormentors. He points to examples where people or corporations have pushed back against woke pressure: Trader Joe’s, the supermarket chain, declined to change its ethnic-oriented branding of certain products after facing accusations of racism (and offering, at first, an apology); hundreds of professors gave their support to Abigail Thompson, a math professor at the University of California, Davis, who refused to comply with “diversity” requirements imposed on her by administrators.
These examples—and others he’s compiled in his book—show us, says Mr. McWhorter, that the Elect can be put in their place if Americans behave like Galileo did before the Inquisition.
Antiracist activists have learned, he says, that they can get what they wish for if they use loudly condemnatory language. After all, no one wants to be shamed as racist on social media—the 21st-century equivalent of being burned at the stake. Mr. McWhorter equips us with some “sample scripts” that might be used in response to antiracist bullies by their beleaguered quarry. An example: “I will not sign this petition, and I don’t care what you call me when I don’t.” Another: “No, we will not refocus our entire curriculum around antiracism. We do not think of battling racism as the most important goal of our program.” Having risen in rebellion, the brave must stand their ground. “Be Spartacus,” Mr. McWhorter says.
This is a tonic to hear, of course. Yet to some weary Americans, resigned to seeing wokeness end jobs and wreck reputations, Mr. McWhorter may sound naive or overoptimistic. (Didn’t Spartacus die in battle?) At present, people at the commanding heights of our culture are all too eager to cave, no matter how loudly an individual accused of racism asserts his innocence. That said, it would be bracing if—as a start—people stopped apologizing when hounded by the Elect.
The book finishes with a robust marine metaphor. Mr. McWhorter suggests that the woke be dealt with the way some swimmers deal with sharks. “You can make a shark approaching you go away by bopping it on the nose,” he writes. The Elect are like sharks. They need to be bopped on the nose.
A faultlessly polite man, he stresses that he doesn’t mean anything physical.
Mr. Varadarajan, a Journal contributor, is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and at New York University Law School’s Classical Liberal Institute.
Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Democrat Strategist Has an Ominous Warning for His Party in 2022
BY MATT MARGOLIS | P J MEDIA
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
Biden’s tanking poll numbers nationally and in key swing states spell big trouble for Democrats in the 2022 midterm elections, says Democrat strategist Douglas Schoen. He says they could endure a “blowout defeat.”
“President Biden is in a significantly weaker position now than both of his most recent Democratic predecessors — Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — at this point in their presidencies,” Schoen notes in an op-ed in The Hill. “Which suggests that Democrats could suffer even more substantial losses in 2022 than the party did in 1994 and 2010.”
Schoen served as an adviser to President Clinton and advised Michael Bloomberg’s 2020 presidential campaign.
“Indeed, voters nationally and in seven key swing-states disapprove, rather than approve, of the job President Biden is doing by a margin of 7-points or greater, according to a Civiqs survey released last week,” he continued. “Nationally, one-half [50 percent of voters disapprove of the job Joe Biden is doing as president, while just 42 percent approve.”
Schoen noted that Obama’s net approval rating was 19 points higher than Biden’s right now, and yet in the 2010 midterms, Democrats lost a net of 64 seats in the House, and Republicans gained six seats in the Senate. In 1994, Democrats lost a net of 52 seats in the House, and Republicans gained eight seats in the Senate.
While there’s still more than a year before the midterms, Schoen acknowledged that “Democrats’ blowout midterm defeats in both 1994 and 2010 can be attributed in large part to their passage of massive spending and tax bills in the years prior.”
“The Democrats’ 1994 defeat came after they pushed through Congress the then-largest tax increase in history without any Republican support,” Schoen points out. “And in 2010, Democrats lost due in large part to voters’ perception of an ineffective economic stimulus, as well as governmental overreach on healthcare and the economy by the administration and congressional Democrats.”
History seems to be repeating itself as Democrats are pushing a $3.5 trillion spending bill, which even Schoen admits will not only bring massive tax increases, but also increase annual deficits, the national debt, and inflation. This, he believes, will likely spark an “electoral backlash” bigger than both 1994 and 2010.
Historically speaking, the party in power loses seats in midterm elections. Between Biden’s botched Afghanistan withdrawal and other bad policies, things aren’t looking good for him. While some in the party think there’s time to recover, Schoen suggests that things could actually get worse for the Democrats. He’s likely right. Last month, another Democrat strategist saw the writing on the wall and advised Democrats to steamroll their agenda while they still can. That seems to be the approach they’re attempting to take, apparently unwilling to realize that their radical agenda is what is causing the shift against them in the first place.
Democrats Are Increasingly Freaking Out About 2022
BY CHRIS QUEEN | P J MEDIA
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
The 2020 election was a tough one for Democrats. Other than the presidency and the Senate, Democrats suffered at the ballot box. The party lost 11 House seats and face the narrowest House majority in two decades. Add to the damage the beating Democrats took in state races, and 2020 looked like a pummeling indeed.
The Biden presidency hasn’t made things any better. The party is dealing with infighting between moderates and far-left members, and the president’s approval ratings are abysmal. On top of these factors, Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) became the latest among 10 key Democrats to announce their retirement ahead of the 2022 election cycle last week.
As a result, the 2022 midterm elections are looking more like an uphill battle for Democrats, and they’re freaking out about it. Back in September, Democrats were already talking about a “bloodbath” and “going for broke” on progressive agenda items, but their mood is growing increasingly fearful.
According to The Hill:
“To be blunt, I’m not feeling good about where we are,” one senior Democratic congressional aide said. “Look, it was never going to be easy or anything. It was always kind of contingent on what got done. I just think we’re starting to see how fragile this is.”
The numbers already favor the GOP. The Republicans only need to turn five seats red to gain a majority in the House, and that’s even without redistricting, which will also work to the GOP’s advantage next year.
The Senate currently sits at 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris as a tying vote, and several Democrats are vulnerable, including Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), who won a special election to fill a seat that is up for reelection this cycle.
The 2022 election is also a clear referendum on President Biden and his agenda, which have given Republicans plenty of ammunition to use throughout the campaign season. Approval numbers and recent issue polls don’t bode well for Biden and his party.
On top of all these genuine concerns for the Democrats, a slew of “longshot” candidates have entered key races, drawing attention and donations away from Democrats who stand a better chance of winning their elections. Democrat strategists have their hands full with some unviable candidates.
Up and down the ballot, Democrats have long grumbled about candidates they deem to be inconsequential attention suckers. They argue there’s limited value to contenders who launch far-fetched bids that take away time, media focus and money from other choices.
Democratic candidates are still raking in boatloads of cash, and some seats are a shoo-in for the party no matter how much Biden drags them down. Democrats also still hold a slim lead in the generic ballot. Still, the Democrats are definitely aware of the steeper and steeper uphill climb they face in the upcoming midterms.
Pollsters are also seeing how events and trends are shaping the 2022 election season:
“President Biden’s backslide on leadership, honesty and competence and the fact that he has lost some ground on handling of the COVID pandemic has to be concerning to Democrats,” Tim Malloy, a polling analyst at Quinnipiac University, told The Hill.
Malloy said that the Biden administration “has had a grueling few months” and that things like surging gas prices and rising costs due to ongoing global supply chain issues won’t help alleviate Democrats’ troubles, especially with the holiday season drawing closer.
Inflation, the pandemic, the border chaos and Afghanistan are helping the GOP to hop on the offensive, hitting Biden and both House and Senate Democrats on their handling of recent crises. It’s not a shoo-in for the Republicans, but it’s looking better as time goes on. And that’s causing the Democrats to get worried.
'Let's Go Brandon' Is the #1 Hip Hop Song in the U.S.
BY ATHENA THORNE | P J MEDIA
Loza Alexander official music video for "Let's Go Brandon" [YouTube screenshot]
Alternative rapper Loza Alexander’s surprise hit “Let’s Go Brandon” has topped the iTunes hip hop chart at #1. The anti-establishment banger currently sits at #2 overall, just behind power-ballad star Adele and ahead of industry heavy-hitters Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Elton John, and Justin Bieber. When you add up the mind-boggling amount of legacy media promotion these stars are granted as a matter of course, Alexander’s achievement is all the more impressive.
The expression “Let’s Go Brandon” was inadvertently created by NBC reporter Kelli Stavast as she was trying to interview NASCAR driver Brandon Brown. Brown had just won his race at the Talladega Superspeedway, and the crowd behind him was raucously performing the popular “F**k Joe Biden” chant. “You can hear the chants from the crowd,” said Stavast in an awkward attempt to wave away the elephant in the room, “Let’s Go Brandon!” The moment went viral, and “Let’s Go Brandon” is now the SFW version of the original chant.
The song has been boosted by some pretty high-profile fans; Fox News wrote about it two days ago, and Donald J. Trump, Jr. gave it a social media boost. The song sports the prestigious yellow “Best Seller” flag on Amazon after hitting #1 in their Rap & Hip Hop category, as well.
Alexander says he’s ready to release an extended version of the song as soon as his fans push sales to #1 in all categories. And who knows? It could happen!