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C. DOUGLAS GOLDEN

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The border wall isn’t much in the discussion these days, and for good reason. It’s not high on our list of priorities, particularly given how we’ve suddenly discovered the benefits of strong borders.

However, once life resumes its familiar patterns, as it inevitably will, illegal immigration will ramp up. That’s when we’ll be reminded of an important fact: Walls work. And only one party, when it controls the White House, is willing to build them.

If you needed any reinforcement on whether they work, evidence came in San Diego last week.

Three migrants who were trying to cross the wall became trapped atop it, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune, after one of their companions fell.

Border Patrol Agent Justin Castrejon said agents ran across two men and two women at the wall near Otay Mesa Port at 2 a.m. Sept. 14.

The two women needed to be lowered from the wall by San Diego Fire-Rescue Department members.

Meanwhile, the man who was found there was taken to the hospital for unspecified injuries.

Only one of the four members of the group, all Mexican nationals, managed to scale the wall successfully, according to Breitbart. He was soon located by Border Patrol agents.

Those three individuals were taken to a processing station where, upon completion of a criminal background check and health screening, they were to be returned to Mexico under current coronavirus protocols.

A similar rescue happened in roughly the same area earlier this year.

“The event began at approximately midnight on January 5, when agents on patrol near Otay Mesa saw three people in a precarious situation,” a Jan. 7 news release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection read.

“A man and two women, under the cover of dense fog, tried to enter the U.S. illegally by climbing San Diego Sector’s new 30-foot, steel bollard wall. The trio became stuck at the top of the wet, slippery wall after smugglers abandoned them.

“Due to the danger of the situation, agents requested the assistance of the San Diego Fire Department (SDFD) in order to get them down safely. SDFD used their ladder truck to remove the three people from the wall without injury. Once on the ground, agents questioned the group about their nationality and all three were Mexican nationals illegally present in the U.S.”

“These three were very fortunate to not have fallen from the top of the wall which could have resulted in serious injury or death,” Aaron Heitke, acting chief patrol agent of the San Diego sector, said in the news release.

“These dangers are not important considerations to smugglers, who place an emphasis on profits over safety,” Heitke said.

You can bet those smugglers are rooting for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in November.

It’s not surprising that Biden isn’t going to continue the wall, if just because of President Donald Trump’s focus on it. In August, the former vice president said, “There will not be another foot of wall constructed on my administration.”

Biden’s website reads says Trump’s “obsession with building a wall does nothing to address security challenges while costing taxpayers billions of dollars.”

The site goes on to say that “nearly half of the undocumented people living in the U.S. today have overstayed a visa, not crossed a border illegally.”

Which means that nearly half haven’t, of course. The easiest way to get here will still be the safest. Rest assured that if we were to crack down on those who were overstaying a visa illegally, border crossing would become more popular — and it doesn’t mean tighter restrictions on either are mutually exclusive.

The border wall works. No one wants people to fall from it, of course, but that’s why it acts as a powerful deterrent.

We need at least four more years of a president who realizes the importance of physical impediments to illegal immigration and human trafficking.

Author: C. Douglas Golden

Source: Western Journal: Trump’s Wall Works: Look What Border Patrol Agents Found at the Top of Border Wall

The Democratic Party has been working for over a half-century to lift Americans out of poverty — mostly through social safety net programs. It hasn’t worked. Government, as it turns out, isn’t the solution to the problem. It is the problem.

The Trump White House, meanwhile, has touted “Opportunity Zones” as part of its anti-poverty package. According to a report released in late August, the Council of Economic Advisers estimates the program could lift up to a million out of poverty.

According to the IRS website, an opportunity zone is “an economically distressed community where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment.”

Locations can be designated as such “if they have been nominated for that designation by a state, the District of Columbia, or a U.S. territory and that nomination has been certified by the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury via his delegation of authority to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).”

The program was created as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 — and it’s been a rousing success, according to the numbers.

In a recent appearance on Fox Business, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson noted the program was doing even better than had been originally expected, drawing $75 billion in investment since it started.

“This $75 billion in two years is remarkable because as the program was put together, [Treasury] Secretary [Steven] Mnuchin and his group predicted $100 billion over 10 years,” Carson said in the Aug. 24 appearance.

“The Council of Economic Advisers also predicts that that will lift one million people out of poverty.”

He also noted a 29 percent increase in economic investment in Opportunity Zones between the second quarter of 2018 and the fourth quarter of 2019.

“It’s having a profound effect, as far as property values are concerned, they go up 1.1 percent just with the announcement of you being in an opportunity zone,” Carson said.

“So these things are actually working extremely well.”

In fact, the Council of Economic Advisers report said the program is working so well it could pay for itself.

The report said that the program “could be revenue neutral, with economic growth in low-income communities reducing transfer payments and offsetting forgone revenues from taxes on capital gains.”

“Thus, the [Council of Economic Advisers] projects that the capital already raised by Qualified Opportunity Funds could lift 1 million people out of poverty and into self-sufficiency, decreasing poverty in [Opportunity Zones] by 11 percent.”

The report noted that investment slowed in the second quarter of 2020 — as did investment everywhere, for obvious reasons.

However, the Council of Economic Advisers still maintained “the initial evidence suggests that the [Opportunity Zone] model has power to mobilize investors; engage State, local, and tribal stakeholders; and improve the outlook for low-income communities — all with limited prescription from the Federal Government.”

The program has been criticized by Democrats who say that the investment favors wealthy developers who build in those areas — and yet, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden wouldn’t do away with it even if he were to become president, just tweak it to advance his agenda.

According to real estate website The Real Deal, Biden has said he would look to modify the Opportunity Zone program “as part of his plan to advance racial equity across the American economy,” because of course he would.

He’d make three major alterations to the program.

The first would be to change the program’s incentives to get investors to work with community organizations.

The second would be to “ensure these tax benefits are only being allowed where there are clear economic, social, and environmental benefits to a community,” according to his campaign website.

The third would be to force detailed reporting about the impact of the investments, including “the impact on local residents, including poverty status, housing affordability, and job creation.”

And yet again, we see a politician who believes that government is the solution. The Trump administration has gotten government out of the way, creating a signature program that’s working well enough that Biden would keep it. Thank you very much, he’ll take it from here. But first, a few things to ruin everything to like about the program in the first place.

The first change would incentivize (read: force) investors to work with community groups, probably of the liberal bent and likely with an agenda that would make the investment less profitable. Thus, either the investment isn’t made or it doesn’t make the returns it otherwise would. Neither outcome benefits the community.

The second, again, assumes investment is supposed to serve left-wing political purposes. Most of those benefits have accrued already, as Secretary Carson noted. What Biden is insinuating is that those benefits aren’t serving liberal causes. Again, this obviates the purpose of the program, though. Investment isn’t charity. Make the program more burdensome and watch the money dry up.

The third is arguably the least egregious of the measures, but this is still about chastising private investors to get them to advance liberal public policy goals. Yet again, it also shows you can’t win with the left; Carson touts property prices going up, thus benefiting homeowners in depressed communities, and the Biden campaign ominously talks about reporting requirements for “housing affordability.”

Of course, Biden could do another thing to kill off Opportunity Zones: Raise capital gains taxes, which would make the new investments much less attractive.

The Democrats want to keep Opportunity Zones, they just want government directing the traffic. The whole reason they’ve been successful thus far, however, is that the Trump administration realized government wasn’t directing traffic when it came to poverty policy — it was merely blocking the road.

One hopes liberals aren’t in a position to strut out in the crosswalk again next January, hand extended, confident they’re managing the flow of cars in the most just way and that all those people honking their horns will be thankful once they see how well it’s been handled.

Author: C. Douglas Golden

Source: Western Journal: WH: ‘Opportunity Zones’ Raised Billions in Private Investment Over 2 Years, Could Raise 1 Million Out of Poverty

A series of contracts that began under the Obama-era Food and Drug Administration paid out almost $100,000 as part of efforts to obtain from a controversial vendor tissue from fetuses aborted in the first and second trimester for research into “humanized mice,” documents discovered in June reveal.

The details of the contracts, obtained in a lawsuit by government watchdog group Judicial Watch, are likely to play a role in key decisions made by a fetal tissue ethics advisory board convened by the Trump administration, one which The Washington Post said is “dominated by foes of abortion and fetal tissue research.”

The 165 pages of documents, which relate to the government’s deals with the nonprofit firm Advanced Bioscience Resources, reveal the program continued well into the Trump administration, although it was eventually terminated over concerns that it was not complying with federal law regarding the uses of fetal tissue.

In 2016, then-Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, referred ABR for criminal prosecution as part of an investigation into fetal tissue sales.

“Since 2010, three companies — Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc.; StemExpress, LLC; and Novogenix Laboratories, LLC (Novogenix has since gone out of business) — have paid affiliates of Planned Parenthood Federation of America to acquire aborted fetuses, and then sold the fetal tissue to their respective customers at substantially higher prices than their documented costs,” Grassley’s office said in a news release at the time.

The exchanges in the documents released this summer are typically clinical, as one might expect. Take this June 28, 2017 email between the FDA and ABR: “I am tasked with the purchase of tissues suitable for [humanized mice] research. I would like to request a quote. Please review the Statement of Work and quote your pricing as outlined.”

There’s a table for 16 samples each of “Human Fetal Tissue — Liver” and “Human Fetal Tissue — Thymus,” along with tests, shipping and delivery.

“The Division of Applied Regulatory Science (DARS) OCP/OTS/CDER is conducting a research program to evaluate the usefulness of humanized mice (HM) for regulatory purposes. The HM are created by surgical implantation of human tissue into mice that have multiple genetic mutations that block the development of the mouse immune system at a very early stage,” the statement of work said.

“The absence of the mouse immune system allows the human tissues to grow and develop into functional human tissues. As part of this process DARS needs to repeatedly acquire the proper type of tissues. In order for the humanization to proceed correctly we need to obtain fetal tissue with a specific set of specialized characteristics.”

The fetuses must be “Age range 16-24 weeks” and “Tissue must be fresh and never frozen,” the statement of work added.

In another email thread, which started July 14, 2017, a contracting specialist with the FDA told ABR that “In order to properly document pricing, I require some documentation of your prices as offered to the public” and requested either redacted invoices or “a place on your website that lists prices,” Judicial Watch pointed out.

“We do not have a website, and we don‘t allow ‘the public’ to request tissue. It is only sent to verified researchers who have applied and have been approved to receive tissue,” ABR responded.

“As we are not selling items, we do not have prices. We assess fees for our services. The only document provided then to qualified recipients would be our Fees For Services Schedule. [I’ve] attached another copy of our current Fee Schedule for your reference. We’re a small non-profit company, and the fees are the same for everyone.

“I hope this fulfills your requirement. We‘ve done business with the F.D.A. for many years and we‘ve not experienced such rigorous procedures for the production of purchase orders. Will this process be necessary for each P.O. created now?”

The “Fees For Services Schedule” included, among other things, “Fetal Cadaverous Specimen Procurement” with pricing for “2nd trimester specimen (13 – 24 weeks)” and “1st trimester specimen (8 – 12 weeks).”

On Sept. 24, 2018, the FDA informed ABR it was terminating a contract with the firm.

“[T]he Government is not sufficiently assured that the human tissue provided to the Government to humanize the immune systems of mice will comply with the prohibitions set forth under 42 U.S.C. § 289g-2,” the letter read, referencing U.S. Code that deals with “Prohibitions regarding human fetal tissue.”

“[T]he Government has concerns with the sufficiency of the sole-source justification.”

That came on the same day the Department of Health and Human Services said it was “conducting an audit of all acquisitions involving human fetal tissue to ensure conformity with procurement and human fetal tissue research laws and regulations.”

The topic of “humanized mice” is an ethical minefield, considered deeply problematic for social conservatives and of little concern to liberals.

As The Post noted, humanized mice were developed in the 1980s, allowing mice to develop human-like immune systems and making them useful for medical trials.

In a Wednesday article, The Post’s Amy Goldstein reported that that despite the controversy, “federal funding of research using the material was permitted consistently after the early 1990s. In June 2019, however, Trump rewrote rules to limit such research; his aides were eager to point out the president made the decision over the objections of some of his top health-care advisers.

“For scientists who work directly for the government, the new policy ended federal funding of all fetal tissue research.

“For the many scientists in academia and other outside labs who rely on NIH funding, the rule change was subtler. Researchers could still apply for new or renewed grants and contracts. But if the proposals were deemed worth funding by NIH’s normal scientific reviews, projects submitted after late last September would face an extra hurdle: an ethics screening by a new advisory board, which would send its recommendations to Azar, who has the final say.”

The board, which BuzzFeed News reported met for the first time Friday, has been criticized for having too many pro-life voices on it. Of course, had it contained one pro-life voice, this still would have been too many.

Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said the documents showed the ethically fraught nature of the programs.

“These documents are a horror show,” Fitton said in a news release. “These records show that the FDA was trafficking in human fetal parts. Incredibly, there continues to be a push to reopen these monstrous experiments!”

And thanks to a series of contracts that began under former President Barack Obama, we used taxpayer money for them. That’s something that should disgust conservatives — particularly when taxpayer money goes to problematic organizations like ABR.

They may have broken the laws of man. They definitely broke the law of God.

Author: C. Douglas Golden

Source: Western Journal: Obama’s Legacy: 165 Pages of Records Surface, Detail Cash-for-Fetal-Tissue Scandal

All right, it’s 225 deaths. What’s the big deal?

I’m fully aware the skeptics of COVID-19 data skepticism have looked at the headline, looked at the death toll in the United States — 156,806 as of Wednesday morning — and are wondering why a difference of 225 deaths in Texas should even matter.

So let’s state right off that, while every death is a tragedy, in the scale of the coronavirus disaster, the number we’re about to talk about is a drop in the bucket. It’s infinitesimal. In isolation, it changes nothing. Even outside of isolation, it doesn’t change how seriously we should take the novel coronavirus.

To understand the macro, however, we need to look at the micro.

On July 27, the Texas Department of State Health Services issued a correction on the state’s death toll, revising it downward by 225 deaths.

The move came after the DSHS implemented a change in reporting COVID-19 deaths, which came as the state has been hit hard by a second wave of the virus.

“The Texas Department of State Health Services is improving the reporting of fatalities due to COVID-19 by identifying them through the cause of death listed on death certificates,” a news release stated.

“This method allows fatalities to be counted faster with more comprehensive demographic data. Using death certificates also ensures consistent reporting across the state and enables DSHS to display fatalities by date of death, providing the public with more information about when deaths occurred.”

The count had previously relied on “local and regional health departments after they received a notification and verified the death.” However, given that different jurisdictions take different amounts of time to report the cause of death, the department decided to make the process more timely.

Now, “[a] fatality is counted as due to COVID-19 when the medical certifier, usually a doctor with direct knowledge of the patient, determines COVID-19 directly caused the death. This method does not include deaths of people who had COVID-19 but died of an unrelated cause. Death certificates are required by law to be filed within 10 days.”

Under the new method, the number of those who had died of COVID-19 was revised from 5,038 to 5,713, a jump of 675 deaths.

But that wasn’t right, either. It turns out an automation error led to 225 more deaths being added to the new total than should have been, as the DSHS announced on July 30:

The left-leaning digital publication The Texas Tribune lamented the change was “lending fuel to skeptics who question the accuracy of the government data.” However, the Tribune’s article simply notes what most of the responsible “skeptics” have been saying all along: That data collection so far is limited and error-prone.

This is understandable, to a certain extent, regarding a new and deadly disease like COVID-19. The problem is that we have politicians making life-and-death decisions based on that data.

Less than two weeks before this error, Texas was forced to remove 3,000 cases from its positive case count due to testing in San Antonio:

The reason, according to the Austin Statesman, is that these were actually cases counted via antigen tests. According to U.S. News, antigen tests produce fast results by detecting fragments of proteins from the virus that are present in nasal swabs of test subjects.

Another type of test — known as a polymerase chain reaction test or PCR — detects the presence of coronavirus genetic material in a nasal swab.

“Antigen tests are very specific for the virus, but are not as sensitive as molecular PCR tests,” stated a May memo on the tests, according to the Statesman.

“This means that positive results from antigen tests are highly accurate, but there is a higher chance of false negatives, so negative results do not rule out infection.”

Under Texas’ standards, an antigen test must be followed up by a molecular PCR test to be counted in the confirmed case category.

“The case data on our website reflect confirmed cases, and cases identified by antigen testing are considered probable cases under the national case definition,” a DSHS spokesman said.

Thus, these cases were removed, but the fact that the antigen test results in false negatives rather than false positives likely means there were more cases in San Antonio than were reported, not fewer.

Meanwhile, The Associated Press reported on July 21 that Connecticut’s public health laboratory reported 90 false positives from one manufacturer’s test due to a flaw. That number doesn’t sound like a lot, but the test is used throughout the country.

And then there was Florida, which — being Florida — managed to make headlines when it reported deaths from COVID-19 where the decedents had passed due to, among other things, a motorcycle accident and a gunshot to the head.

Writing in March, as the scope of the pandemic became clear, noted Stanford academic Dr. John Ioannidis declared that COVID-19 may “be a once-in-a-century evidence fiasco.”

“At a time when everyone needs better information, from disease modelers and governments to people quarantined or just social distancing, we lack reliable evidence on how many people have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 or who continue to become infected,” Ioannidis wrote in STAT, a health-oriented website. “Better information is needed to guide decisions and actions of monumental significance and to monitor their impact.”

Several paragraphs later he stated the point plainly:

“The data collected so far on how many people are infected and how the epidemic is evolving are utterly unreliable. Given the limited testing to date, some deaths and probably the vast majority of infections due to SARS-CoV-2 are being missed. We don’t know if we are failing to capture infections by a factor of three or 300.”

Despite countless stories about the unreliability of coronavirus infection reporting, the general stated opinion among experts is that we’re undercounting both COVID-19 cases and deaths, as the Texas Tribune noted. By how much? That answer varies widely, because even they don’t know. And they admit the data are unreliable. We’re supposed to trust them, though — and the idea that the data are improving rapidly.

The data may be improving, but the question remains how we’re counting deaths by COVID-19.

In a July interview with the Greek Reporter, Ioannidis noted “that the vast majority of people who die with a COVID-19 label have at least one and typically many other comorbidities. This means that often they have other reasons that would lead them to death. The relative contribution of COVID-19 needs very careful audit and evaluation of medical records.”

“The number of COVID-19 deaths can be both undercounted and overcounted, and the relative ratio of over- and under-counting varies across different locations,” Ioannidis told the Greek Reporter. “In most European countries and the USA it is more likely to be overcounted, especially if we are talking about ‘deaths by COVID-19.’”

Ioannidis may be an outlier in this debate, but this is part of the problem: To what extent should deaths be attributed to COVID-19 when the decedents have significant comorbidities? And to what extent are decisions that are being made actually making other problems worse?

In a scathing article in the May/June issue of the Hillsdale College publication Imprimis, conservative commentator and scholar Heather Mac Donald notes that the author of the Imperial College model — the most dire of the major coronavirus models — has acknowledged that, under his model, two-thirds of COVID-19 victims would have died of their comorbidities by the end of 2020.

The headline on MacDonald’s piece was: “Four Months of Unprecedented Government Malfeasance.”

In the United States, over 40 percent of deaths have been in nursing homes, according to The New York Times. While this has certainly been exacerbated by bad policy, it’s also fair to say that’s where you would find the most comorbidities.

This is quite the rabbit hole over an “automation error” that miscounted 225 deaths in the face of a global tragedy, but that’s the point. I’m not bringing in extraneous cases to intentionally muddy the water and intentionally confuse the issue. I’m merely pointing out how muddy the water really is.

In the absence of a vaccine, we clamor for more testing and better governance. Those are important, but we also ought to be demanding better, more consistent data.

An “automation error” in Texas wouldn’t be such a big deal if those 225 deaths weren’t part of a much wider problem.

Author: C. Douglas Golden

Source: Western Journal: Texas State Health Department Falsely Attributes 225 Deaths to COVID, Forced To Correct

The left is currently struck with apoplexy over the fact that in his interview this weekend with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, President Donald Trump didn’t necessarily commit to accepting the results of this November’s election, particularly if he thinks there are irregularities from national mail-in voting.

This reaction is curious inasmuch as there are wide swaths of the American left that’ll never accept the results of the 2016 election.

More curiously, there were others on the left who heard this answer and immediately leaped to febrile nightmares of Trump refusing to leave the White House, apparently hunkered down behind a wall of sandbags in the Oval Office with some RPG launchers, a year’s worth of MREs and his pen and phone so he could keep signing executive orders.

One of the people entertaining these thoughts was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who may or may not have been joking when she said Trump may need to be gassed out of 1600 Pennsylvania.

“There is a process. It has nothing to do with if the certain occupant of the White House doesn’t feel like moving and has to be fumigated out of there because the presidency is the presidency,” Pelosi told MSNBC.

If Pelosi didn’t exactly sound jocund during the interview, she also didn’t sound like she was particularly serious because if Trump loses, Trump’s leaving.

Unless there’s an extreme case where there are some serious, provable irregularities in voting and this is taken up by the Supreme Court — which is profoundly unlikely — whether or not Trump wants to accept the results will have no effect on the transition of power.

Of course, Pelosi might try to fumigate Trump out if he wins, but that’s a topic for another day.

Anyhow, there’s a reason why Nancy Pelosi is the head of the Democratic Caucus in the House of Representatives and Cenk Uygur only managed 6.5 percent of the vote in a California jungle primary for a House of Representatives seat after a disastrous candidacy best remembered for an unearthed clip in which he proposed legalizing certain forms of bestiality.

I’m going to assume, aside from nauseating policy positions, it has to deal with their respective grasps on reality.

Aside from his failed candidacy, Uygur is best known as the impresario behind “The Young Turks,” a YouTube show that focuses on progressive politics.

If you’ve seen it and forget which one he is, he’s the guy who resembles nothing so much as a linebacker who’s one espresso over the legal limit. Anyhow, Uygur watched the Wallace interview and was also alarmed.

His response was slightly different than Pelosi’s: He wanted to gather an internet posse to march up to the White House and physically remove Donald Trump from the premises should he lose.

WARNING: The following tweet contains graphic language that some viewers will find offensive.

“When asked if he would leave office if he lost the election, @realDonaldTrump answered, ‘It depends.’ No, it most certainly does not depend. You’ll leave, you f—ing goon,” Uygur tweeted. “At that point, if US military does not physically remove you from the building, the American people will.”

First, this tweet is factually inaccurate. When Trump said, “it depends,” it was in response to a question about whether he was gracious or not.

In terms of accepting the results of the election, no, he didn’t commit to that. He said nothing about whether that would have anything to do with him leaving office — if only because it wouldn’t make any difference no matter how he felt.

Cenk playing fast and loose with the facts in a tweet wouldn’t normally be of any import, if just because this is what he does for a living. The thing is, Uygur has reached that rare point where a pundit actually begins to take their off-the-cuff, fact-free claptrap seriously.

That’s his plan. Not only does he believe his own lie about what Trump said, he started a petition to get people to pledge to make sure Donald Trump is physically prevented from doing what Cenk Uygur erroneously claims Donald Trump says he might do. To this effect, a YouTube host is going to start a volunteer army to take on the military, Secret Service, Trump’s loyalists and the president himself.

And this is apparently a real petition — or at least a really good excuse to get your personal data so The Young Turks can sell it to advertisers:

“If Trump loses but won’t leave… I’ll remove him myself.” I’m getting this mental image of Cenk Uygur taking on the entire Trump administration and the military like in one of those old Sega Genesis brawler video games, where a single musclebound guy could knock out 6,273 toughs and regain his health by eating turkeys he found in convenient spots on the ground.

There’s nothing stopping Cenk Uygur from trying this right now, actually, before any election happens. I’d pay to see this.

And thankfully, America took up Cenk’s call:

If I remember, all of those Sega Genesis brawler heroes had to have some sidekicks. In Cenk’s case, it’s an overweight sexagenarian and a woman with ammunition who probably can’t actually hit anything. This isn’t the best video game pitch you could come up with, but Donald Trump as the final boss should probably wallpaper over some of those problems.

There were other posters willing to point out the absurdities of Uygur’s petition:

Or to point to Cenk’s infamous meltdown during The Young Turks’ livestream during election night 2016:

Well, the good news is you don’t have to wait for election night for Cenk’s meltdown. He seems to be having it right now.

Author: C. Douglas Golden

Source: Western Journal: Leftist Releases New Plan To Get Trump Out: Sign Americans Up To Physically Remove Him

Remember the laughs the slippery slope argument about used to generate among liberals?

When Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson statues were being removed across the South over the past few years, conservatives protested not out of any great love for the Confederacy — its been 155 years now and we’re all pretty happy it’s gone, I’d like to think — there was a worry that, if problematic figures of the past were going to canceled, it was only a matter of time before we started applying the standards of today to the giants of yesteryear, people like Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt.

“Thomas Jefferson?! Guffaw, guffaw!” we’d hear from some random politico or late-night comedian. “Yeah, OK. They’re coming for George Washington, guys! Can you believe these wingnuts? We still say wingnuts, right?”

Washington and Jefferson aren’t the only targets anymore. Now, it’s the national anthem.

The laughs were forgotten this spring and summer when the cancel culture actually came for Jefferson (a slaveowner), Washington (same) and Teddy Roosevelt (he wasn’t particularly fond of Native Americans). The argument: Times had changed. This was the great reckoning with our past sins — which we knew about before, but thanks to the events of the past few months, we really know about them now.

With all due respect to the memory of Mr. George Floyd and those who took to the streets to ask for justice for his death — amid a panoply of other issues — this is the very definition of the slippery slope.

So they came for George Washington — inarguably the greatest American in history — and Thomas Jefferson, primary author of the Declaration of Independence. It became clear to conservatives this was hardly the end. No part of Americana that didn’t pass the wokeness test of the new far left — the only moral generation of political activists and thinkers that has ever lived — would be permitted to remain without heavy shade being thrown in its direction.

All of which is to say that one of America’s most respected newspapers has published a piece arguing “The Star-Spangled Banner” needs to go.

Jody Rosen, in the first paragraph of a Tuesday Los Angeles Times piece that bids adieu to the national anthem, begins with a profoundly unflattering description of Francis Scott Key’s sculpture in Golden Gate Park — a statue that no longer exists because the mob decided it shouldn’t be occupying space there.

“The Francis Scott Key monument in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park is one of those old-fashioned pieces of public art that, shall we say, lays it on thick. It is imposing and fussy, a 52-foot-tall chunk of travertine and marble loaded up with classical trimmings,” Rosen wrote.

“There’s a fluted colonnade, four eagles with majestically fanned-out wings, swags and stars, and, at the very top of the big pile, the figure of Columbia, the traditional female personification of the United States, clutching an American flag.”

Apparently, Carl Andre wasn’t available for the commission, so we got this meretricious representation of Francis Scott Key instead.

There’s a bit of scarcely contained delight the statue is no more (“On June 20, protesters lassoed the statue with ropes, heaved and hoed, and down came Key, somersaulting off the pediment, head o’er heels”), an explication of the fact Key was indeed a slaveowner and there’s a contentious verse buried deep in the song that almost nobody sings: “No refuge could save the hireling and slave/From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave.”

(The meaning of this line is hotly debated by historians, many of whom argue “slave” was an insult to the British as opposed to a description of actual slaves.)

The L.A. Times’ article is, given the number of words apportioned to it, an impressive catalogue of every. single. thing. Key did that qualifies as morally awful by the standards of July 2020.

So now that the anthem is canceled, what do we replace it with?

“The writer and critic Kevin Powell proposed John Lennon’s ‘Imagine.’ (Powell called it ‘the most beautiful, unifying, all-people, all-backgrounds-together kind of song you could have.’),” Rosen reports. “’Imagine’ is less stodgy than ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’ but it’s no less British, and I’m not sure that its drippy utopianism — a multi-millionaire’s daydream of a world with ‘no possessions’ — strikes the apt note.”

I’m also not sure the line “Imagine there’s no heaven / no religion, too” will go over that well in a country where Gallup found in a 2017 survey that only 21.8 percent had no religious affiliation. Uniting! I don’t think that anyone’s going to be belting that one out before the Super Bowl, not even if they got Gal Godot to sing it.

Oh, speaking of problematic individuals, Lennon was also known to abuse his romantic partners and children. This was far more recently, mind you, when this definitely wasn’t a cultural norm. If Rosen cares about this, it goes unmentioned.

“Then there are the usual suspects, from the canon of American civic-secular hymns,” Rosen writes. “‘Lift Every Voice and Sing,’ the poem written in 1900 by the Black writer and activist James Weldon Johnson and set to music five years later by his brother J. Rosamond Johnson, has an impeccable pedigree and centers the Black experience in the national story.”

The problem? Apparently, for a song written 120 years ago, “‘Lift Every Voice’ is out of step with the 21st century, with a prim melody redolent of Victorian light opera and a lyric sheet full of antiquated poesy.” Until Miley Cyrus brings poesy back, that one’s out of the running.

Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” is also out, according to Rosen, because — I so wish I were making this up — “its uncomplicated patriotism (‘God bless America / Land that I love / Stand beside her / And guide her’) doesn’t wash in 2020.”

And then there’s the hard-left’s horse in this race, Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land.” But no, even Woody’s out of step with the times: “Yet Guthrie’s song has its own blind spots: to indigenous Americans, the refrain ‘This land belongs to you and me’ may sound less like an egalitarian vision than a settler-colonialist manifesto.”

Even. Woody. Guthrie. isn’t woke enough. Let that marinate for a bit.

Rosen’s choice? “‘Lean on Me’ by Bill Withers.” a song he admits is “not, explicitly at least, a song about America.”

“The song’s exalted status has been underscored in recent months. In the early weeks of the coronavirus lockdown, quarantining residents of New York and Dallas sang ‘Lean on Me’ at their apartment windows to pay tribute to essential workers,” Rosen wrote.

“The song has been inescapable during the Black Lives Matter protests, sung by demonstrators across the country, from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., to Orlando to Morgantown, W.Va., from New Jersey to Tennessee to Missouri to Illinois.”

And so on. The article quickly moves into Bill Withers hagiography, which would actually be fine under normal circumstances — Bill Withers is one of the great, underrated artists of the past century, after all. He’s an American icon.

That said, he didn’t write a song that will become our next national anthem — not that we’ll have a next national anthem. For that matter, his song has nothing to do with America. If a song moves you and you can plug it into a temporal context in American history, that doesn’t make it American. It just makes it on-the-nose, at least in that context.

The kind of person who wants the national anthem replaced for the reasons Rosen does would be well advised to go with “American Idiot” by Green Day. Why not? It summarizes their points quite nicely: It’s a song about the bovine, jingoistic average ‘Murican, the kind who would get angry about the protesters who sent the Key statue “somersaulting off the pediment, head o’er heels” and who want to replace the national anthem. It sums up how those who want to replace the national anthem feel about the other half. I’m guessing that has about as much chance of happening as “Lean on Me,” but I figured I’d throw it out there.

However, the problem with all of these songs is that, much like “The Star-Spangled Banner” and all of the other rejected replacements, they’ll age the same way our current national anthem has. Time marches on and mores change, and not necessarily in a linear fashion. We can still be united around the national anthem while acknowledging some elements of the life of Francis Scott Key are considered abhorrent today. In 200 years, Bill Withers might meet the same fate.

Either way, the message is plain — for those who laughed at conservatives over the idea the slippery slope would ever reach Washington and Jefferson, it’s gone far beyond that. We shouldn’t be surprised The Great Reckoning™ is now lurching its way toward the ultimate symbol of unity and patriotism.

Author: C. Douglas Golden

Source: Western Journal: LA Times Publishes Piece Calling for Canceling ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’ Here’s What He Wants Instead

Good work, people.

This year’s Juneteenth — the day Union Gen. Gordon Granger informed slaves in Galveston, Texas, of their freedom and the Emancipation Proclamation, two months after Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox — was arguably one of the most symbolic in the history of the holiday, given the present cultural climate.

Liberals better hope it’ll be remembered for reasons other than what happened in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park during protests there.

As The Hill reported, protesters pulled down the statutes of early California missionary Junipero Serra, Francis Scott Key, the man who wrote what became the United States national anthem and former President Ulysses S. Grant.

The scene in the park on Friday was an object lesson in how the protests sparked by the death of George Floyd in police custody have morphed into, in certain very visible corners, a historical event bereft of any sense of history.

At an atomic level, it was the perfect representation of a sub-group of protester, a subgroup that desperately needs basic American history courses.

In case you didn’t catch it already, here’s a group of people toppling the statue of our 18th president and the general who won the Civil War for the Union, thus freeing the slaves:

Context here: Marc Caputo isn’t exactly a producer for the Mark Levin show or anything. He’s a writing for the Washington-based Politico, a liberal-leaning news outlet.

This isn’t some righty being a grouch about the unfortunate and thought-free extent of Juneteenth protests for a certain cohort of demonstrators. It’s a Politico reporter being a grouch about the excesses of the people who — let’s face some facts — are on his side.

Now, we ought to point out that there’s technically a reason to cancel Grant if you want to. He did own a slave … a man he set free before the Civil War and who was apparently given to him as a “gift” in the first place.

He also inherited some through marriage: “In 1848 Grant married into the slaveholding family of Julia Dent. Her father, Frederick Dent, owned 30 enslaved people and had ‘given’ Julia four enslaved people when she was a child: Eliza, Dan, Julia, and John. There is no evidence he legally transferred ownership to Julia but from her writings it is clear she considered them hers,” The American Civil War Museum’s website states.

Asking his father for a loan in 1854, here’s what he got, according to the website: “Ulysses, when you are ready to come North I will give you a start, but so long as you make your home among a tribe of slave-owners I will do nothing.’”

Meanwhile, he wasn’t necessarily a cheerful slave-owner.

“The use of slaves on the farm…was a source of irritation and shame to Grant. Jefferson Sapington told me that he and Grant used to work in the fields with the blacks,” Grant biographer Hamlin Garland wrote, according to the museum website.

Garland quoted a neighbor of Grant:

“He said with glee, ‘Grant was helpless when it came to making slaves work,’ and Mrs. Boggs corroborated this. ‘He was no hand to manage negroes,’ she said. ‘He couldn’t force them to do anything. He wouldn’t whip them. He was too gentle and good tempered and besides he was not a slavery man.’”

Here’s what Grant wrote to his slave-owning father-in-law after the attack on Fort Sumter, according to the museum website: “In all this I can see but the doom of slavery. The North do not want, nor will they want, to interfere with the institution. But they will refuse for all time to give it protection unless the South shall return soon to their allegiance.”

And to his father, Grant wrote: “My inclination is to whip the rebellion into submission, preserving all Constitutional rights. If it cannot be whipped any other way than through a war against slavery, let it come to that legitimately. If it is necessary that slavery should fall that the Republic may continue its existence, let slavery go.”

Many on the left deride Grant for writing in 1863 that he was not “what could be called antislavery.” However, in the same letter to a friend, here’s what he wrote, according to the museum’s website:

“I try to judge fairly and honestly, and it became patent in my mind early in the rebellion that the North and South could never live at peace with each other except as one nation, and that without slavery. As anxious as I am to see peace established, I would not therefore be willing to see any settlement until the question is forever settled.”

After the war, Grant was elected president in 1868 and was forced to fight the South’s former slave owners who rose again in the form of the Ku Klux Klan.

Caputo’s colleagues at Politico took note of Grant’s actions in a “This Day in Politics” piece published April 20, 2019. Grant had signed the law known as “The KKK Act” 148 years earlier, in 1871.

“The Third Force Act, also known as the KKK or the Civil Rights Act of 1871, empowered President Ulysses S. Grant to use the armed forces to combat those who conspired to deny equal protection of the laws and, if necessary, to suspend habeas corpus to enforce the act. Grant signed the legislation on this day in 1871,” Politico noted. “After the act’s passage, the president for the first time had the power to suppress state disorders on his own initiative and suspend the right of habeas corpus. Grant did not hesitate to use this authority.

“Shortly after Congress approved the law, nine counties in South Carolina, where KKK terrorism was rampant, were placed under martial law and thousands of persons were arrested.”

There’s no reason for Ulysses S. Grant, the general who helped the North set the slaves free, to have his memory treated like it was in San Francisco. However, his statue was toppled by modern Americans like they were Iraqis freed of the monstrous Saddam Hussein.

It’s probably worth asking at this point what kind of nation we are — and how we view our forebears. Is cancel culture now so toxic that we’re pulling down statues of former presidents who helped end the Confederacy and slavery?

Grant was a towering figure in American history who helped restore the Union, free the slaves and was eulogized by abolitionist hero Frederick Douglass. And he’s treated as if he were a communist figure like Romania’s Ceaușescu?

Who cares? It’s Juneteenth, so let’s commemorate the day by assailing the legacy of Ulysses S. Grant.

Grant wasn’t perfect. Nor is any historical figure, being human. But to say he did more good than bad in a historical sense is to understate the case dramatically. What happened to his statue isn’t just ahistorical, it lacks a complete understanding of history. Instead, it just looks at a figure and asks if he owned a slave. That’s what we’re going to do from now on.

Again: Good work, people.

Author: C. Douglas Golden

Source: Western Journal: Far-Left Rioters Use Juneteenth to Tear Down Statue of Ulysses S Grant Who Defeated the Confederacy

Why pass a COVID-19 recovery bill in the House that has no chance of passing the Senate?

That question was not infrequently asked this week on Capitol Hill as the House Democrats approved a $3 trillion recovery bill that has absolutely no chance making it any further along in the legislative process.

This is partially because the lack of any bipartisan input led to a bill that read more like a Democratic wish list than something designed to keep Americans safe while getting them back to work.

How much so?

Consider the fact that there are more references to cannabis in the bill (68 of them, according to the New York Post) than there are to jobs (52). It includes generous bailouts to state governments whose problems are of their own making. It’ll restore a federal deduction for property taxes aimed mostly at blue states.

There was no language restricting spending on abortion.

It’s the most expensive spending bill ever passed in the history of the House of Representatives. It features a whole lot of pork, yet only a $1,200 check to American taxpayers by way of direct, immediate monetary relief — although this being a Democratic bill, that money would also go to certain illegal immigrants, too.

It’s yet more debt added onto the pile in the year when we’ve already added an obscene amount of it to the federal budget.

It is, in a word, unacceptable.

But don’t think that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn’t know what she’s doing.

In an opinion piece for Fox News published Saturday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said that you shouldn’t “underestimate” Pelosi, who may be signaling to the base in advance of the November elections.

Mind you, Gingrich had some of the same thoughts about the outrageous nature of the bill. In his Op-Ed, which pointed out in the headline that “Pelosi’s crazy $3T coronavirus spending bill may have [a] secret purpose,” he even brought up this tweet he wrote in the wake of the legislation’s proposal:

“The bill is the most expensive spending bill ever passed in the history of the House of Representatives, but Pelosi took no public comment, no Republican input, and didn’t consult with the Republican-controlled Senate or the White House on the bill,” he wrote in the Saturday opinion piece.

“As we learned about the nuttier parts of the bill after it was introduced, it struck me almost as a joke.”

However, Gingrich had a three-word warning for those engaging in that kind of thinking: “Don’t underestimate her.”

“Pelosi is a survivor. She is tough. She is hardworking, and she has been through a lot of campaigns — and seen and executed a lot of maneuvers,” Gingrich wrote.

“Therefore, you must assume there is a sound strategic reason for Pelosi to bring forward a bill that is this radical, expensive, and controversial.”

Gingrich cited several reasons why he believes Pelosi’s bill might actually help her party in the long run.

“First, Pelosi probably believes this is going to be a base turnout election, and she knows from all the polls that Republicans are more excited about the election than Democrats,” Gingrich wrote.

He pointed to the Democrats’ recent losses in congressional special elections in California and Wisconsin this past Tuesday.

In swing state Wisconsin, the GOP easily kept a district, with Tom Tiffany winning a 57 percent to 43 percent victory over Tricia Zunker. California should be more worrying for Pelosi, however; for the first time in 22 years in the state, a Republican managed to flip a seat back from Democratic control.

“The GOP win was clearly a function of a much more energized Republican base,” Gingrich wrote.

“From Pelosi’s perspective, mobilizing the cannabis users and liberal investors is a useful move, too. They are as much part of the Democratic base as traditional small business owners are part of the Republican base.

“Arousing the hardcore, pro-abortion activists helps Pelosi with turnout and donations. Disciplined repetition of the word ‘diversity’ appeals to her ideological activists and – to a lesser extent — minority communities.

“Appealing to the illegal immigrant community is a useful thing for Pelosi. And Democrats are working to make it possible for illegal immigrants to vote in a number of states.”

Then there’s the property tax deduction which helps out the wealthiest in the bluest of blue states. The money to states that have been mismanaged is clearly a sop to public sector unions, who would likely have to see changes to their benefits otherwise given the massive pensions debt those states have racked up.

Adding to this is the fact that Gingrich thinks no one on the right is going to remember any of this.

“Pelosi has likely calculated that — as usual — the Republican candidates will forget to focus. She also must be betting that in a few weeks the Republican and independent voters will have forgotten this monstrosity of a leftwing wish list,” he wrote.

If Republicans hold strong, Gingrich thinks, the feint will fail.

“It is a major gamble on Pelosi’s part. If the Republicans have enough discipline and endurance, she will pay a substantial price for it,” he said in closing.

The question is whether they do. It’s often difficult for either party to seize outrages and hold on tight to the narrative, especially when distressing news whirls by with an unsettling quickness.

Nevertheless, Gingrich is right: If Republicans remember what Pelosi did by shepherding this bill through the lower chamber of Congress, they can hold it over congressional Democrats’ heads in the autumn. They’re the one who passed this silly affront, after all.

This did nothing but waste Congress’ time at a point where time is of the essence. If that doesn’t say everything about her leadership, I don’t know what will.

There’s a very good chance Republicans don’t remember it, however — and therein lies the problem.

If the GOP fails to hammer home areas where the Democrats are profoundly out of touch, that forgetfulness could allow the Democrats to reposition themselves within the mainstream of American thought, just as they did back in 2018.

Let voters know what the Democrats’ priorities are. They’ll take it from there.

Author: C. Douglas Golden

Source: Western Journal: Newt Gingrich Warns About Intentions Behind Pelosi’s $3 Trillion Bill: ‘Don’t Underestimate Her’

There is something distinctly, wonderfully American about the drive-thru window.

We were the first country to have a love affair with our cars. In the 1950s, the French were sweating their derrieres off fixing their Citroën 2CVs — a diminutive rattletrap that was easy to fix because it had an engine that was little changed from the first internal combustion motors from the 1800s. Meanwhile, we were at drive-ins across this fruited plain with our Chevrolet Bel-Airs and Ford Galaxie 500s, enjoying hamburgers from the comfort of our automobiles.

A little while later, we took it a step further: You didn’t have to get out of the car at all. You rev your Ford Mustang through the drive-thru at Burger King and, in a minute or two, you had a Whopper and fries. And the French were still repairing their 2CVs.

In the 21st century, the drive-thru has evolved. Not only did The Associated Press adopt the truncated “drive-thru” spelling as its official style a decade ago, but consumers can now get just about anything without getting out of their cars — a latte, Thai food, vegan ketogenic meals … even a gun.

Yes, a gun. Thanks to the novel coronavirus, you can now exercise your Second Amendment rights without getting out of your car.

Of course, you can also get a weapon at curbside, or even at a table outside the gun shop. In fact, one imagines that in the absence of widespread dedicated drive-thru windows for gun shops, those two options will be more common — at least for now. But the drive-thru gun window has an official federal stamp of approval.

And even though drive-thru and curbside gun service was necessitated by the coronavirus, I wholeheartedly approve. This is American ingenuity and our constitutional values taken to their logical apex.

Some media outlets didn’t agree with me. Take CNN (surprisingly enough). See if you can notice the subtle bias in the headline: “U.S. gun retailers can operate in their parking lots during pandemic, ATF says.”

This is accurate, although the anti-Trump network sounds a bit soured on the phenomenon. It was reacting to a Friday letter from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that allows drive-thru gun sales during the coronavirus outbreak.

The letter involved guidance from the ATF regarding the Department of Homeland Security’s classification of gun shops as essential businesses and whether Federal Firearms Licensees can operate through “(1) a drive-up or walk-up window or doorway on the FFL’s property; (2) a temporary table or booth located in a parking lot on the FFL’s property; and (3) a nearby space that is not located on the FFL’s property.”

So the answers: “yes” on one; “yes” on two; and “no” on three unless it’s at a gun show. (Remember those? Remember meeting en masse pretty much anywhere?)

“An FFL may carry out the requested activities through a drive-up or walk-up window or doorway where the customer is on the licensee’s property on the exterior of the brick-and-mortar structure at the address listed on the license,” the ATF stated in the letter.

“An FFL may also carry out the requested activities from a temporary table or booth located in a parking lot or other exterior location on the licensee’s property at the address listed on the license, but any such activities must occur in a location where the licensee has the authority to permit ATF’s entry for inspection purposes.”

However, the FFL needed to obviously check whether a location was indeed its property and whether it could permit the entry of ATF agents onto it. Records still needed to be kept inside the store.

As for that nearby space, no can do. The guns still need to be sold at the address listed on the license.

While this probably wasn’t received with unalloyed joy among liberals, Second Amendment-loving Americans were pretty happy.

“We have been working closely with the ATF to gain clarity on this front for firearm retailers,” the National Shooting Sports Foundation said in a statement Friday, according to Guns.com.

“Today we thank the ATF for issuing guidance for FFLs regarding sidewalk/curbside transactions.”

The group had previously asked the ATF for guidance on how gun retailers could operate given the coronavirus outbreak.

The guidance also comes as lawsuits involving whether gun shops can legally be closed by state governments wind their way through the court systems. Given that many states that have closed nonessential businesses haven’t specifically mentioned gun shops, gun shops have been shuttered in a lot of places — which is problematic when you consider that gun sales are proceeding at a record (pun unintended) clip.

According to TheBlaze, the FBI conducted more background checks during the month of March than any month in its history. Second place was December of 2015, and it wasn’t particularly close. March 2020: 3.7 million checks. December 2015: 3.3 million.

In March of 2019, the FBI did 2.64 million background checks, according to TheBlaze. More than a million fewer than this year.

While some media complaints are going to be in sotto voce, the kind of tacit tsk-tsking in the CNN headline, left-wing gun control groups like the Brady Campaign are going to be more vocal.

Calling the new rules “unsafe and indulgent,” the Brady Campaign complained in a news release that the new rules upended “long-standing protocols.” (Because clearly the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t upended “long-standing protocols” or anything.)

“At a time when we need our federal government to put the interests and safety of its people first, the Trump Administration has once again put profits over people,” Brady President Kris Brown said in the release.

“The Administration has used broad interpretations of the federal Gun Control Act to suggest that FFLs conduct business at a drive-by or walk-up window, as if they were a McDonald’s, or at a temporary table or booth, as if they were a lemonade stand, removing the protective influence that responsible gun dealers can have on stopping the proliferation of crime guns and on educating gun owners about the risks of guns and how to mitigate them.”

First, they say getting guns at a drive-thru window “as if they were a McDonalds” as if it were a bad thing. As for “educating gun owners about the risks of guns and how to mitigate them,” there’s nothing to prevent gun dealers from doing so at drive-thrus or tables, which makes this objection silly and extraneous.

But that’s pretty much what a lot of the objections to this are. The right to bear arms is constitutionally protected, which makes states excluding them as essential businesses a purely bogus COVID gun grab. Now, that gun grab is turning into a nightmare for leftists.

Of course, it’s not going to be as easy as picking up a meal in a McDonald’s of Burger King drive-thru from coast to coast. Liberal lawmakers in liberal states are going to continue to do everything they can to limit the Second Amendment no matter what the ATF says. But the principle is at least established.

Have a problem with gun stores being conduits for infection? Fine. Liberals don’t have to worry about that now — and that just made them more angry.

At least we can socially distance from them.

After this is over, I propose we should still be able to buy guns from drive-thru windows. Now, granted, the majority of the service here will be curbside, at least for the moment, since there aren’t a lot of drive-up windows at gun shops.

Time marches on, however. We live in an era where even those recalcitrant French have scrapped their 2CVs and gotten real cars. We can order guns online, although we have to have them shipped to a licensed FFL dealer.

Speed up the process a bit and let us stay in our cars while we get them. I can think no more American product of the pandemic that ought to survive than this one.

Author: C. Douglas Golden

Source: Western Journal: COVID Gun Grab Turns into Nightmare for Leftists as Gun Stores Open Drive-Thru Windows

I’m not one for cancel culture, but I wouldn’t mind seeing it applied to Chuck Todd at this point.

Not that he’d do anything that would get the millennial Twitterati to give him the ol’ #ChuckToddIsOverParty treatment. If anything, Todd has probably become a popular figure among the #Resistance crowd, given the fact that he’s emerged as one of the most consistent Trump-baiters out there.

Consider, for instance, when Todd — host of “Meet the Press” on NBC — made news by comparing the impeachment investigation into former NBC employee Donald Trump to the trial of another rather infamous former NBC employee, O.J. Simpson.

“I’m having a quick flashback to the O.J. trial, frankly, where the facts were damning, but it didn’t matter,” Todd said in November of last year.

That’s pretty much par for the course when it comes to Todd and President Trump — and now, thanks to coronavirus, we have him giving disclaimers before Trump coronavirus news conferences.

Todd, who was on desk duty on MSNBC Tuesday afternoon when the president’s COVID-19 update was about to come on (he’s also the host of “MTP Daily” on MSNBC), decided to add his own viewer discretion warning.

“And the White House coronavirus briefing is about to begin. But before we go to it, we want to note a few things,” Todd began. “First of all, we know these briefings have a tendency to veer in a lot of different directions, not all of them are informative or relevant in the midst of this crisis.

“So we will listen as the president talks and we will make sure we’re giving you a fact check and putting what he says in context on the other side,” he added. “If it veers too much off, we will break in — we will break off and come back here. But for the most part, we want to listen in to the information, we hope, he is bringing to all of us. Let’s take a listen.”

It’s curious to hear someone from MSNBC — Todd in particular — discoursing about how the president’s briefings regarding COVID-19 had “a tendency to veer in a lot of different directions, not all of them are informative or relevant in the midst of this crisis.”

What do the viewers at home suppose they’ve been watching?

This isn’t particularly uncommon talk from the media, either. After lamenting for the first three years of his presidency that Donald Trump didn’t hold enough news briefings, the media is now livid that he’s holding too many of them during the biggest crisis of his presidency.

No network has lamented the monkey’s-paw nature of coronavirus quite as much as MSNBC, however. Just the day before, Chris Hayes called the decision to continue to air the news conferences “crazy” and “dangerous.”

“I think that regular information in times of crisis from the government on sort of the science and facts and policy are essential. But I personally can’t help but feel these daily sessions are bad for the country, even dangerous from a public health perspective,” Hayes said Monday night.

“It’s obviously above my pay grade. I don’t make the call about [whether] we take them or not, but it seems crazy to me that everyone is still taking them when you got the My Pillow guy getting up there talking about reading the Bible.”

Mike Lindell, “the My Pillow guy,” was up on the dais because he’s making N95 masks in his factory while Hayes is making … a mostly forgettable hour of opinion broadcasting.

This sentiment from MSNBC hosts isn’t a new thing, either.

On March 20, nigh on two weeks ago, Rachel Maddow said that “there may be other people in the federal government who are saying things that are true, but these daily briefings from the White House are a litany of things from the president that would be awesome if they were true, if they were happening. But they’re not, and so the sooner we come to terms with that, I think the better for all of us.

“If it were up to me and it’s not, I would stop putting those briefings on live TV,” she continued.

“Not out of spite but because it’s misinformation. If the president does end up saying anything true, you can run it as tape, but if he keeps lying like he has been every day on stuff this important, we should — all of us should stop broadcasting it. Honestly, it’s going to cost lives.”

Well, I guess he really is on par with O.J. Simpson, then.

Todd, Hayes and Maddow all sound like pornographers who unabashedly detest their own product but can’t stop selling it because it sells too well. And, be not mistaken, it sells exceptionally well.

As The New York Times pointed out, the TV ratings for Trump’s daily briefings have “rivaled the audiences for hit reality shows and prime-time football.”

“Since reviving the daily White House briefing — a practice abandoned last year by an administration that bristles at outside scrutiny — Mr. Trump and his coronavirus updates have attracted an average audience of 8.5 million on cable news, roughly the viewership of the season finale of ‘The Bachelor,’” The Times reported March 25.

“And the numbers are continuing to rise, driven by intense concern about the virus and the housebound status of millions of Americans who are practicing social distancing. On Monday, nearly 12.2 million people watched Mr. Trump’s briefing on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, according to Nielsen — ‘Monday Night Football’ numbers.”

If MSNBC’s hosts really think these media conferences are so vile, they certainly get a lot of mileage talking about them. It’s like the old “Mondo Cane” documentaries from the 1960s, where the narrator would pretend to be genuinely scandalized at shock footage of “rituals” from around the world that were presented, at arm’s length, as “education.”

All three of these people are some of the most powerful in media. If they didn’t want to show up to work to protest airing the media conferences, they could. If they didn’t want to talk about them, they could do that, too.

All of these options are open to them — and yet, they continue to talk about them because they want ratings, too. No one begrudges them the fruit of their labor, but they probably shouldn’t call the vine they’re picking it from so poisoned to be extirpated and burned on a pyre.

There’s no need for condescending warnings before the president’s media conference, no need for a hyperventilation about the media briefings costing lives, no need to talk about how dangerous they are.

The assumption from these hosts is that we’re all so dumb the president would just be pouring information straight into our poor little brains without their intervention.

This says a lot more about how they regard their viewers, however, than it does about anything that goes on at these news briefings.

Author: C. Douglas Golden

Source: Western Journal: Chuck Todd’s Outrageous Disclaimer Before Trump’s COVID Briefing Flushes Media’s Last Shred of Credibility

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