"Imminent Threat"

October 6, 2021

When the president of the National School Board Association sent a letter to President Biden, urging him to use federal law enforcement to deal with the “imminent threat” of parents showing up at school board meetings to protest their kids being forced into draconian COVID restrictions and indoctrinated with pornographic sexual content and racist “Critical Race Theory,” many Americans rightly reacted with fury and dismay. Public school bureaucrats have no divine right to decide how they will treat other people’s children or what they’ll teach them, especially if it’s controversial leftist propaganda that parents don’t want polluting their children’s minds.

In fact, in Virginia, Democrat gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe’s campaign took a big stumble when he sided with these educrats in a debate, declaring, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” Problem: that right is actually codified into state law, which he should know, having been Governor before (State code section 1-240.1: “A parent has a fundamental right to make decisions concerning the upbringing, education, and care of the parent’s child.”) Even Democrat ex-Gov. Doug Wilder slapped him down, saying, “If parents don’t have a say-so in terms of their kids’ education, then who does?”

We all know the left’s answer to that question: they believe the government owns your kids, the same way it owns every penny you earn but is generous enough to let you keep a few of them.

Anyway, do you know who didn’t give that outrageous letter the quick trip to the circular file that it deserved? Attorney General Merrick Garland, who announced that the FBI and the Biden “Justice” Department will begin holding meetings with federal, state and local law enforcement to discuss ways to combat this “disturbing trend” of parents refusing to let their children be brainwashed with leftist garbage. He didn’t exactly put it that way, of course, but I cut to the chase.

Garland said in a statement, "Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation’s core values. Those who dedicate their time and energy to ensuring that our children receive a proper education in a safe environment deserve to be able to do their work without fear for their safety."

That’s funny, I thought the term “public servant” meant they serve the public, not the other way around. Also, America’s greatest core value is freedom of speech.

To be clear: it’s important to remain civil even when you’re justifiably angry. Nobody should express their anger at school boards with threats and intimidation. FYI to AG Garland: that also applies to BLM and Antifa protesters. But it’s reasonable to assume that with this massive effort to start “policing” and monitoring parental speech, the goal is not to prevent real threats and violence but to intimidate parents into being afraid to speak up at public meetings. It’s the same method that’s been used to intimidate Trump supporters into being afraid of expressing their honest opinions on social media. They know “Big Brother is watching you.”

So keep showing up at public meetings to express your opposition, but do it civilly. And most importantly, show up to all local elections and VOTE THESE BUMS OUT. The left has figured out that the way to destroy America is from the bottom up. So they show up for local elections, where voters have gotten complacent and assume it doesn't matter whether they vote or not. This is how you get city councils that defund the police and Soros-funded district attorneys who release criminals the prosecute people who defend themselves from criminals, and yes, school boards that push anti-Americanism, critical race theory and radical sexual politics. If you want to get rid of them, show up at the meetings, but better yet, show up at your local election polls.

Meanwhile, with every new action taken by Merrick Garland, we see what a debt of gratitude America owes to Sen. Mitch McConnell for blocking Obama from putting him onto the Supreme Court. Far from the moderate, centrist jurist he was touted as being, he’s proving daily that he has no qualms about treating the Bill of Rights like toilet paper and abusing his powers to impose the will of the authoritarian left. I am counting the minutes until 2024, when a new Republican President has him escorted from the DOJ, hopefully never to hold any position of public trust again.

I’m very glad to see that Attorney General Merrick Garland’s plan to engage federal, state and local law enforcement to intimidate parents who protest the actions of leftist schools boards is being met with the overwhelming furious backlash it deserves. One commentator said this might be the straw that broke the camel’s back (sorry for triggering any animal lovers) for the Democrats’ dwindling hopes in the midterm elections. This is such an outrageous assault on the most basic rights of all citizens to engage in free speech and protest, and of all parents to have a say in how their children are educated, that the outrage cuts across all political and racial lines.

To be clear: I'm not defending anyone who makes actual physical threats against school board members. But Garland cited no examples of actual threats to justify this. Instead, his statement included vague and overly broad terms such as “harassment” and “intimidation,” which signals that this is really an abuse of power designed to chill free speech. He also offered no justification for literally making a federal case out of these hypothetical threats, which are already covered by laws and police on the local level. The only reasons to federalize this are to assert more control in picking targets and to ramp up the intimidation factor (ironically, Garland is the one who seems to be guilty of attempting to harass and intimidate people.)

Here’s a round-up of just some of the reactions to this Orwellian abuse of power:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis blasted Garland for “weaponizing the DOJ by using the FBI to pursue concerned parents and silence them through intimidation,” adding, “Florida will defend the free speech rights of its citizens and will not allow federal agents to squelch dissent.” His spokeswoman also called it “despicable and un-American,” saying, “Florida law enforcement is perfectly capable of responding to crimes in Florida, and we have never heard the FBI suggest otherwise. However, disagreement is not harassment. Protest is not terrorism, unless it involves rioting, looting, and assault, like some of the left-wing protests of summer 2020.”

Speaking of that, while the DOJ and FBI busy themselves with surveilling Trump voters and intimidating concerned parents, murders took the biggest spike in history in 2020, nearly 30 percent (thanks, all you police-defunding blue state Governors, mayors and city councils!)…

And while the FBI is ignoring that, they’re also doing virtually nothing about actual violent terrorists and anarchists like Antifa, as long as they’re on the left.

IMO: A shocking violation

October 6, 2021

This is an outrage and in my opinion a shocking violation of the Hippocratic Oath. The Colorado health system UCHealth has reversed an earlier approval for a life-saving kidney transplant for a woman in stage five renal failure because she and the donor are both unvaccinated for COVID. She was told she’ll be removed from the transplant list if she didn’t take the vaccine.

Earlier, she was told that the vaccine would not be a prerequisite for her surgery, and she’s willing to sign a waiver absolving the hospital of any responsibility, but that’s not good enough. The hospital says contracting COVID raises the mortality risk for transplant patients, so apparently, they’re willing to let her go without a kidney and die for certain in order to slightly lower her risk of dying. She’s now scrambling to find a hospital outside Colorado that will do the surgery.

Recently, late night host Jimmy Kimmel proposed that hospitals should turn away unvaccinated people and let them die. Now, we’re seeing that shocking proposal being put into effect. Incidentally, this was the same Jimmy Kimmel who tearfully promoted Obamacare by declaring that medical care was a human right. If so, then are hospitals and the government now deciding who qualifies as human?

Outrageous behavior

October 6, 2021

Not content with harassing and filming Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in a woman’s restroom (and word is that authorities in Arizona are investigating that obvious violation of the law, so let’s hope we see some arrests quickly), an uncivil rights activist harassed Sen. Sinema on a plane as she was flying back to DC to push her to vote for Biden's $3.6 trillion spending bill.

Even more outrageous, President Biden (who seems to have no qualms with violating women’s privacy in bathrooms) was asked to condemn this abhorrent behavior and seemed to brush it off as “part of the process.”

Can you imagine how Democrats would squeal like stuck pigs if some Trump supporter followed AOC into a women’s restroom and harassed her to vote against a spending bill? It would be “insurrection” and an “assault on our democracy!”

I guess leftists believe that all Democrats must vote for whatever they want, with no regard for the idea that Sens. Sinema and Manchin don't represent AOC, they represent their constituents in Arizona and West Virginia. These arrogant activists think their repulsive “process” of harassment and intimidation is justified and that it works, but I hope it backfires bigly on them. At the very least, I hope they stiffen Sen. Sinema’s resolve not to cave in to these disgusting tactics. At best, she should switch parties and take away their Senate majority. As I noted before, Republicans believe women should be allowed privacy in women’s restrooms.

Biden’s cavalier response to these unconscionable, barbaric tactics is just more proof that to today’s Democrats, if you disagree with them, that’s an "assault on democracy.” If they invade your privacy, terrorize your family, and harass and physically attack you, that’s “the democratic process.”

Facebook's very bad week

October 6, 2021

Facebook is having one of its worst weeks ever, and that has some people absolutely delighted.

It kicked off Sunday when “Sixty Minutes” interviewed Frances Haugen, the whistleblower who exposed thousands of pages of internal documents. They showed that people inside Facebook were complaining about how it allows misinformation, incitements of violence and hate speech to spread, and that they were aware that Instagram is harmful to users, particularly girls, but are pushing to introduce a version aimed at children anyway. Here’s that interview on YouTube:

It’s interesting, but notice how CBS illustrated every reference to “misinformation,” hate speech or violence by showing Trump supporters and repeating the ever-more-shaky claim that the January 6th Capitol violence was an “insurrection.” Note to “Sixty Minutes”: social media sites are also used by leftists to spread hate speech and to organize violence. Maybe you missed all the riots, looting, arson and attacks on citizens, police and government buildings and monuments last year by violent leftist radicals like Antifa, but some of us are old enough to remember way back to 2020.

It makes me wonder how much of this pious concern about Facebook’s internal post vetting and “fact-checking” is really just about the left not wanting people on the right to have free speech. After all, we’ve known since the First Amendment was written that some people would use it to express bad or incorrect ideas, but that would be fixed by challenging them with more free speech. I’m not ready to trade the free marketplace of ideas for a Facebook-created algorithm that decides who gets to speak.

Haugen will also be testifying to the Senate this morning, where she reportedly plans to accuse Facebook of tearing societies apart and compare it to big tobacco, and not just because Mark Zuckerberg has blown so much smoke in Congressional hearings.

In a week when Facebook is dominating the news, I’m surprised to find myself caught up in a personal drama about another social media platform called Nextdoor.

On the surface, the issue I’m about to describe would seem insignificant. But even though it doesn’t involve 24 million viewers and $2 million like John Stossel’s lawsuit against Facebook, it does have to do with shaping neighbor-to-neighbor dialogue in communities everywhere, which might be even more important in the long run. And it has to do with humor; namely, what we’re permitted to laugh at.

That’s up my alley, as I’m a humor writer who was already dismayed at what leftists have been doing to put the kibosh on laughs. The term “political correctness” came about to describe the way thoughts must be expressed to be acceptable in this day and time. It demands a lack of courage that pretty much spells death to comedy, which thrives not just on pushing the inside of the envelope but on ripping it open. Suffer through a few socially-approved evenings with Stephen Colbert or Trevor Noah and you’ll see immediately what I mean.

To set up my story, some months ago (hard to remember exactly), a man in my town who is on Nextdoor –- I’ll call him “Andy” –- started posting something he called “Laughter Of The Day.” The idea was that since we’re all dealing with covid, some of us stuck at home or even quarantined, he would send a few laughs in the way of corny “dad” jokes that, I assume, came mostly right out of an old joke book from the 1950s. They would be posted every week, and were always good for a groan, an eye-roll, or sometimes a big laugh out loud. Writing funny lines is my stock and trade --- you know that if you watch “In Case You Missed It” on the Governor’s TV show on TBN --- and I still loved his dated old wheezes.

His jokes were definitely NOT PC, though. There were “blonde” jokes (you know, about how dumb blondes are), “Little Johnny” jokes, jokes that made fun of everything. Some would call these jokes guilty pleasures, though to me they were as guilt-free as low-fat salad dressing.

Well, a few weeks ago, suddenly there were no more of Andy’s jokes. I thought he was probably just busy with other things. But this Sunday, somebody posted that he wondered if Andy was all right, as we hadn’t heard from him in a while. A number of neighbors chimed in, saying they were worried about him, too, and missed his jokes. But them someone wrote to say Andy was okay, just “in jail.” That means he’d been suspended from Nextdoor, totally locked out, not able to access the site at all. No reason given. More of Andy’s fans wrote in to post lots of those little red hearts, saying how much they loved Andy’s jokes and wanted him back.

My comment, though, was not little red hearts. It was more like, “What the hey? Andy doesn’t deserve to be ‘in jail.’ I want to know why Nextdoor did this. And I do not want to hear that it’s because of the jokes themselves. I do not want social media nannies telling us what we can and cannot laugh at.” I even said that, to me, “ND” stood for “Nanny Dearest.” (I had already been annoyed with ND for giving me screens asking, “Are you sure you want to publish this?” when I’d said something perfectly polite, accurate and well informed.)

On Monday, Andy was finally allowed (allowed!) to post again, and he put up another “Laughter Of The Day,” which I thought was his best ever.

Anyway, on Tuesday, when I tried to contact Andy through a PM (private message), I found that I myself couldn’t get into the site, at all. For most of the day, I was “locked out,” perhaps because of my diatribe against social media nanny-ism, but I don’t know for sure (because they don’t tell you). Later in the day, I was finally able to access the site and write to Andy. I suppose I’ll never know whether they locked me out deliberately or if it was just a weirdly coincidental computer glitch, but I don’t much care. This story is not about me, but rather what was done to Andy and his jokes.

Andy said he’d been working on setting up a group, just for the people who wanted to see his jokes. I told him this was the last straw for me and I was leaving Nextdoor. He said he was almost to that point himself.

I got this note from him on Tuesday:

“Laura. Just to let you know, I've already been reported for my post yesterday, over posting and for my Blonde jokes. So if they throw me in jail or delete me for good, it's been a pleasure.”

The worst thing about political correctness isn’t that easily-offended people don’t want to see the jokes --- it’s that they don’t want YOU to see the jokes. They don’t want YOU to be able to laugh at them.

I don’t know how far up the line the decision to take someone’s content off Nextdoor is made –- I would guess not very far –- but I went to their website to see who’s involved at the upper levels. To my surprise, Nextdoor is HUGE. Though it seems small and neighborly on your computer screen, it’s headed by people from all over the world. It’s based in San Francisco and, as of this March, is in 11 countries. It’s valued in the billions of dollars. Here’s a video I found called “The Story Of Nextdoor.”

It mentions problems arising from “moderators who are given significant power with very little training, if any, and can control the narrative of the town by censoring posts and making other people moderators with no accountability attached.” But the examples they give have to do specifically with racist content. The control they exert goes way beyond that.

Read some of the comments after the video, and you’ll see I'm not alone in saying Nextdoor is a place of censorship and progressive propaganda.

On their website, the “Neighborhood Vitality Advisory Board” includes “diverse academics and experts, in the fields of social psychology, equality and civic engagement.” Looking at the educational background and career focus of most of these participants, I imagine they’re far too “woke” to laugh at Andy’s “blonde” jokes. And I’ll bet they wouldn’t want you laughing at them, either.

I’ve had some good experiences with Nextdoor --- found some great service providers, and met someone who is now a dear friend. Social media wouldn’t be so pervasive in our lives if it didn’t provide benefits. But just like Facebook and Twitter, Nextdoor has anointed itself the arbiter of our conversations, controlling and shaping the narrative in ways both overt and subtle --- and that's nothing to laugh at.