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This might be the calm before the storm for the Hunter Biden laptop story. Discussion seems to be moving from the contents –- we’ve got the idea and need to take repeated showers with antibacterial soap –- to the significance of those contents. On Wednesday, The Hill reported that Biden has told Obama he intends to run again in 2024. But on the same day, Townhall ran a piece by Oliver North and David Goetsch entitled “Biden’s Family Scandal: Never Underestimate the Power of Blackmail.”

https://townhall.com/columnists/olivernorthanddavidgoetsch/2022/04/19/bidens-family-scandal-never-underestimate-the-power-of-blackmail-n2606021

Not long ago, we went to Andrew C. McCarthy’s book BALL OF COLLUSION to look at the corruption in Ukraine, the so-called influence peddling in which so many on both sides of the aisle engage. The context was Paul Manafort and how he ever became Trump’s campaign chairman, but this is the same environment where the “Biden family business” thrived. And just as Manafort became politically vulnerable because of his activities and connections, so did the Bidens. That can especially be said of the patriarch, Joe Biden, who had by far the most to lose. The chorus is growing that this scandal isn’t about Hunter, but about the President.

That’s precisely the point made in the Townhall piece. “All Hunter ever peddled to China, Russia and Ukraine was access to his father,” it says. “Hunter not only compromised his father but set him up for blackmail.”

Amazingly, the two enemies President Biden is having to face down in 2022, Russia and China, happen to be the very nations in which he is eminently blackmail-able.

Ah, but you might say that neither Russia nor China has released anything on him. That must mean there's nothing else.

Au contraire. Blackmail is like revenge –- best served cold. Meanwhile, the blackmailer holds on to whatever he has so he can hold the threat of using it over his victim. In the meantime, he WANTS his stooge to remain where he is. The victim knows that if his blackmailers are displeased, they’ll “release the Kraken.”

And since what we already know is so bad –- assuming that Joe was “the Big Guy” and the plan was to give him a 10 percent cut of the action –- one might imagine that “the Kraken” is exponentially worse. (Or, as Biden might say, “expodentially.”)

https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/matt-margolis/2021/12/16/lol-supercut-of-biden-saying-expodentially-over-and-over-n1541988

The Chinese, especially, are masters of blackmail. Joe Biden might swear up and down that he never profited from his family’s business dealings, but the authors of this piece pose a provocative question: “How did a lifelong politician who often claimed to be ‘the poorest man in the United States Senate’ suddenly become a multimillionaire on the Vice President’s salary, which in 2017 was $230,700?”

(Aside: That question is right up there with, “How did a couple of grifters from Arkansas go from being ‘dead broke’ to flying high in the wealth stratosphere, seemingly protected from any legal consequences of their actions?” I digress.)

Also recall the email that refers to Joe wanting to talk to Hunter “about his [Joe’s] future earnings potential.” We’ll ask again: Why would he be asking his son about that?

As FBI Director Chris Wray said in 2020, “China uses a diverse range of sophisticated techniques, everything from cyber intrusions to corrupting trusted insiders” to get what it wants. He went on to say that blackmail is one of their favorite tactics.

That’s one reason why it was so shocking to learn that California Rep. Eric Swalwell had had a close relationship with a Chinese agent, “Fang Fang,” that started even when he in his first political job, on a city council. Playing the long game, she helped groom him for higher office. Finally, she realized her cover was blown and high-tailed it back to China.

Congress didn’t take that revelation seriously enough –- might some of them be compromised, too? Swalwell takes a lower profile for now, but he’s still around and, amazingly, still has his seat on the HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE, where he once investigated President Trump over bogus ties to Russia.

Moving on...As reported by Jason Chaffetz on FOX News Sunday, a group of 16 GOP legislators is calling on the “Justice” Department to brief Congress on the federal investigation into the President’s son, telling Attorney General Merrick Garland in a letter, “It is imperative that the Department of Justice brief Congress on the nature of Mr. Weiss’s investigation into Hunter Biden. Congress has a constitutional obligation to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch an a moral obligation to examine if the President of the United States or any senior official in his administration is ethically compromised or injured.”

Chaffetz asked his guest, Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs, what U.S. District Attorney David Weiss, head of the Delaware investigation into Hunter’s taxes that was made public in December 2020 (note: AFTER the election), might use as an excuse not to brief Congress. “The only excuse they might have,” Biggs said, “is that they don’t want to give us the information.” Yes, it’s typical for them to say they don’t comment on ongoing investigations. But, as Biggs said, 51 former intel officials signed a now-infamous letter saying the laptop had “classic earmarks” of Russian disinformation. They didn’t seem to mind talking about THAT, even when what they were saying wasn’t true.

“That was to suppress this for the election in 2020,” Biggs said. “...If they’re not going to give us information, it does continue to look like the cover-up that we suspect it to be.” He’s concerned that not only might Joe Biden and his family be compromised, but “quite frankly, certain folks and assets within DOJ” might be as well.

What Congress needs, Chaffetz said, is “information about the flow of money.” Biggs, a member of the House Oversight Committee, said they’ll keep pushing. Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, is also committed to doing so.

California Rep. Darrell Issa, who also appeared on the show, took a take-charge stance and announced that Republicans in Congress are not waiting for the “Justice” Department to appoint a special counsel. They have a copy of the laptop’s hard drive and will just start their own investigation, thank-you-very-much. They don’t have subpoena power, though, unless (until!) they retake Congress.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/we-have-the-laptop-republican-investigator-hunter-biden-treasure-trove/ar-AAWj899

Mr. Weiss is a Trump appointee. Ironically, Biden couldn’t request his resignation, as is customary in a new administration, because Weiss already headed the ongoing investigation. (This isn’t Ukraine, after all.)

In late February, law professor Jonathan Turley commented on Weiss and the investigation going on in Delaware. Weiss apparently has called numerous witnesses to testify about Hunter’s lavish lifestyle. Turley’s biggest question is the scope of the investigation, saying the uncertainty surrounding that is the reason increasingly being cited for the need to appoint a special counsel, which Merrick Garland still refuses to do, “despite the clear basis for such an appointment.” Turley’s piece is a must-read…

https://jonathanturley.org/2022/02/23/word-to-the-weiss-why-the-delaware-u-s-attorney-still-calling-people-before-the-grand-jury-to-testify-on-hunter-biden/

Oh, and wouldn't want to forget this:

https://www.newsmax.com/politics/poll-trafalgar-biden-china/2022/04/19/id/1066292/

Monday, a federal judge in Florida struck down the national mask mandate on airplanes and other mass transit, finding that while the CDC’s intentions might have been laudable, it overstepped its powers, failed to justify its decision, and did not follow proper rule-making procedures.

https://apnews.com/article/biden-health-business-travel-tampa-3408cc825582126fbda5fbedd3a49dd3

While the Biden White House urged people to keep wearing masks anyway (I get the impression Joe wears one in the shower), Uber, Amtrak, multiple airlines and airports immediately began rescinding their mask requirements and telling passengers that they could free their faces.

https://www.foxbusiness.com/lifestyle/covid-mask-mandate-uber-amtrak-airlines-requirements

And to quote Monty Python, “There was much rejoicing.”

https://www.toddstarnes.com/politics/liberation-day-passengers-cheer-flight-attendants-weep-for-joy/

Of course, not everyone is happy to once again breathe the safe, heavily-filtered air of freedom. Some people are screaming at the sky and demanding the ruling be appealed.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/pissed-liberals-revolt-after-trump-appointed-judge-lifts-mask-mandate

They’ve become so deeply invested in COVID dogma that telling them they don’t have to wear a mask is like telling a devout Muslim to take off her burqa. The Japanese have even coined a term for this condition: “mask dependency.” They claim they’re on the side of science. But are they really?

https://redstate.com/jimthompson/2022/04/19/mask-mandate-is-history-what-will-the-flight-attendant-masknazis-do-n552273

I’ve never understood why these people demand that everybody else wear a mask. If they truly believe that masks block the virus, then isn’t the one they’re wearing protection enough? They claim they want to prevent the spread of the disease to others, but from the way they’re constantly screaming at, insulting and threatening those who disagree with them, and wishing mass death on them, I find it hard to believe they’re all that altruistic.

Here’s the bottom line on masks: as uncomfortable and inconvenient as they are, I wouldn’t mind wearing one if I thought it was actually doing any good. We followed the suggested protocols at the time and asked our TV studio audience to wear them, which I swear is the only reason you couldn’t hear them laughing uproariously at my jokes.

But we now have plenty of data showing that mask mandates have had terrible adverse effects on children while making virtually no difference in the spread of COVID. The cloth masks most people wear don’t block the transmission of an extremely microscopic airborne virus. Not to mention that most people, especially children, don’t follow the strict rules for handling masks, which ends up making them less sanitary than going maskless.

If you have any friends who are melting down at the thought of taking off their masks, you might want to share this article by John Tierney at City Journal.

https://www.city-journal.org/the-failed-covid-policy-of-mask-mandates

It contains a lot of data, including a chart comparing the COVID spread rates in states with and without mask mandates. They’re virtually identical. So were the cumulative death rates over the course of the pandemic, except that the death rate was slightly lower in states without mask mandates.

To cite specific states, the media praised Rhode Island in the summer of 2020 for reaching a 96% mask compliance rate. It quickly went on to experience one of the worst COVID surges in America. The media savaged Florida and Iowa as “reckless and delusional” and accused them of not caring if people die for refusing or ending mask mandates. Their COVID death rates turned out to be lower than the national average.

Tierney also cites a book by data analyst Ian Miller called “Unmasked: The Global Failure of COVID Mask Mandates,” which “documents how mask mandates were implemented without scientific justification, how they failed around the world, and how public officials and journalists have kept making fools of themselves by pretending otherwise.” Might be good to have a copy of that to loan to your friends. But be sure to sanitize it for their protection.

Over the weekend, South Carolina was the site of two mass shootings, one in a mall and the other in a restaurant. A total of at least 18 people suffered gunshot wounds, although thank God, there were no reported fatalities.

https://nypost.com/2022/04/17/nine-injured-at-south-carolina-restaurant-shooting/

Incredibly, one of the suspected mall shooters was released by a judge on $25,000 bail and allowed to wear an ankle monitor so he could go to work! I can’t imagine any of his co-workers showing up today.

https://redstate.com/bobhoge/2022/04/18/judge-sets-25k-bail-for-south-carolina-mall-shooting-suspect-and-lets-him-go-back-to-work-n551746

This type of blasé attitude about violence and crime leads me to ask an uncomfortable question.

We know that there is no longer any place in the Democratic Party for someone who is pro-life. The radical abortion wing drives out anyone who dares to question the current push to allow unfettered abortions up to and even beyond birth (that used to be called “infanticide.”) Never mind that only 13% of Americans think abortion should be allowed in the third trimester. Blue state leaders seem to be competing to see who can make it easier to kill babies in the womb, or even recently out of it, with Colorado currently grabbing the lead in that grisly race.

https://www.westernjournal.com/co-gov-marks-christs-resurrection-death-giving-death-sentence-babies-across-state/

My question, however, is not whether any Party leaders are pro-life, but whether they’ve actually gone so far as to become the pro-death party? If you think that’s outrageous, ask yourself: how many people have died because Democrats came to power, and they don’t seem to care about anything other than how it might affect their polling?

On the international side, we have the soldiers who died in a terrorist attack during Biden’s botched Afghanistan pullout, and all our Afghan allies who were left behind at the mercy of the Taliban (and no, I don’t believe that would have happened if Trump were still in office.) Add in all the Ukrainians who have been killed in the devastating invasion that I don’t believe Putin would have launched if Trump were still in office (you’ll notice he waited until after Trump left and Biden signaled his weakness and fecklessness in Afghanistan.)

But those are hypotheticals. Let’s look at how many people have been killed or injured as a direct result of Democrat policies right here in the US. Like Biden’s open border that’s allowed in repeat criminals, drug gangs and huge amounts of deadly drugs like fentanyl. Not to mention terrorists.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/border-patrol-people-terrorist-database-southern-border-2021-cbp-data

Consider how many illegal aliens with violent criminal records have been let in and shielded from deportation. Look at the skyrocketing crime and murder rates that coincidentally happen to all be in blue cities with “progressive” DA’s and city leaders, who have defunded the police and refuse to keep criminals in jail.

They have no rational justification for these deliberately deadly policies, only fuzzy euphemisms to try to cover up the bloodstains. They release career criminals to prey on the public again and again and call it “bail reform,” which is like calling partial birth abortion “reproductive justice” (which they also do.)

Even some Democrats are starting to catch on to the deadly consequences of “progressive” policies. New York City Mayor Eric Adams noted that while everyone was talking about the subway shooter, they ignored over a dozen incidents of gun violence just between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

https://www.westernjournal.com/powerful-mayor-turns-blm-thought-black-lives-mattered/

Adams said, “Where are all those who stated black lives matter? Then go do an analysis of who was killed or shot last night. I was up all night speaking to my commanders in the Bronx and Brooklyn. The victims were black. Many of the shooters were black. Why are 16, 17, 18-year-olds out on our streets armed with guns at 12:00 or 1:00 a.m.? If black lives matter, then the thousands of people I saw on the street when [George] Floyd was murdered should be on the streets right now stating that the lives of these black children that are dying every night matter. We can’t be hypocrites.”

Oh but some people can be. When Adams called for fighting the violence by bringing back a plainclothes officer unit that his predecessor DeBlasio disbanded, BLM co-Founder Hawk Newsome raged that they would “take to the streets”: “There will be riots. There will be fire, and there will be bloodshed because we believe in defending our people.”

So he’s threatening riots, arson and bloodshed to protect black people from…not being shot? If that’s not a “pro-death” position, what is?

Kevin Downey Jr. at PJ Media made a related observation that the left’s tactic of dividing Americans by telling some groups that they’re helpless victims of other groups who hate and oppress them has become the driving force behind a number of horrific crimes of rage, from the subway shooting to the guy who ran over 62 people in a parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

https://pjmedia.com/columns/kevindowneyjr/2022/04/15/blinded-me-with-violence-how-the-left-fosters-hate-crime-then-plays-the-victim-n1590085

As Downey puts it, they’re creating an atmosphere that fosters hate crimes, then playing the victim when the people who listen to them commit one. That's using death to gain political advantage. And it's absolutely sickening.

Whether Elon Musk ultimately buys Twitter or not, he’s done the world an invaluable service by forcing leftists to admit (A.) that Twitter (and other social media outlets) are incredibly biased and censorious, and (B.) that there is nothing that terrifies them more than the thought of the people having freedom of speech.

I’ve always operated on the assumption that if you are so afraid of defending your ideas that you feel you have to silence anyone who would challenge them, then you must not be able to back them up intellectually. I’m confident enough in my beliefs that I happily invite liberals to come on my shows for a friendly debate, although I notice that hardly any of them take me up on it.

These days, leftists seem to believe, despite massive evidence to the contrary, that their opinions are objective truth. If that were true, they wouldn’t be so terrified of letting the other side talk, but instead, they’re desperate to maintain a highly censored public square with themselves, naturally, in charge of determining whose ideas are worthy of voicing.

When you have so-called “thought leaders” like Robert Reich and Max Boot actually arguing that Musk’s free speech agenda is the dream of every dictator on earth (Really? Name one) or that “For democracy to survive, we need more content moderation, not less,” you know are engaged in a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent.

Instapundit had a good wrap-up on what an important day last Thursday was, a turning point in the left revealing its true attitude about freedom of speech.

https://instapundit.com/515630/

As Glenn Greenwald put it, “It was the day they were forced to explicitly state what has long been clear: they not only favor censorship but desperately crave and depend on it.”

And speaking of victories for free speech: Congratulations to philosophy professor Nicholas Meriwether, who was punished by Shawnee State University for refusing to call a male student by his “preferred” female pronouns because it violated his religious beliefs. Meriwether said he treats all students with dignity and respect, and he offered to call the student by name, but that wasn’t good enough. He sued, with his attorney saying that nobody should be forced to contradict their core beliefs just to keep their job.

Last month, the 6th US Court of Appeals found in his favor, ruling that the university violated his First Amendment rights. As part of a settlement, the university agreed to rescind the written warning issued to him, and pay his attorney’s fees and $400,000 in damages.

https://adfmedia.org/case/meriwether-v-trustees-shawnee-state-university

Congratulations to Prof. Meriwether and a big salute for fighting to defend both First Amendment free speech rights and correct grammar.

Not Your English Class

April 18, 2022

Why are some teachers so adamant about teaching inappropriate sexual and gender content to children? Maybe because they’ve given up on teaching them anything else.

For instance, if you thought English teachers were there to teach your kids grammar and literacy, you need to get with the times, square. According to a statement by the National Council of Teachers of English, “The time has come to decenter book reading and essay writing as the pinnacles of English language arts education.” Instead, they want kids to delve into the brave new world of digital media literacy. No, that’s not an oxymoron (I took English when kids learned what an oxymoron was.)

https://redstate.com/alexparker/2022/04/15/english-teachers-association-will-decenter-book-reading-and-essay-writing-as-it-addresses-systemic-inequalities-and-social-justice-n551127

And what sort of Internet content will these “English” teachers focus on in place of great books and essays? I think you can guess from their claim that they’re pursuing “critical media literacy,” and that they “value the use of teaching and learning practices that help to identify and disrupt the inequalities of contemporary life, including structural racism, sexism, consumerism, and economic injustice. Critical pedagogies help learners see themselves as empowered change agents, able to imagine and build a better, more just world.”

I would be happy if they just taught kids that “they” is not a singular pronoun, no matter what you "prefer."

Oh, well, you don’t want your kids to be English majors anyway. You’d rather they get a degree that will land them a good-paying job in a STEM field. So here’s a roundup of how the teaching of college math and science is going

https://redstate.com/alexparker/2022/04/15/university-orders-professors-to-decolonize-math-think-twice-before-citing-white-or-male-mathematicians-n551065

As Alex Parker of Redstate.com relates, universities are pushing to “decolonize” math and STEM fields, to remove the “whiteness” and Western frame of reference. As one British social sciences professor explains, “The idea behind decolonizing maths is that because everyone should be regarded as equal, the status of their beliefs must also be equal. This judgmental relativism is an inversion of science that is based on what is real rather than making everybody feel included.”

I don’t know about you, but when I get on a plane, I want to know that the engine was designed by someone who learned how to make everyone feel included, and not just a bunch of real stuff about physics and math.

I mentioned it earlier this week, but it bears repeating: There are 7 million good-paying jobs open right now for skilled workers who went to trade school. Walmart is offering up to $110,000 a year as starting pay for truck drivers. That’s twice the starting salary of the average college graduate, and with zero student debt and no leftist brainwashing.