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CHOP has been chopped

July 2, 2020

NEWS UPDATE: CHOP has been chopped. After degenerating from an alleged “festival atmosphere” and “second summer of love” into a dangerous, lawless war zone within days, the area of Seattle “occupied” by leftist radicals was finally cleared out Wednesday morning.

Mayor Jenny Durkan must’ve gotten tired of competing with Bill DeBlasio for the title of America’s Worst Mayor because she finally issued the order police had been waiting for. They moved and gave the big, tough social justice “warriors” eight minutes to clear out (yes, that’s how quickly this could have ended if the Mayor had ever done her job.) Among those who resisted, there were 31 arrests. Let’s hope that for probably the first time in their lives, they will discover what it means to face real consequences for their rotten behavior.

CHOP was a disaster and a massive dereliction of the city’s duty to protect its citizens. It was also an unwarranted tragedy that resulted in robberies, assaults and other violent crimes, three serious injuries from shootings, and the shooting deaths of two black teenagers - Lorenzo Anderson Jr. and Antonio Mays Jr. – by people who claimed they launched this radical Romper Room with no police allowed to protest the unjust killing of black people by police.

At the link is a post-mortem on what happened in Seattle and how (the first step was the mistake of electing a far-left government.) As bad as the entire episode was, it did serve one purpose: seldom has there been a more horrifying but useful illustration of how swiftly civilization can spiral into anarchy when you do something as stupid as abolishing the police and giving power to a bunch of socialist undergrads.

We’re taking a brief break from the daily news so that my staff and I can enjoy some time off to celebrate the Fourth of July with our families. But don’t worry, we’ve prepared some newsletter material in advance. And if anything major occurs that cries out for comment, we’ll set down our hot dogs and rush to our laptops! We will return to covering the daily headlines on Tuesday.

In the meantime, all of us here wish you and your families a safe, fun, and blessed Fourth of July weekend. Please remember, in the midst of the current radical anti-American garbage that’s taking up way too much space in the news that there is a reason why you’re called “the Silent Majority” and they are just the extremely loud, tiny minority. This is NOT a nation of racists and white supremacists with a shameful history based on nothing but slavery that deserves to be smashed and forgotten. This is instead history’s greatest experiment in freedom and respect for the God-given rights of the individual.

As we all gather peacefully and unapologetically, both native-born Americans and immigrants, to fly Old Glory, watch the fireworks and sing patriotic songs, let’s remember that when anyone tries to claim that America is an evil, irredeemable, racist nation that needs to be “fundamentally transformed,” they have the First Amendment right to say it, but they deserve no more serious consideration of their ignorant views from intelligent adults than do any other prattling children.

Yes, our ancestors were flawed human beings, as are we all. So far, there’s been only one perfect person in the past 2,000 years. But never has there been such a nation that continually strove to overcome its problems and prejudices, that was founded on the government being the servant of the people and not vice versa, that fought a bloody civil war to end slavery, and that has sacrificed so many lives to protect others around the world from oppression and tyranny. For generation after generation, Americans have worked and struggled to create a more perfect union, and to ensure the blessings of liberty and equal opportunity for people of all races and creeds so that the future will forever be brighter than the past. That is worth celebrating!

Our Founding Debate

July 2, 2020

I hope you’re having a great 4th of July week, but between the celebratory fireworks on one hand and the anti-American political fireworks on the other, let’s take just a moment to reflect on what Independence Day really means and how it led to the freedoms and blessings that far too many Americans fail to appreciate these days.

Most historians (not New York Times writers, but real historians) mark the beginning of America as the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776. But in truth, there was still a long road to travel before America as we know it came to be. First, of course, there was the matter of fighting a bloody revolution against Great Britain, one where victory was an overwhelming longshot, and win or lose, the leaders risked their lives and fortunes. Victory was followed by more heated battles over what kind of government we would have.

Our Forefathers finally agreed to a blueprint, the Constitution, that wasn’t even introduced until 1789 – over 13 years later. Today, many Americans take those hard-won freedoms very lightly and seem eager to trade them away for false promises of security. Some can’t even name the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. Maybe they’d cherish them more if they knew how close they came to not having them at all.

Did you know that the Constitution very nearly got passed without the Bill of Rights? Even some of the wisest of our forefathers thought a Bill of Rights was a dangerous idea. Alexander Hamilton argued that it was risky to list the rights the government couldn’t take away because then, politicians might try to grab any and every power that wasn’t specifically prohibited to them (apparently, the ability to rap wasn’t the only way Hamilton predicted the 21st century). He and many others also felt that a Bill of Rights was unnecessary: since nobody was surrendering their God-given rights by agreeing to the Constitution, there was no need to list them, right? Hamilton wrote, “Why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do?”

It’s ironic that Hamilton made that argument. Later on, as the first Treasury Secretary, he cited powers that the Constitution merely implied that the government had in order to take on debt, create a federal bank and impose unpopular taxes. Over a century later, when the federal income tax was passed, some lawmakers wanted to include a 10% limit, but they were voted down. Opponents scoffed that it was absurd to think the government would ever steal as much as 10% of an American’s hard-earned wages. Flash forward just 30 years, and they were happily taxing away 94%. So just imagine how few freedoms we’d have today if they’d listened to Hamilton and decided it wasn’t necessary to put specific limits on government power.

Luckily for us all, Thomas Jefferson won the argument, and the Bill of Rights was added. They even included the 9th amendment, which I’ll bet most people can’t even describe. Here’s what it says:

“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

It means that just because some God-given rights aren’t specifically listed, that doesn’t mean the people cede them to the government. Maybe because so many of the framers were also farmers, they understood that like weeds, government tends to grow and grow, choking out the productive crops -- and like a bull, it will trample you if you don’t corral it.

So if we want to preserve our freedoms, and keep government limited, maybe we should send more farmers to Washington -- and fewer lawyers.

Handy Links

July 2, 2020

A petition opposing the renaming of John Wayne Airport in Orange County.

To remind you of why you need to sign that petition, here are 40 quotes from John Wayne, some of them amazingly timely, like, “I’m responsible only for what I say, not what you understand” and “Life is tough, but it’s tougher if you’re stupid.”

Joe Biden has a new campaign slogan: “Vote for Biden and Pay Higher Taxes!” Okay, that’s not an official slogan, but it is now his official policy, as if we didn’t already know it.

If the mainstream media really believe that black voices should be heard, why are they trying to suppress Larry Elder’s new documentary “Uncle Tom: An Oral History of the American Black Conservative” that dismantles the BLM narrative?

The New York Times has jumped on the Idiot Train in denouncing Mt. Rushmore as a monument to white supremacy built on land stolen from Native Americans. Which prompted the observation that the New York Times building is on land stolen from Native Americans for $24 in junk jewelry, so they should immediately sell it and give the money to the Lenape Tribe as reparations.

Must-See Video: You’ll enjoy this, I promise.

The number of coronavirus cases is spiking again (let’s see, what might have happened a few weeks ago to spread it that Democratic officials refused to lock down?...) Across America, officials are panicking and reinstating lockdowns and other draconian measures that did more harm than good.

The good news that’s being overlooked is that while testing is finding many more cases than we expected, the number of serious illnesses has dropped sharply. The vast majority of people found to be carrying the virus have mild or no symptoms, and those who are hospitalized are not getting as sick as before and are recovering in greater numbers. We’ve learned more about the disease and found better ways to treat it (and no, having a billion ventilators was NOT the key).

In fact, an Oxford study found that we’ve progressed so far so quickly that a hospitalized COVID-19 patient’s chances of dying are now one-fourth of what they were as recently as April. Of course, that one-in-four deaths is still all the fault of President Trump, while the three-in-four who now live owe nothing whatsoever to the massive public-private team effort he put together to study and battle the disease.

While early computer models were telling us the death rate could be as high as 2% of all who were infected, we’ve since learned that it’s much more widespread and asymptomatic than we first thought. Studies worldwide are finding between 10 and 100 times more infections that we knew, the average being 20 to 25 times more. While media reports are still using outdated, inflated figures, the actual death rate might be as low as 0.26% of those infected.

It’s still a bad disease, and certainly one that we should take all reasonable precautions to avoid. But it may be time to start putting the emphasis on “reasonable” instead of “all.”

Great news: the First Amendment is still in effect, at least in some courtrooms. Friday, a federal judge issued an injunction blocking New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio from enforcing restrictions on outdoor and indoor gatherings of religious groups that are stricter than those on businesses and other types of gatherings. They'd even put tighter restrictions on religious groups than on businesses and gatherings that were classified as “non-essential,” which ranked religious expression as lower than “non-essential.”

It’s a great victory for religious liberty but what makes it extra sweet is that the judge based his ruling partly on the blatantly biased way that those two Democrats treated the recent street protests over George Floyd and the police.

Judge Gary Sharpe pointed out that Cuomo and DeBlasio not only allowed but endorsed and participated in protests that violated their own restrictions on large gatherings while harshly enforcing those restrictions on religious groups (DeBlasio even spoke at one – with no mask! – at the same time that he was threatening to arrest Jews who gathered in groups of more than ten to worship.) That denied churches, synagogues and other religious groups equal protection under the law.

Some legal experts noted that what they were also doing was establishing an unconstitutional state religion: the religion of secular leftism, which is allowed to flout the rules because the government deems its mission and message to be so much more important than those of traditional religions.

So now that we have an official ruling that secular leftism is a religion, I’m sure the leftists will agree with me that it has to be kicked out of public schools immediately.

And now, something fun to take your mind off all the crazy and infuriating news, and remind you of how little most of America has changed. Ford commissioned a survey to find out just how much Americans love their pickup trucks. They were asked what they would give up before they would give up their pickups. Here’s what they said:

* 82% would give up Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video.

* 79% would give up drinking alcohol.

* 71% would give up drinking coffee.

* 47% would give up using their phone.

* 44% would give up eating meat.

* 38% would give up sex.

And if people had to give up alcohol, sex and barbecue, PLUS their pickups, we’d all have to give up country music, because there’d be nothing left to write songs about.

Once again on Monday, Chief Justice John Roberts made it clear that he can no longer be considered part of the “conservative” wing of the Supreme Court, as he joined with the liberals for the third time in two weeks on major cases. This time, it was a 5-4 ruling striking down a Louisiana law requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges to some hospital within a 30-mile radius.

While the pro-abortion lobby (and probably Kermit Gosnell from his cell) celebrated this ruling as a victory for “women’s health,” it is anything but. They fight tooth and nail against any laws that hold abortion clinics to the most basic standards of safety and hygiene that any other medical clinic has to meet. This is because to them, nothing must interfere with aborting babies, even protecting the health of the mother by ensuring that if something goes wrong during this invasive surgical procedure, that she can be quickly taken to a real hospital where they know how to save lives instead of just ending them.

As the article at the link makes clear, once again, Justice Roberts engaged in his patented form of legal reasoning that begins with choosing your preferred outcome, then working backwards to find a way to justify it. In this case, he argued that since the Court overturned a similar Texas law four years ago, “the legal doctrine of stare decisis requires us, absent special circumstances, to treat like cases alike. The Louisiana law imposes a burden on access to abortion just as severe as that imposed by the Texas law, for the same reasons. Therefore Louisiana’s law cannot stand under our precedents.”

Here are the problems with that: the Louisiana law was not as restrictive as the Texas law, yet four years ago, Roberts was on the dissenting side of the ruling against the Texas law. Also, in his dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas scolded Roberts, pointing out that stare decisis is usually applied only to historic rulings with a long record of decisions stemming from them, not a case that was just decided four years ago.

I know it’s disheartening for conservatives to stand by as a so-called “conservative” Justice (he’s earned those sarcastic quotation marks) appointed by a Republican President (George W. Bush) stabs them in the back more times than Norman Bates, and then see any point in voting for a Republican President to appoint SCOTUS Justices. But it’s actually all the more reason why we need to do so.

There is a natural tendency inside the Beltway for judges to become more and more liberal with age (the rare principled Justices such as Thomas being the blessed exceptions.) Roberts now "swings" more than Hugh Hefner, so this can no longer be considered a majority conservative Court. The only way to protect the Constitution is to reelect Trump, whose most important contribution to America might not be his work on the economy but his many conservative judicial appointments. Given four more years, he could appoint another two or more SCOTUS Justices. Then Roberts could attend all the liberal cocktail parties he wants, and invent all the half-baked excuses for violating the Constitution that he wants, and it won’t make any difference because when he votes with the liberals, they’ll still lose 6-3.

But if, Heaven forbid, Joe Biden (or actually, his handlers) are picking those SCOTUS nominees, we might as well sell the Constitution to the Charmin company.