Advertisement

The America I Love

June 11, 2020

Right now, the media are dominated by voices claiming that America is a land of racism and hatred, built on oppression and slavery and white supremacy. Well, pardon my language, but they are full of bull flop. There are a handful of bad apples, but it’s a very big barrel, and if we really were to do as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed and judge each other by the content of our characters rather than the color of our skin, I bet we’d mostly find a lot of good, caring people of every shade. If you don’t believe me, turn off all the hyperventilating hate merchants for a moment and look at this story:

Last Thursday, there was a car crash in Indianapolis, and a woman was trapped under an overturned van. Nearby resident Laurie Collins reported on Facebook that she heard the crash and ran to the scene. She said that suddenly, many people “came out of nowhere” to help. Some comforted and reassured the woman and tried to assess her condition while the others determined to lift the van off her somehow. They gathered around, called out, “1...2…3!” But they couldn’t move it. So more guys joined in, and the second time, they did the seemingly impossible: they lifted the van and pushed it off of her.

As you can tell from the photo, and from Collins’ description, there were “all kinds of different people and they were all trying to help together.” Please note that the people who rushed to help were men and women, and all different races. I’m sure many of them didn’t know the race of the victim, and couldn’t care less. When they heard someone was in need, and rushed in, joined together, and all lifted in the same direction to help.

That is the America I love and the American people I know. No matter how many buildings are set on fire or statues are vandalized or phony history books are forced onto students, you will never convince me otherwise.

NFL Guilt

June 11, 2020

Last week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell joined in the rush to take a knee by declaring that "we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier” when they enraged many fans by kneeling during the National Anthem. He said he would be "reaching out" to players who have "raised their voices," and the NFL will "encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest...Without black players, there would be no National Football League and the protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality, and oppression of black players, coaches, fans, and staff."

Predictably, that was not good enough for the Rev. Al Sharpton, who is turning his funeral eulogies for George Floyd into political attacks on President Trump, and in Houston, into a demand that the NFL rehire quarterback Colin Kaepernick. This conveniently overlooks the fact that Kaepernick has had multiple opportunities to play and blown them with his own behavior. Last year, he was given an unprecedented private tryout for all 32 NFL teams, on a Saturday when the teams are normally busy preparing for games. But after the scouts showed up, Kaepernick moved it to another venue on 30 minutes’ notice. He also spoke to the XFL and AAF, but demanded a guaranteed paycheck 80 times larger than their normal salaries.

I’d be interested to hear if Goodell is equally apologetic about the league’s oppression of players who wanted to express their deep feelings about other issues, like the ban on the Cowboys wearing stickers honoring five Dallas Police officers who were murdered by a sniper during a protest of the treatment of blacks by police in Louisiana and (again) Minneapolis. Five Dallas cops died and nine others were injured as they heroically tried to protect the lives of the people who came to denounce them. But that doesn’t fit the current media narrative, so I’ll note that the NFL has also banned expressions of support for a number of other causes, including religion, mental health, and fighting domestic violence and breast cancer. That’s because they all violate the league’s ban on using uniforms to convey any unapproved messages on game day:

This stems from the original concept that’s gotten lost in all the fury and finger-pointing: when players are in the stadium, they’re in their workplace, representing their employers. Contrary to claims, Kaepernick never had his First Amendment rights taken away. That only prevents the government from censoring you. He was free to speak out on any subject on his own time, on radio, TV or a soapbox in the park. But he wasn’t allowed to stage divisive political protests that alienated customers while he was at work.

If the NFL is forced to take back Kaepernick, then does that rule apply everywhere now? Say you work at a car dealership, and you have some controversial opinions on social issues that you’re so passionate about, you feel you must force customers to listen to them before they can test drive a car, or make your colleagues sit through them every time they come into work. So now, you no longer have to worry about being sent to HR or fired with cause, you can just keep on doing it? How long do you think that dealership will remain in business?

Allowing these divisive protests in a place where fans traditionally came to escape from politics, put aside differences and root for their teams cratered NFL TV ratings. In the past few seasons, ratings have crept up again, largely because of the divisive politics finally receding. Goodell now wants to bring it all back with a vengeance.

This brings up another question, asked countless times by former NFL fans: How has Roger Goodell kept his job? He normally makes about $40 million a year; although during the pandemic shutdown, he agreed to reduce his salary to zero, and many of us think he’s finally being paid what he’s worth. His admitted wrong decisions (which he’s now been on both sides of) have cost the league billions, driven away fans and seriously harmed its reputation. He even admits he was in charge during years of “oppression of black players, coaches, fans and staff." If you did that to your employer’s business, would you still be employed?

Several prominent business leaders, such as the CEO of the Second City comedy troupe, have found themselves so wracked with white guilt that they’ve resigned their own jobs so they can be replaced by a black applicant. In that spirit, Goodell should step down to be replaced by a black former NFL player.

I nominate Burgess Owens.

In a wide-ranging interview with FOX NEWS’ Bret Baier, Attorney General Bill Barr offered an update on the criminal investigation into allegations of FISA fraud and other abuses of power on the part of the FBI. I joined Judge Jeanine Pirro on Sean Hannity’s TV show Tuesday night to discuss it, as well as the escalating anti-police rhetoric that dominated Tuesday’s news.

The portion of Barr’s interview dealing with the Durham investigation is in this segment.

Incidentally, the Barr interview comes on the heels of a huge uptick in Senate inquiries on the subject of FBI misconduct, by both the Judiciary and Homeland Security Committees, as I reported in this previous commentary, in case you didn’t see it. Sen. Lindsay Graham and Sen. Ron Johnson, who chair these two committees, will finally be using subpoena power; Johnson has a long list of documents to examine and witnesses he intends to call. As I reported, Graham has been hitting some resistance from the FBI to his request to interview “Case Agent 1,” identified as Stephen Somma. Somma played a pivotal role in the set-up to spy on Trump campaign associate Carter Page.

Anyway, in his interview with Baier, AG Barr made it clear –- in his calm, understated manner –- that he sees the investigation into the Trump campaign as “very aggressive” considering the “very thin, slender reed” that was the basis for undertaking it.

"It seemed that the Bureau was sort of spring-loaded at the end of July to drive in there and investigate a campaign,” he said, “and there really wasn’t much there to do that on. And that became more and more evident as they went by but they seem to have ignored all the exculpatory evidence that was building up and continue pell-mell to push it forward.”

I would add that “Case Agent 1” appears to be the lower-level person who was making that happen in the beginning by choosing the information that would --- or wouldn't --- go into the FISA warrant application against Page. Was he taking this initiative on his own, or was he given direction from higher-ups on the “7th Floor”?

Barr was also concerned that after the election, they went “right back at it,” even though the Steele dossier, the main evidence being used, “was falling apart.” They were even making it public that they were investigating Trump when it was “painfully obvious” that “there was nothing there.” He said in the interview that he was “very troubled” by what had been called to his attention, though he wouldn’t characterize it further than that. Getting into specifics would obviously be premature. But in general, he was blunt.

"Here’s the thing," he told Baier. "For the first time in American history, police organizations and the national security organizations were used to spy on a campaign, and there was no basis for it. The media largely drove that, and there were all kinds of sensational claims...being made about the President that could have affected the election. Later on, in his administration, there were actions taken that really appear to be efforts to sabotage...” He said if people wanted to accuse of him of being politicized for looking at this, then “so be it,” because “that’s the job of the attorney general.”

Judge Jeanine highlighted one particular comment made by Barr that might not get the attention it deserves, given all the necessary focus right now on our suffering cities and the attacks on police departments. But it should offer at least some reassurance to my more pessimistic readers who don’t expect anything to ever come of all this investigating in terms of criminal referrals. Barr said (paraphrasing) that the wheels of justice have been described as turning very slowly, and they do, but don’t think that means people are going to get away with it.

"This isn’t being driven by producing a report,” Barr said in the interview. “We’re trying to get to a point where we can hold accountable anyone who crossed the line and committed a criminal violation.” He said there will also be some form of report, though, to provide “public disclosure” of what happened. If certain people were involved whose prosecution might be seen as too political for him to touch --- you know who I mean --- I would hope the report will tell the world the COMPLETE narrative, citing every last bit of evidence against every last person implicated.

In my own comment to Sean, I went back to something said in a previous segment of his show to make a point about the FBI. The implication had been made that a person in poverty is more likely to be engaged in crime. As someone who grew up poor, I have to take exception with that. I made the point that all these officials at the FBI that Barr is looking at now are NOT poor and NOT poorly educated. It’s not a “money problem”; it’s a moral problem. Poor people are not predisposed towards crime just because they’re poor. I saw that comment as a slam on poor people, many of whom are scrupulously honest. I will add here that I’d put such people up against the likes of Comey, Rosenstein and McCabe any day.

Moving on...Most of the media failed to cover the "FBI" portion of Barr’s interview, choosing instead to focus on, say, discrepancies between his account of what happened in clearing Lafayette Square and what some reporters have said took place. (I’d link to some of these, but your head might explode.) That way, they didn’t have to cover what he said about the FBI at all.

Is it any wonder that MSNBC hired Lisa Page as an on-camera legal analyst?

In the latest attempts to scrub our cultural history of anything that upsets current PC sensitivities, it was announced that in a reboot of “Looney Tunes” (perfect timing for that!), famed hunter Elmer Fudd will no longer carry a shotgun.

Will he use a bow and arrow, like Ted Nugent? He’ll have to be quite an archer to hunt ducks and rabbits that way. I’d strongly advise him not to order any duck or rabbit traps from the Acme Company. Oh wait: Warner Brothers released a preview clip showing him running after Bugs Bunny with a scythe. A scythe?! How is that less violent than a shotgun? Besides, what kind of message is it for kids to show someone running while carrying a sharp instrument? It’s not safe!

Also, the HBO Max streaming service has yanked “Gone With The Wind” until they can add “a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement” of its sympathetic depiction of the Old South. I guess this is for viewers who need a reminder that (A.) the movie was made in 1939 and based on a book by a Southerner, Margaret Mitchell; (B.) Scarlett O’Hara was personally biased toward the South; or (C.) slavery was bad.

In its nearly four-hour length, “GWTW” covers a lot of territory, and it’s not all sympathetic to the Old South (its hero, Rhett Butler, is shunned for telling the Southerners that they’re suffering from “dreams of victory” and have nothing but “cotton, slaves and arrogance;” and it doesn’t spare us the carnage, waste and suffering caused by that ill-founded decision.) It also makes a number of points about all sorts of human dilemmas unrelated to its specific era, from personal relationships to moral decisions and their consequences.

One scene particularly resonates now: As Sherman is starting to burn Atlanta, Scarlett mocks the retreating Confederate army. Rhett replies, “I wouldn't be in such a hurry to see them go, if I were you, my dear. With them goes the last semblance of law and order.” Immediately thereafter, criminals start rampaging through the streets.

All the liberals demanding that we defund the police should have to watch that scene a few hundred times.

A More Perfect Union

June 10, 2020

The radical elements that have hijacked the recent protests, and those in power who are supporting/trying to placate them, are no longer even pretending that this is about the killing of George Floyd or reforming police procedures. They hate America and want to go back to our very beginnings, destroy everything that was ever revered, and rewrite our history, “1619 Project” style, into a litany of evils with no positives, progress or heroes allowed to be mentioned.

What better illustrations of that could there be than protesters targeting California homeowners for arson simply for flying American flags…

Or vandalizing, setting on fire, then tearing down a statue of Christopher Columbus in Richmond, Virginia, and throwing it into a lake, while carrying signs reading, “This land is Powhatan land” and “Columbus represents genocide”? I wonder how many of them have signed over the deeds to their homes to the Powhatan tribe?

The greatness of America has never been that it was perfect from the start, but that the Founders created an unprecedented system in which power derived from the consent of the governed, and every citizen has God-given rights that cannot be taken away by government. They created a Constitution designed to “form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

Note that it doesn’t say everything is perfect, but that we are trying to “form a more perfect union.” They knew that human nature being what it was, there would always be problems and injustices, but they bequeathed to us the tools to keep making things better. We even fought a bloody Civil War to end one of those injustices. But racism remained, so we fought on to desegregation and the Civil Rights Act and other efforts to “form a more perfect union.” We didn’t always take the right steps, but Americans of good faith have worked together to keep us heading in the right direction, and we have come a long, long way.

Now, we’re under assault by a small, hateful minority who want us to throw away centuries of progress. To do that, they have to convince us that there has been no progress, that America has always been totally evil and still is. That we were born in sin, and there has been no attempt at atonement and no redemption possible. Don’t listen to that, and don’t be afraid to call it what it is: a poisonous lie.

We may never have a “perfect union,” because perfection doesn’t exist on this Earth. We must always keep working to “form a more perfect union,” that is, one that moves ever closer to the goal. But we will never get closer to perfection by attacking each other and tearing down our own history. What the proponents of that path want is anarchy, and they make no secret of it.

If there are injustices that need to be remedied, then Americans must do what we have always done: we’ll listen, we’ll debate, we’ll compromise, and we will work to fix the problems TOGETHER. But we’ll never get closer to the goal if we let our enemies panic us into running in the opposite direction.

What A Spectacle

June 9, 2020

Monday, the US House was the site of one of Washington’s rare instances of the fabled “shameless pander/blatant blame shift/embarrassing cultural appropriation,” the political equivalent of pulling off Rodney Dangerfield’s Triple Lindy high dive from “Back To School.” Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic colleagues donned African-inspired kente cloths, kneeled for nine minutes in memory of George Floyd, then introduced a hastily-written bill called the “Justice in Policing Act,” which they claim will “hold law enforcement accountable in court, improve transparency through data collection, and reform police training and policies.”

That’s all well and good, and I’d certainly be willing to hear any suggestions for improving police practices and efficiency, and reducing racism, conflict, and distrust. But pardon me if I can't quite keep a straight face while sniffing so much election-year pandering and insincere opportunism in the air.

The subtext of all this is to signal to black voters that they must once again turn out and line up to put Democrats in charge because only they will take action to correct all this perceived police racism and corruption. But as the linked story points out, all the worst such problems are in blue-state cities – Minneapolis, Baltimore, New York City, etc. - that have been run entirely by Democrats for decades. If these places are hotbeds of systemic racism, then guess who built the systems.

Also worth mentioning: while they try to blame President Trump as if racism were invented during the three years he’s been in office, we had violent race riots stemming from the deaths of black people during police confrontations in Ferguson and Baltimore while Obama and Biden were in office. Biden now joins in with the critics of police in denouncing a 1994 tough-on-crime bill that until recently, he was bragging about having co-authored. So his campaign pitch is that we must elect Democrats to fix the terrible problems that arose and festered for years under Democratic rule, including his own.

And what if we did give them that much power? From 2009 to 2011, we had a black Democrat President, a Vice-President who’s now running for President on the urgent need for police reform, and solid Democratic majorities in both Houses of Congress. What did they do about any issues related to police reform or race relations? Nothing whatsoever. It took Donald Trump to finally press for and sign the prison sentencing reform bill, the First Step Act.

Monday’s spectacle was an entertaining piece of political theater at a time when real theaters were shut down, so we couldn’t see “The Lion King,” that other example of African culture being appropriated for a cartoonish spectacle. And it didn’t go unnoticed by some African-Americans…

But if black voters really think that these are the people they can trust to keep their neighborhoods safe and clean up corruption in the very places where they’ve already been in charge longer than the Millennial protesters have been alive, then another cartoon analogy is more appropriate:

Lucy making big promises that this time will be different, then yanking away the football and leaving Charlie Brown flat on his back for the umpteenth time.

The idea of defunding and dismantling police departments, as approved by Minneapolis’s far-left city council, is so “stand-on-you-head-in-a-toilet” crazy that not even Joe Biden, who endorsed the Green New Deal and chose AOC as a “campaign adviser,” will get behind it. His spokesman said Biden does not support defunding the police, but he “supports the urgent need for reform,” which includes “funding for public schools, summer programs, and mental health and substance abuse treatment separate from funding for policing — so that officers can focus on the job of policing.” So funding for police and for everything else. That’s a pretty standard Democratic position.

And since Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Kamala Harris, and other Congressional Democrats are dodging the question like mad, I think we can safely assume they won’t back it, either, they’re just terrified to say so.

Not surprisingly, President Trump gives a firm “no” to the idea of defunding the police. In a meeting Monday with law enforcement leaders to discuss reforms, Trump said he believes there have been instances of racism, but that most cops are “good people.” He said what happened with George Floyd and other such incidents “should never have happened,” and we need to “talk about ideas, how we can do it better and how we can do (policing), if possible, in a much more gentle fashion” (that might require a summit meeting with America’s criminals to get their cooperation.) But he said there will be no defunding of the police on his watch.

And memo to the Minneapolis city council: your attempt to pander went so far overboard that even the president of the NAACP is signaling you to reel it back since he also won’t support defunding the police.

I’d point out this article contains an assertion (“the ‘defund the police’ movement that has gained momentum in recent days”) that I refute. It’s gained publicity, but not momentum. This has been a goal of the radical Antifa crowd for years. They’d love to be able to set fires, smash property and assault, threaten and intimidate people with no consequences, so of course, their goal is to demonize and eliminate the police. They don’t care about George Floyd or racism any more than they care about the black people harmed by their rioting and looting; they just saw this as a convenient trigger to launch their long-planned revolution. But most Americans are smart enough to know “crazy” when they hear it.

I’ll bet if you asked most of the people in the neighborhoods where the rioting took place, they wouldn’t want to do away with the police, either. Who would protect them the next time the rioters turn out to “help” them?