Yes, it’s sad that Israel must finish off Hamas, no matter what.
Innocent Gazans will die, particularly children.
But they have no choice.
Many of the adults, however, may not be so innocent. They’re people who elected to remain in Gaza under Hamas rule, despite the regime’s brutality equaling the worst in human history, while others sensibly fled.
The horrifying story of Hamas’s methods in overcoming the Palestinian Authority in Gaza in 2007, only two years after the territory was given freely to the Palestinians by Israel for their own rule, is a harrowing narrative worth reading. That they threw each other off 15-story roofs is but one harbinger of the Oct. 7 atrocities including rapes and the parading of victims, the murdering and abducting of babies, and so forth.
That most Arab nations don’t want these people for whom violence is a way of life within their borders is not surprising.
That LGBT folks have joined the pro-Hamas demonstrations without realizing what would happen to them under the terrorist’s rule is the darkest of comedy.
That some supposed conservatives see moral equivalency between Hamas and Israel would be laughable were it not so dangerous. Certainly, it’s a display of massive ignorance.
With the prisoner–hostage swap in progress, the efforts of the left and the United Nations, among others, to push Israel into a permanent cease-fire will undoubtedly redouble.
The U.N. is particularly hypocritical, or worse, in this regard. Little is more repellent than their longtime complicity, through their United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), with Hamas and other extremist organizations. They have literally ignored the use of human shields, the misuse of construction materials for terror tunnels, and similar abhorrent desecrations of human rights for well over a decade for the most malign and selfish of reasons—among them, if there were no more Palestinian refugees there would be no need for a UNRWA.
The U.N.’s other off-shoot, the World Health Organization (WHO) that we know from their obeisance to China during COVID-19, has been curiously silent about the use of hospitals for weapons storage, missile launching, those same tunnels, and even command and control headquarters by Hamas. (The director of Shifa Hospital, the largest medical complex in Gaza, is under interrogation by Israel at this moment about this.)
These are the people who will be clamoring for a cease-fire, the very thing Hamas wants so they can regroup and attack again.
The terrorist organization makes no secret they wish to do this. It’s in the genocidal chant we hear everywhere from Los Angeles to London: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
When I say genocidal, I mean really genocidal. In Paris in the late eighties, just after Hamas was formed, I saw one of their early demonstrations at which they chanted “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas!” in English and French.
The good news in all this is that Hamas is finally on the run. We can see this, as the Times of Israel has pointed out, from the nature and timing of the prisoner–hostage exchange. Normally, Hamas asks for a far greater imbalance with a huge number of real terrorists released, as in the case of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped by Hamas for five years.
Not this time. Hamas, in an unusual hurry for a pause, was willing to exchange for women and young prisoners, and fewer of them.
This is a sign that Hamas, which surprised the Israelis on Oct. 7, has been surprised themselves by the force of the Israeli response. They expected the usual three- or four-day counterattack when the Israelis, under global admonition to be “proportionate,” would relent and all would go back to the status quo ante.
Not this time again. Hamas leadership made a serious miscalculation, and Israel shows no sign of backing off. They have apparently had enough of carping from Western nations. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant made clear on the eve of the temporary truce that the Israel Defense Force will resume fighting “with intensity” for at least two months.
The way things have been going, that would seem sufficient to achieve the fate for Hamas that has already been achieved for its “semblable” ISIS.
It’s hard to know, after that, where things will go for the once-vaunted two-state solution. For some time, the Palestinians haven’t seemed really to want one. In 2007, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered the Palestinian Authority 97 percent of what they said they wanted, and their leader Mahmoud Abbas walked away.
But you never know. Real power, properly applied, has the ability to change minds.
What we really should do is ask how it came to pass that Hamas got to accrue such an incredible and seemingly endless arsenal of weaponry, not to mention the funds for their leadership to enjoy the lifestyle of billionaires in luxury hotel suites in Turkey and Qatar while flying about in private jets?
The answer, alas, to some degree points to us.
Yes, most of those funds came via Iran, aka the “world’s greatest sponsor of terrorism,” with an assist from the aforementioned Qatar.
But where did and does Iran get its money to wreak havoc across the Middle East and potentially beyond?
To be blunt, I recommend asking Barack Obama and Joe Biden. They’re the ones who relaxed sanctions on Iran to the tune of billions and billions.
As for Israel, there’s no such thing as being “proportionate” when it comes to conquering evil.
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Everett spoke for two hours. Lincoln for two minutes. But what two minutes it was.
Lincoln’s ability to imbue those 272 words with meaning is one of the reasons the speech has become hallmark of American oratory; by the early 20th century, especially after the horrors of World War I, Americans increasingly returned to the Gettysburg Address not just as a definition of what the war was about, but also what America was about.
By 1914, the construction of the Lincoln memorial began, with the Gettysburg Address prominently part of the neoclassical tribute to the 16th President of the United States. At the same time, the country’s first cross-country road, the “Lincoln Highway,” is named.
An address we still need.
The Gettysburg Address has had a “shelf life” throughout our modern history, where we can brush it off and take it out when we need it. “In part, because of the way that Lincoln composed it — he doesn’t mention a single place by name. He doesn’t mention a single person by name. He only alludes to one date, and that’s 1776.”
Thankfully, the veterans of that war — in their search for purpose and meaning — plucked those words out of obscurity and refused to allow the consequences of time to erode a profound ethos that endures — and in many ways defines who we are — today.
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The quickest way to teach what “peace” isn’t and “intolerance” is among conservatives is to minimize Veterans Day at our kids’ schools. That is what one elementary school in Washington State is finding out.
Benjamin Rush Elementary in Redmond decided to forgo the annual Veterans Day assembly, according to Jason Rantz of KTTH-AM in Seattle.
Instead, school officials thought they’d replace it with something more current and, by way of their actions, important.
The school noted the new event in the school newsletter on Oct. 29 and Nov. 5.
No one knew what it was, however, or that it would be replacing the expected Veterans Day assembly.
It was an unwelcome change for the community. The patriotic songs sung by the choir as well as praise for the heroes who served weren’t going to be heard this year.
One very annoyed and not-so-tolerant father of a Benjamin Rush student refused to take the attack on the holiday and all veterans lying down. He contacted “The Jason Rantz Show” to rant about the injustice.
He expressed his disappointment but said he wasn’t surprised. Maintaining his anonymity for fear of reprisal, the father said that “the school administration has moved strongly away from pride in our traditions and American history.”
The harm of this decision spans well beyond the veterans and widespread participation in the event by the community. The students will be robbed of learning the importance of honoring history, tradition and the lives of those who fought on their behalf for both.
Veterans once got an assembly and respect here. Now that pride is being redirected to a U.N. holiday.
The U.N. General Assembly proclaimed Nov. 16 as the “International Day for Tolerance” in 1996 following UNESCO’s adoption of a “Declaration of Principles on Tolerance” a year earlier.
“Among other things, the Declaration affirms that tolerance is neither indulgence nor indifference,” the organization’s website says. “It is respect and appreciation of the rich variety of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human. Tolerance recognizes the universal human rights and fundamental freedoms of others. People are naturally diverse; only tolerance can ensure the survival of mixed communities in every region of the globe.”
What is really being taught in the school’s move speaks to the reason our nation is falling apart and will continue to do so. The school is replacing a real holiday pregnant with historical meaning and example with a mock holiday being forced down our throats, one that means nothing to any of us.
In this father’s own words, “We should be taking the time to show our children and our community that we have brave men and women who are willing to stand up and fight for our freedom and the peace that other places in the world can only dream of.”
According to KTTH, a district representative responded in defense of the elementary school, saying it will celebrate the U.N. holiday by having students watch videos and make cards that will be distributed to the Seattle VA Medical Center. The paltry justification fell flat on the father’s ears — and rightfully so.
It showed a lack of intelligence and ill-intention. Frankly, if school officials truly were all about honoring veterans and teaching peace, they could celebrate both holidays.
Ten other schools in the Washington Lakes district are celebrating Veterans Day. Benjamin Rush Elementary is not. Read between the lines, folks.
This school is making a name for itself and opening the door for the rest to follow suit. Its move is consistent with the agenda pushed by progressives, Democrats, and the radical left to remove history and tradition from children’s lives and replace it with fantasy, self-hatred, and hatred for everything American.
There is nothing embarrassing or hateful about being an American. We have much to be proud of despite our imperfect history. And hidden in that “imperfection” are lessons our children can learn from.
Honestly, “tolerance” in the United States has gone overboard. There is too much of it. This father sets a great example by putting his foot down.
We need more like him to do the same today. We need to stop redrawing history and playing pretend. And although I applaud his courage, we need to show our faces as we do. That’s how we save America and set an example for our children to follow.
Ultimately, removing Veterans Day isn’t the answer to national peace. Removing these kinds of woke decision-makers from their jobs and our schools is.
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Comer Issues Subpoenas to Biden Family Members, Associates. We are finally going to see that part of the Biden Cartel will be called to testify. Don’t be surprised if we don’t see an Army of lawyers also there to stop any real information getting out.
Those receiving subpoenas to appear for depositions include first son Hunter Biden; the president’s brother, James Biden; and Biden family associate, Rob Walker.
You make the call. Egypt says Hamas and their followers stay out. The Egyptian Prime minister does not want these Arabs posing as a make believe group called Palestinians. Hamas loyalists are most likely in this group also. In the past several other countries forced these folks out. Egypt does not want to see these folks on their land. We have this from the WSJ.
Amid rising pressure on Egypt to admit Palestinian refugees, the country’s prime minister, Mostafa Madbouly, said it remained committed to protecting its land and sovereignty regardless of the cost.
“We are prepared to sacrifice millions of lives to ensure that no one encroaches upon our territory,” Madbouly told a gathering in Sinai of military leaders, local tribal leaders, members of parliament and other politicians. The prime minister said Egypt would never allow any imposed situation or the settlement of regional issues at its expense. Senior officials in Egypt said however that the country would start taking in severely wounded Palestinians from Gaza on Wednesday to receive treatment at field hospitals in north Sinai.
Share the post "Meet the American who gave us Nashville hot chicken, Thornton Prince, man of many passions. Blistering culinary trend boasts salacious origin story of jilted lovers, revenge, steamy oil and fried chicken"
A blistering food trend across the United States today, Nashville hot chicken comes with a bawdy origin story as hot and spicy as the steamy oil used to bathe Prince’s poultry.
“He was a loving man and he wasn’t bad on the eyes either,” great-grandniece, family historian and Los Angeles hot chicken chef Kim Prince told Fox News Digital.
“Tall, good-looking and handsome,” Thornton Prince is considered the father of Nashville hot chicken. A spurned lover sought revenge by serving him chicken doused with powerful spices — but Prince loved it so much he went into business selling fried chicken bathed in cayenne pepper oil. (Courtesy Kim Prince/Prince Family)
Born outside Nashville three decades after the Civil War, Prince was gifted with knee-buckling good looks, penetrating eyes, a lean build, a winning smile and a charismatic personality, by all accounts.
Women loved him. And he loved them back.
He was married five times and dallied with many other ladies along the way, according to sources.
“He was a loving man and he wasn’t bad on the eyes either.” — Kim Prince
One of those spurned lovers, according to oft-told lore, sought revenge by spicing up Prince’s favorite fried chicken — secretly, of course — with an intolerable amount of cayenne pepper.
Prince got the last teary-eyed laugh. The pig farmer, jack of all trades and man of many passions loved the rocket-fueled fried chicken.
He began selling it out of his home, fried in lard in deep cast-iron pots, just before or during the Great Depression.
He and his brothers eventually opened a restaurant, the legendary BBQ Chicken Shack, around the time of World War II. (There are conflicting reports about the actual year.)
A Nashville hot chicken sandwich at Party Fowl. The Music City is also a poultry paradise, as Nashville hot chicken, a longstanding local tradition, has captured the attention of food lovers across the nation. (Kerry J. Byrne/Fox News Digital)
The scorned lady friend has been lost to history, known in hot-chicken coops of gossip today as “Girlfriend X.”
The story sounds too contrived and salacious to be true — as if born out of steamy southern-fried fiction, complete with mysterious vengeful lover.
Yet the story is the real deal, said Nashville native and historian Rachel Louise Martin, author of the 2021 book, “Hot, Hot Chicken: A Nashville Story.”
“The man really got himself around. He really was married all those times,” Martin told Fox News Digital.
Nashville hot chicken, and the signs and smells of it, are ubiquitous in the Tennessee city. (Kerry J. Byrne/Fox News Digital)
“He had multiple other girlfriends and there were several angry women in his past who might have tried to teach him a lesson.”
Thornton Prince, it turns out, may have cheated one of those women not once, but twice.
Grandson of a slave
Thornton James Prince was born near Franklin, Tennessee, on an unknown day in December 1892, according to records uncovered by historian Martin.
His parents, Thornton and Mary (Maury) Prince, were born in the years immediately after the Civil War. At least one grandparent, his maternal grandmother, Ann Currine, was an enslaved cook on the land in which her culinary legend grandson was born.
Nashville hot chicken traces its roots to Thornton Prince (far right, standing), seen here in a 1916 family photo. Prince was around 24 years old at the time. (Courtesy Kim Prince/Prince Family)
“He was tall, good-looking and handsome,” Prince’s grandniece, Andre Prince Jeffries, told Fox News Digital.
Known around Nashville as Miss Andre today, she took over the original BBQ Chicken Shack in 1980 and renamed it Prince’s Hot Chicken “to recognize the family.”
Prince’s Hot Chicken now has multiple locations and is revered as the true taste of original Nashville hot-chicken. It has become in recent years a destination for culinary tourists from around the world.
“There were several angry women in his past who might have tried to teach him a lesson.” — Rachel Louise Martin
Miss Andre is old enough to remember the Prince of poultry.
“He was pleasant to look at. I remember that even when he was an old man and I was child. He had beautiful white hair and he was jolly, just like Santa Claus. He was full of laughs,” said Miss Andre.
She’s become a Nashville legend and de facto ambassador of the Music City’s southern hospitality and hot chicken history.
Prince’s Hot Chicken of Nashvile is operated by Andre Prince Jeffries, the grandniece of Nashville hot chicken icon Thornton Prince. (Kerry J. Byrne/Fox News Digital)
Prince was born into a culture in which chicken played an essential role, stemming from an era when poultry was the only livestock slaves could own.
“Often called the preacher’s bird or the gospel fowl, echoing its sacred role among West Africans, slaves and their descendants laid the foundation for America’s love with the chicken that is now spreading around the world,” historian Andrew Lawler wrote in his 2014 book, “Why Did the Chicken Cross the World? The Epic Saga of the Bird That Powers Civilization.”
Girlfriend X provided the entrepreneurial Prince with an exciting new way to enjoy the common chicken dinner.
“Nashville hot chicken needs two things. Great Southern fried chicken and it needs to be dunked in hot melted spice,” Brian Morris, executive chef of Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, said in a promotional video for the 11-year-old Nashville chicken chain.
Hattie B’s Hot Chicken was founded in 2012. It quickly proved a popular tourist destination for fans of spicy poultry while helping popularize the Music City specialty around the nation. Hattie B’s now has six locations in and around Nashville and six more around the country. (Kerry J. Byrne/Fox News Digital)
He calls it a “whirlpool of love with a touch of heat.”
The basic formula is the same at every hot-chicken hotspot. But the spice mixture can vary dramatically from location to location — and to create different levels of heat.
“Nashville hot chicken needs two things. Great Southern fried chicken and it needs to be dunked in hot melted spice” — Chef Brian Morris, Hattie B’s
“The Prince recipe we hold closely to death,” said great-grandniece Kim Prince, who still speaks with her Tennessee accent despite living and working in Los Angeles, where she serves the family’s original recipe under the name Hotville Chicken.
“We’ve always wanted to tell the story,” she added, “in our own Prince family twang.”
Nashville hot chicken ‘ours and ours alone’
The story of Nashville hot chicken was, for at least a half century, told only in that Prince family Tennessee twang — and known only in the black Nashville neighborhoods served by the BBQ Chicken Shack as it moved from location to location.
Nashville hot chicken’s dramatic rise as a national phenomenon has unfolded suddenly here in the 21st century — perhaps not coincidentally with Nashville’s recent explosion as one of the fastest-growing cities in America.
Nashville hot chicken joints serve spicy chicken in every way imaginable, from traditional sauce-soaked fried chicken breasts to these deadly hot dry-rubbed wings from Bolton’s Spicy Chicken and Fish in East Nashville. (Kerry J. Byrne/Fox News Digital)
The city’s population has grown more than 20% over the past decade, just as hot chicken gained national and now international prestige.
Author Martin witnessed the rise of Nashville hot chicken in the blink of an education.
The Nashville native left the sleepy Music City for college in 2006 — having never heard of its namesake piquant poultry.
She returned after graduate school in 2013 to a booming city filled with newcomers from across the country seeking mild winters and affordable prices and where, Martin said, “everybody was talking about hot chicken.”
Local poultry pundits credit its national ascension to the first Nashville Hot Chicken Festival, held in 2006.
Nashville native Rachel Louise Martin is the author of the 2021 book, “Hot, Hot Chicken: A Nashville Story.” (Courtesy Rachel Louise Martin)
A wave of glitzy new hot chicken eateries soon opened in its wake, often well-funded with marketing budgets the Prince family never had.
Hattie B’s opened in 2012 and now boasts six locations in and around Nashville and six more around the country, including Las Vegas.
Party Fowl opened in 2014 and has six locations, mostly in Tennessee.
“Please wash your hands before rubbing your eyes or your babies.” — Warning at Bolton’s Spicy Chicken and Fish
Hot chicken is now served at breakfast, lunch and dinner across Nashville, and has found its way onto the menu at sports bars and high-end dining spots.
Party Fowl offers hot chicken Cuban sandwiches, hot chicken tacos and hot chicken queso, among many other choices.
Bolton’s Spicy Chicken and Fish in East Nashville is one of the oldest hot-chicken eateries in the city. It is famous for serving perhaps the hottest hot chicken in America. (Kerry J. Byrne/Fox News Digital)
Bolton’s Spicy Chicken and Fish, a no-frills cinder-block hut in East Nashville, opened in the 1980s.
It’s a beloved local landmark and one of the few eateries in town that served hot chicken before it was cool. Bolton’s offers what many believe is the hottest chicken in town — in any town.
“Please wash your hands before rubbing your eyes or your babies,” warns a sign above the order window.
Hot chicken now defines the Music City in ways even its traditional American tunes and songwriters have not.
“Nashville is also the home of country music. But nobody calls it Nashville country music,” former mayor Bill Purcell told Fox News Digital.
Los Angeles chef Kim Prince, great grandniece of Nashville hot chicken patriarch Thornton Prince, sells the family’s original-recipe hot chicken in Southern California as Hotville Chicken. (Courtesy Kim Prince)
“But they do call it Nashville hot chicken. It’s the only indigenous food in the city. The only food invented here and nowhere else.”
Nashville hot chicken, Purcell beamed, “Is ours and ours alone.”
Search for Girlfriend X
Thornton Prince died of cerebral thrombosis on Feb. 15, 1960. He was 67 years old.
He’s buried at Boyd Cemetery in Franklin, Tennessee, said Kim Prince, not far from where he was born and where his grandmother once lived in bondage.
Thornton Prince is considered the father of Nashville hot chicken. His legend has grown in recent years as Nashville hot chicken has emerged as a nationwide phenomenon. (Courtesy Kim Prince/Prince Family)
Nashville hot chicken is served coast to coast, adopted by entrepreneurs far removed from Tennessee.
Dave’s Hot Chicken, based in California, was founded in 2017. It’s opened nearly 100 hot chicken eateries from Hollywood to Times Square in the six years since.
“I don’t think there’s been any new category in the food business that’s created more excitement over the years than hot chicken.” — Dave’s Hot Chicken CEO Bill Phelps
“I don’t think there’s been any new category in the food business that’s created more excitement over the years than hot chicken,” Dave’s Hot Chicken CEO Bill Phelps told Fox News Digital last year.
Hot chicken purists, including members of the Prince family, recognize that their poultry patriarch did not invent what’s now a nationwide phenomenon.
Nashville hot chicken icons Andre Prince Jeffries and former Mayor Bill Purcell. Jeffries is the owner of Prince’s Hot Chicken, the originator of the piquant poultry, and Purcells helped popularize the local specialty with the founding of the Nashville Hot Chicken Festival. (Courtesy Bill Purcell)
That honor belongs to mysterious Girlfriend X.
Historian Martin identifies five women in “Hot, Hot Chicken: A Nashville Story” linked to romances with Prince, one of whom she believes is the true but unwitting inventor of an all-American taste treasure.
Caroline Bridges, Gertrude Claybrook, Mattie Crutcher, Mattie Hicks and Jennie May Patton, each long deceased, are the likely double-crossed lovers who would have been tempted to seek revenge via hot chicken on the insatiable Prince.
Nashville hot chicken sandwich from Party Fowl in Nashville’; hot chicken patriarch Thornton Prince. (Kerry J. Byrne/Fox News Digital/Kim Prince/Prince Family)
Purcell, the hot chicken enthusiast and former mayor, believes the final chapter in the Nashville hot chicken story is still to be written.
“The woman who first cooked the chicken, Girlfriend X, is lost to history,” Purcell said. “But she did indeed invent this thing.”
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Like Christians, Muslims pick and choose which verses they like. Sometimes even picking only half a verse because the rest of it invalidates what they want it to say. (See a refutation of current propaganda: Response to Apologists) Thanks to thereligionofpeace.com for both articles.
Quran (2:216) – “Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.” Not only does this verse establish that violence can be virtuous, but it also contradicts the myth that fighting is intended only in self-defense since the audience was obviously not under attack at the time. From the Hadith, we know that this verse was narrated at a time when Muhammad was actually trying to motivate his people into raiding merchant caravans for loot.
Quran (3:56) – “As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help.”
Quran (3:151) – “Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority”. This speaks directly of polytheists, yet it also includes Christians since they believe in the Trinity (ie. what Muhammad incorrectly believed to be ‘joining companions to Allah’).
Quran (4:74) – “Let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward.”The martyrs of Islam are unlike the early Christians, who were led meekly to the slaughter. These Muslims are killed in battle as they attempt to inflict death and destruction for the cause of Allah. This is the theological basis for today’s suicide bombers.
Quran (4:76) – “Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah, and those who disbelieve, fight in the cause of Taghut (Satan, etc.). So fight you against the friends of Shaitan (Satan)” The Arabic for the word “fight” is from qital, meaning physical combat.
Quran (4:89) – “They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks.”
Islam is intended to dominate all other people and faiths.
Quran (4:95) – “Not equal are those of the believers who sit (at home), except those who are disabled (by injury or are blind or lame, etc.), and those who strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives. Allah has preferred in grades those who strive hard and fight with their wealth and their lives above those who sit (at home).Unto each, Allah has promised good (Paradise), but Allah has preferred those who strive hard and fight, above those who sit (at home) by a huge reward “ This passage criticizes “peaceful” Muslims who do not join in the violence, letting them know that they are less worthy in Allah’s eyes. It also demolishes the modern myth that “Jihad” doesn’t mean holy war in the Quran, but rather a spiritual struggle. Not only is this Arabic word (mujahiduna) used in this passage, but it is clearly not referring to anything spiritual, since the physically disabled are given exemption. (The Hadith reveals the context of the passage to be in response to a blind man’s protest that he is unable to engage in Jihad, which would not make sense if it meant an internal struggle).
Quran (4:101) – “And when you (Muslims) travel in the land, there is no sin on you if you shorten your Salat (prayer) if you fear that the disbelievers may attack you, verily,the disbelievers are ever unto you open enemies.“ Mere disbelief makes one an “open” enemy of Muslims.
Quran (4:104) – “And be not weak hearted in pursuit of the enemy; if you suffer pain, then surely they (too) suffer pain as you suffer pain…”Is pursuing an injured and retreating enemy really an act of self-defense?
Quran (5:33) – “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement”
Quran (8:12) – “(Remember) when your Lord inspired the angels… “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them”No reasonable person would interpret this to mean a spiritual struggle, given that it both followed and preceded confrontations in which non-Muslims were killed by Muslims. The targets of violence are “those who disbelieve” – further defined in the next verse (13) as those who “defy and disobey Allah.” Nothing is said about self-defense. In fact, the verses in sura 8 were narrated shortly after a battle provoked by Muhammad, who had been trying to attack a lightly-armed caravan to steal goods belonging to other people.
Quran (8:15) – “O ye who believe! When ye meet those who disbelieve in battle, turn not your backs to them. (16)Whoso on that day turneth his back to them, unless maneuvering for battle or intent to join a company, he truly hath incurred wrath from Allah, and his habitation will be hell, a hapless journey’s end.”
Quran (8:39) – “And fight with them until there is no more fitna (disorder, unbelief) and religion is all for Allah” Some translations interpret “fitna” as “persecution”, but the traditional understanding of this word is not supported by the historical context (See notes for 2:193). The Meccans were simply refusing Muhammad access to their city during the pilgrimage. Other Muslims were allowed to travel there – but not as an armed group since Muhammad had declared war on Mecca prior to his eviction. The Meccans were also acting in defense of their religion, as it was Muhammad’s intention to destroy their idols and establish Islam by force (which he later did). Hence the critical part of this verse is to fight until “religion is only for Allah”, meaning that the true justification of violence was the unbelief of the opposition. According to the Sira (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 324) Muhammad further explains that “Allah must have no rivals.”
Quran (8:57) – “If thou comest on them in the war, deal with them so as to strike fear in those who are behind them, that haply they may remember.”
Quran (8:67) – “It is not for a Prophet that he should have prisoners of war until he had made a great slaughter in the land…”
Quran (8:59-60) – “And let not those who disbelieve suppose that they can outstrip (Allah’s Purpose). Lo! they cannot escape. Make ready for them all thou canst of (armed) force and of horses tethered, that thereby ye may dismay the enemy of Allah and your enemy.” As Ibn Kathir puts it in his tafsir on this passage, “Allah commands Muslims to prepare for war against disbelievers, as much as possible, according to affordability and availability.”
Quran (9:5) – “So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them.” According to this verse, the best way of staying safe from Muslim violence at the time of Muhammad was to convert to Islam: prayer (salat) and the poor tax (zakat) are among the religion’s Five Pillars. The popular claim that the Quran only inspires violence within the context of self-defense is seriously challenged by this passage as well since the Muslims to whom it was written were obviously not under attack. Had they been, then there would have been no waiting period (earlier verses make it a duty for Muslims to fight in self-defense, even during the sacred months). The historical context is Mecca after the idolaters were subjugated by Muhammad and posed no threat. Once the Muslims had power, they violently evicted those unbelievers who would not convert.
[Note: The verse says to fight unbelievers “wherever you find them“. Even if the context is a time of battle (which it was not) the reading appears to sanction attacks against those “unbelievers” who are not on the battlefield. In 2016, the Islamic State referred to this verse in urging the faithful to commit terror attacks: Allah did not only command the ‘fighting’ of disbelievers, as if to say He only wants us to conduct frontline operations against them. Rather, He has also ordered that they be slain wherever they may be – on or off the battlefield. (source)]
Quran (9:14) – “Fight against them so that Allah will punish them by your hands and disgrace them and give you victory over them and heal the breasts of a believing people.” Humiliating and hurting non-believers not only has the blessing of Allah, but it is ordered as a means of carrying out his punishment and even “heals” the hearts of Muslims.
Quran (9:20) – “Those who believe, and have left their homes and striven with their wealth and their lives in Allah’s way are of much greater worth in Allah’s sight. These are they who are triumphant.” The Arabic word interpreted as “striving” in this verse is the same root as “Jihad”. The context is obviously holy war.
Quran (9:29) – “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” “People of the Book” refers to Christians and Jews. According to this verse, they are to be violently subjugated, with the sole justification being their religious status. Verse 9:33 tells Muslims that Allah has instructed them to make Islam “superior over all religions.” This chapter was one of the final “revelations” from Allah and it set in motion the tenacious military expansion, in which Muhammad’s companions managed to conquer two-thirds of the Christian world in the next 100 years. Islam is intended to dominate all other people and faiths.
Quran (9:30) – “And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away!”
Quran (9:38-39) – “O ye who believe! what is the matter with you, that, when ye are asked to go forth in the cause of Allah, ye cling heavily to the earth? Do ye prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life, as compared with the Hereafter. Unless ye go forth, He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place.” This is a warning to those who refuse to fight, that they will be punished with Hell. The verse also links physical fighting to the “cause of Allah” (or “way of Allah”).
Quran (9:41) – “Go forth, light or heavy (some translations read “armed”) and strive with your wealth and your lives in the way of Allah! That is best for you if ye but knew.” See also the verse that follows (9:42) – “If there had been immediate gain (in sight), and the journey easy, they would (all) without doubt have followed thee, but the distance was long, (and weighed) on them” This contradicts the myth that Muslims are to fight only in self-defense, since the wording implies that battle will be waged a long distance from home (in another country and – in this case – on Christian soil, according to the historians).
Quran (9:73) – “O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them; and their abode is hell, and evil is the destination.” Dehumanizing those who reject Islam, by reminding Muslims that unbelievers are merely firewood for Hell, makes it easier to justify slaughter. It explains why today’s devout Muslims generally have little regard for those outside the faith. The inclusion of “hypocrites” (non-practicing) within the verse also contradicts the apologist’s defense that the targets of hate and hostility are wartime foes since there was never an opposing army made up of non-religious Muslims in Muhammad’s time. (See also Games Muslims Play: Terrorists Can’t Be Muslim Because They Kill Muslims for the role this verse plays in Islam’s perpetual internal conflicts).
Quran (9:88) – “But the Messenger, and those who believe with him, strive and fight with their wealth and their persons: for them are (all) good things: and it is they who will prosper.”
Quran (9:111) – “Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Quran: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.” How does the Quran define a true believer?
Quran (9:123) – “O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness.”
Quran (17:16) – “And when We wish to destroy a town, We send Our commandment to the people of it who lead easy lives, but they transgress therein; thus the word proves true against it, so We destroy it with utter destruction.” Note that the crime is moral transgression, and the punishment is “utter destruction.” (Before ordering the 9/11 attacks, Osama bin Laden first issued Americans an invitation to Islam).
Quran (18:65-81) – This parable lays the theological groundwork for honor killings, in which a family member is murdered because they brought shame to the family, either through apostasy or perceived moral indiscretion. The story (which is not found in any Jewish or Christian source) tells of Moses encountering a man with “special knowledge” who does things which don’t seem to make sense on the surface, but are then justified according to later explanation. One such action is to murder a youth for no apparent reason (v.74). However, the wise man later explains that it was feared that the boy would “grieve” his parents by “disobedience and ingratitude.” He was killed so that Allah could provide them a ‘better’ son. [Note: This parable along with verse 58:22 is a major reason that honor killing is sanctioned by Sharia. Reliance of the Traveler (Umdat al-Saliq) says that punishment for murder is not applicable when a parent or grandparent kills their offspring (o.1.12).]
Quran (21:44) – “…See they not that We gradually reduce the land (in their control) from its outlying borders? Is it then they who will win?”
Quran (25:52) – “Therefore listen not to the Unbelievers, but strive against them with the utmost strenuousness with it.” – The root for Jihad is used twice in this verse – although it may not have been referring to Holy War when narrated, since it was prior to the hijra at Mecca. The “it” at the end is thought to mean the Quran. Thus the verse may have originally meant a non-violent resistance to the ‘unbelievers.’ Obviously, this changed with the hijra. ‘Jihad’ after this is almost exclusively within a violent context. The enemy is always defined as people, rather than ideas.
Quran (33:60-62) – “If the hypocrites, and those in whose hearts is a disease (evil desire for adultery, etc.), and those who spread false news among the people in Al-Madinah, cease not, We shall certainly let you overpower them, then they will not be able to stay in it as your neighbors but a little while Accursed, wherever found, they shall be seized and killed with a (terrible) slaughter.” This passage sanctions slaughter (rendered as “merciless” and “horrible murder” in other translations) against three groups: hypocrites (Muslims who refuse to “fight in the way of Allah” (3:167) and hence don’t act as Muslims should), those with “diseased hearts” (which include Jews and Christians 5:51-52), and “alarmists” or “agitators – those who speak out against Islam. It is worth noting that the victims are to be sought out, which is what today’s terrorists do.
Quran (47:3-4) – “Those who disbelieve follow falsehood, while those who believe follow the truth from their Lord… So, when you meet (fighting Jihad in Allah’s Cause), those who disbelieve smite at their necks till when you have killed and wounded many of them, then bind a bond firmly (on them, i.e. take them as captives)… If it had been Allah’s Will, He Himself could certainly have punished them (without you). But (He lets you fight), in order to test you, some with others. But those who are killed in the Way of Allah, He will never let their deeds be lost.” Holy war is to be pursued against those who reject Allah. The unbelievers are to be killed and wounded. Survivors are to be held captive for ransom. The only reason Allah doesn’t do the dirty work himself is to to test the faithfulness of Muslims. Those who kill pass the test. (See also: 47:4 for more context)
Quran (47:35) – “Be not weary and faint-hearted, crying for peace, when ye should be uppermost (Shakir: “have the upper hand”) for Allah is with you,”
Quran (48:17) – “There is no blame for the blind, nor is there blame for the lame, nor is there blame for the sick (that they go not forth to war). And whoso obeyeth Allah and His messenger, He will make him enter Gardens underneath which rivers flow; and whoso turneth back, him will He punish with a painful doom.”Contemporary apologists sometimes claim that Jihad means ‘spiritual struggle.’ If so, then why are the blind, lame and sick exempted? This verse also says that those who do not fight will suffer torment in hell.
Quran (48:29) – “Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard (ruthless) against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves” Islam is not about treating everyone equally. This verse tells Muslims that two very distinct standards are applied based on religious status. Also the word used for ‘hard’ or ‘ruthless’ in this verse shares the same root as the word translated as ‘painful’ or severe’ to describe Hell in over 25 other verses including 65:10, 40:46 and 50:26..
Quran (61:4) – “Surely Allah loves those who fight in His cause” Religion of Peace, indeed! The verse explicitly refers to “rows” or “battle array,” meaning that it is speaking of physical conflict. This is followed by (61:9), which defines the “cause”: “He it is who has sent His Messenger (Mohammed) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam) to make it victorious over all religions even though the infidels may resist.” (See next verse, below). Infidels who resist Islamic rule are to be fought.
Quran (61:10-12) – “O You who believe! Shall I guide you to a commerce that will save you from a painful torment. That you believe in Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad), and that you strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allah with your wealth and your lives, that will be better for you, if you but know! (If you do so) He will forgive you your sins, and admit you into Gardens under which rivers flow, and pleasant dwelling in Gardens of’Adn- Eternity [‘Adn(Edn) Paradise], that is indeed the great success.” This verse refers to physical battle waged to make Islam victorious over other religions (see verse 9). It uses the Arabic root for the word Jihad.Quran (66:9) – “O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be stern with them. Hell will be their home, a hapless journey’s end.” The root word of “Jihad” is used again here. The context is clearly holy war, and the scope of violence is broadened to include “hypocrites” – those who call themselves Muslims but do not act as such.
Quran (2:191-193) – “And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief or unrest] is worse than killing… but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah [disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah] and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun(the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.)” (Translation is from the Noble Quran) The verse prior to this (190) refers to “fighting for the cause of Allah those who fight you” leading some to claim that the entire passage refers to a defensive war in which Muslims are defending their homes and families. The historical context of this passage is not defensive warfare, however, since Muhammad and his Muslims had just relocated to Medina and were not under attack by their Meccan adversaries. In fact, the verses urge offensive warfare, in that Muslims are to drive Meccans out of their own city (which they later did). Verse 190 thus means to fight those who offer resistance to Allah’s rule (ie. Muslim conquest). The use of the word “persecution” by some Muslim translators is disingenuous – the actual Arabic words for persecution (idtihad) – and oppression are not used instead of fitna. Fitna can mean disbelief, or the disorder that results from unbelief or temptation. A strict translation is ‘sedition,’ meaning rebellion against authority (the authority being Allah). This is certainly what is meant in this context since the violence is explicitly commissioned “until religion is for Allah” – ie. unbelievers desist in their unbelief. [Original editor’s note: these notes have been modified slightly after a critic misinterpreted our language. Verse 193 plainly says that ‘fighting’ is sanctioned even if the fitna ‘ceases’. This is about religious order, not real persecution.]
There you have it. The “logic” of terrorist attacks and why other Muslims remain quiet — because they would be killed, too. That is a valid fear, as is amply demonstrated in the internecine warfare of Muslim factions and the horrendous practice of “Honor” killing. — TPR
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Never forget. The killing of 13 American Military Personal at the hands of the Biden Administration. It’s been two years now that 13 American soldiers and almost 200 civilians died because of Joe Biden.
Remember that the suicide bomber was released from Bagram Air Base prison. If we had not abandoned that airbase the deaths would not have happened. And how about the testimony from our sniper?
Sgt. Tyler Vargas-Andrews, a U.S. Marine Corps sniper who served in Afghanistan during the surrender to the Taliban forces, testified before Congress earlier this year. Vargas told Congress that he was denied permission to shoot the suicide bomber in Afghanistan.
Over the communication network we passed that there was a potential threat and an ID attack imminent. This was as serious as it could get. I requested engagement authority while my team leader was ready on the M110 semiautomatic sniper system. The response: Leadership did not have the engagement authority for us. Do not engage. I requested for the battalion commander, lieutenant Colonel Brad Whited, to come to the tower to see what we did. Wile we waited for him psychological operations individuals came to our tower immediately and confirmed the suspect met the suicide bomber description.
He eventually arrived, and we showed him our evidence, the photos we had of the two men. We reassured him of the ease of fire on the suicide bomber. Pointedly, we asked him for engagement authority and permission. We asked him if we could shoot. Our battalion commander said, and I quote, “I don’t know,” end quote. Myself and my team leader asked very harshly, “Well, who does? Because this is your responsibility, sir.”
He again replied he did not know, but would find out. We received no update and never got our answer. Eventually, the individual disappeared. To this day, we believe he was a suicide bomber. We made everyone on the ground aware operations had briefly halted, but then started again. Plain and simple, we were ignored. Our expertise was disregarded. No one was held accountable for our safety.
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Inside the progressive war on the Supreme Court. The longer the spasm of investigative reporting goes on, the more desperate it sounds.
In the basement of a Washington, DC restaurant, 200 ticket-purchasing fans have gathered to witness the live recording of a multifaceted conversation about the villainy and corruption of the Supreme Court, and one justice in particular. It only seems appropriate to order the shrimp and grits: it costs $19.99 and comes with a white-wine tomato sauce. This may seem rather hifalutin, but it also comes in a glass mason jar that references tired hipster kitsch — perfectly suitable for a live podcast hosted by Slate.
Shrimp and grits are the uptown incarnation of staples from the Carolina Lowcountry, where the Gullah Geechee people, who live on the Sea Islands along the coast of the Carolinas and Georgia, would catch small creek shrimp in their bare hands to eat themselves or sell on the streets of the cities and towns. Grits, from ground dried corn, have a more troublesome history: they were distributed by slaveholders as part of slaves’ food allowances. Historical records show Carolina slave children would get one pint of grits a day for most of the year, with salt.
Clarence Thomas’s mother tongue was not English, but Gullah — a lilting language that sounds like music, a mysterious linguistic cocktail of English, Creole and West African. (Experts disagree on its exact origin.) Thomas was born in 1948 in Pin Point, Georgia, the second child of Leola Williams. His father abandoned them when he was two. When he was six, his younger brother accidentally burned down the shack they lived in, and they were both sent to be raised by his grandfather in Savannah.
This is the origin story of today’s most hated Supreme Court justice, if you poll the Slate audience. It is also the main focus for a well-funded, well-organized Democratic campaign to put the Supreme Court under siege — not just in the press, but in the public too. And many on the left seem to like it that way. If you can’t transform the judiciary through the process of government, transform it by making it a job people are afraid to take.
In March 2020 Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer stood surrounded by protesters and pointed at the Supreme Court Building, bellowing: “I want to tell you, Gorsuch. I want to tell you, Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.” Since then, the last of the three branches of government with respect for norms has indeed been at the center of a whirlwind — even as Democrats repeatedly claim to be the stalwart defenders of democracy, norms, the Constitution and the rule of law.
When the draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — the most significant culture-war decision in a generation — was leaked, the justices’ families and children were mapped and targeted, and their homes picketed illegally without any reaction from Merrick Garland at the Department of Justice. A twenty-six-year-old man even traveled across the country intending to murder Brett Kavanaugh and his family. He showed up on the justice’s suburban street with a Glock-17 and a plethora of tools — zip ties, duct tape, a tactical knife, pepper spray, a crowbar and padded boots for stealth. With last-minute misgivings, he called 911 and told the operator he had traveled from California “to kill a specific United States Supreme Court justice.” His online messages showed he had wanted to kill as many as three; he had conducted internet searches for “most effective place to stab someone,” “assassin skills,” “assassin equipment” and “assassinations.” He was arrested and indicted — he pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial. (Authorities still claim to have no idea who leaked the opinion.)
In the opening episode of a podcast series focused on Clarence Thomas, Slate host Joel Anderson begins with his own peaceful version of a home confrontation. In “America’s Blackest Child,” he knocks on the screened-porch door of a modest single-story white house on a Savannah street. The ninety-four-year-old Leola Williams, happy to oblige a visitor, welcomes Anderson inside, where he discovers the shocking scene you would expect from any proud Southern mother: pictures of her family, including her son Clarence, covering the walls.
Anderson sounds awkward in the podcast audio from Mrs. Williams’s home, as if he knows he’s crossed a line. But he showed no such qualms when he appeared on television with MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan to promote the episode, instead expressing surprise there was no security to stop him outside the house. “If they had had a chance to tell me to not come, they probably would have, but when you show up it’s hard to turn someone away from your front door,” he said. The MSNBC segment is mostly devoted to accusing Thomas of being a hypocrite for his anticipated ruling against affirmative action in Students for Fair Admissions, Inc v. Harvard. (Thomas joined the 6-3 majority in the decision announced on June 29.) Speculating on his likely vote, Hasan described it as an example of a minority “pulling up the drawbridge after themselves.” Asked why Thomas would choose to become a member of the “radical right,” Anderson had the answer: “He wanted to make money.”
Money is central to the story the left wants to tell about Thomas and the Supreme Court more generally. As is this little white house in Savannah. A ProPublica investigation revealed this spring that billionaire conservative Harlan Crow bought the property from Thomas and his family several years ago.
The relationship between Thomas and Crow, a major Republican donor the justice and his wife Virginia say is a close friend they’ve known for years, has been the primary focus of ProPublica’s “Friends of the Court” series, which seeks to pin all manner of ethical lapses and alleged inappropriate and illegal behavior on conservative justices.
ProPublica’s work has been the centerpiece of a flood of reporting across multiple media outlets focusing on what is being framed as a Supreme Court irrevocably compromised by relationships with well-heeled benefactors. The original series is a slog of filings and reports interspersed with vacation photos dug up from corners of the internet and quotes from various ethics experts — who also are of the left — denouncing the dire nature of a corrupt court.
At first glance, many of these stories look pretty bad. They paint a picture of lifetime-appointed justices palling around with powerful billionaires who shepherd them on fishing trips and to hunting lodges, take them on vacations to exotic locales and contribute indirectly or directly to supporting their legacies. It’s not a pretty picture. Yet even slightly closer inspection reveals that there are enormous reasons to take the breathless reporting with a pinch of salt.
The best example yet of the absurdly disproportionate reporting came in an over-the-top piece by Stephanie Kirchgaessner of the Guardian. The article revealed that seven Washington attorneys had used Venmo to send Christmas party money to a top aide of Thomas’s. Noticeably absent from the hair-on-fire “conflict of interest!” piece were the amounts in question, which turned out, according to one of the payers, to be $20 for an annual “lunch buffet consisting of hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken tenders” held for Thomas’s former clerks. Scandalous!
Then there’s the travel. The Judicial Conference, the administrative body which sets the rules for things such as travel disclosures, requires justices to report where they go, when they went and the nature of expenses, but not total costs. They are not required to disclose “any food, lodging or entertainment received as ‘personal hospitality of any individual.’” The rules further define the scope of hospitality: “hospitality extended for a non-business purpose by one, not a corporation or organization… on property or facilities owned by [a] person.”
The argument that the loophole should be smaller might be valid, but the rules are what they are. Demanding justices retroactively report something they weren’t required to report at the time is absurd — ex post facto rulemaking, if you will — and implying they were doing something untoward by following the rules as written is disingenuous. And it’s clear enough that justices of many stripes have long proceeded by the ethics rules as they stand.
The New York Times acknowledged in their editorial on the issue that “Justice Stephen Breyer took at least 225 subsidized trips from 2004 to 2018, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, including trips to Europe, Japan, India and Hawaii… Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg got a private tour of Israel in 2018 that was paid for by an Israeli billionaire, Morris Kahn, who has had business before the court.” And OpenSecrets reported that the top two trip-getters in 2021 and 2022 were tied, with Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Elena Kagan both at eight. So yes, both sides do it.
In fact, the single most overlooked story in recent years may relate to the Notorious RBG. According to the Washington Free Beacon, a $1 million prize given to her by the left-leaning globalist Berggruen Institute raised eyebrows (the Judicial Conference limits honoraria to $2,000), but RBG said she would instead donate the amount to a variety of charities. Only later did it become clear that she had wanted the list of recipients to remain hidden, and Berggruen complied on its requisite Form 990 — preventing the public from knowing if any of the recipients had business before the court.
Republican senator Mike Lee raised the issue in a July Judiciary Committee hearing on a court-targeting bill backed by Democratic senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Dick Durbin. “This might have some very significant ramifications if she was still serving on the court,” Lee said. “We don’t yet know exactly what was done with that, whether she carried out the apparent intention of the stated purpose of intent at the outset to donate it to charity.”
As for that house in Georgia: Crow’s spokesman has said he ultimately wants to turn Thomas’s childhood home into a museum, “telling the story of our nation’s second black Supreme Court justice.” Thomas’s share of the sale was a third of $133,000, and it’s still not entirely clear if he even reported it incorrectly, though he reportedly intends to amend it as necessary.
The longer this spasm of investigative reporting goes on, the more desperate it sounds. The Washington Post devoted a 3,300-word hit piece on the effort spearheaded by the Federalist Society’s Leonard Leo to honor Thomas on the twenty-fifth anniversary of his appointment. The public relations campaign was designed to push back against a fictionalized HBO glorification of Anita Hill, who testified against Thomas during his confirmation hearings, and included the promotion of a documentary, Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words.
The Post paints this entirely typical PR campaign in dark, secretive terms, even drilling down to investigate a “Justice Thomas Fan Account” which posted clips and quotes from the justice. “The account’s posts about the justice generated nearly 21,000 impressions,” the Post reports — a laughably small amount, no offense to the earnest creator.
The Post has yet to conduct a similar deep dive into the promotional campaign around the 2018 documentary RBG, which was acquired and distributed by Participant Media, a production company with an explicitly leftist activist mission founded by Canadian billionaire and former eBay president Jeff Skoll, who has given millions to leftist causes. Nor have they shown any interest in investigating the promotion and creation of the 2018 dramatic film, On the Basis of Sex, based on a script by Ginsburg’s nephew, and starring Felicity Jones and Armie Hammer (though the Post’s Style section did publish a meet-cute piece titled “That time Ruth Bader Ginsburg checked out Armie Hammer,” doing their part to promote the film’s Washington premiere). Participant Media also produced this laudatory fictionalized biopic for roughly $20 million, though it’s unclear if that amount also paid for the movie’s promotional pop rap “Here Comes the Change” performed by Ke$ha, with official artwork by Shepard Fairey, or the Jonas Åkerlund-directed music video, which as of this writing has 818,000 views on YouTube — tragically, the fewest of any Ke$ha music video.
Stepping back from all of this, what we see is a series of breathless reports designed to inflate perceptions of bias without the facts necessary to establish anything of the sort. At most, justices may have to refile forms or clarify their reporting to the ethics body. Due to a change in policy by the Judicial Conference this spring, they’ll also have to report when they fly on a private jet — something they didn’t have to do before. But if that’s all you think it takes to buy a Supreme Court justice, imagine what Hunter Biden could get you for $5 million.
“All these breathless ‘investigations’ amount to nothingburger concern-trolling of justices whose opinions progressive activists don’t like,” said Ilya Shapiro, director of constitutional studies at the Manhattan Institute and author of Supreme Disorder: Judicial Nominations and the Politics of America’s Highest Court. “The left simply can’t stand that a majority of the Supreme Court is finally, after decades of hand-waving, interpreting the Constitution based on what it says instead of nebulous conceptions of social justice.”
At the Slate podcast taping, Anderson’s first guest of the night was Rhode Island senator Sheldon Whitehouse, of course — his Democratic colleague, Illinois senator Dick Durbin, was supposed to be there too, but he came down with Covid. Anderson’s first question jumped right to the point: given all the horrible things now established about Clarence Thomas, he asked: “So Senator Whitehouse, do you think he should resign?”
“In all decency, he should,” Whitehouse said, to applause. “But there’s just no world in which that happens that I can foresee. He’s just that determined to stay there and make his points and exercise his resentments.”
“I told my caucus, the Senate caucus, that we have a problem with the Supreme Court: it’s now a political organization, we have to treat it as such. And I basically got booed back into my chair,” Whitehouse said. “I got told ‘oh, no, no, the Supreme Court relies on public confidence, we can’t possibly do that.’ So I realized I had to do my homework. And that’s where… the book and all of that came from. Prove your case, write your prosecution memo.”
In Whitehouse’s frame, an “omertà” of secretive groups funded by malevolent billionaires — whom he tags as fossil-fuel interests bent on preventing bipartisan climate-change policy — are operating the court like shabby robed puppets.
“We don’t know all of that yet,” Whitehouse said. “I think we’re going to find out a lot more.” Invited to make the case for his latest piece of legislation targeting all of this (is this a Slate podcast or a Democratic activism group?), Whitehouse calls it “one of the silver linings of this set of really sickening revelations about the Supreme Court.”
“This is a multi-front battle,” Whitehouse said. “Moving the legislation forward, I think we’ll hit tipping points as the behavior of the Supreme Court justices becomes more well known, as further revelations come. We’re preparing for that moment.”
There’s little subtlety in Whitehouse’s comments to a friendly DC crowd about the degree to which the activity swirling around the Supreme Court is an ideological information operation. Democratic politicians have all the reason in the world to promote the effort to do so: the biggest funders of their partisan priorities are all paying for it.
Of the justices targeted in the recent spate of hit pieces, Samuel Alito has been the most aggressive in pushing back. He wrote a prebuttal op-ed in the Wall Street Journal after ProPublica sent him a series of questions inquiring about a fishing trip he took as a guest of right-leaning billionaire Paul Singer. Alito’s response was thorough and ruthless, detailing the skewed and inaccurate framing of the piece and prompting ProPublica’s story to be redrafted, with an explainer for the “Unprecedented Wall Street Journal Pre-buttal.”
If leaking Alito’s opinion in Dobbs was supposed to have cowed the justice, it clearly hasn’t. “Those of us who were thought to be in the majority, thought to have approved my draft opinion, were really targets of assassination,” he told the Journal in April. “It was rational for people to believe that they might be able to stop the decision in Dobbs by killing one of us.” The experience prompted the justice to be more confrontational. If he were a meme, one former clerk joked, Alito would be Michael Jordan in The Last Dance: “And I took that personally.”
Whitehouse and his fellow leftists would do anything to alter the conservative course the court has taken in recent years — even radical steps like court-packing. In the fall of 2019, along with four other Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Whitehouse sent a brief to the court on a New York gun rights case. “The Supreme Court is not well, and the people know it,” they warned. “Perhaps the court can heal itself before the public demands it be ‘restructured.’”
For Whitehouse and those who would blow up the Supreme Court, dark money spent to this end is the good kind, and the activist groups and the journalists they push to echo their priorities are the noble pursuers of truth. The Judicial Crisis Network is a conspiracy, but progressive organizations like Fix the Court and Demand Justice are pure crusaders. The conservative Federalist Society is evil, but the leftist American Constitution Society is good. What this effort seeks to establish is a mutually justifying feedback loop. Democratic senators level severe allegations, activists parcel fever swamp stories to the press who then report on it, allowing the senators to point to these reports as legitimizing what was claimed in the first place.
Assisting in this effort are multiple billionaire-funded advocacy groups, bent on echoing the case for extreme measures to transform the court. They include Fix the Court, a spinoff from the New Venture Fund, managed by for-profit company Arabella Advisors, the center of the left’s dark money network — it spent over $1 billion in liberal efforts in 2020. Demand Justice, another Soros-backed group, was more explicitly focused on the push to pack the court — its board includes Elie Mystal, an MSNBC commentator who is most famous for calling the Constitution “trash.”
“While Whitehouse is championing supposed ‘ethics reform’ at the Supreme Court, he himself has sponsored environmental legislation pushed by the Ocean Conservancy, a group that has paid his wife as a consultant and policy advisor for years,” JCN president Carrie Severino said. “This isn’t about ethics for Whitehouse, but rather increasing the number of tools the left has at its disposal to intimidate the conservative members of the court.”
The central role of ProPublica should not escape notice. It was founded and continues to be funded by the Sandler family of San Francisco, who sold their bank Golden West to Wachovia right before its ludicrously profitable collection of dubious adjustable-rate mortgages played a central role in the 2008 financial crisis. Their family foundation is a huge backer of leftist causes, including the Center for American Progress, Human Rights Watch and Earthjustice.
Today ProPublica is also backed by a who’s-who of partisan Democratic billionaire donors, including George Soros, Pierre Omidyar, Laurene Powell Jobs, Donald Sussman and, until it was compelled to return the first tranche of a $5 million donation, notorious crypto bro Sam Bankman-Fried. All this billionaire largesse helps ProPublica pay top dollar for staff — its editor in chief currently makes more than $100,000 more each year than a justice of the Supreme Court.
For some reason, these billionaires don’t raise the hackles of Sheldon Whitehouse or Joel Anderson, or lots of others who are likely to tune into a multipart Slate podcast framing Clarence Thomas as a man who sold out black people for white money. Or, as one of the night’s other guests proclaimed of Thomas’s long ago divorce, “trading the black doll for the white doll.” There are hoots, laughs and murmurs in response.
At the opening of the show, Anderson led off with an odd extended monologue focused on Thomas’s high-school sports prowess, interspersed with audio from interviews with multiple figures from his past, most of whom spoke in praise of his arm strength with a football and gift for quick passing on the basketball court. The audience laughed when they are told he tried out for the Holy Cross football team but that he struggled taking hits; Anderson closes by expressing skepticism that the 5’8” Clarence could ever dunk. The audience claps.
They clap to confirm each other in their viewpoints. To remind each other that anger at the Supreme Court, over abortion or affirmative action or everything else, isn’t a mark of Democratic impotence or foolish mismanagement of the filibuster or RBG’s refusal to retire under Obama, you see — it’s those evil fossil-fuel billionaires like Harlan Crow who are to blame. Because as the good Senator Whitehouse, a son and grandson of ambassadors and bishops, assured them at the podcast party, it’s Thomas who is a creature of “resentments.” It’s the skinny Gullah kid who ran through the Lowcountry scrub, the place where his ancestors ate their pint of grits and the creek shrimp they could catch, boiled in the brackish salt water for flavor. That kid is the one who took the wrong lesson from the American experience, who wants to pull up the drawbridge behind him. You see, you understand. He’s the resentful one. We can all agree about that.
There is no apparent awareness that the persecution of Thomas is rooted in their resentments: not of his rulings as such, but the fact that he survived the full force of their apparatus, that his origin story is his survival. They have to destroy him because he exists: because the force of the counterexample shows them to be impotent, shows there is another path. It is a species of derangement. As a threat, Clarence Thomas is literally existential. Of course Clarence Thomas can dunk. He’s been dunking on these folks for years. All they can do is podcast about it.
This article was originally published in The Spectator’s September 2023 World edition.
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Democrats Denied Election Results 150+ Times Before Trump Was Indicted for Challenging Election.
Although a Georgia grand jury indicted former President Donald Trump on Monday for challenging the 2020 election result, Democrats have refused to accept the results of elections they lost for decades.
In fact, everysingle Democrat president since 1977 has questioned the legitimacy of U.S. elections, according to the Republican National Committee. In both 2013 and 2016, Biden claimed that Al Gore won the 2000 presidential election. In May 2019, Biden said he “absolutely agrees” that Trump was an “illegitimate president.” Biden cast doubt on the legitimacy of the 2022 midterms this year.
In 2006, then-DNC Chairman Howard Dean stated that he was “not confident that the  election in Ohio was fairly decided.” Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said it is “appropriate” to have a debate concerning the 2004 election and claimed that there were “legitimate concerns” regarding the “integrity” of U.S. elections. Then-Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) cast doubt on the security of electronic voting machines in the 2004 election, saying he was “worried” that some machines do not have a paper trail.
Democrats also cast doubt on the 2016 election. Seven House Democrats tried to object to the 2016 election electoral votes. After President Trump’s victory in 2016, 67 Democrats boycotted his inauguration, with some claiming Trump’s victory was not legitimate.
In September 2017, Hillary Clinton said she would not “rule out” questioning the legitimacy of the 2016 election. In October 2020, she added that the 2016 presidential election was not conducted legitimately, saying, “We still don’t really know what happened.”
In addition, Democrats supported Stacey Abrams in her stolen election claims. Hillary Clinton said Stacey Abrams “would have won” Georgia’s gubernatorial race “if she had a fair election” and that Stacey Abrams “should be governor” but was “deprived of the votes [she] otherwise would have gotten.”
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) said, “I think that Stacey Abrams’s election is being stolen from her.” Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) contended that “if Stacey Abrams doesn’t win in Georgia, they stole it.” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said, “the evidence seems to suggest” the race was stolen from Stacey Abrams.
“We won,” Abrams falsely claimed about the 2018 election. “I didn’t lose; we got the votes,” and “we were robbed of an election.” She also called it a “stolen election” multiple times and argued, “It was not a free and fair election.”
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