Categories
Progressive Racism Reprints from others.

Duke volleyball player’s racial slur allegation receives pushback from witnesses: report.

Views: 20

This is a FOX News Report. Very interesting.

Witnesses have reportedly come forward saying no racial slurs were heard during the BYU-Duke women’s volleyball match last Friday, in which Duke’s Rachel Richardson, the only Black starter for the Blue Devils, said she was heckled throughout “the entirety of the match.”

Richardson said in a statement that BYU officials were not quick enough to address the situation upon the initial grievance from the Duke bench. BYU noted that the fan, who the Salt Lake Tribune said was a Utah Valley University student sitting in the student section, was banned from all athletic venues on campus.

The BYU Cougar Chronicle — a  student newspaper at the university — said “a source inside the BYU athletic department” said: “Ms. Richardson complained of hearing a racial slur during the second set but didn’t not point anyone out. Officials discussed briefly and stationed policemen there…there were no more complaints until after the match.”

The Chronicle spoke to several students seated in the student section during the game that claimed they “heard absolutely nothing,” and that the banned fan did not yell a racial slur before being escorted out of the game.

The fan was escorted out of Smith Fieldhouse due to “interfering with guests,” not for shouting racial slurs, said the BYU Athletics official. BYU officials said that several athletic employees have been going through footage of the game and have yet to find any evidence of racial slurs being shouted.

“Various BYU Athletics employees have been reviewing video from BYUtv and other cameras in the facility that the volleyball team has access to for film review,” BYU officials said in a statement. “This has been ongoing since right after the match on Friday night. The person who was banned was the person identified by Duke as using racial slurs. However, we have been unable to find any evidence of that person using slurs in the match.”

Here’s who they are attacking.

There is also the police report from BYU police Det. Sgt. Richard Laursen, who stood next to the banned fan throughout the fourth set, saying the man may have “(A)sparger syndrome or could have autism,” per the Deseret News. The BYU athletics official also told the BYU student-led newspaper the man was mentally challenged. 

“When a mentally challenged fan approached a Duke player, the Duke team then suddenly recognized the handicapped man’s ‘voice’ as the same one shouting slurs,” the BYU Athletics official told the Chronicle. “They never saw or pointed out a face, just a voice. They banned this man. Not for slurs, but for interfering with visiting guests. BYU Athletics staff went through footage of the entire game and the man Duke identified was never seated in the student section. Her story doesn’t add up, BYU banned an innocent man to appease the mob and make their PR mess go away. While I don’t know if Ms. Richardson genuinely misheard something or intentionally made up this story, it certainly does not constitute the criticism BYU has gotten. There is zero evidence of a slur being said. Not a single witness, besides Ms. Richardson, has come forth. Not a single cell phone video or BYUtv’s several camera angles caught a single thing. How unlikely when this person supposedly said a slur during ‘every single serve.'”

Complete article can be found here.

 

 

 

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Categories
Biden Pandemic Corruption COVID Medicine Opinion Politics Progressive Racism Reprints from others.

The Purge: Biden Admin vax mandates were used to suppress dissent, produce ideological conformity.

Views: 32

I want to thank one of the writers from Substack for this great article.

For several months, The Dossier has reported on the unscientific, political mRNA mandates being pursued by executive branch agencies within the Biden Administration, particularly the Department of Defense, which has unlawfully forced active duty service members to get injected with the gene juice.

The Dossier
Biden Admin officials scramble to escape blame for unlawful Pentagon order mandating mRNA for troops
Lawyers representing America’s service members are beginning to produce victories defending the U.S. Armed Forces against forced compliance with biomedical gene therapy experiments, and suddenly, nobody in the Pentagon wants to take accountability for their legally dubious mRNA injection order…

Read more

It seemed obvious to anyone thinking clearly about this issue that the government’s mRNA mandates, especially in the military, are being leveraged to create ideological conformity within the ranks. Clearly, “readiness” is not a serious explanation for the mRNA mandate, given the minuscule threat posed by the coronavirus to young men, coupled with the troubling side effect profile of the shots.

The Dossier
Military whistleblowers: DOD’s legally dubious mRNA mandate has harmed readiness, produced widespread injuries
A group of active U.S. military pilots are coming forward as whistleblowers to challenge both the legal and moral nature of the Department of Defense mRNA mandate, and they’ve produced some shocking testimonials that challenge virtually all of the mainstream narratives about a supposedly “safe and effective” mRNA vaccine…

Read more

Picket reported, via a whistleblower, that this is exactly what is happening at the FBI. This newly fired agent was allegedly dismissing unvaccinated agents to ensure political compliance within the Bureau.

The agent was allegedly “known for pushing out unvaccinated agents from the FBI’s election squad whom he suspected to be Trump supporters,” the story reads.

This is the real reason for the mRNA mandate. It’s the best way to clean house, ideologically.

Through an even wider scope, COVID Mania as a whole has involved powerful enterprises conducting routine power grabs, dividing up civil society, and installing political compliance tests into every avenue of daily life. The FBI’s reported role in this process serves as just one example of many more to come.

It all began on August 24, 2021, when Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin issued a memo mandating mRNA “vaccination” for the active military, but with the stipulation that this mandate only applied to fully licensed products. This was because, as The Dossier understands, it is illegal to force service members to take an EUA vaccine.

Sec Def Lloyd Austin memo

The Sec Austin memo and the guidance that followed created an issue, because, as The Dossier readers are well aware of by now, the FDA licensed versions of the mRNA shots never actually made it to market, rendering the initial vaccine mandate useless.

This is where the infamous September 14, 2021 memo comes into play.

Dr Terry Adirim, the woman who signed the memo, is a devoted democrat political activist and, as a medical doctor, advocates for “gender-affirming prescriptions” for “transgender” children. At the time, she was the acting assistant secretary of defense for health affairs (under a Biden political appointment). Adirim’s memo attempted to justify mandating EUA shots as if they were FDA approved.

Terry Adirim Twitter profile

Dr Adirim’s deceptive memo described the EUA and FDA licensed vaccines as “interchangeable,” adding that the Defense Department can “use doses distributed under the EUA to administer the vaccination series as if the doses were the licensed vaccine.” Adirim failed to note that the EUA vaccines were only administratively interchangeable, but not *legally* interchangeable, as made clear by the FDA. This should have rendered any mandate unenforceable.

In other documents and statements, she routinely made claims that FDA licensed vaccines were available to troops, when that was not in fact the case.

Following the mRNA injection order, untold thousands of service members were coerced — under threat of both administrative and criminal action — to take a “vaccine” that they wanted no part of. Unsurprisingly, this mandatory novel gene therapy injection has harmed combat readiness and produced widespread, serious, long term injuries throughout the armed forces.

The Dossier
Military whistleblowers: DOD’s legally dubious mRNA mandate has harmed readiness, produced widespread injuries
A group of active U.S. military pilots are coming forward as whistleblowers to challenge both the legal and moral nature of the Department of Defense mRNA mandate, and they’ve produced some shocking testimonials that challenge virtually all of the mainstream narratives about a supposedly “safe and effective” mRNA vaccine…

Read more

The Pentagon’s unlawful order is being challenged in court by lawyers representing all branches of the military. On Thursday, the Marine Corps became the latest service branch granted a class wide injunction against the mandate.

Since leaving the Pentagon, Adirim has sought to distance herself from the letter, claiming that “crazy” attempts to hold her accountable are misguided, because it was “The Secretary” (Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin) who “directed vaccinations.” Neither Austin nor the Pentagon has confirmed that the Secretary of Defense ordered Adirim to sign off on the unlawful mandate.

Adirim remains in government as the program executive director of the VA’s Electronic Health Record Modernization Integration Office. As a government official, both she and the Secretary of Defense are easily accessible to testify via a congressional subpoena, should congress want to investigate their controversial memos. As Adirim’s memo has come under scrutiny, she has decided to lock her social media accounts.

Who, if anyone, will be held accountable?

 

 

 

 

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Categories
Progressive Racism Biden Pandemic Child Abuse COVID How sick is this? Opinion Politics

For the loons who claim that only White Conservatives didn’t get the jab. DC Mayor Says No Virtual Learning, Giving Unvaccinated Black Teens Zero Alternative Options

Views: 48

Remember when Joe and Kamala said don’t get the jab cause it’s the Trump vaccine? But then they jumped the line and got theirs. Well the black folk listened and they still aren’t taking the jab. Especially the children. Well Mayor Bowser of DC has a surprise for you.

During a press conference, Bowser, a Democrat, admitted there are no alternative options, including virtual learning, for students who cannot attend school due to the District’s vaccine mandate, meaning unvaccinated children will effectively be left without an education.

Some interesting numbers from The Daily Signal. Over 40% of blacks ages 12-17 are not vaccinated, according to city data. Among black teens aged 16-17, 42% are unvaccinated.

Updated data from the government’s vaccine numbers website shows 47% of the black children in the district ages 12-15 had not completed their primary vaccination series necessary to go back to school in person.

 

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Categories
History Leftist Virtue(!) Opinion Politics Progressive Racism Reprints from others.

What can happen when you go after hate speech leftists and race baiters?

Views: 33

A bizarre string of events is unfolding at the American Historical Association (AHA). Last week, AHA president James H. Sweet published a column in the organization’s magazine on the problem of “presentism” in academic historical writing. According to Sweet, an unsettling number of academic historians have allowed their political views in the present to shape and distort their interpretations of the past.

Sweet offered a gentle criticism of the New York Times’s 1619 Project as evidence of this pattern. Many historians embraced the 1619 Project for its political messages despite substantive flaws of fact and interpretation in its content. Sweet thus asked: “As journalism, the project is powerful and effective, but is it history?”

Within moments of his column appearing online, all hell broke loose on Twitter.

Incensed at even the mildest suggestion that politicization is undermining the integrity of historical scholarship, the activist wing of the history profession showed up on the AHA’s thread and began demanding Sweet’s cancellation. Cate Denial, a professor of history at Knox College, led the charge with a widely-retweeted thread calling on colleagues to bombard the AHA’s Executive Board with emails protesting Sweet’s column. “We cannot let this fizzle,” she declared before posting a list of about 20 email addresses.

Other activist historians joined in, flooding the thread with profanity-laced attacks on Sweet’s race and gender as well as calls for his resignation over a disliked opinion column. The responses were almost universally devoid of any substance. None challenged Sweet’s argument in any meaningful way. It was sufficient enough for him to have harbored the “wrong” thoughts – to have questioned the scholarly rigor of activism-infused historical writing, and to have criticized the 1619 Project in even the mildest terms.

New York Times columnist and 1619 Project contributor Jamie Bouie jumped in, casually dismissing Sweet’s concerns over the politicization of scholarship with contemporary “social justice” issues. 1619 Project creator Nikole Hannah-Jones retweeted the attacks on Sweet, even though she has previously invoked the “journalistic” and editorial nature of her project to shield it from scholarly criticism by historians.

Other activist historians such as the New School’s Claire Potter retorted that the 1619 Project was indeed scholarly history, insisting that “big chunks of it are written by professional, award-winning historians.” Sweet was therefore in the wrong to call it journalism, or to question its scholarly accuracy. Potter’s claims are deeply misleading. Only two of the 1619 Project’s twelve feature essays were written by historians, and neither of them are specialists in the crucial period between 1776-1865, when slavery was at its peak. The controversial parts of the 1619 Project were all written by opinion journalists such as Hannah-Jones, or non-experts writing well outside of their own competencies such as Matthew Desmond.

The frenzy further exposed the very same problems in the profession that Sweet’s essay cautioned against. David Austin Walsh, a historian at the University of Virginia, took issue with historians offering any public criticism of the 1619 Project’s flaws – no matter their validity – because those criticisms are “going to be weaponized by the right.” In Walsh’s hyperpoliticized worldview, historical accuracy is wholly subordinate to the political objectives of the project. Sweet’s sin in telling the truth about the 1619 Project’s defects was being “willfully blind to the predictable political consequences of [his] public interventions.” Any argument that does not advance a narrow band of far-left political activism is not only unfit for sharing – it must be suppressed.

Within hours of the AHA’s original tweet of Sweet’s article, the cancellation campaign was in full swing. Predictably, the AHA caved to the cancellers.

One day after the offending article went live, the AHA tweeted out a “public apology” from Sweet. It reads like a forced confession statement, acknowledging the “harm” and “damage” allegedly caused by simply raising questions about the politicization of scholarship toward overtly ideological activist ends. It did not matter that Sweet’s criticisms were mild and couched in plenty of nuance, or that they even came from a center-left perspective that also criticized conservative historians for politicizing the debate around gun rights. Sweet was guilty of pointing out that partisan political activism undermines scholarly rigor when the lines between the two blur, because the overwhelming majority of that activism inside the history profession currently comes from the political left. And for that, the very same activists extracted an obsequious apology letter. Its text, reproduced below, reads like a “struggle session” for academic wrongthink.

Sweet’s apology excited the activist wing of the profession, though it did little to placate their ire. The resignation demands continued, because Sweet’s apology was “insincere” and because his argument would be used by the “wrong” people – i.e. anyone who dissents from a particular brand of progressive activist orthodoxy. Simply criticizing the 1619 Project would play into the tactics of “Right-wingers, Nazis, and other bad-faith actors” who could use Sweet’s commentary “in the service of white supremacism and misogyny” announced Kevin Gannon, a historian who’s primarily known for scolding other scholars on twitter when they deviate from the profession’s far-left orthodoxies.

In this branch of academia, it does not matter whether the 1619 Project was truthful or factually accurate. The only concerns are whether its narrative can be weaponized for a political cause or used to deflect scrutiny of the same. As is often the case in the pseudo-moralizing political crusades of academia, the loudest demands against Sweet also came from the least-productive academics – historians with thin CVs and little in the way of original scholarly research to their names, although they do maintain 24/7 Twitter feeds of progressive political commentary.

Lora Burnett, one of the more vocal cancellation crusaders after the initial article posted, scoffed at Sweet, announcing “this apology was basically, ‘sorry I made you sad but I’m still right.’” She continued: “lamenting ‘inartful expression’ is apparently easier than admitting to flawed argument, unsupported claims, and factually incorrect assertions.” Note that Burnett and the other detractors never bothered to explain how Sweet’s argument was flawed or unsupported. Nor did they attempt to pen a rebuttal, which could have produced a constructive dialogue about the role of political activism in shaping historical scholarship. It was sufficient to denounce him as guilty for holding the wrong opinions. No matter the apology that Sweet made, the campaign to eject him from the history profession’s markedly impolite company would continue.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world began to take notice of the bizarre spectacle playing out at the main professional organization for a major academic discipline. As criticisms mounted on the AHA’s twitter feed, the organization moved to shut down debate entirely. They locked their twitter account, and posted a message to members denouncing the public blowback as the product of “trolls” and “bad faith actors.”

Keep in mind that only 24 hours earlier, the AHA had no problem with hundreds of activist historians flooding their threads with actual harassing behavior by bad faith actors. It tolerated cancellation threats directed against its president, calls to flood the personal email accounts of its board with harassing messages and denunciations of Sweet, and dozens of profane, sexist, and personally degrading attacks on Sweet himself. There were no AHA denunciations of those “trolls” or their “appalling” behavior, and no statements calling for “civil discourse” while the activist Twitterstorian mobs flooded the original thread with obscenity-laced vitriol and ad hominem attacks on Sweet.

Sadly, this type of unprofessional belligerence is now the norm on History Twitter. It would never be tolerated from any other perspective than the far-left, but it is valorized in the profession as long as it serves that particular set of ideological objectives.

The final irony is that the AHA only shuttered its twitter feed from the public when it could no longer restrict the conversation to the activist mob calling for Sweet’s cancellation. It’s the same brand of intellectual closure that Sweet’s offending column warned against in its final passage: “When we foreshorten or shape history to justify rather than inform contemporary political positions, we not only undermine the discipline but threaten its very integrity.”

Phillip W. Magness

Phil Magness

Phillip W. Magness is Senior Research Faculty and Research and Education Director at the American Institute for Economic Research. He is also a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute. He holds a PhD and MPP from George Mason University’s School of Public Policy, and a BA from the University of St. Thomas (Houston).

Prior to joining AIER, Dr. Magness spent over a decade teaching public policy, economics, and international trade at institutions including American University, George Mason University, and Berry College.

Magness’s work encompasses the economic history of the United States and Atlantic world, with specializations in the economic dimensions of slavery and racial discrimination, the history of taxation, and measurements of economic inequality over time. He also maintains active research interest in higher education policy and the history of economic thought. In addition to his scholarship, Magness’s popular writings have appeared in numerous venues including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Newsweek, Politico, Reason, National Review, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

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Categories
Crime How sick is this? Leftist Virtue(!) Progressive Racism

Maybe the family who was shot at is the victim here?

Views: 33

Last weekend we had a situation where Minneapolis PD had to take down ( good shoot ) a person who was firing away. A woman was in fear for her life and two sons because bullets were coming through her apartment wall. After a six hour standoff police snipers took the man out.

So what happens is that a group of protestors show up to defend the shooter. SMH.

Protestors gathered to express their rage that police shot Andrew “Tekle” Sundberg, a black man who was shooting into his neighbors apartment where Arabella Yarbrough and her children live, leaving bullet holes in their kitchen. As Yarbrough stands outside trying to get the crowd to disperse, protestors scream at her: “You’re alive, shut up!” When she says, “there’s bullet holes in my kitchen,” a protester shouts back: “Not in you, though!”

I can’t do this one justice. Watch this remarkable video:

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Categories
Reprints from others. Child Abuse Corruption Crime Progressive Racism

Ohio Man Rapes 10-Year-Old

Views: 20

This article is from AnnCoulter.

 

I, for one, am tickled pink that our ruling class has finally come out against child rape. This is something new. For several decades now, the position of government officials, both political parties, think tanks, the Bush family, district attorneys and the entire media has been: We’re going to foist primitive, peasant cultures on America and then lie to the public about how this is changing our country.

We recently found out about one big way that third-world immigrants are enriching us. Soon after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the media began talking nonstop about a “10-year-old rape victim” who couldn’t get an abortion in Ohio and had to travel to Indiana. The “10-year-old rape victim” was discussed on a loop on MSNBC and even made it into a speech by President Joe Biden.

But then, a bunch of spoilsports started questioning whether “10-year-old rape victim” existed. The attorney general of Ohio said on July 12 he had no evidence of a 10-year-old rape victim, despite the reporting of such a crime being mandatory.

     With their backs against the wall, the pro-abortion crowd broke longstanding strictures against mentioning the rapey-ness of our “New Americans” by producing the rapist: Gerson Fuentes, 27, an illegal alien from Guatemala.

     Oh, now I see.

   The abortion ladies thought they could get away with revealing the child rape victim, while refusing to reveal the child rape perpetrator. When that failed, they wantonly defied the rest of their coalition and told the truth about one of the Democrats’ pets, an illegal immigrant.

   Once the pro-abortion crowd identified the rapist, nothing about the story was surprising. It has all the earmarks of an immigrant child rape:

     The crime is particularly vile — CHECK!

     The raping had been going on for some time — CHECK!

     The mother defended her daughter’s rapist — CHECK!

     The rapist is shocked that anyone thinks he did anything wrong — CHECK!

     Luckily, I am Johnny on the Spot when it comes to immigrant child-rapists, having included nearly 100 such cases in my book “Adios, America!” — as well as the sensational, flood-the-zone news coverage the U.S. media devote to criminal immigrants. (Sarcasm.)

As far as I know, there’s only one group in the country trying to keep a running tally of immigrant child rapes: North Carolinians for Immigration Reform and Enforcement (NCFire.info). Here’s NCFire’s list of illegal immigrant child rapists in North Carolina, so far this year:

     2022 Monthly Child Rapes by Illegal Aliens:

     6. June 2022: 20 illegal aliens arrested for 42 child rape/child sexual assault charges

     5. May 2022: 18 illegal aliens arrested for 42 child rape/child sexual assault charges

     4. April 2022: 19 illegal aliens arrested for 72 child rape/child sexual assault charges

     3. March 2022: 30 illegal aliens arrested for 110 child rape/child sexual assault charges

     2. February 2022: 27 illegal aliens arrested for 84 child rape/child sexual assault charges

     1. January 2022: 18 illegal aliens arrested for 96 child rape/child sexual assault charges

     Again, that’s only in a single state. And only when the immigrant is illegal.

WHY DOESN’T THE PUBLIC KNOW ABOUT THIS?

Unfortunately, our media are too busy reporting on apocryphal gang rapes by the Duke lacrosse team and “frat boys” at the University of Virginia to bother mentioning the epidemic of child rape by immigrants from peasant cultures pouring into our country by the million.

 

How far into the stories about UVA and Duke did you have to read to find out that the (falsely) accused rapists were “privileged white men”?

By contrast, whenever the media deign to mention an immigrant rapist, the story will appear in — at most — one local newspaper. Further, both the heinous nature of the crime and the immigration status of the rapist will be hidden. (How about a news report on the Duke lacrosse case, appearing exclusively in the local paper at the bottom of page A-18, titled, “Area Men Arrested.”)

 

In 2013, an illegal alien from Guatemala, German Rolando Vicente-Sapon, was convicted of kidnapping his 16-year-old cousin, transporting her to the U.S. (also illegally), and holding her as his sex slave for years.

Only one newspaper in the country reported the story: the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Quiz: Was the headline —

“Illegal Alien sentenced for Incest, Child Rape, Kidnapping and Sex Slavery,” OR

Man Guilty in Case of Human Smuggling”?

I think you know the answer.

There’s no question that the national media would never have breathed a word about the Fuentes case — but for the doubters. So a big shoutout to the feminists for putting abortion-on-demand above open borders. If only politicians cared as much about our country as pro-choicers do about abortion.

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Categories
Corruption Faked news How sick is this? Leftist Virtue(!) Progressive Racism The Courts

Like a clock Snopes got it right twice. Did Conservative Justices Lie About Roe v. Wade? Absolutely not.

Views: 53

Snopes usually doesn’t get it right, but I know of two occasions that they did. One was about Thomas and the aborted fetus.

In a June 2022 dissenting opinion, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas asserted a debunked claim about the use of aborted fetal cells in COVID-19 vaccines.

Rating

False

False

This is the second one.

Five conservative Supreme Court justices dishonestly suggested, in Senate confirmation hearings, that they thought Roe v. Wade was beyond overturning.

Rating

False

False

Fact Check

In May 2022, after news leaked that the U.S. Supreme Court had provisionally voted to overturn the abortion protections enshrined in Roe v. Wade, the left-wing political action committee MeidasTouch briefly caused “#LyingGOP” to trend on Twitter, with a video that accused five Republican-appointed justices of lying about their intentions to overturn the landmark ruling.

MeidasTouch posted the video on various social media platforms and used it to solicit monetary contributions.

Lying GOP

However, the creators of the video badly misrepresented the full scope of relevant facts in two important ways, and we are issuing a rating of “False.”

First, they engaged in highly selective editing of much longer and more nuanced archival clips of future justices during their U.S. Senate confirmation hearings, in order to grossly misrepresent the substance of what they said.

Second, they appeared to misunderstand or misrepresent the meaning of a Supreme Court precedent. In brief, describing a ruling as an important precedent is not tantamount to giving a commitment not to overturn that ruling, or indicating you believe that ruling cannot be overruled. Therefore, the sweeping allegations of premeditated dishonesty on the part of GOP-appointed justices were as poorly supported by evidence as they were wrongheaded.

The following is our breakdown of what the MeidasTouch “megaviral supercut” video claimed, lined up against what the factual record shows.

Justice Clarence Thomas

Room, Indoors, Person
File photo of Clarence Thomas during his 1991 U.S. Senate confirmation hearings. Source: Bettmann / Getty Images.

The following is how Meidas Touch presented Thomas’s remarks:

Clarence Thomas: I believe the constitution protects the right to privacy. And I have no reason or agenda to prejudge the issue.

Caption: HE LIED

In this section of the video, MeidasTouch mutilated a 1991 quotation from then-Supreme Court nominee Thomas, and grossly misrepresented the substance and meaning of his remarks. In reality, Thomas absolutely did not provide any assurances on how he might rule on the specific case of Roe v. Wade, nor on the question of abortion rights.

The clip of Thomas came from a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Sep. 11, 1991. Readers can watch the exchange in full, or read a full transcript.

U.S. Sen. Howard Metzenbaum, D-Ohio, had been attempting to pin down Thomas’s views on whether the U.S. Constitution protects abortion rights, and had highlighted what he presented as discrepancies in Thomas’s past pronouncements.

In particular, Metzenbaum asked Thomas to resolve an apparent gap between his putative support for a constitutionally-enshrined right to privacy, more broadly, and abortion rights in particular. Metzenbaum put it to Thomas that:

I fear that you, like other nominees before the committee, could assure us that you support a fundamental right to privacy, but could also decline to find that a woman’s right to choose is protected by the constitution.

At the culmination of his remarks, Metzenbaum asked Thomas:

I must ask you to tell us here and now whether you believe that the constitution protects a woman’s right to choose to terminate her pregnancy, and I am not asking you as to how you would vote in connection with any case before the court.

In response, Thomas prevaricated, as so many judicial nominees have in recent decades:

I am afraid though, on your final question, Senator, that it is important for any of us who are judges, in areas that are very deeply contested…I think that to take a position would undermine my ability to be impartial…

I am afraid that to begin to answer questions about what my specific position is in these contested areas would greatly — or leave the impression that I prejudged this issue.

When Metzenbaum again attempted to pin down the nominee, Thomas again prevaricated, providing the quotation that would be mutilated and misrepresented by MeidasTouch in their video:

Senator, as I noted yesterday, and I think we all feel strongly in this country about our privacy — I do — I believe the constitution protects the right to privacy. And I have no reason or agenda to prejudge the issue or to predispose to rule one way or the other on the issue of abortion, which is a difficult issue. [Emphasis is added].

As the transcript makes clear, MeidasTouch cut off the second half of Thomas’s sentence, in which he stipulated that he had “no reason…to prejudge” or “to predispose to rule one way or the other on the issue of abortion.”

In reality, Thomas was repeatedly urged and asked to make pronouncements on abortion rights, and refused to do so. The notion, therefore, that in this exchange he somehow gave an assurance that he would not ever vote to overturn Roe v. Wade is utterly without basis in fact.

Justice Samuel Alito

 

Tie, Accessories, Accessory
WASHINGTON – JANUARY 10: U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel Alito answers questions before the Senate Judiciary Committee during the second day of his confirmation hearings January 10, 2006 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The following is how MeidasTouch presented Alito’s remarks:

Alito: Roe v Wade is an important precedent of the Supreme Court. It was decided in 1973. It has been challenged on a number of occasions and the Supreme Court has reaffirmed the decision. When a decision is challenged and it is reaffirmed, that strengthens its value.

Caption: HE LIED

Once again, this presentation gives the grossly misleading impression that, in his confirmation hearings, Alito indicated he would not vote to overturn Roe v Wade. In reality, the full scope of his remarks clearly shows that — like most judicial nominees — Alito very carefully avoided giving any assurances about how he might vote on that precedent.

The clip in question came from Alito’s hearings on Jan. 11, 2006. Readers can examine a full transcript of the relevant exchange, or watch a video of it.

Ironically, the starting point for the exchange was the concern expressed by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., that Alito had “decided to create categories of cases that have been decided by the Court that you will concede have constitutional protection, but you have left in question the future of Roe v. Wade.”

In other words, Durbin was concerned that Alito had not stated, for the record, that Roe v. Wade was no longer open to overturning, and indeed had in the past asserted that “the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion.”

So while MeidasTouch presented Alito’s remarks as proof that he thought Roe v. Wade was beyond overturning — “Roe v. Wade is an important precedent of the Supreme Court” — what those remarks actually constituted was Alito’s careful avoidance of describing the ruling as such. Here’s the key exchange:

Durbin: Do you believe [Roe v Wade] is the settled law of the land?
Alito: Roe v. Wade is an important precedent of the Supreme Court. It was decided in 1973, so it has been on the books for a long time. It has been challenged on a number of occasions, and I discussed those yesterday, and the Supreme Court has reaffirmed the decision, sometimes on the merits, sometimes [as] in Casey based on stare decisis, and I think that when a decision is challenged and it is reaffirmed that strengthens its value as stare decisis…
Durbin: Is it the settled law of the land?
Alito: It is a — if settled means that it can’t be re-examined, then that’s one thing. If settled means that it is a precedent that is entitled to respect as stare decisis, and all of the factors that I’ve mentioned come into play, including the reaffirmation and all of that, then it is a precedent that is protected, entitled to respect under the doctrine of stare decisis, in that way.

What Alito is saying here is that Roe v. Wade is clearly a precedent whose conclusions have been repeatedly reaffirmed by the court, and would not lightly be overturned, taking into account the doctrine of stare decisis — the legal principle of deference to precedent expressed in the Latin phrase, which means “let stand what has been decided.”

What Alito is not saying — indeed, what he is scrupulously avoiding saying, despite Durbin’s best efforts — is that Roe v Wade is beyond overturning, like various other landmark precedents he had mentioned elsewhere in the hearings, such as Brown v. the Board of Education.

So the full scope of Alito’s remarks, when viewed objectively and in context, actually show the opposite of what the brief clip, strategically cut away by MeidasTouch, appeared to show.

Justice Neil Gorsuch

Tie, Accessories, Accessory
WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 22: Judge Neil Gorsuch testifies during the third day of his Supreme Court confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, March 22, 2017 in Washington. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The following is how Meidas Touch presented Gorsuch’s remarks.

Gorsuch: Roe v Wade, decided in 1973, is a precedent of the United States Supreme Court. It has been reaffirmed. So a good judge will consider it as precedent of the United States Supreme Court, worthy [of] treatment [as] precedent, like any other.

Caption: HE LIED

MeidasTouch badly misrepresented Gorsuch’s remarks in the same way as it did Alito’s. In reality, by describing Roe v. Wade as a precedent “worthy of treatment as precedent,” Gorsuch was assiduously avoiding going any further or categorizing it as beyond overturning.

The pattern should be familiar by now. Gorsuch’s remarks came during a Senate confirmation hearing on March 21, 2017, and can be read and viewed in their proper context.

During his questioning of the Trump nominee, Judiciary committee chairman U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, asked Gorsuch whether he thought DC v. Heller, a landmark 2008 decision in which the court reaffirmed the Second Amendment right to bear arms, had been correctly decided. Gorsuch said:

Senator, I would respectfully respond that it [DC v Heller] is a precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court, and as a good judge, you do not approach that question anew, as if it had never been decided. That would be a wrong way to approach it. My personal views, I would also tell you, Mr. Chairman, belong over here. I leave those at home…Part of being a good judge is coming in and taking precedent as it stands, and your personal views about the precedent have absolutely nothing to do with the good job of a judge.

Gorsuch then effectively reiterated the same response in relation to several other landmark precedents, including Citizens United, Hosanna-Tabor, Gideon v. Wainwright and Roe v. Wade. On the latter case, Gorsuch said:

Senator, again, I would tell you that Roe v. Wade, decided in 1973, is a precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court. It has been reaffirmed. The reliance interest considerations are important there, and all of the other factors that go into analyzing precedent have to be considered. It is a precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court. It was reaffirmed in Casey in 1992 and in several other cases. So a good judge will consider it as precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court worthy [of] treatment [as] precedent like any other.

Did Gorsuch indicate that Roe v Wade was particularly or unusually vulnerable to being overturned? No. Did he suggest it was immune to overturning? Absolutely not.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh

Person, Human, Room
Brett Kavanaugh speaks at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, USA, 27 September 2018. (Photo: Pool / Getty Images).

The following is how MeidasTouch presented Kavanaugh’s remarks.

Kavanaugh: As a judge, it is an important precedent of the Supreme Court. By “it” I mean Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood v Casey. Been reaffirmed many times. Casey is precedent on precedent.

Caption: HE LIED

The clip in question came from Kavanaugh’s Senate judiciary committee hearing on Sep. 5, 2018, during questioning by U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. Readers can consult the relevant transcript and video.

Feinstein had been attempting to pin down Kavanaugh about his views on the status of Roe v. Wade as a precedent, and whether it “could be overturned.” Kavanaugh, stating the obvious, acknowledged Roe was a precedent and described Planned Parenthood v. Casey as “precedent on precedent” but declined to go further, despite repeated invitations by Feinstein.

Feinstein: …It has been reported that you have said that Roe is now settled law. The first question I have of you is what do you mean by “settled law”? I tried to ask earlier do you believe it is correct law? Have your views on whether Roe is settled precedent or could be overturned, and has your views changed since you were in the Bush White House?

Kavanaugh: Senator, I said that it is settled as a precedent of the Supreme Court, entitled the respect under principles of stare decisis. And one of the important things to keep in mind about Roe v. Wade is that it has been reaffirmed many times over the past 45 years, as you know, and most prominently, most importantly, reaffirmed in Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992.

Feinstein followed up one last time, asking “What would you say your position today is on a woman’s right to choose?” and Kavanaugh again prevaricated on the future sustainability of Roe v Wade:

As a judge, it is an important precedent of the Supreme Court. By “it,” I mean Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. They have been reaffirmed many times. Casey is precedent on precedent, which itself is an important factor to remember.

As we have pointed out in other cases, acknowledging that a ruling is a precedent, or even “precedent on precedent,” is not the same as saying you would never overturn it.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett

amy coney barrett opinion supreme court
In this Oct. 14, 2020 file photo, Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett speaks during a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)

The following is how MeidasTouch presented Barrett’s remarks.

Barrett: Roe is not a superprecedent because calls for its overruling have never ceased, but that doesn’t mean that Roe should be overruled.

Caption: THEY ALL LIED

This is perhaps the most egregious example of all, and comes from the second day of Barrett’s Senate confirmation hearing, Oct. 13, 2020. An official transcript was not readily available in this case, but readers can consult video footage.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., was questioning Barrett about various Supreme Court landmarks, and the concept of the “superprecedent” — a somewhat ambiguous term coined by former Sen. Arlen Specter.

In a 2013 paper, Barrett wrote “Superprecedents are cases that no justice would overrule, even if she disagrees with the interpretive premises from which the precedent proceeds,” and included the following more detailed explanation from law professor Michael Gerhardt:

[T]he point at which a well-settled practice becomes, by virtue of being well-settled, practically immune to reconsideration is the point at which that precedent has become a superprecedent. Nothing becomes a superprecedent, at least in my judgment, unless it has been widely and uniformly accepted by public authorities generally, including the Court, the President, and Congress.

In that 2013 paper, Barrett also explicitly listed a handful of Supreme Court cases — including Brown v. the Board of Education — which were typically cited as superprecedents.

Earlier in her confirmation hearing, during questioning by judiciary committee chairman U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Barrett had said that, in the context of legal scholarship, a superprecedent was a “precedent that is so well established that it would be unthinkable that it would ever be overruled” and Barrett would also similarly tell Klobuchar that the term described a precedent that was “so widely-established and agreed-upon by everyone [that] calls for its overruling simply don’t exist.”

That was the background against which Klobuchar asked Barrett whether Roe v. Wade was a superprecedent, and Barrett explicitly excluded Roe v. Wade from the small handful of cases to which that term applies. She said:

The way that [“superprecedent”] is used in the scholarship, and the way that I was using it in the article that you’re reading from was to define cases that are so well settled that no political actors and no people seriously push for their overruling. And I’m answering a lot of questions about Roe, which I think indicates that Roe doesn’t fall in that category. And scholars across the spectrum say that doesn’t mean that Roe should be overruled, but descriptively it does mean that it’s not a case that everyone has accepted and doesn’t call for its overruling.

…As Richard Fallon from Harvard said, Roe is not superprecedent because calls for its overruling have never ceased, but that doesn’t mean that Roe should be overruled. It just means that it doesn’t fall on the small handful of cases like Marbury v Madison and Brown v the Board, that noone questions any more.

Reading Barrett’s remarks in their proper context clearly demonstrates that she directly and explicitly exploded the frankly laughable claim, made by MeidasTouch, that she had indicated Roe v. Wade was immune to overruling. In fact, she did just the opposite.

Sources:

– CONFIRMATION HEARING ON THE NOMINATION OF HON. BRETT M. KAVANAUGH TO BE AN ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES. https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CHRG-115shrg32765/html/CHRG-115shrg32765.htm. Accessed 5 May 2022.

Alito Confirmation Hearing, Day 3 Part 1 | C-SPAN.Org. https://www.c-span.org/video/?190503-1/alito-confirmation-hearing-day-3-part-1. Accessed 5 May 2022.

Barrett Confirmation Hearing, Day 2 Part 1 | C-SPAN.Org. https://www.c-span.org/video/?476316-1/barrett-confirmation-hearing-day-2-part-1. Accessed 5 May 2022.

Barrett Confirmation Hearing, Day 2 Part 2 | C-SPAN.Org. https://www.c-span.org/video/?476316-4/barrett-confirmation-hearing-day-2-part-2. Accessed 5 May 2022.

Becker, Jo, and Charles Babington. “No Right to Abortion, Alito Argued in 1985.” Washington Post, 15 Nov. 2005. www.washingtonpost.com, https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/2005/11/15/no-right-to-abortion-alito-argued-in-1985/bcbd4e02-0c2e-4dac-8caf-0d252c5630a0/.

“Exclusive: Supreme Court Has Voted to Overturn Abortion Rights, Draft Opinion Shows.” POLITICO, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/02/supreme-court-abortion-draft-opinion-00029473. Accessed 5 May 2022.

GOP Judges EXPOSED as Liars in Megaviral Supercut. www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jbHMHN_mfo. Accessed 5 May 2022.

Gorsuch Confirmation Hearing, Day 2, Part 1 | C-SPAN.Org. https://www.c-span.org/video/?425138-1/supreme-court-nominee-stresses-independence-calls-criticism-judges-disheartening&airingid=61108104. Accessed 5 May 2022.

“Hunting for ‘Super Precedents’ in U.S. Supreme Court Confirmations – National Constitution Center.” National Constitution Center – Constitutioncenter.Org, https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/hunting-for-super-precedents-in-u.s-supreme-court-confirmations. Accessed 5 May 2022.

Judiciary, United States Congress Senate Committee on the. Nomination of Judge Clarence Thomas to Be Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States: Hearings Before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, First Session … U.S. Government Printing Office, 1993.

“Stare Decisis.” LII / Legal Information Institute, https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/stare_decisis. Accessed 5 May 2022.

Stolberg, Sheryl Gay. “Roe Is ‘Settled Law,’ Kavanaugh Tells Collins. Democrats Aren’t Moved.” The New York Times, 21 Aug. 2018. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/21/us/politics/kavanaugh-collins-abortion.html.

Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearing, Day 2, Part 1 | C-SPAN.Org. https://www.c-span.org/video/?449705-1/supreme-court-nominee-brett-kavanaugh-confirmation-hearing-day-2-part-1. Accessed 5 May 2022.

Thomas Confirmation Hearing Day 2, Part 1 | C-SPAN.Org. https://www.c-span.org/video/?21115-1/thomas-confirmation-hearing-day-2-part-1. Accessed 5 May 2022.

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COVID Back Door Power Grab Biden Pandemic Politics Polls Progressive Racism Reprints from others. Science

Moral Blinding: How the COVID-Prevention Fetish Killed Critical Thinking

Views: 36

This article was written by Susan Dunham.

Feeling the fuzzies

Our first lockdown was like a great war effort. It was the closest we’ve come to the home-front experience of the World Wars, when people set aside every selfish thought in favor of the collective wellbeing. We ground our lives to a halt in a powerful rebuke against an emerging threat. Heroes emerged, along with new rituals to honor them as we banged pots for frontline workers and decorated our neighborhoods with messages of thanks. Meanwhile, the rest of us did our part: we stayed home. And it all felt good.

Months later, rising COVID cases have plunged us into another lockdown, which in short order has become a practiced routine. After a lax summer and fall season, we slip back into the usual stay-at-home restrictions. We triple our vigilance: we keep our distance, follow the masking rules, and sanitize compulsively. “Be safe,” we wish each other in lieu of the customary farewells. Even the fearless pitch in, because staying safe means preventing yourself from becoming a threat to others.

All of the prescribed safety practices have become part of a new social ritual. Participation demonstrates one’s commitment to the collective wellbeing, which the pandemic has taught us is not an individual game but a group effort. Masking, sanitizing, distancing, and isolating are not only safety measures in the traditional sense but they have also become the new signs of caring. And they are fast becoming a prerequisite for societal participation. No mask, no service says many signs in store windows, big and small.

As Canadians, long-renowned for politeness, compliance under these terms is practically built into the national DNA. Save for some pockets of protests in our larger cities, we have demonstrated a willingness to give up a little bit of our personal freedom for the greater good, and we embrace whatever is asked of us if it can save a life.

But is that really such a good thing? Could it be that our impassioned acceptance of drastic new norms makes us a little too willing to compromise on everything if we can be convinced it’s the righteous thing to do? And has our conscience been hijacked so that we consent to new norms that actually dismantle the progress we’ve made towards a free and open society?

I argue that the COVID crisis has turned a once liberal society into a cult of compliance and that we have sold off an open marketplace of ideas in a bid to secure our safety. In its place we have built a new social operating system that coerces consent and could one day render us incapable of seeing the true effects of policies that masquerade as public good..

Creating tunnel vision

While we were placing “Stay at Home” badges on top of our Instagram selfies, congratulating ourselves for staying inside, The World Food Program — an agency of the UN — was reporting that 130 million more people in developing nations would face starvation by the end of the year as a direct result of the global economy which we ground to a halt. That means tens of millions of additional deaths in developing countries because of lockdown.

At home we knew that suicide numbers must have skyrocketed and that countless unstable home lives turned dramatically worse, while food bank lines extended longer than we had ever seen them.

But rather than these realities sobering us out of our moral stupor, they instead inspired us to double-down on the categorical importance of lockdown, even as we were learning that most people are not at serious risk of severe illness. No cost was too high to prevent one more COVID case.

Months later, with better perspective on the costs of lockdown, we find ourselves in yet another one. Although we entered it with reduced appetite for the same kind of stringency we saw last spring, we have dutifully complied with everything that the case numbers have demanded. We’ve thrown out every skeptic thought, because the unquantified concerns of mental health, childhood developmental delay, economic collapse, and mass death by starvation the world over do not hold an audience more powerfully than the running tally of COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.

The constant beat of daily broadcast COVID briefings and the bombardment of public health messaging play no small part in constructing our perception of the coronavirus threat. Reshaping our lives to avoid a virus seems logical and inevitable when the only metric we’re allowed to hear is the COVID numbers. How naturally all other facets of life seem to fall away when we are properly obsessed over a single problem to the exclusion of all others.

This curation of concern single-handedly drives our collective reaction to the emergent coronavirus. Our laser focus on all things COVID creates a kind of team spirit in the wellness effort, encouraging our embrace of the pain-loving self sacrifice of lockdown — and blinding us to both its costs and its alternatives.

Affirming the course

By now we should have heard from our public health policy-makers that instead of blanket lockdown, we might opt for a model that is business-as-usual with the exception of a full marshaling of resources aimed at those who self-identify as vulnerable and full support for only their isolation. We don’t question the absence of this suggestion because we have been so locked onto the altruistic idea of self-sacrifice for the greater good that any kind of debate would seem selfishly motivated.

Instead we indulge in the joy of pitching-in and doing good, while remaining guiltlessly ignorant of the fact that history might look back upon lockdown as a devastating mistake. Meanwhile, we collect our CERB cheques and boast about the moral virtues of remaining indefinitely couch-bound. Thus we are placated by a public health policy that we should be debating at the very least.

The great opiate of public health stewardship makes us feel so assured of our righteousness that questioning health regulations is morally suspect. We look unkindly at the oppositional thinker, the lockdown skeptic who threatens to upend the whole care-making experience of the COVID era. Whereas normally we would give skeptical voices vital consideration, especially before embracing the drastic new normal we’ve been handed, we instead condemn them out of hand because we are pre-conditioned to despise their very premise.

Much analysis is given to the pandemic response on the government level, but it is our pandemic response on the social level which will prove the most significant to history, because that is where the true forces of lasting change carve out their legacies.

The on-the-ground tensions between the majority of us who embrace policy and those who don’t is the effect of a social phenomenon which has demonstrated an enormous capacity to reshape our world. What we are gripped by is a peculiar kind of collective blindness disguised as goodwill and righteousness that turns us against all forms of debate on public policy so long as it is positioned correctly.

Dehumanizing the rebel

Toronto’s first lockdown protest in April drew the ire of a vocal majority who denounced participants as selfish, small-minded, ignorant, and reckless. These were anti-science bigots whose ideas literally endangered lives. They thumbed their noses at the new rituals which were meanwhile bringing the city together. The protests grew in number and in frequency into the summer months. Demonstrators were spared no ill will by the court of public opinion. Many commentators openly wished they see their comeuppance in the form of a hospital bed, and such tidings were met with all round applause.

There is no moral standing, as we see it, from which to question the edicts of the health experts. Our enthusiastic focus on the wellness effort has morphed into a complete intolerance for debate on the issue. We are so emboldened by our collective struggle that we feel morally justified in throwing all opposition into the fire.

Thus we’ve become locked into a radical, all-in moral defense of new and unprecedented rules. Such a rabid mode of categorical compliance establishes a dangerous low in our capacity for critically, rather than emotionally, perceiving the issues we face. We now despise rebellious thinking, even if those deviant ideas might be our life raft out of dangerous waters.

While the Coronavirus is often said to have brought out the best in us — with our pot-banging and our well-wishing — all of this team-building has produced, almost by necessity, a dark response to doubting voices.

Silencing doubt

SARS-COV-2 has changed our reaction to voices that oppose the crowd. Whereas in the past, outlier thinking, skepticism of mainstream messaging and policy makers, nonconformity in the face of social pressure were all tolerated if not welcomed, now we deem these things dangerous, not stimulating.

The pain of the pandemic, which has shown us what can happen when people adopt the wrong kinds of opinions, has made us hypersensitive to regressive views on other global issues like climate change, vaccination, social justice, even politics, in which the actions of the individual can affect the group. We have seen the consequence of too much freedom of thought in the form of lockdowns and packed ICUs, and we bristle to think what future crises might unfold if the wrong opinions gain traction again.

So we put extra effort into vilifying harmful views. If we have to contend with freedom of speech and freedom of thought, then we get around that obstacle by making unsafe views so socially toxic that they’re more dangerous for the speaker than they are for society. Be caught courting an unsanctioned idea and get branded an enemy of the public good. Suddenly yesterday’s eccentric thinker is today’s ignorant, selfish, uneducated bigot.

The ideological cooling effect of such a social mechanism is an effective tool for steering opinion and, as the pandemic has demonstrated, behavior too.

Saving face

Universal masking and protocol compliance has been so effectively adopted precisely because it has become socially untenable to do otherwise. To be caught without a mask, that brilliant piece of cloth that shows you care, is to forfeit your status as a well-meaning member of society.

And so we have it that much of the moral fetishization of COVID protocols — the excessive displays of complying well beyond the public guidelines — has become a way of signifying ideological affinity. So repellent is the image of the COVID skeptic that COVID compliance has become as much about self-image as it is about public safety — if not more.

We find ourselves trapped within a new social formula in which conformity is social currency. The more one over-performs the prescribed duties and rituals of the good citizen, the more approval is bestowed, and the more distance the performer creates between themselves and the looming image of the social monster.

In this paradigm, independent thinking — synthesizing available data into more nuanced or perhaps contradictory conclusions — is taboo. The social rewards of conformity far outweigh the immoral stink of rebellious thought. It simply becomes no longer worth the shame, stigma, self-doubt, and the bother of holding and sharing a competing idea.

There is no end in sight to this new model now that we have set it into motion. It has been embraced during pandemic and the gears are already turning to point this machinery towards other global efforts. It is our new social operating system — and it has already proven its capacity to reshape society without limitation. Consider how absurd the notion would have been just over a year ago that it would be reprehensible to be caught barefaced in a grocery store. What absurdities today will we reconstruct as the moral obligations of tomorrow?

We now have a framework for coercing total compliance to new and changing rules and rituals, which need no backing by logic or sense. How many truly contradictory public protocols do we now follow for the sake of optics alone? We jump into the street to give space to fellow pedestrians even though there is no realistic concern for transmission in this way. Proof and reason become redundancies — at most, formalities. If the Coronavirus ever ceases to be a concern, how many people will truly abandon masking when it has become so ingrained as a symbol of prudence and altruism? Compliance becomes its own end when its made synonymous with moral good.

And thus a moral blinding has stricken society. COVID-19 has gathered us so tightly around the bonfire of cooperation, either by conversion or coercion, that we have found no better place to be, and we have lost our tolerance for anyone refusing to join. We’ve completely annexed our capacity to judge what is being asked of us dispassionately, leaving open an unguarded pathway to our consent through both our heartstrings and our self-image.

Losing Control

The foundation is laid for future incursions into our daily normal, which have no hope of encountering resistance. The next radical social change need only be positioned as the next good thing, and even in the mind of the conflicted individual, doubt will be set aside in favor of appearance. Woe to anyone with the misfortune of disagreeing, because an intense, scapegoating hatred for those who do not comply will justify any manner of policy, punishment, and correction against them. And social spoils will await the loudest and most zealous followers and enforcers of whatever new normal the future cooks up.

We have burned our safety net against tyranny. Rather than doing the hard thing, respecting an individual’s right to self-direction even at a marginal expense of safety, we wage war on thought, between right-think and wrong-think, good action versus bad action so that we may burn every deviant in our path.

Sealing our fate

Through a system of self-adulating social rituals, single-minded public messaging, and stigmatization of the uncooperative, we have lost our capacity to see the shades of gray between extremes and to recognize the fundamental merits of debate and the freedom to dissent. We now prefer that every last skeptic be shamed into compliance, as if the benefit of that is worth the cost of forcing a free society into a hive mind.

We have so easily forgotten that it is in the dialectic of competing views — some for this side, others for that side — that we prevent any one extreme from over-dominating. And it is precisely by the moral exclusion of oppositional views that a population finds itself one day in a world it doesn’t recognize.

So while the world stampedes in lockstep towards new extremes of safety protocols, we are in danger of a well-intentioned agenda breaking away from itself and running ahead of its own mandate if there is no one left to one day challenge it.

And yet the average person shakes their head to learn of the latest citizen to defy protocol.

In just a few short months, the old liberal mindset that would have called for a balance between safety and liberty, that would have rejected the idea that science offers only one way through a crisis, that would have accepted the foundational need for some dissent, has eroded into a culture of compliance. To obey is to care. That is the equation that has reprogrammed our social order. And if it might benefit us today, it could more easily hurt us tomorrow, the next time something to which we wouldn’t normally consent finds that tested appeal to our hearts.

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Education Child Abuse How sick is this? Leftist Virtue(!) Progressive Racism

Sickening. Oak Park and River Forest High School to implement race-based grading system in 2022-23 school year

Views: 44

Oak Park and River Forest High School outside of Chicago will now grade you not on how smart you are, but on what color of skin you have. Also Blacks can no longer be docked for missing class, misbehaving in school or failing to turn in their assignments, according to the plan.

Oak Park and River Forest High School administrators will require teachers next school year to adjust their classroom grading scales to account for the skin color or ethnicity of its students.

In an effort to equalize test scores among racial groups, OPRF will order its teachers to exclude from their grading assessments variables it says disproportionately hurt the grades of black students. They can no longer be docked for missing class, misbehaving in school or failing to turn in their assignments, according to the plan.

Advocates for so-called “equity based” grading practices, which seek to raise the grade point averages of black students and lower scores of higher-achieving Asian, white and Hispanic ones, say new grading criteria are necessary to further school districts’ mission of DEIJ, or “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice.”

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Uncategorized Biden Pandemic Corruption Leftist Virtue(!) Opinion Politics Progressive Racism Reprints from others.

The Deeply Flawed Narrative That Joe Biden Bought

Views: 28

Left critics and self-hating Democrats believe that Obama was a Republican-indulging compromiser. So did Biden and his appointees, who were determined to outdo Obama using narrow Democratic control of Congress. Why they blew it.

This is a piece from a new source for me called the Washington Monthly.  Many of the articles are left leaning, but this one does make some sense. I’ll highlight some of the comments I agree with. Most of this article is Bullshit. But I felt all should see how the left thinks.

In July 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank banking bill. Its passage marked his administration’s third major legislative accomplishment, joining the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Affordable Care Act. The former, known as “the stimulus,” helped cut short the Great Recession. It also powered a clean energy revolution. From the beginning to the end of the Obama administration, wind power capacity tripled and solar power capacity increased by an astonishing 2,500 percent. The ACA, or “Obamacare,” expanded health insurance coverage, helping to reduce the percentage of uninsured Americans from 14.7 in 2008 to 9.2 in 2021. To fund expanded coverage, the ACA imposed new taxes on the wealthy, which, in concert with subsequent tax code changes, subjected the richest 1 percent of households to their highest tax burden since 1979. And Dodd-Frank’s reorganization of the financial regulatory system, according to the financial reformers at Better Markets, succeeded in “making a financial crash much less likely.”

At the same point, 486 days into his administration, Joe Biden’s scorecard is not as full. His biggest victory is the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Biden signed was significant as well, but his failure to extend the law’s poverty-fighting child tax credit expansion beyond December 2021 mars its legacy.

From the new book This Will Not Pass by the New York Times reporters Alex Burns and Jonathan Martin, we know that Biden had hoped to surpass Obama’s legislative output and impact. The president is quoted as saying to an adviser, “I am confident that Barack is not happy with the coverage of this administration as more transformative than his.” (And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is quoted as having told a friend, “Obama is jealous of Biden.”)

But 16 months into Biden’s presidency, it seems unlikely to be as transformative as Obama’s. It may succeed in many respects; great foreign policy achievements may be in store; a burst of bipartisanship could dampen our polarization. But the window for sweeping progressive legislation appears to be closed. Any last-ditch “reconciliation” bill this year, somehow earning Senator Joe Manchin’s approval and a barely sufficient 50 Senate votes, will have to be much smaller than the Build Back Better bill, meant to be Biden’s crowning legislative achievement. Truly ambitious party line legislation beyond this year would necessitate a Republican collapse, allowing Democrats to control Congress despite high inflation and Biden’s poor approval ratings.

The value of comparing these two administrations is not to settle some presidential pissing contest but to determine how best to enact progressive change.

We learn from This Will Not Pass that the Biden administration was heavily influenced by critics of Obama’s conciliatory approach, some of whom came from within that administration itself. According to Burns and Martin,

The people [Biden] had put in place at the highest levels of the White House largely aligned with [Senate Majority Leader Chuck] Schumer and Pelosi in their view of congressional Republicans. Mostly veterans of the Obama administration, they were haunted by their party’s last experience governing in an economic crisis, in 2009, when a newly inaugurated Democratic president and his top staff had spent months pleading and horse-trading for Republican support on various essential priorities and come away with little to show for it. [White House Chief of Staff] Ron Klain was among the Biden aides who [were] clear-eyed about the early missteps of the Obama administration …

The Obama administration, Klain believed, had moved too slowly in its early days to address the recession, and it had done too little to explain to the public what it was doing … Klain fretted that there was a risk Democrats would make the same mistakes again: allowing a drawn-out negotiation over dollar figures and time-tables to overshadow the real benefits the administration wanted to give voters.

Such a narrative became popular in progressive circles, driven by pundits like the New York Times columnist and economist Paul Krugman. In January 2009, Krugman deemed Obama’s $775 billion stimulus proposal “not enough” to deal with an estimated $2.1 trillion of lost production in the Great Recession. Five years later, Krugman called the stimulus, despite its positive policy elements, a “political disaster” that ended up “discrediting the very idea of stimulus.” Krugman also criticized Obama in August 2009 in response to reports that he was “backing away” from a “public option” during health care negotiations: “It’s hard to avoid the sense that Mr. Obama has wasted months trying to appease people who can’t be appeased.”

Obama revealed his real-time response to such complaints in his memoir, A Promised Land. Attempts to include a public option were dropped toward the end of the process at the behest of moderates in the Democratic caucus, enraging many progressives. Obama wrote,

I found the whole brouhaha exasperating. “What is it about sixty votes these folks don’t understand?” I groused to my staff. “Should I tell the thirty million people who can’t get covered that they’re going to have to wait another ten years because we can’t get them a public option?” It wasn’t just that criticism from friends always stung the most. The carping carried immediate political consequences for Democrats … all the great social-welfare advances in American history, including Social Security and Medicare, had started off incomplete and had been built upon gradually, over time. By preemptively spinning what could be a monumental, if imperfect, victory into a bitter defeat, the criticism contributed to a potential long-term demoralization of Democratic voters—otherwise known as the “What’s the point of voting if nothing ever changes?” syndrome—making it even harder for us to win elections and move progressive legislation forward in the future.

I find Obama’s explanation sensible. Yet inexplicably to me, many Obama administration veterans favor the Krugman view. Even more bizarre, Biden, after pushing back on progressive Obama critics in the 2020 primaries, surrounded himself with such critics once in office. The result was a Biden administration less attuned than his Democratic predecessor’s at determining what could be achieved with the Senate votes available.

Yes, Obama had more Senate Democrats to work with than Biden’s 50. Obama began his presidency with 58 Democrats. In late April 2009, Senator Arlen Specter switched parties to make it 59. In early July 2009, Al Franken was sworn in as the 60th Democratic senator following a grueling recount. Then the number was knocked back to 59 in February 2010 after Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown won the special election to succeed the deceased Senator Ted Kennedy.

With such a big majority, you might think that Obama could have plucked just about anything off the progressive wish list and made it law, using budget reconciliation—the procedurally complex filibuster-proof process Biden used last year to pass the American Rescue Plan with just 50 Senate Democrats. But Obama’s big majority included a sizable and stingy moderate faction, and not just in the Senate. In 2009, the House had 255 Democrats, but 49 were moderate Blue Dogs, more than enough to deny Pelosi a majority.

As Michael Grunwald explained in his history of the 2009 stimulus, The New New Deal, Obama “had to make sure Blue Dogs in the House and centrist Democrats in the Senate didn’t jump ship,” because even before the inauguration, “they were already sounding alarms about runaway spending.” In December 2008, then Vice President–elect Biden was compelled to publicly state that the emerging package “will not become a Democratic Christmas tree.” That effectively cut off any talk about using reconciliation for the first major bill of the Obama administration. And when a Senate version of the stimulus grew to $930 billion, a group of moderate Republicans and Democrats came together to scale it back to $780 billion.

Following the February 2009 passage of the Recovery Act, Democratic leaders wanted reconciliation available for the rest of Obama’s agenda, but fellow Democrats stymied them. When putting together the budget resolution—the parliamentary precursor to a budget reconciliation bill—Democrats agreed to include health care and education as eligible for the reconciliation process. But a Republican motion explicitly denying the same privilege for any climate change bill was embraced by 26 Senate Democrats and passed overwhelmingly—an omen that the Senate was not going to be hospitable to any ambitious climate change bill.

Even though health care made the cut, Democrats said at the time that the reconciliation option was a last resort. Reconciliation bills can only include budget-related provisions, and many health care reform proposals wouldn’t qualify (a procedural obstacle that fatally compromised Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare using reconciliation in 2017). Then Senate Budget Committee Chair Kent Conrad said, “Virtually everyone who has been part of these discussions recognizes that reconciliation is not the preferred way to write this legislation. But the administration wants to have a reconciliation instruction as an insurance policy.”

In turn, Obama calibrated his legislative agenda to meet the limits of what the 60th vote would allow. For the Recovery Act, after helping to limit the price tag, the 58th, 59th, and 60th Senate votes came from Maine Republicans Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, and—before his switch—Specter. (Senate Democrats were united in support, though eight House Democrats broke ranks.) For Obamacare, the 60th vote came from Democrat-turned-independent moderate Joe Lieberman, who refused both the public option as well as a Medicare buy-in option for those turning 55. For Dodd-Frank, it came from Scott Brown (offsetting the loss of progressive Democrat Russ Feingold), who demanded that a proposed tax on banks be stricken from the bill. It was.

Student loan reform did piggyback on a reconciliation package used to finish up the Obamacare process, accommodating changes sought by the House weeks after Senate Democrats lost their 60th seat. Fifty-six Senate Democrats passed that follow-up bill, with three Democrats joining Republicans in opposition.

Some progressives never cottoned to the horse trades required to win those votes and partly blamed watered-down legislation for the poor Democratic performances in the 2010 and 2014 midterms and even Donald Trump’s 2016 victory. The Biden presidency offered the opportunity to prove the alternate theory of the case. Don’t strain for the 60th vote. Use the reconciliation process. Go big with 50 votes. Don’t even bother with Republicans.

But whatever the merits of reconciliation, basic legislative competence still requires accommodating the determining vote, be it the 60th vote in regular order or the 50th vote in reconciliation.

Biden simply did not do that in his pursuit of a wide-ranging Build Back Better bill. In December, he didn’t rush to take Manchin’s $1.8 trillion offer, apparently because it left out an extension of the expanded child tax credit. As Biden hesitated, Manchin announced his opposition to the entire bill and revoked the offer. Biden was understandably reluctant to give up on a program that had successfully slashed child poverty and had the makings of a signature policy achievement. But it was politically foolish to presume that the one-year expansion of the credit—slipped into the American Rescue Plan reconciliation measure—would be extended indefinitely without first securing Manchin’s support.

Krugman and others charged Obama with having “wasted time” by trying for months to win Republican support for the Affordable Care Act, support that never materialized. But Obama wasn’t just chasing Republicans; he was also chasing Senate Democrat moderates. However long it took, he found the votes he needed. Notably, Obamacare (and the student loan reform that rode along with it) was an anomaly. Every other bill Obama signed into law was passed thanks to mathematically necessary Republican support. It’s far more accurate to charge Biden with having wasted time on Build Back Better, as he spent months trying to wear down Manchin and ended up with nothing. Biden took less time getting the 60 Senate votes needed to pass an infrastructure bill precisely because he let those moderates who held the determining votes take the lead on negotiations.

Getting the historical narrative correct matters. Democrats should have been telling a positive story of Obama’s presidency, one where landmark laws made America better, and he became the first Democratic president to win reelection with more than 50 percent of the popular vote since Franklin D. Roosevelt. Instead, Democrats told a narrative that lacked historical perspective, blaming an inevitably imperfect legislative record for midterm losses, even though such defeats are common for the president’s party. Amazingly, Joe Biden, of all politicians, a figure who has lived through decades of Washington history, got suckered into accepting a flawed narrative. No wonder his legislative strategy was similarly flawed.

 

 

 

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