During the oral arguments over the Biden vaccine mandates last week, two largely disconnected views emerged from the right and left of the Supreme Court. Conservative justices hammered away at the underlying authority of the Biden Administration to issue these mandates, particularly after President Joe Biden’s own Chief of Staff admitted that the agency rules were “workarounds” of his constitutional limitations. Conversely, the liberal justices used the “equity” aspects of an injunction to raise more emotive, if not apocalyptic, arguments on the dangers of Covid-19. That led Justice Elena Sotomayor to make a claim about children with Covid that even the Washington Post called “absurdly high” and worthy of “four Pinocchios.”
For years, I have lamented how the Democratic party has embraced censorship and the criminalization of speech. I come from a liberal Democratic family in Chicago and the Democratic Party once championed free speech as the defining value of the party. Democratic politicians now lead calls for censorship to silence their opponents and corporate regulations to protect citizens from dangerous choices in reading material. The same concerns were raised this week after Washington Gov. Jay Inslee called for the criminalization of “lies” about election results. Inslee wants to convict people who raise election challenges or allegations. Such a law would threaten political speech and create a chilling effect for those who want to raise such concerns in contested elections.
Our host on numerous occasions makes a strong case in labeling today’s zeitgeist as “The Age of Rage”. It would certainly seem to be so if one focuses on what stereotypically comes out of the news media and political figures we lend our ears to. Yet I would go a step further and suggest the root cause of some of this rage is composed of two elements: power-lust and simple human stupidity.
I believe many people fail to recognize how intertwined is the lust for power and the enabling forces of stupidity. Stupidity can be manipulated to achieve that power. It is said that money is the blood of the powerful. Yet, why spend money when too many can be so easily controlled or recruited for free simply by instead appealing to ignorant or stupid individuals.
Both sadly and obviously however, ignorance and stupidity is not limited to the news or politics, it is manifest in human society generally. The trick is to recognize and extricate it from our lives whenever possible. So in a mostly cynical and possibly comical study of the problem, I propose there are levels and flavors of both ignorance and stupidity and to apply such a study is a first step toward minimizing its damaging potential.
In the day long events commemorating January 6th, Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a telling statement to her fellow members and the public at large. Pelosi declared “It is essential that we preserve the narrative of January 6th.” Part of that narrative is that this was not a riot but an “insurrection,” an actual “rebellion” against our country. Pelosi’s concern over the viability of that narrative is well-based as shown by a recent CBS News poll. The majority of the public does not believe that this was an “insurrection” despite the mantra-like repetition of members of Congress and the media. The public saw that terrible day unfold a year ago and saw it for what it was: a protest that became a riot. (For full disclosure, I previously worked as a legal analyst for CBS News). Continue reading ““Preserve the Narrative”: The Public Rejects the “Insurrection” Claim in New Polling”
This is the one year anniversary of the disgraceful rioting in the Capitol building. The scenes of that day are seared in the memory of many of us. I publicly condemned Trump’s speech while it was being given and I called for a bipartisan vote of censure over his responsibility in the riots. However, I have long maintained that there was no evidence to support a criminal charge against Trump for incitement. Yet, a year ago, various legal experts declared that Trump should be charged based on his speech and his delay in calling for protesters to leave Capitol Hill. District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine announced that he was considering arresting Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Rudy Giuliani and U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks and charging him with incitement. So, a year later, what ever happened to the prosecution of Donald Trump?
Below is my column in The Hill on the continued calls to disqualify Republican members of Congress to prevent them from running for reelection. What is maddening is that Democratic groups and commentators are seeking to remove as many as 120 Republicans from the ballots in the name of democracy. It is like burning books in the name of literacy. Yet, on this anniversary of the January 6th riot, members of Congress and Democratic groups want to block voters from reelecting their preferred representatives. Like villages in Vietnam, it appears that some members and activists believe that you have to destroy democracy to save it from itself.
Here is the column:
Below is my column in the Hill on upcoming year for the Supreme Court. The Court’s docket is likely to put the institution at ground zero of a heated election year. Major decisions on abortion and gun rights are expected by June 2022. Even with Chief Justice John Roberts denouncing attempts at “inappropriate political influence” on the Court, the threats of Court packing and other measures are likely to become even more shrill as these decisions rollout in the new year.
With the conclusion of the first year of the Biden Administration, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain sought to end on a high, or at least higher, note by retweeting a column saying that 2021 was not “all bad.” It was like bragging that a first date told you that the evening could have been worse. However, what really stood out in the column by Albert Hunt was the key rationale: the first year was “scandal free.” Calling 2021 “scandal free” is not merely an example of blinkered commentary, it is an exercise of willful blindness. This is why magicians often make audience members part of the illusion. Houdini did not actually make his 10,000 pound elephant Jennie disappear. It was there the whole time but the audience did not want to see it. That’s the trick. Continue reading ““A Scandal Free Biden Administration”: The Media Celebrates a Year of Free From Political Scandal and Press Scrutiny”
Chief Justice John Roberts used his year-end report on New Year’s Eve to denounce the threats being made against the Court and its members by Democratic politicians and groups, including threats to pack the Court to force an immediate liberal majority. Roberts referred to such threats as efforts to exercise “inappropriate political influence” on the Court in contravention of our constitutional values and traditions. Continue reading ““Inappropriate Political Influence”: Chief Justice John Roberts Responds to Threats Against the Court”
In a surprising move the day after the conviction of Jeffrey Epstein’s girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, the Justice Department dropped all charges against the two guards on duty the night of his death. The filing of a nolle prosequi notice just before New Year’s Eve (and just after the verdict) immediately rekindled long-standing conspiracy theories that Epstein was killed rather than committed suicide in his cell on August 9, 2019. Putting such theories to the side, the filing raises a host of other questions, including the basis and motive of bringing the charges in the first place.
Below is my column in The Hill on one resolution that President Joe Biden could take this New Year’s Eve that could have a material and beneficial impact on our country.
The great civil libertarian Justice Louis Brandeis once warned that “the greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.” New York State Democrat Senator Brad Holyman is one of those “men of zeal.” With the approaching anniversary of the Jan. 6th riots, he has proposed a new law that would legislate an even greater level of censorship to prevent the “social media amplification” of views that are deemed harmful or “disinformation.” It is only the latest example of our “whatever it takes” politics.
The Christmas Eve order for the New York Times to return confidential legal material from the conservative publication, Project Veritas, has led many to decry the imposition of a “prior restraint” on the media. I joined in expressing those concerns about courts preventing a news publication and then ordering the return of material sent by a source. That issue will be now be addressed in the courts. One question, however, remains: when will the FBI raid the home of New York Times publisher, A.G. Sulzberger? Continue reading “Ashley Biden’s Diary: Will The FBI Raid The New York Times?”
Below is my column in The Hill to help readers survive this year’s the holiday dinners with friends and family. The cards below can be printed and cut down for easy palming or secreting in a napkin for reference during meals.
Here is the column: Continue reading “Your 2021 Holiday Dinner Political Survival Guide”