Category: Media and Journalism

One Year Later We Must Not Forget: Disgrace

One Year Later We Must Not Forget: Disgrace

This piece initially appeared a year ago following the biggest surrender and debacle in U.S. history, all overseen by Joe Biden. It is important we don’t forget this event which long will live in infamy, both for the damage it did to the reputation, prestige, and credibility of this country and to its security and that of other countries. We also need to remember the needless deaths of 13 U.S. service members and hundreds of Afghans due to the incompetence of this administration. That number has now been eclipsed by the deaths of many other innocent Afghans and those who assisted U.S. and allied efforts over 20 years, unconscionably abandoned by Biden, and still more deaths in Ukraine resulting from the Russian invasion which was encouraged by the U.S. failure in Afghanistan and the abject weakness of this administration.

In a normal country in normal times, those responsible for such an enormous debacle as what those at the top in our country caused to happen in Afghanistan in recent weeks would resign in disgrace. And if they didn’t, steps would be taken by those charged with oversight to remove them from office, even try and punish them. But this is not a normal country and these are not normal times, and there seems to no longer exist any sense of shame, disgrace, or even admission of failure. Instead, as the alleged president just did, again, they take a victory lap and spew lies and distortions touting how brilliant and insightful they are, and hope everyone is as imbecilic and full of guile as they are.

Listening to Biden’s words a short while ago made me more angry than I can ever remember any political figure, in my entire life, make me. And that is saying something. I shouted out my anger, and I struck my head wondering how a single human being — as despicable and useless as this rotten excuse for a human being is — can be so profoundly stupid. And arrogant. Surely it has to be a team effort. And the ulterior motive a powerful one.

The insult I used as the title of my last piece on this subject — Ignorance With Impudence — barely touches the level of ignorance nor that of impudence put on full display today.

You see those hands in that photo above, showing a collapsing Biden last Thursday when he was challenged by Fox News’s Peter Doocy on his attempt to blame his Afghanistan catastrophe on his predecessor? Look carefully and you’ll see that they’re drenched in blood. The blood of 13 of our service people killed at Hamid Karzai International Airport last week. The blood of hundreds of needlessly dead Afghans in the same attack. The blood of the Americans, the blood of the Afghans who risked their lives to support us, deliberately left behind while surrounded by rabid terrorists intent on rooting them out and killing them. Also there is the blood of the hundreds, thousands, who will die in Afghanistan, in the United States, and elsewhere in the world as a result of the incredibly bone-headed and callous decisions made by this incompetent and those who allowed and facilitated him to make and carry them out.

If ever there was a time to say there is plenty of blame to go around, this is it. But since Biden is at the top of this heap of excrement and claims the buck stops with him — as if he actually means it, as Harry Truman did — he bears ultimate blame and responsibility for what happened, what will happen. To paraphrase the immortal 1988 words of Senator Lloyd Bentsen, back when Democrats still had some honor and a tad of sense, to vice presidential candidate Dan Quayle, Mr. President, I served with Harry Truman. I knew Harry Truman. Harry Truman was a friend of mine. Mr. President, you’re no Harry Truman.


Once more I find my post taking a different direction than I initially intended. The news continues to come in so fast, and it’s so awful, it’s impossible to keep up with it. I’m not a news service and this is not intended to be either daily reporting or a book. Any one with a fair mind and open eyes can see the reality, the actual events and people creating them, the results of those events and those people, and they don’t need me to continually point them out. My job, as I’ve executed it for more than four years now, is to put the pieces together, to analyze them, and to do what I can to bring people a clear view of the reality. To the extent many of my readers already have a clear view, they read my pieces and nod their heads and occasionally let me know they agree. And I try to give clear views to those readers who don’t see, or don’t want to see, the reality, and I hope I can bring some around to at least consider views other than those they are fed by what I’ve come to call the State Media, the corrupt and biased mainstream media and Big Tech whose lies and coverups in large part brought us to the terrible place we’re now at.

Initially I was going to call this piece Stalemate — the point in a chess match where a player has no legal moves left that won’t land his king in checkmate. It’s a draw, and the game is over. As a nation, we’re now in stalemate, and there are no legal moves left that will get us out of it. As a nation, we’re forced to live in this stasis, which was engineered by the Dem strategists and whoever is calling the shots behind the scenes of the party, and one has to hand them kudos for that achievement, as despicable and dangerous as it is. We have a clearly mentally incompetent president who, by almost any measure, the 25th Amendment was written for. But then, even if he could be removed from office either through that amendment or impeachment, we have a poison pill, the repulsive and dangerous Kamala Harris, as vice president. We get rid of the top guy, and we’re left with what might be an even worse substitute. And below her is the power hungry and vicious Nancy Pelosi. So, three layers deep, we’re left with no good legal moves, and that was the plan all along.

Those same Dem power brokers counted on what they see as the stupidity of the American people, for whom they have no respect other than to use them for their own purposes, and then along came the gift that keeps on giving — the COVID pandemic — which allowed them to flaunt and just plain throw out constitutional protections of our vote. That fraud allowed them to engineer a victory for a doddering old fool you wouldn’t trust to drive your kid’s school bus, let alone head the most powerful country on earth. And they knew that, even in his dementia, given the chance to grab the top accolade of his long and feckless political career — the presidency — Jello-O Joe would put the interest of the country aside and go for it. For this he won my top Profile in Cowardice award.

As I point out in that piece, it wasn’t always this way in American politics, even among the Democratic Party. Read the piece and see, if you forgot or weren’t around at that time, how Thomas Eagleton — a far more capable figure then Joe Biden — stepped down from being George McGovern’s running mate in 1972 when details of some issues with depression Eagleton had dealt with came out. At that time, the good of the country took precedence. That now seems like a prosaic concept.

An Unmitigated Disaster of a Presidency

For anyone who voted for Joe Biden — and, to be perfectly frank, you have to bear some responsibility for this debacle — I defy you to name one single thing Biden has done, one decision he’s made, that has made life better for ordinary Americans. I’ll go one further, and defy you to name one single thing, one single decision, he’s made, that hasn’t made things much worse for this country and its residents. We are so far beyond fucked at this point, it’s hard to even find a suitable word to describe it.

Whether it is throwing open our southwestern border to every ilk of criminal, drug runner, COVID-carrier, and terrorist who cares to cross it, in thorough disregard for our laws and well being — now being augmented by thousands of unvetted Afghans arriving and being sent willy-nilly around the country — taking our focus from competence and merit to attempting to inculcate divisions and distrust in our military, in our corporations and other institutions, and in society at large, to flaunting the Supreme Court and the rule of law to undermine the ability of property owners to pay their bills and stay afloat, to creating what can only be described as confusion on the coronavirus front, this president and his puppet masters have done what they can to sew discord and disorder in the nation. Crime is allowed to spiral out of control, unbridled federal spending is driving inflation, and he took us from energy independence to once more being dependent on the Middle East for our energy.

On the international stage, he has now shown this country to be weak and untrustworthy, and as we’ve learned, weakness breeds instability and tempts bad actors to take chances they would not otherwise. Despite the lies Biden told today — and there is no other word to describe his ridiculous and readily disprovable assertions — we have now created a terrorist nation in Afghanistan, and given a safe haven to not just the Taliban, but their close allies, al Qaeda, the Haqqani Network, and ISIS, among others. Even more mind-boggling, by leaving behind $83 billion in military hardware, we’ve made this terrorist state the fifth best equipped military in the world. The Taliban now have more Black Hawk helicopters, as just one example, than Australia.

Make no mistake. The same bunch of misguided idiots — Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, child-moron Jake Sullivan who purports to be National Security Adviser, throw in Joint Chiefs Chairman and blowhard Mark Milley, and other members of the Obama foreign policy (sic) team — that brought us the ISIS caliphate in Syria and Iraq and the Iranian nuclear deal have now undone 20 years of progress, as difficult as it was, in Afghanistan, and created a mess and a threat that will be our nemesis for decades to come.

Perhaps most poignantly telling are the comments of the parents and spouses and siblings of the 13 slain service people, who spoke of Biden’s insensitivity, his self-absorption, his incessant talking about the death of his son Beau — who did not die in combat — his checking his watch each time, 13 times, a coffin came off the aircraft at Dover Air Force Base. I’ll end this piece with the words of Kathy McCollum, the mother of 20-year-old Marine Rylee James McCollum, killed in the attack on HKIA, who says it better than I ever could.

Calling in to a talk show Friday, McCollum said this:

“My son was one of the Marines who died yesterday. Twenty years and six months old — getting ready to come home from freaking Jordan to be with his wife and witness the birth of his son. And that feckless, dementia-ridden piece of crap just sent my son to die. I woke up at four o’clock this morning, two Marines at my door telling me my son was dead. So, to [have White House Press Babbler Jen Psaki on] right before me and listen to that piece of crap talk about diplomatic crap with frickin’ Taliban terrorists who just freakin’ blew up my son and no, nothing, to not say anything about, oh my god, I’m so sorry for families. So, my son is gone.”

McCollum’s son is gone. And as tragically, so is our national honor, and very possibly our security and our future with it.

Featured image, Biden’s Collapse, Al Drago, Bloomberg News via Getty Images. Used under Fair Use.

Stalemate, from Used under Fair Use.

The Three Heads of the Poisonous Serpent, Jim Watson, Getty Images. Used under Fair Use.

This piece also appears in my Substack community, Issues That Matter. Please comment and share the piece and subscribe here, and there.

Nothing Matters Anymore

Nothing Matters Anymore

Now we know, as if we had any doubts before: Nothing matters anymore. That might be an odd conclusion to come to for me, who has a Substack called Issues That Matter. But it’s consistent, actually. That nothing matters anymore is an issue that matters. Or should. Unfortunately, there is bloody little anyone can do about it except grin and bear it and suffer the consequences, or look for a way out of the madhouse that the United States has turned into. That’s the option I’m once more looking at.

So Jell-O Joe Biden, the Grifter in Chief, unilaterally has “forgiven” big chunks of student loan debt. Never mind that he has no legal power to do so. Even the Queen of Grift, Nancy Pelosi says so. But who needs laws any more? Laws are for the pissants, not for the Big Guy. Certainly not for the ruling elites (provided they’re of the right party). Whether it’s allowing people out of their contractual obligations to pay their debts or allowing now more than 2 million — heading toward 4 million — illegal aliens and border crashers to enter with impunity into the country, or using his official offices to further his family’s corrupt enrichment, law and the Constitution are irrelevant. If you haven’t noticed that, you haven’t been paying attention.

If you had student loans that you struggled to pay off, if you saved and scrimped so you didn’t need student loans, or maybe you never got to go to college, why would you mind paying off some rich kid’s loan? Are you really that selfish? Maybe you went in the military and risked, or even gave, your life or your limbs. Maybe you were counting on the GI Bill to pay for your education. You don’t think this was a fair deal, what Biden did? You self-serving bastard!

You pay your taxes and are distraught about our record $30 trillion-something national debt, and now you’ll be asked to contribute your share — estimated at $2,000 per taxpayer — to pay off the $300 billion (which is just a guess, no one can say how much this lawless act really will cost because no one has a clue how many people will be affected) this give-away will cost. You must not understand your role as a taxpayer, which is to support without question every mindless and insane thing your government does. Add the increase to inflation all this extra money going into the economy will bring, and the costs are likely to be even more. Who’s problem is that? Why, yours, of course!

And if recent history is any indication, fraud will take a big part of that money. Like the $100 billion-plus in pandemic relief funds that were stolen by fraudsters, only a very small percentage of which has been recovered or prosecuted. But that’s “official” fraud. Most of the funds will go to the “unofficial” fraud that lies at the basis of this whole thing. Biden’s “generosity” (at your expense) is aimed as a payoff to young voters to vote for Dems in the upcoming midterms, and an even bigger payoff to the colleges and universities that profit off the student loan program.

See those huge tuitions? $50,000, $60,000, $70,000 a year, for at best a spotty education? When the student loan program was taken over by the federal government, it was just an incentive for college administrators to really jack up tuitions, which have risen at rates far in excess of the general inflation rate. Given the huge endowments most of these institutions have — not just measured in the billions of dollars, but in the several tens of billions of dollars — why should they not be forced to bear the costs of this largesse? Because this is really a payoff for all their contributions to the Democratic Party, to which 90 percent of university contributions go. When I lived in Key West 40-some years ago, it cost a six-pack of beer to buy a vote. The stakes have gotten a whole lot higher in the current game of political corruption and vote buying.

Nothing Else Matters, Either

Beat, rape, rob, or car jack someone in some of our biggest cities and at most you might face a misdemeanor charge, if that. You’re likely going to be back on the street the same day or the next one, all set to commit your next crime. Defend yourself against this kind of rampant criminality, and you might be the one who faces real criminal charges. This is not just speculation, but has become a daily occurrence in cities ranging from New York to L.A,. Chicago to Seattle, Philadelphia to San Francisco, and many in between. Is it any wonder that crime rates are rising at the fastest rates since the 1960s, or are reaching record rates in many places? If you’re a law-abiding citizen, just STFU and pay your taxes and take it. You don’t count. You don’t matter. You’re just some freaking racist if you complain about this kind of treatment. You’re getting in the way of remaking America, so move aside or get crushed.

Remember when Trump said there was a plan to do away with single-family zoning and moving urban problems right into your neighborhood? Well, guess what. That’s exactly what is happening. Not far from where I live, the city council of the city where I went to graduate school, Gainesville, Florida — home of the University of Florida and a city mostly of single-family homes — voted to do away with single-family zoning. The future is coming to a place near you, and it’s coming fast. Don’t like the idea? Tough. You don’t matter.

I’ve already opined and lamented what has clearly become a dual standard of justice in this country, and you can read about that here and here and in lots of others of my postings. This is no longer a collection of isolated incidents but has become what is called a pattern and practice. Combined with pervasive corruption, this might be the biggest threat facing our democracy, aside from the repression of any dissenting views and the near-total silence and even complicity on the part of the nation’s mainstream media.

When Nothing Matters Anymore, It Becomes Pervasive in the Society

If you have the stomach to watch the news, you’ll often see images of people being beaten, shot, and otherwise attacked on the streets while onlookers capture the scene on their phones, hoping for their 15 seconds of fame, while doing nothing to intervene or try to protect the victim. We’ve become a nation of voyeurs and cowards.

In the 1960s we had the famous case of Kitty Genovese, a young woman raped, robbed, and murdered on the street in Queens, New York, while onlookers observed from their apartment windows and did nothing. The incident shocked the conscious of the nation at the time. Today, we can’t even muster shock when these things occur. The onlookers that don’t scurry away watch and video the events.

This tendency was brought home to me yesterday. A young man doing some work for me related how he was driving down a busy street in the next town, and there was this little 4- or 5-year-old girl skipping down the center line of the street. Cars just drove by, paying her no heed as if she wasn’t a vulnerable little human but rather some curiosity or maybe even a nuisance to speed by. To his lasting credit, this guy stopped, turned his truck sideways across the road to stop traffic, began to try to get the girl off the road, and to find what careless adults had let her slip out from their attention. Down the road were a couple of guys looking at their boat on a trailer. He shouted at them, and they suddenly “noticed” that the little girl, who belonged to one of them, had gone missing. The damned boat was more important to him then the presence and safety of the little girl. The pair hadn’t even noticed she was missing.

It’s entirely possible this young guy saved the little girl’s life. But this is what we’ve come to. People can’t take a few minutes to stop and try to save a little girl skipping down the middle of a busy street. A boat takes precedence to a life. We see kids left to die in hot cars and people are advised to put their phones or their purses in the back seat so as not to forget their kid, as if a phone or purse is more important to them than the kid. People watch and look on as criminals attack innocent people, and they and the courts and the law look the other way. You struggle to pay your debts and your bills and your money is stolen and given to those who don’t.

The Romans at least confined their barbarity, their bread and circuses intended to placate and buy off the populace, to the arena. In modern-day America, the entire country is the arena.

When nothing matters anymore, nothing matters anymore.

Featured Image, Factory, Peter Hermann/Pixabay. Used with permission.

Wires, Cottonbro/Pexels. Used with permission.

Scrap Metal, Tom Fisk/Pexels. Used with permission.

This piece also appears on my Substack, Issues That Matter. Please comment, share this piece, and subscribe here, and there.




Striking Thirteen: Where We’ve Arrived

Striking Thirteen: Where We’ve Arrived

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

— George Orwell, opening sentence of 1984

It has taken thirty-eight years, but at last we have arrived in 1984. Lies have become truth, truth has become misinformation, and ignorance has become strength. It may not be a bright cold day in April, but the clocks are, indeed, striking thirteen.

As some of you may have noticed, it has been distressingly long, more than a month, since I’ve written in this blog. The easy, if only partially truthful, explanation is that I’ve been distracted with several other projects, some of a writing nature, some not, and some just to fill the void and, futilely, avoid dealing with the ever increasing absurdity that surrounds us and that seems so difficult to even explain any more.

In my last post I wrote of how Elon Musk planned to buy Twitter, hoping to return some semblance of free speech and thought to the platform. For this, he was viciously attacked and maligned, mostly by those on the political left, for whom free speech would seemingly be a priority. But in the way in which contemporary American life is twisted and mutilated in ways hard to explain, to those on the left, the idea of free speech, of all different views being openly expressed, is like holding up a crucifix to a vampire. It cringes and raises its arm over its eyes, screaming at the very idea. The left has gained the political strength it previously lacked through the use of its own misinformation, crushing and blocking any views that contradict its view of the world, and it is strongly resisting relinquishing that power.

Government becomes a parody of itself

And why should it, considering we now have an alleged president who, through his minions, daily tells the most bald-faced lies in the hope, not entirely without basis given a docile and compliant media, that they will be accepted by the masses as truth. To further its assault on the inconvenient truth, it — through the Department of Homeland Security (itself something of an Orwellian name) — came up with its own version of Orwell’s Ministry of Truth, suitably dubbed the Disinformation Governance Board.

It turned into one of the rare instances when government becomes such a parody of itself that it can’t be covered up, no matter how diligent and proficient the liars at the White House podium are. We had the department, headed by the monumentally incompetent Alejandro Mayorkas, whose incessant misinformation about the catastrophe taking place on our southwest border is uttered under oath to Congress, appointing a self-anointed “disinformation fellow” and “Russian disinformation expert” — herself a clownish figure and Dem partisan given to spreading massive disinformation — to head its new Ministry of Truth.

If you haven’t been sequestered in a Nepalese rice patty over the past several weeks, you’ve probably seen this clip of the new (and then) Czar of Disinformation, Nina Jankowicz, doing her best (which is not to say good) Mary Poppins imitation on TikTok at least several dozen times. Viewer warning: If you are of weak stomach, or wish to retain any vestiges of faith in what passes for your government, you may wish to skip this short video . Viewer discretion definitely advised.

Aside from being an embarrassment to even herself, Jankowicz is a major purveyor of disinformation, calling the now infamous Hunter Biden laptop a product of Russian disinformation (it’s been well established to be authentic, and in fact was before the 2020 elections, though Twitter blocked any mention of it), and a promoter of the Steele Dossier, which formed the basis for the Russia Hoax that dogged the Trump administration for its entirety, an utter falsehood which has now been definiteively tied to the Hillary Clinton campaign.

But we can take heart, gentle reader. After just a few weeks on the job, and under cover of claiming she and her family had received death threats, Jankowicz resigned as Disinformation Czar, and DHS put its Disinformation Governance Board on hold. Clock, in this case, pushed back to 1983. But the fight is far from over.

The Supreme Court Springs a Leak

While the Ministry of Truth story was unfolding, an even bigger story broke lose. Unprecedented in U.S. history, someone — still undetermined nearly a month after the fact — leaked, to Politico, a draft of a majority opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, in which the 1973 landmark decision of Roe v. Wade was to be overturned. And, no surprise, all hell broke out over this news, and pro-choice demonstrators immediately showed up at the High Court, and then they took to raucous demonstrations outside the homes of the conservative justices after someone “doxed” their addresses.

As shocking as this unprecedented leak was — no one has yet been held accountable for it, despite an investigation announced by Chief Justice John Roberts — more shocking was the Biden Administration’s statement that it did not view the leak as a crime, and its refusal to condemn the demonstrations taking place at the justices’ homes. It seems the separation of powers — the Supreme Court being one of the three branches of government — holds little importance to the administration nor to the Democratic leadership in Congress. The latter should come as no surprise since no less than Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer previously, in 2020, threatened conservative justices that they would “reap the whirlwind” if they went ahead with decisions of which he disapproved.

“I want to tell you [Neil] Gorsuch. I want to tell you [Brett] Kavanaugh,” Schumer shouted out to an abortion-rights rally from the steps of the Supreme Court. “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.”

As a matter of law, 18 U.S.C., Paragraph 1507 makes the actions and words of Schumer and those demonstrating outside the Supreme Court and the justices’ homes a crime:

“Whoever, with the intent of interfering with, obstructing, or impeding the administration of justice, or with the intent of influencing any judge, juror, witness, or court officer, in the discharge of his duty, pickets or parades in or near a building housing a court of the United States, or in or near a building or residence occupied or used by such judge, juror, witness, or court officer, or with such intent uses any sound-truck or similar device or resorts to any other demonstration in or near any such building or residence, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.”

But with an administration and a so-called Justice Department for which law means little, you can expect no action to be taken to enforce the statute. Justices couldn’t even get police protection for their homes in the liberal jurisdictions in which they live.

In a country where virtually every aspect of life is swirling down the toilet at an alarming rate, with the blame squarely falling on Democrats, who control the White House and both houses of Congress, it would not be cynical to see the leak as a way to try to gin up voter support to keep the party from going over an electoral cliff in the upcoming November midterm elections.

With support for Dems falling to record lows among Hispanic and black voters — upon which the party depends — the last remaining bastion of support was among women. So what better way to mobilize that support than by leaking the Alito decision? Of course, that logic escaped some on the left, including NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg, who led the false-flag counter-charge, claiming the “leading theory” was that a conservative clerk leaked the draft. “Leading,” to whom, other than Totenberg and the left?

Driving the school bus onto the tracks

If the domestic mess isn’t big enough, Jell-O Joe decided he needed to bolster his cred overseas, so he went off to South Korea and Japan, fumbling and bumbling as he went. But it wasn’t enough that he addressed the South Korean President by his predecessor’s name, or that he told jokes no one understood, or that he looked like his usual sleepy, disoriented self. No, that wouldn’t do.

Once again going off the remarks prepared for him by his handlers, while in Japan Biden announced that the U.S. would intervene militarily if China attacked Taiwan, in a moment reversing decades of U.S. policy. Needless to say, this drew an immediate outcry from Beijing, and Biden’s handlers once more were left walking back his remarks and cleaning up the mess in Biden’s brain. So, in an instant, the guy you wouldn’t trust to drive your kid’s school bus drove it, with all us kids aboard, onto the railroad tracks and stopped it there, with a train coming.

And then, if all this doesn’t tell you the clocks are striking thirteen in America, we have the mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde. And all the lessons we should have learned from Colombine and Sandy Hook and Parkland weren’t learned, and we’re back to mourning the dead and asking how these individuals slipped through the cracks when the warning signs were writ large and unmistakable. But that gets into a whole new area. I think I’ve depressed you, and myself, enough at this point, so will end it here.

Listen for those clocks, my friends, that tell us where we’ve arrived, and may they be a wake up call to all of us.

Featured image: Pure Evil’s George Orwell Graffitti Wall, Southwold, England. From Used under Fair Use.

Nina Jankowicz, from TikTok. Used under Fair Use.

Chuck Schumer reaping the whirlwind, AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana. Used under Fair Use.

This piece also appears on my Substack, Issues That Matter. Subscribe here, and there, and share the piece.


Turning Twitter Around: A Battle Won in the War for Free Speech?

Turning Twitter Around: A Battle Won in the War for Free Speech?

Unless you’ve been living in an ice cave deep in the far reaches of the Antarctic continent for the past couple of weeks, you’re aware of the battle between Elon Musk, the world’s wealthiest human, and the guardians of the septic system known as Twitter. You’re probably also aware that on Monday this week the battle was ceded by Twitter’s board and, pending government regulator approval and a vote of the shareholders, Musk will acquire all of Twitter’s stock and take the company private.

With an offer of $54.20 a share — a price encapsulating a subtle hidden message — the deal, valued at about $44 billion, was achieved with finance from Morgan Stanley and some other banks. Musk, worth an estimated $268 billion, is expected to put in about $21 billion in equity, the balance coming from debt and margin loan finance.

“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” Musk said in a statement following announcement of the deal. In a recent public presentation, he also said, “Having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization. I don’t care about the economics at all.”

One would think that those for whom free speech should mean a great deal — people like the journalists, commentators, writers, academics, politicians, and other members of the chattering class that populate the platform — would be buoyed by those words. And sadly, tragically, one would be disappointed, hearing the great outpouring of blather criticizing both Musk and his ideas about the importance of free speech. For those people, the only free speech that matters is that which promotes their own leftist, woke, elitist, and establishmentarian view of the universe, and anyone who disagrees with it can stuff it. That is the state of discourse in this country and beyond, Twitter being but a distilled version of it.

The wailing and gnashing of teeth

Judging by the wailing and gnashing of teeth, ranging from Twitter employees, themselves responsible for so much of the repression of free speech on the platform, to commentators on CNN and MSNBC, to so-called celebrities, both known and unknown, one would think Musk’s acquisition of Twitter was akin to the death of unbiased speech, instead of its — far more likely — liberation. But in a time when “misinformation” equals anything that doesn’t support the official party line, however ludicrous and discredited that line might be, and when the epithets “racist” and “homophobic” can be bandied about like beads at a Mardi Gras parade, a true supporter of free speech might take heart at Musk’s intents.

While one can factually argue that Facebook and Google are both far bigger platforms and far more repressive of free speech than Twitter, Twitter is — as Musk describes it — “…the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.” So in that sense, it is where the society’s gatekeepers and opinion setters gather and, for that reason, it holds far more power over the direction the society takes. And those who have benefited the most from holding sway over that direction are now panic-stricken that their oversized power and prestige and position might be threatened.

Actress Jameela Jamil who, pardon my ignorance, I confess I’ve never heard of, tweeted, “Ah [Musk] got twitter. I would like this to be my what lies here as my last tweet. I fear this free speech bid is going to help this hell platform reach its final form of totally lawless hate, bigotry, and misogyny. Best of luck.”

Not to be outdone, an “activist” named Shaun King deleted his Twitter account after posting, “At its root, @ElonMusk wanting to purchase Twitter is not about left vs right. It’s about white power….He’s upset that Twitter won’t allow white nationalists to target/harass people. That’s his definition of free speech.”


George Takei OOOH MYYY

Irony, irony, and more irony

Not a huge surprise, given contemporary realities, that the left, once married to principles of free speech, now dread, fear, and even condemn it. Irony? Or the result of the relentless erosion of traditional liberal values? Both you say?

Being unintentionally ironic, Star Trek actor George Takei, whom I’ve at least heard of, had this to say: “I’m not going anywhere. Should this place become more toxic, I pledge to strive even harder to lift up reason, science, compassion and the rule of law. The struggle against fascism, misinformation, and hate requires tough fighters. I hope you stay in the fight, right beside me.”

One has to wonder if “reason and science” include blocking and de-platforming, as Twitter has done, any questions that COVID-19, arguably the biggest story of the past two years, might — might — have originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, China, or if they include the possibility that the COVID vaccines maybe aren’t all they were cracked up to be. One also wonders if “the rule of law” and “the struggle against fascism, misinformation, and hate” could extend to the criminal activities of the Biden crime family, given that Twitter not only blocked but locked out the accounts of those reporting, or even linking to the articles, on the Hunter Biden laptop, the so-called Laptop From Hell, and the damning evidence it contained in the days leading up to the pivotal 2020 presidential elections. Or possibly the “Russia hoax” story and all the hatred it generated, which Twitter and much of the mainstream media were more than eager to promote as “truth” (and still do, despite the proof we now have that it was a manufactured lie promulgated by the Hillary Clinton campaign).

Similar questions might be raised about the tweet of Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding, founder of the World Health Network. who wrote, “Just a thought–next time we have $44 billion laying around, can we please spend it to solve the pandemic, climate change, hunger, poverty, and malnutrition?” Maybe, one might think, some honest debate on those subjects can lead to more reasoned understanding of them, rather than treating them as tenets of religious faith.

None other than the nearly canonized Barack Obama told Stanford University students last Thursday that not more, but less free speech is needed to combat dreaded “misinformation” (read: anything that disagrees with the ruling class and official orthodoxy) on social media platforms. This coming from a world-class spreader of “misinformation” in the form of promulgating the Russia hoax, among other falsehoods. Of course, this view encapsulates Obama’s inherent distrust of the ordinary citizen to make his or her own judgments when faced with conflicting information.

Some of the silliest outcries were raised by those who said billionaires shouldn’t own tech companies or media. Do they mean people like billionaire Jeff Bezos of Amazon fame, who owns The Washington Post, or Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, who owns a significant chunk of The New York Times? Or perhaps they mean billionaire Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, or Google billionaire founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, or possibly billionaire Twitter founder Jack Dorsey? One suspects not, given the liberal tilt of all those billionaires. It’s just the billionaires, like Elon Musk, of a libertarian and free-speech tilt that they don’t approve of. Apparently lacking any sense of irony, one WAPO columnist went so far to say it was “dangerous” when billionaires buy media, seemingly oblivious to his own boss’s net worth.

And of course, behind much of the angst is the fear that the dreaded Orange Man, Donald Trump, might be allowed back on the platform. The horror! That a former president of the United States with tens of millions of supporters might be allowed to speak his mind. But those afflicted with Trump Derangement Syndrome — which should be a bona fide mental illness listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM — might take comfort in Trump’s announcement that he didn’t plan on returning to Twitter but would stay with his own new platform, TRUTH Social.

A disclaimer

In the interest of fairness and honesty, things not much found on Twitter, let me offer a disclaimer of my own. Actually, two disclaimers.

First, I am not now nor have I ever been a member of Twitter. Even before it fully descended into the sewer of hatred and venom and bias in which it now wallows, I found it to be unconducive to effective communication. I wrote about this several years ago, and my opinion of it has not changed, except in a negative direction, since. Actually, it was back in 2015 when I had this to say in my comment about Twitter.

I am sure I could more effectively promote my own work, which continues to languish in obscurity, were I to take a place on Twitter, but I feel I have to deal with enough negativity in life without diving into the waves of mindless invective that permeate Twitter and, in truth, just about every other place online where people express their views, no matter how mindless and hateful. I fully acknowledge that that trend might continue, and possibly accelerate, if and when Musk takes the halters off the platform, but that is the price of free speech. Of course, as Twitter in its current manifestation demonstrates, it’s also the price of repressed speech.

I’ve long been a believer in the view expressed by Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis in his concurring statement in the 1927 case of Whitney v. California: “If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”

My second disclaimer concerns Elon Musk. There is much about Musk I admire — his brilliance, his acute business acumen, his successful track record in creating effective private access to space. I also admire his mouthiness and willingness to not to take guff from anyone, whether it’s the head of the Russian space program, Elizabeth Warren, or the raving critics of his acquisition of Twitter. On the other hand, I’m not a huge fan of Tesla and EVs in general, but especially since Tesla is arguably more a Chinese than an American company. I also strongly disagree with Musk over the role of hydrogen, which Musk calls “incredibly dumb,” as the fuel of the future. Further, I’m not a fan of naming one’s child X Æ A-12, as he and current wife Grimes, AKA Claire Elise Boucher, named their son, youngest of Musk’s six children. But I try not to be too judgmental of peoples’ parenting.

One can take heart in Musk’s invitation to his fiercest critics to remain on Twitter.

“I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter,” he tweeted, “because that is what free speech means.”

The war to preserve free speech is far from over, but this could be an important win on the battlefield of ideas.


Featured image: Elon Musk accepts Axel Springer Award, Berlin, December 2020, Britta Pedersen/Pool, via Getty-Images. Used under Fair Use.

George Takei, OOOH MYYY, ed7, Giphy.Com. Used with permission.

This piece also appears on my Substack, Issues That Matter. Subscribe here, and there, and share the piece.

Sweeping Up the Mess in Biden’s Brain

Sweeping Up the Mess in Biden’s Brain

After his seriously faltering performance in Europe in recent days, even the most ardent supporter of our alleged president has to admit something is seriously wrong with him. If they can’t admit this simple fact, repeatedly broadcast out for all the world to see, either they are profoundly dishonest or, plausibly, they might be suffering from the same dementia afflicting the current occupant of the Oval Office.

Unless you’ve been vacationing in a cave on a remote island lackng Internet or cable service, and if you’ve been paying even cursory attention to the frightening blather coming out of Biden’s mouth in recent days, you have probably already heard the things he’s been saying that have gotten so much attention. These aren’t just Jell-O Joe’s usual gaffes and non-sequiturs. They go to the heart of U.S. policy vis-à-vis Ukraine and Russia, and they come at a time of critically high tension, the highest tension in many decades, between the two biggest nuclear powers on earth. In the midst of a world-class crisis when the utmost precision is needed in our leaders’ language, President Grandpa is out there uttering babble that would befuddle your typical Applebee’s waitress.

The only comfort we can take is that Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping know Biden is just pinch hitting and isn’t really calling the shots in the U.S. Their psychological warfare experts have no doubt fully briefed them on what is, or isn’t, going on between Biden’s ears, so they can take some of his rants and rambles much as the rest of us take the rants and rambles of a favorite, but over-ripe, relative at a holiday dinner. That’s thin comfort, though. Not the only difference, but one of the bigger ones, between Uncle Terrance and Uncle Joe is that Uncle Joe has his finger on the nuclear button, while Uncle Terrance just needs some help putting gravy on this mashed potatoes.

Aside from my attempts at humor, this is no laughing matter. After all, Biden is, even if nominally, the Commander-in-Chief. So when he says the U.S. might use a chemical weapon, that American troops would soon be witnessing Ukrainian women standing in front of tanks in Kyiv, or that Vladimir Putin needs to go as head of state in Russia, these statements potentially indicate huge shifts in U.S. policy. And when, in each case, White House staff quickly come out and say, never mind, those things aren’t really U.S. policy, sweeping up the mess originating in Biden’s confused brain, that again raises the very real question of who really is in charge at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

If that isn’t bad enough, once back on U.S. soil, and adding to the confusion and the questions about what really is our policy, Biden petulantly insisted he never said the things he said — things that have been recorded and broadcast a zillion times — and then angrily said he’s not rolling back anything. Did you hear that, Vlad? Joe says you have to go. And he really means it. It’s enough to make preppers out of all of us.

Letting Joe Speak for Himself

We can see now, more clearly than ever, what happens when Jell-O Joe doesn’t have his trusty teleprompter to read from, and why he’s repeatedly told — as he himself readily says — that he’s not allowed to answer questions. Once off script, the script his aides and speechwriters have prepared for him, he’s like a four-year-old spilling out family secrets, and whatever else comes into his head, to the neighbors. Only he does it with his eyes closed, seemingly struggling to find the next idea hiding among his remaining functioning brain cells.

Let’s let Joe speak for himself, and just take the most egregious statements to come out of his visits to Belgium and Poland, juxtapositioned with what others in his administration and on White House staff have said, and you can draw your own conclusions.

On sanctions and deterrence

Joe, in Brussels last Thursday, in answer to a CBS reporter’s question: ““Let’s get something straight. If you remember, if you covered me from the very beginning, I did not say that in fact the sanctions would deter him [Putin]. Sanctions never deter. You keep talking about that. Sanctions never deter.”

But the administration line for weeks and months said something quite different (emphasis added):

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, on Feb. 11: “The president believes that sanctions are intended to deter. And in order for them to work — to deter, they have to be set up in a way where if Putin moves, then the costs are imposed.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken in February: ““The purpose of the sanctions in the first instance is to try to deter Russia from going to war. As soon as you trigger them, that deterrent is gone. And until the last minute, as long as we can try to bring a deterrent effect to this, we’re going to try to do that.”

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: ““We want them to have a deterrent effect, clearly. And he hasn’t invaded yet.”

Just after Russia’s initial incursion into Ukraine, Daleep Singh, deputy national security adviser for international economics and deputy director at the National Economic Council: “Sanctions are not an end to themselves. They serve a higher purpose. And that purpose is to deter and prevent. They’re meant to prevent and deter a large-scale invasion of Ukraine that could involve the seizure of major cities, including Kyiv. They’re meant to prevent large-scale human suffering that could involve tens of thousands of casualties in a conflict.”

Vice President Kamala Harris, herself an expert at verbal nonsensical salad, at a NATO conference four days before the invasion: ““Absolutely, we strongly believe [that sanctions deter]. It will exact absolute harm for the Russian economy. The purpose of the sanctions has always been and continues to be deterrence.”

Of course, a day after the invasion started, Biden walked over his VP’s claim, saying: “No one expected the sanctions to prevent anything from happening.”


On possible U.S. use of a chemical weapon

Biden, last Thursday in Brussels, on whether Russia might use a chemical weapon and what the U.S. response would be: “We would respond. We would respond if he uses it. The nature of the response would depend on the nature of the use.” Later, asked by a reporter whether the use of chemical weapons by Russia would trigger a NATO military response, Biden, again eyes closed as he struggled to make a reply, responded, “It would trigger a response in kind.”

Those last two word — “in kind” — raised the question whether that meant the U.S. would use a chemical weapon in response.

Friday, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan tried to mop up Biden’s verbal spill: “The United States has no intention of using chemical weapons, period, under any circumstances.”

On American troops in Ukraine

After chowing down on pizza and taking selfies with members of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division in Rzeszow, Poland, last Friday, Biden, speaking in his somnolent way, told the troops: “You’re going to see when you’re there, and some of you have been there, you’re gonna see — you’re gonna see women, young people standing in the middle in front of a damned tank just saying, ‘I’m not leaving, I’m holding my ground.’”

Nothing like a good story to liven up reality, but a Biden sweepsperson, uh, I mean spokesperson, followed up by saying: ““The president has been clear we are not sending US troops to Ukraine and there is no change in that position.”

On regime change in Russia

Wrapping up his tetralogy of verbal deviations from official U.S. policy, Uncle Joe had one more whopper to throw on the grill on Saturday before (thankfully) leaving Poland: After berating Putin for his invasion of Ukraine, this time shouting his words, Biden ended with, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”

Other than giving the liberal American media something they can fawn over, shouting out the words don’t make them any less, well, stupid. If what Biden said sounds to you like a call for regime change in Moscow, you’re not alone in that. Even the very liberal Atlantic had a handle on the problem. As the magazine subtitled Tom Nichols’s piece on Biden’s speech, “The words of every world leader matter right now, and none more than those of the president of the United States.”

Which kind of underscores why Biden’s verbal wanderings are important. And troubling.

Rushing to walk back Biden’s impromptu remark, a White House spokesman said, “The President’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region. He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change.”

Well, that’s not what he said, and it sure sounded like a call for regime change to a lot of people.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron warned that use of such inflammatory language in an already volatile situation was not useful, and he was not alone among European leaders expressing anguish over Biden’s words. And the Kremlin said “personal insults” — Biden had called Putin “a butcher” — would further undermine relations, such as they are, between Russia and the U.S. Ostensibly this also would make reaching some sort of diplomatic settlement to the conflict more difficult. People can, and do, die over such blunders.

Amid all the blustery rhetoric, one has to wonder why the U.S. has been so slow to provide the levels of weapons support asked for by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and which the U.S. has promised. As I always say, don’t go by what people say. Go by what they do.

More Biden creepiness

Adding to the bizarre aspect of all this, Biden did his usual inappropriate flirting with a young Ukrainian refugee, serving as a volunteer assisting other refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine, named Victoria. After hugging her, rubbing her shoulders, and letting his hands remain on her, he asked her, through a translator, “How do you say, in Ukrainian, who do you owe those beautiful eyes to? Your father or your mother? Who had the eyes?”

The stunned Victoria simply answered that they were from her mother.

“Mother’s eyes. You owe mama very big. You owe mama,” Biden blathered to the woman, before moving on to mingle with other refugees and volunteers and picking up small children to hold them, as he has been wont to do with small children over the years.

Not content to offend Ukrainian refugees, he also had to insult Americans’ intelligence, too. In one of his other more outrageous statements, Biden compared the Ukrainian refugees fleeing into Poland to the millions of illegal immigrants his administration has allowed to cross the U.S. southwest border into the U.S. As I keep saying, you can’t make this stuff up.

Denying reality . . . or not aware of it?

Of course, Biden never said any of these things, anyway. Just ask him, like Fox News’s Peter Doocy did at a presidential press conference on Monday. Here’s the actual conversation, and you can judge what the reality is:

Doocy: “Are you worried that other leaders in the world are going to start to doubt that America is ‘back’ if some of these big things that you say on the world stage keep getting walked back?”

Biden: “What’s getting walked back?”

Doocy: “Just in the last couple days . . . it sounded like you told troops they were going to Ukraine, it sounded like you said it was possible the U.S. would use a chemical weapon, and it sounded like you were calling for regime change in Russia, and we know . . . ”

Biden, interrupting: “None of the three occurred.”

Doocy: “None of the three occurred?”

Biden: “None of the three . . . You interpret the language that way.”

Later, Biden repeated, “I’m not walking anything back.”

He might not be, but the rest of his motley crew is busy not just walking, but running things back, desperately trying to sweep up Biden’s verbal messes, re-write what we actually heard, and stave off World War III. Meanwhile, the rest of us — and the world — wonder who, if anyone, really is at the helm. If you still believe it’s Jell-O Joe, I have a nice bombed-out building in Mariupol to sell you.

Featured image: Messy Room, levelord, Pixabay. Used with permission.

Joe Biden eats pizza with the troops in Poland, Evelyn Hockstein, Reuters. Used under Fair Use.

This piece also appears on my Substack, Issues That Matter. Subscribe here, and there, and share the piece.