Day: September 7, 2018

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University hosts separate orientation for black freshmen…


Incoming freshmen at George Mason University recently had the opportunity to attend another orientation created specifically for black students.

The event was called the “Black Freshman Orientation.” Hosted by the Black Student Alliance, the additional orientation occurred on August 25 at the university. It has become an annual event there.

Incoming black freshmen at GMU did not have to attend the Black Freshman Orientation, and if they decided to attend, they still were required to go to the university’s regular orientation as well, according to the university.

As for the Black Freshman Orientation, it aimed to help new students feel welcome at the public, Virginia-based university.

“This event is dedicated for the incoming freshman who identify as black or are supporters of black people. The Black Freshman Orientation will offer ways to be involved at Mason not only with the black organizations but also mason as a whole. This event allows incoming students for an outlook on how the Black Community at Mason is like,” a Welcome 2 Mason website about the event states.

On a seperate website, GMU Campus Labs, it described the event as a chance to network.

“The Black Freshman Orientation is a Black Student Alliance event that occurs annually at the beginning of the school year. This year, the Black Student Alliance will be collaborating with other on campus organizations to make the experience even more valuable and enriching for all who attend,” it stated.

“This event is exclusively for the freshman class at George Mason University. At this event, the freshman class will be able to get the ins and outs of GMU, learn how to navigate the campus, as well as learn about the different resources and organizations available to them on campus,” the website states.

Michael Sandler, director of strategic communications at George Mason University, told The College Fix that while the Black Student Alliance did hold this event, it was open for any student to attend.

“The university also has over 300 student organizations that sponsor a variety of events throughout the year. Many student organizations hold welcome back activities as we get close to the beginning of the fall semester. Mason’s Black Student Alliance, one of our student organizations, did sponsor a welcome event during the first week of the fall semester, which was open to all,” Sandler told The Fix.

Black Student Alliance at GMU did not respond to an inquiry from The College Fix for comment.

George Mason University is not the only school to host such an event. Many universities across the nation each year host a variety of welcome back events designed especially for black students.

MORE: Black students demand segregated spaces from white students

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What Woodward Saw in the Clinton White House – and What He Missed


“It’s very depressing.  You want to read a depressing book, this is it,” said one critic of a book by Bob Woodward.  “It’s a sad, horrible story with all the sordid details that I guess people will just, you know, slaver over, but the fact of the matter is, it’s humorless and there’s no warmth.”

In his criticism of Woodward’s book Wired about his friend John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd captured the essence of the Woodward writing style: lots of little trees competing for air in a gloomy forest, often at the expense of the larger picture.  One can expect the same from Woodward’s’ new opus about the Trump White House, Fear. Trump in the White House.

In his two books about the Clinton White House, Woodward again did a thorough job documenting the trees, but in the second of these two books, The Choice: How Clinton Won, Woodward missed a Watergate-sized forest.  To his humble credit, he later almost admitted as much.

Woodward was no Clinton fanboy.  In the first of the two books, The Agenda, Woodward detailed the chaotic run-up to the budget battle in Bill Clinton’s first term.  In fact, he used the word “chaos” repeatedly, even excessively.

The process “bordered on chaos.”  Clinton’s schedule “was again chaos.”  Clinton pushed debate “to the point of chaos.”  The administration’s first week “had been chaos.”  The meeting dissolved “into virtual chaos.”

In the second of these two books, this one about the 1996 election, Woodward saw a White House teetering – you guessed it – “on the edge of management chaos.”  He was not the only one to spot the disarray.  In his memoirs, aide George Stephanopoulos called the atmosphere of the White House “dysfunctional.”  And in his memoir, labor secretary Robert Reich lamented a “chronically undisciplined president.”

What distinguishes The Choice is what Woodward missed.  The Watergate reference earlier was not an exaggeration.  The two years preceding the 1996 election were the most venal and treacherous in American political history, and Woodward overlooked it all.

The story begins on Election Day, 1994.  “People are dazed,” wrote Reich.  “No one had expected quite this.”  In a time of peace and economic growth, Democrats had lost an incredible fifty-two seats in the House and eight in the Senate.  “The election itself is being described as a total repudiation of Bill Clinton and the Democrats,” Reich observed at the time.  “His presidency,” wrote Evan Thomas in his sympathetic account, Back from the Dead, “was in tatters.”

Just a week after the election, the Clintons headed to the one place in the world willing and able to bring the Clintons back from the dead: Asia.  Joining them all at the Asian Pacific Economic Conference in Jakarta were the notorious Hawaiian fundraisers Gene and Nora Lum as well as any number of shadowy figures like Little Rock restaurateur Charlie Trie and Thai citizen Pauline Kanchanalak, both later charged by the Justice Department’s campaign finance task force with funneling hundreds of thousands in cash to the Clintons.

Most subversive of them all were James and Mochtar Riady and their D.C. point man, John Huang.  For them, the White House was a wholly owned subsidiary.  The Asians, of course, wanted something for their investments.  For the Riadys, it was a coal monopoly.  For the communist Chinese, it was weapons technology.  What they wanted, they got.  The Thompson Committee does a concise job of summarizing the process:

The president and his aides demeaned the offices of the president and vice president, took advantage of minority groups, pulled down all the barriers that would normally be in place to keep out illegal contributions, pressured policy makers, and left themselves open to strong suspicion that they were selling not only access to high-ranking officials, but policy as well.  Millions of dollars were raised in illegal contributions, much of it from foreign sources.

The Clintons knew they could not win in November 1996 without Asian money.  In a more disciplined fashion than they had done anything else since coming to town, the Clintons were going to use that money to launch what Senator Fred Thompson would call “the most corrupt political campaign in modern history.” 

Adviser Dick Morris insisted on one strategy above all others: filling the airwaves with TV ads early and relentlessly.  “Week after week, month after month,” wrote Morris, “from early July 1995 more or less continually until election day in ’96, sixteen months later, we bombarded the public with ads.”

The strategy may have been illegal, but it was painfully simple, and it worked.  To achieve “relative secrecy,” Morris chose not to advertise at all in New York City or Washington, D.C. and only occasionally in Los Angeles.  “If these cities remained dark,” recalled Morris, “the national press would not make an issue out of our ads – of this we felt sure.”

“No one in the media really caught on,” confirmed Woodward in The Choice.  The reason they did not catch on, as Morris well knew, was because they did not want to.  The story the media chose not to watch unfold was an extraordinary one.  The Thompson Committee summed it up:

The president and his top advisors decided to raise money early for his re-election campaign.  To accomplish their goal, the president and his top advisors took control of the DNC and designed a plan to engage in a historically aggressive fund-raising effort, utilizing the DNC as a vehicle for getting around federal election laws.  The DNC ran television advertisements, created under the direct supervision of the president, which were specifically designed to promote the president’s re-election.

In the afterword to the paperback edition of The Choice, Robert Woodward had the grace to admit he “vastly underestimated the significance of money” in the campaign.  He noted too that the ads themselves “were deceptive enough to be appalling.”

Newsweek’s Evan Thomas also admitted that “one of the great underreported stories” of the campaign was how the Democrats, not the Republicans, engaged in “the really effective negative campaigning.”

Neither Thomas nor Woodward explains why, during the campaign itself, no one in the major media chose to tell the true story.

An unprecedented series of untruthful, arguably illegal ads, which reached about 125 million Americans three times a week, should have been obvious to the media and scandalous from the outset.  The scandal would have exploded if the media had asked where the money was coming from to pay for the ads and what the White House was using as collateral.

To get some sense of the media’s self-deception, one need only contrast the Thompson version of the campaign with the one captured by the staff of Newsweek.  As Time’s Joe Klein told the story in the foreword of Thomas’s book, “Bill Clinton, by shrewdness, luck and love of the game, came back from a near-death experience to win a second term.”

And they want to impeach President Trump for what?  Calling Jeff Sessions “mentally retarded”?

“It’s very depressing.  You want to read a depressing book, this is it,” said one critic of a book by Bob Woodward.  “It’s a sad, horrible story with all the sordid details that I guess people will just, you know, slaver over, but the fact of the matter is, it’s humorless and there’s no warmth.”

In his criticism of Woodward’s book Wired about his friend John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd captured the essence of the Woodward writing style: lots of little trees competing for air in a gloomy forest, often at the expense of the larger picture.  One can expect the same from Woodward’s’ new opus about the Trump White House, Fear. Trump in the White House.

In his two books about the Clinton White House, Woodward again did a thorough job documenting the trees, but in the second of these two books, The Choice: How Clinton Won, Woodward missed a Watergate-sized forest.  To his humble credit, he later almost admitted as much.

Woodward was no Clinton fanboy.  In the first of the two books, The Agenda, Woodward detailed the chaotic run-up to the budget battle in Bill Clinton’s first term.  In fact, he used the word “chaos” repeatedly, even excessively.

The process “bordered on chaos.”  Clinton’s schedule “was again chaos.”  Clinton pushed debate “to the point of chaos.”  The administration’s first week “had been chaos.”  The meeting dissolved “into virtual chaos.”

In the second of these two books, this one about the 1996 election, Woodward saw a White House teetering – you guessed it – “on the edge of management chaos.”  He was not the only one to spot the disarray.  In his memoirs, aide George Stephanopoulos called the atmosphere of the White House “dysfunctional.”  And in his memoir, labor secretary Robert Reich lamented a “chronically undisciplined president.”

What distinguishes The Choice is what Woodward missed.  The Watergate reference earlier was not an exaggeration.  The two years preceding the 1996 election were the most venal and treacherous in American political history, and Woodward overlooked it all.

The story begins on Election Day, 1994.  “People are dazed,” wrote Reich.  “No one had expected quite this.”  In a time of peace and economic growth, Democrats had lost an incredible fifty-two seats in the House and eight in the Senate.  “The election itself is being described as a total repudiation of Bill Clinton and the Democrats,” Reich observed at the time.  “His presidency,” wrote Evan Thomas in his sympathetic account, Back from the Dead, “was in tatters.”

Just a week after the election, the Clintons headed to the one place in the world willing and able to bring the Clintons back from the dead: Asia.  Joining them all at the Asian Pacific Economic Conference in Jakarta were the notorious Hawaiian fundraisers Gene and Nora Lum as well as any number of shadowy figures like Little Rock restaurateur Charlie Trie and Thai citizen Pauline Kanchanalak, both later charged by the Justice Department’s campaign finance task force with funneling hundreds of thousands in cash to the Clintons.

Most subversive of them all were James and Mochtar Riady and their D.C. point man, John Huang.  For them, the White House was a wholly owned subsidiary.  The Asians, of course, wanted something for their investments.  For the Riadys, it was a coal monopoly.  For the communist Chinese, it was weapons technology.  What they wanted, they got.  The Thompson Committee does a concise job of summarizing the process:

The president and his aides demeaned the offices of the president and vice president, took advantage of minority groups, pulled down all the barriers that would normally be in place to keep out illegal contributions, pressured policy makers, and left themselves open to strong suspicion that they were selling not only access to high-ranking officials, but policy as well.  Millions of dollars were raised in illegal contributions, much of it from foreign sources.

The Clintons knew they could not win in November 1996 without Asian money.  In a more disciplined fashion than they had done anything else since coming to town, the Clintons were going to use that money to launch what Senator Fred Thompson would call “the most corrupt political campaign in modern history.” 

Adviser Dick Morris insisted on one strategy above all others: filling the airwaves with TV ads early and relentlessly.  “Week after week, month after month,” wrote Morris, “from early July 1995 more or less continually until election day in ’96, sixteen months later, we bombarded the public with ads.”

The strategy may have been illegal, but it was painfully simple, and it worked.  To achieve “relative secrecy,” Morris chose not to advertise at all in New York City or Washington, D.C. and only occasionally in Los Angeles.  “If these cities remained dark,” recalled Morris, “the national press would not make an issue out of our ads – of this we felt sure.”

“No one in the media really caught on,” confirmed Woodward in The Choice.  The reason they did not catch on, as Morris well knew, was because they did not want to.  The story the media chose not to watch unfold was an extraordinary one.  The Thompson Committee summed it up:

The president and his top advisors decided to raise money early for his re-election campaign.  To accomplish their goal, the president and his top advisors took control of the DNC and designed a plan to engage in a historically aggressive fund-raising effort, utilizing the DNC as a vehicle for getting around federal election laws.  The DNC ran television advertisements, created under the direct supervision of the president, which were specifically designed to promote the president’s re-election.

In the afterword to the paperback edition of The Choice, Robert Woodward had the grace to admit he “vastly underestimated the significance of money” in the campaign.  He noted too that the ads themselves “were deceptive enough to be appalling.”

Newsweek’s Evan Thomas also admitted that “one of the great underreported stories” of the campaign was how the Democrats, not the Republicans, engaged in “the really effective negative campaigning.”

Neither Thomas nor Woodward explains why, during the campaign itself, no one in the major media chose to tell the true story.

An unprecedented series of untruthful, arguably illegal ads, which reached about 125 million Americans three times a week, should have been obvious to the media and scandalous from the outset.  The scandal would have exploded if the media had asked where the money was coming from to pay for the ads and what the White House was using as collateral.

To get some sense of the media’s self-deception, one need only contrast the Thompson version of the campaign with the one captured by the staff of Newsweek.  As Time’s Joe Klein told the story in the foreword of Thomas’s book, “Bill Clinton, by shrewdness, luck and love of the game, came back from a near-death experience to win a second term.”

And they want to impeach President Trump for what?  Calling Jeff Sessions “mentally retarded”?



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Democrat Election Scam Just Chose Wyoming's Next Republican Governor


Democrats pretending to be Republican for primary day just chose the next Republican candidate for governor in America’s reddest state.  Wyoming gave President Trump his biggest victory in the entire presidential election, with sixty-seven percent of the vote.  Because the state is so red, the Democrats’ choice will definitely win the general election and become the next governor of Wyoming.

In Wyoming’s recent primary, Republican voters didn’t get to choose their own  candidate.  Democrats in the 21st century don’t believe in having two-party elections.  In California, they try to shut out Republican voters by having a system where the two highest polling candidates win, even if both are Democrat.  In Wyoming, they believe they should get to choose their primary candidate and ours – because they will choose more wisely and more “moderately” than Republican voters.  They get away with it, because Wyoming was forced by the federal government under Clinton to allow cross-over voting in the primary.

A red state like Wyoming has a double problem come election time.  Democrat politicians don’t have a chance to be elected, so at all levels of local, state, and federal office, they masquerade as Republican candidates, lying to the voters about their true political affiliation. 

The double whammy is that Wyoming voting law allows people to register or change their party affiliation at the polling place on voting day and vote in whichever primary they choose.  So RINOs are chosen in the Republican primary by Democrat voters pretending for a day to be Republicans.  It makes a travesty of the two-party system and cheats Republicans of getting to select their own candidates.

Wyoming is small in population but economically one of our most important states and a key part of President Trump’s pro-energy agenda.  It is famous and beloved for Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks; it should be equally beloved for its contribution to the nation’s economy.  Wyoming is surpassed only by giant Texas as an energy powerhouse.  Wyoming’s Powder River Basin is one of the greatest coal fields in the world.  It produces more coal than the next six coal-mining states combined.  If Wyoming stopped producing fossil fuels and uranium, 30 states would go dark.

This year, a few days before the hotly contested gubernatorial election, Democrat supporters mounted a campaign called Switch for Wyoming urging their voters to switch their affiliation to Republican in order to push the most liberal GOP candidate for governor over the top.  They pulled it off.  

Their preferred candidate, Mark Gordon, beat the conservative frontrunner, Foster Friess, by approximately 6-9,000 votes (the official count isn’t in yet), well within the margin provided by Democrat voters. Comparing this year’s primary to the last two, as many as 13,000 Democrats “disappeared” – many presumably masquerading as Republicans.

At one polling place in Teton County, according to a volunteer checking in voters, all but four registered Democrats asked for Republican ballots.

The Democrat choice for our next Republican governor, Mark Gordon, believes that “global warming is a critical issue for our time.”  The man who will now be governor of the largest coal-producer in our nation believes in what is euphemistically called alternative energy.  While he makes speeches about protecting the coal industry, he makes political donations and even served on the board of groups that fight fossil fuels.

Mark Gordon made political contributions to the DNC, John Kerry, and Democrat candidates for Congress in 2004 and 2006.

In 2012, The Nature Conservancy listed him as a donor in the 10,000-to-99,999-dollar category. In 2018, a Friends of the Earth website (later removed) listed him as a “notable donor, Treasurer of Wyoming.”  While he has campaigned against federal restrictions on coal, in the recent past he contributed to the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI).  RMI is working toward a U.S. economy “needing no coal, no oil.”

In a state where he beat Hillary Clinton by 46%, President Trump has just been cheated of an ally among the governors, and Wyoming’s voters have been cheated of a true conservative candidate.  Gordon’s win was also used by President Trump’s opponents in the media to embarrass him, because on election day, the president tweeted his support for the conservative frontrunner, Foster Friess.

These Democrat primary shenanigans have happened before, and the state legislature does nothing about it, despite the best efforts of the legislature’s handful of actual conservatives.  That the powers that be want to allow Democrats to select the Republican candidate is extremely frustrating to Republican voters in the state.  This year, the Democrat tide almost swept away some beloved conservative incumbents. 

Perhaps the answer is simple: business as usual in Wyoming is bloated government and corruption.  True conservatives would rein in the overspending that has emptied the state coffers.  Wyoming has the highest ratio of government employees to citizens of any state in the nation and the highest ratio of government supervisors to workers and ranks lowest in transparency on financial matters.  

Runner-up candidate Foster Friess, a staunch Christian conservative and outspoken supporter of President Trump, is also a businessman who understands finance.  No wonder he was the target of the Democrats’ crossover scam.  Mr. Friess told me his “number-one focus” right now is the scandal that Wyoming has an F ranking by the Center for Public Integrity.  That’s an F in executive accountability, civil service management, procurement, lobbying disclosure, ethics enforcement, and management of the state pension fund.

“We can wait until the legislature gathers in January to decide the best method of conducting Wyoming’s primary elections, however, first we must address the much more important issue and focus all our efforts on that, and that is the disclosure of the entire state’s checkbook to the Wyoming citizens.  Wyoming is one of only three states that does not make its checkbook available.  This will be my number-one focus,” said Mr. Friess.

Wyoming’s state legislators have a ready excuse to do nothing to protect the integrity of their elections.  Crossover voting is actually required in the state, thanks to the strong-arm tactics of the Clinton administration.  Wyoming refused to adopt Clinton’s 1994 “motor-voter” law, a partisan Democrat initiative to boost registration by under-motivated voting blocs.  The law proved to be a disaster that led to widespread corruption of the country’s voter rolls – in some cases, 100% of the new voter registrations were fraudulent.  Motor-voter raised the cost of keeping election rolls free from fraud to twice the “Election Division’s entire annual budget” for some states.  

Clinton’s attorney general Janet Reno sued three states to force them to comply.  Wyoming was given a waiver only by agreeing to same-day registration and allowing primary day “crossover” voting.  Both those provisions have been used by Democrats in recent elections to enter the state, register, and vote all on the same day, and to flood the Republican primaries with Democrat voters.

Because it is a deal with the federal government, Wyoming cannot stop same-day registration and cross-over voting unless the state’s attorney general is “willing to fight the feds,” something the state has been unwilling to do for 16 years under the last two governors, one a Democrat and one a Republican, according to conservative state representative Marti Halverson.  Representative Halverson proposed legislation last year to require voter registration to end two weeks before candidates file, but the Legislative Service Office, dominated by progressive bureaucrats, ensured the bill’s failure with a “you can’t do that” four-page memo. 

Unfortunately, voters in a state this red are so complacent that they do not bother to inform themselves.  Few bother to vote in the primaries.  They simply assume that if someone claims to be Republican, it means he will vote based on conservative principles.  The number of actual principled conservatives in the State House is low, indeed.  Harriet Hageman, a sterling conservative and clean government advocate who ran a strong campaign to be the Republican candidate for governor, told me, “Our current system, which provides for same-day crossover voting, stifles debate between conservatives and liberals by allowing the Democrats to pick both of the candidates for the general election.  While small in number, the Democrats have found a way to exercise an outsized influence in Wyoming.  In this case, they did it by branding themselves as ‘Independent Republicans of Wyoming,’ despite the fact that they are committed and avowed liberals.  They are, in other words, willing to use their dark money and distort their affiliation to improperly influence the Republican primary.  That is wrong and corrupt.” 

Idaho had the same problem with crossover voting by Democrats.  Fed up Republicans went to court and won.

According to Newsweek:

It wouldn’t be the first time Democratic voters had tipped the scales by participating in Republican elections.  In 2011, Idaho’s Republican Party sued to close its primaries to voters who weren’t registered Republicans, citing a study that said as many as 40 percent of Democrats admitted to crossover voting.  The judge presiding over the case later estimated that it was likely a much smaller percentage but still ruled in favor of the GOP and closed the primaries to party-affiliated voters only.

Wyoming voters – the few who are paying attention – want this to be the last time Democrats chose who runs on the Republican ticket.  They are being cheated of a fair election in which they, not their political opponents, choose their own party’s candidate.

In the words of Teton County’s Tea Party’s letter to its members:

There is clear evidence that the recent Vote Switch-A-Roo is a concerted effort, NOT to support a good candidate, but instead to block a good candidate from the party the voter does not like.  This attitude could be called many things: Dirty Pool, Not Kosher, Gaming the System and Unethical are some that come to mind.

Some Republican voters are hoping Foster Friess will use his considerable moral courage and energy to mount a campaign on this issue.  If Friess can reform Wyoming’s unfair crossover voting law, his entry into Wyoming politics will not have been in vain.  It remains to be seen if enough citizens will galvanize themselves to correct this abuse of fair elections.

Democrats pretending to be Republican for primary day just chose the next Republican candidate for governor in America’s reddest state.  Wyoming gave President Trump his biggest victory in the entire presidential election, with sixty-seven percent of the vote.  Because the state is so red, the Democrats’ choice will definitely win the general election and become the next governor of Wyoming.

In Wyoming’s recent primary, Republican voters didn’t get to choose their own  candidate.  Democrats in the 21st century don’t believe in having two-party elections.  In California, they try to shut out Republican voters by having a system where the two highest polling candidates win, even if both are Democrat.  In Wyoming, they believe they should get to choose their primary candidate and ours – because they will choose more wisely and more “moderately” than Republican voters.  They get away with it, because Wyoming was forced by the federal government under Clinton to allow cross-over voting in the primary.

A red state like Wyoming has a double problem come election time.  Democrat politicians don’t have a chance to be elected, so at all levels of local, state, and federal office, they masquerade as Republican candidates, lying to the voters about their true political affiliation. 

The double whammy is that Wyoming voting law allows people to register or change their party affiliation at the polling place on voting day and vote in whichever primary they choose.  So RINOs are chosen in the Republican primary by Democrat voters pretending for a day to be Republicans.  It makes a travesty of the two-party system and cheats Republicans of getting to select their own candidates.

Wyoming is small in population but economically one of our most important states and a key part of President Trump’s pro-energy agenda.  It is famous and beloved for Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks; it should be equally beloved for its contribution to the nation’s economy.  Wyoming is surpassed only by giant Texas as an energy powerhouse.  Wyoming’s Powder River Basin is one of the greatest coal fields in the world.  It produces more coal than the next six coal-mining states combined.  If Wyoming stopped producing fossil fuels and uranium, 30 states would go dark.

This year, a few days before the hotly contested gubernatorial election, Democrat supporters mounted a campaign called Switch for Wyoming urging their voters to switch their affiliation to Republican in order to push the most liberal GOP candidate for governor over the top.  They pulled it off.  

Their preferred candidate, Mark Gordon, beat the conservative frontrunner, Foster Friess, by approximately 6-9,000 votes (the official count isn’t in yet), well within the margin provided by Democrat voters. Comparing this year’s primary to the last two, as many as 13,000 Democrats “disappeared” – many presumably masquerading as Republicans.

At one polling place in Teton County, according to a volunteer checking in voters, all but four registered Democrats asked for Republican ballots.

The Democrat choice for our next Republican governor, Mark Gordon, believes that “global warming is a critical issue for our time.”  The man who will now be governor of the largest coal-producer in our nation believes in what is euphemistically called alternative energy.  While he makes speeches about protecting the coal industry, he makes political donations and even served on the board of groups that fight fossil fuels.

Mark Gordon made political contributions to the DNC, John Kerry, and Democrat candidates for Congress in 2004 and 2006.

In 2012, The Nature Conservancy listed him as a donor in the 10,000-to-99,999-dollar category. In 2018, a Friends of the Earth website (later removed) listed him as a “notable donor, Treasurer of Wyoming.”  While he has campaigned against federal restrictions on coal, in the recent past he contributed to the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI).  RMI is working toward a U.S. economy “needing no coal, no oil.”

In a state where he beat Hillary Clinton by 46%, President Trump has just been cheated of an ally among the governors, and Wyoming’s voters have been cheated of a true conservative candidate.  Gordon’s win was also used by President Trump’s opponents in the media to embarrass him, because on election day, the president tweeted his support for the conservative frontrunner, Foster Friess.

These Democrat primary shenanigans have happened before, and the state legislature does nothing about it, despite the best efforts of the legislature’s handful of actual conservatives.  That the powers that be want to allow Democrats to select the Republican candidate is extremely frustrating to Republican voters in the state.  This year, the Democrat tide almost swept away some beloved conservative incumbents. 

Perhaps the answer is simple: business as usual in Wyoming is bloated government and corruption.  True conservatives would rein in the overspending that has emptied the state coffers.  Wyoming has the highest ratio of government employees to citizens of any state in the nation and the highest ratio of government supervisors to workers and ranks lowest in transparency on financial matters.  

Runner-up candidate Foster Friess, a staunch Christian conservative and outspoken supporter of President Trump, is also a businessman who understands finance.  No wonder he was the target of the Democrats’ crossover scam.  Mr. Friess told me his “number-one focus” right now is the scandal that Wyoming has an F ranking by the Center for Public Integrity.  That’s an F in executive accountability, civil service management, procurement, lobbying disclosure, ethics enforcement, and management of the state pension fund.

“We can wait until the legislature gathers in January to decide the best method of conducting Wyoming’s primary elections, however, first we must address the much more important issue and focus all our efforts on that, and that is the disclosure of the entire state’s checkbook to the Wyoming citizens.  Wyoming is one of only three states that does not make its checkbook available.  This will be my number-one focus,” said Mr. Friess.

Wyoming’s state legislators have a ready excuse to do nothing to protect the integrity of their elections.  Crossover voting is actually required in the state, thanks to the strong-arm tactics of the Clinton administration.  Wyoming refused to adopt Clinton’s 1994 “motor-voter” law, a partisan Democrat initiative to boost registration by under-motivated voting blocs.  The law proved to be a disaster that led to widespread corruption of the country’s voter rolls – in some cases, 100% of the new voter registrations were fraudulent.  Motor-voter raised the cost of keeping election rolls free from fraud to twice the “Election Division’s entire annual budget” for some states.  

Clinton’s attorney general Janet Reno sued three states to force them to comply.  Wyoming was given a waiver only by agreeing to same-day registration and allowing primary day “crossover” voting.  Both those provisions have been used by Democrats in recent elections to enter the state, register, and vote all on the same day, and to flood the Republican primaries with Democrat voters.

Because it is a deal with the federal government, Wyoming cannot stop same-day registration and cross-over voting unless the state’s attorney general is “willing to fight the feds,” something the state has been unwilling to do for 16 years under the last two governors, one a Democrat and one a Republican, according to conservative state representative Marti Halverson.  Representative Halverson proposed legislation last year to require voter registration to end two weeks before candidates file, but the Legislative Service Office, dominated by progressive bureaucrats, ensured the bill’s failure with a “you can’t do that” four-page memo. 

Unfortunately, voters in a state this red are so complacent that they do not bother to inform themselves.  Few bother to vote in the primaries.  They simply assume that if someone claims to be Republican, it means he will vote based on conservative principles.  The number of actual principled conservatives in the State House is low, indeed.  Harriet Hageman, a sterling conservative and clean government advocate who ran a strong campaign to be the Republican candidate for governor, told me, “Our current system, which provides for same-day crossover voting, stifles debate between conservatives and liberals by allowing the Democrats to pick both of the candidates for the general election.  While small in number, the Democrats have found a way to exercise an outsized influence in Wyoming.  In this case, they did it by branding themselves as ‘Independent Republicans of Wyoming,’ despite the fact that they are committed and avowed liberals.  They are, in other words, willing to use their dark money and distort their affiliation to improperly influence the Republican primary.  That is wrong and corrupt.” 

Idaho had the same problem with crossover voting by Democrats.  Fed up Republicans went to court and won.

According to Newsweek:

It wouldn’t be the first time Democratic voters had tipped the scales by participating in Republican elections.  In 2011, Idaho’s Republican Party sued to close its primaries to voters who weren’t registered Republicans, citing a study that said as many as 40 percent of Democrats admitted to crossover voting.  The judge presiding over the case later estimated that it was likely a much smaller percentage but still ruled in favor of the GOP and closed the primaries to party-affiliated voters only.

Wyoming voters – the few who are paying attention – want this to be the last time Democrats chose who runs on the Republican ticket.  They are being cheated of a fair election in which they, not their political opponents, choose their own party’s candidate.

In the words of Teton County’s Tea Party’s letter to its members:

There is clear evidence that the recent Vote Switch-A-Roo is a concerted effort, NOT to support a good candidate, but instead to block a good candidate from the party the voter does not like.  This attitude could be called many things: Dirty Pool, Not Kosher, Gaming the System and Unethical are some that come to mind.

Some Republican voters are hoping Foster Friess will use his considerable moral courage and energy to mount a campaign on this issue.  If Friess can reform Wyoming’s unfair crossover voting law, his entry into Wyoming politics will not have been in vain.  It remains to be seen if enough citizens will galvanize themselves to correct this abuse of fair elections.



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Analyzing the Faux Administration Official's Times Op-Ed


Recently, the New York Times published an anonymously written op-ed supposedly authored by “a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure.” 

Analyzing the language used by this “senior official” leads me to conclude that something is not quite right with that claim.

In the second paragraph of the piece, the author, who I must remind readers is claimed by the Times to be “a senior official in the Trump administration” (a claim, by the way, the author himself never makes) states, while listing the travails facing our president, “that his party might well lose the House to an opposition hellbent on his downfall.”  He uses the word “his” (that is, “the president’s”) when describing the Republican Party.  Why?  Isn’t he also a Republican?  He is serving in a Republican administration; it would be a realistic assumption that by far most members of Trump’s administration are Republicans.

If he is not a Republican, at least he should be easy enough to find.

He goes on to say “that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”  If he were, as claimed, a “senior official,” wouldn’t he say “many other senior officials,” or “many other top officials”?  And wouldn’t he say “our administration?”  Why phrase it that way only to say in the next paragraph, “I am one of them”?  Why say it afterward when he could have made it clear in his statement?  There’s a disconnect.

“To be clear, ours is not the popular “resistance” of the left.  We want the administration to succeed.”  He uses “we” and “ours” here, but it refers to the “new resistance,” which he considers himself a part of.

“That is why many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can.”  The use of “we” here can be read as a claim to be an appointee.  He doesn’t say he is an appointee in the White House or that he is in on the decision-making process or, as claimed by the Times, is a “senior official.”

“Anyone who works with him [Trump] knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making.”  He doesn’t say “we who work with him know.”

“[T]he president shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives.”  He doesn’t claim to be a conservative; he could just as easily be referring to others who are conservatives.

He says, “Meetings with him [the president] veer off topic and off the rails,” never saying he has ever been to one of these “meetings.”  The same with the president’s “repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions.”  He never says he was present when such things have happened.  Yet he says this as if it is a fact, with credibility assigned by his implied presence without saying he was ever present or personally witnessed any of this.

He says, “a top official complained to me recently.”  Were I a “senior official,” I would have said “another top official.”

He talks of “unsung heroes in and around the White House” without claiming to be one, yet pay attention to the use of “around the White House.”  His usage says to me he fits in with the “around” part of this statement. 

“Some of his aides have been cast as villains by the media.  But in private, they have gone to great lengths to keep bad decisions contained to the West Wing, though they are clearly not always successful.”   Notice that he uses “they” when talking about them, not “we.”

“But Americans should know that there are adults in the room.  We fully recognize what is happening.  And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t.”  Using “we” is including himself as an American.

When talking about Russia, and Trump’s supposed unwillingness to punish the country for its much publicized poisoning attempt in London, he says: “But his national security team knew better – such actions had to be taken, to hold Moscow accountable.”  Again, were I a “senior official,” I would have said “our,” instead of “his.”

He claims that within the Cabinet, there was discussion of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove the president.  “But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis.  So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until – one way or another – it’s over.”  This is the closest he comes to power: using “we” can be interpreted to say he is a member of the Cabinet or an assistant to a Cabinet member.

The bigger concern is not what Mr. Trump has done to the presidency but rather what we as a nation have allowed him to do to us.

We may no longer have Senator McCain. But we will always have his example – a lodestar for restoring honor to public life and our national dialogue.  Mr. Trump may fear such honorable men, but we should revere them.

In both instances where he uses “we,” he is talking about “we the people.”

This is not written by a “senior administration official.”  The person who wrote this is not in on the decision-making process and doesn’t serve in the White House.  He may be a Cabinet official or an appointee at the most. 

I wouldn’t be surprised to find he is something like the third assistant to the secretary of the Regional Administration Committee for Religious Community Outreach.

Recently, the New York Times published an anonymously written op-ed supposedly authored by “a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure.” 

Analyzing the language used by this “senior official” leads me to conclude that something is not quite right with that claim.

In the second paragraph of the piece, the author, who I must remind readers is claimed by the Times to be “a senior official in the Trump administration” (a claim, by the way, the author himself never makes) states, while listing the travails facing our president, “that his party might well lose the House to an opposition hellbent on his downfall.”  He uses the word “his” (that is, “the president’s”) when describing the Republican Party.  Why?  Isn’t he also a Republican?  He is serving in a Republican administration; it would be a realistic assumption that by far most members of Trump’s administration are Republicans.

If he is not a Republican, at least he should be easy enough to find.

He goes on to say “that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”  If he were, as claimed, a “senior official,” wouldn’t he say “many other senior officials,” or “many other top officials”?  And wouldn’t he say “our administration?”  Why phrase it that way only to say in the next paragraph, “I am one of them”?  Why say it afterward when he could have made it clear in his statement?  There’s a disconnect.

“To be clear, ours is not the popular “resistance” of the left.  We want the administration to succeed.”  He uses “we” and “ours” here, but it refers to the “new resistance,” which he considers himself a part of.

“That is why many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can.”  The use of “we” here can be read as a claim to be an appointee.  He doesn’t say he is an appointee in the White House or that he is in on the decision-making process or, as claimed by the Times, is a “senior official.”

“Anyone who works with him [Trump] knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making.”  He doesn’t say “we who work with him know.”

“[T]he president shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives.”  He doesn’t claim to be a conservative; he could just as easily be referring to others who are conservatives.

He says, “Meetings with him [the president] veer off topic and off the rails,” never saying he has ever been to one of these “meetings.”  The same with the president’s “repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions.”  He never says he was present when such things have happened.  Yet he says this as if it is a fact, with credibility assigned by his implied presence without saying he was ever present or personally witnessed any of this.

He says, “a top official complained to me recently.”  Were I a “senior official,” I would have said “another top official.”

He talks of “unsung heroes in and around the White House” without claiming to be one, yet pay attention to the use of “around the White House.”  His usage says to me he fits in with the “around” part of this statement. 

“Some of his aides have been cast as villains by the media.  But in private, they have gone to great lengths to keep bad decisions contained to the West Wing, though they are clearly not always successful.”   Notice that he uses “they” when talking about them, not “we.”

“But Americans should know that there are adults in the room.  We fully recognize what is happening.  And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t.”  Using “we” is including himself as an American.

When talking about Russia, and Trump’s supposed unwillingness to punish the country for its much publicized poisoning attempt in London, he says: “But his national security team knew better – such actions had to be taken, to hold Moscow accountable.”  Again, were I a “senior official,” I would have said “our,” instead of “his.”

He claims that within the Cabinet, there was discussion of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove the president.  “But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis.  So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until – one way or another – it’s over.”  This is the closest he comes to power: using “we” can be interpreted to say he is a member of the Cabinet or an assistant to a Cabinet member.

The bigger concern is not what Mr. Trump has done to the presidency but rather what we as a nation have allowed him to do to us.

We may no longer have Senator McCain. But we will always have his example – a lodestar for restoring honor to public life and our national dialogue.  Mr. Trump may fear such honorable men, but we should revere them.

In both instances where he uses “we,” he is talking about “we the people.”

This is not written by a “senior administration official.”  The person who wrote this is not in on the decision-making process and doesn’t serve in the White House.  He may be a Cabinet official or an appointee at the most. 

I wouldn’t be surprised to find he is something like the third assistant to the secretary of the Regional Administration Committee for Religious Community Outreach.



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The New Iron Curtain of Censorship Descends on America


In March 1946, as Europe lay broken from World War II, Winston Churchill signaled the beginning of the 43-year-long Cold War between Western civilization and the Soviet Union by declaring that an “Iron Curtain has descended across the continent” as the Soviets stiffened their harsh control of Eastern Europe.

In that same speech, Churchill noted: “In the United States where Communism is in its infancy, the Communist parties or fifth columns constitute a growing challenge.”  Today, we are threatened with our own iron curtain, the product of the descendants and dupes of that fifth column.  A curtain of censorship steadily is descending on America.

Curiously, the Constitution doesn’t specifically protect us.  Here’s the wording of the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Yep, that’s it.  That’s the whole thing.  Meanwhile, private companies, individuals, George Soros-sponsored groups, and newspapers are free to silence anyone they don’t like and can get away with.

Over the years, however, volumes of federal and Supreme Court cases have expressed support for the basic principle of free speech.  U.S. Supreme Court justice Benjamin N. Cardozo wrote in Palko v. Connecticut, “Freedom of expression is the matrix, the indispensable condition, of nearly every other form of freedom.”

That obviously is of no concern to today’s liberals, progressives, and free speech enemies, as we are plagued with rapidly growing and aggressive censorship.  The blocking, distorting, and deleting of conservative viewpoints on social media, in the so-called mainstream media, and in our education system have gone from subtle to blatant to in your face.  They don’t even attempt to hide it anymore.  One Facebook engineer has been quoted as saying, “We have a problem with political diversity.”

If we are to remain free, we must defend ourselves from the destruction of what Americans regard as our most basic freedom by giant electronic social media companies who control significant portions of the channels of communications among Americans.

A recent study shows that Facebook has eliminated 93% of traffic to top conservative websites.  The Gateway Pundit reports that just two top conservative publishers lost 1.5 billion page views since the 2016 election.   This doesn’t include hundreds of other internet publishers.  This is important because not only does this hurt these publishers financially, but it means that millions of Americans who would have had a chance to read the material were blocked from seeing it.

Twitter recently was caught shadowbanning four conservative congressmen.  When outed, Twitter claimed that it had penalized the congressmen not because of anything they said, but because the “wrong” accounts were engaging with their tweets.  The Republicans were guilty of being followed by the “wrong people.”  The tweets were restored, but according to the Daily Caller, “the company is still burying accounts it deems ‘bad-faith actors,’ while remaining opaque about who does or doesn’t fit that classification – and which accounts follow or retweet you are still part of the criteria.”  This explains what’s going on with Twitter on what is certainly a wide-scale basis.

Even Instagram has been caught in the censorship nightmare.  Front Page Magazine reported: “Project War Path, a clothing company owned by Navy SEALs and Army Special Forces combat veterans, Charlie Nash of Breitbart News reported Monday, ‘has been permanently suspended from Facebook’s Instagram platform for “hate speech” after criticizing NFL players who kneel during the national anthem.'”  Instagram has blocked others, including Tommy Robinson, author Lauren Southern, and the comedy group Toughen Up America.

The concept of “their platform, their rules” needs to be aggressively breached.  Facebook, Google, YouTube, and Twitter are huge and essentially have no competition.  They represent the Standard Oil of the internet age.  Standard Oil was broken up because it was a monopoly and was harming the free market.  These giant media companies have become enormous de facto utilities.  I personally hate the idea of regulation, but in this case, it’s clear that the American public must have some sort of bipartisan oversight capability and protection from these social media monopolies.  Congress must provide that.  The only time it can be accomplished is when there are Republican majorities in both houses.

Political censorship has also crept into businesses intimidated by the left.  MasterCard denied service to David Horowitz’s Freedom Center as a “hate group” (subsequently reversed after an outcry on conservative media).  Robert Spencer was forced off the funding platform Patreon by MasterCard.  Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and others have faced efforts to chase off their advertisers.  Commentator Alex Jones and his Infowars have been banned from YouTube.  Facebook blocked Pamela Geller’s feed and articles, suspended her posting privileges, and deleted a number of her pages.

There is nothing in the Constitution to protect us from a fifth column that has taken over much of the mainstream media.  The case against “fake news” is well documented and far too broad to detail here.  American media are largely dominated by left-wing actors who distort, lie, shade, and omit.  The historical trust of the previous century between the media and ordinary Americans has been shattered.  A recent poll by Axios showed that 92% of Republicans believe that the media reports “fake news,” and 72% of all Americans agree that “traditional major news sources report news they know to be fake, false or purposely misleading” at least some of the time.  Americans can clearly see what is going on.

Ninety percent of network media coverage has been negative toward President Trump.  This is beyond shocking.  It is a major challenge to the well-being of American culture that depends for its success on Americans having free and equal access to opinion and information.  It is incumbent on the owners of these media enterprises to cure this harmful cultural disease.  This should not be fixed by government.  But it can be fixed by the American public that can protest and refuse to support these outlets financially.

There is nothing in the Constitution that can protect us from the death of free speech and left-wing activism in our education system.  In classrooms, faculty meetings, and university auditoriums, the same people who once were the dissenters have now become the enforcers.  It turns out that the counter-cultural liberal forces of “free speech” in the 1960s were really just interested in power and control over others.  They have shamelessly used any tool from Jefferson to Alinsky to get them.  They have intimidated university administrators to ban conservative speakers and in some cases have created violence when speakers showed up, forcing the cancelation of the event.  Our students at almost all levels are being routinely brainwashed with left-wing ideology while the real story of American greatness is censored.

The grassroots Tea Party revolution during the damaging Obama years set the stage for President Trump’s election.  But the Trump presidency, while highly successful so far in implementing his conservative agenda, is far from enough all by itself to save our country.  The president says censorship by the social media giants “will be addressed.”  Regardless, it’s also going to take another concerted effort by concerned Americans to offset the damage that has been done and to shred the cloak of censorship being draped over us.

Frank Hawkins is a former U.S. Army intelligence officer, Associated Press foreign correspondent, international businessman, senior newspaper company executive, founder and owner of several marketing companies, and published novelist.  He currently lives in retirement in North Carolina.

In March 1946, as Europe lay broken from World War II, Winston Churchill signaled the beginning of the 43-year-long Cold War between Western civilization and the Soviet Union by declaring that an “Iron Curtain has descended across the continent” as the Soviets stiffened their harsh control of Eastern Europe.

In that same speech, Churchill noted: “In the United States where Communism is in its infancy, the Communist parties or fifth columns constitute a growing challenge.”  Today, we are threatened with our own iron curtain, the product of the descendants and dupes of that fifth column.  A curtain of censorship steadily is descending on America.

Curiously, the Constitution doesn’t specifically protect us.  Here’s the wording of the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Yep, that’s it.  That’s the whole thing.  Meanwhile, private companies, individuals, George Soros-sponsored groups, and newspapers are free to silence anyone they don’t like and can get away with.

Over the years, however, volumes of federal and Supreme Court cases have expressed support for the basic principle of free speech.  U.S. Supreme Court justice Benjamin N. Cardozo wrote in Palko v. Connecticut, “Freedom of expression is the matrix, the indispensable condition, of nearly every other form of freedom.”

That obviously is of no concern to today’s liberals, progressives, and free speech enemies, as we are plagued with rapidly growing and aggressive censorship.  The blocking, distorting, and deleting of conservative viewpoints on social media, in the so-called mainstream media, and in our education system have gone from subtle to blatant to in your face.  They don’t even attempt to hide it anymore.  One Facebook engineer has been quoted as saying, “We have a problem with political diversity.”

If we are to remain free, we must defend ourselves from the destruction of what Americans regard as our most basic freedom by giant electronic social media companies who control significant portions of the channels of communications among Americans.

A recent study shows that Facebook has eliminated 93% of traffic to top conservative websites.  The Gateway Pundit reports that just two top conservative publishers lost 1.5 billion page views since the 2016 election.   This doesn’t include hundreds of other internet publishers.  This is important because not only does this hurt these publishers financially, but it means that millions of Americans who would have had a chance to read the material were blocked from seeing it.

Twitter recently was caught shadowbanning four conservative congressmen.  When outed, Twitter claimed that it had penalized the congressmen not because of anything they said, but because the “wrong” accounts were engaging with their tweets.  The Republicans were guilty of being followed by the “wrong people.”  The tweets were restored, but according to the Daily Caller, “the company is still burying accounts it deems ‘bad-faith actors,’ while remaining opaque about who does or doesn’t fit that classification – and which accounts follow or retweet you are still part of the criteria.”  This explains what’s going on with Twitter on what is certainly a wide-scale basis.

Even Instagram has been caught in the censorship nightmare.  Front Page Magazine reported: “Project War Path, a clothing company owned by Navy SEALs and Army Special Forces combat veterans, Charlie Nash of Breitbart News reported Monday, ‘has been permanently suspended from Facebook’s Instagram platform for “hate speech” after criticizing NFL players who kneel during the national anthem.'”  Instagram has blocked others, including Tommy Robinson, author Lauren Southern, and the comedy group Toughen Up America.

The concept of “their platform, their rules” needs to be aggressively breached.  Facebook, Google, YouTube, and Twitter are huge and essentially have no competition.  They represent the Standard Oil of the internet age.  Standard Oil was broken up because it was a monopoly and was harming the free market.  These giant media companies have become enormous de facto utilities.  I personally hate the idea of regulation, but in this case, it’s clear that the American public must have some sort of bipartisan oversight capability and protection from these social media monopolies.  Congress must provide that.  The only time it can be accomplished is when there are Republican majorities in both houses.

Political censorship has also crept into businesses intimidated by the left.  MasterCard denied service to David Horowitz’s Freedom Center as a “hate group” (subsequently reversed after an outcry on conservative media).  Robert Spencer was forced off the funding platform Patreon by MasterCard.  Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and others have faced efforts to chase off their advertisers.  Commentator Alex Jones and his Infowars have been banned from YouTube.  Facebook blocked Pamela Geller’s feed and articles, suspended her posting privileges, and deleted a number of her pages.

There is nothing in the Constitution to protect us from a fifth column that has taken over much of the mainstream media.  The case against “fake news” is well documented and far too broad to detail here.  American media are largely dominated by left-wing actors who distort, lie, shade, and omit.  The historical trust of the previous century between the media and ordinary Americans has been shattered.  A recent poll by Axios showed that 92% of Republicans believe that the media reports “fake news,” and 72% of all Americans agree that “traditional major news sources report news they know to be fake, false or purposely misleading” at least some of the time.  Americans can clearly see what is going on.

Ninety percent of network media coverage has been negative toward President Trump.  This is beyond shocking.  It is a major challenge to the well-being of American culture that depends for its success on Americans having free and equal access to opinion and information.  It is incumbent on the owners of these media enterprises to cure this harmful cultural disease.  This should not be fixed by government.  But it can be fixed by the American public that can protest and refuse to support these outlets financially.

There is nothing in the Constitution that can protect us from the death of free speech and left-wing activism in our education system.  In classrooms, faculty meetings, and university auditoriums, the same people who once were the dissenters have now become the enforcers.  It turns out that the counter-cultural liberal forces of “free speech” in the 1960s were really just interested in power and control over others.  They have shamelessly used any tool from Jefferson to Alinsky to get them.  They have intimidated university administrators to ban conservative speakers and in some cases have created violence when speakers showed up, forcing the cancelation of the event.  Our students at almost all levels are being routinely brainwashed with left-wing ideology while the real story of American greatness is censored.

The grassroots Tea Party revolution during the damaging Obama years set the stage for President Trump’s election.  But the Trump presidency, while highly successful so far in implementing his conservative agenda, is far from enough all by itself to save our country.  The president says censorship by the social media giants “will be addressed.”  Regardless, it’s also going to take another concerted effort by concerned Americans to offset the damage that has been done and to shred the cloak of censorship being draped over us.

Frank Hawkins is a former U.S. Army intelligence officer, Associated Press foreign correspondent, international businessman, senior newspaper company executive, founder and owner of several marketing companies, and published novelist.  He currently lives in retirement in North Carolina.



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American Kitsch


The current situation in our country resembles a poorly written play.  Act I: The Democrats and their media-industrial complex force President Nixon to resign and block Robert Bork, who was nominated by President Reagan to the Supreme Court.

Act II: The same players try to squeeze Trump out of White House and attempt to prevent nomination to the Supreme Court of Judge Kavanaugh.  In this regard, let’s recall this quote well known to all students of leftism: “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce.”  This quote exists (in different versions), but nobody knows its origin.  Karl Marx had written on the repetition in history, referring to Hegel.  However, only the beginning of this phrase – “history repeats itself” belongs to Hegel, and Marx should be credited only for the ending – “first as tragedy, then as farce.”

So if we believe the founding fathers of the ideology of the modern Democratic Party of the United States, then we are in a phase of farce.  Moreover, surprisingly, this farce is created solely by the hands of the ideological followers of Marx and their militant propaganda wing, the American mass-disinformation media.  A well known role in all this, like many years ago, is played by Bob Woodward.  His book about the Watergate scandal cannot be underestimated, but his new book – about Trump – is likely to be perceived in the context of farce.

What a vulgar farce Democrats demonstrated on the first day of the hearing of Judge Kavanaugh!  The audience was crammed with protesters, who tried to create chaos and disrupt the proceedings.  They showed a zero level of civility.  Judges Kavanaugh’s children were even forced to withdraw from the Senate building because of security concerns (they were allowed to return later on).  About 20 people were arrested only during the first hour of proceedings, then more during the day – more than 50 bullies.

Leaders of hooligans at hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee were well known anti-Semites – “Palestinian” Linda Sarsour; Al Sharpton; and the radical female group Code Pink, which supports the “Palestinians.”  The supporter of sharia in America, Sarsour, like the hooligan from Code Pink, was arrested.  The Democrats’ hooligan-like behavior started the on the fifth second after the hearing did.  Only after a few hours did the police succeed in calming the public.

Democratic senators were forced to publicly admit that they had worked out a strategy for torpedoing hearings of Judge Kavanaugh in advance.  This shows that Democrats are in a state of despair and panic and explains why they made such blunders.

Who opposes Judge Kavanaugh?  Politically: Marxists, militant atheists, globalists, feminists, anti-Second Amendment crowd, Democrats, sharia-supporters, and Bolshevik supporters of Bernie Sanders are against him.  However, most of all, just like Judge Robert Bork, Judge Kavanaugh is hated for his uncompromising stance on respecting the original (that is, without modern voluntarist interpretations) U.S. Constitution.

Everyone who watched this farce in the Senate Judiciary Committee could feel a significant difference between the two opposing sides.  Every American was convinced that in our country, there is a civilized party that defends the traditional democratic process and a party of vicious opponents of it.

Democrats screamed, squealed, and interrupted the speakers, and this applies to both senators and their accomplices in the audience.  What will be the result of this farce? It is unlikely that the party of neurasthenics, anti-Semites, and hooligans will get new followers.

Democrats increasingly resorted to violence, but this violence is now somewhat castrated.  There is a lot of noise and emotions, but the lack of a positive platform for the Democrats does not lead to any results, except for the loss of their own reputation.

Noise and emotion also dominated the recent funeral of Senator McCain and singer Aretha Franklin.

Until recently, funerals in America were what they always have been– a sad farewell to a departed human being.  However, in the era of farce, the funeral turned into some kind of kitsch funeral.

A kitsch funeral is no longer just a farewell, but a grand political rally at which the invited VIPs pour mud on uninvited VIPs.

All of those invited to the kitsch funeral openly enjoyed their feeling of belonging to the upper kitsch-society.  This society has picked up a motley crew – Democrats, anti-Semites, anti-Trumpists, and sexually preoccupied males.  Moreover, some kitsch VIPs managed to be present not only at both funerals, but also at the hearing of Judge Kavanaugh in the Senate.

As you know, the funeral of President Kennedy lasted three days.  The funeral of President Reagan went for seven days (a record at the time).  Of course, Reagan was one of America’s favorite presidents.  However, Senator McCain, while he was still alive, directed everything in such a way as to outdo President Reagan – he planned that his funeral would last eight days.

How could a man who in his youth showed examples of courage, having been in Vietnamese captivity for many years, slide down to scrupulous planning of his own state funeral?

Democrats demonstrated vulgar manners, unworthy of public figures, at the funerals of Aretha Franklin and Senator John McCain and at the hearing of Judge Kavanaughagh.  This kind of behavior is not American.  Therefore, there is every reason to believe that the political price the Democrats will have to pay in November will be high.

It can be said that McCain’s kitsch funeral is likely to become a severe mistake both of the Democrats and of the Republican anti-Trumpists.  Perhaps, when we analyze the results of the elections in November this year, we will return to kitsch funerals once again.

Unfortunately, we live in an age of kitsch funerals and kitsch politics.

The former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, who was McCain’s vice presidential candidate, was demonstratively not invited to McCain’s funeral, although she never spoke of him negatively.  President Trump was also demonstratively and shamelessly not invited to the funeral.

About two years ago, Donald Trump said, “Let’s make America great again,” and leftists still cannot calm their anger.

New York State governor Andrew Cuomo said, “America has never been great,” and leftists began to rejoice.

McCain’s daughter Meghan said, “America has always been a great country,” and leftists, as if nothing had happened, once again began to rejoice.

Does this all seem silly?  Of course it does.  What else can the kitsch look like?

Gary Gindler, Ph.D. is a conservative blogger at Gary Gindler Chronicles.  Follow him on Twitter.

The current situation in our country resembles a poorly written play.  Act I: The Democrats and their media-industrial complex force President Nixon to resign and block Robert Bork, who was nominated by President Reagan to the Supreme Court.

Act II: The same players try to squeeze Trump out of White House and attempt to prevent nomination to the Supreme Court of Judge Kavanaugh.  In this regard, let’s recall this quote well known to all students of leftism: “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce.”  This quote exists (in different versions), but nobody knows its origin.  Karl Marx had written on the repetition in history, referring to Hegel.  However, only the beginning of this phrase – “history repeats itself” belongs to Hegel, and Marx should be credited only for the ending – “first as tragedy, then as farce.”

So if we believe the founding fathers of the ideology of the modern Democratic Party of the United States, then we are in a phase of farce.  Moreover, surprisingly, this farce is created solely by the hands of the ideological followers of Marx and their militant propaganda wing, the American mass-disinformation media.  A well known role in all this, like many years ago, is played by Bob Woodward.  His book about the Watergate scandal cannot be underestimated, but his new book – about Trump – is likely to be perceived in the context of farce.

What a vulgar farce Democrats demonstrated on the first day of the hearing of Judge Kavanaugh!  The audience was crammed with protesters, who tried to create chaos and disrupt the proceedings.  They showed a zero level of civility.  Judges Kavanaugh’s children were even forced to withdraw from the Senate building because of security concerns (they were allowed to return later on).  About 20 people were arrested only during the first hour of proceedings, then more during the day – more than 50 bullies.

Leaders of hooligans at hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee were well known anti-Semites – “Palestinian” Linda Sarsour; Al Sharpton; and the radical female group Code Pink, which supports the “Palestinians.”  The supporter of sharia in America, Sarsour, like the hooligan from Code Pink, was arrested.  The Democrats’ hooligan-like behavior started the on the fifth second after the hearing did.  Only after a few hours did the police succeed in calming the public.

Democratic senators were forced to publicly admit that they had worked out a strategy for torpedoing hearings of Judge Kavanaugh in advance.  This shows that Democrats are in a state of despair and panic and explains why they made such blunders.

Who opposes Judge Kavanaugh?  Politically: Marxists, militant atheists, globalists, feminists, anti-Second Amendment crowd, Democrats, sharia-supporters, and Bolshevik supporters of Bernie Sanders are against him.  However, most of all, just like Judge Robert Bork, Judge Kavanaugh is hated for his uncompromising stance on respecting the original (that is, without modern voluntarist interpretations) U.S. Constitution.

Everyone who watched this farce in the Senate Judiciary Committee could feel a significant difference between the two opposing sides.  Every American was convinced that in our country, there is a civilized party that defends the traditional democratic process and a party of vicious opponents of it.

Democrats screamed, squealed, and interrupted the speakers, and this applies to both senators and their accomplices in the audience.  What will be the result of this farce? It is unlikely that the party of neurasthenics, anti-Semites, and hooligans will get new followers.

Democrats increasingly resorted to violence, but this violence is now somewhat castrated.  There is a lot of noise and emotions, but the lack of a positive platform for the Democrats does not lead to any results, except for the loss of their own reputation.

Noise and emotion also dominated the recent funeral of Senator McCain and singer Aretha Franklin.

Until recently, funerals in America were what they always have been– a sad farewell to a departed human being.  However, in the era of farce, the funeral turned into some kind of kitsch funeral.

A kitsch funeral is no longer just a farewell, but a grand political rally at which the invited VIPs pour mud on uninvited VIPs.

All of those invited to the kitsch funeral openly enjoyed their feeling of belonging to the upper kitsch-society.  This society has picked up a motley crew – Democrats, anti-Semites, anti-Trumpists, and sexually preoccupied males.  Moreover, some kitsch VIPs managed to be present not only at both funerals, but also at the hearing of Judge Kavanaugh in the Senate.

As you know, the funeral of President Kennedy lasted three days.  The funeral of President Reagan went for seven days (a record at the time).  Of course, Reagan was one of America’s favorite presidents.  However, Senator McCain, while he was still alive, directed everything in such a way as to outdo President Reagan – he planned that his funeral would last eight days.

How could a man who in his youth showed examples of courage, having been in Vietnamese captivity for many years, slide down to scrupulous planning of his own state funeral?

Democrats demonstrated vulgar manners, unworthy of public figures, at the funerals of Aretha Franklin and Senator John McCain and at the hearing of Judge Kavanaughagh.  This kind of behavior is not American.  Therefore, there is every reason to believe that the political price the Democrats will have to pay in November will be high.

It can be said that McCain’s kitsch funeral is likely to become a severe mistake both of the Democrats and of the Republican anti-Trumpists.  Perhaps, when we analyze the results of the elections in November this year, we will return to kitsch funerals once again.

Unfortunately, we live in an age of kitsch funerals and kitsch politics.

The former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, who was McCain’s vice presidential candidate, was demonstratively not invited to McCain’s funeral, although she never spoke of him negatively.  President Trump was also demonstratively and shamelessly not invited to the funeral.

About two years ago, Donald Trump said, “Let’s make America great again,” and leftists still cannot calm their anger.

New York State governor Andrew Cuomo said, “America has never been great,” and leftists began to rejoice.

McCain’s daughter Meghan said, “America has always been a great country,” and leftists, as if nothing had happened, once again began to rejoice.

Does this all seem silly?  Of course it does.  What else can the kitsch look like?

Gary Gindler, Ph.D. is a conservative blogger at Gary Gindler Chronicles.  Follow him on Twitter.



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McCain, Bipartisanship, and the 'Congress Problem'



Republican members of Congress should forget about bipartisanship. Democrats don't care about bipartisanship.



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No, You Can't Get an 'Amen'


Last Friday, entertainers, activists, and politicians gathered in a Detroit church to remember Aretha Franklin at a funeral lasting more than eight hours.  Bill Clinton was there along with Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson, and Maxine Waters, lots of others, and the media.  The media knew they had all the ingredients for a #Resistance meeting (which is exactly what The New Yorker called the next day’s memorial service for Senator John McCain) – that is, they had leftists, microphones, and TV cameras.  They couldn’t wait for the scathing attacks on Donald Trump.

None of the reported insults was noteworthy.  Take this silly example from Michael Eric Dyson, possibly plagiarized from Daffy Duck: “You lugubrious leech, you dopey doppelgänger of deceit and deviance, you lethal liar, you dimwitted dictator, you foolish fascist.”  No one would allow Maxine Waters anywhere near a microphone, so the best she could manage was a “Wakanda” salute.  Ho-hum. 

But then Reverend Jasper Williams, Jr. gave his eulogy (worth seeing in its entirety, at 8:39 in this video of the entire service).  That’s when the headline became “Dog Bites Man.”  In 1984, Williams had delivered the eulogy for Ms. Franklin’s father, Reverend C.L. Franklin, and she recently asked Williams to deliver hers.  After a tribute to Aretha Franklin’s title as “Queen of Soul,” Williams went on to explain what the Bible means by “soul” and then asked the crowd, “Have you lost your soul?  If we’re truthful, honest, and fair, we have to say black America has lost its soul. … As I look in your house, there are no fathers in the home no more.”

He went on to say that “as proud, beautiful and fine as our black women are, one thing a black woman cannot do, a black woman cannot raise a black boy to be a man.  She can’t do that.  She can’t do that.”  Citing statistics on black-on-black murders, Williams spurned the Black Lives Matter movement:

It amazes me how it is when the police kills one of us we’re ready to protest, march, destroy innocent property.  We’re ready to loot, steal whatever we want, but when we kill 100 of us, nobody says anything, nobody does anything.

He implored Black America to “come home to God.”  Simply put, his message was the direct opposite of what’s preached by so many black clergy Sunday after Sunday: that all problems in the black community are the result of social forces and systemic racism, that the answer is faith in the secular promises of race-hustlers and the Democratic Party and in what jazz poet Gil Scott-Heron sarcastically referred to as “the train from Washington.” 

As an outsider to the black church, I don’t know how many pastors share Reverend Williams’s fairly traditional Christian message to return to God, accept His design for family and children, and take responsibility for keeping unambiguous commandments such as “Thou Shalt Not Murder.”  I do know that the liberal media hate this message, as they hate all authentic Christian messages; that’s why they use highly selective reporting to screen out preachers like Williams, preferring to show only those black churches whose religious authority rests on commitment to progressive causes.  So it wasn’t bad enough that Reverend Williams’s message was full of politically disapproved content, but it was also heard by millions of people who are never supposed to hear black pastors talk this way.

When an outlawed message gets out to the masses, the media promptly respond by mashing the “outrage” button, sending forth an army of incensed experts to destroy both the message and the messenger.  When Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, for all his faults, recently displayed remarkable courage by calling out the violence in Chicago as a moral and spiritual problem, liberals instantly threw him under the wheels for being tone-deaf and blaming the victims.  The CEO of the Chicago Urban League flatly said about any explanation for Chicago’s violence other than racism, “I won’t accept it.” 

Emanuel, obviously, is white, and in spite of his association with the Clintons and Obamas, he is no longer a popular enough Democrat to be of any use to the cause.  He can be destroyed.

It’s not so easy with Reverend Williams.  Aretha Franklin chose him, for one, which means slamming him looks like questioning her.  Typically outspoken progressive clergy show little enthusiasm to denounce Williams, except a few incoherent non-responses to media goading.  Detroit NAACP president Reverend Wendell Anthony, when asked about Williams’s hard-hitting eulogy, said, “Part of the issue yesterday was the need to elaborate and to put a holistic approach to certain points he was making.”  Translation: “I have absolutely no response.” 

Not to worry: The media were able to find much more direct outrage on social media.  The Detroit Free Press reported that “social media, especially the Twittersphere, exploded in criticism over Williams’ remarks.  They accused him of being sexist and demeaning to other black people.”  Wrote the Associated Press: “Twitter user A’Ja Lyve, who uses the handle @ajalyve,” called Reverend Williams “‘a homophobic, sexist, misogynist, ableist, uneducated bigot who is disrespecting Auntie Aretha Franklin at her funeral.  She wasn’t about nonsense.”  (That’s right: the A’Ja Lyve!)  To further amplify the reaction they wanted to report, the Free Press cited headlines from other news outlets as if they were reporting actual facts: “headlines characterized Williams’ nearly 50-minute eulogy as ‘antiquated,’ and ‘controversial.’  One said he had a ‘bleak view’ and the message ‘provoked fury.'” 

Read those articles, and see that they’re also sourced back to social media – a neat trick if all you want is to buttress leftist dogma and not report facts.  Social media offer a wealth of harsh put-downs, none of it has to make any sense, and the invectives punch up your copy without the need to put reluctant public figures at risk of saying something profoundly stupid.

Yet there had to be outrage among liberal black clergy.  Reverend Williams preached a message that revealed all their Democrat talking points for the specious nonsense they are.  They’re not willing to challenge Williams’s points directly, because his message just made so much obvious sense.  What can his critics say?  That the prevalence of poor single mothers having to raise sons without their fathers is a cause for cultural pride?  Are they going to prove Williams wrong with an argument that the murder rate of black men by other black men is less of a threat than police shootings or Klan lynchings?  Even Jesse Jackson knew better than that, once upon a time, just as he once knew, and said, that the argument that “the right to privacy is of a higher order than the right of life … was the premise of slavery.”

There was a time when the moral authority of the black church, personified in Reverend Martin Luther King and a band of lesser known clergymen, was able to convict white America of racism and change a country’s heart.  Now, if a black pastor dares use his pulpit to call lost souls back to God, today’s hirelings call it a male-centered “theological insult” or mumble that their colleague just wasn’t “at his best.”  How things have changed since “Respect” hit number one.

T.R. Clancy looks at the world from Dearborn, Michigan. You can email him at trclancy@yahoo.com.

Last Friday, entertainers, activists, and politicians gathered in a Detroit church to remember Aretha Franklin at a funeral lasting more than eight hours.  Bill Clinton was there along with Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson, and Maxine Waters, lots of others, and the media.  The media knew they had all the ingredients for a #Resistance meeting (which is exactly what The New Yorker called the next day’s memorial service for Senator John McCain) – that is, they had leftists, microphones, and TV cameras.  They couldn’t wait for the scathing attacks on Donald Trump.

None of the reported insults was noteworthy.  Take this silly example from Michael Eric Dyson, possibly plagiarized from Daffy Duck: “You lugubrious leech, you dopey doppelgänger of deceit and deviance, you lethal liar, you dimwitted dictator, you foolish fascist.”  No one would allow Maxine Waters anywhere near a microphone, so the best she could manage was a “Wakanda” salute.  Ho-hum. 

But then Reverend Jasper Williams, Jr. gave his eulogy (worth seeing in its entirety, at 8:39 in this video of the entire service).  That’s when the headline became “Dog Bites Man.”  In 1984, Williams had delivered the eulogy for Ms. Franklin’s father, Reverend C.L. Franklin, and she recently asked Williams to deliver hers.  After a tribute to Aretha Franklin’s title as “Queen of Soul,” Williams went on to explain what the Bible means by “soul” and then asked the crowd, “Have you lost your soul?  If we’re truthful, honest, and fair, we have to say black America has lost its soul. … As I look in your house, there are no fathers in the home no more.”

He went on to say that “as proud, beautiful and fine as our black women are, one thing a black woman cannot do, a black woman cannot raise a black boy to be a man.  She can’t do that.  She can’t do that.”  Citing statistics on black-on-black murders, Williams spurned the Black Lives Matter movement:

It amazes me how it is when the police kills one of us we’re ready to protest, march, destroy innocent property.  We’re ready to loot, steal whatever we want, but when we kill 100 of us, nobody says anything, nobody does anything.

He implored Black America to “come home to God.”  Simply put, his message was the direct opposite of what’s preached by so many black clergy Sunday after Sunday: that all problems in the black community are the result of social forces and systemic racism, that the answer is faith in the secular promises of race-hustlers and the Democratic Party and in what jazz poet Gil Scott-Heron sarcastically referred to as “the train from Washington.” 

As an outsider to the black church, I don’t know how many pastors share Reverend Williams’s fairly traditional Christian message to return to God, accept His design for family and children, and take responsibility for keeping unambiguous commandments such as “Thou Shalt Not Murder.”  I do know that the liberal media hate this message, as they hate all authentic Christian messages; that’s why they use highly selective reporting to screen out preachers like Williams, preferring to show only those black churches whose religious authority rests on commitment to progressive causes.  So it wasn’t bad enough that Reverend Williams’s message was full of politically disapproved content, but it was also heard by millions of people who are never supposed to hear black pastors talk this way.

When an outlawed message gets out to the masses, the media promptly respond by mashing the “outrage” button, sending forth an army of incensed experts to destroy both the message and the messenger.  When Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, for all his faults, recently displayed remarkable courage by calling out the violence in Chicago as a moral and spiritual problem, liberals instantly threw him under the wheels for being tone-deaf and blaming the victims.  The CEO of the Chicago Urban League flatly said about any explanation for Chicago’s violence other than racism, “I won’t accept it.” 

Emanuel, obviously, is white, and in spite of his association with the Clintons and Obamas, he is no longer a popular enough Democrat to be of any use to the cause.  He can be destroyed.

It’s not so easy with Reverend Williams.  Aretha Franklin chose him, for one, which means slamming him looks like questioning her.  Typically outspoken progressive clergy show little enthusiasm to denounce Williams, except a few incoherent non-responses to media goading.  Detroit NAACP president Reverend Wendell Anthony, when asked about Williams’s hard-hitting eulogy, said, “Part of the issue yesterday was the need to elaborate and to put a holistic approach to certain points he was making.”  Translation: “I have absolutely no response.” 

Not to worry: The media were able to find much more direct outrage on social media.  The Detroit Free Press reported that “social media, especially the Twittersphere, exploded in criticism over Williams’ remarks.  They accused him of being sexist and demeaning to other black people.”  Wrote the Associated Press: “Twitter user A’Ja Lyve, who uses the handle @ajalyve,” called Reverend Williams “‘a homophobic, sexist, misogynist, ableist, uneducated bigot who is disrespecting Auntie Aretha Franklin at her funeral.  She wasn’t about nonsense.”  (That’s right: the A’Ja Lyve!)  To further amplify the reaction they wanted to report, the Free Press cited headlines from other news outlets as if they were reporting actual facts: “headlines characterized Williams’ nearly 50-minute eulogy as ‘antiquated,’ and ‘controversial.’  One said he had a ‘bleak view’ and the message ‘provoked fury.'” 

Read those articles, and see that they’re also sourced back to social media – a neat trick if all you want is to buttress leftist dogma and not report facts.  Social media offer a wealth of harsh put-downs, none of it has to make any sense, and the invectives punch up your copy without the need to put reluctant public figures at risk of saying something profoundly stupid.

Yet there had to be outrage among liberal black clergy.  Reverend Williams preached a message that revealed all their Democrat talking points for the specious nonsense they are.  They’re not willing to challenge Williams’s points directly, because his message just made so much obvious sense.  What can his critics say?  That the prevalence of poor single mothers having to raise sons without their fathers is a cause for cultural pride?  Are they going to prove Williams wrong with an argument that the murder rate of black men by other black men is less of a threat than police shootings or Klan lynchings?  Even Jesse Jackson knew better than that, once upon a time, just as he once knew, and said, that the argument that “the right to privacy is of a higher order than the right of life … was the premise of slavery.”

There was a time when the moral authority of the black church, personified in Reverend Martin Luther King and a band of lesser known clergymen, was able to convict white America of racism and change a country’s heart.  Now, if a black pastor dares use his pulpit to call lost souls back to God, today’s hirelings call it a male-centered “theological insult” or mumble that their colleague just wasn’t “at his best.”  How things have changed since “Respect” hit number one.

T.R. Clancy looks at the world from Dearborn, Michigan. You can email him at trclancy@yahoo.com.



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Pelosi hangs on…


Nancy Pelosi stopped caring about what people think of her a long time ago, so she has no qualms about eating ice cream for breakfast with a stranger. Dark chocolate, two scoops, waffle cone. It’s a freezing January morning in Baltimore’s Little Italy, where Pelosi grew up in the 1950s. “You know what’s good about ice cream in this weather?” she says. “It doesn’t melt down your arm while you’re eating it.”

We are sitting in an Italian café on Albemarle Street, alone save for the staff and Pelosi’s security detail, to whom she has offered coffee. The Trump era has many Democrats in a panic, but Pelosi inhabits a more cheerful reality. She is convinced that America has hit bottom, has seen the error of its ways and is ready to put her back in charge.

The 78-year-old former House Speaker knows what her critics say about her: that she’s too old, too “toxic,” too polarizing; that after three decades in Congress and 15 years leading her party’s caucus, she has had her turn and needs to get out of the way. But there’s a reason she sticks around. Had Hillary Clinton won the 2016 election, she says, “we’d have a woman at the head of the table.” When that didn’t happen, Pelosi realized that without her, there might not be a woman in the room at all.

Pelosi is one of the most consequential political figures of her generation. It was her creativity, stamina and willpower that drove the defining Democratic accomplishments of the past decade, from universal access to health coverage to saving the U.S. economy from collapse, from reforming Wall Street to allowing gay people to serve openly in the military. Her Republican successors’ ineptitude has thrown her skills into sharp relief. It’s not a stretch to say Pelosi is one of very few legislators in Washington who actually know what they’re doing.

But few people talk about her in those terms. Instead, Pelosi is regarded as a political liability. Republicans see her as their biggest asset, and hope to motivate their voters in the midterm elections by putting her image in television ads. Meanwhile, despite the hundreds of millions of dollars she has raised for her party, nearly 60 Democratic House candidates have returned the favor by calling for new leadership. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s June 26 primary upset of one of Pelosi’s lieutenants, Representative Joe Crowley of New York, highlighted the restlessness of the party’s grassroots, and Pelosi’s erstwhile allies in the Congressional Black Caucus have pushed Representative James Clyburn to challenge her. Even the New York Times editorialized that she should go.

None of this fazes Pelosi. “If I weren’t effective, I wouldn’t be a target,” she says, working on her ice cream as leftover Christmas songs play in the background. The only part that bothers her, she says, is when women who are thinking of running for office tell her they couldn’t withstand the abuse. “I say, ‘Forget what they’re doing to me, because you won’t be that much of a target. But you will be a target, because this is about power. And if you look like you’re making headway they will come after you. And it won’t be a pretty sight.’”

The attacks on Pelosi are particularly ironic in this political moment. Since Donald Trump’s election, American women have poured into the streets, signed up to run for office in record numbers and surged to the polls. Many of them look a lot like Pelosi once did. They are brainy, liberal and comfortably situated moms who have looked at the political system with the exasperation of a person who has seen her husband get the laundry wrong and realized that she’s going to have to do it herself. If Democrats regain congressional power in November, as most experts expect, it will be by riding a tidal wave of female rage. But rather than tout their female leader–the first woman Speaker in history, and the odds-on favorite to reclaim the title–many Democratic politicians, both male and female, are running in the opposite direction. In this season of female political empowerment, Pelosi’s power still rankles.

It seems to enrage people that Pelosi feels entitled to things: money, power, respect. Of course it does–a woman is always held responsible for her reputation. Clinton, in her years running for President, was asked over and over again some version of the question, Why do you think people don’t like you? (Despite not being on any ballot, Clinton, too, figures prominently in the Republicans’ fall campaign strategy.) A powerful woman is always defined less by what she has done than by how she makes people feel.

Pelosi isn’t humble. Many women, she thinks, are afraid to show pride and need to see an example of confidence. Besides, making sure you get your due isn’t something you can delegate. One former Pelosi aide told me everything she does is rooted in this combination of obligation and entitlement: the sense that someone ought to do something, and she is the only one who can do it. Pelosi seems to feel no need to apologize for her status in the way women are expected to and men rarely are. Perhaps the assertion of ego by a woman is the most radical act there is: the refusal to submit or be subordinate.

It is not in Pelosi’s nature to cower or grovel. She will be who she is–liberal, privileged, unpopular–and let the chips fall where they may. To some Democrats, Pelosi’s is an attitude of unconscionable selfishness: she’s willing to damage her party to hold on to the position she believes she deserves. The story of Nancy Pelosi is, inevitably, the story of what people think of her. The way she is recognized and remembered, the way she is held to account. And so Pelosi doesn’t have the luxury of not caring about what people think of her: it’s the question on which her future, and the future of American politics, depends.

Pelosi addresses members of her caucus during a meeting in February

Pelosi addresses members of her caucus during a meeting in February

Gillian Laub for TIME

The morning after the biggest primary upset of 2018, Pelosi placed a call to Ocasio-Cortez. The 28-year-old socialist from the Bronx had predicated her campaign against the House’s fourth most powerful Democrat on getting rid of the old, out-of-touch party establishment, and pundits were speculating about the implications for other longtime leaders. Sitting on a goldenrod-colored sofa in her airy office on the second floor of the Capitol, Pelosi picked up the phone and set to the job of holding her fractious party together.

She told Ocasio-Cortez that while she loved Crowley, she had always wanted to see more young, progressive women in Congress, according to a person with direct knowledge of the conversation. “There’s a lot to do,” Pelosi told her. “Thank you for your courage to run. This is not for the faint of heart.” It was typical Pelosi–a compliment, wrapped in an invitation to join the team, with just a hint of potential consequences. And it reflected a political education that, for Pelosi, began a lifetime ago.

The youngest of seven children and the only girl, Pelosi grew up like royalty. Her father Thomas D’Alesandro Jr. was a member of Congress when she was born, in 1940, and the mayor of Baltimore by the time she was 7. When young Nancy wasn’t being ferried to a Catholic girls’ school, she was attending her father’s ceremonial events or helping him get out the vote. Her father’s ancestors had immigrated from Genoa, Venice and Abruzzo, her mother’s from the southern Italian city of Campobasso. The family lived in a three-story brick row house in the heart of Little Italy, a blue collar community near Baltimore’s industrial waterfront. The house appears vacant now; Pelosi points it out to me as we drive by. (We had planned to take a walking tour, but it’s a cold day, and she detests the cold.) A few blocks over, there are hipster restaurants and lofts, but in this part of town, the corners still feature traditional pasta houses.

D’Alesandro wore a bow tie and straw boater and helmed an old-school urban Democratic machine, with party bosses pledging the loyalty of their tribes: the Italians, the Irish, the Jews, the blacks. His politics were about favor-trading and patronage, not grand ideological designs. (His aspirations to become governor were thwarted by a corruption scandal involving parking-garage construction, according to a 1954 TIME report.) Pelosi has a strong sense of ethnic identity–she credits her Italian heritage for her stamina–and as a leader she approaches the factions of the Democrats in a similar party-boss style. As her friend the late Congressman John Murtha used to say, “Don’t think she’s from San Francisco. She’s from Baltimore.”

Pelosi’s family made her a Democrat, but it was the 1960s that made her a liberal. While at Trinity College, a Catholic women’s school in D.C. now known as Trinity Washington University, she attended John F. Kennedy’s Inauguration and was swept off her feet. “Forget movie stars. We were all in love with JFK,” recalls Pelosi’s college friend Rita Meyer, one of a tight group of four girlfriends who remain close today. Her worldview still resembles JFK’s brand of liberalism: Catholic social justice, with a touch of noblesse oblige.

She embarked on the life of a traditional wife and mother. It was 1963, the year The Feminine Mystique was published, and the idea that women would graduate from college and start careers hadn’t taken hold. She had watched her own mother’s ambitions stifled by a domineering spouse. Now Pelosi followed her husband, financier Paul Pelosi, to New York City and then to San Francisco, giving birth to five children in rapid succession.

Her life changed in 1975, with a call one afternoon from then San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto. “Nancy, what are you doing? Making a big pot of pasta?” she recalls him saying. (Pelosi is not much of a cook.) He offered her a spot on the city’s library commission and insisted that she take it. “I said, ‘I’m interested in the library, but I don’t need an appointment to the commission,’” she recalls. “And he said, ‘You shouldn’t say that. You’re doing the work; you should receive official recognition for it.’” That was a feminist lesson that stuck with her–a woman should get the credit she deserved–even if it was amusingly dissonant with the mayor’s assumption that she spent her days slaving over a stove.

Pelosi became active in California politics, raising money for candidates. She went on to chair the California Democratic Party and took a lead role in organizing the 1984 Democratic National Convention. She discovered a talent for assuaging the egos of powerful men even as she stood her ground against them. Yet she still envisioned herself as a helpmeet, a behind-the-scenes player. Then, in 1987, the San Francisco Congresswoman Sala Burton, who was dying of colon cancer, called Pelosi to her bedside and made her promise to run for the seat. When Burton died, Pelosi moved into an elegant house in the posh end of the district and entered a fractious 14-way Democratic primary.

Pelosi positioned herself as a well-connected pragmatist, with the slogan “A voice that will be heard.” She spent more than $1 million, a staggering sum at the time and more than the rest of the field combined. Her campaign targeted the district’s wealthy residents with flyers that promised she would fight income-tax hikes. It was likely Republican voters who carried her to victory, according to Marc Sandalow’s biography Madam Speaker.

The district was the center of the city’s gay community. Pelosi became its champion, fighting for everything from health insurance and housing subsidies to the AIDS quilt, a football-field-size memorial she convinced the National Park Service to allow on the Mall. She co-authored the bipartisan 1990 Ryan White Act, federally funding the treatment of low-income AIDS patients, which she muscled onto the national agenda and got a Republican President to sign. She was a supporter of gay marriage at a time when her party was pushing the Defense of Marriage Act. In 1993, she read a letter from Bill Clinton at an AIDS rally that the President declined to attend in person. When detractors sneer at her “San Francisco values,” she hears a homophobic dog whistle.

As Pelosi saw it, she was sent to Washington to stick up for her constituents. “She knew people personally who were dying by the week,” says James Hormel, a co-founder of the Human Rights Campaign and an early Pelosi supporter. “The people in her district don’t see her as somebody whose time has passed. They see her as a very vigorous defender of their rights.”

In these days of gridlock, most members of Congress exhibit a sort of learned helplessness, waiting for someone else to come up with an idea so that they can come out against it. It is especially bracing, in this environment, to relive some of Pelosi’s early crusades. She may not have set out for Congress, but once she got there, she attacked it with urgency–and frequently won.

As a junior member, she spent five years fine-tuning a complicated plan to preserve San Francisco’s verdant Presidio by converting it from a military installation to a public-private partnership with the National Park Service. Her own party put the legislation aside, but Pelosi kept at it, enlisting Republican allies, lobbying fellow members and offering policy concessions. In 1995, she managed to get a Republican Congress to create the nation’s most expensive national park–in the middle of San Francisco. As one Republican, James Hansen of Utah, marveled at the time, “There is no question she is a very persistent legislator.”

Pelosi claimed to have no interest in a leadership position. But when, in 1997, the only Californian among the Democratic brass stepped down, she saw her moment and began jockeying, calling in favors from her years of fundraising. “She raised the f-cking dough,” explained her friend and mentor, former Congressman John Burton of California. “She ought to be able to get something for it.”

It took four years for the role Pelosi wanted, Democratic whip, to open up. She spent the whole time running a hard-fought race against Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, who had known Pelosi since her college days. Pelosi was accused of threatening to punish an unsupportive colleague by getting her district redrawn. Hoyer eventually became Pelosi’s No. 2 and a committed frenemy–a situation House Democrats describe as a long-running cold war.

During the George W. Bush years, Pelosi was a vociferous critic. She was the most prominent Democrat to oppose the war in Iraq from the start, believing the intelligence wasn’t solid. In 2006, buoyed by an electorate that had come around to Pelosi’s antiwar position, the Democrats won the House, and Pelosi became America’s first female Speaker.

Then, at the height of the 2008 campaign, the economy collapsed. On the afternoon of Sept. 18, Pelosi called Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and suggested they meet with congressional leaders the next day. But Paulson said it couldn’t wait that long. That evening, the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate met in Pelosi’s conference room with Paulson, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Chris Cox and White House representatives.

There were just six weeks until the election, and it was clear that the bailout Bernanke and Paulson were asking for would be extremely unpopular. House Republican leader John Boehner couldn’t deliver the 100 votes he had promised. So Pelosi went back to her people and begged for more support. “She had to go to the Democratic caucus and convince them to give a $700 billion bailout to the most unpopular human beings on the face of the earth, then go home and face their constituents who were losing their homes,” says John Lawrence, Pelosi’s chief of staff at the time. The bailout passed the House with the support of 172 Democrats and 91 Republicans.

In this and other legislative jams, Pelosi’s strategy was persistence, persuasion and an encyclopedic knowledge of her caucus: what they wanted and what they feared. The night before a big vote, she and her staff would pore over the list of uncommitted members, figuring out who could be swayed and how. “Invariably, she’d get to the bottom of the list and go back to the top and start over,” says Lawrence, “which was not very appealing at 2 a.m.”

When Barack Obama won in 2008, Democrats had their chance to put roughly a decade’s worth of pent-up ideas into practice. They enacted fair pay for women, college aid and the stimulus, which included a raft of anti-poverty efforts. Pelosi’s House passed other priorities that died in the Senate, including a union-boosting measure and climate legislation. Her unruly caucus spanned the ideological spectrum, from Blue Dog conservatives to far-left ideologues, but Pelosi never lost a major vote. “I was in those rooms when people were saying, ‘Let’s just throw in the towel,’ and she’d say, ‘Give me the names and leave me alone for a minute,’” says George Miller, a retired California Congressman.

The crowning achievement of Pelosi’s career was health care reform. Democratic Presidents had been pursuing universal health care since the New Deal. Pelosi helped craft the House version of the Affordable Care Act. The trickiest part was balancing regional interests, particularly in setting Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates, which vary by jurisdiction. At one point, Pelosi and others recall, an aide told her there were 67 members who hadn’t committed to vote for the bill and asked how they should split up the work of persuading them. “Give me the list,” Pelosi said, and she made calls through the night.

Pelosi also knew when people didn’t want to hear from her and could find other buttons to push. To win the vote of Joe Donnelly, a conservative Indiana Democrat who is now in the Senate, she got the former president of Notre Dame to appeal to his Catholic conscience. Zack Space, a Greek-American former Congressman from Ohio, started getting calls from the Greek-American donor community when Pelosi wanted to apply pressure on a different measure. “She could hear frequencies from the caucus that weren’t audible to others,” says former New York Congressman Steve Israel.

In January 2010, Democrats lost the Massachusetts Senate seat vacated by the death of Ted Kennedy, depriving them of their crucial 60th vote to surmount a filibuster. Sensing that the party was losing the politics of the health care debate, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel circulated a plan to pull back, passing only a children’s health care measure and moving on from the issue. At a meeting in the Oval Office, Pelosi confronted Obama. “Mr. President, I know there are some on your staff who want to take the namby-pamby approach,” she said, according to two people who were in the room. “That’s unacceptable.” Obama took Pelosi’s side, and Emanuel’s plan died.

Obama’s relationship with Pelosi was his closest one on Capitol Hill, a former Obama aide tells me. “More than anyone else in the United States Congress, House or Senate, Democrat or Republican,” says the Obama aide, “she always kept her word to him, and she always delivered.” (The favor wasn’t necessarily repaid: Obama refused to appear at a Pelosi campaign event during his 2012 re-election campaign, according to a source familiar with the episode.)

The halcyon days of liberal legislating were short. In 2010, Republicans took back the House, riding a wave of voter anger at Obama, the Wall Street bailouts and health care reform. Pelosi was expected to resign in defeat, but she refused. There was only one way she would be vindicated: winning the majority again. And she was willing to wait.

Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer huddle in the Capitol in March

Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer huddle in the Capitol in March

Saul Loeb—AFP/Getty Images

If it’s Friday, this must be Houston. Pelosi has raised $680 million for her party since 2002, and on this February evening she is clicking her way across the basement floor of the convention-center hotel where the local Democratic Party is holding a fundraising dinner. It’s one of 71 events she’ll attend in a three-month span. In public, she tries to mention Trump as little as possible, but as she speed-walks through the hotel she can’t help herself. “I just can’t get over this President,” she says. “He is so beneath the dignity of the office, with everything that he says. It’s just amazing to me!”

The people at the exclusive predinner reception have all paid to meet Pelosi, but that doesn’t mean they all adore her. “She is a strong leader,” says Sergio Lira, a local school-board official. “But honestly, I think maybe it’s time for a change in leadership. She’s been there a long time.” Democrats, he says, need leaders who can galvanize and rally the base. “Nothing against her,” he says, “but I think her best years are behind her.”

It is the Harris County Democratic Party’s largest annual dinner in history, a testament to the energy on the left this year. Pelosi sits at a table with her longtime friend, the Democratic megadonor Amber Mostyn, under a giant chandelier. Onstage is Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a notorious stage hog who once complained that hurricane names are racist. To Pelosi’s surprise–she hates being surprised–Jackson Lee has Hillary Clinton on her phone, which she holds up to the mic, causing booming echoes. Clinton, reading woodenly, acknowledges “the presence of our great Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi,” then reads a confusing tribute to a dead woman who has not been honored on the program. (Pelosi’s relationship with Clinton is cordial but distant, aides to both say.)

Finally, nearly three hours in, Pelosi takes the stage. Friends say she has improved as a public speaker, but she’s still uninspiring, reading laundry lists of policies, reciting shopworn slogans and trotting out the same quotations over and over. “Some people have an unlimited tolerance for the suffering of others,” she says at one point. “And we’re like, ‘What? That’s not the way it’s supposed to be.’”

Republicans would like the 2018 election to be about Pelosi. “Nancy Pelosi is a theme that works anywhere in the country. It’s very motivating,” says Corry Bliss, who is in charge of the House Republicans’ super PAC, speaking as if Pelosi were a policy proposal. People have a “visceral” reaction to her, he tells me. “We will spend tens of millions of dollars reminding people across the country of what she would do as Speaker.”

A Pennsylvania House special election in March foreshadowed this approach. Nearly 60% of the GOP’s ads consisted of attacks on Pelosi, while 7% of the Democrat’s ads featured the candidate assuring voters he didn’t support her, according to the Wesleyan Media Project. The Democrat, Conor Lamb, won anyway. “If all we’ve got is Nancy Pelosi,” a Republican strategist told me, “we’re pretty desperate. It’s not going to be enough.”

What Pelosi would like the election to be about is neither her nor Trump but the tax legislation that the Republican Congress passed in December, which she has dubbed the “GOP tax scam.” Calling it a handout for the wealthy, she has derided its benefits to the middle class as mere “crumbs,” a comment for which Republicans pilloried her. But Pelosi thinks she’s winning the argument. In their midterm campaigns, Republicans have largely stopped touting the tax bill, as the message didn’t seem to be resonating.

Pelosi may have a rare talent for legislating, but her campaign skills are questionable. As proof of her acumen, she’s still telling the story of the 2000 elections, when she helped her party pick up five House seats in California even as Democrats lost races across the country. She takes credit when her party wins, but blames others when Democrats lose. Her message this year, that Republicans are for the rich, is essentially the same one Democrats have used in every recent election, with a couple of new slogans attached–even thought the President is far from a normal Republican. “The leadership is still in this 1990s mind-set,” a former member tells me.

The morning after the dinner in Houston, Pelosi travels to a teachers’-union hall for a discussion on the tax law. She sits in a folding chair at the front of the room, enduring another endless preaching-to-the-choir event. One person asks her what Democrats can do about people “voting against their best interests,” and Pelosi speaks carefully, not wanting to be baited into a “basket of deplorables” moment.

Trump voters, she says, need compassion, not condescension. “I don’t want to be disrespectful of any of the people who voted for the President,” she says. “I do want to make sure they understand what he is doing to them.” It may take patience, she adds. “Did you ever know anybody who was dating a jerk?” she asks. “Could you tell her? No. You have to wait until she figures it out for herself–hopefully before it’s too late–or you’ll just drive her into his arms.”

Later, Pelosi mingles with the crowd. A woman has brought a book to be signed for her daughter. “You’re an inspiration,” she says. A man volunteers advice: “Put President Trump on the spot!” he says. “Offer to debate him!” The women have gratitude; the men have demands. The women respect her; the men want to tell her what to do. She smiles graciously and poses for another picture.

For someone like Pelosi, who has spent her life in service of institutions–indeed, for anyone who has spent their life following a set of agreed-upon rules–the Trump era has been destabilizing. But Pelosi evinces an odd equanimity. Not wanting to become Trump’s foil, she lambastes him far less than she did Bush. “Being surprised, disappointed, even wondering about his behavior is a luxury we can’t afford,” she tells me over dinner at a Houston resort. It’s another one of her tiny nonmeals: she’ll consume only a bowl of seafood chowder and a glass of water, and spend nearly three hours talking. “I can’t waste my time thinking, Why would he say that? Why would anybody support somebody who says that?” she says. “It doesn’t matter anymore. All we have to do is win this election so that we can have leverage for the American people.”

In the meantime, Pelosi has used her scant power in Congress to considerable effect. Despite controlling all three branches of government, Republicans have proved unable to enact most of their promises, including their signature vow to repeal Obamacare. Pelosi and her Senate counterpart, Chuck Schumer, have repeatedly outmaneuvered the President. In September 2017, they got Trump to agree to a spending deal that raised the debt ceiling and funded the government, drawing howls from conservatives. In March they cut another spending deal, this one so favorable to Democrats that Trump blasted it even as he signed it.

No detail in that bill escaped Pelosi’s attention. At one point, to resolve an impasse over minor-league baseball salaries, she worked out a compromise with the league through her relationship with the president of the San Francisco Giants, securing the players a pay increase. The final bill lifted spending caps and boosted domestic appropriations by some $60 billion, while blocking Republican efforts at environmental, labor and banking deregulation. “We wouldn’t have been able to pass that spending package under Barack Obama,” a House Democratic staffer told me. “Republicans would have laughed us out of the room.” The real art of the deal in Washington is being practiced by Pelosi, in what ought to be the Capitol’s least powerful caucus.

Pelosi’s talents aren’t always enough. Last year, the President told her and Schumer he wanted to protect young undocumented immigrants, known as Dreamers. But he soon retreated to a hard-line position. A January government shutdown over the issue ended after two days, when Senate Democrats panicked and caved. In February, Pelosi made a last stand, taking to the floor of the House for eight hours to read the stories of young immigrants. It was a political stunt designed to draw attention away from the fact that Democrats had failed the Dreamers.

The following month, Pelosi called Trump in a last-ditch effort to work out a solution. He greeted her by noting that he had recently run into her son in Palm Beach, Fla. Pelosi steered the conversation to immigration, urging him to support bipartisan legislation pairing a Dreamer fix with border-security measures. Trump, noncommittal, suggested they have lunch instead. Pelosi concluded that she was wasting her time and turned him down.

Trump blasts Pelosi in public, but in private he treats her with a sometimes awkward solicitousness. At one White House meeting, Pelosi casually said that the group assembled should “pray for success” on immigration, according to an aide briefed on the meeting. “Are you going to pray?” Trump asked her. She ignored him and kept talking, only to have him repeatedly implore her to “do a prayer.” Seeing that she did not intend to conduct one, Trump finally got Vice President Mike Pence to do it instead.

Thanks in large part to Trump’s unpopularity, a comeback is in sight for the Democrats. As many as 91 Republican-held seats may be vulnerable in November, and most nonpartisan handicappers think Democrats are favored to gain the 23 seats they need to retake the House. That would make Pelosi the Speaker again–if a majority of Democrats support her.

She insists that they do, but her hold on the caucus has clearly diminished. In 2016, 63 House Democrats–nearly one-third–voted against her for leader. No one argued that Pelosi’s challenger, Ohio Representative Tim Ryan, could manage the caucus better, negotiate better deals with Trump or better shepherd complicated legislation through the fractious and unruly House. They just wanted change.

Since then, the angst has only grown. Crowley’s defeat inspired more infighting, with younger members such as Representative Seth Moulton of Massachusetts agitating for her ouster. Ocasio-Cortez, who hasn’t said whether she would support Pelosi, epitomizes the young, diverse, far-left grassroots Democrats who find Pelosi frustrating. In June, after Congresswoman Maxine Waters urged supporters to publicly confront members of the Trump Administration, Pelosi rebuked her, tweeting, “Trump’s daily lack of civility has provoked responses that are predictable but unacceptable.” The base erupted. The old, white establishment of the Democratic Party “just isn’t where the base is on how big a threat white supremacy is to the country,” says Sean McElwee, co-founder of Data for Progress, “vs. how big a threat being mean to Trump is.”

Despite the frustrations, Pelosi persists. No one I spoke to expects she will lose a Speaker vote if Democrats take the House by a big margin. If they lose or win a slim majority, it could be a different story. Her grip on her caucus is principally due to her legislative skills and the favors she has accrued. But it’s also because there’s no obvious successor. Over the years, Pelosi has frozen out, stymied or simply outlasted younger members who seemed to pose threats, most of whom–Chris Van Hollen, Xavier Becerra, Israel–have given up and left the House. Crowley’s loss removed another potential threat, while also creating a vacancy in leadership. A competition for that position would take some heat off Pelosi. But the threat is real: under pressure from members, Pelosi in mid-July pushed back the party’s post-election leadership vote until after Thanksgiving.

The idea that she’s a liability peeves Pelosi and her staff, who argue Republican congressional leaders are just as unpopular, if not more so. In a June Gallup poll, Pelosi’s approval rating was 29%, while outgoing Speaker Paul Ryan’s was 40%, Schumer’s was 29%, and Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell’s was 24%. “I think I have my pluses and my minuses,” Pelosi tells me. “But I have a confidence about what I bring to the table in terms of my network of friends around the country. And I get things done, even with a Republican President.”

Pelosi has been reading about the technicalities of impeachment, but she thinks it’s a political loser now. “I have my judgment about this President,” she says. “But the American people are not going to accept an impeachment if there isn’t solid, conclusive evidence presented in a nonpolitical way.” Some of her colleagues, I reply, believe that evidence already exists. “We’ll see what Mr. Mueller discovers,” she says. “It remains to be seen.”

It’s now dark outside and I’m exhausted, having met Pelosi after her morning walk and 8 a.m. hair appointment, taken half as many meetings and worn substantially more comfortable shoes. After this, I’ll go to bed, but Pelosi will take advantage of the time difference to make several hours of calls to the West Coast. An aide refers to her pace as “kill-the-staff speed.”

Thinking back to our conversation in Baltimore, I ask Pelosi if men aren’t right to feel threatened by the rise of women. After all, there’s only so much power to go around. She disagrees, insisting it’s not a zero-sum game. But isn’t there only one Speaker of the House? “That’s just one job,” she says. “There are other jobs.”

Once, while she was Speaker, Pelosi traveled to Afghanistan via Kuwait. The Kuwaitis treated her with elaborate deference, calling her “Your Excellency.” As the military plane soared over snow-capped peaks, Pelosi heard the pilot say he was headed for Kabul. That’s wrong, she said. You’re supposed to be taking me to Bagram Airfield to see the troops. But the pilot wouldn’t take her word for it. He called the U.S. embassy in Pakistan. She could hear him on the radio: “Our instructions say to go to Kabul, but payload wants to go to Bagram.” Pelosi cracks up at the memory: “In a few hours, I went from ‘excellency’ to ‘payload’!”

She leaves the real punch line unspoken. It didn’t matter what they called her. In the end, they did what she wanted.

This appears in the September 17, 2018 issue of TIME.



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Palestinians.jpg

Bomb, shoot, stab…


A Palestinian protester throws a molotov cocktail /

A Palestinian protester throws a molotov cocktail / Getty Images

BY: Adam Kredo

The Palestinians continue to groom and employ an increasing number of child terrorists to launch strikes on Israel, throwing into further question the ability of the Palestinian government to form a legitimate state, according to a new report on child terrorists and their enablers provided to the Washington Free Beacon.

At least 18 Palestinian child terrorists ranging in ages from 13 to 18 years old have been caught carrying out terrorist attacks in the first eight months of 2018, including stabbing attacks, bombings, and other types of violent terrorism, according to a new report issued by the Human Rights Voices organization, which tracks and analyzes these attacks.

Since 2015, there has been an alarming use of child terrorists by the Palestinians, according to the report, which found “at least 142 separate terrorist attacks by at least 174 Palestinian children” since September of that year. These attacks led to the deaths of seven Israelis and wounding of 58 others, including some who were children themselves.

The support for Palestinian child terrorists is raising new fears and questions about the Palestinian government’s ability to govern its own state amid a parallel and recent rise in riots along the border with Israel.

“The Palestinian Authority claims it is ready and deserving of statehood. But a society that encourages its own children to engage in violence, to become armed combatants, to kill and to maim in pursuit of their parents’ ambitions—contrary to the most elementary norms of human decency—is not ready, willing or able to accept the essentials of peaceful coexistence,” said Anne Bayefsky, a human rights scholar who serves as director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust and president of Human Rights Voices.

“The fact is that the wave of Palestinian terrorism that began in September 2015—a wave of stabbings and knifings emulated far beyond the Middle East—has a particularly grotesque feature: child terrorists,” Bayefsky said.

The “preferred method of murder” for these Palestinian child terrorists is stabbings and knifings, according to the report, which found this to be “the modus operandi in 105 of the 142 attacks.”

The ages of these attackers ranged from as young as 8 to 17 years of age. The bulk of these attacks—125 in total—were perpetrated by terrorists aged 15 through 17.

“The exact age of the perpetrator under the age of 18 was unspecified in the cases of 20 additional offenders,” according to the report.

The numbers could be even higher.

“These totals do not include incidents where children are known to have been involved in terror but the exact numbers involved are unknown,” the report notes.

In 2018, for instance, “children have been repeatedly involved in violence along the Gaza border, both as perpetrators (April 6, 2018, sent to the front lines; April 20, 2018, engaged in a variety of attacks; June 9, 2018, attack on Israeli military post; June 24, 2018, arson attack; August 3, 2018, infiltration of Israeli territory), and as ‘human shields,'” the report notes.

At least 101 of these child terrorists were male, while 32 were identified as female.

The report criticizes the United Nations for attempting to spin these attacks as the result of Israeli aggression.

“The UN Secretary-General’s most recent annual report on Children and Armed Conflict, released in May 2018, turns Palestinian child terrorists into victims of Israeli defensive reactions,” according to the Human Rights Voices report.

The U.N. report, for example, describes certain attacks as “two girls, three boys aged between 15 and 17 [who] were killed in the context of stabbing or presumed stabbing attacks.” They are not described as terrorists.

The U.N. report “also never mentions ‘Hamas.’ It manages to find ‘worrisome’ not the child stabbers, bombers and shooters, but ‘calls by Palestinian political actors for the participation of youth in stone-throwing against Israelis,'” according to Bayefsky’s report. “At least 32 Palestinian children were involved in carrying out terror attacks during the reporting period of the Secretary General’s report.”

This type of spin by the U.N. has led to accusations it is “an active enabler of the violation of the rights of Israelis and Palestinians: the basic rights to life and security of the person of the Israeli victims of Palestinian children engaged in terrorism, and the rights of Palestinian children not to be recruited or engaged in terrorism in the first place,” according to the report.



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