Bi-Partisan Fiscal Irresponsibility

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

America’s recent presidents have been all over the spectrum politically, but they shared one thing in common: near-total indifference to our national debt.

George W. Bush wasn’t that interested in fiscal matters, not vetoing a single bill his first six years in office. He exerted little influence as the deficit started to climb. Barack Obama zealously pursued spend and borrow strategies.  He affirmed the mindset of ignoring future implications.

Fiscal conservatives who hoped a Republican president could right the ship were crushed when Donald Trump announced the giant entitlement programs were safe from reform on his watch.

Now, Joe Biden, in a time of peace and prosperity, except for our self-inflicted Covid relief spending, has proposed a $6.1 trillion budget which includes authorization of almost $4 billion of borrowing in a single year.  That’s enough debt, inflation-adjusted, to finance the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the Great Depression, and both world wars combined (but not the Green New Deal).

Why do presidents matter? After all, appropriations bills must originate in the House and the president has no constitutional spending authority.

The reason is that most politicians, including many who won’t admit it, love spending money without having to raise taxes. Budget cutting is tough work and costs political support.

No matter how urgent the reductions or how indefensible the cause, the deprived party always raises a media-supported stink while the beneficiaries – the taxpayers of the future – are mute. Knowing that your “conservative“ leaders aren’t fully behind your cost-cutting efforts stymies even the most stalwart legislators.

But the Biden administration is breaking new ground. They came into office with the virus on the wane, vaccinations becoming available through the prodigious efforts of their predecessors and the economy growing. Meanwhile, the graph showing the growth of federal debt, now over 100% of GDP, resembles a hockey stick.

But they didn’t despair at the apparent lack of opportunity to spend now that they had the reins. The New Republic advised to “spend like crazy“ anyway and influential party leftists like AOC and Bernie agreed. So they created an imaginary crisis requiring $1.9 trillion more in Covid relief in addition to the $3.7 trillion already spent.

Pitching a crisis just now isn’t easy to do. The housing market is up 12%, manufacturing is at a five-year high, unemployment is falling and private-sector GDP growth was 4.3% in the last quarter.

Still, they soldier on. But the “Covid relief” bill looks suspiciously like a Democrat wish list. There’s a $15 minimum wage mandate.  Those who are still unable or unwilling to work get a $400 per week bonus employment benefit, which will make working a losing proposition for many. Schools get $130 billion, even though they have been mostly closed and unable to spend their previous allocation.

There’s $400 billion to bail out overly generous pension plan promises in big-spending states. There’s pork galore. Art, farms, climate, bridges, you name it.  About 4% of the funding goes directly combating Covid.

Biden is determined to reward his political supporters.  He preposterously insists that he learned the dangers of spending too little from the 2009 “shovel ready“ infrastructure debacle and won’t repeat that mistake. It’s not intuitively clear how, if they couldn’t constructively spend $830 billion, even more money to bungle would have helped. Still, spending for its own sake has become the de facto operating principle.

Republicans as usual are ramping up their anti-spending rhetoric now that Democrats are in charge. Democrats love to point out Republican past fiscal failures to justify their own reckless behavior.

But not one congressional Democrat has stood up to demand a stop to the madness. Groupthink is a powerful force. Surely some of them must be sane enough to recognize that we are on an unsustainable and highly dangerous path and that we are unconscionably victimizing our children and grandchildren.

It’s not rocket science. Yet the desire to be a good member of their tribe trumps all.

So this is how the new Bidenland works. There’s no longer any need for Covid economic relief and, if there were, this “rescue” bill wouldn’t provide it.  We spend because we can.

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Thomas C. Patterson, MD is a retired Emergency Medicine physician, Arizona state Senator and Arizona Senate Majority Leader in the ’90s. He is a former Chairman, Goldwater Institute.

A New Form Of Government

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

We have a new form of government.  One we did not consciously select.

This is just one of the bizarre elements of the ongoing Wuhan virus crisis and subsequent lockdown. What is remarkable is the fundamental abuse of power we have endured.

In reality, the government has on a very basic level, ignored structural protections of our constitutional system. It has curtailed rights to assemble, to worship, to engage in free enterprise. It has participated in unconstitutional takings, restricted the movement of individuals, and inflated the currency. Each one of these factors is important to liberty and the future of the country.

It happened so quickly, amidst such fear, it is astounding to see how easily this crisis has been allowed to slip through the institutional protections of liberty. With hardly a notice, we now have a new form of government. Without much prodding, many people gave up their liberty and then resented those who were not willing to give up their liberty.

The unelected bureaucrats acted swiftly but the courts acted slowly, if at all, to protect our liberties.

The Founders of this nation were greatly concerned about controlling power since the abuse of power is the hallmark of a tyrannical government. They were great students of history and philosophy. As such, they set up legal and institutional procedures to both limit power and to see that those who exercised power would be accountable for their actions.

They gave us an intricate separation of powers, keeping legislative, executive, and judicial powers separated and distinct. The various loci of power were to compete with each other, to check and balance one another in order to limit the exercise of power. The many sublevels of the federal government were to compete with each other, or so we believed, creating internal separations. Uniquely, we began with a written Constitution and a specific Bill of Rights, limiting the government’s reach.

All of this structural protection rests on the notion that government only exists to protect the inherent rights of individuals granted by God, and that government operates legitimately only upon the informed consent of those being governed. No class of people was born to rule others. And no class of people was born to be ruled either—the only system the world had previously known.

The government would protect the natural rights of the people, and for the most part, to otherwise leave them alone. The people could, and would organize many private voluntary organizations to undertake tasks that required large social cooperation. It was a good plan and it worked pretty well for a long time.

How did this system work in the current crisis?  It didn’t.  Our liberties were largely suspended in the name of safety.

An unelected administrative agency, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control, a medical apparatus founded in 1946 as an extension of post-WW II malaria control), took actions and assumed powers beyond anything ever imagined. The CDC is not subject to consent by those governed, subject to little in the way of internal checks and balances, and it determined the degree to which a novel mysterious virus from communist China was an imminent health hazard—and what to do about it.

These problematic agencies often flex executive, legislative and judicial powers all under the same roof. A very narrow sliver of the medical community made controversial, sometimes unsupportable, and arbitrary decisions with huge consequences for everyone. A single bureaucrat, Dr. Anthony Fauci, known mainly for his work in the early 1980s with HIV/AIDS, became a policy czar, or even dictator, promulgating regulations and edicts, without scientific consensus, let alone checks and balances.

That’s it? All that’s needed is their opinion and you must comply?

Every other societal factor from the economy’s health, preservation of private wealth, personal freedom, to adherence to our Constitution gave way on the basis of fear—with thanks to a compliant mass media and administrative pronouncements. As the governor of New Jersey so breezily put it, “The Bill of Rights is above my paygrade.” Such hubris. Such audacity.

Using the skeletal form, but not the spirit of federalism, governors, and mayors across the country violated—in the name of public health and safety—most of the cherished freedoms of this country. Almost all these “laws” were in fact mere proclamations. Based loosely on statutes granting emergency powers (sometimes), usually for civil unrest (or nothing), the public obeyed. Mass media failed to question or challenge the usurpations, in mass dereliction of their ethical codes. The one Supreme Court case with any bearing got little attention, Jacobson v. Massachusetts (1905).

Asking citizens to “stay off the street” or even quarantine, is different than shutting down someone’s business, a “taking” without compensation for “public health and safety,” a phrase that seems to have no limit. It is as Chinese communist as the virus itself. We have quarantined the healthy, instead of just the sick.

Our leaders destroyed the wealth and economic lives of countless individuals, leaving the nation deeper in debt than its already deep dark pit. We will be lucky to avoid depression, hyperinflation, or both. In addition, they have set a dangerous precedent: the government will send out checks to people it has harmed with money created with no corresponding production.  In fact, by forcing people not to work, they forced people not to produce.  Further, they have acculturated millions to accept and expect support from the government.

Many governors took their instructions from an unelected malaria-derived agency and proceeded to enforce rules while ignoring their respective legislatures or state judiciaries, which remained inert. Light lockdowns, heavy lockdowns, long and short terms, arbitrary lists of what got locked down—food stores vs. gyms vs. churches a bewildering variety of choices, with no self-limiting characteristics. The rules clearly need to be re-written. Even for short-term emergencies, this kind of discretionary power should not belong to anyone—and resistance to arbitrary rule was quickly squelched by a press that screamed “believe the scientists,” whose actions were undelegated, beyond belief and self-contradictory.

What it really meant was “believe some scientists”, while banning the view of other scientists.

Where are the limits to their power? Apparently, there are none. What will be the next “crisis” that science says must be handled by depriving us of our liberty?  Will it be another pandemic, environmental concerns, social inequality?  Heretofore, only in the case of war, were our liberties curtailed.  Where in the Constitution was such power granted to white-frocked health experts?

You would think that like a declaration of war that suspends liberties, the state legislators should at least vote on granting extraordinary powers to a governor, or the city council, or to a mayor. We learned no consent was needed. No check, no balance, no limitation on their arbitrary and capricious use of power. Just a recommendation from the unelected folks at the CDC, whose knowledge was lacking and policy proclamations contradictory.  They get to decide when we can have some of our rights back and we willingly comply, against our best self-interest, from abject fear they have instilled in us.

What we have is a new form of government. One that has infected us with greater risk than viral infection. It is ugly, and it is dangerous to our liberty. It is a government without checks and balances and without a Constitution.

We are not a nation to be ruled by proclamation. We need to be inoculated against this novel abuse of power.  What, in the end, is the difference between wielding the power that comes from the barrel of a gun from the power of the pen?  No difference really because if you don’t obey the power of the pen, you wind up complying with the power of the gun.  The gun, or the use of coercive force, in the hands of the government, is what the whole American experiment was set up to resist.

Rush Limbaugh: Conservative Icon and Giant

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Rush Limbaugh’s passing this week triggered sadness on the Right and glee on the Left. The Left’s grave dancers exulted in his death, believing that they had just rid themselves of one of America’s greatest and most persuasive opponents of their twisted views favoring an Orwellian future for our nation.

With Rush no longer available to counsel and guide us, conservatives should take the opportunity afforded by his passing to reflect on one of the most basic questions of all — what is it to be a conservative? What differentiates us from the Left?

Conservatism is founded on two core concepts: (1) personal responsibility and (2) the critical importance of liberty in our lives. In an important way, these two concepts are opposite sides of the same coin. We should have the liberty to govern our own lives but in having that right must be prepared to take personal responsibility for outcomes resulting from the exercise of those liberty rights.

The Left, on the other hand, despises both of these concepts. This hatred is not merely peripheral to the Left’s worldview but rather is at the very core of it. The Left has created a cult of victimhood.  To prosper under the Left, you have to prove yourself a victim. (But, as we shall see in a moment, you have to be the right kind of victim). If you are a “person of color,” all of your woes have nothing to do with the choices you have voluntarily made in your life but instead are the result of a racist society. There is a racist under every rock and behind every bush. How America could be a racist society when 350,000 white Union soldiers gave their lives in a great civil war to free black Americans is never explained by the Left and is studiously ignored.

The term “person of color” was carefully chosen by the Left to enlarge its potential base from blacks to Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and American Indians. The only group clearly excluded from the party is whites. In the Left’s racist worldview (and here really is something that is truly racist), whites are responsible for all  woes of “people of color.” And thus we see the proliferation of the racist terms “white privilege,” “white fragility,” etc. We see the Left’s preoccupation with “reparations,” where people who never owned slaves will have their taxes raised to make payments of free money to people who never were slaves (but happen to be of the right skin color).

Now, it’s true that some people truly are victims:  a policeman who is shot in the spine by a criminal and spends the rest of his life in a wheelchair; an American soldier who fought in Vietnam, was exposed to Agent Orange and prematurely contracts a fatal form of cancer; a young boy or girl whose parents are both killed in an automobile accident after being hit by a drunk driver. But these are hardly the kind of victims whose cause is ever championed by the Left. For the most part, these individuals and their fates are largely ignored because they do not advance the Left’s identity politics. White high school seniors who are discriminated against by Harvard University when they apply for admission are also “victims” (victims of truly racist admission policies), but they are not victims either as the Left sees it. Why? Because although they are members of a group, they are not members of a group the Left favors, they are members of a group the Left despises.

What is written above undoubtedly would be termed “hate speech” by many on the Left, and this brings us to the second point: the critical importance of liberty in our lives. As a core value, it is enshrined in the Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

By and large, today’s Left despises liberty. For the Left, the only kind of speech that is protected by the First Amendment is speech the Left agrees with.  Anything the Left disagrees with is “hate speech” and must be suppressed. The Left’s organs in the Tech World – Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Twitter, are only too happy to comply. Hence the savage attack on Parler, an alternative to Twitter that declined to censor conservative postings and therefore had to be crushed. Hence the Left’s efforts to get advertisers to boycott the Tucker Carlson show on Fox News and to get him kicked off the air. The world has changed dramatically from the days when the American Civil Liberties Union battled in favor of the right of Nazis to march in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood in the suburbs of Chicago. 

Obviously, the Left would also like to see the Second Amendment go and the ownership of firearms be prohibited. The latest schemes are focused on the imposition of draconian taxes and registration requirements. “Liberty be damned!  We’re the Left and we know what’s good for you! Shut up and obey!”

In summary, the Right can best honor the memory of the great Rush Limbaugh by continuing to campaign as vigorously as it can for the core values of personal responsibility and liberty that Rush devoted his life to.

3 Top Democrats Who Celebrated Or Denied Leftist Street Violence Get Big Bucks From Hypocrites In Corporate America

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If these sanctimonious organizations truly believe in law and order, where were they when leftists burned down our cities?

While corporate donors fund Democratic members of Congress who have signaled their approval for violence so long as it is heralded by leftist groups Antifa and Black Lives Matter, they hypocritically threaten to yank funding from the 147 Republicans who voted not to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election.

As cities burned across the country this past year, many top Democrats did not condemn the rioting and looting, or merely brushed it off as “mostly peaceful.” This narrative was likewise promoted on CNN and MSNBC, as reporters stood among fiery streets and lied to our faces about the violence in the name of social justice.

Legislative Update From Arizona Citizens Defense League

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Friday, February 19, was the deadline for bills to be heard in committees in their originating chamber (House or Senate). All the bills we opposed failed to meet the deadline and are dead for the session. Gone are red flag confiscations, universal background checks, ammunition storage requirements, doctors inquiring about your firearms ownership, prohibited possessor expansion, etc. However, don’t think we’ll never see them again. Many of these have been filed year-after-year for several years.

Thanks to AzCDL’s presence at the Capitol, along with our members using the Request to Speak (RTS) system to contact committee members, the following pro-rights bills passed out of their respective committees and are still in play.

HB 2111 – Proposes that any act, law, treaty, rule or regulation of the U.S. Government that violates the Second Amendment would be unenforceable in Arizona.

HB 2551 – With certain exceptions, would exempt CCW permit holders from the prohibition on entering state and local government-controlled property while armed.

HB 2810 – Civil asset forfeiture reform. Would require a criminal conviction in order for the government to confiscate someone’s property.

HB 2827 – Would prohibit business or financial discrimination against a “firearm entity” that supports or is engaged in the lawful commerce of firearms, firearms accessories or ammunition products.

HB 2840 – Would remove the requirement that a firearm must be unloaded when secured in a vehicle on school grounds.

SB 1328 – Almost identical to HB 2111 but contains the added verbiage that any act, law, treaty, rule or regulation of the U.S. Government that violates Article 2, Section 26 of the Arizona Constitution would also be unenforceable in Arizona. Article 2, Section 26 is Arizona’s constitutional protection of our right to bear arms.

SB 1360 – Would reduce hunting and fishing license fees for military veterans and allow the transfer of veteran permits or tags to someone taking wildlife on behalf of a veteran.

SB 1382 – Would classify ammunition and firearms related businesses as “essential” during a state of emergency.

As early as next week, the rubber meets the road. Many of these bills will be scheduled for debates in the full House or Senate. We will be asking you to contact your legislators and urge them to support these bills.

Stay tuned!

*****

These alerts are a project of the Arizona Citizens Defense League (AzCDL), an all-volunteer, non-profit, non-partisan grassroots organization. AzCDL – Protecting Your Freedom. Copyright © 2021 Arizona Citizens Defense League, Inc., all rights reserved.

This bulletin was first published on February 22, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from Arizona Citizen Defense League.

Mass Murder Cover Up

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A storm covers the skies of New York as a scandal has broken surrounding its Governor. Charges have come forth asserting a cover-up of the number of deaths occurring in New York nursing homes that were hidden from the public. That may be true, but that is not the real cover-up. There is another group of people whose hands are drenched in blood and we could have seen this coming.

There are two ways to stifle a free press. There is the way tyrants have done it like Erdogan in Turkey or Chavez in Venezuela. They gradually restrict the rights of a free press until the rights were obliterated. Then there is what has happened in the United States where the press has become overwhelmingly ideologically aligned with a political viewpoint such that they self-stifle their own rights.

What went on in New York was not unknown; rather it was just not convenient to the narrative necessary to destroy the political fortunes of Donald Trump. Anything that conflicted with that narrative was buried — even if that cost thousands of senior citizens their lives.

On April 25, 2020, Michael Goodwin of the New York Post disclosed the truth about what took place. Yes, he is a columnist for the very same paper that five months later broke the story regarding the financial mishaps of Hunter Biden, the son of Donald Trump’s opponent. That story was spiked by mass media and Big Tech hoping to vanquish that evil man in the White House.

Goodwin’s column (his second on the subject) clearly placed blame for the tragedy at the hands of the Governor’s March 25th memo regarding how to handle nursing home patients. “This directive is being issued to clarify expectations for nursing homes receiving residents returning from hospitalization and for nursing homes accepting new patients.” In “an urgent need to expand hospital capacity,” Cuomo dictated that all residents be returned to nursing homes. This ordered propelled the explosion of deaths in the homes. Goodwin went on to cover the disaster in multiple columns and point the finger directly at Cuomo. His protestations fell on the deaf ears of fellow journalists.

The same hearing-impaired journalists went on to lionize Cuomo for his leadership on the COVID issue. His daily press briefings became catnip for them as they praised Cuomo and demonized that dunderhead in the White House. Then-candidate Biden chimed in on numerous occasions praising Cuomo for his leadership while his errant policy piled up bodies in funeral homes.

The guy in the WH pointed out that he sent a hospital ship to New York City and built a makeshift hospital facility at the Javits Center that went barely used while shipping the elderly back to nursing homes to die in mass numbers. Cuomo held more news conferences and the Trump-hating press cooed. By the time Cuomo reversed his disastrous decision, the bodies had been stacked to the sky. But he was oh so brilliant.

So brilliant he received a special Emmy award. It should have been for performance in a drama series because his musings were near-complete fiction and, as it turns out, a lie.

It was predictable that a press that has abandoned any hint of independence would lead to a story like this where mass death would be hidden from the public in the name of their righteous cause.

Who needs Pravda when the entire press is Pravda?

This is not the only story our once free press buried to conquer the evil Orange Man. A group of political hacks claiming to be Republicans formed The Lincoln Project. Their biggest claim to fame is engineering massive defeats for Republican candidates and they too hated that villain in the White House.

The Lincoln Project soaked $90 million out of people telling them that they would turn Republicans against Trump. Three things happened. The first was a higher percentage of Republicans voted for Trump in 2020 than in 2016. They also lined their own pockets to the extent of $50 million or more.

The third and the bigger story was they hid another scandal. The kowtowing press helped to cover up that one of the leaders of the group was harassing young males. John Weaver harassed at least 21 men. This was known within the Lincoln Project since at least June and once again the press was willing to sacrifice another group of people as long as Trump was under attack. The issue has come forward now that the Left-wing media no longer needs the Lincoln Project to destroy Trump. How many young men could have been saved if the press was doing its job?

The Weaver affair pales in comparison to what happened in New York. In New York, the horrible policy was ignored with the cost of thousands of lives. The only reason it is being focused on now is because of the fact an official working for Cuomo admitted they lied about the numbers. They lied about the numbers because they feared their negligence would have made the Trump Administration look good. The people of New York don’t care why they lied, they just care about their dead family members.

Cuomo has blood on his hands, and it has been known for 10 months if you cared to really look. The press has known for 10 months and ignored it and blood also is on their hands. Their ideological bent is responsible and until our press assumes once again its rightful position of protecting free speech and an evenhanded position more tragedies like this will be left uncovered.

*****
This article first appeared February 21, 2021 in the Flash Report and is reproduced with permission from the author.

Judicial Watch Sues Capitol Police for Riot Emails, Video

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Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Capitol Police seeking for emails and videos concerning the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 (Judicial Watch v. United States Capitol Police (No. 1:21-cv-00401)). 

Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit under the common law right of access to public records after the Capitol Police refused to provide any records in response to a January 21, 2021 request for: 

  • Email communications between the U.S. Capitol Police Executive Team and the Capitol Police Board concerning the security of the Capitol on January 6, 2021. The timeframe of this request is from January 1, 2021 through January 10, 2021.
  • Email communications of the Capitol Police Board with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security concerning the security of the Capitol on January 6, 2021. The timeframe of this request is from January 1, 2021through January 10, 2021.
  • All video footage from within the Capitol between 12 pm and 9 pm on January 6, 2021 

Congress exempts itself from the Freedom of Information Act, and the Capitol Police declined to produce any records about the riot to Judicial Watch, writing in a February 11, 2021, letter that the requested emails and videos are not “public records.” 

“The public has a right to know about how Congress handled security and what all the videos show of the US Capitol riot,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “What are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer trying to hide from the American people?”

*****

Judicial Watch issued this announcement on February 16, 2021. 

 

Biden: China’s Genocide Of Uighurs Just Different ‘Norms’

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Over a million Uighurs and other minorities have been detained in camps in China; but to Biden, that’s just different ‘norms.’

During President Joe Biden’s CNN town hall Tuesday evening, he dismissed the forcible internment, systematic rape, torture, and genocide of the Uighur population in China, labelling what China is committing against the majority Muslim population a “different norm.”

Over a million Uighurs and other minorities have been detained in camps in China, according to estimates. The U.S. declared China’s actions “genocide” last month.

Biden said he is “not going to speak out against” the Chinese Communist Party’s actions in Hong Kong, in Taiwan, or their actions against the Uighurs.

“If you know anything about Chinese history, it has always been, the time when China has been victimized by the outer world is when they haven’t been unified at home,” said Biden. “So the central, well, vastly overstated, the central principle of [China’s President] Xi Jinping is that there must be a united, tightly controlled China. And he uses his rationale for the things he does based on that.”

“I point out to [Chinese President Xi] no American president can be sustained as a president, if he doesn’t reflect the values of the United States,” said Biden. “And so the idea that I am not going to speak out against what he’s doing in Hong Kong, what he’s doing with the Uighurs in western mountains of China and Taiwan, trying to end the one China policy by making it forceful … [Xi] gets it.”

“Culturally there are different norms that each country and their leaders are expected to follow,” Biden said.

Biden has a point; “norms” in China are very different from the United States. For instance, the BBC was banned in China last week for reporting on the systemic torture and rape occurring in Uighur concentration camps.

Asked at the CNN townhall if China will face consequences for the genocide, Biden responded that the U.S. will “reassert our role as spokespersons for human rights at the UN and other agencies.”

“China is trying very hard to become the world leader. And to get that moniker and be able to do that, they have to gain the confidence of other countries. And as long as they are engaged in activity that is contrary to basic human rights, it’s going to be hard for them to do that,” he said.  “But it’s much more complicated than that, I shouldn’t try to talk China policy in 10 minutes on television here.”

In February, the State Department issued a statement that called China’s actions against the Uighurs “atrocities” that “shock the conscience and must be met with serious consequences.”

The Trump administration designated them a genocide and Biden’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said he agrees with that determination.

*****

This article first appeared in The American Conservative on February 18, 2021 and is reproduced with permission.

 

Abraham Lincoln on Election Fraud

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Lincoln blamed his loss to Douglas on immigrants, vote tampering, and flexible voter registration laws.

I’m not an election denier who believes that Biden stole the election, but am enough of a history buff to know that voter fraud has been commonplace throughout American history.

To that point, halfway down this page is a fascinating passage from the excellent book Abe, by David S. Reynolds. It summarizes Lincoln’s claims of election fraud when he ran in 1858 on the Republican ticket for a U.S. Senate seat from Illinois and lost to Stephen A. Douglas.

You’ll see that much hasn’t changed in 162 years.

First, an aside:

There are thousands of books on Lincoln, and of the scores of them that I have read, Abe ranks near the top. Reflecting superb scholarship, the book describes the social, cultural, political, and economic milieu of the times. It’s an antidote to the poor scholarship of the 1619 Project and of the San Francisco school board’s decision to remove Lincoln’s name from a school, both of which claimed that Lincoln was racist and thus undeserving of the honor.

The book includes extensive comments and writings from Lincoln about African Americans, both bad and good, but also reveals how, as a savvy politician, he had to temper his passion for emancipation with the language of the times in order to fend off accusations that he was a radical who shouldn’t hold public office.

Unfortunately, such historical nuance and context are a rarity in today’s America, especially when the subject is race. Ironically, if it were to be judged by today’s superficiality, the New York Times would be canceled, due to its past racist reporting.

The passage from the book:

Lincoln and his associates suspected foul play in the election results. Because of flexible voter registration laws, tampering with elections was commonplace, especially by manipulating the immigrant vote. Democrats, in particular, were known to “colonize” swing districts with Irish railroad workers who were rapidly naturalized so that they could vote. David Davis, who had high praise for Lincoln’s speeches in the Senate race, remarked, “There would be no doubt of Douglas’ defeat if it was not from the fact that he is colonizing Irish votes.” William Herndon, likewise, was confident that “there is nothing which can well defeat us but the elements, & the wandering roving robbing Irish, who have flooded the State.”

Lincoln, also suspicious of Democratic hijinks, was prepared to fight fire with fire. On October 20, five days after his last debate with Douglas, he wrote the Republican operative Norman Judd saying that while he felt confident about his chances in the election, he feared being “over-run with fraudulent votes to a greater extent than usual.” He said he had recently spotted fifteen Irishmen going around with bags (presumably containing money to be used to bribe voters). He wrote Judd: “I have a bare suggestion. When there is a known body of these voters, could not a true man, of the detective class, be introduced among them in disguise, who could, at the nick of time, control their votes? Think this over. It would be a great thing, when this trick is attempted upon us, to have the saddle come up on the other horse.”

Biblical Conditions of Pima County Roads

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According to the Bible, the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years.  Likewise, homeowners on a suburban street in Pima County, in metro Tucson, have been wandering in the desert for 40 years why their street hasn’t been repaved.

To the last point, below is a complaint sent by an unidentified citizen to Pima County, via the website, SeeClickFix.com.

Our road has not been repaved or repaired in over 40 years

Stonehouse Place (south of Ocotillo) has been bypassed for repaving in favor of repaving the north portion of Stonehouse Place that had already been repaired once and has now been repaved. Residents of over 40 years have said that outside of a minimal amount of now failing patches, our road has never seen any repairs. I am requesting that you review and approve our portion of Stonehouse for repaving.

Can it be true that the road has been neglected for 40 years?  Absolutely.

My wife and I walk 150 miles of county roads and neighborhood streets a month, just as we used to walk large swaths of the center city of Tucson before moving to the county.  The horrible conditions of roads and neighborhood streets match what the frustrated citizen described above.  However, they don’t match the information on the Pima County website.

The county understates on the website the severity of road conditions.  Likewise, its new ten-year plan and cost estimate for rectifying the conditions and making up for decades of deferred maintenance is poppycock.

Even roads that were repaved several years ago are deteriorating so rapidly that the county will be far from catching up in ten years and might be further behind by then.  A staggering number of miles of roadways are at the extreme level of what’s known in the pavement business as alligatoring, spalling, flushing, and raveling.

For many of the deteriorated roads, it’s way too late for patching, crack sealing, seal coating, and even milling and repaving.  They will have to be rebuilt from the ground up.

It’s hard to believe, but scores of neighborhood streets are in worse shape than arterial and connector roads.  At least the county screws rich and poor neighborhoods alike.  Streets in neighborhoods of million-dollar homes are just as bad as streets where the poor live.

Busy Kolb Rd. north of Sunrise is an example of the consequences of deferred maintenance.  Cracks three inches wide and hundreds of feet long have opened up in the center of the northbound and southbound lanes.  Chunks of asphalt are kicked up by cars into the bike lane, where they remain a hazard for months, because street sweeping is infrequent, unlike the twice-a-month sweeping performed by well-run cities for similarly busy roads.

Near where Kolb becomes Craycroft, gullies have formed at the edge of the pavement due to poor maintenance and poor design.  The county’s solution?  Throw rocks the size of basketballs into the gullies.  Imagine straying off the pavement and hitting those.

Although this road is designated a scenic county road, the county does not pick up the considerable volume of litter and trash discarded along it.  Nor do property owners whose property fronts the road.  They leave it to my wife and me and to a gentleman in his eighties to do so every day along a three-mile stretch.

Israelites put blood on their doors so that they would be passed over by the plague.  The county has let roads deteriorate so that the metropolis would be passed over by high-paying companies looking for a place to locate their headquarters and major operations.