16 thoughts on “News/Politics 2-22-21

  1. Critical thinking is no longer taught in public schools. Only group think is.

    https://nypost.com/2021/02/13/gen-z-needs-to-start-thinking-critically-about-politics/

    “Politicized, woke and afraid: Gen Z needs to start thinking critically”

    “In our increasingly digitized, secular, and ideologically polarized era, my generation — Gen Z — has overwhelmingly turned to political activism in their search for meaning. The rise of BLM protests, climate change rallies, and LGBTQ pride parades over the last half-decade have given young people a religious sense of community and a kind of spiritual mission: that of fighting for “equality” and “justice.”

    On the surface, young people involved in political activism have good intentions — to fight the evils of racism, misogyny, and homophobia — and feel genuine compassion for the historically underserved. However, in the quest for “justice,” a brewing ideological radicalism and prevailing orthodoxy has swept Gen Z.

    Capitalism and all its manifestations are now considered dangerous, while advocating for “socialism” — the new requisite philosophy for entering the cool kid’s club — is viewed positively by 61 percent of Gen Z. A third of young adults polled last year supported abolishing the police — more than any other age group. Blinded by myopic visions of cultural revolution, some young people even justify violence. One poll showed 64 percent of college students agreed that last year’s anti-police “rioting and looting is justified to some degree.”

    This rise of orthodoxy comes with a growing intolerance. Alternate perspectives that deviate from the mainstream aren’t just discomforting to young people, they’re treated as a mortal threat. Just over 50 percent of Gen Z college students believe “shouting down speakers or trying to prevent them from talking” is sometimes or always acceptable.

    At the same time, more than two-thirds (68 percent) of college students say the campus climate prevents them from expressing their true opinions for fear of offending their classmates. Despite the dogma of culturally emboldened young progressives, many Gen Z thinkers actually crave greater diversity of thought.

    Though I just turned 20, I have taken the path less traveled throughout my formative years and now as an opinion writer, consistently seeking out ideas that challenge me. Here are my five tips for how my fellow “Zoomers” can do the same:

    1) Be skeptical of conventional wisdom

    What’s popular and culturally dominant isn’t always right. Oftentimes, trendy ideas turn out to be the exact opposite of what they purport. For example, the popular trend of racial bias training tends to reinforce rather than reduce racial stereotypes. Black Lives Matter leaders advocate for solutions — namely reducing police presence — that put more black lives in marginalized communities at risk. Never blindly “trust the experts” or mindlessly do what is advertised as “anti-racist” or “pro-LGBTQ.” Skepticism is essential to temper the radical currents underlying the popular social movements of our time.

    2) Identity is not destiny

    The pervasion of identity politics has many young people making it their spiritual mission to either vigorously surrender their privilege (of being white, male, heterosexual) or engage in “victimology poker” (“I’m more oppressed than you because I’m both black and gay”). This is toxic. Immutable attributes — your race, gender, sexual orientation — don’t define human experience. They limit it. Clinging to your identity promotes a kind of solipsism that hinders your personal development and self-growth. Build your personality and invest your time around your cultural interests, intellectual curiosities, and creative musings, all of which are fluid and forever open to change, refinement, and evolution. Ideas are boundless and so is your human potential.”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. And this stymieing of critical thought leads to this type of censoring of rights.

    https://www.spiked-online.com/2021/02/19/its-time-to-get-real-about-freedom-of-speech/

    “It’s time to get real about freedom of speech

    Neither side in the culture war understands how crucial this liberty is to human flourishing.”

    “I’m glad sections of the left find the free-speech crisis so funny. Or ‘free-speech crisis’, as they always put it, those snarky quote marks signalling their scepticism towards the idea that there’s a censorship problem on campus and elsewhere in society. ‘Freeze peach!’, they cry at anyone who thinks it is a bad thing that people can be No Platformed, threatened with death or sacked from their jobs for expressing the ‘wrong’ opinion. Hilarious, isn’t it?

    It’s hilarious when activists piss on the door of a feminist academic’s office because they don’t like her criticisms of gender self-ID. It’s hilarious when a disabled working-class grandfather is sacked from his job at Asda because he posted a Billy Connolly skit on social media that made fun of Islam. It’s hilarious when a Labour shadow minister loses her job because she dared to raise concerns about the grooming and rape of working-class girls in various parts of England. It’s hilarious when JK Rowling is bombarded with messages saying ‘@#$%$$#@$’, ‘@#$%$# I’ll kill you’ and ‘@#$%#@#$$#’ because she wrote an entirely non-prejudiced essay on trans issues. It’s all so funny. ‘FREEZE PEACH’ lol.

    Make no mistake: when the cultural and media elites mock the idea of a free-speech crisis, when they insist cancel culture doesn’t exist, this is the reality they are denying. This is the abuse, demonisation and, yes, censorship that they claim is not real. Actually, it’s worse than that. These censorship deniers do not merely question the reality of these grim assaults on people’s free expression – after all, we can all see the tweets calling JK Rowling a ‘@#$%##’ and a ‘@#$%$’, and we all know what urine splashed on someone’s door looks and smells like, so we know this stuff is real. No, they also implicitly justify these chilling crusades against open discussion. By refusing to describe these attacks as attacks on freedom of speech, they normalise them, they green-light them.

    The censorship deniers ridicule the idea that people’s freedom of speech is under attack because they don’t care about the people whose freedom of speech is under attack. They support this censorship – of bad feminists, of old blokes who mock Islam, of people who are too right-wing – and that’s why they refuse to condemn it as censorship. It’s as simple as that.

    The discussion about freedom of speech this week, and in recent months, has been frustrating. Both sides in this so-called culture war fail to see what’s at stake, fail to see why the free-speech crisis in the 21st century is so serious, and fail to appreciate why freedom of speech is so essential to human flourishing.

    Most obviously, the censorship deniers, those nominally leftish people who claim there is no free-speech crisis on campus or anywhere else, just cannot be taken seriously. Such is their ideological blindness to the problem of contemporary censorship that they have become impervious even to facts and information. I know from personal experience that you can provide these people with loads of examples of ‘controversial’ individuals being No Platformed, arrested and even physically assaulted for their political or moral points of view, and it makes no difference. ‘Nope, there’s no free-speech crisis’, they’ll say.

    You can tell them about the Christian pastor who was arrested in Manchester and held in a jail cell for 19 hours for saying homosexuality is a sin and they’ll say, ‘There’s no free-speech crisis’. You can tell them UK police forces are arresting nine people a day for saying offensive things online and they’ll say, ‘Still no free-speech crisis’. You can remind them that the Scottish government is currently working on legislation that would make it illegal to say certain things in your own home and they’ll say, ‘I can’t see a free-speech crisis’. You can point them to news reports about the fact that a man currently faces six months in jail for making a joke about Captain Tom Moore on Twitter and they’ll say, ‘There isn’t a free-speech crisis!’. You can tell them that NUS officials maintain an actual blacklist of organisations and individuals who should never be ‘platformed’ – including not only the likes of the BNP but also Julie Bindel and George Galloway – and they’ll say, ‘There’s no crisis. It isn’t censorship. Freeze peach!’

    After a while it becomes pointless. It is classic denialism, which is difficult to engage with. What’s more, these censorship deniers wilfully underestimate how much pre-emptive censorship takes place. They will say that ‘only’ scores of people have had their invitation to speak on a campus rescinded, overlooking that many individuals are never invited in the first place, because student societies know that these individuals will never make it through the bureaucratic checks of campus officials. Saying ‘There are only a small number of disinvitations on UK campuses’ is like saying in 1950s Hollywood ‘No communists have been sacked from the movies I make’ – yes, that’s because they weren’t there to begin with; they were blacklisted.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah yes, you knew this was coming. After all, the press is immune to embarrassment. And they should be embarrassed.

    https://hotair.com/archives/latimestot/2021/02/21/melania-trump-jill-biden-media-bias/

    “Jill Biden’s Really Amazing First Month As First Lady Vs That Trump Woman”

    “You probably remember all the fawning news and magazine coverage during Melania Trump’s four graceful years in the White House.

    The oohs and aahs about a stylish first lady who speaks five languages, an immigrant from Slovenia who crafted a successful career as a super model, how supportive yet carefully candid she is about her controversial husband, how protective she is of her only son. Her investment in and clear fondness for children, especially sick ones both at home and abroad. And her campaign to combat childhood bullying.

    You remember a good deal of that sympathetic coverage, don’t you?

    No, you don’t. You can’t. There was none. Because TDS.

    Now, here we are barely one month into the 48 months of the 46th president and the new first lady. And already the fawning coverage is oozing out about Joe Biden’s wife, Jill.

    In a weekend article The Hill already likened Mrs. Biden to a couple of legendary presidential wives, Eleanor Roosevelt and Grace Coolidge. Here are some excerpts that give a gauzy sense of what to expect in the media about Joe Biden’s 69-year-old second wife:

    The former second lady has eased into her new role as first lady by reviving the Obama-era military families program Joining Forces, bringing baked goods to National Guard troops protecting the U.S. Capitol, appearing in a Super Bowl public service announcement with the family dogs encouraging people to wear masks and staging hearts on the White House North Lawn for Valentine’s Day.

    “She has held various virtual engagements to showcase her advocacy for military families, students and community college….Biden is also continuing with her teaching workload, making her the first to hold the role of first lady and maintain a paid position outside the White House…

    “She comes into the position at a perilous moment in U.S. history, as the country is almost a year into the twin crises of the coronavirus pandemic and an economic downturn….”

    Those who know Mrs. Biden “say she’s up to the task of playing a role in helping usher the nation through a brutal pandemic and the resulting economic hardship.”

    ——–

    (gagging sounds)

    Liked by 2 people

  4. They’re alive!

    And if you didn’t vote for Trump, pat yourself on the back. YOU helped build this.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/return-of-the-swamp-creatures-11613690674

    “Return of the Swamp Creatures

    Democrats prepare to bring back earmarks. Republicans should resist the temptation.”

    “Washington doesn’t usually make it easy to pinpoint the moment when things went wrong. So thanks to Rep. Rosa DeLauro for publicly heralding the return of the swamp.

    The announcement actually came from a spokesman for the House Appropriations Committee, which the Connecticut Democrat oversees. “Chair DeLauro supports Member-directed funding for community projects,” Evan Hollander told HuffPost this week. For those uninitiated in Washington doublespeak, earmarks are back.

    A few other English words to describe what’s returning: Pork. Logrolling. Sleaze. Bridges to nowhere. Republicans banned earmarks in February 2011 after the term became synonymous with Congress’s embarrassing habit. The late Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma had led a yearslong campaign to expose earmarks as a “gateway drug” to greater spending and corruption. In the face of a tea-party revolt, his colleagues finally chose wisdom.

    Democrats are choosing power. According to reports, Ms. DeLauro and Senate Appropriations Chairman Patrick Leahy will soon announce that earmarks are welcome in annual spending bills. Why would Democrats risk such a move? Politico explains that House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has reassured his party that it won’t suffer, since the effort will be “bipartisan.” Democrats are banking on spend-thirsty Republicans to provide cover.

    The question is whether the GOP will succumb, handing the Democratic leadership a uniquely powerful tool in today’s narrowly divided Congress. Republicans may botch their first opportunity to draw a stark contrast in governance, wield some real power, and energize their base.”

    Liked by 3 people

  5. It’s about time they get around to this hack and Murphy in NJ as well. They used the same flawed nursing home tactics Cuomo did, and people died as a result.

    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2021/02/20/pennsylvania_doesnt_have_a_friend_in_tom_wolf__145279.html

    “In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is under renewed scrutiny for his bungled nursing home policy and a subsequent coverup to avoid a Justice Department investigation. Questionable gubernatorial leadership, though, isn’t limited to the Empire State. Just look south to Pennsylvania, where Cuomo’s Democratic colleague, Tom Wolf, faces bipartisan concerns about his pandemic-era leadership.

    Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, Wolf has failed to ensure health and economic security; rejected calls for transparency; refused to work with the legislature; and enacted mandates that harmed working Pennsylvanians. At one time, Wolf was viewed as a cerebral, if not high-minded, individual. Today, Pennsylvanians see an inflexible governor whose COVID policies are tainted by mismanagement and scandal.

    This dysfunction began last March when the Wolf administration issued a memo requiring nursing homes to accept infected patients. This mandate, which sparked a congressional investigation, proved disastrous in Pennsylvania, which has a large senior population. By last June, 4,539 of Pennsylvania’s 6,649 COVID deaths – over 70% – had occurred in nursing homes or senior-care facilities.

    Incredibly, Wolf could have prevented this tragic outcome had he simply implemented Pennsylvania’s early protection plan for elderly care – yet the state failed to do so. Instead, he refused to enact priority testing in nursing homes until late summer. In December, the nursing home industry filed suit against the Wolf administration for purposefully withholding more than $150 million intended for financially strapped facilities.

    Over the following months, Pennsylvanians endured the governor’s unchecked executive power. Weeks of “slowing the spread” mutated into indefinite business shutdowns, travel restrictions, and needless regulations.

    The consequences were profound. At one point, 30% of businesses – the second most in the nation – were forcibly closed. As this mandate devastated the services industry, the state witnessed an unemployment debacle of epic proportions. Payments were delayed for months; furloughed workers felt abandoned. Meanwhile, 10,000 prisoners and 58,000 fraudsters successfully gamed the unemployment system and received checks. When questioned, Wolf shockingly criticized small business owners and, later on, even praised the Department of Labor & Industry secretary who presided over this debacle.

    As severe restrictions paralyzed Pennsylvania’s economy, Wolf rejected calls for transparency or legislative questions about his decision-making. When lawmakers or business owners sought any benchmark or rationale for economic lockdowns or sporadic reopening plans, Wolf was slow to respond or even provide data. Even his former auditor general admitted that the business shutdowns were inconsistent and unfair. The governor, however, refused to do anything about it. Lawmakers responded to this lack of transparency with a unanimous bill forcing Wolf to reopen his Office of Open Records. Though Wolf threatened to veto this bill, he ultimately let it become law.

    Over time, Pennsylvanians issued their verdict: Wolf’s approval rating precipitously declined. But the governor, thanks to his executive emergency powers, maintained his unpopular COVID policies.

    Since then, Wolf has resisted cooperation with the General Assembly and local county officials. He refused to take legislators’ advice around business shutdowns or his controversial reopening plan. Meanwhile, he attempted to deny millions in federal stimulus aid to struggling counties that resisted his edicts. Throughout 2020, Wolf used his veto powers 19 times, the most of any Pennsylvania governor in decades. Those same vetoes often corresponded with unilateral executive actions to implement the same or similar policies – without the legislature.

    Wolf displays no signs of a course correction as the incompetence continues. In recent weeks, his secretary of state resigned after an administrative mistake that will prevent a vote on an amendment addressing sex-abuse victims. Pennsylvania’s vaccine rollout has been bungled, ranking 45th in the country for distribution and leaving health care professionals confused and frustrated. Just this week, state health officials announced vaccines had been improperly given, creating delays for 100,000 Pennsylvanians. In response to all this mismanagement, Wolf has focused on his state budget proposal: the largest tax increase in Pennsylvania’s history.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Traitor Kerry is still a traitor. Remember Dems tried to impeach Trump for something similar, but way less severe, in Ukraine.

    https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2021/feb/21/john-kerry-held-backchannel-talks-iran-javad-zarif/

    “President Trump in 2019 sought to open a back channel of communication with top Iranian officials and saw the U.N. General Assembly meeting in September as a potential opportunity to defuse escalating tension with Tehran, but the effort failed.

    Two months earlier, however, a different back channel was thriving in New York. Iran’s smooth, English-speaking foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, met with Robert Malley, who was President Obama’s Middle East adviser, in an apparent bid to undermine the Trump team and lay the groundwork for post-Trump relations.

    The attempt at counterdiplomacy offers a window into the deep relationships Mr. Zarif forged with influential U.S. liberals over the past decade. These relationships blossomed into what high-level national security and intelligence sources say allowed the Iranian regime to bypass Mr. Trump and work directly with Obama administration veterans that Tehran hoped would soon return to power in Washington.

    One of those was former Secretary of State John F. Kerry, who met with Mr. Zarif during the Trump years. So did Obama-era Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. They, along with Mr. Malley, were top U.S. negotiators of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). As part of the deal, Tehran promised to limit its nuclear enrichment activities in exchange for economic sanctions relief and access to tens of billions of dollars in frozen bank accounts.

    Mr. Trump pulled the U.S. out of the pact in 2018. He cited the need for a much tougher agreement that also addressed Iran’s support for terrorist groups and its destabilizing behavior in the Middle East.

    Mr. Kerry and Mr. Malley are now in the Biden administration, Mr. Kerry as a climate adviser and Mr. Malley poised to play a major role in U.S.-Iranian relations from his perch as special envoy for Iran policy at the State Department.

    But Mr. Zarif’s power extends far beyond the negotiating table. Numerous sources have told The Washington Times that he wields tremendous influence over a tightly knit group inside the U.S. that has long advocated for Washington to take a more accommodating tack toward Iran.

    The sources, including several from the U.S. intelligence community who spoke on the condition of anonymity, described a “web” of activity tied to prominent think tanks across the United States, as well as lobbying efforts that reached directly into the White House during the Obama years.

    It’s an informal union of Iran apologists and pro-diplomacy advocates that helps amplify Mr. Zarif’s talking points, giving the Iranian Foreign Ministry influence over public opinion in the United States and considerable sway in left-leaning political and social circles.

    One former U.S. official described Mr. Zarif as “the bat signal” for a network that encompasses left-leaning university professors, think tank analysts and other corners of civil society calling for a less-confrontational relationship with the regime in Tehran.

    “He’s the signal for an echo chamber internationally that has been established over time,” the former official said.

    Some foreign policy analysts argue that the shadow diplomacy between Mr. Zarif and the former Obama team was particularly striking because Iran at the time was backing plots to kill Americans stationed in neighboring Iraq and the regime was funneling money, including funds it received from sanctions relief under the JCPOA, to terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah.

    “Former administration officials can play a very helpful role in close coordination with a sitting administration to open and support sensitive diplomatic channels,” said Mark Dubowitz, chief executive at the Washington-based think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “But it is not good practice for senior officials who served at the highest levels of a former administration, Democratic or Republican, to be trying to undermine the policy of a sitting administration by engaging actively with a known enemy of the United States.

    “That’s especially true when multiple administrations have determined that this enemy is the leading state sponsor of terrorism,” said Mr. Dubowitz, who has been the target of Iranian sanctions because of his outspoken criticism of the regime in Tehran.

    Although details of Mr. Zarif’s face-to-face conversations with leading Democrats remain murky, one former senior U.S. official told The Times that the Iranian foreign minister held meetings throughout the Trump years, in 2017, 2018 and 2019, before the administration halted his visa in 2020.

    The underlying goals of Mr. Zarif’s meetings, the official said, was “to devise a political strategy to undermine the Trump administration” and to continue building up a reservoir of support for the JCPOA, or another deal like it, that could be drawn up if a Democrat returned to the White House in 2021.

    Mr. Kerry has publicly acknowledged meeting with Mr. Zarif at least twice during the early years of the Trump administration.”

    ———

    He’s a traitor, and he should be treated as one.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Supremely useless.

    Told these clowns would be useless.

    https://legalinsurrection.com/2021/02/supreme-court-denies-review-of-pennsylvania-election-challenge-as-moot/

    “Supreme Court Denies Review Of Pennsylvania Election Challenge As “Moot”

    Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch dissent, arguing the cases are not moot because, in Alito’s dissent, “the cases now before us are not moot. There is a ‘reasonable expectation’ that the parties will face the same question in the future.”

    “No surprise here. The Supreme Court has refused to accept a case challenging the Pennsylvania election result, on the basis that the mail-in ballot procedures were illegal, as “moot”.

    The Order recites:

    The motions of Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. for leave to intervene as petitioner are dismissed as moot. The motions of Thomas J. Randolph, et al. for leave to intervene as respondents are dismissed as moot. The motion of Honest Elections Project for leave to file a brief as amicus curiae in No. 20–542 is granted. The motion of White House Watch Fund, et al. for leave to file a brief as amici curiae in No. 20–574 is granted. The petitions for writs of certiorari are denied.

    Justice Thomas, dissenting, argued the Court should take the case:

    The Constitution gives to each state legislature authority to determine the “Manner” of federal elections. Art. I, §4, cl. 1; Art. II, §1, cl. 2. Yet both before and after the 2020 election, nonlegislative officials in various States took it upon themselves to set the rules instead. As a result, we received an unusually high number of petitions and emergency applications contesting those changes. The petitions here present a clear example. The Pennsylvania Legislature established an unambiguous deadline for receiving mail-in ballots: 8 p.m. on election day. Dissatisfied, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court extended that deadline by three days. The court also ordered officials to count ballots received by the new deadline even if there was no evidence—such as a postmark—that the ballots were mailed by election day. That decision to rewrite the rules seems to have affected too few ballots to change the outcome of any federal election. But that may not be the case in the future. These cases provide us with an ideal opportunity to address just what authority nonlegislative officials have to set election rules, and to do so well before the next election cycle. The refusal to do so is inexplicable.

    One wonders what this Court waits for. We failed to settle this dispute before the election, and thus provide clear rules. Now we again fail to provide clear rules for future elections. The decision to leave election law hidden beneath a shroud of doubt is baffling. By doing nothing, we invite further confusion and erosion of voter confidence. Our fellow citizens deserve better and expect more of us. I respectfully dissent.

    Justice Alito, joined by Gorsuch, also would have taken the case:”

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I read both Thomas’s and Alito’s dissents (Gorsuch concurring with Alito), and they seem perfectly straightforward and reasonable. I wish the others presented a justification for their decision to not review the case, instead of just “moot – denied”.

    Liked by 2 people

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