Feds step in to nab illegal immigrant released 10 times by New York cops
By Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times
Sunday, September 27, 2020
Federal agents say they finally have caught an undocumented immigrant they’ve been after for several years but who was released 10 times by police in New York under sanctuary city policies.
Jhonny Soto-Ubaldo was arrested on federal gun charges this month, giving U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement a new chance to place a detainer on him requesting he be turned over for deportation after his time in the federal prison system is over.
And this time it’s likely to be honored, since New York is not part of the equation.
ICE says New York police departments had Mr. Soto-Ubaldo in their custody at least 10 times dating to June 2018, when he was first arrested in Queens. But he was released despite an ICE request that he be turned over.
Two months later, he was again arrested on local charges and then released without ICE being notified. In 2019, he was arrested six times, with ICE requesting notice each time of his release and authorities defying the requests.
Two more arrests came this year on charges of possession of stolen property and assault.
His full rap sheet in New York also includes arrests for harassment, grand larceny and firearms charges.
“How can local politicians — in good conscience — say they’re protecting their constituents when they pass laws that release criminals back into our communities?” said Thomas Decker, director of deportation operations in the New York field office.
Mr. Soto-Ubaldo, 19, is a citizen of the Dominican Republic. ICE says he entered the U.S. on a six-month visitor’s visa in 2016 but didn’t leave when his time was up.
New York City’s sanctuary policy prohibits police from cooperating with ICE unless someone has been convicted of charges the city considers serious.
Mr. Ubaldo-Soto’s rap sheet does not appear to have met the city’s threshold for cooperation, allowing him to be out on the streets until the federal government intervened.
The FBI picked up Mr. Soto-Ubaldo this month after local police were again tracking him, saying they found his fingerprints on the door of a stolen Jeep Grand Cherokee.
When detectives closed in, he ran, tossing a bag into a construction site as he fled, according to court documents. Police caught him, then recovered the bag and found a .380 caliber Bersa Thunder pistol with the serial number scratched off.
That earned him the federal charge of possessing a firearm with an altered serial number.
Mr. Soto-Ubaldo then escaped briefly from FBI custody, according to local news reports.
He was being taken to a federal detention center when he managed to get out of a moving car. A woman told WABC-TV that her mother-in-law spotted him in her backyard and chased him off with a meat cleaver.
He was later found hiding under bed sheets in a man’s apartment.
On Saturday, in the throes of America’s turbulent 2020 election, thousands of Christians gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for the inaugural National Day of Prayer and Return, a calling to repentance and prayer for healing.
Dueling rallies and worship services on either side of the Washington Monument attracted crowds of thousands. Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham held one rally with Vice President Mike Pence in front of the Lincoln Memorial Saturday afternoon, while Jonathan Chan and Kevin Jessup held “The Return” rally starting Friday night and continuing throughout Saturday in front of the U.S. Capitol building.
The rallies focused on a theme of repentance and prayer, rejecting sin and returning to God in turbulent times. Pence paraphrased 2 Chronicles 7:14, in which God promised King Solomon, “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
“We stand today on an ancient promise that Americans have claimed throughout our history that if His people who are called by his name will humble themselves and pray and turn, He will do like he’s always done — through much more challenging times in the life of this nation — He’ll hear from Heaven and he’ll heal this land, this one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” Pence declared.
The vice president declared that prayer is a “great American tradition,” citing Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln and noting that “President Donald Trump has observed many times that America is a nation of believers, and you’ve proved that again today.”
Pence received loud cheers when he urged the audience to “pray for all of our justices on the Supreme Court, including the remarkable woman that the president will nominate to fill the seat on the Supreme Court later today.”
While the vice president spoke at Franklin Graham’s Prayer March 2020, leaders at The Return read remarks from President Donald Trump.
“On this inaugural National Day of Prayer and Return, the First Lady and I join millions of Christians here in the United States and around the world in prayer, as we turn our hearts to our Lord and Savior,” the president wrote in his statement.
“Our great Nation was founded by men and women of deep and abiding faith—a faith that has stood the test of time,” Trump added. He cited the Pilgrims’ faith in Providence. “Following in our ancestors’ footsteps we continue the ‘firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence’ that provides us enduring strength and reassurance in our times of need.”
“The trials and tribulations the American people have faced over the past several months have been great,” the president admitted. “Yet, as we have seen time and again, the resolve of our citizenry—fortified by our faith in God—has guided us through these hardships and helped to unite us as one Nation under God.”
“As we continue to combat the challenges ahead of us, we must remember the sage words of President George Washington during his first Presidential Address: ‘propitious smiles of heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained.’ As a country and a people, let us renew our commitment to these abiding and timeless principles,” the president added.
“Today, I am pleased to join my voice to yours in thanking God for blessing this nation with great power and responsibility. With reverence, humility, and thanksgiving, we beg for His continued guidance and protection,” Trump concluded.
Other key speakers
Speaking after his prayer march, Graham noted that “many thousands of people have come from all over the United States to participate and to pray.”
“I think we’re at a crucial point in this country. We’re that close to losing this nation, and there are people that are wanting to manipulate the direction of this country and we just pray that God may intervene,” Graham added. He warned that “God’s judgment may fall on us one day due to the evil of abortion. “We confess that to God and ask for His forgiveness. These laws that are wicked, that he would turn them in another direction.”
Darryl Strawberry, a black former MLB right fielder, prayed for Americans in front of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture.
“We pray for compassion, we pray for kindness, we pray for respect, we pray for reconciliation, Father. We pray for the violence to stop,” he prayed next to Franklin Graham. “We want to pray for us to unite together as people of race. Father, we have been divided, we have been torn apart by the enemy. We rebuke the divider right now in the name of Jesus!”
Alveda King, a pro-life activist, prayed, “Father, we have sinned or misunderstood or just on purpose thought that we are separate races. We are one human race. … Let us love life, … life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness from the womb to the tomb.”
Bishop Harry Jackson, speaking at The Return, noted that “the root of all sin is pride and independence.” He claimed that God has “allowed there to come four major problems”: the coronavirus, “which is like a plague of the Old Testament;” racial division, “which is all about pride and our being arrogant about who we are;” the #MeToo movement; and divisions on the basis of class.
While it is essential for Christians to confess our sins, humble ourselves, repent, and turn to God, it remains unclear whether or not God’s promise in 2 Chronicles 7:14 can apply to American Christians today. God made that promise to Solomon, the king of His chosen people. America is indeed a blessed nation, but it is not God’s chosen country. That said, a nationwide movement toward repentance and prayer is fitting. God can indeed heal the wounds in this country, and Christians are right to pray for this healing.
This massive event should bring hope to Christians looking for a revival in these turbulent times. It seems particularly remarkable that Trump, who in 2016 said he had no need to seek God’s repentance, would celebrate a prayer event centered on the theme of return and repentance.
The Prayer March was streamed live and The Return’s livestream is ongoing. Click here to see Graham’s march. Watch The Return below.
Harvard Survey: Only Seven Percent Of Incoming Students Identify As Conservative
September 24, 2020
We have been discussing the rising intolerance for conservative, libertarian, and Republican students and faculty on campuses across the country. Faculties rarely hire conservative or libertarian professors; journals rarely publish studies from conservative authors. As the number of conservative faculty members diminish or disappear on faculties, schools appear to be carrying out the same bias in student admissions. The Harvard Crimson has finished its annual survey of the incoming class of students and found that the already small population of conservative and Republican students has been cut by roughly half.
The Crimson survey covered over 76 percent of the Harvard College Class of 2024 and found that the class contained 72.4 percent who self-identify as either “very liberal” or “somewhat liberal.” Only 7.4 percent self-identify as “very conservative” or “somewhat conservative.” Likewise, 88.9 percent view President Donald Trump as strongly or somewhat unfavorable with 80.7 percent falling in the “strongly unfavorable” category. Only 4.7 percent view Trump “somewhat” or “strongly” favorably.
Note that over 40 percent of this country view Trump favorably and the vast majority view themselves as holding either conservative or moderate views. Gallup polling shows 37% of Americans identify as conservative, 35% as moderate and 24% as liberal. That is 72% conservative or moderate. Harvard admitted 7%. It is demonstrably absurd to argue that this virtual absence of conservative students is somehow the result of accident and not design.
For years, faculty members pretended that there was not an ideological bias in faculty selection as the number of conservative and libertarian faculty members dropped to near zero on many faculties. Less than ten percent of faculty in all schools identify as conservative and Democrats outnumber Republicans by over ten times on faculties. In some schools this ratio approaches 30 to 1.
Liberal faculties routinely dismiss candidates who advance opposing views as intellectually unsound or simply not as intellectually “promising” as more liberal candidates. The bias is evident on every level. Faculty members tend to exclude conservatives from presentations, publications, and citations. The result is an echo chamber in academia that feeds upon itself.
Now we are seeing the same downward trend in admissions where conservative or libertarian students are being relegated to lower-ranked schools. This bias has also become evident, not surprisingly, in classrooms. A Yale poll found that 70% percent of students said that they experienced political bias and the same poll said that the students believe only one percent of their faculty were conservative. A poll at Pomona found nine out of ten students said that “the campus climate prevents them from saying something others might find offensive.” Nearly two-thirds of faculty members felt the same. Seventy-five percent of conservative and moderate students strongly agree that the school climate hinders their free expression.
The impact of this bias is devastating for higher education. Faculty members are using their majority on faculties to exclude potential colleagues with opposing views, the very type of bias once used against not just liberals but minorities seeking entry to faculties. The result is that we are creating a bifurcated educational system where conservatives can only gain entry to top schools by hiding their political views or espousing liberal positions. I was shocked when one of my kids (who is a moderate) was invited for an interview by one of the top colleges in the country. After sitting down, the interviewer proceeded immediately into a diatribe against Trump and to self-identify as a liberal advocate. He felt that the interviewer wanted him to echo those views.
As shown in the Harvard survey, “diversity” at many schools now runs along a spectrum from extreme to mainstream liberal views with a statistically inconsequential number of conservatives and libertarians. This has been a uniform trend for many years in both the selection of faculty and of students. It is a mockery to pretend that this is the result of anything other than systematic bias in academia.
Rich White Leftists Encourage Black People to Loot Their Neighborhoods
Learn why private property is just a social construct for only 21 bucks.
Fri Sep 4, 2020
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
A hardcover copy of "In Defense of Looting" will run you 21 bucks at Amazon and 28 bucks at Barnes and Noble. That’s just how capitalism works for the distribution and sales of a product from one of the biggest publishing companies in the world that’s part of the Lagardère empire.
Why is the largest publishing company in France pushing what Publishers Weekly called, “a provocative, Marxist-informed defense of looting” to Americans? Because it makes money.
Learn why private property is just a social construct for only 21 bucks.
"In Defense of Looting" quickly ended up a major topic of conversation on social media.
And that means Arnaud Lagardère, the head of the French empire that swallowed Little, Brown and Company, adds to his $220 million net worth and keeps the model he married, half his age, in the style she expects at his country estate. So what if a whole bunch of small businesses, many owned by immigrants and black people, get trashed and put out of business.
"In Defense of Looting" was published by Bold Type Books, a Lagardère subsidiary imprint in partnership with what used to be Nation Books. The Nation, a hard lefty magazine, is partly owned by Katrina vanden Heuvel, the daughter of an MCA heiress who was worth over $38 million when she jumped out of her apartment window.
And then there's Vicky Osterweil, the author of “In Defense of Looting”, who graduated magna cum laude from Cornell, where he tried to make his own movie, before moving to Brooklyn to live out the hipster dream of playing in a punk rock band while aspiring to become a novelist.
Two years later he was being profiled in the New York Times attending an Upper East Side party. Such are the hobbies of the worthless dilettante brats of the New Left.
The son of a professor and a producer from a wealthy suburb of Boston, Willie, his original name joined the Park Slope Food Coop, and scribbled terrible movie reviews, “capitalism is built on the bones of the witch, her magic the first threat against capitalist rationalization”, followed by equally terrible leftist screeds for The Paris Review, Jacobin and The Nation. In 2011, he was in Barcelona, taking part in protests there as training for his work on Occupy Wall Street.
Fast forward to the present, Willie had married Sophie Lewis, a British lesbian feminist who has two degrees from Oxford, had translated “Communism for Kids”, and had her own book “Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism Against Family”, which attacked the existence of the family. Willie, her new “wusband”, now appeared to be Vicky Osterweil.
The happy young white couple both had major books with radical Marxist premises.
Sophia was calling for the elimination of the family and Vicky was defending looting. And the upscale couple was doing it in the name of destroying capitalism.
"Want to Dismantle Capitalism? Abolish the Family," The Nation headlined a review of her book.
All of this made marriage a little awkward, but there was nothing that couldn’t be overcome.
A splashy Vice profile mentions that at their wedding, instead of vows, the happy couple gave speeches disavowing the institution of marriage and the biological family.
And then they headed to Boston where Willie's mother wanted a more traditional wedding.
You can disavow the institution of marriage, but you’re still going to get married. And you can write a book attacking the existence of the biological family, but when your ‘wusband’s mommy wants a traditional wedding she can invite her friends to, you drop the nonsense and go.
It’s unknown what Sophia’s parents, journalists who had given birth to her in Vienna and raised her in Switzerland and France, places that speak to her oppressed background, thought.
Sophia might be gay and Vicky might be transgender but they were a conventional enough couple living the hipster dream in a gentrified area of West Philly, and touting a gift certificate to an antique shop that they had received as a wedding present. The sort of thing you do when you’re trying to smash capitalism, and abolish the family along with private property.
Right after you get married and pick up something nice at the antique shop.
The Black Lives Matter riots and the looting trashed parts of West Philly, but it doesn't seem to have done much to disturb their idyllic world of community gardens, social justice yoga studios and punk hair salons. And even if it did, unlike their proprietors, Vicky and Sophia can move on.
The ugly truth about Marxist capitalism-smashing hipsters is that they are the least exposed to the consequences of their theories. When a third of Philly pharmacies were robbed in a coordinated campaign by gangs coming in from outside the city, it had a major impact on black senior citizens getting their prescriptions, but not on an upscale white hipster power couple.
Spending your twenties and thirties deconstructing everything is the luxury of the upper class. It’s the hobby of people who don’t really have jobs or a family depending on them for support. That’s why the deconstruction is fundamentally unserious. After writing a book calling for the abolition of the family, Vicky and Sophia got married. Vicky’s living in West Philly where the riots and the looting are going on, shopping for antiques, and writing a book in defense of looting.
As F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in The Great Gatsby, "They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness."
A generation of upscale leftists is smashing up everything while knowing that they can retreat to the pricey suburbs that spawned them, to their country estates and condos, while the chaos and destruction happen to someone else. Tom might be calling himself Thomasina and Daisy might be calling herself a lesbian, but they’re still playing games and amusing themselves at other people’s expense in the vast carelessness of theoretical reasons for destroying it all.
Willie/Vicky originally wrote an article titled “In Defense of Looting” in 2014 during the Ferguson riots filled with 1619 Project style nonsense like "American police forces evolved out of fugitive slave patrols", while insisting that, "the idea of private property is just that: an idea."
Of course every idea is an idea. Including the sacrosanct nature of human life and liberty.
Dismissing fundamental concepts on which your existence depends as mere ideas is a privilege. Violence, disorder, and chaos can take away that privilege and show their value.
Leftists deconstruct everything until they realize how badly they need those ideas. But it takes far longer for them to be affected by the destruction than the poorer and more vulnerable people whose lives have been turned upside down for a sensational new talking point at one of Katrina vanden Heuvel’s fashionable parties.
While countless small businesses have been destroyed, Amazon’s business model is booming.
The massive corporation, where many lefties will be shopping for copies of “In Defense of Looting” doubled its quarterly profits. Amazon controls 38% of the e-commerce market and when Black Lives Matter looters burn their way through neighborhoods, more retail moves away and goes online. Small business owners decide that it’s better to be a third party seller for a massive corporation than to try and keep going during the lockdowns and race riots.
Amazon can make money from “In Defense of Looting” and from the actual looting.
The small businesses that Vicky Osterweil ridicules provide their owners with some measure of independence. The looters turn them into subjects of the same sort of massive corporate monopoly that Osterweil claims to hate, yet ultimately champions and makes his money from.
Osterweil preaches in defense of looting in the name of the black community. But the death of small businesses hits black communities hardest. Shopping online is a lot easier if you have a credit card or a checking account. Portions of the black community have neither. Wiping out street retail in urban areas not only guts neighborhoods, it turns retail into wealth privilege.
Upscale areas will still have street level retail once the Black Lives Matter riots die down. But the poorer black areas hardest hit by them won’t. The white leftists promoting looting will still have their quaint cafes, punk hair salons and social justice yoga studios that Vicky and Sophie rave about, they’ll also have local supermarkets like Whole Foods, owned by Amazon, groceries, restaurants, boutiques, coffee shops, and the rest of the hipster detritus of gentrification.
That’s because they have the money and spend the money to make street retail profitable.
When the rioting is done, there will be burned out neighborhoods ripe for real estate speculators to move in, renovate, and peddle to the wealthy white hipsters who want to live there.
Promote enough looting and you too can cash in when the market is right.
There is more than one kind of looting. There are the organized gangs smashing up Philly pharmacies and heading away in vans and trucks. There’s the Soros DA who lets crime happen. And there are the professional white activists who keep shouting Black Lives Matter while promoting the destruction of black neighborhoods to sell their books on Amazon.
While Vice lavishly promotes looting and Marxist deconstructionism as radical chic, its parent company is partly owned by Disney, a private equity firm, and Soros Fund Management.
The street looting is paralleled by an even more massive looting at the top with hipster Marxist deconstructionists as ideological foot soldiers in the trashing of America. Some of the biggest social justice corporations in the country are funding the attacks on capitalism and the country.
Meanwhile in August, Soros Fund Management raised its stake in Amazon by 102%.
Jim Caviezel Rebukes Christian Fence-Sitters in Inspired Interview
Jim Caviezel is making the rounds to talk about his new movie, Infidel, about the persecution and murder of Christians in Iran, which is a box office hit.
But in box office totals we actually have at the moment, Infidel topped The New Mutants on Friday, earning $530,000 in 1,724 theaters. Writer/director Cyrus Nowrasteh’s drama, about a State Department official (Claudia Karvan) who finds little help in official channels where her blogger husband (Jim Caviezel) is kidnapped and tried for espionage in Iran.
In the middle of this interview on Fox News, some kind of holy fire descended on Caviezel and he lit up the screen with an epic soliloquy about the nature of humanity, the duty of a Christian in the face of oppression, and the coming conflict with our fellow citizens who will not stop trying to remove religious and constitutional freedoms. You will not believe this. Someone get this man a pulpit.
There’s a moment there where Caviezel almost comes out of his chair and something takes over his whole body and what’s rolling effortlessly off his tongue is one of the greatest arguments against the philosophy of appeasement I have ever heard. Has anyone checked Winston Churchill’s grave? Is it empty? What just happened?
Every lesson in history tells us that the greater risk lies in appeasement and this is the specter our well-meaning Christian liberal friends, our priests, bishops, and pastors refuse to face, that their policy of accomodation is appeasement and it gives us no choice between peace and war, only between fight and surrender. If we continue to accomodate, continue to [move] back and retreat we will have to face the final demand, the final ultimatum and what then?…
Voices pleading for peace at any price, or ‘better Red than dead,’ or as one commentator put it he would rather live on his knees than die on his feet and therein lies the road to war because those voices do not speak for the rest of us.
You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. If nothing in life is worth dying for, when did this begin? Just in the face of this enemy? Or should Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery under the Pharoh’s? Should Christ have refused the cross?
Should the patriots at Concord Ridge have refused to fire the shot heard around the world? The martyrs of history were not fools and our beloved dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis did not die in vain. Where then lies the road to peace? Well, it’s a simple answer after all, that you and I have the courage to tell our enemies, there is a price we will not pay and there is a point beyond which evil must not advance.”
Senate Democrats and their liberal allies confronted the grim reality Monday that they have no path to blocking President Trump’s pending Supreme Court nomination other than a political pressure campaign that peels away a minimum of four GOP votes.
Deep into their sixth year in the minority, Democrats can use some procedural tactics that might briefly slow the confirmation process, but if at least 50 Republicans approve of Trump’s pick to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, that nominee is certain to be seated.
Publicly, Democrats vowed to fight with every fiber in the Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings and on the Senate floor, as the liberal alliance of outside interest groups began planning how to mount a campaign that would try to turn Republicans against the nominee. But the process ahead leaves no room for error, and even a perfectly executed pressure campaign could still fall short.
“We’re in a situation where Mitch McConnell is the only person in this building that can decide when and whether and how to move the nomination forward. My hope is that there will be enough Republicans to stop it, but I don’t think the likelihood of that is high,” Sen. Michael F. Bennet (D-Colo.) said.
McConnell, the Senate majority leader, made clear Monday that he will press ahead with the confirmation process 43 days before the election, shrugging off criticism that his actions were brazenly hypocritical. In 2016, McConnell (R-Ky.) refused to consider President Barack Obama’s nominee for a court vacancy eight months before the election, insisting voters should have a say.
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) appeared to recognize the limited leverage. In a floor speech Monday, he didn’t threaten any retaliatory tactics per se, should Republicans ram a nominee through before the election. But he sought to shame his GOP colleagues by holding up their previous words about election-year Supreme Court nominations to suggest they were being insincere.
Confirming a replacement, Schumer argued in remarks that will set the tone for the coming confirmation clash, could upend the Senate entirely, spelling “the end of this supposedly great deliberative body.”
“If a Senate majority over the course of six years steals two Supreme Court seats using completely contradictory rationales, how could we expect to trust the other side again?” he asked. “How can we trust each other if, when push comes to shove, when the stakes are the highest, the other side will double-cross their own standards when it’s politically advantageous?”
McConnell, expanding on a rule change that Democrats made when they were in charge, has lowered the threshold to break a filibuster to a simple majority for all presidential nominations, leaving the 47 members of the Democratic caucus with little power.
So far just two Senate Republicans have said the Senate should wait until after the election: Susan Collins (Maine), who faces a difficult reelection battle in a Democratic-leaning state, and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), who publicly broke with Trump after his actions during this summer’s racial justice protests.
With 53 Republicans in his caucus, McConnell can afford to lose one other vote and still muscle the nominee across the finish line with Vice President Pence providing the tie-breaking vote.
Democrats are eyeing Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah), the lone Republican to vote to convict Trump in last winter’s impeachment trial, but the 2012 GOP presidential nominee has been very supportive of the president’s judicial nominees. He said Monday that he will wait until he talks to his colleagues.
Outside liberal groups began their pressure campaign Monday, including predawn protests outside the Capitol Hill home of Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Graham originally pledged to never consider a Supreme Court nominee during a presidential election year but disavowed that statement after Ginsburg’s death provided an opening for Republicans to claim the seat of the leader of the court’s liberal wing.
Other groups were talking about mounting an ad campaign. Demand Justice, a group founded by former Schumer staffer Brian Fallon, pledged $10 million to fight the nomination. They’ve already been in touch with Senate Democrats to sync up strategy and messaging.
In a Monday interview, Ben Jealous, the president of People for the American Way, said his group was already cutting ads and organizing ground-game campaigns to pressure GOP senators. It was preparing to target some Republicans facing reelection, such as Sens. Joni Ernst (Iowa), Cory Gardner (Colo.) and Graham, but also Republicans the group thinks could be compelled to vote differently should enough constituents balk.
The latter list includes Romney and Sens. Tim Scott (S.C.) and Lamar Alexander (Tenn.). Alexander is retiring but made clear in a statement Sunday that he backed McConnell.
“It’s going to be an intense push — we’ve got to take the argument directly to the people of the country,” Jealous said. “At the end of they day, they’re the only ones who can push back against the special interests backing Trump and McConnell right now. . . . There’s very little that the Democrats can do procedurally to stop this. This is all about mobilizing the people of the country to appeal to the moral conscience of Republicans during this pandemic.”
In one digital ad, the group will run a clip of Graham justifying the GOP’s refusal to give Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland a hearing in 2016 because it was an election year — as well as his instruction to “use my words against me” if the tables ever turned. “It’s time for Senator Graham to honor his word,” the narrator says in the ad, which will go up shortly.
Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of about 220 liberal groups, said the group also would be running ads and organizing in states where vulnerable Republicans are on the ballot in November. That, she argued, is Democrats’ “main lever” for stopping confirmation: pressuring those most likely to lose.
“The main thing really to hone in on is what’s at stake right now for Americans on health care, on women’s access to abortion and reproductive rights, racial justice, voting rights — the court touches all of this,” she said.
But their conservative counterparts are also already planning their own offensive. On Monday, the Judicial Crisis Network announced an initial $2.2 million ad campaign to support an eventual nominee, ensuring a clash of TV commercials and digital ads across the nation.
Additionally, liberal groups have had some mixed success on such campaigns before, in part because they have lagged behind their conservative counterparts in Supreme Court showdowns.
In 2016, after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, Democrats originally planned a $36 million campaign to boost Garland, but the donors barely materialized. Ultimately the liberal groups raised and spent less than $10 million because their donors wanted to focus instead on the 2016 White House race, according to Carl Hulse’s book, “Confirmation Bias.”
Some Democrats are pushing to go further than a public pressure campaign against the GOP. On Sunday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) said the party should leave open the possibility of impeaching Attorney General William P. Barr, hoping it would force a trial in the Senate that would prevent the confirmation until at least after the Nov. 3 elections. Impeachment rules require that the upper chamber take up articles of impeachment immediately, so a House impeachment power play could gum up the confirmation process, at least in theory.
“These are procedures and decisions that are largely up to House Democratic leadership,” Ocasio-Cortez told reporters. “But I believe that, also, we must consider, again, all of the tools available to our disposal and that all of these options should be entertained and on the table.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wouldn’t rule out the possibility when asked about it Sunday. But multiple House Democratic officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to talk frankly, downplayed this possibility, arguing that it would look overtly political.
However, a small group of Democrats were privately more interested in holding a stopgap government funding bill hostage to try to get what the party wants. The government runs out of money at the end of the month, and lawmakers are trying to put the finishing touches on an agreement to keep the government running. Some have toyed with the idea of using the must-pass legislation as a negotiating leverage
But Pelosi during a Sunday interview panned the idea outright. And the idea would almost certainly blow back on Democrats politically.
“None of us has any interest in shutting down the government,” Pelosi told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week.” “There is some enthusiasm, some exuberance on the left, as you said, but we’re not going to be shutting down the government.”
Yet another group of Democrats wants to hear Senate Democratic leadership make some sort of “threat” that will make Republicans think twice. Some have pushed for more talk of a possible Senate Democratic majority expanding the number of justices on the Supreme Court should they reclaim the upper chamber on Election Day.
But Schumer hasn’t weighed in on that possibility, resorting to the same language of keeping all possibilities “on the table” and arguing instead that voters need to give the chamber to Democrats for them to even viably consider the option.
“We first have to win the majority before that can happen,” he said when asked about expanding the court on Sunday. “But once we win the majority, God willing, everything is on the table.”
When Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced at a July 2 press conference that he was shutting down all the city’s bars for 14 days, reducing restaurant capacity from 75 percent to 50 percent, and temporarily closing event venues and entertainment venues, all due to “record” cases of COVID-19 traceable to restaurants and bars, he apparently knew that his own Metro Health Department said less than two dozen cases of COVID-19 could be traced to those establishments. But he failed to disclose that the “record” of bar and restaurant traceable cases to which he referred to was about one tenth of one percent of Davidson County’s 20,000 cases of COVID-19.
In essence, there was no credible evidence to support the draconian shutdown measures Mayor Cooper took that have had a devastating impact on one of the city’s most important industries, and the tens of thousands of Nashvillians whose lives depend on that industry.
“Our Phase Three has not been effective, and we’re going to back to what we know is effective in slowing the spread of the disease. Beginning Friday, July 3, and for the next several weeks at least, Nashville will revert to a Phase Two with modifications for the road map for reopening Nashville,” Cooper began.
“The modified plan is tailored to what we’ve learned in contact tracing investigations over the past several weeks. It is in response to sharp recent increases in cases and clustering of cases,” he continued. (emphasis added).
You can watch the full video of the July 2 press conference here:
Go to the 3 minute mark, and Cooper begins talking about bars and restaurants.
It’s worth noting that Nashville’s rate of confirmed cases did decline while bars and restaurants operated at 50 percent capacity in May. Now, Metro parks facilities opened in Phase 3 will remain open, including dog parks, skate parks, basketball courts and playgrounds. And recreational leagues and pools will still be permitted, as outbreaks have not been traced back to these venues or activities.
Now, of course, we urge you to practice safe social distancing around swimming pools this weekend.
Additionally, all bars in Davidson County known as limited-service restaurants that derive the majority of their revenue from alcohol sales will close for a minimum of 14 days, beginning tomorrow, which is equal to one incubation cycle of the coronavirus. Our public health investigators have found a record number of clusters originating from bars in the past week, which have affected employees, patrons and musicians. Multiple bars in the downtown and midtown neighborhood have recently closed because of outbreaks among their staff and patrons.
Every decision related to our phased economic reopening has been made with unanimity among our public health experts — including these announced this morning.
Note that Cooper said “record number.”
Cooper is a defendant in a lawsuit brought by bar owners over his tight coronavirus restrictions. The complaint says that from the Metro Health Director’s first order, “restaurants and bars were consistently treated differently than other similarly situated businesses and entities,” especially bars on Broadway.
Dennis Ferrier of Fox 17 News was the first to report that the mayor’s office decided not to release the fact that on June 30, only 22 cases of COVID-19 cases were associated with bars and restaurants. He obtained copies of emails exchanged between members of Cooper’s staff and the health department, and he showed those emails in his story.
Fox 17 News seems to have removed the printed version of Dennis Ferrier’s story, which was here, but so far has left the video version on YouTube here.
Ferrier’s story mentioned how nursing homes and construction workers contributed to high case counts, about 1,000 each, but bars and restaurants had only 22 cases as of June 30. The reporter showed copies of emails of officials as late as June 29 working out a decision to not release the low numbers to the public.
A month later, a reporter asked the health department about rumors that only 80 of more than 20,000 cases in Davidson County were attributable to bars and restaurants, Ferrier reported. Officials talked by email about how to deflect away from giving a specific answer.
Ferrier’s reporting drew national headlines, and the mayor’s office called it “fake news,” according to a story Friday by WSMV’s Nancy Amons.
Around the 2:50 mark, Amons asked Cooper about the July 2 press conference, the emails and his decision to close bars for 14 days even though, she said, there were only about 16 cases. Cooper blamed young people.
I think, if you look into it — and we’re happy to go into all the correspondence — you began to have bar outbreak in June. And that was telling you that it was probably gonna propel the second wave, the second spike, that you had to be especially careful about any outbreak in that area because young people spread it. Young people naturally see more people in a week. They’re out, and they’re about. They may not be symptomatic, but they spread it. And, that is frankly what we saw. Our count went from something kind of manageable in June but by mid-July it was really high.
Cooper deflected Amons’ question about the cases supposedly increasing from 16 to 80 in a month in the bars and said his responsibility is to protect the entire county.
During a press conference Thursday, Cooper spokesman Chris Song verbally berated Ferrier, as The Tennessee Starreported. Song said Ferrier did not go through proper channels, and he told the audience that the reported had exercised “a lapse in journalistic judgement and due diligence.”
There are reports that Fox 17 News’ management reacted to Cooper’s bullying by issuing a retraction, while other reports call it an apology for using the term “cover-up.”
Dictionary.com defines “cover-up” as “any action, stratagem, or other means of concealing or preventing investigation or exposure.”
Despite what Cooper told WSMV, is this fake news?
Chris Butler of The Star on Friday ran an interview with Mark Cunningham, spokesman for the Beacon Center of Tennessee, in which they discussed Cooper. Cunningham discussed Ferrier’s story on how Cooper and the city’s health department hid the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in lower Broadway’s bars and restaurants.
Cunningham told The Tennessee Star Thursday that, with this news, every bar in the city should open back up.
“The issue is that the data had showed very few cases from bars, and he knew that and he shut them down anyway. That’s the bombshell. He [Cooper] knew that there wasn’t an issue with the bars, yet he shut them down,” Cunningham said.
“Science only seems to follow the CDC recommendations when it fits his preconceived agenda, and he’s just had this vendetta against bars. Despite the contrary evidence, he basically has cost business owners, performers, and employees of their livelihoods with numbers that were contradictory to what he was saying publicly.”
Even if Fox 17 News’ management will not stick up for Ferrier, his wife will.
Lindsay Ferrier spoke out on his challenges on her blog titled, Suburban Turmoil, available here, as well as her Facebook page here.
On her Facebook post, she linked to a video clip of her husband’s story and wrote:
As Dennis Ferrier‘s story blows up and goes national and ever more hyperbolic headlines are being used to describe it, I’d encourage you to watch the story Dennis himself wrote and reported, and then make up your own minds. Click on the link below and watch the video — That’s his actual story about the emails. Everything else you’re seeing is a report on his report along with that author’s spin, and it may or may not be accurate. I also encourage you to read the emails for yourselves.
I’ve seen Dennis’s story on the news twice now and in it, he asked all the same questions I had after reading the emails. I was disappointed the mayor’s office was unable or unwilling to answer any of those questions at the press conference this morning and I hope Mayor Cooper really is willing to ‘get to the bottom of this’ in an interview.
My late father was a tough customer. I never saw him back down from anyone his entire life. He was a small businessman who often worked 16 hour days.
His favorite quote was “Never, ever, ever, ever, ever give up.” It was his version of the Winston Churchill quote.
He said it so many times that it still echoes between my ears as a 60-year-old man.
I live by that creed. Thanks, Dad, for teaching me to not back down when you’re right, no matter who’s trying to push you around.
Public opinion seems to be turning against Cooper.
A Facebook group called “Re-Open Nashville” held a “Reopen & Resign Rally” Sunday at Woodmont Park in BelleMeade, reportedly near Cooper’s home on Woodlawn Drive.
We will start at Woodmont Park at 5 pm this Sunday, and continue on in our vehicles past John Cooper’s home on Woodlawn Drive in a peaceful, socially distanced rally to inform John Cooper that Nashville is reopening, and that he is to resign immediately.
There is no sidewalk or gathering area in front of his home, so a slow, safe cruise-in is the most effective means of using our 1st Amendment right to protest his lies, and illegal persecution of Nashville bars, restaurants, and other businesses.
Have fun with the cars! Let’s be colorful with signs, banners, car paint, and flags. Please remain in vehicles, drive carefully, and remain buckled up as a police presence is expected (And welcome).
A drive-by rally with people staying inside their cars should satisfy Cooper, who has frequently called for social distancing.
Nashville Mayor John Cooper and members of his administration weren’t straightforward enough with their COVID-19 data and, in effect, hurt local businesses and justified fears that government officials would abuse their power during this long emergency.
This, according to Beacon Center of Tennessee spokesman Mark Cunningham. Cunningham responded to a FOX 17 of Nashville report that suggested Cooper and his staff members kept secret the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases coming out of the bars and restaurants in the city’s lower Broadway area.
Beacon is a Nashville-based right-of-center think tank.
Cunningham told The Tennessee Star Thursday that, with this news, every bar in the city should open back up.
“The issue is that the data had showed very few cases from bars, and he knew that and he shut them down anyway. That’s the bombshell. He [Cooper] knew that there wasn’t an issue with the bars, yet he shut them down,” Cunningham said.
“Science only seems to follow the CDC recommendations when it fits his preconceived agenda, and he’s just had this vendetta against bars. Despite the contrary evidence, he basically has cost business owners, performers, and employees of their livelihoods with numbers that were contradictory to what he was saying publicly.”
FOX 17 reported this week that Cooper’s senior advisor and Metro Health Department staff members discussed, in emails, how to handle the low number of COVID-19 cases emerging from bars and restaurants.
“On June 30th, contact tracing was given a small view of coronavirus clusters. Construction and nursing homes were found to be causing problems with more than a thousand cases traced to each category, but bars and restaurants reported just 22 cases,” the station reported.
The station quoted health department employee Leslie Waller asking in one email “This isn’t going to be publicly released, right? Just info for Mayor’s Office?”
Cooper Senior Advisor Benjamin Eagles, responding to Waller, said “Correct, not for public consumption.”
The station went on to report that other media asked Metro officials about a rumor that they had traced only 80 cases back to bars and restaurants and whether such businesses really jeopardized health and safety.
According to FOX 17, an unidentified official, in an email, said the following:
“My two cents. We have certainly refused to give counts per bar because those numbers are low per site. We could still release the total though, and then a response to the over 80 could be because that number is increasing all the time and we don’t want to say a specific number.”
The station went on to say that a Metro staff attorney verified that the emails were real but that Cooper’s staff would not verify their authenticity. They instead directed FOX 17 staff to submit an open records request to confirm this on their own.
Responding to the report, Cooper spokesman Chris Song published a press release Thursday that blasted FOX 17. He said the station published “limited information and without context” to “falsely accuse the Mayor’s office and the Metro Public Health Department of withholding public health data.”
On Thursday U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-TN-07) told Cooper in a letter that “Tennesseans deserve transparency.”
“They deserve to know the truth, not cherry-picked data to support a certain set of policy outcomes,” Green wrote.
Green also asked Cooper who made the call to conceal these statistics and what he knew about it.
“When government leaders make weighty decisions that threaten to drive businesses into permanent closure, they need to be honest about the data behind such choices,” Green wrote.
“Unfortunately, it appears that the Nashville city government chose to suppress information that contradicted the official narrative concerning restrictions on bars and restaurants.”
Nashvillians now likely will have input on the city’s 34 to 37 percent property tax hike, a conservative activist said in reaction to the verification of a ballot initiative.
The Davidson County Election Commission on Monday verified the referendum effort for the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act, WSMV said. That could limit the property tax increase to 2 percent. The effort now goes to the Metro Clerk’s Office and potentially to the Dec. 5 ballot.
Tori Venable, state director of Americans for Prosperity-Tennessee (AFP-TN), lauded the initiative’s progress in a statement.
Venable said, “Nashvillians can now have their say on this harmful 34% property tax hike. If the government can’t restrain itself, we the people will act to restrain the government. Mayor Cooper’s unrealistic scare tactics won’t work; we look forward to voters proving it at the polls and making their voices heard in December.
“What’s dangerous is the fact some members of the Metro Council are already plotting to reject voters and taxpayers having their voice heard on this issue that will have real consequences for families and businesses. The Metro Council needs to stop looking for ways to force this tax hike on Nashville and focus on addressing the root causes of reckless spending and cronyist taxpayer-incentive deals that put us in this situation,” Venable said.
Every year since 2007, Nashville’s finances have weakened, with its Net Position becoming negative for the first time in 2018, well before the tornado or COVID-19 shutdown.
Mayor Cooper has stated that there is no other way to bring the city back from the financial brink without a massive property tax increase, even though many businesses cannot operate as the city remains partially shut down to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. However, without structural reforms, Nashville’s impossible promises, bloated size of government, and lack of fiscal discipline will continue to plague the city. If these changes are not made, it won’t be long until Nashville is broke yet again, just at an even higher level. Therefore, before any tax increase is considered, Metro should first focus on reducing long-term liabilities, rightsize its government workforce, stop eroding away its tax base, and place caps on the growth of spending. Enacting these types of reforms will do far more than a massive permanent tax increase to restore citizen’s faith in the fiscal stewardship of the city and set Nashville up for long-term prosperity.
The Beacon Center was not alone in its analysis.
Last November, State Comptroller Justin Wilson told Metro Council the state could take control of the city’s finances if it failed to get its finances in order, The Center Square reported.
In August, Mayor John Cooper called the referendum effort a “poison pill” that would cause stagnation, The Tennessee Starreported. AFP-TN announced it had turned in about 20,000 signatures to the Metro Clerk’s Office.
The act would not only roll back the 34-37 percent property tax increase, but it would limit such increases to 2 percent per year without voters having approved it.
Sir Roger Vernon Scruton, an English philosopher and writer who specializes in political philosophy and aesthetics, said social justice is changing the very nature of scholarship—and not for the better.
“The academy has been invaded by a new form of study,” says Scruton, a senior research fellow at Oxford University, in a recently published Youtube video. “It used to be the case at universities you were teaching a recognized subject with a recognized curriculum and you were carrying out research or scholarship in the humanities which was open-minded, guided by the pursuit of truth, and not dismayed particularly if it came to surprising or unorthodox conclusions.”
Scruton, a former editor of The Salisbury Review and author of more than 50 books, said political conformity is now a virtual requirement in many humanities subjects. He used women studies programs as one example (noting his assertion would be controversial, particularly in America).
“It’s very difficult to imagine you’d succeed in that subject if you didn’t have, at the outset or certainly at the conclusion, feminist opinions,” Scruton says. “It’s a subject constructed around an ideology.”
Scruton said the ideology might be grounded in truth, but it’s impossible to know because one cannot freely question its premises. Conformity to the orthodoxy takes precedence over the intellectual method, he said, something which is occurring more and more at universities. Scholarship is no longer a tool to seek truth but a means.
“The growth of the fake scholarship industry enables people to claim authority for nonsense,” Scruton said. “It makes conformity to orthodoxy the only thing that you have. If the scholarship is nonsense, what is there? Only the conclusions.”
NYU professor Jonathan Haidt made a similar point last year. Haidt and Scruton have very different politics, but they’ve reached similar conclusions about the state of the modern university: political ideology is trumping the pursuit of truth.
If the scholars are right, the consequences could be severe. History has shown that the politicization of university systems is often a precursor to social unrest and political upheaval, with perhaps Weimar-era Germany as the most conspicuous example.
“The tragedy of modern Germany is an object-lesson in the dangers of allowing academic life to become politicized and professors to proclaim their “commitment,” the British historian Paul Johnson wrote in the best-selling book Modern Times. “Whether the bias is to the Left or the Right the results are equally disastrous for in either case the wells of truth are poisoned.”
In 2016, NYU professor Jonathan Haidt said universities would soon have to choose between Truth and Social Justice. In Haidt’s words, they’d have to choose ‘one telos.’
A telos (from the Greek t???? for "end", "purpose", or "goal") is the ultimate end for a given thing. The term derives from the word "teleology," the study of purposiveness.
The telos of an apple is to be eaten. The telos of a knife is to cut something. For centuries, the telos of universities was Truth, or at least the pursuit of it. In recent years, a new telos has emerged: social justice.
Few would disagree that the emergence of social justice as a second telos has profoundly changed academia. The point of contention is whether said change is positive or negative.
Perhaps a larger question is this: can they coexist? Haidt suggests they cannot.
“As a social psychologist who studies morality, I have watched these two teloses come into conflict increasingly often during my 30 years in the academy. The conflicts seemed manageable in the 1990s. But the intensity of conflict has grown since then, at the same time as the political diversity of the professoriate was plummeting, and at the same time as American cross-partisan hostility was rising. I believe the conflict reached its boiling point in the fall of 2015 when student protesters at 80 universities demanded that their universities make much greater and more explicit commitments to social justice, often including mandatory courses and training for everyone in social justice perspectives and content.”
College Kids Say Looting Is ‘Justified’ Because ‘People In Power Have Stolen So Much More’
BY LIFEZETTE SEPTEMBER 10, 2020 AT 1:37PM
Over the past few months, radical liberals have been rioting and looting all over the nation. In August, Chicago Black Lives Matter organizer Ariel Atkins justified the estimated $60 million in damages as “reparations.”
“I don’t care if someone decides to loot a Gucci or a Macy’s or a Nike store, because that makes sure that person eats,” Atkins said. “That makes sure that person has clothes. That is reparations. Anything they wanted to take, they can take it because these businesses have insurance.”
College Students Defend Looting And Rioting
This inspired Campus Reform to head to George Washington University in Washington D.C. to ask college students what their thoughts are on the rioting and looting that has descended our country into chaos. Their answers were disturbing, to say the least.
“In my opinion…it definitely can be justified given that’s pretty much the only way we can get our message out there,” one student said, with another adding that the looting and rioting is “justified. People in power have stolen so much more. Anything that any of them loot will never match up to how much that’s been stolen from them.”
“I’m in support of the riots personally, whatever you need to do to be heard is the cost of it,” a third student said, adding that anyone who is upset about the financial toll of rioting and looting should “reevaluate” perspectives on people versus objects. When confronted over the fact that someone had to pay for stolen or destroyed objects, the student didn’t back down.
“Everything can be replaced… Target is, like, a multimillion dollar, like, company, and at the end of the day they can flip that and get it back,” the student said.
Not stopping there, she added that detractors should “understand that there’s a larger cause that people are fighting for versus the cost that it’s gonna take to repair your small business.”
Student Says Looting And Rioting Is ‘Inevitable’
Another student said that looting and rioting was “inevitable,” going on to declare that “if change is gonna come, there will be some violence that comes with that.”
“I guess it’s all part of the healing process,” a different student said about the looting and rioting, adding that “some people get caught in the way, and it’s unfortunate, but for meaningful progress to happen unfortunate things happen.”
A final student called out the “many white nationalist protests that have gotten violent” and complained that “the conversation has never been about…their looting and the violence that they bring. I mean, it’s easier to characterize people of color as violent than white people, I guess.”
The ignorance of the next generation of Americans is truly terrifying.
(The Center Square) – While the Tennessee Department of Education has said temporarily withdrawn guidance on child well-being checks was not intended to apply to every child, internal documents and emails sent in development of the guidance show officials have misrepresented the intended scope of the initiative in response to public outrage.
In response to concerns over the initiative’s application to all children in the state – birth to age 18 – the state repeatedly has claimed the guidance document did not accurately portray the intent of the program.
The guidance “has nothing to do with children who are homeschooled or enrolled in independent schools,” an official statement sent to The Center Square by Gov. Bill Lee’s office and the Department of Education read.
In a letter sent Aug. 14 to members of the General Assembly, Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn wrote the guidance applied only to at-risk students.
“The goal of this document was to serve as an optional resource for local leaders to guide their efforts for at-risk kids who continue to navigate prolonged time away from the classroom,” Schwinn wrote. “Although well-intentioned, we have missed the mark on communication.”
Internal documents tracking development of the well-being checks guidance and emails between department staff, however, show in every step of the drafting process, including a discussion with a group of school superintendents and circulation to members of the governor’s cabinet, the well-being checks initiative was intended to apply to every child in the state.
A document compiling feedback from the task force dated July 22 said the goal of the initiative was “100% of Tennessee children would receive a wellbeing check.” Meeting notes from the July 22 meeting show task force members strategized how to reach children birth to age five who are not in the school system.
“Talked about how to get to all children in the system, as the school system covers children age 5-18,” the meeting notes read. “Will need to think critically about how to reach children from birth to age 5.”
In an Aug. 6 draft update to the governor’s office, Katie Houghtlin, a former colleague of Schwinn at the Texas Education Agency who now facilitates the Child Wellbeing Task Force and orchestrated feedback on the well-being checks document, noted suggestions from the task force on how to administer well-being checks for nonpublic school students and children from birth to age 5.
“As the goal is to conduct a wellbeing check for ALL children, not just those enrolled in public schools, our superintendent engagement group voiced concern that they would not be able to coordinate the effort to also administer the wellbeing checks for private school students, birth to age 5, homeschooled and homebound children,” Houghtlin wrote, noting the task force suggested superintendents be able to designate an administrator of well-being checks.
Talking points to a Superintendent Engagement Group shared by Whole Child Chief of Programs Jean Luna in an Aug. 7 email reiterated the goal to conduct a well-being check for all children, including private school students, homeschooled students and homebound children.
“Further conversation emphasized the intention of the Child Wellbeing Task Force was to check in on all children in communities from birth to 18 which would include students not enrolled in the public school system,” Luna wrote.
The final released guidance clearly stated the goal that all Tennessee children receive a well-being check. Before its release Aug. 11, guidance was discussed with a group of school superintendents and circulated to the 38 member COVID-19 Child Wellbeing Task Force and six of Lee’s cabinet members for feedback.
Participation in the well-being checks initiative was almost not optional.
A week before the initiative was launched, Houghtlin emailed Schwinn a progress report on the document, including details of a conversation Houghtlin had with Schwinn’s assistant, Chelsea Crawford, surrounding the document.
“Chelsea and I landed on a strategy to ‘encourage’ but not require checks so we can use data collected from counties who committed and implemented with fidelity to demonstrate possible benefit in creating county specific wellbeing committees which could serve far beyond COVID,” Houghtlin wrote.
While the final guidance document included a specific provision that participation in well-being checks not be forced or mandated, the document did state parents choosing to decline to respond to a well-being check inquiry would be recorded as not participating.
The department withdrew the guidance days after it was released and since has repeatedly claimed the truly limited intent of the well-being checks program was not accurately communicated in the final copy.
“The intent is that we have vulnerable students across the state who have not been in school for 6 months. Schools, as you well know, are places where many of our students receive breakfast, lunch, and sometimes supper, mental health services and other supports,” Schwinn said during a news conference last week.
“This toolkit, like the 40-something that came before it, was intended to give districts a guide, a toolkit, to be able to make local decisions about what makes the most sense for their students,” Schwinn said.
The department is continuing work on a revised version of the toolkit, but, as of Thursday, Schwinn did not have a timeline for the toolkit’s re-release.
The governor’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
If you’ve been fretting over how to explain critical race theory to your baby, you’re in luck, and the wait is over. Finally, bestselling author Ibram X. Kendi has gifted us his wisdom, packaged for the very young, published by Penguin Random House.
Kendi boils down the complex and ever-changing definition of “racist” and “racism” into nine, easily-digestible and simple steps packaged sweetly for newborns to three-year-olds. Even more, this book gives you more than just critical race theory as Kendi gently guides your baby toward not just being an antiracist but also becoming a budding political activist.
Antiracist Baby contains smiling cartoon characters (some hairy, some sporting tattoos) peppered throughout its pages on non-primary-colored panels. It opens with this verse:
Antiracist Baby is bred not born.
Antiracist Baby is raised
to make society transform.
In the illustration, people are at a protest with their fists in the air and holding signs such as “Equity now!” “Black Lives Matter,” and “Environmental justice is racial justice.” Many words and phrases on this page may be foreign to your tike, but don’t worry, this is a great opportunity for the child to quickly gain critical race theory vocabulary.
The next spread tells the reader in Rule No. 1 to “Open your eyes to all the skin colors”:
Antiracist Baby learns all the colors,
not because race is true.
If you claim to be color-blind,
You deny what’s right in front of you
You might wish to pause and ponder the rhyme’s meaning of “not because race is true,” but do not worry—your baby will understand what this means.
The second rule states:
No one will see racism if we only stay silent.
If we don’t name racism,
it won’t stop being so violent.
This close up of an illustration makes the message clear: If your baby is white then, as usual, she will climb the ladder of success and happiness and receive every trophy without effort. Brown and black babies are plumb out of luck.
The third rule states, “Babies are taught to be racist or antiracist—there’s no neutrality.” This is another opportunity for your baby to learn a high school-level word. Clearly, if babies aren’t being active in their antiracism, such as protesting police departments and voting for policies like reparations, then they are racists.
“Some people get more, while others get less…because policies don’t always grant equal access” reads lesson three.
In the illustration, the brown baby wants the butterfly but it’s far out of reach, so far that it’s on the facing page. Meanwhile, the tiny white-privileged arm is grabbing a net full of colorful butterflies.
Just as Catholics require going to confession, so does Antiracist Baby, as explained by Rule No. 7: “Confess when being racist.”
Some of the other “rules” are fairly simple, such as asking children to love one another and accept differences. This short baby book concludes on a promising note: “Antiracist has the power to transcend, my friend.”
Due to high demand, this bestselling board book has now been printed in picture book form, with additional notes from the author, giving more helpful hints on raising an antiracist baby. The back cover of the book states that “people aren’t the problem — policies are.”
So, what can babies do about polices when the voting age seems like an eon away? For starters, babies and school-age children can memorize phrases that many adults struggle to comprehend. Eventually, they will grow up to be adults who easily regurgitate antiracist slogans and will vote for “antiracist policies.” But what are “antiracist policies? The board book never specifies.
One can glean more information by watching and reading Kendi’s interviews. He says in an interview in the Los Angeles Times that, “A racist policy is any policy that leads to inequity and antiracist policy is the opposite.”
Since Kendi often speaks in generalities, it’s hard to pin down what these “antiracist policies” are even in interviews on CBS, NBC, and others. One word he mentions often is the word “equity,” so it’s clear that Kendi wants the impossible — an equal society of equal outcomes — not merely equal opportunity for all.
Kendi wrote an essay in The Atlantic entitled “There Is No Middle Ground on Reparations.” The gist of the article is that if you’re not for redistributing money today to redress slavery 150 years ago, then you’re not antiracist, and if you’re not antiracist then you are a racist.
Although Kendi doesn’t offer many other solutions to eradicating racism, what is clear is that Kendi lives in a black and white world, just as children do — there is right and there is wrong. There is no room for shades of gray. You are with the cause or against it.
The vagueness of his children’s book is just enough to plant seeds for upcoming generations to push through programs intended to foster the equity Kendi wishes to materialize, without the risk of turning off too many adult readers by discussing specific ideas that are considered controversial to many.
Kendi speaks of his educational plans for Antiracist Baby in The Harvard Gazette:
Well, I think that first and foremost, for teachers to essentially not talk about racism and racist policy and racist power and even racist ideas is to effectively allow their students to be educated to be racist … So, I think it’s important for teachers to disrupt that norm and literally teach their students antiracist ideas.
When asked what age Kendi thinks antiracism should be taught, he said, “In kindergarten, in preschool. We know that by 2 years old, children are already consuming racist ideas.”
Expect to see Antiracist Baby in nursery schools and elementary schools in the upcoming years and most likely more children’s literature that mirrors this. Will there be a White Fragility for babies? Only time will tell.
Katie Miller is the pen name of a person in the publishing industry who is anonymous because she'd lose her livelihood if the cancel-mob found out she wrote for a conservative site.
In the wake of LeBron James and many NBA players speaking up against systemic racism and police brutality against Blacks, there has been a lot of talk about the fears of Black men in America. James made a statement last week, sharing his fear as a Black father, that Black people in America “are terrified.”
In response to James’ position, a Black father penned an open letter to the Los Angeles Lakers player. The man, Patrick D. Hampton, also a Trump supporter, posted a letter on his Facebook page and advises James to “stop blaming the police and help build better fathers.”
The full letter is below:
Dear LeBron James,
You don’t speak for me and my boys.
I’m a father of four brown boys. It is my responsibility as a father to protect and serve them. There is no need for police in my home because as the father, I’m the authority in my home.
Police are needed where fathers and law and order are absent. When there is no father to protect and serve children, police have to move into that community to protect and serve.
Where there is no father or authority in the home or neighborhood, young men rebel. This is why police is having a hard time gaining compliance with fatherless boys on the side of the road. They refuse to sit down, be quiet, and comply. Why? Because the police are the first men to tell them NO and assert their authority. These boys have spent years under no ones authority. This is the main problem.
So please don’t speak for me and my boys. Me and my boys are not terrified of the police because we respect the police and accept their authority. That’s because they first had to respect me as their father and accept my authority. Actually one of them want to be a police officer.
We are terrified of the black men that kill each other in their black neighborhoods everyday. We are afraid of the black men that threaten us and call us cūns and uncle toms for desiring to live a peacefull and successful life. We are aware of the fact that 93% of all black homicides are by black men. (Justice Bureau of Statistics)
If you really want to help fatherless boys like yourself, stop using fear tactics and guilt trips. Help promote legislation like “EQUAL SHARED PARENTING” that helps divorced dads and single dad have more time with their children without paying more child support.
Help get legislation passed to make child support more fair and equal. Fund programs like my #GoodGuys#GoodGirlst that help young black youth save sex until marriage, respect police, develop work ethic and accomplish their goals.( https://youtu.be/1ZxCe3JXp3M ).
Stop blaming the police and help build better fathers. Stop saying police need more training and train more dads and young black boys on the the rule of law and police protocols.
Remember, there are millions of black and brown boys out here that are not being killed by police. They are alive and doing quite well. How? We obey the law. Comply with police and if the police does something wrong or unethical, they live to fight in court and not the side of the road.
There is a well-crafted establishment media narrative that police officers routinely shoot suspects as a way to wipe out black and brown folks, and that poisonous lie is currently serving as fuel for violent civil unrest throughout the nation.
But Christian Walker, son of Heisman Trophy-winning running back Herschel Walker, isn’t having it amid media and leftist outrage over a police shooting Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Police shot Jacob Blake in the back after the man apparently ignored their commands, walked toward his vehicle and opened the door.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice revealed Wednesday that Blake told police he had a knife in his possession at the time of the incident, and that investigators recovered a knife on the floorboard of his car.
Before all of the facts were in — and fueled by a video of the shooting but not what led up to it — violent protests broke out in the city, while Democratic politicians and leftist bottom-feeders decried the police shooting of a supposedly innocent black man.
And what Christian Walker is saying holds true for other police shootings as well, like the recent case involving Rayshard Brooks, with whom police politely interacted until he allegedly managed to grab an officer’s Taser and point it back at them, leading police to shoot and kill him.
If fact, the seminal event that launched the Black Lives Matter movement in the first place was a situation where a black man, Michael Brown, was shot because he resisted arrest and got into a physical altercation with an officer.
To be sure, there are killings where police are simply in the wrong and should face criminal charges, but jumping to conclusions before the facts are in, especially when the nation is a tinder box ready to explode, is reckless.
Walker also took umbrage with the fact that people with criminal histories are suddenly sainted because they happened to be shot by police.
“Jacob Blake was a disgusting career criminal, with a horribly violent past,” Walker tweeted Wednesday. (Blake was wanted in connection with three crimes at the time of the incident, including alleged sexual assault.)
“Black supremacists are defending him solely because of his skin color.
“Kyle Rittenhouse acted in complete self-defense and is being charged with murder,” he said of the man accused of killing two during riots in Kenosha. (It is worth noting that people should be just as careful defending Rittenhouse before all the facts are in, lest they make the same mistake as the BLM protesters.)
“STOP KNEELING TO THE BLM NUTCASES.”
Facts are still emerging about what happened to Blake and what led to the shooting which has left him paralyzed, and yet protests in his name continue.
It certainly isn’t helpful to propagate the very wrong narrative that cops are racists looking to execute minorities, especially considering that narrative leads to more smoldering cities.
Any time police discharge their weapons at civilians, it is a tragedy in one way or another for all involved. The left needs to stop compounding these tragedies by turning them into opportunities to score political points while encouraging violence and vandalism.
‘We Act Like a Bunch of Punks:’ Black Tennessee Lawmaker Shames Rioters, Invokes Family Legacy of Peaceful Protest
Tennessee State Representative John Deberry, a Democrat from Memphis, tore into rioters and demonstrators in Portland, Seattle, and elsewhere in the U.S. in a blistering speech to the Tennessee House earlier this month.
Deberry spoke as lawmakers debated a law on August 12 to increase penalties for demonstrators suspected of certain violent offenses against police officers, including throwing bodily excrement at officers. Deberry, who is African American, repeatedly referenced his family’s participation in the civil rights activism of the mid-twentieth century to draw a contrast between that movement and current demonstrations.
“People who are looking at what’s happening in Washington, in Detroit, in Portland and Seattle–they’re getting emboldened because we act like a bunch of punks, too frightened to stand up and protect our own stuff,” Deberry said. “You’re telling me that someone got the right to tear down property that Tennessee taxpayers paid for? That American taxpayers paid for? And somebody has the right to destroy it, deface it, and tear it down? What kind of people have we become that we can’t protect our own stuff?!”