Those who once claimed to be the bulwark against oppressive government criminality now readily embrace it
May 21, 2020
ITEM #1: Recent revelations about the conduct of Democrats — most notably Congressman Adam Schiff and members of the Obama administration — during the farcical Russia-collusion investigation have done far more than expose a few bad actors.
They have also provided a window into the very nature of the left, specifically the willingness to subjugate any principle or ideal to the pursuit of power.
The irony is striking from a historical perspective. It wasn’t long ago that liberals claimed to be the vanguard in the fight to defend civil liberties against government oppression. It was always a dubious claim, but now, they’ve made it clear they’re more than willing to engage in exactly the kind of egregious behavior they once attributed to their political opponents.
Historian Victor Davis Hanson explores this in-depth in a piece aptly titled, "The Left Is What It Once Loathed," and invites readers to “compare the current progressive view about civil liberties against the old liberal positions of the past.” During the Cold War, the left expressed outrage over the government’s monitoring of those thought to be colluding with the Russians — who, Hanson reminds us, were then America’s No. 1 geopolitical threat.
What about today? As Hanson writes:
“Russia is no longer a global Communist superpower rival. Yet the Obama Administration’s CIA, NSA, and FBI were every bit as obsessed with Vladimir Putin as had the old Right worried about Leonid Brezhnev — as if a contemporary kleptocratic thug lording over a failed and shrinking state posed the same existential dangers as a Communist dictator reigning over a huge postwar empire dedicated to destroying the free world.”
Of course, it was all pretense for Democrats’ attempt to destroy a political rival from the opposing party. The goal was never to expose genuine wrongdoing — the evidence for it never existed — but to ensure Donald Trump’s electoral defeat and then, once that failed, to undermine his presidency. It was government corruption in its purest form.
And yet, as Hanson notes:
“The response of the Left to all this was not to help ferret out … outrageous government criminality, but to defend it, to contextualize it, and even to applaud it.”
Which leads to an inescapable conclusion:
“The Left perhaps never has been worried about government illegal monitoring, surveillance, and disruption after all — only that it had once, prior to the Obama administration, been directed against liberal targets.”
It’s well worth your time to read Hanson’s full piece, which you can do here.
ITEM #2: Matt Whitaker, who served as acting U.S. Attorney General from November 2018 to February 2019, has a new book out titled, “Above the Law: The Inside Story of How the Justice Department Tried to Subvert President Trump.”
Devin Nunes, Republican Congressman from California, served as Chair of the House Intelligence Committee during much of the Russia-collusion hysteria, and so it’s appropriate that he wrote the foreword to Whitaker’s book. The New York Post recently published a column by Nunes that’s an adaptation of the foreword, and he’s got some harsh things to say about those responsible for forcing this nonsense on our nation.
Nunes calls what happened “the most egregious attempt to oust a president in American history,” and writes further that:
“Despite the raft of leaks and 'bombshell' media stories about the Mueller team supposedly uncovering all sorts of irrefutable collusion evidence, there were signs it had no such evidence even before it issued its report. ...
“[W]hen Mueller took over the investigation, he would have learned on his first day that the FBI, after investigating for nearly a year, had found no evidence of a collusion conspiracy. And yet he continued the probe. And the accompanying media circus went on for nearly another two years — and he still found no evidence of collusion.”
Given his role in Congress during this infamous period in our nation’s history, Nunes naturally has a unique perspective on it, and his insights (like Whitaker’s) are a welcome addition to the story.
Read more from Nunes’ column here.
ITEM #3: Nunes isn’t the only one with some choice words on this whole fiasco.
In an interview with Ed Henry of Fox News, former House Oversight Committee Chair Trey Gowdy has weighed in, specifically on the email Obama national security advisor Susan Rice sent to herself documenting the Jan. 5, 2017 meeting of high-level Obama administration officials, during which the then-President gave guidance as to the conduct of the Russia investigation.
Calling Rice’s email “the most bizarre thing I’ve read,” Gowdy says, “It is, ‘Dear Diary, President Obama is perfect and Jim Comey says he’s done everything by the book.’ Well, I’d like to know what book he's following.”
Gowdy then elaborates further:
“Remember, they are about to close the counterintelligence investigation. It can’t possibly, Ed, be a criminal investigation because remember Sally Yates doesn’t know anything about it, Gowdy exclaimed. “She's the top law enforcement official in the country and this is news to her. To this day she learned it. So, it can't be a criminal investigation.
“The other thing I find shocking about this,” he told Henry, “[is] if Susan Rice had been interviewed by Jim Comey that day, he would've followed a completely different book.
“Remember he said he did things to [Michael] Flynn that he never would have done to the other administrations,” Gowdy added, referring to a 2019 interview in which Comey told MSNBC's Nicole Wallace that he 'sent' FBI agents to be in the room during an interrogation of Flynn, noting it was 'something we, I probably wouldn't have done or gotten away with in a more organized investigation — a more organized administration.'
“So, I'd like to know what the name of the damn book that they are following is because it's not the FBI manual,” he concluded.
You can watch the interview here.
ITEM #4: One of the starkest failures of the response to the coronavirus crisis has been the inability or unwillingness by many state governments to recognize a crucial component of policymaking — balance.
Writing for The Hill, Dr. Scott W. Atlas diagnoses this failure, and spells out the consequences that result from the type of myopic approach we’ve seen in New York and elsewhere:
“Basic science underlying a viral pandemic is absolutely critical. But now is the time for the design of sound public policy — and that involves a far broader formulation than a single-minded focus on stopping COVID-19 at all costs.
“Policymakers and the public have not received several key messages that are critical to alleviate fear and guide a safe reopening of society. That has led to a gross failure in policy at the state level.”
Among the most important of those missed message, Dr. Atlas writes, is that:
“There has been a failure to clarify to parents the truth about the extremely low risk to children, and that has accompanied a gross failure to offer a rational medical perspective regarding schools reopening. Younger, healthier people have virtually zero risk of death and an extremely small risk of serious disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that of 54,861 U.S. deaths from COVID-19, only 12, or 0.02 percent, have been in children under 14. That compares to CDC estimates that childhood deaths from influenza are nearly 600 in the most recent data. Of 15,756 deaths in New York City, only eight, or 0.05 percent, have been in those under 18, a pattern confirmed globally.”
The bottom line, he says, is that, “In children, despite exceptionally rare cases, COVID-19 is not a significant risk — even compared to influenza.”
Yet schools remain shuttered.
ITEM #5: It seems many Americans are just about fed up with the increasingly unjustifiable, draconian lockdowns that many state governments continue to impose.
Check out this segment on the subject from Tucker Carlson, who notes that even as the evidence builds that it’s time to ease the restrictions, many states insist on going the opposite direction:
“As this coronavirus pandemic recedes, it's becoming clear that cities and states that have cautiously reopened did the right thing. They are reaping the benefits of that. Nowhere has the virus surged back. Hospitals haven't been overwhelmed, death rates have not spiked.
“The time for mass quarantines is passed. And yet in some places — and this is the measure of bad leadership — lockdowns are becoming more restrictive, not less, and much, much weirder.”
Here's an example you simply can't make up:
“On Long Island, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran has banned doubles tennis.
“Laura Curran, Nassau County executive: I will fill you in on what those rules are. Singles only, no doubles. Only every other court. You have to have a court between players, between people — sets of people playing. Every player, unless they're from the same household, has to bring their own tennis balls so that you don't touch other people's tennis balls.
“Singles only, no doubles. She wants you to know that in Nassau County, it is illegal to touch other people's tennis balls.”
But, Carlson notes, Americans in growing numbers are drawing a line:
“[I]ndividual Americans are standing up for themselves in quieter ways. Here's how we know: Because it controls your smartphone, Apple can track travel across the country. Now, that's scary. But in this case, it's interesting.
“Here's why. Over this past weekend, for the first time since the lockdowns began in mid-March, nationwide driving trends were well above the baseline average. And that means Americans are voting with their feet. They're ignoring the orders. They're breaking their isolation.”
You can keep free people from acting freely for only so long.
ITEM #6: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has stood out for taking a far less severe approach to shutting down his state during the coronavirus outbreak than many other governors. Of course, because he’s a Republican, he’s been vilified and mocked by Democrats and their media allies at every turn.
But as we’ve noted previously, DeSantis has been vindicated, as his more strategic approach has proven to be far more effective and wise than the more heavy-handed measures implemented by governors elsewhere.
If you haven’t seen it yet, you simply must watch this recent epic video of DeSantis talking about Florida’s success story and the bogus, partisan nonsense that’s been thrown his way.
And speaking of nonsense, the Los Angeles Times recently ran a story headlined “A new high for coronavirus deaths in California as counties push ahead with reopening.”
But as Ben Shapiro observed in a tweet, “The headline here is deeply misleading. The real story: ‘hospitalizations have dropped more than 15% from a peak six weeks ago,’ and ‘even some of the most cautious local health officials have agreed to begin slowly reopening businesses and public spaces.’”
Which prompted this response from National Review’s Rich Lowry: “It’s like a memo went out, ‘to all members of the media: please make every effort to suppress or distort any encouraging news about the course of the coronavirus epidemic.’”
ITEM #7: As we’ve noted many times already, the economic impact of Governor Sisolak’s excessive shutdown here in Nevada has been catastrophic. But you don’t have to take our word for it.
Jon Ralston recently observed in a tweet that “Nevada's unemployment situation is a disaster on so many levels.”
This liberal media mouthpiece has covered for Governor Sisolak’s incompetence through every stage of his failed coronavirus response. But even he can't put lipstick on this pig, and must acknowledge the calamitous impact on our economy.
Hey, maybe Ralston should sign our petition to Get Nevada Working!
(And if you haven’t already, you should, too.)
ITEM #8: One of the most maddening parts of the coronavirus story has been how badly those responsible for telling the story — the national news media — have gotten it so consistently wrong.
And now, we have yet another example from — who else? — CNN.
Sean Trende, writing for RealClearPolitics, has the details:
“On Sunday CNN ran a segment on the spread of COVID-19 in Texas. The news channel promoted it with the jarring tweet ‘Texas is seeing the highest number of new coronavirus cases and deaths just two weeks after it officially reopened.’ The segment spotlighted 1,448 new cases and 58 new deaths, and noted the increased movement of people in the state according to cellphone data, illustrating that the public was increasingly out and about.”
But as Trends explains, CNN’s story is “horribly misleading” for several reasons. One is that deaths are a trailing indicator, meaning that those who died recently likely got the virus before the reopening. Another is that it’s predictable that we’d see more confirmed cases as testing becomes more widely available (even if the actual number of cases doesn’t grow at all or even declines).
And here’s another that CNN has absolutely no excuse for missing:
“What CNN has probably discovered is not that Texas’ reopening is driving an increase in cases. Instead, it seems to have discovered yet another outbreak in meatpacking plants, a story on which CNN has reported elsewhere and which has been covered in the Lone Star State for going on a month now. These outbreaks should not be waved away; they represent a genuine problem, though this problem is mitigated by the fact that there are relatively few sick and/or elderly workers on meatpacking floors. At the same time, it has very little to do with the merits of re-opening the economy at this point.”
Maybe CNN should follow its own coverage!
ITEM #9: U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has come under a lot of fire from the left, which is to be expected from anyone who dares show the courage to challenge the failing status quo that pervades so much of our education system.
One of her more significant actions has been to implement changes that strengthen due process for students accused of sexual assault and harassment, in particular by allowing for live hearings and cross-examinations. It’s a marked shift from policy under the Obama administration, which allowed for no such protections.
Among the fiercest opponents of DeVos’ reforms has been the American Civil Liberties Union, which has gone so far as to sue the federal government over the changes.
Yes, you read that right: An organization ostensibly dedicated to protecting “civil liberties” is fighting against the Trump administration’s attempts to … protect civil liberties.
The editors at National Review tee off on this hypocrisy:
“That the ACLU is suing the federal government in the hope of altering its due-process standards is not headline news. That the ACLU is suing the federal government in the hope of weakening its due-process standards is headline news for the ages. Once more, the line between parody and reality has been blurred.”
The editors quip: “Remind us again what the C and the L stand for?”
The full editorial has more on this absurd case, and you can read it here.
ITEM #10: We thought we’d end this week on an uplifting offering from The Federalist, which is running a new series “on America’s small businesses, their struggles under the shutdowns, and what they’re doing to survive.”
The first installation focuses on what’s described as a “defiant mining town bar” right here in Nevada that refuses to “shut down and die.”
As the piece notes: “Names and locations below have been obscured to protect the people who spoke with us from government retaliation.” This story is about “Sonny” and his family, and the bar they own here in the Silver State.
“They employ four people but were shut down by Democrat Gov. Steve Sisolak for two months, working hard and doing everything possible to keep the wolves from the door. They applied for a Paycheck Protection Program loan and 'got a little of what we asked for, but it wasn’t nearly enough.' They applied for the second round too, but no more luck.
“Sonny asked longtime bartender Christine to pour me a shot and proudly said he’s not taking it anymore.
“‘We were shutdown for almost two months and we had people that had been with us for years, and we kept them employed. So finally, I said to the [bar owner] next door, We’re gonna open this up. You going to open up?' The man down the road agreed to, so Sonny told the sheriff, who said they weren’t going to enforce the order and keep him closed.
“‘We’re a town of [a little over 2,000 people],' Sonny tells me. 'People knew the day we opened and they came down. They’re just happy to have the bar back.'
“A committeeman swung by next, Sonny recounts. 'And he said, Thank you for opening up.’”
It’s a nice reminder that the people of this state can be truly inspiring — even when our government isn’t.
“Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff insisted impeachment couldn’t be partisan. Nonsense. Partisan is exactly what this coup attempt was.” ― Congressman Devin Nunes