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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Friday, September 04, 2020

'It's Not a Reformation, It's a Revolution'

by Tony Perkins: When the citizens are marching in the streets with guns to protect their property, we've got a big problem. Lawlessness is breaking out around the country -- Seattle, Portland, even Washington, D.C. Roving bands are hounding diners at restaurants if they won't salute Black Lives Matter.

Some cities allowed burning, looting, and nightly violence to continue. In D.C., an official group, which answers to the mayor, issued the following recommendation: "remove, relocate, or contextualize" many of the monuments and memorials to America's founders. That includes the Jefferson Memorial. And the Washington Monument. On Thursday's "Washington Watch," Southern Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler insisted, "it's an effort to try not only to rewrite history, but now to act as if history didn't happen."

The far-Left New York Times tried to rewrite history through the 1619 Project, which cast America's founding as irredeemably racist. But Mohler explained the flaws of our history don't justify erasing it. "Were [Washington and Jefferson] slaveholders? Yes. Do we need to reckon with that honestly? Yes. Does history need to deal with that straightforwardly? Of course. But can you even tell the American story without Washington and Jefferson? No." These men, said Mohler, were the "bookends of defining the entire American experiment in constitutional self-government."

If we only allowed statues of people who made no mistakes, we would have no statues. Scripture makes clear that no one is righteous. Not Abraham. Not Israel. Not King David, "guilty of arranging murder and also of adultery," as Mohler said. No one since the Fall. "But the messiah himself reigns forever on David's throne." The Bible tells us about history -- warts and all -- because it's a story of redemption.

America is not perfect, but it is gradually improving. That's the story we lose when we rewrite history. The Declaration of Independence, which Jefferson authored, set forth that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. Early America failed to uphold this promise. But the ending of slavery, the civil rights movement, and other developments moved us forward. As Mohler said, "Martin Luther King stood up and said, 'I want to cash that check.'" Sadly, he continued, "Muriel Bowser showed up saying, 'I want to take down that monument.'"

America's continued moral progress depends on the outcome of the approaching 2020 election. Will we live the next four years under a President Biden or President Trump? But Mohler pointed out, "you can't explain why the 2020 presidential election is even important without pointing back to George Washington." He "fleshed out the American presidency and gave stability to the American constitutional order" when he retired after serving two terms. Washington's example confirmed America as a nation ruled by law, not by power.

But there are some who don't want to be ruled by law. They want anarchy. Mohler compared it to the Israelites in Judges, where "everyone did what was right in his own sight." We shouldn't be surprised; Christ tells us that because of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold. But we cannot arrive at justice through lawlessness. Order can be wrongful, admitted Mohler, "but the worst thing of all is lawlessness in which sinful humanity just turns on itself." So, he said, Christians should be on the front lines to demand righteous and just laws, but through a lawful process.

Many people have been cowed into silence by the mob -- on Twitter, on the streets. But a Christian's duty is to obey God rather than men. Now is not the time to be silent or to stand in the shadows.
--------------------------
Tony Perkins (@tperkins) is President of the Family Research Council . Article on Tony Perkins' Washington Update and written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Tags: Tony Perkins, Family Research Center, FRC, Family Research Council, 'It's Not a Reformation, It's a Revolution' To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Another Disgusting Smear, Good News, Trump/Pence Stand For Life, Values Voter Summit, Titus, Trump And The Triumph Of Israel

Gary Bauer
by Gary Bauer: Another Disgusting Smear
Last night a story broke in The Atlantic claiming the president refused to attend a ceremony honoring our World War I veterans and even insulted our deceased war heroes during a trip to France in 2018. Yes, this story is based on something that The Atlantic claims took place nearly two years ago.

All the sources are anonymous. This report does not meet any standards of journalism. You can bet that if someone heard these alleged remarks two years ago, it would have come out then, not 60 days before the election. It's a hit piece plain and simple.

It is part of the ongoing effort to smear and destroy a president who has taken on the political establishment of this country in order to reestablish America as a great nation.

Sources say the president is more upset about this outrageous smear than they have ever seen him. When he arrived at Andrews Air Force Base late last night, reporters expected the president to go straight back to the White House. Instead, he stopped to address several reporters and blasted the story.

The president said:
"It's a total lie; it's fake news. It's a disgrace, and frankly it's a disgrace to your profession. . . If people really exist that would have said that, they're lowlifes and they're liars. And I would be willing to swear on anything that I never said that about our fallen heroes. There is nobody that respects them more. . . What animal would say such a thing?"

Multiple people who were there with him in France immediately denounced The Atlantic report as false. Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted: "The Atlantic story on Donald Trump is total BS. I was actually there and one of the people part of the discussion – this never happened."

Jordan Karem, the president's former body man, tweeted: "Again, this is 100% false. I was next to @POTUS the whole day! The President was greatly disappointed when told we couldn't fly there. He was incredibly eager to honor our Fallen Heroes."

Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino tweeted, "I was with POTUS in France . . . Complete lies by 'anonymous sources.'"

Sadly, this story is just one more indication of the lengths the left will go to in order to destroy Donald Trump so they can destroy us and finish their fundamental transformation of America.

Good News
It's been a tough week for the progressive left, which seems to believe it can only prosper if America is laid low.
  • We got hints from the CDC that a vaccine might be available by the end of October.
  • Earlier this week, we learned that manufacturing activity surged to its highest level in 16 years.
  • Yesterday, we learned that weekly jobless claims fell to 881,000 versus expectations of 950,000.
  • And this morning the Labor Department announced that 1.37 million new jobs were created last month. All demographics benefited. The unemployment rate fell from 10.2% to 8.4% -- a tremendous decline that far surpassed the experts' predictions of 9.8%.
It is important to note that this economic growth is happening in spite of the fact that several liberal states like California and New York are still largely shut down. This growth is happening in the rest of America.

Trump/Pence Stand For Life
Yesterday President Trump released an open letter to pro-life voters promising to continue to stand firm for the sanctity of life in his second term. The letter was released through the Pro-Life Voices for Trump coalition, which I am proud to be part of.

In the letter, President Trump vowed to:
  • Continue transforming the federal courts with conservative judges who will respect the Constitution.
  • Promote pro-life legislation in Congress.
  • Fully defund the abortion industry, including Planned Parenthood.
The choice for pro-life voters this year is clear. President Trump and Vice President Pence have led the most pro-life administration in history. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are pro-abortion extremists. You can read the president's letter here. Please be certain to share it with like-minded friends and family members! Values Voter Summit The 2020 Values Voter Summit begins on Tuesday, September 22nd. American Values, my non-profit public policy organization, is a proud co-sponsor of the Values Voter Summit. Like so many events this year, the Summit will be held virtually with all the great speakers and educational sessions that have made the Values Voter Summit the premier conservative event of the year! Breakout sessions will focus on a wide array of topics, including:
  • The left's assault on our history and country.
  • The future of education.
  • A biblical assessment of "Black Lives Matter."
  • The challenges and opportunities for international religious freedom.
  • The biblical case for cultural engagement.
Register now at ValuesVoterSummit.org.

Titus, Trump And The Triumph Of Israel
As you know, I do a lot of work to promote the U.S./Israel alliance, and in the process I have met a lot of outstanding champions for Israel. One of them is my friend Josh Reinstein.

Josh is the director of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, and he has been involved in building new relationships between Christians and Jews in the 21st Century.

Josh has also just written a great new book called, Titus, Trump and the Triumph of Israel.

The book is about the ongoing assault on Judeo-Christian values and the importance of men and women of faith coming together to combat this crisis.

We face a hostile enemy and an indifferent world that has lost its faith and moral compass. We must stand together and be equipped with the necessary information in order to protect our treasured biblical values.

Josh brilliantly dissects the critical issues confronting us and also gives concrete solutions for how we can work together through faith-based diplomacy in order to build a brighter future.

I strongly encourage you to order your copy today!
-----------------------
Gary Bauer (@GaryLBauer)  is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families

Tags: Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families, Another Disgusting Smear, Good News, Trump/Pence Stand For Life, Values Voter Summit, Titus, Trump And The Triumph Of Israel To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Q&A: Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson, a visiting scholar from the Hoover Institution, met with
the Collegian to discuss current events. Madeline Peltzer | Collegian
by Madeline Peltzer: Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, a military historian, and a visiting professor at Hillsdale College. His latest book is “The Case for Trump.” He gave a lecture at Hillsdale College on Wednesday titled “Plague, Panic, and Protests — The Weird Election Year of 2020.”

Q: The past few months have been wild: We’ve been shut in our houses, our cities are burning, plus there’s a big election. What’s going on?

I’m not sure if it would’ve happened like this if we hadn’t had the lockdown and the recession. The average age of these Antifa types is 27 and they’re angry at the system. They’re scared by the recession, frustrated by their student-loan debt, angry that their majors in environmental studies doesn’t translate into jobs, and they see people who are better off than they are and they resent it.

Q: How could that translate into voting patterns come November?

I think it explains why we see these mysterious polls moving black support for Trump from 8% to 28% and Latinos from 22% to 36%. To a lot of minority people, these white kids with their whiny, shrill voices seem like privileged, spoiled brats. And when they see their enablers on cable television, even if they’re black or brown, they tend to be elites too. They may not like Trump but they think he’s gritty and effective and tells you what he thinks and they appreciate it.

I think he’s going to do very well in a way that’s counterintuitive. Mitt Romney and the late John McCain knew how to appeal in the moderate sense, but they actually came off as white elitists. Trump should come off that way because he’s a billionaire white person, except he’s an outsider. Nobody liked him in Manhattan, he has a Queens accent, he dresses funny, he looks weird, and he tells you what he thinks. That seems to appeal to working-class people.

Q: In any other year, defunding the police, burning cities, and looting businesses would be a sure way to lose an election. Yet until just a few days ago, the Biden campaign has ignored the situation, denied it, or encouraged it. Why?

If somebody came from a different planet, they’d say you can easily beat Trump, you just need a working-class conservative black guy or white guy – it doesn’t matter – to talk about class and economic issues and deplore the violence and you win.

But the Democrats can’t do that because they are captive to Bernie Sanders and the young people who make up about 20% of their party who are so hard left. They’re scared of them.

If you look at what they’re being told by their intellectual champions, it’s “looting’s okay, stealing’s okay, every white person is a racist,” and they kind of believe that. They think they’re the cutting edge but they’re not. They don’t understand that most Americans don’t want looting or to stigmatize a whole race and say they’re all racists any more than they want to say blacks have a higher crime rate and therefore they’re all criminal. These people come out of the universities, which are all left-wing, and listen to the left-wing media, and they get bad advice.

Q: What about their strategy to blame Trump for everything?

They think voters are dumb. You can see that in the vocabulary of disparagement they used in 2016: the irredeemables, the basket of deplorables, Obama in 2008 talking about the “clingers” who cling to their religion, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page laughing about the smelly people at Walmart. So they have a contempt for them and they don’t realize that these people are very astute and they listen to things and they remember.

Q: What impact, if any, do you think the party conventions will have on the election?

If you looked at the polls before the conventions, there was an insidious but incremental gain for Trump. Part of that is because the news cycle is changing a little bit. The virus seems to be on the downswing of its second spike, quarantine has been redefined as putting kids back in school, the rioting is losing its appeal, Kamala Harris didn’t do much as Biden’s vice-presidential pick. The natural cycle that was so anti-Trump is starting to change. And so the two conventions each had a task: the DNC to stop that momentum and the RNC’s to accelerate it.

After the two conventions were over, there wasn’t a wide margin, but the trends have continued. The polls that had a better record last time around but weren’t as prestigious — the Emerson poll, the Trafalgar poll, the Daily Express poll — they’re showing the race is dead even.

There are two reasons why this matters. One is that Democrats are terrified of 2016, when the polls they count on now betrayed them and the polls they ridiculed and couldn’t be true were accurate. In their way of thinking, lightning cannot strike twice. The second thing that really bothers them is that Joe Biden should have never been their candidate. He’s not cognitively able to do it and they know it. They were given a great gift with the quarantine and lockdown. He was a half-candidate, a Zoom candidate. The only way you could force him to get out and run is to get the polls where Trump at least appears to be nearly even, and that’s what the RNC achieved in their convention.

Q: Every year people say this is “the most important election of our lives.” Do you think it’s true in 2020?

I think it’s one of the top four or five most important elections. If Biden is elected we’re going to have a socialist agenda and we’ve never had that. Every socialist, whether it was Eugene Debs or Samuel Gompers, never got close. This time, they’re coming in the back door because of Biden and they can actually take power without having a majority support them. Kamala Harris basically ran as a socialist and nobody wanted her.

So what would that look like? If the Democrats win the Senate and get rid of the filibuster, which they say they will, and they keep the House, I think the first thing they’d do is pack the Supreme Court with six liberal justices. They’d abolish the Electoral College without amending the Constitution. They’d change the First and Second Amendment through court orders and executive orders — I can just imagine what it’d be like to try to buy a gun or what it’ll be like on campus to speak freely. They’re going to try to do something structural, not just political.

So yes, I’m really worried that these are revolutionaries and in a normal year they’d have no chance, but because of COVID, the lockdown, the rioting, and Biden’s lack of mental capabilities, you could see our first socialist in history.
----------------------------
Victor Davis Hanson (@VDHanson) is a senior fellow, classicist and historian and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution where many of his articles are found; his focus is classics and military history. He has been a visiting professor at Hillsdale College since 2004. Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 by President George W. Bush. H/T Madeline Peltzer

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The 2020 US Presidential Election: A Seminal Moment in Western History

by Dr. Hanan Shai: President Donald Trump’s declaration in his Mount Rushmore speech of his intention to defend the traditional values of the United States, and Joe Biden’s declaration (backed by Bernie Sanders) of his intention to bring about a transformation of the United States, indicate that the 2020 elections will not be, as in the past, a democratic contest between two personalities and parties.

[It will be] a fateful contest between cultures: the Hebrew-biblical cultural of freedom from which the Anglo-Saxon democracies derived their values versus the Hellenistic culture of freedom from which the European democracies derived theirs.

There is a fundamental difference between the values of the two ancient cultures that formed the crucible of the modern West. The values of the Hebrew-biblical culture were derived from universal logic, the laws of which constitute an absolute and eternal truth, and among which harmony and coherence exists that is designed to foster a similar harmony (social justice) among human beings.

The values of the Hellenistic culture, by contrast, were derived from human logic, which asserts that humanity is the standard that determines good and evil, there is no external standard for the moral judgment of human acts, and certain ideas exist that constitute an absolute truth that only elite individuals can discover and impose, by means of “keepers,” on a society that is “chained in a cave.”

European liberalism’s reliance on human logic led to the growth of the Jacobin, socialist, communist, and Nazi doctrines, which were foisted on the masses by authoritarian and totalitarian regimes. Conversely, the forefathers of American democracy (Madison, Hamilton, Jefferson, and Franklin)—some of whom, like John Locke and other British thinkers, read and spoke Hebrew—adopted the values of Hebrew-biblical morality as the basis of the values of the United States.

The fact that in American democracy not only science but also humanism is based on natural law gave rise to longstanding stability and prosperity, as well as a capability and a principled commitment to volunteer to salvage and rehabilitate the world from the severe calamities wreaked upon it by Europe’s utopian thinkers.

Apparently complacent from its victory over Nazism and communism, at the end of the 20th century American democracy failed to identify the danger of another erroneous theory that developed in Europe: post-structuralism (or progressive liberalism).

That theory has penetrated deeply into American culture. Among other things, it claims that the calamities of the 20th century were caused by a proliferation of “truths” that emerged in Europe, and that preventing similar calamities in the future entails denying the existence of a single foundational truth and dismantling rational subjects that constitute a source of stability and authority (such as the family, nationalism and the nation-state, gender, the military, the police, and more) while “critically” examining their historical development.

This is because the formation and activity of some of these social frameworks were tied to processes, in some instances very far back in history, that involved force and oppression.

The murder of George Floyd and the zealous protests that followed revealed three painful facts about American democracy as it stands today:
  • It is suffering severe social disharmony that stems from a longstanding interpretation of the values of freedom and justice that contravenes their original spirit.
  • The domains of humanism and society have been completely taken over by the ideas of progressive liberalism.
  • There is no intellectual elite that can mobilize to defend the values of American democracy against the progressive delusion in the manner of the “conservative” intellectual elite of the previous century that mobilized to defend the country against the communist delusion.
Only the reestablishment of American democracy in the spirit of the original values of freedom and justice on which it was based will rehabilitate the American project and afford it further long-term vitality.

Conversely, an ideological transformation—i.e., a “Europeanization” of American democracy along the lines that Biden envisages—will put an end to both the successful American project and the democratic framework that saved humanity from the chain of calamities wrought by European liberal thought.

This dangerous transformation could also open the door to the next “social project”—whose path to the West is already being paved by China with its “One Belt, One Road” initiative.

What is needed is a massive mobilization that ignores contemporary figures and problematic personality traits. Preventing the 2020 elections from becoming a negative seminal moment in the history of Western civilization is a supreme civilizational imperative.
-------------------------
Dr. Hanan Shai is lecturer in strategic, political, and military thought in the Political Science Department at Bar-Ilan University. Article shared at The Began-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.

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Trump vs Hiden . . .

. . . The question is: will there be Trump vs Biden debates this year, and what could they look like? Will Biden be Hidden?
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

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What Do You Want?

by Tom Balek: When I was a kid I was a baseball pitcher. One coach gave me a great bit of advice. He said, "before every pitch, picture in your mind exactly what you want to happen." He was right. I learned that if you first "see" an inside fastball ripping past the batter at his fists, it's more likely to happen than if you just wind up and throw it. You have to know what you want to make it happen.

Later, in business management, I was taught to actively plan all the time, to determine what result we would consider a "success". In other words, to picture the desired outcome.

I don't think enough people have considered what results they want from our leaders and our government. How many times have you heard "I really like how Trump has improved the economy and got our troops back home, but . . ." The "but" is always something about his personality, not his performance. But . . . he's a bully. But . . . he's too rich. But . . . he has orange hair. Or the "but" is some lie from an anonymous source that is too ridiculous for any thinking person to even believe.

So here's what I want from my federal officials, prioritized:
  • I want our officials to follow the Constitution explicitly and protect our individual freedoms and rights as outlined there.
  • I want the federal government to get out of the way and let our free market economy roar. A few regulations that prevent citizens from being taken advantage of are in order - laws that can't be administered by the states. But it had better be a pretty obvious threat, and a pretty transparent and straightforward solution. And no picking "winners and losers".
  • I want the federal government to protect our states (yes we are a group of sovereign states, not a nation-state) from outside threats, including invasion of our borders.
  • I want the federal government to represent our citizen's best interests with other nations regarding international trade.
  • I want the federal government to provide a safety net - economic, medical, humanitarian - for Americans with disabilities, disaster relief, and other needs we are unable to deal with ourselves as states or individuals.
That's it. Our Constitution is about perfect as it is.

No, I don't want the federal government to educate my kids, or make decisions about my property, or redistribute income, or build hospitals, or fund police departments, or solve global warming. Not their job.

We not only have to vote for candidates who we think will do what we want, we also need to demand what we want from officials once elected.
---------------------
Tom Balek (@TomBalek) is a fellow conservative activist, blogger, musician and contributes to the ARRA News Service. Tom resides in South Carolina and seeks to educate those too busy with their work and families to notice how close to the precipice our economy has come. He blogs at Rockin' On the Right Side

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Bill Barr Bags a Wolf

by Douglas Andrews: Next time you hear a Joe Biden supporter dismiss even the possibility of voter fraud in the upcoming election, ask him three questions:
  • First, does he love his country?
  • Second, does he consider Donald Trump to be a threat to our democracy? (We know it's a republic, but our left-leaning friend doesn't.)
  • Third, ask him this: If you knew you could flip the election from Trump to Biden by casting a mail-in vote on behalf of each of your recently deceased parents, both of whom were lifelong Democrats, would you do so?
His response to this last question will likely out him as a liar or an aspiring felon.

When he sat down for an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday, Attorney General William Barr didn't put any of these questions to his host. But he didn't have to. Blitzer, like every other Trump hater at CNN and across America, would have a hard time not casting those two fraudulent votes. And therein lies the problem: A phony ballot here, a phony ballot there, and pretty soon we're talking about consequential fraud.

It's not surprising, then, that the exchange between Barr and Blitzer became heated only when the topic turned to mail-in voting. Blitzer began by suggesting that President Trump recently encouraged North Carolina voters to commit fraud by voting both in person and by mail, ostensibly to test the integrity of the state's voting system. Barr didn't bite.

"Wolf," began Barr, "this is sort of cheap talk to get around the fundamental problem, which is the bipartisan commission chaired by Jimmy Carter and James Baker said back in 2009 that mail-in voting is fraught with the risk of fraud and coercion."

Blitzer tried to interrupt, but Barr snapped, "Let me talk."

He continued, "And since that time, there have been in the newspapers, in networks, [and] academic studies saying it is open to fraud and coercion. The only time the narrative changed is after this administration came in. But elections that have been held with mail have found substantial fraud and coercion. For example, we indicted someone in Texas — 1,700 ballots collected from people who could vote, he made them out and voted for the person he wanted to. That kind of thing happens with mail-in ballots, and everyone knows it."

Blitzer then trotted out the most intellectually lazy talking point of the pro-fraud Left: "There are individual cases, but as far as widespread fraud, we haven't seen that."

To which Barr countered, "Well, we haven't had the kind of widespread use of mail-in ballots as being proposed. We've had absentee ballots from people who request them from a specific address. Now what we're talking about is mailing them to everyone on the voter list, when everyone knows those voter lists are inaccurate. People who should get them don't get them, which has been one of the major complaints in states that have tried this in municipal elections. And people who get them are not the right people. They're people who have replaced the previous occupant ... and sometimes multiple ballots come to the same address with several generations of occupants. Do you think that's a way to run a vote?"

Were this discussion a prizefight, they'd have stopped it on cuts. But Barr wasn't finished. "This is playing with fire," he warned. "We're a very closely divided country here, and people have to have confidence in results of the election and the legitimacy of the government. And people trying to change the rules to this methodology — which as a matter of logic is very open to fraud and coercion — is reckless and dangerous. And people are playing with fire."

Indeed, Democrats are playing with fire (sometimes literally).

As this New York Times chart points out, ballots will soon be mailed directly to 44 million voters in nine states plus Washington, DC, while no-restrictions absentee voting will be allowed for 118 million voters in 34 other states. That's 24 million more ballots than were cast in the entire 2016 presidential election.

We as a nation are about to take part in an unprecedented electoral experiment. In the weeks ahead, the American people will have opportunities for electoral fraud like never before. And for millions of Trump-deranged voters, the temptation will be particularly strong.

Fraud is coming, folks, and it might well be decisive. To deny this reality is to deny human nature itself.
----------------------
Douglas Andrews writes for The Patriot Post.

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Invitations to Voter Fraud in 2020

. . . California is Exhibit A - while key battleground states are also at risk.
by Joseph Klein: When the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s voter identification law, the Court observed that “flagrant examples” of voter fraud “have been documented throughout this Nation’s history by respected historians and journalists.”

As the National Commission on Federal Election Reform stated in its 2005 bipartisan report, the problem “is not the magnitude of voter fraud. In close or disputed elections, and there are many, a small amount of fraud could make the margin of difference.” The report noted that “[I]nvalid voter files, which contain ineligible, duplicate, fictional, or deceased voters, are an invitation to fraud.”

California, the nation’s leading sanctuary state for illegal aliens, has opened the door to unprecedented opportunities for such voter fraud – and that’s even before California’s use of universal mail-in voting that the state is putting into place this year for the general election. While California is virtually certain not to be a close contest between President Trump and Joe Biden, California’s broken voting system illustrates what can go wrong across the country where the margins of votes between the candidates may be very slim indeed.

A Facebook post in November 2018 stated that 449,000 Californians turned down jury duty claiming they were not citizens. The post went on to say that these non-citizens were on the voter registration list, reasoning that prospective jurors are often culled from voter registration lists.

Left leaning commentators have questioned the accuracy of this post, claiming that Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) records are the primary source for the state to identify prospective jurors. Registrars of voter data are used as a secondary source, they argue. Such criticisms miss the forest for the trees when it comes to California and other states where DMV and voter registration databases are electronically linked.

Voter registration data are transferred from DMVs to state voter registration systems. Even if DMV records are the primary source for these states to identify prospective jurors, it doesn't matter because there is a significant overlap with the voter registration data systems. The DMV driver licensing process is used to generate automatic registration data that feed the voter registration data systems.

California’s Department of Motor Vehicles automatically registers people to vote. California allows illegal immigrants to obtain driver licenses. Add them to California's population of legal immigrants who can obtain driver licenses – none of whom are eligible to vote in federal elections - and there is a large pool of non-U.S. citizens who may be registered to vote anyway. This is an invitation to fraud. California officials have admitted, for example, that they had to investigate whether ineligible individuals who were erroneously registered to vote by the Department of Motor Vehicles cast ballots in the June 2018 primary.

California is not an isolated case of a state linking DMV with voter registration. At least 36 states “currently or will soon have fully or substantially electronic voter registration at DMVs,” according to a 2019 report by the Brennan Center for Justice. These include the battle ground states of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

Colorado, like California, permits illegal immigrants to obtain driver licenses. Minnesota and Michigan are considering such legislation.

States that do not allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver licenses but have electronic links between DMV and voter registration systems still have a problem with legal immigrants who can obtain driver licenses. These non-U.S. citizens may become automatically registered to vote even though they are not eligible to vote in federal elections. This has happened in Pennsylvania, for example. The door is then open for these non-U.S. citizens who are legally in this country to vote illegally.

The problem with ineligible voters is much larger than just automatic voter registration at the DMV. Some states have failed to comply with federal law mandating them to maintain accurate voter rolls and remove inactive voter registrations from their records.

On January 3, 2019, California and Los Angeles County settled a case brought by the conservative watchdog Judicial Watch, requiring them to purge as many as 1.5 million inactive voter registrations across the state in compliance with federal law. L.A. County alone allegedly had a voter registration rate of 112 percent of its adult citizen population.

California was not the only state settling with Judicial Watch over the issue of voter registration records. Ohio, a key battleground state, also settled.

Judicial Watch has also brought a lawsuit this year against Pennsylvania for failing to make reasonable efforts to remove ineligible voters from their rolls as required by federal law. Judicial Watch alleged that Pennsylvania has over 800,000 “inactive” registrations on its voter rolls.

Pennsylvania, like Ohio, is a key battleground state. President Trump won Pennsylvania in 2016 by 0.7 percentage points (44,292 votes). Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton wondered whether Pennsylvania state and local officials, many of whom are Democrats, “want to be able to steal elections.”

Judicial Watch also filed a lawsuit against North Carolina and two of its counties for failing to clean their voter rolls. North Carolina is also a battleground state.

“In June 2019, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) released data,” Judicial Watch said in its press release announcing the lawsuit, “showing that voter registration rates in a significant proportion of North Carolina’s 100 counties are close to, at or above 100% of their age-eligible citizenry – statistics considered by the courts to be a strong indication that a jurisdiction is not taking the steps required by law to remove ineligible registrants." Judicial Watch President Fitton said that “Dirty voting rolls can mean dirty elections, and Judicial Watch must insist that North Carolina follows federal law to clean up its voting rolls.”

On top of out-of-date and inaccurate voter registration rolls within a single state, there is no comprehensive coordination among all the states to eliminate duplicate voter registrations in more than one state. Such multistate voter registration duplications, according to the National Commission on Election Reform, “are a source of potential fraud.”

Imagine the potential for fraud in this year’s general election, particularly in the states where ballots are being mailed directly to all voters. At least nine states fall into that category.

In addition to California sending out ballots automatically to all voters for the first time, Nevada – a battleground state – is also doing so for the first time in a rushed fashion. In 34 additional states, absentee voting is allowed for all voters – no excuse required.

Absentee ballot applications are being sent to all voters for the first time in at least 8 states. Three of them - Iowa, New Mexico and Wisconsin - are battleground states.

According to a New York Times analysis, “At least three-quarters of all American voters will be eligible to receive a ballot in the mail for the 2020 election — the most in U.S. history.” Who knows how many of those receiving ballots in the mail are ineligible to vote but will send in their ballots anyway to be counted?

Back in 2005, the National Commission on Federal Election Reform warned that voting by mail is “likely to increase the risks of fraud and of contested elections.” That was at a time when voting by mail was still in its early stages across the country.

The 2020 general election will encounter unprecedented risks of fraud and of contested elections. It’s inevitable considering the widespread reliance on universal mail-in voting and the festering problem of inaccurate, out of date voter registration rolls. Hold on tight. We’re likely to be in for a rough ride.
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Joseph Klein is a Harvard-trained lawyer and the author of Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom and Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations & Radical Islam. His article was in FrontPage.Mag, a project of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

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Why DC Statehood Is a Suicidal Gamble

by Patrick Buchanan: On Tuesday, the mayor’s office made national news by releasing a list of monuments and memorials in Washington that should be “removed, replaced or contextualized.” Among them are the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial and Columbus’ statue at Union Station… D.C. is unrepresentative of America and undeserving in any way to be raised to statehood.

When U.S. cities erupted after the death of George Floyd, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser was in the vanguard of the protests, renaming a section of downtown Black Lives Matter Plaza, and painting the name in letters on the street so huge they could be seen from space.

Thursday, however, Bowser awoke to those same BLM protesters yelling outside her home, denouncing a “D.C. police murder of a Black Man,” and demanding the mayor fire Police Chief Peter Newsham.

18-year-old Deon Kay had been shot and killed Wednesday afternoon in an encounter with cops. While this was the fifth shooting by D.C. cops this year, it was the first fatality.

There have been 130 other homicides in D.C. in 2020, mostly of Black folks that involved other Black folks, and not the cops.

“We believe the suspect had a gun at the time,” Newsham told reporters. Witnesses challenged the chief’s claim.

But this is only the latest problem bedeviling Bowser.

While she has been blaming “outside agitators” for the mayhem in the city, the Washington Times reports that 82% of the 541 people arrested for riot-related crimes were residents of D.C., Maryland or Virginia.

On Tuesday, the mayor’s office made national news by releasing a list of monuments and memorials in Washington that should be “removed, replaced or contextualized.” Among them are the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial and Columbus’ statue at Union Station.

The name of Alexander Graham Bell should be erased from Bell Multicultural High School, Bowser’s working group said. Like Winston Churchill and Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, the inventor of the telephone believed in eugenics.

Presidents James Madison, author of the Constitution, John Tyler, who annexed Texas, and Zachary Taylor, who led the U.S. army to victory in the Mexican-American War, are also candidates for having their memorials and monuments “replaced, removed or contextualized.”

Woodrow Wilson’s name should be removed from Wilson high, and the names of Founding Father Ben Franklin and author of the national anthem Francis Scott Key should be erased from buildings named in their honor.

Eleanor Holmes Norton, the D.C. nonvoting representative in Congress, explained that the working group formed by Bowers to look into monuments and memorials did not mean the statues were to be pulled down but that plaques should be added informing visitors that these sites are dedicated to men who had a perverted view of human rights.

Norton wants the Emancipation Proclamation statue featuring Abe Lincoln and an unshackled slave, unveiled at an 1876 ceremony attended by President Grant, at which Frederick Douglass spoke, removed. She also wants the statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square removed.

Yet, it was General Jackson who saved the Union from being torn apart at the 1815 Battle of New Orleans, while the defenders of Washington and the White House fled from the attacking British, letting the nation’s capital be burned in August of 1814.

D.C. officials are today running away from the plans of the mayor’s working group, but those plans testify powerfully to what an act of folly and a capitulation to political correctness it would be for the Congress to vote statehood for D.C., as Nancy Pelosi’s House did this year.

D.C. is unrepresentative of America and undeserving in any way to be raised to statehood. Since given the franchise 60 years ago, it has never voted Republican for president. Its three electoral votes have gone to the Democrats in every election since LBJ in ’64. Republican nominee Donald Trump got 4% of the D.C. vote. Hillary Clinton got 90%, a margin of 22-1.

Moreover, D.C. has a smaller population than 19 other American cities and is smaller in geographic size than 150 other U.S. cities. Rhode Island, our smallest state, is geographically 20 times the size of D.C.

The D.C. government has been in the headlines countless times for personal scandals and financial crises. One four-term mayor, Marion Barry, was sent to prison and returned to be reelected to office.

As for D.C. public schools, the problem is not that they are named for presidents but that they produce some of the lowest test scores in the nation.

More significant, as the protests, attended by riots since May, have shown, the D.C. government, a hostile province when a Republican is in the White House, is the domicile of a permanent regime of leftist and radical media, tens of thousands of federal and city bureaucrats, lawyers and lobbyists, all yoked to big government.

As the “peaceful protests” of June and July showed, with Georgetown sacked and statues demolished, D.C.’s government is an incompetent custodian of the nation’s historic monuments and memorials, and incapable of protecting the White House.

What does Joe Biden, who approved of the removal of statues of Confederate soldiers, generals and statesmen, think of D.C.’s scheme to “remove, replace or contextualize” the statues of so many men who held the office he now seeks?
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Patrick Buchanan (@PatrickBuchanan) is currently a blogger, conservative columnist, political analyst, chairman of The American Cause foundation and an editor of The American Conservative. He has been a senior adviser to three Presidents, a two-time candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, and was the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000.

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The Rat in Israeli Public Life

by Caroline Glick: Over the past several weeks, Israelis have been riveted by a new crime drama called “Meniac” or “Rat” whose central character is an investigator in Police Investigations Division of the Justice Ministry, charged with investigating crooked cops. The plot surrounds the main character’s shattering discovery of deeply rooted corruption at all levels of the police and state prosecution.

If the show had aired a 15 years ago, it probably would have flopped. But over the past several years, public faith in the legal system has plummeted. Last November Globes newspaper published a poll showing that 72 percent of Israelis believe police and state prosecutors engage in selective law enforcement. In this climate, Meniac’s success was all but assured.

Almost every day, events occur that reinforce the public’s view that justice in Israel is not blind. Even worse, in Israel’s politicized justice system justices, prosecutors and police investigators have unchecked powers the likes of which no legal system in any other democracy ever possessed.

Consider the events of the past week.

Last Thursday, the Supreme Court issued two rulings. In the first, Supreme Court President Esther Hayut and her deputy Yehuda Melzer order the destruction within three years of the community of Mitzpeh Kramim in the Benjamin District of Judea. The ruling is stunning because from the outset, Mitzpeh Kramim was established under the close supervision of the Justice Ministry. Residents did nothing without Justice Ministry approval.

All the same, Hayut and Meltzer ruled that the property rights of Mitzpe Kramim’s residents should be revoked because, they claimed, in one or two instances over the past eleven years, a government official read a map or a document in an unfair way, in Hayut and Melzer’s opinion.

Two weeks before the Mitzpe Kramim ruling, their colleagues, Justices Meni Mazuz and George Kara prohibited the IDF from carrying out a lawful military order to destroy the home of the terrorist who murdered IDF soldier Sgt. Amit Ben Yigal. Destroying the home would involve “great harm to a number of fundamental rights including harm to property rights and to human dignity.” Their main claim was that they didn’t want to hurt the murderer’s family, which didn’t kill Ben Yigal.

In other words, the Court ruled that property rights of hundreds of Israelis who acted in good faith and broke no law are to be rejected because a clerk misread a map, and the property rights of family members of a man who murdered an IDF soldier are to be upheld and protected because they are innocent of his crime.

In its second judgment last Thursday, the Court rejected a petition from Likud asking for the publication of the Central Election Commission’s protocols from the recent elections due to wide-scale allegations of vote fraud. Since the Central Elections Commission is chaired by a Supreme Court Justice, the justices might have been expected to err on the side of transparency. But then, why would they do that?

As Likud MK Shlomo Karei said to Mida website after the ruling, the Court wouldn’t even order the publication of election protocols in cases where the suspicion of fraud was overwhelming. As an example, Karei cited the case of 7,000 ballots ostensibly cast by Israeli Arab students. Israel prohibits absentee voting and it turns out that the students “cast” their votes while they were in Jordan. But as far as the Supreme Court is concerned, no one is allowed to question their ballots.

Israel’s unchecked state prosecutors have also been in the news – as usual. Here too, two stories were notable because both give a glimpse at the depths of state prosecutors’ obsession with “getting” Netanyahu and his supporters.

One of the crimes Netanyahu is now standing trial for is bribery. Prosecutors claim that Netanyahu received positive coverage from the Walla news website from its owners Shaul and Iris Alovich and that in exchange he provided regulatory breaks to Bezeq telecommunications company which the Aloviches own.

In July, the Aloviches’ attorneys claimed that the prosecutors had not provided them with accurate protocols of investigation materials. Specifically, their attorneys maintained that the prosecutors had given them a distorted protocol of a conversation between a police investigator and their son, Or Alovich. During the conversation, the investigator had urged their son to encourage his father to fire his attorney Jaques Chen and hire a lawyer who would push him to act as a state witness against Netanyahu. If the action occurred, and it appears it did, the investigator acted illegally and tainted the investigation. The exchange was strangely absent though, from the protocol of the conversation the prosecution gave the Alovich’s lawyer.

On July 24, Netanyahu’s prosecutor Liat Ben Ari submitted an affidavit to the Jerusalem District Court declaring that the prosecution had provided defense attorneys will all investigative materials. The memorandum in question was immaterial, she argued because the prosecution had provided the Aloviches’ attorney with the recordings of the conversation.

On Tuesday, the prosecution changed its response and acknowledged it had not provided the Aloviches with a full protocol of the conversation.

Last Wednesday, Deputy State Prosecutor Nurit Litman issued guidance regarding pursuing prosecutions against demonstrators. She told prosecutors not to indict demonstrators even if during the course of their protests they block roads and defy police orders.

Litman’s guidance regarding non-prosecution of demonstrators is controversial because presently, well-organized leftist protests regularly engage in unlawful actions of the sort she ordered prosecutors not to punish in their weekly demonstrations against Netanyahu in central Jerusalem. They block traffic and ignore and attack police.

When Likud called Liman out for her obvious bias, she responded breezily that the timing of her move was totally coincidental. Nothing to do with the protests against Netanyahu.

The public isn’t stupid. Israelis know state prosecutors were perfectly happy to order the arrest and prosecution of handicapped Israelis when they waged a protest campaign in 2017 and Israelis from Ethiopia who waged protests in 2019.

Israelis on the right remember well how in the lead up to the expulsion and destruction of Israeli communities in Gaza in 2005, under the leadership of then attorney general and now Justice Justice Meni Mazuz, the prosecution waged a campaign of political repression against opponents of the policy. Protesters including minor girls and boys as young as 13, were arrested and held without charge for months or removed from their parents’ homes due to their parents’ political views.

To undermine the protests, Mazuz ordered police to intercept buses travelling to lawful protests. Far from being fired for his efforts, he was appointed to the Supreme Court and his deputies moved up the ladder in the prosecution.

Mountains of articles and studies have been written over the past 25 years showing in explicit detail how the unchecked powers of the legal system have created a monster that is devouring Israeli democracy, rendering election results irrelevant and creating a two-tiered system of justice where law enforcement decision are made based on one’s political views.

These articles and studies have changed nothing though. Because the only institution in Israel capable of checking the justices, the prosecutors and the police is the Knesset. And the Knesset has failed to act. Were Israel’s lawmakers willing, they would curb the uncurbed justices and lawyers and restore Israeli democracy.

To check the court, the Knesset would pass a law barring the justices from overturning legally promulgated laws and another law to ban court interference in executive action, including military orders and operations. As is the case in the United States and other democracies, court decisions on the lawfulness of executive actions would be rendered after the fact. To be clear, the Court’s current power to overturn laws and block government action was never granted it by law. The justices arrogated these powers to themselves and politicians have failed to call them on their action.

To check the prosecution, the Knesset needs to pass laws reordering the and limiting the powers and responsibilities of the Attorney General. Today, the Attorney General is in charge of the state prosecution and also responsible for advising the government on legal issues. Over the years, the Supreme Court has seized the power to appoint the Attorney General by forcing the government to subordinate the appointment to an appointments committee controlled by the court. The attorney general in turn has transformed his advisory opinions into binding ones, massively constraining the government’s ability to advance its lawful goals. So too, the attorney general has asserted his control over his counterparts in all government ministries and the Knesset and arrogated to all of them the power to block ministry actions and Knesset parliamentary procedures.

To end this state of affairs, the Knesset must pass a law disbanding the appointments committee and empowering the government and its ministers to appoint their own legal advisors. The position of attorney general should should split into two separate positions – that of the government’s legal advisor and that of the head of the prosecution. Both should be subordinate to the government.

Politicians ought to be eager to take these actions. After all, it is their powers the lawyers have seized. If they want their positions to have any significance, they need to take them back.

The reason that left wing lawmakers have refused to act is obvious. The legal fraternity shares their world view and pursues their policies for them. As for non-leftist politicians, who currently are the majority of members of Knesset, distressingly, key political leaders who fully understand the stakes are focused on their narrow, personal ambitions and nursing in at least two instances, profound loathing of Netanyahu. Politicians like Israel Beitenu leader Avigdor Liberman, and increasingly, Yemina leader Naftali Bennet are willing to sit back as the legal fraternity absconds with their power as elected officials so long as while doing so, they also rid the political world of Netanyahu.

There is no question that Netanyahu himself shares the blame for the situation. For the better part of the past generation, Netanyahu has been willing to feed the legal tiger believing that it would never come to eat him. But then again, now that his turn has arrived, Israel finally has a prime minister willing to take the necessary action to put a stop to their power grab and so defeat the gravest threat Israel faces as a Jewish and democratic state.

Meniac’s producer received a contract for a second season as soon as the last episode of the first aired on Monday night, and for good reason. The show bravely deals with the biggest threat to public life in Israel today. It’s about time our elected leaders do the same.
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Caroline Glick is the Senior Contributing Editor of  carolineglick.com and the Director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center's Israel Security Project. 

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China Uses Forced Labor to Produce Laptops, and We’re Buying Them

John Stonestreet
by John Stonestreet: In his new book, “Unbelievers,” British historian Alec Ryrie observes that the only moral standard people agree on these days is “don’t be like Nazi Germany.” Since firms such as Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen, and Bayer used forced labor from concentration camps during World War II, that should mean we could all agree that forced labor is bad.

Tragically, at least if it involves new laptops in time for the new school year, it doesn’t.
Recently, the Intercept reported that Lenovo, the world’s largest manufacturer of laptops, “has imported an estimated 258,000 laptops” built by a certain Chinese manufacturer named Hefei Bitland. Through this manufacturer, Lenovo “participates in a Chinese government program that provides factories with cheap labor from persecuted Uighurs.” “Cheap labor,” in this case, means “forced labor.” The Uighurs providing the labor are concentration camp inmates who cannot refuse the work assignment.

The U. S. government has singled out Hefei Bitland for violating human rights. Still, even after Hefei Bitland was placed on a government list restricting trade, some of the computers reached American consumers. Lenovo removed a portion of the laptops from distribution, but others were still shipped.

It’s tempting to rationalize using products from forced labor. According to the Associated Press, there is a significant shortage of laptops for American students this school year. Companies like HP, Dell, and, of course, Lenovo blame U.S. sanctions on Chinese suppliers for the shortfall. Some school administrators have adopted a less-rigorous approach to human rights.

One administrator described the situation as “a tough one.” “I’m not condoning child slave labor for computers,” he said, “but can we not hurt more children in the process?”

Is going without a computer for a few months the moral equivalent of child slave labor?

Of course, a shortage of laptops, especially during pandemic-caused education at home, creates serious problems. However, as the Intercept pointed out, this one of many moral pitfalls caused by China’s role in the global supply chain, given their use of forced labor. Global dependence on Chinese manufacturers creates powerful incentives to overlook China’s abysmal treatment of religious and ethnic minorities, such as the Uighurs.

One million Uighurs have been put into concentration camps, “separated from their children, prevented from exercising their religion, and subjected to political indoctrination.” Some have also been “forcibly sterilized . . . [and] made to use intrusive birth control methods.” More recently, there have been reports of forced abortions and even infanticide, something members of the American press rightly decried, despite the 600,000+ babies killed each year here in our country are considered women’s rights.

The Chinese campaign against the Uighurs meets the criteria of Convention on the Prevention of the Crime of Genocide. But, as in the 1930s and 40s, the temptation for companies and consumers to rationalize doing business with the perpetrators of genocide is proving too great to resist. The only real way to avoid global complicity in China’s atrocities is to reduce global dependence on China—just as Japan and India are doing and corporations like Apple are doing.

“Don’t be like Nazi Germany” is good advice, but it is not a firm enough foundation to ground human rights, especially when the atrocities are hidden behind accounting and business practices.

Human rights can only be safely grounded in the Christian idea of the imago dei, which teaches us that we are indeed our brother’s keeper, even if our laptop delivery is delayed.
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John Stonestreet, Radio Host and President of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Shared by Family Council.

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Were the Lockdowns a Mistake?

Michael Barone
by Michael Barone: To that nagging question, the answer increasingly seems to be yes.

Certainly, they were a novelty. As novelist Lionel Shriver writes, "We've never before responded to a contagion by closing down whole countries." As I noted in May, the 1957-58 Asian flu killed between 70,000 and 116,000 Americans, between 0.04% and 0.07% of the nation's population. The 1968-70 Hong Kong flu killed about 100,000, 0.05% of the population.

The U.S. coronavirus death toll of 186,000 is 0.055% of the current population. It will go higher, but it's about the same magnitude as those two flus, and it has been less deadly to those under 65 than the flus were. Yet there were no statewide lockdowns; no massive school closings; no closings of office buildings and factories, restaurants and museums. No one considered shutting down Woodstock.

Why are attitudes so different today? Perhaps we have greater confidence in government's effectiveness. If public policy can affect climate change, it can stamp out a virus.

Plus, we're much more risk-averse. Children aren't allowed to walk to school; jungle gyms have vanished from playgrounds; and college students are shielded from microaggressions. We have a "safetyism mindset," as Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff write in "The Coddling of the American Mind," under which "many aspects of students' lives needed to be carefully regulated by adults, and that it was far better to overreact to potential risks and threats than to underreact."

So the news of the COVID-19 virus killing dozens and overloading hospitals in Bergamo, Italy, triggered a flight to safety and restriction. Many Americans stopped going to restaurants and shops even before the lockdowns were ordered in March and April. The exaggerated projections of some epidemiologists, with a professional interest in forecasting pandemics, triggered demands that governments act.

The legitimate fears that hospitals would be overwhelmed apparently explain the (in retrospect, deadly) orders of the governors of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan requiring elderly care facilities to admit COVID-infected patients. And the original purpose to "flatten the curve" segued into "stamp out the virus."

But the apparent success of South Korea and island nations -- Taiwan, Singapore, New Zealand -- in doing so could never be replicated in the continental, globalized United States.

Governors imposing continued lockdowns claimed to be "following the science." But only in one dimension: reducing the immediate number of COVID-19 cases. The lockdowns also prevented cancer screenings, heart attack treatment and substance abuse counseling, the absence of which resulted in a large but hard-to-estimate number of deaths. What Haidt and Lukianoff call "vindictive protectiveness" turned out to be not very protective.

Examples include shaming beachgoers though outdoor virus spread is minimal; extending school closedowns though few children get or transmit the infection; closing down gardening aisles in superstores; and barring church services while blessing inevitably noisy and crowded demonstrations for politically favored causes.

The new thinking on lockdowns, as Greg Ip reported in The Wall Street Journal last week, is that "they're overly blunt and costly." That supports President Donald Trump's mid-April statement that, "A prolonged lockdown combined with a forced economic depression would inflict an immense and wide-ranging toll on public health."

For many, that economic damage has been of Great Depression proportions. Restaurants and small businesses have been closed forever, even before the last three months of "mostly peaceful" urban rioting. Losses have been concentrated on those with low income and little wealth, while the lockdowns have added tens of billions to the net worth of Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg.

Attitudes on lockdowns are highly correlated with partisan politics. Democrats tend to be more risk-averse and want lockdowns continued until there's a vaccine. Republicans are less risk-averse and want most restrictions lifted.

As a result, since governors and mayors make these decisions, it's heavily Democratic central cities -- New York, Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco -- whose civic fabric is being rent and cultural capital is left in ruins, with much less devastation in the exurbs and countryside.

This fouling your own nest extends to voting. Many more Democrats than Republicans want to vote by mail, even though the risk of voter error or non-counting is higher than for those, most of them Republicans, who want to vote in person.

The anti-lockdown blogger (and former New York Times reporter) Alex Berenson makes a powerful case that lockdowns delayed, rather than prevented, infections, and that current plunging hospitalization and death rates suggest we're approaching herd immunity, where the virus will fade out for lack of new targets.

There are old lessons here, ready to be relearned. Governments can sometimes channel but never entirely control nature. There is no way to entirely eliminate risk. Attempts to reduce one risk may increase others. Amid uncertainty, people make mistakes. Like, maybe, the lockdowns.
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Michael Barone is a senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner,resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and Rasmussen Reports.

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Viewpoints: Karl Marx

by Kerby Anderson: Professor Paul Kengor has a new book on The Devil and Karl Marx that reminds us how much Marx hated God and Christianity. In his book and on my radio program he cited Marx and many of the biographies that showed how scary he was. His own family and friends were frightened by his demonic fits of rage and his bizarre focus on violence.

Marx wrote, “When our turn comes, we shall make no excuses for the terror. There is only one way in which the murderous death agonies of the old society and the bloody birth throes of the new society can be shortened, simplified and concentrated, and that way is revolutionary terror.”

In his book and also in a recent column in The American Spectator, Kengor also asks a relevant question: Why not cancel Karl Marx? His writings are filled with racist rants and anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic statements. Paul Kengor documents that Karl Marx was “after all, a bigot. His attitude toward blacks and Jews alone (not to mention women) would stun Stonewall Jackson. Ugly racial-ethnic stereotypes by Marx are littered throughout his writings.”

If you want to find examples, I suggest you read the book, or his column in The American Spectator. I simply cannot repeat some of the awful things that Karl Marx said about people of different races and ethnic backgrounds.

On the university campus today, we are told by students and professors to ignore those “dead white European males” that have given us Western Culture. But isn’t Karl Marx one of those dead white European males? Of course, he is, but once again he gets a pass.

Karl Marx should be cancelled for his bigotry alone, but even more so for the fact that his writings provided the foundation for totalitarian regimes responsible for more than 100 million deaths in the 20th century.
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Kerby Anderson @KerbyAnderson) is an author, lecturer, visiting professor and radio host and contributor on nationally syndicated Point of View and the "Probe" radio programs.

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The Payroll Tax Holiday Jeopardizes Social Security's Future

by Sheila A. Weinberg: In early August, President Trump signed an executive order that would give millions of workers a small pay increase through the end of the year. The increase would be approximately $62 for the average worker earning a little more than $1,000 a week. Each worker could end up getting more than one week’s worth of pay by New Year’s Eve.

The paycheck increase is made possible by temporarily deferring an employee’s Social Security taxes. If Congress doesn’t permanently defer these payroll taxes, however, then each worker would have to pay the money back. The deferral began on September 1, but the Treasury Department’s guidance does not mandate participation.

The uncertainties around this program are adding up, but even worse is that a temporary or permanent deferral of Social Security taxes puts the program in greater jeopardy. Seniors are planning their retirements, counting on Social Security, but Congress has no idea where it will get the money to fund more than $40 trillion of promised benefits. Deferring payroll taxes means less money is going into the program, which will bring even more uncertainty surrounding how promised benefits will be paid.

We should also be concerned about the out of control national debt as Congress borrows our way out of the current crisis. Since the beginning of the year, the reported debt has increased by a whopping $3.4 trillion, or $31,000 per American taxpayer.

But the out of control unfunded Social Security and Medicare is even more worrisome. From 2019 to 2020 the money available to pay promised benefits over the next 75 years has grossly deteriorated by $7.5 trillion for Social Security and $2.2 trillion for Medicare.

Part of the reason for the out-of-control increases in Social Security and Medicare liabilities can be attributed to the old accounting adage, “if you don’t measure, you can’t manage it.” Social Security and Medicare liabilities are not reported on the U.S. Government’s balance sheet and increases in these liabilities are not included in deficit calculations. Therefore, the reported debt of more than $26.5 trillion is, unfortunately, not the true debt because these liabilities are not included. Truth in Accounting’s calculation of the true debt amount now stands at more than $134 trillion, when all liabilities are taken into account.

The eight percent increase in unfunded Medicare benefits is a little less than the historical average. But the 17 percent increase in Social Security, which is significantly higher than that program’s eight percent average increase, is a result of increases in estimated benefits. If promised benefits are not curtailed in the future, this money will have to come from somewhere. Congress could borrow the money necessary to pay promised Social Security and Medicare benefits, but can future bond markets sustain the more than $100 trillion needed? The Federal Reserve could print money to pay benefits, but that could result in runaway inflation.

Unlike with the rest of the budget, Congress doesn’t annually manage benefits set to be paid. The Social Security and Medicare programs are on automatic pilot. The calculation of unfunded benefits are based upon many uncontrollable and difficult to predict assumptions.

For example, in 2019, Social Security actuaries changed their assumptions on when and how many children will be born. They also updated data regarding lawful permanent residents. These changed demographic assumptions resulted in a $1.8 trillion increase in projected benefits. Economic assumptions were also updated to include price inflation and interest rates. These changed assumptions increased unfunded Social Security benefits by $2.5 trillion.

Now we are in unprecedented times. The actuaries’ assumptions may be affected by lower employment and other demographic and economic issues related to COVID-19. While we cannot predict what 2020 will bring, we do know that Social Security and Medicare are on unsustainable paths. Congress needs long term financial management tools to manage what they can: They should make changes so the amount of benefits are affordable and can be controlled, not left to the unpredictable changes in demographics and the economy.
-------------------
Sheila A. Weinberg, CPA, is the founder and chief executive officer of Truth in Accounting (@truthinacct) is a nonprofit government finance watchdog.

Tags: Sheila A. Weinberg, Truth in Accounting, Payroll Tax Holiday, Jeopardizes, Social Security's Future To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

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