Democrats are in full panic mode.
“A pause on the Arizona Senate’s recount of Maricopa County’s general election ballots appears off.
A judge ordered the delay Friday morning amid mounting concerns about security and procedures for the unprecedented undertaking, but the order was conditioned on the Arizona Democratic Party posting a $1 million bond to cover any potential costs of the delay. The party had asked the court for the halt.”
They refused to post the bond indicating they did not have a valid reason to pause the audit.
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Jeff Bezos and Amazon do not want their workers voting by mail on unionization.
Amazon says mail-in voting wouldn't be "valid or fair” and is encouraging in-person voting instead pic.twitter.com/1nBozsGqAH
— TalkRadio 77 WABC (@77WABCradio) January 24, 2021
For Most Americans, The Hipocrisy Never Ceases To Amaze. Apparently, Amazon Agrees With Donald J. Trump & Bill Barr: Voting By Mail Is Not A Good Idea.
“We believe that the best approach to a valid, fair and successful election is one that is conducted manually, in-person,” an Amazon spokesperson told news outlets. “We will continue to insist on measures for a fair election, and we want everyone to vote, so our focus is ensuring that’s possible.” ~ Click Here For More
Look Ahead America has released its plan for fighting corporate censorship and is calling on patriots everywhere to join the effort.
“Social media networks, tech companies, and financial institutions are not entitled to tax dollars paid by citizens whom they censor, blacklist, and deplatform for engaging in legal speech and political activity,” said Look Ahead America Executive Director Matt Braynard. “So we’re calling on citizens to lobby state legislatures to declare government money and contracts off limits to such companies.”
“We’ve released a list of policy objectives to guide legislation on this issue covering everything from marketing spending, technology contracts, and divestment. And we’re training citizens on how to be grassroots lobbyists to advocate for these reforms at the state capitols.”
Look Ahead America will be hosting its first free, online-training session on how citizens can become grassroots lobbyist on Wednesday, January 27, and has released a copy of the policy objectives on its website, lookaheadamerica.org/speech.
In an episode slightly delayed by Ben’s melodramatic hypochondria (aka hospitalized with appendicitis), Ben and Glenn discuss the media’s swooning on Inauguration Day, what this suggests about how the press will likely cover Biden/Harris, the serious dangers of the new War on Terror being planned, and whether a left/right coalition is possible to stop i…
Will Wilkinson is about as mainstream and conventional a thinker as one can find, and is unfailingly civil and restrained in his rhetoric. But yesterday, he was fired by the technocratic centrist think tank for which he worked, the Niskanen Center, and appears on the verge of being fired as well by The New York Times, where he is a contributing writer. This multi-pronged retribution is due to a single tweet that was obviously satirical and sarcastic and for which he abjectly apologized. But no matter: the tweet has been purposely distorted into something malevolent and the prevailing repressive climate weaponized it against him.
Neither Wilkinson nor his tweet are particularly interesting. What merits attention here is the now-pervasive climate that fostered this tawdry episode, and which has unjustly destroyed countless reputations and careers with no sign of slowing down.
During the Bush and Obama years, Wilkinson worked at the libertarian CATO Institute but, even then, he was not much of a libertarian. As he himself explained, he is far more of a standard-issue neoliberal that one finds everywhere throughout DC think tanks, the op-ed pages of large newspapers, and the green rooms of CNN, just with a bit wonkier style of expression and a few vague libertarian gestures on some isolated issues. That self-description was in 2012, and he since then has become even more of a standard liberal during the Trump era, which is why the Paper of Record made him a contributor opinion writer where he published articles under such bold and groundbreaking headlines as “Trump Has Disqualified Himself From Running in 2020.”
On Wednesday, the night of Joe Biden’s inauguration, Wilkinson posted this now-deleted tweet in which he was obviously not calling for violence. He was instead sardonically noting that anti-Pence animus became a prevailing sentiment among some MAGA followers over the last month, including reports that at least a few of those who breached the Capitol were calling for Pence’s hanging on treason grounds, thus ironically enabling liberals and MAGA followers to “unite” over that desire:
The next morning, a right-wing hedge fund manager and large-money GOP donor, Gabe Hoffman, flagged this tweet and claimed to believe that Wilkinson “call[ed] for former Vice President Mike Pence to be lynched.” Hoffman also tweeted at Wilkinson’s New York Times bosses to ask if they have “any comment on your ‘contributing opinion writer’ calling for violence against a public official?,” and then tweeted at Wilkinson’s other bosses at the think tank to demand the same.
It is unclear whether Hoffman really believed what he was saying or was just trying to make a point that liberals should be forced to live under these bad faith, repressive “cancel culture” standards he likely blames them for creating and imposing on others. This is how he responded when I posed that question:
I was not attempting anything. Numerous major news outlets reported on Wilkinson’s tweet, including Fox News. I simply documented the events on my Twitter feed yesterday. Clearly, many liberal journalists were outraged at his firing, noticed my documentation, and decided to inexplicably blame me for his firing. It’s ridiculous that many liberal journalists apparently had nothing better to do on Twitter, than blame a guy with less than 10,000 followers documenting events, for getting Wilkinson fired, considering many major news outlets reported on Wilkinson’s tweet.
When I pressed further on whether he really believed that Wilkinson’s tweet was an earnest call for assassination or whether he was just demanding that perceived “cancel culture” standards be applied equally, he responded: “I did not take a position either way on the matter. Wilkinson is perfectly capable of explaining the tweet and his intended meaning, since he wrote it. Clearly, given the content, the least one can expect is that he should give that explanation.”
Either way, intentional or not, Hoffman’s distorted interpretation of Wilkinson’s tweet produced instant results. That afternoon, Wilkinson posted a long and profuse apology to Twitter in which he made clear that he did not intend to advocate violence, but still said: “Last night I made an error of judgment and tweeted this. It was sharp sarcasm, but looked like a call for violence. That’s always wrong, even as a joke. It was especially wrong at a moment when unity and peace are so critical. I’m deeply sorry and vow not to repeat the mistake. . . . [T]here was no excuse for putting the point the way I did. It was wrong, period.”
At least for now, that apology fell on deaf ears. The president and co-founder of the Niskanen Center, Jerry Taylor, quickly posted a statement (now deleted without comment) announcing Wilkinson’s immediate firing, a statement promptly noted by Hoffman:
Wilkinson’s job with The New York Times is also clearly endangered. A spokesperson for the paper told Fox News: “Advocating violence of any form, even in jest, is unacceptable and against the standards of The New York Times. We’re reassessing our relationship with Will Wilkinson.”
So a completely ordinary and unassuming liberal commentator is in jeopardy of having his career destroyed because of a tweet that no person in good faith could possibly believe was actually advocating violence and which, at worst, could be said to be irresponsibly worded. And this is happening even though everyone knows it is all based on a totally fictitious understanding of what he said. Why?
It is important to emphasize that Wilkinson’s specific plight is the least interesting and important aspect of this story. Unlike most people subjected to these sorts of bad faith reputation-wrecking attacks, he has many influential media friends and allies who are already defending him — including New York Times columnists Ezra Klein and Ross Douthat — and I would be unsurprised if this causes the paper to keep him and the Niskanen Center to reverse its termination of him.
All of this is especially ironic given that the president of this colorless, sleepy think tank — last seen hiring the colorless, sleepy Matt Yglesias — himself has a history of earnestly and non-ironically advocating actual violence against people. As Aaron Sibarium documented, Taylor took to Twitter over the summer to say that he wishes BLM and Antifa marchers had “rushed” the St. Louis couple which famously displayed guns outside their homes and “beat their brains in,” adding: “excuse me if I root for antifa to punch these idiots out.” So that’s the profound, pious believer in non-violence so deeply offended by Wilkinson’s tweet that he quickly fired him from his think tank.
Whatever else might be true of them, the Niskanen Center’s president and The New York Times editors are not dumb enough to believe that Wilkinson was actually advocating that Mike Pence be lynched. It takes only a few functional brain cells to recognize what his actual intent with that tweet was, as poorly expressed or ill-advised as it might have been given the context-free world of Twitter and the tensions of the moment. So why would they indulge all this by firing a perfectly inoffensive career technocrat, all to appease the blatant bad faith and probably-not-even-serious demands of the mob?
Because this is the framework that we all now live with. It does not matter whether the anger directed at the think tank executives or New York Times editors is in good faith or not. It is utterly irrelevant whether there is any validity to the complaints against Wilkinson and the demands that he be fired. The merit of these kinds of grievance campaigns is not a factor.
All that matters to these decision-makers is societal scorn and ostracization. That is why the only thing that can save Wilkinson is that he has enough powerful friends to defend him, enabling them to reverse the cost-benefit calculus: make it so that there is more social scorn from firing Wilkinson than keeping him. Without the powerful media friends he has assembled over the years, he would have no chance to salvage his reputation and career no matter how obvious it was that the complaints against him are baseless.
Humans are social and political animals. We do fundamentally crave and need privacy. But we also crave and need social integration and approval. That it is why prolonged solitary confinement in prison is a form of torture that is almost certain to drive humans insane. It is why John McCain said far worse than the physical abuse he endured in a North Vietnamese prison was the long-term isolation to which he was subjected. It is why modern society’s penchant for removing what had been our sense of community — churches, mosques, and synagogues; union halls and bowling leagues; small-town life — has coincided with a significant increase in mental health pathologies, and it is why the lockdowns and isolation of the COVID pandemic have made all of those, predictably, so much worse.
Those who have crafted a society in which mob anger, no matter how invalid, results in ostracization and reputation-destruction have exploited these impulses. If you are a think tank executive in Washington or a New York Times editor, why would you want to endure the attacks on you for “sanctioning violence” or “inciting assassinations” just to save Will Wilkinson? The prevailing culture vests so much weight in these sorts of outrage mobs that it is almost always easier to appease them than resist them.
The recent extraordinary removal of the social media platform Parler from the internet was clearly driven by these dynamics. It is inconceivable that Tim Cook, Jeff Bezos and Google executives believe that Parler is some neo-Nazi site that played anywhere near the role in planning and advocating for the Capitol riot as Facebook and YouTube did. But they know that significant chunks of liberal elite culture believe this (or at least claim to), and they thus calculate — not irrationally, even if cowardly — that they will have to endure a large social and reputational hit for refusing mob demands to destroy Parler. Like the Niskanen and Times bosses with Wilkinson, they had to decide how much pain they were willing to accept to defend Parler, and — as is usually the case — it turned out the answer was not much. Thus was Parler destroyed, with nowhere near the number of important liberal friends that Wilkinson has.
The perception that this is some sort of exclusively left-wing tactic is untrue. Recall in 2003, in the lead-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, when the lead singer for the Dixie Chicks, Natalie Maines, uttered this utterly benign political comment at a concert in London: “Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence. And we’re ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas.” In response, millions joined a boycott of their music, radio stations refused to play their songs, Bush supporters burned their albums, and country star Toby Keith performed in front of a gigantic image of Maines standing next to Saddam Hussein, as though her opposition to the war meant she admired the Iraqi dictator.
But two recent trends have greatly intensified this mania. Social media is one of the most powerful generators of group-think ever invented in human history, enabling a small number of people to make decision-makers feel besieged with scorn and threatened with ostracization if they do not obey mob demands. The other is that the liberal-left has gained cultural hegemony in the most significant institutions — from academia and journalism to entertainment, sports, music and art — and this weapon, which they most certainly did not invent, is now vested squarely in their hands.
But all weapons, once unleashed onto the world, will be copied and wielded by opposing tribes. Gabe Hoffman has likely seen powerless workers fired in the wake of the George Floyd killing for acts as trivial as a Latino truck driver innocently flashing an “OK” sign at a traffic light or a researcher fired for posting data about the political effects of violent v. non-violent protests and realized that he could use, or at least trifle with, this power against liberals instead of watching it be used by them. So he did it.
It’s exactly the same dynamic that led liberals to swoon over Donald Trump’s banning from social media and the mass-banning of his followers only to watch yesterday as numerous Antifa accounts were banned for the crime of organizing an anti-Biden march and how, before that, Palestinian journalists and activists have been banned en masse whenever Israel claims their rhetoric constitutes “incitement.”
Unleash this monster and one day it will come for you. And you’ll have no principle to credibly invoke in protest when it does. You’ll be left with nothing more than lame and craven pleading that your friends do not deserve the same treatment as your enemies. Force, not principle, will be the sole factor deciding the outcome.
If you’re lucky enough to have important and famous media friends like Will Wilkinson, you have a chance to survive it. Absent that, you have none.
President Donald Trump didn’t campaign in 2016 on a promise to confront the global spread of communism, but his efforts over the past four years against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), its proxies, and other elements of the communist specter have become the centerpiece of his legacy. Viewed through this lens, the “America First” slogan was a fitting one for a campaign against a communist adversary and a medley of the causes it has co-opted in a decades-long campaign to supplant the United States as the most powerful nation in the world. The CCP has spent decades plundering American wealth through the theft of trade secrets, protectionist trade policies, and market distortion. The regime has used this wealth to fund a behemoth soft power campaign, undermining U.S. interests in every domain and gaining influence over multinational institutions. Despite significant interference from within his own government, Trump confronted the menace head-on …
President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said on Jan. 19 that the Trump administration took the correct stance toward the Chinese regime, although he disagrees with the approach. “President Trump was right in taking a tougher approach to China. I disagree very much with the way he went about it in a number of areas, but the basic principle was the right one,” Blinken said at a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee the day before Biden was set to take office. “And I think that that’s actually helpful to our foreign policy.” Blinken, a veteran foreign policy hand who’s a close confidant of Biden, pledged at the hearing to work with U.S. allies to confront the regime. “If we’re pulling back, that gives them a free field,” he said, referring to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Tackling the various threats posed by the Chinese …
My fellow Americans, four years ago we launched a great national effort to rebuild our country, to renew its spirit, and to restore the allegiance of this government to its citizens. In short, we embarked on a mission to make America great again for all Americans. As I conclude my term as the 45th president of the United States, I stand before you truly proud of what we have achieved together. We did what we came here to do—and so much more. This week, we inaugurate a new administration and pray for its success in keeping America safe and prosperous. We extend our best wishes, and we also want them to have luck—a very important word. I’d like to begin by thanking just a few of the amazing people who made our remarkable journey possible. First, let me express my overwhelming gratitude for the love and support of our spectacular …
The last two weeks have ushered in a wave of new domestic police powers and rhetoric in the name of fighting “terrorism” that are carbon copies of many of the worst excesses of the first War on Terror that began nearly twenty years ago. This trend shows no sign of receding as we move farther from the January 6 Capitol riot. The opposite is true: it is intensifying.
We have witnessed an orgy of censorship from Silicon Valley monopolies with calls for far more aggressive speech policing, a visibly militarized Washington, D.C. featuring a non-ironically named “Green Zone,” vows from the incoming president and his key allies for a new anti-domestic terrorism bill, and frequent accusations of “sedition,” “treason,” and “terrorism” against members of Congress and citizens. This is all driven by a radical expansion of the meaning of “incitement to violence.” It is accompanied by viral-on-social-media pleas that one work with the FBI to turn in one’s fellow citizens (See Something, Say Something!) and demands for a new system of domestic surveillance.
Underlying all of this are immediate insinuations that anyone questioning any of this must, by virtue of these doubts, harbor sympathy for the Terrorists and their neo-Nazi, white supremacist ideology. Liberals have spent so many years now in a tight alliance with neocons and the CIA that they are making the 2002 version of John Ashcroft look like the President of the (old-school) ACLU.
President Donald Trump issued an executive order on Monday that aims to protect Americans from “overcriminalization” by regulations. The order seeks to make the consequences of violating certain regulations more transparent as a safeguard against unwarranted criminal punishment for unintentional regulatory violations. “In the interest of fairness, federal criminal law should be clearly written so that all Americans can understand what is prohibited and act accordingly,” Trump wrote. The move dovetails with Trump’s broader effort to reduce regulatory burden on individuals and companies, a hallmark of his administration. “Some statutes have authorized executive branch agencies to promulgate thousands of regulations, creating a thicket of requirements that can be difficult to navigate, and many of these regulations are enforceable through criminal processes and penalties,” the president noted. The order seeks to reduce regulatory burden on Americans by making sure they are adequately informed about potential criminal liability for violations of regulations. …
President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Jan. 18 to prevent the U.S. federal government from using drones manufactured by foreign adversaries, including China. Drones, also known as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), have been used increasingly across all levels of the U.S. governments for tasks including assisting law enforcement and supporting natural disaster relief efforts, the executive order explained. “Reliance on UAS and components manufactured by our adversaries, however, threatens our national and economic security,” the president said in the order, warning that information collected by drones could be “accessed by or transferred to foreign adversaries.” These components include sensors, cameras, software, and artificial intelligence technologies. Therefore, Trump said U.S. taxpayers’ money should not be used to fund federal procurement of drones that “present unacceptable risks and are manufactured by, or contain software or critical electronic components from, foreign adversaries.” Under the executive order, all heads of U.S. government …