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Michael Douglas says calls to replace Biden are 'valid' less than 3 months after claiming he's 'sharp as a tack'

Fri, 07/12/2024 - 07:35

Actor Michael Douglas answered questions about the president being fit for office, saying that the "tide is turning" while admitting that claims Biden should be replaced have validity.

Douglas appeared on "The View" and spoke about why he thinks there has been civil unrest and disappointment with the current regime. The 79-year-old pointed to the economy and cited figures an economist told him led to the degradation of the middle class.

Douglas said that while the stock market has gone up "3,800%" since 1980, "living wages" have gone up only "16%."

"We've lost our middle class," he said, stating that the demographic historically found life much more affordable. "Now, you're struggling."

'I think President Trump has been very smart and has been quiet and watching the self-destruction.'

Host Joy Behar asked the "Wall Street" and "Fatal Attraction" star about supporting Biden and brought up the fact that he held a fundraiser for the president at his home in April 2024.

"Do you agree for calls for him to step aside?" she asked. "Even Nancy Pelosi seems on the fence about him stepping aside."

"This is such a tough one. I adore the guy. Fifty years of public service, such a wonderful guy, and this just happens to be one of these elections that is just so crucial, and it's really hard," Douglas replied. "I don't worry necessarily today or tomorrow, but a year down the line I worry. I am concerned."

Douglas added that he has noticed politicians who are calling Biden to drop out are now "hedging their bets."

The actor found himself in a similar boat as George Clooney, having raised money for the president while praising his sharpness just a few months ago, only to now share concerns about his cognitive ability.

In late April 2024, Douglas said that everyone he had spoken to about Biden had said he is "as sharp as a tack."

"He's fine," he reiterated. "We all have an issue of memories as we get older, we forget names. ... He's overcome a stutter in his life and sometimes he might."

"Let's just say that his entire cabinet, including his vice president, everybody in his cabinet would be more than happy to work with him again in the next term," he claimed.

When asked directly about Clooney's New York Times op-ed that called for Biden to be replaced, Douglas told "The View" that he thought it was "a valid point."

"I'm deeply, deeply concerned. I mean, especially, it's difficult because the Democrats have a big bench. They've got a lot of heavy hitters," Douglas claimed.

In a separate interview, posted to X by the New York Post, Douglas said it was "very hard to speak badly" about the president.

"It's been an incredible three and a half years he's had as president. But I think the tide is turning."

He finished by praising President Trump's ability to sit back and allow the DNC to implode.

"I think President Trump has been very smart and has been quiet and watching the self-destruction [and the] cannibalism going on. Democrats got to get their act together."

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Heritage Foundation debunks left's lies about Project 2025 on debut of 'Blaze News Tonight'

Fri, 07/12/2024 - 07:17

On the inaugural episode of "Blaze News Tonight," co-hosts Jill Savage and Blaze News editor in chief Matthew Peterson chatted with Heritage Foundation president Kevin Roberts about Project 2025 and the left's gross mischaracterization of it in a tired attempt to frighten Americans out of voting for Republicans.

As questions continue to swirl about Joe Biden's cognitive abilities and his overall fitness for office, Democrats have seemingly attempted to distract voters from the chaos in their own house by frequently casting the Heritage Foundation's Project 2025 as a threat to democracy. As part of that effort, they have also attempted to tie Project 2025 to former President Donald Trump, who has no official association with it.

'The American people want to return to normal. They want to return to commonsense policies.'

Biden claimed that Project 2025 would "terminate[] the Constitution" by handing "limitless power" to his potential successor.

"Project 2025 should scare every single American," Biden posted to X on Thursday. "It would give Trump limitless power over our daily lives."

"Donald Trump and Project 2025 are connected at the hip," House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) likewise insisted.

Though the left has attempted to turn Project 2025 into a political bogeyman, Roberts and Peterson noted that Project 2025 basically lists the same ideas and principles that "unabashedly conservative" organizations have been espousing for decades.

"Only in a leftist America would you have the situation where something the conservative movement has done since 1980 — starting for Ronald Reagan and this year, obviously, for our standard-bearer, Donald Trump — be such a story," Roberts said.

"It's the most normal thing in the world," Peterson added.

Roberts also suggested that the reason Democrats have distorted Project 2025 so much is because they know it is a very attractive policy agenda for average voters.

"The American people want to return to normal," he claimed. "They want to return to commonsense policies, and when they look at Project 2025 ... most Americans ... realize, 'Gosh, we agree with that.'"

"You know it's good when people are actually out there and attacking it," Savage quipped.

Savage further claimed that Democrats and leftist media outlets like Rolling Stone have issued a "very long list of lies" about Project 2025, including that Trump and other Republicans want to "monitor[] women's pregnancies" and "gut the separation of powers." While Roberts agreed that leftists have frequently lied about Project 2025, he noted that they have accurately portrayed one Project 2025 agenda item.

"We call for the utter elimination of the U.S. Department of Education," Roberts stated proudly.

Roberts went on to explain that leftists cleave to the Department of Education because it is the means by which they "indoctrinate our kids, generation after generation." That's why they are "scared" of eliminating it, he said.

They are apparently so "scared" of ending the DOE and other Project 2025 ideas that some activists even managed to hack "a very old third-party vendor website" affiliated with the Heritage Foundation to try to extract personal information about its personnel. Roberts told Savage and Peterson that he and his group takes this and other threats from Democrats seriously and that they are prepared to take legal action if necessary.

"It's going to be lawful, but you have picked the wrong fight," he said.

Finally, Roberts claimed that he understands why the Trump campaign has distanced itself from some aspects of Project 2025. "The presidential campaign runs in its lane, the Republican Party runs in its lane, and those of us who are offering personnel and policy from the outside are offering or doing what we do," he explained.

"Project 2025 exists to be of service to ... decision-makers, starting with the president."

The full first episode of "Blaze News Tonight," featuring Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), can be seen below:

Project 2025: Heritage President DEBUNKS Lies | Guests: Kevin Roberts & Sen. Mike Lee | 7/11/24

You can catch "Blaze News Tonight" here Monday through Friday at 8 p.m. ET, and for more original content like it, click here to become a BlazeTV subscriber.

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'The Acolyte' is a $180 million WOKE DISASTER that keeps getting worse

Fri, 07/12/2024 - 07:00

"Star Wars: The Acolyte" is an absolute disaster.

The new "Star Wars" spin-off series was created by Leslye Headland for Disney+, and it’s turning the beloved world George Lucas built upside down.

“The show’s creator is actually doing interviews trying to do damage control and defend the show and justify the fact that she’s essentially doing a 180 from what ‘Star Wars’ fans have come to know and expect from the franchise,” Lauren Chen explains.

The show cost $180 million to produce, which Chen notes means “that each single episode had more of a budget than the entirety of Godzilla, minus one.”

While "Star Wars" fans have come to know the Jedi as the good guys, the series is now attempting to portray them as “the patriarchs of the universe who are these unjust authoritarians who are trying to clamp down on the oppressed space witch lesbians of the universe.”

“I think showing a different perspective is always fine, whether it’s entertainment or the real world, frankly, actual politics and history, but in this series, they actually portray the Jedi as doing bad stuff, as being the bad guys engaging in bad actions,” Chen explains.

“So, no, it goes beyond just ‘Oh, trying to portray a different perspective,’” she adds.

While Headland claimed the series has a “morally gray narrative,” Chen doesn’t believe she’s accomplished that whatsoever.

“Morally gray is what a good writer could have accomplished, but I feel like these writers, they lack any nuance. It actually takes finesse and skill, I think, to write something morally ambiguous, and so these people just fail like at best,” she explains.

Instead of a successful narrative flip, Chen says what “Star Wars” fans were given is “Leslye Headland and her DEI crew.”

Headland’s wife, Rebecca Henderson, was also cast in the show as the alien Vernestra, who Chen says is the “worst actress on the show.”

“So, if you’re wondering how on earth she got cast in this, uh, nepotism, basically,” Chen says.

Want more from Lauren Chen?

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Biden’s blunders leave US vulnerable to our global adversaries

Fri, 07/12/2024 - 06:18

We have had the debate and now the “big boy” press conference, and the world has consequently become far more dangerous place.

Senior policymakers in Beijing, Moscow, and Tehran understand — better than Rahm Emanuel — the importance of not letting a crisis go to waste. They know that thanks to the arrogance of the Democratic Party and its collaborators in the mainstream media, America’s position is more perilous than at any time in the last half a century, at least.

The safest outcome would be for our strategic enemies to decide to abstain from anything the United States might regard as an act of war.

War councils in China, Russia, Iran, and elsewhere have undoubtedly been holding long meetings this week, considering whether to take aggressive steps in pursuit of their geostrategic interests. They assume, correctly, that the United States is currently incapable of any strong and decisive action.

World leaders and most American voters believe, reasonably, that Joe Biden is not in charge at the White House. Yet it isn’t clear who is in charge. Certainly no one thinks either Vice President Kamala Harris or Biden’s chief of staff, Jeff Zients, has the strategic acumen or political credibility to take charge in an emergency. Any attempt at the unpresidented White House to coordinate a major foreign policy response would precipitate a constitutional crisis.

Several alternatives might unfold over the next few weeks — most of them bad for the United States and fatal for the Democratic Party.

The fate of a political party seems less important in the short term, but it is by no means insignificant. If the country survives these critical weeks without being crippled militarily or economically by one of our adversaries, November 2024 could be what political scientists call a “realigning election” — one of such magnitude that it wipes out the Democratic Party and transforms the political landscape for a generation.

The safest outcome, for both the country and the Democrats, would be for our strategic enemies to decide (for whatever reason) to abstain from anything the United States might regard as an act of war. The presidential election would then proceed, either with or without Joe Biden on the ballot, in relative calm, with Donald Trump all but assured of an overwhelming victory.

It seems clear now that Biden was not intentionally set up to fail at the disastrous debate. The Democrats had no secret plan to replace him. We would have seen evidence of it by now. But his press conference on Thursday night, and the reactions to it among Democrats, continue to weaken his claim to be the Democratic Party’s candidate for president. Still, with each passing day, it becomes more difficult for the party to overcome the legal, financial, and ideological hurdles blocking the smooth selection of a new candidate.

Even if the Democrats essentially hand Trump the presidency, hyperpartisans on the radical left will nevertheless regard him as illegitimate, and the “Resist” campaign will unfold as expected. But it will lack much of the urgency and wider support it might have had before Biden’s apparent dementia became the top news story around the world.

Even “acceptable” left-wing riots require a pretext of legitimacy. How can Antifa burn cities to protest the rejection of an obviously senile candidate or his questionable last-minute replacement? Very few mainstream voters of either party will support that justification for violence, and it will marginalize further the Democrats’ radical wing, while peeling away even more working-class minorities for the GOP.

But the Democratic Party would probably survive.

Other alternatives are more dire. A military action deemed unacceptable to the United States, within the next few weeks or months — perhaps in Taiwan, a NATO country, or even in our homeland — could be met with paralysis. That would lead to a severe, permanent loss of American power and credibility. This might include a drastic blow to our economic prosperity, which has long rested on the stability of the dollar and the American security umbrella. The shock to our standard of living might not take long to be felt.

Or we could be drawn haphazardly and chaotically into a military conflict that we would quickly lose in all likelihood, not only because of the political power vacuum in the White House, but thanks to the deterioration of military readiness from DEI, financial mismanagement, and a general lack of seriousness within the military and civilian leadership.

In each of these cases, the blow to the Democrats would be devastating. The strange power that woke ideology seems to hold would surely evaporate in the face of a genuine calamity. Fear, uncertainty, and hunger — all real possibilities in the case of a military and economic crisis — have a way of concentrating the mind. The fashionable nonsense that currently occupies so much of our attention on social media and cable news would be instantly forgotten if reliable access to electricity, medical care, and other basic needs suddenly became a daily concern.

Even if the full dimensions of the crisis were averted, and the United States escaped the worst of these scenarios, a close call would probably be sufficient to shake a large majority of Americans out of their complacency.

The appalling corruption of the D.C. establishment, the frivolous incompetence of the Democrats’ gerontocracy, and the sheer preposterousness of woke ideology would come under intense scrutiny. The media, universities, and the entertainment industry — which have done so much to prop up the Democrat agenda — could lose much of their influence. We might see a renewed focus on what really matters, and long-delayed (or suppressed) questions about American citizenship, the common good, and state of our constitutional government would have fresh urgency.

It is conceivable that conservatives and moderates could find a way out of what many fear has become a dead end for the American republic.

None of this is guaranteed. We might avoid a crisis altogether, and the regime could lumber along in much the same way as it has. But the recklessness and hubris into which the party of Jefferson and Jackson has descended are now on full display. The depth of the party's irresponsibility and deceitfulness is only now becoming clear to many voters. And the political quandary the Democrats have created for themselves may get even more uncomfortable once the leftist radicals fully appreciate how badly their goals have been compromised by the party’s doddering leadership.

Even if the Democratic Party does send itself into political oblivion, it remains deeply uncertain whether Trump and the Republicans would make something of the opportunity or fritter it away with more politics as usual. And we must still pass safely through the grave strategic peril of the next several months.

Yet for those of us who had come to suspect that America’s constitutional government was passing the point of no return, there seems to be a glimmer of hope. It’s not much, but it’s enough for now.

Sen. Mike Lee reveals the brutal term his Democratic colleagues are using for the Biden decrepitude saga

Fri, 07/12/2024 - 05:50

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) provided "Blaze News Tonight" Thursday with some damning insights into the state of play in Washington, D.C., and into how his Democratic peers are handling President Joe Biden's decrepitude and political collapse. Lee indicated the situation across the aisle has devolved into a truly pitiable state.

Biden has provided ample evidence in recent years that he is not immune to the ravages of time. The 81-year-old Democrat has manifested various signs of cognitive decline in public — confusing countries and family members; speaking to the dead; falling; repeating himself; slurring his words; forgetting critical life events; and relying upon large-printed instructions to execute basic tasks.

As recently as last month, Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media were still dutifully painting Biden as mentally fit and competent, deriding critics as conspiracy theorists, partisans, and cranks, and even suggesting that raw footage evidencing Biden's decline were "deepfakes."

However, Biden's presidential debate with President Donald Trump forced a paradigm shift in the mainstream — or at the very least left the American public asking enough questions that the political establishment had to begin seriously considering answers. Biden has not made his defense any easier in recent days by mistaking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for Russian President Vladimir Putin at Thursday's NATO press conference, referring to Vice President Kamala Harris as "Vice President Trump," or relying upon Jill Biden and former President Barack Obama to lead him around.

When pressed by "Blaze News Tonight" co-host Jill Savage about what his Democratic colleagues were saying about Joe Biden, Lee said, "They are referring behind closed doors to this situation and to conversations that they've apparently had to have as a conference within the last hour or two as the 'Weekend at Bernie's' chat."

'A whole lot of them and a whole lot of people in the media should not pretend to be surprised here.'

In the 1989 comedy movie "Weekend at Bernie's," a pair of lowly insurance company employees are invited to their CEO's beach home under false pretenses. Rather than a warm reception, they are greeted instead by the cold, dead body of their boss, Bernie Lomax. For fear of being tied to Bernie Lomax's demise and desiring to live it up in the beach house at the dead man's expense, the duo do their best to make it seem as though Lomax is still alive, manipulating and lugging around his body. The deception is made easier by the fact that many others are blinded by their own desires to similarly exploit the dead man's affluence and amenities.

"This is the reality in which they're swimming," said Lee. "I don't envy them. And yet we do have to remember that — I don't want to say all of them — but a whole lot of them and a whole lot of people in the media should not pretend to be surprised here."

"I think most of us, even those of us who are not Democrats, have seen this for a long time," continued the senator from Utah. "We've seen the president of the United States shaking hands with people who are not there or at least we can't see them. We've seen him getting lost between the helicopter and the residence at the White House. We've seen all sorts of things that don't make sense."

'They're looking for an off-ramp.'

Lee emphasized that there have long been far too many signs of Biden's decline for Democrats now to convincingly express shock.

"I think they have finally started to accept the fact that they've pushed it so far they can't take it any further," said Lee. "They're looking for an off-ramp. What I don't know is where it's going to go and whether that off-ramp is going to be any better or any worse for their chances."

Even if Biden ultimately caves to the demands of Democratic donors and lawmakers to exit the race, his most-discussed potential replacement appears similarly fated to lose.

A YouGov poll conducted days after the Trump-Biden debate suggested that two-thirds of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents would approve of Kamala Harris becoming the presidential nominee. However, a post-debate Reuters/Ipsos poll indicated that Harris, whose approval rating is south of 38% and disapproval rating sits around 50%, still trailed Trump by one percentage point. Five Thirty Eight indicated that when factoring in economic and political issues, Biden still stands a better chance against Trump in terms of picking up swing states and winning the Electoral College than Harris by a 17-point margin.

While the broader conversation about Biden has largely dealt with the man himself, Lee steered it back to the issues with his policies.

"Bottom line is all of this ultimately focuses on the fact that Joe Biden's policies have been an unmitigated disaster. They have inflicted torture on the American people. They have made everything more expensive. The average family has to shell out at a minimum $1,300 a month every single month just to live, just to buy groceries and gas, and to pay for their housing," said Lee. "That's not fair, but this is the predictable, foreseeable, and in fact foreseen result of his failed policies."

"So no matter where they run, they cannot hide from the failed progressive Democrat policies that have put us in this position," added Lee. "And that's really what's on trial, more than Joe Biden's dementia."

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Weekend Watch: Requiem for a reluctant scream queen

Fri, 07/12/2024 - 05:30

Stanley Kubrick's 1980 adaptation of "The Shining" is clearly Jack Nicholson's movie. The part of Jack Torrance seems tailor-made for Nicholson, allowing him to take his crowd-pleasing, devilish charm and turn it into something much darker. In fact, this is why Stephen King famously disliked Nicholson in the role. A less charismatic actor would have made the character's transformation more shocking; with Jack you could see that murderous breakdown coming from a mile away.

What's often forgotten in such discussions is how much the movie is really a two-hander. Think of the scene when Jack smashes through the locked bathroom door to get to his wife, Wendy, and son, Danny. What first comes to mind is probably the iconic image of Nicholson's leering face pressed up against the jagged hole he's just made: "Heeere's Johnny!" But it's Shelley Duvall as Wendy, cowering in the corner and shrieking at each at axe blow, pathetically wielding a knife as if to ward off the inevitable, who really sells the horror.

It's easy enough, especially for an actor of Nicholson's talent and temperament, to play a madman. How much harder is it to demonstrate, in take after take, under hot lights and surrounded by crew, plausible fear of that madman?

Duvall, who died yesterday at 75, was frank about the difficulty of the shoot. “After a while, your body rebels," she told the Hollywood Reporter's Seth Abramovitch in 2021:

It says: "Stop doing this to me. I don’t want to cry every day." And sometimes just that thought alone would make me cry. To wake up on a Monday morning, so early, and realize that you had to cry all day because it was scheduled — I would just start crying. I’d be like, "Oh no, I can’t, I can’t." And yet I did it. I don’t know how I did it. Jack said that to me, too. He said, "I don’t know how you do it."

But she did do it, and she ended up creating one of the rawest and most disturbing depictions of sheer, desperate terror and despair ever committed to celluloid.

Steven Spielberg is a fan, noting to author Lee Unkrich that it's Wendy's realistic psychological and physical frailty that makes "The Shining" so gripping: "All the suspense for me is, will Wendy be strong enough to stand up to Jack and save her son? And that’s why Shelley Duvall’s performance is, I think, equal to Jack Nicholson’s."

Biden’s secret strength is on its last leg

Fri, 07/12/2024 - 05:15

“It’s hard to lose, even with a bad team, when you’ve got no opponent.”

Lee Edwards said that to me Wednesday night when I visited his Arlington home to talk life and politics. In his 91 years, he’s lived a lot of both those subjects. His career kicked off in 1964, when he served as Sen. Barry Goldwater’s press director on the way to their glorious defeat. What he meant Wednesday night was that if they want to topple Joe Biden, the Democrats need an actual alternative.

The reality is that Kamala is the only potential replacement, in terms of logistics, money, appearances, and the rest, but even George Clooney couldn’t bring himself to name her.

Take George Clooney’s big Obama-blessed (?) New York Times op-ed, for example. Clooney savaged the president, saying he is not “the Biden of 2010” or even “the Joe Biden of 2020.” “I love Joe Biden,” the headline read, “but we need a new nominee.”

Even with Democrats’ devotion to not checking IDs at the voting booth, “a new nominee” won’t cut it for president. They need an actual person — and one Democrat whom dissidents are virtually united behind. In the absence of unified and effective resistance, even a damaged alternative holds the momentum. That's finally changing.

The first inklings of this shift began to appear Thursday night. Vice President Kamala Harris’ name came up time and time again as horrified Democrat-aligned broadcasters watched the president introduce Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskyy as “Putin.”

The angry campaign speech Biden gave two hours late from the NATO conference in Washington, D.C., didn’t change that narrative, nor did his answers at the “big boy press conference” that followed. A stellar performance might have offered some reprieve, but calling Harris “Vice President Trump” and fading halfway through his sentences and whispering about his accomplishments was not it. His biggest resource now isn’t himself — it’s the vice president waiting eagerly in his shadow.

If Kamala Harris actually had the goods, it would be over already. The marching and shrieks outside the White House fence would long since have toppled its walls. “How dare an old white man stand in the way of the first black female nominee? The first Indian and Jamaican chief executive? The first president with two immigrant parents since that estranged grandfather of the Democratic Party, Gen. Andrew Jackson?”

But you don’t hear any of that because no one likes Kamala Harris, and that’s not just projection. When California Gov. Gavin Newsom was calling in all the reinforcements during his recall, no one rang for the vice president and former Golden State senator.

Since the debate disaster, far from manning the ramparts to bolster the weakening ticket, she’s been sent to collect checks from top donors. Her calendar over the past two weeks has included four campaign events: Las Vegas, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Park City, Utah.

The vice presidency of the United States has essentially one job requirement: being able to replace the president. Well, Democrats ignored that and went for a diversity hire instead. They’re reaping it, while Biden has been lapping it up. There’s now reporting that even the Biden re-election campaign is quietly polling her head-to-head chances against Trump. You’ll likely see those results leaked, no matter who they help.

The reality is that Kamala is the only actual potential replacement, in terms of logistics, money, appearances, and the rest, but even George Clooney couldn’t bring himself to name her.

And Clooney is the guy who hosted the star-studded Biden fundraiser that coined the 1984-esque phrase “cheap fakes” when the White House press secretary tried to deny that Biden was gently led off the stage by former President Barack Obama. He kept his silence for three weeks.

Campaign donations are in free fall, people are angry, and the feeling in D.C. is as strong as ever that Biden’s days are numbered. The last remaining elected Democrats will flee the city on Friday, trailed through the nearby airports by the first hostile press they’ve ever encountered. They’ve got a merciful week off while Republicans meet to officially nominate their ticket in Milwaukee.

But while they’re away, the phone calls and text messages between them will continue. They’re done with Joe Biden for president. To make that happen, they’ll have to force the old man overboard and unite behind Harris. It’s hard to see it saving them in November, but they’ll do their darndest.

Blaze News: Donations to Biden campaign are imploding, sources tell NBC News: 'The money has absolutely shut off'

Blaze News: What Obama chose not to do about George Clooney's essay speaks louder than any words could: 'Eye-popping revelation'

Glenn Beck: Are Democrats done with Joe Biden? Glenn and Piers Morgan debate

The Beltway Brief: The new candidate’s’ money problem

The Daily Caller: This Man, ‘The Voice Of The Silent Majority’ For A Half-Century, Has Lived Conservative History Like None Other

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We launched ‘Blaze News Tonight,’ and it’s excellent

That’s right. For those of you who don’t know, we launched “Blaze News Tonight” in prime time on Thursday and will be back at it tonight. Anchored by the illustrious and glamorous Jill Savage and co-hosted by our very own editor in chief, Matthew Peterson, we’ll be on the air every weeknight on BlazeTV, YouTube, and X.

I’ll be chiming in from the Swamp nearly every night as the D.C. correspondent, so you know it will be great. Except for next week, when I’ll be heading to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, live to you from the home of Pabst Blue Ribbon, on all the ups, downs, and ins and outs of the Republican National Convention. We hope you’ll tune in!

The fire rises: The New York Times: America’s new Catholic priests: Young, confident, and conservative

The Catholic Church took a hard-left shift in the United States and elsewhere in the 1960s. The results speak for themselves: plummeting attendance, falling donations, declining ordinations, and skyrocketing scandals. And secular society has merrily led the way, attacking life, marriage, morality, religiosity, and even the basics of gender.

Thanks to both an increasingly hostile culture and the scandals within the church, joining the priesthood is no longer an automatic promotion in society. Because of that, the only men taking holy orders are ones who are prepared for battle. And in them lies the future. Ruth Graham reports:

... More than 80 percent of priests ordained since 2020 describe themselves as theologically “conservative/orthodox” or “very conservative/orthodox,” according to a nationally representative survey of 3,500 priests published by the Catholic Project at the Catholic University of America. Foreign-born priests in the United States, a significant presence as ordination rates remain below replacement levels, are less conservative theologically than their American-born peers. But still, not a single surveyed priest who was ordained after 2020 described himself as “very progressive.”

Politically, the trend is similar, with almost all priests ordained in 2020 or later describing themselves as moderate or conservative.

That represents a sharp contrast with priests ordained in the 1960s, about half of whom describe themselves as politically liberal, and an even greater share as theologically progressive.

In the near future, in other words, the liberal Catholic priest could essentially be extinct in the United States. The shift toward more uniform conservatism puts the rising generations of priests increasingly at odds with secular culture, which has broadly moved to the left on questions of gender, sexuality, reproductive issues and roles for women …

The cure for what ails America is equality properly understood

Fri, 07/12/2024 - 05:00

My fellow Americans, show me a “house divided” problem, where “We, the People” are losing ground, where we are failing — and not for want of dollars — and I’ll show you a violation of equality properly understood and constitutionally pursued.

Understanding what equality means and doesn’t mean, and coloring within constitutional lines, is not the answer to all our nation’s challenges, just most of them.

Equality properly understood is not at odds with excellence and human flourishing. Equality wrongly understood is the deadly enemy of those things.

The men and women who lead what I call the “brother’s keeper” vanguard are birthing an idea of equality wrongly understood and unconstitutionally, illiberally pursued. It’s a notion that embraces all of equality’s passionate downsides.

What should we expect to come of it? A Disunited States of America characterized by a leveling equality and its logical fruits of servitude, barbarism, poverty, and misery. This is not progress but regress.

It is not what rank-and-file Democrats, adjacent liberals, conservative Democrats, and independents think they are voting for, but sadly, it’s what they’re going to get until we wake up to the woke.

Fortunately, there is another path open to us, one where equality shows its best self.

It is a social state, where equality and liberty are not foes but family and where equality for all means liberty for all.

A place where “We, the People” are citizens and not subjects kept by our “brother’s keepers.”

A private and public life that pursues individual and collective happiness without coercion. A “shining city on the hill” whose products are freedom, enlightenment, and prosperity, and not despotism, ignorance, and poverty.

Let’s all come together — independents, Democrats, and Republicans — and save this experiment in self-government of ours by getting behind this simple, self-evident idea that has been the cause of American exceptionalism.

We need to get our American mojo back and equality properly understood and constitutional pursued is how to do it. It works for everybody.

But the rub is in “properly understood.” Comprehending that part is crucial. Sadly, it’s easier to get equality wrong than right. Fortunately, getting equality right is not as hard as it may sound. In fact, it’s quite simple.

It’s just that we’ve lost sight of how simple it really is.

It begins with reacquainting ourselves with the Declaration of Independence’s understanding of equality. That understanding stands in harsh judgment of what is considered “equality” in the marketplace today — and allowed by our silence to stand as gospel.

In effect, the Declaration was our press release announcing a “new order for the ages” on July 4, 1776. It took a little over a decade to produce its initial public offering — the Constitution of the United States — which offered to the American people and the watching world “a republic, if you can keep it.”

Our Declaration’s equality principle overturned the premodern exchange table that valued and ran on human inequality. Our Declaration called out the Old World as obsolete and changed the course of human history. That’s something to be proud of.

But it’s only part of the recipe. Equality comes with a birthright to freedom — to live a life of individual and political self-government.

Equality is not a privilege and natural liberty is unalienable. Equality and liberty cannot legitimately be given, sold, or taken away.

Equality is humanity’s title to be its own keeper, not one's brother’s. “The mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs,” Jefferson wrote, “nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God.” In truth, each of us is born not to be a master or a slave but rather a self-governing citizen. That’s a self-evident, unalienable truth.

Notice here that equality and liberty, rather than being at odds with each other, are really joined at the hip. It isn’t either-or. It’s both-and. Liberty at scale is derivative of equality at scale. Understand this: It is only because all are created equal that all are free.

Actual self-government may be difficult, but these concepts are not. Or they don’t need to be.

Equality, properly understood, is the unum that allows for and directs the pursuit of a genuine pluribus. This is how a genuinely diverse society can survive and thrive.

Equality is not a privilege and natural liberty is unalienable. Equality and liberty cannot legitimately be given, sold, or taken away.

If you have been dispossessed of your equality and your liberty, you have been wronged. If you’ve purposely given up your birthright, you have wronged yourself. You have chosen to be less than your created intention.

Now, pay close attention to what the Declaration of Independence does not say about equality.

It doesn’t say everyone is equal under every circumstance and across the board.

Equality properly understood recognizes and respects the obvious ways that we are not equal.

We are not equal in height. Basketball is not for everyone. We are not equal in looks. Modeling is not for everyone. We are not equal when it comes to intelligence. MENSA membership is not for everyone. We are not equal in strength or courage. Deadly, dangerous, and dirty work is not for everyone.

Equality, in short, is not homogeneous.

Here, then, is what “created equal” really means: Every human being is born for self-government, politically and personally. Equality extends the franchise of political liberty and its free pursuits to the human family. That’s it. And, it turns out, that’s a pretty big, new-order-of-the-ages deal.

In other words, equality properly understood is not at odds with excellence and human flourishing.

Equality wrongly understood, and unbound from constitutional limits, is the deadly enemy of those things. Alongside natural equality, there are natural inequalities. I’ve already mentioned a few of them. Not everyone can be Kobe Bryant, or Steve Jobs, or Eddie Van Halen, or Bella Hadid, or ... name your role model.

This is a notion of national self that the American people still want and desperately need. And the good news is, it’s within our reach to give it to ourselves.

“We, the People” deserve a two-party system, policies, and civic education that prepares our present citizens for freedom, enlightenment, and prosperity. We need a system with an independent check that keeps itself within the sane lane. A system where the partisan differences between us are ones of degree and not differences of kind.

Equality properly understood and constitutionally pursued is the prescription to what ails “We, the People.”

Trump’s GOP platform: The ideas whose time has come

Fri, 07/12/2024 - 04:45

On June 16, 2025, the Republican Party will celebrate the 10-year anniversary of a speech that changed this party, American politics, and arguably the course of human history.

That was the day that Donald Trump rode down the escalator in Trump Tower in Manhattan and gave the speech that shook the GOP to its foundations. The limping elephant, blindly devoted to an outdated agenda of free trade, mass migration, and endless wars, was jolted from complacency by the initiative of the West’s greatest living statesman.

Trump’s platform champions affordable education, housing, health care, energy, and an end to the inflation strangling American prosperity.

Now, the Republican platform, the party’s guiding document for its policy agenda, mirrors the movement President Trump started and the party he now leads.

Previous platforms were laborious incantations to the petty preferences of party bosses and corporate lobbyists. The 2024 platform is concise, clear, and literally dedicated to the forgotten men and women of America.

The conservative movement often feels tempted to treat platform writing as a bucket list of every niche policy obsession under the sun. This is short-sighted and antithetical to the vision of the Republican Party that President Trump has put forward.

Trump’s strength has always been speaking plainly to the common man, who has repeatedly chosen him as their champion in public life. Rather than 12 paragraphs on the precise structure of a flat tax that will never happen, this platform simply calls for “no tax on tips.” Instead of detailing six new wars we need to start in tiny, far-flung nations, the platform says we must “prevent World War III.” And while previous platforms made gestures in support of ending our bipartisan elites’ immigration betrayal, this platform says the top priority of the party of Lincoln, Reagan, and Trump is “seal the border, and stop the migrant invasion.”

Stitched into every page of this agenda are the values that have animated Donald Trump’s crusade against the uniparty. This is a platform to end mass migration, end the corporate stranglehold on the economy, and end the wars that have spilled so much American blood and treasure.

It’s an innovative platform, one that embraces the pioneering spirit at the cutting edge of our economy while also avoiding the typical Silicon Valley temptation to ignore our national interest. Under an economy transformed by this platform, we will make things in America and in space, we will do business with a strong dollar and legal Bitcoin, and we will lead in artificial intelligence while defeating the left-wing infiltration of that critical industry.

This is a platform that takes the concerns of young people seriously, promising to fight the impossibility of economic prosperity in the modern economy. Trump’s platform champions affordable education, housing, health care, energy, and an end to the inflation strangling American prosperity.

These big ideas are communicated clearly for the Republican Party’s electoral base, not the elites who enrich themselves at their expense. Complicating our goals wins no points in politics. Republican elected officials, conservative think tanks, and local activists should follow this platform's lead to advance our agenda.

This platform animates President Trump. For those who love his instincts but feel betrayed by the Republican infrastructure around him, this is a cause for optimism. We have a candidate in better fighting shape than ever, a platform that puts America First, and a campaign staffed with effective people who represent our best chance for victory in November.

Jeffrey Sachs: Ukraine escalation could go nuclear

Fri, 07/12/2024 - 04:30

Cancel culture, we're assured, either never existed or has been effectively eliminated. But try telling this to Jeffrey Sachs, a globally respected economist who faced cancellation simply for telling the truth. To this day, he is treated as a pariah by the very outlets that once sought his commentary. Once he veered from the preapproved talking points, he faced immediate exile. Banned, never to return.

To understand exactly why, we must revisit September 26, 2022, when a brazen act of war occurred.

'The mainstream media have dissembled, hidden the truth, denied basic history, and promoted the false narrative that the Ukraine war was "unprovoked."'

On this day, the world was rattled by the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines, a crucial conduit for natural gas supplies from Russia to Europe. Speculations were rampant, but amid the litany of accusations and counter-accusations, one voice cut through the noise with a simple, albeit controversial, take.

Shortly after the attack, Sachs appeared on Bloomberg Live. When asked who was responsible for the attack, the academic had the audacity to state the obvious: the United States.

Biden's boast

This assertion, grounded in a series of well-documented threats and policy statements, should have sparked a serious debate. Instead, it led to Sachs being effectively ostracized from the mainstream media. His sin was not spreading falsehoods but rather refusing to parrot the sanctioned narrative.

Sachs was simply joining the dots. In a much-discussed exchange on February 7, 2022, a reporter asked President Biden what would happen to Nord Stream 2 in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Biden responded, "If Russia invades, then Nord Stream 2 will cease to exist. We will bring an end to it." When the reporter inquired how this would be achieved, the president assured, "I promise you, we'll be able to do it."

It seems this was one promise Joe Biden actually kept.

“This was not the first time that a senior U.S. politician promised to end Nord Stream,” Sachs told me. “Many leading U.S. politicians had vowed to block Nord Stream 2 from operating. Of course, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, with his sources in the U.S. intelligence agencies, explained later the precise mechanics of how the U.S. blew up the pipeline.”

“Not surprisingly,” added the outspoken pundit, “European countries have played stupid, refusing to say anything sensible on the topic. Their silence speaks volumes. It is actually pathetic how they avoid the truth or the search for the truth."

Exile on mainstream

Sachs' truth-telling led to his alienation from the mainstream media. Once a frequent commentator on outlets such as MSNBC and CNN, he swiftly fell out of favor. Rather incredibly, CNN refuses to have Sachs on but is more than willing to have Jeffrey Toobin, a man known for his vigorous, hands-on approach during Zoom calls, back on.

"Basically, the mainstream media fell into line with the official narratives not only about Nord Stream 2 but about the war in Ukraine more generally. They don’t want to hear from me or others who challenge the official narrative,” said Sachs. “The mainstream media have dissembled, hidden the truth, denied basic history, and promoted the false narrative that the Ukraine war was 'unprovoked.'”

Sachs is not a Russian apologist. Rather, he argues that the Ukraine war originated with U.S. involvement in the violent overthrow of Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014. Yanukovych, who favored neutrality for Ukraine over NATO membership, was opposed by the U.S. and major European nations, who would not tolerate such a stance. Consequently, a coup was instigated. Petro Poroshenko, a strong advocate for Ukraine's integration into NATO, was installed.

Digging deeper

For those skeptical of U.S. involvement in Yanukovych's overthrow, it's essential to remember that over the past six decades, the U.S., often through the CIA, has been involved in numerous coups and regime changes worldwide, particularly during the Cold War era. These actions were usually justified under the guise of protecting American interests, promoting democracy, or countering the spread of communism.

In 1953, the CIA orchestrated a coup to overthrow Iran's democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh after he nationalized the British-controlled oil industry. The coup reinstated the shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who ruled as an autocrat until the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Similarly, in 1954, the CIA led Operation PBSUCCESS to oust Guatemala's democratically elected President Jacobo Árbenz, who had initiated land reforms threatening the interests of the American-owned United Fruit Company. The coup led to decades of military rule and civil war.

Following Congo's independence from Belgium in 1960, the CIA played a significant role in the overthrow and eventual assassination of Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, perceived as a potential ally of the Soviet Union. This led to the rise of Mobutu Sese Seko, who established a dictatorial regime.

In 1973, the CIA supported the military coup that overthrew Chile's democratically elected President Salvador Allende, whose socialist policies and alignment with the Soviet bloc alarmed the U.S. The coup installed General Augusto Pinochet, who led a brutal dictatorship.

In Indonesia, the CIA provided support and intelligence to the Indonesian military during the anti-communist purge that led to the overthrow of President Sukarno in 1965. This purge, resulting in the massacre of up to a million suspected communists, brought General Suharto to power. The U.S. also backed the coup that led to the assassination of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem in 1963. Diem's oppressive regime and failure to garner broad support complicated U.S. efforts in the Vietnam War. His removal was intended to stabilize the government, though it resulted in further chaos.

During the 1980s, the CIA funded and trained the Contras, a rebel group fighting against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua, which had overthrown the U.S.-backed Somoza dictatorship. This was part of the larger strategy to counter Soviet influence in Latin America. The list is extensive

Naturally, no mainstream media outlet will entertain the idea of the U.S. government's involvement in the events of February 2014. The intertwining of mainstream media and branches of government is no secret. "The media outlets are deeply aligned with the U.S. military-industrial complex, and especially the U.S. intelligence community. This is all very well documented over the course of many decades,” said Sachs.

Of course, he’s right. The New York Times, for instance, played a pivotal role in justifying the invasion of Iraq post-9/11 by propagating false narratives about weapons of mass destruction, narratives fed to outlet by government sources. This symbiotic relationship ensures that dissenting voices like Sachs' are systematically silenced.

Sachs and violence

It's important to note that Sachs is not some disgruntled madman. His credentials are impeccable, and his CV speaks volumes. He has worked with governments around the world for decades. He understands the intricacies of governance and the motives behind prolonged conflicts more than most. A seasoned macroeconomist, the Harvard graduate previously advised national governments in Latin America, Eastern Europe, and the former Soviet Union on transitioning from Marxism-Leninism to market economies.

Despite his exile from mainstream media, Sachs continues his work undeterred. "I study and promote economic development, environmental sustainability, social inclusion (e.g., ensuring that all children can get a good education), and practical solutions to end and prevent wars.” To carry out this work, he travels extensively. When he answered my questions, he was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. When he isn’t advising governments in Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe, the 69-year-old can be found teaching at Columbia University.

On the future of the Ukraine conflict, Sachs remains clear-eyed and pragmatic. "The war will end either with negotiations based on Ukrainian neutrality, or it will end with Ukraine’s defeat on the battlefield, or it will end in nuclear war if the U.S. continues to escalate and in turn provokes Russia to escalate. Ukrainian neutrality is the only way to peace and security for Ukraine,” he contends.

Will the establishment heed his warning? The chances border on nonexistent.

Sachs' cancellation serves as a sobering reminder that, in the land of the free, telling the truth can exact a significant personal and professional toll. Even in 2024, the United States is a nation where narratives are tightly controlled and dissent is swiftly punished.

The word "courage" is often recklessly tossed around, like confetti at a Pride parade. But Sachs is courageous. Remember, he works at Columbia. Like many other elite universities, Columbia has been gripped by a sort of pathological progressivism. Here, dissenting opinions are neither sought nor tolerated. Those who deviate from a very specific script are met with vocal opposition. Sachs’ exile from the mainstream media is not merely a personal loss but a societal one, depriving the public of informed and critical perspectives at a time when they are desperately needed.

Ben Shapiro and the GOP have little interest in fighting censorship

Fri, 07/12/2024 - 04:15

On Wednesday, Daily Wire founder Ben Shapiro testified before Congress about media censorship. Invited to speak by Republicans, Shapiro started with a five-minute blistering prepared statement that chastised Democrats and others for creating an unfair system that financially penalizes conservative media companies.

“There is, in fact, an informal pressure system created by Democratic legislators, this White House, legacy media, advertisers, and pseudo-objective brand-safety organizations. That system guarantees that advertising dollars flow only to left-wing media brands,” he said.

The country that used to believe that it took sticks and stones to break bones is transitioning to the belief that words snatch lives. The Alphabet Mafia powered this transition.

Shapiro played the role of fearless establishment Republican and champion of free speech beautifully.

I was unimpressed. And it had nothing to do with his feud with and separation from Candace Owens.

I was unimpressed because Shapiro’s more than 1,000-word screed lambasted the wrong targets. Non-governmental organizations are the primary drivers of censorship and the assault on free speech. There was no mention of the Anti-Defamation League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Black Lives Matter, the LGBTQIA+Silent P, or the Southern Poverty Law Center.

He left out the NGOs that specialize in making politicians, media executives, influencers, celebrities, advertisers, and brand-safety organizations offers that they can’t refuse.

The ADL, NAACP, BLM, LGBTQIA+, and SPLC put smear guns to the head of any person or business that dares to violate their orthodoxy.

Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter, lived in fear of the Alphabet Mafia. Elon Musk’s and X’s problem with advertisers can be directly tied to his battle with Jonathan Greenblatt and the ADL. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Google adjust their algorithms to comply with the Alphabet Mafia.

Whether Democrat or Republican, politicians always pay tribute — through self-censorship, votes, or legislation — to the NGO pressure groups.

Censorship is not a partisan issue. America’s two main political parties support some level of censorship. It’s no different from “illegal immigration.” Democrats are for it. And Republicans pretend they want to stop it. It’s a fake war. They’re all actors.

Thanks to Republicans and Democrats, America inches closer and closer to passing “hate speech” laws that make it illegal to read certain passages in the Bible because they’ve been deemed “anti-Semitic.”

The country that used to believe that it took sticks and stones to break bones is transitioning to the belief that words snatch lives. The Alphabet Mafia powered this transition.

We need to awaken from the denial of the influence of these NGOs.

In Shapiro’s Wednesday testimony, he zeroed in on criticizing the Global Alliance for Responsible Media. It’s a 5-year-old globalist organization promoted by the World Economic Forum. GARM sets “brand safety” guidelines for corporations.

“In reality, GARM acts as a cartel. Its members account for 90% of ad spending in the United States, almost a trillion dollars,” Shapiro explained. “In other words, if you’re not getting ad dollars from GARM members, it’s nearly impossible to run an ad-based business. And if you’re not following their preferred political narratives — the ones that Kara Swisher and Dianne Feinstein would follow — you will not be deemed brand-safe. Your business will be throttled.”

I have no desire to defend GARM. It’s a globalist and Marxist advocacy group. GARM is the gun, a tool the WEF developed. The girls and guys holding the guns work for the ADL, NAACP, BLM, SPLC, and LGBTQIA+Silent P.

GARM is harmless if we eliminate the shooters. The shooters are the clowns with the fancy titles within the Alphabet Mafia.

ADL’s Greenblatt, Derrick Johnson of the NAACP, Margaret Huang of the SPLC, Patrisse Cullors of BLM, and the army of LGBTQIA+ advocates pull the trigger and financially blackmail our political leaders.

Demonizing and voting out Democrats will not stop the censorship movement.

The power driving the Alphabet Mafia must be destroyed. That power is the victimhood mentality. Victims desire special privileges and rights, and they will acquire those privileges by any means necessary.

Republicans want to cast themselves as victims of censorship. They’re not. They’re victims of their own cowardice. Same as American Christians.

We, Christians, are unwilling to defend our beliefs without shame because we fear being smeared by the Alphabet Mafia. We want to be inclusive. God wants us to be exclusive to Him.

Why I am pro-life with an asterisk

Fri, 07/12/2024 - 04:00

Glenn Beck’s radio broadcast on Wednesday morning had some heartfelt and thoughtful discussion of the most controversial aspect (for Republicans) of Donald Trump’s recently released platform: abortion.

It got me thinking about that issue again, not that I had ever really ignored it. You can’t. To say that the abortion quandary goes to the heart of our values is both a cliché and an understatement. Its paramount importance is unquestionably true.

Trump’s policy makes sense for the world at large in these times. Any other approach would likely do more harm to the cause than good by giving its enemies a club.

The discussion arose that morning because reports indicated Trump has rejected the call for a federal abortion ban that appeared in previous GOP platforms, including his own in 2020. Instead, he would “let the states decide,” an approach that aligns with the Supreme Court’s decision of overturning Roe v. Wade, for which he has taken justifiable credit.

I am one of those who has become increasingly pro-life over the years for reasons that are both moral (“Some things that you’re liable to read in the Bible are necessarily so”) and scientific. A life with unique DNA obviously begins at conception (when else?), and, due to ongoing research, the amount of time that unique human being takes to be sentient in the womb, to experience pain and who knows what else, is shorter and shorter — eventually, it seems, a matter of weeks.

And yet, I must put an asterisk against my name regarding abortion.

As with an incalculable number of others, male and female, I have never, to my knowledge, had to face the question of an abortion in my own life. Although I know several who have, I have not been involved as the sometimes de trop (to 1960s-era feminists and some contemporaries as well) male sperm donor.

Everything I think about abortion is, to some degree, theoretical, as are, I submit, the opinions of those millions of others who have not had to deal with the experience directly.

Some of my theoretical thoughts, however, make me shudder.

For example, what if a daughter of mine had been brutally raped by one or more of the October 7 Hamas terrorist psychopaths and became pregnant? How would I feel about her going to term and having the baby? Much more importantly, how could I even begin to counsel her against abortion if she naturally abhorred having progeny from such a monster with all that that might entail?

Yes, I’m aware that is a rather dramatic example, but dramatic as it is, it is plausible — right now.

If you are one of those who favor that overall abortion ban, I absolutely respect you on a moral basis. We are all children of God.

But I must ask if you have ever faced anything remotely like that example? Are you sure what you would do if you had to?

I must admit, I am not sure at all.

Arguments about the possibility of nurture overriding nature, whether the next Mother Teresa or someone curing cancer could arise from such a “union” seem puerile and, to me at least, more than a little bit hypocritical in this and similar instances.

And if you think my example is too specialized, I would remind you that, barring the ideology, it is not too distant from a rape occurring today anywhere in our country, in an urban alleyway or a distant field.

Further, there’s that life-of-the-mother question. It’s a dicey one, since confidence in our medical community to make the correct and just decision has unfortunately dwindled since COVID. (Maybe we took too much for granted.)

Nevertheless, it’s an epochal choice that, when confronted, has results that, putting it mildly, may not always conform to our hopes. In fact, it can be a ticket to disaster for all concerned, no matter what side of the ledger we are on, pro-life or that weird construction, pro-choice.

It’s almost impossible, at least for me, to know how I would react if confronted by the dilemma. God-willing, I won’t be.

So, I have an asterisk next to my pro-life name. I would ask others in my position of fortunate ignorance to think about themselves in that regard.

I would add two things.

First, I wouldn’t be surprised if Donald Trump’s thinking was like mine. Although electoral politics always plays a role — he’s a politician, in case you haven’t noticed — his policy makes sense for the world at large in these times. Any other approach would likely do more harm to the cause than good by giving its enemies a club, specious as that weapon would be.

Second, I have always suspected that the real battle over abortion should not take place in the realm of government. I am now more convinced of that than ever. In that sense, I am a (definitely small l) libertarian. Whether to abort is an issue of the heart and the soul, of the individual’s faith or lack thereof, not of legislation that in the end does little more than paper over the real feelings of people on this monumental question.

Editor’s note: Prize-winning novelist and Oscar-nominated screenwriter Roger L. Simon will be starting the American Refugees Substack this August with his wife, screenwriter (“Dick”) and journalist, Sheryl Longin.

‘King’ Trump’s transformation of the GOP: Loyalty above all

Fri, 07/12/2024 - 03:45

Whatever you think about Donald Trump and the life issue, just know that his latest machinations are not about this upcoming election.

Case in point: How many of the $300 million ads that the Democrats plan on running to remind every single woman about who appointed the justices responsible for overturning Roe v. Wade were canceled because Trump took the life issue out of the party platform? The answer is none. I mean, how much of normie America even reads the party platform? Again, zero is the answer. So, the idea that Republicans can somehow insulate themselves from what Democrats are going to say between now and November about the guy who did more than any elected federal official in my lifetime to protect life is ridiculous.

MAGA thinks it has 2024 in the bag, and MAGA is probably right (at least, let’s hope it is). And if it is, long live the king.

And while my opinion of Team GOP has a default setting below subterranean, I don’t believe Republicans are so dumb that they don’t realize that. So, what gives?

When I was coming of age politically and listening to Rush Limbaugh daily, I remember hearing him play clips of Roger Stone with his then-wife, Ann, trying to get all the pro-life language taken out of the Republican Party platform. Now, fast-forward about 35 years, and look who is one of Trump’s closest political confidants today. None other than Roger Stone.

If we put the Wonder Woman lasso of truth around them, Trump and his political machine would likely admit they are trying to franchise the Republican Party, moving away from the many disparate coalitions within today’s GOP and toward a fealty more akin to that owed to a king.

Are there still disparate factions in a king’s court? Yes. Are there different agendas and ambitions? Absolutely. But they’re all united in loyalty to whom? The king. They will learn to share power within that court if they want the continued access and approval they need from the king.

This is how the Democratic Party has operated for generations. If you ask someone why they are a Democrat, they would typically cite an identity, such as being a single woman, gay, black, or a teacher. If you ask someone why they are a Republican, they’d typically mention values or principles, like being pro-life, believing in a strong national defense, or wanting limited government. The Republicans were the ideologically driven party, while the Democrats were the coalition-based party.

That is how you got fire-breathing black ministers and butch lesbians like Rosie O’Donnell to vote for the same candidates. Because they all realized that the government is king and to get the access they need from the king, they had better set their principles aside and work together as a coalition.

It is in precisely that manner the Trump empire is attempting to remake the Republican Party. Doesn’t matter much what people like pro-rainbow jihad Elise Stefanik believe about anything as long as they are willing to slobber for Trump, because there is really no agenda beyond the king himself.

Kings like to leave a legacy. And since the Trump family is forevermore boxed out of the market when it comes to many of their business interests, because, you know, they’re almost Hitler and stuff, then politics will have to fill the gaping void.

Trump is 78 years old, and even if none of his children ever want to run for office themselves, what he’s now establishing is the long-live-the-king endorsement that will be required from the family he leaves behind to rule his empire. His daughter-in-law runs the Republican National Committee now, for crying out loud! The party is being franchised and remade in Trump’s image. The Trumps are poised to become the GOP’s Kennedys.

It’s definitely not just about this election. Heck, it wasn’t long ago I thought this election was about putting Trump in jail, but here we are. MAGA thinks it has 2024 in the bag, and MAGA is probably right (at least let’s hope it is).

And if it is, long live the king.

But if MAGA is tragically wrong and unable to evict the dementia patient and his demonic horde from the White House, then the excommunications will begin on November 6 and continue until morale improves.

Blaze News original: In 2019, nearly 10,000 international athletes competed in Wuhan. The official story about illnesses continues to morph.

Fri, 07/12/2024 - 03:30

Early in the pandemic, there was a concerted effort to downplay the possibility that the COVID-19 virus originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where radical gain-of-function experiments were conducted on coronaviruses, sometimes with American funding. Now, it appears that the lab origin theory was all along the most likely explanation.

The exact timeline regarding the initial leak and subsequent spread remains, however, somewhat fuzzy. The Chinese regime's cover-up of the initial spread and its destruction of critical evidence have made it difficult to nail down precisely when and how the virus got out.

Blaze News recently discovered that China may not have, however, been the only nation reluctant to disclose illnesses in Wuhan in late 2019.

Playing games with the timeline

Months prior to the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 a pandemic, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reported a cluster of cases of pneumonia in late December 2019. The constituents of this cluster were far from being patients zero.

Three researchers meddling with coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology — including an EcoHealth Alliance subcontractor— became sick enough "with symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and common seasonal illness" that they needed to be hospitalized in November 2019.

Chinese state media indicated that the virus may have begun spreading as early September of that year but, in a desperate effort to assign blame elsewhere, suggested it kicked off in the United States.

Researchers at Boston University and Harvard Medical School analyzed satellite imagery of hospital parking lots in Wuhan as well as search queries on China's equivalent of Google from 2018 up until late 2019 and concluded that the virus may have begun spreading as early as August 2019.

"Between September and October 2019, 5 of the 6 hospitals show their highest relative daily [parking lot] volume of the analyzed series, coinciding with elevated levels of Baidu search queries for the terms 'diarrhea' and 'cough,'" said the study. "Our evidence supports other recent work showing that emergence happened before identification at the Huanan Seafood market."

In August, we identify a unique increase in searches for diarrhea which was neither seen in previous flu seasons or mirrored in the cough search data. While surprising, this finding lines up with the recent recognition that gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms are a unique feature of COVID-19 disease and may be the chief complaint of a significant proportion of presenting patients. This symptom search increase is then followed by a rise in hospital parking lot traffic in October and November, as well as a rise in searches for cough. While we cannot conclude the reason for this increase, we hypothesize that broad community transmission may have led to more acute cases requiring medical attention, resulting in higher viral loads and worse symptoms.

If the virus was in circulation by at least October, then a convention of nearly 10,000 athletes from around the world in Wuhan would have served as the perfect vehicle to take the virus global in short order.

In fact, some researchers have suggested that there was a good likelihood that the 7th Military World Games held in Wuhan from October 18 to October 28 — where delegates from 109 countries competed, in some cases near the Wuhan Institute of Virology — were indeed a super-spreading event.

Mixed messaging

Two Canadian military sources who requested anonymity because they were still serving in the Canadian military told the Financial Post in 2021 that there had been infections at the games.

One service member claimed he got "very sick 12 days after we arrived, with fever, chills, vomiting, insomnia. … On our flight to come home (at the end of October), 60 Canadian athletes on the flight were put in isolation (at the back of the plane) for the 12-hour flight. We were sick with symptoms ranging from coughs to diarrhea and in between."

Upon returning to Canada, the service member said his family members took ill and his symptoms got worse and expanded, such that he experienced fatigue, nosebleeds, fever, and breathing pains.

While tested by a military doctor "for various issues," he said he never was tested "for anything respiratory."

The other service member said, "One-quarter of us got sick, there and when we returned. Some were bedridden for weeks. This made us potential vectors for the virus. The military did nothing. I was sick and others were, too, with Wuhan symptoms. … I was eventually given a swab test, which measures only recent exposure, and told to carry on."

The Canadian athletes were apparently told by the surgeon general that their risk of having been exposed was "negligible."

Julia Scott, a communications adviser with the Canadian Forces Health Services Public Affairs Department, told the Post, "We are not aware of any CAF members or civilians becoming sick at the games or after they returned. There have not been any COVID-19 cases identified amongst this group."

"As their stay in Wuhan was well before COVID-19 pandemic was declared and before anyone was aware of the virus, members were not tested upon their return. Testing for COVID-19 was not available in Canada prior to January 2020," continued Scott. "Once we were aware of potential risks, the CAF and Department of National Defence took immediate precautionary measures to avoid any illness or additional exposure to CAF members related to the novel coronavirus."

A narrative slide

Blaze News recently asked the Canadian Department of National Defense whether its awareness about CAF members or civilians becoming sick at the Wuhan games, as expressed to the Post, has shifted in the years since.

In reply, a spokeswoman for the National Defense Department repeated much of what the department had previously told the Post but revealed that it "has subsequently been determined that some athletes experienced gastrointestinal symptoms on the flight to Wuhan for the Military World Games and during the return flight home to Canada."

"Their symptoms and illness course of one to three days were consistent with gastrointestinal illness, or a 'stomach flu,' and were managed as such, consistent with typical contact precautions when managing patients with mild gastrointestinal illness," added the spokeswoman.

The Mayo Clinic lists the following as symptoms of the stomach flu: diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramps, muscle aches, headache, and fever.

It appears the stomach flu could possibly be mistaken for COVID-19 or vice versa, given that the symptoms listed for COVID-19 by the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention include diarrhea, nausea, muscle aches, and headache.

The Canadian Department of National Defense has yet to respond to Blaze News' follow-up questions regarding the basis and timing of its subsequent determination, as well as whether the athletes' supposed gastrointestinal illness has been ruled out as COVID-19.

The spokeswoman's suggestion that athletes were sick en route to Wuhan may muddy the waters, especially since China has proven desperate in the past to claim Western forces brought the virus to Wuhan, potentially via the games.

For instance, Chinese operatives seized upon the theory that Maatje Benassi, a U.S. Army reservist who competed in Wuhan, was patient zero after she crashed during a cycling competition there and suffered a concussion.

Blaze News has reached out to coaches and scores of athletes from various countries who competed in Wuhan as well as officials linked to the International Military Sports Council — the outfit that organizes the competitions — for a better sense of the kind of illnesses that supposedly broke out at the games as well as where they may have originated.

While so far, there has been a deafening silence about infections at the games, it was not so early in the pandemic.

Early allegations of infection

There were multiple reports and admissions of infections at the games early in the pandemic by athletes besides the anonymous Canadians.

French pentathlete Elodie Clouvel, part of the French delegation invited to participate at the games, indicated in early 2020 that she and many other athletes likely contracted COVID-19 at the games, reported the American Prospect.

"We were in Wuhan for the World Military Games at the end of October. And afterwards, we all fell ill. Valentin missed three days of training. Me, I was sick too. … I had things I had never had before. We weren’t particularly worried because no one was talking about it yet," said Clouvel. "A lot of athletes at the World Military Games were very ill. We were recently in touch with a military doctor who told us, ‘I think you had it because a lot of people from this delegation were ill.'"

Luxembourg swimmer Julien Henx told RTL Radio that two of his teammates got sick during the competition and stated, "There were 200,000 Chinese volunteers there, who went home in the evening and could very well have transmitted the virus to them."

German volleyball player Jacqueline Brock indicated in early 2020 that "after a few days, some athletes from my team got ill, I got sick in the last two days."

"I have never felt so sick," continued Brock. "Either it was a very bad cold or COVID-19."

Italian fencer Matteo Tagliarol told Corriere Della Sera, "When we arrived in Wuhan, almost all of us got sick. But the worst was returning home. After a week I had a very high fever, I felt like I couldn't breathe. The illness didn't go away even with antibiotics, I recovered after three weeks and remained debilitated for a long time. Then my son and my partner got sick. When people started talking about the virus, I said to myself: I've caught it too."

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Biden calls Trump his vice president in awkward gaffe at high stakes news conference at NATO summit

Thu, 07/11/2024 - 19:15

President Joe Biden defended his record and tried to reassure voters that he could continue the presidential campaign at a standalone news conference on Thursday at the NATO summit in Washington, D.C.

The moment most people will remember is when he accidentally referred to his vice president as former President Donald Trump rather than Kamala Harris.

'I love my staff, but they add things ... I’m catching hell from my wife for that.'

The speech started almost two hours later than it was scheduled to at 6:30 p.m.

Some pundits were anticipating that Biden might step down from the presidential campaign at the speech, but instead, Biden defended NATO, defended his economic plan, and touted his plan to ease unrest in the Middle East between the Palestinians and Israel.

After his address, Biden went to answer questions but admitted that he had a list of reporters to pick from.

When asked about his performance in the office, he said that he had built a better U.S. economy by defeating trickle-down economics.

He also defended Vice President Kamala Harris by saying that she had done a good job defending women's issues and said she had been a great prosecutor.

"I wouldn't have picked her if I didn't think she was qualified to be president," he said. "She is qualified to be president. That's why I picked her."

At another point, he appeared to toss members of his staff under the bus by saying they added things to his statements that he didn't approve.

“I love my staff, but they add things. They add things at the end. I’m catching hell from my wife for that," he joked.

Prior to the address, Biden also mistakenly referred to the president of Ukraine as "Putin," but he quickly corrected himself.

By Thursday, 14 Democratic politicians had called for the president to step down from the campaign. Some celebrities had also joined the chorus against Biden, including actor George Clooney, author Stephen King, and Rob Reiner, the actor and director.

Biden had not had a standalone news conference since the end of 2013.

CNN reported for the first time Thursday that the president's full cabinet had not met since 2013.

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Body cam video shows Buffalo cop shoot and kill man who was dragging him on the side of his car after traffic stop

Thu, 07/11/2024 - 17:27

New York police released harrowing body camera video from a traffic stop that went awry when the driver tried to speed away while dragging an officer and was shot and killed.

Also in the car was a 6-year-old relative of the driver.

'The officer found himself in a grave risk of serious physical injury or death.'

The 19-minute video shows the Buffalo officer interacting with the man during a traffic stop near Kensington Avenue near Poultney Avenue early on Wednesday morning just after midnight.

The officer tells the man that he pulled him over for speeding and for having illegal tint on the windows of the car.

At one point, the child tells the officer it's his birthday, and the officer wishes him a happy birthday.

The man tells the police that the car is not his and that he is not able to produce identification but says he has a photograph of his ID from Georgia on his phone.

After the officer is unable to confirm the identity of the man based on the photograph, he asks him to step out of the car. At that point, the man hits the gas and tries to speed away with the officer hanging on to the side of the vehicle.

"This point, without any provocation without any warning, the driver of the vehicle quickly put the car in drive and accelerated at a very high rate of speed. The officer who had a hold of the top of the door was unable to let go of the door," explained Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia.

The officer can be heard on the video yelling to the driver, "You're going to kill me, you're going to kill me!"

Gramaglia said that the car reached up to 60 miles per hour before the officer shot at the man.

"Watching the video it appears as though the motorist turned to the side and almost in a kicking motion, we are making an assumption at this point, it appears as though the driver was trying to kick the driver off the side of the vehicle," he continued.

The officer was able to obtain control of the car after shooting the man five times before they both tumbled out of the vehicle. The car rolled on for another 100 feet before coming to a stop.

Police said the child was uninjured. The officer suffered minor injuries and was released after treatment.

While police had not yet identified the deceased suspect, WGRZ-TV said it confirmed him to be 25-year-old Dae'von Roberts.

Roberts is the half-brother to Jaylen Griffen, a 12-year-old child whose remains were found in April in the attic of a south Buffalo home after he had been missing for four years.

Roberts referred to Griffen in the body cam video.

Gramaglia said Thursday that the shooting was justified based on their investigation.

"Reviewing the video, going through the evidence that we have, I do believe that is a justified use of force that occurred the other night," he said. "When you take into account the fact that the officer found himself in a grave risk of serious physical injury or death, the use of that level of force is justified, in this case."

Police have not said if Roberts' actions are related to the death of his half-brother.

Here's the harrowing video released by the Buffalo Police Department.

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California man decapitated and mutilated his elderly parents and their dog inside mobile home, police say

Thu, 07/11/2024 - 17:15

California police say they encountered a gruesome scene after being called to a domestic violence report at a mobile home park in San Juan Capistrano on Tuesday.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office said in a press release that police found 79-year-old Antoinette Gerdvil and her husband, 77-year-old Ronald Walter Gerdvil, dead at the home on Alipaz Street, according to the Los Angeles Times.

'Police said that the son lived in the mobile home community with his parents.'

They and their dog were found decapitated and mutilated, police said.

Six minutes after they arrived at the scene, police were told that a man covered in blood had been threatening a maintenance worker at the same mobile home park and stole a golf cart.

Police said they saw the man driving the golf cart on a nearby bike trail and confronted him. The department said that he was shot during the altercation, but they did not say why he was shot.

Officers provided life-saving measures for the man before Orange County Fire Authority arrived. He was transported to a hospital and treated, where he remained in stable condition.

He was later identified as 41-year-old Joseph Brandon Gerdvil, the son of the murdered couple.

Police said they were charging him with two counts of homicide after he is medically released. They added that they expected additional enhancements and charges after the conclusion of their investigation.

The department also said that video from the police body camera would be released in accordance with “the law and in consultation with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.” Those rules require that video be released within 45 days of the incident in most cases.

Police said that the son lived in the mobile home community with his parents, but they did not indicate what his motivation might have been.

San Juan Capistrano is a city of about 35k residents in southern Orange County near the coast. It is famous for swallows that migrate in the spring to nest at the historic mission in the town.

The average home in San Juan Capistrano sells for $1.3 million, according to Redfin.

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Protests at the RNC: What groups are planning to do in Milwaukee

Thu, 07/11/2024 - 16:15

While there will be a lot of eyes on the activities inside the Fiserv Forum when the Republican National Convention takes place next week, there will be some action outside the security zone as protesters are promising to march close to the event so Republicans can hear and see them.

Far-left groups protesting in the streets have been invigorated by the Israel-Hamas war that was started after the terrorist group launched a wide-scale attack in Israel. The additional prospect of former President Donald Trump formally becoming the Republican nominee for a third time is adding fuel to the fire for people to show up in Milwaukee.

'There will be no tolerance for anything in regards to destruction or violence.'

March on the RNC, an organization at the forefront for the multiple groups that will be protesting, laid out "points of unity" to "stop the Republican’s racist and reactionary agenda":

  • Fight the racist and reactionary agenda of the Republican Party.
  • Defend women's, LGBTQ, and reproductive rights.
  • Defend and expand immigrant rights.
  • Peace, justice, and equity for all.
  • Stand with Palestine.

The group's speakers and activists will likely also voice their opposition to Project 2025, an agenda put together by the Heritage Foundation for a second Trump term. The agenda has become a focus for Democrats who otherwise must face President Joe Biden's ailing health and questions about whether he'll remain the nominee.

Protesting groups have gone to court against the city of Milwaukee for the ability to get as close as possible to the RNC. Protesters, through the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, tried to get their parade route to pass through the pedestrian security perimeter to be close to the Fiserv Forum. A federal judge ruled they can't march through the zone.

“We are disappointed by today’s ruling and the lack of an authorized parade route within sight and sound of the convention. We still believe that the City’s failure to act concerning our client’s permit application, its delay in establishing a protest zone and a parade route until weeks before the convention, and its decision to push protesters even further away from the convention site with the expansion of the credentialed zone chill freedom of expression and restrict the exercise of First Amendment rights," said Tim Muth, staff attorney for the ACLU of Wisconsin.

Père Marquette Park was originally not included in the pedestrian security zone, giving protesters a very close location for a staging area. After lobbying by the RNC, the park is now within the protected zone.

March on the RNC will instead be rallying across the river in nearby Red Arrow Park at 10:00 a.m. CST and march at 12:00 p.m. with a route that takes them right up against the security perimeter. Organizers are promising that the march will be peaceful.

"There will be no tolerance for anything in regards to destruction or violence," Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman said, according to WISN. "There is a right to have the freedom to express yourself and as we are dealing with this, we'll see what actually will be done in regards to their route or with behaviors out there."

The final decision on the Milwaukee Police Department's use of force during the protests will be made by Norman.

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Pride Parade attendees can’t answer ONE simple question: 'How many genders can have a BABY?'

Thu, 07/11/2024 - 16:00

Wearing a shirt that said “Queer,” Alex Stein once bravely ventured into the New York City Pride Parade and asked attendees a question that, unsurprisingly, almost none of them could answer.

That question was: “How many genders can have a baby?”

“There’s a difference between gender and sex,” one man wearing a flamboyant outfit responded. “It takes two sexes in order to have a baby.”

Stein, clearly entertained, continued his line of questioning.

“How many sexes can have a baby out of their womb?” he asked, before the man responded, “Any individual that has a womb,” adding that “if you have a womb, your gender can be in spectrum.”

“A birthing person,” Stein confirmed, before the man agreed.

As Stein meandered around the parade, he found another man who claimed “the limit does not exist” regarding how many genders are capable of giving birth to a child. Really, the “limit does not exist” to how many Pride attendees are willing to double down on their delusion — but that’s for them to figure out.

Many more attendees answered “all of them,” while one angry man dressed as a woman simply said, “Go away from me.”

Shockingly, two women he stopped on the street claimed not to know the number of genders there are, but they did answer that “only one” can have a baby.

“If you’re talking about biological sex, there’s more than two sexes because what about intersex people?” another woman answered smugly.

“I’m saying intersex people can’t have a baby, though, right?” Stein fired back.

“That’s not necessarily true, intersex is a spectrum,” she responded, before Stein said, “It’s a confusing question, I know.”

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Wisconsin radio station admits editing out clips from interview at request of Biden campaign, including comment about blacks

Thu, 07/11/2024 - 15:15

The Biden presidential campaign got hit with another damaging debacle after a progressive radio station in Wisconsin admitted it was asked to excise portions of an interview with the president.

Civic Media, a talk-radio network, said in a statement Thursday the decision to follow through with the campaign request did not meet "journalistic interview standards."

'I don’t know if they even call for their hanging or not, but he — but they said ...'

The Biden campaign has been barraged by daily revelations about the president's mental and cognitive deficiencies since he stumbled through a debate against former President Donald Trump on CNN.

The interview in question was conducted by popular host Earl Ingram on July 3 and published the next day on the Fourth of July.

"On Monday, July 8th, it was reported to Civic Media management that immediately after the phone interview was recorded, the Biden campaign called and asked for two edits to the recording before it aired," the company said.

"Civic Media management immediately undertook an investigation and determined that the production team at the time viewed the edits as non-substantive and broadcast and published the interview with two short segments removed," it explained.

The two edits appeared to be made to keep listeners from hearing President Joe Biden make non-sensical statements. The station said it would release the full interview and documented the two edits.

"... and in addition to that, I have more Blacks in my administration than any other president, all other presidents combined, and in major positions, cabinet positions," said Biden in the first edit.

The second edit was in reference to a controversial call from Trump for the death penalty of five suspects who were accused of rape and murder in Central Park in 1989. They were originally convicted but exonerated years later.

“I don’t know if they even call for their hanging or not, but he–but they said [...] convicted of murder," said Biden in the second edit.

Civic Media went on to say that listeners rightfully expected higher journalistic standards with a high-profile guest like the president.

"We did not meet those expectations. Civic Media disagrees with the team’s judgments in the moment, both with respect to the handling of the interview questions and the decision to edit the interview audio," the company concluded.

The campaign said that the questions were not pre-requisites for the interview, and Ingram said he used four of the five question suggestions it offered.

Wisconsin is widely considered to be one of the more important swing states that could help determine the final victor in the electoral college.

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