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Illegal alien mob charged for allegedly assaulting NYPD officers who were checking on unsupervised children

Wed, 07/10/2024 - 09:10


A mob of illegal immigrants who allegedly assaulted New York Police Department officers while they were attempting to check in on unsupervised children were recently indicted, Fox News Digital reported Tuesday.

According to prosecutors, six suspects — Juan Munoz, 25; Alejandro Munoz, 42; Karina Navarro-Chavez, 42; Miguel Chiluisa, 23; Cristian Taipe, 30; and Natali Iza, 27 — were charged with attempted assault in the first degree, attempted gang assault in the first and second degrees, and other crimes related to the attack.

'My office will vigorously prosecute.'

The New York Post previously reported that the group was outside a Queens hotel that was converted into a shelter for illegal aliens when the assault occurred around 4:20 a.m. on June 17. Two NYPD officers were attempting to check in on three unattended children riding bicycles outside the shelter when the suspects surrounded them and began punching, kicking, and throwing objects.

Chiluisa was also charged with second- and third-degree escape. Both Chiluisa and Iza are facing two counts of fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz stated, "Two police officers, who were checking on the welfare of unattended children at 4:20 a.m., were allegedly surrounded and punched and kicked by a group of adults in an assault outside a Long Island City hotel."

"My office will vigorously prosecute those who harm members of law enforcement, and we will hold these defendants responsible for their alleged actions," Katz added.

Fox News Digital reported that Iza allegedly pushed and struck one of the officers who approached the children. Iza also reportedly hit an officer with a bicycle. Chiluisa was accused of throwing and striking an officer with a children's bike. Navarro-Chavez was accused of striking an officer with an unknown object.

Chiluisa allegedly attempted to flee the scene after being handcuffed. He was apprehended a short time later. Law enforcement stated that one of the handcuffs had been broken.

Both of the officers were treated at a nearby hospital for their injuries, which included shoulder pain and abrasions.

A large mob of illegal alien males attacked two NYPD officers earlier this year outside a shelter in Times Square. The brutal scuffle was caught on video. Six of the illegal immigrants were offered plea deals by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's office.

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Peter Doocy confronts KJP with easy question about 'incoming nuke' and Biden — but her answer doesn't inspire confidence

Wed, 07/10/2024 - 08:55


Who makes decisions after President Joe Biden goes to bed? That's the pressing question Fox News senior correspondent Peter Doocy confronted the White House with on Tuesday.

Last week, Biden told a group of Democratic governors that he plans to stop working after 8 p.m. so that he can go to bed early.

'He has a team that lets him know of any news that is pertinent and important to the American people.'

The comments raised eyebrows after Biden's debate preparation schedule was made public: He didn't begin preparations until 11 a.m., and his staff always scheduled him an afternoon nap. Biden, moreover, typically has a late start to his work day and has few evening events scheduled. He also has a history of missing evening meetings on international trips.

At the White House press briefing, Doocy asked the natural follow-up question to Biden's schedule, which is much less robust than those his predecessors maintained.

"Say that the Pentagon at some point picks up an incoming nuke; it's 11:00 p.m. Who do you call? The first lady?" Doocy asked.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre could have answered the question any number of ways. One might have expected her to say that in such a critical situation, staffers would awaken the president so that he could carry out his constitutional duty as commander in chief.

But she didn't take that route.

"He has a team that lets him know of any news that is pertinent and important to the American people," she responded. "He has someone — or — that is decided, obviously, with his National Security Council on who gets to tell him that news."

A team.

Doocy presumably invoked first lady Jill Biden because former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R) revealed this week that he attended White House meetings at which she was present. This, of course, is highly unusual.

Later in the briefing, Doocy asked Jean-Pierre about the first lady's presence at those meetings, and she denied that Jill makes any decisions for her husband.

It is notable, however, that Jean-Pierre did not dispute McCarthy's claim that Jill attends Oval Office meetings.

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Jason Whitlock EXPOSES Stephen A. Smith's hypocrisy in Willie D feud

Wed, 07/10/2024 - 08:30


When the 2024 BET Awards featured an “In Memoriam” segment that included the late O.J. Simpson, Stephen A. Smith called it out — and rightfully so.

Simpson’s past accusations include murdering ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman in 1994 and committing other petty crimes after being acquitted by an all-black jury. He was later found liable for their deaths a few years later in a civil trial.

Smith took issue with the network paying tribute to a man accused of double murder while they were supposed to be showcasing “black excellence.”

While Jason Whitlock agrees with Smith’s take — he can’t help taking issue with Smith’s response to the criticism he faced from Geto Boys rapper Willie D, because it was loaded with hypocrisy.

“They have these stooges like half hat, Stephen from Django Smith, perched up to do their work. They put them on national TV; they put them on these big stages where they can have a big audience, where the words can have some influence, and they use these little monkeys like Stephen A. Smith to say the things that they can’t say publicly,” Wille D ranted on his YouTube channel after Smith denounced BET's Memoriam of O.J.

Smith did not take kindly to Willie D’s insult.

“Stephen A. is very sensitive to criticism from rappers. He’s trying to protect his black card in the culture, and he doesn’t know how to deal with these idiots that have been installed themselves in the rap world,” Whitlock explains.

In Smith’s response, he made this clear.

“What am I wrong about? And if I’m wrong, and you have the capability to articulate what I’m wrong about, why couldn’t you just say that? Why do I have to be called out of my name like that?” Smith said.

Whitlock, who’s had a long-standing feud with Smith himself, can’t help but laugh at the hypocrisy.

“The hypocrisy and the stupidity is just amazing. ‘If I’m wrong, why couldn’t you just argue that? How come you couldn’t articulate where I was wrong and make an argument? Why did you just resort to calling names?’” Whitlock mocks.

“Who else has that happened to? Wasn’t there somebody on a show called ‘Fearless’ that just pointed out all the lies and exaggerations in someone’s book, and instead of someone answering those criticisms instead of just arguing the other side, didn’t they just post a 45-minute video just calling that person ‘fat bastard’?” he continues.

“And now that same person is upset that Willie D called him a monkey. I find that very hypocritical,” he adds.


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Josh Seiter on competing in WOMEN'S weightlifting: 'I’m just playing by the rules'

Wed, 07/10/2024 - 07:00


Once a bachelor hoping to steal Kaitlyn Bristowe’s heart on the beloved reality show “The Bachelorette,” Josh Seiter is now a trans activist who claims to be a woman.

Alex Stein of “Prime Time with Alex Stein” sat down for an outrageous interview with the macho man turned trans woman, in which he learned a little too much.

Of all the information gained from this encounter, he also found out that Seiter believes he should be able to compete in women’s weightlifting.

“Are you going to try to join any biological female sports leagues? Because I think that you are physically fit. You go to the gym. I think you could probably make the WNBA,” Stein says.

“Basketball is not my forte,” Seiter admits. “I have always been an avid weightlifter as you’ve mentioned before and as I’ve mentioned before, so I do plan on entering some powerlifting competitions.”

Seiter also believes the rules that come along with joining a women’s sports team as a biological male are “draconian.”

“I would have to comport to specific bylaws concerning how long I’ve been on hormone therapy, but typically after 12 months, if you’ve been on hormone therapy, you can compete as a woman if you identify as one and you are transitioning,” he explains.

“So I would enter some powerlifting competitions. You know, my bench press is pretty good, so I think I’ll do pretty good there,” Seiter adds with a smile.

“Do you think you have an unfair advantage though at all?” Stein asks, clearly concerned.

“Like Lia Thomas or anyone else, I’m just playing by the rules,” Seiter responds, adding, “I would compete in the women’s category because I’m a woman, and trans women are women.”


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Texas officials slam Biden's attempt to politicize Beryl, call his suggestion a 'complete lie'

Wed, 07/10/2024 - 06:45


Hurricane Beryl — now classified as a weakened tropical depression — made landfall on the Texas coast early Monday, causing significant flooding and knocking out power to millions of Americans. According to PowerOutage.us, approximately 1.7 million residents, primarily in the southeastern portion of the state, were still without power as of Wednesday morning.

President Joe Biden told the Houston Chronicle Tuesday that his administration had been unable to provide prompt emergency aid to the Lone Star State following the storm's landing due to the White House's inability to "track down" state leaders and obtain a formal request for a major disaster declaration.

"I've been trying to track down the governor to see — I don't have any authority to do that without a specific request from the governor," said Biden.

The Chronicle, which endorsed Biden earlier this year, originally published the Democratic president's suggestion without comment from state leaders. Its report also contained a line that has since been removed claiming that a White House spokesperson "said officials tried to reach Abbott and Patrick multiple times," apparently without success.

Texas officials have suggested that Biden's suggestion and the Chronicle's report did not track with the reality of the situation. Both Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (R) and Governor Greg Abbott (R) indicated Tuesday that Biden was either lying or suffering a memory malfunction.

'Biden's memory fails again.'

"I am disappointed that President Biden is turning Hurricane Beryl into a political issue," Patrick wrote on X. "We had a cordial call today that ended up with him granting my request for a major disaster declaration. But that's not good enough for him. He is falsely accusing me that I was not reachable."

Patrick indicated further that Biden, who has been facing intense scrutiny from friends and critics alike over his decrepitude, "obviously did not know his own employees from FEMA were side-by-side with me for 3 days!"

"All he had to do was call them and have them hand their phone to me. I even took a photo with them!" continued Patrick. "Before we made an official ask, we needed to determine what our outstanding needs were. We were working with local officials as we traveled the impacted areas. As I was being briefed today, the president called."

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott traveled to Asia on Friday in order to cultivate and strengthen economic partnerships in Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan. Until Abbott's return on Saturday, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has been serving the Lone Star State as acting governor.

On July 5, days before the storm made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane, Patrick declared a state of disaster, authorizing the use of all available state resources necessary to "cope with this disaster."

The governor's office confirmed Tuesday that Patrick had gone a step farther and had spoken to Biden, requesting a federal disaster declaration through the Federal Emergency Management Agency — a request that was granted.

Adopting one of Biden's go-to turns of phrase, Patrick said, "This is a load of malarkey, and he's shoveling it!"

On Wednesday morning, Patrick criticized "Biden's lie" further, summarizing the situation accordingly: "I asked for a federal disaster declaration at the proper time without delay and the president agreed. Sadly, President Biden is attacking Gov. Abbott and me, trying to score political points, for reasons that make no sense. Mr. President, as you like to say, 'C'mon, man!'

Abbott similarly shredded Biden's apparent attempt to suggest his administration had been unreachable.

"Biden's memory fails again," Abbott wrote Tuesday evening. "Not once did he call me during Beryl. He has my number & called me on Memorial Day after tornadoes hit Texas. I've had daily calls with state & local officials during Beryl. I spoke with FEMA Admin while on our trade mission but Biden never called."

Andrew Mahaleris, the governor's press secretary, said, "This is a complete lie from Biden, and frankly doesn't make any sense. Biden and his Administration know exactly how to get in contact with the Governor and have on numerous occasions in the past, most recently on Friday when FEMA called and spoke with him."

Mahaleris also blasted the Houston Chronicle, noting, "A lie travels halfway across the world before the truth puts it's [sic] boots on. @HoustonChron ran a false exclusive story on this nonsense, based off what an incoherent President said, before we had a chance to refute it. This is why Americans have lost faith in media."

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Biden fights the odds while Trump fights the grassroots

Wed, 07/10/2024 - 06:15


June may be over, but in American politics, it seems every month is Pride Month. In Washington, Joe Biden is angrily refusing to step down, frustrating the dreams of an entire class of vicious but wimpy politicians and pundits who really thought D.C. worked like a season of Aaron Sorkin’s “The West Wing.”And about 800 miles away in Milwaukee, former President Donald Trump’s campaign is effectively steamrolling grassroots activists, breaking protocols and precedent to shape a platform in the Republican nominee’s image.

But first, the Democrats. For four years, the party had held the line on Biden’s clearly degenerating mental state with winks, nods, and blacklists. That ended with his debate performance, but to what end? After the gun smoke cleared, Biden was still standing and even calling in to an episode of his favorite “Morning Joe” to angrily denounce his critics and defiantly promise to stay in the race.

The past two weeks haven’t shown any sudden turn toward honesty in reporting but have instead exposed a panic that Donald Trump might win.

Only the Lord himself could dislodge Biden from the Oval Office, the president told George Stephanopoulos. Short of that, Biden’s arrogance will keep him firmly in place.

While endangered swing-state Democrats held a secret meeting complete with tears, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jefferies (D-N.Y.) joined his New York colleague, left-wing Squad leader Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in publicly standing behind their man. The president, meanwhile, held a video call with members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Caucus members, who have enjoyed important chairmanships and White House access during Biden’s administration, pledged their continued loyalty — and warned that black voters don't want a change to the ticket.

Conservative pundits who had expected a quick decapitation were correct to point to the Democratic Party’s determination to win at any cost, but they forgot there isn’t any special genius behind that viciousness. And while Democrats display a will to power that’s unique in American politics, that power isn’t centralized in the New York Times editorial board or the D.C. morning show hosts or even the Obamas in Martha’s Vineyard. And the White House has a good deal of that power.

That’s not to say Biden’s problems are going away. His mental decline isn’t going to reverse, and every misstep will hurt a lot more than it would have before the June debate. Even a strong teleprompter read at the NATO conference in D.C. will only soothe rather than heal, and the years-old leaks from worried world leaders will carry new weight in this media environment.

Biden’s chances of surviving, however, are decidedly better today than they were on Sunday. The memo has gone out that he's not leaving the stage, and that means further intraparty fighting that Republicans will use to win. That could shut people up fast.

It’s important to remember that the past two weeks haven’t shown any sudden turn toward honesty in reporting but have instead exposed a panic that Donald Trump might win.

If Biden survives the first week of elected Democrats getting chased through the halls for comment, he’ll get a week’s rest while the Republicans meet at their convention in Wisconsin. After that, it’s just a week and a half with Congress in session before the long August recess and the Democratic National Convention. And then he’s the nominee.

Speaking of conventions, there’s more than a little pride afoot in Milwaukee as well. Republican delegates flew in Sunday for their quadrennial meeting, where they form committees and subcommittees, offer amendments, take votes, and hammer out the party platform.

Only this time, they didn’t.

There were no press, no activists, no subcommittees, and no amendments. Delegates were handed a shiny party platform, entertained with speakers and multimedia presentations, and then suddenly there was a motion to approve, it was seconded, and it was done. Upset delegates were told to pipe down, followed to the bathrooms to prevent them from using their phones, and generally bullied.

We’ve seen this on the state level before. President George W. Bush’s team, for instance, famously bulldozed the Texas state convention in 2008 as a sort of cementing-his-legacy action. “Parliamentarians were escorted off the floor,” one attendee recalled to Blaze News. “It was a joke.”

The national level is another thing, however. "It’s never happened before,” Utah platform committee delegate Gayle Ruzicka told a reporter Monday. "They didn’t allow any amendments; they didn’t allow any discussion. They rolled us, that's what they did. You know, I spent thousands of dollars to be here, and everything they told us they were going to [do] isn’t what happened. None of it happened. I’ve never seen this happen before. I don't understand why they did it.”

Another delegate confirmed this treatment to Blaze News, adding that it was “unprecedented.”

In the end, the Trump team got what it wanted: watered-down sections on life and marriage as part of a broader platform that reflects the candidate more than the party activists so loyal to him.

And that’s not all: By Tuesday afternoon, word was out that America’s most popular Republican governor, Florida’s Ron DeSantis, wouldn’t have a speaking role at the convention either. “They’re exerting an insane amount of control over the convention,” one Republican Senate aide remarked.

It’s all personal. The president is angry at several national pro-life groups and angered by disappointing 2022 electoral results that he blamed in part on them. He thinks many of them are grifters, and he’s got a point about a few. Nor does he have any love for DeSantis, whose sins include both challenging Trump for the nomination and winning re-election by a historic margin in his home state. In short, they’ve stung the nominee’s pride.

Sure, he might be right about this slight or that, but when you stack up the treatment of delegates, activists, pro-lifers, and other Republican officials, you see a pattern. A pattern that risks turning a show of unity into a show of force. Trump’s got the advantage right now. It would be prideful and foolish to spend it on friendly fire.

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IN OTHER NEWS

Republicans gear up for Wednesday fights

The House is expected to vote Wednesday on both Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy’s bill to prohibit illegal immigrants from voting and Illinois Republican Rep. Mary Miller’s bill for disapproval of the Biden administration’s Title IX order giving men access to women’s sports and bathrooms.

While neither bill is going anywhere the U.S. Senate, both fit well into the summer’s election prep — and Democrats are set to fall into both traps.

While maintaining that illegal immigrants cannot vote in the first place, the White House, for instance, has condemned the bill making it explicitly illegal for the millions of people the Biden administration has allowed over the border to vote. Officials claim it’s not happening, and they don’t want any law to make sure it’s not happening. This might be good politics with their activists, but it’s terrible with voters. Immigration is consistently a top issue with voters.

Likewise, a bill condemning men in women’s bathrooms and sports is meeting unified Democratic resistance. What will be more telling on this one is if any gutless Republicans join the Democrats in their opposition.

Wednesday Western: 'Stagecoach' (1939)

Wed, 07/10/2024 - 06:00


Andrew Patrick Nelson Rides Again

I did not approach this article lightly. I actually went a little overboard in my journey to unveil the film’s mystique.

Since we began our Wednesday Western journey a few months ago, "Stagecoach" has been on heavy rotation. Of the movies I watch obsessively, I have probably watched "Stagecoach" the most, or at least as much as " True Grit" and "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance."

It just never stops being profoundly beautiful. It’s not just the perfect Western; it might actually be the perfect movie. I read everything I could find, dove into the story as deeply as I could. My first draft was 10,000 words long, and it was scattered, chunky, and at times barely coherent. The second draft sank as well. I was wandering the desert, folks. I had begun to feel lost in my own passion for this masterpiece.

So I turned to the Western evangelist himself, Andrew Patrick Nelson, who just began his role as chief curator at Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, which has been named the top Western museum in the nation by True West magazine. The first part of this article lays out some context that’s useful for the Q&A.

It was an electric conversation. We dove deep, yet we barely covered "Stagecoach" in its entirety.

Here’s the full interview:

Is Stagecoach the best movie ever made? Interview with Andrew Patrick Nelson www.youtube.com

(Video and audio used with permission from Kevin Ryan.)

Where you can find it

"Stagecoach" is remarkably easy to find — thank God.

Amazon Prime: Free with subscription. MAX: Subscription. Tubi: Free. AppleTV: $3.99 to rent, $14.99 to buy. Fubo: Subscription. Sling: Free. PlutoTV: Free. Xumo: Free

Coach Ford

"Stagecoach" was the first of John Ford’s 14 collaborations with John Wayne. It also marked the first Western that John Ford filmed in the iconic Monument Valley on the border between Arizona and Utah, a cinematic choice that shaped the optics of all future Westerns.

Archive Photos/Getty Images

John Ford, with his record four Oscars for Best Director, had a reputation for being volatile and antagonistic on set. Andrew Patrick Nelson walks us through this more below.

Ford was especially ruthless to the Duke, who viewed Ford as an authority figure deserving a kind of artistic obedience. Ford shaped Wayne's voice, his walk, his reactions. At one point, Ford shouted at Wayne, “Why are you moving your mouth so much? Don't you know you don't act with your mouth in pictures? You act with your eyes."

John Wayne talks about it in Peter Bogdanovich's documentary "Directed by John Ford."

Wayne was 30 years old at the time, with about a decade in the industry. He referred to Ford as “Pappy” and, more telling, “Coach.”

“Took us about a week to make that picture, and it was fun all the way. Pappy always knew how to keep what we call a ‘happy set.’ And I was usually the butt of the jokes on that happy set.”

For all of Ford’s seeming brutality, he truly believed in the Duke. In a letter, Ford said of John Wayne: "He'll be the biggest star ever because he is the perfect 'everyman.'”

"Stagecoach" is itself the ballad of the Everyman. Watching it, again and again, you’ll say, “This is just so good.”

'Stage to Lordsburg'

"Stagecoach" is based on Ernest Haycox’s “Stage to Lordsburg,” a 30-page short story you can read in one sitting. The language is sparse but whimsical in a frontier way. One sentence in particular captures its purpose: “They were all strangers packed closely together, with nothing in common save a destination.”

It captures the brutality of the American West, where people drop dead or collapse without eliciting much of a response. The story offers much less of the liveliness found in the movie’s ensemble approach, where the collective breaks into factions as the stagecoach launches toward Lordsburg.

The film is better than the story, but that’s not exactly fair because the film is one of the best ever made. It is the "Citizen Kane" of Westerns. A cinematic triumph, a genre-transcending film. It lifted the Western genre from the realm of the B movie and raised it to the rank of Hollywood feature film.

Nine strange people

The film somehow manages to feel simultaneously claustrophobic and too wide open.

At its core, it is a human story. The dialogue is as rich as the strife is constant, a dynamism that could just as easily have made it a stage play. In this sense, "Stagecoach" has more in common with "The Breakfast Club" than many of the Westerns that preceded it.

The film’s tagline captures this: “A powerful story of nine strange people.”

United Artists/Getty Images

At first, they seem to be Western stock characters. The drunk doctor, the banished prostitute, the stoic cardsharp, the taciturn salesman, the snotty socialite, the judicious marshal riding shotgun, and Buck, played by the wonderful Andy Devine, a John Ford mainstay, the “sweetheart”-repeating driver who could easily have been played by Chris Farley.

John Wayne stars as the kind-natured gunslinger Ringo Kid, who has just broken out of prison in order to avenge the deaths of his brother and father. This is young John Wayne: rail-thin, with a smile that hasn’t been Marlboroed into crease lines.

The film takes place during a stagecoach trek from Arizona Territory to Lordsburg, New Mexico, as Geronimo and his Apache warriors terrorize the area. Despite the danger, nine passengers cram into the Overland stage.

The rivalry between Dallas, the prostitute, and Lucy, the highfalutin snob, is revealing. The clash of femininity is dramatic, like a comparison between the two Marys: Mary Magdalen and Mary the mother of Christ Jesus. There are a ton of flaws with this comparison — Mary never had to learn not to be judgmental, but she did give birth in the middle of nowhere.

But the point is that Dallas, the whore, proves to be supremely maternal. Ford’s brilliance (and it is his, because none of it appears in the Haycox short story) is in how he weaves this revelation into the overall love story of Ringo and Dallas.

Each character undergoes anguish and frustration and joy, among countless other intense emotions.

It turns out to be ahead of its time in several ways. At one point, the acerbic banker, who scurried out of town with a briefcase full of embezzled loot, goes on a moralistic rant, complaining that “what this country needs is a businessman for president.”

Eccentrics trapped on a journey through hell is not an especially new narrative, but it has proven to be an unexpectedly difficult one to pull off well. "Stagecoach" does this and more, revealing the beautiful complexities of human relationships: love, death, and life.

Q&A with Andrew Patrick Nelson

ALIGN: It’s impossible to fully capture why "Stagecoach" is so great, but let’s start with John Wayne’s entrance, when he spins the Winchester and the camera jerks toward him and there's a slight change in his expression.

ANDREW PATRICK NELSON: That's one of the most famous introductions in the history of cinema. It's of course not the first time audiences had seen John Wayne. They'd seen a lot of John Wayne up to this point, dozens of B Westerns by this point.

But the way that that scene is constructed, you kind of get a sense that there's a sound off screen. We go outside, we see characters looking at something, we cut to what they're looking at, and then we get that remarkable push in. There's even a moment where it goes out of focus and then back into focus. This tells us that this is maybe a different John Wayne, and your observation about the grimace is a really good one, that there's a kind of darkness to this character lurking beneath the kind of the boyishness or even the cocking of the rifle as a kind of playful gesture, in some way kind of ostentatious. And that is an important part of the character for the rest of the movie.

You could argue that that's an important part of who John Wayne is for the rest of his career. Somebody who has a kind of a world-weariness, has seen things, kind of has an inner darkness and yet feels compelled to do the right thing.

So there you have Orson Welles telling you that essentially everything you need to know about making movies is in "Stagecoach." And I think there's something to that.

ALIGN: So that was the end of his career in B movies?

NELSON: No, it wasn't. That's the funny thing. You know, people sometimes talk about "Stagecoach" as the movie that relaunched Wayne's career, quite famously, or maybe infamously. He was in a film in 1930 called "The Big Trail." That was the first movie where he got the name John Wayne — he was Marion Morrison by birth. And that film was intended to launch him as a superstar, but it did not do very well for a variety of reasons. So he spends the rest of the '30s making B Westerns for studios like Republic. So in 1939, he's still under contract with Republic.

Fil:The Big Trail (1930 film poster).jpg – Wikipedia no.m.wikipedia.org

So he keeps making B westerns for the next, I think, five years or so. It's really not until, I would say, "Red River" is kind of the next real turning point in his career when he's unquestionably an A-list star, one of the biggest if not the biggest star in the world.

ALIGN: What an interesting movie to make him a star.

NELSON: Yeah, well, I think there's some continuity there. You know, a number of biographers of Wayne have sort of zeroed in on "Red River" as the moment that he kind of establishes the template for a lot of his later roles, where he's sort of playing an older man in that point, which he would grow into over the course of the next two decades. He's sort of that melancholy figure, world-weary but also a guide to younger men, a kind of reluctant authority figure. And he plays variations of that particular character in most of his best-known roles from the mid-1940s on.

Universal History Archive/Red River

ALIGN: Where does "Stagecoach" stand in the timeline of Ford and Wayne?

NELSON: Ford and Wayne meet each other in the late 1920s. Wayne has some small roles in early Ford pictures, but the standard narrative, and there are people who offer alternatives, is that Ford took great offense when Wayne took Raoul Walsh up on his offer to be the lead in "The Big Trail."

And, you know, Ford and Wayne have an interesting relationship. One way to put it would be kind of adversarial, but one of great respect. I think it's telling that Wayne called Ford "Coach." Because I think that's something of the relationship. So this is a moment where in one telling Ford is letting Wayne come back into the fold, that he has a role for him. It's in an ensemble, so it's not really the protagonist in the sense of getting the most screen time or anything like that.

And Wayne at that point wasn't the most famous actor in the picture. Claire Trevor gets top billing. Thomas Mitchell is very famous at that point. But this is the moment that kind of rekindles something that had begun and continues on.

But again, I'll tell the famous story about "Red River." Supposedly after Wayne makes "Red River," Ford was shown the picture by Hawks and he says something like, "I never knew that big, dumb son of a bitch could act."

And it's after that point that we begin to get pictures like "The Searchers," for example, with Ford and Wayne, or "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance." But you can't overstate the importance of "Stagecoach" and re-establishing what is the most famous and most important actor/director combination in the history of Western movies.

ALIGN: "Stagecoach" is an ensemble film. How does this make it unique as a Western?

NELSON: On the theatrical release poster for "Stagecoach," the tagline is “A Powerful Story of Nine Strange People." Which is a strange tagline for a Western. It's not what you're expecting, right? It isn't it isn't “a thrilling adventure of the Old West" or something like that.

So the context there is important. Around this time, the mid- to late 1930s, Hollywood was really big on ensemble dramas and was big on trying to find stories where you could get a big cast, a couple of big names, but a lot of supporting characters, and confine them in a particular location for the duration of the movie so as to create some drama.

"Grand Hotel" is a famous example of this. So "Stagecoach"; in a way it's "Grand Hotel" out West, where we get this eclectic cast of characters.

And we find a narrative conceit that will keep them together, people who wouldn't ordinarily be together in the same location for a prolonged period of time. So that in a way, it makes "Stagecoach" a kind of different Western because it's not like the Westerns that follow. The imperiled stagecoach doesn't become one of the great conventional Western stories.

It's not the story of the righteous lawman or the antihero outlaw or the wagon train or the building of the railroad or the pioneers. It's very unique in that respect. But it is also important for the Western because of those characters. A few years ago, Cowboys and Indians magazine redid its list of top 100 Western movies. And the senior film writer there is Joe Leydon, who's a friend of mine. And I had him on my podcast, and I asked him about something in particular that happened when he redid the list. So what he did is he made "Stagecoach," in his view, the greatest Western ever and put "The Searchers" down to number two, which I thought very controversial.

So I of course confronted him about this, and you know, his response, in part, and this is a great point, is that in "Stagecoach" you have so many of the conventional Western characters that we would come to associate with the genre. Now they didn't establish these character types, but they certainly cemented or maybe crystallized is a better word. Now, you have all of them there. And even though they don't necessarily appear together in the same configuration, they kind of, I don't know, propagate or proliferate in the Western from this point on.

So in terms of influence, it is difficult to overstate the movie's significance.

ALIGN: As we've talked about before, there's also a connection to some sort of archetype that existed in the West. Let’s start with Doc Boone.

NELSON: In general, Ford is much more interested in society's outcasts, let's say. And it's such that he finds ways to make characters who in a different Western could be an upstanding member of society — the town doctor — into an outcast. His first appearance, we see him inebriated. We see him being kicked out of town. So Ford has a particular facility with that.

And it's something that later filmmakers pick up on, and it kind of makes historical sense because if you're a physician, you had access to alcohol and other drugs. The laudanum-abusing doctor, the ether-abusing doctor. We see that in later Westerns, even in "Deadwood." But it makes what could be a very stock character into a much more complex one, and that's what Ford is really good at.

And that's what the best Westerns do. I mean, you can't say enough good things about Thomas Mitchell's performance, though. It is so moving, the pathos. We just have a great deal of sympathy for this character who has a great moment of triumph in the film where he is able to overcome his vices in the name of a higher calling, maybe the highest calling in his profession. But Ford is not the type of filmmaker to suggest that all of a sudden the character is better. He begins drinking immediately, he kind of descends back into the morass where we found him initially. It's really quite remarkable. And then he continues to have that rise and fall arc. It's really remarkable.

ALIGN: Ford has a lot of boozy humor.

NELSON: Boozy humor. That's a good way of putting it. I mean, one of the most, I suppose, criticized aspects of Ford's films is his preference for a kind of broad humor, slapstick humor, humor that is based in what some might perceive to be ethnic stereotypes. A lot of scenes that revolve around drunkenness and drinking and things of that nature.

And some people see these moments as kind of weaknesses of his movies, but I see them more as his interest in trying to provide us with fully fleshed-out characters, three-dimensional characters who can have moments of sadness and moments of happiness and moments of embarrassment and so on. And that makes for more interesting characters.

So, you know, is Doc Boone as compelling a character if he isn't drunkenly reciting Shakespeare at different moments or insulting people? I mean, we get that, but then we also get these moments of great sadness and pathos. I mean, that's the richness of human experience that Ford is very skilled at offering audiences.

For a film that's less than two hours long, I think it's pretty remarkable how fully fleshed-out the characters are. And again, I think it's that balance of what a recognizable genre like the Western makes possible that we see a character type and we think, “OK, well, we're familiar with this.” Like we're bringing some information.

So there's a certain economy in the storytelling that maybe you don't have to do as much to establish who this character might be or what the profession is, because you can rely on the audience's knowledge. And then that frees you up to spend more time on the nuances, sort of on the complexities. And he does that with really every character trapped in that stagecoach. Each has a kind of arc where they get a comeuppance, they get redemption, they get a moment of heroism.

It's really ... deftly handled because, you know, as you would know, it's hard to tell a story with a lot of characters and do them all justice, which is why we see it so infrequently.

ALIGN: Let’s talk Andy Devine. What a fascinating actor.

NELSON: He pops up in many, many of Ford's films. Devine is a character actor and he has a signature attribute, and that is his his voice. So you kind of hear that voice, there's a very few actors, maybe Walter Brennan is another where, you know, you hear the voice and you think, “OK, well, I know who that is.”

And they're called character actors for a reason, because they tend to play similar characters, but similar is not the same. And, you know, Devine is a different sort of character in "Stagecoach" than when he's playing Cookie as a sidekick to Roy Rogers or something like that. He's a different character in "Stagecoach" than he is in a later picture like "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance."

The point of that character is to help provide a contrast with some of the other characters, while still providing his moment of heroism, his character in "Stagecoach."

He's still wounded. He's still driving the stagecoach with one arm — he still gets his moment of heroism. But broadly, I mean, Devine was there to be the comic relief and to help us appreciate the more stoic qualities, let's say, in some of the people he found himself around. But I mean, a great, great, great performer.

ALIGN: Andy Devine and Ford kind of butted heads on set, right?

NELSON: That's my understanding. Obviously actors are not the characters that they play. You know, sometimes they have a vested interest in making us believe that there's some continuity between who they are and what we see, because we want to believe we're getting something authentic as opposed to a great performance of a piece of deceptive artifice, something like that. But I mean, yeah, Devine can hold his own. And this is one of any number of anecdotes about Ford, who would push people.

He would push them and push them and needle them and he would berate them. And very often it worked, but he would often get actors to this sort of moment where they would finally say "enough" and they would push back. And that's the moment where you probably had earned Ford's respect. Now, today we recognize there are many problems with that type of leadership style.

But in the case of Devine, this was a guy who was able to stand up, and then he has a very long and productive relationship with Ford after this. I mean, he's in almost every Ford Western.

ALIGN: And it's also not unusual. Like Kubrick was notorious for basically bullying some of his actors.

NELSON: Hitchcock falls into that vein too. And, you know, there are complexities here, because if you were to talk to some of the actors, they wouldn't see it the same way as some observers did in terms of the relationships being abusive. But this is one of the challenging things about film history.

There’s a particular dynamic on set with great directors — and this isn't unique to film; this was in the theater as well, the dance, other arts. This idea that you needed not to encourage but to kind of berate people, to get them into a state where they could push themselves, where you could break down certain barriers.

Controversial by today's standards. But I always go back to the fact that when these people looked back on their relationships, working with these directors, whether it's a Kubrick or a Hitchcock, most of the time, they tell a very different story than sort of a straightforward one of hierarchy and abuse and so on. I mean, there are nuances to human relationships. They're complex and troubled, and that's certainly the case with artists, maybe more so.

Maybe this sounds like an excuse, but it's the idea that Ford saw something in Wayne. Maybe he didn't see it as clearly until Howard Hawks had coaxed an amazing performance out of him. But he saw something, and they developed a relationship where he knew how to get great performances out of Wayne. And I think Wayne understood that when he was working with Ford, he was going to be better.

And so he allowed Ford to get away with things that very few other directors could get away with. Maybe Wellman, maybe Hawks, to a lesser degree. But Wayne is a willing participant in this. He understands the nature of the collaboration. And it's hard to argue with what we see on screen. The Wayne we see in "Stagecoach" is in many ways the Wayne of Republic serials.

Many of those B movies do have hints of that darkness, but, you know, Ford brings it out in his direction, his understanding that, for example, characters can convey more just with a glance. There are some really important moments in "Stagecoach" and also in later films like "The Searchers" where all Wayne does is he kind of stares off into space. He just sort of … looks. And Wayne has talked about this as something that Ford encouraged, that he would play some mood music off set, which maybe he is a layover from Ford's silent days. And he would tell him just kind of like look and feel. And in those moments when the Ringo Kid is sitting on the floor of the stagecoach and he's sort of staring off into space he's sort of contemplating the horrible deed that he has to do to rectify the injustice against him.

I mean, there are few moments in cinema just as powerful as that glance. And it's one of a number of glances, right? It goes back to that introduction where we have that look on his face and the dialogue is minimal. I mean, that's the mark of a great filmmaker doing something with variations and getting an amazing, sensitive performance out of an actor that many wouldn't think was capable of that.

ALIGN: I like your use of that word sensitive too, because it's a mix of that. And you can see death on his face a couple of times as he realizes that his father and his brother are dead and he's got to kill two people or three, three brothers, in order to rectify those deaths.

NELSON: That's the tragedy of the Western. You know, I often bring this up when people tell me that Westerns are just straightforward, triumphalist narratives. The Western hero is a fundamentally tragic character, usually because he's, as you said, he's sort of marked by violence and death.

And then he needs to exact some kind of vengeance, but because of his association with violence and death. He actually has no place in the society that he is often helping to bring into being. and "Stagecoach" is a great example. Spoiler alert for those who haven't seen it, but at the end of the movie ... we start in one town, which seems to be full of sanctimonious busybodies. And then we arrive in another town that does seem to have some law and order, but they quickly disappear.

And it seems to be populated solely by gangsters and whores and, as a kind of encouraging vision of what the nascent frontier civilization is going to become, neither is very attractive. And so at the end of the movie, you have the hero and heroine leaving society for Mexico, safe from the blessings of civilization, as Doc Boone puts it. So there's, again, this kind of great tragedy and darkness in the Western; you're going back to these early films, these early sound films like "Stagecoach."

ALIGN: I love Ford’s gift for irony, like you were saying about the Ladies of the Law and Order League.

NELSON: There's no shortage in Westerns of temperance leagues that are sanctimonious and hypocritical. You know, the last time we talked, you asked me about the depiction of religion or Christianity in the Western. And I think I kind of fumbled that answer, but when I thought about it, there aren't a lot of great depictions of preachers, for example, in Westerns.

And I think there's a sort of a general sense, definitely in Ford's films, maybe other great Westerns, that the institutions of man are corruptible because we ourselves are all fallen and we're sinners. And so we can't help but make institutions that are going to be likewise corrupt. I mean, I think most Westerns are about this.

And at the same time, they invoke this idea of a kind of a higher authority, a cosmic justice, that there are these moments when great men of skill and violence, they're not so much ... taking the law into their own hands; they're kind of exacting a type of justice that can't exist on the earthly plane because it's been corrupted, something like that. But that is like a deeply sad and troubling implication of the Western. And yet we see it time and time and time again. And I find that just fascinating.

ALIGN: That's a great transition to another character whom I find fascinating, which is the whiskey drummer whose name I forgot. So that's perfect because nobody remembers his name. Nobody remembers his occupation.

NELSON: So the actor is Donald Meek and the character is Peacock. Now you have timid, nervous, another great performance that comes out in, you know, the stutters, the slips, the inability in most cases to stand up to Doc Boone.

The interesting character, the whiskey drummer again, who could be a very conventional character, but we get a guy who's nominally from the East, even though he keeps making the distinction that he's not from Kansas City, Missouri, he's from Kansas City, Kansas. And we understand that one is east and one is west, baby. So he's at least conceptualizing himself in this way. And he again has one of these great moments where he becomes the kind of conscience of the picture at a particular junction.

But that is followed up with when they're crossing the desert and the wind is blowing and they're all caked in dust and Boone has started drinking again, and he tries to get Boone to stop, but he can't.

ALIGN: Talk to me about Ernest Haycox.

NELSON: Ernest Haycox was a prolific writer, mostly of short stories, especially in the 1930s and '40s. But before and after that, I think he has over 300 credits to his name, wrote mostly in Collier's weekly in the '30s and then switched over to the Saturday Evening Post.

And there's a writer named Richard W. Etulain who has written a really good book about Haycox. So if people are interested in him, that's the book to read. You know, he makes a case that what Haycox was able to do is kind of elevate the Western from a sort of formulaic and somewhat lowbrow form of popular fiction to something that was more sophisticated and respectable. And he did that in a number of ways.

His attention to history and historical details was somewhat different. His interest in three-dimensional characters, let's say. So he's a major figure in the popularization of not only the Western but also a particular type of Western that lent itself well to serious cinema in some cases. "Stage to Lordsburg" was a story published in Collier's magazine in 1937. Probably his most famous work is the basis for "Stagecoach."

And as you mentioned earlier, the movie is different from the story in many ways. It's cinematic in ways that the story is not, but very important. Let's see. "Troubleshooter" was a story from 1936 that became serialized as "Union Pacific," another Western released in 1939. So, you know, in this important year for Western movies, it's telling that two of those movies have their inspiration in the work of this one great writer.

ALIGN: Any final words on "Stagecoach"? We barely touched it. We dove in deep. We had a deep discussion and yet just barely touched the surface.

NELSON: I think it's an important film. I think there's so many stories told about it. Maybe the one to end on is the Orson Welles anecdote, where famously Orson Welles in his early 20s was, in the late 1930s, given kind of an unprecedented contract by RKO studios to make movies.

He had proven himself as kind of wonder kid of the theater and was given almost complete authorial agency over the production of a film, and he of course had very limited experience with motion pictures and yet was able to turn out "Citizen Kane," you know, which many would argue is the greatest film of all time. And when Wells was asked how did you learn to make movies, he would say that he just watched "Stagecoach" over and over and over again. So there you have Orson Welles telling you that essentially everything you need to know about making movies is in "Stagecoach." And I think there's something to that. It is very easy to find one particular thing about the film and to go very deep.

And then you begin making connections between that one thing and other things, and you understand just how thoughtful and sophisticated the picture is. So it may not be as good as "The Searchers," but it is hard to name many Westerns better than "Stagecoach."

Florida bans lab-grown 'meat.' Who’s next?

Wed, 07/10/2024 - 05:45


Last week, a Florida bill banning the sale of lab-grown meat went into effect. The bill is aimed at protecting American ranchers and farmers, targeting companies wanting to produce meat without killing the animal by using animal stem cells to create meat. It would not ban plant-based meats, like the famous Impossible burger.

Do we really want to synthesize meats with more chemicals that elites claim are safe?

After Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed the bill back in May, he took a jab at globalists and World Economic Forum elites, arguing that lab-grown meat threatens Americans.

“What we're protecting here is the [agriculture] industry against acts of man, against an ideological agenda that wants to finger agriculture as the problem, that views things like raising cattle as destroying our climate,” said DeSantis. The governor portrayed lab-grown meat advocates as “people who will lecture the rest of us about things like global warming — they will say that, you know, you can’t drive an internal combustion engine vehicle, they’ll say that agriculture is bad. Meanwhile, they're flying to Davos in their private jets, and they’re living like they would ever want to live.”

Food industrialization

Critics of the policy argue that the Florida bill prevents competition with Big Ag, which receives huge federal subsidies to industrialize broad sectors of the food supply. The large-scale agricultural lobby wants policies that ensure its continued domination of the food market. Unlike local farmers and ranchers who also benefit from the lab-grown meat ban, Big Ag frequently sacrifices food quality in favor of maximizing market control and efficiency.

While it’s true that Big Ag has driven the industrialization of food and lab-grown meat might have decreased its market power, the rise of synthetic meats has accelerated food industrialization due to its scalability and efficiency. When the technology becomes advanced enough — and if demand, whether voluntary or compulsory, rises to viable levels — scientists and technocrats will be able to produce petri-dish meat in a small lab in large quantities, increasing the supply of synthetic meats and crowding out meat produced by ranchers in local communities.

Much of America’s meats, fruits, and vegetables are already tainted with pesticides, chemicals, and fertilizers. Do we really want to synthesize meats with more chemicals that elites claim are safe?

It’s important to remember that curtailing Big Ag’s influence is not a goal in and of itself. Large-scale food production should be one of the means of delivering nutritious meals to American communities. Allowing synthetic meats to compete with processed hot dogs, for example, doesn’t actually provide a real alternative for Americans who want ethically sourced and healthy foods.

Protectionism

Other critics of Gov. DeSantis, playing a predictable theme, have accused him of food authoritarianism. A recent Reason article labeled DeSantis as “the real authoritarian” and accused him of unnecessarily framing cultured meat as a culture war issue. Such critics believe that protectionist regulations are harmful to individual liberty since consumers, not governments, should have the right to decide what they want to eat.

There is, however, no “right” to eat or sell whatever you want. Farmers can’t sell unpasteurized milk because that could cause disease. Fishermen can’t sell shark fins because that is unethical. So why should technocrats have the right to sell cultured meat if it's a threat to ranching? These situations aren’t exactly parallel, but they show precedent for prohibiting certain food products if legitimate threats arise.

Global elites have openly espoused anti-ranching sentiments, arguing that current levels of meat consumption should be cut back. At last year’s COP28 summit, the United Nations released a manifesto urging Americans to cut back on eating meat in order to meet the U.N.'s net-zero carbon emissions plan. Similarly, billionaire Bill Gates wants to drive down beef demand, which would be catastrophic for American ranchers and farmers.

“I do think all rich countries should move to 100% synthetic beef,” Gates recently told MIT Technology Review. “You can get used to the taste difference, and the claim is they’re going to make it taste even better over time. Eventually, that green premium is modest enough that you can sort of change the [behavior of] people or use regulation to totally shift the demand.”

But encouraging globalist elites to replace all natural meat with cells grown in little petri dishes isn’t just dystopian; it threatens the American way of life. Ranching is part of the American way of life. Ranching helped build Texas, even before it was part of the United States, and it set up the foundation for America’s Western frontier. It’s more than just another economic activity; it’s a lifestyle ingrained into American tradition.

The meme that globalists are forcing patriotic Americans into eating bugs and living in pods to save the planet is becoming a reality. But there’s still time for state legislatures to follow Florida’s lead and pre-empt “enlightened” elites from imposing the dark scenario.

Joe Biden: Our last human president?

Wed, 07/10/2024 - 05:30


America’s biggest problem today is it hasn’t quite figured out what kind of government its own technology has stuck it with. People on the right fear digital communism. People on the left fear digital “authoritarianism,” but the leading model of digital governance in Washington is a high-tech form of leftist authoritarianism.

And as shown by the chaos and mania surrounding the debate around the Biden administration’s fate, not even all leftist authoritarians can agree on which regime form they want or need.

Logic isn’t enough in this world, especially when it comes to America’s destiny.

There’s the perversely nostalgic “Dark Brandon” variety, with Joe playing the familiar necrotic dictator role, yelling feebly into the microphone from behind a pricey suit and blacked-out Aviator shades. For those who favor more cosmic atavism, there’s the mummified emperor option, with Biden as the embalmed figurehead around whose inert ceremonial corpus the ornate and convoluted political universe turns.

Both these roles are enhanced by advanced technology, which keeps the aged figurehead animated or, in the alternative, more durably above ground. And at the frontier of innovation, the merely physical body doubles available to 20th-century despots now look quaint.

While cherry-picking a lone HuffPost op-ed is usually not the path to enlightenment in this world, a recent column made the striking case that yes, Biden is in rough enough shape that we ought to consider supplementing him with AI. “Given the president’s concerning performance last week, it’s time for the Biden campaign to consider leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to effectively reach the voting public.”

While of course there are reasonable hesitations to break this dam on the use of modern technology in presidential campaigning, the consequences of not taking this approach could be dire. Moreover, in the currently under-regulated electoral landscape, refusing to use modern tools like AI is akin to entering the boxing ring with one hand tied behind your back.

With the bad orange man looming once again — not to be confused with the good orange man trotted out in a bizarre burnished glaze by one or another of his panicked handlers — surely we have no choice but to borg up the POTUS!

It’s an argument many Americans might brush off as a cringey thought experiment evincing an exhausted ideology. But this particular column wasn’t written by woke wordserf toiling on the content farm labor camp. It was the work of a former staffer on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign with, count ‘em, three advanced degrees, one from Yale and two from Harvard.

In other words, digitally enhanced leftist authoritarianism doesn’t have to settle for Saddam 2.0 or animatronic Lenin. In the digital age, premium leftist authoritarianism holds out the now-intuitive prospect of a cyborg president.

In hindsight, the logic feels obvious. Obama himself, on the occasion of election 2020, warned the Atlantic that the internet itself was the greatest threat to American democracy because it eroded the ability of the body politic to coalesce around the shared cognitive and conceptual foundation of an agreed-upon ground reality. Denied this baseline, democratic politics would succumb to overwhelming wave attacks of misinformation, or what some might call fake news.

Fast-forward to 2024, however, and Americans are now witnessing the spectacle of the state-affiliated media turning against the sitting president because his administration froze them out of the (obvious) truth about just how bad a shape he’s in. Obama’s warning really had to do with the political instability technology was causing by undermining the regime form we ended up with that included “the media” as a core unelected branch of government.

But Obama’s own elder heir, whom mocking Zoomers with no adult memory of 2016 now call Jeo Boeden, did far more to disempower and discredit the regime-aligned media in its governance functions than did anyone with a frog for a profile picture sitting at his basement keyboard.

Now, “the media” gets to feel its obsolescence in real time. As talking heads splutter, younger, more savvy analysts are beginning to say out loud that AI allows the party to become “the media” in a way CNN could never dream of: every instant, every day, everywhere, merging the very person of the president himself with an infinitely scalable digital version of him-, her-, or itself.

The appearance of ultimate power always glitters in a special way for those who feel their elevated position is in danger of slipping away. But you can hear the strain in the argument that AI is needed to save America because it will best prop up Joe Biden. The real ultimate held out by the prospect of a BOTUS — a Borg of the United States — isn’t iBiden but rather a regime of fanatics who see total technological control as the only way to actualize on Earth their idolization of what they see as perfect justice, a justice in the absence of which humanity merits little more than extinction or destruction.

Does today’s technology open or close off to Americans an escape route from theocratic despotism at the digital hands of a woke borg? Some see the prospect of a benign high-tech Caesarism on the horizon — or maybe, uh, CEOsarism. There’s a palpable logic to that option, too: As incompetence and idolatry crumble our institutions, thinning America’s commercial and cultural lifeblood, perhaps only a hyper-competent butt-kicking businessman up to speed on emerging tech can step in, clean house, and turn things around.

But logic isn’t enough in this world, especially when it comes to America’s destiny. Ours is a story dramatizing the ancient wisdom that the rot starts at the top in human society, whereas renewal comes from the humblest, smallest, and — for all but the most spiritually perceptive — the most imperceptible origins. Any path promising a return to greatness that shortcuts around the slow and painful regeneration of soul health among the people is, in the end, snake oil.

Ball-busting cyborg CEOs unleashing Sulla mindset on a society gone to seed can deliver certain outsized results — that’s not (and has never been) in question. The question concerning the impact of technology on America’s political destiny is not about the heights of “excellence” but the depths of true vitality. And the answer is plain to those with ears to hear:

Behold, a sower went forth to sow; and when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: and when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: but others fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.

Will MAGA let Trump pull the party platform to the left?

Wed, 07/10/2024 - 05:15


While Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters project their hopes on the big man to make America great again, it appears the presumptive Republican presidential nominee is on a mission to have his most notorious acronym stand for “make America gay again.”

At a time when poll after poll shows that Republican voters (and many independents) have increasingly soured on the absurd idea of gay marriage, a 16-page draft of the new party platform circulated on Monday by the Trump campaign to platform committee members completely erases the party’s opposition to gay marriage.

If we adopt the Democratic Party’s policies as our own, what’s the point? We might as well go the way of the Tories.

Here is the operative wording from a draft first obtained by the Washington Post and later made public:

The new platform draft also removes language from 2016 condemning the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision to grant same-sex couples the right to marry. The new language does not weigh in on same-sex marriage at all. “Republicans will promote a culture that values the sanctity of marriage, the blessings of childhood, and the foundational role of families, and supports working parents,” it says instead. “We will end policies that punish families.”

We already knew Trump was seeking to remove the goal of a national abortion ban from the party, and this draft reflects that idea. It only briefly mentions opposition to late-term abortion. But the clause on marriage shows that Trump’s leftward shift goes beyond concerns about the pro-abortion movement’s electoral strength. It is much more systemic.

A ‘Harriet Miers moment’?

Remember, since winning the primary, Trump has endorsed nearly every liberal down-ballot candidate. He has stymied conservatives fighting the agenda of House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.). He has endorsed Ukraine funding, opposed the repeal of Obamacare, thrown cold water on the Bud Light boycott, expressed support for a new FBI building, argued for an increase in immigration, and won’t even commit as a Florida resident to opposing the abortion referendum on the ballot, which would enshrine a right to murder up until birth.

In fact, even as Trump says he wants to “leave abortion to the states,” he specifically pressured the Arizona legislature to repeal its anti-abortion law. Apparently, letting the states decide is a one-way street.

All of this is happening as Trump elevates figures like Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R), neocon technocrats whom his ardent supporters have opposed in the past. This occurs against the backdrop of him attacking Project 2025, a Steve Bannon-endorsed initiative to set the policy and personnel agenda for Trump's administration to avoid the “Javanka” globalism issues from his first term. The Trump campaign not only rejected this agenda but also made it clear it will ignore the “conservative LinkedIn” set up by his loyalists to hire MAGA-only applicants for administrative positions. Meanwhile, billionaires like Bill Ackman are promising to staff Trump’s administration.

All these betrayals in such a short period should give conservatives pause and motivate them to voice displeasure. Trump needs a “Harriet Miers moment.” Back in 2005, conservatives made it clear that George W. Bush’s nomination of his personal counsel to the U.S. Supreme Court was unacceptable. Thanks to pushback, we have enjoyed the jurisprudence of Samuel Alito for nearly two decades. I’m sure glad we didn’t have losers on the right back then telling us to shut up and not express our dissatisfaction with the GOP leader because, “Do you want the Democrat?”

Normalizing liberalism

Which brings us back to the party platform. Trump’s agenda to remake the platform is further proof that his leftward lurch is not just a temporary strategic choice to win an election but a permanent paradigm shift for governing more aligned with Britain’s Rishi Sunak and France’s Emmanuel Macron than Nigel Farage or Marine Le Pen.

The new platform aims to replace the social and fiscal conservatism disliked by some, which was adopted by two successive Trump-led conventions, without any committee meetings or amendment votes. Unlike abortion, an issue on which Republicans seem to be losing ground, they are gaining traction against the rainbow jihad, with growing opposition to gay marriage and even stronger opposition to the transgender agenda.

There is no need to moderate on these issues, even when considering the old establishment’s tendency to abandon conservatism when it temporarily loses in polls. Yet the draft, shaped by carefully selected delegates, shows that Trump essentially supports Bruce Jenner’s view: acknowledging transgenderism as real and important while arguing for the protection of female sports and opposing funding for minors’ castration.

Here is how the Washington Post explains the new platform in the context of the existing one:

The new platform stops short of seeking to bar parents from seeking medical treatment for minor children, while condemning any taxpayer funding of such procedures. “We will keep men out of women’s sports, ban taxpayer funding for sex change surgeries, and stop taxpayer-funded schools from promoting gender transition, reverse Biden’s radical rewrite of Title IX education regulations, and restore protections for women and girls,” the new platform says.

Jenner and Ric Grenell have long propagated this party line: Accept the premise of the homosexual and transgender agenda, but oppose a few of its more unpopular policies. This explains the absence of mentions of bathrooms, drag shows, or adoption issues. Additionally, the only two fundraisers held by Trump’s wife this cycle have been for the Log Cabin Republicans, whose entire purpose is to normalize homosexuality within the GOP. Bruce Jenner is also slated to speak at the convention and be introduced as “Caitlyn” to normalize that behavior on the right.

So vociferous were party leaders in their pursuit to normalize liberalism in the platform that they tried to block social conservative delegates from the platform committee. I’ve heard from several socially conservative party delegates from Southern states that they were offered any committee of their choice at the RNC — as long as it wasn’t the platform committee.

A bulwark against the uniparty

Meantime, the lukewarm Republican chairman of the Missouri GOP just led his executive committee in an unprecedented maneuver to nullify the delegates chosen by the convention activists in favor of a new establishment slate. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) warned against watering down the platform on life and marriage, but those warnings ring hollow if they are not followed up with a Harriet Miers moment.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) just suggested that the party platform should reflect Trump’s most recent views. He is exactly wrong. Trump is what he is at this point. What we need is a bulwark against the uniparty down the ballot in the GOP and the red states because clearly Trump, while superior to Biden, will not be that bulwark.

Accusing those of us concerned with Trump’s direction of preferring Biden and the Democrats is a straw man. You can still nominate Trump at the convention while working to reverse the platform’s damage over the next few days. But if we adopt the Democratic Party’s policies as our own, what’s the point? We might as well go the way of the Tories.

The woke program is our American pogrom

Wed, 07/10/2024 - 05:00


“A pogrom,” the definition goes, “is an organized massacre of a people.” The events of October 7 in Israel is one example of a pogrom. 9/11 was another. A pogrom is limited only by the existence of external authorities — political and moral — that can intervene and check its primal bloodlust. Without such resistances, and with modern means at leaders' disposal, pogroms are primal sparks of genocide.

My fellow Americans and my fellow American Jews: We have a problem. We, the American people, are losing our American minds. We are thinking and behaving badly, at a poison-Ivy-League level, and with trickle-down-scale consequences in the real world, beyond the twilight zone of academia.

At its core, diversity, equity, and inclusion is nothing more than the passion for vengeance and redistribution.

As goes American higher education — particularly elite education — so goes America. We wish it weren’t true, but sadly, it is.

The caretakers of our finest schools have consciously stood up a rival to our inherited American experiment. And it’s on full post-American, Palestinian display.

These elite social justice warrior students are victims. But not for the reasons they think. These students are unbearable by design. They were taught to think and act this way by those entrusted with shaping their minds. The intersectional hate-fest on parade at our best schools is not a glitch in the teaching code. It is an intended feature, a product of a self-conscious educational pipeline that now stretches from pre-K to Ph.D.

Their program is our pogrom.

Wake up to the woke

Let’s start with a nod to American free speech. Without it, we would not know what these protesters think of us, or about their extinction plans for our collective American future.

Who are these new Americans? What do they believe and hope to accomplish?

They are anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-Western, anti-male, anti-white, and anti-meritocratic in mind and heart.

What is “intersectionality”? It’s when each victim group gets to define its position — and each of the other victim groups of this rainbow coalition follows the “river to the sea” lead.

Those who are not members of an aggrieved group, but overwhelmed with guilt for their own inherited privilege, can give their adjacent support and chant the slogans. “Jews for Palestine,” for example — or, as Douglas Murray rendered this madness, “Chickens for KFC.”

Identity politics is minority tyranny against the majority, all in the name of a leveling understanding of equality and a pursuit of social justice that requires the active persecution of the present for the sins of the past. Its logic is racial, ethnic, and religious strife. The doctrine is self-evidently un-American to its core and dangerous. Its logic leads to Bosnian, Rwandan, and Gazan hunger games. This minority tyranny is not good for actual minorities, which explains their growing exodus from this mental and political plantation.

Identity politics thrives on a gaslighting newspeak that is a mixture of moralism and gangsterism. On the moralism side of the equation, the new Americans justify their pogrom by appealing to a debased principle of equality.

Their notion of diversity, equity, and inclusion means the opposite of the plain, shared meaning of those terms. At its core, DEI is nothing more than the passion for vengeance and redistribution.

The individual and personal is out; group identity and group differences are in. DEI renounces all calls for peace and reconciliation as evidence of an unconscious racism, colonialism, and patriarchy — among other evils (it’s hard to keep track of them all).

It’s a “shut up and give us what we want” social-justice Ponzi scheme.

It’s time for Americans to wake up to the woke. The Ivy League’s social-justice vanguard is full of haters.

We need a counterrevolution

Americans, particularly American Jews, are pulling their heads out of the sand. They are rightfully terrified of the graduates of 2024. But this nihilism did not arrive recently or on its own.

Truth be told, we are all complicit in its long, glacial ascent to commanding power. Their revolution has largely been won. They are in charge. Our counterrevolution to theirs is hopefully at the end of its beginning.

Their revolution revealed itself in the student protests and riots of the 1960s. Fortunately, this behavior scared a silent majority of Americans and threatened America’s “commanding heights” interests (the power centers of the public- and private-sector: education, entertainment, media, Wall Street, and the deep state that Eisenhower warned against) enough to send it down to defeat at the ballot box in 1968.

After this electoral and cultural thumping, these educated radicals and those who shaped them pursued a more patient, generational course of social transformation. They would make a “long march” through the university, steadily increasing their numbers on the faculty; with each graduating class, they would increase mind share outside the academy and within the heights of the ranks that had previously rejected them.

What a difference 56 years of deliberate, networked action can make.

What is the mindset of America’s education establishment today? How about entertainment, culture, and media? They are all progressive monocultures, and they have been so for decades. During the COVID and Black Lives Matter scares, big business, Wall Street, advertising, and the permanent bureaucracy — State, Justice, FBI, CIA, which last time around were part of the “permanent opposition” — have become progressive assets. And let’s not forget Big Tech and its willingness to play Big Brother for this new American mind and state.

The graduating class of 2024, unlike the class of 1968, enjoys the backing and support of everything that had previously stopped it and then some. Today, these graduates have enough political clout to affect American foreign policy — so much so that it appears that the U.S. is waging a “color revolution” against Israel’s Prime Minster, Benjamin Netanyahu.

And to make matters worse, the American people — a necessary bulwark going forward if we are to have a snowball’s chance in hell — seem to have become habituated in the intervening years to bending their knee to this growing and spreading madness. Will the silent speak up again, or has it too been co-opted? We will find out soon enough.

We’re all deplorables now

What are we to do, individually and collectively, to stop it?

We need to wake up to it — now! This is a call to liberals, independents, conservatives, and Jews to “wake up to the woke.” We think that by keeping our heads down and staying silent that we can make it go away, or, at least, the revolution will eat the “deplorables” first. But we are all deplorables now.

We need to starve it of public and private funding, our employment, and our votes.

Most importantly, this Palestinian mindset must be starved of respect. We — the too-silent majority — must free ourselves from this mental plantation.

The new radicals’ power derives from our opinion of them. This is the source of their real power — and its real weakness. They see themselves as our moral and social superiors. And they need us to see them that way. Refuse to do so, and their power deflates in real time. Recognizing and calling out its “pogromatic” illiberal logic and its poisoned identitarian fruit will cause it to wither on the public vine.

The new radicals didn’t get to where they are overnight. Taking back the American Mind from these levelers will require an equally long march and commitment.

If the graduating class of 2024 represents the American mind and future going forward, then this experiment in self-government that we inherited — this “shining city on a hill” — is over and out. This is how democracy dies in daylight.

“The main obstacle to a stable and just world order,” George Soros has declared, “is the United States.” Might the purpose of his supremely destructive philanthropy be to undermine the bulwark from within by seeding a Disunited States of America?

We have all been going along with the program and failing to see its anti-American, “pogromatic” soul. We must remember that Israel is still just “little Satan.” The big prize is bringing down the Great Satan itself: America.

We who don’t want to see that happen need to wake up to the woke. We need to push back mightily against this vision of the world. The hour is late.

Is it too late? Let’s believe and act as if it’s not, while we still can. We have no other choice. The woke program is our pogrom. It’s up to us to stop it.

Tesla and Honda lead list of most American-made cars

Wed, 07/10/2024 - 04:45


Want to buy American?

Many Americans do. In fact, a recent Cars.com survey found that 58% of American consumers are willing to pay as much as 10% more for a vehicle if it creates domestic jobs.

But how do you know you're buying American? When it comes to cars, the answer is particularly complicated.

"You can't trust the brand on the hood or the legacy of an automaker's history," says Cars.com's Patrick Masterson, who led the website's 2024 American-Made Index. "This goes back to the complexity of the global supply chain," says Masterson. "Just the littlest tweak can affect where a vehicle lands on the list and that's why we keep doing it."

Now in it's 19th year, the American-Made Index takes more than 400 different mode-year 2024 vehicles available in the United States and judges them by five criteria: assembly location, parts content, engine origin, transmission origin, and U.S. manufacturing workforce.

Taking the top spot again this year is Tesla, once again the only American car company on the list, with its Model Y. While last year's list saw the EV company sweep the top four slots, this year it faces increased competition from Honda (the Passport is at number 2, while the Ridgeline is at number 5) as well as Volkswagen.

The latter company's electric ID.4 hits number 3 this year. Masterson says that reflects the ongoing trend of carmakers diversifying their powertrain lineup to include EVs.

"If you got one of the handful of model year 2021's and then the 2022's, those were all German made" says Masterson. "But since then they've retooled their Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant and now every ID.4 you buy is rolling off those plants."

Tesla's Model 3 dropped from the number 1 position all the way to 21, thanks to its long-range model and its low percentage of American parts. "That was a big surprise to me," says Masterson. On the other hand, Masterson points out that the Model 3's performance variant has 75% percent American parts, a level only equalled by the Honda Passport.

As for the least American-made cars, Masterson acknowledges that "that's a longer list."

More than half of the cars bought in the United States last year were imports, including some iconic American brands. This includes the Buick Envista (made in South Korea) and the redesigned Lincoln Nautilus (China), as well as the Ford Bronco Sport (Mexico) and the Ford Maverick (also Mexico).

"The big takeaway is that no vehicle is 100% American," says Masterson. "No vehicle is 100% top-to-bottom from the U.S."

Additional key findings from this year’s list include:

  • 51% of vehicles on the list were assembled in the South, followed by 45% in the Midwest, and 4% in the West.
  • While over half of Americans say they prefer auto brands that are built by union labor, none of the top-10 vehicles were produced at a union plant.
  • Lexus TX made the top 10 with its first appearance on the AMI list, while the Toyota Camry and Jeep Gladiator both jumped 19 spots for a top-10 finish.
  • All of Honda's luxury-brand Acura models are made in either Ohio or Tennessee.

The complete top-10 list:

  1. Tesla Model Y
  2. Honda Passport
  3. Volkswagen ID.4
  4. Tesla Model S
  5. Honda Odyssey
  6. Honda Ridgeline
  7. Toyota Camry
  8. Jeep Gladiator
  9. Tesla Model X
  10. Lexus TX

Boob tube bloviators bail on barmy Biden

Wed, 07/10/2024 - 04:30


Late-night comedians returned to work this week knowing their lies had finally caught up with them.

Colbert. Fallon. Meyers. Stewart. They all admitted President Joe Biden’s mental failings are no longer “cheap fakes” but stone-cold truths. They had no other choice following the June 27 debate.

Hollywood stars can no longer afford to insult half the country. Streamers are feeling the economic pinch. The Biden economy is crushing film and TV crews in LA (and beyond).

And boy, was it delicious to behold. Not necessarily funny, of course. They gave up that ghost a while ago.

Stephen Colbert opened his monologue by pretending to take a stiff drink. Then he got down to business — i.e. dismantling his spin from three-plus years.

“I don’t know what’s going on in Joe Biden’s mind, something I apparently have in common with Joe Biden.”

“Biden debated as well as Abe Lincoln ... if you dug him up right now.”

Jon Stewart teed off on both the president and his administration.

“For a campaign based on honesty and decency, the spin about the debate appears to be blatant bulls***, and the redemption tour hasn’t gone that much better.”

Seth Meyers, the nakedly partisan “Saturday Night Live” alum, pulled most of his punches. He sounded more like an MSNBC pundit than a comedian, but that’s par for the “Late Night” course.

He seemed madder about Biden staying in the race than a media landscape that hid the truth from the country.

“If you truly believe American democracy is at stake, and it is, then you have to act like it ... you can’t claim to be the last bulwark against fascism, and also have a more-sleep plan. If you think this is serious, you need to act like it’s serious.”

Perhaps if Team Late Night had spoken truth to power a few months, or even years, earlier, this train wreck could have been avoided.

Michael Moore decries Biden 'elder abuse'

We’re living in crazy times. That’s certifiable. Need more proof? Michael Moore is a voice of reason on the Biden front.

The far-left filmmaker, who hasn’t made a film of consequence in eons, is aghast at how Democrats are treating President Biden. He called shoving Biden onto the June 27 debate stage “the cruelest form of elder abuse I’ve ever been forced to watch.”

Here's a pitch: Crusading documentarian starts knocking on doors to get some answers from current Democratic National Committee chair Jaime Harrison. Call it ... "Jaime & Me"? Hey — we'd watch it.

Minnie mopes

Minnie Driver didn’t get the memo, apparently.

Hollywood stars can no longer afford to insult half the country. Streamers are feeling the economic pinch. The Biden economy is crushing film and TV crews in L.A. (and beyond). Stars like Charlamagne tha God and Dwayne Johnson have retracted their past political endorsements. Even awards shows have cut back on the partisan lectures (the recent BET awards notwithstanding).

Tell that to the “Good Will Hunting” actress. She just tore into Trump supporters as if it were 2017 all over again.

She recently blasted MAGA nation, describing its fans as “70 million people who really quite like a bit of a racist attitude and non-existent immigration policies and dismantling the environmental agencies.”

Oh.

She also said she’d never live in a red state but feels safer in Los Angeles. She might be the only soul who finds that hellscape preferable to Heartland, USA.

She later praised her native Great Britain for being more open to debate and conversation than the U.S. Of course, if you label half of a country “racist,” it makes conversations a wee bit harder.

Rogan's gains

“Jokes, folks. Just jokes.”

That's how Joe Rogan teased his upcoming Netflix comedy special, “Joe Rogan: Burn the Boats," which the streaming giant will broadcast live August 3.

Rogan has every reason to be in a laughing mood.

Just a few years ago, the Austin-based comic's contrarian COVID-19 views sparked furious efforts to crush his Spotify podcast. Aging rock stars lobbied for his removal from the service while news outlets erroneously dubbed a medication he used to recover from the virus as “horse de-wormer.” (In fact, ivermectin has been so effective at treating parasitic infections in humans that its two creators were awarded the Nobel Prize in 2015.)

Since then, Rogan's been racking up the wins. He’s re-upped his lucrative Spotify contract, expanded his reach across YouTube, iTunes, and other platforms, and created a free speech comedy mecca in Austin, Texas.

Maybe his special could use an opening act. We hear Neil Young's available.

Remember when the French Revolution blew up the clock and the calendar because science?

Wed, 07/10/2024 - 04:15


After the French revolutionaries beheaded their king, they had a bright idea: Let's make the day 10 hours long! This is not a joke: Left-wing "experts" actually changed the length of minutes, hours, and weeks in the name of science.

This is the story of that disaster.

The designers answered 'solely to the principles of Reason and Science.'

The French revolutionaries adopted a new calendar for three reasons:

  • To eliminate religious consciousness from French society;
  • To make time more “rational”;
  • To announce the birth of an egalitarian era.

In their zeal, they forgot an important factor: human nature.

This is a story of political arrogance. The revolutionaries overestimated science's power and underestimated religion's stickiness. In their new utopia, one hour equaled 100 minutes, and one minute equaled 100 seconds. The new year shifted from January 1 to September 22. A radical attempt to redefine time itself.

Rutgers sociologist Eviatar Zerubavel notes that the 10-day week was meant to disrupt the “traditional, sacred seven-day cycle.” The purpose was to disorient people and make them lose track of “Sunday.”

That is, the day for going to church and having a weekly sitdown with the divine. The French Revolutionary calendar was designed by the top experts of the day. The chief designer was C.G. Romme, a physics professor, and mathematicians and astronomers chipped in. In the minds of these experts, tradition/old habits didn’t matter. The designers answered “solely to the principles of Reason and Science.”

“The Revolutionary Calendar was introduced in an age which advocated the total obliteration of the old order in the name of progress and modernity,” Zerubavel observes. “The beginning of the new Republican Era marked the total discontinuity between past and present.”

Ring a bell?

Every calendar has “critical dates,” which are imbued with symbolic importance. The revolutionaries changed the first day of the year from January 1 to September 22 — the day of the “foundation of the French Republic.” Society was to spin not around religion but politics.

Days that had a unique flavor due to their religious significance, like “the saints’ days, Sunday and the Church's religious holidays,” were abolished. Each day became mathematically and symbolically alike. Differences were to be erased — whether among people or on the calendar.

By adopting calendrical rhythms alien to the rest of the world, the French created artificial barriers to communication, understanding, and ultimately, trade.

How would you fix delivery schedules with a country whose calendar is untranslatable into yours? Imagine you're a Frenchman in 1793. The revolutionaries have not just beheaded the king and slaughtered their own but have also made the week 10 days long. The day is now 10 hours, not 24, and your old clocks — and instincts — need to be thrown out.

By denouncing all authority as arbitrary, the revolutionary finally harms himself. On what grounds will he govern once the king is gone? In hindsight, we can see the “boomerang effect” of the calendar redesign. If the old dogmas were random, why are the new ones any better?

The people hated the new calendar. It made them work for nine days straight instead of six, and it was confusing. Special clocks were made to translate the French Revolutionary calendar into the Gregorian calendar and back. People’s age-long habits were redesigned without their consent.

Stalin imposed a new calendar, too. The week was cut to five days to eliminate the holiday of Sunday. Days were assigned colors, and workers were given colors. When it was your colored day, you took a day off. Families and friends had different colors, so they never hung out.

Here’s the French Revolutionary calendar, designed by the biggest scientific minds of the time. A failed dream ... a symbolic warning. An attempt to restructure time by politics instead of the sacred. Reasonable, rational, and, hence, doomed. An emblem to the madness of equality:

Heritage Images/Getty Images

And here’s the man who ended the tyranny of artificial time and took his country back to the Gregorian calendar, 218 years ago:

Hulton Archive/Stringer/Getty Images

Biden’s new standard: Law for enemies, immunity for friends

Wed, 07/10/2024 - 04:00


Joe Biden ripped into the Supreme Court following its ruling last week over Donald Trump’s presidential immunity. “Each, each of us is equal before the law,” he said in a brief nationally televised address. “No one, no one is above the law, not even the president of the United States. [With] today’s Supreme Court decision on presidential immunity, that fundamentally changed for all practical purposes.”

Really, Mr. President? Do you, of all people, have the audacity to claim that “no one is above the law, not even the president of the United States?” You should know about some people who are actually being targeted by your administration.

You have people crying that their political opponents are corrupt while they’re putting people in prison for the things they have done themselves.

Paul Vaughn, a Christian pro-life father of 11 children, was facing over a decade in prison for a peaceful protest in Tennessee at an abortion clinic. He was charged with violating the Face Act for praying in the hallway. Upon his imminent sentencing, he said, “It's real easy for me. I can go and go to battle and go to jail as an individual, and it's not a big loss.” Would you have the courage to say that in such a moment? I pray I would.

“The challenge comes when you’re leading your family through it, when you’re talking to your 3-year-old and your 23-year-old and your other family,” Vaughn continued. He said he wanted to pray to God every day to be ready to “take on that day with whatever circumstances come my way and a humility and a grace and a spirit-led life that represents him in our society and our community around us.”

How many politicians order their life in such a way after truth and justice, versus power and greed?

Vaughn ended up avoiding prison time. Instead, the judge ordered him to six months of home confinement and three years of supervised release — for praying in a hallway. What would Biden have to say about him? Do you think the state is being weaponized against Paul Vaughn?

Last week, Steve Bannon reported to prison for contempt of Congress. There are now 15 people in the Biden administration who have been deemed in contempt of Congress. None of them are being prosecuted. But Donald Trump’s people are.

I don't agree with Bannon on everything. He's a thought leader who I strongly disagree with at many times, but he should not be going to jail.

“I am proud to go to prison,” Bannon told reporters. “If this is what it takes to stand up to tyranny; if this is what it takes to stand up to the [Attorney General Merrick] Garland corrupt criminal DOJ; if this is what it takes to stand up to Nancy Pelosi; if this is what it takes to stand up to Joe Biden — I’m proud to do it.”

You have people crying that their political opponents are corrupt while they’re putting people in prison for the things they have done themselves.

How about Dr. Eithan Haim? He was the anonymous whistleblower behind Christopher Rufo’s groundbreaking story that exposed Texas Children's Hospital's continuation of transgender treatments on minors even after it said it stopped. Even though he was anonymous, the Justice Department found out who he was and sent armed agents from the Department of Health and Human Services to his house. Now, he and his expecting wife are being charged with felonies. What does Biden say about him?

Please, Mr. President, don’t talk to me about “out-of-control tyranny” from the Supreme Court. The court has done exactly the opposite. It has protected the presidency while it is dismantling the administrative state.

But you’re right in saying that “no one is above the law, not even the president of the United States.” I challenge you to hold yourself to that standard.

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The GOP needs to stay focused on inflation, not cognition

Wed, 07/10/2024 - 03:45


The media just woke up and noticed the cognitive decline in Joe Biden that’s been apparent to anyone who has seen him since at least 2019. The media's sudden narrative change sheds light on how dishonest the corporate press has been on a variety of topics, the president’s mental acuity included.

But this new circus is really a sideshow to what is going on in the main ring. Whoever is in charge (as I think it is a reasonable assumption that it is not the guy in steep mental decline) has set forth destructive policies that have wreaked havoc upon middle class Americans’ finances and made the country less safe.

Americans cannot afford another four years of this.

While it’s tempting to shift focus, the GOP must stay on track to win the presidency, Congress, and local seats. Their messaging should remain laser-focused on the following.

The economy. The top issue on Americans’ minds as they head to the polls is the economy. Despite any spin, the massive double-digit, cumulative inflation under Biden has put immense pressure on the working and middle class. Americans, especially those without substantial assets, struggle to keep up with the basic cost of living.

Slowing growth driven by massive deficits, a national debt approaching $35 trillion, and interest payments overtaking defense spending has created an unstable fiscal foundation and a lack of confidence in improvement.

This is the top ballot issue for a reason. It needs to stay front and center, not take a back seat, because it’s not just Biden’s policy — it’s the Democrats’ policy.

National security and the border. The commander in chief’s primary job is ensuring the security of the United States, including our borders. We are now amid the worst border crisis in U.S. history.

Millions of illegal immigrants have effortlessly crossed into the United States under Biden’s tenure. Early in 2024, a report estimated that the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. doubled under the Biden administration. Reported terrorists have been caught entering the country, and illegal border crossers have been tied to high-profile crimes, including rape and murder.

In cities across the country, illegal immigrants receive housing and other benefits, funded by Americans’ tax dollars. It needs to stop. The man in the Oval Office currently is incapable of stopping it.

America’s standing in the world. The weakness of this administration goes beyond the weakness of the president. The policy and lack of gravitas throughout the administration have made the United States a laughingstock on the global stage. The administration has made decisions like giving money to Iran that emboldened and accelerated its sponsorship of terror. The administration has also weaponized the U.S. dollar, which has led to more nations dumping U.S. Treasuries and seeking to conduct international trade in other currencies.

Other decisions, like pushing “green” initiatives, benefit rival nations like China instead of strengthening America’s economic foundation.

There are, of course, other issues, but with limited room for messaging, staying focused on the economy, national security, and America’s overall strength is much more important than the president’s mental clarity.

This administration has emboldened a terrifying set of national economic and security crises. That goes far past Biden’s personal cognitive and aging challenges. These issues need to remain front and center as Americans cannot afford another four years of this.

George Stephanopoulos tells random pedestrian that Biden cannot serve another term, then retracts after video hits TMZ

Tue, 07/09/2024 - 19:53


"Good Morning America" anchor George Stephanopoulos had to retract a statement he made about President Joe Biden after commenting to a pedestrian who recorded the interaction.

'I responded to a question from a passerby. I shouldn't have.'

TMZ called it a "stunning" admission made by the former campaign aide to Bill Clinton on Tuesday.

"Do you think Biden should step down? You've talked to him more than anybody else has lately," the pedestrian asked Stephanopoulos.

"I don't think he can serve another four years," he responded simply.

TMZ obtained the footage and published it, which led to Stephanopoulos contacting the outlet to say he should not have made the comment.

"Earlier today, I responded to a question from a passerby. I shouldn't have," he said.

ABC News also distanced itself from his statement.

"George expressed his own point of view and not the position of ABC News," the company said.

'That's not what our polls show.'

Biden subjected himself to an interview by Stephanopoulos after Democrats called for him to step down from the campaign over the debacle of the first presidential debate on CNN. While the questioning was supposed to quell questions about Biden's competence, it only fueled the angst and division in the Democratic Party.

“Do you really believe that you’re not behind right now?” asked Stephanopoulos. “Just when you look at the reality though, Mr. President."

"Well, I don't believe that's my approval rating. That's not what our polls show," said Biden when told he was at 36% approval.

He went on to claim that he was exhausted before the debate and admitted that it was not a good night for his campaign.

The president has since said emphatically that he is not going to leave the race and that he believes he can beat Trump.

"I want you to know that despite all the speculation in the press and elsewhere, I am firmly committed to staying in this race, to running this race to the end, and to beating Trump," read a statement attributed to Biden.

"I can respond to all this by saying clearly and unequivocally: I wouldn't be running again if I did not absolutely believe I was the best person to beat Donald Trump in 2024," he added.

Many polls have shown that Trump has increased his lead over Biden after the horrendous debate. In one poll, a majority of respondents said that Biden should not serve as president over his mental and cognitive deficiencies.

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Karine Jean-Pierre suggests Russians are using online bots to help Trump by spreading damaging videos from the debate

Tue, 07/09/2024 - 18:55


White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre suggested that the Russians might be utilizing online bot-farms to spread damaging debate videos and help former President Donald Trump's campaign.

Jean-Pierre encouraged the speculation after a reporter's question on Tuesday during a media briefing.

'So, that's a very good question.'

"Do you have any concerns right now that this is the leading edge of any part of a Russian effort to interfere in the election? Has the president been briefed on this?" the reporter asked. "Have you seen any evidence that the Russians or other foreign powers have tried to seize on the debate performance and repeat some of the president's most embarrassing moments?"

"So, that's a very good question," she responds.

"I would have to talk to our team about those particular questions that you just had, there were multiple questions in your statement there. I would leave it to the Department of Justice as to what they announce. Obviously, that's for them to speak to," Jean-Pierre added.

"AI has always been a concern, that's why the president made some announcements recently to take executive action on how we can deal with AI," she concluded. "We want to see more fulsome action legislatively from Congress."

'Russia intended to use this bot farm to disseminate AI-generated foreign disinformation.'

Also on Tuesday, the Department of Justice announced that it had disrupted an online bot farm sponsored by the Russian government that was spreading disinformation on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

“Today’s actions represent a first in disrupting a Russian-sponsored Generative AI-enhanced social media bot farm,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray.

The statement said that Russian intelligence had access to a "social media bot farm" with more than 1,000 accounts that pretended to be U.S. citizens.

“Russia intended to use this bot farm to disseminate AI-generated foreign disinformation, scaling their work with the assistance of AI to undermine our partners in Ukraine and influence geopolitical narratives favorable to the Russian government," Wray added.

'They're going to blame Biden's debate performance on Russia.'

Critics of the White House criticized the attempt to connect embarrassing debate videos to a Russian disinformation campaign.

"This question may sound ridiculous now, but it will pale in comparison to the inevitable push by the mainstream media to actually blame Putin for Biden's rapid cognitive decline," read one response.

"They're going to blame Biden's debate performance on Russia. You can't make this stuff up," read another reply.

"So, clips of the debate will be regarded as Russian propaganda? One trick pony," another user said.

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Los Angeles resident tracks down man from viral video who allegedly tossed dog down 3 flights of stairs and forces his arrest

Tue, 07/09/2024 - 17:47


A viral video of horrendous animal abuse led one California resident to demand action from the LAPD, according to KTTV-TV.

The video showed a man grabbing a whimpering puppy and tossing him down three flights of stairs at an apartment house on Oakwood Avenue in Koreatown. The video shows the dog running back some time later.

'When we all get together and make the noise loud, they at least have to start reacting!'

Neighbors who live in the apartment house said they were afraid of the man and claimed that he had tossed the dog down the stairs several times. The video from a Ring doorbell camera was published on social media and quickly went viral.

That video prompted Dione Michael to take action after she saw it on the website for the Kris Kelly Foundation against animal abuse.

Michael went to the building and spoke to residents and the apartment manager about the video. She said that they told her police had come to his door and knocked but left when he didn't respond.

When she saw a man that matched his description, she went live on the Kris Kelly page and called on others to demand the LAPD arrest the man.

Police said in a statement that they found the man in an alley near the apartments. Posts on social media showed the man getting arrested and the dog being taken from the apartments.

The LAPD identified the dog as a 7-month-old puppy and said it needed treatment for malnourishment and also for a broken leg. It was taken to a dog shelter, where it may need surgery for the broken leg.

The man was identified as 27-year-old Joeboury Coleman and booked for felony animal cruelty. He was given a zero-dollar bail, according to LAPD Capt. Lillian Carranza.

"If one person calls, nothing happens" Michael said. "When we all get together and make the noise loud, they at least have to start reacting!"

She said people online had become an "army for animals" in order to prevent animal abuse.

KTTV said Coleman would not come to the door when they knocked and would not respond to a request for a comment.

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Pennsylvania man killed and dismembered 14-year-old transgender girl he met on Grindr, police say

Tue, 07/09/2024 - 16:39


Pennsylvania police said that the gruesome murder and dismemberment of a teenage transgender girl was the result of a meetup from an online dating app.

14-year-old Pauly Likens of Sharon was last seen on June 22 and reported missing to police by relatives three days later, according to court records. The family had left town, and the teenager was living at a friend's home at that time.

'I‘ve seen dismemberments before a number of times but this is one of the worst.'

Police found human remains on that same day at Shenango River Lake and found more remains in the surrounding area for a week afterward.

The Mercer County Coroner’s Office determined that Likens had died from sharp force trauma to the head before the dismemberment. They also concluded that Likens was the victim of homicide.

Investigators said that 29-year-old DaShawn Watkins of Sharon told them that he had met Likens on the Grindr dating app for gay people and arranged to meet the teenager on June 23.

Police were able to determine through digital evidence that Likens had gone to the Budd Street Public Park and Canoe Lunch and appeared to wait for someone early that day.

Surveillance video showed a car at the scene that police later determined to belong to Watkins.

Police also were able to obtain security video showing Watkins carrying multiple bags and garbage bags to his vehicle from his apartment near the lake, including one instance where he struggled with a heavy duffel bag.

Blood evidence found at Watkins' apartment also matched that of the victim, according to police.

'I got a 14-year-old dead kid who was brutally murdered and dismembered. That kid deserves justice.'

Investigators have not determined a motive for the gruesome incident.

“Obviously all first-degree murder cases are extremely significant cases but a gruesome dismemberment of 14-year-old kid," said Mercer County District Attorney Peter Acker. "I‘ve seen dismemberments before a number of times but this is one of the worst.”

Watkins is being held without bail at the Mercer County Jail. He was charged with murder, aggravated assault, evidence tampering, and abuse of a corpse.

Acker told PennLive that he would be pressing hate crime charges against Watkins.

“The position of state police is that it is not a hate crime because the alleged perpetrator was an admitted homosexual and the victim was transgender or transitioning,” said Acker. “However, as I said I got a 14-year-old dead kid who was brutally murdered and dismembered. That kid deserves justice.”

Likens died just days before the teen would have turned 15 years old.

Sharon is a city of about 13k residents near the border of Ohio.

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