The Byzantines never awakened in time to understand what they had become. Will Americans?

The Byzantines never awakened in time to understand what they had become. Will Americans?

By: Victor Davis Hanson

American Greatness

March 15, 2023

When Constantinople finally fell to the Ottomans on Tuesday, May 29, 1453, the Byzantine Empire and its capital had survived for 1,000 years beyond the fall of the Western Empire at Rome.

Always outnumbered in a sea of enemies, the Byzantines’ survival had depended on its realist diplomacy of dividing its enemies, avoiding military quagmires, and ensuring constant deterrence.

Generations of self-sacrifice ensured ample investment in infrastructure. Each generation inherited and improved on singular aqueducts and cisterns, sewer systems, and the most complex and formidable city fortifications in the world.

Brilliant scientific advancement and engineering gave the empire advantages like swift galleys and flame throwers—an ancient precursor to napalm.

The law reigned supreme for nearly a millennium after the emperor Justinian codified a prior thousand years of Roman jurisprudence.

Yet this millennium-old crown jewel of the ancient world that once was home to 800,000 citizens had only 50,000 inhabitants left when it fell.

There were only 7,000 defenders on the walls to hold back a huge Turkish army of over 150,000 attackers.

The Islamic winners took over the once magical city of Constantine and renamed it Istanbul. It had been the home of the renowned Santa Sophia, the largest Christian church in the world for over 900 years. Almost immediately, this “Church of the Holy Wisdom” was converted into the then-largest mosque in the Islamic world, with minarets to follow.

So what happened to the once indomitable city fortress and its empire?

Christendom had cannibalized itself. Western Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy fought endlessly. Westerners often hated each other more than they did their common enemy.

In the final days of Constantinople, almost no help was sent from Western Europe to the besieged city.

250 years earlier, the Western Franks of the Fourth Crusade had detoured from the Holy Land to storm the supposedly allied Christian City of Constantinople.

Then they ransacked the city and hijacked the Byzantine Empire for a half-century. Constantinople never quite recovered.

The 14th-century Black Plague killed tens of thousands of Byzantines and scared thousands more into moving out of the cramped city.

But the aging and dying empire battled more than the challenges of internal divisions, or an unforeseen but deadly pandemic and the empire’s disastrous responses to it.

The last generations of Byzantines had inherited a global reputation and standard of living that they no longer earned.

They neglected their former civic values and fought endless battles over obscure religious texts, doctrines, and vocabulary.

They did not expand their anemic army and navy. They did not reunite their scattered Greek-speaking empire. They did not properly maintain their once life-giving walls.

Instead of earning money through their accustomed nonstop trade, they inflated their currency and were forced to melt down the city’s inherited gold and silver fixtures.

The once canny and shrewd Byzantines grew smug and naïve. Childlessness became common. Most now preferred to live outside of what had become a half-empty, often dirty, and poorly maintained city.

Meanwhile, they underestimated the growing power of the Ottomans who systematically pruned away their empire. By the mid-15th century, Islamic armies were ready to exploit fatal Byzantine weaknesses.

Sultan Mehmed II grandly announced the Ottomans were now the real, the only world power. Ascendant Ottoman armies would eventually move on to the very gates of Vienna in an effort to rule all the lands of the ancient Roman empire.

We should take heed from the last generations of the Byzantines.

Nowhere is it foreordained that America has a birthright to remain the world’s preeminent civilization.

An ascendant China seems eerily similar to the Ottomans. Beijing believes that the United States is decadent, undeserving of its affluence, living beyond its means on the fumes of the past—and very soon vulnerable enough to challenge openly.

Left and Right seem to hate each other more than they do their common enemies.

Like the Byzantines, Americans gave up defending their own borders, and simply shrugged as millions overran them as they pleased.

Our once iconic downtowns, like end-stage Constantinople before the fall, are now dirty, half-deserted, dangerous, and dysfunctional.

America prints rather than makes money, as its banks totter near bankruptcy.

Americans similarly believe they are invincible without ensuring in reality that they are. Our military is more worried about being woke than deadly.

Like Byzantines, Americans have become snarky iconoclasts, more eager to tear down art and sculpture that they no longer have the talent to create.

Current woke dogma, obscure word fights, and sanctimonious cancel culture are as antithetical to the past generations of World War II as the last generation of Constantinople was to the former great eras of the emperors Constantine, Justinian, Heraclius, and Leo.

The Byzantines never woke up in time to understand what they had become.

So far neither have Americans.

American society is facing three existential crises- Victor Davis Hanson

GREAT AMERICA
Life Among the Ruins
The few sowed the wind, and the many reaped their whirlwind.

By Victor Davis Hanson

March 6, 2023
American society is facing three existential crises not unlike those that overcame the late Roman, and a millennium later, terminal Byzantine, empires.

Premodern Barbarism
We are suffering an epidemic of premodern barbarism. The signs unfortunately appear everywhere. Over half a million homeless people crowd our big-city downtowns.

Most know the result of such Medieval street living is unhealthy, violent, and lethal for all concerned. Yet no one knows—or even seems to worry about—how to stop it.

So public defecation, urination, fornication, and injection continue unabated. Progressive urban pedestrians pass by holding their noses, averting their gazes, and accelerating the pace of their walking. The greenest generation in history allows its sidewalks to become pre-civilizational sewers. In a very brief time, we all but have destroyed the downtowns of our major cities—which will increasingly become vacant in a manner like the 6th-century A.D. Roman forum.

All accept that defunding the police, no-cash bail, Soros-funded district attorneys, and radical changes in jurisprudence have destroyed deterrence. The only dividend is the unleashing of a criminal class to smash-and-grab, carjack, steal, burglarize, execute, and assault—with de facto immunity. Instead we are sometimes lectured that looting is not a crime, but lengthy incarceration is criminally immoral.

We have redefined felonies as misdemeanors warranting no punishment. Misdemeanors are now infractions that are not criminal. Infractions we treat as lifestyle choices. Normality, not criminality, is deemed criminal. We all know this will not work, but still wonder why it continues.

Many among the middle classes of our cities who can flee or move, do so—like 5th-century equestrians who left Rome for rural fortified farms before the onslaught of the Ostrogoths and Visigoths. For most of our lives we were lectured that the old southern states—Florida, Tennessee, Texas—were backward and uninviting. Now even liberals often flee to them, leaving behind supposedly cosmopolitan Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Chicago, Baltimore, and New York. The more people leave the blue states, the more those states praise themselves as utopian.

The less well-off, without the means to leave, hope that their environs have hit bottom so things can only improve. The elite who caused this premodern catastrophe assumes they will always have the money and wherewithal to ensure that themselves and their own can navigate around or even profit from the barbarism they unleashed. For them the critic, not the target of criticism, is the greater threat.

The hard urban work of the 1990s and early 2000s—cleaner, safer subways, secure nightlife downtown, clean sidewalks, low vacancy rates, little vagrancy, and litter-free streets—so often has been undone, deliberately so. We are descending to the late 1960s and 1970s wild streets—if we are lucky the mayhem does not devolve even further.

A mere 10 years ago, if an American learned that a man was arrested for clubbing, robbing, or shooting innocents, and yet would be released from custody that day of his crime, he would have thought it an obscenity. Now he fears that often the criminal will not even be arrested.

A once secure border no longer exists. Joe Biden and Alejandro Mayorkas simply demolished it and allowed 6-7 million foreign nationals to cross illegally into the United States without audits—to the delight of their apparent constituent, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

What would shame a Biden or Mayorkas? What would change their minds? Billions of dollars spent on social services for the lawbreaking at the expense of the American poor?

Would 100,000 annual lethal overdoses—12 times more than those who died over 20 years in Iraq and Afghanistan combined—from drugs that flow across the open border sway them? Or would it take 200,000, or 300,000 deaths before Joe Biden relented and ceased his chuckling?

What does a people do when its highest officials simply renounce their oaths of office and refuse to enforce laws they don’t like? Everyone knows the border will eventually have to become secure, but none have any idea whether it will take another 20, 30, or 50 million illegal entrants and 1 million more fentanyl deaths to close it.

Polls show race relations have hit historic lows. Much of the ecumenicalism of the post-Civil Rights movement seems squandered—almost deliberately so.

The Left now rarely mentions Martin Luther King, Jr. or even the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964. Perhaps it knows it has violated the spirit and legacy of both.

Today, our identity politics leaders believe that the color of our skin, not the content of our character, certainly matters more. The practitioners of the new tribalism in some sense fear outlawing segregation and discrimination by race. They know to do so would end racially restricted houses and safe spaces, racially exclusive graduations, and race-based admissions, hiring, and promotion on campus.

Read Professor Ibram X. Kendi and his message is implicit. For him, the problem with a Jim Crow-like system was not segregation or racial chauvinism per se, but merely who was doing the victimizing and who were the victims: so the original racism was bad; but racism in reverse is good.

We abhor violence, racism, and misogyny—in the abstract. Yet the entire hip-hop industry would find no audience—or so we are told by its appeasers—if rappers refrained from “ho” misogyny, brags of violence against law enforcement, and self-described proprietary use of the N-word.

Most know that young black males under 30 commit violent crimes at well over 10 times their 3-4 percent demographic of the population—so often victimizing the nonwhite. All know that reality must remain unmentionable even as its causes need to be debated and discussed if lives are to be saved. Yet the greater crime seems not the crime itself, but even mentioning crime.

Postmodern Abyss
Postmodernism in our age is deadlier even than premodernism. Sexually explicit drag shows that allow the attendance of children 20 years ago would have been outlawed—by liberals worried over the trauma of the young watching performance-art simulated sex.

Now the children come last and the performers first—as ratified by the same liberals. But to fathom the new transitioning, simply learn from ancient transitioning and gender dysphoria, an unhappy classical theme from Catullus’ Attis poem (stimulatus ibi furenti rabie, vagus/ devolsit ili acuto sibi pondera silice/ itaque ut relicta sensit sibi membra sine viro) to Giton in Petronius’ Satyricon.

Current “science” is now synonymous with ideology, religion, or superstition. Lockdowns, mRNA vaccinations, masking, transgenderism, “climate change,” and green power brook no dissent. They are declared scientifically correct in the manner that the sun used to revolve around the earth, and any dissenting Galileo or Copernicus is cancel-cultured, doxxed, and deplatformed.

It is now verboten to cite the causes of the current upswing. We must remain silent about the classical exegeses that cults, pornography, and constructed sexual identities, when not biological, were the manifestations of a bored culture’s affluence (luxus), leisure (otium), and decadence (licentia/dissolutio).

The classical analyses of an elite collapse focus on a falling birth rate, a scarce labor force, ubiquitous abortion, an undermanned military, and a shrinking population. We suffer all that and perhaps more still.

Millions of young men are detached and ensconced in solitude, their indebted 20s too often consumed with video-gaming, internet surfing, or consumption of porn. Many suffer from prolonged adolescence. Many assume that they are immune from criticism, given that the alternative of getting married, having children, finding a full-time job, and buying a house is society’s new abnormal.

Rarely has an elite society become so Victorian and yet so raunchy. A slip with an anachronistic “Gal” or “Honey” can get one fired. Meanwhile, grabbing one’s genitals while pregnant on stage before 120 million viewers is considered a successful Super Bowl extravaganza.

Our army is short of its annual recruitment by 25 percent. We all suspect but do not say out loud the cause. The stereotyping of poor and middle-class white males as both raging and biased, and yet expected yet to fight and die in misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq, has finally convinced the parents of these 18-year-olds to say, “no more.”

Need we say anything about the lack of efficacy or morality of the Department of Justice, FBI, or CIA?

Or rather is there anything the FBI will not do?

Doctor court evidence? Hire Twitter to suppress the news? Monitor parents at school board meetings? Allow directors to lie under oath or “misremember” before Congress?

Swiping clean subpoenaed phones? Hiring fakers to compile dirt on a presidential candidate—and then using that known smear to hoodwink a judge to allow spying on Americans?

Suppressing evidence on a laptop to warp an election? Raiding an ex-president’s home with a SWAT-like team? Spying on Catholics in mass? Storming a home full of children of a man accused of a politically incorrect misdemeanor?

The more the military has been stalemated in Iraq, humiliated in Afghanistan, and dreading what China will soon do or what Iran will even sooner let off, the more it insists our priorities should be diversity, equity, and inclusion. Will that escapism ensure more lethal pilots, tank commanders, and Marine company commanders?

The mindsets of too many of our new generations of command are twofold: first to be promoted by virtue signaling woke policies that they must know eventually will hamper combat readiness, and then in the future to rotate at retirement into multimillionaire status by leveraging past expertise for defense contractors. Keep that in mind and almost every publicly uttered nonsense from our highest in the Pentagon makes perfect sense.

Them
There is a third challenge. Our enemies—illiberal, deadly, and vengeful—have concluded we are more effective critics of ourselves than are they. They enjoy our divided nation, torn apart by racial incivility, dysfunctional cities, and woke madness. (Notice how even the communists long ago dropped deadly Maoist wokeism, or how the Russians viewed the Soviet commissariat as antithetical to their military and economic agendas.)

Iran believes that this present generation of Americans would likely allow it to nuke Israel rather than stop its proliferation. China assumes that Taiwan is theirs and the only rub is how to destroy or absorb it without losing too many global markets and income. Russia conjectures that the more we trumpet its impending defeat, the more it will destroy Eastern Ukraine and call such a desert peace.

Our “friends” can be as dangerous as our enemies.

A visitor from another world might conclude Mexico has done more damage to America than North Korea, Iran, and Russia combined. It has, by intent, flooded our border with 20 million illegal aliens. It has allowed cartels with Chinese help to conduct multibillion-dollar profiteering by killing 100,000 Americans per year (did the Kremlin ever match that tally in a half century of the Cold War?).

Mexico drains $60 billion from its expatriates on the expectation that American subsidies will free up their cash to be sent home. The more the cartels run wild, the more money trickles down—while their top drug enforcement official Genaro García Luna was found guilty in a New York courtroom for collusion with the cartels.

How did all of this so quickly erode our great country? Our crisis was not the next generation of foreign Hitlers and Stalins. It was not earthquakes, floods, or even pandemics. It was not endemic poverty and want. It was not a meager inheritance from past generations of incompetents. Nor was it a dearth of natural resources or bounty.

Instead our catastrophe arose from our most highly educated, the wealthiest and most privileged in American history with the greatest sense of self-esteem and sanctimoniousness. Sometime around the millennium, they felt their genius could change human nature and bring an end to history—if only they had enough power to force hoi polloi to follow their abstract and bankrupt theories that they had no intention of abiding by themselves.

And then the few sowed the wind, and so the many now reap their whirlwind.

About Victor Davis Hanson
Victor Davis Hanson is a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness and the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He is an American military historian, columnist, a former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare. He has been a visiting professor at Hillsdale College since 2004. Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 by President George W. Bush. Hanson is also a farmer (growing raisin grapes on a family farm in Selma, California) and a critic of social trends related to farming and agrarianism. He is the author most recently of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won, The Case for Trump and the newly released The Dying Citizen.

The Woke Wrecking Machine

The Woke Wrecking Machine

By: Victor Davis Hanson

American Greatness

March 2, 2023

Almost everything that has followed from the woke mass hysteria gripping the nation since 2020 has proved disastrous.

Wokeism destroys meritocracy in favor of forced equality of result—history’s prescription for civilizational decline.

If we continue with the woke hiring of administrators, air traffic controllers, ground crews, pilots, and rail workers, there will be even more news of disasters and near-miss airline crashes.

Wokeness demands a McCarthyite suppression of free expression. No wonder a woke FBI recently hired out social media censors to suppress stories it deemed unhelpful.

Soviet-style, wokeism mandates strict ideological party-line narratives under the cover of “science.” No wonder a woke government lied that requiring vaccines would prevent both infection and infectiousness.

Woke substitutes race for class in its eternal neo-Marxist quest to permanently divide the nation along racial lines, between victims and victimizers.

Yet wokeism recently has embarrassed itself as never before.

Take the COVID pandemic.

The Department of Energy has joined the FBI and is now attributing the origins of the pandemic to a leak of a likely engineered virus from the top-security virology lab in Wuhan, China.

Wokesters had long suppressed that reality, demonizing any who rejected its orthodox lies and spoke a larger truth: A dystopic China is not our global partner in greening the planet. Criticizing Stalinist China is not “racist.” China is not building a progressive society that is a model for others.

The ongoing environmental catastrophe in East Palestine, Ohio, following the train derailment revealed more woke moral bankruptcy.

Ostensibly the ensuing toxic spill and noxious plume have poisoned a poor and working-class small town. It should have galvanized the old Democratic Party that once voiced loud support for all green causes and championed the lower American classes.

But woke ended all that—substituting racial chauvinism for class concerns and ideology for genuine worry over the environment.

Woke dogma mandates that pollution and poverty are no longer concerns—if they affect the white poor who are stereotyped collectively as privileged victimizers.

Wokesters insisted that California is the greatest casualty of “climate change” defined as permanent drought.

Purported climate change required radical new bureaucratic rules and antidemocratic mandates over irrigation supplies, groundwater, and contracted water deliveries from public reservoirs.

But then it rained. And it snowed. And it became terribly cold in supposedly scorching California.

Southern California is blanketed in snow.

Even so, for much of this cold, wet winter, state officials continued to claim the man-made drought was in full force. But finally, the most recent frigid, wet weather strangled the woke drought—and with it, the credibility of our climate change Cassandras.

Americans sympathize with Ukraine’s plight as Vladimir Putin seeks to destroy its autonomy. But woke brooked no deviation from the party line that Ukraine’s Volodomyr Zelenskyy is a saint, while Russia is near bankrupt due to sanctions, and doomed to lose the war.

Accordingly, the United States was obligated to give Ukraine a veritable blank check given Kyiv’s commitment to freedom. Zelenskyy’s team now even talks of a victorious Ukrainian armored counteroffensive into Moscow’s Red Square.

This week, however, we are learning the Russian economy is nearly as strong now as it was before the war. It has mobilized 700,000 troops to ensure that eastern Ukraine becomes a Verdun-like killing field where tens of thousands more will be ground up.

Ukraine bars dissidents and maintains a government media monopoly. And the more Joe Biden promises another $2-3 billion in biweekly aid, the more Zelenskyy acts as if it is a pittance given what supposedly stingy Americans should be capable of supplying.

Meanwhile, at home, new woke protocols mandate race as essential rather than incidental to the human experience. Supposedly such fixations will heal racial wounds.

Under the new reparatory and compensatory diversity, equity, and inclusion rules, those deemed non-white were to be hired and admitted to colleges in greater numbers than their demographics. Even the old mandated proportional representation quotas were no longer enough.

But racial chauvinism, nonstop talk of reparations, and the new campus segregation have not resulted in better racial relations.

Polls show that there are greater racial tensions than ever before.

Data on interracial and hate crimes show even sharper racial disproportionalities. The incidences of both black violent criminal perpetrators and black crime victims are near historical highs.

Woke policies of no cash bail, downgrading felonies, and no jail time only spiked violent lawlessness.

Our elite universities are now fully woke. Almost weekly an embarrassing story further erodes their credibility and reputation.

Ridiculous lists of taboo words are issued on woke campuses, barring incendiary words like “American” and “immigrant.”

Bragging of segregated dorms, graduations, and safe spaces recalls Jim Crow, not woke racial utopias.

Grades and standards are deemed counterrevolutionary, even as incompetent graduates increasingly fail to impress employers.

Someday wokeism will disappear because it is inherently nihilistic and cannibalistic.

But in the meantime, Americans should end it now before it ends America first.

The Toxic Racialist Obsessions of Joe Biden

The Toxic Racialist Obsessions of Joe Biden

Victor Davis Hanson

American Greatness

February 20, 2023

Joe Biden ran on “unity,” which is critical in a multiracial America. He vowed to heal the divisions supposedly sown by Donald Trump. Instead, he is proving to be the most polarizing president in modern memory. Often his racialist rhetoric and condescension have proven demeaning to both blacks and whites. In a volatile multiracial democracy that demands tolerance and restraint, a highly unpopular Biden, for cheap political advantage, continually proves incendiary and reckless.

Last week Joe Biden snarked after watching a White House screening of Till:

Lynched for simply being black, nothing more. With white crowds, white families gathered to celebrate the spectacle, taking pictures of the bodies and mailing them as postcards. Hard to believe, but that’s what was done. And some people still want to do that.

Exactly who are these “some people”? Who fits Biden’s innuendos of contemporary “some people” who, he alleges in 2023, still wish, as “white crowds, white families” of the past, to mail celebratory postcards after they lynch black people? The Ultra-MAGA villains of his recent Phantom of the Opera speech? Have his current targets ever echoed anything like Biden’s own racist past warning that busing would force people to “grow up in a racial jungle”?

What current data might support Biden’s absurd charges? Is Biden referring to federal interracial crime and hate crime statistics charting violent white propensities against blacks? None exist. In fact, they continually reveal that so-called whites are underrepresented as perpetrators in both categories, while overrepresented as victims in interracial crimes—dramatically so in the case of black-on-white violent crime.

In our sensationalist YouTube world, are we suffering an epidemic of Internet-fed, white-on-black incendiary crimes that might have prompted the president’s demagogic accusations? Not at all. Most of the most recent publicized interracial violence—

ü a woman in a gym fighting off a would-be rapist,

ü a bicyclist doctor stabbed to death in an intersection as his attacker spewed racial hatred,

ü a 26-year-old mother lethally shot in the back in front of her children in a parking lot over a minor argument,

ü a young boy violently choked on a bus, a small girl on a bus beaten repeatedly by two teenage boys

— have involved black perpetrators and apparent white victims. So, what contemporary evidence or widely publicized anecdotes prompt Biden’s recent charges of “white rage”-fueled violence?

Yet simultaneously with his blanket and unsupported charges of racism, no president since Woodrow Wilson has offloaded more racialist verbiage than Joe Biden himself. In an eerie example of psychological projection, never has a president accused others of racism more, while freely revealing himself either to be racist or non compos mentis, or both.

Stranger still, Biden’s latest accusation comes from a president who once eulogized the former racist, Exalted Cyclops, and segregationist Senator. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) as “one of my mentors” and lamented that “the Senate is a lesser place for his going.” That was no isolated fluke.

During his campaign for the presidency, Biden in 2019 praised segregationist Senator James O. Eastland for not labeling a younger Biden with the derogatory term “boy”: “I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland. He never called me ‘boy,’ he always called me ‘son.’”

How odd, then, that Biden, as president no less, has used just that derogatory insult “boy” for distinguished blacks. Indeed, the very day before Biden leveled his “some people” slur, he was back at it with his racist “boy” reference to the black governor of Maryland: “You got a hell of a new governor in Wes Moore, I tell ya,” Biden told an audience of union workers on Wednesday. “He’s the real deal, and the boy looked like he could still play. He got some guns on him.”

Such condescension was consistent with Biden’s past usage of “Negro” and his earlier August 2021 similar “boy” trope of referring to one of own top aides: “I’m here with my senior adviser and boy who knows Louisiana very, very well and New Orleans, Cedric Richmond.”

In Biden’s world, blacks seem to be a collective to whom he can pander in stereotypical terms, as opposed to Latinos, whom Biden feels can think for themselves. Or so he said on the campaign trail in 2020, “Unlike the African American community, with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community with incredibly different attitudes about different things.”

These were “gaffes” only if one believes Biden’s frequent racialist smears and slurs are more the symptoms of senility than bias. Again, as a 2020 candidate, Biden gave us his absurd racist “Corn Pop” fables. In these concocted, He-Man sagas, Biden stood down purported ghetto gangster with his own custom-cut chain, while often showing his tanned legs’ golden hairs to curious inner-city black youth.

Biden also smeared two black journalists who had the temerity to ask him a few tough questions, one with the now infamous slang ad hominem, “You ain’t black” and the other with the personal dismissal “junkie.”

A consistent trope in these insults is his lifelong condescension of accomplished black Americans, such as his long-ago infamous talk-down to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas during Biden’s travesty of conducting his 1991 Senate confirmation hearings. In that context, we also remember Biden’s idiotic warning, replete with his accustomed affected black patois, to black professionals in 2012 that Mitt Romney would “put y’all back in chains.”

Like Bill Clinton, who reportedly uttered of supposed 2008 upstart Barack Obama, “A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee,” Biden was especially bewildered by Barack Obama. He apparently seemed, in Biden’s racialist view, an aberration from Biden’s usual stereotyped views of blacks of limited ability: “I mean, you got the first mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.” That assessment came from a candidate, who, even predementia, could never string together more than a few coherent sentences.

Biden, remember, explained top-performing states in education as attributable to fewer minorities: “There’s less than 1 percent of the population in Iowa that is African American. There is probably less than 4 or 5 percent that are minorities. What is in Washington? So, look, it goes back to what you start off with, what you’re dealing with.”

In a world of law schools turning out record numbers of black lawyers, and billionaire entrepreneurs like Bob Johnson, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Oprah Winfrey, and Michael Jordan, Biden opines, “The data shows young black entrepreneurs are just as capable of succeeding given the chance as white entrepreneurs are. But they don’t have lawyers. They don’t have, they don’t have accountants, but they have great ideas.”

The reason we do not associate Biden with characteristic racist stereotyping and tropes, other than with raw political demagoguery, is the same reason we give passes to liberals who say overtly racist things, which might otherwise suggest that their loud progressive rhetoric serves as some sort of psychological mechanism to square the circle of their own discomfort with the proverbial other.

Do we remember the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s quickly hushed up and contextualized confession that abortion was targeting the proper people (“Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.”)?

Do we recall liberal icon and former Senate Majority Harry Reid, who eerily dovetailed Biden with a similarly racist assessment of Obama (“a ‘light-skinned’ African American with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one”)?

Somehow Biden has transferred his own checkered history of racial disparagement onto the white working class. Fact-checkers assure us that when Joe Biden libeled Trump supporters as “chumps” and “dregs” he really meant the Ku Klux Klan or white nationalists who gravitate to Trump. But most took his blanket smears as they were intended. And they fit the larger patterns of his more recent “semi-fascism” smears, and indeed, the genre of tired leftwing demagoguery that earlier gave us Obama’s “clingers,” Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables” and “irredeemables,” or the smelly who stink up Walmart in the Peter Strzok-Lisa Page joint text trove: “Just went to a Southern Virginia Walmart. I could SMELL the Trump support.”

In occasional opportunistic moments, Biden transforms into “ol’ Joe Biden from Scranton” to accentuate his middle-class roots. But he has a repugnant propensity for using racial terms of condescension and disparagement and for projecting his unease onto a supposedly racist white middle class and poor even as he seeks to win support from the very minority communities he has so often crudely characterized.

What is the concrete result of this now common Bidenesque schizophrenia?

Reflect for a moment. Consider the toxic plume that has polluted the skies over East Palestine, Ohio, a working-class small town that is 98 percent white, with a median income of $26,000, and sits amid the Pennsylvania borderland. That very region once rejected in its 2008 primary Barack Obama—and in turn, was blasted in stereotyped fashion by him: “And it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

Ol’ Joe Biden from Scranton resonates that same contempt for the convenient target of the white poor and lower middle class. Rather than send in FEMA on day one of the toxic release with tents, mobile kitchens, supplies, and medical personnel to care for the evacuated, the federal government waited two weeks and then acted only when even the liberal media was confused by Biden’s deliberate neglect.

Amid the disaster, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, in his now tired boilerplate, was on record instead railing against supposed white hardhats who supposedly do not look like the communities in which they work. For Biden or Buttigieg, the fish and animals dying from toxic air or water were insignificant artifacts, as were the complaints of burning lungs and allergic reactions to the black chemical cloud.

One wonders what would have been the immediate reaction of Biden and the federal government had a corporation decided to vent the contents of wrecked rail cars full of vinyl chloride and butyl acrylate and then light up the escaping gas, birthing a toxic black plume over Martha’s Vineyard or Malibu, as opposed to East Palestine or, say, South-Central L.A. or Ferguson, Missouri.

Biden would have sent legions of aid workers in to ensure social justice for the marginalized and performance-art reassurance to his donor class.

Whether Biden spouts racial bombast to curry favor with his Democratic base or to project onto others his own habitual racist put-downs is not quite clear. But Biden’s utter contempt for white poor and lower middle classes deemed not worthy of the prompt federal attention customarily accorded to others in times of disaster, is self-evident.

Otherwise, Biden would have sent help immediately rather than smear “some people” as 21st-century lynchers.

BOTTOM LINE: The RNC needs to redefine its purpose and organize to fulfill it.

February 18, 2023

Special Edition

I am sending General Covault’s fine essay out as a special edition in the hopes that those of my subscribers who have connections with movers and shakers in the Republican Party will pass along the General’s well-crafted program in preparation for an election that will almost certainly write the destiny of our Constitutional Republic.

Please share far and wide.

FIRST DRAFT

RNC AND CAMPAIGN ‘24

MEMO: for Ronna McDaniel, Chairwoman,

Republican National Committee

The RNC needs to redefine its purpose and organize to fulfill it.

BY: Marvin L. Covault,

Lt. Gen. US Army, retired

February 15, 2023

Congratulations on being reelected to your RNC position. You have less than 21 months until the 2024 Presidential election and the first primary, in South Carolina on 3 February 2024, is less than a year away.

Let’s begin with the bottom line for the 2024 election:
· NO ONE IS IN CHARGE,

· THERE IS NO PLAN (JUST LIKE 2022 WHICH WAS TO HAVE BEEN A SLAM-DUNK),

· HOPE IS NOT A PROCESS!

The point is if you settle back into your Chairwoman position at the RNC, and proceed with business as usual the 2024 election will likely be as big a failure as was the 2022 election. In case you haven’t noticed, Biden is already campaigning, and if the past is prologue to the future, you and your organization, in all likelihood, do not yet have a plan. Beginning now, spend the next 30-60 days doing two things in support of the 2024 election:

· organize the RNC for action, and

· build an operations plan for Campaign 2024.

Are there any indications the RNC is looking to 2024?

A new entry on the RNC website entitled,

Resolutions Adopted During the 2023 Winter Meeting.

There are nine resolutions, including:

o Honoring the life of Congressman (John Doe);

o honoring the life of Dr. (Jane Doe);

o support for the U.S. food supply chain;

o opposing antisemitism;

o RNC commitment to life, etc.

A complete waste of time – resolutions going nowhere at the speed of light. What about the 2024 election? No plan. No one in charge.

ORGANIZE FOR ACTION: First Ms. McDaniel, you need to optimize your organization. Focus every person on the election every day. Streamline their work process to make them as efficient and effective as possible. Here is a list of ten topics with which to begin:

One, BUILD A CAMPAIGN PLAN:

A campaign is a series of organized actions aimed at accomplishing a stated purpose and typically focused on a path toward an identifiable end-state. Trial-and-error is a process but not very effective. You need to build a specific campaign plan for the next election. Everything that happens in the RNC in the next 21 months must be focused on one thing, call it Campaign ’24.

Two, USE FORCE MULTIPLIERS:

It would seem there are never enough people and too many tasks to perform. As you move forward leading your organization towards a slam-dunk victory in 2024, concentrate your effort around a series of force multipliers. A force multiplier is an issue, concept, procedure, or action that, when concentrated on and exploited, can provide an extraordinarily positive return in relation to the limited time and effort invested in its use. Colin Powell used to say, “A leader’s positive attitude is a force multiplier.” More examples throughout this paper.

A clear statement of intent from you is a force multiplier. Why? Because intent is the tool that links all the leadership levels and binds them together toward an identifiable end-state.

You will need help, lots of it. Effective use of a chief of staff, war council, senior advisors, a red team, brain trust, and coaches are all force multipliers.

Three, USE AFTER ACTION REVIEWS:

AAR is a professional discussion discovering what happened, what did not happen, and why. AAR is a comparison of actual output with intended outcomes. It is NOT a critique; critique means to criticize; there is time for that in private. AAR explicitly links past experiences to future actions. What did we do good? What could we have done better? How can we immediately institutionalize changes going forward? It’s all about accountability.

There should be brief, 15-20-minute AARs ongoing throughout the organization every day. Create a mindset that an event, no matter how small, is not concluded until the AAR is completed. AAR is simple, free, and can become the ultimate force multiplier for the organization from top to bottom.

Four, ESTABLISH NATIONAL LINKAGE AND ALIGNMENT: Beginning at your level, establish linkage and alignment between and among yourself and the RNC Chairpersons in every state to facilitate near-instant communications, initiatives, and dealing with a crisis. Then, demand that your subordinates at the national RNC establish the same linkage with their counterparts in every state.

Five, CREATE AGILITY:

Agility is a principle descriptor of great organizations. Agility is in one sense a leader’s mindset. An agile leader is always on the lookout for a target of opportunity and when it is identified they are quick to act on it. They are never satisfied with the status quo. An agile leader is in a constant state of taking the organization elsewhere. An agile organization is one that readily supports change; recognizes the need for change and its members are quick to suggest innovative ways to change the way the organization operates. Agility is a huge force multiplier.

Six, DELEGATE OR DIE:

Ms. McDaniel, I do not know what your leadership style is but if you demand that every decision passes through you before execution, the RNC will grind down to an ineffective, nonresponsive, behind-the-power-curve organization, and Campaign ’24 will end up looking like election 2022. The question you have to ask yourself is, do my subordinate leaders “feel” empowered to deal with increased workload, short suspenses, and potential crises situations and then back-brief me on their decisions?

Seven, USE A BRAIN TRUST:

Too often in the next 21 months you will face situations that need an immediate decision to head off a possible crisis; you need help. Select a small number of subordinates perhaps 3-5. in whom you have ultimate trust and confidence. They need to be your best and brightest who see the big picture, are discreet, and are not afraid to challenge you. Whenever you need help or someone to listen to a new idea, tell your executive assistant or the chief of staff, “Get the Brain Trust in here right now.” Remember, it is lonely at the top but that does not mean you need to be alone.

Eight, BUILD A RED TEAM:

Select a small number (3-5) of your brightest subordinates and give them an additional duty to, “become died-in-the-wool Democrat thinkers.” Rely on them frequently to tell you how they believe the Democrats will react to “X”. What is the Democrat’s next initiative? How can/should we counter a Democrat initiative? Have them sit in on high-level meetings to comment. A Red Team is a force multiplier; do not proceed without one.

Nine, PUT TOGETHER A SENIOR COUNCIL:

Ask a small number (3-5) of senior retired Republican superstars to advise, review and comment on Campaign ’24 initiatives. Newt Gingrich, Condoleezza Rice, Mike Huckabee, and William Bennett are names that come to mind.

Ten, BUILD A NEW WEBSITE:

In its current state, the RNC website is useless to support an election. For example, OUR RULES AND RESOLUTIONS, all 43 pages of it, should not be front and center; hide them somewhere at the end of the website or delete them. OUR PLATFORM section is three whole sentences. Ridiculous.

Start over with a blank page and a new concept for the website. It should serve two purposes.

First, is to become a one-stop reference warehouse for every local, state, and national Republican candidate across the nation who will use the data for building their campaign speeches and debate preparation.

Secondly, it should be a one-stop-shopping center for voters of all parties who want to be better informed about the issues. This reference library will NOT be filled with long, wordy essays. It will consist of multiple individual Fact Sheets for every policy and issue the Republicans are for and every Democrat issue and policy we are against and why. Every Fact Sheet must be filled with irrefutable and fact-checkable data. Update the site daily if necessary. Every paper should include in the first sentence, Posted (date) or Posted (date), Updated (date).

The sum total of all this IS THE PLATFORM FOR 2024.

For example, on the subject of election reform. Task every state to investigate and report the approximate number of ineligible voters on their Voter Registration Rolls (it’s millions in California).

· Do a fact sheet on the subject pointing out the millions of ballots that would therefore be mailed out with no accountability.

· Do a fact sheet with fact-checked examples from every state on the danger of voter fraud with ballot harvesting and drop boxes.

· Do a fact sheet demonstrating that voter fraud will be nearly nonexistent with voter ID cards.

From Biden on down the Democrats call voter ID “racist.” The Republican counter to that ridiculous charge should be this question, “Are you saying that nonwhite Americans are incapable of going to the DMV and getting a voter ID card?” Point out that on May 7th, 2025 every air traveler 18 years of age and older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license to fly within the U.S. and the Democrats claim it is racist to require an ID that will protect us from abusing voting, a sacred foundational element of this nation.

An estimated 90 million eligible voters did not vote in the 2016 election; 80 million did not vote in 2020. RNC should press Speaker McCarthy right now to pass legislation calling for new election dates in 2024. Polls should be open on Saturday, November 2nd, Sunday, November 3rd and Monday, November 4th will be an election holiday. The only way to vote will be in person on 2-4 November or by absentee ballot.

OPERATIONS PLAN CAMPAIGN ‘24

With the organization energized, it’s time to build and execute an operations plan: Every good op plan works its way through three distinct pieces:

· First, Chart a course,

· Secondly, declare expectations, and

· Finally, create conditions for success.

In simplest terms, an op plan is about answering who, what, when, where, why, and how.

CHARTING A COURSE, vision and strategy.

VISION: All great plans begin at the end; that is, with a vision of the end state. Vision answers the question of where we are taking the organization. A leader is someone who is taking the organization elsewhere. There doesn’t have to be a lot of detail in the vision statement; just enough to feel it and see it.

The vision for Operations Plan Campaign ’24 is a slam-dunk Republican victory in the 2024 election across the country and thereby change the direction of America.

STRATEGY: How are we, in general terms, going to go about achieving the end state? Strategy is a game plan. Strategy is the alignment of assets to their greatest advantage. There are three rules for strategy;

One, have one,

Two, keep it simple (explain your strategy in a few words), and

Three, if the strategy is working, do not abandon it.

Strategic planning begins with a detailed analysis of external and internal factors that lead to a game plan.

The strategy for Campaign ’24 is for the RNC to become the center of gravity for planning with dynamic information, data, and guidance flowing to every Republican candidate, local, state, and national. Get out front, dominate the political narrative, and put the Democrats on the defensive. Get ahead and stay ahead.

DECLARING EXPECTATIONS:

The beginning of communications throughout the continuum of leadership with mission, intent, and boss’ guidance.

MISSION:

What it is we all are going to do; it’s the launch point.

The RNC’s mission for Campaign ’24 is to tailor the entire organization to focus on the 2024 election and proactively provide guidance on Republican policy issues, programs, changes to Biden administration policy and to generally change the destructive path America is on today.

INTENT: Answers who, when, where, and why. The most powerful tool available to a leader, vision binds the organization together for a common cause. Without intent, the organization will lack direction, flounder, and probably fail.

It is my intent (the leader, Ms. McDaniel owns intent) for the RNC to make it possible for Republicans to win big in 2024 and thereby change the direction of our nation.

This organization will necessarily change its focus to support, on a daily basis, every Republican 2024 candidate in America, work faster and more efficiently, interact continuously with counterparts at the state level, and produce products that are irrefutably factual in building cases for the Republicans and against the Democrats.

We are doing this because 70-80% of Americans believe the nation is off-track and headed for a massive train wreck with few survivors.

I intend to use two paths to success.

First is the totality of RNC internal change; forget about the old RNC. Reinvent your job description. Understand the Campaign ’24 end-state and focus on the new mission. You are the Republican Party’s staff and brain trust for Campaign ’24. Support down to the states to the points of execution.

Secondly, getting the Governors and state Republican Chairpersons to sign on to and support Operations Plan Campaign ’24.

BOSS’ GUIDANCE:

Bound the problem, prioritize, define operational considerations, set a timetable, and fix responsibility.

Every new idea for the Republican Party is in play. Nothing, as long as it is factual, is off-limits concerning the Democrat’s tax-spend-power-control agenda.

Your work day; make everything you do more achievable for Campaign ’24. There are no second priorities.

Redefine how you work; agility, synergism, create force multipliers, always have an After Action Review, there are no bad new ideas. Age-old saying, “If you think you can, or if you think you can’t, you are probably correct.” Get on board or get out of the way.

CREATE CONDITIONS FOR SUCCESS:

Centers of Gravity: A place, person, thing, belief, circumstance, or condition that is central to success for you and/or the competition. Before every phase of the operation, confer with the brain trust, senior council, and red team to determine a very short list of issues that fall into the center of gravity category and monitor the status every day. Potential show shoppers (centers of gravity) must be identified early and then contingencies developed to deal with them. This is a dynamic, never-ending process of identify/take action, identify/take action, phase by phase throughout the campaign. Centers of gravity are other force multipliers.

Assumptions: You will never have all the facts. Consider carefully the assumptions you make, write them down, and track them. Eventually, every assumption must be proven to be valid or false. Either way, there may be significant ramifications. If you base the whole strategy on an assumption, be prepared for a hard fall if you let the campaign play out too long and get too close to the assumption before you determine its validity. Moving a campaign forward based on an invalid assumption can be a death knell.

Critical Information Requirements: A short list of potentially time-sensitive issues the boss wants everyone in the organization to watch for. If someone sees it, feels it, or smells it, get the information directly to the RNC Chairperson. Update the list frequently. Head off small problems before they become big problems. Another force multiplier.

Control the Battlespace: Every problem has a defined battlespace (operating environment) and every battlespace is configured such that you either have the advantage or are in a disadvantaged position. For example, are all of the Republican Governors and the state Republican Chairpersons on board? Is the congressional leadership tuned in and responsive? Be proactive and control the battlespace thereby creating another force multiplier.

Leader Backbriefs: For the most part meetings are a colossal waste of time; but also, leaders have to remain informed on a wide range of issues. Create a culture of brief, frequent, stand-up subordinate leader backbriefs. Yes, another force multiplier.

Dynamic Planning by Phase: Some organizations believe you can just build a massive to-do list of several hundred items and say, “Go”. Well-intentioned subordinates will be moving in multiple directions, with no prioritization, too many assumptions, and soon chaos, and finally, the boss says, “Well we tried and it just can’t be done.”

Why phase an op plan? There are two good reasons.

First, let’s say we are building a 2-year 4-phased plan and we have established a reasonable end-state in general terms that is easy to understand (similar to Campaign ’24). At this point how much detail do we know about phase 4? Not much. How about phase 1? In phase one, it is clear that we need to organize for action and build an operations plan. There are already many details associated with accomplishing those two things.

The second reason why we need to phase an operation is because of the existence of a situation called DKDK; that is, at this early date we Don’t Know what we Don’t Know. How can we plan in detail for something that may or may not ever occur? The point is, every phase is new and different. How so? New facts, new assumptions, new challenges, changing levels of expertise, new centers of gravity, new situational awareness requirements, new battlespace shaping actions required, new time-sensitive information requirements, different horizontal integration requirements, changing priorities, etc. Have you heard people say, “A plan is never done?” They are correct because you will be in a constant state of discovery.

Task Lists: For every phase, leaders at all levels will produce a critical task list to insure they stay on schedule to be able to move on to the next phase. For the RNC Chair, in phase one, that list will include meeting at an off-site with all the Republican Governors, the Speaker of the House, and the Minority Leader in the Senate where she will brief Operation Plan Campaign ’24 in great detail and seek their approval and participation.

Also, during the off-site meeting the RNC Chair will lead the discussion of the first cut of the 2024 campaign platform to include but not limited to:

ü Achieve energy independence again

ü Stop the movement towards near-total government control

ü Clean up weaponized government bureaucracies

ü Tax reform

ü Election reform

ü Cut needless pending

ü No more multi-thousand-page bills in Congress

ü Cut needless spending by outlawing earmarks on legislation

ü Decentralize and reform education

ü Strengthen the military and reverse the DEI movement

ü Lock up criminals and reform the system that keeps them on the street

ü Secure our borders

ü Drastically reduce the size and power of out-of-control federal bureaucracies

ü Term limits

ü Campaign finance reform

ü New infrastructure spending to include water reserves, nuclear power, and a more secure Power Grid system.

Explain to the off-site attendees that for every platform issue the RNC will be building a library of hundreds of irrefutable Fact Sheets on the platform. Issues that will be available to every Republican candidate, local, state, and national. For example, the Washington D.C. city council recently passed a new law that would allow an estimated 50,000 noncitizens, including illegal immigrants and diplomats from foreign countries, the right to vote in local elections. The D.C. mayor vetoed the law and the city council overrode the veto. The D.C. law was voted down by a House of Representatives vote of 260-162; a Senate vote is pending. The point of this type of fact sheet would be to point out that 162 Democrats in the House believe nonresidents should have the right to vote. This is the type of information Republican candidates need to be armed with because it will resonate with their voters.

The RNC library will, in its totality, focus on two things.

One is what the Republican Party is planning to do for all Americans, and the

second is to lay out in great detail what the Democrats have done and will continue to do to all Americans.

CONCLUSIONS:

Going forward toward the 2024 election, there are two options;

one, let things play out and react to whatever happens, or

two, become proactive and shape the environment thereby enabling a best-case scenario to emerge.

The longer we wait to do something positive about the 2024 Republican campaign, the less likely it is that we will do anything.

No leader, no plan, and no success in 2024.

BOTTOM LINE: The RNC needs to redefine its purpose and organize to fulfill it.

Marvin L. Covault, Lt Gen US Army, retired, is the author of VISION TO EXECUTION, a book for leaders, and a new book May 2022, FIX THE SYSTEMS, TRANSFORM AMERICA as well as the author of a blog WeThePeopleSpeaking.com.

If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools.
Plato

©2022 Rip McIntosh Enterprises. All rights reserved.

Our Edith Wilson -Victor Davis Hanson

Our Edith Wilson

By: Victor Davis Hanson

February 8, 2023

Jill Biden apparently is studying the career of another progressive icon, First Lady Edith Wilson. Edith (also a younger second wife to her widowed husband) went from First Lady to de facto President from October 1919 to March 1921, after Woodrow Wilson suffered an incapacitating stroke that left him bedridden.

Jill has had more practice and started earlier than Edith since she was the architect of Joe’s 19th-century-cabin-porch, basement campaign (remember Joe’s “rallies” where a few people in cars honked applause?) that kept him from the public and in his subterranean “office” about 2–3 hours per day.

That no-show campaign worked. Dr. Jill thinks his next campaign will too. We know the script: Joe will be kept on ice, and then wheeled out for a debate or speech after 15 hours of sleep and plenty of Adderall-like substances.

The campaign, as in 2020, will be outsourced to the media, Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and the vast leftwing tech fortunes (again, not to beat a dead horse, but simply reread Molly Ball’s 2021 Time essay on the “conspiracy” that got an addled Joe elected).

Dr. Jill will count on 80 percent of the electorate not voting on Election Day, as the Democratic borg will scream “racism” and “voter suppression” to ensure automatic mail-out ballots, vote curing, ballot harvesting, and Silicon Valley money used to take over the work of registrars in key precincts of swing states. Election Day voting will go from the 2020s 30% to 2024s 15%.

Dr. Jill (what happened to the old rule that Ph.D.s. don’t go by “Doctor,” and so why would Ed.D.s?) will coordinate. As for now, just as Edith Wilson’s handlers created a wall around the president’s bedroom, filtered all in-and-outgoing communication, misled for months about the actual state of Wilson’s disabilities, and more or less ran the nation. So, Jill is the cocoon in which Joe is tightly wrapped.

Like Joe Biden’s long deterioration, Wilson’s health problems had been known before he ran. Six years before the 1912 election, in 1906 Wilson (50 years old) woke up temporarily blind in his right eye due to a stroke. From then on, he suffered from high blood pressure. Some historians have cited his chronic health problems to contextualize his irascibility, short temper, and arrogance (seem familiar?). Like Joe, Wilson was prone to temper tantrums, and “here’s the deal” and “come on, man” irascibility.

Again, Jill Biden more and more has become Edith. She governs what Biden says and does. And takes her own hard left cue from the Sanders/Squad/Warren crowd on the insanities on the border, Afghanistan, race, crime, oil and gas, and wokeness. Edith vetoed and greenlighted appointments; Jill does too. (Thanks to Jill, I think Kamala Harris [who all but called Joe a racist in the primaries] will be tasked with more surrogate jobs like “border czar.”)

Jill’s strategy from here on out, given his daily deterioration, is to allow her husband to rest nearly nonstop, work a two-day week, spend weekends at home, avoid press conferences and ad hoc commentaries — and hope he can still read teleprompters, while the hard Left runs the country. So too Wilson did in 1919–20. Any chance of handshaking with ghosts, addressing dead people at press conferences, or creepy references to pretty preteens in the audience will be smothered by news blackouts.

Edith Wilson believed she could keep Wilson alive and herself in the White House — and did. So does Jill. And given Wilson took over a year off from the presidency, he actually improved a bit. In a true act of insanity, both Edith and he appeared at some point had earlier shared some cockamamie notion—again so similar to the Jill/Joe plans for 2024—that Wilson could have run for a third term in 1920. But can one imagine a debate in two years between Joe and Trump or DeSantis or Pompeo? Back then, Democratic insiders stopped a non-compos-mentis Wilson from running again, and they may well do the same now with Biden.

There are other eerie similarities between the two incapacitated presidents.

Wilson and Biden are both hard leftists and both had a problem with race. Wilson was an outright, unapologetic racist, and Biden cannot refrain from racist outbursts (“put y’all in chains,” the corn-pop stories, “junkie,” “you ain’t black,” “boy,” “negro,” Obama as the first “clean” black presidential candidate, the doughnut store riffs, and on and on). Gossips likewise accused the widowed Wilson of “seeing” Edith while she was still married, in the fashion Jill’s prior husband Bill Stevenson alleged the same of Corvette Joe.

A few other similarities are eerie. The “Woodrow is fine and recovering” con contributed to the decline in Democratic fortunes. More importantly, Wilson’s out-of-step and unyielding progressivism — our first experience with woke self-righteousness — had turned off voters. So did Wilson’s sanctimonious League of Nations globalism. James Cox lost by a landslide to Warren G. Harding.

So, the Democrats were wiped out in 1920 (Wilson was too ill to attend Harding’s inaugural).

Let us hope history repeats itself, and 2024 sees the same result as 1920. Americans once again don’t like to be lied to by a First Lady, who knows the President is, well, no longer a president at all.

The difference between Trump and Biden classified docs

The Real Differences Between the Biden and Trump Troves

By: Victor Davis Hanson

American Greatness

January 26, 2023

Donald Trump for now certainly seems to have had more documents labeled classified at Mar-a-Lago in Florida than did Joe Biden at his various homes in Delaware.

Yet otherwise, the comparisons between the two cases, contrary to popular punditry, hardly favor Biden.

First, a stranger would face a far greater challenge entering a post-presidential Mar-a-Lago than a pre-presidential Joe Biden’s home, office, or garage—or who knows where?

Secret service agents and private security were stationed at Mar-a-Lago. Before the 2020 presidential election they were not at citizen Biden’s various troves for most of 2017-2020 much less before 2009.

Second, we seem to forget that for much of the developing controversy, Joe Biden’s own team was investigating Joe Biden.

On the other hand, the Biden Administration’s Justice Department and the FBI were not just investigating Trump as an outside party, but as a former president—and possible 2024 presidential candidate and opponent of Biden himself.

Remember, the narrative of the first Democratic impeachment of Donald Trump was the allegation that Trump had used his powers of the presidency to investigate Joe Biden and his family, a likely 2020 challenger to Trump’s reelection bid.

Third, no one in a position of government authority had passed judgment on Joe Biden’s alleged security violations.

That was not the case with the still alleged violations of Donald Trump.

Joe Biden, as president, had weighed in, during his own Justice Department’s ongoing investigations of Trump. Indeed, he proclaimed the former president to be guilty: “How could anyone be that irresponsible?” In contrast, he also dismissed the ongoing investigation of himself with “There is no there, there.”

Fourth, Trump is certainly right that as president he had a far more substantial claim of declassification rights than did Biden who took the papers out either as a senator or vice president.

Fifth, the FBI was not merely asymmetrical in melodramatically raiding the Trump home while allowing Biden lawyers to inspect various Biden stashes. The FBI also leaked the purported contents of the subjects of the Trump classified documents (falsely spreading the lie of “nuclear codes” and “nuclear secrets”) in a way it has not with the Biden cache.

The FBI went so far as to scatter the documents on the floor for a fake news photo-op as if the papers were so messily arrayed when they arrived.

So far, the FBI has come lightly and belatedly to the Biden case without the SWAT team get-up, and only under pressure from the public and the Republican opposition.

Sixth, Biden did not “self-report.” Biden’s team did not call the relevant government authorities the minute they discovered the classified documents in Biden’s office and home and garage.

In truth, Biden, or someone close to Biden, certainly knew that he or someone close to him had illegally removed classified documents when he left the vice presidency in 2017—or years earlier as a senator.

For at least the last six years—at least—Biden has felt no compunction to confess to authorities he illegally had classified documents.

Indeed, the only reason the current troves are coming to light was apparent White House paranoia that the media, the Biden Justice Department, and the special counsel were so fixated on the Trump documents that they likely feared someone might raise the logical question of whether a hypocritical Biden himself might be guilty of exactly the crime for which they were pursuing Trump.

Worse, Biden and his staff knew classified documents were in his possession before the midterms, but deliberately suppressed that information until after the elections were over.

Seventh, Trump’s documents were stored only in one place—Mar-a-Lago, and only for about 19 months. Biden’s were stashed at various locations for nearly seven years—or perhaps over a decade. There were far more opportunities of time and space for those without security clearances to have access to the Biden documents than to the Trump files.

Eighth, the press has exhaustively speculated, usually wrongly, about how the documents reached Mar-a-Lago and what they contained. In contrast, no one knows or even asks why Biden took classified documents, what they concerned, or who if any in his family circle had access to them.

Ninth, Trump’s documents did not expose other liabilities of the constantly investigated Trump. The Biden files so far have directed attention to the mysterious tens of millions of dollars in Communist Chinese money that poured into Biden’s think tank at the University of Pennsylvania, the proximity of members of the quid pro quo Biden consortium to these classified papers, and the files’ relevance, if any, to the Biden family’s overseas businesses. Did Hunter Biden ever consult or view classified documents while living in a home with them? Will there be fingerprint or DNA tests on the documents? If Hunter consulted any of these classified documents, then the Biden presidency is finished.

Tenth, former President Trump possessed contested documents as a private citizen. Biden’s files under contention involve the current behavior of the president of the United States. Biden ran for office, was elected, and serves as president with the full knowledge that during all this time he unlawfully possessed classified documents.

More classified docs found- what’s the difference

How About a Little Context for Pence’s Classified Docs?

The former vice president is the latest to discover classified material that was handled inappropriately.

By: Nate Jackson

The Patriot Post

January 25, 2023

Mike Pence is a truly unique politician because he places great value on honor and integrity. He’s the same guy, after all, who makes a point to avoid being alone with a woman who’s not his wife. Left-media personalities mocked him for that, just as they’re now mocking him for discovering classified documents at his Indiana home.

This does seem to be a rather disconcerting fad among members of the last three administrations, but there are some key differences.

Before we get to those differences, the gist of Pence’s story is that after multiple batches of classified documents were found in Joe Biden’s garage and think tank (chuckle, snicker), Pence ordered a search of his own home. Lawyers found “a small number of documents bearing classified markings that were inadvertently boxed and transported.” They added that Pence was “unaware” of their existence, and they alerted the National Archives. The FBI retrieved the documents a day later.

The actual material in those documents remains unknown, though we suspect a good bit of the problem here is what constitutes “classified” material in the first place. In other words, these aren’t the nuclear codes or valuable intel that jeopardizes national security or personnel. The documents are probably low-level briefings or some hand-scribbled notes. That goes for Biden and Donald Trump, too. Heck, with Hillary Clinton it was just wedding plans and yoga routines, right?

Then again, anyone in government who handles classified material must be cringing right now. Every last one of them knows they’d be in a jail cell already.

That said, “I don’t believe for a minute that Mike Pence is trying to intentionally compromise national security. Same thing about Biden and Trump,” said Senator Lindsey Graham. “But clearly, we’ve got a problem here.”

Does that problem mean Merrick Garland will appoint another special counsel? He did for Trump, which backed him into a corner for Biden.

Trump came to Pence’s defense. “Mike Pence is an innocent man,” he declared. “He never did anything knowingly dishonest in his life. Leave him alone!!!”

Now, let’s talk about what’s different here.

First of all, again, everyone knows Pence is not a corrupt political thug like Joe Biden, who used the vice presidency to cash in on a pay-to-play scheme involving his lout of a son, Hunter. Second, Pence immediately came forward with the discovery as opposed to covering it up until after a major national election like Biden did.

Biden is also cognitively impaired, and he haphazardly kept documents in a box in his garage next to his Corvette. He insisted the garage was “locked” and the docs weren’t “sitting out on the street,” but Hunter was also living in the house and driving the car at the time. Which ChiCom visitor got a peak?

It would also help to consider the cases of Trump and Clinton. Trump actively resisted attempts by the National Archives to retrieve the documents in question, while claiming publicly that presidents can declassify documents “by thinking about it.” Presidents can indeed declassify material, but it’s a bit more complicated than Trump acknowledged. Vice presidents do not have the same authority. Moreover, Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home is protected by the Secret Service, though that didn’t stop the FBI from raiding it.

Trump’s case seems to be entirely about his typical bravado. Of course, I did it, he openly admitted, because I had the authority as president. And no one was going to tell him otherwise.

As for Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state, she deliberately set up an unsecured email server in her home specifically to avoid scrutiny of her own pay-to-play corruption scheme with the State Department and the Clinton Foundation. She emailed classified material from that server, which had been compromised by foreign intelligence hackers. That’s a whole different level than secured papers.

As Mark Alexander put it, “Let’s be clear: Maintaining hard copies of some documents in a secured area of a former president’s house, which is protected by the Secret Service among other law enforcement personnel, is a minuscule national security risk compared to unsecured transmitting and storing of highly classified information electronically.”

Clinton also methodically destroyed evidence to conceal her crimes. She smashed a Blackberry with a hammer, deleted tens of thousands of emails with high-tech software to ensure recovery was impossible and wiped her servers — you know, “with a cloth or something.” She also lied her pantsuit off about it.

Pence has never been accused of profiting from his position as vice president, and the classified material he is guilty of having in his possession is highly unlikely to be compromising in any way. Trump has certainly been accused of all manner of nefarious schemes, though his deranged critics generally fall woefully short of even a shred of proof.

By contrast, Biden and Clinton both were running lucrative operations based on their names and positions high in the federal government. Clinton took extraordinary measures to cover that up. Biden merely delayed confession until after it would have mattered to his party’s election prospects, and he has worked overtime to dismiss the seriousness of the crime — largely because of the blatant hypocrisy of the way his Justice Department treated Trump.

Carelessness is inexcusable, as is belligerent defiance of the law. What’s worse, however, is double standards and outright criminal corruption.

Hunter Biden and Ukraine classified docs

Classified Documents as Part of His Ukraine Business Dealings?

By Andrea Widburg

American Thinker

January 23, 2023

Two Biden scandals are converging:

(1) Joe’s illegal possession of classified documents, and

(2) the contents of that genuine, 100%, all-real Hunter Biden hard drive.

The conversation isn’t only pictures of Hunter Biden, drug addict and “international businessman,” suspiciously close to the garage trove of classified documents; it’s also a compelling claim that, on at least one occasion, Hunter Biden sent his business partners an email that has the smell of a reworked classified briefing.

From the moment in October 2020 when the New York Post broke the news about Hunter Biden’s laptop, Miranda Devine has been all over the laptop story. She’s probably one of the few people with the breadth and depth of knowledge that allows her to suggest that one of Hunter Biden’s business emails, written while he was on Burisma’s payroll, seems awfully like a classified briefing, not a typical Hunter scribble.

In an article entitled “There’s no hiding Biden’s fright over classified document scandal,” Devine notes that many of the documents being discovered, to the extent we know anything about them, are from 2013 through 2016 and include intelligence memos and briefing materials from multiple foreign countries, including Ukraine and China. Devine explains, “That three-year period corresponds to the most frenetic influence-peddling activity overseas by his son Hunter and brother Jim Biden, who made millions of dollars from shady interests in Ukraine, China, Russia and elsewhere.”

However, just because things happen at the same time does not mean they’re related. Devine, thankfully, is too good an analyst to stop with mere temporal correlation. Instead, she assembles other pivotal facts:

(1) The laptop reveals Joe’s involvement in Hunter’s business deals;

(2) Hunter traveled on Air Force 2 with his Dad to countries that figure in both the stolen documents and Hunter’s deals;

(3) during the key time period, Hunter lived in the Delaware mansion in which documents were found and drove the Corvette parked next to documents; and

(4) during the same time period, Hunter had unlimited access to Biden’s official White House office.

What really grabs Devine is a “striking email.” The predicate for Devine’s analysis is that most people have a distinctive writing style. Hunter’s consistent writing style is terse, ungrammatical, poorly spelled, and poorly organized. That’s why it sticks out a mile when he suddenly writes an email showing none of those traits:

It was from Hunter to Archer on April 13, 2014, a week before Joe Biden visited Ukraine to meet then-Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and refers to “my guy’s upcoming travels.”

For Hunter, it was an uncharacteristically lengthy email, listing 22 points about Ukraine’s political situation, with detailed information about the upcoming election and predicting an escalation of Russia’s “destabilization campaign, which could lead to a full-scale takeover of the eastern region, most critically Donetsk.

The strategic value is to create a land bridge for RU to Crimea. That won’t directly affect Burisma holdings but it will limit future UK exploration and utilization of offshore opportunities in particular,” Hunter wrote.

“It will also result in further destabilization of UK nationally and for whatever govt is in power. And the US will respond with even stronger sanctions. Those sanctions will threaten the tenuous support of the EU which does not have the political will to incur steep energy price increases.”

In point 22, Hunter instructed Archer to buy a “burner phone,” presumably to keep their conversations private. “Buy a cell phone from a 7/11 or CVS tmrw and ill do the same.”

It’s a prescient and very well-informed email, unlike anything else Hunter wrote in the nine years covered in the laptop, and it has the distinct flavor of an official briefing, perhaps even a classified one.

To check if Hunter copied from a website, I ran it through Grammarly’s excellent plagiarism tool, one of the phrases Devine reprints, the one beginning “The strategic value is to create….” Grammarly returned only one match, and it was to Devine’s article. Hunter didn’t download his analysis from some online news or analysis site. Those words came from a source to which the ordinary public has no access.

Currently, there’s no proof; only suspicions. But Devine is right to be suspicious when a drug-addled man who writes in a semi-literate, marginally informed, telegraphic style suddenly bursts forth with a highly detailed, deeply knowledgeable, well-organized, and literate analysis of a complex foreign situation.

That the Democrat establishment is now desperate to rid itself of Joe Biden is obvious. Biden’s departure, however, standing alone, isn’t necessarily good for conservatives. The best outcome isn’t just Joe’s removal but also the entire corrupt Democrat establishment’s collapse. Sadly, the Democrats and the Deep State are adept at protecting their interests, even as they pull down everything else around them.

The Wealth Tax……..good idea?

The Wealth Tax Is A Poor Idea

By: Richard A. Epstein

Hoover Institution – defining ideas

January 24, 2023

Now that the Republicans have taken control of the House of Representatives, it has become crystal clear that there will be no federal wealth tax on high-net-worth individuals for at least the next two years. Unfortunately, as with so many bad policy proposals, the push for a wealth tax has instead generated renewed interest in blue states. California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New York, and Washington are considering introducing wealth taxes. Through a joint effort, they hope to make it more difficult for wealthy individuals to flee high-tax states for more favorable jurisdictions. This strategy represents wishful thinking at its finest. If this quixotic endeavor should become law, it will only hasten the exodus of wealthy individuals from blue California and New York to red Florida and Texas.

Today’s aggressive progressives hope to stall that movement by imposing an exit tax on these would-be exiles. These efforts should evoke oppressive regimes like East Germany, which erected the Berlin Wall to keep malcontents at home. It will surely face a fierce constitutional attack, as our Constitution has long been understood to have created a nationwide free-trade zone. In the United States, goods, services—and individuals—can move easily across state lines to promote economic development and growth. An exit tax imposes an explicit barrier on that project and is likely to be struck down as an impermissible burden on interstate commerce, as it is a direct descendant of the taxes and regulations that Chief Justice John Marshall struck down in such notable cases as Gibbons v. Ogden (1824) and Brown v. Maryland (1827).

Ironically, the rosy revenue projections that wealth-tax supporters such as Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman made in 2021 for its revenue potential—starting in 2023—are now hopelessly out of date. Two years ago, at the height of the pandemic, billionaires accumulated capital at near-record rates. Now, potential gains from a wealth tax have fallen because of the enormous declines in wealth (toward greater income equality!) experienced by virtually all newly minted tech moguls. Elon Musk leads the pack, with capital losses of $115 billion in 2022 alone. He has good company in Jeff Bezos ($80 billion); Mark Zuckerberg ($78 billion); and Larry Page ($40 billion). In sum, American billionaires lost $660 billion this past year, about one-third of the $2 trillion in losses worldwide. Nothing guarantees that they will recover those losses any time soon, if ever. Considering a hypothetical 3 percent wealth tax rate, close to $20 billion in domestic wealth-tax revenue disappeared in 2022; this number would be far higher if the wealth tax also reached foreigners.

Pass the tax and those losses will only get larger. Killing the goose that lays a golden egg is to be expected in any system that stresses redistribution first and growth second.

It should not, however, require this large a dose of reality to warn progressive states off yet another institutional blunder. The effort to impose a wealth tax runs afoul of the fundamental principles of taxation put in place throughout the income tax era, which now spans more than a hundred years. The economic, or Haig-Simons, definition of income—the increase in net worth plus individual consumption—does not work when applied to any real-world tax system that must collect taxes from millions of people quickly and efficiently. Instead, the standard way to tax wealth starts with the notion that the receipt of certain elements of wealth is taxable as income. In principle, that covers earned income and the realized gain from the sale or other disposition of property. However, it is widely known that certain kinds of benefits are so difficult to value that it is better not to recognize that gain upon receipt, so the tax is postponed until some later time when the taxpayer receives either cash or marketable securities.

For instance, receiving a partnership in a business may vastly improve your financial prospects, but it doesn’t result in the taxation of that anticipated stream of income today. Instead, each year the tax is imposed as the owner takes money out of the entity as profit distributions. Similar logic applies to stock received in corporate reorganizations like mergers, spinoffs, and recapitalizations. By design, the law does not force taxpayers to calculate difficult asset values or dispose of some illiquid asset to pay the tax.

The wealth tax stands in sharp contrast to this long-standing practice. Generally, rich people have diverse holdings because they have the resources to cultivate them. Many such assets, like artwork or fractional interests in a family corporation, are nearly impossible to value, impossible to sell, or both. The nonrecognition rules thus keep them out of the tax system. Today, however, we have an estate tax that requires individuals to include in their gross estate all of these difficult-to-value items, which often makes it impossible to settle a tax dispute on large estates in less than several years. Think of the wealth tax as if it were an estate tax imposed on an annual basis, but with the added logistical headache of being impossible to calculate in year two until the tax liability for year one has been established, and that establishing the tax for year one may take multiple years. These administrative burdens pile up in individual cases, and they become larger the wider the net is extended around the asset base.

At this point, the acute tradeoff becomes clear: the only reliable asset class for wealth-taxation purposes is publicly traded stocks and bonds, which of course can decline rapidly in value after the tax is imposed, but also before it is collected. (Think of the position of Elon Musk and others in the class of 2022.) Necessarily, that type of tax will miss the portion of their wealth that they hold in unlisted and illiquid assets, and thus will not satisfy progressives for whom depriving the rich of wealth is every bit as important as providing additional income to the poor. National wealth taxes face this difficulty, which poses an even greater challenge for a state wealth tax, with its more limited territorial reach.

The revenue collected will fall short of expectations. Worse, the tax will damage the economy. Today’s ablest entrepreneurs will be forced to devote their time to defending their fortunes against predation by one or more states that lay claim to their wealth. Wealth creation and income from other sources will both fall as administrative expenses and high-stakes litigation rise. An overall decline in social wealth will likely lead to a reduction of investment and wages and consequently to a lower standard of living and a loss of tax revenues from other sources.

Wealth taxes less ambitious than the current crop have uniformly failed. Defenders of the tax like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have long claimed that it will not touch ordinary people. But indirect effects matter as much as formal tax liability, and these will touch everyone in society.

The cumulative objections to the wealth tax may lead some of its defenders to offer in its place a more modest change: the removal of the realization requirement for the annual income tax. Asset-price volatility makes this system just as impractical as a wealth tax. In 2022, the stock market tumbled about 9 percent on the Dow, 20 percent on the S&P, and 33 percent on the tech-dominated Nasdaq index. A huge string of unrealized losses—obviously, unpredictable—will now be deductible, leading to large swings in total revenue collections.

One single impulse—to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor—drives these concerted efforts to wring more out of the taxation system, if only from a much-reduced wealth base. But even if the markets were to turn around, the fatal flaw in these onerous taxation programs persists in their initial premise: that closing the wealth gap between rich and poor matters more than increasing overall wealth.

Consider two changes in wealth in a two-person society: one person who starts with $10 and another who starts with $20. In one scenario, the wealth of both doubles to $20 and $40, respectively. Classical liberals would see an unambiguous social improvement. Equalitarians might ask whether the increased wealth differential should lead us to reject this new state of affairs where both are better off. In a second scenario, the wealth of each person falls to $5. Should an egalitarian prefer this newfound parity because it eliminates the wealth gap even though it makes both sides worse off?

One who perversely prefers the second scenario to the first shows how far modern tax theory has departed from its classical origins. In the classical liberal ideal, a flat tax to fund public improvements allows for complex changes that are intended to create public benefits that cannot be obtained via market transactions, while avoiding senseless partisan conflict over the wealth tax and its close substitutes. The system is both stable and pro-growth. It works far better than today’s never-ending set of progressive tax gimmicks.