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The Democrats’ Election-Law Circus

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) speaks during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., January 11, 2022. (Sarah Silbiger/Reuters) The Democrats spent the past two weeks holding a circus. The theme of that circus was that American elections would be illegitimate and reimpose “Jim Crow 2.0” unless Congress passed a radical overhaul changing how elections have been held in this country since the Founding. People who ought to know better, including President Joe Biden and Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer, argued that American elections are a “rigged game” (Schumer’s term) or “easily could . . . be illegitimate” (Biden’s words) if their proposals did not pass Congress. The next day, after having had time to consider the uproar caused by the president’s remarks, House majority whip Jim Clyburn said he was “absolutely concerned” that without the passage of the proposals, the 2022 elections would not be legitimate. In other words, this was not a one-off statement by Biden during an extended press conference. Rather, there is a deliberate effort under way by Democrats to preemptively sow doubts about the legitimacy of midterm elections they are widely expected to lose. These rhetorical assaults on the legitimacy of American democracy are playing with fire. They are only words, but then, Donald Trump’s ongoing attacks on the 2020 election are now only words, too. Given the long history of street mobs and riots on the left, it is dangerous to encourage the belief that the 2022 midterm elections and the 2024 presidential elections, if conducted under state laws and in line with pre-pandemic American election procedures, represent an oppressive theft of democracy justifying radical action in response. Perhaps as alarming as the rhetoric is the procedural radicalism of the Democrats. Biden and nearly the entire Senate Democratic caucus signed on to a kamikaze attack on the filibuster, a tool nearly all of them have used, and praised, for decades. Eloquent defenses of the filibuster were an essential element of Biden’s onetime reputation as a Senate institutionalist. Democrats deployed the filibuster hundreds of times during the Trump presidency and used it, most recently, last week to block a bill with 55 votes in support of sanctions on Russia for its Nord Stream 2 pipeline with Germany. In 2017, 30 Democratic senators signed a bipartisan letter to Mitch McConnell asking for him to stand strong against Donald Trump’s pressure to end the filibuster. McConnell, consistent with his principles and against the short-term interests of his party, did just that. #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61eae3f2a230c .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.2rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61eae3f2a230c .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61eae3f2a230c { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61eae3f2a230c .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #e92131; background-color: #e92131; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61eae3f2a24a8 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61eae3f2a24a8 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61eae3f2a24a8 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61eae3f2a24a8 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #eba605; background-color: #eba605; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61eae3f2a2534 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #dd9933; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61eae3f2a2534 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61eae3f2a2534 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61eae3f2a2534 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #dd9933; background-color: #dd9933; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61eae3f2a2592 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61eae3f2a2592 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61eae3f2a2592 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61eae3f2a2592 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } Now, Democrats have made the abolition of the filibuster a litmus test for their party. That will likely harm their electoral prospects for a time, but they will eventually regain a Senate majority. Destroying the filibuster would be a bad thing. Precisely because federal legislation tends to take power from state governments and be nearly impossible in practice to repeal, the filibuster’s requirement of broad, national consensus before passing federal laws is a protection of democratic self-government in the states, the “laboratories of democracy” as progressives such as Louis Brandeis once called them. Politically, the circus was inexplicable. Biden intemperately compared Democratic senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema to Jefferson Davis, Bull Connor, and George Wallace, a tactic that did nothing to make them more interested in voting for his agenda. Schumer used a procedural loophole to force a vote on the filibuster, putting vulnerable Democratic senators such as Mark Kelly and Maggie Hassan on the record ahead of tough reelection bids. All of this for a foreordained failure that will further demoralize and alienate the Democratic voting base and convince independent voters of the Democrats’ radicalism. And for what? The two bills the Democrats are promoting were originally designed as partisan “messaging” bills, not governing agendas. They would bulldoze popular state voter-ID laws; attack the secret ballot by eliminating state laws against “ballot harvesting”; eliminate deadlines for the counting of votes on Election Day; outlaw commonsense methods of removing dead or relocated voters from state voter rolls; greatly expand federal power over redistricting; suppress political speech critical of the government; and subsidize political campaigns and Democratic activist groups that conduct partisan voter-registration drives. The Senate was right to reject these bills. It was right to adhere to its traditional rules for deliberation and debate of changes to our national laws. Democrats burned precious political capital simply to poison the well for acceptance of the upcoming midterm elections and lay the foundation for a perilous assault on core traditions of American governance. None of that reflects well on them. Voters should take notice, and act accordingly.

Stop the Train Robberies

Television cameras report live from railway tracks littered with the remains of items stolen from passing freight trains, in Los Angeles, Calif., January 14, 2022. (Gene Blevins/Reuters) The shocking images tell the tale. Mounds of debris strewn along miles of track. Untold thousands of rifled packages. Stolen goods from the high-end to the quotidian, from Tamara Mellon pumps and the latest in laptops to coveted Covid-19 antigen rapid tests. The photos and videos depicting Union Pacific routes along downtown Los Angeles belie hot-take comparisons to heists of the 19th century Wild West. Those train robbers never had it so good. Never before have such arrays of riches from the world over been so invitingly there for the taking. Unlike their frontier forebears, moreover, modern thieves have no concerns about capture. Sheriff’s deputies and hanging judges? In today’s City of Angels, grand larceny often doesn’t even rate a desk appearance ticket. It is not enough to say the laws protecting property are not being enforced. The laws are not enforced by design. In 2014, the citizens of blue, blue California changed the law to make the stealing of up to $950 a mere misdemeanor. That’s the state of play even before the radical “progressive prosecutors” those citizens have elected get to exercise their discretion not to bring cases. The breadth of the theft is astonishing. At a rate of 90 freight cars ransacked per day, Union Pacific estimates that thefts against its trains are up by more than 160 percent over the last year. In the year ending October 2021, the increase was a mind-boggling 356 percent. #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e997a92bf40 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.2rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e997a92bf40 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e997a92bf40 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e997a92bf40 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #e92131; background-color: #e92131; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e997a92c216 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e997a92c216 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e997a92c216 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e997a92c216 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #eba605; background-color: #eba605; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e997a92c2ee .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #dd9933; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e997a92c2ee .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e997a92c2ee { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e997a92c2ee .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #dd9933; background-color: #dd9933; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e997a92c34e .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e997a92c34e .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e997a92c34e { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e997a92c34e .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } The scheme is vast but simple. On portions of the route, the trains must stop or slow to a crawl – delays sometimes aided by thieves who jump on railcars and pull hand-brakes. The robbers then clamber aboard, armed with bolt-cutters for which the freight-car locks are no match. With the cars open, the free-for-all is on. Groups of robbers — some on their own, some working for stolen-property networks — ransack the storage shelves, rifle through packages, and grab what seems like a big score, discarding the rest and its packaging along the tracks. Other scavengers subsequently mine the mounds for valuables left behind. The remnant material mounts, swaying in the breeze and rotting in the sun. There is no complexity here. This breakdown of order is happening because the bedrock of civilized society, the rule of law, has been abandoned. For Los Angeles district attorney George Gasćon, a paradigm exemplar of today’s progressive prosecutors, this is literally the express-track redistribution of wealth. Having cruised into his elected office thanks to the prodigious hard-Left funding streams channeled by the likes of George Soros, Gasćon is doing what he was sent there to do — ignore the laws. The temptation, of course, is to say that this is democracy, so LA’s progressives should get the dysfunction they voted for . . . good and hard. Except this is not a just municipal issue, or even a California issue. Fully 40 percent of goods imported into the United States come through ports in Southern California. A goodly percentage of that haul is transported from the West Coast to its eventual markets by rail. A lawless black hole into which billions of dollars in goods disappear is a national crime challenge. It is an interruption of not just interstate but international commerce, at a time when surging inflation, empty consumer shelves, and supply-chain disruptions are bludgeoning the U.S. economy. Our governing structure vests police power in the states. Constitutionally speaking, the main reason for having federal law enforcement is to vouchsafe interstate and international commerce. The progressive expansion of federal power has intruded Washington and its administrative state into many areas of traditional state regulation; but protecting the facilities of interstate commerce and national markets is a core federal duty. So where is the Justice Department on the California train heists? Where is the FBI? We would like to think they are building cases against the organized-crime enterprises and ad hoc theft-fencing schemes behind the crippling spate of train robberies. So far, though, they appear to be AWOL. Their passivity, like Gasćon’s dereliction of duty, is turning a national embarrassment into a national crisis. At his press conference on Wednesday, President Biden assured Americans that he is not a captive of the Left — not a socialist, just a traditional moderate Democrat who wants Americans to be safe and prosperous. If the president is serious, the Justice Department and the FBI must restore the rule of law to the economically vital system of interstate rail shipping. Immediately.

Youngkin Starts Strong and Keeps His Promises

Glenn Youngkin speaks during his election-night party in Chantilly, Va., November 3, 2021. (Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters) Something unusual is happening: A politician is keeping his campaign promises. Republican Glenn Youngkin was elected governor of Virginia in November, and he took office on Saturday. In his inaugural address, he reiterated many of the promises he made on the campaign trail. He affirmed the goodness of the American Founding. He said children should be in school, in person, five days per week. He said parents should have a say in education. He said he would cut taxes. He said he would make sure law enforcement is fully funded and supported. And then — this is the crazy part — he started actually doing those things. In a flurry of executive orders on his first day in office, Youngkin created a carveout from local mask mandates in K–12 schools for parents who don’t want their kids to mask, prohibited critical race theory in K–12 education, and ordered the attorney general to investigate sexual assaults in Loudoun County Public Schools. He fired every member of the Virginia Parole Board (which had been mired in scandal) and appointed new members “to restore integrity and confidence” in the criminal-justice system. He withdrew Virginia from a regional green-energy initiative that was increasing electricity prices. Then he addressed a joint session of the Virginia General Assembly to introduce his legislative priorities. He said he’d veto any legislation that would reverse Virginia’s status as a right-to-work state. He wants Virginia’s sales tax on groceries to be eliminated and wants the standard deduction for income taxes to be increased. He wants more state aid to local police departments. He also emphasized two issues progressives claim to support — an increase in teacher pay and reducing water pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e7fdfd207bb .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.2rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e7fdfd207bb .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e7fdfd207bb { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e7fdfd207bb .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #e92131; background-color: #e92131; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e7fdfd2094f .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e7fdfd2094f .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e7fdfd2094f { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e7fdfd2094f .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #eba605; background-color: #eba605; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e7fdfd209db .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #dd9933; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e7fdfd209db .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e7fdfd209db { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e7fdfd209db .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #dd9933; background-color: #dd9933; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e7fdfd20a6b .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e7fdfd20a6b .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e7fdfd20a6b { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e7fdfd20a6b .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } Youngkin will certainly run into challenges implementing his agenda, and we obviously shouldn’t mistake his strong start with successful governance. The most immediate obstacle relates to his executive order on mask mandates. The General Assembly passed a law in 2021 that ordered school boards to adopt Covid policies that adhere “to the maximum extent practicable, to any currently applicable mitigation strategies . . . that have been provided by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” The law doesn’t specifically mention masks, but the CDC — in an approach that is more sweeping and extreme than that of its European counterpart or the WHO — recommends kids aged two and above wear masks in school. Opponents of Youngkin’s executive order argue that it exceeds his authority and opens school districts up to lawsuits if they relax their masking policies. Supporters argue that since the Virginia law doesn’t mention masks specifically, the attorney general can issue guidance saying school districts can choose which mitigation measures they want to use. They also point to another Virginia statute that says a parent “has a fundamental right to make decisions concerning the upbringing, education, and care of the parent’s child.” The best way to settle the legal question would be for the legislature to repeal the 2021 law. Youngkin’s more important obstacle for his entire agenda is the 21–19 Democratic majority in the Virginia Senate. Republicans won back the House of Delegates majority last year, but senators have four-year terms, and they aren’t up for election again until 2023. With Lieutenant Governor Winsome Sears serving as Senate president, Republicans will only need one Democratic defection to pass legislation with Sears’s tie-breaking vote. But if Democrats hold their entire caucus together, they’ll be able to stop Youngkin’s legislative agenda at least until Republicans have a chance to retake the majority for the second half of Youngkin’s term. The Left is busy convincing itself that Youngkin has morphed into a radical. Eileen Filler-Corn, the minority leader of the House of Delegates, called Youngkin “out of touch” and said, “This is not the type of governor Glenn Youngkin promised to be on the campaign trail.” But it is exactly the type of governor he promised to be, and Virginia voters sent a pretty clear message in November that they believe Democrats are the ones who are out of touch. Virginia Democrats are backing themselves into a corner as the party of school closures, forever masking, and lax education standards, not to mention the higher taxes and energy costs that are the usual unpopular parts of progressive governance. That leaves a lot of political ground for Republicans to take, and Youngkin has started to take it. That, not his purported radicalism, is what has progressives in a bind. They don’t understand that more voters in the last election viewed them as the radical ones, and Youngkin’s election and first few days in office have made that fact clear for anyone to see. To which we say, bravo. Something to Consider If you enjoyed this article, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS. Members get all of our content on the site including the digital magazine and archives, no paywalls or content meters, an advertising-minimal experience, and unique access to our writers and editors (through conference calls, social media groups, and more). And importantly, NRPLUS members help keep NR going. If you enjoyed this article and want to see more premium content like this, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS. Become a Member

Fauci Must Go

Dr. Anthony Fauci answers questions during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to examine the federal response to Covid-19 in Washington, D.C., January 11, 2022. (Greg Nash/Pool via Reuters) President Joe Biden should relieve Dr. Anthony Fauci of his duties at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as chief medical adviser to the White House, and as the public face of the American government’s response to Covid-19. It is past time for public-health policy to shift to acknowledging that Covid-19 is an endemic disease and, for the most part, a risk for individuals to manage. Fauci stands in the way of executing that shift and communicating it to the public. Fauci’s own behavior has undermined public trust in the response to the pandemic: by sitting for celebrity puff profiles and documentaries, by stifling public debate about the origins of Covid-19 and the proper response to it, by responding in lawyerly and evasive fashion to questions about NIH research dollars supporting work at the Wuhan lab. In his nasty spats with Senator Rand Paul and other officeholders, he hasn’t simply parried criticisms but tried to land political blows himself. It has always been bizarre that the head of an obscure agency has soaked up so much media attention. Over the past two years, Fauci has done so many interviews with so many outlets — from Sunday shows to obscure podcasts — that one wonders how he had time for his day job. Nearly everyone in Washington enjoys being in front of a microphone, but even the most shameless media hogs might blush at Fauci’s interview schedule. It would be one thing if Fauci were merely delivering updates on the state of Covid. But he has gone way beyond that and delved into pure self-promotion. How did the appearance of Fauci on the cover of InStyle, sitting by the pool in sunglasses, declaring, “With all due modesty, I think I’m pretty effective,” advance public health? Fauci has been subject to unfair attacks and deranged threats, and made the subject of hysterical “plandemic” conspiracy theories. He deserved none of these. He arguably played a valuable role in the early stages of the pandemic, when many Americans found him a comforting voice. He was an experienced doctor and public-health official who had served every president since Ronald Reagan, and he had passed through and learned from the political storms and medical uncertainties of the AIDS crisis. When President Trump was inconstant, was inattentive, or seemed to wish away the crisis, Fauci presented a sober, reassuring confidence in the power of scientific inquiry to help us navigate this crisis. #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e6a4db99017 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.2rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e6a4db99017 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e6a4db99017 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e6a4db99017 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #e92131; background-color: #e92131; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e6a4db99181 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e6a4db99181 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e6a4db99181 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e6a4db99181 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #eba605; background-color: #eba605; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e6a4db991f0 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #dd9933; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e6a4db991f0 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e6a4db991f0 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e6a4db991f0 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #dd9933; background-color: #dd9933; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e6a4db99257 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e6a4db99257 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e6a4db99257 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e6a4db99257 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } But that was a long time ago. By his own admission, Fauci misleads the public. When trying to explain why, before he adopted them for himself, he had disparaged the use of cloth masks, he explained that people in the public-health community were trying to preserve masks for front-line workers. “There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask,” he said in March 2020. “When you’re in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better, and it might even block a droplet, but it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is. And, often, there are unintended consequences — people keep fiddling with the mask, and they keep touching their face.” He did not trust the public to restrain themselves. Score this as a lie and a slur. This was a public that was already making wrenching, unthinkable sacrifices — with Americans forgoing the funerals of loved ones, surrendering their jobs, and closing down their businesses — in an attempt to meet the ultimately unrealistic task public health had set for them of stopping the spread of Covid-19. They deserved candor. In a December 2020 interview with the New York Times, Fauci acknowledged that he had been continuously shifting the goalposts on when he thought herd immunity to Covid-19 might be reached. Reporter Donald McNeil Jr. correctly characterized this change as being based “partly on [Fauci’s] gut feeling that the country is finally ready to hear what he really thinks.” This pattern of intentional deceit is totally unbecoming for a public servant. Trying to shape or manipulate public opinion and behavior is not the job of public-health experts; their job is to clearly and candidly inform a self-governing people and their representatives. Trust works only if it goes two ways. A free, curious, and inquisitive people subjected to this behavior from their leaders will naturally recoil at other government claims about vaccines or therapeutics. Fauci has peremptorily dismissed criticism of his work as criticism of science itself. The effect has been to bring science into disrepute. Fauci participated in and amplified the smoke-and-mirrors public-relations campaign launched by EcoHealth Alliance’s Dr. Peter Daszak to rule out the lab-leak theory of Covid-19 as a conspiracy theory. Subsequent email leaks and FOIA requests have shown Fauci acting more like the head of a cartel of scientific experts. A post-pandemic investigation should determine whether the American and global-health response to the pandemic was stymied and slowed because of the prejudices and hobbyhorses of a handful of bureaucrats in Washington, including Dr. Fauci, who control the distribution of $32 billion annually. These dollars fund nearly all of the lifeblood of biomedical inquiry, money that pays even the salaries of low-level biology professors. Fauci’s political dispositions shape his alarmism and discredited him with a large swath of the country that any viable public-health strategy has to be able to reach. He denounced people for attending college-football games in a region of the country where Covid was in seasonal decline. No outbreak materialized. He’s been under fire from Republican senators and House members and has handled it increasingly poorly — he was caught on a hot mic calling Senator Roger Marshall a “moron” during a Senate hearing last week. Fauci’s claim that he himself “represents the science” and his admitted deceptions of the public are incompatible with each other and intolerably insolent to boot. Most important, they subvert and undermine American self-government. He must go. Something to Consider If you enjoyed this article, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS. 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Supreme Court’s Welcome Rejection of Biden’s Covid-Vaccine Mandate

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the authorization of the coronavirus vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11 during a speech at the White House in Washington, D.C., November 3, 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters) On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court acted swiftly to block the enforcement of President Biden’s attempt to impose a sweeping Covid-vaccine mandate on large employers that would have impacted 84 million Americans. This is welcome news. Biden, in an effort to coerce holdouts into getting vaccinated, tried to claim OSHA emergency powers to require all businesses with 100 or more employees to force workers to take the Covid vaccines or submit to weekly testing. The rule would have applied to two-thirds of private employers, making it unprecedented in scope. In the 6–3 decision (with the liberal bloc predictably dissenting), justices granted a stay that prevents the Biden administration from implementing the rule, determining that the National Federation of Independent Businesses and 27 states challenging the rule would be likely to prevail on the merits. The Biden order rested on a rarely deployed vehicle available to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration known as the Emergency Temporary Standard, which provides a fast-track process for implementing rules, bypassing the normal public-comment period. The majority pointed out that, of the nine previous times since its creation in 1970 that OSHA cited the standard (prior to the coronavirus pandemic), six rules have been challenged in court, and only one use had been fully upheld. None of the prior uses had been as broad as what Biden was attempting. When the Court rejected the Biden’s eviction moratorium in last year’s Alabama Association of Realtors v. HHS decision, justices wrote, “We expect Congress to speak clearly when authorizing an agency to exercise powers of vast economic and political significance.” #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e0b2ff731f7 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.2rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e0b2ff731f7 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e0b2ff731f7 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e0b2ff731f7 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #e92131; background-color: #e92131; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e0b2ff73433 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e0b2ff73433 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e0b2ff73433 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e0b2ff73433 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #eba605; background-color: #eba605; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e0b2ff734c3 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #dd9933; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e0b2ff734c3 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e0b2ff734c3 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e0b2ff734c3 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #dd9933; background-color: #dd9933; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e0b2ff73579 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e0b2ff73579 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e0b2ff73579 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e0b2ff73579 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } Citing this standard, the majority concluded that Congress had not given OSHA such broad authority to enact a de facto vaccine mandate. While OSHA has the authority to regulate workplace safety, justices reasoned, in this case, it was attempting to use that authority to issue a sweeping rule to address a public-health issue in which the threat is not limited to the workplace. “Although COVID–19 is a risk that occurs in many workplaces, it is not an occupational hazard in most,” the majority wrote. “COVID–19 can and does spread at home, in schools, during sporting events, and everywhere else that people gather.” The justices went on to write that, “Permitting OSHA to regulate the hazards of daily life—simply because most Americans have jobs and face those same risks while on the clock—would significantly expand OSHA’s regulatory authority without clear congressional authorization.” A concurrence, written by Justice Gorsuch (and joined by Justices Thomas and Alito), articulated that the Constitution clearly gives the power to Congress, not OSHA, on how to respond to a pandemic — and that the fact that the nation is in the midst of an emergency should have no influence on their decision. Gorsuch wrote that, were justices to adhere to properly applying the law “only in more tranquil conditions, declarations of emergencies would never end and the liberties our Constitution’s separation of powers seeks to preserve would amount to little.” The justices were more receptive to a separate Biden mandate on health-care workers, with Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kavanaugh joining the liberals to allow it to go into effect. The decision hinged on the authority granted to the secretary of HHS by Congress to administer Medicare and Medicaid and impose requirements on hospitals accepting payment from the programs. The law says that the secretary of HHS can take actions he deems “necessary in the interest of the health and safety of individuals who are furnished services in the institution.” The majority concluded that it was within the authority of Secretary Xavier Becerra to determine that vaccination of health-care workers was necessary to ensure the safety of Medicare and Medicaid patients (especially given that the Medicare population is older and more vulnerable). While we side with Justice Thomas and the rest of the conservative dissenters (Justices Alito, Gorsuch, and Barrett) who spelled out why the HHS secretary’s authority should be seen as narrower, unfortunately the vast powers granted to the department through the Medicare and Medicaid programs made this mandate a more difficult legal challenge than the one to the OSHA rule. The Court’s decision to block the vaccine mandate on large private employers should be considered a victory for the separation of powers and another defeat for Biden’s clumsy attempt to subvert the rule of law.

How Deep Was Cardona’s Role in ‘Domestic Terror’ School-Board Letter?

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona delivers remarks to honor the Council of Chief State School Officers’ 2020 and 2021 State and National Teachers of the Year at the White House in Washington, October 18, 2021. (Leah Millis/Reuters) In September, the National School Boards Association sent the White House a letter likening school-board protesters to “domestic terrorists” and requested that the administration use any laws at its disposal, including the anti-terrorism PATRIOT Act, to investigate. At the time, parents across the nation were confronting school boards over their support for Covid masking, shutdowns, and curricula that included critical race theory or associated anti-American and racialist materials. These issues were at the center of numerous political campaigns, most notably Virginia’s governor’s race. Attorney General Merrick Garland swiftly acquiesced to this odd and unprecedented request. He issued a memorandum to the FBI and U.S. attorneys’ offices directing both to investigate parents protesting school boards and promised to look at a “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff,” even though the vast majority of the incidents forwarded by the NSBA did not involve any threats of physical violence. Even the threats did not warrant federal involvement. But Garland’s act served to put parents who had voiced legitimate grievances regarding their children’s education under a pall of suspicion. When a tweet from critical-race-theory opponent Christopher Rufo that highlighted the letter went viral, numerous major media outlets attempted to gaslight the public. “Contrary to false claims circulating online,” one Associated Press “fact check” noted, “the National School Boards Association didn’t ask President Joe Biden to label protesting parents ‘domestic terrorists,’ and there’s no indication Biden or the Justice Department called them terrorists, either.” Yet the letter literally used the words “domestic terrorists” on two separate occasions. And it was no accident. The administration’s involvement was predicated on the existence of potential widespread violent “domestic terror.” It was the only real justification for White House intervention using the PATRIOT Act. #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e05cbeb2873 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.2rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e05cbeb2873 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e05cbeb2873 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e05cbeb2873 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #e92131; background-color: #e92131; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e05cbeb29bc .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e05cbeb29bc .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e05cbeb29bc { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e05cbeb29bc .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #eba605; background-color: #eba605; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e05cbeb2a29 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #dd9933; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e05cbeb2a29 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e05cbeb2a29 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e05cbeb2a29 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #dd9933; background-color: #dd9933; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e05cbeb2a93 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e05cbeb2a93 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e05cbeb2a93 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61e05cbeb2a93 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } After the issue blew up, the NSBA apologized for sending the letter, noting that there “was no justification for some of the language included in the letter. We should have had a better process in place to allow for consultation on a communication of this significance.” But, as it turns out, the NSBA had indeed consulted with someone on the letter: Education secretary Miguel Cardona. Internal emails, obtained by Parents Defending Education through a Freedom of Information Act request, show that the NSBA coordinated with the White House and the Department of Justice before sending President Biden its request. In an email dated October 5, NSBA secretary-treasurer Kristi Swett noted that NSBA interim CEO Chip Slaven “told the officers he was writing a letter to provide information to the White House, from a request by Secretary Cardona.” In another memo, Viola Garcia, then NSBA president (soon to be appointed to a cushy federal job by Cardona), detailed the organization’s interactions with the administration leading up to the letter. In a carefully worded statement, an Education Department spokesperson claims that while Cardona “did not solicit a letter from the NSBA, to understand the views and concerns of stakeholders, the Department routinely engages with students, teachers, parents, district leaders and education associates.” Did the Biden administration really seek to understand the views and concerns of stakeholders, or did Cardona offer the NSBA specific advice on how to ease the way for Garland to write his memorandum? Whose idea was it to use the “domestic terror” verbiage and bring up the Patriot Act as an investigative tool? Such a scandal deserves congressional hearings. And if Cardona helped engineer this transparently political effort to chill speech, he should resign forthwith.

Biden’s Disgraceful Voting Speech

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on voting rights during a speech on the grounds of Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Ga., January 11, 2022. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters) Joe Biden has had a long career of careless pronouncements and demagogic speeches, but he outdid himself with his cynical rant in Georgia on Tuesday afternoon. In a push to pass two sweeping Democratic voting bills federalizing a swath of election rules, Biden took a rhetorical sledgehammer to the legitimacy of America’s elections and identified opponents of the bills as domestic “enemies” on par with some of the most reprehensible figures in U.S. history. It was a disgraceful performance, witless and sloppy even by Joe Biden’s standards. He picked Georgia as the location of his speech because the state has been smeared by the Left, with Stacey Abrams leading the way, as a hotbed of voter suppression for years, culminating in last year’s election-reform bill signed into law by Republican governor Brian Kemp. Despite practically every Democrat in the country believing, or pretending to believe, Abrams’s contention that discriminatory voting rules robbed her of victory in her 2018 gubernatorial race against Kemp, Georgia long ago adopted some of the rules now considered indispensable to democracy. The state has had no-excuse absentee voting for 15 years, widely available early voting for more than a decade, and automatic registration since 2016. The League of Women Voters in Georgia has complained that it’s hard to find anyone new to register to vote. #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61df0f8d219e9 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.2rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61df0f8d219e9 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61df0f8d219e9 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61df0f8d219e9 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #e92131; background-color: #e92131; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61df0f8d21c8c .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61df0f8d21c8c .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61df0f8d21c8c { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61df0f8d21c8c .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #eba605; background-color: #eba605; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61df0f8d21d59 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #dd9933; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61df0f8d21d59 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61df0f8d21d59 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61df0f8d21d59 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #dd9933; background-color: #dd9933; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61df0f8d21dfd .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61df0f8d21dfd .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61df0f8d21dfd { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61df0f8d21dfd .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } Not surprisingly, the alleged voter suppression that Abrams has made a political career out of decrying has been nowhere in evidence. Turnout in her gubernatorial election was almost as high as in the presidential election of 2016 and much higher than the gubernatorial election four years prior. In 2020, turnout exceeded 2008, when Barack Obama fueled big numbers. The Senate runoffs last January doubled what had been the previous record for turnout in a runoff. The charge now is that Georgia’s reforms will reverse all this. It simply isn’t true. The law doesn’t limit no-excuse absentee voting, and expands hours available for early voting. In his indictment, Biden specifically mentioned long lines, which are a function of incompetent local election administration, not state policy (and the reform law tries to address long lines); limits on drop-boxes, a pandemic innovation that is being preserved, if scaled back; allegedly making it harder to vote by mail, presumably a reference to the state’s moving away from signature match as a way to verify ballots — signatures have long been thought to be too inexact — and using driver’s license numbers instead; and restrictions on giving food and water to voters standing in line, a provision meant to prevent politicking among voters in line that was inspired by a similar rule in New York State. Biden also hit a change that allows the state election board to remove the local election board in underperforming counties. The worry is that this capability will be used to rig the vote in localities. That’s not very plausible, though. Under the law, an investigation has to take place for 30 days before such a takeover, and the county can appeal to a judge. Since elections in Georgia have to be certified in ten days, this doesn’t leave enough time for the state board — assuming it was this brazen — to take over a county and change its vote count. More broadly, Republicans around the country who are on board with Donald Trump’s lies about 2020 and running for state and local election offices would encounter insuperable legal obstacles if they tried to disregard the democratic vote tally after another Trump run in 2024. Notwithstanding all of this, Biden declared our democracy in crisis and said it had to be fixed over the next couple of days. That’s when the Senate is supposed to eliminate the filibuster on the narrowest possible partisan vote — never mind that Biden has been a passionate defender of the filibuster for decades — and then pass sweeping bills nationalizing our elections on the narrowest possible partisan votes. Absent the political equivalent of a meteor strike, none of this will happen. So Biden will have further undermined the legitimacy of our elections for no reason even on his own terms. Perhaps he thinks it’s worth it to play to his party’s base, but surely Democrats will notice — and feel let down — when the alleged crisis the president says absolutely must be addressed is not addressed. So the Georgia speech wasn’t just low and dishonest, it was likely politically incompetent as well — the Biden trifecta.

Anniversary of a Disgrace

Protesters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., January 6, 2021. (Leah Millis/Reuters) On January 6, 2021, Mike Pence presided over a constitutionally mandated joint session of Congress to count the electoral votes. The Trump-Pence campaign disputed the 2020 results in election contests and in court, but by January 6, the legal options were exhausted. Each state government sent only a single slate of electors to be counted. Under our Constitution and laws, nothing remained but to count the votes. Instead, an angry mob descended upon the Capitol to prevent that from happening. This will, and should, be remembered as a stain on the nation’s history. There is no defense for what the mob did that day. None. The people have a right to form loud, angry crowds to petition and protest their government. They need not do so in ways that are pleasant or polite. The “Stop the Steal” protesters who listened to the speeches and went home were exercising their rights as citizens. But ours is a government of laws, not of men. A rule-of-law system has no place for physical intimidation or mobs obstructing the peaceful, constitutional transfer of power. The Founding Fathers feared few things more than mob rule. They created a federal district to avoid a repeat of a 1783 riot around the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. There is also no defense of what Donald Trump did to summon the crowd, tell it that there remained any option but counting Biden’s electoral victory, and urge the assemblage to march on the Capitol because “if we allow this group of people to illegally take over our country . . . you’re not going to have a country anymore.” Trump’s recklessness disgraced the office of the presidency. Additionally, there is no defense of Trump’s pressuring Pence to take unilateral, unlawful action against the counting of electoral votes, then telling the crowd that Pence might do so, knowing full well that they would discover when they reached the Capitol that Pence would not. Some of them, entering the Capitol, chanted, “Hang Mike Pence.” It was Trump who led them to believe that his own vice president was allowing their country to be stolen. For that matter, there is no defense of Trump’s prolonging the election contest far beyond the point of plausibility, spreading blatant lies about the election, and pressuring state legislators and governors to usurp their states’ popular votes and certify electors not chosen by the people. What happened at the Capitol that day is best understood as a riot that was particularly dangerous because of its setting and context. It was not a purely peaceful protest, or a cartoonish costume party with a little bit of trespassing. The Secret Service had to rush Pence to safety. Members of Congress emptied the chamber and fled for cover. The vote-counting process was interrupted for five-and-a-half hours. The Capitol itself was wreathed in smoke. This is the stuff of a banana republic. #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61d6da56323c6 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.2rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61d6da56323c6 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61d6da56323c6 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61d6da56323c6 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #e92131; background-color: #e92131; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61d6da56325b1 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61d6da56325b1 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61d6da56325b1 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61d6da56325b1 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #eba605; background-color: #eba605; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61d6da5632651 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.3rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #dd9933; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61d6da5632651 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61d6da5632651 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #999999; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61d6da5632651 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #dd9933; background-color: #dd9933; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61d6da56326d6 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.5rem; line-height: 1.7rem; color: #0f733c; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61d6da56326d6 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #2d2d2d; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61d6da56326d6 { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-61d6da56326d6 .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #0f733c; background-color: #0f733c; color: #ffffff; } January 6 was a day shrouded in tragedy. Four of the protesters died, including one woman who was shot by Capitol Police while she was breaking through a door at the head of a screaming mob, and a 42-year-old Capitol Police officer who was pepper-sprayed had a pair of fatal strokes just eight hours later. Even if not all these deaths are directly attributable to the riot, the mayhem that day has been documented on video — people being stomped on, one officer being beaten with an American flagpole, rioters crushing one police officer in a door. The violence is why, of the more than 700 people who have been arrested, over 200 have been charged with assault or resisting arrest, including scores charged with assaulting police with dangerous weapons (mainly toxic sprays). Police officials report that 140 officers suffered injuries including bad cuts and bruises, burns, and broken bones. There was also damage to the Capitol that was estimated to exceed $1 million. Defenders of Trump and apologists for the riot argue that the events of January 6 did not emerge out of nowhere. It is true that past Democratic misconduct helped to set the stage for the riot, but that does not exonerate Trump or the rioters. For two decades, prominent Democrats have attacked the legitimacy of American elections. They claimed that the 2000 election was stolen from Al Gore. They indulged ridiculous fantasies about Ohio being stolen in 2004, resulting in dozens of Democratic members of Congress objecting to counting its electoral votes. Many of those Democrats are now powerful committee chairs, including the chair of the committee investigating January 6. Violent protests marred Trump’s inauguration, and leading Democrats denounced him as illegitimate. Polls showed that supermajorities of Democratic voters believed that Russian hackers stole the 2016 election from Hillary Clinton, and she has given every indication that she shares that view. In 2018, Stacey Abrams was anointed a hero by her party for refusing to accept the legitimacy of her loss of a governor’s race. It would have been wrong for Trump to emulate this behavior; but he went well beyond what even the most reckless Democrat has done in contesting an election. Left-wing mobs have targeted the workings of government, for example overwhelming the Wisconsin state capitol in 2011 to protest Scott Walker’s union-dues bill. Republican legislators had to be evacuated by police, as Democratic legislators egged on the mob. In 2018, protesters repeatedly disrupted the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, chased Republican senators down hallways and into elevators, accosted them in restaurants, and broke through Capitol barricades, resulting in hundreds of arrests. Law enforcement was unduly lax in punishing these offenses against democratic self-government. In the summer of 2020, riots convulsed many American cities with courthouses and businesses burned and police assaulted. Democratic politicians pandered shamefully to the rioters and in many cases went easy on prosecuting them. Media outlets expressed horror at deploying police and the National Guard to restore order. The conflict between the Trump administration and D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser over the summer of 2020 seems to have contributed particularly to the sluggish response to the Capitol riot. There is significant force to the claim that Democrats have forged a two-tiered justice system in which the radical Left gets a comparative pass for politically motivated violence. But then, two wrongs do not make a right. The January 6 anniversary calls for serious reflection on how it happened and why it failed. Unfortunately, Democratic politicians and the media allies prefer hysteria, hyperbole, and crass opportunism. Democrats intend to use the January 6 anniversary to pressure two of their own senators (Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona) to join them in abolishing the filibuster for the purpose of enabling a federal takeover of voting and elections, the suppression of political speech, and radical reform of everything from congressional districts to judicial ethics. This is cynical politics. If they were serious, they would instead focus on reforming the Electoral Count Act. The New York Times editorializes that “Every Day Is Jan. 6 Now,” and one of its columnists argues that Democrats should “Wave the ‘Bloody Shirt’ of Jan. 6” as Republicans did against Democrats after the Civil War — as if this compares to a four-year war in which 3 million Americans served and 750,000 died. Other opportunists (including Joe Biden) call the riot the “worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War” or say it is comparable to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. CNN and other cable news obsessives plan wall-to-wall coverage of the anniversary in order to inflate its importance and help Democrats wave that bloody shirt. This is a loss of perspective. In 1915, a former Harvard professor set off a bomb at the Capitol and shot J. P. Morgan. In 1954, five congressmen were shot by Puerto Rican nationalists in the House chamber. In the early 1970s, the left-wing Weather Underground set off bombs at the Capitol, the Pentagon, and the State Department. In 1983–84, the Communist group M19 bombed the Capitol, an FBI office, and Fort McNair and the Navy Yard in D.C. In 2001, 3,000 people died on 9/11, air travel was grounded across the country, the president was shuttled to a secure location, and a wing of the Pentagon was destroyed. In 2017, a gun-toting Bernie Sanders supporter attempted to massacre Republican congressmen at a baseball practice, gravely wounding Steve Scalise, the Republican House whip. America has the world’s oldest constitutional democracy. Our system has outlasted many others because we distribute power that is centralized in other nations and bounded by rule-of-law norms. Though the riot was heinous, it was not an existential threat — the electoral votes were going to be counted and Biden acknowledged as the winner, an eventuality that was delayed by a few hours but never in doubt. Power to overturn the vote counts did not lie in one man or one city; it was spread out among state legislatures, governor’s mansions, state and local elections officers, the vice presidency, Congress, and the courts, beyond the reach of a single Parisian-style mob. Over and over again, Republicans in those positions turned away Trump’s pressure — but the burden never lay on a single pair of shoulders. By contrast, the Republicans in Congress who shamefully supported the objections to Biden’s election mostly did so in the same fashion as the Democrats who objected to prior presidential elections — secure in the knowledge that they were participating in a cynical stunt and would be saved from the consequences of their actions by others. Many of the January 6 opportunists on the left want to respond by enacting centralizing changes to the American system. But in January 2022, as in January 2021, we should mistrust anyone who says we won’t have a country if we let the system work as it always has. America works, and its system should not be burned down in the name of saving it.

Race-Rationing in a Pandemic

People wait to receive Covid vaccinations at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, March 2, 2021. (Mike Segar/Reuters) A century ago, the Soviet dissident writer Yevgeny Zamyatin novelized a future dystopia in which equality was taken so seriously that peculiarly athletic people might have one of their limbs lopped off by the state, to even things up. New York State is now trying something similar: In the cause of racial equality, it advises doctors to deny white people life-saving medicine for Covid-19. To do so, it insultingly treats non-whiteness as a serious medical malady. A memo from the state Health Department, approved by Governor Kathy Hochul, stated that, along with considerations of age, weight, and severity of symptoms, race should be a factor in the rationing of Pfizer’s Paxlovid pill and monoclonal antibody treatments: Non-white race or Hispanic/Latino ethnicity should be considered a risk factor as longstanding systemic health and social inequities have contributed to an increased risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19. To be clear, white people in New York can still be prescribed these treatments if they are available. However, non-white patients are presumed, because of their non-whiteness, to suffer from social inequalities that exacerbate their likelihood of illness and death, and are therefore instantly eligible for them. If Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet, should fall ill from Covid in New York, and be in similar straits to those of a white New York City streetsweeper, New York’s guidance suggests that Pichai (net worth: approximately $600 million), should be given priority in the name of equality. Or at least that Pichai’s race should be weighted in rationing decisions as a serious co-morbidity. Strangely, this is not the first time in the pandemic that public-health bodies have tried overt and blunt forms of racial discrimination — as if their job weren’t to stop the pandemic, but to smooth out the distribution of social outcomes between racial groups. In 2020, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Vaccines suggested racial preferences for the distribution of the vaccine. This form of madness was thankfully abandoned. But in overwhelmingly white Vermont, a Republican governor defended racial preferences for vaccines. New York City’s guidance also calls for racial preferences, and doctors there have been asked to report the race of those receiving life-saving Covid treatments. While it can be argued that some racial groups have suffered more during the pandemic, it is usually because they are more likely to live in crowded housing, to be essential workers, or to have comorbidities such as severe obesity. Prioritizing a public-health response to meet people in those situations — in a racially neutral manner — can be appropriate policy. What New York State has proposed is something else, something more like the positive discrimination preached by Ibram X. Kendi: All government policy must actively discriminate against whites until equality is achieved. Be anti-racist, deny anti-virals to the sick. It should suffice to point out this form of egalitarianism defies New York State’s own constitution, which forbids corporations, institutions, and state agencies to discriminate on the basis of “race, color, creed or religion.” But the policy is also stupid and immoral. Like most forms of affirmative action, it would not solve inequalities, but confuse and flummox administrators who seek to do their job fairly and ethically, while benefitting most those members of racial minority groups who are privileged enough to game the system. Worse, by treating racial status as an inherent disability, or disqualification for treatment, it trespasses on the most ancient principle of medical ethics: Do no harm or injustice.

Keep the Schools Open

Parents walk with children to school amid the Covid pandemic in Brooklyn, N.Y., October 4, 2021. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters) NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE A nthony Fauci, Miguel Cardona, and National Review don’t agree on much. But we do agree on this: In-person K–12 instruction should not be canceled on account of Covid. Not that long ago, “in-person K–12 instruction” would have been redundant. Everyone understood that going to school, sitting in classrooms, eating lunch with friends, and playing outside at recess were important parts of childhood development. The pandemic intervened in March 2020, and many schools went online. At the very start, when we didn’t know what we were dealing with, that was perhaps a defensible position. In January 2022, it is not. Even Anthony Fauci, with … To Read the Full Story

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