IN TODAY’S EDITION
- A West Point graduate promotes communism and Che Guevara while in uniform.
- The media got it very wrong in reporting about Steelers linebacker Villanueva.
- Roy Moore handily defeated Luther Strange in Alabama — what that means.
- Daily Features: Top Headlines, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.
“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.” —Thomas Paine (1777)
By Mark Alexander
2LT Spenser Rapone is a 2016 graduate of the United States Military Academy, West Point — a privileged appointee who was educated at an estimated cost to taxpayers of $400,000.
Last weekend, as a show of solidarity with the petulant NFL kneelers, Rapone posted photos of himself to social media under his handle, “Commie Bebop.” The photos were taken on graduation day in his USMA uniform, one displaying his cover with the message “communism will win” and another revealing a Che Guevara t-shirt under his uniform shirt.
When I first saw the photos, I assumed they must be fake — no cadet would be so brazenly stupid as to subscribe to such nonsense, much less post photos of himself promoting it while in uniform. But Rapone responded to questions about authenticity, “In case there was any lingering doubt, ‘hasta la victoria siempre’!”
“Until victory, always!” is a 1965 Cuban song written to honor Che’s communist revolutionary legacy.
Rapone, now assigned to the 10th Mountain Division in Fort Drum, New York, apparently missed a few classes while at West Point — particularly those on the Uniform Code of Military Justice. DoD Directive 1344.10 defines the Communist Party as a political entity. DoD Directive 1344.01 defines the regulations pertaining to military uniforms. Promoting a political party in uniform and on a military installation is a serious violation.
Turns out, Rapone is a self-styled taxpayer-sponsored communist revolutionary. He is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and has posted photos of his uniform with his DSA membership name tag attached. The DSA confirms, “Spenser Rapone is our comrade and we fully support, defend, and encourage him to take whatever steps he sees necessary to express his political beliefs and continue to organize towards a socialist future. Let there be no doubt that we have unequivocal solidarity with and pride in Spenser.”
West Point issued this statement: “The U.S. Military Academy strives to develop leaders who internalize the academy’s motto of Duty, Honor, Country, and who live the Army values. Second Lieutenant Rapone’s actions in no way reflect the values of the U.S. Military Academy or the U.S. Army. As figures of public trust, members of the military must exhibit exemplary conduct, and are prohibited from engaging in certain expressions of political speech in uniform. Second Lieutenant Rapone’s chain of command is aware of his actions and is looking into the matter. The academy is prepared to assist the officer’s chain of command as required.”
The 10th Mountain’s Public Affairs Officer, LTC Tonya Stokes, declared, “When our soldiers are in uniform, politics must be set aside. Our uniform represents every corner of our nation and it cannot be used to promote any single ideology.”
In the good old days when I was being interviewed for security clearances, I was asked, “Have you ever been a member of or supported the Communist Party?” Any evidence in the affirmative was a clearance killer.
The 10th Mountain’s motto is “Climb to Glory.” The Army should provide this ignorant socialist 2LT a hard fall from grace. Of course, if Barack Obama’s midnight pardon for Army traitor Bradley Manning is any precedent, his deep-state DoD bureaucrats will fast-track Rapone to replace the Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley.
There is a lot of grossly misleading commentary being circulated by the mainstream media about Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva, after he stood in honor of our national anthem Sunday. He is now being accused of “apologizing for honoring the anthem,” but he made no such apology.
As noted in his press conference, Villanueva regretted that the photos of him standing alone implied that none of the other Steelers would have stood with him honoring the anthem: “Very few players knew that I was going to the tunnel because I only asked the team leadership. And because of that I did not give them an opportunity to stand with me during the national anthem. That is the very embarrassing part of my end in what transpired, because when everybody sees an image of me standing by myself, everybody thinks that the team, the Steelers, are not behind me, and that’s absolutely wrong. It’s quite the opposite. Actually, the entire team would’ve been out there with me, even the ones that wanted to take a knee.”
For the record, here are Villanueva’s remarks in context:
Saturday night, as you guys all know, there was a team meeting that was going to determine what … to do as a team. Coach [Mike] Tomlin gave us the guidance that we had to do it all as one, so 100 percent, whatever … we [decided] to do. There was a disagreement in what we were going to do. And the only course of action was to go inside and remove ourselves from the situation. It was never to disrespect the national anthem. Every single one of my teammates is extremely supportive and extremely patriotic in this locker room. And I can not only say that for this locker room, I can say that across the NFL and every single player that I’ve gone against.
After the meeting … based on my unique circumstances and based on the fact that I’ve served in the Army … I asked [teammate and quarterback] Ben [Roethlisberger] if there was a way to define ‘the inside’ … and if I could watch the national anthem from the tunnel, and he agreed. He said the captains will be out there right behind me, so this plan sort of morphed to accommodate this tough, moral dilemma that I had in my hands to where the players can be behind me in the tunnel.
Ben Roethlisberger said at [12:]56 make sure you’re out there because the national anthem is going to start at 57. I walked out at 12:56. I asked one of the security guards when the national anthem was going to start and he said 20 seconds. And so I just walked out and I stopped as soon as I saw the flag, as soon as I had a vantage point. That, to me, was enough. … When I turned around to sort of signal everybody else to come so they wouldn’t leave me alone, that’s when they were essentially unable to exit. At that moment it was the decision of do you walk out of the national anthem and join your teammates? I know that would have looked extremely bad. Or as a team do you start moving halfway through the national anthem? So essentially what we can get out of this is that we butchered our plan to sort of have a response for the national anthem and respect everyone’s opinions.
Villanueva says that his team’s plan was to “remove ourselves from the situation” — a decision that was made in order to avoid offending anyone. In that sense, their motives should be applauded. Villanueva regrets the implication that none of his other teammates supported the anthem. They do and did and would have backed him up. As for Coach Tomlin, perhaps he should have just told his Steelers kneelers to stay off the field for the game too…
Predictably, the MSM talkingheads and news headlines have gotten it wrong again, suggesting Villanueva apologized for honoring our national anthem.
In the wake of all the AWOL NFL players last weekend, NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart says, “There will be no discipline handed down this week for anyone who was not there.”
Memo to Joe: According to the NFL’s game operations manual, “The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem. During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition. It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses.”
FBI: Murder, violent crime increased significantly in 2016 — thanks Obama (The Washington Free Beacon)
Trump border wall construction begins (The Washington Times)
September could see fewest refugee arrivals yet; smallest proportion of Muslims (CNS News)
U.S. moves to impose tariffs on Canadian jet maker, siding with Boeing (The Washington Post)
Dunford: North Korea’s ability to target U.S. with nuclear-tipped ICBM “a very short time” away (CNS News)
House to vote on 20-week abortion ban next week (The Washington Times)
Feds spend $429,220 tracking eye movements of Latinos at grocery stores to fight obesity (The Washington Free Beacon)
Sessions teaches free speech 101 and media reaction proves they need it (The Federalist)
The NFL rakes in billions of dollars from taxpayers (The Daily Signal)
CNN calls Trump racist while it’s getting sued by 175 black employees for discrimination (The Daily Wire)
Policy: All that kneeling ignores the real cause of soaring black homicides (New York Post)
Policy: Getting back to basics: The why of tax reform (The Hill)
For more, visit Patriot Headline Report.
By Lewis Morris
Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore sailed to victory last night over incumbent Sen. Luther Strange in Alabama’s special Senate election primary runoff. The race was called shortly after the polls closed, with Moore beating Strange 57% to 43%. Vote counters estimated a low turnout with around 15% of eligible voters coming out for the election. But it’s far more important than that indicates — it’s a marker in estimating President Donald Trump’s hold on the GOP.
Strange was appointed to the Senate seat by former Gov. Robert Bentley in February after Jeff Sessions left it to become attorney general. It was thought at the time that Strange would hold the seat until the next general election in 2020, but politics threw him a curve. Bentley was removed from office after it was discovered he was using state funds to hide an affair. Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey replaced Bentley and called for a special election in December.
Strange, a former state attorney general who’d pushed to suspend impeachment proceedings against Bentley, bore the marks of the latter’s corruption. He soon found himself in a crowded primary battle with eight other Republicans. When no one emerged from the primary with a majority of the vote, the top two finishers, Strange and Moore, squared off.
The primary and the runoff, as with all special elections, was framed by some as a referendum on President Donald Trump, but more so it was one on the “establishment.” Trump was vocal in his support of Strange, and he made an appearance in Alabama on his behalf during the campaign. Vice President Mike Pence also turned out for Strange. Strange, in turn, has been a loyal supporter of Trump in the Senate — a reliable conservative vote.
What may have fatally wounded Strange, however, was that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also voiced support for him in the runoff and provided $9 million from the Senate Leadership Fund for Strange’s campaign. Moore used this support from the leadership as a means of attacking Strange and linking him to what he called “DC’s slime machine.” It worked.
Moore had some heavy-hitting support of his own during the race. Among those who came out for his campaign were Chuck Norris, Sarah Palin and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon. Bannon’s entry into the fray on behalf of Moore suggested that this race was going to be a proxy fight between competing visions of the GOP’s future. Just who represented what was grounds for widespread speculation, and the Trump haters (who hate Bannon even more, if that’s possible) were giddy at the possibility of this election leading to a civil war within the Republican Party.
They ended up being disappointed. News of Moore’s victory last night led to a congratulatory tweet from Trump. Bannon even asserted that Moore’s victory was a victory for Trump, even though the president openly supported Strange.
Moore is perhaps best known for his refusal in 2003 to remove a display of the Ten Commandments from the Alabama state courthouse while serving as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. His defiance of the federal court order cost him his job, but he won it back in 2013, only to lose it again three years later for ordering judges not to issue same-sex marriage licenses. On Monday, Moore demonstrated his support for the Second Amendment by drawing his gun at a campaign rally, a move that left Democrats with a case of the vapors. Few can question Moore’s conservatism and his dedication to principle. Some have wondered, though, if Moore will be able to play well with others in the Senate should he win the general election in December. His conservative credentials will serve the Republican agenda well, but his maverick style could do the opposite by adding more chaos to the unpredictable political climate.
Moore will face former U.S. attorney Doug Jones in the general election on Dec. 12. Jones won the Democrat primary in August. A win for Moore is crucial for Republicans. They have a majority with just 52 seats, and we already know that this isn’t enough to keep two or three rogues from blocking their own party’s agenda.
Moore has in his favor the fact that Alabama is a solid GOP state that has elected Republicans to the U.S. Senate continuously since 1997. In Sessions’ last election as senator in 2014, he ran unopposed. Trump won the state last year with 62% of the vote. This last fact could be pointed to as a reason for Republicans to be optimistic, yet cautious, given Trump’s volatility with the electorate. Democrats are sure to make the race about him, and it can be expected that they will nationalize the race. It could be a long wait until December.
MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST
- Constitutional Perspective for Taxes — The real questions: What is the purpose of taxes, and on what may they be legitimately spent?
- GOP Saddles Itself With ObamaCare — Senate Republicans’ failure to repeal ObamaCare means they will now have to deal with funding it.
- Bob Corker Is Leaving; His Replacement Could Be… — Several names are being batted around, but we think it’ll be Diane Black or Mark Green.
BEST OF RIGHT OPINION
- Michelle Malkin: NFL Pigskins at the Public Trough
- Walter Williams: Not a Day Care
- Rebecca Hagelin: Note to CNN: It’s About Lives and Property, Stupid
For more, visit Right Opinion.
OPINION IN BRIEF
Michelle Malkin: “I’m calling foul on all the leftists rushing to protect the NFL’s protest crusaders from President Donald Trump’s criticism of their national anthem antics. Their shabby line of defense? The NFL is a ‘private enterprise’ whose ‘rights’ are being violated by those who dare to challenge the league’s political radicalization. … Funny. These fair-weather friends of corporate free speech and the First Amendment were nowhere to be found when Boston Mayor Tom Menino and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel were vowing to shut down Chick-fil-A in their towns as government retaliation against the founders’ private religious beliefs. As for the NFL’s status as a ‘private’ enterprise? That’s some Super Bowl-sized audacity right there. I first started tracking publicly subsidized sports boondoggles with my very first watchdog website, Porkwatch, back in 1999. Since then, taxpayers at all levels of government have foot the bill for football stadiums to the tune of an estimated $1 billion every year. … As long as the NFL has its hog noses buried in the taxpayer trough, I’ll keep speaking up about all the football militants who backed former 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick and his disgusting cops-as-pigs socks. You wanna raise your fists on the field? Get your grubby hands out of our pockets first.”
Insight: “Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all.” —Peter Drucker (1909-2005)
For the record: “Nearly 900 additional blacks were killed in 2016 compared with 2015, bringing the black homicide victim total to 7,881. … The increase in black homicides last year comes on top of a previous 900-victim increase between 2014 and 2015. Who is killing these black victims? Not whites, and not the police, but other blacks.” —Heather Mac Donald in her piece entitled, “All that kneeling ignores the real cause of soaring black homicides”
Upright: “Kaepernick started this fight, insisting, ‘I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.’ He was oppressed to the tune of $39 million over the last three years of his career. Millions of his supposed oppressors were not.” —L. Brent Bozell & Tim Graham
Hypocrite of the Year Award: “Our big problem right now is politics. Can’t even get it out of football!” —Barack Obama chastising Trump
Race bait: “It’s about fanning the flames of racial hatred, and this president is a master of that, and that’s the reason he’s playing the plantation politics. He thinks he is a slave master of black people in the NFL, of black people in the country.” —CNN’s Keith Boykin
Missing the forest for the trees: “You know where citizens are required to stand for the National Anthem? North Korea.” —George Takei
Non Compos Mentis: “White Athletes Still Standing For The Anthem Are Standing For White Supremacy.” —Jesse Benn in the Huffington Post
Alpha Jackass: “[Trump] has tendencies toward authoritarianism. … Hopefully he hasn’t ordered the killing of people and journalists and the like.” —Hillary Clinton
Late-night humor: “Anthony Weiner was sentenced to 21 months in prison for his sexting scandal. Weiner can get out in eight months with good behavior. So he’ll be serving 21 months.” —Jimmy Fallon
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Managing Editor Nate Jackson
Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen — standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.