“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” —John Adams (1770)
IN TODAY’S DIGEST
- Manipulating Stats on Police Shootings to Create a Narrative
- Seattle’s ‘Lord of the Flies’ Experiment
- Appease the Mob, Destroy the Nation
- ‘Gone With the Wind’ Scolded for ‘Racism’
- It’s Time to Move Troops From Germany
- Daily Features: News Executive Summary, Videos, Best of Right Opinion, Short Cuts, Memes, and Cartoons.
“Protests spread over police shootings. Police promised reforms. Every year, they still shoot and kill nearly 1,000 people.” So read a Washington Post headline this week. We all wish we lived in a world where police didn’t kill anyone because they didn’t have to kill anyone. Unfortunately, we live in the real world where some people — sometimes raging under the influence of drugs — are belligerent and violent toward those who volunteer to keep law and order. The Post’s provocative headline doesn’t even come close to conveying that very real nuance.
First, some of the Post’s statistics: “Since 2015, police have shot and killed 5,400 people.” Broken out by year, that’s 994, 962, 986, 991, 1,004, and 463 so far this year, respectively. It is indeed rather remarkable that 2020 is outpacing even 2019 given the COVID shutdown, but that’s another story.
The Post also notes, “The overwhelming majority of people killed are armed. Nearly half of all people fatally shot by police are white.” But then it adds, “Since The Post began tracking the shootings, black people have been shot and killed by police at disproportionate rates — both in terms of overall shootings and the shootings of unarmed Americans. The number of black and unarmed people fatally shot by police has declined since 2015, but whether armed or not, black people are still shot and killed at a disproportionately higher rate than white people.”
Where to begin?
First, as Mark Alexander wrote several years ago, “When 90% of murders in urban centers are ‘people of color’ and 90% of perpetrators are ‘people of color,’ cops of any color are going to be more cautious with ‘people of color.’” Unfortunately, that also includes more deadly confrontations.
Second, researcher Heather Mac Donald has gone to great lengths to prove that “there is no epidemic of racist police shootings.”
Third, as Gary Bauer notes, “Thirty-five paragraphs [into the Post’s story], these hacks finally got to the most relevant information: There has been a 60% decrease in the number of unarmed people shot and killed by police officers since 2015.” In other words, police have made strides in better training and response.
Fourth, to be abundantly clear: Just because someone is unarmed doesn’t mean they’re not incredibly dangerous. Even Barack Obama’s (Social) Justice Department found that the 2014 killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson — the death that sparked most of this anti-police outrage with the phony “hands up, don’t shoot” slogan — was justified, despite Brown being “unarmed.” And, by the way, according to the FBI, “Hands, fists, feet, etc.” kill far more people each year than rifles of any type. Yet all we hear about is banning so-called “assault weapons,” not the murder spree committed by literally unarmed people.
None of this is to say George Floyd’s death was justified — in fact we’ve gone to great lengths repeatedly to call it unjustified and negligent. And it isn’t to say that every person killed by police deserved it. There are wrongful deaths, and offending police should be held to account. (The officers responsible for Floyd’s death have been charged, though we wonder if Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison isn’t setting that up for failure to spark more riots.)
As with every human institution, reforms to police departments are sometimes needed. However, leftists are either using emotional anecdotes as data or manipulating actual data to produce an emotional response, all in service to a bogus narrative of “systemic racism.” That narrative will make a compromise on useful reforms much harder.
They call it Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, or CHAZ — a six-block area in downtown Seattle that has been taken over by the radical leftists of antifa, Black Lives Matter, and the John Brown Gun Club. A cardboard sign on the edge of CHAZ reads, “You are now leaving the USA.” Rapper Rap Simone, who appears to have become the self-appointed “police chief,” patrols the area with an AK-47 slung around his shoulders. There have been several reports of Simone assaulting individuals who failed to obey his orders. Former mayoral candidate and hard-left activist Nikkita Oliver has taken leadership of CHAZ, declaring, “[We will] align ourselves with the global struggle that acknowledges [that] the United States plays a role in racialized capitalism. Racialized capitalism is built upon patriarchy, white supremacy, and classism.”
How did this happen? As protests escalated last week, Seattle law enforcement, following the order of Police Chief Carmen Best, abandoned the East Precinct station, allowing the leftist mob to take control. Seattle’s leaders are fearful of running afoul of the anti-police sentiments roiling the country and are essentially at a loss as to how to respond.
As City Journal’s Christopher F. Rufo reports, “The city government has not developed a strategic response to the takeover of Capitol Hill. According to one Seattle police officer with knowledge of internal deliberations, the city’s ‘leadership is in chaos’ and ‘the mayor has made the decision to let a mob of 1,000 people dictate public safety policy for a city of 750,000.’ The officer said that Chief Best had dispatched high-ranking police officials to the autonomous zone to establish a line of communication, but the officials were immediately sent away by armed paramilitaries at the barricades. ‘The tide of public opinion is on the side of the activists and they’re pushing the envelope as far as they can,’ said the officer. ‘It’s not hyperbolic to say the endgame is anarchy.’”
Further complicating the issue is the fact that several Seattle City Council members are supportive of these leftist radicals. Councilwoman Kshama Sawant actively championed CHAZ, calling it a “victory” over “the militarized police force of the political establishment and the capitalist state.”
Meanwhile, Washington’s Democrat Governor Jay Inslee claimed he was entirely unaware of CHAZ, replying when asked by a reporter on Wednesday, “Well, that’s news to me.” It’s certainly not news to President Donald Trump, who called for law and order and blasted the non-response of Washington state leaders: “Radical Left Governor Jay Inslee and the Mayor of Seattle are being taunted and played at a level that our great Country has never seen before. Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will. This is not a game. These ugly Anarchists must be stooped [sic] IMMEDIATELY. MOVE FAST!”
These Democrat leaders are playing with fire. Clearly, they’re motivated by political calculations, believing that their feigned support of these anti-police protests and riots will benefit them. However, as the situation is allowed to spiral out of control, how many businesses looted and destroyed, how many assaults, how many lives lost will it take for these feckless politicians, protected behind their personal police details, to act? Trump is correct. This in’t a game.
Perhaps the most distressing aspect of the current effort to “fundamentally transform the United States of America” into the Republic of Wokeistan is the seemingly invincible ignorance of history that attends it. The American Left is seeking to impose a totalitarian, Communist Chinese Red Guard worldview on this nation, whereby those who are insufficiently attuned to progressive ideology will be relegated to the margins — at best — and completely destroyed at worst.
Moreover, the smug self-assurance among elitists in media, academia, politics, Hollywood, sports, and business that a sufficient amount of ideological alignment and/or a craven level of guilt-signaling obsequiousness will render them immune from the depredations of the mob is, quite simply, a pipe dream.
As history reveals, the Red Guard movement collapsed from within, when even the most dedicated followers of Maoism were unable to keep up with the ever-increasing demands for absolute purity of thought. And despite leading the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror, during which more than 17,000 “enemies of the people” were guillotined, Maximilien Robespierre was also executed by the same mob he himself created.
Thus, when a number of progressive politicians in Democrat-controlled cities who imposed draconian lockdowns let “protesters” flout social-distancing edicts, while telling cops to stand down; when political hacks like Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey grovel before black protesters about “coming to grips with my own brokenness”; or when white police officers wash the feet of BLM protesters while apologizing for the “sins” of the white race, the results of such fecklessness are eminently predictable: Cities are looted and burned, a humiliated Frey is sent packing by an angry mob, and calls to defund police departments reach crescendo pitch throughout the nation.
The mob expects nothing less. In fact, it demands much more, and rigid conformity goes right to the top of the list. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who runs a charity helping sick and needy kids, has learned that no amount of apologizing by him and his wife for daring to suggest the American flag and national anthem are worthy of respect is sufficient. Even worse, he has managed to alienate almost everyone, first for expressing his opinion and then for being guilted into submission by members of a league run by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has also decided that alienating half of his potential audience is a reasonable tradeoff for being “down with the cause.”
He is far from alone. Amazon mogul Jeff Bezos is “happy to lose” customers who take offense at his decision to virtue signal his support for Black Lives Matter at the top of his website. A&E and Paramount are more than willing to postpone or cancel new episodes of police shows on their respective TV schedules, and HBO Max has temporarily removed 1939’s “Gone With the Wind” until it can attach statements to it denouncing its “racist” content. The New York Times and Philadelphia Inquirer are content to bow to the progressive mob — both outside and inside the newsroom — and allow it to determine what headlines and editorial content is acceptable. Kentucky’s Democrat Governor Andy Beshear has no problem announcing he intends to provide healthcare coverage for “100% of our individuals in our black and African-American communities.”
That such puerile pandering reveals the hypocrisy of a multibillionaire elitist who recently rescinded a two-dollar-an-hour, coronavirus-engendered pay increase for Amazon warehouse workers, even as his net worth increased $32 billion since January? That entertainment networks are attempting to solidify the mindset that there is something inherently wrong with police work and Oscar-winning film classics? That both newspapers have reduced their credibility to zero? That there are Kentuckians of other ethnicities who doubtlessly need healthcare coverage?
That the mob itself is wholly unconcerned with the most lethal, enduring, and primary source of black murders, epitomized by Chicago’s most violent day in 60 years?
An utterly bankrupt ideology must be served.
Let’s be clear: George Floyd and the legitimate protests surrounding his death have been completely co-opted by rank, America-hating opportunists whose motives are crystal clear as soon as reasonable Americans ask themselves a simple question: Who supported the killing of George Floyd? No one in their right minds on any part of the political spectrum, that’s who. Even an overwhelming majority of police have decried the actions of the four individuals involved, all of whom have been arrested and charged.
Thus another telling question inevitably arises: Who, exactly, is the “enemy” that must be vanquished so that “justice” can prevail?
The answer is as simple as it is damning: Anyone and everyone who fails to unquestioningly embrace each and every demand of a nihilist progressive mob. A mob every bit as virulent as any other mob that has sought absolute power throughout the history of mankind. A mob wholly disinterested in compromise, good will, or reconciliation. A mob decades in the making, courtesy of America-contemptuous, progressive indoctrinators presenting themselves as educators, entertainment industry titans who cater to the lowest common denominator, duplicitous multinational CEOs with no allegiance to this nation, progressive prosecutors who disdain the Rule of Law, craven politicians in both parties whose self-interest completely transcends statesmanship, and the useful-idiot talkingheads in the media who shill for all of it, 24/7/365.
“Americans want to stand with those peacefully protesting injustice,” writes columnist Joshua Lawson. “But the radical Left offers either the choice of self-condemnation for evils Americans had no hand in, or to be silent and stay that way. If the second option is chosen, that very silence is viewed as an indictment of ‘complicity’ often seen by the Left as akin to violence itself.”
Thankfully, there are those who refuse to be intimidated. “I took off today, this weekend, but I’m out here just to make sure y'all are safe. Don’t go there with respect, okay? I have much respect, but I only kneel for one person, and that’s God,” stated black Georgia State Trooper O'Neal Saddler.
Next November, the American electorate will face a choice between the mob and people like Mr. Saddler. If Americans embrace the collective guilt demanded by the mob, they will deeply regret it when those same demands for ideological purity that destroyed the Red Guard are imposed on them — and their children — with unrelenting ferocity.
As for the cadre of elitists who mistakenly believe they have bought themselves absolution, columnist Kurt Schlichter gets it exactly right: “Mansions and BMWs burn just like churches and police cars do.”
Indeed they do, Mssrs. Frey, Goodell, Bezos, Beshear, et al. Indeed they do.
With “anti-racism” fast becoming the most popular religion of the American Left, it comes as little surprise that anything deemed racially offensive by these “wokescolds” must be eradicated, revised, or at least condemned. Case in point, the streaming service HBO Max announced that it is temporarily removing the Oscar-winning film “Gone With The Wind” from its library because of the film’s depiction of race. HBO explained, “‘Gone With the Wind’ is a product of its time and depicts some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that have, unfortunately, been commonplace in American society. When we return the film to HBO Max, it will return with a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions, but will be presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed.”
There’s great irony in this decision given the fact that “Gone With the Wind” featured the first black actress, Hattie McDaniel, to win an Oscar, and it was for her depiction of “Mammy.” McDaniel was the daughter of a former slave and she couldn’t sit with her white costars during the award ceremony because of Hollywood’s racism. While the award-winning film based on the novel by Margaret Mitchell is fictitious, its accurate depiction of the antebellum South has been widely praised. That the value of story exists not to either condone or condemn Southern slavery but rather to create a picture of what life was like for those living during that era of history seems entirely lost on the ministers of “wokeness.”
Indeed, it’s telling that HBO Max believes it must provide an overt denouncement of the slavery depicted within the film. As Hot Air’s Karen Townsend wryly mocks, it’s as if HBO thinks “viewers are too stupid to understand that the Civil War era is a different place in time and the history of our nation than modern-day America.” Leftists can’t let Americans think for themselves; that’s too dangerous.
This episode reminds us of how Hollywood production companies went after VidAngel for essentially allowing parents to censor offensive subject matter out of movies for their children. As our own Brian Mark Weber noted, “Ironically, some of the same leftists now crusading to ‘protect’ innocent Americans from ‘dangerous’ conservative and religious viewpoints on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter are peddling the garbage produced by Hollywood these days — and making sure you and yours see every awful second of it.” This time, you can witness slavery, but not without a “woke” lecture on it. Who knew that taking your moral cues from Hollywood was a bad idea?
The usual suspects are howling about President Donald Trump’s decision to move as many as 9,500 American troops out of Germany. The thing is, this has been long overdue on multiple counts. Our basing in Germany is, in some ways, a relic of the Cold War.
The Cold War is over, but the resurgent Russian threat means we still need troops in Europe. But Germany is no longer on the front lines, so to speak. The front has moved east, to Poland, Hungary, and Romania. Just for that reason, it makes a lot of sense to relocate the forces.
It makes sense for another reason. Germany has not exactly been keeping up its end of the NATO bargain. It’s nowhere close to meeting the requisite threshold of spending 2% of GDP on defense. The German military has also had some very serious problems — see, for instance, its bad biofuel experience that grounded its Tornado strike jets.
There’s a reason President Trump called out Germany. Its military readiness was such an issue that a couple of year ago, it was an open question if the Germans could fulfill a major NATO mission. There was also the matter of offering Russia geopolitical kompromat via a gas pipeline.
But those reasons are secondary to the major rationale: Poland is arguably the front line. Therefore, American troops should be permanently based there, not in Germany. There were elements of six divisions in Germany during the Cold War. Today, there is one Stryker unit, the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Germany, with a combat aviation brigade. Then there’s the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Italy.
We’ve called for a much larger Army. One of the big reasons for this, even as we note the concern the Founders had about standing armies, was the need to not only deter the Russians from starting a war — or quickly ending said war in our favor should Vladimir Putin do something stupid — while also keeping an eye on other potential foes, like Iran, North Korea, and China.
It’s well past time for United States military deployments to reflect the reality of both likely battlefields (including Poland) and the political reality (Germany’s inability to meet its NATO obligations). Again, deployments that reflect reality may be expensive in terms of money, but they could very well prevent a war that would cost not just money but the lives of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines.
America should go for the real bargain.
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Above the Fold
In 1946, fresh off the victorious but financially draining conclusion of World World II, the national debt was equal to 118.4% of the nation’s GDP. Today, however, the national debt — now the equivalent of 120.5% of GDP — has officially breached a record that endured for nearly 75 years. Even more worryingly, James D. Agresti writes, “Today’s unprecedented debt-to-economy ratio … includes $2.5 trillion in new debt since the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it doesn’t account for the vast bulk of economic damage inflicted by government-mandated business shutdowns, which will soon make the debt ratio significantly larger by decreasing its denominator. Although this decline has already begun, most of it is not yet reflected in the official data on the size of the U.S. economy.” Agresti also points out that World War II debt “rapidly fell once the war ended,” whereas “the modern national debt has been on a steep upward path for decades.”
According to The Hill, “House Republicans are delaying legislation addressing police reforms after initially signaling that a GOP proposal would be introduced this week. … Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) said Republicans may want to wait and see if they can attach GOP amendments to a Democratic police reform package that will be marked up in his Judiciary panel next week.” Regarding the Senate, The Hill additionally reports, “Qualified immunity is emerging as a key sticking point in the congressional debate over reforming the police. … A Democratic proposal would make sweeping overhauls to the legal doctrine. But GOP senators, backed by the White House, say changes are largely a non-starter.”
Government & Politics
GOP expects to move its convention to Jacksonville after dispute with North Carolina over pandemic safeguards (The Washington Post)
New York Times Magazine’s partisan writer Nikole Hannah-Jones rips paper’s “both-sideism” over Tom Cotton op-ed: You “don’t just hand over your platform” to air “misinformation” (Mediaite)
Speaking of misinformation, The Washington Post hides 60% cut in police shootings from 2015 to 2019 (Breitbart)
Fox News host Tucker Carlson cuts ties with The Daily Caller (Forbes)
NASCAR bans display of Confederate flag at all events and properties (The Washington Post)
Jefferson Davis statue torn down in Richmond, Virginia (AP)
Portsmouth, Virginia, crowd dismantles Confederate monument (Fox News)
“Homage to hate”: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls for removal of Confederate statues from Capitol (NBC News)
Culture & Heartland
Antifa-affiliated activists seize control of a Seattle neighborhood and declare an “autonomous zone” (City Journal)
A history of friction: George Floyd and Derek Chauvin “bumped heads” while working at nightclub, former coworker says (CBS News)
U.S. Soccer kneels to Colin Kaepernick protégé Megan Rapinoe, decides to allow protests during the national anthem (Breitbart)
Portland mayor gives government workers 40 hours off to mourn “400 years of African American oppression” (The Daily Wire)
Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez under fire for using LAPD as her “personal security” while she filed a motion to cut the police department’s budget by $150 million (UK Daily Mail)
Two cities — Camden, New Jersey, and Baltimore, Maryland — dismantled their police departments. The outcomes were not homogenous. (PJ Media)
Business & Economy
Unemployment claims totaled 1.5 million last week compared with the 1.6 million Dow Jones estimate and 355,000 fewer than the previous week (CNBC)
Fed sees interest rates staying near zero through 2022, GDP bouncing to 5% next year (CNBC)
Chinese propaganda outlet has paid U.S. newspapers $19 million for advertising, printing (The Daily Caller)
These eight blue-state governors and mayors broke their own lockdown orders (The Federalist)
Coronavirus Task Force tells governors to prepare for spike in cases from George Floyd protests, says 70 testing sites have been destroyed (The Blaze)
Amazon suspends police use of facial recognition tool amid protests (Washington Examiner)
Policy: Yes, let’s defund the police … at the EPA (Issues & Insights)
Policy: The public-health establishment has diminished its credibility (National Review)
Humor: 911 will now require white callers to press 1 to check their privilege (The Babylon Bee)
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.
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Video: What’s a Better Way to Do Public Safety and Racial Justice? — A veto-proof supermajority of Minneapolis City Council members say they support a move to defund the police.
Video: Democrats Have Lowered Themselves Further — They “are truly just pandering to black folks when they have no idea what they’re even doing,” says David Harris Jr.
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
Inmates are running the asylum: “One of our nation’s most storied newspapers just had its intellectual independence challenged by an angry mob, and they folded like a house of cards. A jury of people on Twitter indicted them as accessories to a thought crime, and instead of telling them to go take a hike, the paper pleaded guilty and begged for mercy.” —Mitch McConnell on The New York Times and Tom Cotton’s op-ed
Re: The Left: “While it might not be popular to say in the wake of the recent social disorder, the true plight of black people has little or nothing to do with the police or what has been called ‘systemic racism.’ Instead, we need to look at the responsibilities of those running our big cities.” —Walter Williams
Observations: “You may see the wave of conflicting messages emanating from the press and wonder just what you’re supposed to do. But the chaos is the point. You are supposed to be confused. Confusion is a political weapon. Clarity is a shield. If our media and political class can prevent clarity, they can prevent unity; if they can obscure, they can demand acquiescence.” —Ben Shapiro
Upright: “If black Americans are victims of anything, it is that they live in a country that has become a wasteland of moral relativism.” —Star Parker
Good question: “The federal government cannot even run its own limited law-enforcement missions properly. Where does it get off micro-managing policing on a nationwide scale, which deals with community-safety issues that are outside the federal ken?” —Andrew McCarthy
Wandering minds want to know: “My brother wore a uniform, and he wore that uniform proudly. I’m wondering, where is the outrage for a fallen officer that also happens to be African American?” —Angela Underwood Jacobs (“[Angela’s] brother Dave Patrick Underwood was killed recently in the line of duty during a riot in Oakland, California,” The Daily Caller reports, adding, “Underwood, 53, was a federal officer for the Department of Homeland Security and was guarding a federal courthouse in Oakland when he was shot multiple times by an unidentified person in a vehicle. It was most likely a targeted attack on police officers, according to Oakland Police.”)
For the record I: “They’re asking us to pull back. They’re asking us to walk away from you. They’re asking us to abandon our communities.” —New York City Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch
For the record II: “Stop treating us like animals and thugs and start treating us with some respect. That’s what we’re here today to say. We’ve been left out of the conversation. We’ve been vilified. It’s disgusting.” —New York State Association of PBAs President Mike O'Meara
Race bait: “[Systemic racism is] not just in law enforcement. It’s across the board. It’s in housing, and it’s in education, and it’s in everything we do. It’s real. It’s genuine. It’s serious. Look, not all law enforcement officers are racist. My lord, there are some really good, good cops out there. But the way in which it works right now is — we’ve seen too many examples of it.” —Joe Biden
Political futures: “It’s really important that whomever you pick as a vice president agrees with you in terms of your philosophy of government and agrees with you on the systemic things that you wanna change. … I want someone strong. I want someone strong, and someone who can — who is ready to be president on day one [emphasis added].” —Joe Biden
And last… “Have we reached the ultimate stage of absurdity where some people are held responsible for things that happened before they were born, while other people are not held responsible for what they themselves are doing today?” —Thomas Sowell
For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.
For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.
Join us in prayer for our Patriots in uniform and their families — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen — standing in harm’s way, and for our nation’s First Responders. We also ask prayer for your Patriot team, that our mission would seed and encourage the Spirit of Liberty in the hearts and minds of our countrymen.
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis