“The opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves, in their, own sphere of action, but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch.” —Thomas Jefferson (1804)
IN TODAY’S DIGEST
- SCOTUS Strikes Out on DACA
- Juneteenth Takes on New Prominence
- The BLM Straw Man
- Big Tech Is Reaping the Whirlwind
- The Brand X Society
- In Case You Missed It: The Good Economic News
- Daily Features: News Executive Summary, Videos, Best of Right Opinion, Short Cuts, Memes, and Cartoons.
“Judges are like umpires,” declared Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts during his own confirmation hearings in 2005. “The role of an umpire and a judge is … a limited role. Nobody ever went to a ballgame to see the umpire.”
Roberts is certainly right about umpires, but he’s wrong about the role he’s assumed lately on the bench. In siding with the Supreme Court’s four liberal justices, he rejected the Trump administration’s 2017 decision to cancel Barack Obama’s notorious DACA program on purely procedural grounds. The Court, according to The Wall Street Journal, “said the administration acted arbitrarily when it moved to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, failing to offer adequate reasons for doing so.”
Thus, when faced with a supremely consequential court case affecting both our nation’s immigration policy and the lives of hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients, the chief justice yelled “Ball!” to a down-the-middle strike — all because he didn’t like the way it curved coming into the zone.
Or, as National Review’s editors put it, the Court has given “amnesty to illegal regulations.”
Back in 2014, Mark Alexander observed, “Obama previously declared 22 times that he does not have the authority to legislate immigration policy by EO. But as a ‘lame duck’ president, beyond the midterm election that dealt his policies a severe defeat, he has now found the power to legislate from the executive branch.” And he did it without following the same procedure Roberts and the other SCOTUS liberals now demand Trump follow.
That is exactly backwards. Trump should have wide latitude to undo what his predecessor did unlawfully. Instead, the Court effectively ordered the president to continue enforcing an order that exceeds his authority.
If Obama is all smiles about a Supreme Court decision — and he clearly is after this one — you can be sure it’s a bad day for Rule of Law.
We suppose it’s a relief that Roberts didn’t see fit to rule the Trump administration’s rescission of the unconstitutional DACA program itself unconstitutional. In fact, he made clear that it wasn’t, and he provided an opening for the president to try again. “The dispute before the Court is not whether [the Department of Homeland Security] may rescind DACA,” he said. “All parties agree that it may. The dispute is instead primarily about the procedure the agency followed in doing so.”
Ah, “the procedure.”
On the contrary, Justice Clarence Thomas nailed it when he said, “Today’s decision must be recognized for what it is: an effort to avoid a politically controversial but legally correct decision.”
Thomas explained, “[DACA] was unlawful from its inception. The majority does not even attempt to explain why a court has the authority to scrutinize an agency’s policy reasons for rescinding an unlawful program under the arbitrary and capricious microscope. … So long as the agency’s determination of illegality is sound, our review should be at an end. … The majority erroneously holds that the agency is not only permitted, but required, to continue administering unlawful programs that it inherited from a previous administration.”
Justice Samuel Alito marveled, “What this means is that the Federal Judiciary, without holding that DACA cannot be rescinded, has prevented that from occurring during an entire Presidential term. Our constitutional system is not supposed to work that way.”
As for the political ramifications, The Wall Street Journal editorial board astutely observes that it’s pretty clear John Roberts is regularly caving to Democrat political pressure on critical cases. “The Daca ruling is merely the latest in which the Chief Justice has joined the liberals to avoid a ruling that would have been criticized by the media and Democrats,” the editors argue. “Recall ObamaCare, the 2019 Census case, and Monday’s on sex and gender identity. It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the campaign of intimidation and threat of court-packing by Senate Democrats are getting the results they want.”
Needless to say, it’s been a tough week for those of us who thought we had a solid 5-4 conservative majority on the High Court. On the flip side, of course, it’s been an altogether magnificent week for progressives — and for the branch of government that Thomas Jefferson warned us might one day be “despotic.”
Juneteenth marks the date in 1865 when the last slaves of the Confederacy — in Texas — received word that they were free. It represents the advance of the principles laid out 89 years earlier in the Declaration of Independence: “All men are created equal…” June 19 is not a newly recognized day of significance, given that 47 states recognize it as a holiday, though it remained largely unknown until taking on new prominence in today’s climate of, er, racial reconciliation.
In fact, as we said last week, “What are the odds that congressional Democrats use this year to push for it to be a federal holiday?” Well, Kamala Harris and a trio of other Democrats introduced legislation to do just that. Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas advanced a similar bill.
Frankly, it’s very appropriate as GOP legislation, and Republicans ought to be making outreach efforts in the black community.
As Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement, “Today, we join cities and communities across our country to celebrate Juneteenth. This joyous event honors the day when news of President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation finally made it to those enslaved Americans in Galveston, TX, marking the end of slavery in the United States. The Republican Party will always proudly be connected to Juneteenth because we have always been the party of freedom and opportunity thanks to President Lincoln and now President Trump.”
At a time when division is the prevailing sentiment, McDaniel also struck exactly the unifying tone that the country needs: “As we pray for healing and unity during this present time of unrest, let each of us also dedicate ourselves to doing our part to create a ‘more perfect union,’ and let Juneteenth serve as a source of inspiration of what we can achieve when we appeal to the better angels of our nature and unite in the fight for freedom, justice and opportunities for every American.”
We’re not naive enough to think that the “better angels” are always going to prevail, especially when there’s political gain in fomenting division. But what if all Americans of every race could celebrate Liberty together? If that’s the real aspiration for Juneteenth, it’ll be a day worth commemorating.
The reality of being a human is that we are each individuals with our own unique lived experiences or histories. No matter what those experiences are — no matter our sex, the color of our skin, or our cultural background — we all share the universal experience of being human.
This reality was recognized by our nation’s founders when they declared that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The great American experiment rests on the belief that recognizing the individuality of humanity will serve to reinforce the commonality of humanity. Thus, racism, as it was originally defined and not by the new neo-Marxist definition, is ultimately anathema to the American worldview. Contrary to the Left’s revisionist history, the United States was birthed not out of racism but rather out of a commitment to protecting that universal human trait we all share in common — our individuality.
When the phrase “black lives matter” first began being widely espoused following the death of Michael Brown, many Americans had a similar reaction: “Of course they do. Who says they don’t?” Many Americans responded to the refrain by saying that “all lives matter.”
By responding with “all lives matter,” those Americans were instinctively rejecting the racist straw man the leftist BLM activists had created. This also explains why the BLM movement initially failed to gain much traction. Leftists insisted upon a racist narrative that did not comport with the individual life experiences of the vast majority of Americans, who believe that judging others based upon skin color is racist and wrong.
But suddenly, upon the unjust death of George Floyd, BLM’s straw man has been embraced by many across the country as a universal defining “truth.” In fact, this narrative has been so widely accepted by popular culture that to even challenge it by insisting that all lives matter is decried as “racist” and “dehumanizing” of black people. Did Americans’ understanding of what constitutes racism suddenly change overnight? Not likely. The reason for this sudden shift appears to be more socioeconomic and political than definitional.
This reality is borne out in a recent Rasmussen survey, which found that roughly 60% of Americans believe the statement “all lives matter” more closely matches their beliefs than does the statement “black lives matter.” Even when broken down among racial demographics, the majority prefer “all lives matter.” Interestingly, 53% of Americans making $200,000 or more favored “black lives matter,” while 67% of Americans earning $30,000 to $50,000 choose “all lives matter.” Not surprisingly, 55% of those who disapprove of President Donald Trump prefer “black lives matter,” while 63% of those who are on the fence about the president and 77% of Trump supporters prefer “all lives matter.”
So, irrespective of all the media, political, and religious leaders currently kowtowing to the BLM straw man, it appears that Regular Joes have not lost sight of what this country is really all about. Common sense says that to be against racism, one starts with viewing others first as unique individuals like themselves and, as such, as part of collective humanity. Elevating group identity over that of individuality will result in the very racism and dehumanization the “woke” Left claims to be fighting.
Brian Mark Weber
You’ve been warned.
Conservatives have long suspected what has since become obvious: Big Tech has grown tired of a certain type of political speech. The Free Speech Movement of the mid-1960s has finally come full circle, and its offspring — Facebook, Twitter, and Google — are now brazenly and systematically punishing conservative-leaning websites and content.
Following up on President Donald Trump’s executive order earlier this year, which called for Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to be regulated, this week Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley introduced legislation giving Americans the right to sue tech companies for violating political speech.
Hawley’s Senate colleague, Ted Cruz, believes tech censorship poses a serious threat to our Liberty. “Big Tech is angry that Donald Trump got elected, and they are angry at themselves for letting him get elected,” he asserted. “And I believe Big Tech is resolved. They won’t let it happen again. They are going to do everything they can to try to silence any speech that they don’t like. And they’re brazen about it. They have discovered that they can do it without major consequences, at least to date.”
“I think this is the single biggest threat to our democracy,” Cruz warned.
As expected, the social-media giants say their First Amendment rights are being threatened by Republican legislation. But according to National Review, the legislation would merely “require tech companies with over 30 million U.S. users per month, and an annual worldwide income of over $1.5 billion, to publish all of their content moderation policies and publicly pledge to act in ‘good faith’ in accordance with those policies. Users who charge that the companies are not implementing content moderation policies fairly would be able to sue for $5,000 plus attorney fees.”
Seems reasonable, especially since Big Tech should have had fair-minded moderation polices in place from the start.
Whenever they’re caught censoring conservative speech, these companies try to backtrack and claim ignorance or an innocent mistake, or, in the recent cases of The Federalist and Zero Hedge, that certain inappropriate remarks in their websites’ comments sections had violated their standards.
So conservative websites are now responsible not only for their own content but the content of their readers’ comments as well.
Now, thanks to this overreach, we all see what’s really going on.
“Once the inevitable backlash came, Google quickly started backtracking and shifting the goalposts, sounding like the kid who had just been caught with his hands in the cookie jar,” former Google software engineer Mike Wacker writes at The Federalist. “As layer upon layer of absurdity piled up, Google even claimed that they punished The Federalist not for their articles, but for their comments.”
At one time, these online platforms were virtual public squares, allowing citizens to engage in civil debates and explore the issues. And that’s why the government gave these companies protections in the first place.
But, as Cruz noted, since Donald Trump became president, Big Tech’s been in overdrive to make sure he doesn’t win reelection. That became crystal clear in 2018 when Facebook banned a Trump campaign ad on immigration, and in May of this year when Twitter posted a warning on one of Trump’s tweets. Just this week, Twitter “fact-checked” an obviously satirical video Trump posted. And Facebook pulled Trump campaign ads that featured antifa symbolism to rebut it, because the ads were guilty of “violating our policy against organized hate” for featuring Nazi symbolism. Well, maybe the fascists of antifa shouldn’t adopt the fascist symbolism of the Nazis. Meanwhile, Facebook has no reservations about spreading Chinese propaganda.
For those hoping these companies will finally face the music and begin holding all online content to the same standards, there’s a long way to go.
“The new proposal seems unlikely to break an election-year logjam in Congress over how to proceed,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “Inaction is being fueled in part by concerns among some lawmakers that going too far with reforms could push tech companies to further tighten restrictions on speech and content, or, alternatively, retreat from sensible policing standards.”
Translation: Our elected representatives are either too afraid to take necessary action, or they’re quite content with Big Tech’s censorship of conservatives. Either way, it shows us who’s in charge.
In any event, this legislation isn’t going anywhere as long as Democrats hold the House majority — which means conservatives will continue to be muzzled and demonetized.
And that suits the billionaires of Silicon Valley just fine.
Perhaps we should have seen this coming a couple of months ago, when the farmer-owned co-op that produces Land O'Lakes products reworked its packaging to erase the Native American woman who had adorned it for decades. Wiped away was a highly recognizable symbol of a leading brand, created, ironically enough, by a Native American artist.
But the trend toward “cancel culture” accelerated in a big way after the Memorial Day death of George Floyd. Lives of every shade certainly matter, but in the eyes of certain businesses, green dollars matter more and many corporate entities fret that running afoul of the BLM movement will make their brands less politically correct and more prone to boycott.
It began with PepsiCo’s Quaker Oats business suddenly becoming “woke” and deciding that its venerable Aunt Jemima product line was due for a whitewash after more than 130 years. Never mind that the brand made a celebrity out of Nancy Green, who was born into slavery but became the first real-life Aunt Jemima to promote the product at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Spending her last 30 years as the company’s public face before her death in 1923, Green was the first in a line of spokeswomen who barnstormed the country in the early part of the last century promoting Aunt Jemima products.
Once Aunt Jemima fell, there was little doubt this rush to kneel at the altar of social justice would keep going. Next up was the long-standing Uncle Ben’s brand of rice products, which didn’t have the slavery connection (it was created in the 1940s) but featured a genial black gentleman on its packaging. The announcement of the change was self-flagellating: “Racism has no place in society. We stand in solidarity with the Black community, our Associates and our partners in the fight for social justice. … We know to make the systemic change needed, it’s going to take a collective effort from all of us — individuals, communities and organizations of all sizes around the world.”
Cream of Wheat’s packaging will likely be next, and it’s evident that the image of an older black person, whether dignified or perhaps a little more cartoonish, is now considered racist.
Meanwhile, Quaker Oats appears quite content with its religious caricature of an elderly white man.
It’s easy on the one hand to make light of the situation, but we also have to ask just what was so offensive about modern iterations of brand symbols that not only distinguished the products but made them trusted parts of millions of American kitchens and pantries. Power Line’s John Hinderaker got it right when he called this new trend “corporate bull—.” Companies are, he adds, “trying to climb on a trendy bandwagon with no concern for the practical effects of their decisions.” Before long, we’ll be back to that generic packaging we first saw back in the 1980s — that is, if packaging in stark black and white will continue to be allowed.
While none of these social-justice rebrands is likely to be a disaster on the scale of New Coke, decisions that cater to the arbitrary and capricious whims of a noisy minority don’t usually do well for the bottom line.
Lost amid the nonstop coverage of riots, racism, and reform in recent weeks was news of <yawwwn> the most spectacular economic recovery in history. Perhaps you missed it back on June 5. The Left certainly hopes you did.
It happened, though, and it continues to happen. And despite all the other noise you’ll hear between now and November, this recovery is the key to Donald Trump’s reelection — assuming the recovery continues.
“It’s a stupendous number,” tweeted Trump two weeks ago, when May’s jobs numbers were released. “It’s a stunner by any stretch of the imagination!” The Fed chairman weighed in a few days later, calling the administration’s response to the economic calamity wrought by COVID-19 “large, forceful and very quick … In a class by itself.”
“Over here!” cried the Democrats in response. “Police brutality, ‘peaceful’ protests, and Black Lives Matter!”
It’s understandable, of course, that the party of Slow Joe Biden would want to distract the American people from this subject or steer its discussion into irrelevant directions. The economy has always been Trump’s strong suit, and the Democrats have a pretty good (and foreboding) sense of how things will shake out between now and Election Day. “We are about to see the best economic data we’ve seen in the history of this country,” said Jason Furman, one of the Obama administration’s top economists.
As Politico reported, “Furman’s argument is not that different from the one made by White House economic advisers and Trump, who have predicted an explosive third quarter, and senior adviser Jared Kushner, who said in late April that ‘the hope is that by July the country’s really rocking again.’”
“The hope,” that is, for anyone but Democrats seeking elected office.
None of this is lost on the Republican National Committee, whose website yesterday sounded the trumpets: “Thanks to President Trump, the American Economy Is Already Resurging.” Behind that headline is an exhaustive (in a good way) list of economic data and story after story about the president’s three-year economic record, his administration’s response to the coronavirus crisis, and personal accounts of how that response has benefited everyday Americans.
The RNC’s touting of The Trump Recovery is one thing, but solid polling about it is another. And, as Gallup reports, we now have both. “Slightly more Americans today than two months ago rate their personal financial situation positively. A May 28-June 4 Gallup poll finds 53% of U.S. adults describing their personal finances as either ‘excellent’ or ‘good,’ compared with 49% in early April, when most of the country was under stay-at-home orders, and the effects of these on the economy were more uncertain.”
“It’s the economy, stupid,” said old-school Demo strategist James Carville way back in 1992, the year he helped a relatively unknown Arkansas governor named Bill Clinton whip a sitting president whose job-approval numbers were at 88% just a year earlier.
Carville’s four-word quip may have been something short of Churchillian, but it’s aged extremely well.
If Republicans are smart, they’ll pound Corporal Cue Ball’s message incessantly in the weeks and months ahead — because the Democrats and their media brethren will most assuredly be employing the ol’ Jedi Mind Trick: These aren’t the economic numbers you’re looking for.
More Great Analysis
Thomas Gallatin writes, Leftist Groups Demand Facebook Censor Speech.
Roger Helle discusses Peaceful Protesting 101.
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Above the Fold
According to Fox News, “Sen. Amy Klobuchar announced Thursday she was removing herself as a candidate to be former Vice President Joe Biden’s vice presidential pick.” The reason? “Klobuchar told MSNBC’s Lawrence O'Donnell … she believes ‘this is a moment to put a woman of color on that ticket.’” Not-so-coincidentally, “Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said Thursday that Senate Democrats will introduce a measure making Juneteenth a national holiday,” The Hill reveals. The black senator is clearly capitalizing on today’s racial tensions with the hope of becoming Biden’s veep. The biggest problem for Harris is that her rule-of-law record is dirtier than a jail cell.
“A familiar tale is unfolding in American politics in 2020: Women are once again setting records as candidates for Congress. While the 2018 midterms saw a historic wave of Democratic candidates and general election winners, this time the surge in candidates is among Republican women running for the House. When the dust settled after the 2018 Democratic wave, the ranks of Republican women had been decimated. Just 13 were left standing. … ‘This year we’re seeing more Republican women running than ever,’ said professor Kelly Dittmar with the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. CAWP counts at least 217 Republican women who have filed to run for the House, with more state filing deadlines still to come. That’s already close to doubling the previous record of 133 filed Republican women candidates a decade ago.” (NPR)
Government & Politics
Nancy Pelosi orders removal of four portraits of Confederate House speakers — Democrats Robert Hunter, Howell Cobbs, James Orr, and Charles Crisp — from the Capitol (NBC News)
Facebook — citing “our policy against organized hate” — pulls Trump ads over inclusion of Nazi-like antifa symbol (The Washington Free Beacon)
“I invite him to resign”: Senator Tom Cotton rips John Roberts, Supreme Court over DACA decision (The Daily Caller)
Only the beginning: Senate Democrats move to gut the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (National Review)
Europeans are working with the U.S. to restructure the World Health Organization (Reuters)
Fifty-five percent believe that Biden potentially has “early stages of dementia” (The Daily Wire)
Politico agrees that polls are underestimating Trump just like in 2016 (The Daily Wire)
Senator Marco Rubio introduces the Fairness in Collegiate Athletics Act to address name, image, and likeness in college sports (Rubio.senate.gov)
Susceptible to fraud: The federal government spent nearly $3 trillion on coronavirus relief. Oversight has been a mess. (Reason)
The Latest on COVID-19
California orders people to wear masks in most indoor spaces (ABC News)
Florida shatters daily record with 3,207 new cases (USA Today)
Sweden, where no lockdown was ordered, becomes second-most-infected country (Newsweek)
People would be mentally crushed by second wave, psychologists say (Washington Examiner)
Business & Economy
Thirty percent of Americans missed their housing payments in June (CNBC)
Nevertheless, Americans are more upbeat about their personal finances (Gallup)
FHFA extends moratorium on evictions, foreclosures for two more months (USA Today)
A tidal wave of bankruptcies is coming (The New York Times)
China will speed up purchases of U.S. farm goods (MarketWatch)
Culture & Heartland
Thomas Jefferson statue should be removed from NYC Council chambers, lawmakers say (New York Daily News)
“Her only crime was being officer Rolfe’s stepmother”: Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe’s stepmother fired from her job (The Daily Wire)
Portland police prohibit “autonomous zone” from being set up (AP)
Uncle Ben’s rice to take black man off box; Cream of Wheat mulls removing black chef (The Daily Wire)
D'oh! Oakland mayor launches hate-crime probe into “nooses” in trees. Black man says it’s exercise equipment he put there. (The Daily Wire)
Four things to know about Juneteenth (The Daily Signal)
NYPD cops encouraged to “strike” on July 4 to give city its “independence” (New York Post)
10 times Barack Obama acknowledged that DACA was unconstitutional (PJ Media)
Hillsdale College refuses to bow to the totalitarian mob (The Federalist)
U.S. Navy graduates its first F-35C TOPGUN class (UPI)
Policy: In DACA ruling, the Roberts court chooses politics over law (Washington Examiner)
Policy: Five lessons the U.S. military learned from the pandemic (Lawfire)
Humor: Toyota reveals the Prius has been gay this whole time (The Babylon Bee)
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.
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Video: The Fallout From Atlanta — With cops justifiably quitting, Tucker Carlson warns that very bad people will be filling the vacuum.
Video: Paul Harvey — ‘Policeman’ — Some requisite perspective on the extreme demands required of working as a cop.
Humor: The Most Powerful Video You’ll See All Week — “Bad things are bad.” “I will reduce my pool time by five minutes a day.”
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
Insight: “All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward.” —Ellen Glasgow (1873-1945)
Observations: “Once a cultural revolution gets going, there can be no contextualization of the past, no allowance for human frailty, no consideration of weighing evil vs. good. Eventually, the architects of cultural upheavals always make two miscalculations. One, they presume that destroying things will never apply to themselves, given their loud virtue signaling. Two, if they are fingered by the mob, they assume they can somehow use their clout and influence to win exemption. In other words, once cultural revolutions turn anarchic and eat their own, they lose support. When quiet sympathizers conclude that they too may be targeted, to survive they turn on their former icons.” —Victor Davis Hanson
The bottom line: “Gender identity is not tied to biological sex. Trans activists will say as much. To expand the term, Gorsuch emptied the term of any stable meaning. It is circuitous nonsense and a metaphysical bait and switch. He may not have intended this, but it’s what he did.” —Andrew T. Walker
The sad truth: “This week the Supreme Court did more damage to the rule of law and the Constitution than the rioters in the streets.” —Mark Levin
For the record: “Stop lecturing me. [Democrats] had eight years under President Obama to do the things in the Justice and Policing Act — and 90% of it you never brought up.” —Senator Lindsey Graham
Demo-gogues: “Eight years ago this week, we protected young people who were raised as part of our American family from deportation. Today, I’m happy for them, their families, and all of us. We may look different and come from everywhere, but what makes us American are our shared ideals and now to stand up for those ideals, we have to move forward and elect @JoeBiden and a Democratic Congress that does its job, protects DREAMers, and finally creates a system that’s truly worthy of this nation of immigrants once and for all.” —Barack Obama
Grand delusions: “The Supreme Court — who would’ve thought would have so many good decisions in one week?” —Chuck Schumer
Non compos mentis: “You ought to marry into a family of 5 or more sisters… You know why that’s the reason? One of them always loves ya.” —Joe Biden
And last… “For the last 60 years, American liberals have promised African Americans that their policies would make things better. They were wrong and their policies have failed miserably. That’s why the Left has to spread hatred and division. And that’s why they’re lying about this country and its history. They have nothing positive to offer today. Their only hope is to persuade Americans to give up and turn on each other.” —Laura Ingraham
For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.
For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.
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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis