Author: Steve Prestegard

Bad solutions to questionable problems

PJ Media reports that Andrew Yang is still a Democratic vice presidential candidate:

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang, a Democratic presidential candidate, referred to job loss in the journalism field as a “tragedy” in America and proposed investing “public resources” to help support the news business.

Past studies have shown journalism to be among the worst career choices based on average annual income.

Now they tell me.

“Now you have all these measurements attached to any piece of journalism that you produce that did not exist a generation ago. It’s like, ‘how did that piece perform? How many clicks did it get?’ And the natural incentives are for you to become a little bit more aggressive and a little bit more sensationalist with the headline or the angle,” Yang said during a newsmakers event at the National Press Club on Monday.

“And that’s just the way the industry is unfolding because the almighty market is pulling all the strings so if you want to change that in communities you have to actually put some public resources to work,” he added.

Yang noted that he is personally familiar with the struggles of working journalists and aspiring journalists so he is “passionate” about addressing the challenges facing the industry.

“You all do great work. We need to make it so you can do your jobs without fearing getting fired the next day because your stuff didn’t get enough traffic,” Yang said.

Yang said American society should “find a way to support local journalism” even if the free market isn’t supporting its existence.

“If you believe in democracy you have to believe in journalism, particularly at the local level — over 1,200 local newspapers have gone out of business in the last number of years and we all know why. They used to have classified ads and revenue from those ads and now those ads went to the cloud and Craigslist and they didn’t have a new source of revenue to replace it,” he said.

“Studies have shown if you lose your local newspaper, voting becomes more polarized because you don’t know what’s going on in your town anymore and so you just vote along party lines and you have lower levels of government accountability as a result,” he added.

Yang continued, “So that is why I proposed a local journalism fund that would help create cooperative ownership business models and in some cases partner with philanthropy to help create sustainable models of journalism in communities around the country.”

Yang also said the “problem right now is if you are a newspaper, it’s not enough for you to break even. You have to make enough money to keep your shareholders happy and in some cases, those shareholders are private equity firms and hedge funders that bought your paper and then consolidated them.”

According to Yang’s campaign website, the $1 billion fund would operate “out of the FCC” and “make grants to companies, non-profits, and local governments and libraries to help local newspapers, periodicals and websites transition to sustainability in a new era.”

“It’s that or let local journalism die, which I don’t think anyone is in favor of,” Yang said on Monday.

Having government fund the media is absolutely, positively the wrong answer. Then newspapers will be reporting what the government wants them to report, of which we have far too much already.

This, however, is not Yang’s only bad idea, as Graham Piro reports:

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang said the United States may have to eliminate private car ownership to combat climate change during MSNBC’s climate forum at Georgetown University Thursday morning.

He told MSNBC host Ali Velshi that “we might not own our own cars” by 2050 to wean the United States economy off of fossil fuels, describing private car ownership as “really inefficient and bad for the environment.” Privately owned cars would be replaced by a “constant roving fleet of electric cars.”

A video posted by the GOP War Room shows Velshi asking Yang what measures he sees the world taking to fight climate change by 2050.

“You have this ability to envision the future, right, with your proposals on universal basic income. You’ve played the whole chess game out and you see what it looks like on the other end. Play the chess game out on climate change,” Velshi said. “What does the world look like to you in 2050? What physically do you think we will do differently than we do today that will result in us fighting climate change?”

“Well I mentioned before that we might not own our own cars. Our current car ownership and usage model is really inefficient and bad for the environment,” Yang said.

“You guys all probably agree with this because you’re quite young,” he told the Georgetown University crowd, adding an anecdote about driving a 1985 Honda Accord as a young man.

Yang then proposed an alternative to individuals owning their own cars.

“What we’re really selling is not the car, it’s mobility,” he said. “So if you have mobility that’s then tied into a much more, if you had like, for example, this constant roving fleet of electric cars that you would just order up, then you could diminish the impact of ground transportation on our environment very, very quickly.”

Yang’s climate plan calls for nearly $5 trillion in spending over the next 20 years. His proposal includes embracing the impacts of climate change.

“Move our people to higher ground. Natural disasters and other effects of climate change are already causing damage and death. We need to adapt our country to this new reality,” his plan states.

The plan also includes a zero emissions standard for all new cars by 2030 and hundreds of billions of dollars in investments in emission-free ground and air transportation.


The ’80s vs. the ’10s

Facebook Friend Michael Smith first wrote:

I was out and about this afternoon and got tired of the crap that passes for music these days, so I flipped to the 80’s on 8 channel on Sirius XM and “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins was on – and I immediately thought of this scene from Miami Vice and remembered how cool I thought it would be to be rolling in that black Ferrari Daytona with Sonny and Tubbs…

But I also thought about how our situation today is like and unlike the 80’s at the same time.

We had a Republican president whom the left despised, just like today and they were out to get him through non-elective methods, too. Remember Col. Oliver North and Iran/Contra? We were also coming out of the economic “malaise” and “stagflation” of the Carter years (as we are the Obama years).

But I also remember it being a happier time when politics didn’t totally consume the entertainment industry and the newswires.

If our entertainment mirrored culture, look at what we watched:

– Magnum P.I. (the real one)

– Miami Vice

– Night Court

– The A-Team

– The Dukes of Hazzard

– The Wonder Years

– WKRP in Cincinnati

There’s not a single one exploring the collapse and rebirth of families and the damage that ensues (A Million Little Pieces, This Is Us), pushing alternative lifestyles (Gray’s Anatomy, Will and Grace) or every TV series trying to be woker than the next.

In short, the 80’s were fun, the 10’s have not been.

Fun has become the enemy of our culture rather than a part of it. The evidence lies in the fact that almost none of the great movies or TV shows of the 80’s could be made today. The social justice warriors would never permit it. We can’t just be entertained, we must be scolded until we learn our lesson. It’s almost like we are supposed to feel bad about ourselves after each episode and spend the next 12 hours in navel gazing introspection.

I sorely miss Reagan and the optimism of the Reagan years. If we had a little of that, there is no limit to what we could do.

Smith then added:

Sometimes (and by “sometimes”, I really mean “often”), when I write something, I put words into electrons that are unintentionally intelligent or bear further discussion. I did this yesterday when, in celebration of Crockett and Tubbs (and the 80’s), I wrote:

“I sorely miss Reagan and the optimism of the Reagan years. If we had a little of that, there is no limit to what we could do.”

Thanks to all the folks who liked (or hated) it enough to comment, I was looking a that this morning and had another thought about our current circumstances.

I asked myself a question. I said, “Self, let me ask you something … what is it from the 80’s that the contemporary Democrats fear most?”

And after Self thought about it, he (being that I identify as a cisgendered heterosexual male of pallor with the pronouns of he, him and sire) said, “Optimism. That’s what they fear.”

More than anything, that’s really why they hated Ronald Reagan. After Carter’s disastrous turn at the wheel (the Iran hostage crisis, the failed rescue and getting bitch slapped by OPEC), Reagan made America feel good about itself again. He was clear about our greatest geopolitical enemy (about the only thing Mitt got right in 2012) and faced them head on until he broke them. He cut taxes and brought the economy back but more than that, his affable and engaging style made people feel good about themselves.

For years the Democrats have debased the language, eroded civility and destroyed tradition – and simply crushed anyone who tried to speak plainly, engage nicely and tried to keep within established boundaries. They are the ones who defined the rules by which one must fight if one has a chance win. Maybe Trump is an abrasive ass – but that’s the kind of person it takes to win – the gentleness of Reagan or the nice guy, milquetoast affectations of Bush I, Dole, Bush II, McCain or Romney wouldn’t get it done (even when Dub won, he still bent toward the Democrats).

I actually think Trump is a product of the times. He is the way he is because his environment forces him to be that way. Given different circumstances, it is entirely possible we would see a completely different side of him.

I get a feeling we are seeing the first half of Alexandre Dumas’ The Man in the Iron Mask play out in real time.

What is missing is optimism … and what Democrats know is that optimism is contagious. Because it is, they know they have to keep everything negative and in chaos so that people have no opportunity to realize that things have gotten measurably better and can become even more so with a little confidence.

No wonder they are such sour scolds.

Consumers of unhappiness always are.

Moreover, those whose support of this nation is based on whether or not they are in charge are bound to be unhappy as well, since the electorate swings back and forth between voting for Democrats and voting for Republicans despite their best efforts to portray conservatives as the embodiment of evil, even though evil is a concept they really don’t buy.

As someone who graduated from high school and college in the ’80s, I can attest that not everything about ’80s culture and entertainment was great, not to mention politics. If you were a UW–Madison student you were bombarded on a daily basis by tales of the evil Ronnie Raygun and how he was too senile to blow up the world in his first term in office, but was certainly malevolent enough to blow up the world should he be reelected in 1984. For four years this state had Tony Earl, sort of Wisconsin’s answer to Jimmy Carter if Carter had spent his adult lifetime in government, as governor. And there were the fortunes of UW and Packer football, which went from fair to good in the early ’80s to the disaster of 1988, when the BADgers and pACKers combined for a 5–22 record.

(Taking one of those Facebook quizzes about the ’80s that included references to shows I didn’t watch, such as “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” made me remember that during the ’80s I didn’t exactly feel like I fit in, since there was at least some popular music and a great deal of popular TV I despised and refused to, in order, listen to or watch. I didn’t race out and buy a white blazer because of “Miami Vice,” nor did I own parachute pants, and my Members Only jacket wasn’t actually from Members Only. That sense of cultural alienation trained me well for being in journalism, where you’re supposed to be an outsider. Either my life in the ’80s was a whole lot better than I probably thought it was at the time, or I remember my life in the ’80s as being better than it actually was.)

On the other hand, the properly disdained “We Built This City” looks like inspired art compared to some of what fills air time on contemporary hits radio today. It’s hardly surprising that Smith’s aforementioned adventure/dramas have either been remade on TV …

… or as a movie:

The voters get it wrong at least as often as they get it right (which is why you should never rely on the voters’ getting it right), but at least they got it right in 1980 and 1984 with Reagan and 1988 with George H.W. Bush (who was unquestionably better than any Democrat running in 1988 would have been), and 1986 with Tommy Thompson.

Smith is correct that politics didn’t inundate our lives in the ’80s, even though there was more daily politics at UW–Madison than in normal places. The culture was also less forgiving of public statements that are self-evidently stupid, such as the idea that there are more “genders” than male and female, or that anyone’s free expression is valid whether or not there’s anything correct, logical, moral or sensical about whatever they have to say. (But I was used to that from UW, where one day I read an assertion that Jesus Christ looked like Yasser Arafat.)

Someone wondered on social media how a generation raised on “South Park” could have become so emotionally fragile and prone to offense at the slightest imagined excuse. I have no answer for that, since I come from the ’80s, the decade of irony and sarcasm, courtesy of David Letterman. (“Dukes of Hazzard” reruns haven’t been shown on TV due to the Confederate flag painted on the roof of the Duke boys’ car, the General Lee.)

Trump came into prominence in the “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” ’80s, where celebrities started to exert inappropriate influence on the culture, so maybe it’s appropriate he is now president.


Хиллари становится старческой

Tobias Hoonhout, who does not write for The Onion, the Babylon Bee or one of the other satire websites:

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asserted that the Russians are attempting to undermine the 2020 election by backing Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) as a third-party candidate, stating “she’s the favorite of the Russians.”

Appearing on Obama campaign manager David Plouffe’s podcast, Clinton made a number of claims regarding Russian meddling in U.S. elections, including that Gabbard’s substantial social-media support relies on Russian bots. Gabbard was the most-searched candidate after the first and second Democratic debates.

“I think they’ve got their eye on someone who’s currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate,” Clinton said on the podcast. “She’s the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far.”

Clinton’s comments come after Gabbard called the coverage of her campaign by The New York Times and CNN “completely despicable” during the fourth Democratic debate Tuesday night.

“The New York Times and CNN have also smeared veterans like myself for calling to an end to this regime-change war,” Gabbard told the crowd in Ohio. “Just two days ago, the New York Times put out an article saying I am a Russian asset and an Assad apologist and all these different smears. This morning, a CNN commentator said on national television that I’m an asset of Russia.”

In August, Gabbard also told CNN that she would not run as a third-party candidate if she does not win the Democratic nomination.

Clinton also labelled Green Party candidate Jill Stein a “Russian asset” and suggested on the podcast that Gabbard is playing a similar role in this election.
“They know they can’t win without a third-party candidate . . . I will guarantee you they will have a vigorous third-party challenge in the key states that they most needed,” Clinton declared.

In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election, the Clinton campaign followed Jill Stein’s demands for a recount in Wisconsin, which ultimately gave Trump 131 more votes.

“Because we had not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology, we had not planned to exercise this option ourselves, but now that a recount has been initiated in Wisconsin, we intend to participate in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides,” campaign lawyer Marc Elias said at the time.

Sometimes you read something and think to yourself, “What?”

Gabbard had a response:

A musical response comes to mind:

Cancel cancel culture

John Tierney:

A modest proposal for my fellow journalists: Could we declare a bipartisan amnesty for the stupid things people did in high school and college—or at least stop pretending that these things have any relevance in judging a middle-aged adult’s professional competence?

I realize that this suggestion will trouble the many liberal journalists who have worked diligently to reveal what might or might not have happened at a party at Yale that might or might not have been attended by Brett Kavanaugh during his freshman year. (The definitive conclusion from thousands of hours of investigative reporting: people at the party were really drunk.) Nor will it appeal to the conservatives now savoring the seemingly endless series of photos of a young Justin Trudeau in blackface. (The Babylon Bee, a news-satire site, delivered the coup de grace: “Rare Photo Surfaces of Trudeau Not in Blackface.”)

I also realize that it’s futile to appeal to my colleagues’ sense of perspective or feelings of compassion. These qualities have always been in short supply in our profession, and they’re rarer than ever in the age of “cancel culture.” We can convince ourselves that anything is newsworthy if it embarrasses the other side and generates enough clicks. Exactly how many beers did Kavanaugh drink in high school? A nation’s fate is at stake! Precisely how many parties in the early 1990s did Trudeau attend in blackface? The public has a right to know!

But now journalists have a selfish reason to behave decently: mutual assured cancellation, a strategic doctrine that has emerged from the recent media furor involving Carson King, a security guard in Iowa. He’d become a media sensation after holding up a sign on ESPN’s College GameDay asking people to send him money so that he could buy Busch Light beer. As the money rolled in, he decided to redirect it from beer to charity, raising more than $1 million for a children’s hospital. Anheuser-Busch kicked in money and planned to include him in a marketing campaign.

It should have been a feel-good story, but then a Des Moines Register reporter unearthed a couple of racist jokes that King had tweeted seven years earlier, when he was 16. The Register’s editors decided that this information needed to be included in the article. Meantime, just before the story ran, Anheuser-Busch independently found out about the tweets and announced that it would honor its donation pledge but sever all ties with King. Just like that, King was demoted from philanthropist to pariah.

King dutifully issued groveling apologies for his teenage sins—the ritual act of contrition for the newly canceled—but then the story took another turn. Newspaper readers and beer drinkers rose to his defense. Other businesses stepped up to contribute money to the cause. The organizers of an Oktoberfest celebration in Iowa declared that they would stop serving Busch Light. In a letter posted to a local news site,, Eric Dolash, the father of a girl who had been treated at the children’s hospital, declared that he would no longer read the Register or drink Busch Light. “You cut ties with a man with objectively superb values whose coat tails you rode in a marketing flurry,” he told Anheuser-Busch, and added ominously, “It must have been an exhausting effort to review all social media posts of your entire workforce, knowing you certainly wouldn’t associate them with your brand for any past mistakes.”

The Register was besieged by readers outraged at its treatment of King, and they didn’t just write letters to the editor. They retaliated by studying the social-media history of Aaron Calvin, the reporter who had written the article—and who’d made a few offensive posts of his own, before joining the paper. The saga was nicely summed up and given a label by a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Balaji S. Srnivasan, who tweeted:

1) Man goes viral

2) Man uses attention to raise ~$1M for charity

3) Journalist finds old posts to attack him for clicks

4) Man apologizes

5) Journalist’s old posts now surface

6) Journalist is now getting canceled

Mutually assured cancellation.

As a form of deterrence, mutual assured cancellation—let’s call it MAC—should not be underestimated. After all, the Cold War nuclear strategy of mutual assured destruction (MAD) produced one of the most peaceful eras in human history. But if the response by Carol Hunter, the Register’s executive editor, is any indication, journalists still haven’t adjusted to the MAC era. The sensible strategy for the editor would have been to deescalate: apologize to King, make a penitential donation to the hospital, and vow to stop punishing people for youthful mistakes irrelevant to what they’re doing today. Instead, Hunter wrote two columns defending the editors’ decision and primly announced that her reporter had been fired for his past sins.

It doesn’t seem to have occurred to Hunter that she and the rest of the paper’s management are now prime targets for cancellation themselves. Perhaps they’ve been more careful in their tweets than King or Calvin, but did none of them ever do anything stupid? By their standards, anything from high school onward is fair game. And judging by the reactions of many mainstream journalists, an evidence-free accusation based on a distant memory from an anonymous accuser is damning, as long as it seems “credible.”

Journalists in the MAC era should review the seminal text of character assassination, Rules for Radicals, Saul Alinsky’s 1971 book. Liberals eagerly employed his strategies against their political enemies, particularly rule number 5 (“Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon”) and number 13 (“Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”) The tactic proved so effective that the standards for smearing got lower and lower. It didn’t matter how long ago the offense had taken place, whether it had anything to do with the person’s job, or whether it hadn’t even been considered wrong at the time. So long as journalists had a monopoly on public shaming, they were happy to judge yesterday’s behavior by today’s standards.

Now that social media has ended that monopoly, non-journalists can pass judgment, too, and they’re following Alinksy’s rule number 4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” Journalists would be wise to rewrite these rules, and to remember the adage about people in glass houses. In the age of MAC, everyone has stones.

Presty the DJ for Oct. 20

Today in 1960, Roy Orbison had his first number one single:

Today in 1962, the number one single in the U.S. was a song banned by the BBC:

The number one single today in 1973:

Today in 1977, four members of Lynyrd Skynyrd and two others were killed when their plane crashed near McComb, Miss.:

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Oct. 20”

Presty the DJ for Oct. 19

We begin with one of the stranger episodes of live radio, Arthur Godfrey’s on-air firing of one of his singers today in 1953:

The number 28 song today in 1959 was customized for sales in 28 markets, including BuffaloChicagoClevelandDenverDetroitNew OrleansNew YorkPittsburgh and San Francisco:

That was 27 positions lower than number one:

The number one British album today in 1967 was not the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”; it was the soundtrack to “The Sound of Music,” two years after the movie was released, on the soundtracks’ 137th week on the charts:

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Oct. 19”

Trump vs. Christians, and Democrats vs. Christians

Mario Murillo:

There are Christians who hate Trump.  Let’s call it for what it is: hate.  It is their hate—which is very strange for those who name the name of Jesus—that dulls their ability to see the inaccuracy of their comments and their myopic views.

One sanctimonious ranting Christian said, “There’s nothing Biblical about Trump.”  Actually, there’s nothing Biblical about that statement.  The prophet Daniel served Nebuchadnezzar.  Daniel recognized the role that this pagan king played in God’s unfolding drama.  The church’s ability to work with Trump is totally Biblical.

Now, I must clarify something, lest I incur the wrath of Trump supporters.  I am not calling Trump a pagan king—I’m sure he is much more moral than his enemies realize—I am saying that if Daniel could work with the Nebuchadnezzar how much more can we work with the Donald.

I have tried very hard to figure out what causes believers to hate Trump.  Our side won a long overdue and miraculous victory at the polls, and yet these believers choose to aid and abet the other side.  Is it because their favorite “Christian” didn’t win? Is it a case of sour grapes?They didn’t require any President to be a squeaky clean pastor, until Trump.

Yes, his tweets can be a bit much.  And okay, President Trump is not as smooth as Reagan…but, we don’t need smooth right now.

Here is something else that is really strange, (hypocritical is more like it): why didn’t these guardians of morality speak out against Obama?  Franklin Graham was attacked for questioning Obama’s Christian Faith.  They told him not to judge a brother.  Hold that thought as we explore another question…

How could you not question Obama’s Christianity?  Obama begged the question by dropping the Christian-card whenever it suited him (something Trump never does).   Meanwhile, Barack fought for same sex marriage, late term abortion, gave billions to Iran, and was the most Biblically hostile President in our history.

Click on this link to see a list of 89 acts of hostility toward Christians:  

So why do so many Christian leaders—who said it was wrong to judge Obama—judge Trump?

Trump is not a pastor.  He is a businessman who loves America.  As far as his faith?  I am not qualified to determine his spiritual depth, since I’ve never had the chance to meet the man. But there are many photos of Christian leaders laying hands on the President, praying for him, and he is cooperating.

“He is like Hitler and the church is being fooled,” said another comment.  At this time, those of you who are wearing tinfoil hats, please remove them, and listen.  Hitler never had 98% of the media against him.  Trump has never called for a new constitution.  Hitler never tried to protect Israel.  I could go on and on.

Maybe if Trump had addressed the March for Life.  Maybe if he had chosen an on fire born-again Vice President.  Maybe if he had rescinded executive orders that banned federal funds from Christian organizations.  Maybe if he overruled the Johnson Amendment that banned the free speech of pastors.  Maybe if he had moved the American Embassy to Jerusalem, and shown himself to be a true supporter of Israel.  Maybe if he had put someone on the Supreme Court who helped Christian bakers to exercise their right to freedom of religion.  Maybe then you would support him.  Oh wait…he did all those things…

God has done a miracle and the enemy wants to make short work of the amazing breakthroughs we are witnessing by dividing the church.  Instead of being a religious outlier you should be thanking God, praying for and supporting the President. And voting for righteousness, and against the enemies of freedom.

This may seem a bit much for those who count themselves as Christians and are not fans of Trump. Books have been written about the evangelical movement’s apparently noncritical support of Trump in violation of my favorite Bible verse, Psalm 146:3: “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.”

But what are Christians supposed to think of this? Miranda Devine:

Anyone wondering why religious people still support Donald Trump, despite his flaws, need only watch a recording of the Democrats’ fanatical LGBTQ town hall last week.

From Elizabeth Warren mocking religious males as incapable of finding a wife to Beto O’Rourke’s promise to strip tax benefits from religious institutions, or Cory Booker’s assertion that Catholics use religion to justify discrimination, you see the ugly face of militant secularism and coercion.

It is frightening that every one of the nine Democratic candidates who took part in the CNN event has signed up to extreme policies that attack religious liberty and radically redefine gender.

But it is also baffling as a political strategy designed to win hearts and minds next November.

Warren’s insult to religious voters was an echo of Hillary Clinton’s disastrous characterization of Trump supporters as “deplorables … racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it.”

Asked what she would say to a supporter who opposes same-sex marriage, Warren replied: “Well, I’m going to assume it’s a guy who said that,” as if no woman believes in traditional marriage.

“And I’m going to say, ‘Then just marry one woman.’ I’m cool with that. Assuming you can find one.”

It’s such a cheap insult, as if no man with socially conservative views could be appealing to a woman, when the opposite so often is the case.

The answer encapsulated the nasty, condescending tone of the candidates toward the one-third of Americans who believe in traditional marriage.

But it was tame compared to the gender-related aspects of the proceedings, with interjections from the floor by transgender activists. There was a woman who talked about her “9-year-old transgender daughter,” as if the child spontaneously had made such a life-changing decision.

Another transgender woman berated CNN’s Nia-Malika Henderson for inadvertently mispronouncing her name: “It’s violence to misgender or to alter a name of a trans person.”

When Kamala Harris introduced herself with the pronouns “she, her and hers,” as if there were any doubt, the comical element of mainstream candidates tying themselves up in knots to pander to gender ideology proved irresistible for CNN host Chris Cuomo.

“Mine too,” he quipped, ensuring the wrath of the rainbow gods and an abject apology on Twitter later.

It just went to show that you can never be woke enough to meet the rapidly escalating demands of modern identity politics.

Every candidate dutifully did what was expected in that forum, affirming the notion of gender identity as unmoored from biological sex and embracing a transgendered reordering of society far removed from the real lives of most voters.

In the meantime, the candidate who created the most consternation in conservative circles was O’Rourke.

Asked if religious colleges, churches and charities should lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage, Beto answered “Yes!” without a moment’s reflection.

“There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for anyone … that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us,” he said.

To his credit, Pete Buttigieg, the only gay candidate and the most rational, later said Beto didn’t understand the implications of “going to war not only with churches, but I would think with mosques and a lot of organizations that may not have the same view of various religious principles that I do.”

But for all Mayor Pete’s common sense, the extreme intolerance against religion and social conservatives that Beto unthinkingly embraces suddenly has become the default Democratic position.

The illiberal left is not even hiding its desire to impose its will on the majority.
The antidote to all this nonsense was a brilliant speech Saturday by Attorney General Bill Barr at Notre Dame.

The militant secularism on display at the Democrats’ town hall is what Barr calls “organized destruction … an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values.”

We see “the steady erosion of our traditional Judeo-Christian moral system and a comprehensive effort to drive it from the public square … By any honest assessment the consequences of this moral upheaval have been grim.

“Virtually every measure of social pathology continues to gain ground …

“Secularists and their allies have marshaled all the forces of mass communication, popular culture, the entertainment industry and academia in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values.

“These instruments are used not only to affirmatively promote secular orthodoxy but also to drown out and silence opposing voices and to attack viciously and hold up to ridicule any dissidents.”

The irony, he points out, is that militant secularism is a form of religion, with “all the trappings of religion, including inquisitions and excommunication.”

Whether the Democrats know it or not, Barr was describing how socially conservative and religious Americans feel about their policies.

It’s why President Trump received a rapturous welcome Saturday night from religious conservatives who underpinned his 2016 election victory and are even more rock solid today, despite the scandals and “potty mouth” for which Warren likes to scold him.

“They’re coming after me because I’m fighting for you,” Trump told the Value Voters Summit in Washington, DC. Ain’t that the truth. The Democrats spelled it out Thursday night.

About Barr, David Blaska writes:

The Constitution prohibits establishing an official, favored government religion contra the U.K., where the Queen is the head of the Church of England. But the Freedom From Religion party has largely succeeded in turning that freedom upside down. The day is coming when Capitol guards will demand you deposit your rosary with any firearms you may be carrying.

“Beto” O’Rourke, for instance, demands religious adherence to the Democrat(ic) party platform. Denounce same sex marriage at risk of a knock on the door from the IRS.

Attorney General William Barr gave a speech at Notre Dame, that Catholic university in Pete Buttigieg’s village that has the Left writhing in conniption fits.

Of Barr’s speech, McGurn writes that the waning of religion’s influence in American life has left more of her citizens vulnerable to what Tocqueville called the “soft despotism” of government dependency.

“The secular project has itself become a religion, pursued with religious fervor,” Barr said. “It is taking on all the trappings of religion, including inquisitions and excommunication. Those who defy the creed risk a figurative burning at the stake — social, educational and professional ostracism and exclusion waged through lawsuits and savage social media campaigns.”

Mr. Barr blamed secularism for social pathologies such as drug addiction, family breakdown and increasing numbers of angry and alienated young males.

“Whereas religion addresses such challenges by stressing personal responsibility, Mr. Barr argued, the state’s answer is merely to try to alleviate “bad consequences.”

“So the reaction to growing illegitimacy is not sexual responsibility, but abortion,” he said. “The reaction to drug addiction is safe injection sites. The solution to the breakdown of the family is for the state to set itself up as an ersatz husband for the single mother and an ersatz father for the children. The call comes for more and more social programs to deal with this wreckage — and while we think we’re solving problems, we are underwriting them.

Barr’s apostasy undermines the entire Bernie/Warren/Pelosi/Satya/Maduro enterprise. (Full text of his speech)

Bernie fanboy John Nichols’ colleagues at The Nation are livid. Writer Joan Walsh pulls out all the Catholic conspiracy libels. “William Barr Is Neck-Deep in Extremist Catholic Institutions,” The Nation screams. Barr’s “extremist talk body-surf[ed] the fever swamps of Catholic paranoia.” 

Barr is “a paranoid right-wing Catholic ideologue who won’t respect the separation of church and state.” Barr holds “global grudges.” The attorney general didn’t warn, he “intoned darkly.” 

Those “extremist conservative Catholic institutions” include the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty (perhaps best known in recent years as the firm behind the Hobby Lobby case) and (believe it or not!) the Knights of Columbus, a fraternal order of Catholic men. 

Hans Bader adds:

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke expressed the deep, heartfelt desire of many progressives: to punish conservative religious people for their beliefs. At a CNN Town Hall on Thursday, he was asked if he believed that “religious institutions like colleges, churches, charities” should “lose their tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage.”

“Yes,” said O’Rourke, an answer met with raucous applause and loud cheers from the Democratic crowd. “There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for anyone or any institution, any organization in America that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us.”

Although the progressive audience enthusiastically and overwhelmingly supported O’Rourke’s proposal, it was later criticized by legal experts and religious people. Progressive commentators responded by going into damage-control mode. Recognizing that O’Rourke’s proposal might be unpopular with the broader public, commentators aligned with the Democratic Party sought to downplay its significance. They pointed out that O’Rourke is a second-tier presidential candidate with little hope of becoming president.

But O’Rourke’s proposal plainly is popular with the progressive base of the Democratic Party, and other candidates at the CNN Town Hall made no effort to distance themselves from O’Rourke’s position. In response to the same question, Sen. Cory Booker said that religious institutions would face “consequences,” and that he would “press this issue.” Booker avoided “saying” whether he would take away their tax-exemptions, “because … this is a long legal battle.”

Most legal commentators said that O’Rourke’s proposal is unconstitutional under Supreme Court rulings like Speiser v. Randall (1958). Those rulings forbid withholding tax exemptions based on the viewpoint advocated by a person or organization. Such viewpoint discrimination is forbidden by the First Amendment.

But O’Rourke’s unconstitutional proposal plainly appeals to many Democratic voters, judging by their defenses of it on Twitter, and enthusiasm for it at the CNN Town Hall. A Twitter user named Travis Bell defended it by saying:

Taking away tax-exempt status is not forcing anyone to believe anything. If people wanted to hold outdated, bronze-age beliefs, then that is their right. But we as a society don’t need to subsidize it. Tax-exempt status is a privilege, not a right.

Bell had plenty of company. An Episcopalian feminist wrote that “churches should lose nonprofit status if they are exclusionary.” “They can continue their backwards beliefs if they want, they just won’t get indirect subsidies anymore,” Miguel Chavez said. “I agree” with Beto, said Sallie Hopper. “Absolutely — religion is not to be used as a crutch to” justify bigotry, said a Louisiana Democratic activist. A self-described member of “The Resistance” praised O’Rourke’s comments, calling him the “one candidate consistently speaking truth to power.” A Democratic dentist in New Jersey praised O’Rourke, for sending the message to churches “that it’s wrong to have prejudicial views and use the Bible & ‘religious beliefs’ as a veneer to justify them.” “Taking away the tax exempt status of ‘politically motivated’ religions is a great start,” raved Peter Swisher. A New York Democrat enthused that opposing same-sex marriage is one of the “excellent reasons for churches to lose tax-exempt status.” “Finally!! The debasement of human beings according to one’s religion is coming to an end,” agreed a liberal psychologist. “I am with Beto on that,” said a progressive YouTuber.

This position by progressives isn’t surprising. Most progressives support forcing churches to marry gay couples, and long have. Even back in 2013, when support for gay marriage was much lower than it is today, Democrats mostly supported coercing churches to perform gay marriages. A poll by the “center-left” think-tank Third Way found that 28% of voters felt that churches should not “be able to refuse to perform” same-sex marriages, while 61% felt that they should have that right. That 28% amounted to most of the Democratic Party, which comprises less than half of America’s population. And that was back in 2013, when public support for same-sex marriage was at least 14% lower than it is today.

Progressives also often view opposition to same-sex marriage as hate speech. Democrats overwhelmingly want to ban hate speech. Fifty-one percent of Democrats supported banning “hate speech,” while only 21% opposed such a ban, in a widely-cited You.Gov poll. Under campus speech codes and social media rules aimed at preventing hate speech and “harassment,” people have been punished just for criticizing “homosexuality, gay marriage, or transgender rights.”

The Supreme Court struck down a hate-speech ordinance as a violation of the First Amendment in R.A.V. v. St. Paul (1992). But progressives are much more hostile to free speech today than they were back then. So a future, more progressive Supreme Court might be willing to reconsider that decision, which many progressive legal scholars passionately condemned.

Some progressives define even single-instances of “hate speech” as a civil-rights violation: New York City recently warned residents that it may fine them up to $250,000 if they use the term illegal alien in the workplace or rental housing, even if they do so only once. New York City views illegal alien as a pejorative term that constitutes illegal discriminatory harassment when it is uttered to offend or demean such immigrants — even though the term is found in federal laws.

Even if the courts wouldn’t let churches be stripped of their tax exemptions based on their beliefs or statements about same-sex marriage, they might let churches be targeted for some of their actions in not facilitating same-sex weddings. Legal commentator Walter Olson persuasively argues that current Supreme Court precedent does not allow churches to lose their tax exemptions based on refusal to marry gay couples.

But the Supreme Court did allow Bob Jones University to be denied tax-exempt status by the IRS for discrimination against interracial couples, even though interracial relationships were against its religious beliefs. LGBT rights groups cite this ruling to argue that churches can be punished for not recognizing gay marriage in religious schools they operate,  or for not hosting same-sex marriage ceremonies in public accommodations such as pavilions that they own. CNN quoted “Camilla Taylor, director of constitutional litigation for Lambda Legal, one of the oldest organizations focused on LGBT rights.” She told CNN, “In the past, the Supreme Court upheld the IRS when they issued a revenue ruling that educational institutions that discriminate on race do not qualify as charitable institutions given that they are acting contrary to public policy.”

In the years to come, LGBT groups will argue that religious schools (and perhaps even churches) do not qualify as tax-exempt charitable institutions, if they don’t recognize gay marriages between their students or parishioners (for purposes of decisions like where to house or seat them). They have already sued religious colleges for not allowing gay couples to live in housing specifically reserved for married students. One such lawsuit was successfully brought by an unmarried gay couple in liberal New York City, over a religious college’s refusal to let them stay in housing for married couples. They objected to being in housing for unmarried students.

Similar challenges to churches over their membership practices are likely to fail. That’s because the Supreme Court’s Bob Jones decision suggested in a footnote that churches are different from religious schools in terms of when they can be denied a tax-exemption based on discrimination.

At some point someone (sometimes a Christian, always a liberal) would intone “Judge not, lest ye be judged,” misunderstanding what Jesus Christ said in Matthew. (Short version: The sin is not in judging someone; it’s in hypocrisy.) Christians are supposed to call out sin. (The story of the woman about to be stoned for adultery but forgiven by Jesus includes five words you usually don’t hear: “Go and sin no more.”) If conservative Christians are not supposed to call homosexuality a sin, liberal Christians should not judge for themselves how Christian someone is who doesn’t have the same views.

Presty the DJ for Oct. 18

The number one song today in 1969:

Britain’s number one single today in 1979 probably would have gotten no American notice had it not been for the beginning of MTV a year later:

The number one album today in 1986 was Huey Lewis and the News’ “Fore”:

The City of Los Angeles declared today in 1990 “Rocky Horror Picture Show Day” in honor of the movie’s 15th anniversary, so …

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Oct. 18”