Good Friday Morning! It’s a somber week as everyone recovers from the attack on Congressional members at a baseball field. I’m going to cover the facts and why media and pundits present this story wrong.
It’s not a “shooting.” It’s an assassination attempt.
Finally, I’ll go through the abhorrent response by the New York Times and Washington Post editorial staff to the murder attempt on Steve Scalise. They try to blame Republicans and quietly justify the shooting.
Before jumping in, here are my latest pieces for the Conservative Institute. Make sure to sign up for their email newsletter and like their Facebook page. I’m also collaborating with them on larger writing projects, so stay tuned!
In this piece, I walk through Congressional testimony covering what anti-terrorism programs the Obama administration shut down to support negotiations regarding the Iran Deal. Specifically, the Obama presidency stopped criminal and terrorist investigations that would have thwarted Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed terrorist organization, from sustaining itself via the black market.
In this piece, I cover what makes America exceptional and why Russian President Vladimir Putin fears our exceptionalism. If you want to know how to argue a global place for American exceptionalism, start here.
Finally, I wrote about Facebook’s patents that allow them to use your phone, laptop, or tablet’s camera without your knowledge to gauge your emotional mood. I go through the original patents as well as Facebook’s reasoning.
Please feel free to share these pieces and others on the site. Also feel free to share this newsletter. Now on to the analysis.
The Assassination attempt on GOP Majority Whip Congressman Steve Scalise
For the first time since 2011, we have an assassination attempt on a public official. Congressman Steve Scalise is the Majority Whip for the Republican Caucus.
The attack happened during a Congressional baseball practice where everyone prepares for the bipartisan baseball game. Representatives also play matches with the media. It’s a bipartisan event that promotes both sides working with each other and raises money for charity.
Call this story what it is – an assassination attempt
Almost immediately when the news dropped, the gun control crowd came crawling out of the woodwork to call for stricter gun control. People like David Frum of the Atlantic and (D) Gov. Terry McAuliffe immediately called this a gun issue. McAuliffe even went so far as to claim 93 million people a DAY were dying from guns… which defies reality.
Pushing gun control narratives is a cowardly position and ignores reality. Describing this only as a “shooting” sanitizes what happened. The motivation is clear: it is a politically motivated assassination attempt.
The shooter was a big Bernie Sanders supporter, hated Republicans, and abused his daughters. He believed in a horrific ideology that convinced him to murder Congressional leaders. He is the face of evil.
This situation is not a gun control problem. The congressional shooter is a domestic terrorist on par with Timothy McVeigh of the Oklahoma City bombings and Jared Lee Loughner who shot House Rep Gabrielle Giffords. This crime is domestic terrorism.
It’s also the second major attack of its kind in the last six months. The last one was in Portland, Oregon when a man attacked people while shouting openly racist epithets at train passengers. Both the Portland and Alexandria attackers showed different degrees of attachment for Sanders-style socialism.
Speech and rhetoric are not the problems – ideas are
The attack in Virginia had nothing to do with rhetoric. Just as the attacks on Rep. Giffords or Oklahoma City had nothing to do with speech. The attacks happened because the horrific belief system of an individual convinced them they had the duty to murder elected officials and innocent bystanders.
Banning speech or condemning “hateful rhetoric” does nothing to stop open assassination attempts. Americans have a very long history of burning politicians in effigy, from the founding through the 20th century. We’re fond of hyperbolic attacks on our leadership.
The answer is not to ban speech, however. Nor is it to create unwritten rules in a society where things cannot be said. Censorship is always wrong when it comes to speech. It always ends up harming more than it hurts.
Bernie Sanders, Democrats, and others aren’t to blame for the shooting. The sole blame goes to the person who pulled the trigger.
Ideas have consequences – and we need to confront those ideas
A problem that does exist is people like Bernie Sanders have brought radical ideas back to the forefront. If Donald Trump gave voice to the extremist alt-right who produced people like McVeigh, Bernie Sanders’s socialism has created monsters just as bad.
Socialism has a long history of attempted assassinations, coups, and genocide. Sanders does a good job of selling his ideas as an old harmless grandpa. But the world has suffered extraordinary costs from thwarting the spread of socialism and communism. Sanders has given a new voice to that infamous past.
Sanders’s ideas should not be censored or stopped. Nor should Sanders be blamed, he gave an excellent denunciation. But his ideas should be defeated. Americans need to understand why Sanders style socialism is dangerous for the country. The consequences of those ideas are high – and we need to acknowledge those costs; just as we understand that fascism cannot be allowed to spread.
America will move past this event. Hopefully, we will be stronger. We should learn that these ideas should be combated in the free market and defeated. We’ve done it in the past; we can do it again.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and families of those injured in the attack. Make sure to read the incredible profile of the brave American heroes who saved people on the scene while suffering their injuries.
The abhorrent response by the New York Times and the Washington Post
You’d think an assassination attempt on a Congressman’s life would unite everyone. You’d be wrong. Both the NYT and Washing Post blamed the attack on Republicans or backhandedly justified the attack. First, the original story in the NYT said:
Conservatives and right-wing media were quick on Wednesday to demand forceful condemnation of hate speech and crimes by anti-Trump liberals. They’re right. Though there’s no sign of incitement as direct as in the Giffords attack, liberals should of course hold themselves to the same standard of decency that they ask of the right.
After watching an assault on a Congressional baseball field, the Times chose argued two things: 1) They saw nothing inciteful on the left that would drive people to attack politicians (a point that is ludicrous after Sarah Silverman and Kathy Griffin both joked about killing Trump). And 2) That Sarah Palin incited the 2011 assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
The NYT and Washington Post lie to make their points
The second point is a flat out lie. It was a lie in 2011, and it’s a lie now. It’s not even true that a right-wing nutjob shot Giffords. That attacker also had leftist leanings. The NYT editorial was such an enormous lie that the Times was forced to issue a retraction:
An earlier version of this editorial incorrectly stated that a link existed between political incitement and the 2011 shooting of Representative Gabby Giffords. In fact, no such link was established. The editorial has also been updated to clarify that in a map distributed by a political action committee before that shooting, electoral districts, not Democratic lawmakers, were depicted beneath stylized cross hairs.
This lie was so egregiously wrong – it makes you wonder how it made it through any editing process. Or, as Weekly Standard contributor Mark Hemingway put it: “If the NYT as an institution will say these things publicly, what are they doing *privately* to distort and politicize the news?”
The NYT then went on to declare how this entire episode proved the need for more gun control/regulation (it doesn’t). But they weren’t alone, an editorial in the Washington Post, while explaining the essential nature of Congress, tried to give some justification to the feelings the shooter could have had:
The system often feels unfair. Skewed electoral maps favor one party over another. Rural areas are overrepresented. Party fringes often exert more control over the agenda than the broad middle, where much of the country really is and the only place from which it can be effectively governed. Political money skews legislation. After an election such as last year’s, it is easy for the losing side to feel hopeless and desperate.
There is no basis for an assassination attempt like this one. Offering any support legitimizes the killer’s beliefs. The shooter, in this case, was from Illinois and had adequate Democratic representation. Illinois is one of the only blue states left in the Rust Belt. There was no hopelessness here. It was a premeditated terrorist attack by a man trying to enforce is will on everyone else.
His emotions don’t deserve anything resembling a pity party. The Washington Post editorial board should be ashamed of publishing such nonsense the day of the assassination attempt.
Political rhetoric is not the cause of assassination attempts
America has been around now for nearly 250 years. Sarcastic and hyperbolic political attacks on politicians have been around since our nation’s founding. Every generation of Americans enjoys piling on with hyperbolic attacks.
Conversely, while our outlandish attacks on politicians have a long history, including burning effigies of the President, assassinations, and assassination attempts have been rare. This history includes recent events where Clinton supporters held up depictions of Trump hung on gallows.
Here’s the important note: The Constitution protects all the above as political speech. Blaming political rhetoric as the reason assassination attempts occur shifts the blame away from where it belongs: the shooter.
We should always resist the urge to blame anything or anyone other than the attacker.
Heated or baseless political rhetoric didn’t start with Trump. In describing people who wouldn’t vote for him, President Barack Obama claimed people were bitter:
And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
He wasn’t alone. Vice President Joe Biden told a crowd of black voters that Republicans would “put Y’all back in chains!” And most recently, both Democrats and the media claimed that Republicans made rape a pre-existing condition in their health care bill.
Vile political rhetoric didn’t start with Obama either. You could fill the Library of Congress with all the attacks Republicans have launched on Democrats. It’s not a one-party problem. It’s an American pastime. And as such, you cannot blame that rhetoric for an assassination attempt.
If assassination attempts like this one are rare in an environment rich with toxic rhetoric, then the speech is not to blame. Saying otherwise is just a means to promote censorship. It shifts the blame away from where it belongs.
Stop assassination attempts by doing what Americans have always done: defeat corrupt ideas
The key to preventing assassination attempts isn’t to censor political speech. It’s to overcome the beliefs that allow such baseless solutions.
Ideas have consequences, and we have to confront the ideas that permit assassination. The most common belief systems that allow this are fascism, communism, and socialism. In other words, the extreme fringes of political ideology. We must defeat these idea systems to ensure a safer country.
Must read links from this week
It feels like America is descending into chaos – John Podhoretz, New York Post
Powder-Filled Letters With Threatening Notes Shut Down Georgia Republican’s Neighborhood – The Washington Free Beacon
Shame on the New York Times. Shame: Its editorial about yesterday’s shooting doesn’t just twist the truth; it may be libelous – David French, National Review Online
‘The Indigenous American Berserk’ Strikes Again – Bret Stephens, The New York Times
Everything Wrong with Our Gun Debate In One Tweet – Charles C. W. Cooke, National Review Online
The Senate Just Passed a Monumental New Russia Sanctions Bill—Here’s What’s In It – The Atlantic Council
The best political observation of the week:
So That’s Why So Many Trump Allies Have Called For Firing Mueller This Week – Allahpundit, Hotair
Allahpundit is one of the best political writers on the right. He made an excellent observation this week, connecting the sudden shift in White House tone towards Mueller’s Russia investigation to the leak that Mueller is investigating Trump. Before this week, Trump and his team had praised Mueller. There was a sudden shift over the weekend as they began blasting Mueller across all news mediums. Shortly after, it was revealed Mueller was investigating Trump. Which suggests the Trump team switched tactics when they learned Mueller was investigating the President.
Satire piece of the week
GUANTANAMO BAY — The Pentagon has released an unlawful enemy combatant from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility after learning the male detainee was actually a transgender woman, sources confirmed.
“Detainee MA-063 has been sent back to Morocco, where we are hopeful that she will be accommodated and cared for during this difficult time,” said Navy Cmdr. Anne Reitzkof.
The release of the detainee came after Guantanamo quietly changed its policy to ban openly-transgender military prisoners, mirroring similar restrictions on transgender men and women from serving in the military.
Thanks for reading!