Evergreen State News

As Usual, Patty Murray Doesn’t Get It | American Thinker

Source: As Usual, Patty Murray Doesn’t Get It

 

 

As Usual, Patty Murray Doesn’t Get It | American Thinker

Back in the dreadful days of the patriarchy and plantation slavery, Dr. Johnson famously said that patriotism was the last refuge of a scoundrel.

But what do you say about Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) arguing that the ruling class should use its First Amendment rights to shut down extremists? She says:

Here is the issue worth discussing today: how can we protect this constitutional right [of the First Amendment] while also making sure that our colleges and universities are places where everyone can feel safe, learn, and respectfully debate ideas. And — as a part of that conversation, we need to discuss how elected leaders, community members, and college and university administrators, can best exercise their First Amendment right to do everything in their power to push back against those driving an agenda of extremism, racism, bigotry, xenophobia, and misogyny. And — we also must speak out against groups and organizations that are looking to use their right to free speech to divide us, to attack the most vulnerable among us, and to feed on people’s fear in the service of hate.

I’d say that “scoundrel” is too mild a world for Sen. Patty.

Murray is making three points here, and every one of them is wrong. First, she seems to think that protecting the First Amendment somehow conflicts with feeling safe, learning, and respectful debate. No, Patty. We have the police to keep people safe. The problem with our schools is that you liberals won’t let the police police lefty thugs like Antifa and BLM.

Then Patty thinks that the First Amendment is needed for powerful leaders and administrators to lecture the deplorables. No, Patty. No ruling class ever needed a First Amendment. You will note, Senator, that in Europe where there is no First Amendment, the ruling class, bless its heart, has no problem getting the word out — or in prosecuting deplorables for hate speech.

Then Patty writes that the ruling class should unite against people that want to divide “us.” No, Patty. Divide and conquer is your game, the ruling-class game that every military or political leader sucks in with her mother’s milk. Your problem is that regime opponents are uniting to break up your game and hive off people that have unreflectingly supported Deep State politicians like you without realizing that you don’t care about people like them; you only care about “elected leaders, community members, and college and university administrators” and other bribed apologists of the ruling-class. People like you, Patty.

Now let us check the text of the First Amendment.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Now, Patty, on my view, your idea of the powerful pushing back against “extremism” is the reason we have the First Amendment in the first place: to make it difficult for the ruling class to silence dissenting voices. Every ruling class wants to silence their opponents. Some rulers call them deplorables and “extremists.” Others go straight to the point and call them “saboteurs and wreckers.” Every ruling class hates its critics.

And do you see that bit at the end, Patty, about “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances?” It says nothing about exceptions in case of “extremism, racism, bigotry, xenophobia, and misogyny.” In fact, I’d say that any anyone peaceably assembling, down the ages, has without exception had to face the scorn and the pejoratives of ruling-class place-men and place-women like you.

Let me repeat: words like “extremism, racism, bigotry, xenophobia, and misogyny” are notable today only as pejoratives that ruling-class pooh-bahs like you, Patty Murray — and your violent Antifa and BLM stooges on the street — use to bully and silence any dissent from ruling-class ideology.

If you believe, as I do, that there is no such thing as justice, only injustice, then the First Amendment makes complete sense. On this view, the point of the First Amendment is to give people that are experiencing injustice — no matter how deplorable and mistaken the ruling class judges them to be — a chance to make their grievances heard in the public square. And since Government is Force, it stands to reason that every ruling class in history presides over a blazing Triangle Shirtwaist manufactory of injustice.

Let me say this again. The point of the First Amendment is precisely to let “white supremacists” like Richard Spencer into the public square. It doesn’t matter that he is a monstrous extremist. The point is that “we” — whether the ruling class or worthier, nobler folks like AT readers — need to hear from people that think they are suffering under injustice, whether they are “right” or not.

Time for mileage tax supporters to put their cards on the table: Constitutional protection or not? | Washington Policy Center

Source: Time for mileage tax supporters to put their cards on the table: Constitutional protection or not?

 

 

Transit agnosticism: “the idea that when it comes to getting around, everything from bikesharing to the subway will do.”

This is the term USA Today used to describe an open, flexible approach to mass transit. It means that mass transit isn’t confined to rail or buses. In 2017, it “can be anything that gets you where you’re going – whether it’s on rails or hailed through an app.”

Randal O’Toole, transportation expert at Cato Institute, makes this distinction as well when he refers to public transit, clarifying that “public in public transit doesn’t refer to ownership; it refers to transport that is available to all of the public.”

As expected, some government officials and transit boosters are not fond of this progressive redefinition of mass transit, and prefer the older, outdated approach. They see ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft as “first-last” mile tools that should connect people to traditional mass transit.

Much to their chagrin, Uber and Lyft are many people’s preferred travel mode for their entire trip. This trend makes sense. Why would anyone disembark from Uber in the first mile, adding additional legs to their trip, when they could take one vehicle the whole way directly to their destination?

As a result of this shift, Uber and Lyft are no longer transportation choices government officials and transit boosters can support. Ridesharing services are, instead, treated as competitors and opponents that must be pushed out of business. As O’Toole puts it, government then regulates “privately owned transit to save publicly subsidized transit, because for some reason, subsidzed transit deserves to be ‘saved’ from private competition.”

This does not serve people or increase mobility – it serves traditional mass transit, even when it doesn’t work for all commuters. Most disappointing is that this approach reduces transportation choices and hurts people’s freedom to choose the travel mode that best works for them. Unfortunately, this is a growing sentiment in cities throughout the country.

In a recent New York Times article, author Emily Badger asks, “Is Uber helping or hurting mass transit?” She cites results from a UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies survey of 2,000 people, which “suggest that ride-hailing draws people away from public transit.” According to the study, after people in major American cities try ride-hailing, there is a 6% decrease in bus use, and a 3% decrease in light rail use. Ridesharing users felt that transit was “too slow or unreliable.”

The question The New York Times should have asked instead was whether Uber is helping or hurting people. In a world where transit is no longer a means to an end – but an end in itself – this question seems to be ignored. Badger concedes that ridesharing might be more efficient for people individually, but says it hurts the city collectively because it encourages riders to switch from transit to cars, and cars are bad for dense cities.

The author seems to understand that people choose to rideshare because it is faster and more reliable, but worries that having more cars on the road will reduce overall transportation efficiency, and therefore ridesharing should be regulated. This assumes, however, that people are not rational. In practice, people will stop choosing to rideshare if it becomes slow and unreliable. They do not need to be told. They already know what is most efficient, and adjust faster than politicians.

Meanwhile, in Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has taken this anti-transportation choices ideology one step further. Emanuel is proposing to increase the current 52-cent tax on all Uber and Lyft Rides in the city by 29%. This would bring the current tax to 67 cents per ride in 2018. The tax would increase to 72 cents per ride by 2019. This represents a near 40% increase in the tax rate in two years.

The tax revenue would go to the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). Emanuel’s administration does not like that Uber and Lyft compete with traditional mass transit, complaining that “the ride-hailing industry has drained $40 million from city and other local government coffers, in part by shifting some commuters away from the CTA.” In other words, commuters are not making the choice he wants them to make, so they should be punished.

The Chicago mayor is proud of the tax and says, “[Chicago] will be the first city to tap into the ride share industry for resources to modernize our transportation system.” If this statement doesn’t demonstrate that irony is dead, then I don’t know what does.

Rather than hamstring transportation choices that compete with traditional mass transit, government should encourage innovation and allow transportation services to compete with one another.

When we encourage monopolies in mass transit, public transit agencies collect more revenue without any incentive to provide better service, and commuters have fewer transportation choices. On the other hand, when we encourage competition among various mass transit options, we preserve the freedom of commuters to choose the best and most cost-effective mode for their needs. This is the better approach.

Cities buying one-way tickets to Seattle for their own homeless | Shift Washington

Last week, the city of Portland launched a pilot program to buy one-way tickets for homeless people who say they have family to stay with in another city. Portland insists that — prior to purchasing the tickets — agents verify whether or not the person actually has family to stay with. They also plan on […]

Source: Cities buying one-way tickets to Seattle for their own homeless – Shift Washington

Zillow “Study” on Sea Level Rise Ignores the Science | Washington Policy Center

Source: Zillow “Study” on Sea Level Rise Ignores the Science

 

 

Five thousand homes are at risk, says the article published by KIRO 7 News. Sea level rise, caused by human-induced climate change, is the cause. If sea levels rise by six feet, says the report, “the prediction would be for 5,000 underwater homes across Puget Sound.” Zillow Senior Economist Aaron Terrazas told KIRO 7, “one of our aspirations is to bring awareness of the risk of climate change to the real estate community and to homebuyers.”

There is a big problem though. Their projections are, essentially, made up.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is frequently referred to as the “climate consensus,” used by Al Gore and others on the left to show the risk of climate change.

The most recent report from the IPCC includes this graph. It says the highest possible sea level increase by the year 2100 is one meter, about three feet. The most likely scenario is about one-and-a-half feet. Zillow’s projection of six feet is four times the likely projection in the climate consensus.

Zillow doesn’t use IPCC data – a move that would get others called a “denier” by the left – choosing instead to use the Climate Science Special Report from U.S. government agencies. Here is what that report says about likely sea level rise: “Relative to the year 2000, [global mean sea level] GMSL is very likely to rise by…1 to 4 feet (30-130 cm) by 2100” with “low confidence in upper bounds for 2100” (emphasis theirs). In other words, they admit this is speculation and have almost zero confidence in these numbers.

When Zillow’s senior economist speculates about sea levels rising to six feet, not only does he use a number that is 50 percent higher than the maximum projection from their own preferred source, but even that maximum projection is flimsy, with a “low confidence” of accuracy.

Put simply, Zillow used dubious projections and then significantly padded even that exaggerated number.

They justify this invention because their source says a projection of eight feet “cannot be excluded.” By that logic, neither can a major asteroid strike, but everyone would recognize that a report on the risk to homes from such a projection would be ridiculous.

It is remarkable how often we are lectured about following the science on climate change by those who make no effort to accurately present the data in that science. The same people who lecture others about “following the science” do not do so themselves. They preach that science is absolute and should be treated with reverence, yet manipulate and inflate the data to fit a preferred narrative.

Oil, coal train fines in Spokane go to voters | Spokesman Review

On the question of whether Spokane can – or should – fine the owners of rail cars transporting certain crude oil and coal through downtown, both sides say they’re on the right side of the law.

Source: Oil, coal train fines in Spokane go to voters with legal path unclear

Legal certainty is a trait shared by those on both sides of the debate over whether Spokane should impose fines on coal and oil trains rumbling through downtown.

The citizens’ group behind Proposition 2, which would fine the trains, argues that federal inaction has opened a window allowing the city to demand covered coal trains and the removal of combustible gasses from rail-carried oil they say could cause a fiery explosion downtown.

Their conclusion defies the opinions of two legal experts at City Hall, and the railroads and commodities groups have taken notice of the measure, spending tens of thousands of dollars on a campaign to defeat it at the ballot box.

Mayor David Condon, who has contributed his voice to the campaign against the proposal, said although he understands the concerns of citizens about safety, imposing fines ignored federal actions to make the shipments less prone to derailment as well as efforts to improve the emergency response.

“To me, it’s such an unfortunate way of going after concerns that are legitimate that our citizens have,” Condon said. “The effort, in my opinion, is misguided or misdirected.”

Supporters of the initiative, now dogged by allegations of campaign finance violations, insist their proposal is modest and would withstand a likely legal challenge. The union representing hundreds of local firefighters have endorsed their cause, saying a downtown derailment would be catastrophic.

“The initiative was born from what these guys in the community have been warning us about, for at least the past six years that I’ve been here,” said Todd Eklof, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church and the main sponsor and spokesman for Safer Spokane, the committee supporting the initiative.

The question has split the Spokane City Council, seen by critics as an ideological monolith tilted toward the left. The proposal originated before the panel last year, with City Council President Ben Stuckart arguing the fiery explosion in Mosier, Oregon, necessitated local action. He later reversed course and said he preferred to work directly with the railroads and federal regulators to achieve change.

Citizens gathered enough signatures to put the question before voters this November in a subsequent petition campaign.

A total of $151,000 has been raised to defeat Proposition 2. Among the largest donors are Lighthouse Resources, a corporation that owns several coal mines in Wyoming and Montana, and the railroads BNSF and Union Pacific.

The citizen group supporting the ballot initiative have raised just over $6,000, mostly from individual contributions. The largest contributor is Mike Bell, who is also serving as Safer Spokane’s treasurer.

Stuckart said in light of recent rollbacks of some environmental regulations by the Donald Trump administration, including rules on leasing federal land for coal mining, he’s now leaning toward voting for Proposition 2.

“I haven’t seen anybody locally stepping up and doing the work, at the federal and state level, lobbying to try to change the rules,” Stuckart said. “Are we just supposed to sit back and take it?”

City Councilwomen Candace Mumm and Amber Waldref said they had concerns about a protracted legal battle if the measure passes. Both said they likely will vote against the measure. City Councilwoman Karen Stratton wouldn’t comment on how she will vote, but said she, too, expected a legal fight. Councilman Mike Fagan is an outspoken critic of the measure, while his colleague, Breean Beggs, helped draft the ordinance and has been its staunchest defender on the council.

The initiative’s opponents, including Condon, cite legal opinions from the city’s hearing examiner, Brian McGinn, and the City Council’s policy adviser, Brian McClatchey, that the measure would have a slim chance of surviving a legal challenge.

Both men identified different sections of federal law to conclude that an ordinance passed at the local level would be trumped by rulemakers at the national level, opening the city to potential litigation and courtroom costs if the commodities, railroad or someone else filed a lawsuit to block its enforcement.

Condon pointed to efforts underway at the federal level, including legislation introduced in Congress by Washington Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, calling for national standards on cargo volatility and increasing funding for firefighting training. The city also has eliminated vehicular at-grade crossings with trains to reduce the likelihood of collisions within city limits, the mayor said.

“That’s where I think we really need to focus our attention,” Condon said.

The ballot measure would also fine uncovered coal trains over concerns about dust scattering to the tracks and increasing the likelihood of derailments. Opponents, including Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, have seized on the inclusion of coal cars as evidence supporters are seeking to change environmental policy, not protect downtown.

Initiative supporters say their specific requests that coal cars be covered and the oil extracted from the Bakken shale, an oil-rich patch in western North Dakota, be treated to reduce the vapor pressure, haven’t yet been addressed by federal rulemakers. They cite a 2000 case out of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to argue that in the absence of regulation, cities can step in.

Bell, the Safer Spokane organizer and treasurer, said if the legality already was settled, the railroads would have filed a lawsuit before voters weighed in.

“They’re spending thousands of dollars to fight this on the ballot,” Bell said. “Why haven’t they already filed suit?”

BNSF spokeswoman Courtney Wallace said the campaign was “an opportunity to educate people about the value of rail.” The railroads have stressed that emergency responders work with the railroads on exercises to respond to a potential derailment, and that track inspections in the Spokane area occur even more frequently than currently required under federal law.

The city didn’t make any pre-ballot challenge because the state values the initiative process, Condon said, and taxpayers may have spent money on legal proceedings that won’t be necessary if the measure is defeated.

“We’re an initiative state. We have a very low threshold for citizen’s initiatives. I think we’re very prideful of that,” the mayor said. “On the flip side, I think the citizens need to be aware of the legal ramifications of this, and the confusion it causes.”

If the ballot measure is successful, it may not be a clear-cut victory for supporters of rail safety, said Fred Millar, a Washington, D.C.-based rail safety consultant who formerly worked for the environmentalist group Friends of the Earth.

“I worry that the proposition, if it actually became enacted, would lead to a lawsuit very quickly from the railroads,” Millar said. “I think the railroads would win on federal preemption” – the legal doctrine that federal law supersedes state law. “I don’t think the city has a chance.”

Millar said that would lead to another legal decision that continues to give Congress and federal rulemakers more authority in regulating rail. Proponents would be better served pushing for additional transparency from railroads on the type of cargo traveling through the city and pushing for explanations of why Bakken oil must be shipped through downtown, Millar said.

Opponents warn that the initiative would have the effect of putting more oil cargo on the highways, where accidents and explosions could be more frequent than on the rails. They point to studies by the Federal Railroad Administration finding that trains are four times as fuel-efficient as trucks and from the Congressional Budget Office showing trains pose a lower accident risk than trucks on the road.

“I think the safety standards that are set by the federal government to our railroad carriers seem to be very high,” Condon said.

Stuckart and the initiative’s sponsors said oil companies are unlikely to abandon rail, because it ignores the higher cost of trucking the commodities compared to lowering the vapor pressure of the oil and covering coal train cars. Oil regulators in North Dakota say stabilizing oil in train cars would cost about $2 a barrel, or around 5 cents per gallon.

They also disputed the threat of legal action should scare voters from supporting the initiative.

“It’s not going to cost any police officers on the street. It’s not going to hurt our budget,” Stuckart said. “We deal with lawsuits all the time.”

Seattle Times Endorses Jinyoung Lee Englund

Voters in the 45th Legislative District should elect Jinyoung Lee Englund to the state Senate to preserve a balance of power between Democratic and Republican control in state government.

Source: The Times recommends: Jinyoung Lee Englund for state Senate, 45th Legislative District

Listening to some of the inflamed rhetoric in the campaign for the 45th Legislative District Senate race, you might think this race pits Donald Trump against an archetypical Seattle Lefty.

In fact, neither is running to represent this Eastside district, which includes Kirkland, Sammamish, Duvall, Redmond and Woodinville. But in making their boogeyman arguments, the two candidates lend credence to the sentiment that this race is about more than them individually. In fact, the outcome could tip power in the now Republican-controlled state Senate, giving the Democrats a lock on state government — ruling both houses and the governor’s mansion.

The race is to fill the seat — if not the shoes — of the late Sen. Andy Hill, who died last year. The pragmatic Redmond Republican budget chair’s legacy of fiscal restraint endures in the Legislature through the four-year budget balanced rule adopted in 2012.

Vying for his seat are Republican Jinyoung Lee Englund and Democrat Manka Dhingra. Both are impressive women of color, representative of the changing demographics of the tech-focused district. Englund, who says she is pro-abortion rights, is no more Donald Trump than Dhingra is a Seattle-style lefty. Dhingra attended her first party meeting less than a year ago.

A senior deputy King County prosecutor, Dhingra has a longer list of professional accomplishments, working on issues important to our region and this editorial board, such as crisis-intervention training, mental health and criminal-justice reform.

A bit younger, Englund has less but still credible experience, having worked as a staffer for U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, and as spokeswoman for the Bitcoin Foundation. Recently, Englund comanaged a team that developed a phone app for the U.S. Marine Corps. Her husband is a Marine.

Englund makes a persuasive case that her election will preserve a “balance of government” that will better serve Washington state. For that reason, voters in the 45th should elect her.

In 2012, had three Democratic senators not crossed the aisle to join Republicans in wresting control from the Democrats, Washington state would be in much worse shape. Case in point is the four-year budget rule. Requiring the state budget to be balanced over four years limits the ability of free-spending lawmakers to use gimmicks to balance the budget.

Make no mistake. That rule will be among the targets of a Democratic majority.

As economists predict, the economy will cool. The state has a healthy $2.4 billion in reserves with $1.2 billion in the constitutional rainy-day fund. Such ample savings would have come in handy after the 2008 economic crash. As the state budget convulsed, the state’s Democratic legislative monopoly had to wrestle with having increased state spending by 40 percent over the previous four years.

Two of those rogue Democrats from the 2012 coup since have left the Legislature, but the GOP still holds the Senate by the one vote of Democrat Tim Sheldon of Potlatch.

Senate Republicans, not under the sway of the powerful state teachers union, also championed and saved the state’s fledgling charter schools, while brave House Democrats who voted not to close them suffered a firestorm of pressure.

The GOP-controlled Senate often provides a pushback on the governor’s office, including proposing solutions for mismanagement at Western State Hospital after years of indolence by Democratic governors

Senate Republicans also hatched the idea in 2015 not only to freeze college and university tuition, but to actually reduce it by 5 to 20 percent. That came after years of Democratic control that, in some years, allowed colleges to increase tuition while the Legislature clawed back money for the general fund — a tax on students.

Senate Republicans also have led on some social issues, including enacting a paid family leave law and pushing to diminish the service waitlist for families with children with developmentally disabilities.

Democratic leaders accuse the Republican Senate of being obstructionist, and not allowing votes on important issues. On some points, they are correct. The Senate blocked important action on the Voting Rights Act, climate action and oil-transportation rules, among others.

But on the issue of fiscal restraint and education reform, thank goodness the Republican-controlled Senate stood in the way of less responsible spending. As the state has scrambled to address the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision demanding more state money for education, Republicans forced some hard compromises to answer those demands.

For these reasons, the 45th Legislative District voters should elect Jinyoung Lee Englund to preserve balanced and fiscally responsible government.

 

Seattle Coffee Shop Owner Shouts Profanities at Christian Pro-Life Group, Kicks Them Out | Breitbart

A gay coffee shop owner in Seattle kicked a Christian pro-life group out of his coffee shop because he felt offended by their presence.

Source: VIDEO: Gay Coffee Shop Owner Shouts Profanities at Christian Pro-Life Group, Kicks Them Out – Breitbart

 

The Washington Times reports that the group, called Abolish Human Abortion, decided to order drinks at Seattle’s Bedlam Coffee after passing out pro-life pamphlets in the area when the owner angrily asked the group to leave.

“I’m gay. You have to leave,” owner Ben Borgman said in the Facebook video.

“Are you denying us service?” activist Caytie Davis asked.

“I am. Yeah,” Borgman replied.

The group had been handing out pamphlets about the Bible, sin, and abortion to Seattle residents and one of the baristas let Borgman know what he was doing, according to the Blaze.

Borgman did not take the news well, and further confronted the group.

“This is offensive to me. I own the place. I have the right to be offended,” he said.

The group tried to explain to him that they did not leave any pamphlets in the cafe, but Borgman continued to berate the group.

“There’s nothing you can say. This is you and I don’t want these people in this place,” he said.

Borgman then asked activist Jonathan Sutherland whether he would “tolerate” a sex act between two men.

“Can you tolerate my presence? Really?” the owner asked. “If I go get my boyfriend and f**k him in the a** right here you’re going to tolerate that? Are you going to tolerate it?”

“That would be your choice,” Sutherland replied.

“Answer my f***ing question!” Borgman yelled back. “No, you’re going to sit right here and f***ing watch it! Leave, all of you! Tell all your f**king friends don’t come here!”

As the group prepared to leave, one of the women in the group told Borgman, “Just know that Christ can save you from that lifestyle.”

“Yeah, I like a**,” the owner spat. “I’m not going to be saved by anything. I’d f**k Christ in the a**. Okay? He’s hot.”

Another woman then told him that she would pray for him.

Reassessing Orwell to Understand Our Times | Scott Powell, Discovery Institute in Seattle

Source: Reassessing Orwell to Understand Our Times

 

 

Reassessing Orwell to Understand Our Times

Just two or three generations ago, most Americans understood that George Orwell’s classics Animal Farm and 1984 were written to explain how freedom is lost to totalitarianism and the intolerance that accompanies it.  “Big Brother,” a term still casually used to describe an all-knowing governing authority, comes right out of 1984. In the state that Orwell describes, all subjects are continually reminded that “Big Brother is watching you,” by way of constant surveillance through the pervasive use of “telescreens” by the ruling class.

Orwell’s warnings about totalitarianism written in novel form in Animal Farm and 1984 came shortly after Freidrich Hayek’s Road to Serfdom was published at the end of World War II.  But it took the shocking revelations from books on Nazism and Soviet Communism, by scholars like William Shirer and Robert Conquest in the 1960s, to really make Orwell relevant for teaching to the masses educated in American public schools.  And it was not just an academic exercise insofar as Stalin’s successors Leonid Brezhnev and Alexei Kosygin were at that time rolling tanks into Czechoslovakia to crush all resistance — enforcing the “Iron Curtain” over eight countries in Eastern Europe — the Soviet model of totalitarian control and subservience to Moscow.

Reading Orwell, it was thought, would help American students appreciate their freedoms and gain perspective and critical faculties so as to understand socialist totalitarianism and its defining features: 1) the institutionalization of propaganda designed to warp and destroy people’s grasp on reality, and 2) the fostering of group think, conformity and collectivism designed to eliminate critical and independent thinking.

Orwell described the scope of the totalitarian enterprise, noting in one section of 1984 that “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, and every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”

In 1984, Orwell said, “Who controls the past controls the future.” Orwell’s coining of the concepts and terms of “newspeak, doublethink and thought police” are what we now experience as political correctness. Newspeak is the distorted reality accomplished by manipulating the meaning of language and words, while doublethink is the conditioned mental attitude to ignore reality and common sense and substitute and embrace a distorted or false narrative. The analogs of “thought police” in 1984 are now the enforcers of political correctness seen in the mainstream media and college campuses across the country.

As Orwell notes, “the whole aim of newspeak and doublethink is to narrow the range of thought.” Political correctness has the same goal and that’s why its adherents are so intolerant — seeking to shut down and silence people with whom they disagree on college campuses, clamoring for removal of historic statues and monuments so they can rewrite history and control the future, and demanding that people with opposing views on such subjects as climate change and gay marriage be silenced, fined or arrested.

Many assume that because the press is not state-controlled in the U.S. there is a long way to go before the American government has the power of Orwell’s Big Brother.

But what if the universities and the educational system and the major television and print media institutions embrace the groupthink that ingratiates them with the ruling elite?  What if the culture shapers in Hollywood and the advertising industry on Madison Avenue follow a similar path in participating in and reinforcing the same groupthink norms?

And what if the rise of social media promote a kind of groupthink conformity that effectively marginalizes and silences opposing views? Could it then be that propaganda in a free democratic nation like America might be more effective in shaping thought and attitudes of the masses than the propaganda of totalitarian regimes affects their subjects?

Orwell’s Big Brother has become a reality in the NSA’s tracking and recording all email, text and telephone communication in the United States.  But Big Brother has a new dimension with social media and consumer giants, Google, Facebook, and Amazon, knowing almost everything about people’s preferences through their artificial intelligence peering into peoples’ “telescreen” computers and smartphones.

Social media have great power to narrow the range of acceptable thought. On Facebook, those who openly support a politically correct view — what appears to be the popular majority view — are frequently lauded with thumbs up, while dissenters often remain silent to avoid being criticized or denounced. All of which leads to what is called “the spiral of silence,” which reinforces the groupthink of what seems to be the social and cultural majority.

What comfortable and disengaged Americans have forgotten is that there are determined enemies within and there is an internal war being waged against the values and institutions that made America a great nation.

The left is the vanguard leading this war, following a course laid out by cultural Marxists such as Antonio Gramsci and members of the Frankfurt School. Becoming influential in the 1930s and beyond, they believed the “long march through the institutions” was the best route to taking power in developed, industrialized societies such as the United States and Europe. This “march” would be a gradual process of radicalization of social and cultural institutions — “the superstructure” — of bourgeois society, which would transform the values and morals of society.  In retrospect, there is a high correlation between the softening of morals over the last two or three generations and the corruption of our family, political, legal and, economic foundation.

There are three measures of the establishment’s venality.  First there is a high incidence of denial, manifest for instance in little to no discussion of the doubling of national debt in just 9 years to over $20 trillion, and unfunded entitlement liabilities now five times greater than that — conditions inviting financial collapse of the U.S. A second measure of corruption is the establishment’s reluctance to prosecute fellow establishment law breakers in government, which has effectively created a two-tiered justice system. A third measure of establishment corruption is its accommodation of extremist anti-American groups as though they have a legitimate role to play in reform and influence on policy-making — whether in taking down historic monuments, creating sanctuary cities and controlling the nation’s borders, establishing police protocols in law enforcement, fighting wars overseas, or restructuring the economy at home.

The hostility to the Trump Presidency by the establishment elite in both political parties, the media, the teachers’ unions, the university faculties, and Hollywood is probably a contrary indicator. It likely tells us more about the real state of corruption in government, the establishment media, and popular culture than it does about Trump and his peccadillos.

A society committed to maintaining liberty, prosperity, and opportunity for all needs to focus on real threats, a key one of which is now the loss of freedom of speech and the assault on the First Amendment.

One of our nation’s founders, Patrick Henry of Richmond, Virginia, was a gifted and passionate orator best known for his declaration, “Give me liberty or give me death.”  But his most important, substantive and lasting contribution to the legacy of freedom was his tenacious and ultimately successful fight to have the Bill of Rights amended to the Constitution because of his conviction that the First Amendment and nine others were absolutely necessary to protect individual liberty against the power and abuse of centralized government.

Orwell reminds us today of the critical importance of the First Amendment, noting “if liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” Exactly the opposite of the current trajectory and what the politically correct crowd wants.

Scott Powell is senior fellow at Discovery Institute in Seattle. Reach him at scottp@discovery.org  

Las Vegas Police Releases Body Camera Footage That Refutes Michael Bennett’s Story | Breitbart

Las Vegas Police Releases Body Camera Footage That Refutes Michael Bennett’s Story

Source: Las Vegas Police Releases Body Camera Footage That Refutes Michael Bennett’s Story – Breitbart

The Las Vegas Metro Police Department released body camera footage Friday of Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett’s August detainment that was in contrast to Bennett’s claim that the police racially profiled him and used excessive force.

In the video, two Hispanic officers and one black officer can be seen identifying Bennett following the Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor fight. At the time, there was a suspected shooter on the loose and Bennett was identified as suspicious after he hid from police inside a casino and attempted to flee the scene.

A distraught Bennett was detained, and although he had no ID, he told officers to look him up online on their cell phones to prove he was the Seahawks defensive lineman. The officers then let Bennett leave after determining he was not the shooter.

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, head of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, said the officers handled Bennett’s detainment “appropriately and professionally.”

In a statement on Twitter, Bennett wrote September 6, “The Officers’ excessive use of force was unbearable. I felt helpless as I lay there on the ground handcuffed facing the real-life threat of being killed. All I could think of was “I’m going to die for no other reason than I am black and my skin color is somehow a threat.’ My life flashed before my eyes as I thought of my girls. Would I ever play with them again? Or watch them have kids? Or be able to kiss my wife again and tell her I love her.”

Following Bennett’s Twitter post, the Las Vegas Police Union called for the NFL to investigate Bennett’s “false and offensive claims” of racial profiling, but the NFL declined.

Bennett has protested the national anthem throughout the season and even raised a fist after getting a sack on San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brian Hoyer.

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