Friday, Oct 15, 2021

President Biden Still in Media-Protected Hiding

Mark Twain, the 19th century master of witty American humor, once said, “Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.”

Distorting facts has already become the standard modus operandi of the Biden administration. The falsifications jumped out of the president’s scripted March 11 address to the nation, which the Washington Post charitably described as “heavy on emotion and hope, but light on facts.” Even the New York Times was required to observe that Biden’s address “exaggerated elements of the coronavirus pandemic,” among other things.

On the first day of his presidency, Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, declared that his “objective and his commitment is to bring transparency and truth back to government to share the truth, even when it’s hard to hear.”

But since then, Biden has not held a single formal press conference, and his public appearances have been limited so thoroughly that the White House press corps has been reduced to shouting its questions at him while White House staffers insist they leave him alone as Biden is whisked away after every event. He now holds the modern record for the length of time a new president has gone without answering spontaneous questions from reporters, dating back more than 100 years.

UNASKED QUESTIONS

If given the chance, serious reporters interested in revealing the truth about his presidency would ask Biden hard questions about the disastrous results of new policy which invited the crush of migrants now storming the southern border. In less than two months, that crush has overwhelmed border officers who have been herding thousands of unaccompanied migrant kids into detention facilities, and permitting thousands more untested and possibly Covid-positive adult migrants to be released into the general US population. Reporters might also ask Biden why only 9 percent of his $1.9 trillion Covid relief package is dedicated to actually fighting the virus, while most of the rest will be spent on unrelated items that have languished for years on the liberal policy wish list.

Biden is not just avoiding unscripted encounters with reporters. He also now holds the modern record for delaying a new president’s first address to a joint session of Congress. Back in January, Biden announced, “Next month, in my first appearance before a joint session of Congress, I will lay out my ‘Build Back Better’ recovery plan.” But that promised appearance still hasn’t happened.

Back in October, when he was running for president, Biden promised to govern with respect for the legislative process. “We are a democracy,” he said. “If you can’t get the votes … you can’t [rule] by executive order unless you’re a dictator. . . We need consensus,” But as of March 8, Biden had signed 37 executive orders, 13 presidential memoranda, 16 proclamations and seven notices, again setting a new presidential record. Since taking office, the only piece of legislation Biden has been able to “get the votes” in Congress that it needed to pass was the Covid relief package. Even then, his fellows Democrats were only barely able to accomplish that task by making an end run around the normal Senate voting rules.

BIDEN STILL IN DENIAL OVER TRUMP’S COVID ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Another Biden tactic has been to completely ignore the impressive accomplishments of Trump’s Operation Warp Speed, and claim that Trump had no strategy in place to vaccinate the American people. “It’s one thing about the vaccine, which we didn’t have when we came into office, but a vaccinator, you need the needle, you need the mechanisms to be able to get it in,” Biden said.

In fact, on the day he took office, Biden inherited two FDA-approved, highly effective Covid vaccines, from Moderna and Pfizer, and a third vaccine from Johnson & Johnson on track to receive its FDA approval as well. The vaccines were developed in record time, and mass produced in advance of their FDA approval, because of the foresight of Trump’s team running Operation Warp Speed.

On that same day, the two approved vaccines were being administered across the country at the rate of almost one million a day, including Biden himself, who had received both required shots before he was inaugurated. The goal that Biden announced of getting “100 million shots in people’s arms in my first hundred days in office” sounded very impressive, unless you realized that all he had to do to reach it was to maintain the vaccination rate he had inherited from Trump.

In his March 11 address, Biden claimed, “Two months ago, this country didn’t have nearly enough vaccine supply to vaccinate all or anywhere near all of the American public. But soon we will,” Biden added, implying that Trump had been negligent. But for a change, in this instance, the New York Times felt obligated to correct the record by fact-checking the point against the records of the General Accounting Office. The Times’ conclusion was, “This is misleading. By the end of last year, the Trump administration had ordered at least 800 million vaccine doses that were expected for delivery by July 31, 2021.”

In the same speech, Biden said, “A year ago, we were hit with a virus that was met with silence and spread unchecked, denials for days, weeks, then months.” In fact, on January 31, 2020, when Trump banned incoming flights bearing Covid-infected passengers from mainland China, he was accused by Democrats of “hysterical xenophobia.” These days, Democrats prefer to criticize Trump for waiting until March 11, 2020, to extend his incoming flight ban to Covid-infected countries in Europe. While with 20-20 hindsight, it is clear that Trump should have taken that action sooner, he still did it four days before Democrat officials acknowledged the threat by closing the New York City public school system.

During the first surge of the pandemic, Trump personally took a leading role in the daily televised briefings by the White House Covid Task Force, and endorsed its proposal for a month-long nationwide shutdown effort to “flatten the curve” of fast-rising Covid fatalities. One might criticize the accuracy of some of the things Trump said about the virus during those briefings, but he was hardly “silent” on the issue, and he did not allow the virus to “spread unchecked,” as Biden claims.

WILL THE MEDIA RECOVER ITS JOURNALISTIC STANDARDS?

All these blatant falsehoods in Biden’s remarks were clear to anyone who has been paying attention to published reports on the course of the pandemic over the past year. What has changed is that the mainstream media now feels obligated to at least report them, and begin to hold Biden accountable for these falsehoods, however gently. That was not the case when the media was targeting Trump, both before and during his presidency, while refusing to give credence to the hints of scandal, evasion, dishonesty and incompetence which peppered Biden’s minimal exposure candidacy.

The media campaign to destroy Donald Trump began just after he secured the GOP’s presidential nomination in the summer of 2016. It was first revealed to the public by an anguished opinion piece written by New York Times media columnist and political correspondent Jim Rutenberg. He admitted that he and many of his mainstream media pro-Clinton colleagues has abandoned all pretense of maintaining journalistic objectivity in their reporting on Trump and his campaign. Rutenberg tried to justify his betrayal of the journalistic standards of balance and fair reporting by portraying Trump as an “abnormal and potentially dangerous candidate,” who presented a dire threat to national security.

Rutenberg and his mainstream media colleagues tried to ignore Trump’s growing popularity until he secured the GOP nomination, which forced them to confront the real possibility of Trump winning the presidency, “something so many of them viewed as an impossibility for so long,” he wrote.

Rutenberg cited the example of Joe Scarborough, the host of the popular “Morning Joe” political talk show on the MSNBC cable news channel. During the 2016 primary season, Scarborough was criticized for being too friendly with Trump. But after Trump won the nomination, Scarborough’s attitude towards Trump became openly hostile.

In a broadcast interview with former CIA director Michael Hayden, Scarborough asked him whether there were any safeguards in place at the White House that could prevent Trump, as president, from launching a nuclear weapon, and explained that such a safeguard could be necessary because Trump might not be “the most stable guy.”

Scarborough then told his audience he had been told by an unnamed foreign policy expert that in a recent national security briefing, Trump had repeatedly asked him about the use of nuclear weapons. Scarborough later told Rutenberg that he had disclosed the nuclear weapons story because “it was something I thought Americans needed to know.”

Rutenberg agreed with Scarborough’s decision, based on their shared belief that “political journalism’s most solemn duty is to ferret out what the candidates will be like in the most powerful office in the world.”

ABANDONING OBJECTIVITY IN SERVICE TO AN AGENDA

Vox editor-in-chief Ezra Klein was another member of the mainstream media who subscribed to the liberal groupthink which created new rules for the coverage of the 2016 political debate between Mrs. Clinton and Donald Trump, whom Klein described, respectively, as “normal” and “abnormal.”

He reached the same conclusion that Rutenberg and Scarborough did — the normal journalistic rules had to be abandoned to achieve the higher mission of destroying Donald Trump’s candidacy and everyone associated with it. They felt duty-bound to accuse Trump of being a racist, a fascist, a xenophobe and a dangerous demagogue based upon the flimsiest of evidence (which they would manufacture if necessary), and to ignore any evidence about Trump’s character that did not fit their message to the public that he was dangerous and evil.

That mainstream media’s poisonous consensus about Trump remained unchanged after his surprise victory over Hillary Clinton, and it eagerly signed on the Democrat Resistance movement launched the next day that refused to accept the legitimacy of Trump’s victory, and devoted itself to doing everything possible to destroy his presidency.

SOVIET-STYLE RHETORIC REPLACING REPORTING

According to former Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi, the next four years of American mainstream journalistic coverage of President Trump reminded him of the Cold War-era Soviet newspapers he used to collect, whose graphics were dramatic, with the use of big block type and red highlights, but whose content and style were so predictable that any “good Soviet could write almost any Pravda headline in advance. What else but ‘A Mighty Demonstration of the Union of the Party and the People’ fit the day after Supreme Soviet elections? Who could earn an obit headline but a ‘Faithful Son of the Party’?”

But as was the case with Soviet news coverage, where everything was black or white, anyone supporting Trump was depicted as a villain in league with the devil, and anyone participating in the coordinated Democrat and media effort to destroy Trump and his presidency was on the side of the angels. That was how the dossier manufactured by Christopher Steele and paid for by the Clinton campaign for use as anti-Trump propaganda was given so much credibility by the media. It still remains the basis of much of the Democrat criticism of Trump, even after it was exposed as Russian disinformation by years of FBI investigations.

After the Mueller investigation was unable to corroborate the Steele dossier allegations, and the Democrat effort to impeach Trump for suggesting to the president of Ukraine that he investigate Hunter Biden also failed, Joe Biden’s candidacy became their best hope for finally removing Trump from the White House.

The media did its best to enable Biden to stay undercover in his basement through most of the presidential campaign, thereby avoiding the verbal gaffes and embarrassing missteps which sabotaged his previous two presidential campaigns. At the same time, the mainstream media suppressed almost all reporting on the emerging evidence of Hunter Biden’s influence-peddling based on his relationship with his father.

With the media’s help, Biden made it through the election without suffering any serious setbacks and managed to defeat Trump, based largely on his criticism of Trump’s handling of the pandemic.

But Biden’s obvious shortcomings, included his suspected cognitive problems, came with him to the White House, requiring the mainstream media which carried him through the campaign to continue its efforts to minimize or cover up his gaffes and continue to portray his policies and presidency to the American public in the most positive possible light.

As a result, according to Taibbi, many of their headlines last week describing Biden’s first major presidential accomplishment — the passage of his $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill — sounded very much like the headlines run by Pravda during the Cold War praising the leader of the Soviet Union.

For example:

— “Biden stimulus showers money on Americans, sharply cutting poverty” (Washington Post)

— “Champion of the middle class comes to the aid of the poor” (New York Times)

— “Biden’s historic victory for America” (CNN)

STILL COVERING UP BIDEN’S GLARING FAULTS

Taibbi cited a Washington Post opinion piece by Richard Zoglin, arguing that Biden is the first president in generations who might be “impervious to [comic] impressionists,” and suggested that Biden is “impregnable” to parody.

That claim is ridiculous. Biden spent the presidential campaign challenging skeptical voters to pushup contests, calling them liars, and forgetting what state he was in. Those problems continue. On March 9, at a White House event in which Biden announced the nomination of two female generals for the US military, he couldn’t remember the name of his Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, and when he couldn’t remember the name of the Department of Defense either, he described it as “that outfit over there.”

Contrary to Zoglin’s portrait, Biden remains an ideal subject for comic parody. He still says inappropriate things and engages in awkward physical stunts, while his unscripted rhetoric alternates between outbursts of certainty and embarrassing confusion.

After the first 50 days of Biden’s presidency, we still can’t be certain about what kind of president he intends to be. The breathtaking liberal scope of his stimulus package suggests that will be far more radical than President Obama. But the details of Biden’s positions on significant issues such as the deteriorating situation on the border with Mexico and his goals for re-opening the nation’s schools keep shifting; his press secretary has repeatedly had trouble trying to explain what he really meant after he actually said something quite different.

Yet the mainstream media reporting on Biden’s presidency rarely strays far, in tone or content, from official White House press releases and statements, including deliberately fuzzy policy details and attempts to make sense out of Biden’s confused rhetoric.

THE BLATANT MEDIA BIDEN-TRUMP DOUBLE STANDARD

When Biden decided to give Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman a pass for his role in the murder of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi because the “cost” of “breaching the relationship with one of America’s key Arab allies” was too high, the New York Times wrote a headline that bent over backwards to avoid criticizing the president’s decision. But when Trump, as president, arrived at a similar conclusion, declining to risk US ties with Saudi Arabia, the Times was merciless in expressing its outrage, condemning Trump’s lack of moral compass in pursuing a foreign policy that “puts America’s interests first, founded on a theory of moral equivalence.”

By contrast, in an analysis piece, the Times described Biden’s MBS decision as evidence that his foreign policy lies firmly is “in the cautious middle,” and quoted former US Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross as congratulating Biden for “trying to thread the needle here… This is the classic example of where you have to balance your values and your interests” — essentially the same thing that Trump was trying to do.

NARROWED LIMITS OF ACCEPTABLE PUBLIC DEBATE

The piece reflects the new, tightly constrained boundaries of acceptable public debate among the policymaking elite in the post-Trump era, which is entirely contained within the traditional liberal and progressive wings of the Democrat party. Today’s mainstream media, with the notable exception of Fox News, is not at all interested in Republican opinions except to serve as foils for Democrat and liberal critics.

With no further need to maintain even the illusion of non-partisan balance in its news coverage, the mainstream media organizations have eliminated any comments or opinions from people who may be critical of the new liberal orthodoxy and the idealized public image they have constructed of Biden’s presidency.

Instead, they are promoting only career-minded journalists willing to sell the public the most outrageous official nonsense justifying Biden’s policies without any hesitation or remorse. Successful reporters are also expected to support the pro-Biden message with an enthusiasm that would have embarrassed their professionally skeptical and probing journalistic predecessors.

For example, the New York Times feature story providing background on Biden’s pandemic relief bill read: “‘Scranton Joe’ Biden, whose five-decade political identity has been largely shaped by his appeal to union workers and blue-collar tradesmen like those from his Pennsylvania hometown, will sign into law a $1.9 trillion spending plan that includes the biggest antipoverty effort in a generation…”

MEDIA REINVENTING BIDEN’S IMAGE

The story seeks to reinvent Biden, who spent much of his 36 years in the Senate concentrating on foreign policy, judicial fights, gun control, and criminal justice issues, as a pandemic-inspired crusader for the nation’s poor.

In fact, Biden’s record features the infamously harsh anti-crime bill that he wrote and helped pass during the 1990s, a heavy reliance on campaign cash from corporate and financial services industry donors, and a mixed history on union issues. The mainstream media stories that paint Biden as both a “hero to the middle class” and a “hero to the poor” would make the writers for Pravda proud.

The high praise for Biden’s inauguration speech from reporters and media outlets eager to please the liberal elite was shameless. Chris Wallace said it was the “the best inaugural address I have ever heard.” Politico said of Biden’s March 11 address to the nation that “it is hard to imagine any other contemporary politician making the speech Biden did… channeling our collective sorrow and reminding us that there is life after grief.”

While respected journalists like the Times’ Rutenberg were initially willing to give up their professional standards in support of combined efforts to discredit first Trump’s candidacy, and then his presidency, eventually their “moral clarity” had to be reinforced with the threat of retaliation and Soviet-style purges of any journalists unwilling to follow the official corporate media anti-Trump line without question or hesitation.

CRACKING DOWN ON INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM

Those reporters and columnists still clinging to their mainstream media jobs have gotten the message loud and clear: “If you want to keep picking up a paycheck, you had better get with the pro-Biden program.”

That is the only reasonable explanation for the about-face by New York Times columnist David Brooks, who has spent years promoting a message promoting the values of “personal responsibility” and the “culture of thrift.” Now Brooks is writing columns praising “Joe Biden [as] a transformational president” because he has abandoned all fiscal restraints in his Covid relief bill. Brooks then tries to explain that “both parties are adjusting to the new paradigm,” and adds that while he still worries “about a world in which we spend borrowed money with abandon,” he now accepts the liberal contention that “income inequality, widespread child poverty, and economic equality are the [main] problems of our time.”

In today’s mainstream media world, there is no such thing as overdoing the praise for Biden. That is only the way that the editors of the New York Times can justify calling Biden “a steady hand who chooses words with extraordinary restraint” a description which even his most ardent admirers would admit is completely inconsistent with the notorious political loose cannon he has been for decades.

But the past four years of one-sided mainstream media attacks on Trump, including hundreds of false accusations and deliberately distorted reporting, has taken a toll on the public’s level of trust in corporate journalism, causing those interested in fair and honest reporting to turn to increasingly independent news sources on the internet and social media as their primary sources for news and information.

In a desperate effort to suppress their competition for the public’s trust and support, the big corporations with a stake in Biden’s presidency are trying to gain a stranglehold over the mass dissemination of information and turn the public into a captive audience. They have transformed themselves from defenders of free expression into vigorous advocates of censorship and the silencing of all dissenting criticism.

MEDIA ENFORCING CANCEL CULTURE STANDARDS

The compliant corporate journalists are now quick to condemn any public criticisms of their work as “harassment,” “abuse” and even “violence,” and claim that anyone daring to publicly disagree with their positions actually places them “in danger.”

According to independent investigative reporter Glenn Greenwald, the widespread acceptance of this argument enables its “cancel culture” practitioners to “malign anyone they want, ruin people’s reputations, and unite to generate hatred against their chosen targets,” while holding themselves immune from any criticism. Any independent platform that empowers other journalists or ordinary citizens to disagree or present any view outside of the groupthink consensus is immediately condemned by these self-appointed arbiters of permissible thought as a threat which must to be ruthlessly censored and destroyed.

A number of formerly respected commentators and investigative reporters who have been targeted by the cancel culture and driven from their high-profile mainstream media posts have been searching for a new public platform which would allow them to continue to freely express their opinions without fear of censorship. One such platform is a website called Substack, which describes itself as an email newsletter service imposing minimal restrictions on the opinions of the authors of the newsletter it publishes.

A SECOND LIFE FOR GOOD REPORTERS IN EXILE

Today, Substack is the media home of formerly respected but now blackballed columnists and reporters, including Greenwald (who publicized many of the emails intercepted by the NSA and then stolen by Edward Snowden), Matt Taibbi, Andrew Sullivan (former editor of The New Republic), Matt Yglesias (who had been a regular contributor to The Atlantic, Slate, and Vox), Bari Weiss (an op-ed page editor and writer for the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times), and Jesse Singal, (a feature writer for New York Magazine).

None of these journalists can be fairly characterized as conservatives or advocates for Donald Trump. Most are proud, independent ideological liberals, and their writings generally reflect that point of view. They have come under attack by fellow liberals for having dared to violate the new taboos of progressive culture by publicly questioning their radical environmental, racial, and gender-based policies now being ruthlessly imposed on American society, with the open cooperation of the corporate internet and mainstream media giants.

Each of these exiled journalists has been sought out and found on Substack by many of their readers who have been following their writing for years. Their second publishing life has infuriated the cancel culture vigilantes of political correctness who had ruthlessly smeared them and succeeded in driving them from their previous journalism posts. Now these writers are being threatened once again with censorship and attack by fellow journalists working on behalf of the cancel culture, who are determined to defame and destroy the new platform of expression, Substack.

According to Greenwald, Substack has been successful in generating a sizable public following because it has selected authors “who are not in tune with the dominant views of the establishment media. . .

“That is precisely why they [Substack’s critics] are so furious. They cannot stand the fact that journalists can break major stories and find an audience while maintaining an independent voice, critically questioning rather than obediently reciting the [mainstream media] orthodoxies that bind them.”

In reporting on this media phenomenon in his own Substack newsletter, Greenwald raises a serious concern, that the loss of “their monopolistic power over public thought [by Subsack’s critics will translate] into increasingly concerted and effective censorship campaigns.”

That campaign has already started with an attack by Ryan Broderick in his own Garbage Day online newsletter. Broderick himself was fired by the Buzzfeed website last June after being found guilty of serial plagiarism.

Broderick used the social media controversy over a false accusation made by New York Times internet reporter Taylor Lorenz to condemn Greenwald for his critique of current journalistic practices at the New York Times, CNN and NBC News. Broderick then suggested that Substack was ultimately responsible for permitting Greenwald and others to publish their views which violate Broderick’s “evolving” concept of “online harassment,” even though he admitted that Greenwald’s comments on the Lorenz controversy did not violate Substack’s published terms of service.

Greenwald had criticized Lorenz, not just based on the fact that she wrongly accused a public person for having uttered an “unacceptable” word in what was supposed to have been a private internet conversation among friends. Greenwald is more concerned by the fact that Lorenz gained access under false pretenses to that private conversation, and then reported an erroneous version of that conversation to her readers.

JOURNALISM’S NEW GUARDIANS

Broderick’s campaign against Substack has already received support on social media from several other self-appointed vigilantes of the cancel culture, whom Greenwald describes as self-appointed “Guardians and Defenders of Real Journalism.”

Greenwald also asks, “why is it permissible for Ryan Broderick to write articles attacking me and maligning my work, and for New York Times front-page reporter Taylor Lorenz to use her large Twitter platform and recruit all her media friends to attack me as well as [his fellow Substack writers], but we are not allowed to write critiques of their work because doing so constitutes dangerous harassment that must be silenced?”

Greenwald concludes that because of their “bottomless sense of entitlement and self-regard. . . [his critics] really do believe that the world should be organized so as to authorize them to attack whoever they want, while banning anyone who criticizes them when they do it.”

Greenwald noted that the Taylor Lorenz controversy has made him one of the most controversial topics of conversation on Twitter, but, in his own view, “That is completely fine. I know that I have sought out a public platform. I know I do reporting and express views and analysis that makes others angry and generates intense disagreement. The result is that many journalists use their social media platforms and columns to attack me, and that’s how it should be. It would never occur to me to crawl to authorities and beg them to be silenced so that I am protected from the bile and threats that I receive as a result.”

Greenwald says that the cancel culture criticism is nothing compared to the “state-sponsored attacks, and credible threats of violence that have been and still are directed at me and my family by actually repressive governments and their followers for the reporting I have done [such as publishing Edward Snowden’s controversial stolen NSA data]. That’s one reason I have nothing but contempt for the pathetic efforts of these influential journalists to cast themselves as victims of harassment campaigns when all they have suffered is a little public criticism of their published views.”

MAINSTREAM MEDIA’S INTERNET “HALL MONITORS”

Greenwald characterizes Broderick as one of many cancel culture-compliant reporters, including the dedicated teams of “media reporters” working at CNN, NBC and the New York Times, who “devote the bulk of their ‘journalism’ to searching for online spaces where they believe speech and conduct rules are being violated, flagging them, and then pleading that punitive action be taken [including] banning, censorship and content regulation. . .

“[They] are completely unmoored from any ethical constraints or obligations of truth. When they are writing about the enemies of their media clique, they feel completely free to outright lie about people in order to malign them (in between demanding censorship of those they claim spread ‘disinformation’).”

There are many similarities between the tactics employed by people Greenwald calls social media “hall monitors” and the ruthless efforts to suppress the free expression of independent thought that have always been employed by totalitarian dictatorships such as the former Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, and today’s communist China.

POLITICAL FREE SPEECH UNDER ATTACK

The false accusations and disinformation used by the agents of the cancel culture to condemn and suppress all dissenting journalistic opinions is almost identical to the tactics used by the mainstream media to condemn Donald Trump and his Republican supporters for daring to suggest that Democrat officials unconstitutionally loosened the election laws in the battleground states where the outcome of the November presidential election was determined.

Democrat party leaders went so far as to demand that any elected Republican official in DC who voiced support for Trump’s accusations that he was defeated because of election fraud on an unprecedented scale be disciplined or forced to step down from office.

Democrats and the mainstream media claimed to be outraged that Trump, or any of his supporters, questioned state election outcomes which had been tested by recounts and then certified by duly designated state election officials. They characterized anyone who supported Trump’s challenge to Joe Biden’s victory, which was certified by the 50 states, as tantamount to treason and a threat to the peaceful transfer of power based upon the choice made by voters at the ballot box.

ONLY DEMOCRATS CAN CHALLENGE ELECTION RESULTS

But apparently, Democrats believe that the principle only applies when one of their candidates has been certified as the winner. If state election officials decide to certify a Republican candidate as the winner in a close congressional election, Democrats, led by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, reserve the right to overturn that decision if it suits their partisan ambitions.

Last week, the House of Representatives’ Democrat-controlled Committee on House Administration took the first step to unseating Mariannette Miller-Meeks, the state certified Republican victor in the November election for Iowa’s 2nd Congressional district, and install a Democrat in that House seat instead.

In the first vote count, Miller-Meeks was declared the winner by 47 votes. After her Democrat opponent, Rita Hart, exercised her right to demand a recount, Miller-Meeks again emerged the victor, but this time by a margin of only six votes, after lawyers for both sides wrangled over disputed ballots.

Hart was not satisfied. She and her lawyers claim that 22 ballots that should have been included in the recount were excluded. Now she wants the Democrat-controlled House to use its constitutional authority as “judge of the elections” to require a second recount of the November ballots using ground rules likely to reverse the outcome.

Miller-Meeks and her supporters argue that Hart’s demand for another recount be dismissed because she and her lawyers had an opportunity in December to raise their complaints about the 22 ballots before a special Iowa court whose mission is to resolve contested elections by applying Iowa state law on ballot issues. Hart failed to do so. The recount process was then declared complete and the Miller-Meeks’ victory was duly certified by a 5-0 vote of Iowa’s state elections board composed of three Republicans and two Democrats.

Now, an editorial in the Wall Street Journal asks Democrats what happened to their respect for the will of the voters and the state certification of ballots which they had been so eager to defend when it was Donald Trump challenging the results.

The response of the Democrat chairwoman of the House committee, Zoe Lofgren of California, is that “the American people deserve to know who actually won this election.” Speaker Pelosi added that a vote by the narrow majority of House Democrats reversing the result certified by the Iowa state elections board and giving the congressional seat to Hart was a real possibility.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “this suggests that Democrats are shamelessly practicing a politically convenient double standard in which they are prepared to overturn an election results but only if that means that one of their candidates may be able to steal an election they actually lost.” Apparently, their high-minded talk about the obligation to respect the electoral process and the state-certified decision of the voters only applied when it was Donald Trump and his supporters who were challenging the results.

The last time the House of Representatives voted to reverse a state-certified election result was in 1985, and the last time it replaced a sitting member of Congress with their opponent over a contested election was in 1938. But 80 years of congressional precedent doesn’t count for much with today’s Democrats. When a narrow, but legally certified election result stands in the way of their partisan advantage, they are perfectly willing to overrule the choice of the voters in Iowa’s 2nd district, and use their majority power to “steal” that congressional seat.

DEMOCRATS CREATING FEAR TO EXTEND THEIR POWER

Democrats are milking the raw emotions generated by the “armed insurrection” by Trump supporters at the Capitol building for all that its worth. Meanwhile, the absence of adequate security to guard the Capitol building that day, despite advance warning by the FBI about violent participants in the large pro-Trump rally planned that day at the White House, remains unexplained.

It turns out that Speaker Pelosi was one of the congressional officials who rejected the call for National Guard reinforcements from the commander of Capitol Police before January 6. But since that day, Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media have distorted the public’s understanding of the events and exaggerated the threat of further attacks by so-called right-wing “domestic terrorists.”

After that day, the mainstream media helped generate an atmosphere of fear and panic over the possibility of more alleged “domestic terrorist” attacks. NPR reported that the “the FBI is warning of protests and potential violence in all 50 state capitals ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.” CNN reported that “law enforcement and state officials are on high alert for potentially violent protests in the lead-up to Inauguration Day, with some state capitols boarded up and others temporarily closed ahead of [the] ceremony.”

To safeguard the inauguration ceremony, the National Mall in DC was turned into a militarized zone with the visible presence of 25,000 members of the National Guard. Public buildings were surrounded with high metal fences and security barriers, and a state of emergency was declared.

THE ATTACKS THAT NEVER HAPPENED

But nothing of any consequence happened, either at the inauguration ceremony or at the 50 state capitols across the country which had also been put on alert. Five ragtag right-wing anti-Biden protesters showed up in Tallahassee, Florida. They were vastly outnumbered and mostly ignored by the police and National Guard troops who had been mobilized there to protect the state capital. In Topeka, Kansas, two anti-Biden protesters made an appearance, along with three pro-Biden counter-protesters. Again, nothing of any consequence happened.

There was some politically-motivated violence in Portland and Seattle on Inauguration Day, carried out by Antifa and anarchist groups, which resulted in minor property damage and some scuffles with police. But that is no longer an unusual event for those cities after the wave of violent protests swept the country last summer.

The false alarm over Inauguration Day failed to deter Democrats and the media from repeating the dire warnings of another outbreak of pro-Trump violence by members of the right-wing Q-Anon group on March 4. That was the date when elected presidents used to be inaugurated before the ratification of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution in 1933. Security forces in DC again went on high alert, as did state capitols across the country. Members of Congress voted to go into adjournment on March 3, a day earlier than usual that week, so they could leave town the night before the day of expected riots. But again, nothing happened. There were no attempted attacks on the Capitol, state capitols, or any other government institution.

Nevertheless, Democrats are still trying to keep alive the sense of panic over another “coup attempt” by violent Trump supporters.

THE ARMED INSURRECTION MYTH

As more facts emerged about what happened at the Capitol on January 6, it has become more difficult for Democrats and their media supporters to keep referring to it as an “armed insurrection.” That term has been used by Democrats like a mantra to justify their claims that the disorganized mob of Trump supporters which stormed the Capitol building that day was trying to overthrow the United States government. But the facts that have emerged do not support that characterization. Many of the most harrowing media reports about what happened that day have turned out to be fabrications.

Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick did not have his skull bashed-in with a fire extinguisher by a pro-Trump protester. A video shows that Sicknick was one of several Capitol policemen who were sprayed with an “unknown toxic chemical” outside the Capitol building by two pro-Trump protesters who have been arrested and charged with assault. However, it is still not clear whether the spraying incident was directly related to Sicknick’s collapse and death the next day.

Contrary to the original media reports, pro-Trump protesters did not bring zip-ties with them as part of a plot to kidnap members of Congress. In fact, two rioters had found the zip-ties on a table inside the Capitol building. There is also no evidence to support the initial media reports claiming that some of the rioters had intended to assassinate Mike Pence, Senator Mitt Romney or anyone else.

Aside from Sicknick, the only people who died at the Capitol riot were Trump supporters. Aside from unarmed Trump supporter Ashli Babbit, who was fatally shot at point-blank range by a Capitol policeman, those deaths appeared to be either accidental or from natural causes.

No Trump supporter fired any weapon inside the Capitol building during the riot and none of the protesters arrested that day by the FBI had firearms in their possession. How can that be reasonably continue to be described as an “armed insurrection?

Of course, the invasion of the Capitol building on January 6 was shocking and deplorable. But no evidence has ever been presented to show that Donald Trump deliberately tried to provoke a violent riot with his earlier remarks at a White House rally. Also, despite Democrat impeachment claims to the contrary, the invading mob never posed a serious threat to the American form of government.

AUTHORITARIANISM THRIVES ON FEAR

Glenn Greenwald suggests “that the threat was being deliberately inflated and exaggerated, and fears stoked and exploited, both for political gain and to justify the placement of more and more powers in the hands of the state in the name of stopping these threats. That is the core formula of authoritarianism, to place the population in a state of such acute fear that it acquiesces to any assertion of power which security state agencies and politicians demand and which they insist are necessary to keep everyone safe.”

The same logic explains why Democrat state and local leaders have insisted on perpetuating the idea that the pandemic remains an overwhelming threat. They are still using the pandemic to justify their continued use of extraordinary executive powers, in the name of public health, to reward their political friends and stoke their thirst for power.

By building up the imagined threat of a violent pro-Trump coup, Democrats are laying the foundation for a political war demonizing the former president’s political supporters in the name of national security to cement their gains in the November election.

It appears that many Democrat officials are not really concerned about the pandemic or right-wing terrorism. They have been using the fear of these threats, real or imagined, as convenient excuses to continue wielding dictatorial powers without needing to bother seeking legislative authority or the cooperation of Republicans.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

One unanswered question is how long Biden, Democrat leaders and the mainstream media can maintain the sense of crisis they need to justify their current extraordinary powers.

As the pandemic gradually fades and the threat from domestic terrorism is revealed as a hoax, how will Biden and the Democrats maintain the permanent sense of national crisis they need to persuade voters to continue to cede their right to publicly express dissenting ideas or object to the lingering Covid lockdown limitations on their personal freedom of action?

With the passage of the massive Covid relief bill, Biden has easily won the first partisan political battle of his presidency. But how long will his “presidential honeymoon” with the media and the American people last?

Biden’s mettle has yet to be tested by his first real crisis since becoming president. As the memory of Donald Trump fades from the headlines, will the mainstream media recover its lost senses of journalistic fairness and curiosity? How long can Biden continue to function as president without coming out from behind the media curtain concealing his weaknesses? The Washington political world seems to be holding its collective breath until the answers to these questions become apparent.

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