Saturday, August 1, 2020

Portland Riots Showcase the Left's Terror Odyssey - Joseph Klein

by Joseph Klein

FrontPage Magazine’s tagline is correct: 'Inside every progressive is a totalitarian screaming to get out.'

FrontPage Magazine’s tagline warns that “Inside every progressive is a totalitarian screaming to get out.” Progressive leftists showing their true totalitarian mindset have emerged and shown up in Portland and other major U.S. cities. Useful idiots among the liberal elites are enabling them.

In true Orwellian style, the progressive leftists are poisoning language to exert mind control. Violence now means white silence and politically incorrect speech. You must say what the radical left tells you to say or you are committing unspeakable violence for which you must be canceled. However, the burning of buildings and destruction of property are not violence, so long as they are on the list of approved progressive leftist targets such as federal courthouses or capitalist businesses.

The progressive leftists are holding up Portland Oregon as their prime example of a city enduring federal “occupying forces” who stomp on the people’s right to assemble and air their grievances. It does not matter to the progressive leftists and their useful idiots that the rioters have engaged in anything but the constitutionally protected “right of the people peaceably to assemble.” (Emphasis added)

Let’s see how the progressive leftists will act after federal agents begin withdrawing from Portland, under the terms of an agreement between the Department of Homeland Security and Oregon’s state government, announced on Wednesday by the Democrat Governor of Oregon, Kate Brown. Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf said in his own statement that he and the governor had "agreed to a joint plan to end the violent activity in Portland" under which "State and local law enforcement will begin securing properties and streets, especially those surrounding federal properties, that have been under nightly attack for the past two months."

Governor Brown is touting the agreement as a victory over federal law enforcement who, she tweeted, “had acted as an occupying force & brought violence.” But Oregon’s version of Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Governor Brown and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, must first do something they haven’t done successfully so far – enforce the law against criminal mobs who will not likely fade away.  

Acting Secretary Wolf made it clear that the Department of Homeland Security’s "current, augmented federal law enforcement personnel" would not be leaving Portland until the security of the Hatfield Federal Courthouse and other federal properties is restored. “The Department will continue to re-evaluate our security posture in Portland, and should circumstances on the ground significantly improve due to the influx of state and local law enforcement, we anticipate the ability to change our force posture," Wolfe said.

On July 28th, the day before the Oregon state government and the Department of Homeland Security reached their agreement that will hopefully bring some peace to Portland, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee fulfilled their role of useful idiots for the progressive leftists perfectly. They did so during Attorney General William Barr’s hearing before the House Judiciary Committee. After being cut off by Democrats repeatedly as he tried to answer their loaded questions, Barr reminded them: “This is a hearing. I thought I was the one who was supposed to be heard.”  

Democrat Jerrold Nadler of New York, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, led the Democrats’ vicious assault on Barr’s character. Nadler, who has previously called reports of Antifa violence a “myth,” blamed Barr’s Justice Department for “flooding federal law enforcement into the streets of American cities, against the wishes of the state and local leaders of those cities, to forcefully and unconstitutionally suppress dissent.”

According to Nadler’s telling, the video scenes of rioters setting fires and assaulting federal officers trying to defend Portland’s federal courthouse are only disturbing because the images provide campaign footage for President Trump’s reelection campaign. Nadler accused Barr of “projecting fear and violence nationwide in pursuit of obvious political objectives.” Ever the demagogue, Nadler added, “Shame on you, Mr. Barr.”

The shame is on Nadler, who reprised his clownish performance during the impeachment hearings. When he wasn’t ranting, Nadler played the role of jailkeeper, refusing initially to even grant Barr’s request for a five-minute bathroom break.

Aided by other useful idiots on the committee, Nadler peddled the progressive left-wing propaganda that federal officers defending federal property in Portland night after night against mob attacks, including attempts to burn down a federal courthouse, are suppressing peaceful protests. This false narrative holds that well-meaning demonstrators were provoked into escalating their tactics by the feds’ occupation “troops” deployed by President Trump and his complicit attorney general. This is straight out of the Palestinian terrorists’ playbook, which justifies atrocious acts of violence as legitimate resistance against occupation.

Attorney General Barr challenged the enablers of the Portland riots. “Remarkably, the response from many in the media and local elected offices to this organized assault has been to blame the federal government,” Barr said during his House Judiciary Committee hearing. “To state what should be obvious, peaceful protesters do not throw explosives into federal courthouses.” Barr asked his critics, “Why can’t we just come out and say violence against federal courts has to stop? Could we hear something like that?” Crickets from the Democrat side of the committee.

After the conclusion of the House Judiciary Committee circus, Speaker Nancy Pelosi – another useful idiot for the progressive leftists - repeated her comparison of federal law enforcement officers trying to defend federal property from violent rioters to “stormtroopers.” Sure, she said, some people “come along and try to disrupt” peaceful protests. However, “you don’t send in people acting like stormtroopers into the scene and evoking even more, even more unease and unrest.” Pelosi’s inflammatory language legitimizes the rioters’ continued acts of violence against the bogeyman “stormtroopers” supposedly occupying parts of Portland.

Pelosi and other apologists for lawlessness invariably leave out the fact that the rioters in Portland started their rampage against federal buildings way back on May 29th  when they broke a front window at the federal Hatfield Courthouse. That incident occurred more than a month before federal reinforcements were sent in to help the team of federal officers that protect the courthouse year-round.

The rioters escalated their violence throughout June. They destroyed fencing surrounding federal property, vandalized equipment at the Hatfield Courthouse, and threw metal pipes at the Hatfield Courthouse, in addition to defacing several federal buildings. Worst of all, rioters tried to cause eye damage to officers on duty with commercial grade lasers. Some officers may be permanently blinded as a result, according to the Federal Protective Services.

Federal officers took minimal actions in response to the violence until July 1st when over 200 rioters blocked access to the Hatfield Courthouse building and proceeded to launch aerial fireworks at federal property. On July 4th the rioters launched more aerial fireworks, broke a front window to the Hatfield Courthouse and attempted to unlawfully enter the building. They threw objects at officers, while again attempting to cause eye damage with lasers. “Multiple individuals were seen carrying rifles,” the Department of Homeland Security reported. Officers from the U.S. Marshals Special Operations Group, Customs and Border Protection’s Border Patrol Tactical Unit, and the Federal Protective Service finally had enough and responded with pepper spray and tear gas.

The useful idiots neglect to mention that federal officers do not come out from behind closed doors at the mob’s main target – a federal courthouse - to confront the rioters until after the rioters have started fires and committed other destructive acts. These are criminals, not harmless mischief makers.

The mainstream media are full of their own useful idiots. A leading example is CNN anchor Don Lemon. He said in early June, responding to President Trump’s vow to restore law and order to the streets of America engulfed in riots and looting, that “We are teetering on a dictatorship. He is saying he wants to protect peaceful protesters at the same time sending law enforcement and military into the streets to push peaceful protesters back, to be aggressive with peaceful protesters.” Lemon conveniently melded peaceful protesters and rioters together as if they were all equally legitimate demonstrators against alleged police brutality.

The New York Times ran an article on July 28th with the headline “Peaceful Protesters With ‘Room for Rage’ Sympathize With Aggressive Tactics.” The Times article quoted one of the participants in Portland’s so-called Wall of Moms standing in front of the mob, who said, “There is room for chanting and dancing and joyful noises and there is also room for rage. We make that space for each other.” By providing a human shield for the rioters, just as women and children do for Hamas terrorists, she and the other moms along the “Wall of Moms” are enabling violence.

Anne Applebaum, a staff writer for The Atlantic, wrote that
although the administration’s behavior makes no sense as law enforcement, it makes perfect sense as a new kind of campaign tactic.” She charged the Trump administration with “deliberately” escalating “the chaos” so that “the violence will provide pictures, footage, video clips, and other material for Trump’s media supporters, and eventually for his campaign advertisements.
Expanding on the years of Russia hoax rhetoric in the media, she claimed that President Trump “is deploying the kind of performative authoritarianism that Vladimir Putin pioneered.”

It’s hard to get more ridiculous than Applebaum, who made similar claims on CNN. But Howard Fineman, an NBC News and MSNBC analyst, gave it his best shot. Fineman tweeted that “performative authoritarianism” is too benign a description of the federal deployment. Fineman called it “a fascist vanguard." He added, “Deadly dictators have long been dismissed at first as mere performance.”

It remains to be seen whether state and local law enforcement in Oregon can contain the mob violence that has plagued Portland for two months and prevent further destruction of federal property. But no matter what happens, the useful idiots blaming the Trump administration for all the country’s ills are unlikely to shut up.

Joseph Klein


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Senior official: 'If Hezbollah attacks, we'll see unusual action from IDF against Lebanon' - Arutz Sheva Staff

by Arutz Sheva Staff

DM Benny Gantz orders IDF to prepare to destroy Lebanese infrastructure in case of Hezbollah attack on Israel.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Blue and White) on Thursday ordered the IDF to prepare a response targeting Lebanon, in case Hezbollah harms IDF soldiers or Israeli citizens, Israel Hayom reported.

According to the report, the IDF was ordered to destroy Lebanon's infrastructure in the case of a Hezbollah attack on Israel.

A senior security source told Israel Hayom: "The instruction was given during internal discussions held by Gantz yesterday, in which IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi and top iDF commanders participated."

"In these discussions, Kochavi presented the IDF's stance on the issue, according to which the responsibility for Hezbollah's expected response and for its consequences should be placed not just on the organization, but also on the country of Lebanon and its government."

"If the terror organization attempts to carry out an additional attack, we will see unusual actions on the part of the IDF, against [Hezbollah] and the country of Lebanon."

Following Gantz's order, the IDF has begun preparing its response, including preparing plans and appropriate operational orders. If Hezbollah carries out an attack, as it has promised to do, the IDF will act not just against Hezbollah's terrorists and infrastructure, but also against Lebanon's infrastructure.

"The coming days will be crucial," a senior IDF official said. "The IDF is at its highest alert ahead of an attack and the response which will follow it."

Arutz Sheva Staff


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Want proof voter fraud really exists? Here's plenty of evidence - Jeff Dunetz

by Jeff Dunetz

Texas A-G: “...around two-thirds of election fraud offenses prosecuted by my office have involved some form of mail-ballot fraud.

One of the most sacred rights and responsibilities of American citizenship is voting. We are supposedly guaranteed one man-one vote, that every person’s vote is worth as much as every other person’s vote. If there is voter fraud, it reduces the impact of legitimately cast ballots.

This year, leftists and their media buddies are pushing for mail-in-voting. They claim that voter fraud doesn’t exist–a lie. Not only is there proof voter fraud exists for mail-in and other types of voting. Increasing voter fraud and guaranteeing the election goes their way is precisely the reason they are pushing for mail-in voting and claim anyone who objects is trying to limit minority voting.

Sorry liberals, while unicorns, monsters under your bed, and hair comb-overs that look good, do not exist, voter fraud exists. Also true is the fact that the same liberals who kept telling anyone who would listen that Russia rigged our elections and the Trump team helped them rig it are now swearing to us that our elections are tamper-proof and mail-in ballots cannot possibly be vulnerable to fraud.

n July 24th, The Atlantic reported that 20% of NYC’s primary absentee ballots were messed up:
"More than a month after New York’s June 23 primary elections, state election officials are still counting votes. In some legislative districts, they haven’t even started counting absentee votes. In the best-case scenario, election officials hope to declare winners by the first Tuesday in August—six weeks after Election Day. It might take a lot longer than that.

"Election officials in New York City have already invalidated upwards of 100,000 absentee ballots—about one of every five that were mailed in from the five boroughs. And furious candidates are already filing lawsuits charging discrimination and disenfranchisement.

"The chaos in New York is a warning about November’s elections: Voting is being transformed by the pandemic. But no state has built new election infrastructure. No state has the time or the money to make sure vote-counting will go smoothly in November. And just about every state is about to be hit with a massive surge of absentee ballots.

“This is what happens,” a New York election official told me over the phone last week, “when you jury-rig a system that hasn’t been designed or implemented or tested before.”

"In New York, the election infrastructure was overwhelmed by a massive increase in voters requesting absentee ballots rather than risking voting in person. Ballot-printing firms couldn’t keep up with demand, and the already rickety U.S. Postal Service didn’t move the ballots to and from voters quickly enough."

On May 26th, the same day that Twitter started using the liberal media to ‘fact-check’ President Trump about mail-in-ballot election fraud, the DOJ announced they are pressing charges against someone involved in absentee ballot voter fraud! 

"ELKINS, WEST VIRGINIA – Thomas Cooper, a mail carrier in Pendleton County, was charged today in a criminal complaint with attempted election fraud, U.S. Attorney Bill Powell announced.

"Cooper, age 47, of Dry Fork, West Virginia, is charged with “Attempt to Defraud the Residents of West Virginia of a Fair Election.” According to the affidavit filed with the complaint, Cooper held a U.S. Postal Service contract to deliver mail in Pendleton County. In April 2020, the Clerk of Pendleton County received “2020 Primary Election COVID-19 Mail-In Absentee Request” forms from eight voters on which the voter’s party-ballot request appeared to have been altered.

"The clerk reported the finding to the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office, which began an investigation. The investigation found five ballot requests that had been altered from “Democrat” to “Republican.” On three other requests, the party wasn’t changed, but the request had been altered.

"Cooper was responsible for the mail delivery of the three towns from which the tampered requests were mailed: Onego, Riverton, and Franklin, West Virginia. According to the affidavit, Cooper admitted to altering some of the requests, saying it was a joke."

A joke? Not very funny.

That’s just two examples—outliers? No.

Four weeks ago In Paterson, New Jersey, a city councilman, a councilman-elect, and two of their buddies got caught with their hands in the mail-in ballot cookie jar:
"The investigation by the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity & Accountability (OPIA) began when the U.S. Postal Inspection Service alerted the Attorney General’s Office that hundreds of mail-in ballots were found in a mailbox in Paterson. Numerous additional ballots were found in a mailbox in nearby Haledon.”

Here’s another, this one from May 2020, per the Philadelphia Inquirer:
"A former judge of elections and Democratic committeeperson from South Philadelphia has pleaded guilty to accepting thousands of dollars in bribes to inflate the vote totals for three Democratic candidates for Common Pleas Court judge in 2015, and for other Democratic candidates for office in 2014 and 2016, U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain announced Thursday.

"Domenick J. DeMuro, 73, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to deprive Philadelphia voters of their civil rights by fraudulently stuffing the ballot boxes for the judicial candidates and for other candidates seeking office in the 2014 and 2016 primary elections. And he admitted violating the Travel Act, which forbids the use of a cell phone to promote illegal activity, McSwain’s office said."

DeMuro didn’t even believe that it was a big deal, either that or he’s a cheap date. He didn’t ask for much money to commit election fraud. The guy was only paid between $300 and $5,000 for each election per the report.

Okay, that’s only four cases—big deal.

Does anyone remember how Comedian Al Franken beat Senator Norm Coleman in 2008? It wasn’t an SNL sketch, and absentee ballot fraud was suspected.

This is how the Wall Street Journal reported it at the time:
"The vanishing Coleman vote came during a week in which election officials are obliged to double-check their initial results. Minnesota is required to do these audits, and it isn’t unusual for officials to report that they transposed a number here or there. In a normal audit, these mistakes could be expected to cut both ways. Instead, nearly every “fix” has gone for Mr. Franken, in some cases under strange circumstances.

"For example, there was Friday night’s announcement by Minneapolis’s director of elections that she’d forgotten to count 32 absentee ballots in her car. The Coleman campaign scrambled to get a county judge to halt the counting of these absentees since it was impossible to prove their integrity 72 hours after the polls closed. The judge refused on grounds that she lacked jurisdiction.

"According to conservative statistician John Lott, Mr. Franken’s gains so far are 2.5 times the corrections made for Barack Obama in the state, and nearly three times the gains for Democrats across Minnesota Congressional races. Mr. Lott notes that Mr. Franken’s “new” votes equal more than all the changes for all the precincts in the entire state for the Presidential, Congressional and statehouse races combined (482 votes).

"This entire process is being overseen by Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, who isn’t exactly a nonpartisan observer. One of Mr. Ritchie’s financial supporters during his 2006 run for office was a 527 group called the Secretary of State Project, which was co-founded by James Rucker, who came from [George Soros] The group says it is devoted to putting Democrats in jobs where they can 'protect elections'.”

Ken Paxton, the Attorney General of Texas, wrote that “going back more than a decade and continuing through the present day, around two-thirds of election fraud offenses prosecuted by my office have involved some form of mail-ballot fraud.”

Paxton provided some examples:
"One man pleaded guilty after forging 1,200 mail-in ballot applications, resulting in 700 suspected fraudulent votes in a 2017 Dallas election. He was identified after a voter, whose ballot he harvested, snapped a photo of him on her cellphone.

“'Authentic' signatures are also collected from voters, either under false pretenses or by experienced harvesters who confidently gain compliance from voters, as illustrated in a video that surfaced during the 2018 primary in the Houston area.

"The anonymous video appears to show how easily a ballot application and signature were collected from a voter by a campaign worker in less than 20 seconds. After providing her signature, the voter asked the worker: 'Is this legal, what you’re doing?' The worker replied: 'Yes, ma’am, we’ve done 400 already.'”

"In South Texas, a former U.S. Postal Service employee was convicted of bribery in a federal prosecution in 2017 for selling a list of absentee voters to vote harvesters for $1,200."

There’s plenty more. In fact, the Heritage Foundation published a searchable list they describe as a sampling of voter fraud. The list contains 1,285 cases of voter fraud, at least 220 of those listed cases involved absentee ballots.

Each case on the list includes a URL for the original independent source. The list includes.

  • 1,110 criminal convictions
  • 48 civil penalties
  • 95 diversion programs
  • 15 judicial findings
  • 17 official findings
I am sure that a Google search would lead to thousands of other examples.

If the Leftists, the Democrats and their sycophants in the media really cared about disenfranchising voters, they would fight against watering-down the impact of the votes of American citizens who are voting legally. But it’s become evident that they aren’t striving for “one man, one vote,” they are trying to skew elections their way and change the United States, the greatest nation on Earth, into just another failed socialist nation.

Reposted  from The Lid.

Jeff Dunetz


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The plot to assassinate former Rep. Steve Stockman proceeding apace - Thomas Lifson

by Thomas Lifson

A conservative champion unjustly convicted and imprisoned with multiple serious comorbidities has now contracted COVID-19 -- as predicted.

As I warned 9 days ago, conservative champion Rep. Steve Stockman appears to have been targeted for assassination while in the custody of the United States Bureau of Prisons, the same agency that managed to let Jeffrey Epstein meet his maker before cutting any deals to name names. And the plot against Stockman is succeeding, step by step.

The news that Steve has contracted COVID 19 while incarcerated at FCI Beaumont (on trumped up campaign finance charges), a facility reportedly with the highest rate of infection in the federal system, comes as no surprise. Steve is the only inmate there over 60 with diabetes and insulin dependence who has not been granted compassionate release.

Steve Stockman (photo credit: Gage Skidmore).
This contrasts with the treatment of former Democrat Rep. Chakah Fattah, as reported by Matt Rourke of the AP:
The U.S. Bureau of Prisons has accomplished what former U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah could not in two appeals. It sprang the disgraced pol early from lockup.
A bureau spokesperson confirms that Fattah, a Philadelphia Democrat sentenced in 2016 to 10 years on corruption charges, returned to the city June 8 from a federal prison near Scranton and will serve the rest of his sentence either in a halfway house or under house arrest.
But the bureau refused to say why the former congressman had been released more than five years before the scheduled 2025 date. (snip)
The release appears to have been a Bureau of Prisons call. The U.S. Attorney’s Office referred all questions its way. And there are no filings in the court case about the action. The most recent filing came last week, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit formally rejected Fattah’s second appeal after a hearing in May.
Keep in mind that Steve’s conviction was for a non-violent, non-sexual crime, meaning he is not threat to society at all. We and others have been warning that with his multiple comorbidities, Steve’s chances against COVID are not high. His wife Patti wrote yesterday via email:
Steve learned yesterday that he tested positive for COVID and they’ve moved him to a different building with other infected men. He’s actually been pretty sick for a few days and suspected it was COVID. Yesterday, they pulled 28 inmates into isolation and are giving them NO medication, though Steve had a hard time breathing last night. I’m VERY concerned. PRAY!!
Earlier this week, prison staff announced there was new CDC guidance saying that someone is over the virus 10 days after their symptoms present and that, therefore, they were putting most of the men who’d been infected back to work (they do jobs throughout the prison). (snip)
Families (and supporters) of Beaumont inmates will gather in front of the prison entrance Sunday morning 10:00 a.m. to protest the prison handling of the virus.
My friend Richard Viguerie writes at Conservative HQ:
Some evil people in the U.S. justice system are smiling right now.
They got their wish. (snip)
It is apparent that some people in the justice system want him dead.
What has happened to Steve must be investigated, and the culprits in the justice system and their abettors in the Bureau of Prisons exposed and punished. (snip)
Steve was told on April 23 he’d be placed in pre-release quarantine, but was then turned away at the door by prison staff on April 24.
Soon after, and one more time since then, Steve was told by prison officials he will not be leaving on orders from “very high up.”
On July 13 Steve filed a Request for Administrative Remedy, which was denied on July 17 by Warden Garrido, incorrectly stating Steve “must” serve 50 percent of his time to be eligible. Time served, however, is only one factor of many that may be considered, and it is not a mandatory directive as the Warden incorrectly says it is.
Warden Garrido’s letter also said that a “Home Confinement Committee” -- whatever that is -- reviewed Steve’s case and denied his request.
Steve has been clearly eligible for compassionate release or transfer to home detention like over 100,000 inmates in the United State have been.
Steve’s wife Patti asks for prayers. I wonder where AG Barr is? The Bureau of Prisons is part of the Justice Department and it has not exactly covered itself in glory recently. Who is keeping Steve Stockman ar extreme peril of death?

Thomas Lifson


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Hydroxy Hysteria Reaching a Fever Pitch - Brian C. Joondeph, M.D.

by Brian C. Joondeph, M.D.

Ever since President Trump mentioned hydroxy as a possible therapeutic, the media have castigated it as worse than rat poison.

COVID-19 can cause a fever, but nothing like the fever of hysteria gripping broadcast and social media over hydroxychloroquine, a potential treatment for the Wuhan flu. Ever since President Trump mentioned hydroxy as a possible therapeutic, the media have castigated it as worse than rat poison. They've criticized any use of it in a constant barrage of fear porn, telling everyone that this 60-year-old drug would kill anyone who dared take it.

When Trump mentioned he was taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventative, Fox News crank Neil Cavuto had a seizure, telling his audience, “I cannot stress enough. This will kill you.” Tell that to those Americans taking hydroxy to the tune of five million prescriptions written each year.

Hydroxy was FDA-approved in 1955 and is taken for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. FDA approval means the approved drug is both efficacious and safe. All of a sudden, after 60 years, the FDA decided hydroxy is no longer safe because of, “serious heart rhythm problems and other safety issues, including blood and lymph system disorders, kidney injuries, and liver problems and failure.” If it is so unsafe, why did the FDA not rescind its 60-year-old approval?

It is worth noting that diseases treated by hydroxy for the past half century can cause these problems as well. As can COVID, which if severe, can also cause death. So, the FDA deems it safe to treat those sick with lupus and autoimmune diseases with hydroxy but not those sick or hospitalized with COVID.

That makes much sense as blaming both heat and cold, blizzards and droughts, on global warming. But that’s what happens when medicine is practiced by bureaucrats beholden not to science but to politics.

Several days ago, a group of physicians called “America’s Frontline Doctors held a press conference in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building discussing the Chinese coronavirus and hydroxychloroquine. One physician in particular, Dr Stella Immanuel, gave an impassioned shout-out for hydroxy:
I’m here because I have personally treated over 350 patients with COVID. Patients that have diabetes, patients that have high blood pressure, patients that have asthma, old people … I think my oldest patient is 92 … 87-year old. And the result has been the same. I put them on hydroxychloroquine, I put them on zinc, I put them on Zithromax, and they’re all well.
All of you doctors that are waiting for data, if six months down the line you actually found out that this data shows that this medication works, how about your patients that have died? You want a double-blinded study where people are dying? It’s unethical. So guys, we don’t need to die. There is a cure for COVID.
From the media’s reaction, you might have thought she was recommending bloodletting or exorcism as a cure for cancer and heart disease. The video of this press conference was promptly removed from Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Those tweeting or retweeting the video found their accounts suspended, including Donald Trump, Jr.

Even President Trump’s retweet of the viral press conference video was removed. But the video was noticed by more than conservatives. Liberal Madonna tweeted the video featuring Dr. Immanuel and Instagram removed her post, calling it “false information” or a “conspiracy theory”.

Yet with a straight face, the media to this day claim that Trump colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election, despite a two-year special counsel investigation, and no one else for that matter, producing one iota of evidence to back that claim. But this “conspiracy theory” and “false information” is broadcast daily on CNN and MSNBC.

Not content with censorship, the media attacked the messenger, Dr. Immanuel, slamming her religious views and some supposed previous comments on alien DNA. Before CNN makes fun of alien DNA ,they should investigate further, “The Pentagon has reportedly found off-world vehicles not made on this Earth.”

It is also rich that the media is attacking Dr. Immanuel, an immigrant woman of color, three pillars of the holy grail of intersectionality that the left bows down to. It seems the Democrat media machine just exposed their underbelly of racism, sexism, and xenophobia. Dr. Immanuel holds a Texas medical license in good standing with no disciplinary or malpractice actions against her, yet to the media she is a fraud.

Twitter has no problem promoting endless disproven claims of Russian collusion. Or medical claims of living forever as this Twitter ad implies for a wellness drink. Yet a potential treatment for the worst viral pandemic in a century is considered a conspiracy?

Some studies say hydroxy doesn’t work, like giving hydroxy to patients too sick to benefit, already on a ventilator, as in the VA study. Other studies found safety concerns and were published in prestigious medical journals like The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine, only to be discovered to be bogus and retracted. Still other studies, as from the Henry Ford Health System noted that hydroxy cut the death rate in half.

This chart from the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons shows a much lower case fatality rate in countries where hydroxy is allowed and encouraged rather than banned or discouraged.

The baseball pitcher, “Dr. Fauci says all the ‘valid’ scientific data shows hydroxychloroquine isn’t effective in treating coronavirus.” Perhaps he missed the Henry Ford study. Or conveniently forgot last March when asked if he would prescribe hydroxy he said, “Yeah, of course, particularly if people have no other option.” What other options are there? A ventilator? The morgue?

The science isn’t settled as science rarely is. Coffee caused cancer until it was found beneficial in prolonging life. Butter was a killer until it became healthy. In the big scheme of risk versus benefit, hydroxy, in the opinion of this physician, falls on the benefit side. Ultimately, it’s about choice, that of the patient and their doctor.

Why then all the hysteria about hydroxy? One reason is that President Trump touted it. That’s enough reason to be against it. Other potential treatments have been suggested for COVID, including Remdesivir, statins, and antacids. These were promoted by prominent institutions including Columbia University and Massachusetts General Hospital, but none of them have panned out as a successful treatment. And all have side effects, some serious.

Were proponents castigated and cancelled? Were Fox News anchors telling viewers that statins will kill you? Would these potential but failed treatments have been maligned by the media if Trump had suggested them rather than simply ignoring them when they didn’t pan out?

The other reason is that the Democrat media complex doesn’t want a successful treatment. They are quite happy pushing fear porn of rising positive cases while ignoring falling hospitalizations and deaths. They prefer the population cowering in fear, distancing, wearing masks and soon face shields, banned from church but encouraged to protest, loot and riot. They want businesses and schools closed, making Americans as miserable as possible ahead of the November election.

How many deaths can be laid at the feet of the media and Democrat officials, stopping a potential treatment as a means of influencing an upcoming election? These people are sick and hopefully there will be a reckoning for those complicit in needless death by suppressing a possible therapeutic. Was it ever about the virus or just about the election?

Brian C. Joondeph, a Denver-based physician and freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in American Thinker, Daily Caller, Rasmussen Reports, and other publications. Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Parler, and QuodVerum.


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Systemic Hypocrisy - Judith Bergman

by Judith Bergman

Are woke corporate giants engaging indirectly in forced labor and child labor?

  • "Under conditions that strongly suggest forced labour, Uyghurs are working in factories that are in the supply chains of at least 83 well-known global brands in the technology, clothing and automotive sectors, including Apple, BMW, Gap, Huawei, Nike, Samsung, Sony and Volkswagen. This report estimates that more than 80,000 Uyghurs were transferred out of Xinjiang to work in factories across China between 2017 and 2019, and some of them were sent directly from detention camps. The estimated figure is conservative and the actual figure is likely to be far higher." — "Uyghurs for Sale," the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), March 1, 2020, with subsequent updates.
  • Corporate giants might be more successful at convincing the public that they truly care about social justice, inequality and the communities they claim to "serve" if this "care" did not only manifest itself in statements filled with virtue-signaling but in business practices as well -- such as not using forced labor and children in the supply chain.
  • Finally, pledging funds to Black Lives Matter, a self-described Marxist organization whose stated goal is "alternatives to capitalism", fails to convince one of much else than a corporate desire to ride the latest wave of wokeness to score easy profits and points.

Corporate giants might be more successful at convincing the public that they truly care about social justice and inequality if this "care" did not only manifest itself in statements filled with virtue-signaling but in business practices as well. In March, a media report revealed that children as young as eight were "working 40-hour weeks in gruelling conditions" on Guatemalan coffee bean farms that supply Starbucks. Pictured: Starbucks corporate headquarters in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images)

Since the killing of George Floyd, corporate virtue signaling has reached unprecedented heights.

Apple pledged $100 million reportedly to "combat racism."

"The unfinished work of racial justice and equality call us all to account," Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said in a Twitter video. "Things must change, and Apple's committed to being a force for that change. Today, I'm proud to announce Apple's Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, with a $100 million commitment".

Starbucks pledged $1 million in "Neighborhood Grants to promote racial equity and create more inclusive and just communities".

Microsoft announced that it would invest $150 million more into diversity and inclusion efforts in the company. "We are committed to take action to help address racial injustice and inequity, and unequivocally believe that Black lives matter", CEO Satya Nadella said.

Nike pledged to donate $40 million over the course of four years to "organizations that put social justice, education and addressing racial inequality in America at the center of their work". According to John Donahoe, President and CEO of Nike, Inc.:
"Systemic racism and the events that have unfolded across America... serve as an urgent reminder of the continued change needed in our society...We will continue our focus on being more representative of our consumers while doing our part in the communities we serve."
It is difficult to find any corporate insistence on "social justice" persuasive, coming as it does from businesses that have chosen to move large parts of their manufacturing processes to countries such as China, which is led by a regime that persecutes ethnic and religious minorities. It withholds from its own citizens the most basic human rights, such as freedom of expression, freedom of religion and freedom of assembly, as reported by Gatestone Institute here, and here. China is also, according to Amnesty International, the world's leading executioner. China, moreover, continues to occupy Tibet, which it invaded in 1950, and where it has moved millions of ethnic Chinese to "Sinicize" the area.

The incongruence of companies that profess to be committed to justice and equality at home in the US, but that have no twinges of conscience about doing business abroad under a regime that commits some of the worst human rights abuses in the world, is a bit up-ending.

Nike, Apple, Microsoft and Samsung, among 83 multinational companies, were found in March to be linked to Uyghur forced labor in Chinese factories, according to a report, "Uyghurs for Sale," by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI).

"The Chinese government has facilitated the mass transfer of Uyghur and other ethnic minority citizens from the far west region of Xinjiang to factories across the country", stated the report.
"Under conditions that strongly suggest forced labour, Uyghurs are working in factories that are in the supply chains of at least 83 well-known global brands in the technology, clothing and automotive sectors, including Apple, BMW, Gap, Huawei, Nike, Samsung, Sony and Volkswagen.
"This report estimates that more than 80,000 Uyghurs were transferred out of Xinjiang to work in factories across China between 2017 and 2019, and some of them were sent directly from detention camps. The estimated figure is conservative and the actual figure is likely to be far higher. In factories far away from home, they typically live in segregated dormitories, undergo organised Mandarin and ideological training outside working hours, are subject to constant surveillance, and are forbidden from participating in religious observances".
This was not entirely breaking news. Already in December of 2018, The New York Times ran an article about incarcerated Uyghurs forced to work in factories. The use of all kinds of prisoners in factories that supply Western companies is not new, either: In recent years, stories of messages from prisoners found in Chinese manufactured goods have gone viral. In 2014, a woman in Northern Ireland found a note in a pair of trousers she had bought that said:
"SOS! SOS! SOS! We are prisoners in the Xiang Nan Prison of the Hubei Province in China. Our job inside the prison is to produce fashion clothes for export. We work 15 hours per day and the food we eat wouldn't even be given to dogs or pigs. We work as hard as oxen in the field. We call on the international community to condemn the Chinese government for the violation of our human rights!"
Several other examples have been found; whether they are anecdotal or not, given China's record, they should have led to more than superficial investigations that apparently were never followed up.

One would think that companies that claim to be concerned with justice and equality would be boycotting and divesting from a regime that not only enables, but actively engages in forced labor – a nicer word for slavery. In theory, they would not be seen anywhere near forced labor. Uyghur lives, apparently, do not matter.

Starbucks ran into a similar scandal, also in March, that showed the grim realities beneath the coffee chain's carefully designed "woke" image. A media report revealed that children as young as eight were working on Guatemalan coffee bean farms that supply the chain.

"Channel 4's Dispatches filmed the children working 40-hour weeks in gruelling conditions, picking coffee for a daily wage little more than the price of a latte," the Guardian noted. "The beans are also supplied to Nespresso, owned by Nestlé..."
"The Dispatches team said some of the children, who worked around eight hours a day, six days a week, looked as young as eight. They were paid depending on the weight of beans they picked, with sacks weighing up to 45kg. Typically, a child would earn less than £5 [less than US $6.40] a day, although sometimes it could be as low as 31p an hour. Over the course of the investigation, Dispatches visited seven farms linked to Nespresso and five linked to Starbucks. Child labour was found on all the farms".
Starbucks -- and Nespresso -- immediately professed "zero tolerance" for the practice and Starbucks claimed that it had not sourced beans from the most recent harvest of the farms, although it did source them in 2019. However, to persist in proclaiming "wokeness," while apparently not caring enough to show the due diligence required to ensure that the people working in the supply chain are treated according to the most minimal work regulations -- such as not employing children in slave-like conditions, must be the definition of hypocrisy. Guatemalan lives evidently do not matter, either -- at least until the media takes a look. Starbucks, after the scandal, went into full defense mode. It announced that it would "recommit to an Emergency Relief Fund to be paid in 2020 to farmers in Guatemala who sell coffee to Starbucks" and "commit to support farmers and their communities through piloting regional community and childcare centers".

Corporate giants might be more successful at convincing the public that they truly care about social justice, inequality and the communities they claim to "serve" if this "care" did not only manifest itself in statements filled with virtue-signaling, but in business practices as well -- such as not using forced labor and children in the supply chain.

Finally, pledging funds to Black Lives Matter, a self-described Marxist organization whose stated goal is "alternatives to capitalism", fails to convince one of much else than a corporate desire to ride the latest wave of wokeness to score easy points and profits.

Judith Bergman, a columnist, lawyer and political analyst, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.


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Is This Racist? - Danusha V. Goska

by Danusha V. Goska

Objective facts v. explosive feelings in allegations of racism.

BLM activists and their supporters allege that America is "systemically racist" and must undergo a cleansing purge in order that a new Utopia may be established. This Utopia will not eliminate white people's racism; their racism is "timeless and immutable." Whiteness studies, according to columnist Barbara Kay, teaches that to be white is to be "branded, literally in the flesh, with evidence of a kind of original sin … you can't eradicate it. The goal ... is to entrench permanent race consciousness in everyone – eternal victimhood for non-whites, eternal guilt for whites." The taxpayer-funded Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture offers explanatory material, and a Smithsonian poster on whiteness provides a handy summary. Bestselling race guru Robin Diangelo says that no white person should ever be allowed to say "I'm not racist." Unlike previous leftist Utopias, this post-BLM Utopia will not create a "new man," in the way that communists attempt to create a "New Socialist Man." Indeed, evidence suggests that at this very moment Communist China is brainwashing Uighurs to turn them into "New Socialist Men." Rather, the BLM Utopia will not cleanse white people, it will merely permanently blame, shame and cow them.

A bulldozer is ploughing through American history and culture and unearthing more and more "evidence" that America is "systemically racist" and must be cleansed and purged. Are objective facts being marshalled to support these charges and this purge? Or are emotions, or even mass hysteria, ruling the day? Is it the case that all non-whites agree with these charges of racism, and is it only whites, psychologically handicapped by "white privilege" and "white fragility" who disagree? Is American history being told accurately, or is it being distorted to serve a master narrative of systemic racism under every rock, behind every door, and in every white man's heart? Below I will consider three different sets of allegations of racism, and conclude with a discussion of a classroom exercise that both educated and disturbed me.

Nikole Hannah-Jones is the recipient of both a MacArthur "Genius" award and a Pulitzer Prize. America's current purge has received significant inspiration from her 1619 Project at the New York Times. Charles Kesler in the New York Post called recent riots the "1619 riots" In reply, Nikole Hannah-Jones tweeted, "It would be an honor. Thank you." Hannah-Jones took credit for riots that burned cities, looted businesses, and resulted in numerous deaths, including of African Americans. The 1619 Project argues that America is founded on white supremacy and slavery. In 1995, Hannah-Jones wrote that, "the white race is the biggest murderer, rapist, pillager, and thief of the modern world." Hannah-Jones' mother, Cheryl Novotny, is of Czech and English descent, that is, Novotny is very white, as are both the owner and the CEO of the Times. "Oprah Winfrey is partnering with Lionsgate to turn The New York Times's 1619 Project into feature films and television programs," The Federalist reported on July 14, 2020. The project has already been . "As of February 2020, five public school systems had adopted the 1619 Project's curriculum district-wide, and its free teaching materials had reached 3,500 classrooms," writes Prof. Carole M. Swain.

"I helped fact-check the 1619 Project. The Times ignored me," wrote historian Leslie M. Harris. A central claim of the Project, Harris writes, is that "the patriots fought the American Revolution in large part to preserve slavery in North America." Harris refuted that claim. In public statements, Hannah-Jones defied her.

Harris is not the only African American scholar publicly to take issue with the 1619 Project. 1776 Unites is an initiative by prominent African American scholars, including Shelby Steele, John McWhorter, Jason D. Hill, Carol M Swain and Glenn Loury. These luminaries write that their project will "uphold our country's authentic founding virtues and values and challenge those who assert America is forever defined by its past failures, such as slavery. We seek to … celebrate the progress America has made on delivering its promise of equality and opportunity and highlight the resilience of its people … We do this in the spirit of 1776, the date of America's true founding." These African American scholars have not received a fraction of the attention, awards, or funding that the 1619 Project has.

The rewriting of American history as systemically racist extends to common household items, like cinnamon crumb cakes, previously perceived as harmless. Briones Bedell self-identifies as a "Youth human rights activist. California high school senior," and an "Intersectional Feminist for Human Rights." On July 8, 2020, Bedell tweeted, "The carefully-crafted facade of your friendly neighborhood hipster grocery store belies a darker image; one that romanticizes imperialism, fetishizes native cultures, and casually misappropriates … Trader Joe's branding is racist because it exoticizes other cultures. It presents 'Joe' as the default 'normal' and the other characters falling outside of it." Calling a puttanesca sauce "Trader Giotto's" rather than "Trader Joe's" is an "insidious" "micro-aggression" that will "inevitably escalate" to violent assault, Bedell says.

An example of Bedell's version of a racist atrocity can be found in this image. A beige and white cardboard box includes a picture of cinnamon crumb coffee cake on an ornamental cake-plate. Perhaps since many associate baked goods with Mitteleuropa cities like Vienna and Prague, rather than being "Trader Joe's" cake mix, it is "Baker Josef's," that is, a version of the name "Joseph" found in Central Europe.

Commenters on Facebook, Twitter, and at the Washington Post disagreed with Bedell. Albert Qian tweeted, "I'm Chinese and found the names of the products very endearing … Did you ask people of color how they felt?" Another wrote, "Thank you for speaking over my family and me. We are Italian & Hispanic & loved Trader Joe's products just the way they were." And another, "If Trader Joe brings me all this exotic food then he's the white explorer going out and bringing back the bounty. But if the Asian food comes from Trader Ming, and the Mexican stuff from Trader Jose, that speaks to these things provided by a trader of the place in question." This commenter argues that it is Bedell's approach that is the racist one.

An Asian-American began a counter petition in support of Trader Joe's ethnic food labeling, as did a Mexican. White liberal savior complex has run amuck, these petitions argue, and white liberals should not presume to speak for others. An Asian-American signatory wrote, "Briones Bedell kept deleting my comments on her ridiculous petition along with other voices of POC that she claims to care about. That petition does NOT speak for me as an Asian woman. I am not offended by Trader Joe's playful variations of its name. I would be MORE offended if all the names changed to appease this entitled white fake 'human rights activist.''' A Mexican-American woman wrote, "As a Mexican-American woman, I am in NO WAY offended by the use of José. It simply is a translation of JOE!! The non-POC supporting the other petition & trying to be white saviors & speak FOR US, without truly taking us into consideration. Now even small things honoring our culture, are trying to be erased, because they THINK they are saving us."

Clearly, there is no objective metric to determine that "Baker Josef's" is racist and "Trader Joe's" is not racist. Too, we see two cases, the 1619 Project and the Trader Joe's controversy, where "white saviors" (the Times owner and CEO are white) spoke for people of color, and people of color objected to being patronized. In any case, as with the 1619 Project, it is those leveling the charge of racism who ruled the day. Trader Joe's caved and announced that it would change its packaging. Bedell was not satisfied. She demanded that Trader Joe's immediately purge existing "racist" products from store shelves.

Disagreement about how to interpret the facts of America's history is not limited to labels on packaged food. A weightier example: the mobility of poor Southern whites in the antebellum South. Poor whites, historians say, moved around a lot. They can agree on that fact. The 1619 Project's Matthew Desmond states that the slave system "allowed [white workers] to roam freely and feel a sense of entitlement." Desmond positively spins objective facts. Victoria E. Bynum, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of history at Texas State University, interprets the same fact entirely differently. "The old stereotype repeated by Desmond, that poor white Southerners 'roamed freely,' in fact reflected their need to be mobile and flexible simply to make a living. Sporadic short-term work contributed to an unstable, violent world in which such men literally fought over menial jobs or headed West in an elusive search for prosperity." Bynum sees transience as an element in a hungry, rootless life for poor, Southern whites, who could never underbid slave labor.

Facts v spin, and facts v feelings, played a large role in an exercise I used to do with students. Several years ago, I was teaching a university folklore class. Disney has never marketed home video in the US of its Academy-Award-winning, folklore-based, 1946 film, Song of the South. Disney does market home video of SOTS in the U.K. and Japan. Clearly, Disney's stance has less to do with principles and more to do with expedience. In response to America's recent purge, Disneyland has announced changes to its "Song-of-the-South"-themed "Splash Mountain" amusement park attraction.

Song of the South is a ninety-five minute, color musical. In 1870's Georgia, seven-year-old Johnny's parents are unhappily separating. He is sent to live on his grandmother's plantation. His mother and grandmother exert excessive feminizing influence by, for example, forcing Johnny to wear a lace collar. Fatherless Johnny needs an older male role model in his life. He has heard much of Uncle Remus, an elderly storyteller, and cannot wait to meet him. Uncle Remus mentors the young boy. Poor white trash children, Joe and Jake Favers, menace Johnny. Uncle Remus repeatedly rescues the boy, teaching him, through African-American folklore, how to navigate life's shoals and rapids.

James Baskett, who stars as Uncle Remus, was the first African American male to win an Academy Award. Gregg Toland, the Academy-Award-winning cinematographer of Citizen Kane, did his first color work, and some of his final work ever, on SOTS. The film advanced the combination of live action and animation, a technique that would highlight 1964's multiple Academy-Award-winning Mary Poppins. 

Are Song of the South and Splash Mountain yet further proof that America is systemically racist and in need of a purge? What do the facts say? The answer is complex, and will not be obvious to anyone lacking knowledge of folklore. The short answer is that, yes, it's easy to spin SOTS as a racist film, and it is easy to understand those who are offended by it. Look deeper, and the real story is very different. The problem is, when emotions and intimidation suppress facts, history ends up sacrificed to the power narrative, and today that power narrative is "America is systemically racist."

Media studies professor Jason Sperb alleges, in his book's title, that Song of the South is Disney's Most Notorious Film and "one of Hollywood's most resiliently offensive racist texts." A sample of Sperb's prose: "Reaganism brought into relief a particularly potent form of whiteness that invariably shapes most defenses of Song of the South. 'Whiteness' does not mean the same as 'white people.' Rather, it evokes a hegemonic cultural logic that consciously and unconsciously reinforces white attitudes, beliefs, positions as the dominant, unquestioned way of life … every American negotiates the norms of whiteness – equally capable of either uncritically reproducing or self-reflexively questioning them … As with Reaganism, race was there by not being there, and the history of racial conflict and tension was there by not being there." The film's critics are "on the losing end of a battle with the invisible ubiquity of whiteness."

Book reviewer John Lingan makes a fascinating observation about Sperb's criticism of Song of the South. "Sperb spends relatively little time with the movie itself." Note: a scholar spends little time discussing the actual facts of the film he condemns as racist. Rather, he relies on academically trendy concepts of "whiteness" to buttress his position.

Not just white academics like Sperb, but also Many African Americans condemn the film. When the film first came out, a reviewer at The Afro-American wrote that he was "thoroughly disgusted … as vicious a piece of propaganda for white supremacy as Hollywood ever produced." African Americans picketed. Activist and politician Tyrone Brooks said that the Southern Christian Leadership Conference used SOTS "as an example of the indoctrination of white hatred of black people." Alice Walker accused Joel Chandler Harris, author of the material on which SOTS is based, of "stealing a good part of my heritage."

Sperb makes an almost self-parodying statement. Song of the South's "offensiveness was hard for some to see." Those who do not see the film's offensiveness include African Americans. Herman Hill, born in 1906, was the first black player on USC's basketball team. As editor of the Pittsburgh Courier, he "utilized his pen and typewriter to promote equality" for his fellow African Americans. After SOTS premiered, Hill wrote that "the truly sympathetic handling of the entire production from a racial standpoint [will] prove of inestimable goodwill in the furthering of interracial relations." He dismissed criticism as "unadulterated hogwash symptomatic of the unfortunate racial neurosis that seems to be gripping so many of our humorless brethren these days."

"As a person of color, I am proud of this film … Song of the South is not racist. It is a tribute to our proud African-American heritage … Uncle Remus is clearly admired in this movie more than any other character," wrote an Amazon reviewer in 2003. In 2007, a New York Times reporter encountered another black booster of Joel Chandler Harris at the Wren's Nest, his historic home in Atlanta. "Nannie Thompson, the housekeeper on Mondays and a docent otherwise, led a tour … Ms. Thompson, who is black and 76 years old, grew up hearing the Br'er Rabbit tales, and she speaks lovingly of Harris."

Floyd E. Norman, born in 1935, is a former Disney animator and member of the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame. Norman writes that, as a youth, he read critical comments about SOTS in Ebony shortly after the film came out in 1946. " I regretted not having the writing chops to respond. Even though I was just a kid, I took issue with the editors for their unfair characterization of the film and Walt Disney in particular. I had recently seen Song of the South at our local theater and found the movie delightful. Had they even seen the same film, I wondered?" After Norman became a Disney illustrator, and gained access to the vault, he arranged for a SOTS screening at a church. "The African American audience absolutely loved the movie and even requested a second screening of the Disney classic."

Norman says that Disney was no racist, with no intention of making a racist film. In fact, as historians note, Disney did extensive groundwork pre-production. He brought in Maurice Rapf as an anti-racism script doctor. Disney invited NAACP head Walter White to consult. The script was sent to Dr. Alain Locke, the first African American Rhodes scholar. Disney further solicited comments from Academy-Award winning actress Hattie McDaniel.

Joel Chandler Harris, a Southern white man, collected and published the Uncle Remus tales. Whiteness studies inform us that all whites uniformly enjoy white privilege and all whites are racist. Harris must have had a racist agenda, and anything connected with his work must be tainted. That's what whiteness studies say. The facts say something very different.

Joel Chandler Harris was the illegitimate son of an Irish laborer who abandoned him and his seamstress mother before Harris was born. He grew up in a one-room shack, a shack donated by wealthier neighbors. He was a charity case, an undersized child, teased by others. He would retaliate with cruel practical jokes. At one point, he wrote in his school notebook, "Which is most respectable? Poor folks or n------?" He suffered, lifelong, from crippling and isolating social anxiety and a stutter. He described his life as "without sympathy … bleak and desolate as winter." He went to work at age 14 as a printer's devil and spent his free time imbibing literature, printed and oral. He sought out slaves, and, later, freed black men, learning their dialect and their stories. He died at 59, probably of alcoholism.

Mark Twain offers a poignant description. "He was … undersized, red-haired, and somewhat freckled … He was said to be very shy. He is a shy man. Of this there is no doubt. It may not show on the surface, but the shyness is there. After days of intimacy one wonders to see that it is still in about as strong force as ever. There is a fine and beautiful nature hidden behind it, as all know who have read the Uncle Remus book; and a fine genius, too, as all know by the same sign … in the matter of writing [African American dialect] he is the only master the country has produced."

Dialect scholar Sumner Ives writes, "the more one examines the speech of Harris' folk characters, the more one admires the skill with which he worked … a shy man himself, he must have listened keenly and sympathetically, for he caught the various patterns of folk speech in great detail … he handled the dialogue of his folk characters with skillful discrimination."

Historian Wayne Mixon writes that Harris' childhood poverty and fatherlessness "did much to engender his sympathetic understanding of the plight of blacks" Mixon concedes that Harris had to write some half-hearted "Lost Cause" material to keep his newspaper job, but the more his success with the Uncle Remus materials freed Harris to speak his own mind, the more critical Harris became of the Confederacy and white supremacy, and the more openly Harris supported racial equality. Mixon places Harris in historical context. White supremacy became most virulent around 1890, Mixon writes, when "someone was lynched, on average, every other day." Mixon emphasizes the courage it took for a pathologically shy, low-born white man to, in print, as Harris did, criticize Jefferson Davis, laud Abraham Lincoln, and work for equality. Mixon concludes that "a major part of Harris' purpose as a writer was to undermine racism." In 1908, Harris spelled out the goal of his own, new publication: to "dissipate all ill feelings and prejudices that now exist between the races … the obliteration of prejudice against blacks, the demand for a square deal, and the uplifting of both races so that they can look justice in the face without blushing." This is a remarkably courageous stand to take in 1908. What is variously called "Social Darwinism," "Eugenics," and "Scientific Racism" were sweeping the land, with charismatic and influential champions like Margaret Sanger, founder of what would become Planned Parenthood, and Carl Brigham, creator of the SAT. Indeed, in 1906, the Times published support for keeping an African, Ota Benga, in a display at the Bronx Zoo.

Harris, through his own, intimate, face-to-face contact with black slaves before the war and freedmen afterward, gathered the largest collection of African American folktales published in the nineteenth century. Scholars have determined that two thirds of the tales are rooted in African folklore. The remainder have European and Native American roots. Harris displayed a folklorist's obsession with accuracy. He was determined to convey to the reader the dialect he learned from the slaves he spent time with as a child.

Before I showed YouTube clips from SOTS to my students, I told them none of this. I merely said, "I'm going to show you a video. I want you to do three things. First, I want you to report what you saw. Provide objective facts. Tell me colors, materials, number of people, what they are wearing, their facial expressions, what they say – as many details as you can get down. After that, I want you to report how you felt while you were watching this video. Then, I want to you tell me what role this film should or should not play in our modern culture."

This assignment was informed by previous experience. My students displayed a, to me, frightening inability to differentiate fact from opinion. My students were like opened water taps when they thought the assignment was to express opinions, to pontificate, to denounce America, or to declare something "racist." "Racist" was used profligately. When we discussed a Supreme Court case, some students labeled Jack Phillips, the Christian baker who declined a commission to design a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding, "racist." To these students, "racist" was synonymous with "bad," and "bad" was synonymous with "conservative."

When I asked students for facts, though, the water tap suddenly hit a drought. I would suggest potential facts: Give me a date, a year, a name, a school of thought, an event. Who, what, when, where, why, how. Before my students expressed an opinion about Song of the South, I wanted to know that they could provide facts about the film they just watched.

The clips I showed included James Baskett playing Uncle Remus singing Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, Br'er Rabbit escaping a tar trap, and a scene where Uncle Remus comforts a distraught white child.

Semester after semester, a pattern repeated itself. Most students carried out the assignment. They offered fact-based descriptions of the scenes. "An old black man tells a story to a little white boy. The white boy looks on, fascinated." They said that this was a typical Disney movie and, while they had outgrown it, they could see their kid brother or kid sister liking it.

Again, semester after semester, about ten percent of the students more or less ignored the assignment, and wrote angry screeds. They provided no facts whatsoever. They denounced the film as racist and offensive. Some had heard of it, and said it should remain "banned."

Only after the written portion of the assignment was finished did classroom discussion begin. It was during this discussion that the ten percent of the students who hated the film were vocal and emphatic. The majority of the students who had carried out the assignment as given, that is, to describe concrete details of the scenes, would look on, confused and silent. They were suddenly unsure. Were they also supposed to be outraged? Would they lose points for their failure to do so? Their eyes scanned the room. They stared at their papers, already collected and on my desk – beyond their ability to retrieve and edit. Would I lambaste them for not hating the movie? Would they fail a class, yet again, for expressing the wrong opinion, or failing to express the opinion deemed correct? Students would later tell me that they were afraid that I was about to do what other teachers had done – instruct them in why their opinion was wrong, and mold their response to one more palatable to me.
I would ask the outraged students, what concrete details from the film convince you that it is racist? My request for concrete facts seemed to anger them more. "I'm offended by this. I want you to respect my feelings." Some students, both black and white, would say, "You don't know what it's like to be black. You can't speak for black people."

This exercise's predictable outcome always troubled me. Racism is a serious, career-ending, riot-sparking charge. As well it should be – racism is toxic and deadly. It troubled me that ten percent of my students, with complete, unassailable conviction and outrage, would rush to this charge without being able to marshal a single concrete fact to support it. It also troubled me that the outraged students silenced and cowed the majority of the students who saw the film as innocuous. I cannot help but fear that this classroom exercise is reflected in the wider culture, for example in the recent assault on Trader Joe's.

Again, it's easy to see why many find SOTS offensive. Accusations against it focus on the following: it depicts African Americans as being too friendly with whites, and too happy. SOTS does not depict harsh realities like lynching and Jim Crow.

To that last point, one must contrast the double standard by which SOTS is judged with treatment of Disney's 1964 film, Mary Poppins. Mary's friend Bert is an impoverished day laborer, yet he is treated warmly and respectfully by his class superiors. This is unrealistic. One of Bert's jobs is as a chimney sweep. Chimney sweeps were often children, literally sold into the trade, who risked hideous death by suffocation. Chimney sweeps typically suffered from stunted growth and spinal deformities, and they succumbed to cancer of the scrotum, also known as chimney sweep cancer. They were subject to blindness. Surgeon Percivall Pott described their fate, "They are treated with great brutality…they are thrust up narrow and sometimes hot chimnies, where they are bruised burned and almost suffocated; and when they get to puberty they become…liable to a most noisome, painful and fatal disease." William Blake famously bemoaned the horrible lives of chimney sweeps in poetry.

In Mary Poppins, of course, chimney sweeps are depicted, in the "Step in Time" number, as dancing joyfully to entertain upper class children. There is no significant movement to ban Mary Poppins. The suffering glossed over in Mary Poppins is the suffering of poor whites.

SOTS's critics adopt this same double standard regarding the film's antagonists, Joe and Jake Faver. Joe and Jake are stereotypical, poor, Southern, white trash. They are so vile that they threaten to drown a puppy. Jake is analogous to Br'er Fox, and Joe is analogous to Br'er Bear. That is, they are like the bad guys in Uncle Remus' stories. Br'er Rabbit always defeats his folkloric enemies, and Uncle Remus defeats Joe and Jake, and teaches Johnny folkloric methods of combat. Johnny is small, and he must use Br'er Rabbit's tricks to survive Joe and Jake.

Joe and Jake, with the white trash antagonists of Gone with the Wind, Deliverance, Prince of Tides, and countless other films, are an ethnic, cinematic, stereotype. Horror-movie scholar Carol J. Clover writes that the "redneck has achieved the status of a kind of universal blame figure, the someone else held responsible for all manner of American social ills … anxieties no longer expressible in ethnic or racial terms have become projected onto a safe target" – safe, she says, because white. At the movies, poor, white Southerners are bad. That bit of stereotyping in SOTS gets a free pass.

Another accusation against SOTS: Blacks speak in dialect. Upon reflection, we realize it is not just dialect that troubles the film's detractors.

On Juneteenth, 2020, Rutgers University's English Department announced that it would no longer emphasize writing in standard English. Black students would not be encouraged to master standard English, because such encouragement was racist and imperialist. Rap songs and tweets by Charlamagne tha God are not written in standard English. "I bust Stupid Dope Moves," he tweets. The problem is not that Uncle Remus does not speak standard English. The problem is that he speaks, accurately, like a poor, Southern, former black slave. Rather than appreciating this speech, some are ashamed of it, and want it silenced.

SOTS is a racist film, the online magazine Slate insists, and it should be banned, because its "smilin', Massah-servin' black folk are embarrassingly racist … still completely subservient, and happily so … James Baskett plays Remus as a preternaturally jolly companion, buoyant and beatific." In other words, SOTS is racist because it shows black people smiling and being nice to white people. I wanted my students to know that if they understood those smiles as a depiction of "happy slaves," they were totally misreading the film, Uncle Remus, Joel Chandler Harris, and a good part of African American strategies for survival.

I showed some pictures to my students. The first was a poster of rapper and former crack dealer Fifty Cent. He is muscular, bare-chested and pointing a gun at the viewer. "For many of you, this is the ideal of black man. Flamboyantly defiant, violent, and threatening. A black man like this would risk lynching in the Old South."

Then I showed them a series of images: Aesop, Petronius from the book and film Quo Vadis, Semar, from Javanese shadow play, The Good Soldier Svejk, from Jaroslav Hasek's novel, and Janosik, a Slovak folk hero. The Janosik image is gruesome. It depicts a naked man, bound hand and foot, hanging by his rib on a meat hook. I explained to my students that, around the world, people live under oppression and deal with it in different ways. Janosik was the Slovak Robin Hood. When he was 25 years old, I was taught in oral stories, our oppressors captured him and hung him up on a hook to die a slow, lingering death. That's what happens to defiant heroes in oppressive settings.

Again, around the world, most people are not active resisters. Rather, they deploy the weapons of the weak, and one of those weapons is to adopt the stance of the "wise fool." This character is smarter than his or her oppressors, and knows enough to adopt a mask of innocence, and to speak the truth through fables, often involving animals. Aesop, an ugly slave, did this over 2,000 years ago. Petronius, a character in Quo Vadis, lives under the heel of Nero, and stays alive by speaking in clever riddles. Semar is, again, an ugly character in Javanese shadow play. He is often the subject of fart and penis jokes. But Semar hides great power and wisdom, so much so that he has been used to tilt at power even in modern politics.

I told my students that when I visited my mother's natal Czechoslovakia, I was astounded at how many images of Svejk I saw. Svejk is a fictional character. He's fat, sloppy, unshaven, and often drunk. Why would people so esteem such a loser? I was in Czechoslovakia when it was under severe Soviet oppression. Our visit felt, at times, like a visit to a real life production of Orwell's 1984. Svejk, fat and sloppy as he is, knew how to resist oppressive power without being crushed by it.

Uncle Remus is immediately understandable to me. He is a very smart man living under terrifying white supremacy. He is good enough to share his wisdom with an effectively fatherless white boy. He is wise enough to share his wisdom behind the curtain of an ingratiating smile, and through the antics of "critters," Br'er Rabbit, Br'er Bear, and Br'er Fox. And there's more. Joel Chandler Harris was himself a wise fool. He was a low-born, socially handicapped loner who wanted to eliminate race prejudice. He knew he couldn't do it head on. He chipped away at racism through clever folktales recounted by a lovable black storyteller. "Vengeance for wrongs, retaliation against power, recompense for betrayals that is what Harris recognized in his deepest reaches … remaining in the shadows, he mastered his literary art," writes historian Bertram Wyatt-Brown.

If that is crystal clear to me, why can't SOTS's detractors see it?

Maybe they do see it and they don't want to. Maybe they want black men to be like Fifty Cent: flamboyantly defiant, violent, hyper-macho. Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson has argued as much – that America wants black men to act out gangsta fantasies. As one Amazon champion of SOTS puts it, people choose to ban SOTS but not violent rap. "Instead of portraying black people as profane, volatile, and thuggish … Song of the South shows the black characters to be gentle, benevolent, and even role models for white children. A poignant moment in the film shows a close-up of Uncle Remus' black hand interlocked with the little white hand of the boy. Remember, this was in 1946, before Brown v. Board of Education … Even if you walked into the theater in 1946 hating black people, you would not walk out feeling hateful … The NAACP would rather kids grow up listening to some gangster rapper glorify crime, violence, and sex with prostitutes than grow up singing Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah with Uncle Remus."

In researching this article, the most poignant sentence I read appeared in an Amazon review. "The black or white man from the South cannot understand himself apart from the other," wrote Pastor C. R. Biggs.

How will future generations understand SOTS, its creators, and, indeed, their very selves? How will a future Prof. Briones Bedell present the film to her students? Systemically racist America produced systemically racist Joel Chandler Harris and Walt Disney and this film are proof of America's systemic racism. The End.

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Photo credit: YouTube

Danusha V. Goska is the author of God through Binoculars: A Hitchhiker at a Monastery


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