The Press-Dispatch

September 15, 2021

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C-6 Wednesday, September 15, 2021 The Press-Dispatch OPINION Submit Letters to the Editor: Letters must be signed and received by noon on Mondays. Email: or bring in a hard copy: 820 E. Poplar Street, Petersburg Is the left losing its grip on California? The Democratic Party is rolling out its left-wing big guns to go to Cal- ifornia to support Gov. Gavin New- som in the recall election scheduled for Sept. 14. In California, the bluest of blue states, where, in 2020, challenger Joe Biden defeated incumbent President Donald Trump by a margin of almost 2-1, the polls are within the margin of error showing Newsom holding on in the recall. Why are Vice President Kamala Harris and Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar putting it on the line to campaign for Newsom? They know that what is going on in California is a laboratory for what is going on in the nation and in the Democratic Party. The beginning of Newsom's fall from grace was discovery of his dining at a party at a fancy French restaurant in California wine coun- try, where dinners start at $450 per person, keeping no COVID-19 re- strictions while he had his whole state on strict lockdown. This was more than an embarrass- ing moment for the governor. And it was more than a graphic picture of political hypocrisy and double stan- dards. It was a portrayal of very dif- ferent takes on how America works that is now being driven home by ra- dio talk show host Larry Elder, who is leading the pack of candidates challenging Newsom. Elder is Black, from humble ori- gins in Los Angeles. A fter finish- ing high school in L A's inner city, he moved on to the Ivy League, get- ting a bachelor's degree at Brown University and then a law degree at the University of Michigan. He then found his voice talking about ideas on talk radio. Elder's background and experi- ence gave him a hard gut-feel of what is crucial for getting ahead in Amer- ica: freedom. He developed a deep understand- ing that a free economy is what drives growth, and creates jobs and oppor- tunity for those trying to get ahead. He also understands that nowhere is freedom more important than in education and nowhere is competi- tion more badly needed than in Los Angeles' substandard, union-con- trolled public school system. Newsom represents a Democratic Party that delivers a different picture of reality. It is controlled by progres- sives, many of whom are wealthy, and the nitty gritty that drives economic growth really doesn't interest them. They are more interested in their own feel-good progressive values. Newsom's own career has been driven by support from wealthy Cal- ifornia liberals such as Getty Oil Co. scion Gordon Getty, who employed Newsom's father. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, both from Newsom's northern Cali- fornia, are listed in the top 10 wealth- iest members of Congress. In a Cen- ter for Responsive Politics report in 2018, Pelosi showed a net worth of $114.7 million and Feinstein $ 87.5 million. California is an ethnic minority majority state. In the 2020 presiden- tial election, 49 % of California voters were white, compared with 67% na- tionwide. It could be that California's eth- nic minority voters are waking up to the truth that the America that El- der is talking about — lower taxes and regulations, free markets, edu- cation competition — is what they need, rather than the left-wing pro- gressivism of rich white liberals. The U.S. Supreme Court pushed back against Newsom's move to use COVID-19 as an excuse to shut down churches while giving more latitude to restaurants and hair salons to op- erate freely. He clamped down on public schools while sending his own kids to operating private schools. According to the most recent re- port from the Bureau of Labor Sta- tistics, California is tied with New York and New Mexico with the sec- ond highest unemployment rate in the country — 7.6 % . Only Nevada is higher at 7.7% . According to United Van Lines' an- nual report on household movements out of and into states, in 2020 Califor- nia was fourth highest in the country in out migration. Toxic Victimhood Are you a racist? All white people are, says "White Fragility" author Robin DiAngelo. Race explains everything, says bestselling "How to Be an Antirac- ist" author Ibram X. Kendi. "Every policy is either racist or anti-racist." Kendi's and DiAngelo's books are now recommended reading at schools, corporations and in the mil- itary. Both authors command high speaking fees. Isn't that good? It's important to educate people about racism. But John McWhorter, author of "Woke Racism," says, "The way we're being encouraged to think, hurts Black people." In my new video, he gives this ex- ample: "There is a disproportion- ate number of suspensions of Black boys in schools for violence. (Ken- di says) that must be racist... a ste- reotype of Black men as violent. But ... the data makes it very clear that Black boys do commit more violent acts in schools. If you don't suspend those boys, the violence is being perpetrated (mostly) against other Black kids." Kendi's positions "leave Black kids in the lurch," says McWhorter. Kendi and DiAngelo call most ev- ery disparity between races "system- ic racism." White people live longer than Black people? Racism. Income inequality? Racism. White and Asian students get high- er test scores? Systemic racism. In the past, says McWhorter, civ- il rights leaders asked, "How can we make it so that Black kids are better at the test? " Now they want to "elim- inate the tests" because they "make Black people unhappy." This just makes the problem worse, he says, because it encour- ages people to think of themselves as victims. If you believe you are a helpless victim of racism, why study? The idea that it is "unreasonable to expect Black kids to use analytical thinking in a rigorous way. ... This is a new way of thinking. It's a religious way of thinking." Blaming racism for low test scores ignores "aspects of Black culture that don't stress getting good at those tests — the way that South Asian im- migrant culture clearly does." Nigerian and Caribbean culture, too. People from those places are of- ten just as dark or darker than Black Americans. They "come here and deal with the same racism that ev- erybody else does. Yet they make the best of the worst. That means: so could Black Americans." The media label Kendi and DiAn- gelo "leading scholars," but their ar- guments are rarely tested in the mar- ketplace of ideas. Both refuse to de- bate opponents. McWhorter calls their work far from scholarly — "more like a toxic religion, a cult." In fact, he adds, "Kendi is dim." I argue that, even if Kendi is "dim," he's winning hearts and minds. Com- panies now donate millions to his Center for Antiracist Research. His book sales and success with stu- dents show that his arguments con- vince people. McWhorter disagrees. "As we come out of the pandemic and we're less bored, less anxious, I suspect that a lot of the extremes that we saw are going to start retreating because there's going to be pushback." The idea of anti-racism is "charis- matic," he adds. "It makes it seem like you've got one answer to a bunch of things that look disparate and dif- ficult. But all disparities between white people and Black people are not due to something unfair that was driven by whites." I'm puzzled that DiAngelo's and Kendi's message is so popular today, when life for racial minorities seems to be better than ever before. With some exceptions, there's less racism, more intermarriage, more opportu- nities for minorities, etc. "Why now? " I ask. There's an advantage to being identified as a victim, says McWhort- er. "An emotional balm to be treated as this victimized person. The prob- lem is that it's anti-Black." Anti-white too. If the "systemic racism" cult wins, says McWhorter, "we all lose." John Stossel is author of "Give Me a Break: How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of the Liberal Media." Democrats have made a living in recent times with political attack ads fallaciously accusing Republicans of secret plans to destroy Medicare and Social Security. In one famous T V ad, then-House Speaker Paul Ryan was depicted as shoving an elderly woman in a wheelchair off a cliff. Well, Republicans may want to re- prise that ad — and toss it back at Biden Democrats. New reports in recent days from the Congressional Budget Office and the Social Secu- rity trustees show both these pro- grams running out of money much sooner than previously expected. Under current law, Medicare goes into the red in 2026, and then over the next 10 years, the losses mount to half a trillion dollars. Soon there- after, the system is insolvent and flat out of money to pay the bills. Social Security's finances are almost as rickety. The trust fund starts run- ning out of money in 2034, and the losses eventually eclipse $1 trillion. So, the worst thing Washington could do now is add more people on to the Medicare rolls and expand benefits. This only loads more pas- sengers on to the decks of the Titan- ic and speeds its ap- proach to the finan- cial iceberg. But that is exact- ly what President Joe Biden's plan does. Instead of fix- ing the Medicare fi- nances, the Demo- cratic plan expands benefits (to dental, vision and hearing) and lowers the age for benefits to 60. That will bring forward the trust fund's insolvency by two years: from 2026 to 2024. An analysis by health experts at the Hoover Institution finds that the Biden plan would "increase the ten-year deficit by $ 394 billion with about 14 million Americans en- rolling in at least Medicare Part A (which provides coverage for hospi- talizations). The impact on Medicare spending would be even larger — it would rise by almost $1 trillion over a decade." The argument has long been that even when the Social Security and Medicare funds (the "lock- box," as Al Gore once called it) run out of money, the fed- eral government will pay back the trillions of dollars of IOUs in the fund that have been borrowed by the "gener- al fund" of the federal budget. But where will that money come from? The Biden plan envisions trillions of extra borrowing over the next de- cade alone. How can we replenish Social Security and Medicare with funds if the rest of the budget is go- ing bankrupt? This is like the Three Stooges gambit of trying to stop a sinking ship by scooping buckets of water out of one end of the boat and pouring it into the other side. It is because of these flimsy financ- es that I have always advocated let- ting young people put their payroll tax dollars into a personal account so the money can't be stolen by poli- ticians. There is no way that the gov- The United States and its NATO allies have ceded the geopolitical advantage to Russia for many years now. Two examples of this would be Russia's invasion of Georgia in 2008 and Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. But the time is now ripe to seize the advantage back, and the joint Russia-Belarus Zapad-2021 military exercises, which are set to begin on Sept. 10, are the place to start. It seems that the Biden admin- istration's stance when it comes to Russia is that the United States and NATO should avoid doing anything to upset Russian President Vladimir Putin. We saw examples of this when President Joe Biden dropped the U.S.' opposition to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline—which was an economic gift to Russia—and Biden's fairly un- productive meeting with Putin at the Geneva Summit in June. The Biden administration and NATO have been hesitant to speak up about the upcoming Zapad war games, scheduled for mid-Septem- ber. Held every four years, this year's Zapad is expected to dwarf its 2017 predecessor. The war games will occur against an increasingly tense backdrop of great power competition between Russia and the U.S. and Russia and NA- TO, and amidst Russia's continu- ing pressure on Ukraine. In addi- tion, Russia's close ally, Belarus, which is participating in the war games, is going through a de- terioration of rela- tions with the West. In real terms, we know little about what has been described as a stress test of Russian military forces, ex- cept that Zapad will be massive and largely opaque to the outside world. Moscow will likely again play down the numbers involved in the exercise to support its refusal to live by its Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe obliga- tions under the 2011 Vienna Docu- ment, which requires states conduct- ing maneuvers involving more than 13,000 troops to provide advance no- tice to other countries and to be open to observers. There are concerns that some in the Biden administration will want to restrict future NATO military ex- ercises or increase the trans- parency of NATO operations to appease Moscow. Zapad-2021 is scheduled for Sept. 10 -16 and will in- volve Russia, Belarus, and to a much lesser extent, Ka- zakhstan, which will provide forces for the joint exercises in both Belarus and Russia. Much of what we know of Zapad comes from Belaru- sian chief of defense staff and first deputy minister of defense, Maj. Gen. Viktor Gulevich. Accord- ing to Gulevich during a press con- ference, the exercises are geared to gauge how Russian and Belarusian forces can operate together in case "opposing forces" pose a threat in the future. The opposing forces are described as "illegal armed groups, separatist and international terror- ist organizations with external sup- port." In other words, NATO. Training exercises will center around the creation of a regional grouping of forces, maneuver war- Race for the Cure By Star Parker Give Me a Break John Stossel Continued on page 7 Continued on page 7 Continued on page 7 Eye on the Economy By Stephen Moore There goes grandma over the cliff Heritage Viewpoint By Alexis Mrachek Points to Ponder By Rev. Curtis Bond Russian war games an opportunity for Biden Temptation of Cheating Continued on page 7 Leading up to this years' Olympic games in Tokyo, 20 athletes were banned from Olympic competition because they either tested positive for using performance-enhancing drugs (PED or "doping") or failed to submit tests. One Olympic athlete tested positive at the Tokyo games and gave up his silver medal. Practically, no sport is immune from this widespread use of PEDs to give an athlete a winning edge. World cyclist Lance Armstrong won seven Tour de France titles in a row. For years he denied charges he was "doping." Later he admitted to dop- ing and was stripped of all his titles and given a lifetime ban from cycling. Many athletes, when caught, opine that the use of performance-enhanc- ing drugs is so widespread that to have any chance of winning means you must "dope! " The Military Service Academies have strict honor codes for cadets to follow. The Honor Code states that "[a] Cadet will not lie, cheat, steal or tolerate those who do." All cadets are charged with knowing and ad- hering to the Honor Code from their first day at the Academy. In December 2020, West Point caught 70 cadets cheating on a math exam. In January, the Air Force Acad- emy said it was investigating 249 of its cadets for cheating. Recently the Naval Academy said at least 100 Na- val Academy students cheated on a physics test and it expelled 18. This strict code is not strong enough to stop some cadets from cheating. In 2011, State officials accused the entire Atlanta public school system of performance-test cheating. They implicated 187 teachers in the cheat- ing scandal. Of these, they indicted 35 educators, 23 took plea deals and the remaining 12 went to trial. One state official investigating the allegations says, "We've had cheat- ing all up and down the line. It was absolutely amazing! " In 2012, Harvard University inves- tigated 125 students in what it called "the most widespread cheating scan- dal" in campus history. When con- fronted with allegations of cheat- ing—e.g., why did you do it? — the retort is often: "Because everyone else is doing it! " Pete Rose is one of the great- est baseball players of all time. A f- ter years of denial, Pete finally ad- mitted to gambling on baseball. For this indiscretion, it is unlikely that he will ever be inducted into the Nation- al Baseball Hall of Fame. Many peo- ple believe his transgression should be overlooked, and he be allowed in- to the Hall of Fame. His supporters downplay his guilt and add, "cheat- ing is widespread" so let the man in. Pete Rose knew Rule 21, which is posted in every Major League club- house. "Any player, umpire, or club official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any base- ball game in connection with which the bettor has no duty to perform Court

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