Archives for category: Hypocrisy

Christopher Hooks wrote in The Texas Monthly about the boundless hypocrisy and moral vacuousness of Texas’ elected leaders.

In the run-up to the 2022 primaries and election, they made a big show of “protecting the children.”

They obsessed about the danger of transgender children, even insisting on criminalizing parents’ efforts to get medical help for their children. They obsessed about teachers allegedly “grooming” children for lives of deviant sexual behavior. They obsessed about “obscene” books that might normalize sexual behavior they—these men of high righteousness— deplored. They obsessed about “critical race theory” and demanded the banning of books that taught children about racism, whether past or present, or anything about human sexuality.

Yes, the children of Texas would be protected from any teaching about race or sexuality.

But they would not be physically protected. They would not be protected from an 18-year-old with two AR15s.

When the bad man with a powerful weapon came into their classroom, the children were left to fend for themselves while 19 police officers stood in the hallway. The bad man killed their teachers. He killed children. Little girls called 911 and begged for help. One said 8 or 9 children were still alive. But the police remained in the hallway.

The parents in the schoolyard pleaded with the police to save their children, but the police had their instructions: keep the parents away.

Almost an hour passed before the police broke into the classroom and shot the murderer.

The Governor called a press conference , where he commended the police for their courage and bravery. He commended the men who waited in the hallway for almost an hour, while the children were dying, one after another.

Hooks writes:

Texas, a friend used to say, is hard on women and little things. That would come to mind over the years when reporting seemed to bear it out. In 2015, I watched a foster mother testify in court, via telephone from her daughter’s hospital bedside, that state cuts to the Medicaid acute therapy program were having disastrous consequences for her child’s incurable, debilitating genetic disorder. In 2021, an eleven-year-old boy in Conroe suffocated from carbon monoxide poisoning after seeing snow for the first time, as his family tried to keep their home warm after the collapse of a horribly mismanaged electrical grid. And then there were the perennial horror stories from the state’s spike-pit child welfare system—a three-year-old found dead, bleeding from the ears, after his day care repeatedly warned state agents about signs of abuse by his foster parents; a teenage girl who killed herself the moment she could despite orders that she was never to be left alone; and countless others who survive through the heavy prescription of psychotropic meds before being kicked out to the streets at the age of eighteen.

Each revelation of new misery brings a new wave of revulsion, but—I hate to say this—as you learn more about how the social safety net works in Texas, the revulsion starts to fade, and it becomes a dull undercurrent to an awareness of the world instead of something sharp that pokes through. As it fades, so comes the realization that it has faded in the same way for those in power—and that nothing gets fixed because leaders have been immunized from caring to an even greater degree. The grid remains unsteady; children in foster care still get abused. Legislators make a show of passing partial, temporary fixes and resist looking at problems head-on. The Texas Legislature, with all its self-regard and jocularity and pride in itself as an institution, turns out to be suffused with a very dull and banal kind of evil.

On Tuesday, though, something poked through. For me, it wasn’t the knowledge that there had been another school shooting. Who could be surprised by that? Every detail was familiar. A once-bullied eighteen-year-old, two AR-15s, 22 dead, and 19 injured. The thing that shocked was the pictures of the dead when they lived. They were so little! Do you remember what it was like to have a body that small? A round fired by an AR-15 at close range enters the human body at three times the speed as those fired by a handgun, disintegrating and liquefying bones and organs around it. “It’s like a grenade goes off in there,” one trauma surgeon told Wired. Parents had to submit DNA samples so their kids could be accurately identified.

This spectacular violence, it sometimes feels, has not left much of us. At his initial press conference, Governor Greg Abbott wore his traditional white disaster-response shirt and offered details of the massacre as if reading a weather report. At a press conference the next day, where the governor sat alongside Texas senator Ted Cruz and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, Abbott told Texans that the disaster “could have been worse,” and the primary flash of anger shown by elected officials came when Beto O’Rourke, who appeared in the crowd, tried to talk over them.

Appearing on Newsmax TV the day of the shooting, state attorney general Ken Paxton suggested that more armed guards at schools would help, “because it’s not going to be the last time.” Can you believe that, as a response from one of the most powerful elected officials in the state to a massacre of fourth graders? “It’s not going to be the last time.” There used to be at least a perfunctory mourning period, some hugs given in front of cameras, before those in power turned to one another other and shrugged. But in truth, leaders are only handling this the way they think about the foster care system they oversee, and every other death trap run by the state. The revulsion dulls, the novelty fades, and it becomes normal.

The shooting took place on the day of the Texas primary runoff. The composition of the Legislature and the rest of state government for the next two and a half years was set that night, barring extraordinary circumstances, by the conclusion of the Republican primary, which in Texas is more influential than the general election. Paxton, who had shrugged off the Uvalde shooting on Newsmax while wearing a campaign T-shirt, won renomination and almost certainly a third term in office.

It is a grotesque and cruel irony that the Republican primary this year, and several years of political activity before it, have been dominated by an all-consuming and comically misdirected argument about the “protection” of children and by a war on public schools. There was essentially no policy contested in the GOP primary that could affect the practical and economic circumstances of all Texans. (There rarely is.) There was, however, ceaseless argument about the well-being of children, their morals, their internal lives.

The most acute panic was over transgender children. In February, Paxton’s office issued a formal opinion holding that the prescription of puberty blockers to transgender children represented “child abuse.” Shortly after, Abbott tasked the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, an overworked and underfunded agency he had overseen for close to eight years, with investigating the families of transgender children for child abuse.

The more widespread crisis concerned books. The panic was conjured by parents and elected officials in equal measure. The first target was books with “divisive” material about race. Then, elected officials began to panicabout “pornography” in schools, a category that mostly included literature featuring queer characters and sexuality. Lawmakers proposed lists of books to be banned. In November, Abbott ordered the Texas Education Agency to investigate cases of “obscene material” in public schools and prosecute those responsible “to the fullest extent of the law,” because, as he wrote, it had to be a top priority to “protect” Texas students.

Public school teachers and children’s librarians—two professions that offer a strongly beneficial service to society for little pay—became villains for parents and candidates alike. They were called “groomers” and pedophiles on social media. In a press release, Abbott called for criminal charges to be brought if librarians were found to have put “pornography” in front of children. In Granbury, southwest of Fort Worth, half a year later, one woman lodged a criminal complaint against the librarians of Hood County ISD, prompting a police investigation. At a subsequent school board meeting, she condemned the fact that a committee brought together to review troublesome books had “too many” librarians instead of “people with good moral standards.”

The deterioration spread. A record number of public school teachers, already weary from the pandemic and now faced with a sort of siege, started quitting en masse—and forfeiting their licenses, indicating they probably wouldn’t come back. “I’m tired of getting punched. It shouldn’t be like this,” ninth grade math teacher Gloria Ogboaloh told Texas Monthly. As more teachers left, the quality of life for remaining educators got worse. Then, just four months after ordering that libraries be investigated, Abbott ordered the TEA to create a task force to investigate why so many teachers were quitting.

Hooks goes on to describe politicians who are liars, braggarts, cruel, indifferent to the safety of children, callous. How long can they continue to fool people with their charade and their fake concern? They don’t care about thechildren

If you live near Houston, or if you can get there by car or air, join a protest at the NRA. The notorious National Rifle Association is holding its annual meeting at the Convention Center in Houston.

Will they talk about promoting sensible gun control? Of course not.

They will strategize about defeating any gun control. They will strategize about removing existing restrictions in the states. They will strategize to seize the moment to sell more guns. They will strategize about keeping their lock on the Republican Party. They will strategize about raising more money to keep their allies in place.

Maybe they will have a moment of silence for the shoppers in Buffalo and the children and teachers in Uvalde.

Hypocrites. That’s the least offensive and printable word that comes to mind.

This is heartbreaking news. According to the Houston Chronicle, Joe Garcia, the husband of Irma Garcia, died of a heart attack. She was one of the two teachers murdered at Robb Elementary School. The Garcias were parents of four children.

The husband of one of the two teachers killed in the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School has passed away “due to grief,” according to a nephew of the woman.

Joe Garcia of Uvalde reportedly suffered the heart attack, John Martinez tweeted at noon on Thursday. He was the husband of fourth-grade teacher Irma Garcia. They were married for 24 years.

In addition:

Update 12:22 p.m. The Georgia-based manufacturer of the assault rifle model used in Tuesday’s mass shooting at Robb Elementary has pulled out of the NRA convention in Houston this weekend, according to a report from the Daily Beast.

Daniel Defense — who designed the DDM4 V7 rifle — was originally slated to host a booth at the George R. Brown Convention Center but now the booth they were assigned to will be occupied by the NRA itself.

The Houston Chronicle previously reported that the Uvalde gunman, Salvador Ramos, purchased two weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition in the days immediately after his 18th birthday, which was on May 16. One weapon was the Daniel Defense rifle; the other was a Smith & Wesson MP 15, which retails for about $1,300.

Update 11:39 a.m. Larry Gatlin and Don McLean have both pulled out of their respective performances at the NRA’s annual convention held in Houston, according to The Chronicle’s Joey Guerra.

Gatlin released a statement on the heels of Thursday morning’s news that McLean would not be participating in Saturday’s Grand Ole Night Of Freedom Concert at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

“I pray that the NRA will rethink some of its outdated and ill-thought-out positions regarding firearms in America,” he said, adding he could not “in good conscience” perform and that he is in support of background checks.

The performance lineup still includes Lee Greenwood, Restless Heart’s Larry Stewart, T. Graham Brown, “NRA Life member” Jacob Bryant and Danielle Peck.

Update 11:15 a.m. As negotiations on possible gun reform got underway in the U.S. Senate on Thursday, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer blasted Gov. Greg Abbott as an “absolute fraud,” according to a report from The Chronicle’s Washington correspondent Benjamin Wermund.

Schumer accused Abbott of offering nothing but “empty platitudes about healing and hope” during a press conference in Uvalde on Wednesday.

“This is the same Gov. Abbott who tomorrow — tomorrow — will go speak at the NRA convention in Houston,” Schumer said. “Gov. Abbott, will you ask your MAGA buddies and your NRA pals to put aside their agendas and think of someone other than themselves like you asked the families to do?”

Update 10:20 a.m. Although Uvalde CISD had an extensive security plan in place for moments of crisis, the district’s planning failed to stop 19 children from being shot and killed at Robb Elementary School, according to an article from NBC News.

The district had doubled its security budget in recent years, according to documents, after legislation was passed in the aftermath of the 2018 Santa Fe High School in which eight students and two teachers were killed.

Update 9:15 a.m. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick appeared on Fox & Friends this morning and spoke on “hardening’ schools” and mental health in the wake of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School.

“We are a country in the ditch,” Patrick said. “We have violent music, violent rhetoric, everything is anti-everyone. Where are we as a nation? We have people in this nation who want to pull us away from God.”

Patrick also took issue with identifying some people with mental health issues as “loners,” saying some are not really alone but connect via the Internet with others who would praise their violent acts.

“They are on the Internet all day long where they play their violent video games where they kill hundreds of people a day.”

Update 7:17 a.m. Late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel opened his show without an audience Wednesday evening, speaking to the camera uninterrupted for about 10 minutes in an impassioned segment on Uvalde and gun reform.

Kimmel initially got choked up when mentioning the “little boys and girls whose lives have been ended.” He then took aim at Republican lawmakers, Fox News, Sen. Ted Cruz and others over the current state of U.S. gun laws.

“If your solution to children being massacred is armed guards, you haven’t been paying attention to what’s going on,” he said. “There was an armed guard in Buffalo. There was an armed guard in Parkland. There was an armed guard in Uvalde.”

Update 6:15 a.m. As the tragedy unfolded at Robb Elementary School, a crowd of frustrated onlookers were urging police to charge in and stop the violence, the Associated Press reported.

“Let’s just rush in because the cops aren’t doing anything like they are supposed to,” said Javier Cazares, whose fourth grade daughter, Jaclyn, was killed in the attack.

As a native Texan, I have not had a lot of reasons to proud of my state lately. The leadership—Governor Gregg Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick—compete to see who is meanest. They pushed through a very restrictive abortion law that pays bounties to people who squeal on women who got an abortion (the bill turns citizens into the Stasi of East Germany or the neighborhood spies of Cuba or the morality police of Iran). Dan Patrick is a voucher zealot, whose bad idea gets knocked down by the Legislature regularly. Abbott recently brought up his dim thought of revisiting a 1982 Supreme Court decision that ordered Texas and other states to educate the children of undocumented immigrants. Abbott wants them to remain illiterate, which is likely to cost the state more in the long run than allowing them to go to school (his proposal is also inhumane, but decency and humanity are not part of his calculus.)

But here is some good news from Texas! The editorial board of the Houston Chronicle won a Pulitzer Prize for writing about Trump’s absurd claim that the 2020 election was rigged and stolen from him. His team of lawyers brought dozens of lawsuits claiming election fraud, but lost all of them, even when the judges were appointed by Trump, even twice before the U.S. Supreme Court, which has a lop-sided majority of Republican-appointed justices.

The full series is here. The Chronicle is behind a paywall, and you may have to subscribe (as I do) to read them all. But I couldn’t resist sharing my favorite, which was published on January 8, 2021. It calls on Senator Ted Cruz to resign because of his shameful behavior in promoting The Big Lie.

The editorial says:

In Texas, we have our share of politicians who peddle wild conspiracy theories and reckless rhetoric aiming to inflame.

Think U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert’s “terror baby” diatribes or his nonsensical vow not to wear a face mask until after he got COVID, which he promptly did.

This editorial board tries to hold such shameful specimens to account.

But we reserve special condemnation for the perpetrators among them who are of sound mind and considerable intellect — those who should damn well know better.

None more than U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.

A brilliant and frequent advocate before the U.S. Supreme Court and a former Texas solicitor general, Cruz knew exactly what he was doing, what he was risking and who he was inciting as he stood on the Senate floor Wednesday and passionately fed the farce of election fraud even as a seething crowd of believers was being whipped up by President Donald Trump a short distance away.

Cruz, it should also be noted, knew exactly whose presidency he was defending. That of a man he called in 2016 a “narcissist,” a “pathological liar” and “utterly amoral.”

Cruz told senators that since nearly 40 percent of Americans believed the November election “was rigged” that the only remedy was to form an emergency task force to review the results — and if warranted, allow states to overturn Joe Biden’s victory and put their electoral votes in Trump’s column.

Cruz deemed people’s distrust in the election “a profound threat to the country and to the legitimacy of any administrations that will come in the future.”

What he didn’t acknowledge was how that distrust, which he overstated anyway, was fueled by Trump’s torrent of fantastical claims of voter fraud that were shown again and again not to exist.

Cruz had helped spin that web of deception and now he was feigning concern that millions of Americans had gotten caught up in it.

Even as he peddled his phony concern for the integrity of our elections, he argued that senators who voted to certify Biden’s victory would be telling tens of millions of Americans to “jump in a lake” and that their concerns don’t matter.

Actually, senators who voted to certify the facts delivered the truth — something Americans haven’t been getting from a political climber whose own insatiable hunger for power led him to ride Trump’s bus to Crazy Town through 59 losing court challenges, past state counts and recounts and audits, and finally taking the wheel to drive it to the point of no return: trying to bully the U.S. Congress into rejecting tens of millions of lawfully cast votes in an election that even Trump’s Department of Homeland Security called the most secure in American history.

The consequences of Cruz’s cynical gamble soon became clear and so did his true motivations. In the moments when enraged hordes of Trump supporters began storming the Capitol to stop a steal that never happened, desecrating the building, causing the evacuation of Congress and injuring dozens of police officers, including one who died, a fundraising message went out to Cruz supporters:

“Ted Cruz here,” it read. “I’m leading the fight to reject electors from key states unless there is an emergency audit of the election results. Will you stand with me?”

Cruz claims the message was automated. Even if that’s true, it’s revolting.

This is a man who lied, unflinchingly, on national television, claiming on Hannity’s show days after the election that Philadelphia votes were being counted under a “shroud of darkness” in an attempted Democratic coup. As he spoke, the process was being livestreamed on YouTube.

For two months, Cruz joined Trump in beating the drum of election fraud until Trump loyalists were deaf to anyone — Republican, Democrat or nonpartisan journalists, not to mention state and federal courts — telling them otherwise.

And yet, Cruz insists he bears no responsibility for the deadly terror attack.

“Not remotely,” he told KHOU Thursday. “What I was doing and what the other members were doing is what we were elected to do, which is debating matters of great import in the chamber of the United States Senate.”

Since the Capitol siege, Cruz has condemned the violence, tweeting after the death of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick that “Heidi and I are lifting up in prayer” the officer’s family and demanding the terrorists be prosecuted.

Well, senator, those terrorists wouldn’t have been at the Capitol if you hadn’t staged this absurd challenge to the 2020 results in the first place. You are unlikely to be prosecuted for inciting the riots, as Trump may yet be, and there is no election to hold you accountable until 2024. So, we call for another consequence, one with growing support across Texas: Resign.

This editorial board did not endorse you in 2018. There’s no love lost — and not much lost for Texans needing a voice in Washington, either.

Public office isn’t a college debate performance. It requires representing the interests of Texans. In your first term, you once told reporters that you weren’t concerned about delivering legislation for your constituents. The more you throw gears in the workings of Washington, you said, the more people back home love you. Tell that to the constituents who complain that your office rarely even picks up the phone.

Serving as a U.S. senator requires working constructively with colleagues to get things done. Not angering them by voting against Hurricane Sandy relief, which jeopardized congressional support for Texas’ relief after Harvey. Not staging a costly government shutdown to repeal the Affordable Care Act in 2013 that cost the economy billions. Not collecting more enemies than friends in your own party, including the affable former House Speaker John Boehner who famously remarked: “I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.”

We’re done with the drama. Done with the opportunism. Done with the cynical scheming that has now cost American lives.

Resign, Mr. Cruz, and deliver Texas from the shame of calling you our senator.

Dana Milbank noticed a strange phenomenon: some prominent members of the GOP who graduated from Ivy League colleges are denouncing Democrats who graduated from the same colleges as elitists. He wrote this column during the Senate hearings on the confirmation of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. How dare this Harvard/Harvard Law School elitist expect to win their votes!

Sen. Tom Cotton is what you might call a counterfeit commoner.
The dour Arkansas Republican announced with indignation at this week’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings that he doesn’t want a justice who follows the “views of the legal elite.” He later complained that “a bunch of elite lawyers” such as nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson “think that sentences for child pornography are too harsh. I don’t and I bet a lot of normal Americans don’t, either.”

And who is this “normal American” decrying the “legal elite”? Why, he’s a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, a former clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit and a former associate at two Washington-insider law firms who now sits on the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. Senate.

He’s part of a Republican Party of 2022 that has flipped the script on populism: The gentry are revolting.

At the same hearings this week, Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-La.) decried a “managerial elite” of media, academics, bureaucrats and corporations. “This cabal think they are smarter and more virtuous than the American people,” argued Kennedy, whose bio says he has a “degree with first class honors from Oxford University (Magdalen College).” This man of the people — Phi Beta Kappa at Vanderbilt, executive editor of the law review at the University of Virginia and a member of something called the Order of the Coif — has been heard denouncing the “goat’s-milk-latte-drinkin’, avocado-toast-eating insider’s elite.”

Also on the dais during the proceedings: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), a graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law who loves to inveigh against the “coastal elites,” and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), a former Supreme Court clerk out of Stanford University and Yale Law School who fancies himself standing with the proletariat in “the great divide” between the “leadership elite and the great and broad middle of our society.”

Three decades ago, Pat Buchanan, himself a Washington insider, ran for the Republican presidential nomination claiming a revolution of “peasants with pitchforks.” The latest Republican revolution seems to be of the trickle-down variety. Call it plutocrats with pitchforks.

Cruz, Hawley and Cotton are all contemplating presidential runs — where they might meet in the Republican primary another man of the people, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. A graduate of Yale and Harvard Law, he wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal titled “Don’t Trust the Elites,” and he rails routinely about “elites” trying to shove this or that “down the throats of the American people.”

These phonies must be onto something, because a new generation of pretend populists aims to join them in the Senate.

In Nevada, Republican candidate Adam Laxalt portrays himself as a modern-day Robespierre. He has repeatedly warned of the “rich elites … taking over America,” “elites in Washington,” the “coastal elites,” the “elites” who “do not believe in our nation” and the “elites” who are “all in one club” while “we’re all in another club.”

“We”? Laxalt is the grandson of a U.S. senator and governor of Nevada and the son of a Washington lobbyist. He is a graduate of prep school, Georgetown University and Georgetown Law School who recently hauled in $2.2 million as a partner at Cooper & Kirk, the same Washington firm that employed those plebeians Cotton and Cruz.

Milbank goes on in this vein, identifying other Republicans who rail against elites. Hypocrisy seems to be in vogue. Beware.

Conservatives used to be known as people resistant to radical change. In decades past, conservatives sought to conserve traditional institutions and make them better. That stance appealed to many Americans who were unsettled by radical ideas, opposed to big-box stores that would wipe out small-town America’s Main Street. Conservatives were also known for opposing government intrusion into personal decisions; what you did in your bedroom was your business, not the state’s. What you and your doctor decided was best for you was your decision, not the state’s.

Chris Rufo is the face of the New Conservatism, who wants to frighten the parents of America into tearing down traditional institutions, especially the public school that they and their family attended.

Rufo became well-known for creating a national panic about “critical race theory,” which he can’t define and doesn’t understand. But he seems to think that schools are controlled by racist pedagogues and sexual perverts. In his facile presentation at Hillsdale College, one of the most conservative institutions of higher education in the nation, he makes clear that America has fallen from its position as a great and holy nation to a slimepit of moral corruption.

He has two great Satans in his story: public schools and the Disney Corporation. The Disney Corporation, in his simple mind, is a haven for perverts and pedophiles, bent on corrupting the youth of the nation.

Rufo asserts, based on no discernible evidence, that the decline and fall of America can be traced to the failed revolution of 1968. The radicals lost, as Nixon was elected that year, but burrowed into the pedagogical and cultural institutions, quietly insinuating their sinister ideas about race and sex into the mainstream, as the nation slept. Rufo’s writings about “critical race theory,” which he claims is embedded in schools, diversity training in corporations, and everywhere else he looked, made him a star on Tucker Carlson’s show, an advisor to the Trump White House, and a fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute. Benjamin Wallace-Wells wrote a profile of Rufo in The New Yorker and identified him as the man who invented the conflict over critical race theory, which before Rufo was a topic for discussion in law schools.

Before Rufo’s demonization of CRT, it was known among legal scholars as a debate about whether racism was fading away or whether it was systemic because it was structured into law and public policy. I had the personal pleasure of discussing these ideas in the mid-1980s with Derrick Bell, who is generally recognized as the founder of CRT. Bell was then at the Harvard Law School, after working as a lawyer for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. He reached the conclusion that the Brown Decision of 1954 was inadequate to root out systematic racism.

At the time, I was a centrist in my politics and believed that racism was on its way out. Derrick disagreed. We spoke for hours, he invited me to present a paper at a conference he was organizing, which I did. Contrary to Rufo, I can attest that Derrick Bell was not a Marxist. He was not a radical. He wanted an America where people of different races and backgrounds had decent lives, unmarred by racial barriers. He was thoughtful, gentle, one of the kindest people I’ve ever known. He wanted America to be the land it professed to be. He was a great American.

Was 1968 the turning point, after which the radicals took over our culture and destroyed our founding ideals, as Rufo claims? No, it was not. I was there. He was born in 1984. He’s blowing smoke, making up a fairy-tale that he has spun into a narrative.

In 1968, I turned 30. I had very young children. I was not sympathetic to the hippies or the Weather Underground or the SDS. I hated the Vietnam War, but I was not part of any organized anti-war group. I believed in America and its institutions, and I was firmly opposed to those who wanted to tear them down, as the Left did then and as the Right does now. I worked in the Humphrey campaign in 1968 and organized an event in Manhattan—featuring John Kenneth Galbraith, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., and a long lineup of “liberals for Humphrey”— that was disrupted and ruined by pro-Vietnam Cong activists. That event, on the eve of the 1968 election, convinced me that Nixon would win. (While my event was disrupted, Nixon held a campaign rally a block away, at Madison Square Garden, that was not disrupted.)

1968 was the year that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy were assassinated. It was a horrible, depressing year. America seemed to be falling apart.

Did the Weathermen and other radicals begin a long march through the institutions and eventually capture them? That’s ridiculous. Some became professors, but none became college presidents, to my knowledge. Many were ostracized. Some went to prison for violent crimes. Those who played an active political role in 1968 are in their 80s now, if they are alive.

Rufo’s solution to what he sees as the capture of our institutions by racists and pedophiles is surpringly simple: school choice. He hopes everyone will get public money to send their children to private and religious schools, to charter schools, or to home school them. If only we can destroy public schools, he suggests, we can restore America to the values of 1776.

Good old 1776, when most black people were slaves, women had no rights, and the aristocracy made all the decisions. They even enjoyed conjugal rights to use their young female slaves. Those were the good old days, in the very simple mind of Christopher Rufo.

Turning the clock back almost 250 years! Now that’s a radical idea.

Dana Milbank is a columnist for the Washington Post. He is one of my favorites. (I also adore Valerie Strauss and Jennifer Rubin, and of course, Glenn Kessler, the fact-checker). I’m sorry that his many links did not transfer when I copied and pasted. Subscribe to the Post.

He writes:

There were even more vermin than usual in Washington this week. A rabid fox at the Capitol bit at least nine people, including Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.). And Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison attacked Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) with an insult most entomological.

After Cotton implied that Supreme Court Justice-designate Ketanji Brown Jackson is a Nazi sympathizer, Harrison referred to Cotton as a “little maggot-infested man” on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Fake news! Cotton may go low, but, at 6-foot-5, he is not little. Also, maggots typically feed on dead things, and Cotton, though stiff, is not currently deceased. The man likes to carry on, but he is not carrion.

Harrison went on to censure the Republican Party as a whole: “It is a party built on fraud, fear and fascism.” Interestingly, a statement from the Republican National Committee taking offense at the “maggot-infested” charge did not dispute the “fraud, fear and fascism” formulation. As your self-appointed fact-checker, I have therefore examined the merits of the accusation.


Sixteen months after President Donald Trump’s claims of election fraud failed in some 60 court cases, we have finally found evidence of potential voter fraud. Trump’s White House staff chief, Mark Meadows, reportedly registered to vote in 2020 using the address of a mobile home he never lived in. And former Trump State Department official Matt Mowers, a current congressional candidate, voted twice during the 2016 primaries, in New Hampshire and New Jersey.

The “big lie” about a rigged election, accepted by two-thirds of Republican voters, has spawned new frauds about the dangers of coronavirus vaccines (leading to sharply higher death rates in heavily Republican counties) and the promise, touted by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) of the deworming drug ivermectin to treat covid-19; an exhaustive new study finds the drug useless.

Then there are the little everyday frauds. Just days after Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) told the world that his colleagues engage in coke-fueled orgies, Rep. Lisa McClain (R-Mich.) declared at a Trump rally that it was Trump who “caught Osama bin Laden,” record-low unemployment is at a “40-year high” and there weren’t “any wars” during Trump’s presidency. Never mind Syria and Afghanistan.


Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said people like Ketanji Brown Jackson become public defenders because “their heart is with the murderers.” Cotton said Justice Robert H. Jackson “left the Supreme Court to go to Nuremberg and prosecute the case against the Nazis. This Judge Jackson might have gone there to defend them.”

Republican senators used the Jackson confirmation to stir fear of minorities and vulnerable groups with manufactured crises about transgender athletes (of the 200,000 participants in women’s collegiate sports, perhaps 50 are transgender) and “critical race theory” (which isn’t taught in public schools).

Ohio Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance released an ad saying “Biden’s open border is killing Ohioans, with more illegal drugs and more Democrat voters pouring into this country.”

The Florida legislature approved an “election crimes” police force for Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), with the potential to intimidate voters, while various GOP-led states move forward with new provisions providing residents with incentives to inform on each other.

The newly-revealed text messages of Justice Clarence Thomas’s activist wife, Ginni, show her sharing with the Trump White House her “hope” that the “Biden crime family” as well as elected officials, bureaucrats and journalists would be taken to “barges off GITMO to face military tribunals for sedition.”
Is the GOP “a party built on fraud, fear and fascism”? Certainly, not all Republicans think this way. But too many others are subverting democracy, cavorting with white nationalists, spreading racist fears and fantasizing about extrajudicial punishment for political opponents and the media. For them, the jackboot fits

Only one publisher met all of Florida’s requirements for K-5 math textbooks.

The winner was Houston-based Accelerate Learning.

The Carlyle Group, a global investment firm, acquired Accelerate Learning on Dec. 20, 2018, according to the firm’s website.

During that time, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin was the co-CEO of the firm. After 25 years with the company, Youngkin resigned in 2020 to run for office in Virginia.

The first thing Youngkin did as governor of Virginia was sign an executive order to “end the use of inherently divisive concepts, including critical race theory, and restoring excellence in K-12 public education in the commonwealth,” a measure that’s comparable to DeSantis’ “Stop WOKE Act.”

The story reviewed Accelerate’s website and learned the following:

Accelerate Learning’s website includes an undated diversity statement which says the company commits to hold more diversity training, examine current business and recruitment practices and continue to be inclusive in all levels of the company.

“Our nation’s black communities have long faced the repeated, harmful effects of systemic racism within the justice and education systems,” the statement said.

The company also matched all employee donations to the NAACP, Black Lives Matter and Equal Justice organizations.

“Accelerate Learning, Inc. is committed to supporting diversity in all its manifestations, which requires a consequent commitment to equity and inclusivity,” the statement said.

Sounds like the winner of the math textbook competition is woke and espouses critical race theory.

A friend forwarded this message from her friend in St. Petersburg, Russia:

1. Russia did not attack Ukraine, but Ukraine must definitely stop defending itself.

2. A special operation is not a war, but economic sanctions are a war.

3. The war began so that the war would not start.

4. Conscripts were not sent to Ukraine, but some of them died there.

5. The maternity hospital was bombed because the Nazis were sitting there dressed as pregnant women, but it was still not bombed.

6. The special operation is proceeding according to plan, the troops do not meet resistance, but in 20 days they only managed to capture Kherson and surround Mariupol.

7. All Ukrainian planes were destroyed by missiles at airfields. But 2 weeks later, Ukraine vilely bombed Belarus.

8. You can wish death on Ukrainians on Russian TV, but wishing death on Russian invaders on Facebook is extremism. 9. Russian troops are fighting not with civilians, but with the Nazis. All 40 million Nazis. You will be surprised, but it easily fits and in all seriousness coexists in the minds of a significant part of Russians.

I added this one, since I recently read a statement from a spokesman for the Russian Defense Agency stating that Russia never targets civilians.

9. Russia never attacks civilians or civilian facilities, like hospitals, apartment buildings, homes, theaters, or civilian evacuees.

Steve Nelson, the retired headmaster of the Calhoun School in New York City, has spotted the ironies and hypocrisies in the GOP pandering to the “parent rights” movement.

Read the Bible and gasp at the references to incest and licentiousness.

Nelson writes:

There is a certain hypocritical Victorian flavor to the GOP these days, as they are turgid with moral rectitude when considering – gasp – transgender folks, same sex marriage or pre-marital sex, while embracing the multifaceted lecher who remains their president-in-exile. But back to children . . .

The GOP assault on CRT or any education related to race, gender or sex is partnered with the campaign for parental rights in education. Parental rights in education is further paired with the systematic and relentless attacks on public education. The logic is unassailable; if your schools insist on teaching CRT or mentioning sex despite your parental rights, then you should be empowered to send your child to a good Christian school, where they can learn about these things:

“If two men, a man and his countryman, are struggling together, and the wife of one comes near to deliver her husband from the hand of the one who is striking him, and puts out her hand and seizes his genitals, then you shall cut off her hand; you shall not show pity.” (Deuteronomy 25:11-12)

“When she carried on her whoring so openly and flaunted her nakedness, I turned in disgust from her, as I had turned in disgust from her sister. Yet she increased her whoring, remembering the days of her youth, when she played the whore in the land of Egypt and lusted after her lovers there, whose members were like those of donkeys, and whose issue was like that of horses. Thus you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when the Egyptians handled your bosom and pressed your young breasts.” (Ezekiel 23:18-21)

Keep reading!