ILYA SHAPIRO: The voter suppression lie. The voting wars have flared up again, though they’ve never really been far from the national political debate since Donald Trump was elected in 2016, or the Supreme Court decided Shelby County v. Holder in 2013 — or really Bush v. Gore in 2000.
Sorting out fact from fiction is not only important for this particular law, the fallout from which has already reached Major League Baseball and some Hollywood productions, but to understand the general debate over election regulation in America.
The Georgia law limits ballot drop boxes to places they can’t be tampered with (such as early voting sites), standardizes weekend voting hours, and asks people to write a driver’s license or Social Security number on absentee ballot envelopes.
SB 202 does indeed improve voting access for most Georgians, entrenching the new opportunities to vote early and absentee (by mail and drop-off) introduced during the pandemic. For example, during a generous, at least compared to blue states such as New York and the president’s own home state of Delaware, 17 days of in-person early voting, voting locations have to be open at least eight hours, with county officials given leeway to adjust the times to suit their constituents. Election Day voting hours are even longer. The window for requesting absentee ballots, which can be done online, is reduced to a “mere” 67 days, starting 11 weeks and closing 11 days before an election, to allow time for the ballot to be mailed out and returned. . . .
Attempts by progressive groups and Democratic politicians to tie SB 202 to the era of segregation and systemic racial disenfranchisement are thus remarkably dishonest. Even the bizarre attack on the provision purportedly limiting the distribution of water to voters waiting in line is all wet. Many states have similar anti-electioneering (or anti-vote-buying) rules, which, as colorfully detailed by Dan McLaughlin in National Review, make it illegal to send “people in National Rifle Association t-shirts and MAGA hats to hand out free Koch-brothers-financed, Federalist Society-branded pizza to voters.” To again pick on the Empire State, New York explicitly prohibits giving voters “meat, drink, tobacco, refreshment or provision” unless the sustenance is worth less than a dollar and the person providing it isn’t identified. To be perfectly clear, under the new Georgia law, poll workers can still provide water to voters, and anyone can donate food and drink for election workers to set out for those waiting in line.
As for voter ID, SB 202 simply adds a requirement that voters provide the number of their driver’s license or (free) state identification card to apply for a ballot, the same as California, New Jersey, and Virginia, and one of those (or the last four digits of a Social Security number) when returning it. Surely, applying a numerical voter-verification requirement to absentee or mailed ballots is better than the inexact science (to say the least) of signature-matching. Colorado, now a solidly blue state that votes entirely by mail, rejected 29,000 ballots last fall (about 1 in 112) because the mailed signatures didn’t match those on file. That doesn’t count the 11,000 who were allowed to “cure” the issue by texting in a picture of a — gasp — photo ID. Illustrating the point further, the Tampa Bay Times just came out with an amusing article about how Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s signature has changed over the years, apparently leading to his ballot being tossed in a 2016 primary.
Voter ID more generally is hugely popular, including among Democrats.
I’ve wondered if it’s worth sharing “my story.” I’m a pretty private person so it feels weird to share. But I think it�s worth it bc we all need encouragement that ordinary ppl can do something about what�s happening to our country. So, why do I talk about Woke stuff?
The Woke Mob: my survival story
My husband and I co-founded a justice-oriented non-profit org 11 years ago. At the time, we knew nothing about Critical Social Justice or Critical Theory. Our motivation was to address disparities in mental health care. 1/
We�d learned that lay people (ppl without clinical training) made up the majority of trauma care providers around the world working with vulnerable populations (refugees, human trafficking survivors, etc). We wanted to help equip those lay people with good resources. 2/
We hired clinically trained mental health professionals to develop our curriculum, oversee MEL, and run the international training program. Everything went great for about 7 years. We got accolades from all the right people in academia and partnered with orgs in 50+ countries. 3/
Then a few years ago we noticed a tone shift among our program staff. They became hyper-critical of *everything.* As Executive Director, my husband felt he was always on trial. Every word and action was scrutinized. We couldn’t figure out where this was coming from. 4/
We noticed shared rhetoric among the staff. Terms we heard often:
“systems of power and oppression”
Didn’t understand the ideology behind it, started doing some reading. 5/
Then the open letters started. The letters always went to everyone in the org (from the graphic designer to the governing board), they always asserted vaguely that the organization was “causing harm,” and they always ended with demands. We were alarmed and confused. 6/
We began having all-org sessions trying to discern what was happening and what was needed. It was quickly apparent there were no specific actions or incidents that could be deemed harmful. The accusations were always vague and abstract, about “identities”, “systems,” etc. 7/
What also became apparent quickly was they didn’t want to resolve any real harm. They wanted control of the organization. They stated explicitly my husband was incapable of running an org that addresses trauma (an org he founded!) bc he’s straight, white, male, and Christian. 8/
That’s when I learned to fight. I’d been doing my homework for a while. Thanks to people like @NeilShenvi, @ConceptualJames, @wokal_distance, @WokeTemple, @D_B_Harrison and @realchrisrufo, I knew what we were facing. It was an attempted woke subversion of the organization. 9/
I wrote organizational position papers on how Critical Social Justice compromised our work by being in direct conflict with a number of our organizational commitments, namely, being evidence-based, valuing the individual, cultural humility, and allowing for true diversity. 10/
Maybe I shouldn’t be proud of it, but I also learned to use their woke rules against them. When a staff member said I couldn�t speak to a topic bc I’m straight, I told her it was wrong of her to assume about my sexuality just bc I’m married to a man. She immediately groveled. 11/
After some months, when it was clear to them we wouldn’t budge, the ones making demands left “on moral grounds,” accusing us of every phobia and calling the org “white supremacist.” We’ve always partnered with ppl of every ethnicity, creed and identity, so this is laughable. 12/
Having survived an attempted power grab and character assassination by a woke mob, I’ll say it’s painful to be mistreated by ppl you trusted. But if you care more about maintaining your integrity than what people think or say about you, you�ll emerge with your dignity intact. 13/
Don�t apologize for vague accusations of “harm.” It’s not a fair fight. They don’t want dialogue. Expose their inconsistencies – show how their demands won�t achieve what they claim to care about (helping the poor, etc). It’ll require some reading and a lot of courage. 14/
If you don’t fight this nonsense now, wherever it’s showing up in your community, there�ll be nothing good, true, or beautiful to defend soon. We will be ruled by lies and power while being told we�re progressing toward truth and justice. 15/
Open war is upon us, there is no “safe” any more. Choose which kind of “unsafe” you want. Fighting lies is always preferable to being ruled by them. I believe they can be defeated. I believe the truth will prevail.
Thanks for reading my story, I’d love to hear yours. 16/16
JULIE KELLY: The Feds’ Nonexistent Case Against Alleged Sicknick Assailants:
The cause of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick’s untimely death on January 7 is finally settled, but the prosecution of his alleged attackers rages on.
After months of dishonest accounts about what happened to Sicknick—first that he was bludgeoned to death by “insurrectionists” with a fire extinguisher and then that he died of an allergic reaction to bear spray—the D.C. Medical Examiner’s office confirmed the 42-year-old died of a stroke; the chemical sprayed in his direction during the chaos outside the Capitol on January 6 did not contribute to his death.
The sketchy photographic evidence against Tanios and Khater included in charging documents isn’t the government’s only problem. Law enforcement doesn’t know for certain if they used the spray at all. Under questioning by Tanios’ lawyer last month, FBI Special Agent Riley Palmertree could not confirm that either man pulled the trigger on the bear spray can:
Attorney: Did Khater use the bear spray that day?
Agent: Not that I know of, but that’s for further investigation—the investigation is still going on regarding the bear sprays.
Attorney: OK. So it’s your understanding that Khater used the smaller canister of OC spray with the black handle that was sort of like on a keychain or could be a keychain?
Agent: That’s according to my investigation, which is still going on.
Attorney: You don’t have any reason to believe that the bear spray was deployed that day at all, do you?
Agent: I have the bear spray cans myself and I haven’t submitted them for analysis, so that’s what I would need to do. That’s a very serious thing that I have to be sure on in a scientific way the best I can.
In a separate filing, Julian Khater’s lawyers argued their client and Tanios were sprayed by others in the crowd, perhaps police officers, and never used the bear spray. The government even admitted in its affidavit that Khater at one point yelled out, “they just sprayed me.” Therefore, it’s a strong possibility the officers, including Sicknick who reportedly told family members he was hit by pepper spray during the protest, were sprayed by something other than the bear repellent.
Wind and solar energy are both essentially obsolete technologies. There is a reason why only the very rich or the very adventurous sail across oceans: the wind is unreliable, and at best produces relatively little energy. Nevertheless, liberals have concocted fantasies whereby all of our electricity, or perhaps our entire economy, will be powered by those fickle sources.
There are a number of reasons why this will never happen, but a paper published last week by Center of the American Experiment argues that land use constraints are the most basic reason why wind and solar are inexorably destined to fail. The paper, titled Not In Our Backyard, is authored by internationally recognized energy expert Robert Bryce, producer of the terrific documentary Juice: How Electricity Explains The World and the book A Question of Power: Electricity and the Wealth of Nations
Because wind and solar produce so little energy per square mile, an enormous amount of land would have to be devoted to panels and turbines if we seriously tried to get all of our present electricity needs from those weak sources:
Miller and Keith determined that “meeting present-day U.S. electricity consumption, for example, would require 12 percent of the continental U.S. land area for wind.” A bit of math reveals what that 12 percent figure means. The land area of the continental U.S. is about 2.9 million square miles, or 7.6 million square kilometers. Twelve percent of that area would be about 350,000 square miles or 912,000 square kilometers. Therefore, merely meeting America’s current electricity needs with wind energy would require a territory more than two times the size of California.
Suffice to say that this just isn’t going to happen.
For one thing, no one places wind farms in Washington, D.C. or midtown Manhattan. Nor are wind projects slated for Long Island, Marin County, or near any valuable suburban developments. It is rural America that bears the burden of many square miles of wind and solar installations.
“Green” energy holds political sway, which has made a relative handful of people (largely non-Americans and lobbyists) immensely wealthy, while impoverishing utility rate payers and taxpayers–that is to say, the rest of us. This insanity will continue until voters wise up, or–more likely, I am afraid–until the laws of physics, along with land use and raw materials constraints, make it blindingly obvious that the “green dream” is just that. A nightmare.
For instance, the Wall Street Journalopined last week about a new victory in Indiana.
Ten years ago in these columns, we hailed Indiana for its leadership in establishing one of America’s most ambitious school voucher programs. On Thursday the Indiana Legislature built on that achievement by approving…
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But that’s an exception to my general feeling that we’re moving in the right direction on public policy. I’ve shared a list of reasons to be optimistic, even on issues such as Obamacare and the Laffer Curve.
Education is another area where we should be hopeful. Simply stated, it’s increasingly difficult for defenders of the status quo to rationalize pouring more money into the failed government education monopoly. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, never has so much been spent so recklessly with such meager results.
That’s true regardless of whether Democrats are throwing good money after bad or whether Republicans are throwing good money after bad.
Fortunately, a growing number of people are realizing that the answer is markets and…
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[Do “Black and white people routinely commit crimes at similar rates,” if we focus on violent crime? Is “Black-on-Black crime … a myth”?]
An article by a criminal law professor Thursday in the Columbus Dispatch included this assertion:
The reality is that Black-on-Black crime is a myth, and that Black and white people routinely commit crimes at similar rates, but Black people are overwhelmingly targeted for arrest.
Yet I think this is not the reality, at least as to violent crimes of the sort that are usually labeled “black-on-black” when committed by black criminals against black victims. (Blacks and whites do seem to commit drug possession and drug distribution crimes at relatively similar rates, but in this post I focus on violent crimes.)
Here, then, is the data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ Race and Ethnicity of Violent Crime Offenders and Arrestees, 2018, with regard to “rape/sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault“:
Still, the best data that I know of suggests that
black-on-black violent crime is not a myth;
blacks and whites generally commit violent crimes at substantially disparate rates (and, for homicides, sharply disparate rates); and
as best we can tell, the disparity in arrest rates for violent crimes is pretty close to the disparity in crimes that are committed, and especially crimes that the victims report to the police.
We’ve discussed Critical Race Theory many times on this blog. But it’s easy to forget that it’s still not exactly a household word, even though it’s been dominating so much of the current turmoil, and has found its way into schools both private and public. It’s one of the most dangerous and divisive philosophies that has ever hit this country, and people need to learn what it is and why it needs to be fought.
Here’s the article. It’s long, but that’s true of just about any treatment of CRT, and this one is shorter than many. There’s really no time to spare in getting the word out.
The recent string of multiple-victim incidents of gun violence and police shootings of black Americans has once again resulted in renewed calls for restrictions on gun ownership. President Biden has said that executive instructions to various branches of the Federal government will attempt to reduce the frequency and possibility of such violence.
Washington Examiner: A top GOP senator is demanding to know why the U.S. Capitol Police claimed Officer Brian Sicknick suffered mortal injuries while on duty and after clashing with protesters during the Capitol riot in light of the District of Columbia’s chief medical examiner’s ruling that Sicknick died of natural causes.
Someone allegedly with the police gave the NY Times the false narrative about his death. When the fire extinguisher story was extinguished someone with the police said he was attacked with “bear spray” That story was not true either. I get the impression that there was political pressure on the police to concoct a story that would play into their narrative about the rioters being violent in attacks on police. Johnson is right to try to discover who was behind these bogus reports.