THE COLUMN: 'End of Quote. Repeat the Line'

In 2016, the only Democrat candidate Donald Trump could possibly have defeated was Hillary Clinton. And the only  Republican candidate she could have lost to was Donald Trump. In 2020, Joe Biden was able to defeat Trump because Trump was so busily engaged in the process of skunking himself that he barely took notice of Biden's candidacy. So much for the old saying that you can't beat something with nothing: the cipher Biden, a professional nonentity for exactly half a century, was a ballot placeholder who didn't bother to campaign because that would have taken the focus off Trump, which is exactly where the Democrats wanted and needed it to be. Any other candidate would have been a distraction.

The also-rans—Warren, Marge Gunderson (excuse me! Amy Klobochar!), Li'l Pete—were relatively fresh faces on the national scene. Biden's only serious rival, Bernie Sanders, was too radical for the party bosses to seriously contemplate, even though their hearts were with him. But Joe from Scranton was that old well-sprung sofa that's occupied the same place in your grandparents' living room for decades because no one could be bothered to throw it out or replace it. On such a delicate fulcrum of paralysis oftentimes teeters the fate of nations. 

Now, however, the focus is on Biden. The empty suit and the empty head that currently masquerade as the president of the United States is now subject to the one thing he never was during his undistinguished, comically malevolent, supererogatory, opportunistic career in the Senate: scrutiny. As Buster Scruggs says in the Coen brothers' The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018) after observing the freshly drilled bullet hole in his white hat, courtesy of a faster shootist, "Well, that ain't good." 

Scrutiny is the one thing Biden can't handle, in part because he's never been held responsible for anything in his life. He's dined out for 50 years on the false story that a drunk driver killed his wife and baby daughter just after his first election to the Senate in tiny, corrupt Delaware—when in fact the driver of the tractor-trailer was not drunk and was never charged, and Neilia Biden's car had prematurely entered his right of way at an intersection. He wallows in the death of his son, Beau, and waves the bloody shirt every chance he gets, and consistently defends his dirtbag son, Hunter, as "the smartest guy I know" (which, frighteningly, just might be true.) Don't even ask about his daughter, Ashley, or the rest of the family.

Further, he classlessly harangued Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas in senate hearings, smearing them with the grossest falsehoods, something for which he could not be sued or held legally liable thanks to the "speech and debate" clause in the Constitution. 

They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

Even though he's now president—and he is; the Democrats stole the 2020 election fair and square—Biden still acts like he's a senator. Indeed, in some of his campaign speeches, the senile figurehead even rote-repeated that he was running for the United States Senate:

But rote is all you have left when your brain has turned to mush. After a lifetime of bullying, bragging, lying, threatening, embellishing, finger-pointing, chest-bumping, insulting, brazenly lying, and outright plagiarizing, Sundown Joe has been reduced to his essence, which is nothing. Like a ham actor in his dotage, bottoming out doing dinner theater in Paducah, he relies on the accumulated tics and strategems of a lifetime of performing a script others have written for him.

During a recent speech calumniating the Supreme Court's rational and measured rejection of Roe v. Wade—a legal enormity exactly contemporaneous with Biden's own political career, which is probably one of the reasons he's so attached to it—Joe just barreled through his staff-provided boilerplate, unconscious of what he was saying, and causing some to suspect he even included a stage direction:

Biden's defenders immediately pointed out, correctly, that "end of quote" was in fact part of the speech, and that what sounds like him saying "repeat the line" may well have been "let me repeat the line," rendered unintelligible by Scranton Joe's habitually mush-mouthed eastern Pennsylvania accent, in which the speaker swallows half the words before spitting out the rest. (The claim that Biden once had a "stutter" or a "speech impediment," as his partisans claim, is absurd to anyone who's been trapped on the same planet with him for a lifetime, as I have. First I ever heard of it was just a couple of years ago, as the media began making excuses for his clearly accelerating dementia.) The point is: when the guy is this far gone, how can you tell? After all, Biden is the master of what Ed Driscoll at Instapundit has dubbed "TRUNALIMUNUMAPRZURE." Listen for yourself:

Still, "repeat the line" makes an apt epitaph for the coming end of the Biden administration, since repeating the [party] line is all Joe Biden has ever done. For nearly his entire career, this human weathervane has understood that words are only a means to end—his re-election—and he treats them accordingly. As a senator he could say anything that wandered, or was implanted, into his empty head. As Obama's vice president, all he had to do was occasionally show up and take an airplane ride to somewhere. Like Fredo Corleone, he's stupid and he knows it, but demands that others deem him smart. Hey, if he's so dumb how come he's president?

We know how. In the 2020 duel between two aging gunslingers, one of them couldn't shoot straight, and the other could only shoot himself in the foot. The first debate was a disaster for Trump; all Biden had to do was sit back, smirk, and catcall, something he can do even as a somnambulist. The second one was canceled due to Trump's Covid. And the third was a draw, since both mouths had their microphones muted when the other guy was talking. With all the election "fortifications" in place, instituted right under the Trump administration's noses, the result was in retrospect a foregone conclusion, the flip side of 2016: win in the Electoral College by narrow margins in six states, lose by narrow margins in the same six states.

Well, that ain't good. With Biden's chances of being re-nominated for 2024 next to nil, all eyes are on the Republicans, who are in the unenviable position of having to make the first move. Will they allow an enraged Trump to bluff and bully his way to the nomination, running on a platform of revenge for 2020—and run the risk of his turning out 80 millions votes against him (one way or the other), like he did last time? Or will they realize they have better candidates to hand, men quicker on the draw and surer of aim? The verdict of the voters later this year in the midterms should have a clarifying effect on all parties—except perhaps Trump, who's threatening to announce his intent to run again even before November.

The Right mocks the Jan. 6 hearings and points to their poor television ratings, lack of cross-examination, Liz Cheney's sourpuss, and wholly vengeful nature. They scoff at the Democrat's determination to indict the former president. But in fact the Democrats are doing conservatives a favor. Their smart play is to let the GOP nominate Trump in 2024, sideline potent contenders like Ron DeSantis for at least four years, and then crush Trump at the last possible moment with someone like Michelle Obama by harping on his past, his age ("one geriatric president is enough!" they'll say, with a mouthful of unmelted butter), and the fact that no one turns out the donkey vote like the Donald.

But their deracinated hatred for America has always been their weak spot. And if they bury Trump, someone like DeSantis will come riding into town and dispatch them the way the Kid does Buster in the Coen's movie. Just like Scruggs, they'll never know what hit them until it's too late. They shoulda seen it comin', but luckily for us they won't. 

THE COLUMN: Guns N' Roeses

It has long been a dictum of mine that, as far as the progressive Left is concerned, "they never stop, they never sleep, they never quit." After their twin defeats at the Supreme Court last week, regarding two of their most sensitive issues (both of which derive from their devotion to cultural suicide, which is their principal objective), don't expect them to give up easily. They subscribe to their version of Islamism or the Brezhnev Doctrine: once they've conquered moral or physical territory, it can never go back to the way it was. They see themselves as the heroes of their own movies, good red-diaper babies constantly battling the forces of revanchism and irrendentism, which are you. The idea that they're the bad guy never occurs to them:

These are, after all, the same people who refused to accept George W. Bush's narrow presidential victory in 2000 ("selected, not elected"); refused to accept Bush's win over John Kerry in 2004; rained hellfire and brimstone down on poor Sarah Palin, whose only crime was a surfeit of motherhood, and snarlingly turned on her running mate and their erstwhile favorite maverick, John McCain in 2008; and went bonkers over the surprise victory of Donald Trump in 2016, thus triggering the entire "Russian collusion" hoax that started with Hillary Clinton and eventually came to embrace the FBI, the intelligence community, the media, and the judicial system.

In the same way, having outlawed school prayer and, from that beachhead, having driven almost any expression of the Christian faith from the public square—the offending prayer in question read, “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our Country," which the pestiferous Madalyn Murray O'Hair and her ilk somehow equated with the "establishment" of a religion—they have gone to the mattresses to expunge anything that smacks of Christianity, especially any proscriptions against the form of baby murder that goes by the sobriquets of "choice" and "women's health." To wit: abortion.

About their only admirable trait is their refusal to give up—something that brands them in perpetuity as sore losers, with whom we have to live as long as these United States stay together. The question is, how much longer can this go on?

"The State’s licensing regime violates the Constitution."

They won't realize it, of course, but justice Clarence Thomas, in the Bruen decision, and Samuel Alito, in Dobbs/Roe, just did them a big favor. In Bruen, Thomas and the majority invalidated New York State's Sullivan Law, a gangland-era judicial excrescence that for more than a century has been a clear violation of the Second Amendment. As I wrote in the New York Post ten years ago:

The father of New York gun control was Democratic city pol “Big Tim" Sullivan — a state senator and Tammany Hall crook, a criminal overseer of the gangs of New York. In 1911 — in the wake of a notorious Gramercy Park blueblood murder-suicide — Sullivan sponsored the Sullivan Act, which mandated police-issued licenses for handguns and made it a felony to carry an unlicensed concealed weapon.

This was the heyday of the pre-Prohibition gangs, roving bands of violent toughs who terrorized ethnic neighborhoods and often fought pitched battles with police. In 1903, the Battle of Rivington Street pitted a Jewish gang, the Eastmans, against the Italian Five Pointers. When the cops showed up, the two underworld armies joined forces and blasted away, resulting in three deaths and scores of injuries. The public was clamoring for action against the gangs.

Problem was the gangs worked for Tammany. The Democratic machine used them as shtarkers (sluggers), enforcing discipline at the polls and intimidating the opposition. Gang leaders like Monk Eastman were even employed as informal “sheriffs,” keeping their turf under Tammany control. The Tammany Tiger needed to rein in the gangs without completely crippling them. Enter Big Tim with the perfect solution: Ostensibly disarm the gangs — and ordinary citizens, too — while still keeping them on the streets.

As befits the criminal organization masquerading as a political party, that's exactly what the Democrats did. And what Justice Thomas just undid: "“Because the State of New York issues public-carry licenses only when an applicant demonstrates a special need for self-defense, we conclude that the State’s licensing regime violates the Constitution." You can read the opinion for yourself, and you should:

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The two most important words in Thomas's opinion are "self defense," an unalienable right from time immemorial. "Self defense" is also a concept that the Left has worked tirelessly to abolish, not simply via the Sullivan Law but with the countless thousands of "common sense" infringements they and their baleful cadres of lawyers have diligently inserted into state and municipal gun laws all across the country. Like Big Tim Sullivan, they know that when guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns, and that's just fine with them: the outlaws are doing their dirty work for them. Every shooting on the streets of Chicago, every mass murder by incel 18-year-olds who should never have been allowed near a firearm, brings them closer to their desired fascist/national-socialist state, one in which the government need not control the means of production but instead controls the only thing that matters: you and your fellow Americans. For the common good, of course.

But "self defense" smacks too much of freedom, and for the Left the only freedom they believe in is sexual license, untrammeled by any social, political, physical, or legal consequences. Such as special exotic diseases or, worse, children. Reproduction by proselytization is their preferred method of replication, the old-fashioned way being too cisnormative or heterogenerative or whatever their term of opprobrium du jour is at the moment. Their howls of outrage at Justice Alito's Dobbs decision come from a very deep and ugly place: as with Bruen their preferred outcomes are diktats from a central authority, and not the messy result of constitutional republican democracy, in which all matters not expressly delegated to the central government are reserved for the states and the people

A crime, never a "right."

Ah, but to superannuated "feminists" such as Gloria Steinem, "democracy"=abortion. “Obviously,” she wrote, “without the right of women and men to make decisions about our own bodies, there is no democracy.” Never mind that the deliberate killing of a quickened child within a woman's womb was not only never considered a "fundamental right" as the wizened poltroon pretending to be president said the other day; unless you were an ancient Baal-worshipping or Moloch-adjacent Canaanite or Carthaginian, it was a crime. As Alito noted in his eloquent opinion for the majority:

Not only was there no support for such a constitutional right until shortly before Roe, but abortion had long been a crime in every single State. At common law, abortion was criminal in at least some stages of pregnancy and was regarded as unlawful and could have very serious consequences at all stages. American law followed the common law until a wave of statutory restrictions in the 1800s expanded criminal liability for abortions. By the time of the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment, three-quarters of the States had made abortion a crime at any stage of pregnancy, and the remaining States would soon follow.

Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division. It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.

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Alas, the returning of the abortion question from the purview of nine unelected white men in 1973 to the vibrant diversity of America in 2022, a country in which the principles of federalism can once again be given free reign, has set off paroxysms of fury on the Left, whose insurrectionary extremists have attacked Christian pro-life centers and called for the abolition of maleness, among other things. The political uses of violence have always appealed to them—that's what the old Sixties concept of "direct action" means, and what "by any means necessary" explicitly embraces—so their hyperventilated overreaction was to be expected. But deep down in the hard core of their animus toward a world whose reality stubbornly refuses to conform with their political ideology, they know peaceful co-existence is impossible. "Pro-choice," my ass: you will be made to care, comrade.

Care about all their transient neuroses, of which their contemporary sexual lunacy is only one of many. There is no stasis in Leftism: you're either breaking boundaries and pushing envelopes and shattering glass ceilings or you're losing. The reason they never stop is that they cannot stop. They can't be satisfied with a small victory. It's all or nothing. It's their fatal flaw, their Achilles heel. 

They could have taken their victories and shut up, but they couldn't. They had to push and push and push and push until they finally ended up in court. They can't stop because their rage comes from the vast, burning nihilistic emptiness inside them that no amount of expanded abortion rights or "pride" months or drag queen story hours or transgressive love stories in Disney cartoons can ever satisfy. The two big decisions last week have given them an out: blue-state fantasy homelands of their very own where they're free to abort babies and celebrative 52 genders and chemically castrate their XY birth-defectives and drive magic electric cars and heat and cool their homes with windmills and eat bugs and refuse to defend themselves and defund the police and enforce "equity" and anything else their hearts desire, even if it kills them.

Because, in the end, that's what they really want. An end to their restlessness and their war against their own savage gods. All we want, by contrast, is to be left alone with a culture we love and prize and wish to pass on to our children. But they want to take us with them because, as we all know, misery loves company. Either we'll learn to care, or they'll die trying. Because in their world, right now, everything's coming up guns and Roeses, and they can't have that, not now, not ever. 

Enemies of the People: Ketanji Brown Jackson

Roe v. Wade: America's Original Sin

Yesterday was the 48th annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. It might be the last, at least on a national level.

The reason we as a nation are dealing with the tidal wave of "social justice" cases in federal court system is Roe v. Wade. By inventing "penumbras, formed by emanations" from a Constitutional "right to privacy" (that no longer exists in any other aspect of the lives of Americans), the Supreme Court essentially applied the 1964 Civil Right Act to women; since Roe, women have voted in the majority for Democrats. This may be, perhaps already is, fatal to America working as designed -- which very explicitly excluded women from political power.

The capture of the women's vote post-Roe has driven Democrats ever-farther-left. Democrat leadership knows that Roe means that no matter how left-lunatic they get, they never will lose the votes of single women or of the men who take advantage of their consequence-free sexual availability. By enshrining Roe, the court ensured reduced fertility, diminished family formation, increased reliance on government services, and increased centralization of power by the federal government. In so doing, Roe reduced liberty for all of us.

This is not an argument for or against abortion. Abortion is not the issue. As federal judges are noting across the land, the Constitution does not grant to the federal government the authority to jab citizens. Nor does it give the feds the authority to opine on anything not among the enumerated powers found in Article 1, Section 8 of the constitution. The fundamental problem with Roe is not just the holding, flawed as that was. It is that abortion is not within the constitutional authority of the federal government at all.

Tick-tock, tick-tock...

Neither is it within the purview of the Supreme Court, whose original constitutional authority was severely limited. By doing so they enshrined empathy as a Constitutional Right. They lacked then, and lack now, any authority to do so. By accepting rather than ignoring Roe (their duty under the Constitution), governors further reduced their states to vassals of Washington, D.C., with personal empathy toward liberal social causes now enshrined as a "right."

With the recently argued Dobbs v Jackson, the Court has the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to correct this error, to state plainly that their job has nothing to do with the right or wrong of abortion, nothing to do with empathy, nothing to do with anything outside the powers of the federal government as granted them by the states when the states voluntarily created the Union. As Justice Clarence Thomas inquired:

If we were talking about the 2nd Amendment, I know exactly what we’re talking about. If we're talking about the 4th Amendment, I know what we're talking about, because it’s written. It’s there. What specifically is the right here that we’re talking about?

That is the issue. That is the only issue. If any hope remains of reining in what has become the unaccountable branch of government, it is that Thomas' view will drive the court's decision and return the issue to the states, where it belongs. Which, all by itself, will be an enormous step back to Constitutional government, the rule of law and sanity.

Pelosi's Delusion: Catholics Can be Pro-Choice

No doubt the fires of Hell burned a little warmer and brighter at the Vatican this weekend as Pope Francis met with U.S. speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

The geriatric speaker, 81, and the daughter of a mobbed-up family of Baltimore politicians whose brother Franklin D. Roosevelt d'Alesandra was once arrested for statutory rape, and of course skated on both that charge and another for perjury, was lucky in her choice of popes. Although Francis has called abortion "murder," as the Church has long taught, he has also resisted the notion of some American bishops to deny the sacrament of communion to nominally Catholic politicians who support it.

Indeed, Pelosi was recently criticized by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, her place of residence, after the Speaker claimed to be a devout Catholic who supports a woman’s right to have an abortion.

No one can claim to be a devout Catholic and condone the killing of innocent human life, let alone have the government pay for it,The right to life is a  fundamental—the most fundamental—human right, and Catholics do not oppose fundamental human rights. To use the smokescreen of abortion as an issue of health and fairness to poor women is the epitome of hypocrisy: what about the health of the baby being killed? What about giving poor women real choice, so they are supported in choosing life? This would give them fairness and equality to women of means, who can afford to bring a child into the world.

There are really three distinct ways to look at human life. One, that human life is unique and involves a God-given soul that is given to each person at the moment of conception. Anyone who believes that cannot and should not support abortion in any way. If you are of this frame of mind, then no one has a “right” to an abortion any more than any person has a “right” to blow away an annoying two-year-old.

We should certainly be tolerant of women who choose abortion, as we should be tolerant of all sinners since, after all, we  too are sinners. But to love the sinner does not mean one should approve of the sin.

Why is this man smiling?

The second way to look at human life is to say that we are uncertain of its significance. Perhaps it is unique and perhaps it involves a soul. Perhaps it is neither. Perhaps one applies, but not the other. We simply do not know and it is up to each person to figure out what he or she believes.

This is of course the classic path that justifies the legality of abortion. Since people can disagree about when human life begins and what makes human life different, each prospective mother should be able to make a choice that is consistent with her beliefs.

Speaker Pelosi is free to be an advocate of this line of thinking, but she needs to be crystal clear that to a Catholic – specifically the “devout Catholic” she claims to be – this reasoning is completely and unalterably inconsistent with the Catholic faith. It is as inconsistent as claiming to be a devout Catholic who supports a communicant’s “right” sell the Eucharist to devil-worshipers.

Catholics believe some things are sacred, such as the Eucharist and human life from the moment of conception. There is no “wiggle room” that allows us to say its all right for someone to abuse or destroy what is sacred.

It is worth noting that the original Roe v. Wade decision recognized that medical advances would make the life of a fetus outside the womb more and more possible at earlier and earlier stages of pregnancy as medical science advanced. Thus the “trimester formula” was part of the decision: no abortions allowed in the third trimester, abortions possible but limited in the second trimester, and abortions allowed in the first trimester. (And yes, I’m over-simplifying, but this is a column, not a legal treatise).

So why are late term abortions routinely performed? Because there were two escape clauses incorporated in Roe: 1) the court said that a fetus is not a person and thus not entitled to protection under the 14th amendment (thanks Potter Stewart), and 2) if the health of the mother was at stake, then abortions could happen at any time. In a subsequent decision the court decided that the “health of the mother” essentially included her emotional state, ergo if being pregnant made a woman sad, she could have an abortion whenever she wants, ergo any woman can have an abortion whenever she wants.

There is third way to look at human life: that it is neither unique nor involves a soul. It is a mere accident of nature. This is the depressing view of the atheist, a materialistic doctrine that values human life no more than that of a rat or a stalk of corn. It holds that we blinked into existence for our short stay in the material world and will blink out of it, never to manifest any other form of existence. We just disappear.

You can say that again.

This mindset not only finds abortion a perfectly reasonable proposition, it eventually leads to the horrors of eugenics and euthanasia. Indeed, Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was primarily interested in using birth control as a means to prevent the spread of what she considered to be “mongrel races” like our black- and yellow-skinned brothers and sisters. It is an evil way of thinking that spawns systems like Nazism and Communism.

As a Catholic, I fully recognize the problems my church has had and the mistakes that it has made. It is a human institution and human beings are fallible. But there is no mistaking the Catholic view that abortion is the taking of a human life and no Catholic should support it. Pelosi, like Joe Biden -- another nominal Catholic -- needs to pick a lane.