Live Free Or Die: America (and the World) on the Brink (25 page)

BOOK: Live Free Or Die: America (and the World) on the Brink
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  • New York Times
    : “Devin Nunes's Nothingburger”
  • Salon
    : “ ‘Worse Than a Nothing Burger': The Nunes Memo Lands With a Thud”
  • Washington Monthly
    : “Devin Nunes and the Nothing Burger Memo”
  • Esquire
    : “ ‘Nothingburger' Doesn't Do This Memo Justice”
  • The Hill
    : “Press: The GOP'S Giant Nothing Burger”

Finally, the Fake News outlets rallied around the counter-memo put out a few weeks later by Congressman Adam Schiff, a congenital liar, leaker, and hoax artist. Filled with slimy insinuations that Carter Page is a Russian agent, the Schiff memo denied there were any abuses at all in the Page FISA warrants. Schiff claimed the Department of Justice made only “narrow use” of the Steele dossier in the warrant applications; that the FBI had “undertaken a rigorous process” to vet Steele's allegations; that there were no omissions in the applications; and that the FISA contained “additional information obtained through multiple independent sources that corroborated Steele's reporting.”
The media triumphantly announced that the Schiff memo was “the nail in the coffin” for the Nunes memo.

But Schiff and his Fake News mouthpieces were catastrophically wrong. The report by DOJ inspector general Michael Horowitz showed that the FBI had perpetrated a premeditated fraud on the FISA court by misrepresenting bogus dossier information, just as Nunes had said. The report shredded every aspect of the Schiff memo that the media had championed, finding
major problems in the FISA warrants.
When asked if he'd admit he was wrong, Schiff claimed he simply didn't have the evidence that the inspector general found and he didn't know about the abuses.
That's hard to believe, considering Nunes told everyone. As for the media, nearly all of them reported Horowitz's findings without noting how it brutally murdered the Schiff memo and vindicated the Nunes memo, which they had universally denounced as a fraud, a dud, and a threat to our national security.


The media have tried to get President Trump impeached since his first day in office. I'm not exaggerating—a
Washington Post
report on January 20, 2017, Trump's inauguration day, had the blaring headline
“The Campaign to Impeach President Trump Has Begun.” Trump had done nothing at that point but swear the oath of office, but the
wanted Americans to know about a campaign to build public support to impeach him launched by two liberal activist groups using the website
. The story also quoted the American Civil Liberties Union, which it said “plans to wield public-records requests and lawsuits as part of an aggressive action plan aimed at protecting immigrants and pushing for government transparency, among other issues.”

So the left was planning an all-out campaign of harassment to stop Trump even before he took office. The truth is, the left's mad crusade to impeach Trump never had anything to do with his conduct. The unforgivable crime he committed was beating Hillary Clinton, and that's why the campaign to impeach him began on his first day in office. The fact that he was elected on vows to implement a strong, conservative agenda made it even more urgent for the left to get rid of him. As the
Washington Post
story noted, the impeachment push “comes as Democrats and liberal activists are mounting broad opposition to stymie Trump's agenda.”

From the beginning the Democrats have been in hot pursuit of any conceivable pretext to impeach Trump, and every bogus impeachment effort they've launched has reflected their bad faith. Just imagine if Hillary Clinton had won the election and Republicans carried out a nonstop effort to frame her and impeach her for imaginary crimes beginning on her inauguration day. We all know the media would cast Republicans as hate-filled, partisan sexists. Yet they not only supported the impeachment drive against Trump, but with their daily production of “bombshell” leaks featuring anonymous sources describing some phony Trump misconduct, it'd be perfectly accurate to say they
it. The media, who hold themselves out as stewards of our democracy, actively conspired with Democrats to remove a duly elected president and thereby dismantle the republic they pretend to be saving.

In truth, the media was fantasizing about impeachment even
Trump's inauguration. Two days after the election—November 10, 2016—
Good Morning America
ran through a whole series of supposed Trump outrages that have since formed the basis of impeachment demands. ABC's George Stephanopoulos discussed various civil suits pending against Trump, insisting, “If he takes the risk of going to trial and he's convicted, that could be seen as an impeachable offense.” Aside from Stephanopoulos's embarrassing use of the criminal term “convicted” in discussing civil cases, he apparently was unaware that a president cannot be impeached for actions taken before he became president, as noted by the network's legal analyst, Dan Abrams.

Stephanopoulos also interviewed correspondent Brian Ross, who reported on “dozens of cases” involving Trump that might get the president in trouble. One of the urgent matters Ross raised was—you guessed it—Russia! “Trump has extensive ties with several Russian oligarchs close to Vladimir Putin,” said Ross. “He and his children have sought investments with controversial overseas figures.” And to round things out, Stephanopoulos and Ross invoked their go-to issue—vague allegations that Trump may have violated tax laws.

Despite years of endless investigations of these issues in Congress and elsewhere—including the years-long Russia collusion hoax—the Democrats couldn't find anything strong enough to use as a basis to impeach Trump. Finally, they jumped on the Ukraine whistle-blower issue contrived by Adam Schiff. In many ways, the Ukraine hoax was an even weaker pretext for impeachment than the parade of idiotic allegations that preceded it. That's why media deceptions were crucial to impeachment from the very beginning. The first report on the content of the whistle-blower complaint was a September 18, 2019, story in the
Washington Post
that revealed the complaint was related to a conversation between President Trump and a foreign leader. Exactly as we've come to expect, there was a giant lie at the beginning of the story, with two anonymous sources claiming the complaint related to a “promise” Trump made to Zelensky.
Once the White House published the transcript of the call, everyone could see there
was no promise at all, but by then impeachment hysteria was already unstoppable.

The media also stoked a frenzy surrounding the depositions given by witnesses behind closed doors at Schiff's House Intelligence Committee. It became a daily ritual that shortly after a witness finished testifying, the media would publish a slew of Democrat leaks from anonymous sources designed to portray the testimony in the most incriminating light possible. As we all learned much later when the witness transcripts were made public, all the exculpatory testimony was left out of the leaks.

The media continued in this vein throughout the impeachment charade. They showed little interest in learning all the details of the secret coordination between Schiff's staff and the whistle-blower, which no one knows to this day. They also denounced Republican concern about Ukrainian meddling in U.S. elections as a “conspiracy theory” despite Alexandra Chalupa's admission to
that she cooperated with Ukrainian officials to smear the Trump campaign.
Working with foreign officials to sabotage an opposing campaign, of course, is the exact false accusation that was made against Trump throughout the Russia collusion hoax. But for some reason when a Democrat
doing it, the media did not demand FBI investigations. In fact, they couldn't seem to have cared less.

In the end Trump beat the coup attempt. The media's best efforts to gin up support for impeachment failed miserably because they had already lost all credibility with tens of millions of Americans. The coverage was so biased that Devin Nunes dedicated an entire opening statement at one of the televised impeachment hearings to media malpractice. As Nunes said, “The media, of course, are free to act as Democrat puppets, and they're free to lurch from the Russia hoax to the Ukraine hoax at the direction of their puppet masters. But they cannot reasonably expect to do so without alienating half the country who voted for the President they're trying to expel. Americans have learned to recognize fake news when they see it, and if the mainstream press
won't give it to them straight, they'll go elsewhere to find it—which is exactly what the American people are doing.”

I have consistently defended the First Amendment rights of everyone in this country, including members of the media and Hollywood elite whose opinions I find repugnant. I can give you chapter and verse on my defending various liberal figures to voice their most noxious views. I've taken some heat for that, but principle is principle. We must not confuse their inalienable right to free speech, however, with immunity from criticism. We have a duty to criticize politicized and dishonest journalism, and I have tried to do my part. The liberal media fraudulently hides behind the First Amendment when caught in their lies. And they use it to intimidate their honest critics, cynically depicting them as authoritarian speech suppressors. By deliberately spreading disinformation on a daily basis and dedicating all their considerable power to ousting a democratically elected president, the mainstream media has well earned the moniker “enemy of the people.”

I'm not trying to pat myself on the back too hard for getting right so many stories that the Fake News Media got wrong either out of incompetence or bias. But I am proud of my team, who worked diligently to pursue and report information that you couldn't find anywhere else. My show didn't start out with much investigative reporting, but we had to turn in that direction when the Fake News tried to destroy President Trump and their phony stories weren't being exposed. We decided we weren't going to stand aside and watch the liberal media and the Democratic Party pulverize this remarkable president and turn the lights out on America's liberty. I like to think we are filling the role the media is supposed to play—shining a disinfecting light of truth on corruption, bias, and abuses of power. The media itself are now major perpetrators of this misconduct, possibly even more than politicians are. So until CNN, the
New York Times
, the
Washington Post
, and the rest of the Fake News constellation start trying to inform the American people instead of indoctrinating them, we will continue to hold them to account and do so without apology.

“Organized Destruction”: The Left's Assault on Free Speech

I have detailed the dire threat the Democratic Party poses to America if it regains control and implements its leftist agenda. But it can continue to do plenty of damage outside government as well. The left has a stranglehold on the media, our academic institutions, Hollywood, and social media. This means that even if we beat back the Democrats' effort to win the presidency and control of Congress, they'll continue to impose their lunacy through the culture. Yes, we must work hard to elect conservatives at the local, state, and national levels, but we can no longer afford to neglect the culture battlefield.

Leftists are a totalitarian, intolerant bunch who now look to shut down opposing viewpoints in both the public and private sectors. In the private sector, we've seen the left bully Chick-fil-A for its founder's biblical views on marriage. Though the restaurant chain withstood that pressure for years, it finally succumbed and withdrew funding for the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes—Christian charities that have also come under withering attack from the left. Note that neither of the charities was accused of discriminating against gays or anyone else—they've simply voiced politically incorrect viewpoints on issues like gay marriage, so they are subjected to a torrent of left-wing abuse and boycott demands regardless of the
tens of millions of downtrodden people they've assisted. So for the left, helping the poor is all well and good, but if you don't mouth the right political platitudes, there's no place for you in society.

Inside the policy arena, through laws and regulations, they are limiting our First Amendment freedoms. Outside the policy arena, through political correctness and cultural shaming, they are policing thought and speech, and in many cases, using violent means to do so. They readily suppress our speech, religious liberties, and freedom of assembly. The left has become so intolerant that even some progressives—such as popular blogger Dave Rubin, political commentator Kirsten Powers, and comedian Bill Maher—have denounced this tendency among their own comrades.

On college campuses the left shuts down debates inside and outside the classroom. Among younger students they set up “zero tolerance” crusades, where kids are punished for such benign activities as forming their breakfast pastry into the shape of a gun.
They claim to preach tolerance but outwardly practice bigotry against Christians and conservatives.

They have long since seized control of Hollywood, which serves a steady diet of leftist insanity in the guise of entertainment while actors who express any conservative sentiments get shamed and blackballed. It's hard for the left to resist jamming their politics in our faces, even in entertainment venues with no logical connection to politics—because for the left, everything is political. Everything. It's hard to find a television series free of leftist preaching, let alone any of Hollywood's self-congratulatory awards shows. During the 2020 Golden Globes, even after host Ricky Gervais preemptively mocked the celebrities' hypocritical political preaching and obliviousness to the concerns of everyday Americans, they
proved his point by droning on with self-righteous political speeches before jumping into their limos and returning to their gated palaces.

Progressives control social media as well—Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, etc.—and are censoring conservatives. These giant
corporations wield enormous power over speech on their respective platforms, where First Amendment protections do not apply. It's arguable that these social media giants—not the government—now pose the biggest threat to free expression.

Progressives are often guilty of the very thing they accuse conservatives of doing. Take the
New York Times
' Adam Liptak, for example, who paints conservatives as the real enemies of free expression. He claims the conservative Supreme Court has weaponized the First Amendment to “justify unlimited campaign spending, discrimination against gay couples and attacks on the regulation of tobacco, pharmaceuticals and guns.” He points to the Court's ruling prohibiting the state of California from forcing faith-based crisis pregnancy centers to provide pregnant women with information about obtaining an abortion. Of course, far from weaponizing the First Amendment, the ruling affirmed it, by preventing the government from forcing people to advocate for things they don't believe in. Progressives, in fact, are the ones “weaponizing” free speech, such as when campus radicals claim a First Amendment right to disrupt and shut down speakers with dissenting views.

Liptak's distorted argument is hardly shocking as leftists routinely corrupt language, twisting words into the opposite of their true meaning. They use the term “inclusion,” for example, to mean “exclusion.” “Inclusion is merely the new soft, cottony term for marginalizing, shutting down, and kicking out the disfavored,” writes
National Review
's Kyle Smith. “Look at Harvard, which brought the hammer down on all single-gender groups in the name of inclusion, then exempted female groups, saying it was okay for them to be ‘gender-focused.' ” Smith cites other examples of this leftist hypocrisy, such as a Catholic high school removing statues of Jesus and Mary to be “inclusive”—wholly ignoring those who liked the statues.

The left is also increasingly dogmatic on gender. If you dare to state there are only two genders, you are a bigot. At last count there are more than seventy possibilities. Jon Caldara, a
Denver Post
learned this the hard way. In a Facebook post he said he “supports gay rights” and is “strongly pro–gay marriage,” but that wasn't enough—he was fired after insisting on the biological fact that there are only two sexes. “There was a time when the liberals in the press fought hard to protect free speech,” wrote Caldara. “Now they fight hard to mandate speech because, heaven forbid, someone be offended or have their feelings hurt. [It's] okay people get offended. In fact, I encourage it. It means we are being challenged. It's not hate speech. It's speech. It used to be [what] the press was all about.”

The left is willing to criminalize certain expressions, even those that a substantial percentage of people—perhaps even a majority—find harmless. The New York Commission on Human Rights, for instance, adopted guidelines that allow government authorities to impose fines up to $250,000 on people who “misgender” a person, meaning to refer to a person by something other than their chosen pronoun. You violate the guidelines if you call someone “he” or “she” instead of using their preferred gender-neutral terms, such as ze/hir.
To many people this sounds insane, but that's not the point. The point is that the left will use the force of government to compel you to pay homage to their ideas, even the obviously crazy ones.

Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren showed an Orwellian urge for censorship by signing a letter to the Federal Communications Commission requesting it to “investigate Sinclair Broadcasting's news activities to determine if it conforms to the public interest.” The senators claim Sinclair had forced its local news anchors to read scripts warning of “one-sided news stories plaguing our country.” “As strong defenders of the First Amendment guarantees of free speech and freedom of the press, we are alarmed by such practices…. Must-run dictates from Sinclair harm the freedom of the press guaranteed in the First Amendment by turning local journalists into mouthpieces for a corporate and political agenda,” the letter read.
So in the name of free speech, they asked the government to investigate the content of private news broadcasts.

Can you believe this? What do they think CBS, NBC, ABC, NPR, MSNBC, CNN, and the rest of the leftist media are, if not mouthpieces for a political agenda? FCC chairman Ajit Pai declined the request, saying the agency has no authority to revoke licenses based on the content of a particular newscast. “I understand that you disliked or disagreed with the content of particular broadcasts, but I can hardly think of an action more chilling of free speech than the federal government investigating a broadcast station because of disagreement with its news coverage or promotion of that coverage,” said Pai.

I can't emphasize strongly enough how dangerous the suppression of free speech is to our republic. We must never forget that liberty is what makes America unique. The framers placed free expression at the beginning of the Bill of Rights because it's central to all our other liberties. But the left is so focused on imposing their grand socialist schemes that freedom takes a backseat. They either do not see or do not care that their quest to muzzle the expression of certain ideas, even abhorrent ones, is more dangerous than the ideas themselves.


Who but the radically intolerant left could even come up with such a heartless and unforgiving idea as “cancel culture”? The term is defined by
as “The popular practice of withdrawing support for (
) public figures and companies after that they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive.
Cancel culture
is generally discussed as being performed on social media in the form of group shaming.” It's kind of like saying, “If you say something politically incorrect, you're dead to us—forever.” Such sweethearts, these leftists. The term, says author and commentator Roger Simon, is “used by the self-anointed ‘woke' for boycotting—essentially turning into non-persons and erasing from public life—people (usually celebrities, but plebes aren't exempt) who have exhibited what they
deem questionable behavior or written something untoward on social media.” Simon notes that the cancelers went after Ellen DeGeneres just for having a friendly chat with former president George W. Bush, and actor Vince Vaughn was targeted for talking and shaking hands with President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at a football game.

Cancel culture is one negative consequence of the wonderful explosion of free expression the internet affords. While the Web has allowed ordinary people a public voice, it has also created an opportunity for social media mobs to destroy people and ruin their livelihoods. It can play to our darkest side because the cancelers have nothing to gain except pleasure in hurting others—they used to call that sadism. T. J. Roberts disputes claims that cancel culture makes people accountable for their misconduct and offensive statements. If it “implied accountability, then there would be an avenue for redemption,” says Roberts. “When the mob controls justice, there is no means by which you can gain their respect.”
That's right. It's not about accountability, it's about empowering virtue-signaling scolds to project themselves as morally superior, which, come to think about it, is pretty much what leftists always do.

Even progressives are not exempt if they stray from leftist orthodoxy. Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling objected to the firing of a British woman from a think tank for saying that there are two sexes and no one can really change their sex. Rowling would have to be canceled, as would her fictional characters Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Hagrid.
You'll notice, though, that not many people get canceled for offending conservatives—because we aren't totalitarian censors.

Columnist Douglas Murray doesn't just blame the bullies for this climate but the people who allow them to get away with it. “The problem is not that the sacrificial victim is selected,” writes Murray. “The problem is that the people who destroy his reputation are permitted to do so by the complicity, silence and slinking away of everybody else.”
I agree, and I've been pretty outspoken in calling for a second chance
even for people who've said stupid things. We've all made mistakes—even the cancelers themselves.


Universities, which mainly seem to produce speech-suppressing leftists, regularly betray their stated commitment to academic freedom and free expression. Instead, they promote a radical closing of the mind and hostility to all dissenting ideas. And they do it deceptively, publicly championing the very principles they systematically abuse. Columbia University president Lee Bollinger unwittingly makes my point in his piece denying the obvious truth that university campuses are bastions of selective censorship. Bollinger ridiculed President Trump's executive order withholding federal funding to colleges and universities that deny speech protections as “a transparent exercise in politics. Its intent was to validate the collective antipathy that many Trump boosters feel toward institutions of higher learning.”

Notice the little dig there, echoing Obama's previous disparaging comments about conservatives—Trump supporters are bitter, Bible-clinging, pickup-driving, education-hating lamebrains whose concerns about free speech are really a front for their hatred for institutions of higher learning themselves. Bollinger then incoherently defends academic censorship on the grounds that Americans have long “been grappling with basic questions about offensive speech for decades… [and] exchanges over the boundaries of campus speech should therefore be welcomed rather than reviled when they take place.”
In other words, the fact that universities allow discussions of their censorship policies proves that they cherish free speech.

Bollinger protests too much. Polls show that 73 percent of Americans support free speech assurances on university campuses, yet according to the National Association of Scholars (NAS), more than 90 percent of colleges “substantially restrict freedom of speech and
association.” “Higher education is the special place in society set aside for the freedom to seek the truth—but that freedom is under assault,” said the organization in a statement signed by more than 440 professors, scholars, writers, and representatives of civil and academic organizations. “We call on Congress to cease subsidizing unlawful behavior by public colleges and universities, and to protect freedom of speech on college campuses.”

BOOK: Live Free Or Die: America (and the World) on the Brink
13.92Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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