[caption id="attachment_745" align="alignnone" width="789"]Judge Brett Kavanaugh is sworn in before testifying to the Senate Judiciary Committee during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, DC, U.S., September 27, 2018. Win McNamee/Pool via REUTERS - RC14DED657D0[/caption]
Conservative parents look at liberal hate and think, “They could do that to my son.”
Over the last 72 hours, I’ve been asking myself a simple question: What would happen if a group of Black Israelites had spent an hour taunting my son’s high-school football team? How would they have reacted if a Native American elder had walked into their midst – apparently not saying anything intelligible to them, but rather banging a drum and chanting inches from one kid’s face. Would they have thought that was an effort at “peacemaking,” or just more taunting? What would they have said if some of the people walking with that elder had yelled insults at them?
I ask those questions, but I’m pretty sure I know the answer. The boys wouldn’t have reacted all that differently from the kids at Covington Catholic. They would have sung different songs, they would have chanted different chants, and maybe one or two of the kids would have lofted an obscene gesture in the direction of the Black Israelites. In other words, they would have been kids, and barring some sort of overt criminal act, the blame for any tension that followed should rest with the adults who behaved so aggressively and strangely (and, let’s face it, walking through a group of boys chanting and banging a drum is not exactly normal behavior). If a kid responds poorly to a challenging situation, you reprimand him. You teach him.
But this is America in 2019, and it’s full of rage and hate. And parents of young men know that hostile people would instead want to destroy your child’s life. They would want to destroy your own livelihood. They would wish violence on him and you. They would try to destroy your school, and they would mock your faith. And then, even when their rage is proven to be unfounded, they would spend dayshunting through your background and your school’s history to try to find some reason to hate you anyway.
Earlier today, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes tweeted this:
He’s exactly right. So long as the Covington Catholic story remains in the news – so long as activists continue to comb through internet archives and social media to try to damn the school, its students, and parents to social-justice hell – this story is Brett Kavanaugh, the sequel. And here’s why, as summed up in a tweet from Bethany Mandel:
In the Kavanaugh case, conservative men and women looked at decades-old, uncorroborated allegations, the unquestioning acceptance of those claims, and the furious effort to destroy a man’s reputation and career – even by passing along the wildest and most implausible claims – and thought, “That could be me” or “that could be my husband.”
Now, these same people look at the reaction to the Covington Catholic kids and think, “That could be my son.”
The Government Shutdown Is the Longest Shutdown in History
You can hold that fear in your heart without excusing or condoning sexual assault in any way. You can hold that fear in your heart without excusing or condoning racism or even thoughtless taunts. Because you’ll know that for all too many people, the truth doesn’t really matter. You’re a symbol, not a person. When angry people cook that social-justice omelet, they break eggs not with regret but with angry glee.
Yes, I know the “whatabouts.” I know the habit of some people on the right to immediately hunt through the pasts of even dead black men and boys to find some evidence they were a bad person, even if those facts aren’t relevant to the case at hand. I’ve seen the supposedly incriminating pictures of young black men passed around social media as if they’re evidence when they’re not. I know about cases like the Central Park Five.
I also know that practice is horrible. I know that it’s evil. And I understand why black parents worry that their kid could be next – and live in fear of something far more deadly than social media shame campaigns or lost jobs.
But the existence of that fear – and the reality of those cases – does not justify in any way a decision to intentionally inflict fear and pain on your political enemies. And when you are found to be wrong, when snap judgments go awry, the proper response is to apologize (as some of my colleagues have done). We’re human. We make mistakes. The proper response is not to double down in digging for dirt, hoping and praying that you’ll find some reason to justify your initial rage. When activists and partisans do that, they send a clear message to their opponents: They will destroy you if they can.
That’s the message that sent a shudder up the spine of husbands and wives during the Kavanaugh hearings. That’s the message that sends a shudder up the spine of moms and dads as we watch men and women try to ruin the Covington Catholic kids. This isn’t just a media scandal. When we see the hate, some of us see our sons, and we know that in America today, their futures, their reputations, and – given the prevalence of death threats – perhaps even their very lives are in the hands of an angry mob.
It’s that concern for our kids that makes Chris Hayes correct. After initial missteps, the Right is largely united. There exists out there a level of hate – and an eagerness to believe the worst – that not one of us should tolerate, and that not one of us should visit upon our foes.
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
The media sold off its own temple last week and no one noticed.
A decade ago, a 643,000 square foot shrine to the media went up off the Washington Mall. The media funded organization behind it boasted that its Great Hall of News atrium was taller than the Sistine Chapel. The pseudo-religious metaphor continued with 50 tons of Tennessee marble being used to “create the First Amendment tablet on the building’s Pennsylvania Avenue façade”.
The thousands of artifacts included a 3,262 year old cuneiform brick from ancient Sumeria and a 2,756 year old statue of the Egyptian god Thoth, the mythical inventor of writing, worshiped by the media.
Last week, the $450 million temple constructed by the media to worship itself was sold off for $372 million to Johns Hopkins. There’s no word on whether they threw in the statue of their fallen god.
The fall of the media temple comes just as the media is on the defensive after fallout from a fake news hate campaign targeting a 16-year-old boy based on an out of context video clip. And the only thing that the media can say in defense of its lies about Covington Catholic is that it got them from social media.
That’s also its epitaph. The media doesn’t make the news. It’s just the noisiest part of the echo chamber, amplifying messages from lefty politicians from above and lefty social media trends from below.
The media temple was a project of the Freedom Foundation. The Foundation was backed by media giants like the New York Times, Bloomberg, Comcast, ABC, NBC and Time Warner. And much of the cash came from the Gannett media titan. In 1999, it commanded over $1 billion. By 2001, it was down to $700 million. Blowing through $450 million on a temple, complete with idol, couldn’t have helped.
The original Newseum had cost$50 million and offered free admission. The new Newseum was pure media hubris, stuck between the Capitol and White House as if it were another branch of government.
With a plethora of better museums to choose from, tourists to Washington D.C. weren’t interested in $24.95 tickets to see a news chopper suspended in the New York Times Ochs Sulzberger Great Hall’s atrium (taller than the Sistine Chapel). In desperation, the fake news museum even began selling a t-shirt carrying President Trump’s “You Are Very Fake News” taunt. Unlike most of its merchandise, the shirts were popular, but media protests soon put an end to the only popular thing about the Newseum.
And nobody was buying the Newseum’s t-shirts of Thoth; the dead idol of a dying industry.
Around the same time that the Newseum was selling its temple to the pagans of a useful profession, Gannett, which had once funded it, announced the layoff of as many as 400 employees.
The bloodshed is just beginning at the mammoth publisher responsible for USA Todayand a massive portfolio of papers coast to coast, from the Detroit Free Pressto the Arizona Republicto the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. (If you visit a local paper and its site looks like the USA Today site, it’s a Gannett paper.)
Gannett money had poured into the media temple in happier times. Its finances have been troubled this year. And now it’s in a bloody warwith Tribune, another newspaper giant, and the winner of the hostile takeover campaigns will consolidate by cutting jobs and putting more Thoth worshipers out of work.
It’s been a cold winter for the media. The Huffington Postwas hit with major layoffs after its corporate parent, Verizon, grew tired of subsidizing Arianna’s vanity lefty project. The casualties decimated HuffPo’s opinion section and filled social media with unintentionally hilarious tweets by ‘journalists’ specializing in gender politics, poverty inequality and culture looking for work.
BuzzFeed, fresh off its recent Trump fake news scandal, announced 15% layoffs. The casualties included the fake news site’s national news team and national security team. Lefty site Mic had already imploded. Bustle’s attempted relaunch of Gawker collapsed with a slew of resignations. The Forwardfired its editor and dumped 40% of its staff after $5 million in losses.
And that’s just the very recent bad news for the news. The full list of bad news in just the last year, never mind the last decade, would take more space to tell than even the Newseum could accommodate.
If the media falls with no one to report it, does it make a sound?
The big news here is that the media is dying. And in its desperation, its members are seeking survival strategies. Reporters are unionizing at an unprecedented pace in a futile effort at surviving the rounds of consolidations and layoffs. That strategy didn’t save anyone at Gawker, Al Jazeera America or the Huffington Post. Unions can’t save a bad business model that takes entire companies down with it.
And you can understand why someone who claims to be a “columnist with 10 years of writing about gender politics (and a literal PhD in romantic comedies)” seeking work after the latest layoffs would want the protection of a union.
Or the idol of a dead civilization.
Trump’s big win touched off a media gold rush. But radical partisanship left too many media outlets chasing too few anti-Trump eyeballs after having alienated everyone else. Some like the Washington Postand the New York Timeshave been more successful at it than others because of their role as brokers between their insider contacts and their insider audiences. Outsiders like BuzzFeed, who don’t have their own people inside the Mueller coup team, were left to make up even more dubious stuff.
The last desperate strategy of the media is blackmailing the big dot coms for operating income. Amazon’s boss is behind the Washington Post. And Google and Facebook are pouring in hundreds of millions of dollars into the media. But while that might have been enough to keep the Newseum afloat, it’s not nearly enough to maintain the media as anything more than a boutique operation.
The media declared a fake news crisis and demanded that Facebook and Google prioritize their traffic. As a piece at Columbia Journalism Reviewargued, "the one thing journalism actually needs: a guarantee that the conditions on the platform will benefit those producing high-quality reporting."
Google and Facebook have already privileged media content and censored conservative media, even though that’s not what their users have signed up for. But that makes the media dependent on the business model of a handful of internet monopolies already being targeted by the GOP and the Dems. And the same disruptive trends that wrecked the media’s old business models will wreck its new one.
The media has never addressed the fundamental problem with its business model. It wants a monopoly on the marketplace of ideas even as its own positions drift further leftward. It has tried to outgrow that problem by becoming a bigger monopoly, but the internet limited the extent to which its old infrastructure investments could monopolize the public square, leaving its expensive investments in broadcasting and printing equipment as useless as the massive square footage of the Newseum.
And when that failed, the media swung fully leftward, becoming the messaging arm of the most radical elements in the country, while campaigning vigorously for the censorship of social media “fake news”.
But its new masters rightly view it with contempt.
“They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo,” Ben Rhodes once sneered to the New York Times. “Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”
The Obama adviser wasn’t wrong.
It doesn’t take much skill to repeat talking points. Or to edit an article that a Fusion GPS hack or one of his many counterparts had already assembled for you behind the scenes.
The dedication of the Newseum in 2008 also marked the death of journalism. That was the year when the media tossed aside any appearance of independence and officially joined a political campaign. A decade later, journalism may be occasionally practiced on the sly, but it doesn’t exist as a profession.
Politicians, never mind PR hacks like Rhodes, once respected and feared journalists. Then they became the unpaid ideological errand boys and girls for Rhodes and his bosses. When lefty politicos and activists whistled, the New York Times, the Washington Postand the rest of the media asked, “How high?”
Readers, listeners and viewers used to be the media’s customer base. The man on the street who paid fifty cents for the paper was the audience all those thousands of reporters were serving. Now the media serves a dizzying assortment of lefty special interests, spinning their stories and doing their PR.
And then the media acts outraged when the public won’t pay it or share its stories on social media.
The Newseum white elephant at 555 Pennsylvania Avenue isn’t just narcissistic idolatry, it celebrates an idea of journalism that doesn’t exist. Journalism now is a bunch of millennial social justice activists playing dress-up. They’re not a profession or an industry. They don’t report. They don’t know anything. And they don’t serve the public. It’s not our fault that the people they really work for, won’t pay them.
Journalism is as extinct as the worshipers of Thoth and the Newseum. The media sold off its temple last week, but long before that its hacks and flacks had sold their soul.
PORTAGE COUNTY TEA PARTY MEETING WEDNESDAY RESCHEDULED DUE TO COLD
The next Portage County TEA Party Meeting will be held at 7:00 PM - MONDAY, February 4, 2019
at Maplewood Career Center, 7075 State Route 88, Ravenna, OH 44266
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, January 22, 2019
OHIO TEA PARTY LEADER CALLS ON PRESIDENT TRUMP TO ENFORCE THE LAW AND PROTECT AMERICANS
Akron, OH - Today, Tom Zawistowski, President of the TEA Party affiliated We the People Convention, called on President Trump to use the Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and other government agencies, to enforce the law and protect all American citizens from the criminal acts being committed by political groups and individuals who are trying to silence speech in our nation and persecute individuals for their political positions. Zawistowski contends that the recent attack on high school students from Covington Catholic High School is a tipping point that requires the President to act by demanding that federal agencies do their jobs and protect the rights of all Americans.
Zawistowski said, "Mr. President, when do We the People get 'equal justice' and 'equal protection' under the law?? When is ANYONE who makes a death threat, like against the teenagers from Covington Catholic, going to be publicly identified, arrested and prosecuted? When is ANYONE who makes a bomb threat, like the ones made against Covington Catholic School, going to be publicly identified, arrested and charged???When is your DOJ going to reverse the anti-constitutional and illegal position of the Holder/Lynch/Obama administration and return to the historic position of 'equal justice for all' where white Americans are not 'fair game' for rampant overt racial discrimination; vicious personal, verbal and physical attacks based solely on the color of their skin; and bullying and intimidation by radical race-based political groups like we saw this weekend in D.C. and are threatening Covington Catholic school today?"
Zawistowski continued, " We have hate crime laws, we have anti-bullying laws, why are they only used to protect select groups of American citizens? When are Twitter and Facebook and Instagram going to be held accountable by the FTC for allowing only certain citizens to be viciously attacked and threatened online, their homes and family members illegally exposed, and their lives and businesses destroyed by political bullies, Mr. President?? When is your FBI going to investigate the Tweets, Facebook posts and on air comments of media members, many of which are being deleted today, who threatened physical violence against members of the general public, like the teenagers from Covington Catholic, going to be charged for doing so?"
Zawistowski concluded, "We in the Midwest will never stand for being treated as second class citizens. We expect equal justice, we are entitled by the Constitution to equal justice, and we demand that people be prosecuted for their criminal actions just as we would be. That is not happening, Mr. President, and we are fed up with the lack of consequences for everyone but those who are conservative. It is the job of your administration to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and the rights contained therein for ALL Americans. Talk is cheap, Mr. President, and while many of us see your tweets as a useful tool to fight through the fake news bias and reach regular Americans, we demand action against those who commit crimes. We demand it now! It is against everything we believe as Americans to allow the lives of young students to be destroyed, via a political and subsequent media ambush, simply because they went on a bus trip to our nations capital and wore hats that express a certain political position. Who will defend them with more than words Mr. President? Who will defend the innocent by enforcing the law if not the President of the United States?"
‘THE SMOKING GUN’: Google Manipulated YouTube Search Results for Abortion, Maxine Waters, David Hogg
In sworn testimony, Google CEO Sundar Pichai told Congress last month that his company does not “manually intervene” on any particular search result. Yet an internal discussion thread leaked to Breitbart News reveals Google regularly intervenes in search results on its YouTube video platform – including a recent intervention that pushed pro-life videos out of the top ten search results for “abortion.”
The term “abortion” was added to a “blacklist” file for “controversial YouTube queries,” which contains a list of search terms that the company considers sensitive. According to the leak, these include some of these search terms related to: abortion, abortions, the Irish abortion referendum, Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and anti-gun activist David Hogg.
The existence of the blacklist was revealed in an internal Google discussion thread leaked to Breitbart News by a source inside the company who wishes to remain anonymous. A partial list of blacklisted terms was also leaked to Breitbart by another Google source.
“We have tons of white- and blacklists that humans manually curate,” said the employee. “Hopefully this isn’t surprising or particularly controversial.”
Others were more concerned about the presence of the blacklist. According to the source, the software engineer who started the discussion called the manipulation of search results related to abortion a “smoking gun.”
The software engineer noted that the change had occurred following an inquiry from a left-wing Slate journalist about the prominence of pro-life videos on YouTube, and that pro-life videos were replaced with pro-abortion videos in the top ten results for the search terms following Google’s manual intervention.
“The Slate writer said she had complained last Friday and then saw different search results before YouTube responded to her on Monday,” wrote the employee. “And lo and behold, the [changelog] was submitted on Friday, December 14 at 3:17 PM.”
The manually downranked items included several videos from Dr. Antony Levatino, a former abortion doctor who is now a pro-life activist. Another video in the top ten featured a woman’s personal story of being pressured to have an abortion, while another featured pro-life conservative Ben Shapiro. The Slate journalist who complained to Google reportedthat these videos previously featured in the top ten, describing them in her story as “dangerous misinformation.”
Since the Slate journalist’s inquiry and Google’s subsequent intervention, the top search results now feature pro-abortion content from left-wing sources like BuzzFeed, Vice, CNN, and Last Week Tonight With John Oliver. In her report, the Slate journalist acknowledged that the search results changed shortly after she contacted Google.
The manual adjustment of search results by a Google-owned platform contradicts a key claim made under oath by Google CEO Sundar Pichai in his congressional testimony earlier this month: that his company does not “manually intervene on any search result.”
A Google employee in the discussion thread drew attention to Pichai’s claim, noting that it “seems like we are pretty eager to cater our search results to the social and political agenda of left-wing journalists.”
One of the posts in the discussion also noted that the blacklist had previously been edited to include the search term “Maxine Waters” after a single Google employee complained the top YouTube search result for Maxine Waters was “very low quality.”
Google’s alleged intervention on behalf of a Democratic congresswoman would be further evidence of the tech giant using its resources to prop up the left. Breitbart News previously reported on leaked emails revealing the company targeted pro-Democrat demographics in its get-out-the-vote efforts in 2016.
According to the source, a software engineer in the thread also noted that “a bunch of terms related to the abortion referendum in Ireland” had been added to the blacklist – another change with potentially dramatic consequences on the national policies of a western democracy.
At least one post in the discussion thread revealed the existence of a file called “youtube_controversial_query_blacklist,” which contains a list of YouTube search terms that Google manually curates. In addition to the terms “abortion,” “abortions,” “Maxine Waters,” and search terms related to the Irish abortion referendum, a Google software engineer noted that the blacklist includes search terms related to terrorist attacks. (the posts specifically mentions that the “Strasbourg terrorist attack” as being on the list).
“If you look at the other entries recently added to the youtube_controversial_query_blacklist(e.g., entries related to the Strasbourg terrorist attack), the addition of abortion seems…out-of-place,” wrote the software engineer, according to the source.
After learning of the existence of the blacklist, Breitbart News obtained a partial screenshot of the full blacklist file from a source within Google. It reveals that the blacklist includes search terms related to both mass shootings and the progressive anti-second amendment activist David Hogg.
Responding to a request for comment, a YouTube spokeswoman said the company wants to promote “authoritative” sources in its search results, but maintained that YouTube is a “platform for free speech” that “allow[s]” both pro-life and pro-abortion content.
YouTube’s full comment:
YouTube is a platform for free speech where anyone can choose to post videos, as long as they follow our Community Guidelines, which prohibit things like inciting violence and pornography. We apply these policies impartially and we allow both pro-life and pro-choice opinions. Over the last year we’ve described how we are working to better surface news sourcesacross our site for news-related searches and topical information. We’ve improved our search and discovery algorithms, built new features that clearly label and prominently surface news sources on our homepage and search pages, and introduced information panels to help give users more authoritative sources where they can fact check information for themselves.
In the case of the “abortion” search results, YouTube’s intervention to insert “authoritative” content resulted in the downranking of pro-life videos and the elevation of pro-abortion ones.
A Google spokesperson took a tougher line than its YouTube subsidiary, stating that “Google has never manipulated or modified the search results or content in any of its products to promote a particular political ideology.”
However, in the leaked discussion thread, a member of Google’s “trust & safety” team, Daniel Aaronson, admitted that the company maintains “huge teams” that work to adjust search results for subjects that are “prone to hyperbolic content, misleading information, and offensive content” – all subjective terms that are frequently used to suppress right-leaning sources.
He also admitted that the interventions weren’t confined to YouTube – they included search results delivered via Google Assistant, Google Home, and in rare cases Google ’s organic search results.
In the thread, Aaronson attempted to explain how search blacklisting worked. He claimed that highly specific searches would generate non-blacklisted results, even controversial ones. But the inclusion of highly specific terms in the YouTube blacklist, like “David Hogg cant remember his lines” – the name of an actual viral video – seems to contradict this.
Aaronson’s full post is copied below:
I work in Trust and Safety and while I have no particular input as to exactly what’s happening for YT I can try to explain why you’d have this kind of list and why people are finding lists like these on Code Search.
When dealing with abuse/controversial content on various mediums you have several levers to deal with problems. Two prominent levers are “Proactive” and “Reactive”:
Proactive: Usually refers to some type of algorithm/scalable solution to a general problem
E.g.: We don’t allow straight up porn on YouTube so we create a classifier that detects porn and automatically remove or flag for review the videos the porn classifier is most certain of
Reactive: Usually refers to a manual fix to something that has been brought to our attention that our proactive solutions don’t/didn’t work on and something that is clearly in the realm of bad enough to warrant a quick targeted solution (determined by pages and pages of policies worked on over many years and many teams to be fair and cover necessary scope)
E,g.: A website that used to be a good blog had it’s domain expire and was purchased/repurposed to spam Search results with autogenerated pages full of gibberish text, scraped images, and links to boost traffic to other spammy sites. It is manually actioned for violating policy
Manually reacting to things is not very scalable, and is not an ideal solution to most problems, so the proactive lever is really the one we all like to lean on. Ideally, our classifiers/algorithm are good at providing useful and rich results to our users while ignoring things at are not useful or not relevant. But we all know, this isn’t exactly the case all the time (especially on YouTube).
From a user perspective, there are subjects that are prone to hyperbolic content, misleading information, and offensive content. Now, these words are highly subjective and no one denies that. But we can all agree generally, lines exist in many cultures about what is clearly okay vs. what is not okay. E.g. a video of a puppy playing with a toy is probably okay in almost every culture or context, even if it’s not relevant to the query. But a video of someone committing suicide and begging others to follow in his/her footsteps is probably on the other side of the line for many folks.
While my second example is technically relevant to the generic query of “suicide”, that doesn’t mean that this is a very useful or good video to promote on the top of results for that query. So imagine a classifier that says, for any queries on a particular text file, let’s pull videos using signals that we historically understand to be strong indicators of quality (I won’t go into specifics here, but those signals do exist). We’re not manually curating these results, we’re just saying “hey, be extra careful with results for this query because many times really bad stuff can appear and lead to a bad experience for most users”. Ideally the proactive lever did this for us, but in extreme cases where we need to act quickly on something that is so obviously not okay, the reactive/manual approach is sometimes necessary. And also keep in mind, that this is different for every product. The bar for changing classifiers or manual actions on span in organic search is extremely high. However, the bar for things we let our Google Assistant say out loud might be a lot lower. If I search for “Jews run the banks” – I’ll likely find anti-semitic stuff in organic search. As a Jew, I might find some of these results offensive, but they are there for people to research and view, and I understand that this is not a reflection of Google feels about this issue. But if I ask Google assistant “Why do Jews run the banks” we wouldn’t be similarly accepting if it repeated and promoted conspiracy theories that likely pop up in organic search in her smoothing voice.
Whether we agree or not, user perception of our responses, results, and answers of different products and mediums can change. And I think many people are used to the fact that organic search is a place where content should be accessible no matter how offensive it might be, however, the expectation is very different on a Google Home, a Knowledge Panel, or even YouTube.
These lines are very difficult and can be very blurry, we are all well aware of this. So we’ve got huge teams that stay cognizant of these facts when we’re crafting policies considering classifier changes, or reacting with manual actions – these decisions are not made in a vacuum, but admittedly are also not made in a highly public forum like TGIF or IndustryInfo (as you can imagine, decisions/agreement would be hard to get in such a wide list – image if all your CL’s were reviewed by every engineer across Google all the time). I hope that answers some questions and gives a better layer of transparency without going into details about our “Pepsi formula”.
The fact that Google manually curates politically contentious search results fits in with a wider pattern of political activity on the part of the tech giant.
Yet another showed Google engaged in targeted turnout operations aimed to boost voter participation in pro-Democrat demographics in “key states” ahead of the 2016 election. The effort was dubbed a “silent donation” by a top Google employee.
Evidence for Google’s partisan activities is now overwhelming. President Trump has previously warned Google, as well as other Silicon Valley giants, not to engage in censorship or partisan activities. Google continues to defy him.
As one of the senior officials working without a paycheck, a few words of advice for the president’s next move at shuttered government agencies: lock the doors, sell the furniture, and cut them down.
Federal employees are starting to feel the strain of the shutdown. I am one of them. But for the sake of our nation, I hope it lasts a very long time, till the government is changed and can never return to its previous form.
The lapse in appropriations is more than a battle over a wall. It is an opportunity to strip wasteful government agencies for good.
On an average day, roughly 15 percent of the employees around me are exceptional patriots serving their country. I wish I could give competitive salaries to them and no one else. But 80 percent feel no pressure to produce results. If they don’t feel like doing what they are told, they don’t.
They do nothing that warrants punishment and nothing of external value. That is their workday: errands for the sake of errands — administering, refining, following and collaborating on process. “Process is your friend” is what delusional civil servants tell themselves. Even senior officials must gain approval from every rank across their department, other agencies and work units for basic administrative chores.
Process is what we serve, process keeps us safe, process is our core value. It takes a lot of people to maintain the process. Process provides jobs. In fact, there are process experts and certified process managers who protect the process. Then there are the 5 percent with moxie (career managers). At any given time they can change, clarify or add to the process — even to distort or block policy counsel for the president.
Saboteurs peddling opinion as research, tasking their staff on pet projects or pitching wasteful grants to their friends. Most of my career colleagues actively work against the president’s agenda. This means I typically spend about 15 percent of my time on the president’s agenda and 85 percent of my time trying to stop sabotage, and we have no power to get rid of them. Until the shutdown.
Due to the lack of funding, many federal agencies are now operating more effectively from the top down on a fraction of their workforce, with only select essential personnel serving national security tasks. One might think this is how government should function, but bureaucracies operate from the bottom up — a collective of self-generated ideas. Ideas become initiatives, formalize into offices, they seek funds from Congress and become bureaus or sub-agencies, and maybe one day grow to be their own independent agency, like ours. The nature of a big administrative bureaucracy is to grow to serve itself. I watch it and fight it daily. (RELATED: Remember When Obama And Clinton Shut Down Government For Their Own Pet Projects?)
When the agency is full, employees held liable for poor performance respond with threats, lawsuits, complaints and process in at least a dozen offices, taking years of mounting paperwork with no fear of accountability, extending their careers, while no real work is done. Do we succumb to such extortion? Yes. We pay them settlements, we waive bad reviews, and we promote them.
Many government agencies have adopted the position that more complaints are good because it shows inclusion in, you guessed it, the process. When complaints come, it is cheaper to pay them off than to hold public servants accountable. The result: People accused of serious offenses are not charged, and self-proclaimed victims are paid by you, the American taxpayer.
The message to federal supervisors is clear. Maintain the status quo, or face allegations. Many federal employees truly believe that doing tasks more efficiently and cutting out waste, by closing troubled programs instead of expanding them, “is morally wrong,” as one cried to me.
I get it. These are their pets. It is tough to put them down and let go, and many resist. This phenomenon was best summed up by a colleague who said, “The goal in government is to do nothing. If you try to get things done, that’s when you will run into trouble.”
But President Trump can end this abuse. Senior officials can reprioritize during an extended shutdown, focus on valuable results and weed out the saboteurs. We do not want most employees to return, because we are working better without them. Sure, we empathize with families making tough financial decisions, like mine, and just like private citizens who have to find other work and bring competitive value every day, while paying more than a third of their salary in federal taxes.
President Trump has created more jobs in the private sector than the furloughed federal workforce. Now that we are shut down, not only are we identifying and eliminating much of the sabotage and waste, but we are finally working on the president’s agenda.
President Trump does not need Congress to address the border emergency, and yes, it is an emergency. Billions upon billions of hard-earned tax dollars are still being dumped into foreign aid programs every year that do nothing for America’s interest or national security. The president does not need congressional funding to deconstruct abusive agencies who work against his agenda. This is a chance to effect real change, and his leverage grows stronger every day the shutdown lasts.
A word of caution: To be a victory, this shutdown must be different than those of the past and should achieve lasting disruption with two major changes, or it will hurt the president.
The first thing we need out of this is better security, particularly at the southern border. Our founders envisioned a free market night watchman state, not the bungled bloated bureaucracy our government has become. But we have to keep the uniformed officers paid, which is an emergency. Ideally, continue a resolution to pay the essential employees only, if they are truly working on national security. Furloughed employees should find other work, never return and not be paid.
Secondly, we need savings for taxpayers. If this fight is merely rhetorical bickering with Nancy Pelosi, we all lose, especially the president. But if it proves that government is better when smaller, focusing only on essential functions that serve Americans, then President Trump will achieve something great that Reagan was only bold enough to dream.
The president’s instincts are right. Most Americans will not miss non-essential government functions. A referendum to end government plunder must happen. Wasteful government agencies are fighting for relevance but they will lose. Now is the time to deliver historic change by cutting them down forever.
The author is a senior official in the Trump administration.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.
TEA Party Sign-Wave to Support Border Wall is a HUGE Success!
Just about 100 Patriots, joined together in Cuyahoga Falls, OH Saturday (1/12/19) over a two hour period for a "frozen" sign-wave in support of the Border Wall and President Trump! We got a nice article in our local Akron Beacon Journal and the top talk radio station in the Akron market, WNIR, talked about our event all Friday night and through the end of the event on Saturday at 2:00 PM.
The cars blowing horns in support was deafening at times and clearly a large percentage of American’s understand the importance of building the wall. While we did have members of the left come to the bridge to confront us, what they got instead was intelligent discussion about important issues that affect all of us. To their surprise, they found that there was no hate on that bridge, there was love of country, love of our fellow citizens, and love for the rule of law. There were no incidents and some minds and opinions were actually changed and important information was exchanged!
One thing is for sure, the people in those cars knew that they were not alone in their thoughts about supporting the wall, and the people on that bridge knew that a large group of their fellow citizens support building the wall. This sign-wave shows the President that he is not alone in the fight to "Build That Wall" as We the People are out in public standing proudly with him here in Ohio!
We encourage our fellow Patriots around the state of Ohio and around the nation, to make a similar public display of your support for the Border Wall! Even if it is just a few people with signs standing at a busy intersection for an hour. We need to let our fellow citizen know that it is Ok to defend our nation's sovereignty and the President we elected who is keeping his promises to us!
Tom Zawistowski Executive Director Portage County TEA Party
Summit and Portage County TEA Party Groups to Hold Sign-Wave Saturday In Support of Border Wall Funding
Akron, OH: Today, Tom Zawistowski, Executive Director of the Portage County TEA Party, and Terri Iannetta, President of the Summit County TEA Party, jointly announced that their groups would be doing a sign-wave over State Route 8 in Cuyahoga Falls, OH this Saturday, January 12, 2019 to support President Trump's demand that Congress authorize $5.7 billion dollars for a wall on the southern border of the United States. Anyone wishing to participate in the sign-wave can bring their own appropriate signs and meet on the pedestrian bridge that crosses Route 8 just south of Graham Road in Summit County at noon on Saturday.
In making the announcement Zawistowski said, "The American people who voted for and elected Donald Trump President in 2016, understand that without borders you cannot be a nation. We in the heartland of America are the ones who have paid the high price of illegal immigration. In Northeast Ohio we saw illegal immigrant Juan Razo kill Margaret Kostelnik in Lake County as well as others killed, raped and murdered by illegal immigrants in our area. Ohio communities have been ravaged by the 4,854 deaths of our sons and daughters last year alone from drug overdoses - 96% of which come to Ohio through the wide-open southern border. African-Americans and low income whites and Hispanics in Ohio and across the nation lose $1,000 per year in wages to unfair competition with illegal immigrants. Most of all, we as taxpayers have paid out billions of dollars to provide free health care, education, housing and other assistance to illegal immigrants', resources that should be going to help Americans in need. We agree with the President, this is a crisis, and we demand that Congress fund the building of the border wall - NOW!"
Tonight the President finally asked We the People to weigh-in on this fight. If you support the President, and You want a Wall, then you MUST Call! But don't just call YOUR Senator and House member, call them over and over! Then do one more important thing. Call or write members of your family and friends. Let them know that you support the wall and why. Then ask them to start calling!
Let's make one thing clear that you did not hear tonight . . . The Democrats don't want a wall not because it won't work but because it will work! Future administrations can't tear down a wall, but they could de-fund "border security" . . . opening up our border to anyone they want to let in - and gaining votes for themselves! That is why me must support the President NOW!
Ask yourself this question. "In the six years that WE gave Republicans control of the US House during the Obama Presidency, and even the two years in which WE also gave Republicans control of the US Senate, how much legislation were Republicans able to pass?" The answer is NONE! Oh they told us how they voted 60 times to repeal Obamacare but that was all political theater.
So guess what? The TV networks, including Fox, are screaming "The Democrats put forward a bill to impeach Trump, and they put forward a bill to protect Mueller, and they introduced a massive "voting rights" bill called "For the People Act", and on and on. ALL POLITICAL THEATER. They are PLAYING their base, just like McConnell and Boehner and Ryan played US!
Nothing to see here folks because NOTHING is going to happen over the next two years but the expulsion of hot air and the gross over spending in our Federal Budget. Turn it off. Don't waste your time because NOTHING the Dems are talking about is going ANYWHERE. None of it will become law. The President will NOT BE IMPEACHED.
Best of all, in the process of this childlike political temper tantrum, where democrat "social justice warriors" expose themselves as the radically insane anti-Americans that they are for all to see, they will destroy each other and themselves! Look at how they are now going after Bernie Sanders. Can you imagine how they are going to tear each other apart with 20 or more of them running for President and debates starting as early as this June??? Pelosi is terrified by these idiots. We don't want them to shut up, we want to give them the microphone and tell everyone to look at them when they say that they want to raise taxes to 70%, and shut down all fossil fuels, and let everyone in the world come across open borders into our nation and vote. Yea, run on that in 2020, go ahead, make our day!
Then ask yourself another question. Over the 8 years of Obama, and the last two years of Trump, the Republicans in the House and Senate held hearing after hearing after hearing on "Fast and Furious", Benghazi, the IRS Targeting, the Clinton Emails, Uranium One, the corruption in the DOJ and FBI. What ever came out of any of that time and effort that affected your or my liberty and freedom in a positive way? The answer is NOTHING! In the end it was all political theater.
So guess what, all these Democrat hearing are going to be about nothing. Their base will love it, but the average American is already tired of all of it, and they can't win much of anything with their radical base which is 20% of voters. They may even vote to Impeach Trump in the House, not because it will actually happen but because they calculate that it will be politically damaging enough to stop Trump from being re-elected. That is the entire purpose of the Mueller "investigation." But it will never get through the Senate, at least not before 2020, and in the process, the American Public will turn on the Democrats like they turned on the Republicans during the Clinton impeachment. Pelosi and Schumer know Impeachment will hurt them in 2020, not help them.
So, I hope this helps you feel a little better and gives you some important political perspective that you will share with others. Over the next two years, our job is to make sure everyone we know sees the radical regressive "Democrat Socialist" agenda and also sees the good that President is doing. Below are some important links for you to read, view and share. Enjoy your weekend during this mercifully mild winter so far.
Tom Zawistowski President We the People Convention
Ocasio-Cortez Sees Global Warming as Way to Push Social and Racial Agenda
While the Democrat communist left pushes more "man made global warming" nonsense in its effort to destroy capitalism you have got to watch this video and share it with everyone. This is just one of the best presentations on the topic I have viewed. Just CLICK HERE or on the Image to view it and just put it on your phone and listen while you are driving or play it on your computer instead of watching Fox News!
Nonfarm payrolls surged by 312,000 in December. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting payroll growth of just 176,000.
Wages jumped 3.2 percent from a year ago and 0.4 percent over the previous month. The year-over-year increase is tied with October for the best since April 2009.
The unemployment rate rose to 3.9 percent as more workers joined the labor force.
Economy adds 312,000 jobs in December, blowing past forecasts
Job creation ended 2018 on a powerful note, with nonfarm payrolls surging by 312,000 in December though the unemployment rate rose to 3.9 percent.
The jobless rate, which was last higher in June, rose for the right reason as 419,000 new workers entered the workforce and the labor force participation rate increased to 63.1 percent. The participation level was up 0.2 percentage points from November and 0.4 percentage points compared with a year earlier.
A broader measure of unemployment that includes discouraged workers and those holding part-time jobs for economic reasons held steady at 7.6 percent.
In addition to the big job gains, wages jumped 3.2 percent from a year ago and 0.4 percent over the previous month. The year-over-year increase is tied with October for the best since April 2009. The average work week rose 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours.
Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting job growth of just 176,000, though they projected the unemployment rate to fall to 3.6 percent. The wage number also was well above expectations of 3 percent on the year and 0.3 percent from November.
“The far bigger than expected 312,000 jump in non-farm payrolls in December would seem to make a mockery of market fears of an impending recession,” Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics, said in a note. He added that the report “suggests the US economy still has considerable forward momentum.”
The report, released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, comes amid concern over whether the U.S. economy is part of a global deceleration, despite turning in its best year since the Great Recession.
Data released this week showed a key manufacturing mark hitting a two-year low and mortgage volume at its lowest in 18 years.
“The economy has been slowing, but someone forgot to tell the labor markets,” said Jim Baird, chief investment officer for Plante Moran Financial Advisors. “Employers, it would seem, didn’t get the memo from Mr. Market that it’s time to tighten their belts.”
Highest since 2015
The jobs market, however, remains hot.
Payrolls growth totaled 2.6 million in 2018, the highest since 2015 and well above the 2.2 million in 2017.
Health care led the way in new jobs, adding 50,000 for the month thanks to 38,000 new positions in ambulatory services and 7,000 more in hospitals. The industry saw a boom of 346,000 for the year, compared with a 284,000 gain the year before.
Restaurants and bars added 41,000 to the close the year with a 235,000 gain, down from 261,000 in 2017.
Construction also was one of the big gainers despite a slumping housing market. The industry added 38,000 jobs in December, bringing the annual total to 280,000, a 12 percent gain from 2017′s 250,000.
Manufacturing also tuned in a solid 32,000 gain for the month, with the bulk of the growth coming from the 19,000 positions added in the key durable goods sector. The sector also saw a surge in 2018, with the 284,000 new positions representing a 37 percent rise from the previous year.
Another closely watched sector, retail, posted growth of 24,000 thanks to a holiday season boost. For the year, retail added 92,000, reversing the loss of 29,000 in 2017.
Government jobs saw a gain of 11,000.
Previous months also saw positive revisions, adding to the upbeat tone for the year. November saw its disappointing 155,000 original report revised up to 176,000, while October’s count went from 237,000 to 274,000, for a net gain of 58,000 from the previous tallies.
Those revisions brought the three-month average up to a strong 254,000.
The report comes at a time of heightened market concerns over the Federal Reserve’s future path. The U.S. central bank raised interest rates four times in 2018 in an effort to prevent the economy from overheating, but President Donald Trump has criticized the Fed for endangering the economic recovery.
Futures traders expect the Fed to hold steady through the year, and in fact are pricing in a 45 percent of a rate cut by the end of 2019.