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No ‘unity’ in Biden’s executive orders: Goodwin

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No ‘unity’ in Biden's executive orders: Goodwin

It is early, far below the traditional threshold of 100 days. Still, watching the major missteps of the Biden administration reminds that even presidents don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. 

My expectations were low, but not low enough. I hoped, naively, that with political polarization leading to growing violence from both sides, the new president would make at least minimal efforts to keep his promise of building national unity. 

Instead, Joe Biden spent his first three weeks issuing more than 50 executive orders and actions that fall along straight partisan lines, with nearly all of them delivering goodies to his party’s far-left wing and/or reversing successful Trump-administration policies. In most cases, he simply signed the sweeping directives without explaining the ostensible public benefits. 

As bad as the process looked, optics are not the real problem. It’s the terrible substance of the major orders that is driving a stake through the heart of national reconciliation. 

The new president made killing thousands of construction jobs connected to the Keystone XL pipeline one of his first acts, practically invited illegal immigrants to swarm the border and gives cover to obstructionist teacher unions that want to keep schools closed. 

The school issue goes to the heart of another Biden promise — to “follow the science” and “listen to the experts.” Yet when his CDC director said it was safe to open schools without teacher vaccinations, Biden press secretary Jen Psaki strangely said the director was “speaking in her personal capacity.” 

So it’s follow the science, except when it’s politically inconvenient. 

Similarly, we now learn Biden’s promise to open most schools within 100 days came with fine print that guts the plain meaning. The actual goal, the White House now says, was to have more than 50 percent of schools open at least one day a week. 

In other words, 80 percent closed is Biden’s definition of an open school. 

Then there’s the vaccine production and distribution. Candidate Biden talked often about his “plan” to combat the coronavirus, but it turns out his plan was mostly limited to criticizing ­Donald Trump’s plan. 

The new president’s goal of vaccinating 100 million people in 100 days would have simply kept him on pace with what the Trump administration already was doing. Only when that fact was repeatedly pointed out did Biden raise his goal to 1.5 million a day. 

Yet even now, instead of a determination to get all Americans vaccinated as quickly as possible, he’s moaning about “logistics” as a way to lower expectations. On Thursday, his team secured 200 million more doses, a 50 percent increase, which is what Biden had said would be needed to cover virtually the entire population by the end of summer. 

But instead of celebrating, Biden lowered the bar, warning that even all adults would not be inoculated by the end of summer, which is still more than six months away. 

His early moves on foreign policy are also disheartening. Biden is playing footsie with Iran by removing the terrorist designation of its Houthi proxy in Yemen while freezing arms sales to Saudi Arabia and ending American support for Saudi offensive operations in Yemen. Meanwhile, press secretary Psaki refuses to call ­Israel an ally. 

The blitz of executive orders, directives and memoranda was clearly meant to emphasize that Biden was hitting the ground running. But that burst of activity will be worse than meaningless if the polices create or worsen problems for people. 

One example is that the energy-related directives all lean in the direction of restricting fossil fuels. So far, the only certainty of his actions are job losses connected to both his killing the Keystone pipeline and putting a freeze on drilling permits on federal land and water. 

The eventual impact will also mean a loss of American energy independence and price increases for electricity, gasoline and heating fuel. 

Telling laid-off workers they can go make solar panels, as John Kerry did, has all the compassion of a punch in the nose. Biden’s climate czar, Kerry made his remarks at about the time a video surfaced of him defending his international travel on private jets by saying he is “working to win the battle of climate change.” 

In other words, he is so important that he must be exempt from the rules he plans to impose on the little people. 

Another Biden obsession fraught with potential consequences is his repeated claim that America is laced with “systemic racism.” Although he has spent nearly his entire adult life in government, the 78-year-old now parrots teenage activists about how terrible America is. 

But it’s not just talk. He used the “systemic racism” phrase several times to justify a series of executive actions, including one on housing policy that could have huge implications. He directed the Department of Housing and Urban Development to study and counteract any previous policy found to have discriminatory impacts. 

That no doubt means a return to the discredited approach of the Obama-Biden administration, which argued that any policy producing a “disparate impact” on racial groups was de facto discriminatory. Biden also replaced the concept of “equality” with ­“equity,” a change that could lay the groundwork for racial quotas. 

If his start accurately reflects the direction he plans to follow, Biden intends to become the most radical president in history. Sensible Americans better wake up ­before it’s too late. 

Woke mob rules at NY Times

In another black eye for the Gray Lady, a survey of New York Times employees found that only 51 percent agree with the statement that “There is a free exchange of views in this company; people are not afraid to say what they really think.” 

Worse, The Post reports the survey was taken in December, before the recent firing of top reporter Donald McNeil and podcast producer Andy Mills. They were not ousted because of their work, but because a cancel-culture mob is determined to impose its woke views on employees 24 hours a day, the past included. 

Although McNeil apologized for using the N-word in 2019 and Mills’ history of randy behavior eight years ago was known when he was hired, both were ousted in victories for the mob. 

Top editor Dean Baquet has only himself to blame. He lost control of the newsroom and his willingness to surrender is creating a culture of fear and loathing, where people are afraid to speak honestly lest the mob come for them. 

The Times wants to tell the country how to live and think, but can’t even get its own house in order. 

The politics of party destruction 

Dr. Ruth Cohen neatly sums up the mood in Washington, writing: 

“The Dems want to destroy Trump and all those who embrace the Republican Party. They tolerate no survivors, only turncoats. Nothing else matters until they succeed. Is that a government?”

GameStop seen as sign of a bubble 

Ya think?

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Opinion

Washington Post tried to smear me for criticizing race theory and failed

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Washington Post tried to smear me for criticizing race theory and failed

The Washington Post attempted to smear me, the nation’s most prominent opponent of critical race theory — and it backfired spectacularly.

The fight over CRT has consumed American media. Conservatives have rallied against the toxic neo-Marxist ideology that seeks to divide the country into the racial categories of oppressor and oppressed; liberals have defended it as a “lens” for understanding vague buzzwords such as “systemic racism” and “racial equity.”

I’ve been on the cutting edge of this battle. My investigative reporting, including columns for this paper, has exposed CRT in education, government and the corporate world. I’ve shed light on public schools forcing 8-year-olds to deconstruct their racial identities, telling white teachers they must undergo “antiracist therapy” and encouraging white parents to advocate for “white abolition.” 

These stories have attracted millions of readers, helping spark a rebellion among parents in school districts across the country — and making me a target for the woke left.

In recent months, outlets including The New York Times, The New Republic, MSNBC, CNN and The Atlantic have relentlessly attacked me. But the coup de grâce, they believed, would be a 3,000-word exposé in The Washington Post. The paper dispatched two reporters, Laura Meckler and Josh Dawsey, and spent three weeks preparing a vicious hit piece against me, accusing me of a range of intellectual crimes.

Only the Post’s story rested on a bed of lies. Among other things, Meckler and Dawsey fabricated the timeline of events surrounding my involvement with former President Donald Trump’s executive order on CRT; incorrectly claimed that a Cupertino, Calif., diversity lesson I exposed never happened; and insisted that my reporting about the US Treasury Department’s diversity programs was false.

After the article was published, I went through it line-by-line and made a point-by-point rebuttal on social media and to The Washington Post’s editors. Within 48 hours, the paper’s story had collapsed.

The paper admitted to fabricating the timeline of events, having originally claimed that a Fox News appearance I made on Sept. 1 had “soon” been followed by a visit by me to the Trump White House and thereafter by an anti-CRT memo from Trump’s budget chief (in fact, I didn’t visit the White House until Oct. 30, long after Team Trump issued the memo and an anti-CRT executive order).

Further, the paper retracted or added six full paragraphs to the story and reversed its accusation that I invented the Cupertino story. The training did, in fact, take place, the paper conceded.

As for the assertion that I made false claims about the Treasury training, the paper insisted on the absurd point that the material — which told employees that “virtually all white people . . . contribute to racism” — did not mean that “all white people are racist,” as I had reported.

This was a deep embarrassment for The Washington Post, which then attempted to hide behind vague “clarifications” and sent a vice president of communications to do damage control. But what the paper did was indefensible: It dispatched deeply partisan reporters to do a hatchet job on a fellow journalist, with no regard for the facts or probity.

Here’s the problem: I have a large social-media platform and can defend myself. But what about ordinary Americans who are smeared, slandered and degraded by hyper-partisan outlets like The Washington Post?

The episode also shed light on the bizarre determination of the prestige press to play down just how radical and fundamentally un-American CRT is. The Washington Post story framed CRT as merely an attempt to push white Americans to “confront systemic racism and white privilege in America,” to prompt a “reckoning with America’s past and present sins.”

Yeah, right. Meanwhile, in the real world, CRT trainings involve re-enacting racial segregation, only this time in the name of progress, as happened in the King County Library System (Seattle). They claim that “all white people play a part in perpetuating systemic racism,” as Buffalo students are taught. And they accuse the US education system of perpetuating “spirit-murder” against black kids.

This is far more than a healthy reckoning. It’s indoctrination in ahistorical nonsense. It’s demonizing vast swaths of America over skin color. It’s racism. Democracy does indeed die in darkness, as The Washington Post’s motto proclaims. It’s just that the paper itself helps spread much darkness.

Christopher F. Rufo is a contributing editor of City Journal.

Twitter: @RealChrisRufo

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Beijing suffocates Hong Kong’s loudest voice for liberty

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Beijing suffocates Hong Kong's loudest voice for liberty

For a brief blip, there was hope that Apple Daily, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy newspaper, would be able to hold out for a bit longer against the Chinese Communist Party. This, despite the fact that the party froze the assets of its jailed owner, Jimmy Lai, under a draconian new “national-security” law.

This month, even after authorities tagged Lai’s 71 percent majority stake in Next Digital, Apple Daily’s publisher, the media company said it had sufficient funding to continue operations for at least 16 months.

Following a June 26 board meeting, however, it’s likely the paper will soon cease publication for good, according to Lai’s right-hand man and adviser Mark Simon. “It’s essentially a matter of days,” Simon told Reuters.

The ChiComs’ financial vise-grip worked. Vendors trying to deposit money into the company’s bank accounts have been rejected. And another high-up source told Reuters that the freezing of the company’s assets — sans trial or due process, naturally — has made it virtually impossible to pay wages or electricity bills.

Lai always knew things might turn out this way. When the mainland Communists and their local henchmen first attempted to pass a Hong Kong national-security law back in 2003, Lai told Simon, “If they can close Apple and Next, they will.”

“My boss Jimmy Lai has never had any illusions about the Chinese Communist Party,” Simon tells me. “Over the years, we have had hundreds of conversations about the CCP killing off Apple Daily. He said he would be there to the end. He’s in jail, so he is good for his word.”

Now that the CCP has seemingly “taken care of” its biggest enemy in the territory, Lai, it has moved to target the rest of Apple Daily, including other journalists and executives. And no wonder: Like their boss, and despite the risk of arrest and imprisonment, Apple employees have gone on shining a light into the ugly face of tyranny.

And so: On June 17, 500 police officers raided the newspaper’s offices and arrested the company’s chief executive officer, Cheung Kim-hung; chief operating officer, Royston Chow; chief editor, Ryan Law; associate publisher, Chan Pui-man; and the platform director of Apple Daily Digital, Cheung Chi-wai.

All have been arrested under the national-security law — which prohibits “collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security” — and denied bail.

Following the arrests, Secretary for Security John Lee gave a chilling news conference, warning Hong Kongers, “If you stand with these suspects, you will pay a hefty price. You should cut ties with the suspects, or you’ll regret it very much.”

Let that seep in: If you stand for a free press and personal liberties, you will pay the consequences.

Lee added: “The suspects have been arrested on strong evidence that they’re conspiring to endanger national security. It is your choice whether you regard them as part of you . . . [or] go about your journalistic work lawfully and properly.” 

That is a threat to foreign journalists, too. If what Apple Daily does amounts to nefarious “collusion,” all Western newspapers and journalists need to be on notice.

But we still have a job to do: While Beijing squelches the truth and imprisons its tellers, we get to stand in for them. “Jimmy made it clear since 2019, we publish until they stop us by force,” Simon told me. “But no martyrs. As Jimmy said, ‘History and our souls tell us that freedom always wins. You have to be around to make that win happen.’”

While Lai and his Apple colleagues sit behind bars, it’s up to those of us in the free West to use our freedoms to speak out for them.

Elisha Maldonado is a member of The Post editorial board and a senior fellow for the Independent Women’s Forum.

Twitter: @ElishaMaldonado

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Opinion

Broadway stages finally set to sing

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Broadway stages finally set to sing

Broadway is opening up. So, now, me, too, I am opening up.

I am telling you that no guests will be allowed backstage. Nobody — unless they’re part of the performance. No pals, no anybody.

Tony winner “Hadestown,” early reopener, starts Sept. 2. It will require no rejiggering of roles due to baby-sitting the aftereffects of COVID. However, the extended time of at-home in-house eating means there will be altering or remaking costumes. With the possible forgetting of lines or space or props, even shows that have long showed are redoing tech rehearsals.

In the wings, eager to open in London before bringing it here, is Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical “Cinderella.” With that city not in great shape pandemic-wise, its government has withheld the OK to reopen theaters. Weary of waiting, His Lordship has informed these informees that he doesn’t give a fig what they say.

Bending ever so much, word comes down, 50 percent of seats is OK. His Lordship — still aggravated. Wants to fight, but can’t risk his cast and staff, so the show must finally go on. Previews bowing Friday.


He’s got ‘Soul’

Ahmir Khalib Thompson, a k a Questlove, just released an old film that is now a new documentary. Its original footage was born in 1969. Over six weeks. It was Woodstock. In Harlem. In what was then Mount Morris Park, now Marcus Garvey. On it: Mahalia Jackson, the 5th Dimension, B.B. King, Gladys Knight, Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder. It was an all-black concert and unseen until now. Title “Summer of Soul” and shot on prehistoric videotape.

“Those 40 hours of footage were kept from the public,” Quest says. “Blacks were always a creative force in our culture. Those efforts often got dismissed. I want to see that doesn’t happen anymore.”


Rainbow Brits

NYC’s British Consulate General will celebrate LGBTQ Pride this weekend in a pop-up. They say it will utilize local businesses, out-of-work designers and artists and return vibrancy to New York streets.

Hosting is Brit tavern Dog & Bone, 338 Third Ave. No RSVP or reservations required. They encourage colorful outfits and bringing family and friends for special drinks and “a very British food menu.”

Sounds great except for the British food menu. Like Spotted Dick and Toad in the Hole? Lotsa luck.


She’s a lucky duck

“The Birthday Cake” with Lorraine BraccoEwan McGregorVal Kilmer, Paul Sorvino is mobbed up, family secrets and a slice of cake. And so Bracco was billeted in Memphis’ Peabody hotel, which is famous for its lobby fountain because this is where the Peabody ducks live. Morning and night they march to and from the hotel roof. Naturally they take the elevator. And then they get plopped into the now immortal lobby fountain. She says: “I stole all the duck soaps for my grandchildren. At least I know they’ll be clean.” To see “The Birthday Cake,” quack! It’s streaming.


Fearful leaders

Forget Donald. Zapping ex-leaders is now a hotter game than Monopoly. Start with 1587’s Queen of Scots. Try NetanyahuSarkozy, Iran’s shah, Serbia’s Milosevic, Egypt’s Morsi, Pakistan’s Zardari, Myanmar (Burma) whose top gal got arrested. Check whereabouts of those who ran Tunisia, Algeria, Congo, Mali, Libya, Niger, Ethiopia, Mauritania, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Burundi, Yemen.

And when you get a few minutes, give a look at Albany.


Helpful hint for parents hunting a last-minute graduation gift for their beloved child. Compile an informative booklet about that onetime high-priced Hollywood madam titled: “How To Work Out of Your Home.”

Only not in New York, kids, only not in New York. 

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