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The media won’t be happy until moderate Dems OK the filibuster

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The media won't be happy until moderate Dems OK the filibuster

As we speak, there is no bill on the congressional docket that would provide Democrats an excuse to blow up the filibuster — or, as the media might euphemistically refer to it, “reform” or “overhaul” it.

Yet, a casual follower of politics would surely be under the impression that there is a pressing battle unfolding, because the media are incessantly covering the filibuster issue as a way to pressure holdout moderate Democrats to join the left in the efforts to destroy the Senate.

Take Manu Raju at CNN, whose main job it seems is to badger Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema with hypothetical questions about stripping Senate guardrails to allow Democrats to jam through their agenda with a narrow majority. Would you blow them up for a gun bill? Would you blow them up for a voting bill? Would you like it in a house? Would you like it with a mouse? Would you? Could you?

In July 2020, before Democrats had even won their slim Senate majority, Raju was already haranguing Manchin and framing the filibuster — a “stall tactic” — in left-wing terms. To which Manchin emphatically responded, “That’s bulls–t.” And then noted he had opposed a Democratic Party effort to kill the filibuster in 2013 and would do it again. Boy, that seems pretty clear to me.

Not to The New York Times, though, which asked Manchin in January of this year about the filibuster, to which he answered, “I can assure you I will not vote to end the filibuster, because that would break the Senate.”

On March 1, after months of being asked the same question in nearly every interview, Manchin lashed out at reporters: “Jesus Christ, what don’t you understand about ‘never’?” Apparently, that wasn’t clear enough, either.

A few days later, Chuck Todd asked him again. To which Manchin said: “I’m not going to change my mind on the filibuster.” And a few days after that, when he was asked by Politico: “I want to make it very clear to everybody: There’s no way that I would vote to prevent the minority from having input into the process in the Senate. That means protecting the filibuster. It must be a process to get to that 60-vote threshold.”

This week, Raju tweeted: “Just asked Kyrsten Sinema — who refuses to answer questions — whether she’d be open at all to reducing the 60-vote threshold on the filibuster. ‘I love your enthusiasm,’ she said as the elevator doors closed.”

Sinema hasn’t refused to answer questions. Her office stated that she is “against eliminating the filibuster, and she is not open to changing her mind.” What Raju means is that Sinema refuses to answer the way he wants her to.

The media could be asking more meaningful questions, instead of raw advocacy for the progressive wing. Why isn’t Raju demanding Brian Schatz, Tim Kaine, Ed Markey, Michael Bennet, Amy Klobuchar — or any of the numerous other Democrats who signed Susan Collins’ 2018 letter promising to preserve the 60-vote threshold for legislation — explain why they were fine using this supposedly racist relic of Jim Crow hundreds of times in the past few years? Why? Why? Why?

Why, senators, are you pretending that you are facing unprecedented gridlock only two weeks after passing one of the largest pieces of legislation in history? Why? Why? Why?

Hey, Markey, you say that the “filibuster was created so that slave owners could hold power over our government.” Yet, in 2018, you said it was a tool that “recognizes the rights of the minority and makes bipartisan legislation.” Why do you now want to eliminate the minority’s voice? Will you change your mind? Will you? Will you? Will you?

Why doesn’t Raju, Todd or any other high-profile political reporter badger Manchin or Sinema about turning on the Hyde Amendment — which has suddenly been abandoned after 50 years? Manchin, why, after decades, do you believe taxpayers should be forced to fund late-term abortions? Will you change your mind? Huh? Huh? Huh?

Why? Because the entire focus of political media coverage is dictated, framed and articulated in whatever way Democrats deem important right now for partisan gain. At this point it is beyond bias. It’s corrupt.

Of the 10 reporters that Joe Biden called on during his first press conference, three asked about the filibuster — though not a single one had any time for a question about COVID-19 or other pressing issues. After four self-aggrandizing years of pretending to hold the powerful accountable, we are once again reminded that the political press largely exists to obsess over the Democrats’ agenda items.

Twitter: @DavidHarsanyi

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Opinion

NY’s mad criminal ‘reforms’ are now claiming the lives of babies

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NY’s mad criminal ‘reforms’ are now claiming the lives of babies

Let’s start with a truth: Neither the police nor our other criminal-justices institutions are perfect. Their imperfections are worth the attention of those in a position to address them. But that effort must be undertaken without losing sight of another truth: Imperfect though they may be, these institutions are also essential to protecting communities from crime, particularly violent crime.

In recent years, New York leaders have turned their focus almost entirely to reforming the system’s imperfections, and they have lost sight of their public-safety mission. This has constrained the ability of the system to protect the public safety, which has dramatically declined the past year, judging by rising shootings and homicides across the state.

The price is high. Heartrending recent stories involving young children here remind us that, too often, it is the most vulnerable among us who suffer the burden of increased violence.

Take Dior Harris, an 11-month-old baby who had her life snatched from her this week in a drive-by shooting in Syracuse, where homicides are up again so far this year, after a 55 percent spike in 2020. The shooting also wounded two other girls, ages 3 and 8. The police have made an arrest in the case: Chavez R. Ocasio, 23. In addition to murder, he’s been charged with a parole violation, according to The Post.

That he was charged with a parole violation tells us something important: This was someone the system chose to release. Those who make a habit of keeping up with some of the horrific stories of criminal violence in New York and elsewhere know the pattern and its lesson: It’s repeat offenders — often out on bail, probation or parole — who are frequently behind the scourge of violence.

Or consider the story of 10-year-old Ayden Wolfe, who police allege was beaten to death in Gotham by his mother’s boyfriend, Ryan Cato, who was arrested and charged in the child’s murder. Cato, it turned out, had at least one open criminal case (and multiple priors) for a December arrest involving allegations of domestic violence.

Police haven’t yet been able to make an arrest in the shooting of a 12-year-old boy in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, last week. When interviewed by The Post, the boy’s grandmother said of the gun violence in the neighborhood, “It happens all the time.” She added, “Now in this city, it’s kill or be killed.”

Bed-Stuy is where 1-year-old Davell Gardner Jr. was shot and killed last summer while in his stroller at a neighborhood park. Police haven’t been able to make an arrest in that case, either. But a recent gun-trafficking indictment of four men reveals that repeat offenders may have played a role in the neighborhood’s summer violence.

Among those indicted was a New York City MTA worker, 49-year-old Vernal Douglas, who was allegedly heard on wiretaps discussing Gardner’s murder. He seemed to be lamenting the heat the case had brought to his alleged gun-trafficking business. One of Douglas’ codefendants is another 49-year-old, named Montoun Hart, who, according to news reports, narrowly dodged a 1997 murder charge after the judge tossed a confession he had allegedly given while under the influence.

Citing an NYPD spokesperson, Oxygen.com reported that in the years since that case, Hart has racked up a number of arrests involving drugs and firearms.

It’s not just New York, either. In Chicago, Kayden Swann, a 1-year-old boy, was shot in the head on April 6 in what police say was a road-rage incident. Swann was riding in the backseat of a car driven by an acquaintance of his grandmother, Jushawn Brown, who was arrested later that day on felony gun charges but released on bond.

Just outside Houston, in Passadena, Texas, Raymeon Means stands accused of shooting a 6-year-old girl. According to local reports, Means had at least two prior convictions involving children.

While the harms associated with the crime spike many American cities are still experiencing extend to victims of all ages, children are among the least capable of defending themselves and, therefore, among the most vulnerable. Unfortunately, none of these stories seems to have caused policymakers to second-guess their commitment to “reform” for its own sake, leaving us with a troubling question: If the murders and shootings of infants, toddlers, and preteens can’t shame lawmakers into rededicating themselves to safety, what will?

Rafael A. Mangual is a senior fellow and deputy director of legal policy at the Manhattan Institute.

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Opinion

NY Times wants to defund the police — except the one in its lobby

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NY Times wants to defund the police — except the one in its lobby

Last year, The New York Times ran an opinion piece titled “Yes, We Mean Literally Abolish The Police,” as well an editorial claiming “. . . too often in recent months, instead of a balm, the Police Department has become another source of trauma.”

These were an ugly par for the course regarding the Gray Lady’s regular mistreatment of New York’s Finest.

So why is a member of the NYPD patrolling the lobby of the Times’ office building? Isn’t the editorial board worried about this cop inflicting trauma on its workforce?

Scratch an advocate who favors defunding the police and you usually find someone with private armed security. In this case, a company such as The Times writes a check to the NYPD, which pays the officer, minus an administrative fee, to provide protection in full police regalia.

As accustomed as we are these days to rank hypocrisy, this example is particularly dangerous. The New York Times has regularly thrown gasoline on the fire of “defund the police,” suggesting the NYPD is a force for bad. Yet faced with worry that someone might slip through their lobby and into the newsroom, who do they turn to?

At least the Times has finally caught up with the opinion of black and Hispanic communities as far as policing goes. Polling has shown, for example, that huge majorities of black Americans absolutely do not want diminished police presence.

And now we know, no matter what fills the pages of their paper, that the Times doesn’t want that either.

As far as the billowing broadsheet is concerned, we should consider turning our neighborhoods into a cop-free social experiment, while its employees enjoy protection their own building. Stop lecturing us.

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Opinion

Harris’ hopeless ‘root cause’ prescription for the border

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Harris’ hopeless ‘root cause’ prescription for the border

It’s worse than we thought: Vice President Kamala Harris just identified the “root cause” of the surge in illegal migrants at the southern border: climate change.

There’s “the need for economic development” and “a need for resilience around extreme climate” because “severe climate experiences” have been “dampening” agriculture in the Northern Triangle nations where most of the border-crossers come from, she said.

Not a mention of the corrupt governments that prevent economic progress — and are sure to pocket the bulk of any foreign aid meant to develop those economies or make their farms more “resilient.”

Nor did she touch on the gangs that terrorize the common people there, giving them more urgent reason to flee.

Seems like the Biden administration’s strategy isn’t to back more competent leadership and tie aid to real-world results. It will be to pour even more cash into the Green New Deal and throw another billion at bad governments. 

This isn’t an answer, it’s a recipe for burning money.

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