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by John Stossel

       "A pioneer devoted to equality."
        That was The Washington Post's headline about Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
        But when Justice Antonin Scalia died, the headline was, "Supreme Court conservative dismayed liberals."
        When the founder of ISIS was killed, the headline was: "Austere religious scholar at helm of Islamic State, dies."
        But when President Donald Trump's brother died, the headline was, "younger brother of President Trump who filed lawsuit against niece, dies."
        At news conferences, Vice President Biden gets softball questions. After an article in The Atlantic claimed Trump called fallen military members "losers," one reporter asked Biden, "What does it tell you about President Trump's soul?"
        "It's not even softball!" complains The Hill's media reporter, Joe Concha. "It's T-ball, except when you put a beach ball on the tee!"
        Trump does get nastier questions.
        What we used to call "mainstream media" is now "woke" media. Many don't even try to be objective. That's the topic of my new video this week.
        Watching CNN during this summer's protests, I noticed that reporters kept calling protests "mostly peaceful," even when reporting violence. CNN posted the words, "Mostly peaceful protests" on the screen when flaming cars were on the street behind their reporter.
        CNN defended itself, citing a study that said "93% of protests were... peaceful."
        But that's silly. When planes crash, we don't put "99% landed safely" on the screen. As Concha puts it, "When people start dying and losing their businesses, that's your story!"
        I push back: "Most people who work there consider themselves journalists. They try to get it right."
        "I don't know if I agree with that, John," Concha replies. "More and more are playing to a crowd."
        CNN once tried to look like a neutral news network. No more. Now it does whatever it can to scare people or make Trump look bad.
        In March, CNN sneered at the president for misleading people by claiming the U.S. did more COVID-19 tests than any other country. They, correctly, pointed out that per capita, "South Korea and Italy tested many times more."
        CNN was right to adjust for population. But then, to make Trump look worse, CNN suddenly stopped adjusting for population.
        They scolded the president, saying, "The U.S. had more coronavirus cases than any country in the world!"
        But that's just wrong! Adjusted for population, 28 countries, including France, England, Ireland and Norway had more cases.
        CNN sneers at Trump all day.
        I asked their spokesperson if CNN considers its reporting objective. No response.
        During the Democratic National Convention, CNN didn't bother fact-checking Democrats' speeches. But during Trump's speech at the Republican Convention, CNN suddenly put up a black ticker tape "fact-check" across the screen.
        Why not fact-check the DNC, too? "There's a reason we didn't fact-check Democrats!" said CNN's Chris Cuomo. "They are not lying the way Trump does."
        But they lie, too.
        Democrats were deceitful enough that the AP and BBC found a need to fact-check.
For example, Michelle Obama complained that under Trump, "children are torn from their families and thrown into cages!" But that border-control policy began under her husband's administration.
        CNN's Van Jones admits that CNN overtly favors Biden, saying after Biden's acceptance speech, "As long as he didn't embarrass himself, we were going to come out here and praise it."
        "Maybe CNN's just being honest," I say to Concha. When I was at ABC, everyone pretended to be apolitical (but nearly all were on the left).
        Concha replies, "CNN's prime-time lineup, Anderson Cooper, Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon, have the title of anchor, not opinion maker."
        Fox at least calls its prime-time anchors "opinion" hosts. News hosts like Chris Wallace and Bret Baier play it pretty straight.
        It's clear that most reporters don't like Trump -- or even Republicans. Last election, 96% of journalists' political donations went to Hillary Clinton.
        Why?
        "Our national media are in two cities, New York and Washington," says Concha. "When you're surrounded by everybody else in a city and newsroom that goes the other way, it's almost impossible not to start to conform."
        John Stossel is author of "Give Me a Break: How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of the Liberal Media." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
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by Walter E. Williams

        The United States Constitution's Article 2, Sec. 2, cl. 2, provides that the president of the United States "shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States." President Donald Trump has nominated Amy Coney Barrett as U.S. Supreme Court justice who will replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Barrett currently serves as United States Circuit judge of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The 7th Circuit serves the Midwestern states of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.
        It is now the Senate's job to decide whether to confirm Barrett's appointment as an associate justice on the Supreme Court. In thinking about the Senate's criteria for making their decision, we might ask what is the role of a U.S. Supreme Court justice? A reasonable answer is to recognize that our Constitution represents our rules of the game. It dictates what is and is not permissible behavior by government and its citizens. Therefore, a Supreme Court justice has one job and one job only; namely, that of a referee.
        A referee's job, whether he is a football referee, baseball umpire or a Supreme Court justice, is to know the rules of the game and to ensure that those rules are evenly applied without bias. Do we want a referee or justice to allow empathy to influence their decisions? Let us answer this question using this year's Super Bowl as an example.
        The San Francisco 49ers have played in seven Super Bowls in their franchise history, winning five times. On the other hand, coming into the 2020 game, the Kansas City Chiefs had not won a Super Bowl title in 50 years. In anyone's book, this is a gross disparity. Should the referees have the empathy to understand what it is like to be a perennial loser, not winning a Super Bowl in five decades? What would you think of a referee whose play calls were guided by empathy or pity? Suppose a referee, in the name of compensatory justice, stringently applied pass interference or roughing the passer violations against the San Francisco 49ers and less stringently against the Chiefs. Would you support a referee who refused to make offensive pass interference calls because he thought it was a silly rule? You would probably remind him that it is the league that makes the rules (football law), not referees.
        Supreme Court justices should be umpires or referees, enforcing neutral rules. Here is a somewhat trivial example of a neutral rule from my youth; let us call it Mom's Rule. On occasion, my sister and I would have lunch in my mother's absence. Either my younger sister or I would have the job of dividing the last piece of cake or pie. Almost always an argument would ensue about the fairness of the cut. Those arguments ended when Mom came up with a rule: Whoever cuts the cake gives the other person the first choice of the piece to take. As if by magic or divine intervention, fairness emerged and arguments ended. No matter who did the cutting, there was an even division.
        This is what our society needs -- the kind of rules whereby you would be OK even if your worst enemy were in charge. Despite the high stakes of bitterly fought football contests, most games end peaceably, and the winners and losers are civil. It is indeed a miracle of sorts that players with conflicting interests can play a game, agree with the outcome and walk away as good sports. That "miracle" is that it is far easier to reach an understanding about the game's rules than the game's outcome. The same conflict-reducing principles should be a part of a civilized society.
        Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
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by Walter E. Williams

    Seventeenth-century poet and intellect John Milton predicted, "When language in common use in any country becomes irregular and depraved, it is followed by their ruin and degradation." Gore Vidal, his 20th-century intellectual successor, elaborated saying: "As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate." Sloppy language permits people to get away with speaking and doing all manner of destructive nonsense without being challenged.
    Let's look at the concept of "white privilege," the notion that white people have benefited in American history relative to, and at the expense of, "people of color." It appears to be utter nonsense to suggest that poor and destitute Appalachian whites have white privilege. How can one tell if a person has white privilege? One imagines that the academic elite, who coined the term, refer to whites of a certain socioeconomic status such as living in the suburbs with the privilege of high-income amenities. But here is a question: Do Nigerians in the U.S. have white privilege? As reported by the New York Post this summer, 17% of all Nigerians in this country hold master's degrees, 4% hold a doctorate and 37% hold a bachelor's degree, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2006 American Community Survey. By contrast, 19% of whites have a bachelor's degree, 8% have master's degrees and 1% have doctorates.
    What about slavery? Colleges teach our young people that the U.S. became rich on the backs of free black labor. That is utter nonsense. Slavery does not have a very good record of producing wealth. Think about it. Slavery was all over the South and outlawed in most of the North. I doubt that anyone would claim that the antebellum South was rich, and the slave-starved North was poor. The truth is just the opposite. In fact, the poorest states and regions of our country were places where slavery flourished: Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, while the richest states and regions were those where slavery was outlawed: Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts.
    Speaking of holding people accountable for slavery, there is no way that Europeans could have captured millions of Africans. They had African and Arab help. There would not have been much black slavery in the U.S., and the western hemisphere in general, without Africans exchanging other Africans to European slave traders at the coast for guns, mirrors, cloths, foreign alcoholic beverages and gold dust. Congressional Democratic lawmakers have called for a commission to study reparations, but I have not heard calls to hold the true perpetrators of American slavery accountable. Should we demand that congressional Democrats haul representatives of Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Muslim states before Congress to condemn them for their role in American slavery and demand they pay reparations?
    Some of the greatest language mischief is related to terms such as racial "disparities," "gaps" and "disproportionality." These terms are taken as signs of injustice that must be corrected. The median income of women is less than that of men. Black and Hispanic students are suspended and expelled at higher rates than white students. There are other race disparities and gaps all over the place. For example, blacks are 13% of the population but 80% of professional basketball players and 66% of professional football players, and on top of that, they're some of the most highly paid players. To be consistent with leftist ideology, those numbers seem to suggest that there is some kind of injustice toward Asian, white and Hispanic basketball and football players. But before we run off thinking that everything is hunky-dory for black players in football, how many times have you seen a black player kick an extra point in professional football?
    What should be done to address these and other gross disparities? How can we make basketball, football, dressage and ice hockey, classical music concert attendance, not to mention incarceration, look more like America? In general, we should ignore disproportionality. There is no evidence, anywhere in the world, suggesting that people sort out in any activity according to their numbers in the general population.
    The best thing that we can do is clean up our language. That will have the added benefit of straightening out our thinking so that we do not permit leftists to get away with making us feel guilty and believing in utter nonsense.
    Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
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by John Stossel

        "Mother Earth is angry!" says Nancy Pelosi in my newest video.
        "The debate is over around climate change!" says California Governor Gavin Newsom, smirking, strangely.
        They're eager to blame climate change for the wildfires in their state. I'm surprised they didn't say it causes COVID-19, too.
        Newsom, ridiculously, says wildfires are another reason to get more electric cars on the road. I wonder if he even knows that electricity for such cars comes from natural gas.
        "This catastrophizing around climate change is just a huge distraction," says environmentalist Michael Shellenberger, author of the new bestseller, "Apocalypse Never,"
        Shellenberger says: "Climate change is real, but it's not the end of the world. It's not our most serious environmental problem."
        California warmed 3 degrees over the past 50 years, but that's not the main cause of California's fires, no matter how often politicians and the media say it is.
        Why do they keep saying it?
        "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail," says Shellenberger. "Every weather event you blame on climate change."
        What actually is to blame, as usual, is stupid government policies.
        Forests are supposed to burn. If there aren't small fires, debris from dead trees and plants accumulate. That provides fuel for big, deadlier fires, that are more likely to burn out of control.
        But for years, governments and environmentalists put out every small fire they could, while also fighting logging.
        Megafires could have been avoided if forests had just been better managed.
        An example is Shaver Lake forest, managed by Southern California Edison. The company thinned that forest, creating fire breaks with selective logging. When the wildfires reached Shaver Lake, they diminished into low intensity "surface fire." That protected the bigger, older trees.
        Forests in America's west were supposed to burn more often, says Shellenberger. "When Europeans came, they reported California being very smoky and on fire during the summers. And Native Americans burned huge amounts of land."
        "So, for the past years, it's been unnaturally un-smoky?" I ask.
        "It's what a lot of forest ecosystems require," answers Shellenberger. "We haven't had enough fires for maybe 100 years."
        But it's hard to convince governments to allow small fires when politicians demand that every fire be put out, and the media call every fire a disaster.
        Recently, wildfire hit the ancient redwoods in Big Basin State Park. Politicians and East Coast environmental reporters worried about the redwoods disappearing.
        But of course, they didn't.
        "Redwood trees and other old growth, the bark is very thick, it's fire-resistant," says Shellenberger.
        The politicians didn't know that. "They're still standing!" giggled an astonished Newsom after the fire passed.
        But "it was exactly what you would expect," says Shellenberger.  "Journalists go, 'Wow. What a surprise! The ancient redwoods didn't burn down!' Nobody's more alienated from the natural environment, and nobody's more apocalyptic than environmental journalists."
        Well, maybe politicians.
        For years, they and environmentalists increased the risk of big fires by opposing the thinning of forests.
        The town of Berry Creek, California, tried to get permits to legally clear their forest. For two years, regulators delayed approval. This year, fire destroyed the town.
        Forest Service ecologist Hugh Safford wishes they would "get away from the tree-hugging mentality. It's the classic 'not seeing the forest for the trees.'"
        This year's wildfires finally persuaded politicians to allow more people to cut trees down.
        "There's actually widespread agreement on this, says Shellenberger. "The governor of California and President Trump recently signed an agreement to clear much more area. Even the Sierra Club, which opposed the thinning of forests, has now changed its tune."
        It's about time.
        Politicians and environmentalists, eager to raise money, cite climate change and blame fossil fuels for problem after problem.
        While climate change is a problem, Shellenberger points out, "the number of deaths from natural disasters declined 90% over the last hundred years. A small change in temperature is not the difference between normalcy and catastrophe."
        John Stossel is author of "Give Me a Break: How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of the Liberal Media." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
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by Walter E. Williams

       Paul Kengor is a professor of political science at Grove City College in Grove City, Pennsylvania. He has just published "The Devil and Karl Marx," a careful look at the diabolical side of Karl Marx. The book has come out during an important time in our history since so many Americans, particularly our youth, have fallen for the seductive siren song of socialism taught to them by the academic elite.
        "The Black Book of Communism," edited by Stephane Courtois details the Marxist-Leninist death toll in the 20th century. Here is the breakdown: USSR, 20 million deaths; China, 65 million; Vietnam, 1 million; North Korea and Cambodia, 2 million each; Eastern Europe, 1 million; and about 3.5 million in Latin America, Africa and Afghanistan. These figures understate those detailed by Professor R.J. Rummel in "Death by Government." He finds that from 1917 until its collapse, the Soviet Union murdered or caused the death of 61 million people, mostly its own citizens. From 1949 to 1976, Communist China's Mao Zedong regime was responsible for the death of as many as 78 million of its own citizens.
        The world's intellectual elite readily focus on Adolph Hitler's murderous atrocities but ignore those of the world's socialists. Mao Zedong has been long admired by academics and leftists across our country. They often marched around singing his praises and waving his little red book, "Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung." President Barack Obama's communications director, Anita Dunn, in her June 2009 commencement address to St. Andrews Episcopal High School at Washington National Cathedral, said Mao was one of her heroes.
        Whether it's the academic community, the media elite, stalwarts of the Democratic Party or organizations such as the NAACP, the National Council of La Raza, Green for All, the Sierra Club and the Children's Defense Fund, there is a great tolerance for the ideas of socialism -- a system that has caused more deaths and human misery than all other systems combined. Today's leftists, socialists and progressives would bristle at the suggestion that their agenda differs little from those of Nazi, Soviet and Maoist mass murderers. Keep in mind that one does not have to be in favor of death camps or wars of conquest to be a tyrant. The only requirement is that one must believe in the primacy of the state over individual rights.
        Kengor highlights another feature of Marx ignored by his followers. This feature of Marxism should be disturbing to Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who said that she and her fellow organizers are "trained Marxists." I wonder whether she shares Marx's views on race. Marx's son-in-law, Paul Lafargue, was viewed as having Negro blood in his veins. Marx denigrated him as "Negillo" and "The Gorilla."
        Marx had similar hate for Jews. He referred to his fellow socialist labor organizer Ferdinand Lasalle as a "greasy Jew," "the little kike," "water polack jew" and "Jewish n----r." In 1844, Marx wrote an essay titled "The Jewish Question" in which he asks, "What is the worldly cult of the Jew?" His answer: "Haggling. What is his worldly god? Money."
        Down through the years, leftists made a moral equivalency between communist/socialist totalitarianism and democracy. W. E. B. Du Bois, writing in the National Guardian (1953) said, "Joseph Stalin was a great man; few other men of the 20th century approach his stature." Walter Duranty called Stalin "the greatest living statesman ... a quiet, unobtrusive man." George Bernard Shaw expressed admiration for Mussolini, Hitler and Stalin. Economist John Kenneth Galbraith visited Mao's China and praised Mao Zedong and the Chinese economic system. Michel Oksenberg, President Jimmy Carter's China expert, complained that "America is doomed to decay until radical, even revolutionary, change fundamentally alters the institutions and values," and urged us to "borrow ideas and solutions" from China.
        Kengor does a yeoman's job of highlighting the evils of Marxism. The question is whether Americans will heed his lesson or fall prey to the false promises and live the horrors of socialism. By the way, while Sweden and Denmark have a large welfare system, they have market economies -- not socialist economies, as some leftists claim.
        Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
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