1. Atticus, Aaron and Alexander. Today, July 11, was a crucial date in history for two great Americans, now in danger of being canceled by the ignorant woke. One cancellee was a real man, Founder Alexander Hamilton; the other is fictional, Atticus Finch. Both have been pronounced wanting in character of late because they did not manage to discern in their eras the full extent of the necessary racial equities Americans have largely come to understand today, with the benefit of decades more of debate and experience than Finch, and with a 250 years advantage over Hamilton.
In Finch’s case, this is his “birthday”: on July 11, 1960, 34-year-old novelist Harper Lee published her first, and except for a rejected “sequel” to “Mockingbird” published later under ethically dubious circumstances, her only, novel. Fortunately for Atticus, the version of the Depression Era small town Alabama lawyer that most Americans know is the film’s, where he is played by Gregory Peck as a pure idealist without any of the alleged flaws—like saying that it is wrong to assume that racists can’t still be good people—that the novel’s Atticus is condemned for today. (The multiple Atticus problem is discussed here.)
While Atticus Finch was “born” on this date, Alexander Hamilton died, perhaps by bravely but naively exhibiting ethical character while at the mercy of a man whose ethics were elusive at best, Aaron Burr, who fatally shot the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury in a duel this day in 1804.
The adversaries met at 7 a.m. at the dueling grounds near Weehawken, New Jersey on the same spot where Hamilton’s son had died defending his father’s honor in 1801. (The concept of karma was apparently unknown in 1804.) According to Hamilton’s “second,” Hamilton deliberately fired his weapon into the air rather than at Burr (Burr’s second claimed that Hamilton fired at Burr and missed) , whereupon Burr, who had the second shot, killed Hamilton by sending a bullet through his stomach into his spine. Hamilton died the next day.
If you think politics are crazy now, consider: Hamilton’s death was the direct result of his publicly attacking and demeaning Burr for years (“I feel it is a religious duty to oppose his career,” he once wrote). Hamilton also was instrumental in blocking Burr from becoming President in the ridiculous election of 1800, when a quirk in the election rules threatened to allow the sociopathic Vice-Presidential candidate to defeat his running mate, Thomas Jefferson.
2. Saying nice things about the President? Is he crazy? Bob Unanue, the president of Goya Foods, a staple in Hispanic-American households (and mine!), went to the White House this week to announce that his company is donating a million cans of garbanzo beans and another million pounds of other food to U.S. food banks as part of the Hispanic Prosperity Initiative. That program was created by an executive order from President Trump, aimed at increasing access to educational and economic opportunities. During the event, Unanue said,
“We’re all truly blessed at the same time to have a leader like President Trump, who is a builder. And so we have an incredible builder. And we pray. We pray for our leadership, our president, and we pray for our country, that we will continue to prosper and to grow.”
Now pro-illegal immigration activists have announced a boycott of Goya Foods, with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Julián Castro, the former Obama HUD secretary, leading the way. Apparently demanding viewpoint conformity from fellow Hispanic-Americans, denying them the right to free expression and thought, is worth destroying a successful Hispanic-owned business. So far, Unanue has refused to back down.
Good for him. And I highly recommend Goya products, especially the garbanzo beans, which are so much better than any of the other brands it’s astounding.
3. Agreeing with the President they devote every edition to trashing? Are they crazy? The New York Times, in my Saturday morning edition, editorializes (on the editorial page, where it belongs),
American children need public schools to reopen in the fall. Reading, writing and arithmetic are not even the half of it. Kids need to learn to compete and to cooperate. They need food and friendships; books and basketball courts; time away from family and a safe place to spend it. Parents need public schools, too. They need help raising their children, and they need to work.
This was obvious, oh, weeks ago, and the President, in his usual meat-axe way, as well as his much-reviled Secretary of Education, has been saying so. Closing the schools was the first step in hamstringing the economy, and keeping kids at home in the fall is irresponsible, much as Democrats think it will help their election prospects.
Good for the Times.
4. Commuting that scumbag Roger Stone’s sentence? Is the President crazy? No, he’s showing some ethical principles, perhaps accidentally, as well as courage. I’m not even going to read the Democratic Party/”resistance”/mainstream media reaction; I could write it down now. “Protecting his cronies! Abuse of power! Undermining the rule of law! Impeachable!” Points:
- Yes, Stone is a lowlife. But he was targeted by the Justice Department as part of the corrupt and partisan attempt to bring down the President in the Mueller investigation. It is fair to say that if he were not a friend and associate of Donald Trump, he would never have been touched. The President feels partially responsible for his plight, and he should.
- Stone is 67, and was sentenced to more than three years in prison for obstructing a dishonest and contrived congressional investigation into Trump’s 2016 campaign.
- After what we have learned about the persecution of Michael Flynn, none of the prosecutions related to the Trump campaign should have any credibility.
- Andrew McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor, laid it out nicely in February:
The first thing to grasp about the Roger Stone sentencing fiasco is that Stone, even accepting the worst plausible gloss on his crimes, is a 67-year-old nonviolent first offender. If the criminal justice “reform” fad were authentic, and not a stratagem of social-justice warriors who have taken Washington’s surfeit of useful idiots for a ride, then we could all agree that the original seven-to-nine-year sentence advocated by prosecutors was too draconian — even if it was, as we shall see, a faithful application of the federal sentencing guidelines as written.
But no. Like criminal justice “reform,” the Stone prosecution is more politics than law enforcement. It was the Mueller probe’s last gasp at pretending there might be something to the Russia-collusion narrative – notwithstanding that, when the “gee, it sure feels like there could be some collusion here” indictment was filed, over a year and a half after special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed, it had long been manifest that there was no Trump-Russia conspiracy.
So, the left has a quandary here: Do they hate Trump more than they love sentencing “reform”? We could have predicted the decision to go with hating Trump, thus fomenting outrage over DOJ’s retraction of its original sentencing recommendation of about nine years’ imprisonment, now slashed to a far more reasonable range of four years or less.
Joe Biden, though it may have been his dementia talking, said last year that no one convicted of non-violent crimes should be jailed. That’s idiotic of course, but worth keeping in mind as you read the Axis of Unethical Conduct blathering about how Trump’s action yesterday is a crime against humanity.
- Stone’s sentence was commuted. He wasn’t pardoned. This gives him the opportunity to appeal without having to do it from prison.
- If the parties are going to criminalize politics, which is what the Democrats have been doing, then the Presidential clemency power will increasingly be used like this, and appropriately–also ethically– so,