1. Look! Another survey you can’t trust! Lee Drutman, a senior fellow at New America and author of “Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop: The Case for Multiparty Democracy in America,” is co-founder of Fix Our House, a new campaign for proportional representation designed, apparently, to turn the U.S. into Italy. It’s a bad idea, but in a Times op-ed, he argues for six parties, divided according to ideological fault lines. He even has a 20 question survey you can take that places you in or near one of the parties.
Here is how valid that survey is: I was told “You are closest to the Christian Conservative Party.” To be fair to Lee, his survey did place me closer to dead center than to that party, and furthest away from The Progressive Party.
2. Foiled again! President Biden one again had to pull the nomination of an openly radical zealot from a position such an individual has no business being in: David Chipman will not head the ATF. He openly advocated banning many kinds of guns, and has been hostile to the Second Amendment. Before his nomination, Chipman worked as a senior policy adviser at the Giffords Law Center, which announces on its website landing page, “We’re on a mission to save lives from gun violence.” Translation: “We’re on a mission to make it difficult for law-abiding citizens to acquire firearms. Chipman’s exchange with Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) of the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this year should have sealed his fate. Kennedy asked Chipman, “Do you believe in private ownership of assault weapons?” Chipman quickly responded in the affirmative. Kennedy then asked him, “Do you believe in banning assault weapons?” Chipman responded that he does. So Kennedy asked how Chipman would define “assault weapons.” Chipman said that “assault weapons would be something that members of Congress would define.”
“Well, how do you define it?” Kennedy asked. Chipman finally said, “There’s no way I could define an assault weapon.”
Got it. He wants to ban a kind of guns he can’t define, and that could be defined any way the government chooses.
3. Here’s a chilling headline: “Republican Cry ‘Freedom’ While People Die.” The appeal to government power trumping individual liberty in the futile search for safety is at the center of the totalitarian playbook. Of course, this is about vaccine mandates, but once this slippery slope is breached, it could be about anything: mandatory masks, mandatory lockdowns, mandatory remote schooling, mandatory whatever it is our betters think is in the interests of “the greater good.” If the governments, national, state and local, had proven themselves trustworthy and only interested in limited incursions on individual rights, the public might tolerate them for a short period of time. But they have not been trustworthy. Public officials have repeatedly flouted their own rules, raising questions about their validity and motivations. Barack Obama, Mayor Lightfoot, Governor Newsom, Dr. Fauci and many privileged others can defy the masking guidelines they solemnly dictate to their underlings. “Black Lives Matters” rioters can get a pass on large gatherings while churches do not. Republicans cannot be blamed for correctly concluding that these people are neither qualified nor honest enough to allow them to make freedom vs safety trade-offs. No, the government has to persuade the public to waive its rights, and calling them stupid and selfish won’t do it. And if the government has destroyed its credibility by lying, flip-flopping and contradicting itself, it has some work to do.
4. Remember, non-profits are at least as unethical as for profits, and maybe more. I do an ethics program for the Washington-based Non-Profit Tax Conference every year, and will present one again this month. The tendency of “The Saint’s Excuse” to lead charities and other tax-deductible organizations to flout law and ethics because they are “on the side of the angels” has been a constant theme of my seminars. Here’s a typical example, unfortunately:
In a newly filed tax return covering 2020, the Humane Society of the US reveals it has nearly $70 million of charitable donations offshore, mostly in the Caribbean. .HSUS, which is not affiliated with local humane societies also has a budget of $135 million, and in 2020 almost half of that went to fundraising-related expenses. 93 people at HSUS made six-figures in compensation. HSUS CEO Kitty Block made close to $450,000 in salary and benefits. Chief Development Officer John Vranas made over $340,000, and Chief Operating Officer Erin Frackleton also clocked in at over $300,000.
Sadly, this is all too typical of charities. And I took no salary for 20 years so my small professional theater company dedicated to great American plays could stay in the black. My wife said I was an idiot. I guess I was. Am.