When “You’re Fired” Backfires

In a move that’s drawn inevitable comparisons to Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre, Attorney General Bill Barr issued a press release after 9 pm on Friday night, announcing the replacement of the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. “…I thank Geoffrey Berman, who is stepping down after two-and-a-half years of service as United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.”

In a surreal turn of events, an hour later, Berman released this statement:

This exchange is understandably rocking Washington. There is a lot going on in this story. Let me try to break it down for you:

First, you need to understand Attorney General Bill Barr. He is a man who has consistently used his power as head of the Justice Department to protect the president’s political interests and to shield him and his associates from legal consequences. Examples:

The widely-held belief among Republicans that the Mueller report totally exonerated Trump comes not from the actual report, but from AG Barr’s letter to Congress, summarizing the not-yet-released report. Based on Barr’s letter, media reported that the investigation found no collusion and no obstruction of justice, when in fact, the report found considerable links between the Trump campaign and Russia, and strongly suggested the president had obstructed justice. But it was too late. The narrative had been established by the AG, and for millions of Americans, it remains unalterable fact. But in March of this year, a federal judge—a George W Bush appointee—excoriated Barr for his handling of the Mueller report. Barr’s inconsistencies, the judge writes, “cause the Court to seriously question whether Attorney General Barr made a calculated attempt to influence public discourse about the Mueller Report in favor of President Trump.” The judge concurred with Special Counsel Mueller that “Attorney General Barr distorted the findings in the Mueller Report.”

Federal prosecutors recommended a sentence of 7-9 years for Roger Stone, a Trump associate who lied to Congress about his contacts with Wikileaks during the 2016 election. The president tweeted angrily about the unfairness of such a sentence for his longtime ally, and the very next day, the DOJ undermined the prosecutors by filing a revised recommendation, asking for far less prison time for Stone. Four prosecutors quit the case, and one of them resigned entirely. Over 1,000 alumni of the Justice Department signed a letter calling on Barr to resign over this incident, saying, “Governments that use the enormous power of law enforcement to punish their enemies and reward their allies are not constitutional republics; they are autocracies.”

In May, in a stunning about-face, Barr’s DOJ moved to drop charges against Michael Flynn, Trump’s first National Security Advisor. Flynn had already twice admitted under oath that he had lied to the FBI about his contacts with Russia. Faced with this unprecedented request, Judge Sullivan selected a former judge, John Gleeson, to weigh in. After reviewing the case, Gleeson blasted Barr and the DOJ, calling their claims “preposterous” and accusing them of “gross abuse of prosecutorial power.” He called the request “an unconvincing effort to disguise as legitimate a decision to dismiss that is based solely on the fact that Flynn is a political ally of President Trump.”

That’s who Bill Barr is. That’s who lied to you and me about Berman stepping down. So, the obvious question is: why? Why does Barr (read: Trump) want to be rid of US Attorney Berman? Planning to replace him, by the way, with Jay Clayton, Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, who has never been a prosecutor?

We can’t know for sure, but I have a few guesses.

First let’s talk about how Berman got the job. In November of 2016, US Attorney Preet Bharara had been in charge of the SDNY for seven years. He was asked by the president-elect to stay on in the position, and he agreed. On March 8, an ethics watchdog group sent him a letter, urging him to investigate Trump for potential violations of the Emoluments Clause—financial conflicts of interest due to his business ventures in foreign countries. Three days later, Trump fired him.

I can’t say conclusively that the events are linked, but it’s a fact that they occurred, and on that timeline.

In January of 2018, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions appointed Geoff Berman as interim US Attorney for the SDNY. Berman was a Republican—a Trump donor—and his appointment was opposed by Senate Democrats. US Attorneys are supposed to be chosen by the president and confirmed by the Senate. But Trump left several US Attorney positions—including the SDNY—unfilled for so long that in Berman’s case, federal judges took advantage of a seldom-used power to make Berman’s position permanent, one week before his 120-day term was set to end. As explained in this 2018 article, under federal law, Berman is to serve as US Attorney until Trump nominates and the Senate confirms his replacement.

Which would seem to indicate that Barr does not have the power to force Berman out, as he does with most US Attorneys. This sets up an explosive battle between the DOJ (the executive branch) and the Southern District of New York.

But again, the question is: why does he want to force him out and replace him with a man who has never served as a prosecutor?

Why make a move like this, which is sure to draw scrutiny?

Again, all I have are guesses. Much like Trump’s tax returns, I have to assume that whatever he’s hiding is worse than the heat he’ll take for hiding it.

Berman’s SDNY prosecuted Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to eight felony counts and was sentenced to three years in prison. In court, while pleading for leniency, Cohen told the judge, “My weakness could be characterized as a blind loyalty to Donald Trump.”

Berman’s SDNY is conducting an ongoing investigation of Trump’s personal attorney and longtime ally, Rudy Giuliani. It has already brought charges against Giuliani’s associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who were involved in the Ukraine scandal that led to Trump’s impeachment.

It’s been reported that the SDNY is investigating Deutsche Bank for suspected money laundering. Deutsche Bank has long been reported to have loaned billions of dollars to Trump companies.

After the death of Jeffrey Epstein, Berman affirmed that the SDNY would continue its sex-trafficking investigation into the conduct charged in his indictment. Donald Trump’s (and Bill Clinton’s) connections to Jeffrey Epstein are well-known.

Read Berman’s statement again. He twice emphasizes that his investigations will continue. Reading between the lines, the investigations are what he’s trying to protect, and Barr is trying to stop.

No one knows yet who will win this standoff. But it’s a safe bet that the pattern of Trump and Barr subverting justice will continue until they no longer have power to do so.

UPDATE: I wrote this article on Saturday the 20th. Since then, Barr wrote a public reply to Berman, telling him, “Because you have declared that you have no intention of resigning, I have asked the President to remove you as of today, and he has done so.” (Apparently, though the AG does not have the power to remove a US Attorney appointed by judges, the president does.) However, when asked why he’s firing Berman, the president said it’s all up to Barr, and denied any involvement.

Berman, therefore, probably could have fought his ouster longer, but he has decided to leave immediately, and there seems to be one reason why. In Barr’s original press release, he said that Berman’s interim successor would be Craig Carpenito, current USA for New Jersey. With Berman being fired rather than stepping down, now his interim replacement must be his own Deputy US Attorney, Audrey Strauss. Berman says of Strauss, “She is the smartest, most principled, and effective lawyer with whom I have ever had the privilege of working.”

The House Judiciary Committee has opened an investigation of this matter.

In Defense of Rioters

By now we all know what happened: a white police officer knelt on the neck of a black man, George Floyd, for minutes on end while George begged for air and a watching crowd pleaded for his life. Eventually, George stopped moving. He stopped begging for air. They called for an ambulance, but the officer didn’t take his knee off of George’s neck until the medics arrived. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

The next day, this is how a police spokesman described the event to reporters: “Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and officers noticed that the man was going into medical distress.”

Here are some things you may not know. Knee-on-the-neck restraint is banned by several major police departments because of the high risk of injury. Minneapolis only allows it when the suspect is resisting arrest, which, based on the video we’ve all seen, George was not.

The officer who killed George Floyd, Derek Chauvin, had 18 prior complaints filed against him. Eighteen. Of those, two were “closed with discipline.” The discipline he received? Letters of reprimand. One of the other officers was the subject of an excessive force lawsuit in 2017 which the city settled. The lawsuit alleged that two officers had punched, kicked, and kneed the plaintiff in the face and body while he was handcuffed and defenseless.

Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd in the street, on camera, in front of witnesses. He was fired, but as I write this five days later, he is still a free man. I’m no law expert, but I have to wonder: if his actions which killed a man were so clearly wrong that he could be quickly fired, why hasn’t he been arrested? The mayor of Minneapolis has asked the same question, but Chauvin is still walking around free.

On Tuesday night, hundreds of protestors marched to the police precinct to demand justice for George Floyd—whose killer, I will remind you, was a free man more than 24 hours later. Some protestors damaged windows and a squad car, and sprayed graffiti on the building. The department responded by sending a line of police in riot gear to shoot tear gas and rubber bullets at them.

“So far, I have been unable to prevent the police from firing indiscriminately into the crowd,” city council member Jeremiah Ellison said. “Moments ago, I held a towel to a teenage girl’s head as blood poured from it.”

Since then, the riots have worsened and spread, with many fires set and businesses looted. Let me say here for the record that I don’t condone looting, nor damaging private property. It’s counterproductive, violates the rights of private citizens, and gives ammunition to those who would prefer for police to never be held accountable.


What else do we expect?

I noticed this paradox in conservatives several years ago. Yes, we believe in law and order, but first and foremost we believe in limited government and individual liberty. We passionately defend the second amendment, not because we believe we have a sacred right to hunt, and not even primarily to defend ourselves against individuals trying to harm us. We have always believed that the founders intended our right to bear arms to protect us from an oppressive or tyrannical government—indeed, this right was meant to keep the government from ever becoming oppressive or tyrannical. We believe our government should have a healthy fear of angering us. That’s why citizens showed up like this at Michigan’s capitol to protest lockdowns they see as infringing on their liberty:

Conservatives care deeply about keeping the government limited, and preserving individual liberty.

Yet when government power is wearing blue, many of them seem to think it should be unlimited.

What greater expansion of government power can there be than the power to kill American citizens with impunity? What greater infringement of individual liberty can there be than being killed in the street by one’s own government, deprived of any due process?

When American colonists got fed up with their government infringing on their freedoms, they destroyed state property. They vandalized stores. They formed militias. They rioted. They fought back.

Most conservatives I know don’t have a problem with any of that. They’re big fans, actually.

But based on what I’m seeing now, many of today’s conservatives have a bigger problem with frustrated and infuriated citizens fighting back in the only ways they feel they can than with agents of the state getting away with murdering citizens in the street.

Fellow conservatives: let me suggest we reevaluate our priorities.

If we don’t want to see riots, if we don’t want citizens to resort to violence and property damage in defense of their rights to life and liberty, we should demand that our government do better. We must demand our police do better. We must hold them to a high standard and stop making excuses for the bad ones in order to protect the good ones. Otherwise, what do we expect? How long do we expect American citizens to passively accept government oppression?

An officer of the state deprived George Floyd of due process, deprived him of dignity, and deprived him of his most foundational right as a human being: his right to life. The state did not hold their officer accountable, so George Floyd’s fellow citizens burned that police precinct to the ground.

What could be more American than that?

A Super-Duper Summary of the Past Few Weeks in Trumpworld

“I call it the ‘super-duper missile.'” -President Donald Trump

It sounds like cruel satire, but that is an actual quote from the sitting president about new hypersonic missiles now in development. And while it’s a childish thing to say, and an easy target for mockery, it’s by far the tamest of his criticism-worthy moves lately.

I lost count long ago of the times Donald Trump did something stupid or cruel or corrupt and I chose to bite my tongue and not mention it publicly. Politics is divisive and off-putting to many people, and I don’t want to alienate every friend and relative who supports him. But the sheer, breathtaking scope and magnitude of his stupidity and cruelty and corruption cannot—must not—be ignored. That’s one of the main reasons I started this blog.

And the election is coming.

Even if I could survive without food and sleep, and had no other responsibilities, it would be impossible to write a full article every time he does something to debase the presidency. There are only 24 hours in a day. But today I will catalog some of the most recent examples. I hope you’ll keep them in mind as November approaches.

Tax returns:

Candidate Trump told us over and over that he would release his tax returns as soon as his audit was finished. Once he won the election, his tune changed, and four years later, he is the first president since Richard Nixon to refuse to release them. He has refused even though his records have been subpoenaed by New York state prosecutors and the House of Representatives, and even though a judge has ordered him to turn them over. His legal team has fought all the way to the Supreme Court to keep Congress from seeing his tax returns, arguing that a president should be fully immune to investigation while in office. As one of the several judges who has ruled against him wrote, this argument is “repugnant to the nation’s governmental structure and constitutional values.”

Firing Inspectors General who displease him or investigate his favorites:

After Watergate, Congress created the role of Inspectors General as independent watchdogs, installed in federal agencies to root out corruption, waste, and lawbreaking. In the past twenty years, just one president, Barack Obama, has fired an Inspector General. He received bipartisan criticism for it, and never did it again. Donald Trump has fired five Inspectors General in six weeks. He usually does it on Friday nights, a favorite move of politicians who want to avoid media coverage. And he is replacing the fired Inspectors with loyal political allies, some of whom still hold their jobs within the agencies they are supposed to be investigating. It has been too much even for Senator Chuck Grassley (R), who wrote a letter to the President reminding him that he is required to give Congress 30 days notice before removing an IG (he didn’t) and that “Inspectors General are not removed for political reasons.” Mitt Romney was more direct:

Accusing states of trying to rig the election:

In October 2016, polls looked bad for Trump. Most people (myself included) thought he would lose. He preemptively threw out reasons for why he might lose: the election was rigged; it was rigged by the media; it was rigged by the Democrats; there was massive voter fraud taking place. Now, in 2020, polls are looking worse for him than they did in 2016, even in swing states, and once again he is making wild and false accusations, already laying the groundwork for his excuses should he lose. He falsely tweeted that Michigan was illegally mailing millions of ballots. He later deleted it, since they in fact mailed applications, just like several Republican states have done. He also tweeted his oft-repeated claim that mail-in voting results in massive fraud—which is also false. He publicly threatened to withhold federal funding from Michigan and Nevada unless they caved to his demands about how to run their own elections. A quid pro quo, if you will.

More not cruel satire, but actual quotes from the sitting president:

On coronavirus testing per capita: “There’s many per capitas. And, you know, when you say ‘per capita,’ there’s many per capitas. It’s, like, per capita relative to what?”

On testing negative for coronavirus: “I tested very positively in another sense so — this morning. Yeah. I tested positively toward negative, right. So, I tested perfectly this morning. Meaning I tested negative. But that’s a way of saying it. Positively toward the negative.”

These from the man who says of Joe Biden: “He’s not mentally sharp enough to be president,” and “He was never known as a smart person.”

Knife in the back of the first Senator to endorse him:

Jeff Sessions (R, Alabama) was the first Senator to endorse Candidate Trump. Trump made him Attorney General. Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation after bipartisan Congressional demand that he do so. Trump has never forgiven him for this perceived betrayal, and now that Sessions is again running for an Alabama Senate seat, the president is chucking him directly under the bus.

The two proceeded to have a public Twitter spat.

There’s more, if you care to see it. But the greatest part of this kerfluffle was the reaction from Ann Coulter, the right wing immigration hawk who was an early and outspoken supporter of Candidate Trump, and who literally wrote a book called “In Trump We Trust.”

She was not having any of it, and I think it’s safe to say she has soured on Trump.

If only there had been a group of conservatives around in 2016 to warn Ann and others that Trump was unfit for office. Sigh.

Accusing his critic of murder:

Joe Scarborough, former Republican member of Congress and current co-host of Morning Joe on MSNBC, has been critical of Donald Trump, and their public catfights are nothing new. But now Trump has taken their feud to a level almost too demented to be believed. He has now repeatedly tweeted a debunked conspiracy theory accusing Scarborough of having an affair with and then murdering his aide, Lori Klausutis. She was only 28 when she died in 2001 of an undiagnosed heart condition, but the president urged his 80 million Twitter followers to “Read story!”

This “story” was published by the same right-wing misinformation site that claimed Hillary Clinton was involved in a child sex ring operating out of a DC pizza restaurant.

Here, the President of the United States retweets Matt Couch, who is currently facing a lawsuit for defamation from the family of Seth Rich, a DNC staffer whose tragic murder was twisted into a conspiracy theory. This theory was relentlessly pushed by Couch as well as Sean Hannity of FOX, and the Washington Times, both of which were eventually forced to issue embarrassing retractions—but not before they had made the lives of Rich’s grieving family hell.

Lori Klausutis’s widower sent a wrenching letter to Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, pleading with him to delete the president’s tweets. “These conspiracy theorists,” he says, “including most recently the President of the United States, continue to spread their bile and misinformation on your platform disparaging the memory of my wife and our marriage.” He goes on: “I’m asking you to intervene in this instance because the President of the United States has taken something that does not belong to him—the memory of my dead wife—and perverted it for perceived political gain.” (Dorsey declined.)

The president is condemning another grieving family to be hounded and tormented by his credulous followers. It is irresponsible and cruel beyond belief, bordering on sociopathic.

Calling female opponents fat and ugly and skanks:

This is nothing new. We’ve known for a long time now how Donald Trump enjoys talking about his opponents, and especially how he likes to mock women’s looks. But I refuse to become accustomed to a president behaving this way. I would be grieved to my soul if my son grew up to act this way; I’d be ashamed to show my face in public. Behavior like this debases the office and humiliates our nation. Don’t accept it. Don’t get used to it.

Praising a Nazi sympathizer for having “good bloodlines”:

Last week in Detroit, during a speech at a Ford plant, after mentioning Henry Ford, the president commented, “good bloodlines, good bloodlines.” That comment, when describing anything other than show dogs or thoroughbreds, is inadvisable at best. But when directed at a man who was a raging antisemite, who proudly accepted the highest honor Nazi Germany gave to foreigners, it’s pretty horrifying.

There are two possible explanations here: the president knows all about Henry Ford’s record of antisemitism and affinity for Nazism, and was tossing red meat to the similarly-aligned extremist segment of his base (possible but unlikely). Or, he knows nothing about Ford’s history and simply made a cringey statement that was only coincidentally horrifying due to his ignorance (likely). Neither is reassuring in a president.

Giving shout-outs to white supremacists:

Michelle Malkin, once a respected conservative commentator, has been shunned by the right now that she has aligned herself with Holocaust deniers and outright white supremacists. She defends the “groypers,” a loathsome group led by Nick Fuentes, who grins in one of his YouTube videos while doubting whether 6 million “cookies” could have really been baked in ovens. She actually called herself the “mother of groypers.” She’s no longer invited to CPAC, the Young America’s Foundation kicked her out, and Daily Wire and National Review dropped her column. But she says things the president likes, so she’s okay by him. He retweeted a video from America First (Nick Fuentes’s organization) featuring a speech by Malkin, and wrote “Thank you, Michelle!”

The video was later removed by Twitter.

I had several more to add, but this article has to end at some point. A couple of these stories, like the firing of the Inspectors General and the accusations against Joe Scarborough, deserve thorough articles of their own, but there is simply too much to cover. None of these is from before April, and most are from this past week. And this is not unique. It’s been going on like this, week after week, for three and a half years. A constant tidal wave of stupidity, ignorance, cruelty, and corruption.

I was a Republican my entire life, until Trump happened. I’m still a conservative. That’s why I’m writing about this. There must be a viable alternative to the Democratic party in order for America to have a healthy, balanced system of governance, and it absolutely must be better than this.

Donald Trump is morally, intellectually, and temperamentally unfit for office, and he has to go.

Plandemic: An Article Outlining the Shoddy (yet remarkably successful) Plan to Take Control of your Critical Thinking

Right now, as you read this, a battle is being waged against an invisible enemy. Not COVID-19, oh no. Those tents set up in Central Park, you think those were for treating coronavirus patients? You poor, blind sheep. Can you handle the truth? It’s all a cover. The quarantine is a cover for a secret rescue operation. The ground beneath Central Park is filled with tunnels where Hillary Clinton and other satanic Democrats have been keeping children as sex slaves, harvesting their adrenal glands, and occasionally feasting on their flesh.

But don’t despair! Our great President, Donald J. Trump, last month gave the order for patriots in our military to rescue the mole children. (Tragically, after being kept underground for most of their lives, some of them are now deformed.) They stormed the tunnels and brought those children out into safety, treating them in the tents and then transferring them to the ships in the harbor under cover of darkness and quarantine. You may have heard stories of earthquakes around that time? Ha. More cover stories. Explosions. They were blowing those tunnels to hell.

What? You don’t believe me? You want to know what evidence I have? I’m so glad you asked!

My source is a government insider with top security clearance. They go by “Q” online to protect their anonymity.

You’ve heard that QAnon is a crazy conspiracy theory? Well of course you have! That’s what they want you to think.

You want to see evidence of a mole child who’s been rescued from the tunnels? The evidence is Q’s word for it, and photos of soldiers setting up pack-n-plays in a tent. Trump can’t let too much proof of this leak out just yet; he’s got a lot more Satan-worshipping pedophiles to track down in preparation for The Storm. (The day he finally has them mass arrested and sent to Guantanamo.) Plus, there are tents. There’s a quarantine. At the same time. What more evidence do you need?

You say I can’t prove there were child sex slaves in tunnels under Central Park? Oh yeah? Why don’t you prove there weren’t child sex slaves in tunnels under Central Park? Were you there? Have you been inside the tents at night? Have you tunneled under the ground in Central Park to see for yourself? Didn’t think so. You can’t prove they weren’t there.

Honestly, I feel sorry for you. Your eyes haven’t been opened yet. You’re not connecting the dots. You’re just following all the other sheeple blindly along.

Okay, that’s enough of that. The above illustration is a real thing that real people really believe. Tens of thousands of them believe it. QAnon is a conspiracy theory that claims that a cabal of liberal Hollywood stars, Democrat politicians, and high-ranking government officials are running an international child sex-trafficking ring, and Donald Trump is secretly taking them down behind the scenes. Now when you see photos of Trump rallies with people wearing or holding up the letter “Q,” you’ll know why. I share this with you because while QAnon is one of the most fringe examples, there are a lot of conspiracy theories out there right now, especially on the far right, and they’re gaining a concerning amount of popularity.

The current President first rose to political prominence due to his pushing of a conspiracy theory: that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. Since then, he has repeated debunked antivax claims that vaccines cause autism as late as 2015. He repeated a National Enquirer story insinuating that Ted Cruz’s father helped Lee Harvey Oswald assassinate JFK. He believed so much in the totally baseless conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, hacked DNC emails that it helped lead to his impeachment. He has repeatedly retweeted accounts with QAnon in their bios, and even tweets with QAnon hashtags, lending legitimacy to the movement and cementing their belief that he is with them, that he is allowing this secret information out a little at a time, to those with the wisdom to see.

Add in a constant drumbeat of “Journalists are the Enemy of the People,” “IMPEACHMENT HOAX!” and vague “Deep State” accusations, and it’s not surprising that widespread acceptance of conspiracy theories is growing on the far right.

What is surprising is how acceptance of conspiracy theories—and inability to recognize conspiracy theories—is growing in the middle, far from the fringes. This week, as many of you know, a “documentary” called Plandemic went viral on Facebook and other platforms. I personally saw dozens of my FB friends share the video, and scores of comments ranging from “Big if true,” to “I knew it!”

At first I ignored it, because the subtitle alone could not have shouted “conspiracy theory” any louder.

But so many people posted it, I decided I ought to watch so I could form my own opinion. Only a few minutes in, I couldn’t understand why so many people were sharing the video uncritically. Judy Mikovits, PhD, star of the movie, claims she was arrested, dragged from her home in shackles, and held without charges, all wrongfully, all because she’d written a breakthrough paper that was later stolen from her by colleagues. She claims, straight-faced, that she has no Constitutional rights. I kept expecting, any second, for the filmmakers to produce evidence to back up her claims. A photograph, a document, witnesses. They never did. We were obviously meant to accept her word as gospel truth.

The entire movie went on that way. One woman’s claims, a few anecdotes, and some YouTube videos whose makers were never even identified. That was the sum total of the “evidence” of a sinister global plot to take over our lives.

The rest of the day, as I watched person after person after person share that video unquestioningly, all I could think was, “Public education has failed us.”

It took me 30 minutes of Googling to learn that Judy Mikovits is a darling of alt-right conspiracy theorists, appearing on the antivax misinformation website, Natural News. The breakthrough paper she touts in Plandemic was withdrawn due to errors, and because it was impossible to replicate (a fatal flaw, which we all learned about in school studying the scientific method). She was fired from her job. (She later filed a suit against her former employer, which the court eventually dismissed when she repeatedly failed to comply with court orders.) She was arrested, and while she claims she was held without charges, a website that tracks “the scientific process” has had an article up since 2011 citing the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department website as listing her being arrested and charged with “a felony violation of California Penal Code section 1551.1,” a “Fugitive from the Law” statute. (It seems she had gone on the run with lab items she’d stolen from her former employer, and which they’d already sued her to recover.) I also learned that the claims of two doctors featured prominently in the “documentary,” that we shouldn’t wear masks and should immediately end the lockdowns, have already been thoroughly debunked by the American College of Emergency Physicians, the American Academy of Emergency Medicine, an epidemiologist from UC Irvine, a biologist from the University of Washington, and other ER doctors.

This woman and this film are plainly untrustworthy.

And yet, the video spread like a virus.

Confirmation bias is one heck of a drug. We are all susceptible to it. I know I am—though since I’ve been in the wilderness, I think it has been easier to withstand. Yourbias.is puts it frankly: “We are primed to see and agree with ideas that fit our preconceptions, and to ignore and dismiss information that conflicts with them.” If you think the lockdowns have gone on too long, if you think the WHO has bungled the response to this virus, if you don’t trust the government, if you think there’s corruption in Big Pharma—all of which are rational beliefs to hold—you’re primed to agree with a “documentary” that confirms your beliefs. You may just watch it, nodding your head, saying “This all rings true,” and hit share, never noticing that there wasn’t an ounce of evidence to back it up. It felt right.

Then, when somebody points out that Ms. Mikovits was fired, you feel defensive. “Of course she was!” you say. “She was a whistleblower!” When they point out that she was arrested: “She was falsely accused! They had to keep her quiet.” When they tell you she’s unreliable and has credibility issues: “Well, it makes sense that there would be negative information about her out there. Powerful people want to make her look bad.”

This is a hallmark of conspiracy theories. They are out to get the truth-tellers, so any evidence countering the truth-tellers’ claims or calling their credibility into question is automatically dismissed. It becomes quite literally impossible to argue against; the claimant becomes bulletproof.

“But if even half of this is true…!” I saw this yesterday. Why would half of it be true? If your source is not credible, if you’ve already caught them in multiple lies, why would you assume any of what they’re telling you is true? And even if it is, how can you possibly determine which half is true and which half is crazy talk?

“Well, it doesn’t mean that every single thing she says is false. Why don’t you refute her claims instead of her?” I saw this, too, and this one is a doozy. On the surface, it sounds reasonable. Until you realize that in order to comply, you’d have to spend days and weeks of your life researching the wide array of accusations she made in that video, everything from patents that Anthony Fauci may or may not hold, to whether Bill Gates’s participation in vaccine development is philanthropic or nefarious, to whether there are beneficial bacteria in the ocean that boost our immune systems when we swim. This is where Brandolini’s Law comes into play (please pardon the French): “The amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it.” Put more colloquially: A lie is halfway around the world before the truth can get its pants on.

I’m not going to spend days and weeks of my life refuting Judy Mikovits’s claims. I shouldn’t have to. She has no credibility. The burden of proof is on her and the filmmakers, and they offered none. Why should I be expected to prove a negative? Why should anyone?

How about this: I’ll prove there’s no global plot to take control of our lives just as soon as you prove there were no child sex slaves imprisoned in tunnels under Central Park.

Please Stop Proving him Right: Part II

Back in November, I wrote about the leftward bias of the news media. I’m writing about it again, because it’s a serious problem that’s stoking our divisions and pushing people toward even less reliable information sources. When the networks we ought to be able to trust for objective news are so obviously not objective, it’s no wonder many Americans are writing them off entirely. I plan to add to this series now and then, in hopes that my liberal readers will gain some appreciation for the complaints of conservatives, as well as the extent of the issue.

See if you can spot the subtle difference in framing by the Associated Press:

Neither headline is factually incorrect. But are they unbiased?

Last week in Georgia, State Senator and Democratic Party Leader Nikema Williams urged Governor Brian Kemp (R) to take action against a 1950s anti-mask law aimed at the KKK. She and others feared the law would be used to racially profile people of color wearing masks in public to protect themselves against COVID-19. Kemp did so, suspending the law. Here’s how a local news organization chose to cover the story:

They’ve since deleted the tweet. But can WGXA now credibly claim to be an objective, trustworthy news source?

You’d think that fashion would be a safely apolitical column to write. You’d be wrong.

As this fashion writer explains, when Hillary Clinton wears all white, it’s “presidential,” and it’s “a hue that’s both soft and strong.” When Melania Trump wears it, it’s racist. Her outfit “could be another reminder that in the G.O.P. white is always right.”

This one is another from 2016, but I include it because it was so egregious, and because it was perpetrated by an especially trusted journalist. America’s sweetheart, Katie Couric, produced a documentary on guns and gun control. In it, she interviews a gun rights group, the Virginia Citizens’ Defense League. She asks them a predictable question: “If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?” They’re stumped! Eight seconds of awkward silence follows, with the gun rights mouthbreathers staring dumbly at her, or looking down at the table.

Except that’s not what happened at all. In the actual interview, they immediately answered her question. Three people responded to her, one after another, for six minutes. No stunned silence. The filmmakers simply edited out their answers, and substituted footage of them sitting quietly from another section of the interview—when they had directed the group to sit quietly. I realize this is from a documentary, not a news program. But this is Katie Couric. She’s been a host on all of the Big Three news networks, and at the time this documentary was being made, she was Yahoo’s Global News Anchor. People trusted her to be impartial. She was not. (I will give quick kudos here to NPR for reporting fairly on this story.)

Unless you’re a news or politics junkie, chances are you haven’t heard the name Tara Reade. But I’m gonna go out on a limb and assume you have heard the name Christine Blasey Ford. They both accused powerful men of sexually assaulting them. Both waited decades to come forward with their stories. Both their accounts suffer from inconsistencies. Both would likely fail the “preponderance of the evidence” standard used in civil court. One of them became a heroine, a household name, and a patron saint of the #MeToo movement. The other can at least prove that she has been in the same room with her accused attacker. Unfortunately for her, she’s accusing a Democrat. She’s being treated just a tiny bit differently.

Let’s play another game of spot the difference:

“Her soft voice cracked as she spoke. She smiled a lot; her attempts to make everyone see how agreeable and reasonable she is were heart-rending. But she was also poised and precise, occasionally speaking as an expert — she’s a psychology professor — as well as a victim. Watching her push through her evident terror was profoundly inspiring.” That’s how the New York Times columnist described Ford’s testimony against Brett Kavanaugh, the conservative-leaning Supreme Court nominee. She’s less generous toward Tara Reade, bringing up Reade’s “bizarre public worship of President Vladimir Putin of Russia,” as if that has anything to do with whether or not she was assaulted, and summarizing the accusation and its fallout as a “strange, sad story.” But the focus of her ire is right wing pundits who’ve been asking why #BelieveAllWomen doesn’t seem to apply to Ms. Reade, and why she hasn’t received the outpouring of support from the left that Ms. Ford enjoyed.

Conservatives, you see, even when they’re not a main character in the story, are always the villains.

True, these are opinion columns. Let’s look at how the real news covered these stories.

In the 19-day period from when the allegations against Kavanaugh went public through the day he was confirmed by the Senate, CNN published close to 700 articles about the story. But CNN waited 24 days before publishing one article about Tara Reade’s allegations against Joe Biden—and it’s not so much about her allegations as about how Democrats are “grappling” with them. It remains the sole article on CNN about Tara Reade’s accusations.

When Julie Swetnick made absurd and defamatory allegations of gang rape against Brett Kavanaugh, which no other witness ever corroborated and which she herself eventually walked back, the New York Times reported on them the same day. When Tara Reade accused Joe Biden of assaulting her, the Times waited 19 days before publishing a story.

But it gets better. A tweet about their late-breaking story included some text from the article:

Amazing. “We found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Biden, beyond the well-documented pattern of behavior that easily qualifies as sexual harassment.”

The Times later deleted the tweet and deleted those words from its article. But wait! There’s more.

The Times published another article, an interview with executive editor, Dean Baquet, explaining why they waited so long to report on Reade’s allegations. When asked why they deleted that sentence, Baquet said, “I think that the campaign thought that the phrasing was awkward and made it look like there were other instances in which he had been accused of sexual misconduct. And that’s not what the sentence was intended to say.”

The campaign thought the phrasing was awkward.

The campaign.


The executive editor of the New York Times just came right out and admitted his paper changed an article about sexual assault allegations against the Democratic Party nominee because the candidate’s campaign didn’t like it.

If the Times doesn’t like being accused of being an arm of the DNC, they should stop acting like one.

We ought to be able to trust mainstream news outlets. Journalists ought to keep their biases out of their reporting.

At the very least, they ought to hide them better than they do.

The King of America

Step into my time machine. We’re going back to 2009, when we were facing the H1N1 flu epidemic. President Obama has declared a national emergency. His measures get pushback from several states. Determined to do whatever is necessary to save lives, during a press conference he explains the extent of his powers: “When somebody is the President of the United States,” he says, “the authority is total. And that’s the way it’s gotta be. It’s total.”

Republicans, predictably, lose their minds. Ted Cruz tells every camera he can find that Obama has apparently never read the Constitution. Chuck Grassley tweets out the full text of the 10th Amendment. Rush Limbaugh spends a full week expounding on the war we fought to rid ourselves of a king. Bill O’Reilly does an explainer on federalism. A Facebook post suggesting the President should retake middle school civics goes viral. Gadsden flags sell out on Amazon. Sean Hannity spontaneously combusts.

I’m sorry; I forgot to mention that this is my “What if Obama had done it?” time machine. I’ve used it a lot since 2016. And it’s the darnedest thing: stuff that would have had Republicans rioting in the streets, incandescent with rage, demanding impeachment if Obama had done it, elicits the gentlest reproaches—or more often, silence–when it comes from Trump.

And to be clear: if President Obama had made that statement, Republicans would have been justified in losing their minds. The idea of one person ruling with absolute power is the most undemocratic, anti-American concept possible. We did fight a war to rid ourselves of a king. It is blatantly unconstitutional. Anyone making that statement does need to retake middle school civics.

Yet Trump did say it.

He’s displayed an authoritarian streak throughout his presidency that is the antithesis of conservatism. But Republicans who have dared to speak out against this most recent example (Rand Paul, Liz Cheney) have not mentioned the President by name. (The threat of retaliatory Presidential tweets looms large over Congressional GOPers.) Most ignored it.

In contrast, when President Obama famously (infamously?) coined the phrase, “I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got a phone,” meaning that he would use executive orders to act alone when Congress was deadlocked, Republicans were not so accommodating. Jeff Sessions called him “The Emperor of the United States.” Ted Cruz quoted Cicero at length on the floor of the Senate: “When is there to be an end of that unbridled audacity of yours, swaggering about as it does now?” Marsha Blackburn called him “King Obama.” Karl Rove said, “We are not a monarchy, we are not an empire where the president sits on some throne in Washington, DC.”

But when President Trump insists—in defiance of the Constitution—that he has the power to shut down and reopen states, that governors can only make decisions with his say-so, that his power as executive “is total,” we get crickets.

A few short years ago, I could never have imagined any President—let alone a Republican—making such a claim. It was unthinkable.

Now, the unthinkable happens on such a regular basis we’ve become numb to it.

We shouldn’t be. Presidents should understand the separation of powers. They should have better than a grade school familiarity with how the federal government works. They should understand their own job. They should never for one second believe their power is total.

Every American, especially conservatives, should feel insulted and threatened by this claim. It’s hard to think of a more dangerous attitude for a President to have.

If you’re a Republican who thinks this is acceptable behavior, I’d be interested to hear your rationale. Please leave a comment, email, or Facebook DM.

If you’re a Republican who thinks this is not acceptable behavior, why not speak up? Why not demand better? If for some reason you’re afraid to speak up, or believe you shouldn’t, why is that? I’d love to hear from you, too.

Billionaires don’t want you to learn this simple trick: Turn $500 million into $327 trillion!

This past Thursday, MSNBC’s Brian Williams and his guest, Mara Gay of the New York Times, discussed this tweet by writer Mekita Rivas:


“It’s an incredible way of putting it,” Williams says.

Yeah, incredible in the true sense of the word.

“It’s true. It’s disturbing,” Gay agrees.

When I first saw this, I asked my seventh grade son, “Hey, Corban, if you had 500 million dollars, and there are 330 million people in America, how much money could you give to each person?” He thought for about six seconds before coming up with pretty close to the correct answer: “About a dollar and a third.”

Yes, if you divide $500 million evenly among 327 million Americans, each of us would get $1.53.

As Corban pointed out once I read him the tweet, everybody could get a million dollars only if there were a total of 500 Americans.

Yet this obvious fact was completely missed, not only by the original tweeter (who writes professionally for well-known publications), but by a New York Times editorial board member, an MSNBC host, and who knows how many others at MSNBC this segment had to get through: graphic designers, writers, producers, etc.

And they weren’t just a little wrong. They were off by 6 orders of magnitude.

(To their credit, all three have admitted their mistake, and the two women have made self-deprecating jokes on Twitter, laughing at themselves.)

But how was a screwup this colossal ever possible in the first place? I know some people are just bad at math—I’m one of them. But even my twelve-year-old kid (who hates math) could manage this one. And these aren’t stupid people. They didn’t get to where they are in their careers by being stupid.

I submit it’s because there’s something deeper than math at work here. It’s their political worldview: that billionaires control bottomless wells of money that could fix everything for everyone if we would just elect politicians with the guts to tax and redistribute it. We could fund all the social welfare programs they desire if billionaires were only forced to pay their fair share. They honestly believe this. And why shouldn’t they? Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and AOC tell them it’s true.

Let me explain how breathtakingly wrong they are.

First, as David French points out, for Michael Bloomberg (or anyone) to give every American a million dollars, they’d need $327 trillion (in cash, not net worth.) That’s about 16 times the entire gross domestic product of the United States. There’s no one that rich in the entire world. In fact, if you combine the current net worth of every billionaire on the planet, you’d still have to multiply that total 37.6 times in order to give every American a million bucks. Heck, $327 trillion is almost 4 times more than the gross world product of the entire planet.

“But wait,” I hear you Bernie and Liz supporters protesting, “nobody is actually talking about giving everybody a million dollars. We just want common sense reforms like single-payer healthcare and student debt forgiveness.”

Okay. Fair enough. Medicare for All has a price tag of $35 trillion over ten years. Before she dropped out of the race, Elizabeth Warren proposed a 6% wealth tax on billionaires to pay for her M4A plan. (Now, a wealth tax would be new to the US, very complex, controversial, and probably unconstitutional. But for the sake of this argument let’s keep things really simple and assume she could tax the net worth of billionaires at 6%.) Her plan would have raised somewhere between $2.3 and $2.7 trillion over ten years. (It would also shrink the economy somewhere between .9 and 2.1%, but that’s beside the point.) Congratulations President Warren, you’ve now paid for, at best, 8 percent of Medicare for All.

My more revolutionary-minded readers may wish to forgo progressive tax systems altogether. Let’s just take it all now. Eat the rich, amirite? Very well, comrades, let’s liquidate every penny those greedy billionaihs have and use it to provide healthcare for all, like the modern-day Robin Hoods we are.

Except…oh. That would pay for 8 and a half percent of Medicare for All. And then it’s gone. No more billionaires left to pay for student loan forgiveness or free college or free child care or the Green New Deal.

Shoot. Well, maybe we can convince all the world’s billionaires to relocate to the US, then we confiscate all their money. Then we could…pay for one quarter of Medicare for All.

What so many on the left today seem not to understand is that while billionaires individually do hold vast wealth, it’s a drop in the ocean compared to the spending machine that is the United States federal government. In 2019, the US took in $3.46 trillion in total tax revenue—that includes income, payroll, and corporate taxes. In other words, even if you doubled all projected individual and corporate federal taxes, it wouldn’t be enough to finance Medicare for All. You can’t come up with that kind of money only by raising taxes on the richest of the rich. It’s impossible. They don’t have enough money. (In Bernie’s defense, at least he is admitting his plan would raise taxes on income over $29,000 for families of four.)

Bernie’s student loan forgiveness plan alone would cost $1.6 trillion—a tiny fraction of the price of M4A, but still over half the net worth of all America’s billionaires combined.

If Americans want to expand social services to include things like universal healthcare, free child care, free college, and the Green New Deal, we can certainly have those conversations. But let’s be honest about the cost. There are 327 million of us. We will all have to pay.

No more of this fantasy about the billionaires paying for it all. Believing that’s possible is making us dumb and jealous, and really, really bad at math.

Democrats shouldn’t feel the Bern

It’s primary season in America. The challenging party is eager to win back the White House. Their frontrunner has no meaningful membership in their party. His candidacy has the support of around 30% of the party’s voters: the populist fringe. The remaining 70% are split among more moderate candidates. The incumbent’s party is going to gift him with a historically unpopular opponent.

So, am I talking about 2020? Or 2016?

Trick question. It’s both.

The similarities between the Trump and Sanders candidacies are obvious, and they ought to make everybody nervous to some extent. If you don’t want Bernie Sanders to be President, remember how Donald Trump won the enthusiastic, almost religious support of a fired-up base, and how the rest of the party, however reluctantly, coalesced around him (and against his uniquely unpopular opponent.) Be afraid. And if you don’t want to see Trump win a second term, remember how he only won his first by the razor thinnest of margins: 78,000 votes in three counties. Think how Bernie’s race so far mirrors Trump’s, and be afraid.

Republicans in some states have been purposefully voting for Bernie in the Democratic primaries because they believe he’ll be the easiest candidate for Trump to beat. I have to agree with their assessment, but not their strategy. Everyone knew Hillary would beat Trump. I knew it. The polls proved it. Until they didn’t.

It’s possible that Bernie could win. We can’t rule it out.

But now I’m going to tell you why it’s very, very unlikely.

Challenging the incumbent during a strong economy and low unemployment is always a difficult endeavor, and one that usually fails. Beating the incumbent during a strong economy and record low unemployment while insisting that the economy is actually bad? And promising radical, untested changes to that economy? That’s an extremely risky strategy.

Gallup’s Mood of the Nation poll found last month that a record high 90% of Americans are satisfied with their personal lives—the highest rate since the poll began in 1979. The poll also found that Americans’ confidence in the US economy is at a 20-year high. These numbers do not bode well for a candidate who is promising to fundamentally change our economy.

Another liability that will absolutely be hammered by Republicans if Bernie is the nominee: his age and health. If elected, Sanders would be the oldest president in our history. He is 78 years old and suffered a heart attack just last year. After age 80, one in six people suffer from some form of dementia, and the numbers get worse with each additional year. Despite originally saying he’d release his full medical records, after the heart attack he changed his mind. Just like Trump with his tax returns, Bernie has determined that whatever is in those records is worse than the backlash he’ll suffer for hiding them.

Any Democratic nominee will have to flip states that Trump won. There are six states generally considered to be tossups—all of which Trump won in 2016: Arizona, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida. The two with the largest share of electoral votes are Pennsylvania and Florida: states which Sanders is already busy alienating. Bernie wants to ban fracking, which is going to hurt him, possibly fatally, in Pennsylvania. And his past and recent compliments of the Castro regime won’t gain him many supporters among Florida’s large Cuban expat community. Democrats can’t afford to so blithely torpedo their chances in these crucial states.

But his biggest liability is one he’s worn proudly as a label for decades: socialist. I’m not going to debate in this article whether socialism is a good or bad thing, whether democratic socialism has any meaningful differences from the real thing, or whether anyone even knows what they mean anymore when they say “socialism.” That topic needs an article or two of its own—and believe me, they’re coming.

The point is that socialism is a dirty word in America. NPR reported a recent poll that found 58% of Americans have an unfavorable view of socialism. Even among the younger demographic (18-38) which is more tolerant of socialism than any other age bracket, only 38% view it favorably. Another poll from July found that a whopping 76% of Americans say they would not vote for a socialist politician. Of the Democratic respondents, 64% said they wouldn’t vote for a socialist.

In an election in which the challenger needs a united party and absolutely must win over swing voters to have a chance, this label will be an albatross the size of the Soviet Union around his neck.

A lot of NeverTrump conservatives, who want Trumpism to be soundly defeated and rooted out of the GOP, have been hoping for a Democrat they can stomach voting for. They’re watching Bernie rack up delegates, and despairing.

Among Republicans who are realistic about the President’s many flaws and political downsides, there’s a saying that’s been around on social media since 2016: “All Democrats have to do is not be insane. And they can’t do it.”

Democrats, don’t be insane. Don’t nominate Bernie Sanders.

Mitt Romney: from Monster to Messiah

We witnessed something extraordinary yesterday in this age of blind, fevered partisanship. Mitt Romney, once the presidential nominee of the Republican party, voted to convict his party’s leader for abusing his power. He stood alone.

He knew he’d face severe backlash for his decision. “I am aware that there are people in my party and in my state who will strenuously disapprove of my decision, and in some quarters, I will be vehemently denounced. I am sure to hear abuse from the President and his supporters. Does anyone seriously believe I would consent to these consequences other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it of me?”

He was proved right almost immediately, of course. The President made sure to lash out at him while speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast this morning. Donald Trump, Jr. took to Twitter to demand Romney be expelled from the GOP. (Republican Senators quickly dismissed that notion, because it is ridiculous, and not how things work.) Thwarted, Junior then posted an old photo of Mitt Romney in high-waisted jeans, with the caption, “Mom Jeans Because you’re a p****.”

But Romney’s decision has earned him fans as well. Congressional Democrats thanked him for his patriotism and integrity. While Fox News anchors bashed him, celebrities praised him. Stephen Colbert said, “Hearing Mitt Romney take his oath to God seriously was like finding water in the desert.”

Mitt Romney 2020: Man of courage. Man of honor. Worthy of our respect and gratitude.

Now is the time for my Democrat readers to buckle up. We’re going to take a little trip back in time, to 2012.

Back then, Mitt Romney was evil incarnate. The DNC Chairwoman (among many, many other Democrats and willing mouthpieces in the media) called him a racist. Nancy Pelosi cast him as a sexist. Harry Reid, then the Democrat Senate Majority Leader, falsely accused him of not having paid his taxes for almost a decade. He repeated the accusation every time he got the chance, including from the Senate floor. It was a lie; Reid knew it was a lie, but he didn’t care, and he never apologized. In fact, he seemed proud of it. In a CNN interview after the election, when asked about his comments, Reid responded, “Romney didn’t win, did he?” A pro-Obama PAC ran a television ad that accused Mitt Romney of causing a woman’s premature death. The ad earned a “False” rating from Politifact, and four Pinocchios from the Washington Post factchecker. But the damage was done.

And let’s not forget what an irredeemable misogynist he was. The man made sure to vet highly skilled, competent women ahead of time so he could promptly appoint them to positions in his Cabinet were he to be elected. The gall. “Binders full of women.” What a monster.

And foreign policy! Who can forget the zinger President Obama delivered during that debate? “When you were asked, what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said ‘Russia.’ Not Al-Qaeda; you said Russia. And the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back, because, the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.” Ho ho! Good one! What a dummy, thinking Russia would mess with us. What a fool. Everybody had a great laugh at that. Republicans remember.

Mitt Romney was a sexist, misogynist, bigoted rich guy who only cared about the 1% and didn’t pay his taxes and was a feckless idiot on foreign policy. And he probably killed some poor woman with cancer.

Guess what? Mitt Romney hasn’t changed since 2012. He’s the same guy. The same decent man who is doing what he believes is best for this country. The only thing that has changed is which party hates his guts now.

Guess what else? Democrats, you have yourselves to blame for Trump. Because when you take a man as obviously good and honorable as Mitt Romney, and you crucify him as a racist, sexist monster, then no one believes you when a real racist, sexist monster comes along. You’re the Party Who Cried Bigot.

You should feel ashamed of yourselves for how you treated him then. You should apologize. It is right for you to honor him now.

But more importantly: learn from this. Not everyone who disagrees with you on policy is evil. Both parties need to learn this, certainly, but Democrats, there has never been a better time for you to learn it than right now.

Remember Mitt next time. Be better.

Preaching from the Moral Low Ground

Conservative Christians and their leaders took to the internet in droves this week to protest the Super Bowl halftime show put on by Shakira and JLo. Millions of families, they argued, should not have been subjected to crotch shots of an extremely scantily-clad woman, nor to her provocative dancing on a stripper pole. This sexual objectification of women is the antithesis of the message we should be sending our sons and daughters, they said. We should be teaching men to respect women, and women to respect themselves.

Franklin Graham weighed in on Twitter with two tweets: “I don’t expect the world to act like the church, but our country has had a sense of moral decency on prime time TV in order to protect children. We see that disappearing before our eyes. It was demonstrated in tonight‘s @Pepsi#SuperBowl Halftime Show—w/millions of kids watching. This exhibition was Pepsi showing young girls that sexual exploitation of women is okay. With the exploitation of women on the rise worldwide, instead of lowering the standard, we as a society should be raising it. I’m disappointed in @Pepsi and the @NFL.”

Graham, who has been an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump, was inundated with over 20,000 replies and images. Trump on the cover of Playboy. Trump with Stormy Daniels. Melania wearing only a vest that barely covers her breasts. Trump with Jeffrey Epstein. The full, uncensored text from the infamous Access Hollywood tape. Melania topless in bed, smoking a cigarette. Trump’s “You have to treat them like s***” quote, referring to women. Trump with Jeffrey Epstein again. Melania completely naked in bed, being held by another completely naked woman. “You can grab ’em by the p****.” Trump with Epstein yet again. Melania naked, again. And again.

Honestly, what did he expect?

You can’t support a man with a long history of objectifying women and then moralize about the objectification of women. You can’t excuse a man who has sexualized his own daughters and then rail against the sexualization of women by the masses. You can’t defend a man who bragged about walking in on naked teenage girls and then bemoan the exploitation of girls in our nation. You can’t call a woman classy who has repeatedly posed entirely nude and then scold another woman who performs in a far more modest manner.

Well, I suppose you can, but you should be prepared to be called out as a hypocrite.

Middle America has no patience for lectures from Harvey Weinstein-enabling, jetsetting Hollywood multimillionaires about sexism and inequality and carbon footprints. And people who have opposed Donald Trump will not put up with lectures about morality and modesty and honoring women from people who support him.

Another blogger didn’t hold back after seeing reactions to the show on social media: “Franklin Graham and all the Christian Trump supporters who expressed outrage over the halftime show, your outrage means NOTHING, except for the fact that it once again exposes your hypocritical nature and reveals just how much politics has taken a stranglehold on your faith-based world view.”

You may argue that the circumstances are different, that you don’t support his sinful actions, just his policies…It won’t matter. To the world, that just sounds like splitting hairs. Like making excuses. Like a double standard.

Unfortunately, any Christian who has publicly supported this President had better get used to having every vile, immoral thing Donald Trump has done or said thrown back in their faces every time they weigh in on morality, from now until pretty much forever. Fair or not, that’s what’s going to happen. It’s already happening.

If principles can be set aside in pursuit of power, then they weren’t principles to begin with.

Like it or not, that’s how the world sees it.