Thursday, March 25, 2021

Passover Teaches About American Freedoms

Passover Teaches About American Freedoms
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
March 26, 2021

Jewish communities the world over commence the eight night, eight day celebration and observance of Pesach (Passover) this weekend. While rich with symbolism, this is more than an exercise in symbolism, but a lesson in history, freedom, and perseverance.

The Israelites, having been slaves in Egypt for greater than 400 years, after wandering the wilderness for an elongated period of time, took their freedom for granted and wanted to turn back to the land they knew and the provisions they were guaranteed. But thanks to the guidance and leadership gifted to Moshe (Moses) by G-d, the Israelites persevered, reaching the Promised Land after a 40 year sojourn in that wilderness.

In spite of attempted mutiny, in spite of the Golden Calf, in spite of Moshe losing his temper and smashing the tablets of the Ten Commandments upon seeing that idol, the Israelites persevered.

Always the underdog, almost always outgunned, the Jewish people persevered. David slew Goliath with but a slingshot; the Maccabees, a group of between 800 and 1,000, defeated the Assyrians, 40,000 strong, in 174 BCE (3586).

In 1938, the National Socialists of Germany - the Nazis, enacted the “Weapons Law” imposing gun restrictions against the Jews and other “non-citizens.” Note the use of the word “other,” as naturalized German-Jews were stripped of their citizenship in July 1933, and in September 1935, the remainder of the German Jewish community was denied its last vestiges of its citizenship. In November 1941, the last few rights of those remaining Jews in Germany were stripped from them, as well as declaring all German Jews living abroad no longer citizens of the Reich. 

Unarmed and unable to fight back made the Jewish population easy prey for the Nazis to, at first, destroy property, businesses, homes, and synagogues; arrest Jewish citizens for any or no reason; beat them in the streets; and ultimately deport them by tens and hundreds of thousands forcing them to abandon virtually all their possessions, not to mention the already absconded with dignity that placed them in such precarious circumstances in the first place.

The vast majority of German Jews were secular, blending into German society. The approximate Jewish population in Germany in the 1930s ranged between 505,000 and 850,000 out of an overall German population of between 62 and 67 million - hardly recognizable - 0.013 percent of the population at most. Yet, the continued scapegoats throughout history, the Jews not just of Germany, but the world, were the bane of the existence of Hitler.

With regard to the “Weapons Law,” Hitler wrote, “The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by doing so.”

When we think about Pesach and freedom it is vital to recall the Warsaw Ghetto uprising that occurred from April 19 to May 16, 1943. April 19, 1943 was the eve of Pesach. This was the Nazi’s final efforts to liquidate the Warsaw Ghetto, that heretofore saw more than a quarter million Jews of that ghetto transported to Treblinka and their ultimate slaughter. The ragtag band of several hundred resistance fighters, armed with a pittance of weapons garnered from a precious few anti-Nazi Poles, held off the SS forces fortified with tanks and artillary for nearly a month. More than 50,000 Jews were captured during this uprising and either murdered on the spot or sent to Treblinka to be gassed upon arrival.

Today the State of Israel, founded in 1948, is a reminder of both the failures and the successes of the Jewish people throughout history. How it learned not to live in victimhood, but, as former President Ronald Reagan said, with “Peace through strength.”

Ah, the lessons of history. Fast forward to 2021 and the United States. The leftist progressives are attempting the same coup - disarming the American people in an effort to rule with an iron fist in an authoritarian manner as the so-called cancel culture continues running roughshod over the Constitutional rights of the American people.

How did a couple hundred Jewish freedom fighters keep Hitler’s tanks, artillery, and well trained soldiers at bay for nearly a month? Perseverance, a healthy dose of prayer, and of course, weapons. This is a major reason the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution exists - to protect the citizenry from an overzealous, authoritarian government. The Bill of Rights tells the government what it can’t do, not what the people can do.

Jewish Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter reminded this to the American people, as he wrote in 1946, “We are in danger of forgetting that the Bill of Rights reflects experience with police excesses. It is not only under Nazi rule that police excesses are inimical to freedom. ...History bears testimony that by such disregard are the rights of liberty extinguished, heedlessly at first, then stealthily, and brazenly in the end.”

Consider the brazenness of the current administration in their frightening zealousness to deny the American people the right by which to protect ourselves, thus ultimately turning us into subjects, and no longer a free people. We the people must no longer be complacent toward, and complicit with, a government big enough to give us everything we want, and also powerful enough to deprive us of everything we have - including, but not limited to the First and Second amendments.

We must furtively protect ourselves from this administration and its so-called woke supporters who favor the coming ghettoization of this country on two fronts. On the US-Mexico border where thousands upon thousands of illegal aliens continue invading this country, including thousands of unaccompanied minors putting themselves at risk of rape, slavery, trafficking, and even murder.

On the domestic front, places such as Columbia University are intentionally ghettoizing themselves with at least six segregated graduation ceremonies. By their own choosing, they are reinstituting the same “separate, but equal” that was legalized in the 1896 Supreme Court case Plessy v. Ferguson, then overturned in 1954 by Topeka v. Board of Education. Setting themselves back 125 years, Columbia will have graduation ceremonies labeled Native American, Lavender (LGBTQIA+), African-American, Latinx, Asian, and Lower Income. It is this brand of self-imposed Balkinization that will continue to weaken and destroy the fabric of America.

On this, and every Pesach, as we read in the Haggadah, “All who are hungry, let them come and eat; all who are needy, let them come and celebrate Passover.” As we unite to celebrate Pesach, even if, sadly, via Zoom, we celebrate the spring, a renewal, a rebirth, a renaissance, and even the coming Opening Day of baseball season, in the hopes of maintaining our precious freedoms.

As Ronald Reagan so aptly stated, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”

Wishing one and all a happy, healthy, and meaningful Pesach.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.


Tuesday, January 19, 2021

More Memorials than Inductees at Hall in 2021

More Memorials than Inductees at Hall in 2021
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
January 19, 2021

The 2020 Major League Baseball season, we hardly knew ye. Thanks to the evil Covid, the home plate umpires were not the only ones who donned masks. The 60 game season came and went in an instant, with the Los Angeles Dodgers winning their first World Series since 1988. With the 2020 season in the books, let’s hope 2021 will be a complete 162 game season, attended by at least some fans, and with a return to the traditional rules of the game.

Gone should be seven inning doubleheaders, extra innings beginning with a runner on second base, relief pitchers required to pitch to either three batters or end the inning, circumstances where the home team bats in the tops of innings and a visiting team has the opportunity for the very unusual walk-off. Also, the designated hitter should be dropped from the National League, and quite frankly the American League as well, but that seems like a pipedream. 

Now with the rather active Hot Stove season underway, with no umpires or players on the fields, many of which are blanketed under a bed of smooth, white, crusted snow - silent, slightly more silent than they were during the regular season. Yet while the ballparks enjoy their winter slumber, there is business of the utmost importance emerging from Cooperstown on Tuesday, January 26.

The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) is finalizing their votes to determine who will fill the Hall of Fame Class of 2021. Is this the year for Curt Schilling? How about the likes or Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens - tainted by substance allegations? The only way steroid/HGH-addled balloteers should be admitted to the Hall of Fame is with a paid ticket for admission to the museum.

“We hope the day never comes when known steroid users are voted into the Hall of Fame. They cheated. Steroid users don’t belong here,” wrote late Hall of Famer Joe Morgan in a November 2017 letter to the BBWAA, hoping to influence their Hall votes in 2018. Hopefully Morgan’s letter continues to resonate in 2021 as cheaters such as Bonds and Clemens inch closer to the magic number of 75 percent - enough to grant one admission to the Hall.

The cloud of controversy has been dark and heavy, while initially eliminating some from Hall of Fame contention. Yet in the cases of Bonds and Clemens, the BBWAA voters’ support of Bonds rose from 59.1 percent in 2019 to 60.7 percent in 2020, and Clemens’ totals jumped from 59.5 percent in 2019 to 61 percent in 2020. Fortunately, remaining in low numbers are Sammy Sosa and Manny Ramirez. Sosa’s support moved from 8.5 percent in 2019 to 13.9 percent in 2020, while voting for Ramirez moved from 22.8 percent in 2019 to 28.2 percent in 2020, his fourth year on the ballot. Bonds, Clemens, and Sosa are on the ballot for their penultimate ninth year, and hopefully they will not reach the vaunted 75 percent by 2022.

The voting results are due to be released on Tuesday, January 26. What is not released are the ballots of the voting members of the BBWAA. Those votes should be disclosed to the public. Let the BBWAA voters defend their votes as I defend mine, even if not as a member of the BBWAA.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame has a so-called character clause. “Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contribution to the team(s) on which the player played.” So-called because it has existed since 1945 and more than a fair share of miscreants have found their way to Cooperstown. (https://baseballhall.org/hall-of-famers/bbwaa-rules-for-election)

With voting in mind, were I a privileged member of the BBWAA charged with the task of electing the Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2021, only three former major leaguers would earn my votes - all three, holdovers. Of those three, maybe one will be enshrined on July 25. Candidates must receive at least five percent of the vote in order to remain on the ballot should they not attain 75 percent the previous year.

Curt Schilling could finally reach 75 percent in this, his ninth year on the ballot. Schilling’s stock rose more than nine points from 60.9 percent in 2020, up to 70 percent in 2020. Schilling, bloody sock and all, is a six-time All Star who pitched 20 seasons in the big leagues – three with the Orioles, one with the Astros, eight-plus with the Phillies, three-plus with the Arizona Diamondbacks, then calling it a career with the Boston Red Sox. Schilling tossed 83 complete games, appeared in three World Series, and had three 20-plus win seasons within a four year span at ages 36, 38, and 39. Schilling should have his ticket stamped this summer – was my mistaken prediction the last eight years, and while I believe some members of the BBWAA are holding his politics against him, Schilling still belongs among those earning a plaque in Cooperstown.

Omar Vizquel, was the quintessential shortstop of a generation, having won 11 Gold Glove awards during his 24 year career, second most at that position all time. Vizquel was also the oldest shortstop to win a Gold Glove, having done so at age 39 in 2006. After five years with the Seattle Mariners, Vizquel took his talents to Cleveland continuing to be the defensive gem that will vault him into Cooperstown.

Vizquel was three times an All Star, overshadowed by Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees, who was elected to Cooperstown in a near-unanimous vote in 2020. On the field, Vizquel led the league in Fielding Percentage six times as a shortstop and is the all time leader in Fielding Percentage at .985. Vizquel shares the season record with Cal Ripken, Jr. for committing the fewest errors by a shortstop playing in at least 150 games with a paltry three. Additionally, Vizquel is first all time in double plays turned by a shortstop, third all time in assists at shortstop, and 11th all time in putouts made by a shortstop.

At bat, Vizquel compares rather favorably to Hall of Fame shortstops Ozzie Smith, Luis Aparicio, and Luke Appling. Vizquel hit more home runs than Smith and Appling, trailing Aparicio by only three. Vizquel drove in more runs than Smith and Aparicio, stole more bases than Appling, hit for a higher batting average than Smith and Aparicio, while collecting more hits than all three. This is the fourth year on the ballot for Vizquel, having earned 52.6 percent of the vote in 2020.

In his third year on the ballot, Todd Helton has earned my support. The 17-year MLB veteran played his entire career with the Colorado Rockies (1997-2013) batting .316 in 2,247 games with 2,519 hits, 369 home runs, scoring 1,401 runs, and driving in 1,406 runs. The Knoxville native finished second in the 1998 Rookie of the Year balloting, earning five All Star game selections in consecutive years, from 2000 through 2004. Appearing on MVP ballots in six years, Helton’s breakout season was in 2000, leading the National League in hits with 216 and all of MLB with 59 doubles, 147 RBI and a .372 batting average, yet could only manage a fifth place finish in the MVP race that season. Earning 29.2 percent of the votes in 2020, Helton will more than likely not earn induction this summer.

While it is important to not sully the Baseball Hall of Fame with the likes of Bonds, Clemens, Ramirez, and Sosa, the focus must be on the greats who will be enshrined this July and how they will continue to be the true ambassadors to the community as so many before them have been. Sadly, this is an ever shrinking community. The Class of 2020, Derek Jeter, Marvin Miller, Ted Simmons, and Larry Walker, to be enshrined this July, as Covid “rained out” last summer’s ceremony, raised the total membership to 333, of which, as of March 20, 2020, 82 were living. Sadly, as of January 20, 2021, that number has dwindled to 73. A daunting record seven Hall of Famers passed away in 2020, five within a 42 day period.

Al Kaline, “Mr. Tiger,” who never played a game in the minor leagues, and spent the entirety of his MLB career with Detroit, lived December 19, 1934 to April 6, 2020. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980, Kaline accumulated 3,007 hits, 399 home runs, 1,582 RBI, and scored 1,622 runs during a career that ran from 1953 through 1974. The right fielder earned 10 Gold Glove Awards, was voted into 18 All Star games, and garnered MVP votes in 14 seasons. In 1955, Kaline led the American League with 200 hits and a .340 batting average. Kaline was  particularly effective in the postseason, batting .379 in the 1968 World Series win over the St. Louis Cardinals. In seven games Kaline had 11 hits, cracked two home runs, and drove in eight runs. 

“Tom Terrific, The Franchise,” Tom Seaver, who put the then hapless New York Mets on the map lived November 17, 1944 to August 31, 2020. Seaver pitched 12 of his 20 year career, from 1967 through 1986, with the Mets achieving fame as the ace of the staff recording 311 wins and 205 loses, with a 2.86 ERA and 3,640 strikeouts. Seaver, a US Marine, earned election into the Hall of Fame in 1992, with the then highest percentage of the vote at 98.8 percent. Along the way, Seaver won Rookie of the Year honors in 1967, three Cy Young Awards, selected to 12 All Star games, earned MVP votes in 10 years, and was the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year in 1969. Although he pitched many gems while with the Mets, it was not until Seaver became a member of the Cincinnati Reds that he finally tossed his lone no-hitter, on June 16, 1978 in a 4-0 win against the St. Louis Cardinals, at Riverfront Stadium. Seaver won 20 or more games in five seasons while leading the National League in wins three times and in strikeouts five times.

Lou Brock, the “Rocket,” who retired leading all Major League Baseball with 938 stolen bases, and still ranks number two, lived June 18, 1939 to September 6, 2020. The speedy left fielder played from 1961 through 1979, was selected to six All Star games and entered the Hall of Fame in 1985. In a record 12 consecutive years Brock stole 50 or more bases and stroked 200 or more hits four times, amassing 3,023 hits for his career, batting .293. In 1968 Brock led the National League with 46 doubles, 14 triples, and 62 stolen bases. Brock put up prolific numbers in three World Series, batting .391 in 21 games with 34 hits seven doubles, two triples, four homeruns, 13 RBI, while scoring 16 runs and stealing 14 bases.

Bob “Gibby” Gibson, who pitched with such ferocity he would have thrown at his own mother, or so the myth went. The career St. Louis Cardinal, who played from 1959 through 1975, lived November 9, 1935 to October 2, 2020. Elected to the Hall of Fame in 1981, the right-hander won 251 games and lost 174 with an ERA of 2.91, while striking out 3,117 batters. Gibson won an MVP Award, two Cy Youngs, an impressive nine Gold Gloves, while also being named to nine All Star teams. So dominant was Gibson in 1968 with a miniscule 1.12 ERA, that Major League Baseball lowered the pitcher’s mound from 15 inches to 10 inches after his brilliant season. During the 1968 campaign, Gibson won 22 games while losing an astounding nine - talk about a lack of run support. Gibson led the National League with 13 shutouts and 268 strikeouts, along with the almost invisible ERA, en route to capturing the Gold Glove, Cy Young, and MVP awards that year. Gibson also put up solid postseason numbers, pitching in three World Series, winning seven games, losing but two, with a 1.89 ERA. He started nine games, completed eight, striking out 92 batters in just 81 innings.

Edward Charles “Whitey” Ford a.k.a. The “Chairman of the Board,” lived October 21, 1928 to October 8, 2020. He played the entirety of his career, 1950 through 1967, with the  New York Yankees, earning induction into the Hall of Fame in 1974. Ford won 236 games and lost 106, with an ERA of 2.75. Throughout his career, the southpaw Ford averaged 230 innings pitched per season and was selected to 10 All Star games. He led the American League in wins three times and in ERA twice. Ford posted career highs in 1961 with 25 wins, 283 innings pitched, and 209 strike outs, on his way to winning the Cy Young Award. He followed up his regular season by winning the World Series MVP winning two games, losing none, with a spotless ERA of 0.00. In total Ford won 10 and lost eight in 11 World Series with a 2.71 ERA.

Joe Morgan, “Little Joe,” the “Little General,” lived September 19, 1943 to October 11, 2020. He played the bulk of his 22 year career with the Houston Astros and Cincinnati Reds, which ran from 1963 through 1984. At the time of his death, Morgan had been serving as Vice Chairman of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum Board of Directors. An integral part of the Big Red Machine and a slick fielding second baseman, Morgan won five consecutive Gold Gloves, one each in 1975 and 1976 while winning the National League MVP both years. In those two years Morgan batted .327 and .320, stole 67 and 60 bases, drove in 94 and 111 runs - all career highs. His defensive career at second base continues to hold up, even 34 years after his retirement. Morgan ranks second in games played at the keystone sack, third in assists, fourth in putouts, and sixth in double plays turned. Morgan also successfully worked in the ESPN booth with Jon Miller calling Sunday Night Baseball for a number of years.

Phil “Knucksie” Niekro, who pitched until he was 48, looked every bit the part while still just in his 30s. Niekro lived April 1, 1939 to December 26, 2020. Niekro spent 21 of his 24 years in the majors with the Braves - the first two while the team still played in Milwaukee. The righthander pitched from 1964 through 1987, and was enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 1997. Niekro won 318 games and lost 274, pitching 245 complete games with 3,342 strikeouts in 5,404 innings - fourth all time. The knuckleball will take a pitcher a long way for a long time. He earned five Gold Gloves, votes for the Cy Young five times, and selected to five All Star games. Niekro worked like a veritable horse from 1977 through 1979, during his ages 38-40. In those three seasons, he pitched an average of 335 innings totaling 1,006, 18.6 percent of his career total, with 65 complete games. Niekro won 20 or more games three times, while losing 20 or more twice, including 1979 when he led the National League in both wins and loses, going 21-20, the last pitcher to win and lose 20-plus in the same season.

May their memories be for a Blessing, and may 2021 be a better year for one and all.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN. He has been a Patron-level member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame since 2007.


Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Silencing Trump, Silences Millions

Silencing Trump, Silences Millions
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
January 13, 2021

“A government big enough to give you everything you want, is a government big enough to take away everything you have,” is erroneously oft-attributed to Founding Father, Thomas Jefferson.*

Now, substitute government with big tech, and one can understand the current quagmire the United States has entered. More than understand, the American people should be downright frightened. The far left socialist progressives are using George Orwell’s 1984 as a template and taking it to places Orwell could never have fathomed. 

The far left, which encompasses the so-called mainstream media, the behemoth tech companies, and the incoming Biden administration which includes the already sworn in 117th Congress are marching in lockstep - goose-stepping - past political oppression, past speech suppression, straight to totalitarianism. They are playing a dangerous game and they are playing for keeps, starting with amending all gender specific language to gender neutral language in Congress.

Here’s an example of the insanity before Biden is even sworn in. “(3) In clause 8(c)(3) of rule XXIII, strike ‘father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, first cousin, nephew, niece, husband, wife, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, half sister, grandson, or grand daughter’ and insert ‘parent, child, sibling, parent’s sibling, first cousin, sibling’s child, spouse, parent-in-law, child-in-law, sibling-in-law, stepparent, step child, stepsibling, half-sibling, or grandchild.’” (Wall Street Journal, January 5, 2021) This will only heighten confusion, not decrease it, and is merely the beginning of the insanity. 

President Donald Trump has been unceremoniously stricken from Facebook, Google, Instagram, PayPal, Pintrist, Reddit, Shopify, Snapchat, Spotify, Tik Tok, Twitch, Twitter, and You Tube. What is to prevent any of these companies from cancelling anyone they choose for any reason or no reason? The age in which we live could turn into one reminiscent of Nazi Germany where children were told to spy on their parents and report seditious speech against Hitler to their teachers. Americans could turn their neighbors in to tech companies for spying a Trump bumper sticker on their neighbor’s car, or a Trump sign on their lawn. Those tech companies could just as easily banish any one of us from any of the above or other sites.

And for good measure, Michelle Obama supports the ousting of Trump from his multiple social media accounts and stifling his free speech. “Now is the time for Silicon Valley companies to stop enabling this monstrous behavior - and go even further then they have already by permanently banning this man from their platforms,” Obama said on January 7.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel opposes Trump’s banishment from Twitter, saying, “the right of freedom of opinion is of the utmost importance; it’s not big tech’s job to decide what speech should be blocked.” So, the German Chancellor understands the concept of free speech in the United States better than an American First Lady.

These Silicon Valley oligarchs have foisted draconian measures on the president in a way so frightening as if to tell him, “we dictate to you, and you are nobody.” Silicon Valley next set its sights on Parler, a conservative social media site, and in an act of collusion Amazon, Apple, and Google shut Parler down in a matter of hours.

While Parler has been banished from the internet on baseless accusations of being the site used by people planning the invasion at the Capitol on January 6, in reality, Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube were the hosts of the overwhelming majority of pre-invasion chatter and planning, but they keep chugging merrily along. Parler’s exile, because it caters to a more conservative clientele, is just one of a number of slights to the right. So much for the open forums these behemoth tech companies brag about, and an example of antitrust abuse. Demonstrative of how wrong the ouster of Parler was, US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) supported its removal, but not that of Facebook, Twitter, or You Tube.

“It’s not about holding everyone to account equally… it’s about giving preferential treatment to certain people and taking it out on others. Amazon, Apple, Google, they don’t care. They are using this to squash the first real competitor in this space in so many years. If there’s a cast for antitrust I think this is an example,” said John Matze, Parler CEO on January 11. Parler is subsequently suing Amazon for violating antitrust laws.

“Silencing people, not to mention the President of the United States, is what happens in China, not our country,” said Nikki Haley (R-SC) former governor and United States Ambassador to the United Nations.

According to Twitter’s so-called Civic Integrity Policy, “we want to make it clear today that the accounts of world leaders are not above our policies entirely… We will err on the side of leaving the content up if there is a clear public interest in doing so.”

Such total… hypocrisy. World leaders? Iran’s Ayatollah is still on Twitter. He’s less of a threat to public safety than President Trump? If Amazon, Apple, and Google have the power, and quite frankly the temerity, to take Parler offline, why is the Ayatollah still posting? Or Antifa? And for that matter, why haven’t these three so-called arbiters of internet decency shut down every single site trafficking in child pornography? Seems knocking those filthy animals out would take priority, but no, it’s about sacking millions of conservatives.

Err on the side of leaving content up if there is a clear public interest in doing so? More than 74 million Trump voters and countless other Americans simply supporting free speech is certainly a clear public interest. Clearly a double standard on the part of tyrannical tech.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey still grants Holocaust deniers a platform, yet Trump supporters pose a greater threat to American civilization? While Parler was forcibly going dark, “Hang Mike Pence” was horrifyingly trending on Twitter. In reality, big tech, the media, as well as the liberal left socialist progressives actually believe the conservative movement poses a serious threat to their desires to turn the United States into a socialist country, enjoined with its evil trappings such as  the Green New Deal, Medicare for all, a minimum guaranteed monthly income, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, a return to mandatory Obamacare membership, abortion on demand - full term, citizenship for illegals, continued support of sanctuary cities, a return to the Paris Climate Accords, and a reinstatement of the pathetic Iran deal.

Additionally, Twitter is busy lecturing foreign countries, specifically Uganda, having banned social media on the eve of its elections for president and parliament, scheduled for Thursday, January 14 on the importance of free speech, the importance of access to information, and to deny those, violates basic human rights, and that censoring people’s internet access is immoral. Such utter hypocrisy coming from the same company that has done just that to millions and millions of Americans. 

And as noted above it’s not just behemoth tech working to silence millions of conservatives. Forbes magazine announced it will not hire anyone affiliated or associated with the Trump administration, and it will doggedly pursue and attempt to ruin, financially, any business or company that does hire those linked to the Trump administration. “Forbes magazine’s chief content officer, Randall Lane, warned companies that may consider hiring Kayleigh McEnany, Kellyanne Conway, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and others who worked for the Trump administration. ‘Let it be known to the business world: Hire any of Trump’s fellow fabulists above, and Forbes will assume that everything your company or firm talks about is a lie.’”

“Cancelling anyone associated with President Trump, is not going to unite the country,” said Kelsey Bolar, an analyst with Independence Woman’s Forum. “This is just the latest example of cancel culture and the great purge that we’re seeing come from the left and never-Trump Republicans. This dangerous cancel culture, which wants to ban any American who had the audacity to support President Trump or work in his administration from being able to do something as basic as have a new job,” continued Bolar.

But back up on Capitol Hill, members are seeking to do more than just cancel some of their colleagues from across the aisle. US Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), and Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security called both Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) “domestic terrorists” who should be placed on the No-Fly list for the unimpeachable act of supporting the 10 day emergency audit of the votes in several states during the certification process of the Electoral College. 

Cruz and Hawley have been called insurrectionists, when nothing they did were the acts of insurrectionists. They were simply following their Constitutionally outlined duties and rights as senators. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) called for the pair to resign immediately. Even Joe Biden had the unmitigated audacity to compare Cruz and Hawley to infamous Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. Is this Biden’s brand of unity? Will the more than 74 million Trump supporters also be labeled insurrectionists, domestic terrorists, or Nazis and also be denied air travel, or credit cards, or bank accounts on the way to becoming unpersons?

Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Senate Ethics Committee, sought censure or expulsion of Cruz and Hawley. And digging even lower, US Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) compared Trump to Osama bin Laden - this coming from a member of the House Intelligence Committee, literally in bed with a Chinese spy.

None of this consternation and angst were directed at the Democrats who challenged the results of the presidential elections and thus the certification processes of the Electoral College votes in 1969, 2001, 2005, and most recently in 2017. No one called for anyone’s censuring, expulsion, or resignation, meaning, none of the Republicans balked at the free speech and Constitutional rights of the Democrats in the Senate. Even after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Tweeted that the 2016 presidential election was “hijacked,” there were no repercussions.

Additionally, while also not suffering any punishment, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) encouraged the illegal actions in Minneapolis to continue following the burning down of the Third Precinct police station. “Everyone beware, they’re not going to stop, and they shouldn’t stop,” said Harris, who is slated to be inaugurated Vice President on January 20.

Then there’s the incendiary statement made by Biden, and applauded, not condemned, but applauded by many in the media. When asked if he would like to debate Trump, Biden said he wanted to “take Trump out behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.” When did this become acceptable, to threaten the president of the United States without retribution?

Ridding the internet of those evil, pesky conservatives allows the liberal left, socialists, and progressives to enjoy life in their echo chamber… chamber… chamber. But beware liberals, socialists, and progressives, once the conservatives are gone, they will come for you next once the infighting begins, and inevitably it will. “The cancel culture will come for us all,” said US Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH). This only exacerbates the problem of how free our free speech is, actually.

The diminishing of free speech in the United States is never more glaring than by the chilling words offered by Eugene Robinson, an associate editor with The Washington Post. Robinson actually called for the “reprogramming of Trump supporters,” and that “they are in a cult.”

CNN, in a most dastardly statement, having called for censorship, is working to have FNC removed from the airwaves, in an effort to eliminate its competition as it heads down a path toward totalitarianism. 

And only because it is relevant regarding the ever shrinking freedom of speech, a sham of an impeachment “hearing” was conducted on January 13 - one week prior to the end of Trump’s term. This was the Democrats response to the Capitol invasion of January 6. It really can’t be called a hearing as there was  no actual hearing, no witnesses, a complete lack of due process, no involvement by the Judiciary Committee - a total abuse of power. No matter, as the Democrats achieved their goal, casting enough votes to have President Trump the first president to be impeached twice. There were 232 yea votes, of which 10 came from Republicans, 197 nay votes - all Republicans, and four members not voting. No official word yet, as to a Senate trial.

Clearly there is an erosion of civil liberties in the United States commencing with a shrinking of free speech. Stand up for free speech before it no longer is free or even permitted. Once free speech is curtailed, what will they take next - our right to worship openly? Certainly the pandemic already set that in motion. And that would just be dangerous, toxic, and absolutely unAmerican. 

While the following refers to the deaths of multitudes during the Holocaust, it can also speak of the silenced. This passage is prominently featured in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, of which I am a proud charter member.

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out - because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak for me.” 

--Pastor Martin Niemoller (1892-1984) a German pastor outspoken against the Nazi regime. His Continental manual typewriter, on which this brave pastor typed his sermons, is on display at the museum.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN. 

*US Senator Barry Goldwater used the phrase during his 1964 run for President; and President Gerald Ford uttered it while addressing a joint session of Congress on August 12, 1974.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Chaos Cripples Capitol

Chaos Cripples Capitol
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
January 7, 2021

For the third time in the history of the US Capitol Building invaders disrupted the activities of the House and Senate. It will forever tarnish the legacy of President Donald Trump, and cost one veteran her life.

On August 24, 1814, on the heels of their victory in the Battle of Bladensburg (MD), British soldiers entered Washington, DC, and among the buildings set ablaze, the largely empty Capitol Building was among them. This followed the August 23 burning of the White House, then known as the Presidential Mansion, famously known for First Lady Dolley Madison running through the building saving the portrait of first President George Washington.

One hundred forty years later, on March 1, 1954, four Puerto Rican nationals, three men and one woman, invaded the House chamber, spraying 30 rounds from semi-automatic pistols wounding five Representatives: Alvin Morell Bentley (R-MI), Clifford Davis (D-TN), George Hyde Fallon (D-MD), Ben F. Jensen (R-IA), and Kenneth A. Roberts (D-AL).

The invasion of the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021, perpetrated mostly by supporters of the president, but with evidence of Antifa infiltrators, followed a peaceful rally for Trump at The Ellipse. These miscreants had a goal of disrupting the certification of the Electoral College votes, confirming, officially, the election of Joe Biden (D-DE) President and Kamala Harris (D-CA) Vice President, and as such the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next and from one political party to another.

Following the election of 1800, the nation held its collective breath wondering if there would, for the first time in history, be a peaceful transfer of power from Federalist President John Adams to his Vice President, the Democratic-Republican Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson defeated his longtime rival and sometimes friend Adams 73 Electoral Votes to 65. However, as there were four candidates for president, Adams was the lesser of Jefferson’s problems. In fact, Aaron Burr also garnered 73 Electoral Votes, sending the election to the House for a decision. After not one, not two, but 36 ballots, Jefferson became President-elect. Of note, Adams did not attend Jefferson’s inauguration.

For the first time in 220 years, that there would be a peaceful transfer of power was in doubt. On this date, January 6, the protesters ostensibly stormed the Capitol Building, attempting to breach the closed door to the House chamber. A couple windows would be broken, and sadly, one woman would be shot and killed. Ashli Babbitt of San Diego, a 14-year Air Force veteran and Trump supporter, died at the hands of Capitol police. 
Babbitt tweeted, a day before the “Stop the Steal” rally “Nothing will stop us… they can try and try and try but the storm is here and it is descending upon DC in less than 24 hours… dark to light.” According to several witnesses, Babbitt did absolutely nothing warranting getting shot, nor was she a threat to officers.

The following morning her husband, Aaron Babbitt, spoke with KSWB San Diego. “Joining up with people, like-minded people that also loved their president and their country. And she was voicing her opinion. And she got killed for it.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “Disgraceful scenes in U.S. Congress. The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power.”

In addition to the ruckus going on inside the Capitol Building, created by a few hundred people, outside the building many thousands behaved wildly creating a scene of total chaos reminiscent of downtown Beirut or Kabul, not the capital of the greatest nation on earth “a Republic, if you can keep it,” as Benjamin Franklin said leaving the Constitutional Convention in 1787.

One of the aspects of the certification of the Electoral College votes in a joint session of Congress, is the allowance for legal challenges which include calls for an audit of the voting process in the several states. Such challenges require a letter supported by at least one member of the House and one from the Senate. Several states were called out for such objections - Arizona and Pennsylvania while Nevada and Wisconsin lost their Senator support in light of the violent breach of the Capitol. 

These challenges became necessary, to those bringing them forth, due to accusations of voter fraud, witnesses being removed from the vote counting rooms, votes cast by the deceased, those who moved from that state, and a lack of purging from the voter rolls of those who should no longer be listed. There were also accusations of votes being cast illegally by felons, and by people whose signatures did not match the official registration forms. President Trump had maintained and continued to ascertain the occurrence of such fraud from the time the media declared Biden the winner. Continued rallies and speeches by Trump calling for recounts, the issuance of lawsuits, and calling the election stolen from him played to his base, as they remained loyal to Trump. Perhaps those sentiments and the inability to accept the decisions of the Electoral College led to the riot at the Capitol.

While I believe chicanery ran rampant in the 2020 presidential election, I applaud both Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) for their words and actions. Although Pence and Cruz may have been at loggerheads in those words and actions, both followed the Constitution and should be recognized for that. Loggerheads because “It is my considered judgement that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not,” said Pence, which in turn disappointed Trump who believed Pence could and should unilaterally overturn the voice of the people and the vote of the Electoral College. 
 
Trump tweeted, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!” The truth is, Mr. President, Vice President Pence followed the path exactly as laid out by the Constitution of the United States.
Cruz, on the other hand, challenged the Electoral College votes of several states, as the most vociferous objector, perhaps along with Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO), also among their rights according to the same Constitution.

Because of his outspoken stance regarding the certification of the Electoral College votes, Hawley faced extreme backlash from Antifa or Antifa-like protesters showing up at his home terrorizing his wife and newborn baby - in the dead of night, calling them out, making all sorts of noise even after neighbors called police. Hawley appropriately called the trespassing thugs “scumbags.”

Cruz, Hawley, and the other GOP objector members should not be bullied into standing down, but should represent those 74-plus million Trump voters with increased vigor. However, in light of the devastating actions taken by several hundred domestic terrorists, many having been Trump supporters, but others who have also been identified as Antifa infiltrators, many of the slated objections were rescinded.
 
Yes, domestic terrorism, defined, as per 28CFR (Code of Federal Regulation), as “the unlawful use of force against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.”

I voted for Donald Trump - twice. But where was President Trump? He should have been on national television telling everyone to disperse and go home. These are mostly his supporters who attended a peaceful rally - “Stop the Steal” rally. That was peaceful. Peaceful protests - yes - all day long - that's patriotism. What followed was in no way peaceful. It's sad to say these are mostly hypocritical people who claim to be peaceful protesters, law and order supporters. The vandals, and other criminals, many of whom have been caught on camera breaking windows, scaling the Capitol Building, carrying off a Congressional podium, sitting in the chairs of the Speaker of the House and the Senate president, as well as trespassing in the inner offices of several members of both houses, should not only be arrested, but made to make restitution for destruction of the People's House. These hooligans should not have sunk to the level of BLM and Antifa. They have damaged the reputation of a movement that, heretofore, has been non-violent. And that is not patriotic. 
 
Taking personal offense specifically by the pinhead sitting in the chair of the Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich said “this is the center for freedom for the whole planet.” Gingrich had every right to be offended as he earned the right to sit in that chair having been elected to serve as Speaker of the House twice, from 1995-99 as a Republican Representative from Georgia.
 
It should be noted that the Washington Times reported spotting members of Antifa having infiltrated the mob. Certain hand gestures, tattoos, and modes of dress were their “tells.” Dressing in all black with hoods, tattoos with hammer and sickle were dead giveaways.
 
Regardless of who committed what crimes, these acts were egregious and destruction of government property is punishable with upwards of a 10 year prison sentence. The FBI stepped in asking people to identify those involved in the Capitol chaos, yet their sense of urgency did not seem to reach this level during the summer regarding the arson, looting, rioting, attacking and even the killing of innocent people in places like Kenosha, Minneapolis, New York City, Portland, Seattle, and Washington, DC.
 
I appreciated Biden making comments about the outrageous invasion at the Capitol Building, however, let the record show he too is a hypocrite for not offering the same appropriate condemnation of Antifa and BLM for the aforementioned crimes. Biden said that words of the president can both inspire and incite. His later words, along with those of Harris should definitely be considered inciting. Both Democrats said straight out that were BLM involved in the Capitol melee, they would be treated differently, implying that BLM would receive harsher treatment than that which was meted out on January 6. False. With targets on the backs of white police officers and phone cameras in everyone’s hands, BLM’s criminal behavior has mostly been overlooked. After all, for Exhibits A through E, see the above mentioned cities that fell prey to destruction this past summer. And in DC, especially false; in a city run by a black mayor, black police chief, and a majority black police force.  It’s important to remember, the police did not force Antifa or BLM to do anything. They acted under their own volition. 

More inciting words. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) compared the Capitol protesters to al-Qaeda on 9-11. Such extreme words would unlikely be uttered by Hoyer defining Antifa/BLM activities.  Additionally, the Congressional Democrats blocked a resolution condemning violence this past summer at the hands of Antifa and BLM.

Yet, I again wonder where President Trump was - he enjoys his camera time, and this would be the perfect opportunity to demonstrate real leadership.

“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!” tweeted Trump late in the afternoon, which seemed like an afterthought.

Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) demonstrated false indignation, first accusing Americans of “breaking into that building,” referring to the Capitol Building, which is open to the public. The questions she should have asked is how did so many people get past security or was security asleep at the switch? How did these thugs breach the Capitol perimeter? Bowser, never letting a crisis go to waste, suggested she was more upset about the activities at the Capitol than those perpetrated by Antifa and BLM throughout the summer. She also used her soapbox to beg for DC statehood, which is unconstitutional; but that’s an argument for another column.

The confluence of being bamboozled into believing there was a genuine chance of overturning the November election results, foisted upon Trump supporters by Trump himself, declaring voter fraud at every turn, and the frustration of being in Washington, DC on the day the Electoral College vote was being certified, lit the torch that many figuratively carried to the Capitol Building with their “pitchforks” and anger won out. To be fair, I too believe the Presidential election was rife with fraud.

But is Trump really to blame? This is a man who was ridiculed from the moment he and First Lady Melania traversed the escalator at Trump Towers in 2015. The media has been an unabashed arm of the Democrat Party, not even attempting to hide their biases. Then there’s 2016 Trump opponent Hillary Clinton who called Trump supporters “deplorables.” That went over like a lead balloon. Congressional Democrats called for the impeachment of Trump before he even took the oath of office; and when they finally brought impeachment charges, a party line vote sent it to the Senate for a trial where Trump was ultimately vindicated. Don’t forget the antagonistic and disgraceful display Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) made by publicly tearing up her copy of President Trump’s State of the Union address almost 11 months ago to the day. Media and Democrats constantly denigrating half the country. Constantly being demonized as rubes, white supremacists, Nazis, Nationalists - in a bad way, rednecks, and uneducated eventually takes its toll. Not to mention faux conservatives not supporting their constituencies. 

But make no mistake - Trump did not tell anybody to storm the Capitol Building, nor did he encourage them to do so. That they were able to breach the perimeter of the Capitol also is not the fault of Trump. That security may have been weak, is on Capitol police. Capitol Police Chief and the Sergeant of Arms both resigned with more heads to roll. Biden is right about one thing - there should be an investigation. While I in no way condone or endorse the behavior and actions that occurred inside the Capitol, and all involved should be charged and prosecuted for their various crimes, that it happened is not a total shock. These were not the actions of patriotic Americans, but instead thugs hell bent on destruction, those from Antifa with the goal of destroying Trump’s legacy. To be sure, what unfolded was a frightening scene that would normally be relegated to cable news footage from any number of Third World countries, not the United States, the beacon of Democracy.

All the comparisons to Antifa and BLM are not to defend the actions of the miscreant thugs at the Capitol Building, but instead to shine a bright light on the hypocrisy of those who appropriately called out those miscreant thugs while remaining silent during the summer of violence.

“Trump and I had a hell of a journey, but enough is enough. When it’s over, it’s over. It’s over,” said Lindsey Graham (R-SC), an important Trump ally in the Senate.

Trump later offered another tweet coming from the Twitter account of Dan Scavino, Trump’s Social Media Director, as Trump’s account has been suspended. “Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20.” Clearly that falls under the category of “way too little, way too late.”

My other major concern is the loss of the Senate and the freewheeling radical legislation and maneuvering to be attempted by the progressives, socialists, and liberals. The Green New Deal, court packing, abortion on demand through full term, the rolling back of the Trump tax cuts and new taxes to boot, granting statehood to the District of Columbia - which is unconstitutional, but that won’t stop the progressives, statehood for Puerto Rico, and increased censorship - see the new House rules - the 117th Congress has only been on the job about a week. (Should DC and PR actually become states, aside from the economic burden to be placed on the federal government and our pockets, there will be four Democrat senators in perpetuity, and the Republican Party won’t see the inside of the White House for generations to come, lest ye take the tour.) The time is now to prepare for the 2022 midterms - the GOP MUST come out swinging with strong, solid conservative candidates; not the limp-wristed, genuflecting RINOS occupying far too many Senate and House seats. Honor Trump and revitalize his legacy by winning back the House and Senate in 2022, and then the White House in 2024. Give the voters a clear choice of conservatives who believe in the rule of law, the Constitution, American ideals, the value of life, Capitalism instead of Socialism, Democracy instead of censorship and tyranny, freedom instead of perpetual lockdowns, as well as free speech and religious liberty.
 
I close with one of my favorite quotes from the Gipper himself, former President Ronald Reagan. “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” May  G-d save the Union.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Barrett Deserves Ginsburg Treatment

Barrett Deserves Ginsburg Treatment

Commentary by Sanford D. Horn

October 12, 2020


I seem to recall that during the Obama administration we the people were told “elections have consequences, and at the end of the day, I won,” by Barack Obama himself on January 23, 2009.


Fast forward to November 2016, after the election of President Donald Trump, who said, “funny how words can come back to haunt you.”


Donald John Trump took the oath office of the President of the United States on January 20, 2017 - an oath that mandates fulfilling his duties until noon, January 20, 2021 - a duty that includes the nomination of judges. And while the memory of Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg is still fresh, both the president and the Senate have their jobs to do.


They have jobs to do. That is something the whining Democrats serving on the Senate Judiciary Committee seemed to have forgotten, when they complained about having to do those jobs during the Covid pandemic. The members of the Congress - both houses - are gifted the best medical care our tax dollars can buy for them. They can hold their hearings virtually, as well as in person, which is exactly what committee chairman Lindsay Graham (R-SC) said he would do come Monday morning, October 12. On Sunday he said, “I’m going to work.” (As an aside, should any one of these privileged House or Senate members determine their sensitivities are too dainty to do their jobs, give me a call, I’m happy to step up for the people.)


The Senate Judiciary Committee was tasked with making opening statements on Monday to kick off the confirmation hearings of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a damning harbinger of the week ahead. To a person, the Democrat members of the committee regaled the national audience with emotional outpourings, some almost to the point of tears, about this constituent’s illness, or that constituent’s Covid experience, or the fear of losing Obamacare, or their precious abortions. None of those emotionally grandstanding efforts to curtail the Barrett hearings are relevant. Sure, they are designed to tug at the heartstrings of the voters 22 days before Election Day, while pointing to the evil Republicans across the aisle as hardhearted, robotic Trumpsters doing his bidding.


Most of those Democrats even made accusations that the hearings are illegal, illegitimate, violating the will of the people, and even a way to avoid working on another Covid relief package. Those leading this parade, include, but are  not limited to Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). They, along with their left of center allies need a refresher course in Civics 101. The first lesson is that a Covid relief package is the work of the House, not the Senate.


Fortunately, several Republicans serving on the Judiciary Committee were able to provide such a refresher. Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) literally gave a 10 minute primer on the differences between civics and politics, that he said was geared toward eighth grade students. Both Sasse and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) spoke deftly about the Constitution - that’s that document of importance in such hearings -like confirming a Supreme Court justice. This was a free clinic on Con-Law 101. It’s no wonder liberal attorney and Harvard law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz calls Cruz the best student he even taught. 


Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) used the better portion of their allotted time discussing defending the Constitution as the Originalist that Barrett is, as opposed to the activist judge the Democrats need in order to turn the Supreme Court into a third house of Congress or a super-legislative body. That word super seems to come back to bite the Democrats in the tuchus. How did superdelegates work out for Senator Bernie Sanders (S-VT) during his 2016 failed run for the Democrat nomination?


It seems Senator Harris was most in need of the civics and politics primer, and she’s the Democrat’s nominee for Vice President, which is all the more sad and disturbing. She called the day’s activities an “illegitimate committee process,” that was “defying the will of the people.” 


Wrong on both counts, Senator Harris. Think back on the words of your revered Justice Ginsburg, who said a president serves four years, not three. “There’s nothing in the Constitution that says the president stops being president in his last year,” Ginsburg told the New York Times. There is absolutely nothing illegitimate about the Judiciary Committee taking up the nomination of Judge Barrett. Trump did his job - he appointed a replacement for Ginsburg - in accordance with Article II, Section 2 of the US Constitution. Nor is making this appointment “defying the will of the people.” This is the fourth year of Trump’s term, this is Trump’s nomination, and his victory in 2016 was, the will of the people. I hope Senator Harris paid close attention to Senators Sasse and Cruz, unless she thinks learning something from them is “mansplaining.” This hearing shall and will progress.


On October 31, 2017, Barrett gained appointment to the Seventh Circuit Court by a vote of 55-43 with current Senators Tim Kaine (VA) and Joe Manchin (WV) the only Democrats to vote in the affirmative. Barrett should not be judged any differently three years later, as her body of work remains consistent. Barrett remains equally steadfast in her Catholic faith, which should not be of concern to the Senate as there is no religious test in the United States, nor is there a state religion, as some of the Democrats need be reminded - just check out the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights.


If treated in the manner of the nominations of the late Justice Antonin Scalia by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, and Ginsburg by President Bill Clinton in 1993, Judge Barrett should become Justice Barrett with relative ease. In addition to graduating first in her class at Notre Dame Law School, Barrett earned the American Bar Association’s highest rating of “well qualified.” Scalia won appointment 98-0, including an aye vote from then Senator Joe Biden (D-DE), and Ginsburg secured her seat 96-3, with current Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) voting to confirm. Seems there was a greater level of bipartisan civility then, and it’s a shame there isn’t any now. The contentiousness of the Senate only exacerbates the deeper chasms outside of the body politic - and looking at the major cities in the United States, it’s more than a bit ugly out there. Judge Barrett deserves the Ginsburg treatment.


Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.


Monday, September 21, 2020

Name Ginsburg Replacement to Save the Union

Name Ginsburg Replacement to Save the Union
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
September 21, 2020

Liberals, progressives, Democrats, and Socialists are using sheer emotion and felonious threats against the body politic and innocent American citizens in an effort to bully the President of these United States from completing his Constitutionally granted duties.

In case there is any confusion, and I pray we can all agree that the United States Constitution is the law of the land, Article II, Section 2 states, the President “...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, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law…” [sic]

And hopefully, to amplify that power granted the president via the Constitution, Amendment XX, Section 1 states, “The terms of the President and the Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January… and the terms of their successors shall then begin.” [sic]

While a nation mourns the loss of Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the business of government marches on. With as much fervency as her supporters are arguing in favor of adhering to her supposed last words and request that her successor not be chosen until there is a new president, the Constitution supersedes such grandstanding. It would actually be sad and pathetic if Ginsburg’s last thoughts were political and not familial. If Ginsburg was concerned about retaining the seat for another liberal justice, she should have retired during the first three years of President Obama’s second term.

To be sure, Ginsburg, who died on Friday, September 18, at age 87 having served 27 years on the nation’s High Court, left an indelible mark in earning legions of fans to the point of being a rock star - replete with t-shirts, coloring books for children, even a feature film was produced. While no fan of her judicial decisions, my wife and I saw the movie and it was rather interesting. I appreciated her upbringing in pre-World War II, Depression-era New York. I associated with her having to endure anti-Semitism, and empathized with her having to fight twice as hard for her accomplishments simply due to her gender. For that, I am glad my own daughters, who admired the popularly nicknamed RBG, do not have to fight nearly as hard for their place in the world as young women.

All that being said, there is still a task at hand - a Constitutional responsibility to be carried out by President Donald Trump, regardless of what his detractors think, say, or threaten. There are no liberal or conservative seats on the Supreme Court. There are no black or white seats on the Supreme Court. There are no male or female seats on the Supreme Court. There are no Catholic, Christian, or Jewish seats on the Supreme Court. That a president chooses to replace a justice with a similarly categorized justice is his or her choice. In some cases it just makes sense - strategic political sense to be sure; let’s not sugarcoat it. Yet, I don’t seem to recall the fervor to violently overthrow the Union in 1991 when President George Herbert Walker Bush nominated Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court - replacing a liberal black justice - Thurgood Marshall, with a conservative black justice in Thomas. (Granted, there were other issues with which to contend.)

And of course with fewer than six weeks until Election Day, that Trump will select a woman to replace Ginsburg is a no-brainer. The controversy is two-fold - that she will be a conservative Originalist, and that she will be appointed less than six weeks out from an election. Before Ginsburg’s body was cold the Democrats invoked the name Merrick Garland more often than when he was nominated to the Supreme Court by Obama in 2016 - another election year. The GOP-led Senate declined to give Garland a hearing citing he was appointed by a Democrat president, while in this year’s appointment, a Republican president is nominating to a Republican majority Senate.

President Trump is simply carrying out his duties as laid out by the Constitution - the law of the land in the United States since 1789. There have been a number of presidential election year nominations to the High Court. Most recently, President Franklin Roosevelt, a Democrat, nominated Justice Frank Murphy in 1940; prior to Murphy, in 1932 President Herbert Hoover, a Republican, nominated Justice Benjamin Cardozo, a liberal; and in 1916 President Woodrow Wilson nominated Louis Brandeis, the first Jewish Supreme Court Justice. Even during the lame duck session of 1880, was William Burnham Woods nominated on December 15, by President Rutherford B. Hayes.

As there is no lack of precedent to appoint a Supreme Court justice in a presidential election year, a confirmation can also be accomplished in fewer than six weeks. John Paul Stevens, a 1975 President Gerald Ford nominee was confirmed by the Senate in 19 days. Current Chief Justice John Roberts, a President George W. Bush nominee in 2005, was confirmed in 24 days. The first woman to sit on the Supreme Court, Sandra Day O’ Connor, a 1981 President Ronald Reagan appointee, was confirmed in 33 days, and Ginsburg herself, a 1993 President Bill Clinton nominee, was confirmed in 42 days.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said the GOP has “no right to fill it [the seat].” Perhaps Schumer missed Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School.

Ginsburg herself said in 2016, “there’s no Constitutional impediment at all to the Senate taking up a Supreme Court nomination in an election year.”

Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) objects to a pre-Election Day nomination on the grounds that roughly half the states have already begun voting. That’s a choice those voters made of their own volition. Should a 11th hour surprise or scandal erupt on October 22, will Coons demand those who have already voted have the opportunity to re-vote? That is one of myriad problems with early voting occurring six or seven weeks prior to Election Day. And quite frankly, anyone casting their ballot prior to the first debate (September 29), is probably not sitting on the fence.

That “legal scholar” Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (S-NY) threatened Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying, “he is playing with fire,” and to all her acolytes, “let this moment radicalize you!”

“I’m just doing my Constitutional obligation,” said Trump, who expects to announce his nomination by week’s end. And all but two Republican Senators are on board with Trump making this appointment prior to Election Day. The holdouts are Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Maine’s Susan Collins who is in the battle for her electoral life. Also in tough reelection campaigns are Republican Senators Cory Gardner (CO), Martha McSally (AZ), and Thom Tillis (NC), yet they support Trump making this appointment prior to November 3.

Even the feckless Democrat nominee for president, Joe Biden can’t make up his mind on this issue. In 1992 Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) was against nominating and confirming a new Supreme Court justice. In 2016 Vice President Joe Biden supported the nomination and confirmation of a new justice, and in 2020 candidate Joe Biden has once again reversed himself. So he was for it, before he was against it, before he was for it again?

For those complaining that a Supreme Court nomination will distract Congress from conducting its business pertaining to Covid or Covid-related recovery programs, since when can’t Congress multi-task? While the Senate is taking up the court vacancy, the House of Representatives should be handling the finances, as per their Constitutional duties. Wow, it sure seems the Democrats have a penchant for forgetting what’s in the Constitution. Perhaps that’s why it’s so easy for them to want to ignore, change, or cancel its contents.

Part of the threats coming from Democrats should Trump do his job and appoint Ginsburg’s replacement include impeachment. “We can impeach him every day of the week for anything he does,” said Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in an interview. Seems Pelosi also has forgotten her Constitution. Article II, Section 4 states, “The President… shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” [sic] That kind of chicanery could only help the reelection chances of Trump.

Yet, even fellow Democrat Tim Kaine (VA) sees the impudence in impeachment, calling it “foolish.”

But Representative Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) is attempting to dig up the old playbook of Franklin D. Roosevelt, announcing that if Trump makes his pick in 2020, the Democrats will pack the court in 2021. And they can do that if the Democrats run the table winning the governmental triumvirate of the House, Senate, and White House. The Democrats are likely to retain the House, and the Senate is in their reach. Yet, even Ginsburg objected to court packing in an interview with NPR in 2019. “I think that was a very bad idea when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt tried to pack the court. If anything it would make the court appear partisan,” said Ginsburg.

The Democrats have already promised to wreak catastrophic changes to the Senate. If they can’t win elections legally and fairly, they are committed to an overhaul that would forever change the political landscape in the United States and render most of the Constitution obsolete. This is not hyperbole. Consider the laundry list of damaging changes the Democrats would likely attempt, akin to taking their ball and going home since they don’t like the rules.

The Democrats desperately seek to end the Electoral College, as proscribed by Amendment XII to the Constitution. The United States is a Republic, not a true democracy in that the popular vote is not the deciding factor in a presidential election. Imagine the easy path to the White House the lack of the Electoral College would create for the Democrats if they only had to campaign in Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, Portland, St. Louis, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, DC. Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and virtually every small or rural state would cease to be relevant to the Democrats.

The Democrats want to make Washington, DC a state, with two Democrat senators in perpetuity - again, a clear violation of that pesky Constitution. Then, while rearranging the stars on Old Glory, the Democrats want to add the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico as a state, also with two Democrat senators in perpetuity.

Additionally, the Democrats would attempt to end Senate equality - no longer would each state have two Senators. If that is a goal, they should run for the House of Representatives - the Founding Fathers gave us a bicameral legislature for a reason, as well as compromising on the New Jersey Plan and the Virginia Plan - this coming from the party claiming to support equality.

All of these machinations from court packing to growing the Senate are in support of two goals - keeping a liberal Supreme Court, and keeping their precious abortions from becoming illegal. There is almost, if not actually, an apoplectic sense that the addition of another conservative justice would facilitate the overturning of Roe v. Wade (1973), which should never have been brought before the Supreme Court in the first place. That they are willing to destroy public and private property in the name of murdering the unborn actually makes sense - their total disregard for life and property is mighty transparent. Threats of literally burning down the government and its buildings, of burning down the houses of senators who would allow such a “travesty” to occur, of physically attacking anyone who is pro-life, are not off the table. And thus I find it imperative to remind one and all of AOC’s message to her acolytes, to “let this moment radicalize you.” She is doing her damndest to turn this capitalist republic into a socialist totalitarian state with government control of virtually everything, including our speech.

The Republicans must not demurely kowtow to the Democrats or genuflect to their threats - theirs or their loyal followers. They must demonstrate backbone and stand up to their unhinged opponents who, by virtue of their silence, support arson, looting, rioting, tearing down statues and  monuments, as well as the destruction of private and public property. Practicality should dictate that a high court vacancy leaves the possibility of a four to four tie should there be a repeat of Bush v. Gore (2000). Should that occur, and a winner is not determined by January 2o, 2021, G-d help us, but Pelosi would temporarily become president.

All that remains is the nominating, vetting, and confirming the next Associate Justice to the Supreme Court. Amy Coney Barrett, 48, Barbara Lagoa, 52, Joan Larsen, 51, and Allison Jones Rushing, 38, all with solid conservative bona fides, appear to be the leading candidates to replace Ginsburg.

Barrett currently serves as a judge on the Seventh US Circuit Court of Appeals located in Chicago, earning Senate confirmation 55-43 in 2017. She graduated Rhodes College magna cum laude with a degree in English Literature. Barrett attended Notre Dame Law School on a full scholarship, graduating first in her class, summa cum laude. She clerked for the late Justice Antonin Scalia - both strict Originalists. Barrett and her husband Jesse Barrett, an attorney, have seven children - five biological and two adopted from Haiti.

Lagoa is a Cuban-American whose parents escaped Castro’s Cuba following the 1959 Communist Revolution and was the first Latina to serve on the Florida Supreme Court. She serves as a judge on the Eleventh US Circuit Court of Appeals located in Atlanta, earning Senate confirmation 80-15 this past December. Lagoa is a Constitutionalist believing in judicial restraint. She graduated Florida International University cum laude with a degree in English and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Lagoa graduated Columbia Law School, also Ginsburg’s alma mater. Lagoa and her husband Paul Huck, Jr., an attorney, have three children.

Larsen serves as a judge on the Sixth US Circuit Court of Appeals located in Cincinnati, earning Senate confirmation 60-38 in 2017. She graduated from Northern Iowa University and was first in her law school class at Northwestern University. Like Barrett, Larsen also clerked for Scalia. She and her husband Adam Pritchard, a professor at the University of Michigan School of Law, have two children.

Rushing serves as a judge on the Fourth US Circuit of Appeals located in Richmond, earning Senate confirmation 53-44 in 2019. She graduated from Wake Forest University summa cum laude with a degree in Music and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Rushing graduated from Duke University School of Law having served as Executive Editor of the Duke Law Journal and later clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas. She and her husband Blake Rushing have one child.

As each of the four potential Supreme Court jurists have been vetted and confirmed by the Senate as recently as 2017, there is no logical reason for the confirmation process to take more than a couple of weeks. And a bigger question arises. If a number of Democrat senators have already voted to confirm each of the four aforementioned judges, what has changed for those same Democrats to now vote against these same Trump nominees?

“The people pick the president, and the president picks the justice. That is how this works,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), a one-time rival to Biden for the Democrat nomination. Thanks for that civics lesson, Senator Klobuchar. You’re right, the people did pick the president - Donald Trump in 2016, and win or lose on November 3, his term doesn’t expire until January 20, 2021. Let’s pray that common sense prevails and the voters remember the Trump accomplishments, as well as the frightening prospects a future “Harris-Biden” administration would foist upon the American people.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

9-11 In the Age of Covid

9-11 In the Age of Covid
Commentary  by Sanford D. Horn
September 4, 2020

For the 19th year we will pay homage and respect to the fallen who were murdered by Muslim extremist terrorists on that clear, crisp, Tuesday morning when the screaming airplanes permeated the sunshine, penetrated their steel and glass targets, plunging the world into darkness and chaos. 

The darkness is one from which we have still not yet fully recovered. There is a new brand of chaos under which we are imprisoned, also courtesy of another enemy of the United States - the Communist Party of China, and that chaos is Covid-19 or the Coronavirus.

Normally my 9-11 columns typically tend to stray from politics, as for one brief moment in time the country was united, giving truth to our name - the UNITED States of America. We were united because we had a common enemy - terrorists who hijacked four planes with the purpose of inflicting as much human carnage, physical destruction, and psychological damage to the people and places of these United States.

A brief timeline of the harrowing events of September 11, 2001:

Between 7:59 AM and 8:42 AM four flights take off from Boston’s Logan, Washington’s Dulles, and Newark airports, each headed for Los Angeles except the Newark flight, headed to San Francisco.

8:46 AM: American Airlines flight #11 is flown into #1 World Trade Center - the North Tower - by five Muslim extremist hijackers murdering the 11 crew, 76 passengers and hundreds inside the tower instantly. This is an example of unintended, yet real sacrifice.

9:03 AM: United Airlines flight #175 is flown into #2 World Trade Center - the South Tower - by five Muslim extremist hijackers murdering the nine crew, 51 passengers, and hundreds inside the tower instantly. This is an example of unintended, yet real sacrifice.

9:05 AM: President George W. Bush is alerted to what is now believed to be terrorist attacks. “Terrorism against our nation will not stand,” said Bush.

9:37 AM: American Airlines flight #77 is flown into the Pentagon in Arlington, VA by five Muslim extremist hijackers murdering the six crew, 53 passengers, as well as 125 military and civilian personnel on the ground. This is an example of unintended, yet real sacrifice.

9:59 AM: The South Tower collapses in 10 seconds after burning 56 minutes. More than 800 civilians and first responders are murdered. This is an example of unintended, yet real sacrifice.

10:03 AM: United Airlines flight #93 crashes into a field in Shanksville, PA when passengers and crew storm the cockpit. There are no survivors of the seven crew and 33 passengers due to the murderous plot by the four Muslim extremist hijackers. Flight #93 was 20 minutes from Washington, DC where the White House and/or the Capitol Building were the presumed targets. This is an example of intended sacrifice - heroism, in fact, knowingly sacrificing their lives in an effort to prevent thousands more from perishing should that plane had reached its intended target.

10:15 AM: The damaged section of the Pentagon E-Ring collapses.

10:28 AM: The North Tower collapses after burning 102 minutes. More than 1,600 civilians and first responders are murdered. This is an example of unintended, yet real sacrifice.

5:20 PM: World Trade Center #7 collapses. The 47 story building had already been evacuated and no fatalities are reported.

8:30 PM: President George W. Bush addresses the nation.

Clearly the Muslim-extremist terrorists did not discriminate on September 11, 2001, nor have they done so since in their various formations. All freedom loving people must be vigilant at all times. The international terrorist, the domestic terrorist, and yes, even the politicians who call for the shrinking of the American military, the ceding of borders, and the adoption of socialism must not be allowed to garner or maintain a foothold in the fabric of America or in any elected office, locally, statewide, or federally.

In 2001, the terrorists hated us then as they still do now, for our freedoms and liberty. For our equality amongst people regardless of their race, religion, or creed. Now in 2020, we are being terrorized by the Covid pandemic that has crippled the economy, the educational system, people’s non-Covid related health, and common sense, while China thrives.

This is a pandemic for the ages, the likes of which has not been seen in a century. And it has been particularly political, mostly because there is a presidential election in fewer than eight weeks. Covid is driving the campaigns with as much force, and just as divisive, as the civil unrest that is destroying American city after city across the fruited plain. For the most part, liberal-Democrat governors and mayors seem more than a bit reticent to open their cities and states to commerce and classes, while conservative-Republican leaders were more eager to return to some sense of normalcy. Some of the more recalcitrant liberals have been New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, New Jersey Phil Murphy, California Governor Gavin Newsom, and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Some of the more forward thinking conservatives include Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Florida Governor Ron De Santis, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem - perhaps the boldest of any governor in the nation, not shutting down her state and with positive results. There is a clear divide here, those with elongated shutdowns, stifling economic regrowth, hoping to foster damaging statistics to hurt the president’s reelection chances, and those wishing to do right by their citizens - getting them back to work while still observing distancing with masks.

The continued shut down in New York will adversely affect the annual 9-11 ceremonies at Ground Zero. The six moments of silence and tolling of the bells at their assigned times will occur live on Friday, at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. Reading the names of the victims of the terrorist attacks will not be conducted live. Instead a recording of prior years’ readings will be a woefully unacceptable substitute.

Masks and distancing can be observed for those who wish to participate and/or attend the ceremonies were they to be held as per usual. Name readers could easily be six feet apart or more at Memorial Plaza. Those who wish to attend for those readings could be admitted for each individual letter of the alphabet corresponding with a victim’s last name, with an entrance at one end of the plaza and an exit at the opposite end. I imagine few people would want to travel from out of town to attend this year and fewer still would attend due to their concern over Covid. It’s an outdoor event where distancing can be observed and masks worn.

The museum is currently closed, but will reopen on September 11 for victims’ families. It will reopen to the public on Saturday, September 12 with masks and distancing observed on both dates and forward. 

Even more incredulous, is the cancelation of the Tribute in Light - the illumination in the New York City skyline of the Twin Towers. The first such tribute was shone on March 11, 2002 - twin beams of spotlights high into the sky - visible for miles - representing the fallen towers. That tribute ran until April 14 of that year, located a block from Ground Zero, where workers continued removing rubble and carefully sifting through it in search of victims’ remains.

Disjointed ceremonies to be sure, courtesy of the Chinese Communist Party and their “gift” of Covid-19 on the 19th anniversary of the worst terrorist attacks in American history. Regardless, we must never forget those who were murdered on that fateful day - black, brown, red, white, yellow, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, male, female, gay, straight. All were victims - terrorists don’t discriminate, they exterminate. On September 11, and on every day, remember the freedoms Covid stole from us, freedoms the terrorists resented and performed dastardly deeds to forever change the landscape of not just the United States, but the world. May the memories of the murdered be for a Blessing and may G-d continue to Bless the United States of America.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN. He grew up in northern New Jersey in the shadow of the Twin Towers. On September 11, 2001, he was writing for a newspaper in northern Virginia, 10 minutes from the Pentagon.