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‘Reno 911!: The Hunt For QAnon’ Is A Work Of Art – The Federalist

Posted: January 11, 2022 at 2:33 pm

Nothing can separate the geniuses behind Reno 911 from their own brilliance. From Bush to Biden, every iteration of the show is consistently hilarious. Reno 911!: The Hunt For QAnon extends the franchises long record of greatness, and thats despite todays crippling pressures of groupthink.

Few comedic offerings have mocked the absurdity of post-Obama politics with much success. Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia is a holdover from the Bush era, which explains its ability to skewer right and left without forcing some vapid and ritualistic partisan endorsement. Reno 911! premiered two years earlier, all the way back in 2003, lampooning both sides of the culture wars just as they began congealing. The Q-centric film on Paramount+ retains that strength at a time when most comedy writers feel compelled to couch satire of the left with cheap signals of their progressivism.

The Hunt for QAnon also retains another key feature of the show from its Comedy Central days. Unlike most modern comedy, Reno (and Sunny) is perfectly comfortable as satire. Its absurd, its offensive, its crass, and its not going to take you on an emotional journey.

The Hunt For QAnon relies on some easy tropes and swings lazily at some low-hanging fruit, but the grand Q conspiracy, for all its insanity, is objectively hilarious. It always should have been seen as such, instead of breathlessly treated as a threat to national security, which helped the web of theories metastasize into something bigger.

Writers Robert Ben Garant, Keri Kenney, and Thomas Lennon (who you know as Junior, Wiegel, and Dangle) let us relax and see the grifty Q movement for what it isa collection of crazies, cynics, and disaffected people looking to make sense of a bizarre world.

Spoilers ahead.

The moment its clear they still get it comes when a Q cruise the officers are on turns out to be absolutely loaded with undercover law enforcement. Basically nobody in our political establishment or popular culture concedes this is a real part of the narrative. But, as always, Reno 911! is here to save the day.

Like Reno 911!: Miami, The Hunt For QAnon is a low-budget, low-logic romp, casting the shows best guest stars in new roles, taking the characters out of their usual environment into something even stranger. Its just fun. Its not trying to be anything other than fun. Doing that and doing it well is a lost art.

Even Quibi couldnt dull the spirit of Reno 911! When a new, bite-sized version of the show premiered on Jeffrey Katzenbergs ill-fated streamer, it was like the team hadnt missed a beat. The same is true of The Hunt For QAnon.

Given all the time elapsed since the show first hit the airwaves, the consistency of the humor and the characters is absolutely remarkable. Nothing from new formats, the politics of the Trump era, or the pressures of the Biden era has made so much as a dent in the quality of Reno 911! Thats pretty cool.

While I do have a very legitimate complaint about Terrys absence from the movie, it harkens to a freer time in comedy and culture, where 1) generally liberal comedians felt comfortable breaking boundaries and mocking everything that deserved mockery and 2) people put money behind comedy for the sake of comedy, not comedy delivered with a half-baked emotional subplot. If streamers can fund these niche projects to lure niche audiences, the next step is to make sure more artists are willing to make them.

Emily Jashinsky is culture editor at The Federalist. She previously covered politics as a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner. Prior to joining the Examiner, Emily was the spokeswoman for Young Americas Foundation. Shes interviewed leading politicians and entertainers and appeared regularly as a guest on major television news programs, including Fox News Sunday, Media Buzz, and The McLaughlin Group. Her work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, Real Clear Politics, and more. Emily also serves as director of the National Journalism Center and a visiting fellow at Independent Women's Forum. Originally from Wisconsin, she is a graduate of George Washington University.

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Jan. 6 Committee Cooks Up Another Misleading Text To Demonize GOP – The Federalist

Posted: December 22, 2021 at 1:13 am

House Democrats appear to be making up more stuff about the Jan. 6 Capitol riot in whats become a routine practice for their latest hoax.

Last week on the House floor, Maryland Democrat Rep. Jamie Raskin read a text message sent to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows purportedly from a House lawmaker to overthrow President Joe Bidens electoral college majority.

HEREs an AGGRESSIVE STRATEGY, the text read. Why can t [sic] the states of [Georgia] [North Carolina] [Pennsylvania] and other R controlled state houses declare this is BS (where conflicts and election not called that night) and just send their own electors to vote and have it go to the SCOTUS.

Raskin later retracted his initial attribution to House lawmaker, with a spokesman for the congressman telling CNN it was a mistake. Anonymous sources told the network that it was, as CNN described it, an inadvertent error.

CNN reported that the text likely came from former Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry, whose phone number allegedly matched the number provided by the Select Committee on Jan. 6. The Federalist has not been able to independently verify that the text came from the former governor and Trumps energy secretary, a spokesman for whom did not respond to The Federalists inquiries.

Neither the offices for Raskin nor Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, who chairs the Select Committee, immediately responded to The Federalists request for comment.

The apparent fabrication comes on the heels of The Federalist reporting last week that California Rep. Adam Schiff was caught doctoring a text message to Meadows from Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan.

The text exchange, which Schiff said exposed a lawmaker pressing the vice president to unilaterally deny certification of the electoral college votes as unconstitutional, actually came from Washington attorney and former Department of Defense Inspector General Joseph Schmitz. It was merely forwarded by the Ohio congressman.

The message, which Schiff took out of context with added punctuation to make it appear complete and a cooked-up graphic to illustrate it, was part of a four-page document that outlined the legal reasons behind Vice President Mike Pences authority to object to electoral certification from a handful of states. The document waspublished publiclyahead of Jan. 6 on

The Jan. 6 Committee laterconfirmedThe Federalists reporting and admitted that the messages were manipulated.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosis hand-picked vice-chair of the Select Committee on Jan. 6, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, also fabricated a timeline last week to indict President Donald Trump as complicit in Capitol chaos.

Speaking in a prime-time performance on Dec. 13, Cheney went after Trump for waiting 187 minutes to act on the riot when action by our president was required, indeed essential, and compelled by his oath to our Constitution. An actual examination of the days events, however, reveals no such delay. The outgoing president made an online statement calling for peace within 25 minutes of the first building break-in.

Tristan Justice is the western correspondent for The Federalist. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and The Daily Signal. His work has also been featured in Real Clear Politics and Fox News. Tristan graduated from George Washington University where he majored in political science and minored in journalism. Follow him on Twitter at @JusticeTristan or contact him at

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Sleepy Joe Can’t Explain Why He Slumbered On Omicron Testing – The Federalist

Posted: at 1:13 am

President Joe Biden is now faced with the same issues that plagued the final year of the Trump presidency, only this time the president had 12 months to prepare.

On Tuesday, Biden addressed reporters on the administrations efforts to ramp up testing as the nation confronts a new wave of the coronavirus pandemic introduced by the Omicron variant.

This is not March of 2020, Biden said. Two hundred million people are vaccinated. Were prepared; we know more.

Except, just as abysmal testing at the surprise onset of the pandemic nearly two years ago was billed as a failure of the Trump administration, poor capability of meeting testing demand today is back in the headlines.

At the White House, Biden announced the military deployment of 1,000 medical professionals to coincide with construction of new vaccination and testing sites and a bulk order of 500 million rapid COVID-19 tests that would begin distribution in January.

The president also continued to scapegoat the unvaccinated as purveyors of the pandemic, despite infection in vaccinated people who continue to spread the virus.

The presidents speech was less reassuring of the 79-year-old presidents capacity to deliver on promises to manage the coronavirus. After fumbling through the brief address, Biden pivoted to questions seemingly out of nowhere.

Let me answer some questions, the president said, abruptly concluding his remarks mid-sentence.

Biden was peppered with questions surrounding the administrations failure to prepare for a COVID surge that would require the radical expansion of rapid testing.

Public health officials have been saying for months you need to surge rapid tests for just this moment, said CNNs Phil Mattingly. Is it a failure that you dont have an adequate amount of tests for everyone to be able to get one if they need one right now?

Biden explained the shortage as a consequence of the coronavirus spreading so rapidly.

It just happened almost overnight, just in the last month, Biden said, 14 months after the president hinged his entire candidacy on shutting down the virus. Biden entered office with two effective vaccines immunizing 1.3 million Americans a day.

PBS Reporter Yamiche Alcindor pressed the president to offer a message to Americans who are trying to get tested now, and who are are not able to get tested and who are wondering what took so long to ramp up testing.

Cmon, what took so long? said Biden. What took so long is it didnt take long at all. What happened was, the Omicron virus spread more rapidly than anybody thought.

When the topic pivoted to the presidents signature legislation, the Build Back Better bill set up to fail in the Senate following West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchins opposition, Biden touted the bills importance before cutting himself off.

Im not supposed to be having this press conference right now, Biden said.

Tristan Justice is the western correspondent for The Federalist. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and The Daily Signal. His work has also been featured in Real Clear Politics and Fox News. Tristan graduated from George Washington University where he majored in political science and minored in journalism. Follow him on Twitter at @JusticeTristan or contact him at

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Federalist 78: Foundation for Marbury v. Madison | Columnists | – Williston Daily Herald

Posted: at 1:13 am


United States of AmericaUS Virgin IslandsUnited States Minor Outlying IslandsCanadaMexico, United Mexican StatesBahamas, Commonwealth of theCuba, Republic ofDominican RepublicHaiti, Republic ofJamaicaAfghanistanAlbania, People's Socialist Republic ofAlgeria, People's Democratic Republic ofAmerican SamoaAndorra, Principality ofAngola, Republic ofAnguillaAntarctica (the territory South of 60 deg S)Antigua and BarbudaArgentina, Argentine RepublicArmeniaArubaAustralia, Commonwealth ofAustria, Republic ofAzerbaijan, Republic ofBahrain, Kingdom ofBangladesh, People's Republic ofBarbadosBelarusBelgium, Kingdom ofBelizeBenin, People's Republic ofBermudaBhutan, Kingdom ofBolivia, Republic ofBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswana, Republic ofBouvet Island (Bouvetoya)Brazil, Federative Republic ofBritish Indian Ocean Territory (Chagos Archipelago)British Virgin IslandsBrunei DarussalamBulgaria, People's Republic ofBurkina FasoBurundi, Republic ofCambodia, Kingdom ofCameroon, United Republic ofCape Verde, Republic ofCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChad, Republic ofChile, Republic ofChina, People's Republic ofChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombia, Republic ofComoros, Union of theCongo, Democratic Republic ofCongo, People's Republic ofCook IslandsCosta Rica, Republic ofCote D'Ivoire, Ivory Coast, Republic of theCyprus, Republic ofCzech RepublicDenmark, Kingdom ofDjibouti, Republic ofDominica, Commonwealth ofEcuador, Republic ofEgypt, Arab Republic ofEl Salvador, Republic ofEquatorial Guinea, Republic ofEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFaeroe IslandsFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Fiji, Republic of the Fiji IslandsFinland, Republic ofFrance, French RepublicFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabon, Gabonese RepublicGambia, Republic of theGeorgiaGermanyGhana, Republic ofGibraltarGreece, Hellenic RepublicGreenlandGrenadaGuadaloupeGuamGuatemala, Republic ofGuinea, RevolutionaryPeople's Rep'c ofGuinea-Bissau, Republic ofGuyana, Republic ofHeard and McDonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)Honduras, Republic ofHong Kong, Special Administrative Region of ChinaHrvatska (Croatia)Hungary, Hungarian People's RepublicIceland, Republic ofIndia, Republic ofIndonesia, Republic ofIran, Islamic Republic ofIraq, Republic ofIrelandIsrael, State ofItaly, Italian RepublicJapanJordan, Hashemite Kingdom ofKazakhstan, Republic ofKenya, Republic ofKiribati, Republic ofKorea, Democratic People's Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwait, State ofKyrgyz RepublicLao People's Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanon, Lebanese RepublicLesotho, Kingdom ofLiberia, Republic ofLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtenstein, Principality ofLithuaniaLuxembourg, Grand Duchy ofMacao, Special Administrative Region of ChinaMacedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascar, Republic ofMalawi, Republic ofMalaysiaMaldives, Republic ofMali, Republic ofMalta, Republic ofMarshall IslandsMartiniqueMauritania, Islamic Republic ofMauritiusMayotteMicronesia, Federated States ofMoldova, Republic ofMonaco, Principality ofMongolia, Mongolian People's RepublicMontserratMorocco, Kingdom ofMozambique, People's Republic ofMyanmarNamibiaNauru, Republic ofNepal, Kingdom ofNetherlands AntillesNetherlands, Kingdom of theNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaragua, Republic ofNiger, Republic of theNigeria, Federal Republic ofNiue, Republic ofNorfolk IslandNorthern Mariana IslandsNorway, Kingdom ofOman, Sultanate ofPakistan, Islamic Republic ofPalauPalestinian Territory, OccupiedPanama, Republic ofPapua New GuineaParaguay, Republic ofPeru, Republic ofPhilippines, Republic of thePitcairn IslandPoland, Polish People's RepublicPortugal, Portuguese RepublicPuerto RicoQatar, State ofReunionRomania, Socialist Republic ofRussian FederationRwanda, Rwandese RepublicSamoa, Independent State ofSan Marino, Republic ofSao Tome and Principe, Democratic Republic ofSaudi Arabia, Kingdom ofSenegal, Republic ofSerbia and MontenegroSeychelles, Republic ofSierra Leone, Republic ofSingapore, Republic ofSlovakia (Slovak Republic)SloveniaSolomon IslandsSomalia, Somali RepublicSouth Africa, Republic ofSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSpain, Spanish StateSri Lanka, Democratic Socialist Republic ofSt. HelenaSt. Kitts and NevisSt. LuciaSt. Pierre and MiquelonSt. Vincent and the GrenadinesSudan, Democratic Republic of theSuriname, Republic ofSvalbard & Jan Mayen IslandsSwaziland, Kingdom ofSweden, Kingdom ofSwitzerland, Swiss ConfederationSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwan, Province of ChinaTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailand, Kingdom ofTimor-Leste, Democratic Republic ofTogo, Togolese RepublicTokelau (Tokelau Islands)Tonga, Kingdom ofTrinidad and Tobago, Republic ofTunisia, Republic ofTurkey, Republic ofTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUganda, Republic ofUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited Kingdom of Great Britain & N. IrelandUruguay, Eastern Republic ofUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofViet Nam, Socialist Republic ofWallis and Futuna IslandsWestern SaharaYemenZambia, Republic ofZimbabwe


Federalist 78: Foundation for Marbury v. Madison | Columnists | - Williston Daily Herald

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New Tax Returns Further Reveal How Zuckbucks Swayed 2020 Election – The Federalist

Posted: at 1:13 am

Last week, the Chicago-based Center for Tech and Civic Life finally filed its 2020 federal tax return and the list of grant recipients is shocking.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg donated approximately $350 million to the formerly unknown liberal organization CTCL. The group then gave grants to local election offices, along with explicit instructions regarding how electionprocedures were to be changed. This greatly benefitted Democrat candidates.

Although hundreds of jurisdictions received tiny gifts of a few thousand dollars, which probably made no difference in their actions, a surprisingly large number of jurisdictions received multi-million dollar grants of these so-called ZuckBucks.

Having spent many hours reviewing CTCLs tax information and speaking with researchers at the Capital Research Center and the Rodney Election Research Institute, I am now more convinced than ever that this unprecedented type of election spending by CTCL and Zuckerberg is a serious violation of the spirit of free and fair elections. I am unable to recall any comparable effort ever having been undertaken in the entire history of U.S. elections.

It is hard to imagine President Biden wanting to add any city or county to the list of CTCL grant recipients, or him needing to ask them to perform any activities that were not already on the list of conditions thatelection officials had to meet in order to fulfill theCTCL grant requirements.

The adversarial election system in America works largely as intended. The parties fight each other in advertising with few restrictions, and may the best man win. But in 2020, liberal activists affiliated with CTCL conducted a massive and unprecedented intrusion into the administration of elections that was immoral, wrong, and violated the neutral manner in which all elections should be conducted. Election offices and procedures should not favor any candidate. They should not exhibit any prejudice or favoritism toward any class, party, or segment of voters. They should simply make access to voting consistent for all voters.

A SuperPAC can raise unlimited amounts of money, but its donors and every check it writes must be reported. Candidates cannot raise unlimited sums of money, but their spending must also be transparent. The law dictates that SuperPACs must operate without any collaboration or coordination with campaigns.

The same rules apply to Democrats and Republicans, and this system works well. Sometimes one party raises considerably more money than the other, but each willsucceed or fail based on their own efforts, with no government interference. They make their case to the voters, who judge the arguments on their merits and vote accordingly.

Overall, it is a fair system, even when the sums being spent are enormous. Americans get to decide, in the privacy of their own hearts and minds, who is telling the truth and who is the better candidate.

An integral part of any such system is that neither side gets to run the administration of the election. Neither candidate gets to design the rules. Election offices are supposed to be guided by the principle of neutrality, and both teams get to look over election officials shoulders to assure that neutrality.

The funding of election administration should be roughly equal on a per-capita basis, should be equally distributed to all election offices in a state, and must come from taxpayers. Neutrality in election administration, funding, and staffing must be paramount.

Election offices must never be subject to outside influences that might favor a particular candidate. Wealthy and powerful people should not be allowed to use their money to influence the manner of administering elections. There is too much potential for such financial influence to result in elections favoring the party of the wealthy and the powerful.

CTCL was tiny until last year. For almost a decade, it had an annual budget of less than $3 million annually. And that is with Chicagos sky-high cost of living. Then Zuckerberg decided to give them $350 million in 2020.

CTCLs website claims they not only operate in a nonpartisan fashion, but that CTCL officials are a mixture of Republicans, Democrats, independents, liberals, and conservatives. But all Republican operatives know its leadership to be hard-left political activists, with long and extensively documented relationships with the most notorious, high-dollar donors in the world of leftist election activism.

CTCLs chief officials are considered even by Democrats to be radical progressives. Tianna Epps-Johnson, Whitney May, and Donny Bridges have spent many years on the barricades of liberal election activism.

One look at the cities that got the most money shows many that were widely discussed in Democratic Party circles during 2017 to 2019 as places in which more votes would be necessary than Hillary Clinton received in 2016 to flip the state against Trump and into Joe Bidens win column. Milwaukee got $3.4 million. Madison, Wisconsin got $1.3 million. Detroit got $7.4 million. Ann Arbor got $400,000. Atlanta got $10.7 million. Phoenix got $1.8 million. Las Vegas got $2.4 million.

These grants are on top of existing state and local election funding, and in addition to the approximately $400 million of extra funding the federal government passed in the CARES Act last year. In most cases, these massive grants more than doubled the operating budgets of these election offices.

CTCL grants completely re-defined the procedures of every city that received a large gift, and in many cases involved changes not authorized nor anticipated by state election laws. CTCL and election officials in these cities may not have committed actual crimes, but the actions they took should never be ordered by political activists and high-dollar partisan mega-donors.

A deeper analysis shows election offices in left-leaning suburbs and exurbs on the list receiving large grants alongside the bigger cities, while similar-sized suburbs known to lean conservative are missing. Again, there were lots of token gifts of $5,000 or $10,000 to Republican areas, but the big gifts went to liberal areas where Democrats have continually stated their need to improve theirvote totals, and their belief that there were untapped pockets of Democratic voters within those areas that could somehow be persuaded to vote.

Grant recipients were required to promote absentee voting over in-person voting, and to conduct outreach efforts targeted at historically disenfranchised voters. Perhaps the biggest string attached was a wave of hiring that resulted in a swarm of young and inexperienced activist employees descending on local election offices to replace the usualgray-haired and sober election volunteers that normally staff polling locations and election offices during election season. Suddenly electionoffices were hiring 25-year-old Democratic activists to manage the many procedures normally managed by seasoned, nonpartisan election officials.

The only comparable examples in American history that I can think of are situations in the 19th century where political parties and business trusts tried to force poor factory workers to vote for theirfavoredcandidates through even more blatantly corrupt procedures.

The full details of this story are not widely known yet, and due to the vast scale of CTCL spending and the number of election offices it affected, it is likely there are several years of revelations yet to come. Courts and legislative committees will undertake investigations and public records requests and reveal more about how CTCL manipulated the 2020 election.

Joseph Arlinghaus is the president and founder of Valor America, a conservative federal election SuperPAC founded in 2016 to use the latest social science research and randomized controlled election experiments that revolutionized the Democratic election world after 2005. Arlinghaus earned a BA in politics from the University of Dallas in 1993. He serves on the advisory board to the Caesar Rodney Election Research Institute. He lives in a cabin in the Rocky Mountains with his wife and two youngest children.

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CNN Loved The ‘Kill Shot’ Phrase Until Jesse Watters Used It Against Fauci – The Federalist

Posted: at 1:13 am

CNN frequently uses the kill shot metaphor in its coverage, but after Fox News Jesse Watters used the same rhetoric at a Turning Point USA conference to make a point about tyrannical health bureaucrats, the corporate media network is throwing a hissy fit.

Over the weekend, Watters implored college students to confront Dr. Anthony Fauci about the havoc he has wreaked on the American public by lying during the pandemic.

Now youre going for the kill shot. The kill shot with an ambush is deadly because he doesnt see it coming, Watters said.This is when you say, Dr. Fauci, you funded risky research at a sloppy Chinese lab. The same lab that strung this pandemic on the world. You know why people dont trust you, dont you? Boom, he is dead! He is dead!

In an interview hosted by CNNs John Berman on Monday, Fauci demanded that Fox News fire Watters for the horrible comments.

The only thing that I had ever done throughout these two years is to encourage people to practice good public health practices, to get vaccinated, to be careful in public settings, to wear a mask. And for that, you have some guy out there saying that people should be giving me a kill shot, to ambush me? I mean, what kind of craziness is there in society these days? Fauci asked. Thats awful that he said that. And hes going to go very likely unaccountable. I mean, whatever network hes on is not going to do anything for him. I mean, thats crazy. The guy should be fired on the spot!

The New Day co-anchor gladly amplified Faucis concerns and even refused to play the clip of Watters because he believed it was too dangerous to share even though, for years, the leftist network and its employees have used the same language to describe the former administration and Republicans without reprimand.

In a 2018 article blaming former President Donald Trump for the nations border woes and family separation, CNN authors claimed that his opposition to a House immigration bill, manipulated to meet the demands of certain moderates, was a kill shot to the entire House exercise.

The vocabulary was repeated by CNN congressional correspondent Phil Mattingly on-air when discussing the same immigration legislation.

If the President wont sign it, the Senate wont take anything up. So, if what the President said is what he means about the second bill that theyre going to consider next week, its a kill shot. And so the interesting right now is Ive been told theyre waiting for a tweet that might clarify things, but they dont know, he said.

Mattingly had previously used kill shot in 2016 to explain that Hillary Clinton [is] doubling down on the state her advisers see as the kill shot to Donald Trumps campaign.

Another CNN article detailing Sen. Ted Cruzs 2016 strategy to try to secure the GOP presidential nomination used the phrase at the top of the article.

Ted Cruz is going for the kill shot, the articles lede states.

Not only does the terminology appear in print, but the network has aired the language with no apparent problems.

The phrase also made regular appearances on CNN shows including New Day. Now-disgraced Chris Cuomo, who was fired from the network over his role in covering up his brothers sexual harassment scandal, used the term multiple times in May 2018 when discussing Trumps comments about the late Sen. John McCain.

CNNs Jake Tapper used the vocabulary in a 2016 conversation with Dilbert creator Scott Adams to describe Trumps rhetorical mannerisms.

Give me an example of something. Like the linguistic kill shot, whether calling Jeb Bush low energy or something else? Tapper asked.

Yes. So, the linguistic kill shot is finding some kind of an insult, if you can call it that, that sticks like other insults would not. He likes to pick things that are visual. You look at the person and say, yes, that feels kind of right. But he also picks words and phrases that havent been used before, so they havent been polluted by other meaning, which is a good technique, Adams explained, re-using the term.

CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin also used kill shot in an interview with Adams about the same topic.

Jordan Boyd is a staff writer at The Federalist and co-producer of The Federalist Radio Hour. Her work has also been featured in The Daily Wire and Fox News. Jordan graduated from Baylor University where she majored in political science and minored in journalism. Follow her on Twitter @jordangdavidson.

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The Vaccine Propaganda Is Creepy And Not Stopping The Spread – The Federalist

Posted: at 1:12 am

When I started my car and turned the radio on, the host was halfway through an interview with Jimmy Fallon, discussing a new song he was releasing with Ariana Grande. Fallon detailed the story of how he managed to get Grande and Megan Thee Stallion in studio to record a song he had written, for what I incorrectly assumed was for some over-produced comedy bit on his late-night show. I could not have been more wrong, or disturbed.

The song, It Was A (Masked Christmas), is not comedy at all, but a troublesome and despairing celebration of spending Christmas isolated, masked, and in line for a booster.

It was a masked Christmas, we stayed in the houseWe covered our nose and covered our mouthBut its Christmas timeWell be in line for a booster (For a booster)It was a masked ChristmasWe hopped on a Zoom (Hopped on a Zoom)I can only get Wi-Fi in the laundry room (Laundry room)But its Christmas timeWell be in line for a booster

The music video depicting Fallon and Grande on Zoom calls and isolated behind windows at Christmas time offers an even more depressing message, just a week before families plan to celebrate together.

In an era of elites who play by the lockdowns for thee, but not for me mantra, we have to ask, will Fallon himself really be spending Christmas alone on Zoom in his laundry room? No, of course not. But it sure makes for catchy a tune!

This is just one of the gaudier displays of COVID propaganda recently pushed by our betters in Hollywood and Washington D.C. On Friday, the Biden administration recruited the popular acapella singing group Pentatonix for a cringe performance of the song, Get your booster.

The same day, the Jonas Brothers posted a TikTok collaboration with the White House to promote vaccinations

Are you vaccinated? the JoBros say in the audio-dubbed clip. Yes, sir! they exclaim.

Perhaps theres a small sliver of die-hard Ariana Grande or Pentatonix fans who legitimately enjoyed these COVID-themed performances, but besides that suspect demographic, who are these songs really for? Is there any unvaccinated American who has, for whatever reason, chosen not to be vaccinated nearly two years into the pandemic and but would suddenly have her heart or mind changed by a Jonas Brothers TikTok?

What if that hypothetical JoBros fan did then get the vaccine or the booster only to contract COVID two weeks later, as has happened to a number of recently boosted Americans this week? What did that video accomplish then?

After having a widely available vaccine for anyone who wants it for more than a year, we now know that the vaccine effectively reduces the number of hospitalizations and deaths, but does not reduce widespread COVID-19 cases, which we are seeing spike now. Yet the Biden administrations best idea for fighting COVID is an acapella song about getting a booster?

Why not distribute at-home tests or at least provide information about how to get tested and when its appropriate to get tested? Why not distribute information on the most effective therapeutics for treating COVID and where to get them?

Its safe to assume those are not on the White House communication teams whiteboard because it would undercut the messaging that Biden and Democrats have desperately clung to, that masks and vaccines work, so nothing else is needed.

The Biden administrations only alternative idea to celebrity vaccine endorsements is to, quite literally, threaten the unvaccinated with death. While thats not effective messaging either, I think I still prefer it to cringe pop song propaganda.

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Simone Biles As ‘Athlete Of The Year’ Underscores The Left’s Hierarchy – The Federalist

Posted: at 1:12 am

From petty and nominal accolades such as the Athlete of the Year, to meritorious recognitions such as the Pulitzer, the absence of any genuine competition makes imminent the eventual disintegration of any sense of fair play.

Simone Biles was named Time magazines 2021 Athlete of the Year, supposedly for inspiring global conversations about mental health after publicly prioritizing her physical and mental well-being at the Tokyo Olympics. This should not come as a surprise, as it did to some, amid widespread mockery on social media.

Biles, as readers would remember, infamously withdrew from the Olympics because she broke down under pressure. This was not little Shropshire Countys one-legged gunny bag race. This was representing the country in the Olympics, which is ostensibly the greatest sporting event of its kind.

The athletes who participate in the Olympics are not equal to us. They are better than us, which means they are expected to perform despite immense pressure not quit. Quitting makes one average, and average people might be worthy of respect and even pity, but not accolades. Quitting never gets anyone prizes, or at least it never did up until now. Yet Biles (and her public relations person) unashamedly explained that she put herself before everything else. Her teammates won silver without her. She came back later and won a bronze.

Now, Biles is of course a very talented individual and has suffered some extremely abusive and dark times. And in the past, she achieved a lot. But that is beside the point. The athlete of this year is not supposed to be for prowess in other fields or past history. Retired greats are not suddenly being named Athlete of the Year for their gardening skills, for example.

As others rightfully questioned, why were Katie Ledecky, Allyson Felix, Tamyra Mensah-Stock, or Sydney McLaughlin not chosen by Time? The latter three, especially, are role models, and won against all odds in the same Olympics. It would have been especially appropriate at a time of renewed debate about minority role models and representation.

But it would be fallacious to consider this case an outlier. This accolade for Biles is negligible and mostly for public relations, but it is by no means unique.

Consider any transgender athlete who is competing with women. When the whole team is together, we have to be like, Oh my gosh, go Lia, thats great, youre amazing. Its very fake, an anonymous female athlete revealed recently about a man with a square jawline, broad shoulder plate, baritone, and a very prominent Adams apple breaking all the female undergrads swimming records.

This sense of dejected helplessness is not just in sports. Someone now can get accepted into Stanford University by simply writing Black Lives Matter a hundred times. 1619 Project lead Nikole Hannah-Jones is offered a professorship without doing any peer-reviewed research, and wins a Pulitzer simply because she knows what to say, regardless of the historical validity of the narrative.

Thousands of far more intelligent historians and political scientists meanwhile remain jobless. The end result is almost always predetermined in a society where fair competition appears to be ending. Discrimination against one of the most hardworking and family-oriented minority groups is normalized in academia, higher-ed, and law and order, and no one bats an eyelid or starts a mass-protest movement. This double standard is institutionalized in society as a norm.

The urban left often talks a big game about precariatization while deliberately overlooking the key variable in social mobility merit and competition because it helps their own social strata, which is predominantly upper-middle-class, mostly young and liberal ascendant, and up to speed with current cultural and social fads. The new elite, just like those of the old in the Florentine republic or the Dutch guilds, surpasses achievement and co-opts movements towards their class interests.

In the Florentine republic, elite bankers designeda system that systematically subverted the old republicantraditions by destroying any fair competition. Eventually, it resulted in a local hierarchy by destroying any equality of opportunity, then took over governance and turned the republican system into one of feudalism.

Achievements are often determined and judged by ones peer group, thereby establishing a loop and a resulting hierarchy. From petty and nominal accolades such as the Athlete of the Year to meritorious recognitions such as the Pulitzer, the absence of any genuine competition makes imminent the eventual disintegration of any sense of fair play.

There was another system of governance that reflected a similar lack of fair play, in which a section of society knew they would never win despite their best efforts because the system was designed to promote only those it prefers. Thats called an aristocracy.

We often simply focus on Rome to study historical cycles but a better template perhaps is the corruption and decline of the Florentine republic. In the cycle of history, the clearest sign of a new, emerging aristocracy is not economic decline or even varied social mores between different sections of society. It is the decline of any fair competition. That results in further class divisions and fuels backlash. It is a relevant lesson for our times.

Dr. Sumantra Maitra is a national-security fellow at The Center for the National Interest; a non-resident fellow at the James G Martin Center; and an elected early career historian member at the Royal Historical Society. He is a senior contributor to The Federalist, and can be reached on Twitter @MrMaitra.

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Simone Biles As 'Athlete Of The Year' Underscores The Left's Hierarchy - The Federalist

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Warren And Booker Get Infected As Democrats Keep Spreading COVID – The Federalist

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Democrat Sens. Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren have tested positive for COVID-19 this week, and it raises a lot of questions: Why arent they following the science? Were they not wearing their masks? And why does there continue to be so much virus spread under President Joe Biden, who promised that if elected would end the pandemic?

Both Booker and Warren declared their positive status Sunday on Twitter, sure to note that they do everything right theyre perfect, if you didnt know but that they nonetheless got infected. I learned today that I tested positive for COVID-19 after first feeling symptoms on Saturday, Booker said on Twitter. My symptoms are relatively mild. Im beyond grateful to have received two doses of vaccine and, more recently, a booster Im certain that without them I would be doing much worse.

Warren also said her symptoms were mild and that she caught a breakthrough case even though she is vaccinated & boosted.

Thats good to hear, but this isnt the way things are supposed to go. Americas chief nag, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky, said in an interview last week that the best way to protect yourself against COVID is to not get it in the first place, and that is to get vaccinated and boosted.

As vaccinated and boosted people, Booker and Warren should not have gotten the virus, which, according to the people in charge (Democrats), means they must have been doing something wrong. Were they failing to cover their faces with the CDC-recommended double masks? Were they partaking in nonessential travel, thus potentially endangering the health and lives of untold numbers of people? Were they really vaccinated?

I wish them the best, but it concerns me that they were likely being very reckless as we currently average more than 130,000 new positive cases and nearly 1,300 additional virus-related deaths each day.

Its all depressing, but wasnt this supposed to be over by now? Shortly after he was inaugurated, Biden said of the pandemic, by next Christmas, I think well be in a very different circumstance, God willing, than we are today.

That was back in mid-February when we were averaging just more than 80,000 new COVID cases each day. Right now, were quickly approaching double that number.

Thats from the same guy who said he would shut down the virus. But even though were not even through his first year in office, Biden has overseen the second biggest wave of new infections and now, the third (assuming it doesnt eclipse either of the previous two).

Under Biden, weve even seen two new variants!

Its as if Democrats are trying to kill us. Maybe try staying away from them for a while.

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Why It’s Clearly Not In America’s Interest To Go To War Over Taiwan – The Federalist

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Despite its immense age, size, and population and long record of civilizational accomplishment, 19th-century China was politically, economically, and militarily very weak. From the Chinese point of view, this allowed Western powers to push their country around at will.

The British, frustrated with Chinese trade practiceshigh tariffs, unwillingness to buy British goods, insistence on being paid only in speciecontrived to sell opium into the Chinese market to offset their trade deficit. Opium was then a highly desired commodity in China, but also illegal. The Chinese emperors and mandarins, being no fools, did not desire a drugged-out population.

But the British wouldnt stop selling opium to Chinese smugglers. This led to the First Opium War, which China lost. That war was resolved by the 1842 Treaty of Nanking, which, among other provisions, ceded Hong Kong Island to Britain in perpetuity.

In those days, Hong Kong Island was not the teeming skyscraper forest that we know today. It was an almost entirely unpopulated rock. The nearest settlement of any importance was Canton (today known as Guangzhou), 100 miles northwest.

Moreover, Hong Kong was not exactly a promising place to begin a settlement. The harbor was arguably not bad, although open to the sea on two sides. But why would you use it when several better harbors, including Cantons, were, in nautical terms, so close?

As for natural resources, including all-important water, it had virtually none. So, on one level, the ceding of Hong Kong felt like no great loss.

But it rankled. No country likes to lose a war, and no country especially likes to lose one to drug dealers. The Treaty of Nanking thus became known in China as the first of many (there were at least 25) Unequal Treaties imposed on that country by Western powers over Chinas subsequent Century of Humiliation.

Only two of those other agreements need concern us. The first is the 1860 Convention of Peking, one provision of which ceded Kowloona narrow peninsula just north of Hong Kong Islandto Britain. The second, and far more consequential, is the 1898 Second Convention of Peking, which leased to Britain, for 99 years, the New Territories: many outlying islands plus a large chunk of mainland directly north of Kowloon.

Hong Kong may not have been worth much in 1842, but it was Britains first foothold in China, so they tried to make the best of it. To do that, they needed to make life in the colony viable, which meant they needed more land and resources, which explains the two Conventions.

As we all know, British Hong Kong eventually grew into a smashing success. By the time of its handover back to China in 1997, it was not only the financial and business capital of East Asia and arguably of the entire Pacific Rim, but per capita income in the colony exceeded that of the mother country. If memory serves, that had never happened anywhere before and hasnt happened since.

More than 85 percent of the colonys land comprised areas covered by that 99-year lease. Without it, or at least without it being controlled by a friendly and cooperative power, neither Hong Kong Island nor Kowloon is viable. With this in mind, in the late 1970s, British officials began inquiring with their Chinese counterparts about extending the lease or coming to some arrangement whereby Britain could continue to administer the entire territory.

The Chinese reply was a firm no. They added: We dont even recognize the validity of so-called permanent concessions of Hong Kong and Kowloon. We want the whole colony back. If we must, we can take it by force. And we both know you cant stop us.

The British prime minister at the time, Margaret Thatcher, felt certain the treaties that granted Hong Kong and Kowloon were valid. But to fight on that ground would mean, at best, losing the New Territories once the lease expired and then watching while the Island and the Peninsula were, in effect, besieged into submission. And that was assuming the Chinese honored the 1842 and 1860 agreements, which they had already declared they wouldnt.

At worst, it would mean a war that Britain could not win. Therefore, in the early 1980s, Thatcher reluctantly but determinedly opened negotiations with the Peoples Republic of China to return the entirety of Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty, with protections for the Hong Kong peoples liberties.

In his excellent little book The Rise of China vs. the Logic of Strategy, Edward Luttwak shows how much the Chinese, and especially the countrys leadership, value their classic literature. Apart from Confuciuss Analects, there is perhaps no more famous or beloved Chinese book than Sun Tzus Art of War.

One of Sun Tzus most famous aphorisms is To win without fighting is best. Another goes something like this (translations vary widely): To destroy the enemy is not the acme of skill; to capture intact the enemys state, army, ship, city, fortressthat is the acme of skill.

These two sentiments sum up Chinese strategy on Hong Kong and, as we shall see, Taiwan. From the moment the Treaty of Nanking was signed, China wanted Hong Kong back. But at first, and for at least a century thereafter, China was too weak to do anything about it.

Yet even as China finally began regaining a semblance of its former strength following the Second World War, its leadership was patient. They knew they had Britain over a barrel. There was no reason to rush or pushleast of all to risk destroying the prize in the very act of retaking it. In the end, China won without fighting and seized the enemys city intact.

The parallels between Hong Kong and Taiwan are not exact, but they sometimes rhyme.

Taiwans current status is a product of the Chinese civil war, which raged intermittently from 1927 to 1949. To make a (very) long story short, that war was fought between the mostly coastal and urban Kuomintang (KMT), or Nationalists, and the mostly interior and rural Chinese Communist Party (CCP). (Imagine a coastal, urban nationalist political party!)

As we all know, the Communists won and established the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) in 1949. But the Nationalists were not utterly defeated. They retreated to the island of Formosa, which we know as Taiwan, from which they claimed to be the legitimate government of the whole country, the direct successor to Sun Yat-sens Republic of China (ROC) which in 1912 had replaced Chinas last imperial dynasty. In fact, for decades thereafter, both Chinese capitalsPeking (now Beijing; PRC) and Taipei (ROC)each claimed to be the sole legitimate government of all China.

The United States naturally sided with the Nationalists, because the KMT had been American allies in the Second World War, because their leader Chang Kai-shek had deep ties to the American establishment, and because they were anti-Communists.

Relations between the two entities were not good. The two occasionally appeared on the brink of war, for instance during the Quemoy-Matsu crises of the 1950s, when the PRC tested the resolve of the Taiwanese and their American allies to defend the islands separate status.

This uneasy status quo was transformed by two events. First was President Nixons famous 1972 opening to China. We may, for this essay, leave to one side the extent to which that alleged opening was engineered by China to gain American aid against the USSR, from which the PRC had broken in the late 1950s and early 60s. Similarly, we may leave aside the extent to which, as some believe, the Sino-Soviet split was exaggerated or even faked. One can hold both revisionist positions and still accept the rest of the story.

At any rate, the official tale goes like this. Mainland Chinai.e., China minus Taiwan, as well as pre-handover Macau (which was then a Portuguese colony) and Hong Konghad been closed since the 1949 revolution. Through adept diplomacy, Nixon and Henry Kissinger convinced Mao Tse-tung and his senior officials to open China to American diplomatic contact, travel, cultural exchanges, and limited investment.

This was good in itself (its a big market) but also a useful hedge against the Russians. Above all, the Nixon administration needed Chinas help to end the Vietnam war (i.e., they needed Beijing to stop supporting and supplying Hanoi).

The Chinese, however, had a price. Official American policy since 1949 had been that the ROC was the legitimate government of all China. We did not recognize the government in Beijing, had no embassy or ambassador there, and through our support, Taiwan held the Chinese seat on the United Nations Security Council. In Beijings eyes, Taiwan is not a country, but a renegade province. Hence Chinas demand to Nixon was: If you want our help, let all that go.

Nixon did, to a point. He changed Americas policy to the declaration that there is One China, coupled with official agnosticism as to which one it was. But he did pledge formal opposition to any move by Taiwan to declare its independence, and to any moves by either side to change the status quo by force.

Nixons calculated ambiguity barely outlasted his administration. In 1979, President Carter formally withdrew American diplomatic recognition from Taipei and recognized Beijing. In response, an angry Congress (pushed by the Taiwan lobby and its domestic allies) passed the Taiwan Relations Act, which commits the United States to sell Taiwan defensive arms but does not explicitly guarantee American intervention on Taiwans side in the case of conflict.

The Taiwanese also maintain a studied ambiguity: theyve never declared independence, but neither have they altogether refrained from seeking status and benefits to which, under international treaties and laws, only sovereign states are entitled.

Happenings in the Taiwan Strait since 1979 have been, to coin a phrase, mostly peaceful. In the 1990s, Taiwan transitioned from the autocratic government of Chang Kai-sheks KMT to a modern democracy, thus adding to its pro-Taipei constituency of anti-Communists and China hawks pro-democracy activists and neocons.

China wants Taiwan back. This is true not merely of the CCP leadership but of the vast majority of the Chinese people, who believe that Taiwans separate existence is the last remaining vestige of the Unequal Treaties and the Century of Humiliation and is thus an affront to their nation.

This desire is irrespective of whos ruling in Beijing; it is a question of Chinas national identity, which is inseparable from its conception of its historic territorial integrity. Chinas desire to reclaim Hong Kong persisted through three regimes, two revolutions, a civil war, foreign occupation, the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, the liberalization of the Chinese economy, Tiananmen Square, and the countrys reemergence as a great power.

A similar dynamic prevails with Taiwan. Even if the great neocon dream for China were suddenly to become reality, a liberal democratic Beijing would want Taiwan back too. This matters because, in any contest, the side that wants it more tends to get what it wants.

Then there are basic considerations of geography. Every country in the world cares more about its own front yard than do countries half a world away. This is why it was so reckless of the USSR to try to place missiles in Cuba, and why its also reckless of the United States to needle Russia over Ukraine. One can utterly condemn Russian behavior in the Donbass, or Chinas in the Taiwan Strait, and still see that those countries are more likely than not to fight over issues and regions that they see as vital to themselves but peripheral to us.

China would like to get Taiwan back in much the same way as Beijing reincorporated Hong Kong: change the strategic reality on the ground (and in the air, and on the water) and persuade the other party, or parties, to make a deal.

In this case, the strategic reality boils down to: If China were to attempt an amphibious invasion of Taiwan, could the Taiwanese and the Americans stop it? When the Taiwan Relations Act was passed, the answer was: undoubtedly. Today, after four decades of growing Chinese strength and technological sophistication, coupled with American strategic drift, the answer is less clear.

The Chinese regime, however, apparently believes that, given enough time and a large enough arms buildup, it can so change the balance of power that even the meanest observer will conclude that defending Taiwan against a Chinese attack would be impossible. At that point, it is hoped, cool heads among the Taiwanese leadership will persuade the Taiwanese people to make the best deal they can.

It is a combination of this hope, an uncertainty that a power imbalance sufficient to ensure an invasions success has yet been reached, and fear of the consequences to Chinas international standing should it invade, that has thus far held China back. China waited 155 years to reclaim Hong Kong. Its been about half that much time since it lost Taiwan. China would prefer not to wait another three-quarters of a century but also appears to believe time is on its side.

The Chinese complainloudlyany time the United States (or any other country) does or says anything that can be perceived as supportive of Taiwanese independence. Every American arms sale to Taiwan, in particular, elicits a howl. Yet here we remain, 73 years after the separation, and no invasion has yet been attempted.

But China has made clear that any provocative steps to change the status quo might well be met with force. The most likely or at least obvious such hypothetical would be Taiwan unilaterally declaring independencewhich Taipei is unlikely to do, because its leadership knows such a step would be tantamount to foreswearing American assistance in the inevitable conflict. Weve made it plain that if they start it, we wont bail them out.

Another possibility making the rounds these days is that the allegedly megalomaniacal Xi Jinping is determined to solve the Taiwan problem on his watch. That is to say, if he cant convince Taiwan to make a deal while hes still in power, hell invade before hes gone. This will, it is said, be his legacy.

I have no special insight into Xi Jinpings thinking on this matter (nor, I suspect, do Americas intelligence agencies). But such a stance would be inconsistent with nearly two centuries of Chinese behavior, and with the countrys beloved classics of strategy.

Yet American officials, by insisting this is Chinas intent, might provoke the very action they insist theyre on guard against. If the United States convinces itself that China is going to invade Taiwan, then its security apparatus will interpret every little Chinese move in the Taiwan Strait as a potential precursor for war and respond accordingly.

They moved a missile battery here, a bomber squadron there, or a cruiser over there? Send the Navy! In other words, its possible the United States might inadvertently provoke China, through an ill-considered response to some irritating but low-grade Chinese provocation.

Its all well and good to say, But they shouldnt have done that in the first place; to let them get away with it would have been appeasement. And maybe they shouldnt have done that, whatever it is. But once the shooting starts, that will be a matter for historians; the statesmen responsible for keeping our country at peace will have blown it.

Supposing the war came: Regardless of its precise cause, what might be the outcome? Lets remember, first, that Taiwan is 81 miles from mainland China, but 1,300 miles to the U.S. Navys Seventh Fleet base in Yokosuka, Japanand 5,100 miles from Pearl Harbor, and 6,500 miles from San Diego. In every way, from operations tempo to reinforcement and resupply to intelligence collection, this would seem to give China enormous advantages in any conventional conflict.

To raise another consideration, which I raised at this years National Conservatism conference: The U.S. militarys principal strategy, because this is its principal capability, is denial. That is, in this context, deny Chinese forces command of the sea and air necessary to mount a successful invasion.

Our primary means of doing so are carrier battle groups, the backbone of American power projection since 1942. But the effectiveness of this strategy presupposes the invulnerability of American aircraft carriers. Thats what the battle groups are for. All those other ships (and submarines) are there to protect the carriers.

Can they? Its been a long timereally, since 1945that the U.S. Navy has faced battle against a peer competitor. During the final decade of the Cold War, we were confident that our technology was so superior to the Russians that the Soviet navy could not lay a finger on one of our carriers. That assumption was (happily) never tested.

Is our technology still that good? The China of 2021 is, at the very least, technologically far beyond the USSR of 1989. To the blunt question Can China sink an American aircraft carrier? I dont know. But at our panel at NatCon, China expert David Goldman reported that legendary Pentagon thinker Andy Marshall told me in 2013 that China can sink a carrier.

The last American fleet carrier (i.e., one of the big ones) sunk in battle was the USS Yorktown, at the Battle of Midway, June 7, 1942. Thats so long ago as to be, for most Americans, either forgotten or something to see in a movie.

A fleet carrier with the airwing on board carries more than 6,000 officers and crew. Thus, the sinking of one of these behemoths could lead to a loss of life more than twice as great as 9/11. The psychological shock to the nation might be even greater.

Just as Taiwan is at the core of Chinas national self-conception, aircraft carriers are at the core of Americas self-conception as the worlds greatest military power. To lose one for the first time in nearly eight decades is likely to be a blow from which the nation would have a hard time recovering.

Then what would be our response? What could it be? Even before we get to the issue of identifying some Chinese asset worthy of proportional retaliation (China does not, at present, have fleet carriers with 6,000 souls on board), we have to ask: If our premier platform for conventional power projection cannot safely operate in Chinese watersindeed, if one of them is at the bottom of the Taiwan Straitwhat, exactly, are we going to use to retaliate?

One obvious and deeply troubling answer is nuclear weapons. It might well come down to that or nothing. That is, either accept the loss of one of our most precious assets, along with 6,000 sailors, with all the concomitant national humiliation and crushed prestige, or start a nuclear war. The mere possibility of such a starkly atrocious alternative should be an incentive for our political leaders to do everything in their power to avoid it.

Remember: The Chinese care about Taiwan infinitely more than we do. Is it wise to threaten, much less launch, a nuclear strike over a territory they see as a vital organ but which is peripheral to us?

What is Chinas likely response? In 1996, a senior Peoples Liberation Army general explained that he did not think, in the final analysis, that the United States would want to trade Los Angeles for Taipei. In other words, the Chinese are willing to launch nuclear strikes against undefended American cities to have their way over Taiwan. Are will ready and willing to absorb such strikes, and launch similar strikes of our ownand likely still lose Taiwan?

It pained me to write that. I love, or loved, those servicesespecially the Navy. And, yes, I am sure that the military is not entirely incompetent and that many fine and talented people still serve. But the brass is woke and incompetent, and senior officers and civilian leaders tolerate and even encourage wokeness and incompetence; or to say better, they excuse and deny incompetence in furtherance of wokeness.

As for incompetence, the most recent example is the disastrous and humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan. On wokeness, how about Gen. Mark Milleys comment this past summer on white rageor really, any statement by any general or flag officer over the last two years at least. Theyre all on record sounding like Robin DiAngelo, two octaves down.

More directly relevant: Did you know that the Navy crashed or ran aground five ships in 2017? Doing so used to be a very big deala career-ender for the captain. When I was in high school, I vividly recall the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise running aground on Cortez Bank, a freakishly shallow, but well-charted, patch of the Pacific 100 miles from San Diego. The captain was relieved of duty on the spot.

As for those five 2017 mishaps, the official reports are marvels of esoteric writing. If you squint hard and read between the lines, you can discern what really happened: By prioritizing factors other than competence and seamanship, the Navy put into positions of great responsibility people who didnt know what they were doing.

As for losing aircraft carriers, did you also know that we lost a light carrier in 2020? Not to enemy action, but to a firewhich appears to have been arson, set for personal reasons by a sailor involved in a love triangle with two other sailorsa fire, moreover, that the Navy did not know how to put out. As a result, the USS Bonhomme Richard was withdrawn from service and sold for scrap. Estimated replacement cost: $4 billion.

No one, so far as I can tell, has paid a price for any of this, nor have the Navys priorities changed. If anything, that service (and the others) seem to be doubling down on wokeness.

The Biden administrations nominee for vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Christopher Grady, testified that, if confirmed, one of his top priorities will be seeding gender advisorsi.e., woke commissarsthroughout the services. Will part of their job be to find and defuse love triangles before they get more ships burned?

In any conflict with China over Taiwan, the Navy will take the lead for our side. Is it up to the task?

It is often said that, were a crisis in the Taiwan Strait to erupt, and the United States didnt come to the islands defense, our alliance network in East Asia, and perhaps elsewhere, would dissolve.

This argument is predicated on the presupposition that the United States has pledged itself to defend Taiwan. But that isnt true. We have no mutual defense treaty with Taiwan. If we want to get super-technical, we cant have a treaty with an entity we dont recognize as a country.

Legalistic hair-splitting aside, neither do we have any sort of agreement that commits us to the defense of Taiwanthe way that, say, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Charter or various mutual defense treaties do, in fact, obligate us to come to the defense of other nations. Were we to fail to honor one of those treaties, no doubt our alliance structure would crashdeservedly so.

Would it in the case of not defending a territory we are not, formally, pledged to defend? Perhaps. But if that is so, then our alliance structure is potentially at risk everywhere, over any number of commitments we havent made.

The logic of this argument points to obligating the United States to defend anyone and everyone, anywhere and everywhere, lest one ally disapproves of some inaction and lose faith. There are, to be sure, certain neocons who welcome that posture. Does the majority of the American people? And even if they did, is it a mission the United States is capable of fulfilling?

One big consideration this argument fails to take into account is: What would be the effect on our alliance structure if we tried to defend Taiwanand failed? It is, to say the least, not obvious that we could successfully prevent a Chinese invasion. Once weve made our incapacity utterly plain to the world, wouldnt that destroy our alliance network more swiftly and surely than any reluctance to act?

The final argument one hears from Taiwan hawks is that it would be dishonorable for the United States not to defend that island. How it can be dishonorable not to do a thing one has not pledged to do is never explained.

Nor is it ever explained how honor requires us to attempt to do something that, in all likelihood, we cannot do. Indeed, sensible nations led by serious statesmen carefully choose the commitments they make, with an eye toward ensuring those commitments are within national capabilities and serve the national interest.

Americas posture toward Taiwan is a Cold War relic. Thats not to say a Taiwan free of Chinese subjugation isnt in Americas interest. It manifestly is. Nor is it to say that we shouldnt care about Taiwanese democracy or liberty. We should, and I do.

It is to say that we should be mindful of both our core national interests and capabilities and commit ourselves accordingly. The best thing for Taiwan and the United States is the preservation of the status quo for as long as possible. But there is no core American national interest that would compel us to go to war over Taiwan. Even if there were, theres no guarantee we could win, or even hold our own.

Some might retort that this is an irresponsible thing to say, that even broaching the possibility that the United States cant or wont defend Taiwan emboldens China and risks war. But I am not Dean Acheson speaking at the National Press Club. I am just a commentator.

Nor does my former status as a mid-level National Security Council staffer give me any special standing. If it helps, I will say to any Chinese officials reading this: If you are tempted to take this as a green light to invade Taiwan: Dont! It would be wrong, it would be disastrous, youd pay an enormous diplomatic and economic price (imagine the sanctions, and not just from us), and the people who do run American foreign and defense policy are likely to try to stop you.

The questions for us Americans, however, are whether our leaders should and whether they can.

Michael Anton is a lecturer and research fellow at Hillsdale College, a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute, and a former national security official in the Trump administration.

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Why It's Clearly Not In America's Interest To Go To War Over Taiwan - The Federalist

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