TGIF: Protests, Resignations and Time-Outs
The great Canadian trucker revolt, Jeff Zucker, Whoopi Goldberg, and more.
Hello and welcome back to TGIF! Let’s get right to it. Common Sense stories from this week are woven into the news roundup.
→ Truckers revolt: A working class revolt is tearing across Canada as truckers stand in opposition to vaccine mandates, lockdowns, and an out-of-touch government that they feel is restricting freedom.
The protestors, who have driven from across the country in cars and trucks and big rigs are now gathered in downtown Ottawa. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s entire focus has been on fringe offensive elements within the group; there was at least one Nazi flag. But overall the whole thing has been peaceful and focused on the mandates.
This primal scream from thousands in Canada’s working class shouldn’t be dismissed. Though Trudeau has refused to meet with them, there are signs that the protest is working. Quebec on Tuesday agreed to drop the tax it had on the unvaccinated (the premier said this had nothing to do with the protests). Saskatchewan is going to scrap its vaccine passports plan.
Elon Musk is for them: “Canadian truckers rule,” he wrote, noting that CB radios they use to communicate are still free from government control.
The protestors have shut down parts of the city and have been in downtown Ottawa honking their horns. Ottawa police chief is talking about getting Canadian armed forces involved: “There may not be a policing solution to this demonstration,” he said.
One thing we’ll be watching for: could a similar protest soon roll into Washington?
→ Jeff Zucker is out at CNN: The shrapnel from Cuomo-gate continues to leave a surprising number of America’s New York-based media elite staggering around. In this case, the Cuomo investigation unearthed an undisclosed long-time relationship Jeff Zucker had with a top CNN executive. He resigned in disgrace. The smart interpretation is that “Chris Cuomo knifed Zucker.”
→ Whoopi Goldberg suspended: After claiming on The View that the Holocaust had nothing to do with race, then apologizing, then digging a deeper hole on Colbert all in the same day, Whoopi Goldberg has been suspended from the talk show job for two weeks. I understand those who are cheering her time-out: at last someone who said something horrible about Jews is getting punished for it. But we do think it’s silly. Her apology seemed genuine. And the way to fight cancel culture isn’t to join it, but oppose it even when it suits your ideological aims, or when the other side is finally getting a taste of their own medicine.
In the end, though, this isn’t about Whoopi Goldberg at all. It’s about the ideological soup that she–and so many others–are now swimming in. Among the core views of this noxious dogma: race-based violence can only happen between white and black people and Jews are just white people.
This ahistorical ignorance has been helped along, amazingly, by the people over at the ADL, who had redefined racism on their website as something that only white people can do only to backtrack in the wake of Whoopi-gate. They now have an “interim definition.” Seriously.
If all of this still seems befuddling, just watch these two minutes with the British-American writer and comedian David Baddiel:
→ Ilya Shapiro: The would-be Georgetown Law professor is in limbo after activists found that he is a (gasp) conservative who does not think Biden should choose a Supreme Court Justice based on race. (If you haven’t yet heard about his still-unfolding case, read Bari’s column about it here.)
Could he have phrased his tweets better? Sure, and he said as much. But I doubt it would have changed anything—the opinion alone is too much for Georgetown Law students to be exposed to. Which brings us to:
→ Ilya Shapiro’s protesters want free lunch: The writer Nate Hochman, who has been covering the sit-in demanding Shapiro’s firing, brings us clips from inside. At one point, he reports, activists ask for a special room “for people to cry.” At another point they ask for personal reparations in the form of snacks.
“Coming back to this reparations thing...I don’t know if it’s a couple dinners or lunches or what, but that would help us,” says an activist.
“We have food on the way,” says the dean.
“Oh good,” she says.
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→ The only survivor: The only cancel culture survivor this week is the stocky slab of muscle and testosterone that is Joseph Rogan. Spotify employees are rending their garments about the popular podcast host being allowed to speak so freely to people and whose phenomenal success is paying their salaries. Rogan had the gall to invite onto his show doctors and PhDs who talked about mRNA vaccine safety, side-effects, and natural immunity. He also hosted our friend Abigail Shrier to talk about the social contagion elements of teen girls en masse demanding mastectomies, a phenomenon that many adult transgender people also find worrying.
Rogan doesn’t always get it right. Some people came onto the show with truly hair-brained theories—Dr. Peter McCullough called the pandemic "planned.” I don’t always like who he has on or what he says, but Joe Rogan is not my main source of health news. I’m not threatened by an MMA-loving podcast host.
Much of American progressive intelligentsia apparently is. Neil Young and Joni Mitchell pulled their music from Spotify in protest, and here’s Roxanne Gay in the Times on pulling her podcast. They are going to more ethical quarters, they say. Find us on Apple Music, they say. No matter that Apple has lobbied against a bill to stop forced labor in China. And the White House is now calling for suppression of Rogan. This week, press secretary Jen Psaki told Spotify “there is more that can be done.”
Winston Marshall, formerly of Mumford & Sons, wrote powerfully for us about this strange new moral majority led by…artists and liberals.
→ He didn’t inhale! Los Angeles’s Mayor Eric Garcetti, a Democrat, looked like he had a great maskless time at a Rams-49ers game, hanging out in a luxury box with Magic Johnson. When asked about the photos showing his naked cheeks, Garcetti said: “literally I’m holding my breath.”
That’s right. He didn’t inhale. If Democratic leaders think masking forever is silly and are living their lives normally now, maybe they could just say so and let the rest of us do the same.
→ Hard to watch others live my dream: The leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement have come up with incredible ways to use all the money those kind and hopeful people gave them, $5 at a time for black lives, plus big corporate donations. Did they share it all in a transparent way with the families of people killed unjustly by police? Oh god no. They bought an awesome party house (news broken by the New York Post).
Under Patrisse Cullors, the head of the BLM Global Network who has since resigned amid a scandal that she bought several homes, a transfer of money was reportedly made from BLM to Cullors’ wife’s philanthropy, which then spent $6.3 million on a fantastic mansion in Toronto. They’re calling it Wildseed, “a transfeminist, queer affirming space politically aligned with supporting Black liberation,” which is a lot of words for party house. Indiana’s attorney general called BLM a “scam” organization, and California’s Department of Justice has sent a warning letter to the organization for failing to submit the proper nonprofit forms for 2020 – BLM is now banned from soliciting more donations in the state. Even New York Magazine is begrudgingly looking into some BLM financial irregularities this week. At some point a scam crosses into such a brazen offensive territory, you have to just have to applaud the chutzpah.
BLM is the Theranos of social justice.
→ Quite a stat: Self-identified Democrats are tuning in to…Fox News?! Of cable news viewers aged 25-54 who identified as Democrats, “39% chose Fox News, 31% chose MSNBC and 30% chose CNN for programming from 8 p.m. ET to 11 p.m. ET. In total-day viewership, Fox News grabbed 42% of Democrats aged 25-54, CNN nabbed 33% and MSNBC got 25%.” That’s from The Wrap.
→ But one big kudos to CNN: They’re doing a deep-dive series on the horrors of the Chinese Communist Party to coincide with the Olympics.
→ The national debt tops $30 trillion: All those sweet government handouts during our endless lockdowns don’t fall from trees. America’s debt is swelling fast.
→ Being obese is not good for our lifespans: American life expectancy continues to fall. The decline started before Covid, but it’s accelerated because of it. New data shows that more than 100,000 Americans died in 2021 from diabetes for a second year in a row. Meanwhile the media for years has been arguing that fitness measurements are violence and losing weight is racism.
→ Covid-normal: A full 70% of Americans now think it’s time to accept Covid as endemic and for the healthy to get back on with our lives (endemic meaning it is like the seasonal flu, which crests and ebbs and which is still quite dangerous for the elderly). The left’s favorite countries—Finland, Norway, and Denmark—have already announced they will or have lifted restrictions this month. Yes, those countries have higher vaccine-compliance, though more than 80% of American adults have received at least one shot of the vaccine. Americans shouldn’t be forced to stay masked forever to protect the unvaccinated, who by and large certainly don’t want the restrictions in their honor anyway.
→ Remembering Daniel Pearl: Twenty years ago this week, the Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was taken hostage by Islamist terrorists in Pakistan. His last words before being beheaded: “My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, I am Jewish.”
Daniel’s father, Judea, the philosopher and computer scientist (and winner of the Turing Award) is a national treasure. He wrote this poem ten years ago about his son.
And for your weekend listening:
We loved this conversation with Amy Chua, the Tiger Mom who won’t stop roaring.
TGIF. See you next week.