Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Violent Video Games Unleash More Terror

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

“He was definitely into video games - shooter games,” a classmate observed about the Buffalo grocery-store mass murderer. A British tabloid reported this truth about the tragic massacre, while liberal American media hid this crucial detail from their one-sided accounts.

Classmates confirm his devotion to online streaming video games, but internet trolls quickly shouted down anyone suggesting this link. Even a black former lineman for the Green Bay Packers was forced to delete a tweet pointing out the obvious similarity between what happened in Buffalo and the shooter video games.

In a rare split a decade ago between Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito, Scalia held that violent video games are free speech fully protected by the First Amendment. Only two members of that 5-4 majority creating this constitutional right remain on the court, one of whom, Elena Kagan, has since publicly doubted her support of that bad decision.

Justice Alito, who reportedly wrote the strong first draft to overturn Roe v. Wade in the pending abortion case, did not endorse a First Amendment right to train teenage boys to maim and kill, as many video games do. Neither did Justices Thomas and Roberts, and they would likely rein in the exploitation by the $60 billion video game industry. By comparison, the film industry had box office receipts of only $11 billion at its peak, in 2019, before the Covid pandemic caused movie revenue to drop sharply. Meanwhile, the video game industry surged in revenue during the pandemic, as more teenage boys stayed in their rooms playing these games for many more hours each day.

Video game playing is up 14% over its already-high levels in 2020, such that the average player wastes nearly 8.5 hours weekly on video games. A quarter of all players spend more than 12 hours per week on these games, which is enough time to hold a part-time job or learn a useful skill instead.

The next time you’re waiting endlessly on hold for customer service, you might wonder if the workers are playing video games instead. One survey found that 14% of respondents play video games daily during work hours.

Binge gaming, which may be a key factor in mass shootings, has also increased by 13% since 2020. A third of gamers say that they sometimes play for five hours in a row, which further desensitizes them to the depravity of killing someone.

Few doubt the enormous influence of Hollywood on culture and politics, but the video game industry is many times larger and more consequential. In video games, spectators do not merely watch while eating popcorn, but are drawn into the game as participants who win or lose based on how many people they kill.

The accused upstate New York shooter, Payton Gendron, who is only 18 years old, dressed up like a character found in violent video games to which millions of teenage boys are addicted. He wore camouflage and a helmet as can be seen in images from “Call of Duty,” one of the most popular shooter games having billions of dollars in sales.

He has no military training and yet ruthlessly killed with horrific efficiency, just as a “gamer” is trained to do by these shooter games. Being shot at by a security guard did not faze him, as these games train players to continue shooting rapidly in order to score as many points as possible.

The deadly skills developed and encouraged by playing thousands of hours of shooter games make it more difficult to stop a player when he goes on a real rampage. The heroic security guard at the Buffalo grocery store, a retired police officer, repeatedly shot the intruder only to be killed himself by the teenager trained by shooter video games to quickly fire back.

Young men at age 18 should be learning skills to become productive members of society. Gendron is apparently from a strong family having parents who are civil engineers, so familiar arguments about broken families leading to crime do not explain this shooting rampage by a privileged young man.

This was not the only mass shooting over the weekend. In Milwaukee, gunmen opened fire on a crowd of 300 to 500 people after game six of the NBA playoffs between the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics.

Police complained about understaffing to handle such violence in a rowdy crowd, which resulted in 17 people being shot, none fatally. But understaffing of urban police does not fit the liberal narrative, either.

Republicans are obviously not to blame for these mass shootings, and should lead to address the contributing causes of addictive violent video games and understaffing police departments. The demagoguery by Democrats in exploiting these tragedies does not help prevent them.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work.

These columns are also posted on PhyllisSchlafly.com, pseagles.com, and Townhall.com.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Fauci’s Next Lockdown Victim: Free Speech

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

Anthony Fauci delivered a bizarre commencement address on Saturday at the University of Michigan, where he implied freedom of speech should be the next lockdown target. After botching the Covid pandemic, team Fauci needs a backup plan to reduce their accountability in the upcoming midterm elections.

Fauci sang from the same song sheet recently used by other officials in the Biden Administration. Their top priority has become to control information and demonize those who dare to question the powers-that-be, in order to limit the political fallout that would otherwise drive liberals out of office.

“It is our collective responsibility not to sink to a tacit acceptance of the normalization of untruths,” Fauci urged the impressionable young college graduates. Ironically, this was a combined graduation of several years for students who were denied a timely commencement ceremony because of the very misguided restraints imposed by Fauci.

A generation ago, liberal speakers urged college graduates to embark on the lifelong pursuit of free inquiry that they were supposedly encouraged by higher education to embrace. Today’s liberals urge the opposite approach, to lock down debate and criticism of anything contrary to what Leftist elites dictate.

There Fauci stood, maskless, giving a pompous address that lasted not even 15 minutes in bestowing his words of wisdom during this so-called Comeback Commencement. Much of America has predictably stopped listening to Fauci altogether, and as recently as two weeks ago he had to reverse his statement that the pandemic was over because the White House tells us the opposite.

Apparently not even the almighty media can restore credibility to a man who has so often contradicted himself. Prior to the onset of the pandemic, Fauci disparaged mask-wearing as paranoid, and after the pandemic began he criticized drug store masks as ineffective, yet before long Fauci became insistent on mandatory mask mandates, even for schoolchildren having little to fear from Covid.

Fauci has demanded mandatory vaccination but recently the federal government had to reverse its recommendation for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because of the severe injuries it apparently causes. Last week federal agencies finally admitted to 60 confirmed cases of a deadly clotting disorder known as thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome associated with this vaccine.

The chant by public health authorities of “anecdotal” and “no evidence” of harm caused by Covid vaccines finally stopped last week as the government confirmed nine deaths from this vaccine adverse effect. It took the federal government more than a year to admit to this vaccine-related harm after it was identified in early April 2021, then recognized but deliberately ignored by the Biden Administration.

On Sunday, despite being fully vaccinated with boosters, New York Democrat Governor Kathy Hochul tweeted to the public that she just tested positive for Covid. Cases have recently risen in New York to high rates not seen since January.

Against this backdrop, a new $10 billion spending bill for Covid has stalled in Congress, as congressional leaders instead focus on sending four times as much money to the corrupt government of Ukraine. It remains to be seen how congressmen will explain to voters this fall that they prioritized sending money to perpetuate a distant war before helping Americans against Covid.

Fauci’s odd phrase decrying a “tacit acceptance of the normalization of untruths” sounds eerily like the Disinformation Governance Board that was revealed on April 27 by another functionary in the Biden Administration. The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, spilled the beans about that Orwellian agency in his testimony to Congress.

Last Friday, the commencement speaker at the University of Minnesota Medical School graduation was Andy Slavitt, MBA, who was a senior Covid advisor to Biden. Slavitt had criticized President Trump’s approach in 2020, while praising liberal New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for his tightfisted extreme lockdown.

But many more Americans have died from the coronavirus under Biden than under Trump, and a tidal wave of new infections is predicted. The latest estimate is that 100 million Americans will be infected by coronavirus this fall, which may be rattling the economy now. Despite this, Biden demands that Congress place greater importance on rushing $40 billion in new funding to Ukraine before helping Americans harmed by Biden’s mishandling of the Covid pandemic.

Mandatory vaccination has not averted the continued harm caused to millions of Americans by the Chinese coronavirus. There is a loss in credibility by public health officials, who long pushed forced vaccination and masking that appears to have accomplished nothing or worse.

Perhaps realizing that the public no longer believes the sermonizing by Fauci and others, Democrats shift their game plan to control information and silence dissent. Fewer will realize how badly the socialists’ approach to the Covid pandemic has failed if criticism of it is marginalized and blocked.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work.

These columns are also posted on PhyllisSchlafly.com, pseagles.com, and Townhall.com.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Most Extreme in American History

Wash. Examiner:
President Joe Biden said a leaked draft opinion striking down federal abortion rights could prompt legal changes that threaten the rights of gay and transgender children in schools.

The leaked opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, drafted by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, could endanger other liberal precedents, Biden said.

“What happens if you have changes in the law saying that children who are LGBTQ can't be in classrooms with other children?” Biden asked during a Q&A session with reporters at the White House on Wednesday. “Is that legit under the way the decision is written?” ...

“What are the next things that are going to be attacked?” he said. “Because this MAGA crowd is really the most extreme political organization that's existed in American history, in recent American history.”

I am not sure Biden knows what he is saying, as this is pretty crazy.

Biden said in 2015:

Look, every single morning since I've been 27 years old, I've got up and someone's handed me a card like the one I have in my pocket with the schedule on it, of all the things I'm gonna do. I don't know what to do if I didn't have that card.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Biden’s Vote-Buying Scheme: Shift Student Debt to Taxpayers

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

As the midterm elections fast approach, Democrats have lost a key demographic that they relied on in 2020: college-educated men. The biggest defections from the Democrat Party since the last election have been by this group, amid an overall decline since inauguration of 19 points in support of Biden by those under age 35.

The Democrats’ playbook for attracting voters is to toss them some handouts. So it is no coincidence that, six months before Election Day, Biden is working on a plan to give potential supporters upwards of $500 billion.

A half-trillion dollars is a lot of money, even by today’s standards of sending truckloads of new cash to almost anyone who asks for it. Inflation is soaring to levels not seen in 40 years.

Student debt tops $1.7 billion, as racked up by merely 13% of the population due to overpriced higher education. Even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that Congressional approval is required before that debt is forgiven, which would burden all Americans.

Yet Biden plans to bypass Congress, and instead transfer these dollars to his potential supporters through the Department of Education. Biden and the Democrat Party want to claim credit for this on the eve of the election.

Biden told reporters that he has rejected waiving as much as $50,000 per student in loans, which would be more than the average student debt of $37,000. Biden can try to buy millions of votes with a waiver of $10,000 per student.

Already in default is 8% of this debt, which is not dischargeable in bankruptcy due to federal legislation that Biden supported in 2005. Changing the bankruptcy laws for those who are truly bankrupted by student debt would make far more sense than simply waiving debt obligations across-the-board.

The real culprits are the university elites, who in lockstep manner have overcharged Americans for the privilege of being indoctrinated by far-Left professors preaching to their captive audiences. In 1971, the average cost of one year at a public university was only $1,410, which was merely 16% of median household income.

Families could afford college then without going into debt. But by 2018, the average annual cost at a public university had risen to $21,370, which constituted a whopping 35% of the median household income that did not increase as much as college costs did.

That means most families have to go into debt to put a child through a public college, let alone two or three children in college. At private colleges, the costs are far higher and thus the debt much greater.

Among students graduating from college today, more than half are in debt with student loans. Worse, good jobs are not available to new college graduates today except in mostly STEM-related fields.

Universities have made this situation worse by lengthening the time periods for obtaining bachelor's and graduate degrees. No longer is 4 years the expected duration of completing college, as now the government considers graduating within 6 years a success.

Today less than half of students who enroll at a 4-year college actually graduate within 4 years, and only about 60% graduate within even 6 years. That winding path is enormously expensive and wasteful, as the student is typically then unable to work at a full-time job during those years of peak productivity.

Yet Biden is not criticizing his Democrat supporters who control these schools as they senselessly rack up so much debt for students. Meanwhile, these same schools bring in foreigners on visas as another way of grabbing more revenue.

Many of these foreign students then overstay their visas and never return to their foreign countries, and either take jobs from Americans here, take government entitlements funded by taxpayers, or commit heinous crimes. Graduate-level positions, many funded by government grants, are increasingly filled by the foreigners here.

In the last decade there has been a 39% increase in enrollment by foreign students in the United States. Today they total an estimated 1.1 million students in college, a third of whom are disproportionately from China, which hardly seems deserving of more handouts by Americans.

Statistically, those with college educations tend to make more money, jumping from an average of $600 per week for persons having no college education to nearly $900 weekly for those with some college education, to about $1,300 weekly for those having a college degree. The numbers are higher for those with professional and PhD degrees, averaging about $1,900 for both.

Euphemistically described as “loan forgiveness,” erasing student debt is shockingly unfair to those who went to work during their prime years or paid off their student loans. Colleges should be the ones refunding students who did not receive good jobs they were misled to expect from a liberal arts education.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work.

These columns are also posted on PhyllisSchlafly.com, pseagles.com, and Townhall.com.