Editor’s note: The Daily Signal’s audience was critical of Amazon for blocking advertising for Heritage Foundation scholar Mike Gonzalez’s book on Black Lives Matter for several days before allowing the ad after concluding employees incorrectly applied standards. A sampling of your response leads off today’s dip into the mailbag at email@example.com.—Ken McIntyre
Dear Daily Signal: Of all the nonsense going on these days with government, media, and Big Tech, Fred Lucas’ article about Amazon’s refusal of an ad for a new book on Black Lives Matter contains just about the scariest statement threatening our democracy (“Amazon Blocks Ad for Book Investigating Black Lives Matter”).
In fact, the statement is far scarier than anything coming out of the mouth of Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi, or Chuck Schumer: “Content that revolves around controversial or highly debated social topics is not permitted … ,” Amazon tells The Heritage Foundation in rejecting its ad for Mike Gonzalez’s book “BLM: The Making of a New Marxist Revolution” (Encounter Books).
Do we now live in Communist China, which brutally represses such content? When are the thought police going to start taking us away, as they are now doing in Hong Kong?
Who gets to decide what is or is not a controversial or highly debated social topic? We are heading toward a future depicted in Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” and George Orwell’s “1984.”
I am old and I am glad I won’t be around when this comes to fruition. I pray for the young people, who will be stuck with this and for the most part don’t know any better.—Ed Rothberg, Houston
I’m the political science librarian at Purdue University and successfully ordered Mike Gonzalez’s important book on Black Lives Matter for our library.
If Amazon really wants to prohibit advertising on controversial books, it would have to remove advertising from a large percentage of its book inventory. What hypocrisy.—Bert Chapman, Purdue University Libraries, West Lafayette, Ind.
To put in perspective this news about Amazon’s banning an ad for Mike Gonzalez’s book on Black Lives Matter (“Amazon Reverses Ad Ban for Book Investigating BLM, Cites ‘Inaccurately Enforced’ Policies”), please read historian Eric Berkowitz’s recent book “Dangerous Ideas: A Brief History of Censorship in the West” (Beacon Press).
Jeff Bezos and his pals at Amazon are no different than all the kings, princes, dictators, emperors, popes, and petty tyrants who committed horrific acts of violence—torture, mutilation, murder (including burning people alive)—all to censor what their subjects could see, read, and think.
There really is nothing new under the sun. By the way, Berkowitz’s book is available through … Amazon.—Susan Lefebvre, Greenland, N.H.
I know about censorship. Try writing a letter to the newspaper criticizing Black Lives Matter. It won’t get published. Or go on TikTok and say something negative about Antifa. It will be down in hours.—Jim Town
How about all of the “politically correct” brainwashing on some of these websites? We need to hit them in the pocket, where it could help.—Carole Burley Oriental, N.C.
Keep up the good work. Tell Mike Gonzalez not to give up.—Erik Surbaugh, Chicago
I so appreciate the battle that The Heritage Foundation [parent organization of The Daily Signal] continues to fight. I am sorry l cannot donate more often.—Marilyn Hodgell
And that is why I don’t buy anything from Amazon or those other huge “woke” companies.—Cary Henley
Biden Goes Authoritarian
Dear Daily Signal: In addition to executive overreach as reprehensible to our Constitution as Jarrett Stepman points out in his commentary (“Hail, Biden!: The President’s Toothless Caesarism”), two other points:
1. What President Obama refused to acknowledge, and what President Biden should acknowledge since he served 182 years in the Senate, is that Congress—especially the House of Representatives —is supposed to represent the will of the people.
If Biden wants Congress to move, he has to move the people first. That means persuasion, not coercion. Biden may want to review Ronald Reagan’s administration; Reagan was a master at using radio to communicate and call on people to call on Congress.
2. I know leftists have a propensity to lump people together, but “the unvaccinated” are not a homogeneous group. If the Israeli study is accurate, something like 70% of the “unvaccinated” have natural immunity and therefore do not require vaccine.
I know Biden doesn’t get it, but natural immunity is far more durable than “vaccine immunity” (among other things, it doesn’t require an annual booster shot). “Natural immunity” is what makes “herd immunity” possible, given that there is a distinct lack of pharmacies and vaccines in the wild.
Of the remaining “unvaccinated,” some are children under 12 who aren’t required to get and probably shouldn’t get a vaccine; among other things, vaccinating children that age inhibits development of natural immunities.
Some are elderly and should be vaccinated only on a doctor’s recommendation, and probably under medical supervision. Some have religious objections, some generally have allergies to vaccines, some are pregnant, and so on. A blanket policy can’t account for any of this, nor does Biden want to do so.
Of the remaining few who are not vaccinated, some have simply made a personal decision not to get the vaccine. This presents a problem only if any test positive for COVID-19, and those people should be treated.
Question for a higher power: If the vaccine makes recipients safe from the virus, why on earth do the vaccinated need to be protected from the unvaccinated?
Biden is blind to all this and more, and is being led by the blind. In Biden’s kingdom, there is no one-eyed man.—Morgan Spector, Lancaster, Calif.
When I was teaching eighth grade in 1995, I noticed that a student was copying another student’s homework. I confronted the student, telling him that was cheating. The student, unabashed, told me it wasn’t cheating unless you got caught.
The moral and ethical implications of that scared me then, but it seems that the same attitude now permeates an entire sector of our society.
I was fearful of the breakdown in moral, ethical consciousness then and I am saddened and horrified by the results we are experiencing now.—Edward Russell, Omaha, Texas
I totally agree with Jarrett Stepman on President Biden’s vicious threats and back-door vaccine mandates for the unvaccinated versus his spineless collapse to the Taliban and our withdrawal from Afghanistan.
When Biden addressed the nation about his full responsibility for our embarrassing withdrawal, he weakly read from a script and buried his head and walked away from difficult questions.
When he announced his back-door deal with labor to require vaccines for larger businesses, he actually bared his teeth. He said that “our patience is wearing thin.”
Wow! He’s backward, upside-down, and wrong on everything!—Ginger Tankersley, Atlanta
Democrats and Your Taxes
Dear Daily Signal: Matthew Dickerson nailed it with his well-written commentary headlined “8 Things You Need to Know About Democrats’ Tax Increase Bill.”
It’s a clear, concise article that quickly gets to the heart of the Build Back Better Act: stifling new taxes on the middle class surrounded by battery-powered bicycle incentives and rebates of union dues paid for by hardworking families and struggling small businesses.
Last time I checked, most green energy comes at a higher up-front environmental cost such as battery production and rare earth mineral mining.
Will we ever learn? The question really is: How do we get this message out and make others understand?—Duane Opperman
Thank you for Matthew Dickerson’s informative article on Democrats’ proposed tax increase. I need the information, and I trust The Heritage Foundation.
The only problem is my limited knowledge of taxation. With simplicity and transparency in mind, an article that explains it a little more simply would be wonderful.—Lisa Dickinson
Matt Dickerson missed the real biggie in his article on new taxes: stepped-up basis. This is a major death/estate tax on the middle class. Beneficiaries, mostly our kids, will pay an enormous tax upon death. Moreover, the cash will not be available to pay the tax.
Example: You die, leaving real estate—a home, a farm, a business. Its adjusted basis before death is $200,000. Years later, its fair market value is $600,000. That’s a $400,000 capital gain.
A federal capital gains tax rate of 28% yields $128,000 in taxes. Plus state tax. Moreover, the adjusted gross income is $400,000 higher, thus increasing the normal, ordinary tax rate on the taxpayer, who also loses many tax credits.
Eventually, this will hit the majority of middle class taxpayers. This is major, and Dickerson should include it in the future.—Ken Peters, Maryland
Matt Dickerson replies: The step-up-in-basis provision that Biden has proposed thankfully isn’t included in the House Ways and Means Committee’s bill. It would be extremely damaging. We at Heritage wrote about it here in the context of Biden’s American Families Plan proposal.
This and That on Election Reforms
Dear Daily Signal: Good article by Fred Lucas on the states passing election reforms (“18 States Passed Election Reforms This Year. Here’s What They Did”). I’m glad to see something is being done. I only wish it had been foreseen and done before 2020.
We all knew they would cheat, but the people have no power by themselves. The politicians should have been on board right after the midterms of 2018.
At least, the legislatures of the states should have acted to ensure fair elections. They never should have certified the bogus election in some states.
Nor should the legislatures have allowed governors and secretaries of state to change the election laws or processes. That was totally the job of the legislatures, period.
The consequences of 2020 have been horrific. It cannot ever happen again.—Myrna Davis, Fishers, Ind.
Regarding Fred Lucas’ report on the Public Interest Legal Foundation’s review of how Pennsylvania conducted the presidential election (“Pennsylvania Disputes Legal Group’s Finding on ‘Unknown’ Ballots”): Losing ballots is unforgivable and should be criminal.
In the past, there was a method of tracking ballots called “ballot reconciliation,” where each voting precinct was required to reconcile the difference between the ballots handed out versus the completed ballots received. It was required that these numbers should match.
Over the years, this method required the difference to be at least within a certain percentage. Then some states required that the ballots received had to be lower than the number of registered voters. Then this method of reconciling ballots went away. Why?
I enjoyed Lucas’ article since election fraud is my passion, something I have been following very closely since the 2000 election and the Florida fiasco.—Don Reichard, Pennsylvania
The news article on the results of California’s recall election for Gov. Gavin Newsom by Fred Lucas and Ken McIntyre was clear and factual (“Newsom Rebounds to Beat Back Recall in California”). Thank you for that.
I was present in Costa Mesa to hear Larry Elder concede. Honest and factual reporting is very important to me.
Thank you also to Jarrett Stepman for the authentic commentary on Elder’s candidacy in the California recall (“Smear Campaign Against Larry Elder Reveals Fraud by Woke Media”). Elder wasn’t getting media coverage in his own state, and thankfully Heritage’s Daily Signal is willing to print the truth.
Kudos, Jarrett, for exposing the woke and helping remove the mask of tyrannical political power that has dominated California’s government. This is a giant step forward.
As Elder said, “We have lost a battle, but we will win the war.”—Victoria Morse, Irvine, Calif.
Voting can be simple:
1. Take evidence that you are eligible and register to vote.
2. Go to your polling place with credible evidence that you are who you claim to be.
3. Accept your ballot from the poll worker.
5. Place your ballot in the ballot box.
6. Accept your “I voted” sticker and return to your routine.—Jake Myrick
The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.