episode 134: The TBWS Roundtable on “Joe Biden’s Horribles”
My friend Paul Teller keeps a running (and depressing) list of the destructive actions taken by Joe Biden’s Administration. Joe Biden has been in office for just a few months and already the list is a mile long. Paul, who was a top aide to VP Mike Pence and is now his chief of staff, calls his list “The Horribles” The TBWS Team agrees that the name is apt. In yet another free association roundtable, we kick off with how grateful we are for lunch bucket Joe’s letter – in an IRS envelope – reminding us to thank him personally for our pandemic relief checks. Then we move on to wokeness, equity and Biden’s sowing more racial divisions, cancel culture, Biden’s proposed “Section 8” tax plan, the assault on religious liberty, whether a Federal government promoting “wokeness” violates the Establishment Clause, the attempted Federal takeover of elections with the “John Lewis Voting Rights Act”, and the HR5 “Equality Act” which would do anything but bring about equality. “It’s a Five Alarm Fire,” says Brian McNicol. Who is really driving the Biden agenda? Greg Corombos puts it, “Joe Biden is getting shoved to the front of the parade and has no idea where it’s going.” But whoever’s in command, “what they’re doing is really damaging,” says Brian. “They really think that they can control the weather, our ability to get and distribute energy, that they can just control it. They can just say, It won’t be that anymore. It’ll now be this. And it will magically happen.” “They are operating on some very dangerous assumptions and we need to watch. It’s a very dangerous time in the world.” True, yet I think you’ll find this show an interesting take on the madness.
episode 134 transcript
Speaker 1 (00:04):
Welcome to the Bill Walton show, featuring conversations with leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, and thinkers. Fresh perspectives on money, culture, politics, and human flourishing. Interesting people. Interesting things.
Bill Walton (00:24):
Welcome to the Bill Walton show. I’m Bill Walton. This show is, I guess, I would term an audible. We were in the middle of a team meeting this morning via Zoom talking about this, that and the other. And we were talking about a list of horribles that my friend Paul Teller put together. Paul worked for Mike Pence and still works for Mike Pence and his new foundation. And anyway, it’s a list of all the actions that the Biden administration has taken in the first four months. And I think as Paul calls it, the horribles is a pretty good name for the list. And we started going on. I said, “Well, look. Somebody said, “Well, look, why don’t we just turn this into a show because we’ve all got a pretty strong opinion about what’s happening.” I’m on with Frank Wazeter, Rich McFadden, Brian McNicoll, and Greg Corombos on our team. And Frank, why don’t you kick it off? You got a piece of mail that was pretty interesting.
Frank Wazeter (01:22):
Yes. So about a couple of weeks ago or so got this letter from the White House sent through the IRS. And fundamentally it starts off with [inaudible 00:01:36], “My fellow Americans, on March 11th, I signed into law the American rescue plan.” And it’s a letter that’s all just goes on for a page that’s saying how great Biden is. And, “Hey, I did this thing for you and I got it all out and you should thank me. And it’s all nice and signed with Joe.” And, they kind of just sent this letter out totally separate with the nice letterhead of the IRS so that you made sure to freak out and open it, thinking maybe there’s something wrong or why is the IRS sending me a piece of mail?
Bill Walton (02:11):
Do you always open your mail from the IRS? I don’t understand.
Frank Wazeter (02:19):
That’s the only official avenue of communication they have with you that they’ll tell you. They won’t call. They won’t do anything. They’ll send you a letter. So, you open the letter, like going into it. And it’s just a campaign advertisement for Joe saying, “You should be so grateful.”
Bill Walton (02:34):
So what did Lunchbucket Joe have to say to you?
Frank Wazeter (02:38):
Well, he just said that he sent me direct payments of 1,400 per person. And with the direct payment of $600 from December that came from the prior administration, but he doesn’t mention that, this brings the total relief payment that I’ve given you to $2,000. And this fulfills a promise I made to you during my campaign, that I will get help to millions of Americans. And I am pleased to inform you that because of this, a direct payment of 2,800 total, because it was me and my wife, was issued to you by paper check or debit card. And then, more… It’s like, “You can find out more. There might be other things like child tax credits,” so on and so forth, which actually probably is use admittedly. That’s probably the only paragraph that really matters. Maybe there’s something else that I could take advantage of.
But it concludes with, “When I took office, I promised the American people that help was on the way. The American rescue plan makes good on that promise. This bill was passed to provide emergency relief to millions of Americans. And I want to make sure that you receive all the benefits that you are entitled to. It’s been a long, hard trying time for our nation, but I believe brighter days are ahead. We’re on the path to vaccinating the nation. Our economy is on the mend and our children will be back in school. I truly believe that there is nothing we can’t do as a nation, as long as we do it together.” I do agree with that last sentence.
Bill Walton (04:07):
We’re all inspired. Did anybody else get this letter?
Greg Corombos (04:11):
Brian McNicoll (04:11):
Not that I know of.
Bill Walton (04:13):
I’ve never gotten a letter from the government promising me money. It seems to go the other direction in my case. I don’t know. Thoughts guys? Brian, Greg, Rich, reactions?
Greg Corombos (04:24):
Well, I think that there was a lot of complaints that Trump wanted his signature on the checks. Remember on the first round, back in the spring of 2020. So I assume this is more expensive because the checks were going to go out anyway, back then. This time it’s just a, “Hey, don’t forget who to thank for this.” So it’s, make sure it makes sure you thank the politician who gave you the money. From a conservative standpoint, I don’t really love politician sending me money because they’re going to want something else in return. But I think that’s probably what we’re seeing here.
Brian McNicoll (04:58):
Right. And you’re talking about, this is, you’re using government resources essentially to pat yourself on the back, which isn’t… It’s not a huge thing, but the cost of producing that letter is probably about $0.20, $0.25 per letter from [crosstalk 00:05:17].
Rich McFadden (05:17):
We have trillions of dollars to spend. You guys are amazing. It’s only $20 million. That’s nothing.
Brian McNicoll (05:27):
And if it’s so good. Why did you need to be hyping it, right? Why do you need these extra letters?
Bill Walton (05:32):
Well, I think we’re concluding is this is more of the same. Trump probably would’ve done the same thing had they let him get away with it. So maybe this is a bi-partisan abuse of government power, but what’s… Anybody got anything specific they want to talk about? I mean, with Biden, we’d get an executive order every other day it seems, and he’s done a lot to reverse immigration policy-
Rich McFadden (05:55):
I’d like President Biden, stop telling my brown skinned, coffee color skinned kids that their white father is obviously a racist and holds them back from being everything that they can be in life. I assure you Lunchbucket Joe, my daughter knows that she can achieve anything she wants in life. And so does my son.
Bill Walton (06:16):
What are your kids’ profiles?
Rich McFadden (06:18):
My wife is Colombian. Both of my kids have beautiful coffee colored skin. And according to the government, they can only get so far in life without the government’s help. So because me, white guy.
Brian McNicoll (06:32):
But voter ID is way beyond their reach, right?
Rich McFadden (06:36):
Yes, exactly. They will not know how to get a license without the government. They will not be able to get a job. My daughter is incapable of earning equal pay because she just doesn’t know how to ask for it. All of the things that I’m incapable of teaching them, Lunchbucket Joe is going to teach them. That is my target issue. Cancel culture and wokeness are my target issues because it affects my kids in their school system down at the local level and being supported all the way up from the White House. So that’s number one for me.
Bill Walton (07:10):
Well, yeah, I think it’s number one for me too. I thought Obama was the most divisive president in American history, but Biden’s 10 times worse. I mean, he’s piling on all the stuff that’s happened.
Rich McFadden (07:21):
This tribalism is dangerous. We’re all being separated into our little tribes and we’re being pitted against each other. They’re making cowboys and Indians. You got the good guys and the bad guys. And the government likes to divide and conquer. And that’s exactly what they’re doing. [crosstalk 00:07:41].
Bill Walton (07:40):
Yeah, go ahead, Greg. Sorry.
Greg Corombos (07:41):
I was going to say the differences that Obama was, in many ways, leading that parade and new the parade route. Joe Biden is getting shoved to the front of the parade and has no idea where it’s going.
Bill Walton (07:54):
He has many days, he has two or three days a week where they have to cancel the rest of the day’s schedule around mid morning because he’s not up to it. I mean, this guy is not-
Rich McFadden (08:05):
It’s totally Weekend at Biden’s for sure.
Brian McNicoll (08:08):
Well, here’s the problem with that. So, and if you look at all these, the Paul Teller’s list and the executive orders and so forth is, what they are heralding is a return to government bureaucrats know best, right? So one of the things said, we’ve returned to the Paris Accord, right? Which we’re the only country in the world that was meeting the Paris Accord emission requirements, right? We were just out of having to pay for other people to do stuff, right? We were just down to taking care of ourselves because we were outside the Accords. Now we’ve gone back and agreed to pay for other people’s problems, even though we are doing our part and China doesn’t even have to start on this until what, 2035 ’24.
The other thing is, so they have gone back… one of those executive orders in there says that they go back to the practice of agency employees who are not political appointees making and finalizing regulations. To me as a conservative, but I think as an American, the people we elected are the people responsible for the policies we have to live by. So if you say, “Okay, unelected bureaucrats can make policy.” I mean, that’s a lot of what you had during the Trump administration. One of the big problems was you had unelected people burrowed into the government working against the aims of the administration.
If we vote for Trump or we vote for Biden or whoever it is, their people ought to be able to carry out their policy. And so what you have now is saying, “I don’t know, we’re going to go back to this permanent class of Mandarin bureaucrats to make the rules for everyone.” And that is a formula for disaster because it’s like… And I’m giving you this one example is Fauci, right? Fauci, he gets in this debate with Rand Paul, we’ve all seen the video, where he says, “You keep talking about this being a liberty issue. This is a public health issue.” Okay. Well, it’s a public health issue, but it is very much a liberty issue. Right? And you can’t have… A lot of what happened, the problems with COVID response was that public health hysteria was put in front of other objectives like maintaining the economy, keeping kids at schools, and a vast array of other health concerns.
Bill Walton (10:29):
So the deep state is getting worse. That’s your number one issue. And it’s getting just so enveloping. Rich you’ve got your… What’s your… Frank, the reason we got on this call was you were pretty excited about Biden’s tax proposal.
Frank Wazeter (10:44):
Oh yeah. I’ve been extraordinarily excited for it. So, look, I try my best in life to kind of meander both sides of the aisle. Try to read the perspective that both sides are coming from, because I believe that truth is somewhere in the middle.
Bill Walton (11:01):
It’s not, it’s not. In this case, you’re wrong.
Frank Wazeter (11:06):
That’s true. I’ve been discovering that [crosstalk 00:11:11]-
Bill Walton (11:11):
I used to call this show On Common Ground until I figured out and learned after much searching, there was no common ground.
Frank Wazeter (11:21):
I think that’s why I liked the show so much is that it kind of, sooner or later you start to realize this and you’re like, “Wow, son of a gun.” But so-
Bill Walton (11:28):
Anyway, tax code, tax code, tell us about it.
Frank Wazeter (11:31):
Tax codes, it’s the worst thing that… worst tax proposal ever because it’s the highest tax rate that has occurred since 1941 when we went into World War II, when it was, we need to put all of our resources into beating Nazis, okay? And to fighting a global conflict that requires the entire generation to go fight a war on foreign soil. This is the last time that the tax rate would be matched what Biden is proposing. And fundamentally the problem with it, isn’t even necessarily saying, “Hey, we need to tax more rich people,” which it’s billed as, “in order to get more money out of them.” It’s saying, basically the government’s saying is that you shouldn’t make… because you combine this with the $15 minimum wage, which good idea, everything like that. It says the government’s basically saying you shouldn’t make any money below this line. This is the living standard. You should not make below this line, which we say, “Hey, we’re reasonable humans. We agree with that.”
Problem is that with the tax code, they say, “You should not make above this line because we’re going to take most of it from you.” So that says the government’s saying you should make only between these margins. This is the acceptable societal amount of income. And it kind of comes back to saying, “We know better than you what your life should be like, how much money you should be making and what you should be incentivized to do.” And fundamentally what’s so insulting about that is that that’s not American. American, being founded on the sense of being a democratic republic and being oriented around the concept of freedom, and freedom not meaning that you got a better life necessarily just that you have the right to choose for yourself, your path. That being freedom. Sometimes, you make a better decision and sometimes you make a worse decision. But it’s saying government knows best.
Bill Walton (13:31):
Well [crosstalk 00:13:31]-
Rich McFadden (13:31):
I think that goes back to my woke culture thing. It’s all about equity and no matter how hard you want to work or how hard you do work, it doesn’t matter. Everybody should earn the same wage. So if you don’t work and you sit on your butt, you should get paid by the government. If you do work at a minimum wage job, you should make a living wage. But if you happen to make more than that living wage, we should tax you so that these poor people can be paid the living wage. So everybody ends up, you’re right, Frank, back in the middle. And it doesn’t matter. You’re disincentivizing hard work and that’s a problem.
Bill Walton (14:16):
[crosstalk 00:14:16] It’s sort of like, Brian, let me jump in here. I got one analogy. It’s sort of like, we’re all living in section eight housing. The rules for section eight housing are that if you make below some number, I can’t remember what it is, 17, 18, 20,000 a year. You get to stay in section eight housing, but the minute you make $100 more than that, you lose your housing. So what’s your incentive there. So it’s kind of like we’re all in section eight housing. Greg, you’ve got a hard out here. You’ve got to do another podcast. What’s your number one item?
Greg Corombos (14:51):
Yeah, it’s interesting. And I think it works well with what we were just talking about. Mine is the assault on religious liberty. Some could see the potential roots of that in government edicts as it related to worship during the pandemic. But I think it goes even deeper than that because I think the two prongs of socialism are one, what we just talked about. The government taking more and more money and dictating more and more things to control society. I think the green agenda is largely about that and just ordering things all over the place.
But the other thing you need to have socialism or Marxism take root is the erosion of religious freedom. There’s a reason that our founders put that at the very beginning of the first amendment about not respecting the establishment of religion or forbidding the free exercise thereof. Because if you look at every Marxist society, they’re atheist. And why are they atheists? It’s because they don’t want anything that’s higher than the state. The state gets to decide everything and nothing should challenge the authority of the state. But as long as there’s a higher power, then there’s something higher than the state. And the people know that they don’t have to just meekly follow whatever the state is ordering. So I think those two kind of go hand in hand and I’m very concerned about both.
Bill Walton (16:05):
Well I so agree. I sponsored, I was a president of a group that sponsored an event that Bill Barr spoke at this weekend. That’s our former attorney general. And he gave an extraordinary speech that I hope is out there. I hope he publish it. And in it, he talks about the fact that Christianity has been demonized, of course, as a religion. But he believes that, wokeness that secular humanism is, and, or environmentalism or you name the ism, they’ve all really morphed into what would normally be called religions. They’ve got their articles of faith. They’ve got their bishops, they’ve got the cannons of certain things you can believe or not believe if you’re to keep the faith.
And he thinks that, and I’m over simplifying, I’m not a lawyer. But he thinks the establishment clause, which prevents the establishment of a religion is actually being violated in our public schools where they’re teaching all this wokeism, all this anti Christianity. At a major corporation now, if you get out a Bible and start reading at your desk, that’s a firing offense. So they’ve driven Christianity from the public square or the private square even, yet they’re enshrining all these other religions.
Greg Corombos (17:26):
Yeah, that’s exactly right. And they have this Equality Act as they call it that has passed the house. And they’re trying to get it passed in the Senate. And essentially, this is about advancing the LGBT agenda. And of course, part of that is making sure that you can’t have a bigoted opinion, which is anything that’s against that particular ideology. So anything that’s coming from biblical perspective or other traditional values perspective is going to be deemed hate speech. And there’s a specific inclusion, at least in the house bill that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not apply to this legislation. So the fact that you want to freely exercise your religious beliefs will not apply to your speech and conduct related to those particular issues if it were to become law.
Brian McNicoll (18:16):
Yeah. And along those lines, that the election reforms that they say is, it’s now a duty of the US government to combat misinformation about elections. Now, stop and think about that.
Bill Walton (18:32):
Well, what you’re talking about, I did a show on this. It’s a with Frank Gaffney. It’s section five of the 1965 Civil Rights Act, which was put in place to prevent the Southern states from Jim Crow laws and actions. And it was very, very successful. But what it did is it gave the justice department oversight over those states to make sure that they were doing the right things to provide equal access to vote. It succeeded 2006, the Supreme Court ruled, and in some way that piece disappeared. Now what they’re doing with the John Lewis Civil Rights Act is they’re bringing section five back in so that the justice department, the civil rights division of the justice department, which is unbelievably radical, would oversee every single states, not just Southern, but every single state’s election laws. In effect, federalizing all of the elections. And you couldn’t change a polling location without the civil rights division checking it off.
Brian McNicoll (19:40):
So one of the most famous… the cases that set that law are Reno versus Bossier Parish which happens to be right across from where I’m from in Shreveport. And what happened in Bossier Paris is they had school board districts and, it’s called police jury, but it’s like a county commission. Okay? So the district lines were different. So Bossier Parish said, they’re councilmanic districts [inaudible 00:20:07] Parish. Why don’t we just have the school board line and the police jury lines be the same? Both of them had been approved by DOJ under the pre clearance provisions of the Civil Rights Act. But when they changed it to where it was only one system, the justice department sued the Parish. It went to the Supreme court twice.
Bill Walton (20:29):
Well, the deal is they know how, they’ve got to know by now, how deeply unpopular most of the stuff is that we’re talking about. And we’ve only touched about 5% of Paul’s list of horribles.
Rich McFadden (20:41):
Oh, they’re getting [crosstalk 00:20:44]. Yeah, we had a school board hall last week [crosstalk 00:20:52]-
Bill Walton (20:54):
Okay. Rich, you’re breaking up a bit. We’ll get you in a better area. I do want to hear this [crosstalk 00:20:59]-
Rich McFadden (21:00):
By apologizing for a survey that was asking about whether their child [inaudible 00:21:05].
Brian McNicoll (21:06):
Yeah. I saw that. I got that survey too.
Bill Walton (21:09):
Quick, Brian [crosstalk 00:21:10]-
Frank Wazeter (21:10):
It’s funny, that you mention [crosstalk 00:21:12]-
Bill Walton (21:12):
Rich is breaking up. What was this survey?
Brian McNicoll (21:14):
That was a survey of are they to promote racial harmony and so forth? And should they do more of this or more of that and so forth.
Rich McFadden (21:22):
Right, right. Yeah. They basically wanted to ask whether you thought they were doing enough to create equity within the school system. And every answer on the survey, no matter how you answered, gave them the answer that they wanted.
Brian McNicoll (21:40):
Rich McFadden (21:41):
So whether… There was no, I disagree. There was only yes or you could do more. Yeah. And when they had the town hall, they had to start off by saying, “We don’t know where the survey came from. The school administrator, somebody created it. We didn’t have any knowledge of it. And we will be addressing this.” So they got pummeled so hard by people in the county that they had to start the town hall meeting by apologizing for it. So people are stepping up and speaking out. Whether they will be able to do anything because they only allotted two minutes at the end of the town hall to address it once they finally got to it in depth, but they are getting… They are being heard. So keep talking.
Bill Walton (22:32):
Greg, you’ve got a hard out in a couple of minutes. I want to give you… I think this is going to end up in some, I mean, people are getting really tired of this. They want to change the name of Washington and Lee University because George Washington and Lee was head of the Confederacy of the Army. Maybe that’s just [inaudible 00:22:54]. But there’s other much, much more fundamental things that are happening. At what point does this tide turn and people push back against it?
Greg Corombos (23:01):
When people do exactly what Rich was talking about. Because most people don’t want to spend their evenings going to virtual or real school board meetings or city council meetings. And when you get them to the point where they are insistent on doing it, and they’re not going to back down, that’s when people are going to fight back. And the people in the positions of politics that usually only hear from the left on these things are going to understand that there’s a very strong opinion on the other side of these things. They just want their kids educated. They just want their businesses that they deal with to make products. They just want to be left alone. They don’t want politics infused into everything and to indoctrinated everywhere they turn. So when they start to do that, especially when it’s not their natural instinct, I think that is when they’ll start to get the message. But as long as the culture, the Hollywood, the media, all along, it’s going to be hard to prove that there is as much pushback as I think there really is on this, but we’ll see.
Bill Walton (24:06):
Yeah. Well, I think that we’re going to end up with… something has to give. I mean, anybody listening or watching this though really needs to pay attention to the Equality Act and the Voting Rights Acts or the H.R.1/S.1 that they’re trying to push through Congress right now. Because if those are enacted, particularly the Voting Rights Act, we may never see another free election. And it’s something everybody needs to be calling their congressmen and doing whatever to make sure this does not become law.
Brian McNicoll (24:43):
It looks like they do not have the boats right now to call it off the calendar in the Senate, so.
Bill Walton (24:49):
To take it off the calendar or to get it through?
Brian McNicoll (24:51):
To call it off the calendar and debate it, to bring it to the floor.
Greg Corombos (24:56):
[inaudible 00:24:56] is opposed to the current version. So therefore everything’s on hold.
Bill Walton (24:59):
See, I didn’t want to have to spend my life worrying about what people in Washington were doing to me, but unfortunately, that’s the world we’re in right now. Unless you’re paying attention, we’re going to lose our freedom. We’re going to lose our dignity. We’re going to lose our property. I mean, it’s astonishing.
Brian McNicoll (25:16):
It’s a five-alarm fire. People need to be paying attention.
Bill Walton (25:16):
Frank Wazeter (25:20):
It’s funny. I was in a conversation the other day digitally, where there’s this Indian fellow from India who is criticizing other Indians and someone else steps in and says, “Yo, that’s messed up. You can’t say that about Indians and da, da, da, da, da.” And he kind of sits there and he goes back and he shoots back and says, “What is with you American white people where you are constantly like in this battle of trying to demean other people for demeaning people. I am an Indian talking about my people. I can talk about these things. And it’s like you’re just in a competition to see who can make other people feel worse about the way that they’re thinking.” And he says like… He just went on about how toxic that was to everything. It’s like only Americans do this and it’s not anywhere else where they they’re so concerned about what every other person is thinking about every other person [crosstalk 00:26:18]-
Rich McFadden (26:18):
No, just in other countries they rate you by your social status. If you go to Columbia or any South American country, they have… I forget what they call it now. But they have a thing where it gets like your status, your stratus. Yeah. I think it’s called like stratus one through six in Columbia. And based on your income, you are a Stratus one. If you’re really poor stratus six, if you’re really rich or somewhere in between. And your electric bill, your taxes, your anything that you pay through the government or anything that you get from the government is determined by that.
And it’s pretty much public knowledge. They’re a stratus three. Oh, they’re a stratus one. So don’t let anybody from any other country tell you that they don’t segregate people by their economic, social, and color. They do. They absolutely do. And in south America, it’s just like anywhere where darker skin, lighter skin, medium skin, they all kind of have these conflicts and everybody gets along, but there’s all still, there’s just this little bit of… And it’s just, it’s sad and it’s human reality, unfortunately. And, but don’t let anybody tell you that it’s not happening around the world.
Bill Walton (27:38):
You’re saying something I think is so smart because we get held to these international, the world community standards by the progressive woke community. And somehow America is guilty of all these things and the rest of the international community. “Hey, if you’re a woman, go try living in Saudi Arabia.” If you don’t think [crosstalk 00:28:02]-
Brian McNicoll (28:01):
Like I said, gays protesting for Palestine. [crosstalk 00:28:09]. Throw you off a roof.
Bill Walton (28:10):
So we few, we mighty few, we band of brothers. We need to just, I think we’re part of a much, much bigger group of people. The 75 million people who voted for Trump. And I think there are a lot of other people that are joined in given how egregious Biden’s agenda is. Anybody? Final word, anybody?
Brian McNicoll (28:35):
I think that you’re seeing a… A lot of it’s just done to repudiate and Trump, right? But a lot of what they’re doing is really damaging. They really think that they can control the weather, what inner… Our ability to get and distribute energy, that they can just control it. They can just say, “It won’t be that anymore. It’ll now be this. And it will happen.” They are operating on some very dangerous assumptions and we need to watch. Very dangerous time in the world.
Bill Walton (29:11):
Okay, guys. Thanks. To be continued. I think we’ll probably erupt every time we get together on the phone, then we’ll call [inaudible 00:29:17]. There are going to be a lot of audibles in this series. Greg, you good?
Greg Corombos (29:23):
Bill Walton (29:24):
Okay. All right, guys. We’ll talk next week.
Greg Corombos (29:28):
Bill Walton (29:29):
Thanks all for listening and watching. And we’ll be back with more of the same. Thanks.
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