Elections

It’s Time for the President to Address Our Economic Relaunch

If the president acts carefully and puts the issues squarely, he will succeed, the economy will recover quickly, and he will be invincible in November.

It is clear that the time is approaching that will be absolutely decisive for this presidency and for the country’s near-term future. The president will have to decide on an economic relaunch plan, and this will make or break him and his opponents.

The vast amount of posturing and accusatory liberties that already surpass what is normal in even the most contentious of election years will be of no account, depending on the outcome of the president’s decision of when and how to conduct the United States back to normal life. The Democrats have advocated a lengthy shutdown, leaving plenty of room to impute to them political as well as public health motives.

Obviously, if the country strangles itself into a profound and lengthy recession, the Democrats’ electoral chances improve. The longer such a state of affairs continues, the harder and less relevant it will be to recall President Trump’s achievement in generating an immense economic boom and one that profoundly bettered the lot of the lower half of American income-earners, whose real income had stalled for over 15 years.

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel (brother of Rahm), one of the senior medical advisers of apparent Democratic nominee Joe Biden, has advised an 18-month shutdown to await a vaccine. Of course, this is nonsense. But Biden is calling for mass-testing and intensive and time-consuming research and consultation, obviously stretching for months, before even a very partial reopening of normal activity. And he has joined the inevitable Democratic chorus that this further extension of the present shutdown is necessitated by the administration’s complete failure to prepare for such a crisis.

This is a bit rich, even by pre-electoral standards, given that the previous administration had done absolutely nothing to develop a quick test or decentralize the evaluation of test results, and that Biden and almost all senior Democrats blasted the president’s suspension of direct flights from China on January 31 and from western Europe on March 11.

The president will announce this week the composition of a task force to recommend and monitor a reactivation strategy. It is clear that the official Democratic position, that the president’s negligence is the chief source of the problem and that he has blundered into a public health crisis that can only be successfully addressed by a more severe economic collapse than the country has ever had, is nonsense.

From the start, the Democrats have pounced like fire-breathing rabbits upon any suggestion of calculating when it would be possible to reopen the country as a cynical and dehumanized monetization of the value of life. The implication all along has been that any amount of economic hardship was bearable to spare even a single life. This is such an explosive issue that the administration and the Republican leadership in Congress have been very cautious about when the country could start going back to work and school and normal activity.

The United States has approximately a thousand newly unemployed people for every fatality from the coronavirus. The average age of the deceased is in the upper 70s. All lives are of equal moral value, but the demise at a fairly full age of a retired person is not economically or strategically equivalent to the ruination of the careers and lives of a thousand people in their prime, and everyone knows it. This is the case the president is going to have to make.

The waters are muddied because there will never be the time necessary to develop testing to a point of precision about how many people died from the coronavirus as opposed to dying with it, and with clarity about the principal cause of death. Nor will it be possible to discover on any practical basis how many people have had the coronavirus but survived it without it being identified as having afflicted them.

There may possibly be time in the balance of April to get some idea of the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine, which the president has emphasized and the Democratic media have ignored, except when they were able to disseminate the myth that someone had died from using it. (It turned out the man had actually self-administered a very different chemical that is used to clean aquarium fish-tanks). We may also be a little further ahead in being able to deliver a therapy of injected antibodies developed by the 97 percent of people who have successfully fought off the coronavirus.

The president has already slipped about three points in the polls, not a drastic fall, but it indicates that the country wants an economic relaunch plan and may be tiring of the president’s rambling and often self-serving performance in his daily press briefings (though they have become a good deal tighter in the last week).

President Trump has accepted that he must decide—Harry Truman’s famous assertion that the “buck stops here” with the president. President Trump said he would consult the senior experts in every relevant field, including governors of both parties, but that the decision would be his, and he volunteered that it would be “the most important decision of my life.” That is what presidents are elected and paid to do—make the most important decisions that vitally affect the national interest and the lives of everyone in the country.

He acted wisely in bringing in public health experts, to squash the Democratic argument that he was anti-science, and to gain public support for “flattening the curve.” He has rightly received credit for the coronavirus fatality estimates having been scaled down by over 95 percent from the original dire predictions. He handled the financial assistance issues well, and now comes the biggest decision of all.

There is not the slightest chance to conduct testing on the scale Biden is calling for in an acceptable time before reopening the economy, even with the Abbott Laboratories’ simple test, and Biden and his advisors know that testing on the scale he is calling for is impractical. As we have known all along, we are going to have to live with this disease until the vaccine is developed and distributed. In the meantime, we must reinforce the segregation of immuno-compromised people and continue some restrictions on crowds and the proximity of strangers to each other. The therapies, if they really are helpful, as seems likely, must be generously distributed.

The president must remind the country that though it is often a very nasty affliction, something like 99 percent of people with ordinarily robust immune systems survive the coronavirus. The anti-Trump media cannot be allowed to get away with headlining every single future fatality as tantamount to an act of manslaughter by the president. And he should take a leaf from President Nixon’s “Silent Majority” address of November 3, 1969, when, after outlining his plan to withdraw American forces while maintaining a non-communist government in Saigon and saying that he believed it would succeed, he added: “If it does succeed, what the critics say now won’t matter. If it does not succeed, what I say then won’t matter.”

The country will hope for President Trump’s success—the Democratic leaders may want the pandemic to flare up again, but can’t say so, and the people don’t. If necessary, tighter controls may be reimposed locally from time to time, but the country must get over the cold terror that has been instilled in it.

If the president acts carefully and puts the issues squarely, he will succeed, the economy will recover quickly, and he will be invincible in November. He knows the gravity of what he must do. If he does it right, the exaggerated fears of disaster that will be expressed by his opponents, one more time and for the greatest stakes of all, will not occur.

Elections

The Tolerant Left Gets a Viral Surprise

As thousands, and their families, have found out, the virus doesn’t care who you are, or who you voted for.

It appears those who peacock their open-mindedness and compassion also wish death on those with whom they disagree.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent a few challenging days in intensive care while his unborn baby lays in the womb. His chances of seeing that child were only 50-50 on Sunday. The “tolerant” among us hoped he would die.

Those who mock “thoughts and prayers” in quieter times offer “good vibes” and the mystical power of “healing crystals” which are proven to conjure cash from the credulous.

The same people insist with maniacal rictus that The Universe guides their lives, yet religion is “fairy tales.”

Yes, The Universe (which is not God—the tolerant are too advanced for such fancy) confides in their daily marginalia, grants them their wishes. It’s all about “vibes” if you’re prone to such piffle.

Their compassion casts a brilliant light. “I hope Boris dies” is the gist.

Now, I’m not a linguistic anthropologist, nor am I designated an Orisha in Santeria, but to hope someone dies, I’d imagine, bleeds on the negative edges of the spiritual plane.

Perhaps, my narrow mind craves a warping dose of ibogaine. Or at least a copy of The Secret.

Yes, the tolerant and compassionate heap hatred on someone with whom they disagree, yet the benevolent Universe admires their downward dog. Good vibes. Or something.

Still following? If any of this makes sense to you, please be assured it does not. Although, my third eye chakra is blocked.

A psychiatrist once told me you could tell a lot about someone by what they tell themselves in public. I’ve noticed a trend. Those sending good vibes and compassion tend to spew an impressive nastiness when the moment looms.

I’ve always thought the Left were the good guys. And one such good guy couldn’t contain his compassion.

Tim Owen, a Bristol restaurateur, graced his Facebook page with a life-revealing candor akin to the clarity one is said to enjoy upon the moment of death.

As Boris rushed into intensive care on Sunday night, Owen posted:

“I hope the cunt dies. Evil piece of shit. As are all Tories.”

His Facebook bio says he “prefers love over hate.”

Owen’s restaurant—the bougie kind serving sourdough for $20 and calling it a “taste experience”—he concedes, is “finished.”

Joining him, a Labour mayor who said Boris “completely deserved” his peril later got kicked out of the Labour Party and sacked by her law firm.

I hope it’s not too narrow-minded to call that “karma.”

The bad news for Owen and his ilk is that Boris Johnson is “responding to treatment” and is “sitting up and chatting” with nurses and doctors. He should pull through. Yet at the time the tolerant touted their twaddle on Twitter, his chances were touch and go.

Perhaps this is not new. When Margaret Thatcher died, many celebrated in the streets, and on social media.

Now, I’m no fan of Thatcher or of Thatcherism. Her tenure trampled many souls, staining them with dirty needles and the dole.

Yet to disagree is one thing. To celebrate, or wish death, is another.

Boris, like Thatcher, invites such bile from some quarters, because, like her, he’s rendered the Left irrelevant.

Almost prime minister, Jeremy Corbyn, demigod of the Woke, is now consigned to the backbenches. His replacement, Keir Starmer, is wet-fish.

The “Nasty Party” that Corbyn spent 30 years fighting now pays 80 percent of furloughed workers’ wages. Their rescue package put plumbers before pinstripes.

That same party is now the party of the National Health Service, long a psychological cosh employed by Labour to brain the skulls of their weary voters.

Perhaps, the sight of a Tory prime minister clapping outside Number 10 in honor of NHS workers was too much for the compassionate to bear.

These last few weeks, many have taken Thursday evening to their doorsteps to “Clap for Our Carers.” Last night, they did the same for Boris.

And Labour has noticed. Fifty-four percent (the highest ever) would vote Conservative tomorrow.  Near three-quarters approve of Boris Johnson.

Perhaps the trolls realize those making society hum are the real influencers. And most of them voted for Boris. Nobody cares about Millennial Seb’s artisan mustache wax “journey” in the rolling of the ’Rona.

As Boris battles back, the nation, at least its sentient portion, has got behind him. Nurses display well-wishes. Children pen letters of goodwill.

Even my liberal friends, though they will not admit it, waited for Boris’s evening broadcasts much like they would “Love Island.”

Perhaps the reality had finally settled in. Few now disagree that Sunday night’s news didn’t rattle their nerves. If this disease can wipe out the most powerful figure in the country, then it can lay waste to any one of us. It became all a little too real.

As thousands, and their families, have found out, the virus doesn’t care who you are, or who you voted for.

Elections

What Democratic Party Rule Will Do to America

Just like COVID-19, the governing philosophy of the Democrats is rolling out of the coastal Democratic strongholds to infect the entire nation. And just as with COVID-19, if and when it does, nothing will ever be the same again.

Recent and ongoing events, historic by any standard, have emphatically refuted anyone who thought a black swan event could not possibly disrupt America’s 2020 election. Recent events might also suffice to remind us that yet another Black Swan event could transpire before the November election, creating additional political disruption.

Regardless of how America’s public health and economic fortunes withstand this current ordeal, most establishment media along with the social media monopolies are firmly in the camp of the Democrats. They will present everything that happens between now and November in a manner to favor Democratic candidates and harm Republicans.

It’s hard to win when nearly every special interest group in the nation is getting its pockets greased by policies supported by Democrats, and every one of them is using every financial resource they’ve got to elect more Democrats.

What’s astonishing isn’t that Republicans still cling to a razor-thin majority in the U.S. Senate, it’s that there are any Republicans left, anywhere.

With billions of dollars pouring in from leftist billionaires, multinational corporations, and public-sector unions, the Democrats have set ambitious goals. The liberal website Vox identifies no fewer than 11 U.S. Senate races they claim Democrats could take and unseat incumbent Republicans. The politically neutral Cook Political Report ranks four races for the U.S. Senate, in Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and North Carolina, as “toss-ups.” As reported in The Hill, “changing demographics” (along with a stupefying amount of out-of-state money) have put North Carolina in play.

And what about Montana, one of four additional states ranked by Cook as “lean Republican”? To the delight of the Washington Post and the New York Times, popular Democrat governor Steve Bullock recently decided to run against Montana’s incumbent freshman Republican Steve Daines. Can he win? With or without additional black swan events, he’s got the entire weight of America’s Democratic establishment behind him. But Montana voters need to think carefully about the choice they make in November.

California Illustrates the Consequences of Democratic Party Rule

Montana may have harsh winters, but these residents of the frozen north are spared the inclement consequences of Democratic rule. They are, along with residents of states like Oregon (except in Portland) and Vermont, living in societies that don’t have to shoulder the economic deadweight and social disruption created by Democratic Party policies.

They need to come to California, where Democrats wield absolute political power. Then they need to visualize these conditions in every city and town and county and school district in their own beautiful state.

The first thing to understand about California is that it is run by leftist billionaires in partnership with government unions. In exchange for pension benefits that were breaking the budgets of California’s state and local governments prior to the COVID-19 sparked economic crash, public-sector employees have become a Praetorian Guard for the super-rich in California. Their tactics are brilliantly deceptive.

The premise of California’s Democrats is that they are saving the planet from wealthy corporations and saving the people from racists and sexists. Both of these premises are wielded like bludgeons to silence anyone who tries to question their policies. But the policies they’ve enacted have ruined everything. The poor are trapped in poverty, the rich get richer, and the middle class is leaving.

A quick look at various aspects of life in California ought to make obvious the failure of Democratic rule. The teachers’ unions in California have negotiated work rules that make it nearly impossible to fire incompetent instructors. They’ve made it necessary during layoffs to retain teachers based on seniority instead of based on teaching performance. They’ve set it up so a public school teacher has a job for life after less than two years of classroom observation. Their war on charter schools has denied the vast majority of students access to innovative and promising educational alternatives.

Even worse, instead of focusing on fundamentals such as math and reading, California’s legislature, controlled by the teachers’ unions, now requires high school and college students to complete an “ethnic studies” course as a graduation requirement. Review the syllabus for these courses to get an idea of the world view of Democrats. California’s ethnic studies courses indoctrinate California’s straight white male students, who now constitute barely 10 percent of Californians under the age of 18, that they are privileged scions of the most hideous oppressors in the history of the world. At the same time, these courses indoctrinate the rest of California’s youth to believe they are disadvantaged victims, who deserve special treatment for the rest of their lives.

And to mitigate this historical injustice, every major institution in California enforces race and gender hiring quotas. College professors have to sign pledges to document their commitment to diversity. SAT scores are ignored in college admissions and are on the verge of being dispensed with entirely.

The destructive impact of divisive indoctrination and racial and gender quotas are impossible to overstate. At what point does a commitment to proportional representation in all institutions become intolerably destructive, when this commitment is heedless of massive and verifiable disparities in aptitude? At what point does it render these institutions irreparably compromised?

Fighting Racism, Protecting the Planet

If California’s institutionalized racist anti-racism and sexist anti-sexism weren’t bad enough, equally unsustainable is its commitment to “sustainability.” California’s environmentalist overregulation is the reason housing is unaffordable. State officials have declared vast swaths of land off-limits to development, supposedly because suburban sprawl causes excessive “greenhouse gas” emissions, with the consequence being skyrocketing prices for what remains of available land that isn’t restricted. They have enacted escalating mandates for energy efficiency now culminating in a requirement for homes to be “energy neutral,” producing as much energy as they consume; all of this greatly increases costs at the same time as it makes these homes uncomfortable to live in.

And hiding behind the pretext of environmentalism, cities and counties that are financial slaves to the insatiable, ever-increasing demands of the pension systems, no longer have budgets to pay for infrastructure.

It used to be that cities built the roads, developers built the homes, and homebuyers became a new source of tax revenue. No more. Now developers in California pay for everything, passing all the costs into the price of new homes. Making it much worse, where it takes weeks to get permits in places like Montana, it takes years to get construction permits in California; dozens if not hundreds of different permits, and just one denial will stop everything in its tracks.

And then there’s litigation by California’s robust ecosystem of environmentalist plaintiff attorneys, using the California Environmental Quality Act to tie development proposals up in court for years.

This is the way of life that Democrats are going to bring to the entire nation if they ever get control of the White House and the U.S. Congress. Buckle up.

Lockdown the Law-Abiding, No Laws for Homeless

The COVID-19 pandemic that has already killed thousands and crippled the economy shines further light onto California’s dysfunction.

Governor Newsom refuses to suspend AB 5, a hideous new law that prohibits independent contractors from working unless their employers formally hire them. This despicable power grab by unions had already put hundreds of thousands either out of work or into legal uncertainty regarding their future. Now it’s preventing hospitals from hiring part-time freelance nurses, among other things.

And in Los Angeles, where Democratic Mayor Eric Garcetti has just advised residents to wear masks when leaving their homes to perform “essential activities,” the homeless population, numbering in the tens of thousands, has been subject to almost no restrictions.

The irony is spectacular. This health emergency has enabled a suspension of individual rights amounting to de-facto martial law, and yet Garcetti is still unwilling to remove the homeless encampments.

The entire homeless epidemic in California is a result of Democratic policies. It was Democrats who pushed for policies to empty the jails and prisons of “nonviolent” offenders, and then it was Democrats who successfully pushed for laws that downgraded property and drug crimes. It was Democrats who successfully pushed for laws that made housing prohibitively expensive to those who were marginally employed. It was Democrats who built “shelters” at a staggering cost in the middle of stable neighborhoods, putting zero behavioral requirements on those being sheltered (no sobriety requirement, no curfew, no background checks).

What did they think was going to happen?

And if California’s remaining voices of common sense suggested that instead of building “supportive housing” at an average cost to taxpayers of $500,000 per unit, that maybe there was some more cost-effective, feasible way to get the homeless into tent cities on less expensive land, they were branded as lacking “compassion.” Meanwhile, the stakeholders in the Homeless Industrial Complex—“nonprofit” developers with for-profit vendors, public bureaucrats and their expanding bureaucracies, attorneys, and consultants—all got to wet their beaks, while only a small fraction of homeless got a roof over their heads.

What COVID-19 and the economic misery that follows will enable is further industry consolidation. For the wealthiest Americans and for multinational corporations, this is a rare opportunity to expand and consolidate their positions.

California, with regulations atop regulations—ostensibly implemented to curb the power of big business—is the epicenter of big business. The big lie—alongside the lie that Democrats are the party of ordinary workers—is that regulations curb big business. The truth is regulations empower big business because small businesses don’t have the financial resilience to comply.

Come this November, in states like California, legalized election rigging such as ballot harvesting, absentee ballots, vote by mail, early voting, and same-day voter registration will all be enforced, with billionaire-funded operations to exploit them to the fullest. Expect a push to lower the voting age to 16, and continued efforts to expand the rights of noncitizens to vote. Let nothing surprise you.

And just like COVID-19, this is rolling out of the coastal Democratic strongholds to infect the entire nation. And just like COVID-19, if and when it does, nothing will ever be the same again.

This is life in California. One could go on, and on, and on, and on. It’s true, the Republicans aren’t perfect. Indeed, they are far from it. But Republicans are not Democrats, and that makes all the difference in the world. Wake up.

Elections

Trump’s Leadership in Pandemic Paves Way to Reelection

The president has admirably mobilized the natural desire of Americans to rise to a national challenge, part of which is generally a rallying behind the leader, as long as the leader knows how to lead.

One of the characteristics of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States is its unique political explosiveness. In order to deal effectively with it, President Trump has had to show a good deal of dexterity, which his always numerous and vocal critics have assailed as incoherence, or insincerity.

He has had to be at the head of public opinion, failing which his political capital would erode overnight and he would have no capacity for moral leadership in a crisis where the head of the government must retain it to be effective. He is slightly like the French Second Republic populist leader Alexandre A. Ledru-Rollin, who famously is alleged to have said: “I must follow the people because I am their leader.”

At the outset, the president was roasted for being anti-science, for ignoring scientists and experts, epidemiologists, and just winging it on his own intuition. He dealt with that by effectively taking over the public relations part of what is officially Vice President Pence’s task force, and becoming virtually joined at the hip to its two leading and uniformly respected specialists, Drs. Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci.

Both have praised the president’s executive decisions and have assured the press that President Trump listens to them and follows their advice.

The president has done an excellent job of mobilizing the private sector, kicking around companies that he thought were being sluggish (General Motors) or were profiteering abroad at the expense of the safety of Americans (3M), and he invoked the National Emergencies Act and ignored silly tweets from the Democratic hecklers on the sidelines such as Hillary Clinton, and explained the law generally only needed to be referred to for targeted companies to comply; not to be specifically enforced. Again, he left his critics talking to themselves.

It is generally recognized that his experience as a businessman (the first serious businessman ever to hold that office) has been of great value in marshaling private sector collaboration—something that was especially helpful in getting Abbott Laboratories to move swiftly in developing a test that could be administered anywhere by almost anyone and produce results in 15 minutes. This shut down the next wave of criticism that had become audible: that the president should carry the can for the backward testing facilities and antiquarian methods the country possessed.

Well into March, all tests had to be sent to Atlanta for evaluation and could only be made in hospitals by appointment. This was obviously completely unacceptable for a pandemic and Abbott Laboratories rendered a great service as well as producing a valuable product that the president could take some credit for and in any case enabled him to dodge this bullet.

Fauci and others have been at pains to emphasize that the president’s suspension of direct flights from China on January 31 and from Europe on March 11 has saved a large number of American lives, and a cautionary shot has been discharged across the bow of the Democrats with recollections of putative presidential candidate Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) calling the suspension of flights from China “hysterical and xenophobic,” and “racist.”

Trump has admirably mobilized the natural desire of Americans to rise to a national challenge, part of which is generally a rallying behind the leader, as long as the leader knows how to lead.

After a slightly discordant start, and a March 11 address from the Oval Office that drew mixed reviews, Trump has done well. He has conjured up the “invisible enemy,” called himself a “war president” and he has risen in the polls. He has evidently exuded the aura of an energetic, highly focused chief executive and has buried the hatchet with political enemies in the states and some cities and exchanged generous laudations with California Governor Gavin Newsom, New York’s Andrew Cuomo, and even New York City’s unfeasible mayor Bill de Blasio.

(His Honor won the prize for the dumbest comment by an American official on pandemical matters in the last week with a threat to close “permanently” any church that dared to hold a public service—would he turn the mighty cathedrals of St. Patrick and St. John the Divine, and the comparably grandiose Riverside Baptist Church and Temple Emanu-El, into bowling alleys when the crisis passes?)

In the last 10 days, there has arisen the concerns that the president signaled from the beginning about economic damage, but which he subordinated to the experts’ call for a total shutdown and through the original period of mobilizing public sentiment and proclaiming, as is the American habit, “war,” (drugs and poverty have had their wars too). But the president has warned not to make the cure worse than the disease and absorbed the initial clangor from Democrats and the Left generally for a prolonged shutdown, doubtless relishing the unpopularity they assume would accrue to the president for the horrible economic depression this self-strangulation would generate.

The basic problems are that as of Monday morning the country has more than 1,000 newly unemployed people for every coronavirus-related fatality (whose average age is still almost 80). The Left have fired their opening javelins about the inability to cost out life, and all lives are infinitely valuable and so forth. But this raises the second problem, that whenever the shutdown ends, the virus will not have been eradicated or have ceased to exist and there inevitably will be some instances of its recurrence.

Unless the malaria treatment being tested in New York (hydroxychloroquine) is effective and is successfully distributed throughout the country, or there is a crash program to inoculate tens of millions of people with some antibodies from those who have had and survived the illness, the population will not be markedly less vulnerable than it was when everyone was locked down in March.

At some point, the country is going to have to redouble the protective segregation of the immune-challenged population and everyone else will have to take their chances with the coronavirus to some extent. On what we have seen, the survival rate, among the whole population, if the vulnerable elderly and infirm groups are exempted, is over 99.5 percent.

The president undoubtedly judged public opinion correctly in accepting the advice of his professional experts in approving a continued closing of the country to April 30, by which time testing of hydroxychloroquine (it has been effective in some cases against the coronavirus) and possibly the dissemination of antibody vaccinations and elemental medical supplies such as face masks will have occurred. But it is likely that then or two weeks later, the president will have ridden the wave to a new crest where public impatience to get back toward normal and the recognition that America will have to face this virus someday and not hide from it like (self-impoverished) moles.

The economic argument will be irresistible and he will have to start the normalization period, perhaps in stages and preferably with the agreement of his scientific and epidemiologic panel. Since the Democrats want a shutdown for months, for evidently discernible motives, they will have difficulty claiming Trump should never have shut the country down to begin with. There is no reason to believe that the death rate will skyrocket, even though it will not be possible to contain the number of infections as they are now. The Fauci-Birx formula of flattening the curve will have been followed and achieved and will have reached the point of diminishing returns.

In the meantime, the president may be able to get his infrastructure bill through, keeping the last of his main campaign promises. (These were building a southern border, lowering taxes, deregulation, new trade agreements, a constitutionalist judiciary, building up the military and pushing the NATO allies into paying their way, reducing poverty and violent crime, eliminating unemployment and oil imports, and delivering the country from the oppressive inanities of the Green Terror.) It will be a considerable record if the economy comes back quickly, and with the antiviral stimulus package, it will be on steroids.

If Trump can also believably present himself as the man who balanced boldness with economic realism and extracted the best possible result from this very difficult public health crisis, the Democrats will be storming his barricades very forcefully. Joe Biden’s task then, will not really be getting to the White House, it will be internal Democratic damage control.

Elections

Is the President Forgetting Politics 101?

Regardless of when Trump acts to reopen the country, the ruling class will do whatever is in their power to prevent him from exiting the path to political perdition which he has entered.

In times of confusion, it is best to focus on fundamentals. What follows is an invitation to do so.

Americans elected Donald Trump—his negatives notwithstanding—because they disliked what the ruling class had been doing to the country, because they distrusted its pretense of wisdom, and because he promised to rule by a sense that defies that of the ruling class but that he has in common with the people at large.

That is why the ruling class’s nonstop campaign to show in every imaginable way that Trump is outside all of its norms only strengthened the people’s preference for him over them. As the mutual disdain that divides the American people and the ruling class continues to grow, and as Trump stands unmistakably as the former’s protector against the latter, the fundamental law of politics (who is on whose side?) guarantees his re-election by a bigger margin.

Unless, of course, Trump himself sides or is perceived to be siding with the rulers against the ruled. In that case, his fate is even surer to be that of the proverbial salt that has lost its savor, “thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”

Since the Ides of March, President Trump has placed himself on a path that the fundamentals suggest leads to political suicide. He did this by surrendering to the ruling class—Drs. Anthony Fauci, Deborah Birx, et al, not to mention House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)—his judgment on whether and for how long, and how the country should be shut down. This is of the greatest concern to the American people in general and to his voters in particular. By giving his imprimatur while suggesting that he is acting against his own better judgment, he fulfills the dictionary definition of tragedy.

President Trump is an intelligent, practical man, conscious of his peculiar responsibility as the one and only person elected to be responsible for the whole country. He knows how wrong Fauci was in the professional judgments he had given in January and February minimizing the novel coronavirus’s effects—for which he is not being held responsible—even as Trump was damned as a racist for closing down air traffic from China on January 31.

Every day, Trump (and the country) learns the ostensibly professional estimates by which Fauci, the Democrats, and the media have been flogging since mid-March are proving wrong by huge factors. And Trump knows that they are wrong because they are based on numbers that do not reflect reality.

Like all who pay attention, Trump knows that the number of confirmed cases means nothing because most infections do not result in “cases,” and hence that the real number for infections is surely higher, possibly by an order of magnitude. Also, the counting of deaths from COVID-19 is being revised downward because many of these deaths result from other causes and are attributed to COVID-19 only because the person happens also to have tested positive. The smaller numerator and the enormously larger denominator means that the real lethality rate is a fraction of one percent. That is why the curves Fauci, the medical establishment, the media, and Democratic governors cite for keeping the country shut down mean nothing.

Trump also knows that this establishment is hurting Americans by restricting the use of hydroxychloroquine—while physicians on the front lines, and millions of people who feel endangered, are benefiting from it or yearning for it. Yet, in the face of criticism from the establishment, he has muted his statements of what he knows to be true about it.

Trump is eager to open the country. And he knows that the American people will hold him, not Fauci or anybody else, responsible for the pain that adherence to the ruling class’s estimates is causing and will cause us. Speculating why, nevertheless, Trump persists in lending legitimacy to these flawed professionals, indeed why he lets them speak in his name, is pointless.

But Trump’s daily confusion of himself with Fauci et al.—no less real for being half-hearted—presses the question of how we may stop our pain and prevent the next bailout bill, and the ones after that, from locking the country in the grip of the ruling class even more than we ever feared when we elected Trump in 2016. One may wonder to what extent that question also presses on Donald Trump.

One thing is certain: That the ruling class savors the grip on us that it has achieved during the past three weeks—above all the presumption that we must quietly accept non-legal decrees from on high. It will not give up that grip without a fight.

Regardless of when Trump acts to reopen the country, they will do whatever is in their power to prevent him from exiting the path to political perdition which he has entered. They won’t give him a pass out of it, no matter what. Nothing that happens in April, or in May, June, or whenever, nothing that any curve does, will induce any of the ruling class to say, “OK, let’s all wash our hands, take precautions to protect the old and the obese, and get back to normal.”

Fauci has warned that perhaps this virus will return with every flu season. This is more than enough for such as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo—who has already said that the country will never be allowed back to normal and is echoed in that by the media—to greet any suggestion to move toward normalcy with the charge that it makes one responsible for deaths. “Blood is on your hands!” will be their rallying cry.

That, in turn, means anyone who may wish to lead America out of the quandary into which it has slipped because of our health officials’ incompetence and of President Trump’s apparent neglect of Politics 101 (who is on whose side?) will have to return to its fundamentals.

To wit: Start from the fact that the ruling class is discredited. Separate yourself from it.

Lose no opportunity to add to the discredit. Stress your own responsibility. Act on it. When they damn you, double damn them. Politics 101.

Elections

The Blame-Game Politics of COVID-19

Democrats are poised to blame President Trump no matter how things turn out in this mess.

Absent divine intervention, it will be difficult for President Trump to succeed in his goal of saving American lives and the U.S. economy from the ravages of COVID-19. Even if he does achieve a lot of success and deserves credit for it, it is no more obvious that President Trump will be reelected than it was that David would succeed in slaying Goliath.

The president is up against extraordinarily powerful and implacable foes who are not constrained by strict adherence to the facts. The Trump-hating media, the socialist Democrats and the deep state bureaucracy in Washington will turn the Chinese coronavirus crisis into a weapon in their longstanding effort to politically assassinate Donald Trump.

The raw and difficult politics of federal authority versus state law and authority will complicate both the health crisis and the economic crisis. A plethora of state and local lockdown orders, some seeming to border on martial law, may soon make it impossible to get Americans back to work in an economy where supply chains crisscross many state, county, and municipal lines to serve interdependent businesses.

Add to that the specter of ruinous class action liability suits under state law against any business that reopens and welcomes back employees and customers who might later claim that it was the cause of them being infected with COVID-19.

The commerce clause of the Constitution could permit the federal government to preempt states and localities from unreasonably complicating multi-state supply chains, but that would probably require a degree of cooperation by the Democrats in Congress that is unlikely to be forthcoming.

Despite the nearly existential crisis we may be facing, a “put politics aside” stance by the Democrats on anything other than spending vast amounts of money is hard to imagine.

There are too many Americans who do not at all fit the canonized pattern of God-country-merit-upward mobility American exceptionalism. They hate what does not seem to include them—and what they hate, they seek to destroy. Unfortunately, in the present post-rational age of mass-media mind control and “virtual” everything, the haters seem to have the upper hand.

The Chinese coronavirus invaded the United States on Trump’s watch and his foes will labor mightily to assure that he gets the blame. If the death rate in the United States is less than the scarily high projections shouted from the rooftops by the media, and if the per capita death rate in the United States is not as high as in other places, President Trump will be denied credit—the same way he was denied credit for both his record-setting jobs boom and the historic rise in the stock market over which he was presiding only a short time ago until all was brought low by the Great Panic of 2020.

The longer the media and an array of governors, mayors, and other local officials delay Americans from going back to work, the more will be the damage done to the economy, the more jobs and businesses will be destroyed and the more likely it is that Americans will become permanent dependent wards of the federal government.

Governors and local officials know that President Trump, not they, will get the blame for an economic crash. They also know that he will get most of the blame if their state or their city becomes a COVID-19 “hotspot,” but if they take draconian lockdown measures and if for some reason their jurisdiction does not become a hotspot, they know that they—not President Trump—will get the political credit.

The Democrats have nothing to lose from an economic crash. They know President Trump will get the blame and bear the political pain.

On the other hand, Democrats will benefit from an economic crash in several ways. First, it makes it more likely that President Trump will not be reelected and that they will gain power. Second, a prolonged economic crash that makes jobless Americans and damaged businesses more dependent on the government for survival aligns with their policy goal of establishing a government-run, command economy with extraordinary powers to dictate and control the conduct of all Americans.

The alternative to disaster is for President Trump—like David in the Book of Samuel—to succeed in slaying his own Goliath and for Americans to emerge from the Great Panic of 2020 with their economy and their freedoms intact.

President Trump’s success is America’s success and he should at long last—again like the biblical David—be given credit and rewarded.

Elections

Corona Meltdowns

Is the bad and self-negating behavior of so many of Trump’s enemies setting him up for an even more impressive victory in the fall?

As the coronavirus outbreak begins to reach its zenith, it remains unclear whether the measures taken to stem its tide will prove sufficient, insufficient, or an overreaction. What is certain, however, is that a number of individuals and entities have behaved shamefully and demonstrated no capacity for leadership or usefulness in this moment.

Nancy Pelosi: Gone are the mythologies that Nancy Pelosi was a pragmatic liberal voice of reason among the otherwise polarizing American Left, honed after years of paying her dues to the Democratic Party, as the mother of five dutifully ascended the party’s cursus honorum.

It does not matter whether her political and ethical decline was a result of her deep pathological hatred of Donald Trump. Who cares that her paranoia arose over the so-called “Squad” that might align with socialist Bernie Sanders to mesmerize Democrats to march over the cliff into McGovern-like oblivion? All concede that very few octogenarians have the stamina and clarity to put in the 16-hour work-days and transcontinental travel required by a Speaker of the House.

Instead, all that matters is that for a nation in extremis she is now puerile, even unhinged—and increasingly dangerous.

In retrospect, the public will remember how in fear and confusion she reversed course to spearhead impeachment, outsourced the task in the House of Representatives to its most incompetent and perfidious members—Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.)—and wasted weeks of the country’s precious energy and time as it was on the cusp of an epidemic.

Pelosi then quickly weaponized the viral crisis in hopes that COVID-19 could do what Robert Mueller’s dream team and impeachment had not done—destroy the administration of Donald Trump before the November 2020 election. Only such an obsession explains why any sober politico would damn Trump as culpable in January for ignoring the viral dangers, while nearly a month after his necessary and controversial travel ban of January 31—that stopped perhaps 7,000 Chinese citizens entering California per day, some on direct flights from Wuhan—she was doing a photo-op tour to urge the public to get out and shop in San Francisco’s crowded Chinatown: “That’s what we’re trying to do today is to say everything is fine here“.

Such a crazy juxtaposition is not just politics or hypocrisy—it’s insanity. The night before an impeached Trump was acquitted in the Senate, and five days after Trump had controversially stopped incoming Chinese visitors, Pelosi tore up his State of the Union address before a national television audience, a level of spiteful vitriol not seen in the U.S. Congress since the years leading up to the Civil War.

When the Congress finally agreed to call a truce and pass a bipartisan “rescue bill” to stave off a depression and deliver some relief to millions of unemployed, Pelosi single-handedly delayed passage to insert irrelevant progressive treats into the authorization—until she was reprimanded by her own party to cease and desist.

She is now, in the middle of an epidemic, insanely talking about a “truth” impeachment-light commission to investigate Trump. She is absolutely clueless of the nihilistic circus that would ensue when her own previous on-the-record statements, the parasitic investment practices of U.S. senators of both parties, the bizarre behavior of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, the empty January braggadocio of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Joe Biden’s smearing of the Trump travel ban would be fully aired.

Does she have any idea that by forcing Trump to “own” the virus—predicated on the notion of trusting in bleak but widely criticized Armageddon modeling—she is greenlighting Trump to take credit for the response, especially if coronavirus proves in the end comparable to the 60 million infected, roughly 1 million hospitalized, and 15,000-60,000 dead in the prior influenza epidemics of 2009 or 2017?

It is difficult to find one thing Pelosi has said or done that has not made the country worse off since the virus officially hit our shores in late January.

The Media: Watching the media deal with the daily White House briefings reminds the country that we have never had journalism of this low character before—not in the acrimony over the Founding, not in the furor during the Civil War, not even in the age of yellow journalism at the turn of the 20th century.

Reporters do not wish to transmit knowledge to the public that might aid in confronting the virus. They do not even wish to clarify murky statements from public officials to ensure Americans know exactly what the government wants them to do.

Instead, journalists during White House briefings fixate on two agendas.

One is to goad the president into saying something sloppy, by repeatedly suggesting that in reacting to the virus, he was in error, that he is cruel and heartless, or that he is dangerous. That gotcha obsession explains why the media can call Trump a xenophobe and racist for issuing a travel ban against China—contrary to the earlier advice of WHO, the Centers for Disease Control, the media, and the entire Democratic Party hierarchy—then silently support it. It explains why they then use doctored Chinese data and propaganda from the Chinese Communist Party to convince Americans that China—a nation that lied about the origins, spread, and nature of the virus—is admirably doing a better job in containing the virus than is their own country. Even the media cannot keep straight their own anti-Trump gymnastics.

If evidence convinces Trump to let the public know that hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin are efficacious in treating patients infected with coronavirus, then reporters will seek to persuade Americans that such off-label uses have no utility and are dangerous—even if they have to stoop to find some nut who drank fish-tank cleaner, clearly marked unfit for human consumption, to argue that a nonpotable chloroquine derivative cleaning agent provides proof of “Dr.” Trump’s deadly ignorance.

But the White House press obsesses over a second agenda, too. It must always prove that previously respected figures like Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, once embraced by the liberal media in their pre-Trump days, either are in revolt against their doltish boss or brain-washed into obsequious enslavement to the president. Often the media advances both antithetical scenarios near simultaneously.

The third rail for the media is that Fauci and Birx are empirical and sound mostly politically disinterested. They seek to provide Trump with scientific data about the virus to balance his incoming streams of financial, economic, military, and cultural information.

When Trump accepts their advice over objections from other advisors with competing national concerns, the two feel it was for the good of the country. When he demurs, they press their arguments as advocates of public health. And when they rarely lose an argument the two concede the president has to balance dozens of existential concerns.

In other words, it would be hard, for anyone other than the current press corps, on Monday to paint Fauci and Birx as frustrated scientists at the mercy of a moron who refuses to listen to science, while on Tuesday writing off both as Trump toadies who have joined the forces of darkness.

But that is currently the schizophrenic state of the American media. The only constant is that whatever Trump advocated, they are against, even if lives are at stake. And whatever Trump policy seems to be working for the good of the country, they either deny or ignore it.

Another irony: While the current media is the logical culmination of the liberal biases of the more polite leftwing domination of network and print media of the late twentieth century, it is now also far more vulnerable to exposure and ridicule. After all, it was progressive Silicon Valley’s creation of the Internet website and social media that have allowed truth to emerge past even media filters, truth that has largely exposed the media as incompetent, meanspirited, and increasingly irrelevant.

Joe Biden: The virus shutdown was first seen as providing a necessary respite for the 77-year-old former vice president to go home, rest up, and recuperate after an exhausting summer, fall, and winter of campaigning—an ordeal that supposedly had explained Biden’s increasing flubs and gaffes.

Indeed, when the shutdown first began, a rested Biden, coming off a well enough debate performance against Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), was to broadcast daily out of his home. In informal fireside chat fashion, good ol’ Joe from Scranton would offer “here’s the deal” homilies and “point one, point two, point something or other” commentaries on the virus and Trump’s inadequate response to it.

But what followed was an ungodly disaster, as if the problem all along never was Biden’s weariness, but Biden himself. A rested Biden’s botched commentaries only convinced observers that a President Biden at this moment would be a veritable catastrophe. Biden seemed more confused from his home than he was on the campaign stump. He tried reading from a teleprompter script, and then talking ex tempore, and then both, and found he could do neither.

After blasting Trump as a xenophobe and racist for the January 31 travel ban, Biden hemmed and hawed and finally conceded he agreed with the ban. His staff claimed his xenophobic/racist allegations were in connection to Trump’s use of “Chinese virus”—a rubric first institutionalized probably by CNN. Yet Trump used that terminology only after, not before, Biden’s smear. Now Biden apparently is trying to argue that Trump should have issued the once “racist” and “xenophobic” ban even earlier—as Biden its former critic supposedly would have done. Once Biden decided he had to be against everything Trump was for, and once Trump was for most things that the so-called experts thought best, then Biden inevitably was in Pavlovian fashion against what was good for the country.

The truth is that Biden cannot find much to disagree with, given that most Democrats—Pelosi and DeBlasio, especially—were playing down the severity of the virus, as was Anthony Fauci himself in January.

Anytime Biden faulted Trump for belated responses, it was easy for Biden’s opponents to show that almost no one but Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) in early January was alarmed about the impending danger (and smeared by the Left for his warnings), and even easier given that Trump’s travel ban met fierce opposition as not merely racist but unnecessary and exaggerated.

Biden earlier also had promised a diversity vice president and is now wedded to that commitment. But the only Democrat in the present crisis who is winning mainstream media acclaim is Governor Andrew Cuomo, despite the paradox that he was also once exaggerating his own readiness for the virus and bragging about the openness of New York to the world. So far, he governs a state with the greatest numbers of virus cases as well as deaths and per capita fatality rates—facts which according to the blame—game logic of the Left are political fodder.

Nonetheless, Cuomo is being touted both as the far more competitive candidate in a crisis than the fumbling Biden, and yet he will prove almost impossible to nominate given Biden’s long campaign and delegate lead. The best squaring of that circle in the eyes of Democrat politicos would be to have Cuomo as the vice-presidential nominee on the ticket. He could rectify some of Biden’s gaffing, and do most of the fall campaigning, while with a wink and nod reassuring voters that he would likely have to step in for a President Biden if the latter’s present disturbing lapses continue.

Now that option seems less likely given Biden’s earlier politically correct grandstanding of promising a diversity vice-presidential pick without a clue of who such a person might be.

For now, the media, Pelosi, and Biden, along with the Left in general, wish to perpetuate a sense of viral Armageddon to make it politically impossible for Trump to initiate a graduated plan of returning America to work. Their hope is for a summer and fall of continued lockdown, a near depression rather than a mere recession, and enough public furor to end Trump in November—while hoping that a sudden post-election end to the lockdown will allow the natural recovery of Trump’s booming economy on their watch in 2021.

Missing in all these calculations is empathy for those who are ill and the losses that such macabre expectations certainly entail. Also absent is a sense of the irony that, by unfairly scapegoating Trump in hours of darkness, they are ensuring that in the upcoming dawn, he will be credited by their same logic with owning what will likely be an impressive U.S. response to suppressing the virus and reviving the economy.

Elections

Whose Side Is Nancy Pelosi Really On?

The House speaker’s decision to publicly blame the president for the tragic and unfortunate loss of life was not only reprehensible, it was also un-American.

As people throughout the world continue to fight the coronavirus, some in Congress have used the occasion of the pandemic to . . . attack President Trump. At the forefront of the attacks is a presidential aspirant himself: Joe Biden. His efforts have essentially gone unnoticed, however, as he has become less relevant and seemingly forgotten during this difficult time.

Unfortunately, and to dismay of many, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has not retreated from national attention.

Obviously, personal attacks on this president are nothing new. But Pelosi’s recent comments took things to a new low and exceeded all bounds of human decency. Pelosi blamed the president for the tragic loss of life resulting from this virus. Her statements are not only vile but un-American. They also make it difficult to tell whose side Pelosi is really on.

“As the president fiddles, people are dying,” Pelosi said last Sunday. “We just have to take every precaution.” The vile nature of her comments cannot be overstated. As Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) pointed out:

This is the same Speaker of the House who held up the bill in the Senate for days because she wanted same-day voting. She wanted carbon neutrality for the airlines. She is the one that held up the package in the Senate for days. . . . So it’s the most shameful, disgusting thing I have heard yet, and it needs to stop.

Not only is Pelosi’s comment disgusting; it is also incorrect. Trump’s decision in January to bar travel from China to the United States likely slowed the spread of the virus and saved many lives. As reported by the Federalist, “Trump’s China travel ban reduced arrivals from the hotspot to the United States by 90 percent and ‘prevent[ed] more cases from China coming into the United States.’” His leadership since then has also been exemplary and decisive and has further preserved the lives of American citizens.

Here’s the trouble: Rather than standing with the president and supporting the president’s efforts to tackle the effects of a global crisis here at home, she chose to launch a vile, unsupported, and shameful attack in which she tried to attribute the unfortunate loss of life resulting from this virus to the president’s initial reaction and response.

Pelosi is not just a mere politician. As speaker of the House, she is third-in-line to the presidency. With that role comes responsibility, including the responsibility to represent Congress with dignity and class, maintain the integrity of Congress (or whatever may be left of it), help to unite the country during difficult times, and to stand behind and support the president’s efforts in a national crisis (at least publicly).

For someone who is alleged to be concerned with protecting American lives, her words and deeds raise questions as to where her loyalties lie.

Remember, it was Pelosi who toured San Francisco’s Chinatown on February 24 where she complained about alleged racism against Asian Americans as a result of the Chinese coronavirus. During that tour, Pelosi invited others to join her and to stand together, telling the crowd:

It’s exciting to be here, especially at this time to be able to be unified with our community. We want to be vigilant about what is out there in other places. We want to be careful about how we deal with it, but we do want to say to people “Come to Chinatown. Here we are, careful, safe and come join us.”

It is unclear how she thought these actions might slow the spread of the disease. The hypocrisy here is self-evident. How can Pelosi possibly complain about Trump’s initial response to the virus and blame him for the subsequent loss of life when she encouraged people to get together on the streets of San Francisco a month before her diatribe against the president? Is Pelosi also responsible for the loss of life due to her irresponsible call for people to congregate to support her ridiculous cause?

It was also Pelosi who objected to Trump’s expanded travel ban that was meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus and to protect American lives. As reported by the Hill, Pelosi said:

The Trump Administration’s expansion of its outrageous, un-American travel ban threatens our security, our values and the rule of law. The sweeping rule, barring more than 350 million individuals from predominantly African nations from traveling to the United States, is discrimination disguised as policy.

With this latest callous decision, the President has doubled down on his cruelty and further undermined our global leadership, our Constitution and our proud heritage as a nation of immigrants.

Pelosi’s stance appears to put the interests of others (non-citizens) ahead of the health and well-being of Americans. Clearly, the president’s directive was not un-American, nor did it threaten the nation’s security or the rule of law. On the contrary, it was specifically meant to protect Americans from further exposure to a dangerous virus in the midst of a terrible pandemic. It was meant to save American lives!

Whatever side Pelosi is on, it’s clearly not the side of the American people.

Elections

Coronavirus Consequences Coming into View

Democrats seeking electoral advantage from this crisis are in an untenable position.  Even in suboptimal circumstances, it is hard to see where any case can be made for mismanagement by the administration.

The new Democratic pre-electoral chorus is already audibly arising like a Wagnerian finale from the largely hidden choir. President Trump, they intone, bungled this and must be investigated for his incompetence which is costing countless American lives. Because of his negligence and stupidity, the country must be shut down for months to ensure an economic disaster entirely attributable (unsurprisingly) to the contemptible ineptitude of the Bad Orange Man.

CNN’s Brian Stelter, one of the battle-scarred, grizzled, veterans of the Long March of media Trump-haters, choreographically synchronized with the Washington Post, New York Times, and MSNBC, has already kicked off this new campaign, on the air and on the internet. He has gathered together the usual sampling of Trumpophobic media group-thinkers, and followed Saul Alinsky’s first rule, accusing the enemy of precisely what he and his comrades are doing. Stelter has gone forth to battle with the same grim earnest that he brought to the previous unsuccessful crusades for the Trump-Russia election rigging fable and the impeachment fantasy.

The pro-Trump media, outnumbered but victorious, will indeed have the effrontery to defend the president and join with the 60 percent of Americans who think that he has generally led well in this struggle against the coronavirus, despite an overly optimistic launch.

For so long Stelter has uttered the old stock phrases “walls are closing in,” and “the drip, drip, drip,” and the almost daily “bombshell” of each new damaging allegation (that evaporated overnight), that he could be operating on autocue as he storms out of the firehall again, tearing through the pandemic-deserted streets to assault the president on a completely spurious charge one more time. No one can deny the vigor and imperishability of the hate and vitriol that propels the president’s media enemies again and again, no matter how often they are mowed down by the facts.

Theirs is a bloodless re-enactment of the Japanese defense of Okinawa 75 years ago: the Japanese defense force of 120,000 took 113,000 dead and 7,000 wounded, one of history’s few large engagements where one side had a 100 percent casualty rate. It is mad, but it is bold, or as General Bosquet famously said of the Charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimean War of 1854: “It is magnificent, but it isn’t war; it’s insanity.”

It isn’t very professional, either.

Even less forgivable is the campaign, already begun by New York Times hit-person Maggie Haberman to tear down the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx, who is an indisputable expert doing an exceptionally capable job. Birx has an unblemished career of great distinction, being not only a respected medical doctor but a retired colonel and former ambassador. Her offense is not to slag off the president who has recruited her.

Aiding and Abetting Globalist Corruption

The same media outlets have been engaged in a scandalous attempt to represent the Chinese response to the crisis as brilliant and to accept Beijing’s claim to have eliminated the virus within its own borders, in embarrassing contrast (they suppose) to Trumpian floundering about.

In reality, the Chinese were inexcusably dishonest in withholding the proportions of the coronavirus outbreak; have not uttered a truthful word about it up to and including this week—as they claim to have had almost no further fatalities and none at all in the past few days; and were extremely negligent in not moving promptly to restrict outward travel and warn the world.

The same American media which have acclaimed the official Chinese performance with an adulatory hallelujah chorus have railed against President Trump for following the normal practice of identifying the coronavirus geographically. The subordination of the World Health Organization as a cheerleader for China’s odium and criminality will require that the entire leadership of the WHO to be sacked and replaced by people in whom it is possible to have some confidence.

By the time this horrible virus has ravaged the underdeveloped world—which is completely unprepared to deal with it and where the danger of horrific human devastation is the fear that dare not speak its name—the complacent support of the corrupt leadership of the United Nations and its agencies by African and Asian states may have abated.

In the aftermath of this crisis, China’s prestige will have been thoroughly besmirched and a number of states will have followed the lead of the United Kingdom in questioning the utility and efficacy of the European Union, which has provided no leadership at all.

Making Up for Lost Time

Without question, the United States lacked adequate preparation for a pandemic. There is no just reason for heaping abuse on the previous administration for not being prepared for what the country is now facing because it has not faced anything comparable since the Spanish flu a century ago. Nor is it just to hammer President Trump for his somewhat cavalier opening reflections on the coronavirus, as he was not at that stage being warned that it could achieve the proportions it is achieving, or that the virus was distinctly more dangerous than outbreaks of aggressive flu in the last several decades.

The charges of unpreparedness are based mainly on a lethargic start to testing; even three weeks ago it was necessary to send all tests, which only could be administered by appointment in hospitals, to Atlanta for evaluation. These complaints have been effectively answered by the swift development of immediate testing devices that can be administered anywhere by almost anyone and produce evaluations within 15 minutes.

The president made exactly the right decision on Wednesday in permitting the two Dutch cruise liners with coronavirus-infected passengers to land at Port Everglades, Florida, and to do “what is best for humanity.” It was an admirable gesture and is widely interpreted in the world as generous and respectful of the universal character of the fight against this disease.

Trump and his advisors have now prepared the country for 100,000 deaths, but that total will only occur if the incidence of New York ripples across all the heavily populated areas of the country and if California only peaks at the end of April.

Preliminary evidence, indicative and not at all dispositive, is that California is almost at its peak now. If this is the case, the death total will be far less than 100,000 and the country will likely reopen in May, if in stages, and the president will be deemed to have managed the crisis well and sustained and retrieved the economy well.

If the peak in California only comes late in April, however, the total number of fatalities could approach 80,000 and the country might not be substantially open for business until mid-June.

Tedious and Predictable Partisanship

Obviously, speculation is hazardous and these projections are rank guesses based on official statements of pandemic patterns. Even in a suboptimal circumstance, it is hard to see where any case can be made for mismanagement by the administration, especially by those who accused him of “racism” and “xenophobia” for stopping the direct flights from China, (e.g. Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer).

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trial balloon on CNN on Sunday about an investigation like that which followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon was preposterous. In 2001, there had been some badly misjudged intelligence, by the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. In the coronavirus crisis, the president moved quickly to end direct travel from China and then Europe, saving many lives and giving the United States the lowest fatality ratio of any large country with a sophisticated medical system and reliable reporting except Canada and Germany.

The administration is taking fiscal and social advantage of the crisis in the national interest with desirable tax reductions and, finally, an infrastructure renovation program. This president is emulating the tactic of Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II in styling any legislation that involved official expense as a bill to assist members and veterans of the armed forces. If something of durable value can be legislated along with the measures necessary to strangle the public health crisis and rescue the economically vulnerable, it will be a commendable nugget in a rocky field. Pelosi’s investigation will not get far off the ground.

Elections

Robert Gates Makes a Damning Case Against Joe Biden as Commander-in-Chief

Before anyone considers electing Biden to the presidency on grounds of the Delaware Democrat’s purported moderation, the electorate should examine all the reasons why the former defense secretary says Biden has “been wrong on nearly every foreign policy and national security issue for the past four decades.”

Robert Gates is the epitome of a moderate political thinker, public servant, and lifelong specialist in international security. After a lengthy career appointment as an analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency, he served as deputy director of the CIA under President Ronald Reagan, deputy national security adviser and, later, director of the CIA under President George H.W. Bush. Gates served for two years as President George W. Bush’s secretary of defense and two-and-a-half more years in the same office under President Barack Obama.

Here is a man with no appetite for bombast. Here is a judicious national security establishment figure firmly aligned with the Bushes, Jim Baker, and Brent Scowcroft. Here is someone who is hard to imagine wearing a MAGA hat but is surely a patriot committed, in his own manner, to American greatness.

Gates is a Republican and is certainly no liberal, but his reputation for moderation, pragmatism, and managerial talent was such that Barack Obama wanted to retain him for a long stint as secretary of defense. It wasn’t the easiest of tenures, but for two and a half years, Gates worked diligently and as smoothly as he could with President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the rest of the Obama-Biden national security team.

It is therefore a matter of grave alarm—at least a DEFCON 2 and possibly DEFCON 1, the ultimate state of alert—when Gates, that most centered of centrists, asserts that Biden has “been wrong on nearly every foreign policy and national security issue for the past four decades.”

The entire syllabus of Biden’s foreign policy and national security errors is a target-rich environment for the many American Greatness writers with expertise on particular issues. Anyone who makes the case for Biden’s election to the presidency should be made to defend the extremism and demonstrated failure of Biden’s national security record.

Let’s consider Biden’s fatal flaw when it comes to defending the United States, our allies, and friends, against ballistic missiles.

During the Reagan and first Bush administrations, a signature issue for the ambitious senator from Delaware was ballistic missile defense. Biden mocked Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, insisting that a program for research and development of effective defenses against ICBMs was a dangerous delusion.

Following the lead of his mentor, the late Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), Biden said that the research and development of missile defenses was a waste of money because it was a foregone conclusion that effective defenses would be impossible.

With less than acute logic, Biden also said that R&D for missile defense was “destabilizing.” Why? Well, Biden said, because the program moved in the direction of undoing the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the cornerstone of the Strangelovian “mutual assured destruction” doctrine that encouraged the ever-growing lethality of offensive nuclear weapons on both the Soviet and American sides.

Think about that for a moment. If R&D for missile defense really had been as useless as an alchemist’s labors at turning base metals into gold, why should that have changed the strategic offensive balance between America and the Soviets?

Consider, too: Soviet diplomatic pronouncements and propaganda agitated vehemently against American R&D for missile defense. If the Soviets really had believed that Reagan was wasting American defense dollars in pursuit of a delusion, why didn’t they encourage Reagan to keep doing it? Why did they denounce the program so stridently?

Biden, who has never been regarded as much of a thinker, somehow missed that point.

When Reagan pursued the R&D anyway and the honest scientific community came around more and more to recognize the feasibility of effective ballistic missile defense, Biden and Kennedy remained steadfast in their deep denial.

As a senator, Biden slowed the development and deployment of ballistic missile defenses. Americans, our allies, and our friends should never forget that Biden struggled mightily to prevent them from having the defenses they now enjoy.

Today, the United States has a robust ballistic missile defense program that keeps getting stronger and more capable.

Israel is famous for its effective missile defenses. After first gaining missile defense systems from the United States, Israel’s own homegrown missile defense technology is so substantial that it has become a product for export.

Saudi Arabia has destroyed numerous incoming ballistic missiles over the past several years, including missiles targeted at Riyadh only last week. Without the U.S.-made Patriot missile defense systems that Biden fought to prevent, Saudi Arabia would have sustained crippling damage and casualties from Iranian missiles launched by Tehran’s clients in Yemen.

Countries circling the globe now have ballistic missile defenses because of Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative.

All of the NATO countries are in Reagan’s debt for the anti-missile shield that now protects them.

Japan, Korea, Kuwait, and Bahrain are among the nations with U.S. Patriot defenses.

The United Arab Emirates has the most advanced missile defense assets in the Gulf region. It was the first country outside the United States to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery.

It pleases Biden’s campaign and the Big Media to describe Biden as some sort of moderate as he prepares to face President Trump in the November election. But the reality is that Biden is on the far-left on all issues, only a tiny bit less extreme in substance and style than Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and “the squad.”

When it comes to missile defense, in fact, there is no meaningful difference between Biden and Sanders.

An authentic moderate is hard to find. Robert Gates comes as close as anyone to meeting the definition.

Before anyone considers electing Biden to the presidency on grounds of the Delaware Democrat’s purported moderation, voters should examine all the reasons why Gates says Biden has “been wrong on nearly every foreign policy and national security issue for the past four decades.”

Elections

Our Crooked Congress

While we all hope we can get back to normal sometime soon, there’s almost zero reason to believe Congress will start acting in a responsible way and this is exactly the kind of “normal” we should hope to avoid.

While the American people should always be watching what is taking place in Washington, D.C., this is ever more true in our current crisis. In case you weren’t watching, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden have made it very clear where their priorities lie. Hint: They are not with Americans or their well being.

Democrats decided that the Chinese coronavirus pandemic was a great time to try and backdoor their long laundry list of Leftie goals. While Americans are fearing for their lives and livelihoods, Pelosi and her crew were treating the crisis as though it were a political gift—a genie in a bottle who could make all their wishes come true.

Green New Deal, open borders, funding sanctuary cities, forcing unions on mid-sized companies (500-10,000 employees) if they take government funds, ballot harvesting, and a cool $350 million for migrants and refugees, among other items.

But even more insulting is that the Democrats decided it was time to take advantage of a crisis to hand out goodies for their friends: $75 million for the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio, $50 million for the Office of Museum and Library services that already got funded for the year, $8 billion for tribal governments, $10 billion for the U.S. Postal Service, $25 million for the Kennedy Center (because nothing says helping the American people like giving the Kennedy Center a facelift even though it’s sitting on a $140 million endowment), and—wait for it kids—a $25 million pay raise for the House of Representatives as well as $20 million for the FBI to cover “salaries and expenses.”

But don’t worry: just be good little people and you’ll get your $1,200 check as well as $500 per kid, unless of course the geniuses in Congress have deemed you to make too much money. Then you get squadoosh. Think of all this as a bowl of porridge for Americans in exchange for your inheritance kinda deal.

At a time when we should be focused on the most expedient way to save lives and save jobs, Democrats were peddling for all the legislation they’d hoped to pass during President Trump’s first term and failed.

The good news is that the Senate version stripped out most of the nonsense, however, quite conveniently, left most of the pork intact. But imagine for one minute that Democrats controlled the Senate or, worse yet, the White House. You’d be looking at a brave new world right now.

The behavior on display is somewhere between deeply immoral and evil, but also feels like par for the course. Throw on top such things as, say, the insider trading elected representatives of both parties and staff now stand accused of, and you might think the swamp is more a steamy sewer of absolute corruption funded by the hard work of American taxpayers. The people in Congress were granted privileged, classified information regarding the state of our markets in closed-door briefings. With that knowledge, instead of protecting the American people, they protected the security of their own pockets.

As a reminder, the Commodity Exchange Act, better known as the Stock Act, became law in April 2012. It prohibited this very thing—though let’s be honest, the fact that such an obvious breach of ethics had to be codified in order for us to recognize it as unlawful is semi-shocking. But don’t worry, though: the Stock Act was gutted in 2013 and now its penalties serve as a mere slap on the wrist.

Not only that, but let’s not forget the other time Congress repurposed your taxpayer dollars to benefit themselves: remember the $25 million they used to hush up sexual harassment suits? That would be tens of millions more to bail out the American people and small business owners, but sorry, gotta keep that immoral congressional behavior on the sly to help re-elections so they can sell us out again.

The overarching trouble with Congress today is that most of them view you as their ATM to fund their priorities. But let’s face it: They also view laws as a series of suggestions for themselves rather than as the rules that govern our nation and ensure it runs smoothly.

While we all hope we can get back to normal sometime soon, there’s almost zero reason to believe Congress will start acting in a responsible way and this is exactly the kind of “normal” we should hope to avoid. Perhaps the electorate can look forward to the fall elections and hold accountable those who exacerbated an already unbelievable situation.

Elections

Cuomo Deserves No Plaudits for His Handling of Crisis

The facts prove that Cuomo put his state, and yes, the country as a whole, in danger with his last-minute disaster planning and fealty to open borders. That should spark outrage, not admiration.

It was a stunning confession.

During a press briefing on Tuesday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo admitted that closing schools and colleges in his state was a spur-of-the-moment decision based on a health crisis for which he was not prepared. “What we said at a moment of crisis is ‘isolate everyone,’” Cuomo told reporters while seated in front of boxes of medical supplies. “Close the schools, close the colleges, send everyone home, isolate everyone in their home. [It] wasn’t even smart, frankly, to isolate younger people with older people.”

Cuomo conceded that the reason he ordered public schools and colleges shut down was that he “didn’t have the knowledge [and] we needed to act.” The governor’s comments were made on March 24, more than two months after the first reported case of coronavirus was detected in Washington state.

New York, particularly the city, is the nation’s current hotbed of coronavirus activity. According to one tracking site, nearly 31,000 New Yorkers have tested positive for COVID-19, resulting in 3,800 hospitalizations and 285 deaths. On Wednesday, three army hospitals were deployed to New York and Washington to provide medical support and additional beds if needed.

The third-term Democratic governor, unsurprisingly, is earning media praise for his handling of the crisis.

“Andrew Cuomo shows how to lead during the coronavirus crisis,” swooned the Washington Post’s editorial board this week. Cuomo, according to his hometown newspaper, is the “politician of the moment” whose daily press briefings are must-watch events praised both by Democrats and Republicans like former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. Even Billy Joel is impressed with the tough-talking political progeny. A recent poll places Cuomo towards the top on the list of officials Americans most trust to handle the Wuhan virus debacle.

Cuomo, his new admirers insist, is the antidote to President Trump—a leader who rose to the challenge, spoke the truth, and made the tough choices while the White House ducked and dithered.

“If social media is a reflection of how people are feeling, Cuomo’s image during the coronavirus outbreak is one of authority, yet hope—a role people value enough to begin visualizing his presidency,” one smitten CBS News reporter cooed.

But neither Cuomo nor New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio deserve attaboys. A toxic combination of Big Apple hubris, devotion to open borders regardless of the imminent threat, and Trump-hating obstinacy fueled a stubborn strategy that left their citizens vulnerable for months.

Further, New York’s political leaders have acknowledged that the world’s financial capital—a city home to nearly 9 million people, the most densely populated city in the country—has no comprehensive plan to deal with a pandemic or any viral public health threat. Cuomo and DeBlasio have cobbled together a last-minute, slapdash strategy as COVID-19 spread across the globe and closed in on New York City.

By January 31, the day President Trump suspended flights from China, “outbreaks were already growing in over 30 cities across 26 countries, most seeded by travelers from Wuhan,” according to one model by the New York Times.

But even by late February, Cuomo boasted about his state’s accessibility to foreign travelers—his state, the governor said on February 26, is the “front door” for visitors from around the world—while only instituting voluntary quarantines for suspected coronavirus carriers.

“Our operating paradigm has always been, prepare for the worst but hope for the best,” Cuomo said.

That paradigm, apparently, did not include prohibiting hundreds of thousands of potentially infected travelers from entering his state since January. Tourists and business travelers continued to pour into the Big Apple during the first several days of March without any comprehensive screening or restrictions.

Cuomo this week again bragged about his state’s open arms, which resulted in New York’s current crisis. The reason New York now has so many more cases of coronavirus, even more than California, is “because we welcome people from across the globe,” he said on March 25. “We have people coming here, we have people who came here from China, who came here from Italy, who came here from all across the globe.”

No one, of course, should be surprised that a leading Democratic politician prioritized open borders diversity politics over public health.

Cuomo hasn’t been alone in downplaying the early threat of COVID-19. Bill DeBlasio, who had suspended his presidential campaign a few months earlier, seemed to mock the menace, directing New Yorkers to proceed as normal. “Since I’m encouraging New Yorkers to go on with your lives + get out on the town despite Coronavirus, I thought I would offer some suggestions,” he tweeted on March 2. He then offered a movie recommendation. His health commissioner encouraged residents to attend the city’s annual Lunar New Year parade in Chinatown. “I want to remind everyone to enjoy the parade and not change any plans due to misinformation spreading about #coronavirus,” Oxiris Barbot tweeted February 9.

Social media is flooded with dire stories about the situation in New York City hospitals. (Oddly, this is supposed to reflect poorly on the president and not on the city whose leaders and residents remind you on an hourly basis that they are best at everything.) A wrenching article in the Times described the conditions at Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens: More than two-thirds of the residents who live in the surrounding neighborhood were born outside of the United States. The reporters told of long waits in the emergency room and beds filling up. Thirteen people died at Elmhurst in one day, although the article does not confirm all of the victims succumbed to COVID-19.

But medical personnel told the Times that an influx of people complaining of flu-like systems began in the first week of March. So, why didn’t the mayor or the governor act then to ensure city hospitals, particularly those situated in low-income areas where residents have  limited access to high-quality care, were better prepared?

This problem isn’t a new one prompted by a surge in coronavirus victims, however. A public policy researcher in 2015 detailed long waits in New York City emergency rooms. The head of the emergency department for the Mount Sinai hospital system quit in 2018 after less than a year on the job.

“I had to follow my moral compass and leave and decide this is not an organization that cares for patients,” Dr. Eric Barton told the New York Post.

Last year, city nurses threatened to strike due to overcrowding at three major hospital systems. “Nurse Anthony Ciampa said he had to choose recently between feeding an elderly patient at New York Presbyterian and treating several acutely ill patients because there weren’t enough other nurses on duty,” according to a March 2019 report in the Daily News.

And the outcry about ventilators? State officials were informed several years ago that the stockpile of ventilators was woefully inadequate to handle a severe pandemic. But instead of preparing for a looming crisis and buying 16,000 ventilators, the state’s health commissioner formed a task force to develop a system to ration the life-saving equipment. The task force “came up with rules that will be imposed when ventilators run short,” the New York Post reported last week. “­Patients assigned a red code will have highest access, and other ­patients will be assigned green, yellow or blue (the worst), ­depending on a ‘triage officer’s’ decision.”

Now that Cuomo’s rationing plan is backfiring and his lack of preparation is exposed, he’s blaming Washington for his state’s self-induced emergency.

Cuomo is demanding that the federal government find the 15,000 extra ventilators his state will need in the next two weeks. During a press briefing this week, Cuomo admitted his state normally has 4,000 ventilators; they recently purchased another 7,000. (The federal government has sent 4,000.) But why did Cuomo wait so long to obtain these machines and why is it somehow Trump’s responsibility, and not Cuomo’s, to find them?

Such questions, like so many related to the coronavirus scare, are not allowed. The media is in full gaga mode over Andrew Cuomo’s daily monologues and cutesy interviews with his brother on CNN. But the facts prove that Cuomo put his state, and yes, the country as a whole, in danger with his last-minute disaster planning and fealty to open borders. That should spark outrage, not admiration.

Elections

‘Dr. Win-the-War’ vs. the Mouse

Democratic Party bosses are sending an infirm and elderly mouse to bell a big, tawny, roaring cat. Anyone can see how it will end.

President Trump has met and passed his supreme test. This has left his Democratic opponents  desperately espousing gloom and demanding that the economic shut-down continue, according to frequent semi-high-brow Democratic ideologue and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, for up to seven months.

Clinton Treasury Secretary Larry Summers took to the Washington Post to preach epidemiological defeatism. While the choristers of fear and despair are clinging to a prolonged economic melt-down like drowning men clutching a raft, their presumptive presidential candidate is disintegrating in the midst of friendly interviews and struggling to get a little attention while the man he wishes to unseat takes one to two hours of prime-time television every day announcing the success of his plan of action to deal with the country’s greatest public health crisis in a century.

When Trump realized that his breezy assurances that everything was under control and that the spring weather would vanquish the problem weren’t cutting it, and that he was wide open to blistering criticism from his opponents, he imperturbably executed a 180-degree turn and became, in FDR’s phrase, apt for a public health crisis, “Dr. Win-the-War.”

The Democratic Party spokespeople for a few days were feeling very sufficient, settling into a long siege with the entire economy of the country descending into desperate straits, and then carrying their recently resurrected nominee, the ill-assured and quavering Joe Biden across the finish-line against the new Herbert Hoover.

Democrats had been incredulous at Trump’s appearance as a candidate, judged him unelectable, were so astonished by his victory they convinced themselves and corrupted the Justice Department and the intelligence agencies with the monstrous falsehood that he had won by enlisting the support of the Kremlin. And when that enormous canard came down in flames—like the Hindenburg at Lakehurst, New Jersey in 1937—out of terror-induced distraction, they impeached him for unimpeachable offenses and with no believable evidence that he had committed them anyway.

The unelectable Trump had given way to the impeachable Trump, who was replaced by the distinctly beatable Trump, a vision it was increasingly hard to believe in as the economy disobediently boomed and the president’s poll numbers rose. Then, like the Seventh Cavalry guided by a beatific apparition, the coronavirus pandemic descended. It wasn’t quite the Trump exit his enemies had wished, but it would do and it was providential. Trump would shut everything down after being pilloried for overconfidence and ineffectiveness, the economy would wither, the pandemic would do to him politically what the Iran hostages did to Jimmy Carter, and the Democrats could claim in the autumn that if he had just acted more quickly, all would be well, and the disease-driven poverty of America was Trump’s doing.

The president had the grace of conversion. He shut down all the bunk about his philistine animosity to science by recruiting a blue-ribbon scientific and public health administrative team. He stopped most of the Democratic officeholders by cooperating closely with all the governors, including some he had quarreled with publicly and acidulously. People in the front lines, like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and California Governor Gavin Newsom, were fighting for the lives of the people in their states, as well as for their own political futures, and all those who were trying to cope with the pandemic, rather than exploiting its political consequences, had the same interest.

The eminent scientists and other specialists on the president’s task force appeared with him at his press briefings and spoke in solidarity with him. Trump more or less shouldered the vice president aside and took the podium every day with the whole country watching. He brought in the private-sector leaders and a collaboration somewhat reminiscent of the brilliant cooperation between government and industry in World War II instantly came into being as many corporations threw their energies into producing and distributing vital equipment for combating the scourge.

Medical supplies were moved quickly and with almost no red tape. The astounding incapacity to test in serious numbers and promptly was replaced in two weeks with mass testing that almost anyone could perform with results coming in 40 minutes. This week there have been 65,000 tests a day and by next week there will be 150,000 tests a day.

Trump was solid, not rattled, by the questions and entirely believable as he handled the press every day, and fully corroborated by his experts. The anticipated fatality rate between 5 and 10 percent of those afflicted, and a majority of those apparently with coronavirus symptoms, narrowed out after about 10 days and it emerged that only about 15 percent of those who seemed to have the symptoms tested positive, and of those, fatalities were about 1.5 percent of infected people.

If the immuno-compromised portion of the population could be segregated and protected, the fatality rate came down to about half of 1 percent of the 15 percent of the tested and symptomatic people who actually had contracted the coronavirus. And there are large regions of the country where the penetration of the virus has been minimal, and this condition was generally conserved by drastically reduced travel.

The independent medical and epidemiological experts confirmed that the president’s actions in closing down flights from China in January and from Western Europe on March 11 had undoubtedly saved many American lives and that without these measures, the United States could have had fatality rates like Italy’s distressing 10.5 percent of infected cases—scores or even hundreds of thousands of dead if replicated in the United States. At the time of the move on flights from China, Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer fired the usual Democratic charges of “racism” and “xenophobia” at the president—the charges didn’t wear well.

The president championed the malarial remedy Hydroxychloroquine, and when one unfortunate tried to self-medicate but with the phosphate version (an aquarium tank-cleaner) he died so CNN billed it a virtual manslaughter by the president. Laughable. And the actual remedy does appear to be promising. As this new and less terrifying picture emerged, a rising focus among commentators was on the economic damage of a prolonged shut-down of the country.

Although this was essentially what the Democrats were counting on, they had to concur in the president’s relief package, an awe-inspiring two trillion dollar direct relief bill supplemented by a four trillion dollar liquidity facility. The Democrats squandered their ability to take much credit for it by trying to pack in nonsense about solar panels, windmills, abortions, carbon emissions of grounded airliners, and back-handers for trade unions. Too late. They realized that Trump and the treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, had layered in tax benefits that would outlast the public health crisis and its consequences and would be of tangible pleasure to the voters as they went to their election places.

And so the Democrats arrive at their last line of defense: Bill de Blasio, the failed, lame-duck mayor of New York, pathetically wailing for the deployment of the armed forces (for no evident purpose and as if they were immune to the virus) and predicting that the pandemic would rage everywhere in the country at the highest New York City rate, for six months. Reich and Summers and the others charged out of the firehall one more time demanding a long shutdown, but it won’t fly. They’ve run out of dirty tricks they’re finished.

The Democrats have a presumptive candidate who can hardly utter a coherent sentence in response to a friendly questioner, live-streaming from a little podium in his living room, an absurd, and objectively sad spectacle. The Democratic bosses are sending an infirm and elderly mouse to bell a big, tawny, roaring cat. Anyone can see how it will end.

Elections

Joe Biden: I Have A Plan To Fight the Ebola Virus!

Here, exclusively to American Greatness yet again, is the transcript of Joe Biden’s speech from his house in Wilmington, Delaware on March 23, 2020, addressing voters about the current pandemic.

Joe Biden: Folks, I want to begin this by discussing the coron . . . corona . . . coro . . . the response to the coro . . . to the virus. These are confusing times for all of us . . . er . . . for most of us . . . I don’t mean to say that I am confused. No, absolutely not! Some people might be confused, but not me! I remember how we overcame the Hispanic Flu of 1918, the Great Depression, World War I, World War II—and I was there, with you, for all of them, helping America overcome these challenges.

And I will be with you for this crisis as well, on Instantgram, on Twinter, on FacialBook, on Tinder, Grindr, OKCupid, Match.com, Yumi, AdultFriendFinder, Hinge, TransDate.com, and every other platform. Oh, and on Google, also. And some Chinese ones as well! We just need to get the lighting situation resolved, and you’ll see more of me. Proper lighting is vital, if you are going to be addressing a crisis.

It goes without saying that I disagree with President Trump’s approach to this crisis. Our response needs to be international in nature. We need to not just deal with the coron . . . co . . . corona . . . the virus here, in this country, but globally. Trump should have sent our scientists to China back in January, to study the situation—whether the Chinese want them, or not. That’s what being President of the United States is all about—sending scientists to every country out there. What I am saying is, we need a global response to this problem. And not all countries are on board.

For example, look at Brazil. Brazil’s rainforest is being cut down, and the land is converted to farmland. So we should pay Brazil $20 billion, and just ask them to stop cutting down trees. We’ll just tell them, we’ll pay you $20 billion, and please don’t cut the trees. Trees are very important. I love trees. And that’s an example of how we are going to fight the coro . . . coron . . . the corona . . . the epidemic, the Ebola epidemic, using a global international response. No joke!

I Never Got a Penny From China Myself

One thing that I will do differently is that I will not call this virus the Chinese virus. We need to work with the Chinese, not get confrontational with the virus. Confrontation is counterproductive. Nothing ever gets done if we get confrontational—we need more cooperation, that is what we need.

And I will never get confrontational with the Chinese—it’s just not in my nature to be confrontational with people who gave me a billion dollars. Er . . . What I mean is, gave my son a billion dollars . . . er . . . right. It wasn’t a gift, to be precise, it was an investment, a long-term no-interest no-questions-asked investment.

Let me just set the record straight on that, it’s perfectly normal in the investment world to make investments like that. I never got a penny from China myself, it was just a deal that my son did, and it wasn’t even all that much money for the Chinese, so you can see why I have a lot of experience in these things.

As Barack’s vice president, I also have a lot of personal experience fighting epidemics. We need to move, and we need to move fast. We had the swine flu epidemic, where we did nothing, and were very successful at doing nothing. We had the SARS epidemic, where we did nothing, and things worked out just fine. We had the Ebola epidemic, where all we had to do was make a statement, and that was literally all anybody ever expected of us. And there were other epidemics, where the O’Biden-Bama administration did absolutely nothing, and nobody ever expected us to do anything. I am being serious!

So folks, I have a plan. This is a plan to fight this African virus, this corona . . . er . . . the coro . . . co . . . er . . . the virus, the plan is . . . we’re working on a plan, on a good plan. I can tell you, our plan is now in the planning stage. Once the planning stage for our plan is complete, and we figure out what we want to do, the plan will move from the planning stage to the publication stage.

And then, during the plan’s publication stage, we will publish our plan. Once we publish it, everyone will see that we know what we’re doing. Folks, I am here to tell you: our plan puts fiction over science! Our plan puts hope over truth! Er . . . I mean, the other way around! Wait . . . I think it’s the other way around . . . Or is it? Our plan puts science over . . . over . . . er . . . I don’t mean over, I mean, under . . . er . . . Our plan puts truth over facts! This N1H1 virus shall not pass! No pasaran!

That is why, folks, our plan to fight this virus is proactive. What does proactive mean, by the way? Does anyone know? Oh. OK, so like I said, it is definitely proactive, which I am here to tell you, is the opposite of reactive. That is why I warned everyone in January of 2008 about the coron . . . corona . . . the threat that we face.

First, We Need Masks . . . Third, We Need Masks

My plan is also progressive, because it literally progresses from A to B to C. Our plan is forward-looking, not backward-looking. Everywhere the African swine flu strikes, we’ll be there with our plan to address this crisis. I believe that all Americans deserve to be SARS-free, and that is why I will, someday soon, have a plan to deal with this . . . this . . . deal with . . . the pandemic that we have right now. Our plan is also . . . will be . . . it is . . . our plan is multilateral, which means it literally has multiple laterals in it. So that’s another reason why our plan is better than Trump’s plan. No joke!

I have given this a lot of thought, and the answer is simple: we need masks—masks are the absolute key to defeating this epidemic. I would turn every factory in the country to making masks. Whether you are now making cars, or airplanes, or air conditioners, or computers—every factory in the country should be converted to making masks. This is how we will win this fight against the Ebola virus.

And, in addition to that, we need to . . . In addition, we need to also . . . We need . . . There is another thing that we need to do, and that is, we have to do that other thing, not the first thing, the second thing, which we’ll do after doing the first thing. And the second thing that we need to do is . . . Er . . . Let me just go to the third thing. The third thing is . . . the third thing . . . here is what the president must do: he must deal with this emergency right now.

Trump’s inaction is simply unacceptable! Trump is behind the curve on this! If I were president, I would invoke the Defense Production Act to increase the production of necessities! I would prioritize and immediately increase domestic production of any critical medical equipment required to respond to this crisis—especially the production of masks and associated training to operate the masks! I would delegate the authority to do this to HHS and FEMA! We need it now! Right now! I am being serious!

What did you say? He did already? Are you sure? He announced all of it? When did he do it? Oh . . . And the masks, too? Oh . . . I didn’t know that . . . Are you sure about the masks? Because maybe he forgot about masks . . . ? Oh.

I’m Still Relevant!

Well, isn’t that just like Trump—take all my best ideas, before I even had them! Folks, don’t believe Trump for a second! He didn’t think of any of these things! I did! I thought of them, I just didn’t think there was any point in talking about them at the time! Let me tell you something: I am evolving on this issue.

What I mean is, the virus is evolving, and I am evolving with it, and the best is yet to come as we struggle for the soul of our country, and that’s the God’s honest truth! And all of us must evolve, together. But I am already evolving even as I speak, and I hope you’ll join me!

Folks, this Ebola epidemic is the reason why I need to remind people that I am still relevant. And that is why, for the foreseeable future, I intend to do daily press briefings about my response to the Ebola virus. I will form a crisis task force, consisting of myself, my wife, Dr. Jill Biden, my son, Hunter Biden, my granddaughter, Finnegan Biden, and my campaign spokeswoman, Symone Sanders. This task force will be in charge of the Biden campaign’s response to the crisis.

What I mean is, I don’t intend to have an actual response, since I am not the president, I just want to be president, but I am not president yet. But if I were the president, I would definitely have a response, and that’s why I am forming this crisis task force. No joke!

So Trump needs to give us the unvarnished truth. Un-varnished. That means, it’s not varnished, because nobody wants varnish on their truth . . . Truth is never really varnished . . . or can it even be varnished? This is about truth . . . yes . . . right. We want the truth! Truth . . . I am all for truth . . .

Can somebody move this damn teleprompter along, for crying out loud! How the hell do you expect me to make sense when the words on the goddamn teleprompter aren’t moving? What are you people, morons, or something?

Looking Presidential Is the Key

Folks, here is the deal: I would do all the things that Trump is doing, but do them differently. Or I wouldn’t do them at all, because I am not Trump. Or I would do the exact things that Trump is doing, but call them something else, because if Trump calls them one thing, I have to criticize them, and I can’t very well criticize them if I am proposing the same things, can I?

The point of my crisis task force and my Ebola press briefings is to draw a contrast between me and Trump, which is very important, otherwise, people will forget that I exist, and we can’t have that. I am being serious!

The best part of these Ebola press briefings that I will be doing on a regular basis . . . er . . . I mean, not Ebola . . . it’s the other one . . . I mean, I got them mixed up for a second, it’s not Ebola, it’s that African virus, the coron . . . coronav . . . cor . . . the virus. I’m talking about the other virus, not Ebola. Right.

So the point I am trying to make here is that during my press briefings, people can see me, and I don’t even need to go anywhere, because we just discovered this new thing called teleconferencing. With teleconferencing, I can satisfy my desperate need . . . er . . . I mean, the people’s desperate need to see me alive, without me leaving the comfort of the TV studio. Or the comfort of my own home, which is even better.

So I can dress up, get the teleprompter going, read a sentence or two, and look very presidential. It is critical for people to see me in a presidential light—people don’t like voting for someone if he doesn’t look presidential. And I have looked presidential since at least 1988, and you have my word as a Biden on that. Looking presidential is the absolute key to being presidential.

And that is why it is very very important that everyone go to the polls to vote for me in the primaries. All citizens should show up at the polls, especially the older ones, because they tend to vote for me a lot more than for Bertie. I mean, Bernie. Folks, don’t worry about that national emergency that Trump declared——voting is more important. After you vote for me, then you can take the national emergency more seriously. But definitely not before.

Voting for me may be the last thing you’ll ever do, and if you die because of it, you’ll know that you died for a good cause, after proudly casting your vote as an American, and that it was all worth it. So folks, wait for my antivirus plan to come out, and don’t listen to the CDC when they tell you to stay home. I am being serious!

Folks, here’s the deal: this African pandemic is an example of what happens when we don’t take care of the environment. When I am vice president, I will . . . er . . . I mean, when I am president, I will . . . I will . . . I . . . We will . . . Everyone will . . . What I am getting at is, as your Senator, I promise you that I will vote for the virus . . . Er . . . I mean, I’ll vote against the Ebola virus. No joke!

Folks, as your candidate for the United States Senate, I intend to pick a woman running mate. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: . . . ah . . . er . . . ummm . . . I’ll say it again and again, if I have to . . . er . . . as I’ve said before, I intend to . . . pick a woman. It is definitely time for a woman to be the number two on a ticket. I will be the first presidential candidate who will pick a woman as his running mate. Nobody else has ever done this, so I will be the very first presidential candidate to make history, by having a woman as my running mate! And this, folks, is how we will not only win the presidency, but we will win the House as well! I am being serious!

What? Sarah who? Sarah Palin? Who is that? Ok . . . What about her? And Geraldine Ferraro? Who the hell is that? She was? Really? They both were? Oh . . . Never mind, then. The point I want all of you to take away from seeing me on TV like this is that I am competent, knowledgeable, totally on the ball, and qualified to become president.

Thank you, folks!

Elections

A Real Crisis Yields Real Politics

No one envies President Trump’s enormous burden right now. And that’s why most of his critics have either been muted or ineffectual. This is a time of real politics. Even Trump’s critics know they have very little to say about that.

So much of the news cycle and the telegraphed concerns of our commentariat are completely fake. Fake crises like “climate change,” a phone call with the leader of Ukraine, or whether someone used the wrong pronouns tend to dominate the news cycle.

The recent Democratic presidential primary is a good example. At one point, the various candidates were tripping over themselves to be more “woke,” affirming reproductive “justice” for transgendered individuals and giving away our limited and expensive healthcare to anyone who sneaks past the Border Patrol. Similarly, during the summer before 9/11, one of the big media ginned up hysterias was over “shark attacks.” These manufactured crises immediately leave the stage when a real one emerges.

Recent events show us the difference between real politics and fake politics.

The coronavirus pandemic, as well as the economic impact of the various measures employed to arrest it, are a serious and multidimensional crisis that combines the basic feel of the 9/11 attack, the 2008 economic crisis, and the Cold War. Like 9/11, it is a sudden and terrifying paradigm shift. As in 2008, years of prosperity are revealed as vulnerable to shocks and paper wealth has disappeared in the blink of an eye. And, as during the Cold War, the threat of annihilation and a potentially years-long commitment to defense may be required.

At the moment, most of the worries about Trump’s legitimacy, court-meddling in executive power, and attempts to second guess his executive powers are giving way to a more primitive and instinctual collective submission. Trump is in charge, and even his longtime critics, such as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), have grown up a bit in the face of the real crisis and given him credit where it is due.

Suffering Into Wisdom

Some of the old mentality has not been fully tamed, however. Examples include the obsession with political correctness, including objecting to Trump’s completely accurate description of this ailment as the “Chinese Virus,” and the various celebrities engaging in self-pity about being confined to their multimillion-dollar mansions. These just serve to show that learning comes slowly to some. As the Greeks taught, we suffer into wisdom.

Trump has been faulted for his alleged slow response. We obviously do not know exactly what he heard from his advisors in the preceding months. We do know he had good reasons to be skeptical of the intelligence community, which has been either wrong or hostile to him since his 2016 campaign. But it seems entirely impossible and fantastic that he could have had the necessary political support to order the extreme lockdown measures that have since transpired any earlier than he did, just as George W. Bush could not in a million years have ordered a military incursion into Afghanistan in the months preceding the 9/11 attacks based on the intelligence reports he received.

He may have been slow to learn, but he has learned, and has approached the problem aggressively for at least two weeks. Now he must make extremely consequential and costly decisions under conditions of uncertainty. To his credit, President Trump in January largely halted travel from China, based not on an expert recommendation but common sense.

While Trump may have been somewhat slow to accept the reality of the crisis, what have the hedonistic young people crowding nightclubs and spring break destinations learned? Or for that matter, the sclerotic CDC and NIOSH agencies, which have proceeded with “business as usual” on approving medical gear and drug therapies?

Clarity Over Ideology

One reason Trump has adapted quickly is that he is not very ideological.

For many years, a de rigeur list of “conservative positions” have inhibited serious appraisal of a changing world. Free-trade orthodoxy, for example, forbade reconsideration of massive amounts of manufacturing capacity being lost and sourced exclusively from a hostile Communist China.

Similarly, libertarian economics and concerns for moral hazard—concerns that did little to stop bank bailouts in 2008—have led many to question the absolutely necessary emergency payments to suddenly unemployed waiters, bartenders, flight attendants, desk clerks, and other hospitality industry workers.

The Left is bound up in a similar ideological straightjacket. In a world where the virus originated in a particular place, they tell us viruses “do not know borders.” Actually, they do. Coronavirus can only be spread through “person to person” transmission. Stop the people from the source nations, and you stop the spread.

Rigid ideology is an obstacle to thinking creatively. When circumstances are normal, stable, and repetitive, some kind of ideological shorthand is useful. As Edmund Burke said, “Prejudice is of ready application in the emergency; it previously engages the mind in a steady course of wisdom and virtue, and does not leave the man hesitating in the moment of decision, skeptical, puzzled and unresolved.”

On the other hand, sometimes things change radically.

In the age of modern medicine, true pandemics have largely disappeared. Life expectancy has increased. Just a month or two ago the economy was booming, and smooth waters appeared to be ahead. Then the change was radical and sudden. Dizzying. Politics and policy had to change too. As the saying goes, “a young man knows the rules, but an old man knows the exceptions.”

Post-Epidemic Policy Prescriptions

One reason the partisan sniping has either died down or been ineffective is that almost no one really appreciated the scale and danger of this virus until only a few weeks ago. No one was sounding the alarm. And no one in either party had a ready-made series of recommendations or calls for actions in the preceding weeks. Most importantly, no one wants to take responsibility for the consequences of these difficult decisions.

Instead, in December and January, impeachment was afoot. Its basis—a phone call about military aid to Ukraine—appears picayune compared to the coronavirus and the related damage to our economy. It was like the “shark attacks” of August 2001.

Trump’s key themes should provide useful policy prescriptions longer term. Outsourcing is dangerous. Globalism and weak borders have costs. And a nation that has as much unity as an international airport lounge is unlikely to engage in the acts of self-sacrifice needed to weather a storm.

Certainly, a lot of improvisation is needed in the short-term. There are high costs to action and inaction, and we simply lack sufficient data to know what is the right call. Getting money into the hands of people is probably necessary; there is no way people without even $500 in emergency funds—63 percent of Americans—can realistically do without work or money for very long.

No one envies President Trump’s enormous burden right now. And that’s why most of his critics have either been muted or ineffectual. This is a time of real politics. Even Trump’s critics know they have very little to say about that.

Elections

Trump’s Coronavirus Response Is Foiling His Enemies

The president is already unlimbering the economic guns and starting to spike the dreams of those who hope that the economic consequences of the anti-coronavirus measures will lose the administration its reelection.

The political aspect of the coronavirus crisis is developing in a familiar way. The president’s enemies in the media have led the propagation of panic in the country, and have been given enough encouragement to do that from the scientific community, some of whose members are enjoying their 15 minutes of world fame a little more than is seemly.

Trump’s opponents are thus able to swaddle themselves in the legitimacy of science as they hurl their brickbats at the president. As is his custom, the president has given his opponents plenty of ammunition by speaking constantly, leaving a rich trove of contradictory, and in some cases, it turns out after a few days, absurd reflections on the medical and related problems as they unfold.

As is also the well-established custom, his enemies cannot resist embellishing and fabricating. The claim he had disbanded the pandemic response section of the National Security Council is false, as are suggestions that he has ignored or overruled scientific opinion.

The assault on the president’s credibility as an enunciator of facts has had some success, partly because there is some reason to question his attention to facts and partly because he is routinely smeared by his media enemies.

Meantime, the dishonesty of the media is reaffirmed almost daily. The president has made an effort to avoid partisanship and has worked well with Democratic governors, even those with whom he enjoys a relationship of intense reciprocal dislike, including Andrew Cuomo of New York, Gavin Newsom of California, and Jay Inslee of Washington. He has also made a reasonable effort to conduct daily press briefings with civility; those efforts are not always requited, and some of the journalists routinely withhold the respect due the office.

There is a slightly theatrical quality to these daily press briefings; the president set up the committee including senior scientists, doctors, and public health officials, and put Vice President Mike Pence in charge, but has now taken to handling the press briefings himself. And all the figures in the administration who address the press seem to be pre-programmed to begin every third sentence with “The president has very wisely decided . . . ” or “Because the president so presciently foresaw . . . ” or some such testimony to the indefectible judgment and decisiveness of the president whom they serve.

They may be motivated, in part, by the knowledge that, as an executive and as a television star in his former life, this president has greater ease in dismissing cabinet and other senior officials than any preceding U.S. president, and has no sense of a high official turnover being indecorous. There is doubtless some truth in their compliments, but the effect of such a parody of totalitarian public information methods is the reverse of what is intended. And to some extent, the media are just legitimately covering an immense news story, and not trying to sow panic in order to frighten people unnecessarily, stampede opinion under the president, or disturb what even a month ago looked like a pretty smooth glide-path to reelection.

This is all of a familiar pattern: the antagonistic press, the egocentric president—but also, and this is emerging, the successful and competent president.

An Improving Situation

Try as he does, unintentionally, to disguise the progress he is achieving by making exaggerated claims and injudicious utterances and then denying he made them and reformulating them, President Trump is clearly all over this problem like a cheap suit. He was right to assemble the committee he did, right to work with all jurisdictions and set partisanship aside, right to enlist the private sector from which he came and whose methods he well knows. And he was right to engage in a program of full and prompt public information.

The results are that where a month ago, coronavirus testing could only be done by appointment in hospitals and the results determined by physically sending tests for evaluation to Atlanta, Georgia—even from Hawaii—simply administered mass testing devices will be manufactured and delivered in great and increasing numbers starting next week, with anyone able to do the test, results known in 40 minutes, and all tests free of cost to the individual tested.

Though the effectiveness of a malarial remedy in combating the coronavirus is based on a single experiment in France, it is a known medicine ready to go and is being used starting this week on an enlarged number of people in New York. Trump has ramped this up very quickly with his declaration of a national emergency and utilization of the Defense Production Act. He rightly leaves it to states and cities to determine the extent of closings and restraint of public activity.

The administration is moving well ahead of most of the media in anticipating the economic consequences of such an assault on commerce as is implicit in the draconian remedies the scientific community is espousing. The more ingenious of Trump’s media enemies probably assume, since his enemies have always assumed that his complete self-annihilation was always about to happen at each “turning point,” and “bombshell” caused by the “walls closing in,” that he can be stampeded into such a medically motivated strangulation of the economy and he will surrender the election into the cupped hands of a thoroughly unfeasible Joe Biden. But it is increasingly clear each day that he is not going to run through these 15-day cycles indefinitely.

As testing increases, the numbers improve. Only about 10 percent of people tested have the virus, and of those only 1.2 percent of people have died from it, the lowest percentage of all serious and reliable reporting countries except Germany and Canada. If the cases connected to the unfortunate home for the elderly in Seattle are excluded, the number would be under 1 percent. Obviously, as mass testing goes forward the incidence will decline, and as measures to protect the immune-challenged are implemented and strengthened, the percentage of fatalities among those who do contract the virus will also decline.

A $6 Trillion Relief Package

The president is already unlimbering the economic guns and starting to spike the dreams of those who hope that the economic consequences of the anti-coronavirus measures will lose Trump the November election.

A package of $6 trillion of direct and indirect assistance and assured liquidity has been proposed. The Democrats, after the customary waffling about Trump’s self-prostration to his fellow billionaires and indifference to the workers of America, will have to get on board.

What Trump and his officials propose is aimed directly at those who need it most. He has made it clear that he will make the jump from the coronavirus being the principal enemy to the enforced sluggishness of the economy being the principal problem, and he expects to return to the voters as the president who vanquished an unprecedented public health challenge (in this he is allied to the media’s magnification of the crisis) and the president who created a miraculous economy and then retrieved it from the jaws of (foreign-originated) disease.

The polls of presidential job approval have softened slightly, but the polls of approval of Trump’s handling of the crisis have flipped in his favor. They will continue to rise and pull general approval with it. The president would do better if he could resist the urge to insert himself always and excessively into every public aspect of government, and he is, in managing his quest for attention, making what our elementary school teachers called “steady progress.”

The credibility of the media declines as they invent pettifogging reasons to harass a president who increasingly is seen as managing a very challenging situation very well. Joe Biden, about to hold alternative press briefings on the coronavirus, is almost the answer to a trivia question now and will only emerge from that status in the unlikely event that Trump mismanages the public health or economic elements of this crisis, as opposed to just somewhat mischoreographing it.

Elections

Don’t You Wish Trump Said This?

Thank God, in this country, the people have the last word.

President Trump on Monday told the nation that the cure for the coronavirus epidemic will not be worse than the disease and that ours is not a country that was built to be shut down. This is a step in the right direction, but the president could go so much further. Here is what he might have said—and should say—to the American people…

My fellow Americans:

Today I want to share with you my thoughts on how we are going to get ourselves out of the mess that the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought on us all.

So far, we as a people have done pretty much all that has been right and proper to do. We have closed our borders from traffic from countries where the virus rages. We have adopted stricter habits of personal and business hygiene. We have self-quarantined ourselves at the first signs of illness, quarantined persons who were already ill, and protected the elderly and infirm who are most vulnerable. There is nothing remarkable about such measures. They are what wise people have done to protect themselves from epidemics for hundreds of years. And we have done it so thoroughly that we basically have shut down our country at great cost to all of us.

Obviously, this can’t go on very long.

We elect presidents to provide leadership in difficult times. Today, I want to tell you how I intend to carry out my responsibility to get this country on its feet again, soon.

During the past two months, we have learned a lot about this virus. The more we learn, the more we realize that this is nothing like the Plague. Here in America, as we test more and more people for the virus, the percentage of those who die of it continues to drop. It is now near the 1 percent mark, and we can be confident that this figure will drop, approaching those of other similar viruses. The reason why we can be confident is that we have been testing mostly people who show symptoms. But a high percentage of those infected never do show any symptoms.

What does this mean? It means that the COVID-19 virus is a special danger only to the elderly and otherwise infirm. Younger, healthier people may manage its risk as we manage the risk from other respiratory ailments. That, in turn, means that the most effective way of fighting this virus’s effects is to focus on protecting the most vulnerable among us as the rest of us get back to normal lives.

We have also learned that we are not without medicines against this virus. It just so happens that a drug that has been in use for a generation in this country as well as abroad to treat malaria also happens to block the COVID virus from penetrating human cells. And, when it is used in combination with a common antibiotic, it has had a significant benefit for those affected. Good!

The combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin is not a silver bullet. But its availability means that those who are affected by the virus don’t just have to bear it. It would be nice if the Food and Drug Administration could move fast enough to put these drugs through their operational validation tests. But the more time the virus rages without medicines to treat it, the more people will die. This being a free country, doctors don’t need my permission or anyone else’s to use all available means to treat their patients as seems best. I am going to make sure that they have the means to do so.

In short, this virus is no plague, and we are not without medicines against it.

Unfortunately, during the past few weeks, we have also begun to learn how awful are the effects of shutting down the country. Although most people have behaved in the wise, generous, patriotic manner that has always made Americans the envy of the globe, some have dishonored themselves. By panicking they have made themselves ridiculous. I even saw an article in a major newspaper titled “Don’t panic is rotten advice.” Panic mongering must stop.

Worse, we have seen the real specter of a deep recession, maybe even of depression. Fact is, shutting down an economy is all too easy. Just look around. But once people are laid off, supply chains are interrupted or broken; once people get used to government payments to make up for work or enterprise, nobody really knows how to get it all going again. And anybody who tells you that they know how is lying.

One thing I do know, from long experience in business, confirmed by my short experience in government: Government money is the most narcotic of drugs, the most habit-forming of drugs. We, the American people, know that in our bones.

That is why, over the next week, I will concentrate on a plan for winding down the shutdown as fast as possible. During that week, I will keep an eye on the figures about infection and mortality, on the availability of equipment and medicines, and on how people are faring under the restrictions. My staff and I will speak with businesses large and small—primarily the latter, and get advice on the best ways of undoing the restrictions that we have imposed. For a long time to come, we are going to maintain health monitoring of everyone entering the country. But the emphasis will be on the future, and on bringing it about, fast.

I have been told, and I’m sure I will be told again, that I should just let the experts make the decisions. But no. When we elect presidents, or anybody else, we don’t do it so these elected officials can sit back and watch the government run on autopilot. We elect leaders to take responsibility. I am responsible. Like you when you are facing hard choices, I talk with as many experts as I can. But, like you, I make the decisions that are mine to make, and I take responsibility.

Ours is a federal system of government. The governors of the several states are elected, just as I am, to fulfill their responsibilities as they think best within the law. Many of the restrictions that have been imposed have been by the authority of the several governors. I hope that all will follow my lead. But I know that each will make his or her own judgment and that they will be responsible to the voters, just as I am. Their voters will judge them as they will judge me.

Thank God, in this country, the people have the last word.

My administration has worked out a package of measures to help individuals and businesses affected by the shutdown. We have done so in cooperation with leaders of the Democratic Party in the House and Senate. For the sake of enacting this package fast, in a bipartisan manner, we had accepted a number of items that we believe are not so wise. But, on Sunday, the Democratic Party decided to hold this relief measure hostage to its familiar political agenda. By now you all know their litany by heart.

Again, as they have done now for four years, they are calling me bad names. You know them by heart, too. That’s what they do.

I am not going to call anybody names. Nor am I going to waste time negotiating. This matter is serious and urgent. It demands to be resolved in a serious manner. That means roll-call votes that hold every elected official responsible. What a novelty!

The relief package is going to be brought up for a vote in the Senate. A substantive vote, yea or nay. No hiding behind procedures or negotiations. Everybody, Democrat and Republican will be on record. The same should happen in the House, if the Democrats even let the members vote. These days they have not. The voters will judge them, as they will judge me

My fellow Americans: over the coming week, you and I will focus on plans for ending this mess.

May God clear our minds and hearts and may God bless America.

Elections

Giddy Democrats Planning to Exploit the Economic Crisis to Hurt Trump

It’s sickening to watch the Democrats exploit a public health crisis in an effort to score political points against President Trump, but they’ve made perfectly clear in the past that they’re not willing to “let a good crisis go to waste.”

President Trump’s policies have brought this country historic levels of prosperity, but Democrats have been predicting an imminent economic crisis from virtually the moment he was elected. Now, as the novel coronavirus sows panic in the markets, the president’s opponents are hoping they’ve finally found a way to hamstring the strong and growing American economy.

The Democratic presidential candidates, for instance, quickly began stoking fears of a possible recession caused by the coronavirus, preemptively asserting that it would be the president’s fault.

President Trump’s incredible record of success in bringing the U.S. economy back to life after the pathetic Obama-era “recovery” has been a consistent thorn in the side of his critics, who have had no luck persuading the American people with their pessimistic assessments at a time when unemployment was at a half-century low, wages were rising for workers at all income levels, and formerly forgotten citizens were being uplifted by policies that benefit all Americans.

Now that the coronavirus outbreak has created the first plausible threat to America’s economic boom we’ve encountered at any point in the past three years, the Democrats are gleefully seizing on the opportunity to cheer for a downturn.

In the midst of any public health crisis, it is imperative that we avoid emotionally driven overreactions, even as we take every prudent action at our disposal to mitigate the threat. That is exactly what President Trump has been doing, directing a vigorous effort by state and federal authorities to combat COVID-19 on the health front while showing a calm and collected front in his public statements in order to reassure the citizenry that there is no need for panic.

The president’s critics are actively undermining those efforts by relentlessly criticizing his strategy. When he implemented travel restrictions to slow the spread of the virus, they claimed he was overreacting and stoking racism against Asians. When he urges Americans to remain calm and follow the advice of public health experts, they claim he’s not being vigilant enough.

The Democrats’ agenda became patently obvious when the party’s top two leaders in Congress flatly rejected the Trump Administration’s proposals for measures that would protect American workers and businesses from potential economic fallout related to coronavirus.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) arrogantly complained that the president didn’t check with them before proposing an economic stimulus to Americans, smugly promising to unveil their own stimulus package while roundly dismissing the possibility of cooperating with Republicans to pass a relief package in a more timely fashion.

It’s sickening to watch the Democrats exploit a public health crisis in an effort to score political points against President Trump, but they’ve made perfectly clear in the past that they’re not willing to “let a good crisis go to waste.”

Elections

Government Disgrace in Marquee Russian ‘Election Interference’ Case

The Department of Justice forced a foreign company to spend millions to defend itself for the non-crime of running a few thousand dollars worth of ads on Facebook. Now instead of apologizing, it issues a shameless dismissal in which it simultaneously maintains there is secret evidence of the company’s guilt.

After nearly nine months of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team rushing around with subpoenas and search warrants, people were beginning to ask questions. Where were the indictments?

The answer came at last on February 16, 2018, when a gleeful Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein gave a dramatic press conference proudly announcing the indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies, including Concord Management, Concord Consulting, and the Internet Research Agency, for committing federal crimes while seeking to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. When people counted the notches on Mueller’s belt, they always mentioned the Concord case.

The case did not go smoothly. The press conference was supposed to be the end of it. The government deliberately indicted Russian defendants who were not within reach of the U.S. criminal justice system. None of the accusations from the press conference or the indictment were ready to be tested in court.

Then a few months later, disaster struck. One of the Russian defendants hired an American lawyer to contest the charges.

Last year, shortly after the release of the Mueller report, the government barely escaped a contempt citation for publicly accusing Concord of working on behalf of the Russian government. That’s essentially been the theory of the case from the outset. When somebody accuses “the Russians” of interfering in the 2016 election, they mean the Russian government or somebody acting under Moscow’s direction. But in a stunning courtroom admission, our government admitted it had no evidence that certain internet ads were posted on behalf of the Russian government.

Now the case has fallen to earth. The Justice Department on March 16 moved to dismiss the case against Concord Management and Concord Consulting. Rather than surrendering to the presumption of guilt, the Department of Justice instead attempted to tar Concord with the stench of guilt based upon secret evidence it wasn’t willing to submit to the court.

“In light of recent events and a change in the balance of the government’s proof due to a classification determination, as well as other facts described in more detail in a classified addendum to this motion, the government has concluded that further proceedings as to Concord, a Russian company with no presence in the United States and no exposure to meaningful punishment in the event of a conviction, promotes neither the interests of justice nor the nation’s security,” the government declared in its filing.

Did you get that? The Justice Department strongly implies that it has plenty of evidence of Concord’s guilt. But it’s classified. Guilt and innocence are binary. Either Concord is guilty and the government proves it in court, or it’s innocent.

Rule 3.8 of the D.C. bar rules of professional conduct provides: “Except for statements which are necessary to inform the public of the nature and extent of the prosecutor’s action and which serve a legitimate law enforcement purpose, [a prosecutor shall not] make extrajudicial comments which serve to heighten condemnation of the accused.”

There was no need to comment on the evidence against Concord to justify moving to dismiss the case. It’s just something the prosecutors are doing to make Concord look guilty without having to prove anything in court.

The case is a disgrace. It’s a stain on the American justice system. At it’s very inception, the Department of Justice attempted to make it a crime for foreigners to buy ads expressing opinions about politics. That’s speech. And if you’re not willing to protect the speech of dastardly Russians, then don’t expect your speech to get protected when you offend the Department of Justice.

The chief problem with the Concord case was that it sought to criminalize political speech. According to the theory of the government’s case, Concord committed a crime by not first asking permission from the Department of Justice before posting “divisive” ads. Think about that. The government doesn’t want speech that “divides” Americans? That’s tantamount to making debate of any kind illegal.

Concord, or its “co-conspirators,” were also accused of using “fake social media persona” to intercede in political discourse. You know who else uses a “fake” persona to intercede in politics? I do! And so did Mark Twain. So did the American Founders. Alexander Hamilton wrote under the pen name of “Phocion” and later “Publius.” Patrick Henry, who famously exclaimed, “Give me liberty, or give me death!” nevertheless promoted his safety by writing under the name “Senex.” Many other “fictitious personas” remain secret to this day. Pseudonymous speech is essential to freedom.

The Department of Justice forced a foreign company to spend millions to defend itself for the non-crime of running a few thousand dollars worth of ads on Facebook. Now instead of apologizing, it issues a shameless dismissal in which it simultaneously maintains there is secret evidence of Concord’s guilt while refusing Concord the opportunity to challenge that evidence.

Secret evidence is unconstitutional. The Sixth Amendment requires a speedy and public trial. “Public” means that the process should be transparent to ensure fairness. It requires the government to produce witnesses against a defendant. Under the same principles, the government is not supposed to paint somebody as guilty of a crime based on evidence it’s unwilling to produce.

There are millions of loudmouths on the internet trying to disrupt American politics. Pretty much all speech on politics is “divisive.” So the Justice Department wants to end divisive speech by outlawing it? Have you heard of Twitter?

When the federal government uses its awesome power to prosecute the ones who offend its own politics, it places in jeopardy everyone’s right to speak freely. We can be thankful that the government finally has dropped this censorship attempt. It’s unfortunate that the prosecutors found it necessary to use it as an opportunity to make one final dig against its political target.

Elections

What Would Happen If Joe or Bernie Could Ban Fracking in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvanians concerned about the long-term economic health of their commonwealth, their communities, and their families might think twice before casting a vote for either man.

At last Sunday night’s Democratic debate, where a septuagenarian in the early stages of dementia verbally sparred with a septuagenarian with a serious heart condition to see who would be the one to take on a septuagenarian with obesity issues for the U.S. presidency, a significant amount of time was spent discussing hydraulic fracturing, colloquially known as “fracking.”

More specifically, a significant amount of time was spent by former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders disparaging a process that has helped save American families and businesses hundreds of billions of dollars over the past decade.

Sanders called it “insane” that America continues to have fracking and declared he would stop it “as soon as we possibly can.”

Biden, trying to appear more moderate, said he would oppose “new” fracking wells, and then clarified afterward through a campaign minion that he was talking about just the fracking that takes place on federal land. Previously, however, he has talked about how he will “end fossil fuels.”

Granted, as president, neither of the two would have any constitutional authority whatsoever to ban fracking on private- and state-owned land. Unilaterally banning fracking entirely across the United States is nothing more than one of Bernie’s fever dreams, like Medicare for All and the liquidation of the kulaks as a class.

Yet the open hostility of both candidates to oil and natural gas development leads us to wonder what would happen if a hypothetical ban on fracking occurred. What, exactly, would that mean for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, to take just one example?

Quite simply, it would mean economic devastation that would make this pending coronavirus recession look like our halcyon days. The streets will flow with the blood of the nonbelievers and the air will be filled by the cries of the tormented and the lamentations of the anguished. There will be the rending of garments and the gnashing of teeth, and the living will envy the dead.

Well, it wouldn’t be quite that bad—but it would still be really, really bad.

According to a November 2019 report from the Global Energy Institute, Pennsylvania would experience the cumulative loss of 609,000 jobs by 2025 thanks to higher residential and business energy costs and upstream production losses, as well as $261 billion in lost GDP, and a $23.4 billion loss in state and local tax revenues. (Keep in mind, this tax revenue goes to pay for education, infrastructure spending, healthcare, public safety, and so on.)

Over that same period, Pennsylvania households would experience a $114 billion loss of income and Pennsylvanians would suffer a per capita cost-of-living increase of $4,654. These losses would begin taking effect immediately. In 2021 alone, the study estimates 125,000 job losses, $19 billion in lost GDP, $1.6 billion in lost state and local tax revenue, and an $8 billion loss in household income.

The study’s job loss numbers are reinforced by a February report modeled out by the consulting firm OnLocation on behalf of the American Petroleum Institute, which found the Keystone State would experience more than 550,000 job losses in 2022 alone.

The development of the Marcellus and Utica shale plays in Pennsylvania has turned the commonwealth into the second-largest producer of natural gas in the United States. Moreover, this massive increase in domestic shale development, led by fracking, has caused natural gas prices to plummet in the Keystone State, saving Pennsylvania residents and businesses more than $30.5 billion from 2006 to 2016, according to one estimate, or $43 billion from 2008 to 2018, according to another.

Fracking activity also delivers $1,300 to $1,900 in annual benefits to local households, according to researchers at the University of Chicago, Princeton University, and MIT. Get rid of fracking and these consumer benefits would vanish into thin air practically overnight.

When the Democratic presidential candidates talk about taking action to “end fossil fuels” they are talking about nothing else but the bringing forth of economic destruction the likes of which most people have never even fathomed could be possible.

With the knowledge that intermittent, expensive, land-intensive “renewable” sources such as wind and solar will most likely never be able to step into the breach and replace oil and natural gas, and with the knowledge that the fracking process itself is a safe one, this kind of talk is an order of magnitudes beyond irresponsible.

Pennsylvanians concerned about the long-term economic health of their commonwealth, their communities, and their families should think twice before casting a vote for either man.