Great America

Data Disrupts The Deep State Narrative

For every regulatory agency whose entrenched bureaucrats release reports intended to increase their funding and power, there are individuals, non-profits, and experts who can proffer data that tells a very different story.

The deep state, and the administrative elites more broadly, are in deep digital trouble. And so are their current narratives. But it’s not clear they fully realize it yet.

We all love a good story. Stories delight us, reassure us, carry us away to another world. They are hypnotic. We narrow our focus, ignore our outer senses, and experience an imagined reality instead.

Most of us no longer spend cold winter nights sitting close to a fire as the old stories are told in the dark—as a voice hidden in the shadows embellishes the tale, frightening or entrancing us. But we’re surrounded by stories nonetheless.

Today television, movies, and videos bring a new, tech-enabled power to stories told by people we’ve never met. Sights and sounds draw us in. Background music manipulates our emotions. The camera draws us to a single face, or a carefully cropped scene. These become our reality for a time. They stick with us, echoing in the back of our minds long after the sun comes up and we go about our daily lives.

There was a time before videos when writers labored to evoke similar responses. Long novels with elaborate descriptions and carefully crafted dialogue, widely distributed thanks to printing presses, placed the burden of imagination on the reader. Carefully reasoned essays made explicit, step by step arguments. Newspaper columns tried to bring you to the scene of the crime. But what you might invoke inwardly when reading a classic novel and what I might invoke could differ greatly.

Today’s tech, on the other hand, implants sensory inputs directly into our brains, evoking visceral emotions and bodily responses. We are no longer co-creators. Instead we are recipients manipulated by agents behind the scene.

Powerful stuff. So it’s not surprising that the use of narrative for political purposes has reached fevered proportions. Orators in the city square, preachers at a pulpit reached only a limited few in times past. Today’s sensory evoking stories reach millions within seconds. They get copied and shared with viral sensation, along with interpretations that reinforce their effect.

Not Your Father’s Mass Media

We’ve come a long way since the first patent for radio transmission of voices was issued a little over a century ago. By the time of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s fireside chats the medium had begun to have a serious political and social impact. By the 1950s many American households had a small black and white television. Families spent evenings around their set, laughing at comedies or absorbing the news as delivered by a small group of presumed authoritative voices. Dragnet’s Jack Webb assured us he sought “just the facts.” Many viewers trusted famous name anchors to be just as objective in their reporting.

Cinemas also expanded their reach and impact with the realism of high definition color images and rich, realistic sounds. Films and characters became a shared cultural experience, touchstones for a generation. People chose to go to a theater, buy a ticket, share the experience with others around them, then emerge into the fresh air and daily life again.

Now we’re in the digital age. And we’re just beginning to see how utterly revolutionary, how disruptive, it truly is. Disruptive, or the final nail in the coffin of individual liberty, or both? But first, consider the disruption.

If the 20th century media were all about story telling through analogues to real life sensory experience, the digital age is all about data. And although the rise of computing and data networks initially greatly empowered the deep state and more broadly the administrative elites, we have now reached a tipping point—or at a minimum, a crucial battle. For the digital age, built on data, increasingly is undercutting those who built their power upon it. But it threatens to cement power in a replacement elite that lacks even the pretense of direct accountability to voters.

Unlike the arc of narrative analog media, digital data are, at their core, discrete bits of information. They can be stored, consolidated, shared, analyzed, modified, and compared with ease. Most importantly, although data certainly can be tendentiously and selectively gathered or used, by their nature data are neutral. “Just the facts, ma’am.“ And today the power to collect data and promulgate competing analyses of it is in the hands of every cell phone and tablet user in the world.

Consider the scene on the nation’s Mall less than a year ago. A few Native American activists belligerently confronted several teens in MAGA hats who were waiting for their bus after the March for Life. Immediately afterwards a brief video clip was released and went viral, along with claims about racist behavior by one student. The narrative was rapidly picked up by sympathetic TV news readers, newspaper writers, and social media personalities.

It was quite a polished production, and had a serious impact. People who had never visited the National Mall, and who certainly weren’t there for the confrontation, grieved and raged aloud at those horrible, privileged, racist, condescending young white men. Death threats were phoned in to a student who, mistakenly identified, wasn’t even at the March.

And then? And then a video of the full encounter, captured by cell phone, also hit social media. Shaky and clearly unedited, it too was spellbinding—but it told a very different story than the one activist and his apologists were busy promulgating.

Soon older footage of the activist emerged, along with accounts of his unreliable past claims and attempts to create confrontations for his advantage. Eventually the MAGA hatted teen’s lawyers announced they would file defamation suits against several major media outlets for their role in smearing him personally and irresponsibly.

The activist’s narrative, which fit many preconceptions on the Left and in the media, failed. It was disrupted by competing data, data that also went viral. Surely the men who labored in Stalin’s labs to erase from photographs the images of comrades who had fallen into political disfavor would be deeply jealous of those promulgating edited videos today. After all, most cell phone users have access to apps that can do that with a few swipes.

But the narrative failed because data has a life of its own unless it is suppressed.

The New Brave New World of Data

If Stalin’s photo editors would be out of work today, what of the CIA and other experts who once labored to detect and interpret those altered photos? Who installed wiretaps and recording devices inside walls? Met shady characters in shady alleys? What of the intelligence analysts and field operatives who prided themselves on specialized knowledge about distant places? Whose reports shaped the policies of presidents and the diplomatic efforts of embassies around the world? Who were privileged to decide what narrative should guide national decisions and the use of national power?

What is their role today, when AI and machine learning increasingly give us software that can translate foreign languages with subtle accuracy? When autonomous systems can collect information in huge quantities and make it available for a wide range of analysis and interpretation?

Whatever that role is, it no longer is exclusive. One no longer needs a stint in Skull and Bones at Yale or similar Ivy League credentials to qualify, nor even to be part of a targeted minority. One might be, say, an enlisted military intel analyst looking for insights that directly inform current tactical operations in a distant place instead.

I once asked a former senior CIA analyst, a woman who’d led a high profile team whose findings stirred political controversy, how she might work with junior assistants or software agents in a way that could extend her analytic efforts. My team was exploring ways to extend her ability to effectively use massive amounts of digital data. Her response? “I wouldn’t. I only trust my own judgement.”

Contrast that with the Palantir software whose development Big Tech critic Peter Thiel funded. Palantir has been used by many military analysts to share information, identifying both their individual evaluations of it and also what they see as open questions and conflicting interpretations. Palantir is inherently digital in its DNA.

There’s a clue in that contrast to many recent doings inside the Beltway, including some around retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and high level officials in the Obama administration.

Digital data has broken open the monopoly of the administrative elites on creating and promulgating narratives for political and social effect. For every Hollywood new release and hours long award extravaganza, there are videos captured and distributed online with a variety of other messages. For every tendentious, slanted news broadcast or article in the media, there is an army of people digging up counterfacts, omitted context, and embarrassingly contradictory claims made not long ago by the same outlets.

For every regulatory agency whose entrenched bureaucrats release reports intended to increase their funding and power, there are individuals, non-profits, and experts who can proffer data that tells a very different story.

And therein lies the fatal weakness for the deep state. When computing was expensive, when access to data was limited to those in official roles, knowledge was power for them. Today digital data is easy to copy and to share, and old records are still accessible for the purpose. 

Big Tech Races to Fill the Power Void

But in their place Big Tech is rising fast to seize the forfeited power. If you can’t see alternate data or interpretations, they can’t influence you. If your online search is subtly and deeply redirected, you assume you have the full story.

And now arises the use of AI and machine learning to create “deep fakes”—artificially constructed photos and videos that even experts cannot distinguish from actual recordings. Deep fakes threaten to restore the primacy of sensory manipulative narrative, with a political vengeance. They make faked pee dossiers and third hand “whistleblower” charges look like the work of childish amateurs.

We have a fast closing window within which to act. Just as the Second Amendment provides a basis, however unequal, for citizens to retain liberty in the face of government force, so too we must demand that our right and our means to share and analyze data be preserved. Big Tech data monopolies and censorship must be directly opposed and penalized. Alternate platforms must be created. Transparency into data collected by federal and other levels of government must be ensured, at the cost of ending budget funding for programs and officials that stonewall.

The deep state, secure in its power for a long time and inherently bureaucratic, collected the text messages and emails and reports that ironically will expose what appears to be their attempted coup against the power of voters under our constitutional mechanisms to select the national chief executive and key national policies. Or at least this data will do so if the furious stonewalling by those involved is finally overcome.

That will be an important step. But the battle is deeper and will rage on more broadly unless we effectively pry ownership and distribution of a great deal more data from those who feel privileged to screen and interpret it without us. There is no place to be neutral in this fight.

Great America

Leftists Miss the Hazards of Shoving It Down Our Throats

If “progressive” courts can simply rewrite statutes like commissars in 1984 then conservative courts can too.

Put aside all the emotionally overwrought rhetoric you’ve been hearing in the mainstream media about the gay and transgender rights cases argued in the Supreme Court this week. The cases are not about whether there should be laws protecting gay and transgender employees against employment discrimination. That’s up to Congress and the state and local legislatures, many of which have enacted laws banning such discrimination, and several of which have extended this protection to transgenders.

Let’s back up for a second to review some basics. Under our system of government, the legislative branches make the laws and the courts interpret them. And while most Americans have an admirable sense of fairness that reflects the spirit of the Equal Protection Clause in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, there is no general rule barring all discrimination. Employers, landlords and others are generally free to discriminate against Republicans, Mets fans, or people with red hair. The only exceptions are for a handful of “suspect classes” such as racial minorities deemed to be protected under the Equal Protection Clause against discrimination by government, and for those specifically protected against private discrimination by a state or federal law such as Title VII of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars employers from discriminating based on “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”

The cases before the Court involved two employees who allegedly were fired for being gay (the facts are in dispute) and a funeral parlor employee formerly known as Anthony Stephens who was terminated after returning from a two-week vacation as a woman named Aimee. The employees sued under Title VII, claiming that its ban on sex discrimination must be read also to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity—even though these aren’t mentioned in the text of the law, even though, as plaintiffs concede, this obviously wasn’t intended by Congress in 1964, and even though Congress has since then repeatedly declined to amend the statute in this fashion. In other words, the plaintiffs seek to turn Title VII into a national gay and transgender rights ordinance by judicial fiat.

When Lawmakers Meant Something They Clearly Didn’t

What the plaintiffs’ position comes down to is that all the debates about local and state gay rights laws from the last 45 years, and the laws themselves, have been totally unnecessary since, waddaya know, we’ve already had a federal gay rights law since 1964! The legislators who passed the law just didn’t know it at the time. And, further, the debate we are just beginning to have on transgender rights laws, with all the complications those laws entail (locker rooms, anyone?) is also unnecessary because, waddaya know, we’ve had that for 55 years too!

Prior to 2017 every federal Circuit Court of Appeals had rejected this far-fetched contention, but since then three, flush with the rainbow zeitgeist in the wake of the 2015 Obergefell gay marriage ruling, have reversed themselves. Two of those decisions were among the three heard by the Court this week.

For all the legal gussying in the majority opinions in those cases and the plaintiffs’ briefs, their argument, essentially, is that in our enlightened age the term “sex” must be understood also to mean “sexual orientation,” and “gender identity” as well for good measure. But “sex” and “sexual orientation,” not to mention “gender identity,” have always had distinct meanings. We know, for example, that the term “sexual orientation” only came into being with the beginning of the gay rights movement in 1969, five years after the Civil Rights Act was passed. And for the first 45 of the 50 years since then it never occurred to even the most fervid gay activists to say that “sex” included “sexual orientation” and that there was therefore already a federal gay rights law on the books. Rather they went about trying to get Congress and state and local legislatures to add “sexual orientation” to existing civil rights laws, with some notable success at the state and local level but not at the federal level. They did, however, get Congress to include the term “sexual orientation,” separately in addition to “sex,” in several other statutes such as the Violence Against Women Act—showing that Congress didn’t think that one term subsumed the other.

For the left to turn around and claim, after Congress consistently has declined to add the term to the Civil Rights Act itself, that it was actually there all along, as part of “sex,” is disingenuous, cynical sophistry—the kind of legerdemain that the clever boys and girls regularly use to flummox the deplorables. The average guy and gal who didn’t go to a Top Ten law school can’t quite explain why it’s wrong but they know that the elite is once again pulling a fast one on behalf of one of its favored groups.

The Sophistry of the Elite

And let’s examine this sophistry under the supposedly rigorous logic taught at these top law schools. Sex discrimination, like race discrimination, always has been understood to mean discrimination against a class of people based on their sex or race. You don’t hire women or you don’t hire blacks, or you hire them at a materially lower rate than men or whites and there’s no legitimate explanation for the discrepancy. But here the plaintiffs’ argument is not that you’re discriminating against women or men as a class. It’s that you’re discriminating against the four percent of men and 5 percent of women, who are primarily attracted to their own sex. Their strained theory is that you won’t hire a man in the 4 percent attracted to men when you would hire a woman who is attracted to men, and you won’t hire a woman in the 5 percent attracted to women when you would hire a man who is attracted to women.

Of course this means that not only are you not discriminating against 96 percent of men and 95 percent of women, you’re in fact discriminating in favor of them. That is, if you’re in fact discriminating against homosexual men compared to straight women based on their gender and not just their sexual orientation, then under the same theory you’re necessarily discriminating in favor of the 96 percent of heterosexual men vis à vis supposedly similarly situated lesbians (similarly situated in that they all like women). And if you’re discriminating against those same lesbians based on their gender rather than their orientation, you’re also discriminating in favor of the 95 percent of heterosexual women vis à vis gay men.

Imagine a race discrimination case based on the claim that the defendant is allegedly discriminating against only 4 percent of blacks, but is also discriminating against 5 percent of whites in favor of blacks!

Be Careful What You Wish For

The theory gets even more convoluted when it comes to gender identity.  The reasoning is that you’re discriminating against the miniscule percentage of biological men who think they’re women compared to biological women who think they’re women, and against the miniscule percentage of biological women who … well, you get the rest.  But of course it’s a point of doctrine among transgender advocates that biological men who think they’re women are women and biological women who think they’re men are men. So the whole gender discrimination theory goes out the window.

Oh sure, you can contort yourself like Rosemary Woods to try to shoehorn at least the sexual orientation cases into a theory of gender-based discrimination, but law, language and logic all opt for a more parsimonious descriptions of a set of facts when possible. If only there were another term that more neatly and straightforwardly described all the various conflicting and confusing “discriminations” alleged to be going on here under the “sex discrimination” theory. 

Oh, wait, there is such a term—sexual orientation. All homosexuals allegedly are being discriminated against compared to heterosexuals based on their sexual orientation. That’s a lot simpler than the mouthful it took me to try to describe the sex-discrimination theory. If gays and liberals want to ban this they should go back to Congress to make their case again, not hide behind the robes of judges piously promulgating newspeak.

To liberals this may all be details—got to break eggs to make an omelet, arc of history and all that—but they should be careful. If “progressive” courts can simply rewrite statutes like commissars in 1984 then conservative courts can too. This happened 100 years ago when courts simply wrote early civil rights and worker protection laws out of existence. It’s not an era to which liberals or anyone should want to return.

Great America

Harvard Prefers White Women

Harvard’s discrimination against Asian-Americans is rooted in their desire to promote the interests of white women.

Judge Allison Burroughs might want to avoid Chinese restaurants for a while, owing to her disgraceful federal court opinion rationalizing Harvard University’s blatant discrimination against Asian-American undergraduate applicants. After spiking in admissions during the 1990s and comprising 21 percent of Harvard’s student body, Asian-American admissions plateaued to under 20 percent— creeping up to 25 percent after Asian-Americans protested in a lawsuit against Harvard in response to the pullback.

Those Asian-Americans didn’t get in by acing chopsticks dexterity contests. As a group, they rate higher in grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities than others. But subjective factors, including “tips” by admissions officials on various elements (such as legacy admissions, sports, and “personality”) significantly reduced their enrollment. Judge Burroughs defended these interventions as essential to preserve black and Hispanic numbers so all Harvard students could benefit from their presence.

Even for an opinion defending racial preferences, this one surely ranks as one of the most ridiculous ever written by a federal judge, for example: “there is no evidence of any racial animus whatsoever or intentional discrimination on the part of Harvard beyond its use of a race conscious admissions policy….” To be fair to the judge, she has terrible material to work with in the Supreme Court’s incoherent opinions on affirmative action.

Her self-contradictory parody of judicial reasoning quotes the late African-American novelist Toni Morrison (naturally): “The wise and esteemed author Toni Morrison observed, ‘Race is the least reliable information you can have about someone. It’s real information, but it tells you next to nothing.’” So Harvard will some day, the judge expects, reach the point where the “fact” of race is no longer important, no longer “the defining fact.”

Nonetheless, trying to keep the government’s interests alive, she declares, “The Court’s affirmance of the University’s admissions policy today does not necessarily mean the University may rely on that same policy without refinement.” And then she accuses the suing Asian-American students of demanding admissions quotas! A fact-based analysis of Harvard admissions policies and the discriminatory judgments the university was making can be found in Althea Nagai’s analysis of how Harvard’s own testimony indicts its admissions process as discriminatory.  (Full disclosure: Nagai is my wife.)

I flee this parody of legal reasoning and substitute my own defense of Harvard’s policy by reference to other Supreme Court affirmative action cases involving Asian-Americans. Whether my defense is less ridiculous than that of Judge Burroughs I leave to critical readers.

Why shouldn’t Harvard defend its anti-Asian policies in the same way the Court defended the ethnic Japanese exclusion cases in World War II? Shouldn’t Harvard be reticent to accept students who might turn out to be disloyal to the country? In an opinion criticizing racial preferences policies in higher education while also sympathizing with them, William O. Douglas, who participated in the ethnic Japanese relocation cases of World War II, cited and defended them albeit as at “the verge of wartime power.” Today of course the Japanese exclusion cases are deemed to justify “concentration camps” for illegal migrants.

But Justice Brennan, whose opinion supporting racial and ethnic preferences in the pivotal affirmative action case of Bakke v. University of California, goes much farther than Douglas. While racial categorizations in law are constitutionally dubious, Brennan also allows an “‘overriding statutory purpose,’ [which] could be found that would justify racial classifications.” “Paradoxically,” Brennan allows, the Japanese cases are among the precedents supplying such a rationale of positive or negative discrimination.

But all this ignores, I believe, the real reason Harvard wants to keep a ceiling on Asian-American admissions. It doesn’t have to do with personality defects, obsession with grades, science nerdiness, or even, perish the thought, treasonous inclinations and un-American proclivities—things the Court was not prepared in 1944 to deny about ethnic Japanese.

The reason for Harvard’s discriminatory policy can be found in the “critical mass” argument the Left often deploys for greater racial quotas for blacks and Hispanics. But it is wrong to scapegoat these groups for a ceiling on Asian-Americans. No, the blame rests more on white women, who need their “critical mass” of white men as partners. Not just any white men, mind you, but Harvard brand white men.

Harvard men, not Caltech nerds. (In the past few years Caltech’s entering classes have had over 40 percent Asian-Americans, compared with the mid-20 percents for MIT.)

Of course no Harvard applicant is going to state such a self-interested desire in her or his application. Ivy League schools are not about breeding after all! Yet even in the face of the rants of feminist tracts, Harvard apparently recognizes nature and the attractions it calls forth.

Nature will continue to assert itself in the powerful drive of smart women for successful men. It just needs to be apologized for in bizarre ways, as in Judge Burroughs’ opinion and in racial preference policies generally. In the meantime, may she continue to find polite and submissive waiters at her favorite Boston Chinatown restaurants.

Great America

“I think about the country they’re living in right now it’s not the country I want them to grow up in.” ―Chelsea Clinton, speaking on “The View” (ABC), October 2, 2019

Imagining Chelsea Clinton’s America

Chelsea Clinton doesn’t want her children to grow up in “Donald Trump’s America.” But the miraculous arrival of Donald Trump may just be a speed bump on the road to Chelsea’s utopia. How would Chelsea’s America be different?

It’s nice to know we have Chelsea Clinton to advise us on the state of America today. And since Chelsea Clinton reliably channels the conventional wisdom of the establishment Left in America, it is useful to wonder what sort of country her children would grow up in, if she could wave a wand and let the Left win every battle for the next 20 years.

Not that much magic is needed. The miraculous arrival of Donald Trump may just be a speed bump on the road to Chelsea’s utopia. So let’s get busyhow would Chelsea’s dream unfold?

It would begin with President Trump losing the 2020 election. The relentless onslaught of corporate media attacks would sway low information fence sitters who only read headlines. That, combined with an overwhelming advantage in support from the political bureaucracies, the intelligence community, public and private sector unions, globalist billionaires, and ballot harvesting operations that would make Boss Tweed blush, would tilt the balance decisively in favor of the Warren/Harris ticket.

Along with the White House, if we’re to remain true to Chelsea’s fantasy, control of the Senate would pass to the Democrats, who would also extend their majority in the House of Representatives. With power to match their vigor, the Warren Administration would get to work. In every area, transformative legislation would pour out of Washington. A few highlights:

  • Medicare is extended to all residents of America, citizen and noncitizen alike.
  • Versions of AOC’s “Just Society” suite of legislation, along with the “Green New Deal” is passed by both houses of Congress and signed by President Warren.
  • $500 billion in “reparations” are approved for descendants of African slaves.
  • The United States pledges to accept all refugees as directed by the United Nations if they aren’t admitted to other nations—over 1 million refugees per year begin to arrive in America, along with 1 million illegal migrants and 1 million legal migrants.
  • The minimum age to vote is lowered to age 16.
  • Border wall upgrades and extensions are stopped, ICE is abolished.
  • Race and gender quotas are extended into all areas of society and aggressively enforced.

By 2024, progressive control of all branches of the federal government ensure Warren’s reelection. By now the electorate is firmly convinced that whatever inequalities exist in the nation are the product of racism and sexism, requiring sweeping remedies. At the same time, a supermajority of voters now believe that no cost is too great to prevent “climate change.” With these two issues the top priorities for voters, the electoral algebra becomes immutable. And where the rhetoric of resentment and fear prevails, heretofore unthinkable policies follow.

Consolidation of Leftist Power Depends on Dependency

How the Left consolidated its power in the 2020s centered around one fundamental shift in how Americans lived. Fulfilling a process that began nearly a century earlier, but finally completed during the Warren administration, it became virtually impossible for any household with income below the top 20 percent to pay their bills. As a consequence, free tuition, free healthcare, and rent subsidies became necessary for most of the population to survive. Just as a supermajority of voters believed the rhetoric of identity politics and climate politics, a supermajority of voters could no longer pay their bills without depending on the government.

The irony was that it was Democratic policies that caused everything to cost so much. The “Just Society” and “Green New Deal” agenda were merely extensions of leftist policies that had been creeping forward for decades, all with the approval of Wall Street, multinational corporations, and the super rich. Central to this agenda was to restrict the growth of cities and ration the use of energy and water, in order to prevent climate change.

At the same time as investors and corporations were harvesting trillions in profits and capital gains by cutting out any competitors to develop land, energy, or water infrastructure, millions upon millions of economic and political refugees were pouring into the United States each year. The means to accommodate these new arrivals within the footprint of existing cities was a gold mine for the propertied elite, but wreaked havoc on ordinary Americans trying to make ends meet. With demand outpacing supply at every turn, there was bound to be a squeeze.

In city after city, draconian ordinances overrode zoning laws with decades of precedence. Investors could demolish single family homes and erect fourplexes, or more units, where one household had previously stood. Rent control laws, combined with mandated conservation retrofits (to prevent climate change), made it hard for anyone apart from large institutional investors to maintain rental properties. Single family homes became worth more to buyers if they were demolished and replaced with apartments. New laws made it obligatory to accept Section 8 renters whose rent would be paid by taxpayers. Corporate behemoths busted block after block, in city after city, turning communities into government housing projects. Those who objected were branded as racists, deniers, xenophobes, and NIMBYs. They were silenced.

Chelsea Clinton, of course, along with all the politically connected, well fed animals in this new Animal Farm called America, resided in a gated community. These elite communities were not technically exempt from resettlement laws, densification zoning, and landlord obligations to admit Section 8 and similarly taxpayer subsidized renters. But they had a critical mass of super rich, super connected residents, who deployed private litigation to chase block busting investors to more remunerative pastures.

Socialist Rule Eventually Leads to America’s Downfall

After Warren’s second term, in 2028 the anointed heir, Kamala Harris, stepped into the presidency. America had now firmly become a one-party state, following trend-setting California. At this point another watershed would be reached, as Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, both entering their 80s, would retire from the U.S. Supreme Court. Replaced by hard core leftists, the court would swing into action on a host of issues where they had been the last remaining holdouts.

For example, the high court finally ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in the landmark case pioneered a decade earlier in Juliana v. United States. The court agreed that fossil fuel corporations had knowingly misled the public about their role in causing climate change, and ordered trillions in reparations. More spending. More bureaucracy.

By the time the leftist machine reelects Harris in 2032, however, problems caused by the leftist agenda are becoming untenable. But it’s not America’s domestic tranquility that is out of control. America, with help from a profitably partnered Silicon Valley elite, has become an extremely efficient police state. The online censors silence and erase dissidents. Individualized psychographic diagnostics, fed by the panopticon of wired devices, identify and neutralize anyone rebellious enough to even consider moving beyond protest rhetoric. And the propaganda machine grinds on, mingling messages expertly crafted to manipulate voters alongside immersive virtual fantasies that make living in the real world almost irrelevant.

The rest of the “real world,” however, by now has had enough of America. While the Leftist cabal at home rationed investments in energy, infrastructure, and the military, in exchange for massive entitlement spending, resentment grew overseas. In place of genuine economic growth, the U.S. GDP and the U.S. dollar was collateralized by asset bubbles created by artificial scarcity.

America’s financial power was becoming recognized as fraudulent, hollowed out by years of malinvestment. But around the world, ostensibly to combat climate change, but in reality to maintain the imperium against rising competitors, the U.S. continued to thwart investment in affordable fossil fuel, or even nuclear power.

To keep the scam alive, billions of dollars were sent without conditions to kleptocratic but compliant despots, and the strategy worked until restive populations, denied affordable energy and water, rebelled en-masse. Across Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, revolutions raged. In the ensuing breakdown, desperate hordes demolished what paltry reserves of forest were left (as so much of the land was covered with solar panels and biofuel plantations, owned by multinationals). Within months, they consumed the fragile, final remnants of wildlife in a starvation induced frenzy.

By 2034, when President Harris ordered the U.S. military to intervene in dozens of hot spots, America’s depleted, obsolete capital ships and planes could not respond. Nearly two decades of budgetary famine, combined with a war fighting doctrine that focused primarily on what gender pronouns to enforce, had left America’s military a hollow shell. Other nations took notice.

In a move long planned, the fascist superpower allies, China and Russia, announced a new world order. Overnight, confidence in American preeminence collapsed, and with it, the value of the U.S. dollar. The collateral fueled asset bubble that had offered decades of phony propulsion to the U.S. economy imploded, and with that, America’s federal government lost its ability to dole out free rent, health care, tuition and food. But the Left had one more card up their sleeves.

While America’s leftist overlords had neglected every tangible activity that might nurture a genuinely productive economy, they never faltered in their program of mass indoctrination. America’s citizens were appalled and anxious at the depression they faced, but they were primed to believe whatever they were told as to the cause. All the same answers were trotted out, with a new twist: “It’s the Chinese and the Russians,” thundered Kamala Harris through her teleprompter. “They are going to impose an oil and gas economy on our comrades around the world, destroying the planet,” she screamed. “We must stop them at any cost,” were her urgent admonitions, as her corporate leftist puppeteers veered the nation towards total war to clean things up and stimulate the crashed economy.

Unfortunately, in the stupefying cataclysm that ensued, America’s Left had overplayed their hand, and found themselves outgunned by their adversaries. A hypersonic glide vehicle, released from a ballistic missile, found its way to a certain gated community, obliterating it, along with many other communities across the land. Chelsea Clinton’s America ended in that moment, at least for her. But it was the America that in which she had wanted her children to grow up.

Great America

There is No Middle Ground with Today’s Democrats or the Deep State

If you’re wondering how all of this stops, how we return to normal, I will tell you what a friend  told me: “There is no normal. There is only Clausewitz.”

Lose an election you thought you’d win? Well Democrats’ have a solution for that: “We shall impeach all da things!!” Don’t like a Supreme Court justice? Impeach him! Don’t like the president? Impeach away. And if you’re Congressman “President” Swalwell, I assume you nuke whatever is left.

Of course there are no real grounds for impeachment—just failed lies and hoaxes. But who cares? Clearly the Christine Blasey Ford and Russian collusion hit jobs failed miserably, but damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!

Like a child with a box of matches, deranged Democrats seem to think they have their hands on a good idea. Their thinking goes something like this: “If we can’t be in control, let’s burn it all down, destroy norms, throw an epic political tantrum, hold the American people hostage! That’ll show the irredeemable deplorables to question their betters!”

The Democrats’ sycophant propagandists in the corporate leftist media are barking and clapping away like circus seals, cheering them on. Both sets of deranged people appear perplexed, however, that outside of their bubble within the Acela corridor people in real America, as Politico chronicled, think the idea of impeachment is absurd. The corporate leftist media’s reaction, from Chuck Todd’s meltdown over the weekend to the Politico piece, is one of shock and disgust that people are not listening to their enlightened masters on this matter.

Even worse (for them), polls show a majority of people actually agree with President Trump that the Bidens’ behavior in the Ukraine—and I would add, China—should be investigated. Oh, the horror of it all! This is not how it’s supposed to be: the peasants in the hinterlands are supposed to accept the absolute tripe being force fed to them; obediently and without question. In the minds of Democrats, the corporate leftist media, and of course the deep state actors, the world has been thrown off its axis and is spinning out of control. They must step in and save the “world.” But what world? Whose world?

What they will never understand, cannot understand, is that perhaps the real world—not their twisted and warped one—is being set right. Maybe, just maybe the American people have finally caught on to the games being played by certain people in the swamp: there is an axis of statist forces that truly think they should be running the country, elections be damned. These forces, Democrats, the corporate leftist media, and deep state actors believe that Americans should just accept their vision of open borders, one sided trade deals, man made global warming, infanticide, and trust the massive and ever growing administrative state to handle all the details.

These people all move within the same circles and share the same worldview, many proudly displaying the pieces of paper given to them upon their graduation from the indoctrination centers of higher learning. These pieces of paper, of course, demonstrate that they are the most intelligent, the “most best of the best,” that they are the most enlightened among us. Or so we are told. What’s really been really done over the years at these indoctrination centers is a collective stunting of mental acumen—annihilating such basic skills as common sense (only indoctrinated idiots believe there are 63 genders) and deductive reasoning (only indoctrinated idiots think Trump is a Putin puppet). What’s resulted is a world of idiocracy posing as an elite, one detached from reality and common sense.

That’s what the last several years have been all about: a collision of worldview and value sets. The breathless rumors of Russian collusion, Kavanaugh gang rapes, none of it was really ever about THAT. It was all about how we deplorables view the world, a difference of policy, and about how America is to be governed—what we do as a country both domestically and on the international stage. They are quite sure not just that we are wrong but that somehow our opinions are illegitimate. Those people lost an election and they couldn’t stand it that an unwashed outsider walked into their holy of holies and called them fools, much to the delight of the Americans who elected him.

If you truly believe that the administrative state is the vehicle by which you shall achieve the progress of implementing a demented “progressive” worldview, it is, essentially, your religion. We are fighting what amounts to a religious faith on the part of people who would impose it on us if they could.

Quite frankly, the only surprise here is that they haven’t completely lost it. Although, seriously: Who loses an election and then spins up fanciful fairy tales that somehow Trump colluded with Russia to win? Or that Kavanaugh ran a rape gang?

Yet now here we are with Democrats conducting an impeachment inquiry without making it a formal one, holding closed door hearings to collect information to conduct the fake impeachment while trotting out a second “whistleblower,” who in all likelihood will turn out to be no different from the first: that is to say, not a whistleblower but a partisan covert operative working in concert with others to conduct a soft coup.

If you think that we’ve reached a point of peak absurdity, wait until they roll out Whistleblower 23 who will breathlessly whisper that he or she has fourth hand knowledge that Trump has been caught colluding with the American people to lower unemployment rate to below 3.5 percent and stop illegal immigration and break apart the administrative state.

So if you’re wondering how all of this stops, how we return to normal, I will tell you what a friend  told me: “There is no normal. There is only Clausewitz.” There is only absolute and total political war on this axis we face until we beat them into an unconditional surrender. The Left wants it that way because they think they can win. They want no holds barred total political war. Since we can’t escape it, I say we give it to them measure for measure.

The current iteration of the Democratic Party must be sent into the political wilderness. Delegitimized in the eyes of most Americans. The corporate leftist media (there’s nothing mainstream about it) must be mocked relentlessly and shown to be the low information propagandists that they really are.

Trump must put real teeth into the Presidential Intelligence Advisory Board and bring the intel community to heel. And in his second term, Trump must begin migrating the 800,000 non-essential government employees back into the private sector and start breaking apart the administrative state. He can start with the Department of Energy, break it apart into Interior, Commerce, and Defense and then literally blow the building up and build a Liberty Park over it.

For those who think there is some middle ground with the Left, there isn’t. There’s no negotiating with them until they sue for terms. Time to man up and fight: the future of our constitutional republic depends on it.

Great America

The Left to America’s Children: Your Past Is Terrible, and Your Future Is Terrible

Whatever the Left touches it ruins. The latest example is children.

A rule of life is that everything the Left touches it ruins: art, music, Christianity, Judaism, race relations, male-female relations, universities, high schools, elementary schools, late-night comedy, sports, liberty, journalism, the Boy Scouts, national economies, language and everything else it influences.

The Left, not liberalism. (I have written a column and done a PragerU video on the differences between liberalism and leftism.)

To this list, we can now add childhood and children.

The Left robs children of their innocence and has helped produce an unprecedented number of anxious and depressed young people.  

Most of us are aware of how the Left prematurely introduced sexuality into young children’s lives under the guise of “sex education.” That was just the beginning. Then the Left changed same-sex college dorms, which had been the norm throughout American history, into coed dorms on virtually every American campus. Then came coed bathrooms. And just in case college students were not thinking about—or having enough—sex, the Left introduced sex columns in college newspapers and “sex week” on virtually every college campus. One is more graphic than the other. After reading a college newspaper sex column or experiencing the college’s sex week, a student could easily conclude that without having experienced a menage a trois and mastering cunnilingus or fellatio techniques, life is neither exciting nor fulfilling.

There are many reasons a greater percentage of college students are more depressed than ever before. But the immersion in loveless and romance-less sex is undoubtedly one of them. That is what contributes to the especially high rate of female depression on campuses.

The Left hypersexualized colleges and now laments that colleges are all filled with a “rape culture.”

The Left has devalued marriage.

An unprecedentedly large percentage of young Americans are not married, and more of them than ever do not consider marriage important. The Left has indoctrinated a generation (or two) of young Americans into believing that marriage is unimportant—career alone is the road to a meaningful life for both men and women. Throughout American history, until the Left took over the culture and universities beginning in the 1960s, it was a given, as Frank Sinatra sang, that “love and marriage … go together like a horse and carriage.”

The Left has devalued having children.

The Left is ambivalent and often hostile to people having children. That’s why people on the Left have the fewest children of all political and religious groups.

The latest reason not to have children is that much of humanity is doomed if global warming is not immediately reversed. But since the 1970s, the Left has offered other reasons not to have children, including that the world would not produce nearly enough food and other basic resources to sustain the growing world population. Thus began the zero population growth (ZPG) movement.

But the Left’s ambivalence over having children isn’t just hysteria over too many people, lack of food or global warming. Many people on the Left (again, unlike liberals or conservatives) just don’t particularly want kids. Children are a nuisance: They interfere with one’s career; they cost too much; and dogs and cats are perfectly acceptable substitutes.

In sum, the Left doesn’t particularly like children.

The Left is ruining the childhood of many children by depriving them of the joys and excitement of growing into men and women. 

The Left has invented a new idea in history: that human beings are not born male or female but are “assigned” their sex at birth by sexist parents, physicians, and a society that is not yet “woke” to this “fact.” In schools throughout America, teachers are told to no longer call their students “boys” and “girls,” just “students,” lest they impose a gender identity on them. Mattel has released a doll that has no gender. A New York Times columnist whose photo shows him with a beard has requested that his readers refer to him only as “they,” as he believes gender is useless. Teenage girls who declare themselves boys are allowed to have their breasts surgically removed without their parents’ permission. Divorced parents who tell their 5-year-old male child who feels he is a girl that he is a boy risk losing custody or parental rights if the other parent affirms the child is a girl. Girls who compete in sports against boys who identify as females and complain that they lose unfairly are attacked as “transphobic.”

The Left has convinced innumerable young Americans that their past is terrible and their future is terrible. 

The Left tells American children that their past—the American past—is shameful and their future is even worse: They will likely die prematurely as a result of global warming.

Whatever the Left touches it ruins. The latest example is children.


Great America

The #Resistance Resembles the Flight 175 Hijackers

The #Resistance are like the men who hijacked Flight 175—they are true believers. They are convinced that Trump represents such a threat that no law, no precedent, no amount of collateral damage, no future consequences could justify refusing to use the most brutal force to address their grievances.

Like many Americans do around the 9/11 anniversaries, I have contemplated the mindset of the men flying the planes.

It is a natural response: how could a human being deliberately undertake such an inhumane act? The terrorists who flew Flight 11 into the North Tower were at least partially ignorant of what would result from their actions. Would they even be able to hit the building squarely? What if they missed? What if they managed a direct hit, but the structural integrity of the building was such that the damage was comparatively minimal? What if there was little loss of life? What if the visual dimensions of the collision proved to be less spectacular? Perhaps at the forefront of their minds was “What if the other hijacking teams don’t follow through?”

The team that guided Flight 175 into the South Tower did so with much more information. They knew that at least one other team had succeeded in their mission—which must have emboldened them. They knew that a direct hit was doable. And as they hurtled toward lower Manhattan, surveying the catastrophic damage caused by the first plane, they could imagine the scope of the pain, grief, panic, confusion, and global conflict that would come in the wake of the attack.

In that moment, there was a tiny chance that their humanity might win out—that they would find some way to avoid such massive devastation. Maybe the plane could be landed safely? Maybe the plane could be crashed into a target that would result in less loss of life? Either choice would have resulted in a painful death for the hijackers, but they could have died knowing that finally—ultimately—they recognized the dignity of every individual and did something to mitigate their hatred. Obviously, if the Flight 175 hijackers had such a moment, they pushed it to the back of their minds, and finished their bloody business. The fact that they followed through makes them seem—somehow—even more evil than the terrorists on Flight 11.

In the lead-up to the 2016 election, Michael Anton anonymously published his essay “The Flight 93 Election” and it proved to be an influential statement as conservatives of all stripes tried to decide where they would stand in relation to Trump’s candidacy. Everyone remembers the heroism of the passengers of Flight 93, who fought back against the hijackers. Ultimately the passengers aboard that plane managed to crash it into a Pennsylvanian field, saving innumerable lives. Anton’s essay used the flight as metaphor. Like it or not, the next president would be Hillary or Trump. A Clinton victory, he argued, would finally consolidate the cultural, political, and institutional branches of our society under the Left’s ideology that was anathema to the founding principles of our democracy.

Voting for anyone but Trump was tantamount to sitting patiently aboard Flight 93 as the terrorists chose which building to demolish. A vote for Trump was the rushing of the cockpit: a last ditch effort—perhaps a doomed one—to assert some individual agency. It was a willingness to take the risk of self-governance.

The desperation that conservatives felt as they stared down the possibility of 8 more years of far-left autocratic governance pales in comparison to the desperation of the Left since Trump’s victory. Throughout the campaign, the Left had treated Trump as a bad joke. But in the late evening hours of November 9th, as Martha Raddatz gently wept, the joke ended: Trump was a grave, existential threat to American democracy. Within a matter of days, the Resistance started to coalesce. For the first time in modern American history, the losing presidential candidate openly called into question the results of the election—and shockingly—called on Americans to work to undermine the president. And many, especially in Washington, took that call as an order.

At first, the #Resistance seemed like a raw, psychic, reflexive reaction that comes from a sudden, painful recognition that the world isn’t the way you thought it was. We had to endure assassination fantasies and pussy hats and profanity-laden orations from aged celebrities, as we patiently waited for our fellow citizens to come to grips with reality and settle down. But they didn’t.

Even people in positions of power—elected officials and government workers—upped the ante. So, the media gave us months of hysterical distortions about collusion with Russia, which resulted in the Mueller investigation. We heard the #Resistance act out fever dreams about the emoluments clause and the 25th Amendment. We watched Democrats seek to destroy a nominee to the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, on hearsay and evidence-free yarns about sexual improprieties from decades ago. Unelected bureaucrats wrote anonymous accounts of the ways they were heroically working behind the scenes to hamstring the administration’s agenda.

In light of these power plays, it finally became clear that the #Resistance wasn’t some childish tantrum. It was a calculated, coordinated, cynical effort by a cultural and political elite to advance their own policy objectives regardless of the outcome of the election by violating norms and weaponizing parts of the government that were designed to be politically neutral.

But then, in spite of their caterwauling, Kavanaugh was confirmed. And it turned out that the Covington kids weren’t the aggressors in their confrontation with the Native American man in Washington. And worst of all, Mueller failed. He didn’t admit he failed, which made it all the more pitiful, because everyone knew it.

Nevertheless, congressional Democrats hauled the doddering old man back to testify on the illusory charge of obstruction. And he failed again. The Collusion Myth—the delusion that supported the entire project of the #Resistance—lay in rubble. And in the process, all of the legal machinations and media manipulations that sustained the hoax were exposed. And then, one more desperate shot at Kavanaugh! But that proved to be demonstrably fake news, too.

From a certain perspective, this is funny—like watching a cat chase the red dot from a laser pointer. But it takes a profound toll on Americans and the national mood. Every attempt at the soft coup deepens and widens the divide between Americans. Though they fail again and again, the result of the #Resistance’s attacks are American trauma. As they pursue Trump like Ahab chased the monster, the Democrats sow doubt, frustration, uncertainty, disbelief, suspicion, hatred, anger, resentment, exhaustion, impatience, and more.

As it was for the Flight 175 hijackers, the trauma their designs are causing is in plain view to them. Nevertheless, they persist. They maintain their trajectory, aiming at the structural foundations of our democracy.

At a certain point—after so much failing and embarrassment—one might think these people would recognize that their maniacal attempts to wrest power from Trump are not worth the civic damage they are inflicting. But now, mere days after a report of a whistleblower complaint against Trump, they have opened an impeachment inquiry.

Never mind the anonymity of the whistleblower. Never mind the fact that the former vice president boasted about precisely the type of behavior that they now leverage to undo an election. Never mind that in his newly released conversation with authorities in the Ukraine, Trump is clearly discussing an existing investigation into foreign interference in the 2016 election—a topic Democrats have insisted Trump does not take seriously enough. Never mind that Congress always has cautiously considered the possibility of impeachment for a given offense for months or years before moving forward with an inquiry that necessarily will be traumatic and costly for the public. Never mind their humiliating, winless record when it comes to their “bombshell” revelations about Trump’s offenses. The end justifies the means, even when the means are lies.

No, the #Resistance is not a sad, childish tantrum. Nor is it simply a cynical political calculation to advance the policy aspirations of the Left. This latest maneuver exposes the truth about the #Resistance. In opening an impeachment inquiry on the scantest evidence, with full knowledge of all of the suffering on the Right and the Left that they have inflicted through all of this nonsense—the Mueller affair, the Kavanaugh disgrace, all of it—they show that they really, truly believe that their victimization by Trump is so profound that absolutely anything (no matter how unethical or how untrue) is justified. Given their knowledge of the trauma that the impeachment process will inflict on Americans, it is tempting to assume that Democrats have only indifference or disdain towards the people they represent.

But I can’t believe that. Rather they are like the men who hijacked Flight 175—they are true believers. They are convinced that Trump represents such a threat that no law, no precedent, no amount of collateral damage, no future consequences could justify refusing to use the most brutal force to address their grievances. In their quest to impeach, Democrats see themselves as the innocent men and women on Flight 93—fighting and resisting the malevolent people who hijacked their plane. But in this case, the people they fight are their own countrymen. In fact, the people from whom they try to wrest the controls are their own countrymen: people who are rightly on the plane, justified in their demand that the plane flies to the destination they paid to go to.

This impeachment inquiry represents the third phase of the #Resistance, where failing all other means, the elected officials (who are supposed to represent the American people and carry out their will) determine that they have a moral prerogative—a royal prerogative—to fly the nation wherever they deem fit, even as they survey the catastrophic results of their hatred.

Pelosi and House Democrats, aiming to enforce their political will on the nation without any mandate to do so, surveyed the devastation they have already caused, and made a choice to stay on the path to social cataclysm. The #Resistance is the Flight 175 response to the victory of the Flight 93 election. The decision to pursue impeachment, in disregard of all historical precedent and absent any compelling evidence of high crimes or misdemeanors, will haunt American governance for decades to come.

Absent the restraint that has governed the use of this awesome power of impeachment, future executives could be hindered permanently in their ability to execute the people’s mandate. 2020 will be painful. Will we allow the #Resistance to take the controls?

Great America

Dysfunctional Education

The only way for Americans to avoid being pulled down in a vortex of the self-indulgent ignorance that characterizes our education establishment is to cut loose from that establishment: to stop funding it, and to create another, honest one.

The 2020 elections will afford us the chance to pass judgment on the immediate threat to our democracy posed by the intelligence agencies, the Democratic party, and the media in their grab for power through a bastardized impeachment process. But no such opportunity exists for us to deal with the most serious, most fundamental threat to our way of life, namely our thoroughly rotten educational establishment.

The problem has been festering for decades, and keeps getting worse.

During Word War II, only 4 percent of some 18 million draftees were illiterate. Despite (or because?) of massive expenditures on education over the subsequent two decades, 27 percent of the Vietnam war’s draftees were judged functionally illiterate. Between 1955 and 1991, the inflation-adjusted average K-12 per-pupil expenditure in America rose 350 percent. In 1972, 2,817 students scored 750 or better on each half of the SAT. By 1994, only 1,438 made this score though the test had been made easier. Today, U.S. 15 year olds rank 24th out of 71 countries in science, and 38th in math. In 2018, college students spent less than a third of the time their grandparents did studying for their classes.

But as the bell-curve of intellectual achievement continues to shift leftward, the bell curve of school grades continues to shift rightward. Increasingly, the default grade in America is “A.” Among all classes and races, some seventy percent of U.S students report having cheated on exams or papers.  No one should be surprised at the American people’s increasing incompetence and inability to follow directions—never mind arguments.

This past week, the noise from Washington drowned out three items of news that remind us of how corrupt and dumbed down American education has become, how far into society the rot has spread and how much it would take to remedy it.

Harvard University hailed Judge Allison D. Burroughs’s decision that it had not really, really, discriminated against Asian applicants. The judge did not think it discriminatory that Harvard invited applications from Asian males only if they scored above 1380 out of 1400 on the PSAT, to Asian females only if they got over 1350, to white males only if over 1310, and admitted black students who were barely above the national average of 1000.  Nearly all other American institutions of higher education do similar things. For the Supreme Court to try undoing the bitter legacy of a half century’s “affirmative action” it would have to re-establish the authority of the dictionary.

But the universities’ hypocritical racial discrimination is only one of the factors that has subtracted from what had been their great credit with the American people. The other, arguably more important, is that increasingly they impart less and less knowledge. Human beings gain knowledge only by lots of hard work.  But our colleges require ever less work, which they reward with higher grades. Already in the 1990s, the average Stanford undergraduate GPA was 3.8 out of 4. What would it take for students to work harder, to learn more, to make their college years useful?

The last two weeks’ spectacle of students—even children—screaming that the Earth’s fiery end is upon us in a decade unless we banish fossil fuels results directly from educators encouraging, if not requiring, students to indulge in a political campaign that masquerades as science. Again, the students are following the establishment’s incentives. Never mind that virtually the same slogans have been chanted for several decades and that no consequences have ensued. Say in class that the sun is the paramount influence on our climate, and that its energy is variable, expect a bad grade. What would it take for the educational establishment to prioritize the facts of physics and chemistry over their own fancies?

More and more, it seems, establishment educators are going in the opposite direction. The Seattle public schools published a “K-12 Math Ethnic Studies Framework,” yet another step in a nationwide, decades-long, Progressive effort to dumb down the teaching of math. The program aims to “identify how math has been and continues to be used to oppress and marginalize people and communities of color,” “create counter narratives about the origins of mathematical knowledge,” “demonstrate mathematical literacy by applying concepts to real world problems through dialogue and story telling,” “redefine mathematical learning through cooperative learning, engagement, advocacy, and action,” “redefine mathematical learning through cooperative learning, engagement, advocacy, and action,” and “explain how math dictates economic oppression.” While students are learning such things, they cannot be learning how to do basic algebra, never mind to derive solutions to problems of integral calculus.

Because the educational establishment has prospered while ruining the country, convincing them to change their ways is impossible. The only way for Americans to avoid being pulled down in a vortex of self-indulgent ignorance is to cut loose from that establishment: to stop funding it, and to create another, honest one. This, if at all possible, will require far more of us than weathering the latest impeachment gambit.

Great America

A Throne of Grace

Judge Tammy Kemp and Brandt Jean set a beautiful example of justice and forgiveness at the sentencing of Amber Guyger.

In a windowless room whose layout is as familiar to lawyers and judges as it is foreign to American ideals of justice, where judges act like clerks and justice feels as cold as it looks, where the powers of the state belong to a mallet too small to be a murder weapon but strong enough to sentence people to death, where a judge’s gavel is the final sound a person hears before he returns to jail or leaves for prison—on the seventh floor of the Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas, Texas, where a courtroom is a judge’s kingdom, the love of a King fills the air with the spirit of the King of Kings; the light of the world, righteous like the dawn and redemptive as the noonday sun, shines on the souls of Judge Tammy Kemp, Amber Guyger, and Brandt Jean.

In that room a jury convicted Guyger, a white Dallas police officer, of the murder of Botham Jean, a black man.

In that room a jury sentenced Guyger to 10 years in prison.

In that room Jean, the victim’s 18-year-old brother, asked Kemp to allow him to hug Guyger.

In that room Jean forgave Guyger. 

Then Kemp, a black woman, hugged Guyger too. 

With the fondness of hope and the fervency of prayer, with the humility of a sinner and the wisdom of a sage, Kemp appealed for a just God’s assistance. She honored the appeal of a president named Abraham by sustaining the testimony of Matthew the Apostle: Judge not, that ye be not judged. 

She gave Guyger a Bible.

Now the Freedom of Religion Foundation has filed a complaint with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct regarding Kemp’s actions.

God bless Judge Kemp. God save the United States and this Honorable Court!




Great America

Greta Thunberg Is Just a Kid

Those who believe in a man-made climate crisis have the right to proclaim their belief and argue for action to address it, but employing children as their champions is ethically questionable. In Greta’s case, it’s also not persuasive.

There’s a reason we don’t let 16-year-olds drive the big rigs. Although many of them might be able to pass the tests required to get the appropriate licenses and most have legs long enough to reach the pedals, we nevertheless don’t permit them to hop behind the wheel of a massive Peterbilt and, to paraphrase C. W. McCall’s 1970’s hit, “Join a great big convoy to cross the USA.”

The reason for this is the same as the reason we set a limit on the age to buy liquor or get tattoos: We presume that children aren’t fully mature and are apt to make poor decisions about consequential things. One might get drunk, go into a tattoo parlor, and come out with a permanent image of something inappropriate on some obvious spot on their anatomy and be stuck with the consequences for life.

So why would we contemplate complying, when 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg demands the world spend trillions and alter the life of every single person on Earth?

We should treat all children with patient respect and a child, like Greta, who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and other psychiatric problems, needs even greater consideration. It’s the adult thing to do. That doesn’t mean, however, that the opinions of children are above criticism.

Indeed, holding a skeptical view of youthful opinions, which can be poorly informed, impulsive, and subject to the whims of popular culture or the child’s peers, is also an adult thing to do. It’s actually a duty. Adults are supposed to guide children away from error and teach them not to accept ideas without skepticism. Your mom surely would have done so, if you said you wanted to jump off the roof with an umbrella parachute because the other kids said it worked just wonderful for Mary Poppins. No responsible mother would say, “Make sure to live stream your jump on Facebook.”

Manipulating Natural Sympathy

Thunberg is an intelligent girl as demonstrated by her excellent command of English. She’s small for her age and fragile in appearance. She looks like a kid to whom you’d be sure to offer a bowl of hot soup and a sweater on a chilly day. When she isn’t hectoring her elders about climate change, she sometimes smiles and her smile is quite endearing. Nearly all children have an easy charm that can elicit a warm response. There’s probably some evolutionary explanation for it—it encourages those who are older to care for and nurture those younger.

That good and natural instinct is being exploited by the climate change activists who are using Thunberg to advance their cause.

Thunberg is useful to climate change activists as a human shield. Anyone challenging what she says about the Earth warming can be attacked as a monster bullying a child. This moves the debate from facts to emotions. Thunberg in this way can be cast as David versus Goliath, Little Red Riding Hood versus the Big Bad Wolf, or Kevin, who was left home alone, versus those bungling burglars.

We like stories about younglings whooping up on baddies against overwhelming odds, and Thunberg’s exploiters find it easy to characterize her as courageous while her targets are mean Ol’ Big Carbon and his lackeys.

Thunberg as Diversion

Thunberg and the young people she rallies also serve as a diversion. Unfortunately for the climate change proponents, Mother Earth hasn’t grown feverish as fast as their preferred computer models predicted. Thunberg and her supporters’ protests draw attention away from this inconvenient truth and generate enthusiasm for the cause when it should be sagging.

Not everyone is so easily diverted, however. To the climate alarmists skeptics must ask, “If your predictions were incorrect, why should we trust you to devise a correct solution? Perhaps your solution is unnecessary, unworkable, or is bound to result in worse consequences than the problem you predict? If you are wrong, the colossal wealth wasted on lowering CO2 won’t be spent on other things that might improve mankind’s condition.”

Thunberg’s exploiters have made her an international celebrity, climaxing her rise with an address at the United Nations climate summit. Prior to it, she met with members of Congress and had a one-on-one with former-President Barack Obama in which she got the ritual fist bump he bestows upon the favored few held worthy of sharing his cool (he reserves bowing for very special people).

Thunberg dutifully scorned a meeting with President Donald Trump deeming him irredeemable and, as shown by the glare she directed at him at the UN, probably deplorable, too. Teen Vogue, a publication aimed at kids Greta’s age, declared that she had “already changed the United States for the better” before she had even set foot in the Big Apple. Her transport to our shores was via a sailing ship after she refused to come by a carbon-spewing jet. Her fans weren’t bothered that the vessel wasn’t a quaint 19th-century clipper ship manned by hearty tars singing sea chanties as they hauled on ropes to lift canvas. Instead it was a high-tech yacht only a millionaire could afford, but no matter. After this theatrical act of virtue signaling, Thunberg joined thousands and thousands of children also eager to scold their elders and signal their virtue in a climate strike to protest climate change.

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Gaia

Thunberg’s UN speech was similar in tone to one given by a preacher at a tent revival calling on sinners to repent lest they burn, albeit for a new religion that replaces a scorching hot Hell with a scorched Earth.

She angrily insisted that, “People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are at the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying you are doing enough. You say you hear us and understand the urgency, but no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that. Because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And that I refuse to believe.”

With the “How dare you”s, Thunberg set herself atop a lofty pedestal buttressed by her assumption that she better understands the “situation” than the majority of Earth’s adult population. Someone should inform her that it is possible to disagree with her without being evil. It is often said that a consensus of scientists believe in man-made climate change, but there are reputable climatologists who believe natural causes are more significant. These climatologists aren’t evil people but climate activists exclaim you should cast them out as blasphemers. If you don’t, you’re a vile “denier” and you don’t care if your great-grandchildren will never be able to make snow angels.

Thunberg’s Seminary is Really a Prop Room

When Thunberg was eight and first heard about climate change, she wondered why no one was fixing it. At 15, she began skipping school to sit in front of Sweden’s Riksdag, the national legislature in Stockholm, handing out leaflets. She announced she would do this till Sweden reduced its carbon emissions in line with the Paris Agreement because “Adults are s****ing on my future.” Worldwide student strikes in answer to Thunberg’s call followed. Her fame grew till it led to her angry UN speech.

Her child followers made their fury explicit during the strikes leading up to the speech although anyone who witnessed those events couldn’t help noticing that adults were in charge, shepherding the children through each step. School districts and colleges cancelled classes so students could attend without the ordinary consequences of truancy. City officials arranged police supervision, closed streets, and allocated other supports. A lot of money went into the proceedings, and it didn’t come out of kids’ piggy banks.

The protesting children, like Thunberg, were useful for the adult advocates of the climate crisis.

Back in the days of Old Hollywood, a stage mother or father might drill a toddler relentlessly in tap dancing or singing while dragging the child to beauty contests, talent shows, or auditions, hoping vicariously to attain their adult ambitions through their child.

Most of these children never made it to the silver screen, perhaps growing up to become stage parents, themselves. Those who did make it didn’t always have a good life. To get a kid to cry on cue, a director might tell the child her puppy had been run over by a car. A child performer might be fed pep pills to keep her singing and dancing for hours on end or to keep them from gaining too much weight. Parents might try to stunt a child actor’s growth to extend his career, and it’s no coincidence that some of the most successful child actors were diminutive or had health problems that kept them childlike beyond their childhood years.

When the child stars reached awkward adolescence and weren’t cute anymore, only a few transitioned into adult roles. The rest were sent packing. Too often, the money they had earned had been misspent by their parents or stolen by unscrupulous managers, leaving them with little to show for a lost childhood. Today, there are some safeguards to protect child actors, but it can still be a hard life. Many, who are now adults, can attest to horror stories of exploitation.

Greta Thunberg fervently believes in what she is doing, but that doesn’t change the fact others are using her. She, too, is a child performer being exploited. Setting aside her fanaticism, she seems like a nice girl who we can hope will have a better life than some of Hollywood’s exploited child stars.

Those who believe in a man-made climate crisis have the right to proclaim their belief and argue for action to address it, but employing children as their champions is ethically questionable. In Greta’s case, it’s also not persuasive.

Great America

Tom Friedman Discovers America

When Tom Friedman feels the urge to type, when he acts according to type, when he ties his hospital gown and wears his slippers, when he writes PRESS on the back of his paper prescription, when he appears with a wirebound steno pad in one hand and an Esso travel map in the other, when he tilts his head toward a radial dot on the crease of his directory; when he holds his pen between his teeth, when he tries to walk like FDR but looks and talks like Eleanor—when the New York Times’s senior columnist has a senior moment, the experience is a treat.

His latest column does not disappoint, as it evokes the spirit of Paul Simon with the lyricism of Simon Says: a search for America that begins and ends at the Kennedy Center, convincing Friedman that a night at the opera is an accurate representation of a day in the life of the typical American.

Never mind that Friedman’s column is about the crowd’s reaction to a woman in the audience. Never mind that that woman is Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Never mind, too, that applause for a patron of the arts, in a performing arts center named for a martyred president, by a majority of attendees who hate our current president, is proof of nothing.

For Tom Friedman, nothing is more convincing than the absence of evidence.

Naturally, he welcomes the impeachment of the president.

Great America

Politics is Crowding Out Culture and Childhood

The realm of practical politics is eminently a realm of conflict, if not hatred. It crowds out culture. It relegates the human things to the last remaining cubicles of privacy, but even these are invaded by social media.

Many years ago, when I was teaching at Providence College, I showed up for a meeting of the faculty senate. That was rare for me. I loathe campus politics. But a friend of mine had put forward a proposal for a program in Classics, and I attended to lend my support.

It turned out that on the same day, a professor of sociology brought along an entourage of a dozen students or so, to get the senate to approve a program in Black Studies. The students were permitted to speak a bit, and then they remained to make sure that the senate did the “right thing.”

Our school had no such program before, nor did it have any program prior to this that was defined by a political aim, or defined by race. Nor were the promoters terribly specific about exactly which courses then on the books would qualify, or what new courses would have to be invented. They presented no syllabi. One sympathetic professor asked whether the school had the teachers ready to staff the program.

That was when I got up and made a suggestion. Since we already had courses on African history and literature, why not call the new program African Studies? That way, we would avert the problem of personnel, and we would also open the program out to the world, and not just have things focused upon contemporary America. I added that one of our professors had long wanted such a program in African Studies, with a requirement that students learn one of the principal African literary languages other than English: French, Portuguese, German, Arabic.

The sociologist rose to condemn that suggestion. He did not address the issue. He hid behind the students. He said that the students had a right to define the program as they saw fit. And there the students sat, self-satisfied, indignant, sure of their righteousness.

No frank discussion of the merits of the proposal, or how such a program should be constituted, could then occur. No professor was bold enough under those circumstances to seem to oppose the students. They folded.

That was my first experience with the use of young people for political leverage. Sex, too, was a part of it. The leader of the students was a young white woman, and she spoke against “African” and for “black,” not addressing the specifics, but merely expressing her indignation that she and her fellow students should be rebuffed. I cannot imagine grown men taking a line like that from a mere youth were he a male. He would be gently reminded of who he was and where he was, and we would have gotten around to a serious discussion. The unspoken rule that you do not throw a punch at a girl, would not have applied.

I was put in mind of these events recently because of the teenage girl from Sweden, Greta Thunberg, who has made a name for herself around the world, scolding the delegates at the United Nations for having “stolen her dreams,” and surrendering her to the climatic calamity of global warming. How do you tell a teenage girl that she has no place in this debate? She is too young to know anything useful about meteorology, agronomy, biochemistry, archaeology, or economics; she cannot really even conceive the problems that beset the developing world, in Africa and parts of Asia, as they undergo an industrial revolution of their own, bound to release into the atmosphere plenty of carbon emissions, at least for much of the next century.

But the problem with children in politics is not simply that their presence is bound to “perplex and dash / Maturest counsels.” It is that childhood itself is ushered into the blood and mire. We forget that there are reasons why it takes so long for the human being to arrive at adulthood. There is much to learn—the fundamental human things, most of all. The child must learn who he is. He must experience the baffling variety of human personalities, with their strengths and deficiencies, their wisdom and folly. He must be practiced in the cardinal virtues, especially in the prudence that does not come by nature. He has a trade to learn. He must learn how to appreciate the heritage of art and literature into which he has been born; the history of his people; their songs, their folkways, their glories and their shame. He must learn how to stand before God.

All these things are not only more important than politics. They are both before and after politics: the foundation upon which politics must build, and the end for which we have political structures in the first place. But the realm of practical politics is eminently a realm of conflict, if not hatred. In our time it is amplified by noise. It crowds out culture. It relegates the human things to the last remaining cubicles of privacy, but even these are invaded by social media. All politics, all the time; all conflict, condemnation, crisis.

No, Miss Thunberg. The governments of the world have not robbed you of your dreams. Politics has robbed you of your childhood, and you, if you get your way, will complete the robbery, and make sure that as many children as possible suffer it also. Go home, settle your mind, read a book, plant some trees, and cease to take yourself so seriously.

Great America

Struggle for the World Anew

All around the world, from Estonia to Australia and beyond, nationalist and populist movements are winning elections.
America is at the center of it all.

A lean and hungry spirit moves its hand through political movements and parties throughout the West. It’s not exactly Left or Right, liberal or conservative.

In France, Marine Le Pen’s National Rally triumphed in the European elections. She subsequently called President Emmanuel Macon to dissolve parliament. “He has no other choice to dissolve the National Assembly and choosing a voting system that is more democratic and finally representative of the real opinion of the country,” she said. Macron, who fancies himself a Roman god, has bled.

In Italy, the nationalistic League emerged from the rubble of the European elections as the largest political party in that country. Its embattled leader, Matteo Salvini, now struggles against an establishment that promises to hold its ports open for the wailing refuse of Africa. Salvini is down, not out, and his platform resonates with the people.

Some 83 percent of Italian voters see refugees as a threat; 80 percent demand limits to the number of refugees and are against welcoming them with open arms. Salvini has tapped into a yearning for something that Italians feel in their bones, and whatever it is, it is not “democracy,” which somehow always seems to favor the oligarchs.

Across the pond, Nigel Farage was deemed the most dangerous man in Britain after his Brexit Party went from nonexistent to first place on the island. Now Prime Minister Boris Johnson may usurp Farage’s title, as he flirts with bypassing, or ignoring, legislation to prevent a no-deal Brexit if it is forced through parliament by Remainers. Brits are leaving Brussels in the rearview, one way or another, singing “England for the English!” all the way home.

In the Netherlands, Thierry Baudet of the Forum for Democracy affirms the “fundamental truth” that his people “have a right to exist,” to be “proud of their country and defend it.”

Australian evangelical Prime Minister Scott Morrison delivered a stunning upset at the polls, confirming fears of a “Trumpian uprising” in the Land Down Under. The pitchfork wielding plebs are fed up with mass immigration and with the bugmen in Sydney and Melbourne who are only too happy to see the jobs of the unwashed offshored.

In Finland, the anti-immigration, anti-climate action Finns Party is the country’s most popular political movement. “The eternal and unlimited right to always decide freely and independently of all of one’s affairs lies only and solely with the people, which forms a nation separate of others,” reads the Finn’s program.

Denmark’s Social Democrats swept the polls on a platform that combines left-wing economics with immigration restrictionism, going so far as adopting a cap on the number of non-Western immigrants allowed into the country. It is becoming increasingly clear, said Social Democrat leader Mette Frederiksen, “that the price of unregulated globalisation, mass immigration and the free movement of labour is paid for by the lower classes.” Though they have since reneged somewhat on their populist promises, what matters most is that the people of Denmark approved of them.

The Conservative People’s Party of Estonia has thundered into parliament advocating the abolition of same-sex civil unions, professing a pro-life agenda, and fiercely opposing European Union quotas for taking in asylum-seekers.

These elections have placed flesh on the ideological bones of this worldwide phenomenon. “The same patterns of populism,” writes Henry Olsen, “cultural conflict and the movement of well-off and educated center-right voters away from their traditional party are happening around the globe.” Many of these movements and parties feature left-wing economic policies, yet emphasize conservative social values as the solution for a world gone mad. At this Marine Le Pen groped, when she said that the outcome of French polling “confirms the new nationalist-globalist division in France and beyond.”

And they have, to the discomfort of some, seen the rise of what Alexander Hamilton called “energetic executives.”

The Central European University, cried the New York Times, “founded in Hungary after the collapse of the Soviet Union to champion the principles of democracy and free societies, announced on Monday that it was being forced from its campus in Budapest by the increasingly authoritarian government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban.”

That those “principles” had been infected with communist ideology is likely what brought the Gray Lady to tears over the university’s demise.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the de facto leader of Poland, has taken strides to liquidate and rehabilitate Poland’s subversive courts, which he believes have been “subordinated to foreign forces,” and have suffered a “collapse of moral principles” out of line with those of the traditional Polish character. The courts have become a “stronghold of post-Communists,” says Kaczynski, and they are aided by liberal politicos in Poland. Just to prove him right, the “Court of Justice of the European Union” in Luxembourg, demanded a suspension to Polish judicial reforms and the reinstatement of purged communist-era judges. And, when Kaczyński said that capitulating to EU immigration quotas threatened to “completely change our culture and radically lower the level of safety in our country,” the New Yorker pitifully asked, “is Poland retreating from democracy?”

In Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro ran on the promise of setting his hand against the Marxist and criminal elements in his country, while openly admiring figures like Chile’s Augusto Pinochet. Bolsonaro won by a landslide, carried on the backs of Brazilian patriots disabused of a globalist worldview.

What is it about this zeitgeist that frightens the ruling classes most of all? It is that people are waking up to intolerable political conditions, to see beyond petty party politics, and through the impossible dreams of liberalism that draw us nearer to the totalitarian reality of communism.

People are waking up to see that “democracy” as these people express it merely means whatever the oligarchs and post-Communists say it means. One need not look any further than the truly demonic effort of the American ruling class into gaslighting the people and president into impeachment to see evidence of the same conditions here.

Elections • Great America

This Great Tribunal of the American People

Investigations commenced to restore public confidence in the federal government have shattered both.

In my time in the U.S. House of Representatives, one of the reasons many in our leadership weren’t especially fond of me is that, though I was in the leadership, I was not of the leadership. I never assimilated to the swamp. I would do un-swampy things, such as including the lines, “I work for you,” when writing to constituents in my formal correspondence.

I knew I was a public servant. When elected to leadership, I knew I was now the servant of other servants—that is, the other members of our Republican caucus. We were not the boss of the people. The people were the boss of us.

As a result, I never hid my loathing when the leadership or anyone else spoke of “managing” the American people. Such a condescending view by members of Congress about the sovereign American citizenry struck me as a complete inversion of the constitutionally delegated power to which they had been entrusted. In collusion with like-minded elitists—such as their staffers, pundits, consultants, and the corporate leftist media—it was a recipe for gaslighting the public by withholding or shading information they demanded and deserved to hear, so they could make up their own minds about how we should address the pressing issues of the day.

Such are the ways of the swamp, ever at war with America’s exceptional, revolutionary experiment in self-government.

Today, we are aware that U.S. Attorney John Durham’s “investigation of the investigators” continues regarding potential abuses of the police powers of the state for political purposes and any prospective criminal wrongdoing related to the 2016 election and the Russian collusion scam. Combined with Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s reports and the House Democrats’ risible debacle and distraction, the public anticipates a plethora of information requiring their consideration about their alleged public servants.

The swamp is conspiring otherwise.

If crimes have been committed, the fundamental question for the guilty will be how to prevent this information from becoming public. They will yank the ties that bind them to their pursuers—class, colleges, peers, and mutual federal service. If that fails, and it will, the guilty will prey upon the decency of innocent public servants by claiming the country can’t handle the truth of how governmental power had been abused for venal and nefarious aims.

“Parse the truth to spare the country,” the guilty will whisper like the snake into the ear of Eve.

If the guilty are shielded, our republic will be further wounded. As Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote in Idylls of the King: “Our one white lie sits like a little ghost here on the threshold of our enterprise.” Built upon a lie, our nation’s threshold to the future becomes a precipice into the abyss.

If throughout this process the government proffers lies of commission and omission to “manage” the citizenry, there will be but an ephemeral reprieve from the exacerbated wrath of the people. Amidst this communications revolution, whatever the designs of the guilty and their abettors, the truth will out—maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but without a doubt. Consequently, should the government try to shade, evade, or hide said truth, the faith of the sovereign people in their public servants will be gone.

Thus, for the best of intentions the road to Hell will be paved; the cruel irony being investigations commenced to restore public confidence in the federal government will have shattered both.

Therefore, it is imperative that Durham, Barr, President Trump, and all others involved in these investigations heed the sage advice from another time our nation faced such a crucible of legitimacy: “Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? Is there any better or equal hope, in the world?”

With the information, release it all, warts and all; and trust in “the judgment of this great tribunal of the American people.”

We sovereign citizens demand and deserve no less from our public servants.

Great America

The Jellyby Syndrome

Charles Dickens recognized Greta Thunberg and her parents’ misplaced climate change activism 150 years ago.

Greta Thunberg is a beautiful child. With her brunette braids and rounded face, she looks a little like a living Hummel figurine. I have heard many of my conservative friends and peers wish she would be as silent as one.

I do not believe Thunberg should be silent. I believe she is sending us all a message, but it is not her dour words of warning on climate change that deserve our attention. It is the exploitation of this troubled child’s gifts that we should heed, and we need to guard that our own children are not similarly used, nor swayed by Greta and other children like her who have been put in thrall by climate change activism.

Thunburg’s diagnosis with Asperger’s Syndrome places her on the higher end of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and she deserves our empathy and understanding. Many families, including my own, have children and adults who live with an ASD. I have great empathy for the struggles that Greta Thunberg and her family have confronted. But I have some serious questions about why she is now an oracle for the climate change movement.

There seems to be no real concern for the actual child and her future. I am concerned that her parents have exploited Greta’s disorder, enriching and empowering themselves by marketing her condition as that of a climate change mystic. Greta has no “superpowers” as her mother describes them. Greta is a typically atypical ASD-affected child. Her storied talents are not particularly special, and variants of her presentation appear in case studies done on other children and adults who live with autism. Many of these individuals show equally impressive talents.

Coping with Autism

Autism affects how the brain processes information. Children and adults who have the disorder cannot process sensory information appropriately, and they have difficulty with forming and maintaining social interactions. The list of medical terminology that a family must learn when a diagnosis of autism has been made is long and complicated. To understand Thunberg, it is necessary to know and understand the common terminology surrounding autism. Knowing and understanding that terminology helps decipher and demystify Greta’s behavior, in a way many, unfortunately, are not willing to do, fearful as they are of appearing to attack her, or suggest she is a fraud.

Stimming and perseveration are two of these important definitions not only for Greta, and other ASD children, but also for those who suffer from other types of developmental disorders.

Essentially, stimming helps an individual with autism cope with external sensations and emotions that may be causing them pain or anxiety. You may be familiar with hand-flapping, rocking, or spinning. Stimming can also be expressed with repetitive noises, or if the child is verbal, words or phrases. Researchers believe the repetitive actions create dopamine and endorphins that soothe the anxiety.

Occasionally, stimming can become destructive. Head banging and self-mutilation can occur. Greta suffered such destructive episodes, and they are described in the book Scenes from the Heart, written by her mother, Swedish Opera singer Malena Ernman. Stimming is disturbing and heartbreaking for a parent with an affected child to witness. It’s usually the manifestation of stimming that prompts the exhausting process of obtaining a diagnosis and finding an effective course of treatment. Specialists redirect stimming to more appropriate social outlets that will soothe a patient.

Sometimes, in this redirection, remarkable gifts are revealed. In my family, my young nephew was introduced to numbers and mathematics over his course of therapy. At the time he was not verbal. His ability to focus had him working at a young age on college-level calculus with amazing prowess. Solving complex problems both soothed and fascinated him, but his family is still trying to improve his social awareness and interactive skills to allow him to have a full and productive life.

While this treatment of stimming is not a cure, it can manifest in other ways. My nephew would become agitated and anxious if the numbers didn’t add up, and he would sometimes run away to find a number to ease his stress. I am not an expert; I make no claims to know Greta’s doctors. But I am fascinated that Greta’s anxious mind was soothed by science and scientific information.

Children, adults, and others with ASD or emotional difficulties associated with developmental disorders also perseverate. In medical jargon, this means they fixate on concerns that are either false or, while real, are blown out of proportion to the degree that a person cannot make appropriate decisions on their own behalf.

For example, I have a developmentally disabled sister with chronic illnesses. As such, she could no longer care for her cat, necessitating its placement with us. She became worried and agitated about my dogs hurting her cat. She repeated the same fears, with the same phrasing for hours. This was despite reminding her that we had both species living peaceably in our home, and that there was no cause for alarm. Long after we took possession of the cat, she needed to be reassured that the dogs had not attacked it.

Fanning Fears

I think it is within the realm of possibility that instead of mitigating her perseverative thoughts and anxieties, Greta’s parents and their allies are fanning her fears into an internal apocalyptic crisis, not only in their daughter’s head, but in the heads of the children and many adults who are convinced by her distorted sense of urgency and her earnest sincerity.

Greta’s abilities are not unique among children within the ASD community, but the team that orchestrates her appearances and statements are unusually effective in presenting her that way. Greta’s parents and their allies should be called into question, and many are looking closely at the Thunberg advisors and their entourage.

Yet, I think it’s important to bring our focus back to this remarkable child. Using Greta’s gifts to support the climate change agenda will not offer any realistic help to Greta, though undoubtedly it will provide for her and her family’s material needs for some time. Advocating ASD research, programs, and assistance for families affected by ASD, on the other hand, would reap real benefits to millions of people globally.

According to the Climate Policy Initiative, funding for global climate projects was estimated to be $463 billion in 2018. While Greta and her family increase the worry and anxiety of children and adults over a situation that they have no hope controlling, they could be utilizing Greta’s talents and focusing the family’s energies on a real and worthy cause.

Global funding for ASD research and development according to Autism Research Database was just over $364 million in 2016, the last year the database computed the figures. Considering that Autism Speaks estimates that 1-in-160 children will be born with an ASD, it is a more pressing need, one that will yield real and tangible results.

The kind of attention Greta Thunberg could bring could yield enormous social dividends, especially since many Third World nations have no programs for ASD children or adults at all. Thunburg’s parents resemble a modern version of Bleak House’s Mrs. Jellyby. Her children starve, and Mrs. Jellyby sends money to Africa to help feed the hungry.

Charles Dickens understood the absurdity of that over 150 years ago, but I guess Greta’s parents have decided that the absurdity is in their interest.

Great America

Nancy Pelosi’s Trojan Horse for Medicare for All

At a recent White House meeting, President Trump’s domestic policy council director Joe Grogan reportedly laid down the law to fellow Republicans: the president will not let Democrats outflank him on the left on drug prices, Grogan inveighed.

To which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) replied: hold my beer, Donald.

Pelosi on September 19 released a bill so far to the left that Republicans will be forced to choose just how much economic insanity they can stomach in pursuit of the perceived political windfalls to be had by demonizing drug companies.

For instance, the bill includes a provision an earlier leaked summary of the bill called a “steep, retroactive penalty” (if that’s what Pelosi calls it, watch out!) of 75 percent of the prior-year gross revenues of any drug company that doesn’t immediately step in line. The legal term of art for this is “taxing them into oblivion.”

The aim, clearly, is to divide the GOP. And, on that front, Republicans have given Pelosi quite a bit of rope to hang them with by flirting with a variety of ill-conceived proposals in the past months.

Pelosi has taken every Republican policy mistake on drug prices and weaponized it into something that could, in the words of former President Obama, “fundamentally transform” this country.

Take, for example, the International Pricing Index (IPI) proposed by the Trump HHS. The IPI would average the prices paid for drugs in 16 nations and use that in setting the reimbursement rates for Medicare.

It’s a bad idea because the 16 nations mostly use price controls to keep their rates artificially low, so using those “prices” in a reference index means simply importing the price controls of those nations.

Pelosi, in her bill, limits the reference group to the six most socialistic countries in the 16 considered by the IPI, and tremendously raises the stakes of how the reference “price” will be used, such that it would be a de facto price control for the entire U.S. market.

Unlike the various price control schemes Republicans have been fooling around with, Pelosi’s aren’t limited to the reimbursement rates for Medicare. In Pelosi’s bill, when the government price control committee settles on what they think a fair price is, it becomes illegal to pay more for the drug, including for individuals on the private market, whether there are shortages or not.

And as far as the drug companies are concerned, it might as well be illegal to opt-out of the game entirely. Drug companies that don’t fall in line are subject to the 75 percent “steep, retroactive penalty” referenced above, which would put most companies out of business inside of a year.

As Steve Forbes correctly diagnosed when the bill’s details leaked last week, Pelosi’s bill is a Trojan Horse for Medicare for All. The bill’s strategic purpose is to eliminate the drug industry as a potential obstacle to the full government takeover.

Republicans may have quibbles with the drug companies, but most of them understand the role prices play in a supply-and-demand driven market, and that the United States is the largest and most important market for pharmaceutical drugs that remains after Europe long-ago succumbed to price controls. The United States drives medical innovation, and American companies are responsible for about half of all medical breakthroughs, a remarkably outsized share.

Pelosi’s bill is leading Republicans off a cliff. Endorsing a Pelosi-style command-and-control economy—proposals literally designed to be unpalatable to Republicans—is a fall the party can’t recover from.

How would Republicans ever hope to offer an alternative, free market vision on health care, when they favor a heavy-handed government takeover of the drug industry via draconian price controls and taxes openly designed to be punitive?

They can’t, and that’s the point. Republicans who back Pelosi’s left wing Trojan Horse might as well sign up for Bernie and Liz’s total socialist revolution while they’re at it—that’s the next station we’ll be headed to, anyway.

Alternatively, they could work on trade policies that stop European socialists from freeloading on the medical innovation we are funding, and cut down the absurd amounts of bureaucratic red tape that results in such huge costs to bring a new drug to the market in the first place.

For those of us who’d like to benefit—and would like our kids benefit—from the promise technology brings to medicine, let’s hope Republicans don’t follow Pelosi’s directions right off a cliff.

Great America

Getting Real About Gender Dysphoria

Sifting through the truth and lies of “transgenderism.”

Medical practitioners have followed the principle of “do no harm” since the Hippocratic Oath was authored around the 4th century B.C. Modern iterations of the oath have added the concept that preventing diseases or injuries is superior to treating or curing them. But today a form of political correctness is causing medical practitioners to administer substances that harm and prevent bodily processes that cure the majority of sufferers of one particular disorder.

The condition that increasingly is being treated contrary to previous practice is gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria is when a person feels discomfort with the gender traits and associations of his or her biological sex. In extreme cases, such people may feel that they are of the opposite sex to that of their biological body.

As much as 1 percent of the population surveyed in 2012 felt they were “gender variant” to some degree. People suffering this disorder today commonly are called transgender.

There is no known single cause of the disorder. In the largest study of adult transexual identical twins, in only 20 percent of the cases did both twins trans-identify. That indicates a cause other than DNA or prenatal hormones. Recent dramatic increases in the disorder indicate that new social factors are involved in causing this disorder.

Clinical case studies suggest that social reinforcement, parental psychopathology, family dynamics, and social contagion facilitated by mainstream and social media, all contribute to the development and/or persistence of [gender dysphoria] in some vulnerable children. There may be other as yet unrecognized contributing factors as well.

The good news is that the majority of cases of gender dysphoria need no medical treatment to resolve the disorder. They are cured by the natural onset of puberty. The lowest recorded number I have seen anywhere place the number of children who desist, or have the disorder resolved by puberty, is 50 percent. The most common numbers of cases that resolve are 90 percent. As one therapist noted, the body usually gets the final vote.

This raises the question: Why are we using drugs to accommodate and reinforce a psychological disorder that is in conflict with reality and that is unlikely to persist beyond puberty? Note, I am not diminishing how the child feels, nor am I unsympathetic toward the few in whom the disorder persists. The discomfort and anxiety they feel can be severely debilitating. It is neither my place to criticize those adults for whom the symptoms are so great that they feel the necessity to cross dress or have surgery. I will only point out that most adults who have surgery continue to have psychological problems. It is conclusively not a cure.

The public health issue is that treating children with hormones and puberty blocking drugs has zero research showing that it cures anything. There are however many harms and deleterious effects from such treatments. Further, they are administering these drugs without having any blood test or scan that can show objectively that a child is suffering from a disorder. It’s almost like giving chemotherapy to someone who thinks they have cancer.

Puberty is neither a disorder nor a disease. Puberty-blocking drugs cure nothing. They do have negative effects such as lowering bone density and growth. Giving estrogen to boys increases the risks of breast cancer, elevated blood pressure, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and decreased glucose tolerance.

For girls, testosterone can cause increased cardiac disease risk by affecting HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, insulin resistance, and numerous other risks to breast and ovarian tissues. Both sexes are likely to have slower or stunted brain development.

Children who receive puberty-blocking drugs followed by hormone treatment with opposite sex hormones will also be permanently sterile. It also appears that children who are given puberty blocking drugs are far more likely to continue pursuing sex change treatment, including sexual reassignment surgery. Thus, we are taking a disorder that had a 90 percent probability of fully resolving, and turning it into a dangerous lifelong medical treatment with both physical and psychiatric risks.

We have no idea what other medical risks or maladies may be caused by this combination of drugs since there have been no long term studies. At this point, it should be noted, the harm to the sufferer is permanent. We have no known drug or procedure that will reverse any of the negative consequences.

There is also a new social and political element to the disorder of gender dysphoria. Today people are promoting something that has been called “rapid onset gender dysphoria.” This has been observed primarily among females where the dysphoria first appears during or after puberty. There were no previous signs of gender dysphoria when they were younger children.

This rapid onset gender dysphoria also appears to manifest among groups of friends or online acquaintances. There is little doubt that this sudden appearance of a previously unobserved phenomenon has social and political causes. It has become fashionable and politically correct to celebrate alternative and nontraditional lifestyles that were previously considered socially deviant. It is also an attitude that is reinforced, if not taught at many universities and public schools.

Many of those that the Right would characterize as social justice warriors maintain a stance that says acceptance and toleration of what were once considered taboo or illegal sex practices and behavior is not enough. We are encouraged instead to promote and celebrate such behavior. The cool kids are doing it.

Defenders of rapid onset gender dysphoria claim that it’s foolish to consider something as troublesome as gender dysphoria could be accepted or absorbed like some hula hoop craze or pet rocks. But I would point out that Tide pods, the cinnamon challenge, and drinking bleach are examples of troublesome trends that have caused illness and death.

Defenders of rapid onset gender dysphoria are also upset about what they feel is a political challenge from those they see as intolerant and hateful towards LGTBQ issues. They think questioning the social aspect of rapid onset gender dysphoria, or suggesting the cause may be some kind of trendy social media linked behavior will produce the idea that all or most gender dysphoria and nontraditional sexual behavior will be called voluntary behavior. Or that there will develop some dichotomy between real or legitimate gender dysphoria and some phony or made up version that can be dismissed.

Gender dysphoria of any kind is real. Those who have it suffer anything from mild discomfort to suicidal depression. It should be taken seriously. But reality also shows that the cause of gender dysphoria is psychological and social, and that current drug treatment and surgery are not a reliable cure.

Indeed, suicide is rooted in psychology. We have also known since the late 19th century through Emile Durkheim and Tomas Masaryk of the social causes of suicide. We have learned how suicide and mass murder can produce imitation and go viral even in the absence of social media. There may be no physical or medical cause, but the victims are still dead.

In a similar way, victims of gender dysphoria are suffering because of psychological problems, and some possibly because of social connections and/or imitation. But their suffering is just as real as a tumor or a broken bone. The problem is that we are treating them with drugs that do not stop their suffering. In addition to not curing the condition, they cause further harm. Some call this child abuse. I cannot disagree.

The bottom line is that the current treatment regimen using puberty blocking drugs and hormone treatment eliminates puberty, the very thing that most often resolves the disorder. Using those methods prevents a cure. You cannot call it malpractice, because assisted suicide and abortion are not malpractice if they are what medical practitioners are authorized to do. But they clearly violate the spirit of the medical oath and the call since the time of Hippocrates to do no harm.

Great America

But They Only Go to 11

Pundits in the mainstream American media are driving themselves crazy.

Their coverage of President Trump has been at a fever pitch for the past two and a half years, but somehow it feels as though the pitch is constantly rising. Each time we turn on the news, we hear that Trump has said or done something that spells the imminent collapse of his presidency, the country as we know it, or even the world. But in case it doesn’t, they have at least five other stories in the pipeline of things they hope might.

And as each supposed crisis dissipates, pundits quietly shelve it and turn their attention to the emerging stories without ever acknowledging that they might have overreacted to the previous one.

Much like the auditory illusion of the Shepard Tone, where a looped piece of audio gives the impression of a never-ending glissando, the media loops the same outrage over and again giving the impression of a constantly increasing state of crisis. If Chris Cuomo, Rachel Maddow, and Joe Scarborough believe a third of the invectives and warnings they spout daily, it’s hard to see how they haven’t had a dozen nervous breakdowns yet.

Of course, none of the scandals and outrages that have dominated the news since the beginning of this presidency have really amounted to much.

Remember when President Trump’s revocation of John Brennan’s security clearance was clear evidence that Trump colluded with Russia? Or when his nomination of a man to the Supreme Court, that prompted allegations that his nominee had sexually assaulted a woman decades ago, revealed the “chilling power of sexual violence”? Or when Robert Mueller’s testimony before Congress was going to devastate the president and force impeachment proceedings?

More recently, we’ve heard that President Trump’s perfectly innocuous call with the Ukrainian president is grounds for impeachment. Why? Because he asked the Ukrainian president to look into potential foreign meddling into American politics and potential corruption by a former U.S. vice president.

When elected Democrats spend tens of millions of taxpayers’ dollars and years of our time attacking a sitting president and still fail to come up with a single piece of evidence to conclusively support any of their claims, they’re simply being diligent. But if a president inquiries into potential corruption by a sitting vice-president, that is an unconscionable offense and must be punished immediately.

The double standard is not new.

Remember when they railed against then-candidate Trump for refusing to pledge to accept the election results? That was when they thought Clinton would win. They spent the next two-and-a-half years refusing to accept the election results. They even dragged out poor old President Jimmy Carter to call President Trump illegitimate.

Remember how they reveled in the disproportionate force that the FBI used to harass former Trump associates and how they claimed that lying to the FBI about something that wasn’t a crime was an unforgivable sin, all while forgiving Andrew McCabe for a far more malicious deception? When Trump vows justice, they call it harassment. When they vow harassment, they call it justice.

Remember how most elected Democrats refused to criticize Rep. Maxine Waters (D.- CA) for her calls to harass Trump supporters? After all, as Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D.-N.Y.) said, Waters was “entitled to her opinion.” But even as President Trump condemns violence, they blame him for any incident that they can tangentially tie to any of his statements.

The double standard is not new at all. I’ve been writing about it for more than a year. I’ve been talking it about it for even longer.

But all of this is so tiresome and so predictable.

It’s so predictable that I took a page from the media’s book and directly cribbed the first part of this article from a piece I wrote more than a year ago. Just update the time references, slot in whatever stories the media are going crazy over today, and voilà.

But even though it may seem as though we’re stuck in an insanity-provoking loop, we are going somewhere. Elected Democrats are exposing themselves as boring, unimaginative, and repetitive. And some elected Republicans have wised up to the scam their colleagues and the mainstream media play and are beginning to grow spines.

And we are all getting tired of the stupid bullshit that passes for a congressional hearing nowadays.

And as congressional Democrats dig themselves deeper into the hole with impeachment proceedings, the Trump Administration continues addressing the country’s problems. Problems that we have ignored for decades.

The administration continues reforming the country’s trade deals around the world and negotiating new arrangements to ensure that American workers and producers are treated fairly and protected from malicious trade practices. It continues ramping up enforcement of existing immigration law and advocating for immigration policy that benefits American citizens. It continues pushing policies to encourage business investment and increased domestic economic growth. It even has started looking ahead to address homelessness and new potential military threats from space.

As much fun as it has been to watch media pundits breathlessly report that this time, the president will get impeached for sure, every single day for the past two and a half years, there are far more interesting topics we should be examining.

Elected Democrats have gotten so wrapped up in their hatred of President Trump, in their acceptance of woke identity politics, and in their constant grandstanding and self-validation that they have forgotten that most Americans like the United States of America and would prefer their elected leaders to do their jobs and focus on their future.

Great America

Unsolicited White Guilt Is White Privilege

From Beto O’Rourke to Chelsea Handler, rich white liberals are flogging themselves—and the rest of us—with their racial hang-ups.

I am sick and tired of hearing about “white privilege.” It has become the go-to buzz phrase for Caucasian social justice warriors seeking a participation trophy for their self-assumed part in “the struggle” of racial and ethnic minorities in America.

Ever since one of America’s foremost angry victims, Brooklyn native Peggy McIntosh, published her self-hating anti-white manifesto, White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, the seed of accepted racism by all races against whites has grown to the point where it is a generally accepted practice by the clown college currently jockeying for position in 2020 Democratic presidential primary.

Of white privilege, former Texas congressman and noted gringo Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke remarked on NBC’s “Meet the Press”: “As a white man who has had privileges that others could not depend on, or take for granted, I’ve clearly had advantages over the course of my life.”

O’Rourke is probably confusing “white privilege” with the fact that his race-obsessed political party assisted him in carrying out an identity-politics ruse over the years designed to make him a more palatable candidate when winning his heavily Mexican-American congressional district in 2012, 2014, and 2016.

Or he could be confusing “white privilege” for the fact that despite his repeated attempts to portray himself as an “everyman,” his elite social status as the son of county judge Pat O’Rourke allowed him to avoid jail time for a burglary at the University of Texas at El Paso and for attempting to flee the scene of a DWI in which he caused considerable damage.

That had nothing to do with color however, as we’ve seen numerous examples of elites of color avoiding jail time for crimes ranging from failing to pay millions in taxes (Al Sharpton), to staging and playing up phony crimes (Jussie Smollett and Sharpton again).

The Playground of Liberal White Politicians

We’ve also seen Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) attempt to claim the mantle of “white privilege whisperer,” at the July 31 Democratic debate. “I can talk to those white women in the suburbs that voted for Trump and explain to them what white privilege actually is,” she said.

Thanks Senator Gillibrand. Not for articulating any necessary explanation of a real phenomenon that actually has an effect of race relations in America, but for continuing to engage in the same inaccurate and divisive rhetoric that is almost guaranteed to ensure another four years of the Trump administration.

Gillibrand, who dropped out of the race on August 28, had the audacity to say of white mothers in the suburbs, “When their son is walking down the street with a bag of M&Ms in his pocket, wearing a hoodie, his whiteness is what protects him from not being shot. When their child has a car that breaks down and he knocks on someone’s door for help and the door opens and the help is given, it’s his whiteness that protects him from being shot.”

Gillibrand’s conjuring of the imagery of the infamous “stand your ground” shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida not only irresponsibly ignores the facts of the case, but her repeating of the ridiculous assertion that white people are looking through the peepholes on their doors, guns cocked, waiting for a person of color to ring the doorbell is reminiscent of the kind of language used at times by former President Barack Obama, in rolling back 50 years of racial progress in America.

Golf clap anyone?

A Dangerous and Condescending Game

As the rest of the sane-minded world continues to roll their eyes at increasingly ridiculous assertions from the unhinged Left, the dangerous language contained in McIntosh’s magnum opus continues to have influence three decades later, particularly the line, “Being of the main culture, I could also criticize it fairly freely.”

This line of thinking has not only let politicians like O’Rourke and Gillibrand spout off about white privilege, but it has also infected a growing number of celebrities, such as comedian-activist Chelsea Handler. Her recently released Netflix documentary called “Hello Privilege, It’s Me Chelsea,” is an unnecessary and self-absorbed attempt at exoneration for what she considers to be a career built on advancement due to the color of her skin.

The fact that she feels, whether justifiably or not, that she was the beneficiary of certain breaks during the course of her career based strictly on the color of her skin displays her inherent belief that white people are superior to people of color. Whether that belief is conscious or subconscious, the fact that she is so openly apologizing for “getting over” on people that she alone has deemed unworthy of such breaks says more about her personal feelings about race than it does about supposed societal ills.

Is it just me, or does her apologies for her success project a complete lack of confidence in her talent as a comedian?

Another equally puzzling question is whether or not she is oblivious to the rich and storied history of black comedians in America. I mean, the hottest and most controversial comedian in the country today is none other than Dave Chappelle. Is she ignoring the success of Chappelle and others?

Touting her documentary, Handler had the gall to say, “Everyone should watch it. Especially you, Mr. President.” That would be the same President Trump who has done more to empower blacks economically than any other president in our history, including the first black president, Barack Obama.

One of the many symptoms of Trump Derangement Syndrome is a pronounced detachment from reality. It seems, based on Chandler’s assertion that the president has something to gain from the Netflix snooze fest, that TDS shares overlapping symptoms with those afflicted with another disorder known as “Unsolicited White Guilt.”

Great America

It’s the Illegal Products, Stupid

Why do politicians and public health officials behave so badly? They want to show that they’re “doing something,” even if it’s the wrong thing.

There’s an old joke about the drunk who’s hunting for his lost keys under the streetlamp, not because he thinks they’re there, but because the light is good. Well, that’s what federal and state officials are doing to address two recent major public health threats: opioid overdoses and vaping-related illnesses.

While creating the illusion that they’re “doing something” positive, policymakers and elected officials are looking for solutions in the wrong places. And not unwittingly, either.

The opioid problem is quite real, but legislators and regulators are making incorrect assumptions and adopting flawed strategies. In addition, there are some flawed clinical studies and statements by the U.S. surgeon general that conspire to create misapprehensions.

For a start, the problem isn’t currently prescribed opioids, such as fentanyl, morphine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. A study published earlier this year in the New England Journal of Medicine found that from 2012 to 2017, a time when the overdose death rate was markedly accelerating, the rate of opioid prescriptions in patients who had not previously used opioids fell 54 percent, a decline driven by a decreasing number of prescribers.

A February article in the journal JAMA provided additional evidence, concluding that “under current conditions, the opioid overdose crisis is expected to worsen—with the annual number of opioid overdose deaths projected to reach nearly 82,000 by 2025, resulting in approximately 700,000 deaths from 2016 to 2025.”

But here’s the rub: In the predictive model, preventing prescription opioid misuse alone would have only a modest effect—a few percent—on lowering overall opioid overdose deaths in the near future.

In spite of such findings indicating that the crux of the problem is not physician-prescribed opioids but illicit fentanyl and its analogs smuggled from abroad, like the drunk in the parable, the feds and state governments are looking for solutions in the wrong place.

The Real Problem Is Exacerbated By Unfocused Efforts

The actual problem has been exacerbated by the law of unintended consequences and the law of supply and demand.

As a result of federal policies, some of our most important and potent analgesics, including fentanyl, morphine, and hydromorphone, which are commonly used in patients with advanced cancer and for pain control after surgery, are now in shortage, according to the FDA. All of these drugs had their manufacturing quotas reduced by the DEA, as if, in any case, it’s the government’s business to tell companies what and what not to manufacture.

Further, the feds misunderstand the role of opioids in providing relief from significant pain—such as from kidney stones, sciatica, broken bones, or cancer, which can be excruciating—but they are not entirely to blame. Academics have also contributed—for example, a widely read 2017 article in JAMA Network. The study is so poorly designed that we can only conclude that the investigators intended to get a desired, albeit inaccurate, result—namely, that acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil) are as effective pain relievers as opioids alone or opioids in combination with acetaminophen. They’re not.

Contributing to the misinformation, U.S Surgeon General Jerome Adams touted in a tweet the benefits of intravenous acetaminophen, citing a 54-person randomized clinical trial of pain control following rib fractures, which are notoriously painful.

The trial, which was conducted in an emergency department in Iran, compared intravenously administered Tylenol (1000 mg) and morphine (0.1 mg per kilo of body weight). Supposedly, the results showed that Tylenol relieved pain as well as intravenous morphine in patients with rib fractures—but even a cursory reading of the article, which was published in the obscure Iranian journal Emergency, reveals that it demonstrates no such thing. After being repeatedly ridiculed, Adams deleted the misleading tweet.

Bust Criminals, Not Patients

What the feds should be doing is cracking down on illegal prescribing and importation of opioids, not looking for solutions where the light is good.

A similar situation is to be found in the state and federal governments’ responses to the recent reports of vaping-related illnesses. There have been at least eight deaths and more than 500 severe acute pulmonary illnesses nationwide, from vaping a variety of black-market drugs. Vaping devices are used to inhale nicotine but some can also be used to deliver cannabis-derived substances such as THC- and CBD-containing oils, and butane hash oils, known colloquially as “dabs.”

Vaping devices, including e-cigarette hardware, are simply devices for delivering an aerosolized solution. E-cigarettes, which serve as a substitute for deadly cigarettes that burn tobacco, typically contain a solution of nicotine, flavorings, and vegetable glycerin or propylene glycol.

Globally, tens of millions of adult smokers have used billions of e-cigarettes such as Juul without any acute ill-effects. In fact, the FDA told state health officials that its lab testing of legal nicotine vape products obtained from sick patients (who likely also used black-market THC oil) found nothing unusual.

It’s a very different story, however, when a vaporizer is used to deliver black market street drugs like the cannabis-derived oils that are being dangerously adulterated with vitamin E acetate (as a thickening agent), which has been found in a very high percentage of the vaping devices used by people who have become ill.

A recent article in the New York Times described how the black-market cartridges for the devices are produced: “The operations buy empty vape cartridges and counterfeit packaging from Chinese factories, then fill them with THC liquid that they purchase from the United States market. Empty cartridges and packaging are also available on eBay, Alibaba and other e-commerce sites.” The THC liquid is then often cut with oily thickening agents like vitamin E acetate, before the cartridges are filled.

First Do No Harm

In announcing a ban on most nicotine-containing, flavored vaping devices, President Trump cited the first lady’s concerns about their teenage son being exposed to vaping devices. She is being misled. Vaping is an effective approach to harm reduction—choosing the less harmful among alternatives—and appealing flavors reduce the likelihood of backsliding to smoking cigarettes.

Exposure to nicotine is not healthy, to be sure, and kids should not vape (unless they already smoke cigarettes and want to transition to a less harmful alternative). But the parade of federal and state officials advancing their vendetta against e-cigarettes is irresponsible.

They cite the high percentage of teenagers who vape—a recent survey found that 27.5 percent of high school students had used an e-cigarette in the past 30 days—but fail to acknowledge FDA data showing that cigarette smoking, which carries a high risk of pulmonary disease and cancer, is only about 6 percent in that age group, a decrease of more than 80 percent since 1997.

That is epic harm reduction, but many public health officials and politicians continue to recommend the cessation of all vaping. That puts vapers’ lives at risk.

Why do politicians and public health officials behave so badly? They want to show that they’re “doing something,” even if it’s the wrong thing. Analogous to the opioid crisis, in order to curb vaping-related illnesses, we need aggressive enforcement by the FDA, DEA, FBI, and U.S. Postal Service against illegal products.