Great America

Welcome Barr’s Offensive Against Antifa, But It Won’t Stop ‘Cancel Culture’

In the near future, the leftists won’t need to riot in order to exert control over the American people.

If it seems as though rioting militants and statue-destroyers have been given the green light by blue state governors and big city mayors, prosecutors, and (shell-shocked) police chiefs to terrorize ordinary Americans, to deface and destroy public property, and to extort public officials into making further concessions to left-wing ideologues, that’s because they have.

Last week, however, the Trump Administration struck back. Attorney General Bill Barr announced that 150 extremists have been arrested for their roles in the recent unrest. Meanwhile, more than 500 investigations are ongoing that inevitably will lead to an even broader crackdown.

Finally, Antifa and other similarly violent and radical organizations are being treated as the font of domestic terrorism they are.

The problem, however, is that even if the Trump Administration succeeds in stifling the “armed wing” of the Democratic Party—for now—and thus restores order and calm to our streets, left-wing radicals will remain in a dominant position in most of our key institutions. 

Moreover, the Marxist firebrands who hold sway over many of our corporations, over every level of U.S. education, over our popular culture, over social media, and over the news media, will increasingly move to take off the gloves as they sense an opportunity to expunge conservatives and patriots from the public sphere, and even from private sector employment, once and for all.

Progressives have long possessed a louder, more robust voice than conservatives in debates over public policy and social-cultural values. If the proponents of “cancel culture” have their way, however, the now-timid voices on the Right may be silenced for good.

Consider the recent firing of a vice president at Michigan State University. His offense? Sharing on his blog an objective, scientific study that found no evidence of a racial disparity in the incidence of police shootings.

The administrator in question is not, in fact, a conservative. He is more accurately described as a liberal who accepts most of the “diversity and inclusion” dogmas of the dominant crypto-Marxist culture of academia.

He failed, however, to understand that there is only one perspective on police brutality and racism now welcome among progressives. The propagation of any other narrative, even if it is backed by unimpeachable data, is inadmissible.

As the fired administrator remarked, the consequences for “academic freedom and freedom of inquiry” will be dire. In effect, there is now a litmus test for all academic and scientific research: does it advance “the cause”—that is, the agenda of the Left? If not, it serves no purpose, at best, and it embodies “white supremacy,” at worst.

Speaking of “whiteness,” the city of Seattle recently subjected its white employees to a bizarre form of training designed to help them “examine [their] complicity in the system of white supremacy.” City workers were encouraged to “[undo] your own whiteness” and to accept that social justice requires them to give up “physical safety,” “expectations or presumptions of emotional safety,” “the certainty of your job,” and “control over other people and over the land.” They were further reminded that even seemingly innocuous concepts such as “individualism,” “silence,” “intellectualization,” “comfort,” and “objectivity” are pillars of white domination.

Journalist Christopher Rufo, who exposed Seattle’s misguided attempt at the racial deprogramming of its white employees, says it best: “This is exactly the kind of thought-policing they want to implement everywhere . . . The new cultural revolution is being fought via corporate HR, city diversity training, and public school curriculums. When you find something like this in your community, expose it, criticize it, mock it, and reject it.” 

In Seattle’s case, there has been public pushback to the shaming of whites, but in all too many companies and institutions a training session like this would be just another day at the office.

Remember, academics and public employees have far more protection from coercive employers, and from outright dismissal, than do most American workers. If even they feel intimidated in the present climate,  what chance do the rest of us have of preserving our right to free speech and our freedom of conscience?

Conservatives had better wake up soon. They need, in the words of Rufo, to “expose” and “reject” the Left’s reverse racism and thought control while they still can.

Otherwise, in the near future, the leftists won’t need to riot in order to exert control over the American people. They will simply tell us to jump through whatever “anti-racist” hoops they choose, and, if we know what’s good for us, we’ll ask meekly, “How high?”

Great America

What the Zeitgeist Has Wrought

The knowledge that one is merely a bystander to History—or worse, born guilty and existing as an impediment to the progress of History—is soul-crushing.

We are tasting the bitter fruits of more than a half-century of the “zeitgeist”—the Marxist theory of history—reigning supreme in our public schools. This pedagogy replaced the “Great Man” approach, which teaches that history is catalyzed by individuals of unusual personal strength and rare attributes. 

“Great Man” history studies bravery, wisdom, uncommon prudence, unparalleled fortitude (and sometimes unsurpassed vice) alongside historical events, with biographies and diaries featured prominently in history class. The underlying assumption is that uncommon virtue and personal excellence are what make great men and women, and the actions of these unique people are what move and shape history.

Thus, George Washington is remembered as a great man who, upon winning the Revolutionary War, refused to entertain even a suggestion that he be crowned king of the United States of America. His countrymen thought him deserving of a crown, but he refused the idea, thinking them deserving of self-rule and freedom instead. Washington’s modesty, humility, and prudence changed the course of history and enabled the United States to be a true republic. Had it not been for his special virtue, his country might have become just another monarchy complete with an aristocracy, titles, and all the rest.

Though horrendously out of fashion, the Great Man theory of history is still operative today, tolerated only outside the realm of the official Marxist historical narrative taught in public schools. Fawning biographies of industrialists like Steve Jobs or Howard Hughes remain, but the greatness of these men is only allowed to explain economic changes or improvements in our standard of living. Stories of true justice and geopolitical change are reserved for groups of the aggrieved and oppressed, beginning with indigenous peoples, through women’s rights, civil rights, gay rights, and finally the transgender and nonbinary rights movement of today. This “zeitgeist” enjoys total dominance in the nation’s schools. 

Perceived Helplessness

Marxist history teaches children that consequential historical events are brought about by large groups of people engaging in civil disobedience, unrest, or violence, usually featuring the Democratic Party as the savior of the oppressed group, with the passing of landmark democratic legislation as the capstone of each particular chapter of history. Thus, the public school student of today could be entirely forgiven for believing that history is simply a series of movements by aggrieved groups, and “historical events” are simply those public agitations sufficiently deserving of notice and legislation by the Democratic Party, the great Keeper of History. There is no “1978 taxpayer’s revolt history month,” for example. Only mobs agitating for leftist policy outcomes need apply. 

The more aggrieved and therefore in need of official Democratic Party (and increasingly corporate) sponsorship the group happens to be, the better. This is why transgender and nonbinary Americans, though very small in numbers, receive more attention and support than groups like the Tea Party or California farmers. The salient fact is not the size of the group or even the nature of the group’s grievance: it is the perceived helplessness of the group without the sponsorship of the Democratic Party. 

The Left’s monopoly on history will crack, and the American child’s innate desire to matter and to sacrifice for the greater good will find an alternate path to glory, far from the madding crowd.

On the surface, the zeitgeist theory offers a more democratic view of history—instead of a few great, mostly white, aristocratic men, history now remembers groups of people who did great things together. Indeed, the true merits of the Civil Rights Movement or the Women’s Suffrage Movement are the reason the group history narrative is so powerful. Yet alongside the benefits of teaching history as a series of things otherwise ordinary people achieved together, there are significant downsides. 

For example, one convenient aspect of the Marxist approach is that the group can be absolved from any wrongdoing perpetrated by its individual members, such that the personal problems and vices of Martin Luther King, Jr., Margaret Sanger, or Malcolm X are expunged from history entirely. The focus is on the good the group did together, not the bad character traits individual group members may have had. Separately, they are sinners with imperfections and peccadilloes. Together, the movement is innocent, pure, and without stain. 

This teaches children that group action is the only means to be pure, just action can only be found in the mob, and the sole means of forgiveness for one’s mistakes is membership in an entitled group. For what imperfect individual can stand alone and suffer the unforgiving gaze of historical scrutiny?

How could Frederick Douglass possibly measure up to the Civil Rights Movement? How could the flesh-and-blood version of Joan of Arc survive in comparison with the Woman’s Rights Movement?

Compulsory Mis-education

The most unfortunate consequence of the dominance of zeitgeist theory, therefore, is the opportunity it affords public schools to brainwash millions of kids into thinking that great acts of heroism, achievement, or virtue are only possible in a group. And, when only groups espousing the Democratic Party’s particular zeitgeist are remembered in history classrooms, it doesn’t take many decades before the public has simply forgotten that there was ever any virtue to aspire to outside of the mob.

The Marxist view of history ensures that children—who are hardwired to need heroes and who naturally look for virtuous paths to follow—aspire only to mimic liberal heroes, and they identify only with those appointed heroes who share their skin color, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic group. If they don’t happen to spring from a so-called oppressed circumstance, then shame is their badge of honor. 

The scores of wealthy white women virtue signaling on Instagram since the start of the BLM protests are neither spontaneous nor novel; rather, they are the fruit of an education system purposely designed to render American kids as useful to radical Leftist causes as possible. 

The death of George Floyd inspires a cry for justice in every person who watches the video of his horrific death; yet rather than volunteer to heal racial strife in one’s own community, among one’s own friends or family, or in one’s own local school district, the overwhelming instinct is to become a part of a large group agitating for justice, and to prove one’s membership in this clan by immediately parroting any and all slogans passed among the group’s members. 

Even when agitating for justice requires members of the group to do absolutely nothing and have no part in any real action, still people will choose this over acting alone. 

The message was clear from the start: privileged whites were not welcome in the actual BLM movement, but were expected to stay in their homes, blackout their Instagram profile pics, and “listen” to the voices of color around them. Even when the Left is telling white Americans that the only thing they are allowed to do to help the cause of justice is to remain completely silent and watch as members of other races “make history,” the old public school training that virtue, justice, and change are only achieved via membership in a large group is so strong that millions of people are brainwashed into believing that sitting at home while doing and saying nothing is indeed “making history.” 

Worse, they feel they have contributed to the cause of justice by posting on social media and remaining completely silent while their cities and neighborhoods are burned to the ground.

Sham Justice Cannot Last

The silver lining, if there is any, is that the support for BLM and the civil unrest of the last several weeks may be viewed as the American public’s attempt to participate in history, right wrongs, and exhibit virtue, in what is, truly, the only way many of them have ever been taught possible. The instinct to join the mob, though misdirected, is born of good intentions. Yet at some point, the invitation to sit on the sidelines of history, ashamed, guilty, and silent will induce despair. The knowledge that one is merely a bystander to History—or worse, born guilty and existing as an impediment to the progress of History—is soul-crushing.

Today there is no script available to individuals who aspire to be great men and women on their own account. If there can be no lives of consequence outside of mob history, then many ambitious and talented Americans will revolt against the zeitgeist narrative and seek alternative—and not always salutary—means of distinguishing themselves. 

As of now, the public school system and the Left have cornered the market on virtue and justice. But their picture of justice is a sham, and their narrative of how history happens is incomplete; for no matter how moving the sight of millions of people marching together to achieve a common good is, the course of history inevitably is composed of more than those few episodes which are politically expedient for the Democratic Party. 

Despite the spirit of the age, the personal virtue and uncommon excellence of great men and women of all races will continue to change history and chart the course of the nation. The Left’s monopoly on history will crack, and the American child’s innate desire to matter and to sacrifice for the greater good will find an alternate path to glory, far from the madding crowd.

Great America

It’s Not Left vs. Right,
It’s Big vs. Small

Global corporations make token payments to anti-racism activists in the United States while funding the Chinese Communist Party’s racist dictatorship and sowing the destitution that causes unrest at home.

The primary contradiction in our society, the fault line that defines our politics and economy, is not Left versus Right. It’s big versus small.

Anyone surprised to see corporate America (an anachronism in itself) kowtowing to cultural Marxism is trapped in the old Left-Right map that tells us “capitalists oppose Marxists.”

But today’s landscape is dominated not by capitalists but instead by corporatists—and by any objective assessment, corporatism and socialism are birds of a feather.

Take John Kenneth Galbraith, the darling economist of the 1950s and ’60s. He posited a triumvirate of big business, big labor, and big government efficiently managing American society for endless affluence. No need to worry about a cold or hot war with the Soviet Bloc. In the “New Industrial State” he envisioned, the bureaucracies of Soviet Communism and Western corporatism would converge.

A half-century earlier, G. K. Chesterton noted little difference between (nominally capitalist) corporate bureaucracy and socialist bureaucracy. Insofar as a socialist society “was criticized as a centralized, impersonal and monotonous civilization, that is an exact description of existing civilization . . . [T]he unification and regimentation is already complete . . . Capitalism has done all that Socialism threatened to do. The clerk has exactly the sort of passive functions and permissive pleasures that he would have in the most monstrous model village . . . exactly the tastes and virtues he could have as a tenant and servant of the state.”

Centralized ownership of property and the means of production are hallmarks both of corporatism and Marxism. Both corporatism and socialism stand in opposition to a truly humane and free society founded on faith and privately owned, widely distributed property.

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis believed the consolidation of ownership pursued by Wall Street financiers was the socialist’s best friend. 

“Just as Emperor Nero is said to have remarked in regard to his people that he wished that the Christians had but one neck that he might cut it off by a single blow of his sword, so they say here: ‘Let these men gather these things together; they will soon have them all under one head, and by a single act we will take over the whole industry,’” Brandeis observed.

We are closer to that beheading now than many realize.

Small Business on the Brink

Small business startups are at a historic low. The Kauffman Foundation, citing its own research and U.S. Census data, reports the number of companies less than a year old as a share of all businesses had declined by nearly 44 percent between 1978 and 2012. MIT researchers found the four largest companies in the average industry had a significantly larger share of sales in 2012 than they did in 1982.

The consolidation of the financial industry coincides with consolidation in other industries. Small regional banks have been the prime lenders to small businesses, and as these banks get swallowed up or regulated out of existence, the independent businessman goes down with them.

Self-described progressives tend to be happy with this development. They profess to be for the little guy, but that does not include the owners of little businesses, a group that tends to be conservative. As opposed to small businesses, big corporations readily fall in line with the leftist social justice orthodoxies.

The long list of large companies giving millions to the Black Lives Matter movement is just the latest manifestation of the Left’s long-running alliance with corporatism and distrust of small holdings.

Historically, progressives and reformist liberals regarded small business as the enemy. They regarded monopoly as an inevitability, and the regulated monopoly was their preferred economic model. Gabriel Kotko documents how Progressive Era regulation served to entrench rather than dislodge big business and big finance.

The first generation of progressives considered the corporation to be more modern, efficient, and therefore more desirable than the small independently owned shops and workshops, which they saw as backward and dirty. There was more than a whiff of racist, anti-Catholic, and anti-immigrant bias to their ideology. 

Should it ever come time to pay reparations, present the bill to these companies.

Robert Moses, a product of the Progressive Era, sacrificed “dirty” neighborhoods in pursuit of his “scientific” urban planning. In the same vein, sanitary chain stores would replace the filthy mom-and-pop butcher shops and grocers.

Popular postwar historian Richard Hofstadter sneeringly dismissed small businessmen, farmers, populists, and other critics of concentrated financial and corporate power as backward, mentally ill racists and proto-fascists yearning for a past when WASPs were supreme. When Hillary Clinton smears half of Americans as deplorable and Nancy Pelosi says Make America Great Again really means “make America white again,” they are echoing Hofstadter. 

The civil rights advances of the 1960s helped cement the stereotype of small shop owners as grubby racists who should be replaced by more enlightened corporate chains. (Ironically, many black small business owners were displaced by their better-capitalized and now integrated competitors, despite Martin Luther King’s exhortation to support black-owned enterprises.) 

Corporate Woke Hypocrisy

Now we have global corporations showcasing their concern for social justice when, in fact, it is these same companies that are responsible for creating the problem in the first place.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon kneels in front of a bank vault. Tim Cook has Apple donating to organizations that challenge racial injustice and mass incarceration. General Motors CEO Mary Barra says her company is as focused on social injustice as it is on the bottom line.

But Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and Detroit outsourced entire industries to China. They can end the income inequality, lack of opportunity and other inequities they decry by bringing those jobs, many of them once held by black Americans, back to the United States.

Tim Cook sees “deeply rooted discrimination . . . in the inequalities in neighborhood services and the educations our children receive.” Yet Apple’s offshore tax avoidance schemes starve “underserved school systems” of the resources he then wants the rest of us who can’t hide our money offshore to pay.

“We can have no society worth celebrating unless we can guarantee freedom from fear for every person who gives this country their love, labor, and life,” says Cook. Yet Cook should not be counted as a “person who gives this country their love, labor, and life” because he has given those things to the Communist Party of China.  He has handed over money and technology to our enemies that never would have existed were it not for the people of the United States of America.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra lectures us about the “unconscionable list of black Americans who have lost their lives” but she ignores the unconscionable list of black Americans who have lost their livelihoods thanks to her “global supply chains.” Flint, Michigan used to be Buick City. Now, GM’s Buick SUV is made in China.

Barra strikes a courageous pose, writing, “We stand up against injustice—that means taking the risk of expressing an unpopular or polarizing point of view, because complacency and complicity sit in the shadow of silence.”

Just don’t expect her to risk expressing an unpopular or polarizing point of view inside the People’s Republic China. Rather, Cadillac sponsored a propaganda film celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party. 

Sitting in the shadow of Apple and GM’s silence is their complacency and complicity in the enslavement and extermination of the Uyghur people. A report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, “Uyghurs for sale,” found slave labor from the CCP’s concentration camps in Western China are working in factories supplying 83 well-known global brands in the technology, clothing and automotive sectors, including Apple, GM, Gap, Nike, Samsung, BMW, Sony, and Volkswagen.

Uyghur Genocide, Corporate Profit

The Chinese Communist government has facilitated the mass transfer of more than 80,000 imprisoned Uyghur Muslims from the far west region of Xinjiang to factories across the country between 2017 and 2019.

The Uyghurs transferred out of Xinjiang typically live in segregated dormitories, undergo ideological training outside working hours, are subject to constant surveillance, and are forbidden from participating in religious observances.

Watchtowers, barbed-wire fences, and police guard boxes ring a factory in eastern China that manufactures shoes for Nike. Uyghur workers are unable to go home for holidays.

Uyghur workers were transferred directly from one of Xinjiang’s “re-education camps” to another factory supplying sportswear multinationals Adidas and Fila.

Several Chinese factories making components for Apple or their suppliers are also using Uyghur labor.

When the CCP is not conscripting Uyghurs for its export industries, it’s erasing this ethnic minority from the face of the earth. The party forces intrauterine birth control devices, sterilization, and abortion on hundreds of thousands of Uyghur women.

“It’s genocide, full stop. It’s not immediate, shocking, mass-killing on the spot type genocide, but it’s slow, painful, creeping genocide,” Joanne Smith Finley of Newcastle University in the U.K. tells the Associated Press. “These are direct means of genetically reducing the Uighur population.”

Nothing says “systemic racism” like genocide.

So where are the calls to defund China?

Global corporations make token payments to anti-racism activists in the United States while funding the CCP’s racist dictatorship in China and sowing the destitution that causes unrest at home.

Should it ever come time to pay reparations, present the bill to these companies.

Great America

Compared to What?

The Gene McDaniels principle on police shootings.

The late Gene McDaniels came up as a jazz singer but in 1961 he scored pop hits with “A Hundred Pounds of Clay” and “Tower of Strength,” co-written by Burt Bacharach. McDaniels went on to write “Compared to What,” performed in fine style at the 1969 Montreaux jazz festival by Les McCann on piano and vocal, Leroy Vinnegar on bass, Donald Dean on drums, Benny Bailey on Trumpet and Eddie Harris on tenor saxophone. As this group confirms, jazz can indeed rock out, but there’s more to it.

In this tune, McDaniels tackles issues from materialism (“possession is the motivation”) to the Vietnam War (“folks don’t know just what it’s for” ) to King Tut (“he did it now”), and after each verse comes the refrain: “trying to make it real compared to what?” 

Today, in the quest for reality on the prevailing issue of police shootings, some like comparisons are in order. 

Through a Washington Post database, conservative commentator Larry Elder learned that U.S. police in 2019 killed nine unarmed African Americans. On the other hand, that same year police killed 19 unarmed whites, and “more cops are killed each year than are unarmed black suspects.”

According to the FBI, 89 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in 2019, and of those, “48 officers died as a result of felonious acts.” Of the slain 45 officers, 45 were male, three were female, 40 were white, seven were black and one was Asian. “Offenders used firearms to kill 44 of the 48 victim officers,” the FBI explains, including 34 slain with handguns, seven with rifles, and one with a shotgun. 

Six of the victim officers were conducting traffic stops, and four were performing investigative activities. Three officers were involved in arrest situations and attempting to restrain offenders. Two of the officers were slain in an ambush and one was serving a court order. On the suspect side, 36 of the assailants had prior criminal arrests and 12 offenders were under judicial supervision. 

To make it real, compare that to the nine unarmed African Americans killed by police officers in 2019, this in a nation of more than 300 million people. Compare also what could be the worst police shooting of all time, which did not even take place in the United States.

In the run-up to the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, thousands of students assembled in Tlatelolco Plaza to protest the dictatorship of Mexico’s Partido Revolucionario Institucional, in power since the 1920s. On October 2, 1968, as NPR recalled, “police officers and military troops shot into a crowd of unarmed students” and thousands fled as “tanks bulldozed over Tlatelolco Plaza.” 

Eyewitnesses described “the bodies of hundreds of young people being trucked away. Thousands of students were beaten and jailed, and many disappeared.” Estimates of the casualties range as high as 3,000 and “under an authoritarian regime, no formal investigation into the killings was ever initiated.” 

Unlike Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with the murder of George Floyd, and Garrett Rolfe, charged with the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks at a Wendy’s in Atlanta, no one has ever been held accountable for this mass murder of unarmed students by Mexican police and soldiers. Television journalists like Jorge Ramos, essentially a Mexican government mouthpiece, tend to stay quiet on this mass murder but like to get vocal about injustice in the United States. To take this guy seriously, as Gene McDaniels put it, you’d have to be “some kind of nut.”

In America, critics of the police tend to ignore murder sprees such as the 18 homicides in a single day in Chicago. As ABC News noted, “between 6 p.m. on May 29 and 11:59 p.m. on May 31, Chicago police responded to at least 73 incidents in which 92 people were shot, including 27 who were killed.” Police were responsible for none of the shootings.

Last year, 89 police officers were killed in the line of duty, including 48 by felonious acts and 44 slain with firearms. Seven of the slain officers were African Americans and 40 were white. As Gene McDaniels asked, try to make it real, compared to what?

Great America

When the Saints Get Frog-Marched Out

America’s cultural Marxists want nothing as much as a population “devoid of religious and national feeling.”

SAINT LOUIS—A major event signaling the unraveling of the Soviet Empire was the election in 1989 of Tadeusz Mazowiecki, a Catholic, as the first non-Communist prime minister of Poland since Poland’s conquest by the Soviet Union.

In a speech to the Polish parliament just before it formally elected him prime minister, the first government official of what was to become central and eastern Europe’s post-Communist order proclaimed: “The history of our country is accelerating.”

Not so long after the Polish premier said these words, statues of Lenin were toppling throughout Russia and Eastern and Central Europe. These symbolic actions were both effects and causes of the deepest stirrings in the souls of the people being liberated from Soviet oppression. Communist parties not only lost their monopoly on power; the new regimes banned Communist parties because of their totalitarian nature, much as postwar Germany had outlawed Nazism.

Were he living today, Mazowiecki might speak again about acceleration, but in the United States and western Europe, the former bastions of Christianity and free government.

As it is a law of physics that a free-falling object accelerates during its descent, there is today a phenomenon of metaphysics in which the culture, the lawful order, and religious foundations of the United States and western Europe are plunging ever faster into the abyss.

In Atheism We Trust

A man worth remembering in these times is Anaxagoras Chaumette. He was a prime architect of the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror and the chief leader of the Dechristianization movement in France. In 1792, Chaumette changed his given name to that of a pagan ancient philosopher. He explained, “I was formerly called Pierre-Gaspard Chaumette because my godfather believed in the saints.” Chaumette expelled Christian worship from the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris and in 1793 organized the notorious “Festival of Reason,” featuring a prostitute on stage playing the role of the Goddess of Reason.

Four months later, Chaumette, only 30 years old, was purged and guillotined on orders of Maximilien Robespierre three months before it became the latter’s own turn to die under the blade of the Terror the two men had launched.

More than two centuries have passed since Chaumette’s suppression of French Christianity. Political and economic systems have come and gone as though trapped in a revolving door, but French Christianity has never recovered from the deeds of Chaumette and his followers. France is essentially a Godless country.

Au Revoir, Hommes de Dieu

Saint Louis, Missouri (my home) was founded by French colonists from New Orleans in 1764 as a river port of the vast territory called Louisiana. They named the town in honor of the only French monarch ever to be canonized a saint, Louis IX. The French colonial territory, stretching west of the Mississippi to the Rockies, was little affected by the French Revolution because the French crown had transferred it via open treaty to the ownership of the Spanish Empire. Spain later transferred the territory back to France in a secret treaty. Inhabitants became aware of their restoration to French rule only upon losing it again, when Napoleon Bonaparte sold the territory to the United States at the initiative of President Thomas Jefferson.

The city of Saint Louis became a center of education and culture because of the selfless labors of many nuns and priests who were refugees from the religious persecution of the French Revolution. One of these, Rose Philippine Duchesne, was a nun forced to flee her convent when it was destroyed by Chaumette’s Reign of Terror. She joined another group of nuns who became missionaries to Saint Louis, where she founded America’s first free school west of the Mississippi—an institution that educated the children of African Americans and Native Americans side by side with those of French, Spanish, and Anglo-American settlers. She was canonized a saint by Pope John Paul II.

As monuments to heroes of western civilization and the American republic have fallen this month to violent mobs across the United States, a government commission in Saint Louis acted last week in secret to remove a fundamental treasure of one of America’s most beautiful public spaces, Tower Grove Park. Without prior announcement, the commission removed the statue of Christopher Columbus—the man who brought the first Christian missionaries to the New World—that had adorned the park for 140 years.

One of Missouri’s leading constitutional lawyers advises that the commission governing the park appears to operate according to an unconstitutional violation of the separation of powers. In an odd arrangement made after the park was donated to the city by a private philanthropist, the park is administered by a commission appointed by the Missouri State Supreme Court in Jefferson City.

The constitutional question aside, there are legal questions about the park commission’s decision to remove the statue without public hearings or other public notice or discussion.

In any case, it was a show of weakness, displaying no respect for the city’s citizens but abject fear of the orchestrated outsider forces of rioters. The weakness has emboldened the violent extremists to make more demands for dismantling the city’s cultural and religious heritage.

As soon as the Columbus statue was removed, the extremists began a pressure campaign to tear down the city’s namesake symbol, the hilltop equestrian statue of Saint Louis, King of France, in front of the city’s art museum. The radicals also demand that the 256-year-old city itself be stripped of its name.

What would be a fitting new Jacobin name for the erstwhile Gateway to the West?

Mao Zedong City is one obvious choice. Binladen-on-the-Mississippi has a certain charm. “Chaumette, Missouri,” retains the original French flavor while adding a diabolical zest.

Solzhenitsyn Predicted This American Moment

Today’s organized rioters are successors to Chaumette. They are intent upon the total de-Christianization of America. Anyone who doubts this should contemplate the warnings and the historic background presented by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in his 1983 Templeton Award Address.

The great Russian writer said the 18th-century Enlightenment’s “subtle poisons permeated the educated classes in the course of the 19th century and opened the path to Marxism. By the time of the revolution, Russian educated circles had virtually lost the faith; and amongst the uneducated, its health was threatened.”

It was Dostoevsky, Solzhenitsyn continued, 

who drew from the French Revolution and its seething hatred for the Church the lesson that “revolution must necessarily begin with atheism.” That is absolutely true. But the world had never before known a godlessness as organized, militarized, and tenaciously malevolent as that preached by Marxism. Within the philosophical system of Marx and Lenin and at the heart of their psychology, hatred of God is the principal driving force, more fundamental than all their political and economic pretensions. Militant atheism is not merely incidental or marginal to communist policy; it is not a side effect, but the central pivot. To achieve its diabolic ends, communism needs to control a population devoid of religious and national feeling, and this entails a destruction of faith and nationhood.

The government leadership of the city of Saint Louis is so weak and hollowed out by decades of one-party Democratic rule and the drift of President Jefferson’s party into atheism, anarchism, and infanticide, that it is helpless to defend the community and our cultural heritage, assuming it wanted to. Whether it would want to is also in doubt.

Day after day across the nation, more monuments to national heroes and Christian saints are destroyed by domestic terrorists or removed by cowardly Democratic political hacks.

Much as the French Revolution devoured its creators, the accelerating breakdown of the United States has brought about the mob destruction of monuments to heroes of the struggle against slavery. Terrorists downed a statue of Ulysses Grant in San Francisco, and the mayor of Boston has remarked insanely that he is considering removing Beantown’s statue of Abraham Lincoln.

Why Lincoln? Was the Great Emancipator insufficiently intersectional?

Why Grant? Was the general who smashed the slave states perhaps—shudder at the thought—transphobic?

The San Francisco barbarians also tore down and vandalized statues of two great heroes of Hispanic civilization. One was Miguel de Cervantes. The other was the founder of the San Francisco Mission, the priest Junípero Serra, the “Apostle of California” whom Pope Francis canonized in the only such ceremony ever performed on U.S. soil.

The politicians who stand by useless while small businesses burn and our civic and religious monuments are destroyed are not innocent. They are the criminals’ accomplices. Their numbers are legion—the entire Democratic Party together with the insufferable Romneyite rump of the Republicans.

What Is a Saint, Anyway?

Chaumette, like his imitators across the United States today, played “Gotcha” with the canonized saints. He professed that he was shocked—shocked!—that they, too, were sinners. This shows ignorance as well as hatred of Christianity.

The only purpose of living as a Christian on this earth is to become a saint for eternity. When Christians recognize saints, they are not asserting that these persons never committed sins or political errors. According to Christianity, saints do not attain salvation and eternity in Heaven because they were perfect or because they transcended all of the flaws of their times and culture. Beginning with Paul, former persecutors of Christianity have become the greatest of saints. Before him, Peter denied Christ three times on the eve of Christ’s crucifixion. Saints are never sinless. They are people who acknowledge their sins and gratefully accept God’s love and mercy. The canonized saints are a tiny, tiny group of the entire Communion of Saints. Canonization is performed to provide role models for all people pursuing the purpose of Christian life.

When the saints get frog-marched out by violent, lawless gangs, all Christians are the targets.  When monuments to our national heroes of two centuries and the saints of two millennia are destroyed with impunity, the people of the United States are greatly in danger of becoming enslaved by cultural Marxism.

The violence in our parks and streets is accelerating. The threat to our Constitution, our national sovereignty, our religious freedom, and our very civilization is deadly. We must not be distracted by the rioters’ “political and economic pretensions.” 

To achieve their diabolic ends, as Solzhenitsyn warned, the cultural Marxists marauding in our country today are moving “to control a population devoid of religious and national feeling, and this entails a destruction of faith and nationhood.”

Junípero Serra, Rose Philippine Duchesne, and Louis IX, pray for us.

Great America

The CHAZ Stands Alone

Antifa in Seattle has done us the favor of reminding us of Marxist realities on a small, comical scale.

One of the more amusing spectacles of the recent protests has been the establishment of the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ)—now called the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP)—in the middle of downtown Seattle, Washington. Conservatives on social media have had a field day making light of the pint-sized experiment in neo-Marxist utopia. Contained within these few square blocks, however, is a microcosm of all the lies and failures of Marxist regimes since the Bolsheviks came to power, and we should pay attention while they are still merely amusing.

Upon the establishment of this little slice of heaven, the local Antifa set about throwing up barricades to create makeshift borders for their new nation. They then took to Twitter and issued a call for armed volunteers to man these borders and the checkpoints they had created. A cynic might be tempted to wonder if all that rhetoric about open borders and the dissolution of nation-states was strictly for public consumption.

Our noble crusaders almost immediately ran into difficulty. While securing their borders against outside incursion they also invited Seattle’s burgeoning homeless population to join them. These newcomers proceeded to steal the burgeoning country’s food supply so that within 72 hours they had run out of food. This has to be a record, even for Marxism.

Their initial solution was to use social media to beg the outside world for food relief. One of the organizers of the CHAZ, an 18-year-old lesbian anarchist who goes by “lauracouç” on Twitter said “the homeles [sic] people we invited took away all the food at the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone. we need more food to keep the area operational. please if possible bring vegan meat substitutes, fruits, oats, soy products, etc.—anything to help us eat.” 

Ever since Herbert Hoover began sending American aid to Soviet Russia, Marxist regimes have only forestalled ruin by leeching off the generosity and resources of productive free nations. Left to themselves, Marxists inevitably engineer catastrophe: the Holodomor, the Great Leap Forward, the Khmer Rouge’s emptying of the cities, North Korean famines.

Marxism is Marxism, everywhere it has been tried: the same tragedy, the same horror, the same man-made disaster.

The second attempt to solve the food problem was as pathetic as it was instructive. Photos began to emerge of a vegetable garden in the middle of the zone. These photos revealed that this “garden” consisted of throwing a few inches of soil atop cardboard(?!) in the middle of a park, and then plopping a few seedlings on top of the soil. They don’t appear to have bothered to plant those seedlings, because why would you need to do that? 

It didn’t matter anyway, because within a couple of days video emerged on Twitter of a homeless man destroying the garden, possibly while high.

In this little farce, the Antifa of CHAZ reveal their complete ignorance of anything necessary for a functioning society. Marxist revolutionaries only know two things: Marxist ideology and terror. Before the revolution, Marxists use violence and subversion to undermine society. They spend their lives dilating upon theory and feuding with fellow Marxists over doctrine (think Lenin and Julius Martov in 1902). They’re steeped in ideology, and perfectly useless otherwise. Once in power, they act as though all that is necessary is to implement Marxism correctly, and utopia invariably will follow. Soviet ideologues thought they could create five-year plans and issue production goals, and that the goods would simply be produced because the plan said so. 

Marxists are so wedded to Marxist ideology that they can never accept the demonstrated truth that their ideology is precisely the problem. So when their plans fail they conclude that they are surrounded by traitors, wreckers, and class enemies who are subverting the worker’s paradise. Institutionalized terror follows: denunciations, arrests, show trials, gulags, and mass executions. It’s always just a few more executions to utopia, comrades!

CHAZ is already moving in this direction. While denouncing existing law enforcement, it took about two days for a self-appointed police force to begin prowling the Zone, led by an aspiring rapper named Raz Simone. Simone proclaimed himself the leader of a “People’s Force,” implemented a policy of stopping and questioning anyone deemed suspicious, and began employing violence against those who step out-of-line, as the People’s Force understands it.

The rhetoric of “defund the police” dovetails neatly with Marxist notions of the withering away of the state, but it never happens that way. Marxists invariably create armed forces to enforce their ideology, like the NKVD in Soviet Russia and the Stasi in East Germany. The Marxists have a monopoly on force and use that monopoly to crush their enemies, real or perceived. Man ceases to be governed by law and is governed instead by the will of the powerful. Marxism returns man to the state where “the strong do what they will, and the weak suffer what they must.” 

In The Gulag Archipelago, Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn demonstrated to the world that the horrors of the Soviet system were not Stalinist perversions, but were inherent in Marxism itself. Marxism is Marxism, everywhere it has been tried: the same tragedy, the same horror, the same man-made disaster. 

Antifa in Seattle has done us the favor of reminding us of these realities on a small, comical scale. We can heed these lessons, or be bludgeoned once again by what Solzhenitsyn called “the pitiless crowbar of events.”

Great America

D.C. Riot Diary

Ten days of fliers posted in a Northwest Washington, D.C. neighborhood amidst the mayhem.

Since riots erupted in America at the end of May, flyers have started appearing in my neighborhood in northwest Washington, D.C. 

The residents of my neighborhood happen to be predominantly white, which is clearly well-known to the people (apparently a variety of people and groups) creating the flyers. With large, boldface type, usually in all capital letters, the flyers’ visual tone conveys rage, as if the writers are screaming at residents.

What follows is a diary of the flyers I’ve seen. 

June 1:

You are contributing to killing black people by not stopping the killing of black people do something you racist fucks since you want to live in DC so bad.” (A number to text is provided to find out how to join the cause.)

A hand-written flyer, which begins: “No one is perfect but you can do one thing today to be anti-racist:

  • support a black owned business,
  • read something that makes you uncomfortable,
  • make a recurring donation to an org. seeking justice,
  • engage in dialogue! talk to your community about your fears, garner feedback on how you can improve” 

(Another term for this is “struggle session.” Notice how this “struggle session” bullet point has a cute little heart next to it? How charming!)

“IT IS NOT YOUR CHOICE TO DETERMINE HOW AN OPPRESSED GROUP PROTESTS. #BLM #JUSTICEFORGEORGEFLOYD”

“Fund the national bail out. A black led and black centered Collective of abolitionists organizers, lawyers, and activists building a community-based movement to end systems of pretrial detention and ultimately mass incarceration.” 

(A QR code is included for sending donations. Note: they are “abolitionists.” )

“Donate to the Black Lives Matter LA Chapter. The Los Angeles chapter of black lives matter is currently supporting organizers, endeavoring to adopt a “People’s Budget” that reallocates police funding to communities that needed it.” 

(Another QR code is included for sending donations. It’s curious that the Los Angeles BLM is organized enough to be fundraising in D.C. already. It raises a question, too, of just what a “People’s Budget” would be. Turns out, there’s a website for that.)

“Killer cops will not go free. do not live in ignorance. use your privilege for good.”

“A man was lynched by the police. What are you going to do about it?”


June 4:

“Anti-racism reading list for white people and nb who are committed to unlearning anti-blackness and combating racism…” (A list of 14 works including “Wretched of the Earth” by Franz Fanon and Combahee River Collective Statement.)

“How are you showing up for black people to tangible and responsible means? How are you interrogating state-sanctioned violence and the construct of whiteness? This is 100% about race. Recognizing Your Privilege is pointless if you don’t put your money where your mouth is.” (There are two websites where people are urged to “Donate + Learn.”)

“It is imperative that you teach your children about the realities of white supremacy and anti-blackness…avoiding uncomfortable conversations about race, power, and anti-black violence with your children cost us our safety and our lives.” “Reading list of children’s books that discuss race (compiled by black educator…).” (A list of 13 books is provided.)

June 6:

“WAKE UP DC! WHITE SILENCE IS VIOLENCE! We NEED YOU FIGHTING WITH US!. Everyday (sic) people are putting their lives on the line for Racial Injustice! When you are silent you are being compliant (sic) to our plight!”

“. . . We need bodies on the front line! . . . however if unable to commit, there are other ways to get involved! educate yourself! donate to BLM organizations! Demand action from the government!”

“Find out how your silence is violence.” (A website to learn more is provided.)

“Help Us Fight!! Systemic Oppression: systemic oppression occurs in the forms of: wealth, incarceration, representation, education, and gentrification/ Ways To Combat it’s (sic) harm?

  • Defunding the police! – Contact the mayor and ask for the allocation of the budget to underfunded communities i.e. black communities.
  • Stop high-rise condos from being built into the city. They push Brown bodies out when they are built…

Donate!!”

June 7:

The ‘discomfort’ you say you felt over the past week is nothing compared to the terror black americans (sic) face everyday (sic). Until a black american (sic) can walk to the grocery store, bird watch, go on a jog, attend church, sit in their home without fearing for their life, no one should be able to be comfortable.”

“Stop hiding behind your privilege. Stop putting your comfort before human life.”

(This flyer is stapled to two trees in the neighborhood. So, while the Sierra Club is rushing to kneel to this movement, this movement does not seem concerned about the well-being of trees.)

“Donald Trump fuels hatred and violence. You may not have voted for him, but you know someone who did. Talk to them. Talk amongst yourselves. Vote against him. Get others to vote against him. Fix this mistake and vote. Don’t be on the wrong side of history. Vote him out.”

June 10:

“Hashtags and texts are the easiest forms of allyship. More must be done. Donate your money + time [/] vote all the way down the ballot [/] educate yourself and those around you [/] tell others to do the same (this one has four QR codes) “for more information”

Ways to support the #blacklivesmatter movement (with a QR code to donate). 

And this particularly unsubtle one: “WHITE PEOPLE INSTITUTIONALIZED RACISM IN AMERICA. IT IS YOUR JOB TO DISMANTLE IT.”

These are just some of the fliers I see day by day when I walk my dog in my neighborhood. The recurring themes of these fliers are:

  • “Anti-blackness”: this is not about racism which could go in any direction, it is about “anti-blackness.” This conceptual and linguistic shift means that being racist against whites, and potentially others too, is acceptable and consistent with the cause.
  • Threat of escalation: there are suggestions that if we don’t do something to solve this (undefined) problem, the situation will get worse, e.g. “UNTIL . . . NO ONE SHOULD BE ABLE TO BE COMFORTABLE.”
  • Guilt and redemption: white people are at fault, but there is still time to “use your privilege for good”; and through “dialogue” we can “garner feedback on how you can improve.”
  • Ignorance: it is assumed residents in my neighborhood are ignorant people.
  • Anti-Trump, with irony. Ironically they say there are for “human life,” even while Trump is taking concrete steps to reduce abortion, which disproportionately kills black babies, and voting him out of office would mean electing a pro-abortion Democrat.

After the hostile flyers started appearing, several homes in my neighborhood posted signs supporting Black Lives Matter hanging on their glass-paned front doors. Is the timing a coincidence? Is this the “protection payment,” in the form of a virtue signal, that the rioters are going to demand to spare certain homes when they come to our neighborhood next?

Great America

CHAZ, My Azz!

How to extract the drama and implode Seattle’s Antifa Communists in five easy steps.

So Antifa Communists have taken over several blocks of Seattle. Let them have it. Let them be autonomous. Good and hard.

Step 1: The battle against the Antifa Communists is on TV and social media, not on the ground. Maybe Mayor Jenny doesn’t understand this as well as she thinks.  

The Antifa Communist target audiences are the people they think are disenfranchised, plus a mélange of leftists, far-leftists, Stalinists, and an occasional carrier of Mao’s Little Red Book. 

In this televised battle, the point is to generate an ignominious defeat of Antifa’s ideals for Antifa’s target audience to see, in their own cultural terms.

Step 2: Find several disillusioned former Antifa members who are telegenic to the Antifa Communist target audience, and who can speak well on their feet. How hard can that be? Low-information leftists seem to think “Antifa” means anyone who is “against Nazis” is anti-fascist. Well . . . sure. But they don’t seem to understand that honest-to-goodness Antifa are Communists and violence is a feature, not a bug.   

Just outside the CHAZ-defined boundary, equip these former Antifa members with a gigantic public address system, an elevated platform with a Jumbotron background, dramatic lighting, and an individual IFB for each speaker. (Anybody who said this would be a fair fight has never won one.)

Step 3: Use the public address system to declare to the Antifa Communists and their useful idiots in CHAZ  that “autonomous” means self-governing, independent, and subject to its own laws only. As proof, the U.S. government will give them their wish—autonomy!

Upon acknowledgment from any of the Antifa Communist leaders—a head nod, caught on camera and emblazoned on the Jumbotron, will do—announce that the autonomous zone of CHAZ will be respected!

The monster public-address system will then put forth the following message: “Passage into CHAZ, however, will be restricted to Red Cross observers and credentialed media, until CHAZ passports are recognized.”

“Anyone in CHAZ wishing to exit may do so freely until sunset. At sundown, anyone attempting passage will be asked by the United States to present ID, be fingerprinted, de-loused, and checked for COVID-19. Anyone with lice will be quarantined, anyone with COVID-19 will be quarantined. Anyone with an open warrant will be arrested. Anyone not a U.S. citizen will be detained and processed.” 

Step 4: At sundown another announcement: “We will now ensure that CHAZ autonomy will be guaranteed!” 

With that, the battle cry “Let’s go!” thunders from the darkness as the entire 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, in battle dress with rifles and fixed bayonets double-times from all directions to cordon the perimeter. 

Shortly thereafter, another announcement will be made: “In order for CHAZ to prove its autonomy to the world, we will now provide them with the opportunity to generate their own electricity, manifest their own cell phone and Internet communications, grow their own food and furnish a public water supply.”   

With that, CHAZ goes dark and incommunicado.

Then the huge PA system begins blaring Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop Thinkin’ About Tomorrow.”

On the Jumbotron, infrared video displays laser dots on armed individuals inside CHAZ, each with his own drone invisible in the night sky overhead.

Step 5: Should there be complaints, a duly elected CHAZ official would be respectfully brought to the elevated platform and where he can freely make his case. 

“We want water!”

“Here it is. Buy it. Cash.” 

“We don’t have it.”

“You are autonomous. You must have cash.”

“We want food!”

“Here it is. Buy it. Cash.” 

“It is the people’s food!” 

The people’s food? Are you saying that CHAZ is a collectivist commune?”

“Yes!”

Are you saying that the individual people of CHAZ do not own land, factories, machinery but the CHAZ community does and will share that wealth equally?

“Yes!” 

“Then sir, you are a Communist. Here is a cell phone that works. Would you care to call Premier Xi for help? Or perhaps you already have. Try calling Raoul Castro, I’m sure he will send you sugar and cigars right away.”

CHAZ won’t last long.

Great America

FBI Bends Its Knee to the Mob

Until now, the FBI at least would have made a half-hearted effort to deny its conversion into a leftist political asset. No more.

While they were supposed to be on patrol to protect our nation’s capital from looters, a large group from the FBI’s Washington field office encountered a mob. Wearing their FBI insignia, sidearms, and tactical vests, they bent their knees in servitude to the movement sweeping the country and grasping at the levers of American power.

Citizens might have hoped the FBI would take the side of the law against the identitarian mob looting, rioting, and generally plaguing our cities. Police are being shot, stabbed, dragged through the streets, and run over at an alarming rate. Peaceful merchants aren’t being protected by the police and are savagely beaten when they futilely try to reason with the mob.

The FBI’s response? Surrender without a shot fired. How long before their new masters put the FBI to work bringing about the revolution?

The slogans, “white privilege,” and “white silence is violence,” point to the mass struggle sessions we can anticipate as the politics of the streets spills into corporate and government training sessions. In 2020, we hear condemnations of the oppressor racial class that could have been lifted from propaganda in past tragedies against Jews, Tutsi, and Kulaks. The targets change but the script is startlingly un-original: A single flashpoint is used to justify rage against an ethnic group accused of oppressing the masses.

The “struggle sessions” pioneered by mass murderer Mao Zedong masquerade as open forums in which everyone is encouraged to speak freely. In practice, the sessions are a means of detecting dissidents and bullying fence-sitters into seeking safety through conversion to the rigidity of the cult.

Some join in confessing their privilege in a vain effort to protect their professional and emotional safety. Members of the alleged oppressor class are forced to apologize over and over again. But no amount of apology can answer the question of what to do with a group of oppressors who still cannot change their benighted ethnicity after 1,000 apologies. Struggle sessions quickly politicize nominally apolitical institutions. Purity replaces competency. In China, that led to the starvation deaths of 40 million and perhaps another 40 million in the subsequent reign of terror that silenced questions and objections to incompetent leadership.

Do not allow your workplace to be turned into a clearinghouse for neo-Maoist propaganda. And do not debase yourself and bend the knee to the mob. There’s no redemption in it.

The FBI, particularly in D.C., has proven itself an invaluable instrument of left wing-inspired persecution for some time. It uses ambiguous laws like FARA and the Logan Act to entrap political enemies. It illegally spies on thousands of Americans. It allowed itself to be used in a smear operation paid for by the Democratic National Committee to interfere in a domestic American election.

Until now, the FBI at least would have made a half-hearted effort to deny its conversion into a leftist political asset. No more. The most powerful law enforcement agency in the United States has literally kneeled to its master in a public display of loyalty. The FBI is so heavily armed and lethal, that it could almost be a branch of the military. It maintains a tactical arsenal that could easily overwhelm the puny Secret Service ceremonially guarding the president. What could a mob of neo-Maoists do with an army of heavily armed FBI agents? The possibilities are endless.

If the FBI is to be an anti-constitutional force in the hands of a mob, then it presents itself as a grave threat to our freedoms and democracy. We’ve known since reading the Strzok/Page text messages almost three years ago that FBI leadership maintains a climate tolerant of politicized law enforcement. “Viva la resistance!” wrote one FBI lawyer days after the election went the “wrong” way. He would later forge evidence to fool a court into renewing a search warrant to continue spying for the resistance. It would have been a crime except that it was done to undermine the current president. So the FBI protected his job and anonymity for years before he was allowed to quietly resign when the heat became unbearable.

Even under its previous director, James Comey, agents never would have bent the knee in public to leftist mobs. They would have understood that the FBI must maintain at least the appearance of political neutrality. But Christopher Wray seems to have taken the revolution to the next level. Apparently he thinks nobody can stop the FBI as it metamorphosizes into a kind of American Red Guard. So he’s allowing units within the FBI to pledge their guns to the cause.

Revolutions might seem romantic and exciting. But they are an unrestrained firehose of political violence. In the later stages, the sellouts and collaborators who hoped to win favor with the revolutionaries will find themselves accused of thought crimes in order to clear a path for the most ruthless elements that inevitably thrive in the chaos and violence. Because when the crime is thought and the burden is on the accused, nothing can protect you from the carnivorous rage of the mob once it is turned in your direction. So many true believers rotted away in Chinese prisons begging and falsely confessing in a vain effort to regain their freedoms.

So what can you do? Do not apologize for the circumstances of your birth. Do not allow strangers to condemn you for beliefs you do not hold. Follow the teachings of your upbringing. If you have one, open your Bible. Two millennia ago, a man conceived of a winning formula for combating hate that doesn’t involve violence and dividing groups based on race. Do not allow your workplace to be turned into a clearinghouse for neo-Maoist propaganda. And above all else, do not debase yourself and bend the knee to the mob. There’s no redemption in it.

Great America

Democrats Confining Americans Like it’s 1942

In many ways, the government and military in post-Pearl Harbor 1942 presented a far more credible case for the social distancing of the ethnic Japanese relocation than the various governments have today for the COVID-19 regulations.

Calls for leadership in the war against COVID-19 inevitably compare unfavorably our current effort to that of Franklin Roosevelt. But those who pine for such a leader—a ruthless partisan after all—who eventually crushed Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany seem to forget one element of his war strategy: The forcible removal of some 110,000 ethnic Japanese, citizen and alien alike, from the West Coast into inland centers and internment camps.

This drastic action, in the months following Pearl Harbor, routinely has been denounced as “the worst violation of civil liberties” in the 20th century. FDR defended it as vital to combat potential espionage or even Imperial Japanese invasion of the West Coast that might recruit local ethnic Japanese. And late in the war, the Supreme Court upheld the relocation as constitutional (Korematsu v. U.S., 1944), while also freeing ethnic Japanese who were concededly loyal Americans—that is, virtually all of them (ex parte Endo, 1944).  

Yet this repugnant element of FDR’s leadership may be the more appropriate comparison to make regarding today’s “war” against the pandemic. For example, my parents had to dispose of property, lost their livelihoods, and had to endure barracks living for almost three years before returning to a hostile West Coast.

Today, some 75 years after an earlier “social distancing,” their son knows people who have lost their businesses and jobs and are restricted to home detention through anti-COVID-19 dictates from governors, acting under federal government guidance. Though the federal government made symbolic restitution of $20,000 per surviving evacuee in 1988, there will never be such individual compensation for the billions lost to the survivors of the 2020 shutdown.

Millions more are terrified to leave their homes, see friends, mourn their departed, or engage in ordinary activities of life. Yet many governors insist on continuing or even intensifying these policies as essential for public safety. 

Even though World War II is supposed to be our indisputably “good war,” assailing the relocation (while always adding “racist”) has been a popular way to attack America—and not just for the Left. 

For example, two years ago, former first lady Laura Bush, echoing others who were fed the same script, denounced the separation of children from illegal immigrants caught at the border as “eerily reminiscent of the internment camps for U.S. citizens and noncitizens of Japanese descent during World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history.”

But despite the consensus against the camps, it is undeniable that my parents and their fellow Japanese enjoyed significant liberties greater than those of most Americans under the COVID-19 restrictions. It’s 1942, and we all lack even the limited freedoms of those ethnic Japanese. 

Of course, we need to keep in mind that wartime restrictions such as food rationing burdened all Americans. In Hawaii there were curfews, enforced by the military; martial law replaced the courts. The draft laws continued to apply to ethnic Japanese men. Yet pro-Japan demonstrators could express their views, though they were mainly segregated into one center, Tule Lake.

The advantages the relocated ethnic Japanese had over Americans today include numerous elements of everyday life. Though denied their livelihoods, they did have paying jobs and could leave (and return) for seasonal agricultural work (which my parents did) or leave for permanent jobs in inland cities such as Chicago (as some of my relatives did), Denver, or Salt Lake City.

Within the relocation centers socializing, dancing, sports teams (which played teams on the outside), churches, and other group and individual activities enlivened routines. Medical care was available. Private businesses and farming flourished. Schools (including one certified junior college and several trade schools) were of more than respectable quality, with a high proportion, including 43 percent of the high school teachers having M.A. degrees. Others left for four-year colleges around the country. It is no wonder that Americans who resided near the camps accused the government of “coddling” these putative “potential enemies.” 

Even before the Endo decision, inhabitants of the camps left them in droves. These American Japanese preferred freedom.

In comparing the rationales for relocation and internment of ethnic Japanese with the advocates of shutdowns, one might note the similarity of representative statements of western military commander General John DeWitt and others in World War II with those of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, one of the most vocal opponents of restoring freedom. 

DeWitt: The west coast is “a battlefield.” Both of them echoing FDR, “DeWhitmer” says: “President Trump called this a war, and it is exactly that. So we must act like it.” I am the general you are the privates.

DeWitt: “A Jap is a Jap….” DeWhitmer: “Private gatherings of any number of people occurring among persons not part of a single household are prohibited.” 

The enemy is everywhere

Distinguished journalist Walter Lippmann: That “there has been no important sabotage on the Pacific Coast . . . is a sign that the blow . . . is held back . . . .”

DeWhitmer et al.: We have to be ready for the second wave. I will rule in perpetuity. 

In many ways, the government and military in post-Pearl Harbor 1942 presented a far more credible case for the social distancing of the ethnic Japanese relocation than the various governments have today for the COVID-19 regulations. 

This current war for the sake of health has crippled the physical, moral, and political health of the country; it has struck its soul. Even the slaves enjoyed some religious liberty. We have swapped a life of promise for compromised mere life. Unless, of course, you are rioting

Great America

The Delusional Premises of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

AOC has become part of a rich, grasping, intergenerational gang of parasites who build their careers and their bureaucratic empires by spouting racist, quasi-Marxist trash to keep down the people they claim to care about.

“Do we see largely that it’s the global south and communities of color that may be bearing the brunt of the initial havoc from climate change?—Without a doubt.—And in terms of that wealth, the people that are producing climate change, the folks that are responsible for the largest amount of emissions, or communities or corporations, they tend to be predominantly white, correct?—Yes, and every study backs that up.”

—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Congressional Hearings on Climate and Race, October 2019

Welcome to yet another example of the nexus between climate change alarmism and a socialist redistribution agenda fueled by racial resentment. That may be old news to those of us paying attention, but thanks to birdbrained stooges like U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) the blatant race-baiting rhetoric is being turned up a notch.

And why not? If you’re a socialist, or a globalist, there is only upside to tagging nations of European heritage with guilt for the problems facing their “communities of color,” or the problems in the rest of the non-European world. It would be far too painful to consider the alternative explanation, which is that socialism, in all of its antecedents and derivatives, is the primary cause of the societal afflictions that plague “people of color” both in America and abroad.

Deconstructing Ocasio-Cortez’s convoluted logic isn’t hard intellectually, but the implications are hard indeed, at least for anyone who shares her delusional worldview.

Her arguments rest on three premises that build upon one another, and all of them are easily shattered by hard facts. Those premises are: 1) White racism is pervasive and explains income inequality; 2) climate change is an ongoing catastrophe that primarily harms “people of color”; 3) and socialism is the solution.

To get the most obviously flawed premise out of the way first, examine the plight of “communities of color” both locally and globally. The immediate fact that destroys this premise is the “communities of color” that are prosperous and thriving. Most of East Asia falls into that category. As for the “global south,” Singapore comes to mind. Sitting just one degree north of the equator, it is a sun-drenched, monsoon-swept city, situated in the absolute heart of the tropics.

Singapore’s success comes despite it being a multicultural nation overwhelmingly populated by “people of color,” coping with a supposedly hideous legacy of colonial oppression; its territory is a steaming jungle with no natural resources. Yet it is one of the wealthiest nations on Earth.

You can look to communities within America and make the same myth-busting observations. According to a 2018 Pew Research study, the richest ethnic group in the United States is Indian Americans, with a median household income of just over $100,000 a year. And U.S. Census Bureau data show “the median income for households led by someone of Nigerian ancestry . . . was $68,658 in 2018, compared with $61,937 for U.S. households overall.”

Why do some “communities of color” thrive, outpacing whites in education and income, while others do not? Could it be that the communities that are relatively unsuccessful are not victims of racism? After all, if that were true, why in America are people of Asian, East Indian, and Nigerian descent, along with many other “communities of color,” evidently exempt from the impact of racism?

Could it be that socialism, or its antecedents—welfare, unionized public education, affirmative action, leftist indoctrination, a victim mentality, and the pure, venal corruption that plagues big American cities run by Democrats—have combined to all but destroy these “communities of color?” Destroyed their families. Destroyed their work ethic. Destroyed their faith in themselves, their faith in their community, their faith in America itself? There is no “racism” in any of that.

Or to put it more precisely: in all these policies promoted by or associated with Democrats, there is none of the white, conservative, Republican sort of racism that seems to concern Ocasio- Cortez.

Ocasio-Cortez may look at her reflection in the mirror, and believe herself to be a crusader for social justice and a “green new deal,” but in fact she is becoming part of a rich, grasping, intergenerational gang of parasites who build their careers and their bureaucratic empires by spouting racist, quasi-Marxist trash to keep down the people they claim to care about. Ocasio- Cortez’s predecessors not only have created the poverty they claim they’re fighting, but they also need that poverty the way a virus needs a host.

Beware the Climate Bogeyman

The other flawed premise, fundamental to the socialist goal of global redistribution of wealth, is “climate change,” once known as global warming. The “climate crisis” is the boogeyman that Ocasio- Cortez hopes to ride into the White House with President-elect Joe Biden. Heading up his “climate task force,” she has made demagogic fearmongering in the name of the planet a big part of her act.

But the act is wearing thin. Unlike the far more convenient threat of imminent death from a global pandemic (however overhyped that may or may not be), anyone with an IQ north of room temperature realizes by now that the climate apocalypse deadlines have come and gone, and come and gone, and come and gone.

Why don’t conservatives challenge the scientific theory that anthropogenic CO2 is causing catastrophic climate change? Because the “science is settled” and “science” is sacred? “Science” has become so sacred, in fact, it’s become like an Aztec god that must be appeased. Cut a beating human heart out on the altar of Huītzilōpōchtli. Or throw a human sacrifice into the cauldron of Pele. Or bash in someone’s skull and bury them in a Polynesian pit. The God of Science must never be questioned, and Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez is a high priestess.

This preposterous paradox remains more or less unexamined, that “science” has become weaponized by a gang of green theocrats. But science is no longer science when it is “settled” and is instead used to stifle scientific inquiry, debate, and healthy skepticism.

Just as “racism” does not explain disparate outcomes for people of varying ethnicities, “climate change” is not conclusively demonstrated to be associated with the burning of fossil fuel, and what climate change we do observe is not demonstrated to be catastrophic. In fact, the net effect of increased concentrations of CO2 may be mostly positiveboth for humans and ecosystems.

Climate change policies, misguided and misanthropic, have lowered the credibility of environmentalists at the same time as they have flattened the trajectory of solutions to genuine environmental challenges. Clean up the filthy air in New Delhi, for example. The unhealthy air pollution has nothing to do with CO2, and everything to do with high-sulfur fuel and inadequate exhaust controls. Quit incinerating rainforests to monocrop ethanol from sugar cane and diesel fuel from palm oil. Quit asphyxiating women across the global south who have to cook with wood because natural gas is not “carbon neutral.” Quit pouring finite resources into crony green corporate boondoggles.

Socialism’s Dangerous Deceptions

Finally, to shatter the core premise of the Left: socialism obviously is not the cure for racism, nor is it the cure for economic inequality. Ocasio-Cortez is invited to identify one nation or society, today or throughout history, where socialism delivered freedom, prosperity and social justice. She’ll find instead a hideous legacy of tyranny, poverty, and murder. Those wonderful Scandinavian economies, held up as examples, do not qualify. They are mixed capitalist economies with (until recently) culturally homogeneous populations. They don’t count. They’re not socialist.

Capitalism, despite its flaws, and requiring judicious regulation, is the only system that can provide anything like equal opportunity. But it cannot provide equal outcomes, nor should it. Because without private property, which is guaranteed in a capitalist system, nobody tries, nobody cares, competence doesn’t matter, effort and ability don’t matter; all that matters is who you know and who you bribe. Socialism, at its core, nurtures resentment, cynicism, corruption, dissipation, decay, despair, and despotism. It is a seductive illusion, promising everything in exchange for nothing. Its adherents are a perilous mixture of the evil and the naive.

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is not evil. She is an ignorant, mostly unwitting demagogue, and she is a puppet. The premises that underlie the world view she promotes—pertaining to racism, socialism, and climate “science”—are dangerous deceptions. They will deliver the most harm to the people their rhetoric says they aim to help the most. All three of these premises must be challenged without apology, without rest, without quarter.

Great America

From the California Militia to Pharoah Newsom

A report on the latest happenings in the heart of the beast, the epicenter of California’s political power, the capitol building in Sacramento: An Interview with California State Militia Major D. Pague.

Over the past month, and with growing intensity, protests are cropping up in California against the pandemic shutdown. And as stay-at-home orders are gradually lifted, populist pressure continues to build, because the long term economic consequences have just begun. Rising prices in the stores just as households have spent what remained of their savings. Businesses fitfully coming back to life, but too late, with limited hours. Millions of jobs and businesses still lost, many lost forever.

History will judge whether or not this disease posed such an apocalyptic threat that choosing an economic depression was the preferable option. But at least half of all Americans today are completely alienated from the mainstream press. They view the totality of its product as nothing more than agenda-driven, self-contradictory, sanctimonious propaganda. For these Americans, the destruction of their liberty and livelihoods is a tough sell. And now in California, that feeling of alienation and mistrust has spread across ideologies and become a populist movement.

It may surprise many in the other 49 states, but even before the pandemic struck, California had its share of alienated citizens. In 2016, more than 4.7 million Californians voted for Donald Trump for president, and their support hasn’t wavered. These Californians are alienated from their state government, in most cases from their local governments as well, and they are grossly underrepresented by their congressional delegation.

Along with being politically disenfranchised, these millions of conservative Californians are belittled and dismissed in their own state by a liberal culture dominated by Silicon Valley and Hollywood. They try to make a living in the most hostile business environment in America. They cope with the highest cost-of-living, almost all of it politically contrived. They pay the highest taxes and fees. They contend with the most byzantine, punitive codes and regulations. They have no voice, no hope to change anything, in this deepest blue of blue states.

Along with the hindsight of knowing how the COVID-19 pandemic could have been perfectly handled, history will also judge how well, in the aftermath, Americans navigated their way back to guaranteeing the individual rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. Will 2020 have been the turning point, the year when America’s constitutional republic became a complete façade, and a plutocratic police state emerged, brazen and omnipotent? Plenty of pessimists, not without reason, claim we’re at that point.

Rather than trying to peer into that crystal ball, here is a report on the latest happenings in the heart of the beast, the epicenter of California’s political power, the capitol building in Sacramento. On May 1, according to multiple sources including police observers speaking off the record, over 5,000 protesters swarmed the capitol grounds, the sidewalk around the grounds, and the streets surrounding the grounds. There are conflicting accounts of why 32 arrests were made on that day; one version is that protesters were arrested when they tried to enter the capitol rotunda. Other accounts claim the police abruptly began pushing protesters off the lawn and sidewalks close to the capitol, making arrests in the process.

Whatever happened on May 1, by Saturday, May 9, there were barricades in place across the entire capitol grounds, restricting access to any areas apart from the surrounding sidewalk. Wearing riot gear, there were police in skirmish lines, positioned every few yards, along the perimeter. There were also police in formations of one or two dozen each, stationed in strategic spots such as on the capitol steps. There were smaller groups of police on bikes and riding horses. Outside, on the streets, there were dozens of police on motorcycles, and there were police vehicles blocking access to 10th street, which runs along the west side of the capitol building’s main entrance. There must have been at least a few hundred police stationed around the capitol that day.

And facing these police were members of the California State Militia. Unlike the week before, this was not a huge and eclectic swarm of protesters. This was a handful of committed activists who have felt marginalized in California politics for a very long time. Holding American Flags, along with the Gadsden Flag (“Don’t Tread on Me”), and many, many signs, about 100 members stood on the sidewalk side of the barricades on 10th Street. Their leader, Major D. Pague, agreed to be interviewed. In the verbatim transcript to follow, he had plenty to say to Governor Newsom, who, regrettably, was not on hand at the time.

Edward Ring:  Why are you all here today?

Major D. Pague:  The significance of why we’re here is that the people are attempting right now and over the last few weekends to come down here and exercise their First Amendment rights by standing here and peacefully assembling and redressing their grievances to the governor and instead of either sending somebody or coming out himself and saying hey, who is the leader of this, come in and talk to me, they’re shutting them down, they’re telling them you can’t do that, but the Constitution and even the attorney general of the U.S. Bill Barr are saying you’re walking a thin line of violating everybody’s civil rights and they can’t do that.

We all understand the COVID thing and all that, although it’s not as bad as they made it sound at the beginning. It’s bad if you’re elderly and have underlying conditions, but if you’re healthy, it’s no worse than the flu. They don’t need to crush the American economy by shutting everything down, just have everybody be smart and do the right thing. I think everybody is going to be smart and do the right thing, I don’t think anybody wants to jeopardize their families and all that.

We are here this weekend, not to protest because we’re not a protest organization. We are demonstrating to them that whether they know we exist or not, we’ve been watching them. They’ve done many things over the years, under Brown, attacking our amendments and our constitutional rights, and we’ve stayed fast and just been quiet. But last weekend, when they arrested 32 people for exercising their rights, they weren’t being rowdy, they [the police] actually got in their faces. That’s not right. You don’t do that. But today they have a fence up, you can’t even get close. And do they send out a representative to talk about what they can do to fix it? No.

Edward Ring/American Greatness

So they shut all the businesses down, then they say the churches can’t open up for up to six months. What’s up with that? Those are our constitutional God-given rights. He does not have the right to do that. He needs to loosen up his heart a little bit. You listen to his language on the news, even though he’s saying he’s going to open some things up, he’s saying it like ‘I’m going to allow you to do this, I’m going to allow you to do that.’ But you [Newsom] don’t allow us to do anything, alright? You work for us, we pay your salary, we pay all their salaries [the police], we own that building. Ok? We are here peacefully today. But if things don’t change, and get better, we might not be peaceful next time.

This is just a small contingent of my men. You check us out. We have thousands of us in the state, we train every single month, we’re here to take care of our community, and what you’re doing [Newsom] is wrong, and if you want to stay in office you need to fix yourself and get yourself right. I don’t know, you must be cheating to get into office, because I can’t believe, with how many people are upset with you, that you are staying in office. But you should be addressing your people.

You should come out here and ask what you can do to fix things and make things better for people. Don’t put people on unemployment and then they don’t get the money. What about the federal money that the federal government is giving you, and now, four weeks later, people just now starting to get the six hundred dollars that they were supposed to get? And that’s not going to go anywhere. You can’t even go to the store now and spend a hundred dollars and feed a family of four. Kids aren’t in school, they aren’t learning, but that’s OK? Kids need to go to school. Families need to go to church and get preached to by their pastors so they can feel God in their heart, but you’re telling them no. That is wrong. That is tyranny, just like that man’s sign says down there.

Tyranny is why the militia was created in the first place. To stop tyranny. What you [Newsom] are doing is wrong, and you better stop it now. Our president, our attorney general, they’re telling everybody, you need to stop this, let everybody get back to their lives, and let them use common sense, and protect themselves.

ER:  How many of your men are veterans?

DP:  I don’t have an exact number, but we have a lot of veterans. I won’t point them out, but they served our country, many of them have gone over and fought for many years. We’ve been at war now for what, 19 years—since 9/11? And they come back home, and they’ve pretty much got dumped off by our own VA, they don’t even get help. And so they feel this need that they need to help their communities. Once you’ve taken that oath—even these guys here, they took that oath. The same as these gentlemen here [points to the police], the same as the governor, they’ve all taken the same oath, to uphold the Constitution, and they are here because they love this country, they love this state, and they want to see everything get back together.

You can’t sit there and keep the economy down and expect it’s going to bounce back. What’s going to happen is they’re going to bring it all the way down until it’s crumbling to nothing, and then we are not going to be able to get it back up. Throughout history, many civilizations have made the same mistakes, and they’ve lost their civilizations. The great Roman Empire ruled more than half the world and they crumbled. The Ottoman Empire ruled half the world, and they made mistakes, and they crumbled.

Edward Ring/American Greatness

ER:  Do you have retired members of law enforcement in your ranks?

DP:  I would say there is a possibility of that.

ER:  It’s interesting that you have taken the same oath.

DP:  Well it’s the oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. When everybody comes into this organization and joins, after they’ve come to a few trainings, they get asked to stand up and hold up their right hand, whether they’re a veteran or whatever their job was, they get asked to take the oath again. It’s called the citizen’s pledge.

ER:  What is your role in the organization?

DP:  I’m the regiment commander. I hold the rank of major. We have nine companies currently under our regiment.

ER:  Is it one regiment in California, or are there more than one?

DP:  I have enough to worry about what these guys are doing, not to worry about what other guys are doing. We are the 2nd Regiment of the California State Militia and that’s all I care about.

ER:  Do you want to be quoted by name or do you want to be quoted anonymously?

DP: I’m Major Pague. I’ve done interviews in newspapers, I’ve been on TV.

ER:  What’s your first name?

DP:  Just D. [motions to his name tag ‘D. Pague’]

Edward Ring/American Greatness

ER:  Is there anything else that you want me to make sure I record?

DP:  That we are here and we are pleading to Governor Newsom, open up your heart a little bit. I’m a Christian, so I refer to you as our modern-day pharaoh, with a hardened heart. Soften it. Let people go back to work. Let people get money so they can feed their families. Let the kids go back to school. I was so blown away when I was driving down here, a seven-hour drive on the freeway, so many flashing signs saying “save lives, stay home.” Don’t do anything. Who is paying for all that? We can’t afford that. We really can’t. And it’s sad that everybody looks to the federal government to bail them out. If the states have sovereignty, then do the right thing. Show us that you can do the job. If you can’t do the job then let’s put somebody in there that can do the job. That’s the whole problem.

ER:  Where do you think this came from?

DP:  The virus? Well, they say it came from China. I don’t know. I wasn’t there. And like everybody else, when it first happened, I was scared, I had no idea. But throughout history—back in the 1960s they had the Hong Kong flu—they didn’t shut down the whole world.

ER:  Why do you think there’s such an overreaction?

DP:  I think some of it’s political. They despise the president so much that they’ll try to do anything to ruin what he’s done. He’s not perfect. None of us are. Sometimes I get mad when he opens his mouth and says something he shouldn’t. But that’s a New Yorker. You ever been to New York? That’s the way they are, OK? We put him in office to do business and he at least tells you what’s on his mind and he does what he says he’s going to do. He’s not like these other politicians that make empty promises when they’re running for office and once they get in there they don’t do anything. He at least does what he says. He’s got the economy doing the best it’s ever done, or it was. And it’s already bounced back quite a bit from where it dropped down to, and if we open up and let him do what he’s supposed to do it will do even better later on.

Great America

The Moral Busybodies Strike Again

Have we learned nothing the past three years?

There’s a weird cognitive dissonance happening right now that is as revealing as it is alarming.

Just as we learn more details about all the ways Barack Obama and his henchmen weaponized powerful federal agencies to punish Donald Trump, Americans, oddly, are surrendering their own power to the same type of god-like government authorities under the guise of the common good.

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive,” C.S. Lewis wrote. “It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

The effort to stop coronavirus, much like the attempt to stop Donald Trump, has been presented by ardent defenders as their call to duty, a selfless act undertaken not to gratify their lust for power but to protect the public’s best interest.

There is no discernible difference between the high-minded hectoring of former FBI Director James Comey and that of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer—their decisions are above scrutiny because, as they often scold their lesser subjects, these decisions are made for your own good. (“Everything I’m doing is trying to save your life,” Whitmer just said in an interview.)

Lies, Lies, and More Lies

Let’s begin with what now is appropriately called Obamagate.

Americans were warned, starting in the summer of 2016, that Donald Trump’s campaign was in cahoots with the Russians to rig the outcome of the presidential election. The basis for that claim, the media and top government officials assured us, was that Russian hackers working on behalf of Vladimir Putin breached the Democratic National Committee’s server, stole thousands of emails, and gave the trove to WikiLeaks.

Then Julian Assange, the story goes, dutifully published those damaging documents on his site the week that the Democrats would coronate Hillary Clinton in July 2016. It all was part of a Trump-Russia plot to hurt Clinton and help Trump win, the intelligence community later asserted.

After Trump won, all the smart people warned that the incoming president posed such a threat to the country that any and all measures to mitigate the spread of his Kremlin-tainted rule would be necessary. (See where this is going?) Investigations into the Trump campaign, the Trump family, the Trump Administration and the president himself were necessary to save the republic.

At first we were assured that the FBI did not spy on the Trump campaign—then we found out it did. Top lawmakers insisted evidence of collusion was in plain sight; then Special Counsel Robert Mueller, after two years and $36 million, concluded there was no evidence of collusion in plain sight or anywhere else.

Obama loyalists, many of whom once held the most powerful and influential offices in the country, promised cable news hosts that they knew for a fact Donald Trump conspired with the Russians to influence the 2016 election. But when questioned under oath by congressional Republicans, those same professionals—so bold and confident in front of the camera—confessed behind closed doors that they never saw any proof of such a conspiracy.

The so-called dossier was raw intelligence carefully collected by a respected former British spy, the media reported. That material, Comey  later explained, did not comprise the bulk of the evidence presented before a secret court to obtain permission to spy on Carter Page, a Trump campaign aide that the FBI accused of acting as a foreign agent of Russia.

But then we found out that the dossier actually wasn’t real intelligence but fabricated propaganda collected by a foreign political operative who was paid by the Democrats and Hillary Clinton. Oh, and by the way, the dossier did in fact represent most of the evidence in Comey’s FISA application on Carter Page. And Page wasn’t a Russian agent after all.

Unmasking U.S. citizens, top intelligence officials solemnly promised, was a rare occurrence and was only allowed when the circumstances were the most worrisome for the security of the United States. Now, those same officials admit that unmasking the identity of U.S. citizens, including close advisors to an incoming president, is of course a “routine” affair—especially when that advisor endangers the well-being of the nation!

Joe Biden didn’t know anything about the investigation into Lt. General Michael Flynn—but oops, turns out the former vice president made a request to unmask Flynn in January 2017.

And according to recently released testimony from an executive of CrowdStrike—the Democrat-connected cybersecurity firm that everyone swore had proof the Russians indeed hacked the DNC server—actually never had proof the Russians hacked the email server. Whoopsie.

Everything—and I mean everything—government officials and their media scribes promised was true about Russian collusion was not true. In fact, it was a big fat lie. All of it.

Why Do We Keep Trusting These People?

So it’s greatly discomfiting, in the face of this massive and destructive sham, to see millions of Americans submit to the whims of government bureaucrats, elected officials, and “experts” who—much like the collusion hoaxsters—have misled us on the coronavirus threat every step of the way. They’ve leveraged fear and panic to bolster their own power grabs. And as with the collusion ruse, the media breathlessly chases every horror story and doomsday scenario while again predicting the end times for Donald Trump.

Dr. Anthony Fauci insisted in January we shouldn’t be too worried about coronavirus. The lethality of the disease, he wrote in February, was about the same as a bad flu. By March, Fauci claimed the fatality rate was 10 times worse than the flu.

Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx showed President Trump two scary models that predicted widespread death and disease, nationwide shortages of hospital beds and ICUs, and a woefully inadequate supply of ventilators. They urged the president, as he admits, to “shut everything down” and extend unproven “social distancing” orders that subsequently crashed a red-hot economy.

But the model issued by Imperial College has been roundly condemned by scientists as “crude mathematical guesswork”; the academic responsible for the now-debunked model has resigned in disgrace. The other model—produced by Dr. Chris Murray—has been way off and subjected to multiple iterations with wildly modified projections.

Americans initially were asked to help “flatten the curve” so as not to overwhelm the healthcare system. That seemingly reasonable demand then morphed into “slow the spread” and then “stop the spread.” Now many experts claim our lives cannot return to normal until a vaccine or a cure is available.

Inexplicably, as those grave mistakes and shifting goalposts are exposed, government commands for compliance become more oppressive and destructive—yet many Americans are playing along. Even though Fauci and other “experts” assured us several weeks ago that face masks wouldn’t prevent us from infecting others; that, too, has changed. Americans, either willingly or for fear of being shamed, are wearing useless homemade masks including while driving a car . . . alone.

Have we learned nothing the past three years?

My hunch is that once we find the truth about coronavirus, nearly everything we’ve been told to do will turn out to have been wrong. As with Russian collusion, the dire predictions will never materialize.

And the public’s trust, once again, will have been shown to be not just misplaced but exploited for political purposes. The moral busybodies working under the pretext of the common good, as C.S. Lewis warned, will have prevailed once again. And we will have been fooled—again.

Great America

The ‘New Normal’? Ridiculous

Is the president right? Will we quickly revert to the status quo ante? No one knows.

Crises, even if they are manufactured ones, are great producers of linguistic mutation. Thucydides noticed this. In one of the most famous bits of his History of the Peloponnesian War, the great historian wrote that in a time of civil war certain words changed their usual meanings and took on new ones. For example, “reckless audacity came to be considered the courage of a loyal ally; prudent hesitation, specious cowardice; moderation was held to be a cloak for unmanliness; ability to see all sides of a question inaptness to act on any.”

It’s not only civil war that produces such linguistic deformations. Any crisis will do.

Our part of Connecticut was badly damaged by Hurricane (or, for the weather pedants among you, “Superstorm”) Sandy in 2012. Like many families, we had to move out of our house for months and were subjected to seemingly endless meetings with various local and FEMA officials who eagerly seized the chance to tell us huddled masses what we could and couldn’t do with our property. Just as every public official and talking head now is an amateur epidemiologist, so back in 2012 they were all expert meteorologists.

I remember one meeting in particular when it was explained to us that storms like Hurricane Sandy were “the new normal.”

“The new normal.” Is there a more nauseating flake of smug linguistic presumption? I think that the imperative “stay safe,” born of our coronavirus panic, comes close. But “the new normal” is worse because it pretends to knowledge not just solicitude. That wretched town official who was telling us serfs what we could and could not do with our homes did so on the hollow authority of knowing, or pretending to know, what the future would bring.

So it is now. At one of President Trump’s near-daily coronavirus press rallies last month, a media mouth began a question by noting the “new normal in which, you know, there’s [sic] smaller crowds in restaurants and bars and—” The president cut him off.

“Oh, that’s not going to be normal,” he said.

There’s not going to be a new normal where somebody has been having for 25 years 158 seats in a restaurant and now he’s got 30 or he’s got 60 because that wouldn’t work. That’s not normal. No, normal will be if he has the 158 or 68 seats, and that’s going to happen and it’s going to happen relatively quickly, we hope. . . . Our normal is if you have 100,000 people in an Alabama football game or 110,000 . . . we want 110,000 people. We want every seat occupied. Normal is not going to be where you have a game with 50,000 people.

Is the president right? Will we quickly revert to the status quo ante? No one knows.

As we warily uncurl ourselves and peek sheepishly over the parapets of our imposed isolation, we see governors and various local officials beginning to open, or at least talk about opening, for business. The general rule of thumb so far is that Republican-leaning localities are opening up more quickly than Democrat-leaning locales. The reasoning is, this pandemic has been an economic disaster. Who knows how many thousands of businesses have shuttered, how many millions of jobs have been lost. In a matter of weeks, unemployment has shot up from an historic low of some 3.5 percent to a near-historic high north of 17.5 percent.

The new normal? Incumbents are generally blamed for bad tidings, even if they happen because of factors beyond their control. So Democrats are eager to perpetuate the people’s misery long enough to assure they can destroy the people’s choice. The Democratic governor of Pennsylvania, for example, just announced that he is keeping the state shut down until June 4, two days after the already-delayed primary election.

Here are some questions to which we do not know the answers. Will people flock back to airplane travel? Will you? Will they crowd into theaters to listen to music or watch plays? Will they be allowed to? Will the old normal ever become the new normal, as the president suggested it would?

A California friend tells me that the restaurant trade association there has presented a reopening plan to Governor Gavin Newsom that, to me, looks more like an instruction manual for economic hari-kari. “Only family members or people who live together would sit at the same table. Buffets, salad bars and shared bread baskets would be out. Salt and pepper shakers could be replaced by bottles of hand sanitizer. And meals could arrive from food servers sheathed in face masks.”

My friend asks: “Only family members or members of the same household? Seriously? No dating couples (only cohabitating ones)? No friends visiting from out of town? Ridiculous.”

Ridiculous, indeed. Back in April—it seems like ages ago—President Trump said he was shifting from a blanket shutdown to an effort to protect “the highest risk individuals,” especially the fragile elderly people with relevant preexisting conditions. That message didn’t seem to get through to many Democratic Governors and some Republican ones. Yet with every passing day, the populace is becoming more frustrated and more angry. I think it is about to get a lot angrier.

The word “unprecedented” has been bandied about a lot to describe the unfolding of the coronavirus. The idea is that the virus is unprecedentedly lethal, but that is clearly not the case. What is unprecedented is our response. We cut off society’s oxygen because we were afraid more people would die if we didn’t. But what if we were wrong?

Last week at American Greatness, Julie Kelly raised a question that has to have been on the minds of many people. What if “social distancing” doesn’t work?

“We have,” she notes “been assured by the credentialed class that keeping a distance of six feet between healthy people for weeks on end was the only tried-and-true way to prevent the deadly spread of the novel coronavirus.”

But what does the evidence show? We’ve shuttered the economy for almost two months. We’ve destroyed trillions in wealth. We’ve put millions out of work. We’ve denied tens of thousands of people access to medical care for anything except treatment of the coronavirus. We’ve imperiled hospitals across the country. Yet we really do not know that “social distancing” has “slowed the spread” or “flattened the curve” of the virus.

In fact, Kelly argues, the practice of “social distancing” is “untested pseudoscience particularly as it relates to halting the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. On its website, the CDC provides no links to any peer-reviewed social distancing studies that bolster its official guidance.”

So: What if the whole rigamarole—the masks, the social distancing, the “sheltering in place,” the forced shutdowns of “nonessential” services—what if it was all theater instead of therapy?

I think I wrote my first piece on the Wuhan Virus towards the end of February. I drastically underestimated the number of lives it would claim (though it is worth noting that the number of COVID-19 deaths is artificially inflated because the government provides an incentive if the virus is listed as the cause of death). But I continue to think that the arguments of epidemiologists like Knut Wittkowski, Dr. Jonathan Geach, and Drs. Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi, urgent care doctors in Bakersfield, California, are correct.

Towards the end of their interview, Erickson and Massihi say, “If you’re going to dance on someone’s constitutional rights, you’d better have a good reason.” They note that an extreme national emergency might provide justification for extreme action. As I wrote, I think they are right that the new coronavirus, however nasty it can be for vulnerable parts of the population, is not an existential emergency but “just the vicissitudes of ordinary life.” Indeed, we should, as they all advise, “treat it ‘like the flu,’ not the Black Death.”

I do not know when the “new normal” will fade back to the old normal, when people will crowd into bars and restaurants, theaters and stadiums, planes and trains and schools. I suspect it will happen a lot quicker than currently predicted.

But I am much less sanguine about the resiliency of our national psyche. Our reaction to the coronavirus revealed the inner Gauleiters of many governors, mayors, judges, and sheriffs across the country. More worrisome was the inner Eloi it uncovered in a not insignificant part of the population.

Great America

Death by the Numbers

This stress test of the Chinese coronavirus has shown us many weaknesses, from our manufacturing capacities and our immigration politics to who Americans have become as a people.

Smart people—the ones who haven’t completely lost their heads over the Chinese coronavirus—have been asking why the world’s greatest economy is willingly committing economic suicide in real-time. And yet eight weeks later, here we are. We’ve put ourselves into this situation by accepting garbage data and assumptions from a papered idiocracy of “experts.” And by papered idiocracy I mean those with pieces of paper from this or that indoctrination center of higher learning that stopped teaching people how to question and think rationally decades ago. 

Across the country, amidst conflicting information and the mainstream media’s created hysteria for the purpose of placing a massive political albatross around President Trump, we accepted these peoples’ “facts” and “statistics” without question. In fact, we should have been questioning the entire premise that listening to any of them is obligatory.

We just saw jobless claims climb to over 30 million with real unemployment probably already at 20 percent. For perspective on that number consider that we did not pass 10 percent unemployment during the Great Depression until we were two years into it, when it eventually reached 15 percent in 1931. We blew past that number in the first six weeks of this economic takedown.

But the other numbers surrounding this economic disaster are even more staggering. We—meaning the government—have already spent $6 trillion on all of this. If you throw in the potential GDP decline of 8 percent, off a GDP of $22 trillion, then tack on another $1.8 trillion or so in losses, that drives the cost to $7.8 trillion. 

For a more human perspective on what that looks like that’s an additional debt of over $60,000 per household.

But let’s break it down by coronavirus cases and deaths. Even if you accept the numbers being reported—which to be clear, I do not, as the real case number is much higher and the number of real deaths from coronavirus is much lower—there are roughly 1.1 million cases in the United States and it has cost us over $7 million per case. With 72,133 fatalities (again, a questionable figure), that cost would come out to more than $107 million per death.

That’s right, kids. The real cost per death is over one hundred million dollars

Are we insane? Have we completely lost our minds? People act like great nations never fall, that somehow, in defiance of history, they exist in perpetuity. If you believe that, I have Greek, Holy Roman, Aztec, Hapsburg, and British Empire souvenirs to sell you.

Either we believe in natural rights, consent of the governed, and in having a healthy dose of skepticism about most of everything the media and many of the political leaders spin at us or we don’t.

Centuries of history tell us nations end all the time. And while some nations fall to outside forces despite their best intentions, many nations decay from within, from moral decay and economic chaos, crumbling in the face of outside pressure when it eventually comes.  

As the economy craters in the face of the devastation of so many failed “expert” models, we now find ourselves blithely watching big government and big tech take even more invasive steps to destroy privacy while they censor the information that doesn’t meet their approval. Many of the “wartime” conservatives were part and parcel to this, simpering and whining that “If it saves lives, if it protects the most vulnerable, we must accept this.” And they shouldn’t act like they weren’t part of this: they gave the statists and the Left the weapon they needed by hyping the virus.

It’s hard to not choke on the incoherent inconsistent gibberish some of them are spouting on Twitter and other outlets, but the silver lining in situations like this reveals who we are as a people and what we actually believe. Actions authenticate beliefs; you can say you believe something, but do you live those beliefs out? Let’s just say that, in action, the authentic ranks of true wartime conservatives are much smaller than originally thought. 

Let’s be clear: 7,000 to 8,000 Americans die from something every day. That number has increased due to the Chi-Com COVID. Nevertheless, on average, more than 200,000 Americans die every month, year after year. 

We are a society where a minority of ghoulish policymakers have allowed hundreds of thousands of abortions to occur every year. For more than 50 years, Democrats, liberals, leftists, progressives—whatever you want to call them have—purposely sought to dull our senses about our culture of death and dying, to push Malthusian and climate change claptrap to get societies to a point where they were happy to allow people to die to reduce the “carbon footprint” and cull the number of stomachs to feed. 

Now these same people are saying and expecting us to believe they think “every life is precious”? Are you serious? The hypocrisy is staggering, so I’m sorry if I’m just a little skeptical. It’s time to end this before their real agenda, the destruction of the American economy, is achieved.

This stress test of the Chinese coronavirus has shown us many weaknesses, from our manufacturing capacities to our immigration politics to our inept bureaucrats to the confused conservative movement to who we have become as an American people. Either we believe in natural rights, consent of the governed, and in having a healthy dose of skepticism about most of everything the media and many of the political leaders spin at us or we don’t. 

We are going to find out a lot about how authentic our beliefs are with us this year: we are either going to slink and slouch towards statism or are we going to “stand athwart history yelling, Stop!”

Demonstrators take part in an "American Patriot Rally," organized on April 30, 2020, by Michigan United for Liberty on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, demanding the reopening of businesses. - Michigan's stay-at-home order declared by Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer is set to expire after May 15.
Great America

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

We can’t explain Governor Whitmer’s cluelessness. Either she blindly accepted the advice of incompetent advisers, or she concocted stupid policies on her own. Neither is acceptable.

The headline, of course, is an aphorism dating from 1862 that was popularized by the charming 1992 Tom Hanks film, “Forrest Gump.” Stupid may be an innate characteristic, but dumbness is certainly an opportunity available to all. It can be especially surprising and sometimes infuriating when a person not thought to be stupid does some really dumb things.

Back in college at our fraternity, we had an “award” for pledges who said or did dumb things, or could not respond to questions fired at them, like reciting the Greek alphabet or remembering some factoid from the university’s illustrious history. The prize was a beautifully finished and inscribed half toilet seat on a chain which the recipient got to wear around his neck until another pledge’s dumb stunt or clueless response occurred. It symbolized manure for brains. (Yes, it was very 1960s.)

If that award were available to us now, even against stiff competition, it would surely go to Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Democrat of Michigan. She has exhibited a stunning dumbness that, even among politicians, is extraordinary. 

Whitmer’s decrees in the name of mitigating the spread of COVID-19 have been both bizarre and counterproductive, lacking common sense or any sort of scientific basis and eliciting widespread mistrust of her judgment.

In fact, some of her edicts are so illogical that one wonders where they possibly could have come from. Perhaps the weirdest is a prohibition on people traveling from one of their houses to another of their own properties. Traffic is certainly not an issue; the roads these days are reminiscent of early morning on a Sunday. Spreading the virus is implausible, since stay-at-home restrictions apply at both ends. And real estate is immune to this viral infection, unless termites are found to be carriers.

 Then there is the restriction on motor-boating, although sailing and rowing are permitted. Another odd requirement is that large stores must close off areas that display carpeting, flooring, furniture, gardening supplies, and paint. With many states requiring simply that total customer occupancy be controlled, why not just use that approach?

The casualty of Whitmer’s micromanagement and lack of understanding is lost public confidence that the state’s leaders are competent and are really looking out for its citizens’ interests.

We could go on with examples of Whitmer’s misguided micromanagement, but first, we must acknowledge that dumb micromanagement is different from bad judgment in setting a strategy. Though only time will tell, the poor judgment of other governors in managing the pandemic may prove to be more consequential. 

Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) may come to regret not clamping down early on spring breakers on his state’s beaches. Governor Brian Kemp (R-Ga.) may have delayed too long in implementing mitigation. And Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) may have been wonderful in managing his image, but not so prescient in setting policy. Critiquing 2020 pandemic strategies will occupy scholars for years to come.

To fully appreciate the import of micromanagement, we would offer a history lesson going back to D-Day in World War II. We’ll spoil the story by divulging the moral in advance: Leaders should set the objectives and leave it to trusted, knowledgeable subordinates to figure out how to meet them. That, by the way, is one of the key principles of leadership espoused by legendary Marine General and former Secretary of Defense James Mattis in his superb memoir, Call Sign Chaos.

The Allies’ invasion plan called for “softening up” the Germans’ Fortress Europe defenses by bombing the gun emplacements that would try to repel the amphibious invasion by allied soldiers and marines. The air forces deployed mostly light bombers because they could come in low over the water and then turn parallel to the beach, allowing them to hit the relatively narrow band of bunkers on the ridge overlooking the beaches. The strategy worked decently on most of the assault beaches and, as a result, casualties were lighter than had been feared.

The American infantry general assigned to Omaha Beach favored more bombing, however, and against the advice of the Army Air Corps, demanded that heavier B-17s be used. They had five times the ordnance capacity of the B-25s and B-26s used elsewhere. But the problem was that the heavier planes were less maneuverable. Thus, they came in higher and perpendicular, instead of parallel, to the beach. Almost all of the bombs overshot their targets by thousands of feet, leaving the pillboxes and heavy guns of the Germans untouched. That is partially the reason for the exceptionally high casualty rate at Omaha.

By analogy, the casualty of Whitmer’s micromanagement and lack of understanding is lost public confidence that the state’s leaders are competent and are really looking out for its citizens’ interests. That lost trust at a time of fear and anxiety has spurred a willingness to rebel against and disobey pandemic-related strictures. 

What Michigan’s citizens seem to find especially galling is that many governors in other “hot spot” states crafted policies using common sense and the guidance of the senior scientists on the White House coronavirus task force, Drs. Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci.

We can’t explain Whitmer’s cluelessness. Either she blindly accepted the advice of incompetent advisers, or she concocted stupid policies on her own. Neither is acceptable, and, as Cato Institute legal scholar Ilya Shapiro observed, “regulations that don’t make common sense, that aren’t seen as reasonable by most people, are simply not going to be taken as legitimate, and they won’t be followed.”

So, to you, Governor Whitmer, we award the 21st-century version of our beloved half toilet seat to wear around your neck. It is a fitting symbol for the citizens of your state to see.

Great America

There’s a Bug in Microsoft FU America 2.0

Must a weary America be inflicted with Gates’ cosplay as the nation’s top fake expert?

We don’t yet have all the tools we need to stop the novel coronavirus and safely re-open the economy. But they are on the horizon,” says William Henry Gates III, holding forth on the search for a COVID-19 vaccine and testing.

From behind the ramparts of a $100 billion fortune, Gates argues for the continuation of his country’s medically induced coma.

Can this ruthless monopolist kiss off already?

The public has lost trust in actual infectious disease experts. The camera-addicted late septuagenarian, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and his team of experts have failed to model COVID-19 so spectacularly, and advised politicians so poorly, that the United States has no accurate data on deaths or the number of infected.

Must a weary America be inflicted with Gates’ cosplay as the nation’s top fake expert?

Every moment that our governments, federal and state, continue to impede the commercial and civic life of the nation, rendering us, from top to bottom, insolvent in the process. Meanwhile, the poorest and most vulnerable Americans—children—suffer as their present and future lives are irreparably impaired.

Gates has never been poor, but I suppose he was a child once. Does he understand that children who are not in school and whose fathers and mothers are unemployed suffer hunger, stagnation, and sometimes even abuse? Did he miss that the premise of federal funding of early schooling as well as of the idea that all Americans should finish high school and as many as possible go to college is that education is absolutely vital to the health of the young and the country?

There are now 30 million unemployed in this country, and double or triple that number of children who are not receiving their schooling, who are not being cared for properly, who are sinking in debt, and who are deeply puzzled by it. They are, however, not too puzzled to see that the senior generation does not view the activity of the young to be essential.

Gates, 65, is not famous for his credentials—he has no college degree—but for the most successful monopoly since Standard Oil. Part “natural” and part “artificial” monopoly, Microsoft’s power originated in a simple fact: in commercial applications, if everyone is using the same operating system and software compatible with it, training and data sharing efficiencies drive demand to one source. A wrinkle in patent protection law, Microsoft’s value flowed from the triumph of standardization over new ideas. Gates’s aggressive defense and careful management of Microsoft’s monopoly made him a very wealthy man.

In the tradition of American wealth, Gates had a wrestling match with God over rich men, camels, and heaven. Switch-hitting from predatory commerce to soul searching, in an interview 2014, Gates offered this empty gibberish:

The moral systems of religion, I think, are super important. . . . I owe it to try and reduce the inequity in the world. And that’s kind of a religious belief. I mean, it’s at least a moral belief.

This barely formed ethos paid a call when Gates and his wife founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000. Bill and Melinda—one senses a folksy relationship with mammon—gave generously, funding the foundation to the tune of nearly $40 billion.

The foundation has since paid in billions to health programs abroad, focusing on AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and measles in Africa. One is compelled to observe, however, that stroking checks for vaccines in Africa does not endow one with an understanding of epidemiology. It is just that, when it is your money, it feels that way.

Are you a doctor? No, but I slept at the Gates Foundation last night. It’s funny when you are selling Holiday Inn.

It’s not funny when you are a morally vacuous plutocrat selling out a nation’s way of life from the safety of a 65,000 square-foot mansion and a pile of money that, laid end-to-end in $500 bills, would reach the moon and back.

Gates lacks the barest beginnings of wisdom with respect to infectious disease. On the subject of morality, Gates speaks as though he were in the fifth grade.

The fifth grade seems to be the point of his arrested development, when Gates obsessively engaged in the science of disinfecting code. Code is a deterministic labyrinth of instructions and data. There are no chance events, only bugs, like bad stitches in a sweater which you can’t see (but if they snag!). You search out and eliminate the bugs, and then you deploy the software.

A pandemic is not like a code or a monopoly, and it is a profoundly moral matter. Gates naïvely may suppose a pandemic is a code problem, because part of a virus is a genetic code. He may think it is a monopoly problem, because the virus is a competitor to be shut down. 

Bad analogy, Bill.

A viral pandemic is not a labyrinth of instructions but a field of uncertainties, some of which will never become certain. They are chances, and chances upon chances. Evolution and the biochemical processes, for all the knowledge of modern science, are barely understood. Epigenetics. Mutations. Transposable elements. Methylation. There are unpredictable behaviors of the virus and its victims.

Good policy requires the evaluation of these uncertainties and the tradeoffs in context of greater national goals, some of which are worth dying for, such as the protection and development of children and the future ground of the happiness of posterity.

Here is a better analogy, Bill.

The long-term suspension of the commercial and civic life of the United States is analogous to surrendering to an overwhelming evil enemy. This is not AIDS in Africa but parley with the Nazi menace, burdening the young with a tyranny “made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.”

Good people make difficult choices. They gamble for the fruits of a good life, now and for their children. Like our Pilgrim forefathers, we risk, possibly all, to live as free people for the sake of posterity, or we utterly, thoroughly disgrace ourselves. 

 So go on, Bill Gates. Get lost.

Great America

The FDA Can Reduce The Horrific Racial Disparities in COVID-19 Deaths

We need to get the Trump Administration to cut through the red tape to get an important advancement in Sickle Cell Anemia approved that has the potential to help alleviate some of the disparate impact of COVID-19 on African Americans.

With over 60,000 deaths, the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the greatest challenges our country has faced in decades. No group in this country has been hit harder by the coronavirus than African-Americans.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are 1.05 million COVID-19 cases in the United States as of April 29th. Of the states releasing racial data, African-Americans represent 13 percent of the population but 29.2 percent of the deaths, according to the CDC

No state has been hit harder by the COVID-19 virus than New York. Of the 62 counties in New York State, 57 of them are outside of New York City. In those 57 counties, African-Americans are 9 percent of the population and 18 percent of the fatalities. In New York City, African-Americans were 28 percent of the COVID-19 deaths compared to only 22 percent of the population. 

New York state has lost 18,015 people to the coronavirus. This is more than any other state. Approximately 71 percent of New Yorkers killed were residents of New York City. 

According to the New York State Health Department, 89.2 percent of those 18,015 people had at least one comorbidity, including hypertension, diabetes, and strokes.

While social distancing has reduced the spread of the disease, we cannot close the racial disparities in COVID-19 deaths unless we address the underlying factors that make African-Americans more vulnerable to this disease. 

For example, sickle cell disease is far more prevalent among blacks than whites. According to the CDC, sickle cell disease (SCD) affects approximately 100,000 Americans. SCD occurs in 1 out of 365 African-American births. Among Hispanics, it is 1 out of every 16,300 births. Among whites, the chances of having this genetic disease are miniscule. 

Sickle cell disease patients have weakened immune systems, which makes them more vulnerable to COVID-19. One pharmaceutical company, Micelle BioPharma, Inc., is leading the effort to help African-Americans in the COVID-19 crisis.

Micelle Biopharma is developing a drug called Altemia for sickle cell patients. According to the company’s chief medical officer, Dr. Uche Sampson, “The development of Altemia™ is based on the FDA’s findings of safety for Lovaza®, a marketed omega-3 fatty acid product that was approved by the FDA for the treatment of hypertriglyceridemia.”

In other words, Altemia™ is similar to Lovaza®. Both drugs are derived from fish oil, but, Altemia™ is at a lower dosage. 

This drug was already successful from the blinded period of the Phase 2 clinical trial. In response, the FDA supported an Open-Label Extension period of the Phase 2 clinical trial to provide the benefits of the drug to subjects in the placebo arm.

We need to get this drug to the market as quickly as possible through a Phase 3 trial waiver. Such an action is not unprecedented. In 2015, the FDA approved a Phase 3 waiver for Intellipharmaceutics. This company produced a drug called Rexista™ XR, which is the  bioequivalent of OxyContin. If the company was forced to conduct a Phase 3 study, it would have cost almost $20 million dollars. A Phase 3 trial can last as long as three to four years. 

  • In 2017,  Dr. Sarfaraz K. Niazi, an expert in biopharmaceutical manufacturing, wrote a citizen petition to the FDA about how to make their clinical trials less costly by knowing when to provide waivers to Phase 3 trials when the drugs tested are similar to the drugs already in the market. Most of Dr. Niazi recommendations on biosimilars were approved by the FDA in 2018. 

Now we need the Trump administration to cut through the bureaucratic red tape one more time and get Altemia™ to save lives from COVID-19. Furthermore, our government needs to develop further treatments to reduce the racial disparities in COVID-19 deaths. 

 

Great America

The COVID-19 Tragedy at the Nation’s Nursing Homes

Rather than focus on how to safeguard the most vulnerable among us, politicians have been preening for cable news cameras, blaming the president, halting the sale of vegetable seeds, and warning against small dinner parties in private homes. A tragedy, a failure, and a disgrace.

When the full history of how experts and politicians handled the spread of COVID-19 is written, the account will be littered with missteps, overreach, and unintended consequences.

Decisions that must be included on that long list of failures are the reliance on the disastrous charts produced by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, also known as the Murray model; the unprecedented quarantine of tens of millions of healthy Americans; the abrupt and devastating shutdown of the world’s most powerful economy; and freedom-destroying actions by power-grabbing politicians from governors down to judges and small-town mayors. It’s very possible, in terms of containing the disease and preventing future outbreaks, nearly everything we’ve been instructed to do has been wrong.

But the gravest mistake, historians likely will conclude, has been the deadly decision to knowingly mix COVID-19 patients with uninfected residents and health care workers in nursing homes.

The total death count due to COVID-19 in the United States, according to several tracking sources, is roughly 50,000 people since March 1. About 25 percent of the total fatalities tallied so far stem from nursing homes.

“Across the country, a pattern has played out with tragic consistency,” reports the New York Times. “Someone gets sick in a nursing home. Soon, several residents and employees have the coronavirus.”

The paper “identified more than 5,400 nursing homes and other long-term care facilities across the United States with coronavirus cases. More than 68,000 residents and staff members at those facilities have contracted the virus, and more than 11,000 have died. That means nearly a quarter of the deaths in the pandemic have been linked to long-term care facilities.”

And that’s just what we know so far.

Cuomo’s Horrible Decisions

It should have been fairly simple for even the simpletons populating state and federal government to figure out that fragile, ill people trapped in close quarters would be the most susceptible to contracting the novel coronavirus. After all, the first known outbreak in the United States occurred in a nursing home in Washington state in late February. The virus spread quickly; at least 35 people died.

But “experts” were caught flat-footed. As they forced healthy children out of school and hounded joggers off public beaches, power-grabbing politicians secretly moved ailing seniors from hospitals to nursing homes—with fatal consequences.

And nowhere, of course, has the practice had a more deadly consequence than in New York. After failing  to prepare his state and the nation’s largest city adequately for the expected outbreak, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a directive in late March ordering nursing home operators to readmit hospitalized residents.

“During this global health emergency, all NHs [nursing homes] must comply with the expedited receipt of residents returning from hospitals,” the state’s department of health directed in a memo dated March 25. “No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the NH solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19. NHs are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission” (emphasis added).

For weeks, the crisis at New York nursing homes rapidly unfolded but pleas for help fell on deaf ears in Albany. The New York Post reported last week that an executive for a Brooklyn facility overrun with sick residents begged the Health Department to allow him to send suspected COVID-19 residents to the empty U.S. naval ship docked outside of the city.

“We don’t have the ability to cohort right now based on staffing and we really want to protect our other patients,” Donny Tuckman, chief executive officer for Cobble Health Center, wrote on April 9. At least 55 people have died at Tuckman’s facility as state officials failed to respond.

Nursing homes in Queens and the Bronx have suffered similar horror stories. The Post reports that about 3,500 nursing home residents in New York have succumbed to the disease, roughly one-quarter of the state’s total fatalities, a trendline that mirrors the nation’s overall results.

But Cuomo, enjoying sky-high approval ratings despite his incompetence, which has resulted in his state representing about 32 percent of the nation’s death toll, refuses to accept blame for the tragedy at his state’s nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

Following critical coverage in both the Times and the Post last week, Cuomo insisted it wasn’t his responsibility to ensure health care workers at these facilities were properly protected. “We have been helping them with more [personal protective equipment] but, again, it’s not our job,” Cuomo said on April 22. The same governor who has shuttered nearly every private business in his state claimed he didn’t “run” private nursing homes.

But rather than investigate the reckless public officials who provided the deadly guidance in the first place or offer extra assistance to the distressed system, Cuomo ordered an investigation into beleaguered nursing homes for failing to comply with state regulations.

Calamities Across the States

New York, sadly, is not an outlier. California and New Jersey issued similar orders. According to New Jersey’s tracker, roughly 3,000 COVID-19 lab-confirmed or suspected deaths are tied to a long-term care facility—that’s half the Garden State’s total fatalities.

One-third of Illinois’ nearly 2,000 COVID-19 fatalities now are linked to long-term care facilities. Last week, Michigan officials claimed 2,218 of the state’s 3,085 COVID-19 decedents were nursing home residents. “Deaths at nursing homes and rest homes make up 56.3 percent of overall coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts as of Sunday,” the Boston Globe reported over the weekend.

In fact, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, at least half of the fatalities in five other states—Delaware, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Utah—are tied to long term care facilities. “COVID-19 has had a disproportionate effect on people who reside or work in long-term care facilities, including the 1.3 million individuals in nursing homes; 800,000 in assisted living facilities; 75,000 in intermediate care facilities; and 3 million people who work in skilled nursing or residential care facilities,” the April 23 report concludes.

What’s even more heartbreaking about the systematic failure to protect nursing homes is knowing that so many died before seeing a loved one as family members are kept away both from COVID-19 patients and noninfected residents. It is a heartless, cruel fate and undoubtedly it will wreak long lasting emotional damage on family and friends left behind.

This is a national tragedy on many levels and an inexcusable, avoidable one at that.

Rather than focus on how to safeguard the most vulnerable among us, politicians have been preening for cable news cameras, blaming the president, halting the sale of vegetable seeds, and warning against small dinner parties in private homes. A tragedy, a failure, and a disgrace.

Great America

Post Hoc vs. Propter Hoc

“If you’re going to dance on someone’s constitutional rights, you’d better have a good reason.” Do we?

Curves are flattening worldwide thanks to stringent lockdown efforts.” That bulletin from one of my favorite magazines made me sit up. “Really?” I thought, “Is it because of the stringent lockdown that the ‘curves’ are flattening?”

For that is what “thanks to” means here, right? Because, “propter” in Latin.

No one needs to ask what sort of curves we are talking about here. There is only one subject that is being discussed now towards the end of April 2020: coronavirus, the insidious cold bug brought to the world by the Chinese Communist Party.

After several weeks of rising numbers of cases and deaths, the bell curves have crested and are beginning to decline almost everywhere. Hurrah! Let’s pat the American people on their collective back. It takes a lot of hard work to destroy the entire economy of a complex first-world nation like the United States in just a few weeks.

But we may have done just that. We forced most businesses to close. We forced people to stay at home. We imperiled countless hospitals by making them treat only one thing: patients sick from the coronavirus. We put more than 26 million people out of work. We shaved trillions of dollars of wealth off the market. Whew! I think of the Caledonian Calgacus who (according to Tacitus) observed that the Romans solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant: “they make a wasteland and call it peace.” 

Unless you are a public health official, for whom even one case of illness from coronavirus is unacceptable, most people feel that our work here is done, or nearly. You can tell that because everywhere people are talking about, and embarking upon, an effort to restart the engines of everyday life.

Well, not only public health officials. They are joined by many Democratic politicians who, like the Marxists of yore, believe that “the worse, the better,” that is, the worse things get, they better they are for “the revolution.” The more people suffer, they think, the more likely they are to turn the bad orange man out of office come November.

Nothing Like a Little Human Sacrifice to Save Lives

Which brings me back to that crucial distinction between post hoc and propter hoc. Count on it: The narrative that is being carefully force-fed to us by the public health establishment and their political allies is that this scourge of scourges would have caused millions of deaths had it not been for the “stringent lockdown.” We had to destroy ourselves in order to save ourselves.

The Aztecs, as is well known, practiced human sacrifice. They placed their victims on a sort of altar atop a temple, sliced open their chests, and extracted their still-beating hearts. Hard cheese on the slicees, of course, but at least they died in the knowledge that their sacrifice was in a good cause. For the Aztec priests did not perform this grisly ritual wantonly. They did it in order to appease the sun god Huitzilopochtli who was constantly at war with darkness. If they omitted the ritual, the darkness would extinguish the sun. How did they know? Simple. They performed the ritual. And the sun rose today, right? Obviously, it was because they performed the ritual that the sun rose.

Or was it?

By now, the political and public-health establishment has an enormous amount invested in a logically similar piece of reasoning. We shut down the country. It was (is and will be) painful. Millions have lost their livelihoods. We are already seeing an uptick in suicides, drug addiction, and other pathologies that follow on economic collapse. But this wasn’t done for nothing. Nosiree! If we hadn’t done it millions would have died. According to the original Imperial College model, the number was 2.2 million.

But that model was wrong. So were the succeeding models that purported to tell us what we could expect with “full mitigation.” It’s hard to tell just how wrong because, starting a few weeks ago, all you had to do to count as a COVID-19 casualty was be in a position to have been exposed to it. Thus it is that the numbers of deaths attributed to the seasonal flu (for example) dropped precipitously while those attributed to COVID have spiked. Since hospitals get more Medicare money (15 percent per diagnosis) for patients with COVID, more patients with COVID are forthcoming.

The narrative will be hard to shift. Until it suddenly collapses under the weight of stories like this: “Miami-Dade has tens of thousands of missed coronavirus infections.” Hmm. You’re seeing more and more such stories. I talked about one from Santa Clara, California last week. One of the most revelatory was a long video presentation from just a day or two back by Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi, two emergency room doctors in California. It’s nearly an hour-long, but worth your time. [UPDATE: And watch it now: YouTube is purging it it fast: it tells the truth but violates The Narrative, therefore it must be censored. UPDATE 2: YouTube took it down again.  I found a new, non-YouTube link that still works. ]

Those doctors are on the front line of the battle against COVID-19. They’ve treated many people who were made very sick from the virus. They also understand the natural progress of respiratory diseases (a subject I talked about here).

Some key takeaways from their presentation: the initial models predicting mass deaths from the COVID-19 were “woefully inaccurate.” With every passing day, we get more and more data about how many people have been infected with the virus. That number keeps jumping up. The number of fatalities, however—even when juiced by adding in all the people who were old and gravely ill with something else—has stabilized and, in most places, is declining.

For example, as of April 23, their data predicts that about 12 percent of Californians are positive for exposure to the virus. There are some 39.5 million people in California. That means 4.7 million have been exposed. As of the 23rd, 1227 people had died from the virus (it’s up a few hundred since then). That means that you have a 0.03 percent chance of dying from COVID-19 in California.

The bottom line about COVID-19? “Millions of cases, small amount of death.” Does that, they ask, justify “sheltering in place”? Shutting down the medical system to everything except COVID? Staying home from work?

Possibly, they acknowledge, when the virus first appeared and our knowledge of its lethality was limited, such precautions were rational. But now?

We Know Better Now

We are told by the establishment that this respiratory illness is not the flu, is not like the flu, and anyone who says that it is is ignorant, malevolent, or both. But with every passing day, it becomes more and more clear that COVID-19 is, in many respects, very much like the flu. It seems to be less contagious, more lethal for the elderly and fragile, less lethal for anyone under 50.

All told, the number of deaths attributable to this particular illness is about the same as the number of deaths attributed to a bad flu season. And remember that many of the deaths that have been attributed to COVID-19 involve people who did not so much die from the disease as die with it (another example of the importance of distinguishing between post hoc and propter hoc).

Throughout history, societies have quarantined people with communicable diseases to protect the general population. Our novel response to the novel coronavirus has been to quarantine the general population in order to “slow the spread” of the virus. As more and more data reveals that the virus was among us much earlier than we initially thought and that many more people have been exposed than we initially thought, the rationale for shutting down the economy seems less and less compelling. For one thing, isolating most of the population impedes the development of herd immunity. For another, by encouraging people to isolate themselves from the world at large, it threatens to erode the potency of our natural immune systems, which require regular challenges to remain robust.

In Sweden, a much milder regime of “mitigation” was enforced. Schools and bars and restaurants remained open. Large gatherings were prohibited. People were encouraged to (and did) practice social distancing. The elderly and ill were protected. The results? Almost indistinguishable from the results in Norway where a much stricter regime of mitigation was enforced.

Perhaps the most important lesson from the presentation by those two emergency room doctors is this: “Theory and reality are not always the same.”

The inescapable Dr. Anthony Fauci is an eminent epidemiologist, perhaps none more so. He has not, these doctors speculate, seen a patient in 20 years. He has been wedded to models that were constantly changing. Hence his predictions have been woefully wrong and look increasingly alarmist. In response to those predictions, we have enacted extraordinary emergency measures that have severely curtailed personal liberty while also expanding the apparatus of social control at every level. Big government just got a lot bigger and a lot more intrusive.

Towards the end of their presentation, one of these doctors observed that “If you’re going to dance on someone’s constitutional rights, you’d better have a good reason.” An extreme national emergency might provide justification for extreme action. The new coronavirus, however, is not an existential emergency but the vicissitudes of ordinary life. We should, these doctors advise, treat it “like the flu,” not the Black Death. I agree.