The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

A Fourth Reich

If Robert Reich were an average Joe on the street who tweeted his feelings for all the world to see, a majority of readers would dismiss him as a leftist crazy. If he were a Hollywood celebrity (Rob Reiner or Barbra Steisand come to mind), most would dismiss his unhinged comments because Hollywood types are much better at acting than thinking. But Reich, is a member of the Democrat elite and a past government official. This past week, Reich tweeted this:


The "catastrophe" he's ranting about is an economy that  improved the lot of the middle class and minorities while reduced income inequality. It's a foreign policy that has done more for peace in the Middle East, for fair trade, and for control of our adversaries (think: Iran) than the past four presidents combined. That "catastrophe." 

I've mentioned on previous occasions (e.g., here) that the hard left has a pre-disposition for purges. Like the Khmer Rouge* and many other infamous communist regimes of the past, they will NOT accept opposing thought. Rather, they will eradicate it by whatever means are necessary. Worse, there have been many instances (e.g., here and here), in which the hard-left extremists in this country violently assault those with opposing views. 

It is S.O.P. for the hard left to call people who oppose their world view "racists, white supremacists, fascists, and nazis." It has become S.O.P. for their military arm—antifa—to riot when their sensibilities are offended. Arson, destruction, and violence have become their weapons, and vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris has threatened its continuance if the election doesn't go her way.  

In recent months, it has become S.O.P. for the left to use their allies among big social media to censor information and people that challenge their narrative. Their trained hamsters in the mainstream media simply refuse to report any news that reflects badly on their candidates. It's getting worse by the day.

But don't believe me ... consider the tweet of another celebrity who until recently was a darling of the left:

It's truly ironic that Reich's tweet could mistakenly be attributed to a vicious murderer like Pol Pot. And remember, Reich is a respected member of the Democrat elite.

FOOTNOTE:

*  The Khmer Rouge were communist fanatics who believed that they could solve Cambodia's problems through a combination of indoctrination and terror. They killed millions and were among history's worst actors.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Responsible People

We currently have supposedly responsible people who are enthusiastically promoting a presidential candidate who exhibits every indicia that is commonly associated with early stage 1 senile dementia, and at the same time is being accused of political influence peddling which illegally enriched his son and possibly, himself. All because they hate, hate, hate Donald Trump. That's not responsible behavior, no matter how much you dislike Trump.

Obviously, Biden supporters disagree, and to bolster what is actually an indefensible position, they have decided to establish a dual fantasy:

  1. Joe Biden stutters ... he's always gaffed his way through politics ... he doesn't have any cognitive impairment, and besides, he'll have the support of Kamala and Bernie and The Squad and Nancy and Chuck and his staff of young leftists when hard decisions must be made. 
  2. The growing volume of evidence, including Biden's own statements and emails written by his son which indicate that Biden was well-aware of his son's influence peddling business and participated so that money could be made, are nothing more that Russian disinformation. (the Russians, yet again appear in the fevered imagination of the Dems ... Is there anything they can't do?)  And besides, leaks and whistle blowers are a bad thing (all of a sudden) particularly when they expose Democrat corruption.
The editors of Issues and Insights comment on the second point:

... The news is getting out [despite the attempts to censor it]. And it isn’t good for either Joe Biden or his freeloading son. The evidence clearly suggests that both Bidens profited from the vice president’s office during the Obama administration, in essence selling access for cash.

What’s galling is that Biden had heretofore denied any contact at all with Hunter’s many global partners, saying he had “never spoken” to his son “about his overseas business dealings.”

But the newly discovered trove of emails from Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop says otherwise ...

The emails are damning, the [New York] Post report shows:

Hunter Biden introduced his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, to a top executive at a Ukrainian energy firm less than a year before the elder Biden pressured government officials in Ukraine into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company, according to emails obtained by The Post.

The never-before-revealed meeting is mentioned in a message of appreciation that Vadym Pozharskyi, an adviser to the board of Burisma, allegedly sent Hunter Biden on April 17, 2015, about a year after Hunter joined the Burisma board at a reported salary of up to $50,000 a month.
 
‘Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent (sic) some time together. It’s realty (sic) an honor and pleasure,’ the email reads.

An email from May 2014 also shows Pozharskyi, reportedly Burisma’s No. 3 exec, asking Hunter for “advice on how you could use your influence” on the company’s behalf.

That shows Biden’s denial was an out-and-out lie.

But that’s not the worst of it.

During a December 2013 official trip to China to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Joe Biden met with Chinese venture capitalist Jonathan Li in a hotel lobby. Nothing wrong with that, except Li was one of Hunter Biden’s partners in an investment firm called BHR Partners, formed just six months earlier.

Still later, he would make room in the White House for another family member,

But the most alarming revelation of all is an email, released by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, that suggests Joe Biden took a half-cut of everything his son earned from his shady foreign deals.
The democrats trained hamsters in the media refuse to ask any questions about any of this and outright refuse to investigate on their own, but what else is new?

Joe Biden is now cognitively impaired. He can't help that, and it is sad. But he wasn't impaired when he participated in the Washington favorite game—influence peddling to enrich himself nd his family. And that indicates that he's nothing more than another swamp creature and probably has been for 47 years. 

Pushback is coming from people who may not be members of the woke elite, but are nonetheless, far more responsible than the woke elite could ever be.

UPDATE:

It's odd that only the foreign media seems to be covering the Joe Biden corruption and influence peddling scandal. Gosh, you'd think the media in this country was covering for their chosen candidate. You'd be right.

In any event, here's still more news (out of a very detailed report) about Biden and his son from the U.K.'s Daily Mail:
... in 2014, when Joe, as Vice President, was helping to implement U.S. policy in Ukraine, Hunter took a highly-paid job with a Ukranian energy company called Burisma (of which more later).

Around the same time, he built murky and contentious connections with Russia, helping his investment advisory firm Rosemont Seneca receive some $3.5m from the billionaire widow of former Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhov ... 
Then there was a somewhat dubious episode in China, where Hunter arranged for an entrepreneur called Jonathan Li, with whom he was setting up an investment fund, to hold a meeting (and enjoy a very public handshake) with Joe in a Beijing hotel lobby during an official visit.

Such ventures, in regions of the world hardly known for their probity, have always smelled distinctly whiffy. So what, then, ought we to make of the revelation that, when his father was Vice President, Biden Jr was doing business in a fourth cash-soaked but highly corrupt country?

Namely: Kazakhstan.

The Mail can reveal that between 2012 and 2014, Hunter worked as a sort of go-between for Kenes Rakishev, a self-styled 'international businessman, investor and entrepreneur' with close family connections to the kleptocratic regime of his homeland's despotic former president Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Emails passed to this newspaper via anti-corruption campaigners from the Central Asian country reveal that Biden Jr held extensive meetings with Rakishev, who was looking to invest a portion of his personal fortune in New York and Washington DC. He also travelled to the Kazakh capital of Astana to hold business discussions ...

It may even be that Joe Biden himself was dragged into the oligarch's orbit. An unverified photograph, published on the website of an anti-corruption group called the Kazakhstani Initiative on Asset Recovery, appears to show Hunter introducing his Dad to both Rakishev and one Karim Massimov, the former Kazakh Prime Minister.

So who exactly is Rakishev?

[In] 2012 ... Rakishev had just joined Forbes magazine's top-15 list of Kazakhstan's 'most influential' tycoons, with estimated assets of some $332 million. Like many an oligarch in possession of a huge fortune, Rakishev was now looking for a safe place to park it, so had come to America in search of new places to invest his hard-earned roubles.

Sadly, things hadn't gone entirely smoothly. For in the highly-regulated world of Western capitalism, Rakishev discovered that blue-chip investment partners were often reluctant to take his cash.

To blame? The fact that no one was entirely sure where his wealth actually came from ...

The United States Department of Justice then took an interest in Rakishev. It soon dragged him into an investigation of potential breaches the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act related to 'an investment in the oil and gas industry in Kazakhstan'.

... in late October 2013, Biden's partner Archer arranged a conference call between Rakishev and the aforementioned Alex Forbes Kerry [daughter of John Kerry], who was by then attempting to raise cash to launch a film production firm.

Immediately after the call that December, Rakishev emailed with happy news: 'Thank you my brother from another mother! Thanks you very much my brother! We decided to invest 1 mln [million]! Give them my email!'

Ms Forbes Kerry, who has never publicly acknowledged her debt to Rakishev, finalised the deal in January 2014. The following month, she and Biden met Rakishev for dinner in Washington DC.

'It was a pleasure to meet you with Devon and Hunter the other day,' she told him by email afterwards. 'I want to thank you for the beautiful watch! I am sorry I didn't open it at the table. I misunderstood and thought it was a baby present so I only opened it when I was at home. It is absolutely beautiful and you are so generous . . . Please come to New York soon and bring your family. We will host you and your team.'

Rakishev responded that he intended to take up that offer in September. 'Let's be in touch!' he wrote ...

In 2017 ... Hunter was of course the subject of a spectacular political controversy. This stemmed from his decision in 2014 to accept a $50,000-a-month job on the board of Burisma, a Ukranian gas and oil company.

The role, for which Hunter had no obvious qualifications (in an industry he'd never worked in), came at a time when his father Joe was touring the region as Barack Obama's Vice President, seeking to shore up support for Ukraine's government following Russia's annexation of the Crimea.

Via Joe, the White House was not only lobbying Ukraine to become more energy independent by exporting oil and gas to the West, but also calling for its government to do more to root out corruption.

In particular, the U.S. and its allies were calling for the dismissal of the country's top prosecutor who was, at the time, carrying out an investigation into alleged malfeasance at Burisma.

All of which meant that the Vice President of America appeared to be using his position to endorse policies that would generate huge profits for a company that had suddenly decided to hire his own son as a director.

As The Guardian newspaper at the time put it: 'Putin's propaganda people can take a long weekend. Their work is being done for them!'

This week's emails leaked to the New York Post suggest that in return for his fat salary, Hunter in 2015 may have attempted to arrange for a senior Burisma executive called Vadym Pozharskyi 'spend some time together' with Joe in Washington DC.

It remains unclear whether any such meeting occurred. Indeed, Biden's campaign, while not disputing the authenticity of the emails, this week issued a carefully-worded statement insisting that 'no meeting, as alleged by the New York Post, ever took place'.

Be that as it may, Donald Trump long ago developed something of an obsession with this affair.

... But as we can today reveal, Hunter Biden's real relationship with the hugely rich oligarch actually runs far deeper than anyone — even Donald Trump — has previously dreamed. 
Before you protest that much of this is circumstantial, recognize that the Democrats initiated a two year special counsel investigation on evidence that was much, much  flimsier than the information presented by The Daily Mail and in the NY Post exposé.

Did Biden benefit monetarily? Did he lie when he said publicly that he had no direct knowledge of his son's shady business dealings? Did he knowingly allow his son to peddle his name to raise money? Does he even remember any of this?

The media won't discuss the matter and even worse, social media censors anyone who tries. Welcome to a preview of the new world of leftist governance, aided and abetted by a media that enables it. Frightening.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Get Busy Living

Regular readers of this space are aware that I have been against prolonged lockdowns since the relative beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak (e.g., writing in March—here, here, here and here). I argued then—and continue to argue now—that the cost of the lockdowns far exceeds the cost of the virus, even with 200,000 plus dead and more than 7 million cases recorded. 

Any objective assessment of the data collected on SARS-Cov-2 indicates that a well-defined and age-bounded elderly population with pre-existing health conditions (i.e., co-morbidities) is the only population that is at serious risk statistically, and only that population should take voluntary extreme measures to protect itself.

Richard Fernandez discusses the growing "rebellion" against government's attempts to keep countries locked down:

The lockdown orthodoxy may have had its “Walter Cronkite abandons Vietnam” moment when the WHO admitted that the policy as implemented may be doing more net harm than good: “Recent commentary from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) special envoy on COVID-19 has sparked questions about the legitimacy of lockdowns to stop the spread of coronavirus. ‘We in the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus,’ the WHO’s Dr. David Nabarro says.”

Politicians who have enlarged their powers under the aegis of public health should realize that the desire for freedom eventually overcomes fear. It starts gradually at first but it builds and never goes away. Eventually, freedom — to some — becomes the goal of life itself as depicted in the prison movie, The Shawshank Redemption.

Red: I don’t think you got to be doing this to yourself, Andy. [Referring to his planned escape.] It’s just shitty pipe dreams. I mean, Mexico is way the hell down there, and you’re in here, and that’s the way it is.

Andy: Yeah. Right. That’s the way it is. It’s down there and I’m in here. I guess it comes down to a simple choice really. Get busy living or get busy dying.

The urge to escape confinement is like a virus. And it’s contagious.

At the end of the day, people (the vast majority who are, in fact, progressives) continue to hide in their homes. Worse they insist that their fear should be the criterion through which their politicians —and yes, the vast majority of politicians who continue to advocate lockdowns are, in fact, Democrats—should mandate how the rest of us live our lives. They're not only wrong in principle, even as they drape themselves in virtue signaling—they're also selfish. 

Children, young people, and adults under 60 are in little danger from virus and yet, people like Joe Biden want to lockdown yet again. Biden and his co-catastrophists love the daily pandemic porn emanating from their media. They love the theatrical use of masks whose efficacy against SARS-Cov-2 is highly questionable. That's the "plan" they famously demand. Not only does it dismiss the struggles of low income people who must work to survive and cannot work remotely, the data on SARS-Cov-2 indicates that their "plan" simply doesn't work. 

The Shawshank Redemption is on my Top-10 list of great movies. It is, in its own way a quintessentially American story—courage in the face of threat, dedication to a goal, and having the will to successfully achieve that goal. "Andy" was talking about a prison break, not about a virus. But that doesn't matter. His sentiment is on target:

I guess it comes down to a simple choice really. Get busy living or get busy dying.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Censorship

One of the most ominous tenets of the people behind the new Democratic party is censorship. The hard-left doesn't like opposing points of view. After all, if you believe them, any position that doesn't conform to their warped world view is "racist" or "socially unjust."

As if to reinforce this view, the new Democratic party's trained hamsters among the big social media companies (e.g., Facebook, Twitter) have decided to go all-in for their masters and censor stories they don't like during the final month of the election season. Even worse, they're beginning to damp or eliminate people who have a conservative view point from posting or retweeting information. In other words, they're allowing the hard-left to use the social network, but conservatives are banned.

The irony in all of this is that Democrats have clutched their pearls over "election interference" for four years, yet they look the other way as Facebook and Twitter interfere with the legitimate flow of information surrounding this election. The new Democratic party has real doubt about the mortality of our constitution (after all, it was written by "white men"), so freedom of speech really isn't an issue. 

Glenn Greenwald, one of the few ethical and honest journalists on the Left, summarizes the Biden influence peddling story that appeared in The NY Post, and then writes:

THE POST, for all its longevity, power and influence, ran smack into two entities far more powerful than it: Facebook and Twitter. Almost immediately upon publication, pro-Biden journalists created a climate of extreme hostility and suppression toward the Post story, making clear that any journalist even mentioning it would be roundly attacked ...

The two Silicon Valley giants saw that hostile climate and reacted. Just two hours after the story was online, Facebook intervened. The company dispatched a life-long Democratic Party operative who now works for Facebook — Andy Stone, previously a communications operative for Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, among other DC Democratic jobs — to announce that Facebook was “reducing [the article’s] distribution on our platform”: in other words, tinkering with its own algorithms to suppress the ability of users to discuss or share the news article. The long-time Democratic Party official did not try to hide his contempt for the article, beginning his censorship announcement by snidely noting: “I will intentionally not link to the New York Post.”

Twitter’s suppression efforts went far beyond Facebook’s. They banned entirely all users’ ability to share the Post article — not just on their public timeline but even using the platform’s private Direct Messaging feature ...

Even more astonishing still, Twitter locked the account of the New York Post, banning the paper from posting any content all day and, evidently, into Thursday morning. The last tweet from the paper was posted at roughly 2:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

The totalitarian operatives within the old Soviet Union or the modern day bureaucrats within the Chinese Communist Party would nod their heads approvingly and smile.

UPDATE:

This from media critic Howard Kurtz:

For Twitter in particular, if you had to come up with a plan to reinforce conservative complaints about its liberal bias, you could hardly do better than for the tech giant to lock the Trump campaign’s account. Not to mention that of press secretary Kayleigh McEnany as well.

Hashtag: #Fail

In fact, Twitter chief Jack Dorsey admitted in a tweet that the company’s conduct--censoring stories and locking accounts with little public explanation--was “unacceptable.” You got that right, Jack. But then he didn’t do anything to fix it, apparently viewing the self-inflicted wound as just a PR problem. Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans plan to subpoena Dorsey next week.

Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook was only slightly more restrained, limiting the Post story’s distribution through its secret algorithm while referring it to an outside fact-checker--the results of which are still not in. Uh, how many negative stories about Trump have both companies tried to silence, no matter what the sourcing? [Answer: none]

No wonder President Trump was telling a North Carolina rally yesterday that “the Bidens got rich while America got robbed...Big Tech is censoring these stories to try to get Biden out of this impossible jam.”

Can anyone say, "Election Interference?"

A while back, the inimitable Richard Fernandez commented on the growing in-your-face bias of both the main stream media and large social media companies—all virulently anti-Trump and in the tank for the new Democratic party.


This week they used that "iron fist" to protect Biden from this latest influencing peddling scandal. It's only the beginning.


Canaries in the Coal Mine

Bari Weiss is a progressive who has shown courage in writing a compelling piece about Jews and the new (hard-left) Democrats—the party of Bernie Sanders and the Squad, the party that is afraid to criticize groups like antifa and BLM, the party that views themselves as the champions of "social justice"  and critical race theory. Weiss doesn’t fully connect the dots and probably refuses to do so, but she implies that if Joe Biden wins and the social justice crowd takes over (and they will), Jews are in trouble … big trouble. 

She writes:

To understand the enormity of the change we are now living through, take a moment to understand America as the overwhelming majority of its Jews believed it was—and perhaps as we always assumed it would be.

It was liberal.

Not liberal in the narrow, partisan sense, but liberal in the most capacious and distinctly American sense of that word: the belief that everyone is equal because everyone is created in the image of God. The belief in the sacredness of the individual over the group or the tribe. The belief that the rule of law—and equality under that law—is the foundation of a free society. The belief that due process and the presumption of innocence are good and that mob violence is bad. The belief that pluralism is a source of our strength; that tolerance is a reason for pride; and that liberty of thought, faith, and speech are the bedrocks of democracy.
Weiss goes on to discuss traditional American liberalism, using Martin Luther King's words as examples. Then she writes:
American liberalism is under siege. There is a new ideology vying to replace it.

No one has yet decided on the name for the force that has come to unseat liberalism. Some say it’s “Social Justice.” The author Rod Dreher has called it “therapeutic totalitarianism.” The writer Wesley Yang refers to it as “the successor ideology”—as in, the successor to liberalism.

At some point, it will have a formal name, one that properly describes its mixture of postmodernism, postcolonialism, identity politics, neo-Marxism, critical race theory, intersectionality, and the therapeutic mentality. Until then, it is up to each of us to see it plainly. We need to look past the hashtags and slogans and the jargon to assess it honestly—and then to explain it to others.
You may have noticed that as the new Democratic already has enormous influence over the media and has worked hard to control the narrative. Its members see everything through a racial lens—everything. Weiss comments:In fact, any feature of human existence that creates disparity of outcomes must be eradicated: Thefamily, politeness, even rationality itself can be defined
In fact, any feature of human existence that creates disparity of outcomes must be eradicated: The nuclear family, politeness, even rationality itself can be defined as inherently racist or evidence of white supremacy, as a Smithsonian institution suggested this summer. The KIPP charter schools recently eliminated the phrase “work hard” from its famous motto “Work Hard. Be Nice.” because the idea of working hard “supports the illusion of meritocracy.” Denise Young Smith, one of the first Black people to reach Apple’s executive team, left her job in the wake of asserting that skin color wasn’t the only legitimate marker of diversity—the victim of a “diversity culture” that, as the writer Zaid Jilani has noted, is spreading “across the entire corporate world and is enforced by a highly educated activist class.”

The most powerful exponent of this worldview is Ibram X. Kendi. His book “How to Be an Antiracist” is on the top of every bestseller list; his photograph graces GQ; he is on Time’s most influential people of the year; and his outfit at Boston University was recently awarded $10 million from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

According to Kendi, we are all either racist or anti-racist. To be a Good Person and not a Bad Person, you must be an “anti-racist.” There is no neutrality, no such thing as “not racist.” Indeed, Kendi wants to ban those words from the dictionary.
Mr. Kendi has written that he wants the U.S. government to establish a "Department of Anti-Racism" and pass an "anti-racism" Amendment to the Constitution. George Orwell, anyone? 

According to Kendi and his followers within the new Democratic part, all cultures are equal. From Weiss:
[Kendi] writes: “When we see cultural difference we are seeing cultural difference—nothing more, nothing less.” It’s hard to imagine that anyone could believe that cultures that condone honor killings of unchaste young women are “nothing more, nothing less” than culturally different from our own. But whether he believes it or not, it’s obvious that embracing such relativism is a highly effective tool for ascension and seizing power.

It should go without saying that, for Jews, an ideology that contends that there are no meaningful differences between cultures is not simply ridiculous—we have an obviously distinct history, tradition and religion that has been the source of both enormous tragedy as well as boundless gifts—but is also, as history has shown, lethal.

By simply existing as ourselves, Jews undermine the vision of a world without difference. And so the things about us that make us different must be demonized, so that they can be erased or destroyed: Zionism is refashioned as colonialism; government officials justify the murder of innocent Jews in Jersey City; Jewish businesses can be looted because Jews “are the face of capital.” Jews are flattened into “white people,” our living history obliterated, so that someone with a straight face can suggest that the Holocaust was merely “white on white crime.”

This is no longer a fringe view.  

But then again, the new Democratic party is not a fringe party. Its cognitively-challenged candidate would, I suspect, have immense trouble reading and understanding Bari Weiss' critique, and that in itself is very troubling. But far more troubling would be his inability to defend the original liberal values that Democrats used to champion against the onslaught of hard-left dogma that is sure to come with a victory. 

After providing many examples of the anti-Semitic bias that emanates from far too many members of the new Democratic party, Weiss writes:
... when I try to discuss this with many Jews in leadership positions, what I face is either boomer-esque entitlement—a sense that the way the world worked for them must be the way it will always work—or outright resistance. Oh please, wokeness isn’t important anywhere but in silly Twitter microclimates. When you explain that no, in fact, this ideology has taken over universities, publishing houses, the media, museums and is now making quick work of corporate America, you hit another roadblock: Isn’t this just righting some historical injustices? What could go wrong? You then have to explain what could go wrong—what is already going wrong—is that it is ruining the lives of regular, good people, and the more institutions and companies fall prey to it, the more lives it will ruin.

The dominoes are falling hard and fast. That’s how you get pulpit rabbis who argue that Jews should not claim ourselves to be indigenous to the land of Israel. Or an organization meant to fight anti-Semitism that aligns itself with Al Sharpton. Or a tinderbox in the city with the largest Jewish population in the country, whose communal outfits seem to care more about lending cover to politicians than ensuring the physical safety of Jews.
If Joe Biden wins in November, the new Democratic party wins and becomes empowered. The majority of Jews, apparently clueless or willfully ignorant of the consequences, will cheer and celebrate. More dominos will begin to fall. 

Weiss concludes with a sobering comment:
It is not by chance that Jews thrived in a world in which liberalism prevailed. The idea that we should judge each person not by their station or their family lineage but by their deeds; that human beings have agency—these are revolutionary ideas that are, at root, Hebrew ones. We should never be shocked that any ideology that makes war on these true and eternal values will inevitably make war on us.

There's an old saying that Jews are canaries in the coal mine. When the "war" comes for them, it will also come for everyone who opposes the "mixture of postmodernism, postcolonialism, identity politics, neo-Marxism, critical race theory, intersectionality, and the therapeutic mentality" espoused by the new Democratic party.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Nothing to See Here

If you believe the media spin, Joe Biden is "empathetic,", he's a courageous decision maker, and the kind of man who should be president. Scranton Joe is, according the his campaign and their trained hamsters in the media, a "man of the people", a crusader for the middle class and minorities. He's a "moderate" whose buddy was the suddenly sainted John McCain, a guy who will "reach across the aisle" and "get things done."

All of that is unmitigated nonsense, but you'd never know it if you read and watch most mainstream media. It's the narrative, and that's that.

In the real world, Joe Biden is a mediocre politician who has accomplished little in his 47 years in public life—except one thing. He has used his position as Senator and Vice President to enrich family members—his brother, his son, Hunter Biden, and to a lesser extent, his sister.

Joe Biden is corrupt in the way that most politicians are corrupt, but because he's a Democrat, he knows that in the 21st century he's bullet proof. That's why he can claim that serious and evidence-based allegations of influence pedaling, supported by facts and even his own words, are "unsubstantiated" or "disproven." His media pals won't ask him hard questions, won't investigate and, more ominously, will actively bury any news item that demonstrates who the real Joe Biden is.

This week, The New York Post released a bombshell story that ties Joe Biden directly to the Ukrainian machinations that made his son, Hunter Biden, infamous and rich. Here's a snippet:

Hunter Biden introduced his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, to a top executive at a Ukrainian energy firm less than a year before the elder Biden pressured government officials in Ukraine into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company, according to emails obtained by The Post.

The never-before-revealed meeting is mentioned in a message of appreciation that Vadym Pozharskyi, an adviser to the board of Burisma, allegedly sent Hunter Biden on April 17, 2015, about a year after Hunter joined the Burisma board at a reported salary of up to $50,000 a month.

“Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together. It’s realty [sic] an honor and pleasure,” the email reads.

An earlier email from May 2014 also shows Pozharskyi, reportedly Burisma’s No. 3 exec, asking Hunter for “advice on how you could use your influence” on the company’s behalf.

The blockbuster correspondence — which flies in the face of Joe Biden’s claim that he’s “never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings” — is contained in a massive trove of data recovered from a laptop computer.

The computer was dropped off at a repair shop in Biden’s home state of Delaware in April 2019, according to the store’s owner.

Biden's response team flew into action, claiming all of this is just a "conspiracy" and his protectors at Facebook and Twitter literally banned the story and shadow banned the reporters who wrote it. The New York Times (in an epic example of blatant hypocrisy) wouldn't run the story claiming that the information was hacked (it wasn't) and that it wasn't "100% verified." As if they used that standard when they reported on a wholly unsubstantial allegation of rape made by a sketchy partisan against SCOTUS nominee and now Justice Brett Kavanaugh, or when they ran with a wholly unsubstantiated story that Donald Trump dissed military veterans.

Where's the intrepid crusader for the truth, Carl Bernstein? Where are the vaunted investigative journalists at the Washington Post? Where are the reports on CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN? Where's Sixty Minutes? Where's the Sunday morning crusader, Chuck Todd? Where are the reporters who travel every day with Biden (when he's not in the basement)? 

MIA ... that's where.

Today, Biden is cognitively disabled and may not even remember the meeting he had with the Ukrainian businessman, but gosh, much thinner stuff than that was used to impeach Donald Trump. 

I'll admit, Biden isn't as cunning or as corrupt as O.G. Hillary Clinton, but it is fascinating that the past two Democrat candidates for president used their previous public office over many years to enrich themselves and their families. 

But the trained hamsters circle the wagons and tell us, "Nothing to see here, move along."

UPDATE:

James Freeman discusses the utter journalistic hypocrisy of the New York Times:
News consumers should be gratified to know that the New York Times has decided it will demand the highest journalistic standards—at least from its crosstown rivals. Just three days after a Times writer formally announced that the newspaper is transitioning “from the stodgy paper of record into a juicy collection of great narratives,” Times staff is now attacking the juiciest narrative of the 2020 campaign.

The kerfuffle began with a story published this morning in the New York Post, a Times rival which, like the Journal, is owned by News Corp ... 

There’s no question it’s a juicy narrative, and the Post’s principal source, former New York Mayor and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, says it’s going to get juicier. Mr. Giuliani tweets today:

Emails from Hunter Biden’s hard drive reveal Joe Biden lied about BURISMA.
Much more to come.

But the Times doesn’t seem to like this particular juicy narrative, and some of its employees have taken to Twitter to raise questions about the account. For example Maggie Haberman wonders why Senate government affairs committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) never found such evidence:
Things that are sketchy in NYP story on Hunter Biden - why wasn’t this in Ron Johnson report if it’s been in possession for awhile? When did Giuliani acquire it? Giuliani has been everywhere on the but this has been kicking around since late last year and unreleased till now?
It seems that reinstating the stodgy traditions of journalism is the Times policy when a narrative heads in a dangerous political direction.
Indeed it does.  

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Court Packing

There are reasons that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris refuse to take a position on "packing" the Supreme Court. 

On the one hand, they know that the majority of Americans oppose court packing. It's a classic example of changing the rules to gain partisan advantage and most Americans don't like that a bit. On the other hand, Biden and Harris fear their hard-left base, and will do their bidding. Better to remain silent—a cowardly position no doubt, but workable when the media is on your side and refuses to press the issue. Enbarrasdsed (I guess) and under pressdure, Joe now says he's "not a fan" of court packing, but then again, I'm "not a fan" of hockey but that doesn't mean I won't go to a game.

And please spare me the semantics currently be deployed by the Dems and their smear shop operatives to confuse the issue. Filling court vacancies at any level is NOT "court packing"—demanding additional justices of the Supreme Court to gain a partisan advantage is. Of course, the Democrat's trained hamsters in the media leaped to the rescue and renamed "court packing," calling it "depoliticizing" the court. That's exactly the opposite of what it is, but in the Alice in Wonderland world of the Left, that doesn't matter.

Dennis Prager and Tim Groseclose explain why the idea of court packing is so dangerous and is a threat to our enduring idea of three independent branches of government. They write:

[Assume] Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed to the Supreme Court, which gives conservatives a 6-3 advantage (or 5-4, given that Chief Justice John Roberts has essentially become a swing vote).

Then, in January, having retained the Democrat-majority House, a President Joe Biden and a newly Democrat-controlled Senate decide to undo the advantage. Congress passes and Biden signs a new law expanding the Court to 15 members. Biden appoints six new liberal justices, handing the left a 9-6 majority -- a 60% advantage.

What happens when the Republicans regain power and they want a 60% conservative advantage? As a bit of algebra shows, to reverse the Democrats' 9-6 advantage, they'd have to expand the Court by 7.5 members. Of course, they can't nominate half a justice, so they'd probably round up to eight. Regardless, the Republicans, to gain a 60% advantage, must expand the Court by more than the Democrats did -- by eight, as opposed to six.

The parties would surely continue to insist upon a 60% advantage, meaning that, with each switch in power, they'd have to expand the Court's size by 50%. The key thing to note is that they would have to expand the court not by a constant, number but by a constant percentage. This is what would cause exponential growth. If, for example, one side insisted on a 65% advantage and the other followed suit, they'd have to expand the Court by 86% at each switch in power.

SCOTUS would no longer be a court, but a partisan faux legislative body, beholding to whichever party is in power. It would become a travesty.

Like small children, the Dems have difficulty looking beyond the moment. That's why they [Harry Reid was in change] invoked the "nuclear option" in 2013 and eliminated the filibuster for executive branch and federal judiciary nominations (but not SCOTUS). The Dems thought they'd be in power forever. That didn't happen, and they've been hurt by it. Now, they've decided to do the same thing with court packing—an infantile idea that is as destructive as it is dangerous.

The fact that the Democrats are even considering court packing is a clear indication that they do NOT deserve to lead.

UPDATE-1:

Deroy Murdock makes an interesting proposal:

Republicans from President Trump, to U.S. Senate and House nominees, to GOP state-legislative candidates all should sign what I am calling the "Ginsburg Amendment Pledge" and make noise when they do.

The Ginsburg Amendment would create the 28th Amendment to the Constitution and enshrine a nine-seat U.S. Supreme Court in America’s most sacred civic document. The recently departed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wanted the high court to maintain its current size.

“Nine seems to be a good number,” Ginsburg told National Public Radio’s Nina Totenberg on July 24, 2019. “It’s been that way for a long time.”

Ginsburg added: “I think it was a bad idea when President Franklin Roosevelt tried to pack the court.”

Ever senator would have to go on the record, before the election, on whether they agree with RBG and want to enshrine a 9-justice SCOTUS or whether they oppose her point of view and leave the door open to court packing. 

UPDATE-2:

And this satire from The Babylon Bee:

WASHINGTON, D.C.—According to anonymous sources, local liberal man Penn Millikers proposed to his girlfriend but has refused to reveal his position on adultery until after the wedding is over.

The staunch Democrat said he wants the woman to marry him but won't reveal his position on adultery until the marriage is finalized.

"Listen, I love you, babe, but you don't deserve to know what I think about adultery until you say 'I do,'" he told her during a romantic dinner just after he proposed. 

"No matter how many times his girlfriend asked, Millikers refused to give a straight answer," said the anonymous source. "He said something like: 'Lookie here, Jill! If I tell you right now whether or not I plan to remain faithful to you, that would become the story! This is just a distraction! I think it's better to just get married first with no prenup. Then I'll tell you what I plan to do.'"

Yep. Just a distraction.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Sweden

Team Apocalypse hate, hates, hates Sweden. After all, Sweden didn't listen. It didn't lock down its entire economy. It didn't close schools, it didn't demand that masks be worn. It didn't close restaurants or stores or gyms. Its leaders didn't hide in the basement making vacuous comments about "following the science" ... and guess what? It's showing about the same (or better) virus outcomes as those countries that did all of that. Except ... without the economic and social carnage that Team Apocalypse's catastrophist recommendations created.

Dan Hannan comments:

My columns on Sweden’s laissez-faire approach to the coronavirus always provoke an angry response. But it is striking that, the better Sweden does, the angrier its critics become.

Like anti-Trumpers who couldn’t hide their annoyance at the success of the U.S. economy, or British Remainers who longed for a recession so as to be able to say “I told you so” about Brexit, lockdown enthusiasts determinedly screen out the good news ...

The lockdown was initially sold across the world as the only way to avert calamity. The cost of the closures (in terms of lost liberty, lost livelihoods, and, indeed, lost lives through non-coronavirus health conditions) was so vast that there was no other way to justify it. Lockdown proponents didn’t say, “This might slightly reduce the mortality rate.” They said, “Do it or our hospitals will be overwhelmed!”

Which was, to be fair, what they initially expected to happen in Sweden. “Heading for disaster” was the headline in Britain’s right-wing Sun. “They are leading us to catastrophe,” agreed the left-wing Guardian. Time magazine reported that “Sweden’s relaxed approach to the coronavirus could already be backfiring” and quoted a doctor saying that it would “probably end in a historical massacre.” “We fear that Sweden has picked the worst possible time to experiment with national chauvinism,” chided the Washington Post. President Trump, justifying his own crackdown, bizarrely claimed that Sweden “gave it a shot, and they saw things that were really frightening, and they went immediately to shutting down the country.”

Not one commentator in March or April argued that Sweden might be less at risk than other places. Lockdown enthusiasts have switched very suddenly from “Sweden is heading for a genocide” to “well, we couldn’t do that here because we’re nothing like Sweden.”

All of the doomsday scenarios concerning Sweden were wrong. Team Apocalypse was WRONG! In fact, they've been a lot more wrong than right. Their projections and models have been off by orders of magnitude. Their experts (the inimitable Dr. Fauci comes to mind) have been catastrophists whose comments were overwrought and dangerous. Their political party—the Democrats—demanded actions (e.g., lockdowns and school closures) whose catastrophic outcomes were then used as weapons against Trump. Their trained hamsters in the media maintained death and case scoreboards without the granularity needed to understand that COVID-19 is serious (for a targeted demographic—the old), but not significantly more serious than a bad flu season for everyone else.

It will take years to recover from the economic and societal damage Team Apocalypse, through its recommendations and demands, has done. Yet the Team doubles down, insisting that what they did was right and demanding more of the same.

They weren't right, and they should be ashamed. But they aren't. Team Apocalypse believes that pandemic porn provides them political leverage. It did do that, but the fact that they've ruined lives and livelihoods is beyond their concern ... except as it might be used to garner votes. 'Despicable' doesn't even begin to cover it.

UPDATE:

These two tweets summarize nicely:


This experiment was designed by hysterics, catastrophists, and fools. If only they suffered the consequences, all would be fine. But that's not the case. They're forcing all of us into an experiment driven by their fear (and political ambition). The experiment has gone bad, really, really badly, but they won't let it end.

A growing number of epidemiologists recognize that the experiment is an abject failure. Fraiser Myers writes:
As much of the world gears up for a second round of lockdowns, and restrictions on everyday life grow ever tighter, a group of infectious-disease epidemiologists and public-health scientists have come together to propose an alternative. The Great Barrington Declaration was spearheaded by Martin Kulldorff from Harvard Medical School, Sunetra Gupta from Oxford University and Jay Bhattacharya from Stanford University Medical School.

The declaration was bound to cause controversy for going against the global political consensus, which holds that lockdowns are key to minimising mortality from Covid-19. Instead, the signatories argue that younger people, who face minimal risk from the virus, should be able to go about their lives unimpeded, while resources are devoted to protecting the most vulnerable. The lockdowns, they argue, have not only caused an intolerable amount of collateral damage, but have also contributed to a higher number of Covid deaths. But for making this argument, the declaration has been censored.
And once again, we're back to fantasy vs. reality. Team Apocalypse and their progressive membership are all about fantasy. The fact that their experiment (i.e., the lockdowns) has failed is reality. At least some serious scientists are beginning to speak out.  Just today, the signatories of the The Great Barrington Declaration have been joined by the W.H.O. that finally has come to the conclusion that lockdowns are a very bad idea and should NOT be renewed in any form.


Monday, October 12, 2020

Riots? What Riots?

Riots? 

What riots? 

After internal polling indicated that leftist rioting in cities across the country had caused many Americans to gravitate toward a vote for Donald Trump (while Biden hid in his basement), the Democrats' trained hamsters in the media have decided on a complete riot (a.k.a. "mostly peaceful protests) news blackout. In fact, the Associated Press (AP) has banned the use of the word "riot" from its news reports. Even "peaceful" protests have dropped off the front page and news about rioting has all but disappeared, even though destruction and violence in Portland and other cities are ongoing. 

Byron York comments:

Remember when Democratic leaders and their allies in the media blamed it all on Trump? But with the president in a hospital 2,800 miles away, and with Democrats and media talkers consumed by other stories, the protests have continued. At the courthouse, as the indefatigable street journalist Andy Ngo reported, the rioters began to vandalize a building that "cost taxpayers $324 million and took four years of construction time." Six people were arrested.

Even more serious was an attack on a police officer. On Sunday morning, a Portland officer was doing paperwork in his car when a rioter smashed a window and filled the car with pepper spray. The officer managed to radio a description of his attacker, who was later arrested in a car that police had been following earlier. "Inside the vehicle, officers found window punch tools, pepper spray, throwing knives, a laser pointer, a slingshot, rocks, and more," police noted ... it was a whole rioter's toolkit. (The packets of Sudecon are for self-treating pepper spray exposure.)

Police reported that the suspect was a 41 year-old Portland man named John B. Russell. He was charged with assaulting a public safety officer, aggravated harassment, and criminal mischief in the first degree. Andy Ngo helpfully provided Mr. Russell's mug shot ... Ngo also reported that Russell, like almost every other violent rioter in Portland, was quickly released [using bail money from a fund contributed to by people on the Biden campaign], so he will surely be back at work soon.

The Dems hope that by muzzling their trained hamsters, people will forget the chaos that reigned in blue cities for 4 months. People won't forget.

Pushback is coming.

ADDENDUM:

A cognitively challenged Joe Biden tells us that antifa (and by extension, the group BLM) is just "an idea," not a group of leftist extremists whose behavior (e.g., destruction, arson, violence) borders on domestic terror. 

Journalist Andy Ngo tweets:

Heh. Maybe Joe Biden should explain to us how "an idea" can attack a woman because she was carrying an American flag. For that matter, the last time I checked, ideas didn't burn down buildings, destroy property, attack cops, or murder civilians. Maybe Joe should emerge from his basement a give his idea a name. He should then condemn leftist riots without reservation or reference to "white supremacists," who are bad people but had nothing whatsoever to do with the destruction we have seen in Portland and elsewhere (except in the fevered imagination of those suffering from TDS).

Then again, it's entirely possible that Joe can no longer understand the difference between "an idea" and a bunch of leftist thugs who want to do harm to anyone who opposes them.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

"Blockbuster"

Just when you think media bias could not possibly become any worse, the Democrats' trained hamsters exceed expectations. The "blockbuster" news that 12 "right-wing" (anarchist?) fanatics hatched a failed plot to attack Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan has been reported with a combination of "we told you so" glee and breathless gravitas. It's worth noting that the plot failed completely, involved no one but a bunch of nameless crazies, and was interdicted early by the authorities. Of course, Whitmer blamed it all on Trump, and the media trumpeted her vacuous comments.

Contemporaneous blockbuster news and revelations about another plot, hatched and executed at the highest levels of government and known by the Obama-Biden administration goes largely unreported. That plot was on-going for almost two years, was purposely stonewalled by the FBI, and was denied by all of its lying participants until their own words indicted them. With every document release and congressional hearing, it gets worse. The soft coup attempt again the Trump campaign in 2016 and his presidency throughout 2017 and 2018 is the political scandal of the century. Unless you're the mainstream media. Then ... crickets.

UPDATE:

It was a small story, really. Someone erected a 10-foot high "Hollywood"-like "Trump" sign on private property in the hills above the 405 in LA. 

It was amusing and a clear example of protected political speech. But not to the very woke state of CA. The state entered the private property within 24 hours and removed the sign because "it was distraction for drivers." I wonder whether CA also removed every other billboard that might be a "distraction" along the 405.

Richard Fernandez tweets:


The leftist iron fist has already begun to appear (e.g., shadow bannings on social media, cancelling celebrities who espouse opposing views, corporate woke behavior). One can only wonder how it will evolve should Biden win the presidency.



Friday, October 09, 2020

A Feature, Not a Bug

Bill Clinton was an effective Democrat president who understood his country and governed well. I voted for the man twice, despite his personal foibles, because he got stuff done. However, since Clinton left office, the other elected Democrat president, congressional leaders and members of congress have failed miserably at governance, have participated in or encouraged scandalous behavior inside the government, and most important, have been habitually dishonest and vicious.

Kamala Harris exemplified some of that in her debate performance a few nights ago. Molly Hemingway notes that Harris did or said the following during the debate:

  • blamed Donald Trump for COVID deaths but never indicating how she and Biden would have reduced the death count;
  • promoted the proven "fine people" hoax; 
  • invented a little dishonest history about Abe Lincoln; 
  • suggested she hadn't receiving equal debate time while actually getting about 10 percent MORE time (Harris—38:34, Pence—35:22) than her opponent; 
  • encouraged anti-vaxer positions by suggesting that she wouldn't take a vaccine if it was suggested by Donald Trump; 
  • outright lied about Joe Biden's past positions on fracking; 
  • refused to answer a critical question about her position on packing the Supreme Court; 
  • was disingenuous when she criticized the state of the COVID economy while never mentioning that it was the Democrats at all governance levels who championed the lockdown; 
  • noted that Trump blamed China for COVID-19 as if the origin of the virus was ind depute
BTW, did you know that the debate moderator, Susan Page, was Nancy Pelosi's biographer? Hemingway comments:

One of the problems with the media being so uniformly in support of the Democratic Party and its goals is that nearly all the questions posed in debates are loaded with false assumptions. The first question to Pence, for instance, was that the U.S. death toll was worse than “almost” any other “wealthy” country on earth. The U.S. case fatality rate of 2.8 percent is below Italy, United Kingdom, Belgium, Sweden, Canada, France, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and Germany, something that the media rarely mention.

When Page asked Harris about whether she’d take a vaccine, she neglected to mention that Harris had made anti-vaccination remarks weeks ago.

Page couched a discussion of the economy in a claim that the economy is not recovering. “Vice President Pence, your administration has been predicting a rapid and robust recovery, but the latest economic report suggests that’s not happening.” In fact, the latest estimate from the Atlanta Federal Reserve is that third-quarter GDP growth will be more than 35 percent, the largest in history.

“Do you believe that climate change poses an existential threat?” was the general tenor of the questions. She highlighted that “President Trump” blames China for the coronavirus, as if it’s in dispute that the coronavirus came from and was mishandled by China. Instead of asking Harris for her support of abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, and for suing nuns to force them to pay for abortions, Page went with a far friendlier “Would you want your home state to enact no restrictions on access to abortion?”

Page didn’t ask Harris about supporting a bail-out fund for rioters.

Most egregiously, a question about the peaceful transfer of power was posed as if this was a concern for Trump, even though it is the Resistance who, by definition, have fought the 2016 election’s legitimacy for nearly four years now.

Pence was asked tough questions about things Trump has said or done. That is appropriate and good. It is also appropriate and necessary for Biden and Harris to be asked tough questions about their views. That is where the media have completely abdicated responsibility in favor of their preferred 2020 approach of campaign advocacy.
From the point of view of the "non-partisan" debate commission, all of that's a feature, not a bug. 

UPDATE:

Regardless of every debate moderator's attempt to protect the Democratic candidate, Mike Pence was successful in pointing out the alliance between the socialist wing of the Democratic party and Joe Biden. Kim Strassel comments:
Debates rarely produce clear winners, though they often produce clear wins. Vice President Mike Pence’s victory of the evening was successfully exposing for viewers who is really running today’s Democratic Party. And give him credit. Just three weeks from an election, not one member of the Beltway media, including the debate moderators, has been willing to challenge Joe Biden on his leftward lurch. It was left to Mr. Pence to take the Bernie wraps off ...

Mr. Pence also pointed out that Ms. Harris is an original Senate co-sponsor of the Green New Deal, a Bernie-promoted $16 trillion regulatory straitjacket ... . That’s a campaign killer, even as it’s a litmus test for the left. Mr. Biden’s answer has been to claim disingenuously that the Green New Deal is the “crucial framework” for his own plan, which is nonetheless somehow “different.”

Even moderator Susan Page didn’t let that one go, and asked Ms. Harris to explain how her campaign can simultaneously tout the Green New Deal on its website and disavow it. Ms. Harris’s response was to talk about taxes, and wildfires, then the Senate Environment Committee. Mr. Pence referred to the Green New Deal 11 times; Ms. Harris not once—and you can bet smart voters noticed.
The real question is how many "smart" voters are ought there.

Strassel also provides some sage advice for Donald Trump:
The media intends to spend the next 25 days making every moment about Mr. Trump. While it goes against his instincts, Mr. Trump needs to make every one of those moments instead about Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris—their plans, their inconsistencies, their refusal to answer questions. Mr. Pence proved on Wednesday that this can done. But it will be up to the Trump campaign alone to do it.
We'll see.

Thursday, October 08, 2020

Januarians

Remember January? It was a time before masks, before the social distancing, before the lockdowns, before mass layoffs, before business closures, before media's penchant for "death" scoreboards, breathless "case" counts, and catastrophist hysteria, before the notion of contact tracing, before the idea that a "case" was the equivalent of a death sentence, before the predictions of death and mayhem coming from certain public health experts who were given far too much underserved credibility, before the closing of borders ... before COVID-19. Sure, the virus existed in Wuhan China in January, but it was barely mentioned in the USA. All the best people (that would, of course, be Democrat people) told us not to worry about it. Even the notion that we might limit travel to/from China was considered to be "racist." 

James Lileks comments on a current woke narrative that demands we get used to the "new normal" and stop trying to return to January:

It’s as if January and Now are equally weighted as two possible modus vivendi, and our attachment to one over the other is irrational and counterproductive.

Well. No. I’m here to make a bold, counterrevolutionary assertion: January was better. And January is a standard we should hold up and remember and strive to regain. That doesn’t mean you don’t wear a mask tomorrow. It means you will discard it when it’s been a month since a case and the hospitals are empty, despite what the sign says. Despite what the sign says. It means you will not slump around in perpetual compliance for the rest of your life, and acquiesce with sad nods and shrugs when all the aspects of human interaction are forbidden and the world shrinks to a hive of bees in their cells. It means prudence and it means kicking the shins of those who revel in contraction.

It means being a Januarian.

Many of us roundly reject Team Apocalypse. We question their tendentious claims that they and they alone are "following the science." We demand that a dishonest media stop trying to instill fear, uncertainty and doubt, not to protect people, but to achieve their long sought political objectives. We refuse to accept the tenuous claims that lockdowns worked or that masks are substantial protection against COVID-19 (see Update-1), or that school children (and most teachers) are at deadly risk or that colleges and sports should remain shuttered. We are concerned about the lives and livelihoods that have been ruined because far too many politicians listened to the catastrophists. We reject the notion, proposed by Joe Biden, that until we get the virus "under control" (whatever that means), we can't worry about rebuilding lives and livelihoods.

We applaud the notion, bravely stated by Donald Trump, "Don't be afraid of Covid! Don't let it dominate your life." 

Sure, you can and should be cautious and concerned, but you've got to live your life and encourage others to do the same. We are saddened by those who feel they must remain hidden in their basements, but recognize it is their decision, and they can to do so if they wish. But we are angered by catastrophists who demand that we allow their fear to govern our lives.

We are Januarians.

UPDATE-1:

Masks have become of symbol of progressive virtue. They're not worn out of fear, goes the narrative. Nooo ... they're worn to keep others safe and to stop the spread. The progressives who populate Team Apocalypse aren't afraid, after all, they're virtuous and would never give in to fear ... oh wait, that's exactly what Donald Trump advocated when he emerged from the hospital after he didn't die from COVID-19. And the progressive agreed ... um, no ... they didn't. They became outraged that anyone would suggest that we should not be afraid of COVID-19, that we live our lives.

Like everything else that the team has advocated relative to COVID-19, the wearing of masks is more 'virus theater' than medical necessity. Everyone should be allowed to wear a mask if he or she feels the need. But progressives want to go far beyond that and mandate that masks MUST be worn under penalty of law.

Matt Margolis takes a look at the efficacy of mask mandates. He presents chart after chart that indicate that mask mandates don't work. Here's one for France:


Obviously, there are many parameters that affect the growth of COVID-19 cases, but it appears that masks don't have a profound impact on the curve.

UPDATE-2:

Read the Great Barrington Declaration and then watch this video if you have the time:


UPDATE-3:

It appears that the Democrats have built their election strategy on blaming Trump for COVID, first by insisting that the country stay locked down in April/May and then blaming Trump for the economic damage that the lockdown caused. Talk about chutzpa.


Even by the standards of Trump derangement syndrome, the media compulsion during a U.S. president’s tour through Covid-19 to build every molehill into a mountain of duplicity was a new low.

Meanwhile, running relentlessly in the background of this Trump-obsessed spectacle is something called SARS-CoV-2. Joe Biden’s campaign is built around promising a return to normalcy. So let us ask Mr. Biden: In the era of Covid, just what will your normalcy look like?

By Mr. Biden’s lights, normalcy mostly means a world without Mr. Trump in the White House. Set aside that what then would inhabit the White House is not just Joe Biden but Bernie Sanders, who surely will appear to collect on Mr. Biden’s Faustian bargain with his party’s left-wing progressives. Their to-do list on taxes, climate, health care and race isn’t normal ...

At last week’s presidential nondebate, perhaps the most consequential remark by Mr. Biden was about living with the virus. “You can’t fix the economy,” Mr. Biden said, “until you fix the Covid crisis.” Virus first, economy later.

I take that to mean Mr. Biden’s coronavirus policy would be to support reviving shutdowns if the virus-case metric goes up, and support governors who push back against openings. As such, his policy would reflect minimal adjustment of the Democratic party’s lockdown bias, no matter the country’s experience with the virus since March.

The reality is that while deaths from Covid dominated March and April, the tragedy since has consisted of both continued fatalities and an equally appalling toll in economic destruction measured in lost jobs, businesses and incomes.
Should Joe Biden win in November, it will be fascinating to watch the media reaction to COVID-19 after that victory. My prediction:  All of a sudden, miraculously, the virus will be "under control." No more COVID death scoreboards. Case counts will become MUCH less important. Masks will become mandatory so that the miraculous "disappearance" of the virus (from media consciousness) can be attributed to some Biden initiative. President-elect Biden will read a cue card that tells us: "Don't fear COVID-19. Live your lives."

The media will fall all over themselves praising a cognitively impaired politician for his "bravery" in the face of the virus. Crazy? Nah, it's 2020.

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Asymmetrical Questions

As we approach the 2nd presidential debate (and tonight's VP debate), it's worth taking a look back at the debacle that was the first 2020 debate. The debate moderator, Chris Wallace, was as biased as Candy Crowley in her now infamous performance during the second Obama-Romney debate in 2012. He used asymmetrical questions and asymmetrical control, always assertive and harsh with Trump, asking the equivalent of "Do you still beat your wife?" questions. He was predictably soft and supportive of Biden, never once mentioning critical issues that Biden has assiduously avoided. 

Victor David Hansen provides numerous examples, including this:

When Wallace turned on Trump on the matter of honoring the verdict of the election, he honed in again on Trump’s past worries and statements about voter fraud and irregularities endangering the sanctity of the voter. 

Fine. But the obvious parallel question to Biden was to ask what he was doing in the Oval Office when, in January 2017, the Obama Administration plotted to take out the national security advisor designate? If Wallace was worried about honoring the protocols of elections and transfer of power, then surely he might have asked Biden why, on his vice-presidential watch, were the FBI, Justice Department, and CIA weaponized and used to spread the fraudulent Steele dossier (paid for by Hillary Clinton and now known to have been mostly fantasies, cooked up by the huckster Steele drawing on a Russian operative working at the liberal Brookings Institution), to destroy a campaign, a transition, and a president? 

Instead, silence. 

It is common practice to have debate moderators with a left-leaning bias. Wallace is a registered Democrat and was no different from many who have preceded him. 

But it's not only bias, it's also an proactive attempt to provide cover for one party in the debate, that party ALWAYS being the Democrat: Robert Stacy McCain comments:
Even if we must resign ourselves to partisan prejudice from the media, must we tolerate journalists trafficking in outright lies?

That’s what Wallace did in Tuesday’s debate. Consider this question he aimed at President Trump: “You have repeatedly criticized the vice president for not specifically calling out Antifa and other left-wing extremist groups, but are you willing tonight to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down and not add to the violence in a number of these cities, as we saw in Kenosha and as we’ve seen in Portland?”

Where is the evidence that “white supremacists and militia groups” were to blame for violence in Kenosha or Portland, Oregon? Wallace’s question was not only tendentious, but counterfactual. 
Just once, it would really be interesting to have a moderator with a right-leaning bias, say someone like Molly Hemingway or Kimberly Strassel—true journalists with command of the facts and the ethics not to lie about them.

But that will NEVER happen. Not a chance.

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Don't be Afraid

Do you know why casinos stay in business? After all, they create a fantasy image of bling and glitz where everyone plays and every one wins. If that were the case, they'd go bankrupt.

They stay open (and make copious money) because their business model is rooted in reality and the statistics that are the basis of all reality. That is, the odds are always, irrefutably and undeniably in their favor. Sure, an occasional better wins big, but overall, betters lose and that's why casinos thrive.

When Donald Trump was hospitalized with COVID-19 two things could have happened. He could have recovered with little incident or he could have become very sick or even died. Statistical data tell us what the likely outcome would be. 

In the fantasy world of Team Apocalypse, Trump had received a death sentence. Despite all of the "thoughts and prayers" hypocrisy, I suspect that deep, deep down, members of the Team hoped for the worst. After all, it would have solidified their "we're all gonna die" fantasy; it would have further convinced the general public that fear, uncertainty and doubt is the new normal; it would have encouraged Democrat governors and Joe Biden to lockdown the country yet again, and it would have been a useful morality play in which the bad orange man was struck down because of his unacceptable behavior vis a vis the virus. 

Instead, a worst case scenario (from Team Apocalypse's POV) occurred. Trump left the hospital after three days. He was sick, but recovered after treatment. But that's not the problem. It's what he said (tweeted) that caused the Team's collective heads to explode:

"Feeling really good. Don't be afraid of Covid! Don't let it dominate your life."

Oh my. Talk about being triggered. Members of the Team flew into a rage condemning what any rational person would see as proper tone and sentiment. Muffled by the masks they wear constantly, they called Trump's statement "Irresponsible," "Gross," "Against the public interest," and "Dangerous." They clutched their pearls, frowned, and shook their heads. 

But this was an 'emperor's new clothes' moment. It yet again demonstrated that when fantasy collides with reality, reality prevails. Team Apocalypse (the 'emperor') needs the fantasy to continue. It needs people to live in fear, uncertainty and doubt. It needs schools to be closed and the nation locked down. And Trump, with a single tweet,  threatened that.

For six long months, the Team encouraged fear. For six long months they purposely avoided the statistics and data that indicated that the virus is serious, but it is statistically very unlikely to kill. 

Ironically, Trump was a casino owner. He understands the business model. With his tweet yesterday, he told people that relative to COVID-19, the odds are always, irrefutably and undeniably in their favor. Sure, an occasional COVID-19 patient tragically becomes very sick and dies, but overall, all of us can continue to live and thrive.

Don't be afraid. Don't let it dominate your life.

UPDATE-1:

As she always does, Heather McDonald relies on statistics and common sense to distill the truth about public policy. She, and many other journalists like her (Alex Berenson comes to mind) are Team Apocalypse's worst nightmare. McDonald writes:

It is not even clear that a more work-friendly policy would lead to more [COVID-19] deaths. While the profile of the typical coronavirus decedent has been known for months—median age 80, suffering from co-morbidities that likely would have killed the person anyway—the exact path of transmission remains mysterious. There is no correlation globally between degree of lockdowns and coronavirus death rates. Countries such as Britain that imposed strict lockdowns have massively higher death rates than many countries, such as Japan, that mandated no lockdowns. Deaths and hospitalizations are going down in localities that were more commerce-friendly. There is still no uncontroverted evidence on mask-wearing. Thousands upon thousands of people who have assiduously worn masks have gotten the virus; thousands upon thousands who have not worn masks have not gotten it. Countries with extensive mask-wearing show no better results than several where people breathe free outdoors. What we do know is that transmission occurs overwhelmingly in poorly ventilated indoor spaces, between individuals who have been in close contact for a considerable period of time—15 minutes, in the CDC’s contact-tracing guidelines. The viral load in circulating outdoor air is too low to pose a risk to people passing one another in ordinary street interactions.

The long-known facts about the distribution of mortality risk from the coronavirus—relatively high at the upper age and illness range, negligible in the young—have made no difference to the tyranny of fear. On average, the coronavirus is, according to new WHO data, not more deadly than the flu, yet the conflation of cases with deaths is now absolute. When California State University, Long Beach, a campus of 37,000 students, shuts down because five students tested positive for the virus, we are in the realm of hysteria. When the New York Times portrays a 101-year-old military veteran as a coronavirus fatality, as opposed to someone who died of old age; when the Milwaukee coroner does the same for the death of an 89-year-old male with dementia, hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, and chronic renal failure, you know that the media and public-health establishments are looking for any excuse to inflate the death numbers.

But Joe Biden and the Democrats have decided that masks are a virtue signaling necessity even when outdoors and lockdowns are de rigueur "until we get the virus under control." If that takes two years, then we stay locked down for two years. Their response exhibits either hysteria or insanity—in either case, they do not deserve to lead.

UPDATE-2:

It really does appear that Team Apocalypse, particularly the Democrat's trained hamsters in the media, feel profoundly threatened by Trump's "Don't be afraid." tweet. They really are desperate to foster FEAR, because it suits their political strategy. Joy Pullman writes:

We can't have people prudent about COVID, or rational about COVID, or thoughtful, or courageous about COVID. That does not produce the social outcomes that these people want. Being scared of COVID does.

That's why members of the team insist that we wear masks outside. It has NOTHING to do with science (the likelihood of outside spread is close to zero, if people respect each other's personal space).  The masks serve as a constant and dark reminder that you need to be afraid. That's what the Team wants. 

There is no need to close a University because a few COVID cases arise. Out of 70,000 COVID cases reported on college campuses, 3 (yes, that would be 1-2-3) have required hospitalization and one person has died. But don't tell that to the university administrators who are avid members of Team Apocalypse. BTW, one death in 70,000 means that if you're a college student and you get the virus, your chances of recovery are 99.9986 percent. But yeah, shut it all down.