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

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Abraham Accords—Revisited

Way back in 2020, when the United States had a foreign policy team that accomplished things that actually mattered, there was a quiet breakthrough in the Middle East. Called the "Abraham Accords," part of that breakthrough came about because the United States was effectively energy independent, meaning that it no longer had to go hat-in-hand begging for middle eastern oil. And part of it came about because the foreign policy team within the Trump administration took an out-of-the-box, clear-eyed view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and rejected the decades-old notion that land had to be traded for peace.

Jeff Dunetz summarizes the Accords:

On September 13, 2020,  a little more than two years ago,  President Trump announced the first of the Abraham Accords deals. The UAE agreed to recognize Israel, exchange diplomats, and begin economic cooperation. Over the next four months,  Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan were added to the list of countries making peace with the Jewish State, and we were told that other countries wanted to hop on the peace train. The Foggy Bottom rumor mill suggested that the big fish, Saudi Arabia was on the edge of joining the accords. But on January 20, 2021, the process ended as soon as Donald Trump left the White House.
Prior to the signing of the accords, Trump's foreign policy team made a few interesting moves:

In January 2020, the President [with typical trumpian overstatement] introduced the “deal of the century,” A plan designed to make peace between Israel and the Palestinians or push them into negotiating. It was more than a peace plan. It was a “setup” of the Palestinians. Trump understood the deal would have one of two results: 

The Palestinians will work with the administration and eventually adopt it with changes, which means there will be peace. 

The Palestinians will choose not to participate in the deal’s creation. The patience of moderate Arab states, already strained because the Palestinians refused to compromise in previous deals, would have their patience strained even further if Abbas declined to work with Trump on a peace proposal. Opening them up to make individual peace deals.

Trump correctly understood the moderate Arab States were tired of the Palestinians’ refusal to make peace. They were tired of carrying the Palestinians. Remember that many moderate Arab states were already dealing with Israel silently behind the scenes.

Of course, because the hated Donald Trump would be given credit for any meaningful breakthrough in the region, the main stream media downplayed the Abraham Accords, allowing this important achievement to go largely unmentioned and never emphasized. And because the Left has a pro-Palestinian fetish, the incoming Biden administration worked quickly to further diminish any effort to extend the accords.

Biden's foreign policy Team of 1s did nothing to further the effort. Mark Tapscott comments on Dunetz's article and the Biden response:

REMEMBER THE ABRAHAM ACCORDS? President Joe Biden clearly doesn’t, considering he wasted no time upon being sworn into the Oval Office in shutting down his predecessor’s historic diplomatic initiative. The Lid’s Jeff Dunetz explains why that initiative was historic:

“The peace deals that team Trump moderated took a totally different approach. Unlike previous administrations (both Democratic and Republican), the deals did not involve ‘land for peace,’ only ‘peace for peace.’

“The supposed peace experts of previous administrations had always bloviated that no Arab country would ever formalize ties with Israel before a Palestinian state was created, but the Trump team proved them wrong.”

Instead of pursuing what worked, Biden has returned to the old discredited formula. Not coincidentally, that formula includes U.S. energy dependence and the U.S. pouring millions of tax dollar down the fetid sinkhole that is the Palestinian Authority. We should hope whoever is Biden’s successor will have this Dunetz analysis at hand as a guide to how to restore hope in the Middle East.

The wreckage created by the Biden administration is astounding. Not only have they wrecked the economy, destroyed our energy independence, tamped down faith in our public health system (via absurd and ineffective Covid policies), among myriad other missteps and failures, they failed to take advantage of a significant foreign policy opening bequeathed to them by their predecessor. Instead, they now go hat-in-hand to a communist dictatorship in Venezuela, begging for more oil and continue to hope that the dictatorship in Iran will see the light and become something it is not.

Our cognitively disabled president is likely unable to grasp the enormity of his failure to extend the Abraham Accords. The leftist minions who populate his foreign policy Team of 1s would rather denigrate Israel than encourage broader peace in the Middle East.

Saturday, November 19, 2022


I was fortunate enough to live in the free state of Florida during the 2.5 years of COVID insanity. By and large, lockdowns disappeared after the first few months; schools remained open, although there were pockets of resistance in blue cities and counties; there were few, if any, statewide mask mandates, there was no state-sponsored demonization of those who chose not to be vaxed (we subsequently learned that the so-called vaccines did not stop a person from getting or transmitting the virus and therefore did not stop the spread), public parks and beaches were opened sooner than just about anywhere else in the country, and lunatic-level CDC and federal guidelines (none of which were based on solid science or common sense) were largely ignored. 

The Governor of our free state, Ron DeSantis,** showed intelligence and courage under a withering barrage of media and political criticism/demonization as he kept our state open, viable, and free. You could literally feel it as FL residents went about their daily lives without the dark pall of fear that seemed to pervade the atmosphere in many blue states.

With this as background, we come to the only announced contender for the 2024 presidency—Donald Trump. Trump's record on COVID at the federal level was considerably less than stellar. And now that he's a candidate, it's time for him to answer questions about his COVID decisions and policies during 2020.

Megan Fox writes:

Why did Trump allow Anthony Fauci to become the unelected Health Czar of America? Within two months, this man showed he was not fit to be elected dog-catcher, let alone be allowed to fiddle with the nation’s economy. But allow it, Trump did. He deferred to Fauci and his cohort Dr. Deborah Birx. Both of them misled Americans multiple times over masks, lockdowns, and the risks to children and pushed idiocy like “social distancing” which had no basis in science or reality. It’s Trump’s fault we were all forced to stand on stickers at the grocery store. 

(There was a bar we visited during COVID that literally installed 4×3 sheets of plexiglass on top of beer kegs that they shoved in between stools at the bar. It was RIDICULOUS. Anyone without brain damage could see that none of this stuff was protecting anyone from an airborne virus.)

Trump had other advisers close to him who were trying to tell him that Fauci and Birx were batsh*t crazy, like Dr. Scott Atlas, who called for a much less radical approach to the Wuhan Flu. But Trump didn’t sideline Fauci with someone like Atlas, though he had no obligation to give Fauci a microphone. Instead, we suffered. And suffered. And suffered.

The difference between DeSantis’s response to Atlas’s information and Trump’s is stark. According to Atlas, DeSantis quickly realized that following the accepted theories about lockdown was going to harm his state, so he reversed course. Trump, on the other hand, refused to admit he made a mistake even though Atlas says he surely knew it. 

Of course, expecting Trump to admit that he erred in his COVID policy is about the same as expecting plexiglas between the barstools to work in stopping an airborne virus.

But that's not the point. The decisions to shutdown the economy, close schools, and encourage authoritarian "emergency measures," ruined lives and livelihoods and led to government giveaways that set into motion rampant inflation that will invariably lead to recession that will ruin still more lives and livelihoods.

And not a single politician or bureaucrat at the federal or state level has paid any price for egregiously bad decisions, authoritarian mandates. or anti-scientific policies.

In thinking back on his first term, there are dozens of personal traits (e.g., bad temperament, petty combativeness, graceless language) that make Trump a bad choice for the GOP candidate in 2024. But his greatest failure in 2020 was an inability to recognize that many of recommendations he got relative to COVID response came out of an agenda that had little to do with public health and much to do with partisan politics with a dollop of irrational fear mixed in. 

Instead of firing those who had that agenda (he had every right to do so) and bringing in solid, credentialed, public health experts who might chart and rational path through the pandemic, Trump needed to be the center of it all. To make COVID all about him. As a consequence, if the hated DJT suggested that a more measured approach to the virus might be justified, the blue state reaction was to triple-down on lockdowns and mandates so that they wouldn't be like Trump. And in doing so, large parts of blue America were doomed to needless suffering, isolation, and gloom.

That was and is Trump's M.O. and his achilles heel. It's also a disqualifying characteristic for any presidential candidate in 2024.


** This from the Wall Street Journal:

The story of Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis is the story, in contrast [to Trump and others], of a grown-up. After initially adopting stringent measures, he returned to first questions. Was the virus stoppable? Would trying materially pay off in terms of reduced mortality and suffering? No, he concluded. As a result, Florida experienced roughly the same Covid outcomes as other states while piling on fewer of the costly, impotent gestures that were adopted elsewhere mainly to show that politicians were very, very concerned.

His decision was brave because he would be blamed for any deaths that occurred, whereas he would not have been blamed for a single death if he had aligned his response with the prevailing media mood and political incentive. 

Courage is something that is sorely lacking in most pols today. Always interesting when we see evidence of a rare encounter with it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022


Elon Musk has become Enemy # 2 for some on the Left.

There are many reasons for this, but at its foundation, unlike many of his corporate peers, Musk does not toe the progressive narrative. Even though he has done more than any other American (and I do mean anyone) to improve the environment via the popularization of EVs, he has crossed the Left by suggesting that free speech is a good thing (who knew?) and has acquired the Left's most powerful communication and censorship organ, Twitter, to do so.

Musk is a billionaire, and as multimillionare socialist, Bernie Sanders (a man who has never built anything or created a single private sector job) will tell you, he doesn't pay his "fair share." Of course, he did pay $11 billion in taxes last year, more than any other American in history, but we can't bother sanctimonious progressives like Bernie with facts, can we?

And now, as Musk works to make Twitter a true public forum, unburdened by biased censorship, shadow banning, and other partisan actions that made it a democratic PAC, the Left has put a Target on Elon Musk's back. Consider this exchange between an unnamed reporter and Joe Biden, taken from the official White House transcript:

Q ... Mr. President, do you think Elon Musk is a threat to U.S. national security? And should the U.S. — and with the tools you have — investigate his joint acquisition of Twitter with foreign governments, which include the Saudis?

THE PRESIDENT: (Laughs.) I think that Elon Musk’s cooperation and/or technical relationships with other countries is worthy of being looked at. Whether or not he is doing anything inappropriate, I’m not suggesting that. I’m suggesting that it wor- — worth being looked at. And — and — but that’s all I’ll say.

Q ... How?

THE PRESIDENT: There’s a lot of ways.

Because Joe Biden was unscripted and therefore his normal cognitively-disabled self, the left-leaning media and commentariate just smiled ... but the exchange isn't funny. Biden's handlers have a not-so-subtle authoritarian streak, and when a sitting president suggests that someone he doesn't like should be investigated (by the FBI?, the congress?) it's ominous.* It's also infuriating, because there is more than a little evidence that Biden himself has been influenced by foreign governments (think: Hunter's laptop).

James Freeman comments on the exchange:

Sunshine is especially needed here because with those words President Joe Biden is encouraging his executive branch to investigate Twitter’s new owner. It happens that this new owner is determined not to repeat Twitter’s disgraceful censorship of the New York Post’s accurate 2020 reporting on Biden family enrichment schemes.

Were government actors behind the 2020 social media blackout?

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed that the FBI approached Facebook warning the platform about “Russian propaganda” ahead of the bombshell Hunter Biden laptop story leading up to the 2020 presidential election. 

Freeman suggests that the new GOP House take a hard look at the FBI's partisan involvement in that case and many others during the Trump era. It's about time some "sunshine" be let into the murky word of government encouraged and or sponsored authoritarian censorship and retribution that has been the norm for the past six years.


* In fact, didn't a similar allegation have something to do with the impeachment of Biden's predecessor?

Sunday, November 13, 2022


Important, but complex stories are difficult for even the best mainstream journalists (a vanishing breed). And when those stories involve arcane financial transactions coupled with the everyday  bribery that we call "political donations," they can become a minefield. But only if the principals and the recipients are prominent Democrats, and a full explication of the story will reflect poorly on the Democratic party and at least some of its donors. BTW, in every story like this, there is collateral damage—little guys who invested with the best of intentions get crushed and lose everything. Even more sophisticated investors (e.g., who thought they had done due diligence take a beating, but they should have understood the risk.

The story I'm referring to is the growing FTX scandal and the machinations of its founder, Sam Bankman-Freid (a.k.a. SBF). Om Malik compares FTX's travails to the Enron scandal, writing:

Internet magic money (aka crypto) billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, better known as SBF, is the man behind FTX, a crypto exchange. He seems to have angered fellow magic money billionaire and fremeny, Changpeng Zhao, better known as CZ and CEO of the rival exchange Binance. It might have to do with FTX cozying up to regulators to get the regulations beneficial to the FTX but not its rivals.

Last week, the FTX balance sheet was leaked to crypto news site Coindesk, which effectively caused a run on the exchange by exposing the financial ties between FTX and Alameda Research, a crypto trading firm also owned by SBF. The balance sheet showed that FTX’s finances were a paper tiger and ripe for plundering.

There followed a jujitsu move by which the Binance chief created a market run on FTX. His firm dumped the FTX tokens they were holding, essentially telling the market they had no faith in them. “CZ outsmarted SBF, plain and simple,” a friend who is deeply involved in this industry told me of the clashing egos. “CZ helped SBF create FTX, let him grow it, and then when it got too big, he destroyed it.”

That's the financial side, but there is also a political side to this story, which main stream media outlets are treating gingerly because ... you know the rest.

Tyler Durbin notes: 

Leading up to Sam Bankman-Fried's spectacular implosion - in which his firm FTX evaporated billions in wealth after the now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange allegedly commingled client assets with his trading firm into a liquidity crunch - he became the sixth-largest donor in this year's midterm election cycle, giving some $40 million to mostly Democratic candidates and causes ...

Why the largess? Let's tale a look at what was happening. Again from Durbin:

FTX allegedly loaned Alameda Research - a trading firm founded by Bankman-Fried - roughly $10 billion in client assets, which has landed him under federal investigation by the SEC, CTFC, and the Justice Department - the latter of which already had been working on a months-long investigation, according to the Wall Street Journal. The CTFC, meanwhile, is tasked with regulating certain elements of the crypto markets - including digital assets that are as commodities, and crypto exchanges and clearinghouses.
So, SBF was under investigation. If he could help the dems, then he could, I suppose, cash in his chips and get the Biden Administration—no stranger to corrupt prqactices (think: Hunter and Joe) to call off the SEC, CTFC and DoJ watchdogs or at lest, put a muzzle on them.

Durbin continues:

Bankman-Fried 'heavily courted' the CFTC, "and funded several key lawmakers charged with overseeing the agency, pouring cash into their campaign coffers," as the Daily Caller notes.

The CFTC is charged with regulating certain elements of the crypto marketplace, including digital assets that are commodities as well as crypto exchanges and clearinghouses. The agency is overseen by the Senate and House Agriculture Committees, with the former tasked with approving CFTC commissioners nominated by the president.

The former FTX CEO personally donated to the Senate committee’s chairwoman, Democratic Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, contributing over $20,000 to the Stabenow Victory Fund and $5,800 to her campaign for Senate. Bankman-Fried donated roughly $6,000 to the committee’s ranking member, Republican Arkansas Sen. John Boozman, as well, and $5,800 to the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Commodities, Risk Management and Trade, Republican Montana Sen. John Hoeven. -Daily Caller

Others have connected dots and concluded that FTX may have been a money laundering operation.

Welcome to the D.C. swamp.

There's much more, but the real question is whether the average voter will care? Given the results of mid-terms, it's very likely that the answer is "no."

A Postscript:

Odd that the FBI, a law enforcement agency that has recently had a penchant for raiding residences of conservatives who have the audacity to dispute the prevailing narrative, marching them out handcuffed in their pajamas and putting them in jail, allows SBF to fly his private jet on a "vacation" to Argentina, where he now reportedly sits. BTW, there is a weak extradition treaty between Argentina and the United States that could tie a case up for years. Heh.



Wednesday, November 09, 2022

Wave GoodBye

One thing is absolutely certain about the mid-term elections—there was no red wave, and those of us who suspected that a wave would occur were wrong. It appears that the majority of voters in districts and states that did not contribute to a wave are perfectly happy with inflation at 8-plus percent, high energy prices driven by absurd policies that create fossil fuel scarcity, urban crime that is at troubling levels, and a southern border that is a porous as Joe Biden's memory. 

It's also appears that the Democrats strategy of running against the hated Donald Trump worked quite well—that claims of the "death of democracy" should his endorsed candidates (many initially funded with Democrat money) win, moved people to vote for bigger government, more inflationary spending and other policies that will make life more costly and less free.

But ... as a wise man once said: People get the government they vote for, and that's exactly what will happen over the next two years.

However, the Democrats better be careful as they celebrate this victory. James Freeman comments:

Cheer up, Republicans. While a red wave may not have washed over U.S. politics on Tuesday, the ultimate outcome could be even better for the GOP. Given the president’s lousy approval ratings and inability to speak coherently, a midterm shellacking on the order of 1994 or 2010 would have triggered an aggressive effort by Democrats to push Mr. Biden off stage before the 2024 elections. Now they may be stuck with him ...

If Mr. Biden somehow ends up on a debate stage 23 months from now with Ron DeSantis or Glenn Youngkin or Tim Scott or Kim Reynolds or Doug Ducey or Greg Abbott, the president could lose 40 states. 

But there's more to it than that. Had the Red Wave actually occurred, the Democrats with the help of their trained hamsters in the media would have been able to blame a deeply red House and Senate for all of the nation's problems. Bumbling Joe Biden's teleprompter would have claimed that the GOP blocked him from fixing the economy, providing cheap and plentiful energy, reducing violent crime, and securing the border. It'll be a bit more difficult to do that now,  although I'm sure his teleprompter and media shills will give it a try.

In addition, the blue state authoritarian policies that occurred throughout the COVID debacle appear to have had little effect on the mood of blue state voters. I guess lockdowns, school closures, draconian mask and vaccine mandates were a net positive in those states and that the damage to lives and livelihoods was ... well ... acceptable? Then again, if blue state voters were consumed by irrational fear due to COVID, and to assuage that fear, embraced insanity as many did from March 2020 to mid-2022, it's not at all surprising that there was no anger directed at blue state leaders who became petty dictators. Who knew? 

And finally, there's a bit of good news for those within the GOP who think that Donald Trump is now past his expiration date. This non-wave election has tarnished Trump's brand among many in the GOP. He endorsed candidates who were not quite ready for primetime and made an ass of himself by attacking the only architect of a statewide GOP Wave—Ron DeSantis in FL. Although Trump remains a player, there is now a possibility that he will not be the GOP nominee in 2024. If the next two years under Biden play out like the first two, it will be hard for the Dems to blame the nation's ills on Trump, particularly if he's not the nominee.

Then again, if this mid-term teaches us anything, it's that abstractions matter more than measurable accomplishments, that emotion matters a lot more than pragmatism, and that many Americans are convinced that a two-party system is a "threat to democracy," particularly if the party that wins does not have a (D) after its candidates' names.

Monday, November 07, 2022

Threat to Democracy

In less than 24 hours, the attack ads will cease. The shrill histrionics of politicians and their media allies will change from hyperbolic claims about a "threat to democracy" to more mundane analysis about the election outcome and what it all means. There is a strong probability (we'll find out tomorrow ) that the Democrats will pay an electoral price for policies that creating rampant inflation, high cost energy, high crime in blue urban centers, and an effectively open southern border, not to mention embarrassment and chaos internationally.

If the price to be paid is the Democrats losing control of both the House and the Senate (a reasonable probability), opinion writers at the NYT, WaPo, LAT, and their brethren at MSNBC, the Atlantic and Salon (to name only a very few) will invariably argue that 'messaging' was the problem. The unspoken subtext of their argument is that the broad electorate is too unsophisticated and/or ignorant to absorb the subtle importance of their leftist positions. If there was a failure, it was in the manner in which the "guidance" to that electorate was presented, not in the positions themselves.

It seems that the Democrats never, ever conduct a post mortem analysis, evaluating their policies and the results of those policies critically. In fact, there is a strong contingent among the Democrats that, I think, believe that words are all that matter. If you say the politically correct thing, that's all that is required. Results? Costs? Impact on ordinary people? Long-term predictable effects and unexpected collateral damage? None of that matters as long as the message exemplifies 'virtue.'

The last time I checked, a Democracy is a political system that offers the electorate choices. Those choices are made based on the past performance of politicians that currently run the show and the ideas of politicians who want to replace them. There is absolutely no "threat to democracy," regardless of the outcome of tomorrow's vote. Those who claim otherwise are not to be trusted.

Tuesday, November 01, 2022


Beginning in March of 2020 and for the next 24 months, Democrat leaders, their trained hamsters in the media, and their medical and public health "experts" at the federal, state, and local level reacted to COVID-19 like a 2-year old who believed that a monster lived under their bed. Figuratively shrieking in terror, they refused to look under the bed and understand that their overblown fears were largely unjustified. Instead, they saw a political opportunity that grew out of the fear they encouraged. They instituted authoritarian policies and restrictions that darkened the mood of the country. 

These cynical catastrophists did nothing to calm fears. They chose to present models and data that were often taken out of context and in some cases, incorrect or irrelevant. They silenced true experts who disagreed with their approach. And worst of all, they did little to actually mitigate the spread of the virus among the population cohort that truly was under threat (the very old and infirm). They became petty dictators, whose authoritarian rules ruined lives and livelihoods.

They instituted policies that locked down businesses, shutdown schools, limited Americans' ability to gather, to recreate, even to conduct funerals for those who died from other causes. Their policies resulted in the postponement of critical surgeries and medical treatments. They demanded that masks be worn, even as study after study indicated that such masks were largely ineffective. 

They trumpeted 'death score boards' on a daily basis (notice how that stopped the minute Joe Biden was elevated to the presidency even though more deaths occurred on his watch than on his predecessor's), often attributing deaths with COVID for deaths because of COVID. They became obsessed with vaccines, demanding that everyone get vaccinated, even as early data indicating lack of effectiveness, and worse, non-trivial and serious side effects began to emerge. They demonized and even ridiculed therapeutics that may have had some efficacy in treating the virus and then pushed expensive and largely unproven medications that had their own issues.They instituted travel restrictions long after they were no longer necessary; they recommended vaccine passports in a pathetic attempt to "stop the spread."

And then, there's the truly crazy stuff. They shut down public gatherings, except for protests and riots associated with approved leftist causes. They literally arrested people for allowing their children to use public parks and playgrounds that were padlocked to stop the 'spread.' They enforced 12-foot then 9-foot then 6 foot spacing for seats at public gatherings and then reprimanded those who chose to move closer to a friend or relative. They argued that holiday dinners be cancelled or limited to no more than 10 people, that 1-year olds be forced to mask on airplanes, that plastic barriers be placed between restaurant tables to stop the flow of microscope particles, that a sitting president suggested that we drink bleach (he did not). They got off on the power of coersion, and it showed as "emergency measures" were extended again and again.

And none of it worked. The virus was gonna virus, and it did. It followed a predictable and scientifically verified infection curve, no matter the draconian measures applied to stop it.

And during all of this, they virtue-signaled, suggested that any push back against their covidiocy indicated that those who opposed them just didn't care about the safety of others.

And now?

As time passes, the true nature of the catastrophic damage their policies precipitated can no longer be hidden from public view. Their many, many errors in judgement, in policy, and in tone can no longer be swept under the rug. 


They now tell those of us who have opposed them that they did all of this with the best of intentions and that we must all move on. In a widely referenced article, "Let's Declare a Pandemic Amnesty," in the left-leaning Atlantic, Emily Oster writes:  

"We need to forgive one another for what we did and said when we were in the dark about COVID."

Oster goes on to suggest that both ends ("We") of the political spectrum have equal culpability for the events of the past few years. That is absolute rubbish!

It was the Democrats that pushed censorship (via mainstream and social media) of any commentary that opposed the authoritarian dictates of the Faucis, Nusomes, Cuomos or Whitmers. It was the Dems the closed public parks and beaches, padlocked playgrounds, shut down schools (via their allies in the teachers' unions), instituted mask mandates and unapologetically spread fear across the land. It was the Dems and their trained hamsters in the media that tried to destroy the reputations and life work of epidemiologists and other scientists who argued that there were far better and more effective ways of handling this pandemic.


Not yet.

Those of us who have opposed the catastrophists and their authoritarian policies since the beginning won't forget. Only after the Faucis, Nusomes, Cuomos and Whitmers apologize for the massive damage they have caused—to the economy, to small businesses, to young children, to young adults who are now suffering sometimes severe side effects from vaccine "boosters" they no longer need, to the many, many people who were under no mortal threat from a virus that was serious, but never required the draconian response that was instituted.

After they apologize and promise that they've learned from their mistakes and will NEVER implement them again ... then, and only then, can we forgive their covidiocy.


Emily Burns comments of the politics of all of this:

First, let’s be clear to whom Emily Oster is speaking. She’s speaking to the furious well-educated suburban women who are swinging towards Republicans in this cycle, even in the bluest of states. Because it was the bluest of states that were hit hardest by these policies. It was in blue states that the schools were closed longest, that the economic devastation was worst, that crime spiked the most, where masks were required longest. The damage done by these policies is at its beginning, not its end. Dr. Oster, would like these women to believe that it was all just a mistake, a mis-understanding ...

The problem for Emily is that while the hardcore democrat base of women voters never questioned any of these policies, others did—and they incurred significant personal costs for doing so. 

An embarrassing portion of well-educated women acted as the regime’s stormtroopers. They sicced social media mobs on any who dared to voice a question, much less dissent. The pain of having family, friends and neighbors turn on you for voicing an opinion or asking a legitimate question caused many women to seek out others with similar questions.

In so doing, we found a smart, snarky, data-driven community pushing back hard on the totalizing power of a government trying to re-define reality. In some cases women were the generals, in others we were the infantry, going forward and taking constant fire from above, so that some recently discredited truth might once again retake its rightful place in the sun of acceptable opinion.

Emily Oster would like us to forget that. But we can’t—and I hope we won’t—because we were there bringing the government’s own data to shine a light on the lies it so ceaselessly manufactured. These weren’t lies of omission, they were lies of commission. They were lies that were wrought by smelting the credibility of science and medicine in the fires of politics to create weapons wielded by the powerful against us. They literally called us terrorists for our opposition.

Blue checks are very quick to label anyone who disagrees with their narrative as "racist" or "misogynist" or "terrorist" or any of dozens of epithets. This vaccuous strategy allows them to avoid any substantive debate on the substance of their arguments and policies. It is an obnoxious ploy that works only because (up until now) they have maintained near total control of the media and therefore the narrative. That's changing.

In a small way, if the upcoming election is in fact a GOP wave, it will be due in part to heavy pushback coming from the millions of people—men and women—who need to send a message that authoritarian policies coupled with virtual signaling and censorship are not welcome in our culture.

UPDATE-2 (3 Nov 2022):

Democrats have joined the fray generated by Oster's opinion piece, suggesting that the COVID decisions made in early 2020 may (with hindsight) have been incorrect but that "the situation was complicated," the threat was "unclear," no "solid data" existed for those making decisions, and "policy had to be created" on the fly. All of those arguments are flawed at best, and generally dishonest.

Some of us pushed back in March, 2020 when "15 days to stop the spread" was the policy advocated by Anthony Fauci et al and agreed to (under some degree of coersion) by Donald Trump. We used a combination of common sense, early data coming in from Italy (ground zero for Western cases of COVID), a skeptical assessment of computer models, and a layperson's understanding of the trajectory of pandemic infection to question the wisdom of national lockdowns. We were correct in every regard, but I suppose that's water under the bridge.

And when Fauci et al along with deep blue teacher's unions advocated school closures for a population cohort that even early data indicated was at little or no mortal risk from COVID, our pushback became more pronounced. BTW, that same childrens' cohort was NOT, as claimed at the time, a significant vector for transmission of the virus.

In response, blue leaders opted to censor opposing opinions, to dampen pushback and to become authoritarian. That alone was a clear indication that something was deeply wrong and that our blue state and political and public health leadership was no longer to be trusted.

Joy Pullman writes:

None of this deliberately inflicted mass suffering was necessary, and that was all known early on. It wasn’t, as Oster claims, a matter of “deep uncertainty.” Among others, Dr. Scott Atlas very publicly presented strong evidence that mask mandates and shutdowns were poor policy choices throughout 2020. He was brutalized in the media and his own Ivy League university for pointing out this data. So were the eminent authors of the Great Barrington Declaration that made similar data-based arguments, Drs. Jay Bhattacharya, Sunetra Gupta, and Martin Kulldorff.

It had also been long-established that lockdowns should never be employed and that forcing people into isolation and medical treatments they don’t want are bright red, flashing human rights violations. Multiple Western governments and nongovernmental organizations including the World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considered the idea of lockdowns and mass quarantines years before Covid emerged and rejected these policies for both practical and ethical reasons.

Covid wasn’t that “complicated.” The global left simply believed Covid chaos would benefit their forever goal of consolidating power ....

These evil policy choices that could have been avoided cost lives and inflicted immeasurable human suffering. We deserve justice, not to live under a “new normal” in which our constitutional rights can be subject to indefinite suspension at any time based on amplified panic. It’s the height of gaslighting to pretend otherwise. 

Were the COVID catastrophists guilty of "evil policy choices." Let me be generous and suggest that they were not evil, but they were intoxicated by the power that their "emergency" edicts conferred upon them; they were gleeful to be able to censor their opponents,, and they were more than happy to create a national mood that all but guaranteed the hated, then-current president would not get a second term in office. And in the process, they did, in fact, violate the constitution, ruin lives and livelihoods, and destroy the mental health of a small but still significant portion of their own political base.

UPDATE-3 (4 November 2022):

The reaction to Oster's plea for "amnesty" just keeps coming—an indication that people have NOT forgotten the damage that was done and that those same people are angry—very, very angry. And not so much by the bad decisions and policies—and they were very bad indeed. They're angry about the sanctimony exhibited by blue leaders and their trained hamsters in the media, along with their coterie of "experts," who now dissemble, refuse to admit that they were wrong or outright dishonest or even misled, and who still virtue signal when they are backed into a corner.

This comment from "Sgt. Mom" summarizes the memory and the anger nicely:

The comments on various blogs which have discussed the original [Emily Oster] article are so lit that they might as well be one of those tornadoes of fire which sometimes happen when a forest fire gets so large that it creates its’ own weather. Professor Oster, apparently living secure in her pleasant little academic and media bubble, appears to have had no notion of the damage to so many ordinary people outside of it – and damage felt on a painfully personal level. Commentors related stories of friends, spouses, neighbors suffering and dying from conditions that they couldn’t get a diagnosis of and/or treatment for – because they couldn’t get the time of day or an appointment with a doctor or clinic. Elderly parents and kin died alone, baffled and frightened, sequestered in nursing homes or hospitals, they died when their lungs were blown out on respirators, their subsequent funerals being lonely affairs. Vacations, family celebrations, weddings, high school and college graduations, celebrations and community events of every size and degree were put on hold, cancelled, reduced, and isolated. School-aged children lost two years of their schooling and social lives, a situation only alleviated by those active and determined parents who took the situation in hand and began home schooling. The deaf and hard of hearing lost a means of communication, since they couldn’t read the lips of people talking to them – and that was not even the cruelest of what Professor Oster and her friends in the establishment media did. That was to deliberately and willfully collude in scaring the bejesus out of that large portion of the public who believed what they saw on TV, over a virus that essentially was no more a danger to a healthy young person than the ordinary seasonal flu bug. Scared people do not react rationally – a concept proved to us over and over during the last two years. Politicians, employers, public administrators, neighbors and relatives reacted, many of them badly and hysterically. Lockdowns, vaccine mandates, required masking, a wrecked economy, social isolation … a whole farrago of fail, over a virus which wouldn’t have been a hiccup in any other flu season. Ordinary people lost friends, parents, relatives, unborn and barely-born children, jobs and participation in their communities. Small business owners lost their little enterprise as well as their dreams. Employees and members of the military were forced, as a condition of continued employment, to accept vaccination and boosters against Covid with an experimental vaccine which down the line, may prove to have been more dangerous to health than Covid. Many people also lost whatever residual trust they had for so-called experts, the mass media, and the medical establishment.

Covidiots honestly believe that everything noted in this very l-o-n-g paragraph is justified because—the virus!!!!  They suffer from fear-driven irrationality and no amount of thoughtful discussion, no volume of facts, no list of damages will ever change their mind.

But the rest of us will remember, and God help any blue check that advocates the same demented approach when another pandemic or other "emergency" comes down the pike.