THE COLUMN: Virtue Über Alles

For first time since the end of the Second World War, continental Europe is facing shortages: of food and, crucially, of energy. During the war, as the tide inexorably turned against National Socialist Germany after the disastrous battle of Stalingrad in 1943, the Third Reich was ground to powder by the Stalinist U.S.S.R. and the Western allies, principally the United States, with some help from a reeling Great Britain. The brutal winter of 1944-45 saw the Germans reduced to salvaging firewood from the wreckage of their principal cities and eating the animals in the zoos in order to survive.

Germany and Britain now face another tough winter, but this time the crisis is of their own making. Deluded by their Leftist parties, including the so-called "Greens" (like watermelons, green on the outside, communist red on the inside), and frivolously stampeded by a cataclysmic earthquake/tsunami in a country 5,600 miles away, the panicked Europeans suddenly abandoned their nuclear facilities while simultaneous pivoting away from reliable sources of energy in order to pursue quixotic fantasies of "renewable" energy that will never come true. What did socialists use before candles? Electricity.

Atomische Narrheit.

Europe is in the middle of an energy crisis. Uncertainty over the flow of natural gas owing to Russia’s war in Ukraine has caused a spike in prices. The price of natural gas has soared to as much as $500 per barrel of oil equivalent, 10 times the normal average, fueling fears of winter shortages and cold homes.

Key commodities have already been affected. Fertilizer production, which requires large inputs of natural gas, is being shut down due to high prices. Manufacturers are hoarding glass in anticipation of future shortages. Climate change has made the situation worse, as a historic drought is drying up Europe’s rivers and cutting into hydroelectric capacity. The rising cost of energy has driven a spike in inflation in the United Kingdom, while Germany has suffered the worst inflation since the 1970s energy crisis.

What happened? The quote above from Foreign Policy partially explains how they got here (and, if things continue, the U.S. will not be far behind), but the real reason is: prosperity, combined with virtue-signaling neo-Luddism. The dreadful toll of death and destruction of the war, combined with the success of European reconstruction under the Marshall Plan, which saved the devastated economies of western Europe, left Europe with two debilitating by-products: the rise of pacifism as an anti-nationalist force and the abjuration of war as a means of foreign policy; and a false sense of economic security, under which they were free to chase their own chimeras of "soft power" and "progressive" living without any heed to reality.

The Europeans should have learned from their own history, but of course they never do. The Oxford Union's "King and Country" debate of 1933, a fateful year in European history, turned out to be one of the high points of British pacifism. Having been bled dry by the Somme and other horrific battles in World War I, and also having lost the cream of their manhood in the process, the Union passed the motion that "this House would not in any circumstances fight for King and Country." Winston Churchill who never saw a war he didn't want to fight, knew that war with Hitler was unavoidable, and was aghast at the surviving, whinging chaff of England's crop, the sons of the cowards, conscientious objectors, and those otherwise unfit to serve. Six years later, however, they were doing exactly that.

26th June 1945: perfidious Albion.

After the war, with Germany in ruins and Britain fully emasculated, the kinder, gentler, socialist side of the European character immediately came to the fore. Churchill was chucked out of office just a few months after VE Day. Pulverized and bifurcated, Germany abandoned militarism and undertook its Wirtschaftswunderor "Economic Miracle." (Now foolishly replaced by the Energiewende, or Energy Turning Point.) France, under de Gaulle, went its own idiosyncratic, Gallic way. Nobody wanted to fight any more: it was cheaper and easier to let Uncle Sam, in the form of NATO, to guarantee the defense of Europe against the emerging Soviet bear. 

As Europe rebuilt it found itself with serendipitous upgrades in its 19th-century infrastructure, including modern electrical grids, fossil-fuel home heating, widespread adoption of automobiles (called PKWs in German, for Personenkraftwagen). Within a span of less than three decades, Western Europe was probably the nicest place to live on the planet, with modern conveniences nestling side-by-side with ancient monuments, high culture available to all thanks to government subsidiaries, and food prepared by the great chefs of the old Continent. In such a lotus land, there were no consequences to living as if there were no consequences.

Meanwhile, the U.S. had become bogged down in Lyndon Johnson's War in Vietnam, race relations steadily worsened, crucial provisions of the American constitution were abrogated by an act of Congress, blacks rioted anyway, cities burned, whites fled, unprivileged boys died in rice paddies, prominent political figures were assassinated, the borders were thrown open, and the feminist movement—in its deleterious sociological and economic effects, the American equivalent of the Euro-pacifist movement—took firm hold both of the workplace and the ballot box. Thus were the consequences of living as if there were no consequences from fundamentally transforming the country from the victor in World War II into a pitiful, helpless giant.

As America foundered, Europe prospered. But now that the Rev. Wright's chickens have come home to roost, the great Republic is now just a shadow of its formerly muscular and confident self, brought low by the cultural sappers of the Frankfurt School and the winds of social change from the backsides of Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Some may, and do, see this as a good thing (and indeed the Obama/Biden administrations have been predicated on it). Others, now being demonized by an increasingly demonic Robinette, do not. Those people, in case you haven't noticed, are now enemies of the state.

And as in Europe, those opposed, Iago-like, to safe, secure, ever-cleaner, cheap, and reliable energy are striving for the upper hand in the U.S.A. They know it's the death blow against the hated enemy: the land of their birth, the land that gave them shelter from Hitler, the land that opposed both national and international socialism. So watch your food prices soar, watch them outlaw your private gasoline-fueled cars and mandate electric vehicles with a limited cruising range that can be circumscribed by the flip of a switch at Government Central, and which can't be powered at all when the grid fails. Watch them herd you into high-rise ant-farm collectives, into which you can be confined at Washington's whim, and where ants are very much on the menu. Watch them laugh as you forage for roots and berries and bust up your pianos to burn in your fireplaces, should you be allowed to have a fireplace. Welcome to the Great Reset, comrade!

And watch yourself voting for them, again and again and again until they don't need you to vote anymore. Sure, it makes you feel good. But it makes them feel even better, and that's all you really need to know. Credo in un dio crudel. You've been warned. 

Abundant Coral on the Great Barrier Reef? Sound the Alarm!

Despite assuring us in his 2009 inauguration speech that “this was the moment when the rise of oceans began to slow and the planet began to heal,” President Obama expressed concern about the health of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) when visiting Australia in November 2014. Later, in May 2015, he sat down for a televised meeting at the White House with British naturalist and climate scaremonger David Attenborough. They shared each other’s mutual concern.

How then can it possibly be? Coral cover on the Reef has hit a new record measured over two-thirds of its 2,300 km length, according to the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS). And, incidentally, remains at a relatively high level over the other (southern) third. What to say to spare Barack’s and Sir David’s blushes? Phew! Bullet dodged for the zillionth time. Relief all round? Well, not quite all round.

“We are in uncharted territory and still trying to understand what this means,” whined AIMS program leader Mike Emslie. The institute's CEO, Dr Paul Hardisty, knew what to do. Focus on the part of the Reef that had fallen short of a record. “A third of the gain in the coral cover recorded in the south in 2020/21 was lost last year due to ongoing crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks,” he said. And, risibly, with no sense of the ridiculous, added: “This shows how vulnerable the Reef is to continued acute and severe disturbances that are occurring more often, and are longer-lasting.”

Come on is, the water's fine.

A healthy GBR does not spell success? Not if you want to continue to attract multi-millions of government research dollars it doesn’t. And not if you want to use the state of the Reef to further the apocalyptic climate-change agenda. Never mind, Emslie and Hardisty can look forward to better days ahead. The coral cover is almost bound to decline next year from its record level and their tendentious dire warnings can resume unhindered by an ill-behaved Reef. Though, to be clear, the actual state of the Reef is incidental to its perpetual imminent demise.

"Climate change" is not about physics or facts. Never has been. It’s about politics. The GBR will always be on the brink of destruction. Equally, on a broader canvass, climate change is a gift designed to be forever giving. No one would seriously support renewable energy in its prevailing forms if they really wanted to reduce CO2 emissions. No one who was serious would preach about Australia’s miniscule emissions while studiously ignoring the clear intent of China and India to expand their economies on the back of fossil-fuels.

I looked it up. The world’s oldest operating wind turbine (assuming it’s still whirling as we speak) was commissioned in Denmark in 1978. Forty-four years and 837GW of wind capacity later, CO2 yearly emissions continue to climb. Not a success, I’d venture to say. But, to reiterate, that depends upon what's meant by success.

The elite among climate-obsessed people don’t want success. They want failure. That’s success to them. And seeing CO2 emissions plummeting would be a much bigger and evident failure than a healthy GBR. It would be the very last thing they would want. They want our world to be in a constant state of trepidation. Starting with young school children, they want populations fearful that great floods and inundations, extreme forest fires, unparalleled droughts and cyclones, and millions of climate refugees, are always just around the corner; unless we mend our ways. And, naturally, unless we give them more power to help us mend our ways.

Give us more money or the penguins get it.

Keep populations scared and there's no end of so-called improvements, not to mention sacrifices, that can be foisted on them. That's the point. To build back better. To reset. Reset how? The big boys have the answer. Here’s Deloitte, in May 2022, as part of a self-serving report ("The turning point") on the end of the world as we know it unless we embrace de-carbonisation and, needless to say, Deloitte.

A coordinated transition [to a decarbonised future] would require governments, along with the financial services and technology sectors, to catalyze, facilitate, and accelerate progress; foster information flows across systems; and align individual incentives with collective goals.

Collectivism is given a whole new guise. Not so much workers of the world unite, but governments and Fortune 500 companies unite. And, verbiage aside, notice the unity among the big boys, best exemplified in the Davos Manifesto (latest 2020 version).

A company is more than an economic unit generating wealth. It fulfills human and societal aspirations as part of the broader social system... Corporate global citizenship requires a company to harness its core competencies, its entrepreneurship, skills and relevant resources in collaborative efforts with other companies and stakeholders to improve the state of the world.

Company men (and women) working collaboratively with their rivals? Mark Antony’s aside seems apropos. “Mischief, thou art afoot.” Compare past giants of industry, striving for ascendancy over their rivals. Seeking profits aplenty. Samuel Johnson provides an instructive perspective. “There are few ways in which a man can be more innocently employed than in getting money.”

We're all right, mate.

Allowing governments and companies in some collaborative global order to oversee an ‘improvement’ in the state of the world betrays a pitiable knowledge of human nature. The thing about free-market capitalism is that it produces prosperity while allowing the worst excesses of human nature to find expression in unseemly piles of money.

The alternative, collectivist system, in whatever guise it presents itself, produces relative poverty while allowing the worst excesses of human nature to find expression in despotism. In the persecution and cancellation of political opponents. In unequal justice. Already evident, you might say, in the United States. It is, but the surface has been only scratched. There is much more unequal justice to be divvied out in the new world order.

Stretch a point. Assume Deloitte and the World Economic Forum and their corporate and elite fellow travelers have benign intentions in seeking to improve the world. Then they’re naïve fools. It’s as simple as that. If, on the other hand, they are out to lord it over lesser beings, which seems more likely, then they’re sinister scoundrels. Whichever it is, unresolved apocalyptic climate change is their ticket to power. A dream come true, ever rising CO2.

The Decline and Fall of the Blue Wall

For a view of civil society’s steady unraveling, few professions offer a better vantage point than that of the police officer. Regardless of how someone may have arrived at a crisis, whether by his own self-destructive impulses or the cruel predations of another, it is the cop who is expected to respond and begin the process of making things right.

Speaking as someone who has spent more than 40 years in the trade, I acknowledge that a police officer’s arrival at the scene of some misfortune is not in every case a blessing to all involved. The amount of help a cop can offer is circumscribed by the available resources in his community, which in most places are limited. And when it comes to dealing with lawbreakers, the cop on the street is merely the usher into a system whose many components are intended to mesh together and deliver justice. For the crime victim, this means seeing the guilty punished; for the perpetrator, it means a sentence sufficient to deter further crime while allowing for the possibility of rehabilitation.

That’s the theory, anyway.

For the cop on the street, the knowledge that reality only occasionally conforms with the theory can be dispiriting, but he knows the pursuit of the ideal cannot be abandoned for inconsistent success. The fight goes on, no matter how dim the prospects.

Or so it was not so long ago. For most of my career, even as crime surged in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, as the bodies piled up in the morgues and it seemed America’s cities were in irreversible decline, we who worked the streets could find strength in the knowledge that among the political and media elites there was still a desire for improvement if only a way to achieve it could be found.

And a way was found. Developments in law enforcement such as those instituted by the New York Police Department under William Bratton proved that, as Bratton himself is fond of saying, “Cops count.” In 1990, the NYPD investigated a horrifying 2,245 murders. In ten years the number had been reduced to 649, and in 2017 the figure dropped below 300 for the first time since 1951, a remarkable achievement in a city of 8 million people. Cops found great satisfaction in bringing this about.

Now murder and a generalized disorder are again on the rise, in New York City and many other places. But, unlike in the ‘90s, when there was broad societal agreement that something needed to be done to stem the bloodshed, today’s elites turn a blind eye to the chaos on America’s streets in the name of “social justice” and “equity,” terms used to obscure the fact that a disproportionate number among certain ethnicities are committing the majority of these crimes, and that consistent enforcement of the law would necessarily result in a similarly disproportionate number among those same ethnicities going to jail or prison.

And we can’t have that.

So the cop on the street, faced with this escalation of disorder, is left to wonder what he is supposed to do about it. In years past, he was told to go out and find the shooters, robbers, burglars, and car thieves inflicting themselves on their law-abiding neighbors and, if the provable facts allowed, arrest them. Today, a cop who happens upon someone wanted for a crime, or whom he suspects is unlawfully carrying a gun, confronts the suspect at his peril.

Not merely the physical peril posed by a fight or a shooting, for which the cop has trained, but the peril to his and his family’s future should the arrest unfold in anything but a manner preferred by the elites who hold him in contempt. “If I try to stop him,” the cop thinks, “I may have to chase him, and if I chase him, I may have to hit him or, God forbid, shoot him, either of which will be judged by people who seldom if ever have had to make such fateful decisions.” In any violent encounter on the street, especially those in which the racial calculus attracts media attention, the cop knows there is at least some chance that it is he who will be punished for it and not the suspected lawbreaker.

Safer this way.

With this in mind, in ever more instances the cop elects to go on his way and allow the suspected lawbreaker to do likewise. In short, the risk-reward calculations favor the criminal, and the results are unsurprising and everywhere to behold.

There was a time I attributed this dynamic to naiveté among political and media elites, whose members I assumed simply could not fathom the depravity in the criminal element to which they are seldom if ever exposed. No more. So rapid has been the rise in crime since the summer of 2020, so inept has been the response from our elected leaders, so willfully blind to both have been the media, it can only be by design.

Call them Marcusians, neo-Marxists, neo-Jacobins, or whatever label you may choose, they have achieved dominance in every last institution shaping popular opinion in America and much of the world: politics, academia, the news media, and the entertainment industry. Recall for example that when Barack Obama first ran for president in 2008, he claimed to oppose same-sex marriage, an opinion considered uncontroversial at the time even among most Democrats. Imagine the uproar that would ensue if a candidate of either party espoused such a position today.

Yes, in the ensuing years a majority of Americans have come to accept same-sex marriage, but they are now being asked – no, compelled – to embrace the proposition that the very definitions of male and female are so amorphous and elastic as to include anyone who, despite his or her immutable biological makeup, fancies him- or herself to be one or the other or neither. And if you dare object, if you voice even the slightest skepticism about this madness, you will be silenced on social media, denounced in the press, hounded from your job, and evicted from your home.

Bursting with pride.

And soon, perhaps, you will be arrested for it. With the police now deterred from taking action against violent crime, police departments will see its most talented officers drift away to other types of employment or to agencies not yet in the grip of this modern thinking. They will be replaced not by crime fighters but by social justice warriors who will take it as their responsibility to squelch heretical opinion.

Do you think it can’t happen here? Witness the plight of one resident of our cultural mother country. Darren Brady, a 51-year-old veteran of the British army, was recently hauled into the dock for having caused someone “anxiety” by retweeting a meme showing four LGBT pride flags arranged so as to form a swastika. As if to prove the very point Brady was making, the Hampshire police came to Brady’s house and arrested him, handcuffs and all.

How long before such a scenario comes to pass here in the United States? The civil society continues to fray. In just a few short years, America’s cops have gone from being active opponents of societal breakdown to helpless spectators to it. The next step, as has already occurred in the United Kingdom, apparently, is their becoming active accomplices in it.

I’d rather die.

THE COLUMN: America's 'Transitioning'—but to What?

In case you haven't heard, the United States is currently in the process of "transitioning." For reasons of decorum, and to not upset the rubes, from what to what is never quite spelled out, but those of us who have been following the "progressive" Left for the past six decades or so have a pretty clear idea of what they mean. It was first brazenly articulated by candidate Barack Obama in a campaign appearance just before the 2008 presidential election when he said, "We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

At the time, such braggadocio was largely chalked up to typical hustings rhetoric by a fresh new face eager to contrast his relative youth (Obama was 47 at the time) with the geriatric-adjacent ambulatory husk of John McCain, who was 72, You know, something akin to John F. Kennedy's line in his 1961 inaugural address about "a new generation of Americans, born in this century." JFK was born in 1917; Dwight Eisenhower, the man he was succeeding, had been born in 1890. Even though both had served during World War II (Eisenhower as Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, Kennedy as a Navy lieutenant in the Pacific), they seemed of vastly different generations. In other words, just talk:

Except, as we now know, it wasn't. Obama meant every one of those thirteen infamous words, and older folks who had lived through the 1960s knew exactly what he meant. "Change" was not simply a buzzword meant to distinguish the "new" policies of one party from the "old" policies of the other, within a context of broadly accepted governing principles and love for the nation as founded, including the primacy of the Constitution. Rather, it was a complete break from the American tradition, a kind of cultural-political coup whose message couldn't have been clearer.

The Trump interregnum interrupted the steady flow of "progress" away from the "charter of negative liberties" (Obama's phrase) that is our founding document and toward FDR's notion of the "Four Freedoms," first floated in an address to Congress on January 6, 1941, nearly a year before Pearl Harbor. Two of Roosevelt's four "freedoms" were freedom of speech and freedom of worship (redundant, since they were already enshrined in the First Amendment); the other two were freedom from want—"economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants, everywhere in the world"—and freedom from fear—"a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor, anywhere in the world."

This was a speech aimed not at America but at the world as Roosevelt, heading into his unprecedented third term (it was, after all, an "emergency"), tried to drum up support for imperial Britain in its fight with its National Socialist German cousins, in the teeth of strong isolationist sentiment at home. But the ideas gained traction domestically over the succeeding decades, morphing into such left-wing notions as a universal basic income and unilateral disarmament. A transition was needed away from the self-reliance of the citizenry and the framework of a limited federal government, and so the two final amendments to the Bill of Rights, the Ninth and Tenth, were hastily consigned to the oubliettes of history, aka, the dustbin.

Both those amendments were intended to confine the central government to its enumerated powers, but generations of clever and malicious lawyers have all but destroyed such quaint notions as individual and states' rights. The latter was collateral damage of the Civil War and both were obliterated by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as author Christopher Caldwell convincingly argues in his book, The Age of Entitlement: America since the Sixties

Though Americans are reluctant to admit it, the legacy of the 1960s that most divides the country has its roots in the civil rights legislation passed in the immediate aftermath of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. It was enacted in a rush of grief, anger and overconfidence — the same overconfidence that had driven Kennedy to propose landing a man on the moon and would drive Lyndon Johnson to wage war on Vietnam. Shored up and extended by various court rulings and executive orders, the legislation became the core of the most effective campaign of social transformation in American history.

Because it's wreckable, all right?

Thus began the "transition" in earnest. With Obamacare and the takeover of student loan programs, not to mention the corrosive effects of the auto industry "bailout," Obama went a long way in his two terms toward establishing the kind of centralized socialism his mentors and handlers desired; the country was lucky that his innate slothfulness prevented even more such "fundamental transformation."

The came Donald Trump's surprise victory over the Left's designated heiress, Hillary Clinton, which temporarily derailed their plans. Their furious counter-reaction began the day after Trump was elected; by Inauguration Day 2017 the media was already calling for his impeachment, and by the end of his first full month in office, the Left had claimed the scalp of National Security Adviser Mike Flynn, and it was all downhill from there. Henceforth, the administration was staffed by a cabal of its enemies, which spied on him, leaked to the media, disrupted the orderly working of the White House, supported his political foes, and began greasing the skids for his defeat—by any means necessary—well before the midterms. Alas, he was too ineffective a leader to do anything meaningful about it; after all, this is the man who hired Christopher Wray at the FBI and failed to fire him on his way out the door.

One thing the institutional Left couldn't dent while Trump was in power was the booming American economy, but from the moment bona fide geriatric semi-ambulatory husk Joe Biden supplanted him thanks to a "fortified" election in which both halves of the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party enthusiastically participated in order to get rid of him, the economy has hit the skids with malice aforethought. The social battles have largely been won by the Left, which is why you have drag-queen story hours at your local public library and "gender reassignment" disfiguring surgery for girls and castration for boys fervently advocated by Democrat government officials and their pet media. Shoplifting is legal in many places, and talk about freedom: you can poop on the sidewalks with impunity. 

Now it's the economy stupid, and its turn to transition. Just ask the Big Guy, who on his first day behind the Resolute desk unleashed a war on the energy sector, nominally in the name of "climate change" but in reality because, in the words of Gordon Gekko. "it's wreckable, all right?"

An "incredible transition," and don't you dare call it a "recession." Next we have Janet Yellen, head yenta-in-charge at the Treasury Department and former chairx of the Federal Reserve, to explain the transitioning of your pocketbook from full to empty:

And don't forget economic adviser Gene Sperling, an Obama retread and currently the White House coordinator for something called the American Rescue Plan, who's also got some transition 'splainin' to do:

Quoth this parrot: "This is an economic transition moment." He's right: damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead as we complete the "transition" from a store-of-value-based currency (the dollar, until Nixon wrecked it in 1971) to the wet dream of the Modern Monetary Theory brigands, for whom it's impossible to print too much funny money because, hey, we can always print more! 

Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) is a heterodox macroeconomic framework that says monetarily sovereign countries like the U.S., U.K., Japan, and Canada, which spend, tax, and borrow in a fiat currency that they fully control, are not operationally constrained by revenues when it comes to federal government spending. Put simply, such governments do not rely on taxes or borrowing for spending since they can print as much as they need and are the monopoly issuers of the currency. Since their budgets aren’t like a regular household’s, their policies should not be shaped by fears of a rising national debt.

Don't try this at home, kids. But now that the adults are back, what the hell? If girls can be boys and boys can be girls, it's a mixed-up, muddled-up shook up world anyway. There is no innate nature to anything any more, and nothing really matters. As the Left's favorite economist, John Maynard Keynes, famously said: "In the long run, we are all dead," so let's party like it's 476 or 1543 or 1914.  It's the ultimate triumph of mind over matter, of fiat over gold, of fantasy over reality, and you're a bigot if you think otherwise. You're the enemy now. So like the blushing bride on her wedding night, lie back, think of England, and let the transitioning begin. After all, you have no choice. You're next.

THE COLUMN: Dead on Arrival

At the opening of the 1950 classic film noir, D.O.A., Edmund O'Brien strides purposefully into a big-city police station, proceeds down long, endless corridors, and finally arrives at a door marked Homicide Division. "I want to report a murder," he says to the head detective. "Who was murdered?" asks the cop. "I was," replies O'Brien.

In this, year two of the dreadful administration of Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., we Americans know just how he feels. From the moment this blustering blowhard of a United States senator of no accomplishment from a meaningless state took office in January 2021, he has been busily poisoning the country for the simple reason that he can, he wants to, and there is no one to stop him.

The beneficiary of the hinkiest election in modern American history thanks to the illegal changes in balloting occasioned by the unnecessary Covid panic, and given the narrowest possible margins of control in both the House and the Senate, the superannuated chief executive has done everything in his power to show his contempt for the American people, to damage our patrimony, and make our lives increasingly miserable. 

And yet, like O'Brien, we're not quite dead yet, and still staggering around trying to catch our murderer before time runs out. Barring the hand of God, the first opportunity we'll have to put Biden out to pasture won't come until November 2024, and while the congressional elections this fall could possibly remove both houses of Congress from the geriatric clutches of the bibulous Nancy Pelosi and the baleful Chuck Schumer, that can only stanch but not stop the country's internal hemorrhaging. Like the hapless Frank Bigelow, desperately searching in his last hours for the psycho killer who poisoned him before the "luminous toxin" kills him, we're unsure whom to trust, with both friends and foes suspects alike. 

"This can't be happening," we think, but it is. Under the cloak of Covid "emergency"—the punitive lockdowns, the destruction of our education system, the loss of social contact, the delusion that our fellow humans were carriers of a deadly disease who needed to be shunned or even imprisoned—Americans' constitutional freedoms were summarily abrogated without a shot being fired, and we were consigned to effective house arrest (and worse in places like Australia and Canada). Our freedom of movement—essential to life in a country as large as the United States of America—was drastically curtailed and our transportation system deliberately wrecked. Meanwhile the "climate change" canard continued apace, and the push for electric vehicles was intensified, even as the nation's electric grid was tangibly collapsing.

Since Robinette took office, gas prices have more than doubled, part of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve has been emptied, our hard-won energy independence achieved during the Trump era has been frittered away, and we've been reduced to begging erstwhile enemies like the "kingdom" of Saudi Arabia to do the jobs Americans just can't be allowed to do. If this looks like a conspiracy to you, don't worry: it is. And one that the conspirators have been quite open about for decades. They're a suicide cult, hell-bent on killing us as well as themselves:

Analysis has now shown that the carbon embedded in existing fossil fuel production, if allowed to run its course, would take us beyond the globally agreed goals of limiting warming to well below 2˚C and pursuing efforts to limit to 1.5˚C. The global carbon budgets associated with either temperature limit will be exhausted with current fossil fuel projects, and in fact some currently-operating fossil fuel projects will need to be retired early in order to have appropriately high chances of staying below even the 2˚C limit, let alone 1.5˚C.

Therefore, we, as over 400 civil society organizations from more than 60 countries, representing tens of millions around the world, call on world leaders to put an immediate halt to new fossil fuel development and pursue a just transition to renewable energy with a managed decline of the fossil fuel industry.

The first step in this effort is a simple one: Stop digging. No additional fossil fuel development, no exploration for new fossil fuels, no expansion of fossil fuel projects. We need to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

Just about every word in this screed is either a false premise or an outright lie. The notion of keeping global temperature increases to under 2℃ is purely arbitrary, while the idea of carbon being a pollutant is anti-humanism at its most pernicious, since we are carbon-based life forms who breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide—the very stuff of life for the green trees and fields the Left constantly celebrates, the concept of symbiosis being apparently beyond them. The unsightly forests of Brobdingnagian windmills currently uglifying landscapes around the world testify to the success of their monomania. 

Their blatantly dishonest attempts to link "climate" with weather, however, have had their intended effects on public opinion, pushed largely by propagandistic media outlets such as NPR and the New York Times, which has a whole "hub" devoted to the subject as well as a regular section on "climate and environment." It's important to note here that the Times's reach extends far beyond its direct readership, since its news judgment sets the table for every other media outlet in the country, while your tax dollars subsidize NPR's increasingly deracinated fixations on "climate change," race, and trannies. And naturally you know who's on board with the whole thing:

So those high prices for gasoline and the long, chaotic lines and canceled flights at the airports are not a bug, they're the lynchpin of the whole scheme, which is itself part and parcel of the entire Great Reset project (about which much more tomorrow; watch this space). In order for the Lords of Davos to control you they must first curtail and control your freedom of movement, and what better way to do that than to make the price of oil prohibitively expensive? First your cars stop moving, then the trucks that deliver almost everything of value, including food, to the stores. An inability to move freely and without government oversight will vanish as computers take over your automobiles and which, when they are fully electric, can be disabled at will. As they like to say: You'll own nothing, and you'll be happy
 
What better metaphor, then, for the parlous state of our national affairs than the sight of Biden on his keister after toppling off his bike over the weekend. This frail, thoroughly nasty man with some very peculiar tendencies and an immediate family that might best be described as Caligulan in its behavior, not only embarrassed himself but the country he pretends to lead. "I'm good," he said after his tumble, which may be his biggest and most brazen lie of them all.
 
In the the meantime, we keep rushing around in the dark, trying to figure out why this happening and who is doing it to us. We know the answer, but feel there's nothing we can do about it. Like Bigelow, we'd like to see the man in charge, but nobody is, not really. We can breathe and we can move, but we're not alive because we took that poison, and nothing can save us. We know who the psycho killer is, half our fellow countrymen voted for him, and the murder is taking place in full view from sea to shining sea.
 
Unless a miracle happens, we're D.O.A. and our final destination is dead ahead. 

THE COLUMN: Why Are We In Ukraine?

By now, it's a commonplace to observe that, in accordance with Conquest's Third Law of Politics, our country is ruled by a cabal of her enemies. The brief Trump interregnum between 24 years of Clinton/Bush/Obama—in retrospect, nearly indistinguishable in the havoc each wreaked on the United States—and now the first term of Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., is barely a blip on the radar screen of Progressivism. As Mark Antony observes during Caesar's funeral oration: “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.” Welcome to the boneyard of America.

This is, alas, true regardless of whether the men themselves were of good character. Clinton wasn't, Bush more or less was, Obama isn't, and Biden is one of the worst men ever to assume the presidency: a bully, a liar, a plagiarist, a mediocrity and, at this stage of his senescence, a clear and present danger. As for Trump, no one ever mistook him for a secular saint, and indeed he was brought down and done in by his own manifest personal imperfections, poor personnel choices, and chronic inability to control his self-destructive solipsistic nature. But in Trump's case the good he did has already been interred with the bones of his presidency, and we are now left at the mercy of a vengeful Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party determined to bring us to heel and ruination.

Case in point: the Ukraine. Back in 1965, an accidental president, Lyndon Baines Johnson, hit upon the brilliant idea of fully involving the U.S. in a pointless war in Vietnam and southeast Asia. Nobody wanted this war. "I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong," observed Muhammad Ali around that time, upon learning that his vengeful draft board had just reclassified the heavyweight champion of the world from 1-Y (qualified for service only in time of war or national emergency) to 1-A. Most Americans agreed with him. LBJ, however, didn't care. We had to save Asian boys from the consequences of their imported Gallic laziness and martial impotence.

What a steaming pile of Texas codswallop that was, and even those of us who were in high school at the time knew it. But thus began the Forever Wars, the latest incarnation of which is currently being held in Kiev, Ukraine, formerly the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Although it's in a war zone, the manifest lack of danger to visiting American politicians and aging rock stars is quite obvious, as Jill Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and even Mitch McConnell have all showed up in party attire to what's supposed to be a live-fire zone, to take in the sights and perhaps enjoy a few golden oldies. Cui bono, or should I say cui Bono? As the playwright David Mamet notes in his new book, Recessional: The Death of Free Speech and the Cost of a Free Lunch: "When all politicians are agreed, someone is getting bought off."

This would be the same Ukraine whose dirty fingerprints are all over every significant scandal of the past several years, including the odiferous Burisma deal with the Biden family, as well as various electoral shenanigans in which prominent members of the amoral establishment political-consulting class have been involved up to their eyeballs, including David "Jake Lingle" Axelrod, Steve Schmidt, Mark Penn, Paul Begala, and Paul Manafort. As U.S. News noted in 2014:

Manafort isn’t alone in plying his trade in the former Soviet republic; as the Times noted in 2007, former Bill Clinton pollster Stan Greenberg was working for Ukraine’s then-president, Viktor Yushchenko, as were GOP operatives Steve Schmidt and Neil Newhouse. By the 2010 presidential campaign, the Times reported, Yuschenko had retained another former Clinton strategist, Mark Penn, while then-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko had hired David Axelrod’s old firm, AKPD Media. (It’s a small world after all: Schmidt would go on to manage John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign against AKPD client Barack Obama; Newhouse would in 2012 poll for long-time client Mitt Romney in his presidential bid.)

The U.S.-Ukraine political nexus hasn’t just involved campaign work. As Reuters’ Mark Hosenball and Warren Strobel reported last December, the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, “a Brussels-based organization sympathetic to [Yanukovych] and his political party” had paid nearly $1.5 million over the preceding two years to the firms of lobbying heavyweights like Republican former Reps. Vin Weber and Billy Tauzin and Democrat Anthony Podesta (whose brother John is a senior counselor in the White House). Where the Centre gets its funding is unclear, Reuters reported: “In a filing with the European Union, the group listed its budget for the financial year ending in November as 10,000 euros, or about $14,000 – a fraction of the $1.46 million it paid the Washington lobbyists.”

It's also the birthplace of Alexander Vindman, the professional rat fink who was one of the central figures in the bogus first impeachment of Donald Trump, which was occasioned by Trump's raising the issue of the Biden family's involvement in the Ukrainian financial sewer system:

I was a 44-year-old U.S. Army lieutenant colonel assigned to a position equivalent to that of a two-star general, three levels above my rank. Since July 2018, I’d been at the National Security Council, serving as the director for Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Russia. Recently, deep concerns had been growing throughout the U.S. foreign-policy community regarding two of the countries I was responsible for. We’d long been confused by the president’s policy of accommodation and appeasement toward Russia. But now there were new, rapidly emerging worries. This time the issue was the president’s inexplicable hostility toward a U.S. partner crucial to our Russia strategy: Ukraine.

"Our" Russia strategy"? Easy enough for a guy born in Kiev to say. And "inexplicable" only if you're rooting for the other side. But if like all of the Democrats and at least half the Republicans in Congress you're on the bipartisan team Gravy Train, elbow deep in the one supply chain—the military-industrial complex's arms-procurement racket— that's working just fine, you're sitting pretty while real Americans suffer. After all, nothing's too good for keyboard whiz Volodymyr Zelensky and Plucky Little Ukraine, so the hell with your baby formula.

True, the latest money-laundering bill to emerge from Maerose Prizzi and Yertle the Turtle's congress is temporarily on hold because that skunk at the garden party, Rand Paul, refused to make unanimous this latest looting of the American treasury:

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul defied leaders of both parties Thursday and delayed until next week Senate approval of an additional $40 billion to help Ukraine and its allies withstand Russia's three-month old invasion. With the Senate poised to debate and vote on the package of military and economic aid, Paul denied leaders the unanimous agreement they needed to proceed. The bipartisan measure, backed by President Joe Biden, underscores U.S. determination to reinforce its support for Ukraine's outnumbered forces.

The legislation has been approved overwhelmingly by the House and has strong bipartisan support in the Senate. Final passage is not in doubt.

Of course it's not. Why would it be? From LBJ's Vietnam to Bush pere et fils' unfathomable obsession with Iraq and Afghanistan, to the Establishment's newfound fealty to the Ukraine and its roundheeled banks and politicians, and their proxy war with Russia, Americans of my generation have hardly known a moment's peace. And for what? No bono here: the nation's economy is shot, its infrastructure's a joke, its military can't fight, its police are hamstrung in the face of decriminalized crime, its institutions are all under assault by the demon spawn of the Frankfurt School, and its domestic tranquility has been torn asunder.

Instead of listening to Johnson, we should have listened to a far greater president, the man who won the war in Europe, and one of the finest military/logistical minds this country has ever produced. Naturally, in his day, he was scorned by the Democrats as "stupid" and "inarticulate," just as pretty much every Republican president elected since has been. But hear him out:

All class, and not bad from a poor kid from Abilene, Kansas. Ike's gift was a clear-eyed assessment of reality, an understanding of his enemies, and the willpower to get the job done. He, better than most of his contemporaries, grasped the rapid increase in technological change and its unholy partnership with the federal government occasioned by World War II. "Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields." But even with (and perhaps due to) his long years of military service, beginning at West Point and ending as Commander-in-Chief, he was under no illusions about the dangers of such a partnership ahead:

A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction... American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions... This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience... Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications....

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic process. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

The ancient Romans had a stricture against keeping legions under arms in the Italian heartland. It was Caesar's defiance of this edict in 49 B.C. when he crossed the Rubicon with the Thirteenth Legion and headed for Rome, that ultimately spelled the end of the Republic and the descent into civil war. Now here we are, being driven toward war with Vladimir Putin's Russia by a relentless military-industrial propaganda campaign organized by a corrupt gerontocracy in command of our armed forces in support of a dubious cause, for absolutely no good reason of state. 

What are we going to do about it?

'Disinformation' Tyranny Brooks No Debate

To give credit where credit is due, the recent announcement from the White House establishing the “Disinformation Governance Board” as part of the Department of Homeland Security did not actually utilize the terms “Goodthink” or “Ministry of Propaganda.” References to Goebbels appear to have been minimized as well.

It is clear that no one can possibly define what is purported to be potentially harmful “disinformation” unless one has the God-like ability to determine what qualifies as unquestionably truthful information and that this information is being used to reach unquestionably accurate conclusions.

That distinction is vital. Any collection of true propositions can be used to defend a flawed conclusion. It is true, for example, that a ball placed on a sloped surface will roll toward the bottom of the slope. It is true that the floor of most everyone’s home is not a sloped surface. It is true that a ball placed on the floor of most everyone’s home will remain in place. One can put those three truths together and conclude that planet earth is flat, not a sphere.

Looks pretty flat to me.

There are indeed people who sincerely believe that planet earth is flat and they use selected facts in a selective manner to buttress their argument. In a free society they are not only able to do so, they should be encouraged to do so. If the folks in power ban any discussion of a flat earth, more than one person is going to wonder why. If this idea is as ludicrous and unscientific as is claimed, why can not any person be allowed to examine the idea and bear witness to its ludicrousness? When a censor insists that something must be covered, it only increases one’s curiosity to discover what's under the cover.

It seems certain that former President Barack Obama has much more to do with this attack on free speech than the current occupant of the White House. President Biden appears as unlikely to create a board whose name includes a five-syllable word as he is to successfully pronounce it.

As part of a speech at Stanford University on April 21, Obama applauded social media platforms for their attempts at censorship. But, he concluded that those platforms do not and can not handle the important work of suppressing opinion by themselves. He claimed that while “…content moderation can limit the distribution of clearly dangerous content, it doesn't go far enough.” Six days later, the Biden administration rolled out the new Ministry of Propaganda. Coincidence? I think not.

Three words stand out in the former president’s statement: “clearly dangerous content.” There is certainly content on the interwebs that is “clearly dangerous” to general acceptance of outdated and fanciful ideas promulgated by the former Organizer in Chief and his party. There are certainly people who are “clearly dangerous” to the continued success of people who want to divide Americans based on appearance and identity and people who want to turn gender into an amorphous idea rather than a biological fact.

I suppose I myself must be “clearly dangerous” because I don’t believe that climate change is wholly man-made, that we can and should attempt to manipulate the climate, and that the economic and human cost of most of the schemes proposed to limit future use of fossil fuels is far too high a price to pay. One can and should accept the facts that carbon dioxide acts as a greenhouse gas, that mankind is responsible for increasing carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere since the beginning of the industrialized era and that mean global temperatures, which have fluctuated throughout the industrial era, seem to have risen slightly in recent years. None of those facts, which I agree with and with which I am professionally qualified to evaluate, leads me to the conclusion that climate change is entirely man-made and necessarily catastrophic.

On the other hand, maybe it can.

Does my interpretation of those commonly accepted facts make me dangerous in Barack Obama’s eyes? Do similar interpretations by scientists like Roy Spencer and Judith Curry make them dangerous to Forty-Four? I suspect he thinks so.

From all I know of Barack Obama, he is what a colleague who served alongside him in the Illinois Senate described as “a nice guy, but an empty suit.” I place him squarely in the class of what I think of as the simple-minded scholars. These are people who have learned so much about so little that they have managed to disconnect themselves from objective reality and that great human instinct we call common sense.

This is not a new phenomenon.  Plato preached mysticism, while Aristotle was a champion of practicality. Plato imagined. Aristotle observed. Both philosophies have their place, but neither should dominate.

It has been nearly eight hundred years since Thomas Aquinas, that towering figure in both theology and philosophy, dragged the western world back to reality by its ear. Aquinas reiterated what should be an obvious point: if you see something, then what you’re seeing is what it is. If what you see is in fact something else, then the whole of Creation is kind of pointless, ain’t it? So let’s stop all this Platonic speculation about the nature of reality and simply accept that it’s real, that it’s God’s creation and that in revealing more of it, we get closer to our Creator.

In order to continue on this noble journey, more ideas are needed, not fewer. Discussions need to be open, not restricted. Ideas, even stupid ideas, even hateful ideas, are not dangerous. Actions alone are dangerous. The leftist conception that passionate expression necessitates violent action is simple-minded and offensive. It presumes a level of stupidity and subservience among the human race that should disgust us all.

In Barack Obama’s tiny world, Patrick Henry would have banned from speaking in public again after he dared to utter his defiant choice: “give me liberty, or give me death!” Fighting words do not, as the left seems to believe, necessarily or even frequently result in physical confrontations. They instead are part of battles that involve ideas. No one, and certainly no arm of government, has the right to intervene on that sacred battlefield.

THE COLUMN: At Last, a Hill to Die On

So now the mask has dropped and, for the first time, the American people can see the modern Left in all its hateful, unadorned, vituperative, spiteful glory. Case in point: the announcement last week that the Department of Homeland Security—one of the excrescences of the Bush administration, cobbled together in its panic over 9/11—has created the "Disinformation Governance Board" in order to combat what it has, via its hitherto little-known Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, already dubbed "mis-, dis-, and mal-information." Otherwise known as alternative points of view, but shut up, citizen. 

From its Orwellian name to the repellant leftist virago of obscure origins named Nina Jankowicz who heads it (her Wikipedia entry lacks a precise date of birth, as well as her place of birth and any of the customary details about her family, ethnic and religious background; about all we know is that she's apparently married to a man named Michael Stein), this moral and political enormity cannot be allowed to stand. Especially given what we do know about Jankowicz, including her radical feminist inclinations, victim mentality, central-European/Ukrainian focus, and minimal accomplishment outside the progressive Hive Mind.

That video is from Oct. 27, 2020. Jankowicz, whoever she is, appeared twelve days earlier before Adam Schiff's Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which is about as partisan and anti-American a congressional body as currently exists. You can read her complete testimony just below, but here is some of what this "expert witness" had to say in the runup to the fateful president election:

I came to study disinformation through the lens of Russian influence operations. My work has led me to an unsettling conclusion: Not only have the U.S. Government and social media platforms all but abdicated their responsibility to stop the threat of foreign disinformation, domestic disinformation now runs rampant. It is amplified in the media, online, in the Halls of Congress, and from the White House itself. It does our adversaries' work for them, leaving us vulnerable to continued manipulation and leaving our democracy imperiled.

Today, I will outline three trends that exemplify the modern information space: The first is the increased use of information laundering to deliver foreign disinformation. Today, malign actors like Russia are increasingly amplifying their narratives by using authentic local voices or organizations to conceal the origin and to lend legitimacy to a given malign narrative. Perhaps the most well known example of information laundering, and one that this committee knows intimately, is the nexus of conspiracy theories related to Ukraine and Vice President Joe Biden. These unsubstantiated and misleading narratives, promoted by self interested and corrupt individuals seeking power and personal gain, were endorsed by the President's advisors, treated as fact by portions of the media, and legitimized within the Halls of Congress.

And this was before the propaganda campaign about Plucky Little Ukraine began in earnest after the Russian invasion. The "Mary Poppins of Disinformation," indeed. 

Her other two "trends" involved mean Facebook groups that "affect our civil discourse and ability to compromise" and—naturally—the fact that "disinformation often targets women and minorities." Par for the course for a credentialed Democrat-establishment hack from the Wilson Center who endorsed the obviously phony "collusion dossier"—which I noted publicly from the jump had all the earmarks of a standard Russian false-flag operation, pointing the finger at itself in order to disguise the fact that they really were behind it; naked is the best disguise—and pooh-poohing the Hunter Biden laptop story as "Russian disinformation." This is the woman we want in charge of the repeal of the First Amendment?

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It is no coincidence that this Frankenstein monster and its screeching harpy boss have sprung to life just days after Elon Musk made his successful bid for Twitter, with a promise to end its blatant censorship of conservative points of view [including mine; I've been banned for "targeted harassment" since the summer of 2020, apparently for illustrating the shortcomings of such journalistic apparatchiks as Chuck Todd, Yamiche Alcindor, and Nick Confessore, as well as the "presidential historian" Michael Beschloss], throttling free discourse, seizing private information and holding it hostage, and blaming their NKVD tactics on an "algorithm" developed by their "trust and safety" star chamber. 

It also, purely coincidentally, comes directly in the wake of "former" president Barack Hussein Obama's speech at Stanford University endorsing more public censorship. Be sure to click on the video and listen to Barry, who unlike every other former president and in defiance of presidential custom, still lives in the District of Columbia, just a short drive from the White House:

(DeSantis/Tulsi 2024. By the way, has anybody heard from Trump on this? Maybe he'll address it at his next supererogatory rally.)

Let us now remind ourselves of the late historian and Soviet scholar Robert Conquest's third law of politics: "The simplest way to explain the behavior of any bureaucratic organization is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies." At this point in American history, that is not only a theory but a fact. Having narrowly "won" the 2020 election by stealing it fair and square, the Left is putting pedal to the metal to accomplish as much of its anti-foundational agenda as it can before the clock runs out on its tiny congressional majorities this fall. Wrote Molly Ball in Time Magazine in February 2021: 

There was a conspiracy unfolding behind the scenes... an informal alliance between left-wing activists and business titans... The handshake between business and labor was just one component of a vast, cross-partisan campaign to protect the election–an extraordinary shadow effort dedicated not to winning the vote but to ensuring it would be free and fair, credible and uncorrupted. For more than a year, a loosely organized coalition of operatives scrambled to shore up America’s institutions as they came under simultaneous attack from a remorseless pandemic and an autocratically inclined President. Though much of this activity took place on the left, it was separate from the Biden campaign and crossed ideological lines, with crucial contributions by nonpartisan and conservative actors...

Their work touched every aspect of the election. They got states to change voting systems and laws and helped secure hundreds of millions in public and private funding. They fended off voter-suppression lawsuits, recruited armies of poll workers and got millions of people to vote by mail for the first time. They successfully pressured social media companies to take a harder line against disinformation and used data-driven strategies to fight viral smears. They executed national public-awareness campaigns that helped Americans understand how the vote count would unfold over days or weeks, preventing Trump’s conspiracy theories and false claims of victory from getting more traction. After Election Day, they monitored every pressure point to ensure that Trump could not overturn the result...

That’s why the participants want the secret history of the 2020 election told, even though it sounds like a paranoid fever dream–a well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information. They were not rigging the election; they were fortifying it. And they believe the public needs to understand the system’s fragility in order to ensure that democracy in America endures.

In other words, the Left had to "fortify" the election in order to save the Republic, thus allowing themselves the honor of hijacking it. Everything they've done since then, including the destruction of the American economy, the suppression of travel, the demolition of the Bill of Rights, the disruption of the supply chain, the looming food shortages, rampant inflation, and the outsourcing of American foreign policy to corrupt oligarchs, has been to further that objective. These are bad people, intent on doing you harm.

Hence the Ministry of Truth. Already, the lickspittle media are hastening to assure us that it's for our own protection, and will never be put to malign use. Why, here's Jack Shafer in Politico, telling us that Homeland Security is just too stupid to actually use the janky Jankowicz Bureau against us:

The idea that the Biden administration would pulp the First Amendment and institute an authoritarian regime through its agents at DHS is immediately dismissible if only because it is one of the most ineffectual departments in the president’s Cabinet. Had Biden given the task to Agriculture or Commerce or another department with a better GPA in governing, we should be afraid. But DHS couldn’t stamp out disinformation or erect an American Reich if we reallocated to it all of the arms we’re currently shipping to Ukraine. It’s peopled by a confederacy of dunces and botch-artists, incapable of carrying out its current mission.

Shades of "sloppy" Sandy Berger stealing documents from the National Archives, or of poor dumb Joe Biden, wrong on every major foreign policy decision and somehow always being re-elected—don't you feel better now? Stupidity and sloth will save us!

Or will it? As I wrote in the "Mephisto at the Ministry of Love" chapter in The Devil's Pleasure Palace, none of this is an accident, bad luck, or misjudgment. There is nothing well-meaning about what these people do, and never has been: 

How quickly the leftist paradigm, like Mephistopheles molting from a poodle into his own diabolical self in Faust, shifts shape. In the Devil’s Pleasure Palace, though filled with writhing naked nuns and fleshly temptations of every kind, there is no room for fun. Its pleasures, like those of the Cenobites in the 1987 film Hellraiser, lie in the infliction of pain. The flesh that shall be torn is ours. Jesus wept.

This is why the Disinformation Governance Board must be stopped now. This is the hill to fight and, if necessary, die on. Because, to paraphrase Chris Walken's line from True Romance before he kills poor Dennis Hopper: this is as good as it's going to get, and it won't ever get that good again.

THE COLUMN: The Shadow President

Under the British parliamentary system there is something known as the Shadow Cabinet, which consists of the leadership of the Out party, whichever it may be. Right now, with Boris Johnson having hung onto his prime ministership despite ample reason for the Tories to have dumped him when they had the chance, and should have, the shadow PM is Keir Starmer, the former editor of a radical Trotskyite magazine Socialist Alternatives, although he seems to have modified his fire-breathing leftism since his college days and is now considered "soft Left." As such, Starmer is Leader of the Opposition, and stands at the head of an entire replacement cabinet; should the current government fall or be voted out at the next scheduled election in May of 2024, the British public already knows who's going to be in charge and what they're going to get.

Here in the U.S., the picture is far less clear. Our cumbersome presidential election system, which now begins the day after the midterms and drags on for nearly two years of jockeying and primaries and media flaps and get-out-the-vote shenanigans, and even then doesn't end on Election Day, produces nothing but a single candidate by the spring of the election year. Then more mystery: who will be the running mate? Which rivals or friends or party hacks might wind up in the prospective cabinet? Nobody knows for sure until the announcements are made, the veep before the vote and the others afterward if the ticket is successful. Even then, there is still a nearly three-month "transition" phase before any of this can legally take effect; by the time Inauguration Day rolls around, half the country is already heartily sick of the new guys and the media is openly wondering who'll be running four years later.

The clock is ticking, Joe.

This cycle, things are a bit different. With the Biden administration visibly failing—the hero's welcome given to former president Barack Obama recently spoke volumes about where the real power in Washington lies these days—and speculation rife about whether or even how quickly a senescent, feeble president can be replaced and by whom, the time has never been riper for the Republicans to have a shadow president of their own. As it happens, they have two. 

First, of course, is Donald Trump, the recent president, who appears to be determined to get his old Oval Office back, running on a campaign of I-wuz-robbed grievance. The final three months of the Trump administration were an epic mess, beginning on Election Night when the nation went to bed with Trump comfortably ahead in all the swing states he needed to win to put him over the top, and waking up to one of the most extraordinary reversal of fortunes in our history. 

The mishegoss continued with the flurry of rejected lawsuits seeking in effect to overturn the posted results, including the Supreme Court's disgraceful refusal to hear the one constitutionally based suit, brought by the state of Texas contesting the results in four battleground states (Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin), they were absolutely obligated to hear. But the Roberts Court dodged the issue, saying that Texas "lacked standing" to bring the case.

The icing on the cake was the Jan. 6 demonstration during which Trump said: "We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated, lawfully slated. I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard." And the rest, as they say, is ongoing history. Trump may feel he is "owed" support because of his loss or his endorsement of various candidates, but as they say in Washington, if you want a friend, get a dog. 

I wuz robbed.

The other is Florida governor Ron DeSantis, a former Congressman who won a squeaker election against, in retrospect, a manifestly unsuitable Democrat candidate in Andrew Gillum, whom DeSantis beat by half a percentage point. Following the election, "Gillum was found inebriated and with a man, who had identified himself on websites as an escort, who was treated on scene for a possible overdose. Crystal meth also was reportedly found at the scene." Florida thus dodged a bullet, DeSantis got a leg up on the other politicians of his generation (he's 43, Trump is 75), and in just a couple of years has transformed himself into a national figure. How did he do it?

As the old saying goes, it's better to be lucky than good, but DeSantis has been both. Practically since he took office, events have broken his way, starting with the unnecessary hysteria over Covid-19 that, in the final analysis, was the thing that destroyed the Trump administration. After briefly flirting with lockdowns, DeSantis reversed course, bit the bullet, ignored media flapdoodle over "cases," and made Florida the free-state alternative to such draconian fascist entities as New York and California. Florida boomed as its rivals faded, hemorrhaging population and losing economic and political clout while the Sunshine State and also Texas happily welcomed the refugees.

DeSantis has been lucky in his enemies as well. Incredibly, the now-"woke" Walt Disney Company—the embodiment of family friendly entertainment since its founding in 1923 through its founder's death in 1966 and up until recently—has decided that the Florida Parental Rights in Education bill (which DeSantis enthusiastically signed) preventing state teachers from discussing human sexuality, sexual orientation and "gender identity" with children in kindergarten through third grade is the hill the company wants to die on

“Florida’s HB 1557, also known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, should never have passed and should never have been signed into law,” the statement reads. “Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that. We are dedicated to standing up for the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ members of the Disney family, as well as the LGBTQ+ community in Florida and across the country.”

Disney’s public opposition to the law follows an employee walkout in protest of CEO Bob Chapek’s mishandling of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Don't say it. Don't even think it.

Disney, however, is a private company operating under an extremely generous sweetheart deal with the state of Florida regarding its theme park and environs in Orlando, so you'd think its corporate executives like Chapek wouldn't want to poke the alligator that protects them. But Woke is just another name for Stupid, so naturally Disney blundered right into the governor's wheelhouse.

An escalating fight between Disney and Florida over the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill has pushed state lawmakers to threaten to strip the company of special privileges that essentially give it the sovereignty to act as its own government. Backed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, some Republican lawmakers have called for the repeal of a 1967 law permitting the creation of the Reedy Creek Improvement District. The legislation affords Disney the authority to act as its own county with the ability to impose taxes, adopt ordinances and provide emergency services on land that’s home to its sprawling theme park resort, among other powers of self-government.

“As a matter of first principle, I don’t support special privileges in law just because a company is powerful,” DeSantis said March 31 at a news conference. “They’ve lost a lot of the pull that they used to have, and honestly, I think that’s a good thing for our state. You should not have one organization that is able to dictate policy in all these different realms, and they have done that for many, many years. If that stops now, which it should, that would be a good thing for Florida.”

That's not all. For years, Disney has been given super-duper-special treatment in Congress over its copyrighted characters like Mickey Mouse, which should have reverted to the public domain as long ago as 1984, but have been steadily extended through 2024 as an act of favoritism to Disney. Now Congress is taking another look

A number of Republican lawmakers have signalled they may block Disney from renewing copyright on an iconic Mickey Mouse cartoon as punishment for the company’s stance on Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill. Rep Jim Banks, chair of the Republican Study Committee, is circulating a letter among the GOP caucus in which he tells Disney CEO Bob Chapek of his intention to oppose any future extension of Disney copyrights, National Review reports. Disney’s rights to its Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse, first seen in a 1928 short film, are due to expire on 1 January 2024, although more recent depictions will remain protected by separate copyrights.

No matter how agitated Disney's woke workforce is, this is a fight Disney can only lose and DeSantis can only win. Disney and other work corporations exist in a fantasy-fueled Twitterverse in which nothing is more important than extending the Left's fetish about sexual license unto the generations. That Disney's core audience—the suckers who shell out a fortune to partake of the dubious joys of Disneyland in California and Disney World in Florida—is dead set against the sexualization of children is just another reason to do it. The usual suspects in the media, naturally, are overwhelmingly in favor of the law's repeal, as a glance at Google will readily confirm, and as can be seen by their insistence on siding with the Democrats and calling it the "Don't Say Gay" bill—three words that aren't in the bill and certainly not in the title.

With enemies like the company that bought Harvey Weinstein and the mainstream media, DeSantis doesn't need friends. Meanwhile, the governor has the wind at his back: more than a dozen states are considering similar bills, putting the Florida governor in the de facto driver's seat on the issue. From Covid to the Chinese suborning of America's institutions to the sitting daffy duck called Disney, DeSantis has staked out positions in direct opposition to the Biden Democrats—exactly what you'd expect from a Shadow President who's looking forward, not backward. 

Obama was 47 years old when he became president; DeSantis, should he run, and win, would be 46. Trump will be 78. You do the math. 

Reality Intrudes Upon Biden’s Climate Hypocrisy

It's time for a reality check. If you take a confidential survey of environmentalists, the candid ones will admit that the Obama administration was a great disappointment when it came to "climate change "and moving the country to “green” energy. Despite promising on election night in 2008 that the sea levels would stop rising because he’d deliver green nirvana, the Obama years saw the massive reversal in America’s long decline in domestic oil production, as the fracking revolution took Washington by surprise.

The fracking revolution happened quietly out of view; if Washington had been aware of what was happening, they would surely have stopped it cold. Like Uber when it shows up to challenge a taxi monopoly in a city, it is hard to kill off a thriving sector entirely once it has taken root.

Obama was an ideologue, but he wasn’t stupid. After the financial crash of 2008 and the slow-growth recovery that followed, the oil and gas sector was about the only sector that boomed aside from Wall Street. He likely knew that without the resurgence of oil and gas, especially in swing states like Pennsylvania and Ohio, he likely would have lost his re-election bid in 2012. Ironically the hated fracking revolution led in the U.S. to the largest decrease in carbon emissions anywhere in the world, as suddenly cheap natural gas outcompeted coal in the marketplace—all without a signing ceremony on the White House lawn.

In sum, the political agenda of the climate campaign largely ground to a halt during the Obama years. Ambitious new legislation stalled out on Capitol Hill despite large Democratic majorities before the 2010 election, and Obama’s regulatory strategy—the so-called “Clean Power Plan”—was blocked in court. The Paris Climate Accord was so weak that the founding father of climate alarmism, NASA’s James Hansen, called it a “bull----” agreement. The only exception to this litany of disappointment was lavish and solar subsidies, which both parties in Congress love to expand, even though they generate meager amounts of energy. By the time he left office, Obama was embracing an “all of the above” energy strategy that implicitly recognized the long-term necessity for fossil fuel energy.

Joe Biden took office apparently after gulping extra helpings of climate Kool-Aid, determined to strangle fossil fuels more seriously than Obama ever did. Halting the Keystone XL pipeline in mid-construction was an unprecedented step. It is one thing to block a permit application for a project, but a president had never before stopped a private sector construction project that was already under way. And while the administration lacks the power to halt fracking in private or state land, proposed new regulations for “fugitive emissions” of methane could significantly hobble fracking activity, which is the intent. The administration is slow-walking permits for oil and gas production on federal lands, and expanding its regulatory chokepoints for oil and gas production finance.

Once again reality has intruded upon the climate fanatics’ green dreams, in the form of energy shortages and price spikes, but most especially the Ukraine crisis which has revealed the folly of dependency on despotic regimes for oil and gas. Even irresponsible governments, which are most of them, have turned on a dime. Germany has abruptly reversed course on its Energiewende (green energy revolution) by making plans to keep coal-fired electricity sources online longer, while France is going to expand its nuclear power capacity and Britain is going to relax its hostility to fracking for natural gas. (According to one recent estimate, one-quarter of British households will be unable to afford their skyrocketing energy costs by the fall.)

Here in the United States, coal production was rising even before the Ukraine crisis, after falling during the Trump administration, because the price of natural gas has been rising. The limits of “green” energy are starting to bite hard, such as in California, which now has retail electricity rates twice the national average.

The TVA: something government got right.

By far the most embarrassing news for the climate campaigners in the U.S. is the news that the Tennessee Valley Authority, the electric utility for the southeastern U.S. that is an appendage of the federal government, has decided to invest heavily in new natural gas generation rather than wind and solar power. The New York Times reported recently about how TVA was “undermining Biden’s climate goals”:

The nation’s largest federally owned utility plans to invest more than $3.5 billion in new gas-burning electric plants, despite President Biden’s commitment to swiftly move away from fossil fuels and eliminate greenhouse gases from the power sector in a little more than a decade... In its deliberations about replacing coal-fired generators, the T.V.A. found that solar or other zero-emissions sources would be less dependable and more expensive than gas.

The TVA decision makes clear what every serious energy analyst knows—that even large amounts of solar and wind power require significant natural gas backup capacity to secure electric grid reliability. The Agency knows that you can’t replace old coal power plants with windmills and solar panels alone, despite what the green energy fanatics say. But that’s not the end of the reality check. The Times also notes:

It marks the second time in recent months that a federal entity has clashed with Mr. Biden’s climate agenda. The United States Postal Service is replacing 165,000 aging mail trucks with mostly gasoline-powered vehicles, despite the desire of the White House and leading Democrats to convert the fleet to all-electric vehicles.

The Times isn't alone in noticing these anomalies. Bloomberg Green blasted the headline, "Biden Embraces Oil as Ukraine War Overwhelms His Climate Agenda." This is more than a simple case of hypocrisy being the tribute that vice pays to virtue, or just as embarrassment to the Biden White House. The failure of federal government entities to conform to the climate crusade ought to be a clear sign to private sector utilities, traditional energy producers, and state regulators charged with electric grid stability that we have reached the limits of energy nonsense.