Delusions More Toxic than Covid

It's now just a few days before Joe Biden, the aged, doddering former U.S. Senator and two term vice president, is inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States. Donald J. Trump was impeached Tuesday, if that is the word for the truncated, evidence-free series of rants by Democratic congressmen on the floor of the House. No facts in were evidence. But a fountain of emotion far more toxic than Covid-19, spewed forth.

Rule of law has disintegrated into some mockery of group therapy in the American capital. One knows better than to ask if this is a function of female leadership. Perhaps it is. But many male Democrats appear to suffer from the uncontrollable rage common to PMS sufferers.  And Trump Derangement Syndrome has gripped them all. 

There's a silver lining to this appalling political theater.  Now, two months after our Third World style election marked by serious claims of massive ballot fraud, including voting by the ineligible and the dead, the inescapable reality has finally arrived. The millions of Trump voter who have entertained the charming but childish notion that an election victory stolen in broad daylight will be restored by some process, before the inauguration -- finally see that it is not going to happen.

Millions of Trump voters have been living with a mental process something like this: ‘You did this horrible thing to us. Everyone saw. The neighbors! The whole world. Surely you are going to admit it and give me back what is rightly mine?’

What -- no Krakens?

But when the entire establishment colludes to remove a president who threatens the profitable operations of the American political and corporate classes, the possibility of a fix in real time is a fantasy.  For most of us, as with any deception and loss, the longer one maintains a dream of justice and happily ever after, the greater the pain and suffering. 

Of course it is very hard to walk away from what we all grew up believing about "the will of the people," and the virtues of democratic representation itself, on which we base our understanding the social compact.  A "Great Reset" to Biden and socialism is bleak, so fantasies persist.

A stolen election leading to the destruction of half the country’s faith in our entire system of governance remains hard to process and accept.  For many it leads to talk of secession, and civil war -- which are not unreasonable if you believe you and your communities have been permanently disenfranchised, and the Constitution shredded.

Consider, however, the possibility that we have already lost that war.  That every institution with power or influence in our nation, is in the hands of the left.  That is the case, even apart from the question of ballot fraud, committed by software or local party hacks. 

Nor is it easier when our tech overlords decree that anyone who dares discuss the deliberately unresolved, barely investigated mounds of evidence that suggest a fraudulent election, is, per the Great (Social) Reset, going to have his social media accounts stripped, insurance policies cancelled, job offers nullified, academic posts and legal partnerships taken away, and a host of other acts of corporate and government destruction of life, liberty, and property.

The ‘social credit’ system, newly imported from Communist China, is coming down hard on anyone who questions the actions of our political overseers -- as has been amply demonstrated, to their shame, by the tech industry's "cancel culture," which has now spread to much of corporate America. Indeed, this has been the case for years for thought crimes in social matters, such as using pronouns associated with biological sex, not chosen "identity," or insufficient enthusiasm for the expansion of "marriage" to any two, or three, or more people. 

O Brave New World!

It sure was neat how last week’s conveniently timed violence at the Capitol, the origins and perpetrators of which are only now being investigated, and perhaps arrested, after a rush to pin it on the President's followers, pushed remaining serious questions about the election's integrity off the table? How the well-timed violence caused Republican senators and congressmen to decide on the spot not to question clearly illegitimate votes in their own states?  Another small reality reset: planned violence helped the narrative crowd out of having to explain away any contradictory facts.

This owes much to our nation’s current lack of a free and honest media, without which a free society can not trust information.  Instead, we are stuffed to the gills with propaganda factories working with partisan politicians. Which is why narratives – big lies -- of the sort that undergird totalitarian societies, have crowded out reality. Especially in a year when everyone was forced to stay at home, watching screens.

For conservatives, the worst narrative of all was Q-Anon, that great psyops that sucked the fight out of millions of patriots, who came to believe that Trump was playing and winning "three dimensional chess" against a gang  of pedophiles, and deep state holders of power. It will take a serious investigative reporter to unearth where the Q cult came from. Considering how the Q fantasy lulls patriots into complacence about "winning," I presume it was perpetrated by Trump's enemies.

So patriotic Americans can be forgiven for believing in the triumph of honesty and justice; that Trump would seize upon a weapon like the Insurrection Act, or martial law; that he would finally get an honest hearing for the suspicious vote tallies, and would serve the second term that he may well have earned -- as Rudy Giuliani, Sydney Powell, and other spokesmen encouraged supporters to believe.  (A question remains as to whether use of the Insurrection Act, to smash  BLM/Antifa during their looting and rioting last summer, would have led to a different outcome now.)

The beast that never came.

But the magic fix fantasy went on way too long. Late last week I watched a rational Trump supporter explain what actions need to happen to preclude the worst of coming Biden Administration policies. An ardent Trumper accused him of weakness for not believing that Trump would pull it all out and take a second oath of office. Just last weekend, I got an email from a Nevada GOP club insisting that Trump would triumph.

In life you should always fight to preclude a bad outcome. Hire lawyers. Spend what it takes. Preach. Trump did some of that. Not enough. Arguably he was blocked. You saw what happened to first-rate lawyers who worked with the Trump campaign. Some careers ended, others were merely threatened.

But when all avenues of victory are closed – accept reality. Retreat. Devise a new strategy. Change plans, tactics, strategy. (Not principles!) Be flexible. But always acknowledge reality. Being an adult means knowing when to fold ‘em, and find a different path.

Actually, it is a relief to dump the dual track planning, and the "hope against hope" that we will not be forced to again tolerate the odious, racialist, radical identity-driven politics of the Obama era. Get rid of the stupid foreign policy of losing purposeless wars of choice, genuflecting to Islamist dictators of impoverished nations, and kowtowing to the Chinese, who are our economic and political enemies. The Green New Deal, tool of economic control, hovers. The Biden/Harris/Obamaites are ready to bring it all back, this time full strength. They are radicals who aspire to soft totalitarianism, with no regard for liberty or the rule of law. Their “Great Reset” will make you poorer, colder and less able to support your family.

The virtue of accepting reality – even a bad reality in which illegal aliens flood our borders and get stimulus checks, and teachers unions destroy school choice, while social credit schemes limit individual liberty --- is that you can mobilize to fight it only when you acknowledge what is really happening. Blinders off, comrades. Clarity or death.

A Second, Unaccountable EPA for Biden?

Liberals continue to fret about how the Biden Administration will enact Joe's climate agenda without complete Democratic control of Congress. For the latest example of this genre, here's Derek Brower writing in the Financial Times:

More than 81 million Americans and a majority of electors backed a candidate who said he hoped to “transition from the oil industry” and put clean energy at the centre of a US$2 trillion green plan to decarbonize American electricity in 15 years and create a net-zero-emissions economy by 2050....

Yet as the dust settles on Biden’s victory, the political realities are starting to set in too. Despite retaining a majority, Democrats lost seats in the House of Representatives and at best can hope to split the Senate 50:50 by winning two run-off elections in Georgia in January. For all the enthusiasm of his supporters — and despite the mandate from the popular vote — the full gamut of Biden’s transformative US$2 trillion energy plan has little chance of progressing through such a divided chamber.

Brower goes on to lament "an increasingly conservative judiciary will be an obstacle to federal bodies acting expansively" (translation: Trump-appointed judges will make it difficult for Biden's White House to work around the Constitution), and consequently it will likely take a few years to fully undo Trump's efforts at rolling back onerous regulations on the resource sector.

He is hopeful, however, that a few key administrative actions will have big impact nationwide. These include toughening up fuel economy standards and granting California a new Clean Air Act waiver (Trump revoked the previous one) which will allow the state to impose significantly stricter emissions standards than the federal government, an act which (because of the Golden State's size) could have a ripple effect on the entire auto industry.

Brower is also encouraged by Biden’s announced appointments of "several heavyweights to key energy positions" which he feels denote a "bold climate agenda," the lack of Congressional support notwithstanding. He mentions a few of these appointments, including new international climate envoy John Kerry and domestic "climate czar" Gina McCarthy. These names are, in fact, pretty striking, especially considering the roles they've accepted. Kerry, former Democratic presidential nominee and former secretary of state, and McCarthy, a former EPA chief, have both been cabinet members and now they're content with newly created positions which sound pretty meaningless. What gives?

The Daily Caller's Larry Behrens thinks he's figured it out. His contention is that Biden's object is to create what is effectively a second EPA within the White House, one whose officials aren't confirmed by the Senate and whose actions won't require congressional oversight.

Kerry and McCarthy are perfect choices for that type of role. They're big names who will get the liberal media excited, but who might be shy of Senate confirmation hearings. According to Behrens, McCarthy would be especially reluctant to answer questions about her most recent job as head of the Natural Resources Defense Council, "an environmental organization that faced scrutiny for their relationship to Chinese entities." Of course, as Behrens points out, this is an appropriate background for her new job, which is to undermine America's resource industry while pushing solar panels that are manufactured in China.

Framed that way -- a president creating powerful executive branch positions for people who are unlikely to get through a senate confirmation to enact a policy agenda that he didn't campaign on for the benefit of a foreign power -- this all is a perfect encapsulation of modern American governance.

'A Republic, If You Can Keep It'

Friday’s announcement that the Supreme Court would not hear the case brought by Texas and other states and parties challenging the election results in Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin and  Pennsylvania  is a sad blow for those counting on the Court to resolve the issue of  a stolen election of a manifestly incapable candidate. The court ruled that the parties lacked standing to prosecute the case under Article III of the Constitution -- that is to say, they lacked a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which other states conducted their elections. 

Justices Alito and Thomas indicated in the short order that they would have heard the case  because they believe that when one state sues another, a matter in which the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction, the court lacks discretion to refuse to hear it. But both men opined they “should not grant other relief” and expressed “no view on any other issue.” They had earlier dissented in a case on the very point of the Court’s obligation to hear cases brought  by one state against another, the cases in which it has original jurisdiction and no other court may hear such matters.

Or not, as the case may be.

The complainants argued that the states  whose results they wanted overturned did violate the Constitutional provision  that state legislatures set the time, place and manner of elections -- not judges or other state officials. Even aside from fraud -- as to which numerous affidavits were attached to the complaint -- they charged this conduct was unconstitutional.

Pennsylvania 

  • The Secretary of State unilaterally abrogated signature verification requirements for mail-in ballots.
  • Pennsylvania supreme court changed existing deadline for receiving mail-in ballots from 8 p.m. on the day of election to three days after the election and adopted a presumption that non-postmarked ballots be considered as valid.
  • Election officials in Philadelphia and Allegheny counties did not follow state law permitting poll-watchers to be present for the opening, counting, and recording of mail-in ballots.
  • The Secretary of State directed election officials to remove ballots before 7 a.m. on the day of election in order to “cure” defective mail-in ballots.  This was done only in Democrat majority counties.
  • Election officials did not segregate ballots received after 8 p.m. on election day breaking the promise made to the U.S. Supreme Court thus making it impossible to identify or remove those ballots.

Georgia

  • The Secretary of State unilaterally abrogated signature verification requirements for mail-in ballots.
  • The Secretary of State authorized opening and processing mail-in ballots up to three weeks before election day when the law prohibits that until after the polls open on election day.
  • The Secretary of State materially weakened the security requirements for ballot rejection based on signature verification or other missing information.

First the Declaration, then the Constitution: what could go wrong?

Michigan

  • The Secretary of State unilaterally abrogated signature verification requirements for mail-in ballots.
  • The Secretary of State sent out unsolicited ballots to all 7.7 million registered voters contrary to election law which requires a voter to request a mail-in ballot through a process that includes a signature to be matched with the voter registration.
  • The Secretary of State also allowed absentee ballots to be requested online without signature verification.
  • Local election officials in Wayne County -- containing 322,925 more ballots for Biden than for Trump -- opened and processed mail-in ballots without poll-watchers present.
  • Local election officials in Wayne County also ignored the strict election law requirements of placing a written statement or stamp on each ballot envelope indicating that the voter signature was in fact checked and verified with the signature on file with the state.

Wisconsin

  • The Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) positioned hundreds of unmanned illegal drop boxes to collect absentee ballots.  (The use of any drop box, manned or unmanned, is directly prohibited by Wisconsin statute.  Any alternate mail-in ballot site “shall be staffed by the municipal clerk or the executive director of the board of election commissioners…” and “Ballots cast in contravention of the procedures specified in those provisions may not be included in the certified result of any election.”)
  • The WEC encouraged voters to unlawfully declare themselves “indefinitely confined” in order to avoid security measures like signature verification and photo ID requirements.  Nearly 216,000 voters said they were indefinitely confined in the 2020 election, nearly four times as many as in 2016.
  • Strict laws requiring mail-in voters to certify by signature including the signature of an adult witness were ignored or circumvented by election officials.

If you believe, as I and millions of voters do, that the election was stolen from President Trump, it is disappointing that there was no opportunity to have these legal issues resolved. On the other hand, I believed if the Court had decided to take it, it would not have decided who won these states. Instead, it would have remanded the complainants to the legislatures of these states, which have the responsibility to fashion a remedy.

They can do this by decertifying the results and either refusing to offer up a new slate or by picking a new slate on their own and submitting it to Congress at the appropriate time. In fact there was no small amount of evidence of corruption in other states as well -- Arizona comes to mind, and the same option remains for them as well. Prominent conservatives are in fact urging them to do just that.

There are other proceedings concerning individual states wending their way up to the Supreme Court, but I don’t see how any would significantly change the outcome. By my count even if the complainants in the case brought by Texas had been successful , the results would not have been dispositive. Count the electoral votes to see what I mean. Michigan has 16, Wisconsin 10, Pennsylvania 20, Georgia 16. (A total of 62 votes.) If you subtract those from the 306 electoral votes presumptively registered now for Biden and do not award them to President Trump -- which was always the most  optimistic outcome -- Biden would still have 234 votes to Trump’s 232--a majority of the remaining 466 electoral votes.

"Well done is better than well said."

I only see two ways to reverse the outcome. First, the legislatures in these four states and at least one other could refuse to advance their state's electoral votes to Congress, either leaving the state with none or picking an alternate slate. Second, Congress can refuse to certify those states where fraud marked the balloting. Under the 12th Amendment, the House votes January 6 on certification by state delegation (and the Republican delegations have more votes) . All it takes is an objection by one House member and one Senator to force a vote on such objections.

As Benjamin Franklin famously said, we have “a, republic if you can keep it.” Whether we can depends on what is a predictably weak link, the legislatures of the very states where fraud marked the presidential election this year.

Thanks Again, Fracking!

In a recent article in the Toronto Sun, Lorrie Goldstein comments on a surprising fact: that Justin Trudeau, the dream political leader of the environmental lobby, is going to have to concede that Canada has missed the emissions reduction target it agreed to in 2009, while America -- after four years under Donald J. Trump -- will actually exceed that target. Says Goldstein:

This despite the fact Trump, unlike Trudeau, never imposed a national carbon tax on the U.S. Nor has any American president done so. Also, despite the fact Trump, unlike Trudeau, announced he was withdrawing from the 2015 Paris climate agreement in 2017, saying it was contrary to the economic interests of the U.S.

The 2009 targets, negotiated by the prime minister and the president's respective predecessors as part of the Copenhagen Accord, informally committed both nations to reduce emissions to 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. While America's emissions projections for 2020 are about 20 percent below 2005 levels, Canada's projections are down only 0.14 percent. For Canada to meet its commitments for 2020, Goldstein points out, "we would have to cut our current emissions by 123 million tonnes — the equivalent of the annual emissions from our entire agriculture sector and most of our electricity sector — in less than a month."

How could this be? Well, part of the story of America's success (if you could call it that) is the government imposed Covid-19 lockdowns. Goldstein mentions that U. S. emissions for 2020 are down roughly 10 percent from where they otherwise would have been without the lockdowns, which sounds great until you consider the economic devastation they also wrought. The cure in this case was far worse than the disease.

Of course, Canada also locked down and had an equivalent emissions drop. Which is to say, the pandemic doesn't even begin to tell the full story.

What actually happened is that, while the Trudeau government dove deep into virtue signaling environmentalist rhetoric, the U. S. allowed "market forces, innovation and [smart] energy policy" to do their work. Among other things, the U. S. leaned in hard to hydraulic fracturing, allowing us to gradually transition away from our reliance on coal towards natural gas, which "burns at half the carbon dioxide intensity of coal."

Meanwhile in Canada, Goldstein points out, "several provinces have banned fracking," bowing to anti-fracking sentiment in the green movement, while the Trudeau government has imposed a national carbon tax (and doubled it mid-way through a global pandemic), and put real political capital into transitioning away from oil and natural gas, which accounts for roughly 10 percent of the nation's GDP.

It'd be nice if more environmentalists started recognizing (as Michael Schellenberger has) that their preferred methods of addressing these issues are mostly hokum and started advocating for policies which actually work. Both don't hold your breath. Most of them are just hypocrites who mindlessly condemn President Trump as a Captain Planet-style villain, while lauding all of the Trudeaupian fluff.

If the Police Won't Defend You, Defend Yourself

There is a natural tendency in some people to search for the silver lining in every cloud, no matter how ominous that cloud may appear. Americans, it seems to me, are especially prone to this brand of sunny optimism, though perhaps not to the degree of past generations.

So it’s unsurprising that many of President Trump’s supporters, in assessing the odds against his success in challenging the election results, would be casting about in search of an upside to a Biden win should it come to pass. “Well,” such a person might say, “at least all those leftist mobs will be appeased now. At least we won’t have to deal with them anymore.” Alas . . .

And yours does not.

The Los Angeles Times reported on Monday that anarchists in the capital of the movement, Portland, Oregon, have declared they have no intention of standing down, even with Biden’s apparent election. “F— Joe Biden!” a group of them chanted on the night of Nov. 8 as they set out on a march to the office of the Multnomah Democrats, which they proceeded to vandalize.

A photograph accompanying the story shows the mob evincing no worry of police response or of any potential consequences for their actions. (Remarkably, they stopped short of setting the building on fire, which the optimists among us may see as a hopeful sign. My prediction is that the building is torched before the year is out.)

Another photograph accompanying the story is more chilling. Anarchists are shown holding a banner which reads, “WE DON’T WANT BIDEN—WE WANT REVENGE!” with the lettering done in black with the exception of the word “REVENGE,” which is printed in blood red. Below the lettering are examples of Antifa symbology, including an AK-47 rifle, the Soviet Union's weapon of choice for Marxist revolutionaries around the world.

Well, some might say, that’s just Portland, which everyone knows is a wacky town. True enough, but look at what happened in Washington, D.C., on Saturday. Many thousands of Trump supporters gathered and marched to encourage the president and express their skepticism of the officially announced election returns. Whatever one may think about these opinions, it is indisputable that these people had the right to peaceably assemble and express themselves in this fashion, regardless of how that expression may run counter to that of our political and media elites.

And it must be noted that the march was not just “mostly peaceful,” as those same political and media elites describe so many leftist protests that result in looting, vandalism, and arson. It was entirely peaceful, that is until the marchers were set upon by roving bands of BLM and Antifa thugs who, like packs of hyenas, attacked unfortunate Trump supporters who had straggled from the safety of the larger group, stealing their hats, flags, and in some cases committing felony assaults against them.

Can you hear the people sing?

As is their wont, mainstream media outlets called these incidents “clashes” between opposing groups, as though there were some doubt as to which side instigated the violence. Typical was CNN, whose report begins thus: “Anti-Trump protesters clashed with supporters of the President and law enforcement Saturday evening in the nation’s capital as they tried to make their way to a hotel where Trump supporters were staying.”

One can well imagine how CNN and their ilk would report matters if there had been even the slightest evidence that Trump loyalists had been the aggressors in these “clashes.” Indeed, though CNN was meticulous in naming the Proud Boys and the Three Percenters among the Trump supporters, implying without actually stating that these groups were the source of the troubles, nowhere in their report will you find any reference to Antifa or Black Lives Matter.

This is the type of willful blindness that arouses suspicion and contempt of the mainstream media among conservatives, even those who under ordinary circumstances would be disdainful of groups like the Proud Boys but nonetheless would stand with them if forced to choose between them and the Marxist attack squads seen terrorizing senior citizens, women, and children on Saturday.

All of which raises the question: Now what? Will the 73 million Americans who voted for Trump, even those who never considered attending a rally or sporting a MAGA hat, will they allow themselves to be abused in public by these self-appointed monitors of public discourse? If we assume Joe Biden is sworn in as president on January 20, dare we also assume he will make any effort to tame these violent fringes of the far left?

How many more times will we see people accosted on restaurant patios and bullied into repeating some favored phrase or raising a fist in feigned solidarity with those who would upend the tables (or worse) if the diners fail to comply? There is little in Biden’s lengthy career to suggest he would so much as utter a mild condemnation of these tactics, much less lift a finger to stop them. Never a man of any discernible principles or convictions, Biden has become even more of a political windsock in his old age, and within his party the wind is blowing hard leftward.

Outside his party, not so much. But sadly those 73 million Trump voters are coming to realize that America’s police, at least those in major cities, are being rendered powerless to stand in the way of this thuggery. Our large cities are governed by people whose sympathies are aligned with those of the thugs, and cops are finding that even when they are allowed to make arrests in cases of political violence, the perpetrators are released without bail and prosecutors decline to file charges. Unsurprisingly, police officers are asking themselves, “Why bother?”

BLM down: is turnabout fair play?

With the collapse of these traditional safeguards, Americans find themselves increasingly on their own in matters of self-defense. Fortunately, at least until the leftists can devise a way around it, the Second Amendment still stands.

I don’t intend anyone to take this as an endorsement of vigilantism or of disproportionate response to being hectored on the street, but we have seen, most recently in Washington, D.C., but also in many other cities during these months of protests, incidents in which innocent people have been knocked unconscious, menaced with weapons, or forced to flee for their lives under a hail of potentially deadly fireworks and other explosives.

Any American has the right to use reasonable force to defend himself against such attacks. It’s time we saw more of them do so.

À la lanterne!

Maybe I’ve got the date wrong, but although the Biden presidency doesn’t actually start for another ten weeks on Inauguration Day, January the 20th, its more progressive supporters are already ordering guillotines and tumbrils for the following day. That’s a metaphor, of course, even though the noisy Portland wing of the quiet revolution did erect a guillotine in the suburbs and even guillotined a teddy bear (“Teddy” being the Mayor’s name) on it while in Seattle the social justice warrior crowd wrote “Guillotine Jenny” on the walls (Jenny being the name of Seattle’s Mayor.)

If that were the extent of the outrages, we might put it down to high spirits (though the Seattle and Portland mobs never seemed especially jolly, and they left real victims of their street theater injured and hospitalized after the curtain fell). But the theme of purging and punishing the pre-November criminals of “the Trump regime” (the Trump administration to the rest of us) is being taken up by outwardly more respectable people.

On the way to meet Le Rasoir National.

And it can’t be explained solely by the joy of “liberation” that has seemingly gripped the mass media and the political class since the networks proclaimed Biden president. It started well before the election campaign. Back in the summer a group of about 100 Democrats and Republican Never-Trumpers from politics, the media, and academia met over several days “to conduct simulations of the 2020 presidential election . . . out of concern that the Trump administration may seek to manipulate the results.” As I argued in National Review, it was largely an exercise in promoting the fear that Trump would unconstitutionally seize power while actually laying out a scenario as to how the Democrats could do so. So it was both an exercise in Freudian projection and a leftist wet dream.

But it became more sinister in an appendix when it discussed how a victorious Left in a Biden administration would deal with the remnants of the Trump administration after taking power. The gathering didn’t reach a decision on which actions to take against Trump family members or senior administration officials—understandably so since many of those sitting around the table might themselves be vulnerable to similar political reprisals one day.

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What, though, about the broader Trump movement and the Republican party? Here the Transition Integrity Project was shockingly candid in that oddly impersonal language the Left likes to use when proposing its own crimes:

More broadly, there needs to be a robust, intentional, and specific strategy to challenge the white supremacist and extremist networks that enabled Trump’s rise to power and were in turn enabled by Trump’s administration. This base will not automatically demobilize if and when Trump leaves office, and it is inimical to the kind of pluralist democracy the founders intended.

“ . . .will not automatically demobilize.” So if the Trump movement won’t automatically demobilize, what then? Isn’t that obvious? It will have to be demobilized by a “robust, intentional, and specific strategy to challenge” what the Left has declared are its “white supremacist and extremist networks.” After all, it’s what “the founders intended.”

That was before the election, and it was written in the appendix to a document that few people were likely to see and which was designed to attack an administration rather than to urge it on to greater efforts. Since the election the sound has been turned up, and the message is clearer and less subtle. Here are a couple of examples in recent days:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, re-elected as a Congresswoman, urges people to start preparing briefs for the prosecution right away:

There’s even now a new website, titled the Trump Accountability Project, which has issued a statement of principles for holding Trump veterans to account as follows:

Those who took a paycheck from the Trump Administration should not profit from their efforts to tear our democracy apart. The world should never forget those who, when faced with a decision, chose to put their money, their time, and their reputations behind separating children from their families, encouraging racism and anti-Semitism, and negligently causing the unnecessary loss of life and economic devastation from our country's failed response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It's slightly embarrassing, I suppose, that the very first example of Trump perfidy that the statement selects—putting children in cages—has already been exposed on Twitter (with the evidence of photographs) as a program launched and implemented by the Obama administration. And the group’s website suggests that it’s little more as yet than a bright idea. But it’s already spreading across the internet like Covid-19; it’s guaranteed to get generous funding via all the groups advertising it; and to judge from the Twitter responses to Rubin,  Ocasio-Cortez, and others, there’s a large audience of Robespierres and Madame Defarges out there at the foot of the guillotine.

Le Glaive de la Liberté awaits.

My suspicion is that a new Southern Poverty Law Center has been launched with all that means for the criminalization of political differences, the destruction of innocent people’s reputations, the promotion of guilt by association . . . this time with the Republican party, and the making of large sums of money from the sins of calumny and detraction. All that’s in doubt is whether the Lincoln Project will be able to clamber aboard the bandwagon and, if it does, whether it will have to sit at the back of it.

Well, the Republican party can take good care of itself, and probably so can Donald Trump, though he won’t have the protective phalanx of media and Big Tech protesters that have surrounded Joe and Hunter Biden since their scandals broke. What should worry moderate liberals and Democrats, however, is that the crimes for which Trump veterans will be supposedly held accountable don’t seem to have been passed into law by Congress or state legislatures as yet. They cover a great many issues that until now have been treated as matters of legitimate political, scientific, and moral debate, including such rarefied offenses as being skeptical about climate change.

That’s a crime that would imprison a great many dedicated scientific researchers as well as destroying the big oil companies and maybe entire industries without any idea of how to keep the world warm or air-conditioned in the perhaps long interval before someone makes a series of vital technical breakthroughs. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has already notified Shell in a tweet that she will hold the oil company accountable for the  production and consumption of fossil fuels in the last few decades.

The awkward fact is that the oil companies were going about their business with the support and legal protection of both American political parties. Moreover, governments of both parties not only gave subsidies to fossil fuel companies but also lived on their immoral earnings through taxation. Any prosecution of members of these criminal governments would have to include people like President Obama and the Clinton family.

No legal system worth the name allows selective prosecution on political grounds, and that should protect the more obvious civil rights of former government officials such as not being fined or imprisoned for non-existent offences. But we have recently seen selective law enforcement in Seattle and Portland, and we can’t rule out that this might spread upwards from the police to the courts, especially since the Trump accountability vigilantes intend to go after federal judges appointed by the current President too.

Legal prosecutions may not be needed, however, if the sans culottes are content with punishing the Trump veterans—as some say they are—by dismissing them from jobs, removing their ability to use social media, preventing their access to college or scholarships, making the expression of their political opinions unlawful by expanding the range of the legally unsayable, removing certain scientific disciplines (e.g., biology, military research, police education) from the availability of government finance, and in general by creating a new “unprotected class” in law and bureaucratic practice.

The first amendment, if it survives, would prevent government doing many of these things, but again, as we have seen recently, corporations, colleges, the media and Big Tech have done them all the same. And the chances of expanding civil rights legislation to cover Trumpian political opinions doesn’t seem likely to be a high priority for the presumptive Biden-Harris administration.

Moi, aussi?

Yes, this is a worst case scenario, I concede. But the nature of revolutions is that they go faster and further than anyone expects at the start—and especially than the moderate revolutionaries and their “enablers” expect. Their revolutionary doctrines spread from the narrow field of politics to almost every category of work and social life. And the classes of those suspected of being enemies of the revolution spread too until they include more and more of the revolutionaries themselves -- shortly after which the revolution either collapses or becomes an undisguised despotism.

So spend a hour or two on Twitter and then tell me: where's the bright side?

Voting in a W.A.S.P. nest

I rolled out of bed before six this morning, threw on some clothes, and hopped into the car to go and vote. I was hoping to beat the lines and then get home quickly for my first cup of coffee.

Well, no such luck. Despite the near freezing weather, the line in my small New England town was around the block by the time I got there, Baby Boomers as far as the eye could see. I guess I should have waited for that coffee.

I shouldn't be surprised, of course. I hang my hat in W.A.S.P. country these days, and while the prevailing wisdom (and social science data) holds that Mainline Protestant affiliation is in steep decline, the truth of the matter is that the theological character of those once prominent sects has actually just shifted in a worldly direction, such that woke virtue signaling now occupies the space once held by creeds and confessions.

Cancelling and shame storming modern reprobates has replaced more traditional W.A.S.P. practices, but in the age of Donald Trump, voting has become the biggest virtue signal of all -- provided, of course, that you're voting that Orange Man Bad. Consequently, this line -- full of people in designer jeans, with the slightest hint of the dear old Ivy League in their accents, and air of never having a single thought that isn't preapproved by the New York Times editorial board -- had the atmosphere of a religious rite. The earliest protestants reduced the number of sacraments from seven to three, but it seems that their distant progeny have reduced them even further, to one: voting.

Game Day.

And it was livelier than a June wedding. People were taking selfies, wearing sweaters that said "Vote!" One (gray-haired) woman greeted some friends and, referring to the number of people, exclaimed, "This is the coolest thing I've ever seen!" This despite the fact that we don't live in a swing state, and the allocation of our seven electoral votes is a foregone conclusion.

As the line inched forward, I couldn't help but feel that this all reeked of privilege. Many conservatives, me included, guffawed at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's recent claim that long lines were a sign of voter suppression, even when they're "happening in a blue state." AOC's New York is, of course, just terribly governed, as the pandemic and this election season should make plain to everyone.

But there is a concern here. Before me were a bunch of affluent people who probably had no real work to do until their afternoon Zoom meeting. It costs them nothing to stand in line for hours to vote for the Wall Street candidate, more COVID hysteria, and the destruction of blue collar jobs. Then they can head home, park their electric cars in their heated driveways, and futz around until its time to watch election returns on MSNBC.

But how many regular working people -- plumbers, electricians, construction workers, even cops and firemen -- who have good reason to fear the further empowerment of the left in this country, looked at those lines and said to themselves "I don't have time for this"?

Well, hopefully they make it through in the end. If not in my neck of the woods, at least in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and everywhere else where their votes really count and their livelihoods are under assault. It'd be nice to see the smug liberals I saw this morning mugged by reality, just like four years ago.

Biden's Dangerous 'Green' Assault on Oil

In an exchange with President Trump during their final debate last week, Joe Biden avidly supported both fracking, which is a major industry in Pennsylvania -- a critical swing state that he needs to win next Tuesday -- and the continued use of fossil fuels. In a normal year, which this manifestly is not, that would not be exceptional.  

The problem is, Biden has been pushed to the left all year, and is now supporting the Green New Deal of his party's radicals. When Trump called him out on this policy shift, Biden denied any change, and challenged Trump to prove that he was lying. Which Trump promptly did:

Biden further undercut himself on stage by stating that under his administration, the U.S. would be seeing an eventual end to the use of fossil fuels. That is why Biden and his staff are now trying to blur, err, clarify, his comment that he would have the country "transition from the oil industry by 2025,” (!!!) when asked by President Donald Trump if he would close down the oil industry.

"It has to be replaced by renewable energy over time, over time. And I'd stop giving to the oil industry. I’d stop giving them federal subsidies," Biden said.

"Basically what he is saying is he is going to destroy the oil industry," Trump retorted. "Will you remember that Texas? Pennsylvania? Oklahoma? Ohio?"

Vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris, who has the most radical policy record in the U.S. Senate, and has been  adamant about ending fracking and fossil fuel production, was among the first primary candidates to be booted by Democrat voters and uninterested donors. And this in a year when a majority of Democrat voters expect her to replace her ailing and mentally diminished boss during the course of his term. 

So is Biden a hypocrite? Is he a liar? Sure. But that is the least of the problems with his willingness to destroy a key national industry in service of the shibboleth of “climate change,” and the full control of the economy that would ensue under the Green New Deal. There are upwards of 300,000 jobs at stake in Pennsylvania, right this minute, which will be destroyed by ending the fossil fuel industries. More hundreds of thousands are at stake as well in Texas and Oklahoma.

Thanks to the Trump Administration's energy policies, the United States is energy independent for the first time in more than half a century. Domestic production is the reason the average price of gas at the pump is hovering down around $2.20 nationally – a huge decrease from average prices during the Obama years.

Energy independence is also a huge national security boon. Some of the biggest foreign policy successes of the Trump administration are arguably a direct result of no longer needing Arab oil. Indeed, the end of the Saudi – and entire Persian Gulf region – oil economy, due to vastly lower demand, has been a prime factor in new Saudi openness to relations with Israel.

Giving up our energy independence at this time to transition to so-called renewable energy sources would be a costly unforced error.

Why Pennsylvania Is in Play

Pennsylvania might be the most hotly contested state in this presidential election, and with good reason. Our fifth most populous state, Pennsylvania is home to two big cities -- Philadelphia and Pittsburgh -- that are flush with the affluent and the underclasses who serve them -- both key Democratic constituencies -- while the rest of the state is dominated by rural, working class voters, who are much more conservatively inclined even when their actual voting patterns are harder to predict.

Republicans have long felt that this second cohort were their natural allies. In the 1980s they were often called Reagan Democrats, and the GOP was convinced that eventually they would come to their senses and become reliable Republicans. But, despite their best efforts, every Democratic candidate from Bill Clinton in 1992 through Barrack Obama in 2012 carried the Keystone State.

That changed in 2016, when rural Pennsylvanians found in Donald Trump a candidate who spoke to their interests and preferences. He won the state by 44,292 votes out of more than 6,000,000 cast, the smallest presidential margin in the state in 176 years.

But this year, the Democrats are determined to win it back. It is very likely that the party establishment decided to go all in on Joe Biden with PA in mind. After all, though he represented Delaware in the Senate for thirty-six years, he never stops reminding voters that he was born in Scranton, and prides himself on his common touch (a questionable characterization).

But beyond that, the Biden camp are offering Pennsylvania's rural voters essentially nothing. Ace reporter Salena Zito, who knows her native state better than anybody, recently spoke to several long-time Democrats in Bethel Park, who all have roughly the same story -- they've been forced to accept that their pro-life, pro-Second Amendment views are no longer welcome in the party. What's more, they've been increasingly disturbed by the Democrat's embrace of rioting and disorder in cities throughout the country, and their tendency to denigrate the police.

And then there's fracking. The natural gas industry, which relies on fracking, employs over 300,000 workers, directly or indirectly, in Pennsylvania. While campaigning for the Democratic nomination, both Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren called for a national fracking ban. Joe Biden's position has generally been harder to decipher, but he seems to have settled on a policy of “no more new fracking." while his running mate, Kamala Harris, continues to support a total ban on the practice.

If there's one thing that the aforementioned working class voters care about, it is jobs. Here's Rose Tennent writing in the Philadelphia Inquirer about what fracking has meant for the state:

We allowed responsible, modern natural gas development to go forward, allowing Pennsylvanians to take advantage of some of the world’s greatest shale gas reserves. The result has been an incredible boon to our state and our country. Fracking and the rest of the shale gas revolution saved Pennsylvania from the worst depths of the Great Recession. When our workers were hurting the most in 2008 and 2009, the shale fields eventually catapulted Pennsylvania back to prosperity by restoring the energy dominance that we enjoyed a century earlier. Today, 106,000 Pennsylvanians have mostly well-paid, desirable jobs in the energy sector. That’s a big part of why our state has a 3.9% unemployment rate — a figure that would have been unimaginable only a few years ago.

Those figures are from before the pandemic and the lockdowns, of course, which together brutalized both the economy overall and the resource industry specifically. But the potential for the industry to rebound and the jobs to come back once the lockdowns are relaxed is real, so long as as they're allowed to. Biden's position, which amounts to "read my lips, No Future Fracking Jobs," seems designed to ensure that that that never happens.

There's some in every crowd.

Beyond the benefits it brings for the state itself, Tennent points out that, largely because of fracking, "America as a whole has become energy independent for the first time since we became dependent on imported oil from the Middle East in the 1960s." Hydraulic fracturing doesn't only create jobs stateside, it also makes it so the price of heating our homes and filling up are gas tanks aren't reliant on the whims of OPEC or political stability in the notoriously volatile area surrounding the Strait of Hormuz.

This is very appealing for working class Americans in Pennsylvania, many of whom were wary of the Bush-era Republican Party's middle eastern adventurism. American energy independence removes one of the major justifications for getting involved in the constant squabbles in that part of the world. Consequently, from the perspective of those Americans who both benefit from well paying blue collar jobs in the natural gas industry and disproportionately serve in the military, fracking goes down as a win/win.

So, while polling out of Pennsylvania for this election cycle has been, in the words of elections analyst Jim Geraghty, "boringly consistent," with Biden ahead in nearly every poll for the past several months, reports of a noticeable shift in people registering as Republicans hasn't been surprising. As Geraghty explained recently in National Review,

In November 2016, Pennsylvania had 4.2 million registered Democrats, 3.3 million registered Republicans, and 1.2 million registered with “other parties” or none. By 2020, Pennsylvania had 4.09 million registered Democrats, 3.29 registered Republicans, and 1.21 million registered with other parties. Then the parties began their post-primary voter-registration drives — and Republicans added a net 135,619 voters between June and the final week of September, while Democrats added 57,985 and other voters increased by 49,995.... Add it all up: Democrats are down 66,778 registered members from November 2016, while the Republicans added 125,381, and “other” is up 61,313.

I recently took a trip to Pennsylvania, and it was impossible to miss two things. First, the never-ending cacophony of paid advertisements that are ostensibly pro-Biden, but in actuality anti-Trump. On TV and the radio, you hear over and over tear-jerking stories about someone who lost his job or a family member because Covid-19 (with no explanation as to how Biden would have handled the pandemic differently), ending with the command "vote him out." But the other notable thing was that, driving around the countryside, there must have been ten Trump signs for every Biden sign.

Now, you may object that is a non-scientific measurement, of course, but coupled with the differences in registration, it increases my suspicion that, like in 2016, the polling out of Pennsylvania isn't telling the whole story. Which is to say, the professional forecasters might once again be in for a rude awakening on election night.

Ghosts, Salem witches, and Nova Scotia snowstorms

Thomas Chandler Haliburton’s 1836 satirical collection The Clockmaker: or, The Sayings and Doings of Samuel Slick, of Slicksville, the first Canadian bestseller and a hilarious portrait of a gullible populace in pre-Confederation times, has never been more proleptically apt than in our present day. Haliburton’s hero, an American clockmaker, has little respect for the inhabitants of the British colony of Nova Scotia to whom he sells clocks at inflated prices. Sam Slick was Haliburton’s shrewd, perceptive and swaggering Yankee, a representative of American culture; indeed, Sam is thought to be the original Uncle Sam.

Haliburton was ambivalent toward the United States, admiring its "get up and go" attitude, intelligence, resourcefulness, and business acumen, while also regarding it as arrogant, brash and crude. But he was even harder on the colonists of Nova Scotia, whom he thought complacent, self-pitying, priggish, lazy, and self-righteous—easy marks.

I allot," said Mr. Slick, "that the Bluenoses [i.e., Nova Scotians] are the most gullible folks on the face of the airth—rigular soft horns, that's a fact. Politics and such stuff set 'em a-gapin', like children in a chimbley corner listenin' to tales of ghosts, Salem witches, and Nova Scotia snowstorms; and while they stand starin' and yawpin' all eyes and mouth, they get their pockets picked of every cent that's in 'em.

One candidate chap says 'Feller citizens, this country is goin' to the dogs… What's the cause of this unheerd of awful state of things… Why judges, and banks, and lawyers, and great folks, have swallered all the money. They've got you down, and they'll keep you down to all etarnity, you and your posteriors arter you. Rise up like men, arouse yourselves like freemen, and elect me to the legislatur'…I'll knock off your chains and make you free.' Well, the goneys fall tu and elect him, and he desarts right away.

Aside from the scourge of gullibility, one of Canadians’ most pervasive failings is an endemic smugness, in particular a holier-than-thou attitude toward the United States. Canadians on the whole tend to consider themselves morally superior to, and more peaceable, caring, and decent, than, our supposedly venal and huckstering neighbors to the south. I have encountered this attitude more often than I care to remember. The idea that Americans are demonstrably more adventurous, industrious, and blessed with a greater entrepreneurial spirit than their Canadian counterparts is a generally inadmissible concession. 

According to the myth, Americans are rude and blustering, Canadians civilized and polite. That we have done little, in decades, of collective value compared with an enterprising, risk-taking nation like the U.S. is a notion that rarely crosses our intellectual horizon. One recalls Northrop Frye’s analysis in The Bush Garden of Canada’s “garrison mentality,” the fear of “being swallowed by an alien continent” and the feeling that events and achievements of significance must be happening elsewhere. And as Margaret Atwood writes in Survival, Canadians have a will to lose as powerful as the American will to win.  

Of course, we need to recognize that the political Left is now malignantly powerful in the U.S., and if installed in government will drag the nation down the road to a Canadian terminal—which is why Donald Trump’s electoral victory is an absolute necessity. He represents the real, core-traditional America that Canadians tend to resent while at the same time condescending to.

Canadians would never have elected a mover-and-shaker like Trump, who in a few short years has created millions of jobs, righted trade imbalances, eliminated labor-strangling regulations, raised the GDP, sponsored international treaties in the heretofore insoluble Middle East, restored the military to fighting capacity, reined in the “climate change” boondoggle, and revived the energy sector via drilling, pipelines and fracking, thus rendering his country increasingly energy independent. But we Canadians are convinced Trump is a boor, and that’s all there is to it.

In contrast, we believe Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a winner because he is a charming, ineffectual, and telegenic loser. The fact that Trudeau runs a scandal-plagued administration, has plunged the country into unsustainable debt, signed on to the farcical and utterly useless Paris Climate Agreement, imposed an onerous carbon tax adversely affecting small businesses and Canadian consumers, and virtually extinguished the oil-and-gas energy sector, the mainstay of Canadian prosperity, in  favor of dodgy wind farms and unproven solar arrays, is of no account. 

At least we're not them.

Indeed, Trudeau assures us that wind and solar—Canada’s post-Covid “Resilient Recovery” program—will save the planet and rally the economy, when all the reliable evidence shows that Green is the road to economic perdition, infrastructural debility, and environmental destruction. Tex Leugner, in a recent edition of the newsletter ActionAlberta, points out the irony of the Green agenda: “Wind and solar plants… use more power than they produce while generating more environmental problems than they prevent." After defeating Conservative PM Stephen Harper, Trudeau informed us that “Canada is back,” and we believed him. He was right in a way. Canada is back—to square zero. As Haliburton writes, "Well, the goneys fall tu and elect him, and he desarts right away."

The unfortunate fact is that Canada desperately needs a venturesome paladin to ride to its rescue since it will not help itself. The few political figures who might have made a difference, such as failed Conservative leadership candidates Derek Sloan and Leslyn Lewis or Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Party of Canada, have been effectively silenced, remorselessly mocked by the media and duly cast into outer darkness.

But wait. Irony of ironies, the deus ex machina might be none other than the American president, the presumably thuggish and disreputable Donald Trump, who has come to the relief of the landlocked province of Alberta where the country’s major energy reserves are located and which Trudeau has essentially bankrupted—Alberta’s GDP is estimated to drop by a whopping 11.3 percent in 2020, and as of this September, according to True North, 53 percent of Albertans “reported being either unemployed or under reduced hours or wages.” The province is also suffering an exodus of citizens. 

Issuing an executive permit allowing a $22-billion international railway, called the A2A Cross-Border Rail, to be built between Alaska and Alberta, Trump has opened a vast market potential for the Canadian oil industry and given a new lease on life to Alberta. This should not come as a surprise. Trudeau blocks the pipeline project, Trump clears the way for a railroad, creating, as A2ARail founder and chairman Sean McCoshen said, a project that

[C]ould serve as another important outlet for Alberta’s oil producers who have struggled due to lack of pipeline capacity…This is a world-class infrastructure project that will generate more than 18,000 jobs for Canadian workers at a time when they are most needed, provide a new, more efficient route for trans-Pacific shipping and thereby link Alberta to world markets.... The new rail line will create new economic development opportunities for a wide range of businesses, communities and Indigenous communities in Canada and Alaska. We estimate that A2A Rail could unlock $60 billion CAD in additional cumulative GDP through 2040 and lift household incomes by an average of 40 per cent.

And yet, in true Canadian fashion, while celebrating this unexpected festival of good fortune, the Financial Post cannot prevent itself from insulting the man who has given Alberta (and Canada) hope, gloating that “It may well be his last few weeks in office” and referring to “his increasingly-deranged conspiracy theory tweets.” If this is not an instance of Canadian smugness and ingratitude, I’m not sure what is. But it is entirely typical of a large swath of Canadian public opinion.

Coming to save the day?

In The Flight from Truth French political philosopher Jean-François Revel remarks that “the average human being seeks the truth only after having exhausted all other possibilities.” Obviously, his insight also applies to the average Canadian, except that, judging from our two previous elections, his or her credulity may be practically inexhaustible and not all the possibilities may be exhausted before the boom is lowered. We cannot credit our American benefactor or accept the truth of both our dependence and our luck. 

Sam Slick may be an operator and so to some extent is Donald Trump. But, like the clockmaker, Trump is astute, far-seeing, dynamic and mettlesome—precisely what his Canadian counterpart is not. Trudeau is not mitigating climate change, as he claims; he is mitigating Canadian prosperity and national unity to a level that seems positively Luddite. He sounds cutting edge but what he is actually doing is replacing a 12-tappet engine with a horse and buggy.

Trudeau believes he is greening the future, moving the clock forward toward a better, more harmonious and enlightened time to come—under his stewardship, naturally. In reality, he is moving the clock backward toward environmental degradation, a depleted grid, economic collapse, national hardship and a disintegrating Confederation.

Donald Trump is doing for Canada what Sam Slick advised Canadians to do for themselves: build productive and remunerative industries, in particular to “facilitate conveyance, and above all things make a railroad.” If Trudeau won’t allow a pipeline—a “conveyance”— to exploit our enormous reserves—third largest in the world—Trump will give us a train. There is light at the end of the tunnel. A little gratitude and some humility may be in order.