THE COLUMN: Winter and the Fourth of July

Here in rural New England, at the eastern base of the Taconics and the Berkshires, with New York State just over the hills and Boston a long 150 miles away, we have a saying about the seasons. There are basically two of them: winter and the Fourth of July, which is today. (Some also subdivide them into snow, mud, bugs, and leaf.) Independence Day used to be a day of fireworks, family, flags, and fun, but in Joe Biden's America it might just as well be a time of war and pestilence, of sackcloth and ashes.

These days, the Fourth is the holiday that dare not speak its name, thanks in part to the wholly inimical and widely debunked "1619 project," brought to you by Pravda and edited by the victim brigade of Nikole Hannah-Jones, Caitlin Roper, Ilena Silverman and Jake Silverstein. It's a "reframing" of the American story in mockery of our political origins, in defiance of actual history, and with the expressed purpose of sabotaging (via its introduction into government-school curriculums) our sense of national identity. As historian Tom Macaman, a noted critic of the project, wrote at the link just above:

Silverstein has staked his reputation on the 1619 Project. This has gone badly for him. His name will forever be associated with the secretive manner through which the project invented its false and error-ridden historical interpretation, as well as the orchestration of the cover-up that has followed.

Specifically, Silverstein bears responsibility for the exclusion of leading scholars of American history—who would have objected to the 1619 Project’s central historical claims—and the intentional disregarding of objections made by the project’s own handpicked “fact-checkers.” Silverstein penned the devious reply to leading historians who pointed to the project’s errors. He then organized surreptitious changes to the already published 1619 Project, and, when exposed, claimed that it had all been a matter of word choice.

Silverstein’s 8,250-word essay is just the latest in this long line of underhanded journalism and bogus history.

Run your boats under the guns, not in front of them.

Well, when the World Socialist Web Site is right, it's right. Never mind that slavery in the country known as the United States of America was legal only from 1776 to 1865, a total of 89 years. That's it.

As it happens, the last state to give up slavery was Biden's dead-end, dead-beat Delaware, a slave state that remained in the Union and to which the Emancipation Proclamation did not apply and "Juneteenth" was unknown and irrelevant. The bastard sliver of New Sweden finally abolished slavery, essentially at federal gunpoint, on Dec. 6, 1865, the day the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified. Has Biden—who never met a Southern racist Democrat (George Wallace, Robert Byrd) he didn't want to buddy up with—ever acknowledged and apologized for his useless state's rancid history? Fat chance; instead, throughout his hacktastic political career, and in earlier delusions of running for president, he explicitly identified his state with the South during the Civil War as he pandered for support:

The same story went to quote a presidential primary campaign speech Biden had given in Alabama in which he said “we (Delawareans) were on the South’s side in the Civil War.”

Leave it to the Democrats, the party of slavery, segregation, secularism, and sedition, which started the Civil War, to nominate and elect a senile dinosaur from the last human-bondage state in the Union. Their appetite for totalitarianism is boundless, as Biden, railing in his dotage, hurling executive orders and attacking the Supreme Court in seditious terms (overseas, no less), proves every day.

Before 1776 what eventually became the U.S.A. was a collection of British colonies; in 1619, when black Africans aboard a Portuguese slave ship, taken as bounty by English privateers (aka "pirates"), came ashore in the New World, they did so near Hampton in the British colony of Virginia. At that point, there was nothing "American" about it, other than its location. (The Portuguese, by the way, were among history's worst black-African slavers, directing the  bulk of the transatlantic slave trade to their colony, Brazil. Yet somehow slavery is "America's original sin.")

Instead, slavery was a cause for which hundreds of thousands of Americans died. On these first few days in July 1863, in the midst of the Civil War that may have started as a rebellion but turned into a war to free the slaves, Union generals Ulysses S. Grant and George Meade electrified the nation with the news of their twin victories at Vicksburg, the last of the southern citadels on the Mississippi River, and at Gettysburg, a small town in southern Pennsylvania where Robert E. Lee's defective generalship finally caught up to his inflated reputation, and killed the Confederacy's hopes at point-blank range during Pickett's Charge. It was a blunder that made Grant's worst military decision, Cold Harbor, look almost sensible.

This is the same Grant who called the "cause" of the Confederacy "one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse.” In a forgotten bit of history, the capture of Vicksburg also vindicated General Winfield Scott's "Anaconda Plan," which advocated choking the South to death by blockading its ports and seizing its principal waterways. Which is exactly what Grant—who served under "Old Fuss and Feathers" in the Mexican War—did.

Old Fuss and Feathers was right.

From that date, July 4, 1863, the Civil War, which had widely been thought near-lost on the Northern side -- was won. And yet it still took Sherman's capture of Atlanta the following summer to ensure Lincoln's 1864 re-election. Indeed, just 15 months before Vicksburg, Grant had nearly lost the battle, his command, and maybe even the war, at Shiloh. The defeatist Northern newspapers howled for his head and he was briefly demoted by the crown martinet and leading REMF of the U.S. military, Gen. Henry Halleck. Sometimes it's darkest before the dawn.

And sometimes it isn't. On July 4, we're already two days past the halfway point of the calendar; in the northern hemisphere the days are growing shorter, and even as we're enjoying, or used to enjoy, beer (ruined by hipsters and hops) and baseball (fubared) we're aware that winter is coming. We can't say we weren't warned: in 2020, even before he took office, Biden warned of a "dark winter" ahead. Little did we know he meant that all four years of his term would bristle with defeatism, misery, and death, like Delaware but on a grand scale.

Which brings me to our present circumstances. In these darkening days of the Republic, the Left is both triumphant and morose, dreading its fate when and if the scattered forces of MAGA regroup and oust them beginning this fall with the midterm elections. The Right, meanwhile is riven between the die-hard partisans of Donald Trump and those disinclined to risk a repeat of the unnecessary turmoil of 2016-2020 when younger and better candidates are now making their presence known.

Recently, on my Facebook page, many of my readers misinterpreted the lessons of my most recent book, Last Stands: Why Men Fight When All Is Lost, regarding Trump's continuing refusal to accept his loss in 2020 (however occasioned) and his disastrous behavior on Jan. 6, which led to the continuing incarceration of many supporters for their involvement in the Capitol Hill demonstration/protest/riot. One of the points of that book was that, in every battle cited, the losing side ultimately won. The Greeks lost at Thermopylae but rallied at Salamis and Plataea. The Romans were crushed at Cannae but chased Hannibal to his end at Zama.

Ultimate winners can suffer a tactical or even strategic defeat and continue to fight. Inspired by Achilles, Alexander crushed the Persians and conquered the world, in part to avenge the sack of Athens in 480 B.C. The Roman Republic rebounded from the Second Punic War and turned into the Roman Empire. After the Hungarian defeat at Szigetvar, the Turks were driven from central Europe. Custer died on Last Stand Hill, but Reno and Benteen mounted a brilliant and valiant defense on a hilltop a couple of miles away, and the Sioux lost the Indian Wars. The Soviets ate hot Wehrmacht lead at Stalingrad but held on to the turn the tide of the war and destroy National Socialist Germany.

Know when to change generals. You can still win the war.

At the start of the Civil War, Winfield Scott was 74 years old. He had fought in the War of 1812, overseen the Trail of Tears in 1838, became commanding general of the U.S. Army in 1841, captured Mexico City in 1847, and had been the Whig candidate for president in 1852, losing to the Democrat, Franklin Pierce. At the outbreak of the Civil War he held the title of Lieutenant General, the first man to hold that rank since George Washington. A native Virginian, he stayed loyal to the Union and, as Lincoln took office, was still on duty as the new president's chief military advisor, retiring in 1861 as George McClellan began to supersede him. He died in 1866, at the age of 79.

Never give up—but never hesitate to change generals when you have to. To equate the fate of our Republic with one man's loss—and, worse, to hold it hostage to his pique—is in absurd and dangerous. Scipio was a better general than Varro. Grant was a better general than McLellan. Ron DeSantis, 43, who has yet to put a foot wrong as governor of the free state of Florida, will be a far better general than Trump, who will be 78 years old in 2024. One geriatric president is enough.

Thanks to the Democrats' Jan 6 hearings, and in particular to the unforced and artless testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, Trump has been irremediably damaged. America doesn't need a King Lear, railing about loyalty among a superannuated rum crew (Roger Stone, Rudy Giuliani) while a younger, stronger, better man awaits his turn on the national stage. Let us hope, and pray, that the trial balloons regarding an early announcement of a Trump 2024 candidacy, designed to cut the legs out from underneath any challengers, are just so much Fourth of July hot air, to be borne aloft and away before the last hot dog dies.

Fight on, but fight the next war, not the last one. Winter's on its way, and while the graveyards may be full of indispensable men,  we're not ready for the cemetery yet. Have a happy Independence Day, America, and many more—if you can keep it.

THE COLUMN: 'They Only Eat Rat'

UPDATED

When we Baby Boomers entered first grade back in the early/middle 1950s, it was not unusual for us to encounter forty or fifty other children competing for classroom space while a single harried nun or teacher herded us little darlings into some semblance of alphabetical order, made us take our seats, and began instruction. Crammed into newly built classrooms to accommodate our unprecedented numbers, cheek to jowl with a bunch of strangers, and constantly skirmishing with others for the teacher's attention, a place at the drinking fountain, or just a spot in the lunchroom, we hated each other on sight—and, like too many rats trapped in too small an area with not enough food, we've been fighting with each other ever since.

Now here we are, in our seventies, and we're still strapped together in this ghastly generational pas des millions. Some of us have died off, of course, but the remnants of the legendary pig in a python generation are still wending our way through the snake's entrails, tussling with each other as we pass through the intestines of the body politic. And yet, to our surprise, we still find ourselves outranked by those born years, even decades before us: our country currently has a 79-year-old president, a 75-year-old principal GOP contender, an 82-year-old speaker of the House, an 80-year-old Senate minority leader, an 88-year-old senior senator from California, an 88-year-old senior senator from Iowa, and an 80-year old junior senator from Vermont who has his eye on the White House. Meanwhile, waiting in wings like a sodden, road-company Lady Macbeth, is 2016's loser, Hillary Clinton, 74, ready to step over the bodies if and when they ever drop.

Geezer eyes still on the prize

There's no love lost among them, but like the Struldbrugs of Luggnagg in Swift's Gulliver's Travels, they can neither quit nor, seemingly, die—only keep aging in perpetuity, at each other's throats forever. 

After this preface, he gave me a particular account of the STRULDBRUGS among them. He said, "they commonly acted like mortals till about thirty years old; after which, by degrees, they grew melancholy and dejected, increasing in both till they came to fourscore... When they came to fourscore years, which is reckoned the extremity of living in this country, they had not only all the follies and infirmities of other old men, but many more which arose from the dreadful prospect of never dying. They were not only opinionative, peevish, covetous, morose, vain, talkative, but incapable of friendship, and dead to all natural affection... Envy and impotent desires are their prevailing passions."

There is a certain amount of truth in the old saw that with age comes wisdom. And it's also true that our word "senate"—a body of elder statesmen—has the same root as "senility." But at this point in our nation's history, we have gone beyond mature age and into the realm of the Grim Reaper, with Washington, D.C., having replaced Florida as God's Waiting Room. A nation that was founded by young, vigorous men, most of them in their prime (in 1776, Washington was 44; Jefferson, 33; Hamilton, 21; James Monroe, 18) and with their lives on the line, has been co-opted by snarling, barely articulate, grudge-ridden rent-seekers desperately hanging onto their livelihoods, and to hell with everybody else.

Hence the cage match now being played out in the runups to the fall congressional elections. Thanks to the manifest malignancy that is the Biden administration, everyone is looking past this November and focusing on 2024, when our rancid political system could possibly stage a presidential election featuring an 81-year-old Joe Biden vs. a 77-year-old Donald Trump, both of them at that point beyond the average American male life expectancy. What do do? Take a moment and listen:

Could there possibly be a spectacle more unedifying than a (literally) terminally senile Biden scratching and clawing at a bitter, revanchist Trump, the pair of them wrestling over not the future of the country—why would they care? They won't live to see it—but over the 2016 and 2020 elections. Russian collusion! Dominion voting machines! Hunter's laptop from hell! January 6th! Get off my lawn! It would make us all remember what fun the past eight years were, and recall how little desire we should have to relive them.

Let's start with barely-there Biden, a continuing embarrassment to the country, with him the only one who's not in on the joke. He's always been a classless boor, the Fredo Corleone ("I'm smart! And I want respect!") of the Democrat Party, hitherto passed over until suddenly, two years ago, the criminal organization masquerading as a political party ran out of godfathers. By now, though, the sheer destructiveness of this man is apparent to everybody, so cue the New York Times to instruct the faithful that it's time for him to go:

To nearly all the Democrats interviewed, the president’s age — 79 now, 82 by the time the winner of the 2024 election is inaugurated — is a deep concern about his political viability. They have watched as a commander in chief who built a reputation for gaffes has repeatedly rattled global diplomacy with unexpected remarks that were later walked back by his White House staff, and as he has sat for fewer interviews than any of his recent predecessors.

“The presidency is a monstrously taxing job and the stark reality is the president would be closer to 90 than 80 at the end of a second term, and that would be a major issue,” said David Axelrod, the chief strategist for Barack Obama’s two winning presidential campaigns.

The kiss of death from Jake Lingle is no laughing member, and a signal to the Democrats to begin greasing the skids and start prepping somebody. Anybody. Bueller? Sanders has the same geriatric problem as Biden, as does Elizabeth Warren and of course Hillary. Meanwhile, their kiddie corps of Li'l Pete Buttigieg, Gavin Newsom, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not ready for prime time, and as for Kamala Harris:

Meanwhile, the New York Post last week came out with an editorial explicitly calling on Trump to step back from his increasingly hopeless 2024 nomination quest and for the Republicans to look to the future: 

Trump has become a prisoner of his own ego. He can’t admit his tweeting and narcissism turned off millions. He won’t stop insisting that 2020 was “stolen” even though he’s offered no proof that it’s true. Respected officials like former Attorney General Bill Barr call his rants “nonsense.” This isn’t just about Liz Cheney. Mitch McConnell, Betsy DeVos, Mark Meadows — they all knew Trump was delusional. His own daughter and son-in-law testified it was bull.

Trump’s response? He insults Barr, and dismisses Ivanka as “checked out.” He clings to more fantastical theories, such as Dinesh D’Souza’s debunked “2,000 Mules,” even as recounts in Arizona, Georgia and Wisconsin confirm Trump lost.

This is not to underplay the former president's very real contributions to the Republic, including most notably saving it from Hillary Clinton and her flying-monkey media squadrons and black ops practitioners. Trump was the only one who could beat her, and he was the only Republican candidate she could have lost to. And there's no question that the 2020 was "stolen" fair and square by the Democrats doing exactly the things I predicted they would  in my Sept. 7, 2020 column for the Epoch Times:

The pattern is clear: In close races, the Democrats follow the totals very closely, until they know exactly how many votes they have to fabricate or manufacture, et voila! Who needs cemeteries when [a friendly judge or two] can decree extra time to benefit the Democrats? In fact, at least since the middle of the 19th century, the Tammany Party has been rigging elections, intimidating voters at the polls, having their partisans vote multiple times, and conjuring marked ballots out of thin air. 

The reality is that the Republicans must be ready to combat levels of fraud that Plunkitt and the old Tammany sachems could only have dreamed of. For it’s clear, under the guise of “protecting our democracy” that the Democrats will instead abide by their real slogan—“by any means necessary”—to rid themselves of this meddlesome president.

Trump, in fact, lost in 2020 the same way he won in 2016: at the margins in a few key swing states, where this time they knew he was coming. Paradoxically, the more Trump continues to bark about the last election, the less likely he is to win the next one. This, however, doesn't seem to be going to stop him. According to Rolling Stone, Trump is mulling announcing his candidacy even before the midterms, and doing it in Florida, to boot:

Donald Trump in recent months has been telling confidants that he may launch his 2024 presidential campaign early — and that he’s considering launching it in Florida to stick it to Gov. Ron DeSantis. Trump has kicked around staging a large, flashy launch rally (with fireworks, of course) that would announce his White House bid before the 2022 midterm elections, according to three sources familiar with the matter.

People who’ve spoken to Trump say that one reason he’s eying the Sunshine State is to assert his dominance over an ascendant DeSantis, who — if they both run in 2024 — would likely be the former president’s most formidable competitor in a primary fight for the GOP nomination. One of the sources said Trump’s motivation is to show the governor “who the boss is” in the modern-day GOP.

Good Lord, what a terrible idea. Trump's last, greatest, and noblest service to his country would be to announce, shortly after the mid-terms, that he will not be a candidate in '24, but will crisscross the land to campaign for the party, starting at the top with DeSantis, 46, for president of the United States. He might even quote John F. Kennedy: "the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans." 

Otherwise, the Boomer cage match continues, the country slides further into the python's bowels, and all we have to eat is rat. 

Biden's Energy Schizphrenia Deepens

The Biden Administration’s poor public approval ratings ultimately derives from the fact that Biden and his team cannot escape the dilemma that sound policy and politics is at odds with the “Progressive” fundamentalism that controls the Democratic Party today. At nearly every turn, however, Progressive dogma wins out.

Two recent decisions make this problem evident. First is the decision to appeal U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle’s ruling striking down the federal mask mandate. By all accounts the Biden White House debated about whether to appeal the ruling, sending mixed signals that they might let the ruling stand. At length the administration decided to appeal the ruling, though it did so behind the skirts of the Centers for Disease Control, pretending that they have an obligation to uphold the legal prerogatives of the CDC.

The face of the CDC: Rochelle Walensky

The only surprise is that the White House debated at all, and it is significant that the Justice Department isn’t taking the typical step of requesting a stay of Judge Mizelle’s ruling pending an appeals court hearing, which would cause the mask mandate to snap back into place immediately. The White House surely took in the spontaneous scenes of celebration on airplanes and elsewhere at the liberation from masks, which have become the MAGA hat for Progressives. Democratic campaign strategists have been warning for months that the lockdown-uber-alles policy of the Branch-Covidians is increasingly unpopular with core Democratic constituencies, especially suburban moms.

So why did the White House not take the convenient offramp that Judge Mizelle provided? Answer: the imperatives of the Administrative State took precedence. It is crucial that the legal authority to impose mandates and other controls through the CDC be preserved, even if the White House decides that we can let the mask mandate lapse.

It could turn out worse. Cynical operatives in the White House might welcome an appeals ruling that upholds Judge Mizelle because it will allow Democrats to demand from Congress what I have been expecting from the beginning of Covid—the establishment of a new cabinet-level agency, a Department of Pandemic Planning and Prevention, with broad new regulatory powers beyond the CDC’s wildest imagination. The model here is the Department of Homeland Security, the bureaucratic mistake the Bush Administration foolishly embraced in 2002. In other words, the White House decision to appeal the ruling might not be as politically dumb as it seems.

The second significant White House decision was rolling back President Trump’s long-overdue reforms of the review process of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This is the statute that anchors the environmental review and litigation process that the Left has used for decades to slow or block development of all kinds. NEPA and similar state-level laws are a major reason infrastructure projects of all kinds in the U.S. are way more expensive to build—if they are built at all—than in any other major industrialized nation.

The surprise is that it took the Biden White House 15 months to rescind Trump’s changes. You’d have thought Biden would have done this on January 20 of last year, with the same pen he used to kill the Keystone XL pipeline. One reason for the hesitation is that smarter environmentalists (I know, that’s an oxymoron in most cases) have come to understand that while the longstanding environmental review process has been an essential tool to block domestic energy development and infrastructure, it has become an impediment to many of the infrastructure needs of their “green” energy dreams. In many cases local environmental NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) activists have abused the NEPA process to block new wind and solar power projects, as well as the transmission lines necessary to make these green projects feasible at all.

Biden to America: Drop Dead.

Ezra Klein noted this problem in the New York Times last month: “They are, too often, powerful allies of an intolerable status quo, rendering government plodding and ineffectual and making it almost impossible to build green infrastructure at the speed we need. . . Too many of the tactics and strategies and statutes are designed to stop transformational or even incremental projects from happening.” Even Jerry Brown came to recognize this problem in California, calling on the state legislature in his last term in office to reform California’s version of NEPA known as CEQA. Naturally the state legislature, which was considerably to the left of Jerry Brown if you can imagine, declined to do so.

 The Biden White House did deliver one surprise, however. Its new budget proposal earmarks $6 billion to keep open several nuclear power plants currently scheduled to shut down soon. Someone seems awake enough to understand that if you seriously want to decarbonize our energy supply, you need to keep nuclear power prominently in the mix.  Better than a fresh round of subsidies, however, it would be better to remove existing mandates and subsidies for wind and solar power that make nuclear power unprofitable in the marketplace.

This move will not sit well with environmental fundamentalists who refuse to accept nuclear power, no matter how panicked they are about climate change. There are rumors that Gina McCarthy, head of the EPA under Obama and now Biden’s principal “climate adviser,” may resign from her post out of unhappiness at Biden’s purported backsliding on climate, even though Biden’s announcements of support for more domestic oil and natural gas production are mostly hollow rhetoric. Biden’s incoherence on energy simply cannot be masked.

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. 

THE COLUMN: 'There is a Tide in the Affairs of Men'

While the country holds its breath awaiting the next Joe Biden disaster or the next supererogatory Donald Trump rally, or the next quixotic Mike Pence 2024 presidential campaign event, beneath the surface the political tides are running at Shakespearean levels. Seeking to enlist Cassius in his plot to assassinate Julius Caesar, Brutus says:

We at the height are ready to decline.
There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

From our current vantage point, it looks as though the 2024 election might come down to a rematch between Trump and whoever survives the coming Democrat bloodbath this fall. Can senile Joe Biden continue to impersonate a sentient being behind the Resolute desk for another three years? Or will the likely loss of both houses of Congress to the unworthy Republicans motivate the donkey party to find fresh-faced replacements for both Biden and his manifestly unsuitable vice president, Kamala Harris? As I noted last week, it's not impossible to replace both halves of a winning ticket in mid-stream: the Democrats pulled it off between 1972 (historic Nixon/Agnew landslide) and 1974 (Watergate) and saddled the GOP with two candidates it never wanted or even nominated, Gerald Ford and Nelson Rockefeller. So if you think it can't be done, think again.

Lean and hungry looks all around.

The only question is whether the Democrats have the guts to do it to themselves. Back then, the Howard Baker Republicans labored under the impression that the Democrats wanted the same ends for the nation as they did; they were only arguing about means. They also believed that the media played things straight down the middle and, faithful to their constitutional role in a free Republic, didn't take sides, cut corners, or manufacture stories from whole cloth. In the end, the GOP bonzes even did the Dems' dirty work for them, sending a delegation of senior leadership to the White House to tell Tricky Dick the jig was up and it was time for him to go. From a 49-state, 520-electoral vote tsunami to the bum's rush in less than two years; the bloodless coup really was a remarkable achievement and a first in American history.

Should the Democrats wish, or be forced, to keelhaul Biden, however, such a decision will come with a hefty price tag. They'll have to explain to their black voters why Harris was discarded without ever being able to articulate the reason that dare not speak its name: she's simply too stupid to function:

Another problem is that the Democrats have no plausible replacements ready to step in should the need arise. So dedicated are they to the woke doctrines of their lunatic-Left base, they are saddled with the box-checking likes of Pete Buttigieg, Lloyd Austin, Xavier Becerra, Miguel Cardona, Alejandro Mayorkas, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, and Anthony Blinken, none of whom belongs anywhere near a cabinet meeting unless it's held in a water closet. Further, the Democrats' program of crazy nostrums such as Modern Monetary Theory—just print money!—and Green Energy (free wind and solar!) have resulted almost overnight in rampant inflation, severe energy shortages and skyrocketing prices.

So it should be a simple matter for the Republicans to point out the manifest real-world flaws in the Leftist program, sit back, run a bunch of guys named Moe, and wait for the election returns in 2022 and '24. The only problem is the elephant party has its own elephant in the room in the form of Trump, who seems bound and determined to run again and avenge his tainted loss to Biden in 2020. To that end, he's already embarked on a campaign of waving the bloody shirt in anticipation of settling the score in '24.

The problem is, while Trump still has an enormous, if shrinking, following, the former president's candidacy could easily galvanize the Democrats to turn out at least as many votes against him as the GOP will get for him. This is not the place to debate the details of the "stolen election," which at the very least was held (right under the Republicans' noses) under highly irregular circumstances, including the unconstitutional changing of election law in several swing states and the mysterious hiatus in the wee hours of Election Night that screamed "hinky" at the top of its lungs.

For this, however, Trump and the Republicans are partly to blame. The Democrats took advantage of Trump's fatal credulity about the alleged dangers of Covid-19, as well as the Republicans' habitual indolence when it comes to poll-watching. If the election was indeed stolen the Tammany Party stole it fair and square, and all the GOP needs to do is look in the mirror to find the real culprits.

History is against the former president; only one man has come back from a re-election loss to win again the following cycle and that was a Democrat, Grover Cleveland. Cleveland was the first Democrat elected after the Civil War (in 1884), defeating James G. Blaine. He lost to Benjamin Harrison in 1888, but defeated Harrison in the rematch of 1892. The Republican who bears the closest resemblance to Cleveland is probably Nixon, the sitting vice present who lost the election of 1960 to John F. Kennedy, spent some time in the wilderness (losing a California governor's race in the process), and then returned from the political graveyard to beat Hubert Humphrey in 1968. Despite the unfairness of his loss, Trump is not entitled to a second term simply because of it.

Talk about a trick shot.

Can Trump pull it off? Maybe, but unlikely. Outrage over the election-night shenanigans will fade, and Trump will be 78 years old in November 2024, just a year younger than the superannuated Biden is now. The White House is no country for old men, especially one who never forgets a grudge and will spend much of his time seething and seeking revenge. The most a Trump primary candidacy can do is block the path for younger, more viable candidates, some of whom will steer clear of him and thus pre-emptively tank their own prospects.

Further, even a senescent wreck like Joe Biden can still make trouble for the former president, wounding him again even before the presidential campaign season officially kicks off the day after the midterms. Biden is reportedly pushing his attorney general, Merrick Garland, to go after Trump because, well, when you have Irish Alzheimer's, you only remember the grudges.

Finally, even should Trump somehow get through the primaries (he won't be unopposed) and then win, who among us wants to relive 2016-2020? The endless witch hunts, the two impeachments, January 6... the Democrats will never give up their Nixonian pursuit of him, in part because he's just too easy a target. Throughout his term, every slight had to be answered, every dig repaid not in kind but in tweets that served no purpose other than to rally the base. Policies were announced, then abandoned. The Wall never got built; a massive wave of illegal immigration is about to wash over the southern "border" -- which for all practical purposes has ceased to exist. Meanwhile, his personnel choices were almost uniformly terrible (Rex Tillerson? John Bolton?), opportunities were squandered, and most of MAGA was gone before the end of the first year, including Steve Bannon, Rich Higgins, and Sebastian Gorka.

And don't even get me started on the colossal blunder that was Jan. 6, a stench that still lingers in the country's nostrils and which alone should doom a second Trump candidacy, and for which he has shown no remorse even as the poor fools who heeded his words languish in prison.

Sure, it felt great to watch Hillary Clinton and her flying media monkeys melt down on that stunning election night, but what good has come of it? After just a year of Joe Biden, the country is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and dissolution; would we have been any worse off under Hillary? The sorry truth is, probably not.

The awful truth is there's no time to waste, no time to fantasize about a Trump restoration with a potent vice president who could, in dreams, win two terms outright in the years 2028 and 2032. The country, bound in shallows and in miseries, simply doesn't have the time. The right man has made his entrance: why compel him to waste four years on the sidelines as Trump's veep and then be forced to run on Trump's record in 2028? It makes no sense.

On such a full sea are we now afloat. The decline has long since begun. So whom should the GOP nominate in 2024? I think we all know the answer to that. More on him next week.

THE COLUMN: The Specter That Haunts America

A specter is haunting America—the specter of the Democrat Party. Like an evil spirit that cannot be exorcised, the Democrats have been plaguing the United States since Aaron Burr shot and killed Alexander Hamilton in 1804. Ferociously pro-slavery, the Democrats divided the country practically from its inception, blocked the path to abolition and eventually took up arms against the nation after the election of the first Republican president, firing on Fort Sumter and seceding en masse from the Union. And, a week after they had lost that war, one of them assassinated Abraham Lincoln, elevating a Democrat from a Confederate state to the presidency, and plunging the country into more needless turmoil.

With a track record like this (read all about it) it's a wonder the party is even still legal. And yet, after the bloodiest war in our history—and with a sizable component of "peace Democrats" in the North actively rooting and voting against Lincoln in the election of 1864 while supporting his opponent: the failed Union general George McClellan—they're still around to plague us. It wasn't until the arrival of Ulysses S. Grant as commander of all the Union armies in 1864 that Honest Abe found the right man for the job: someone who would mercilessly crush the life out of the Democrats and their armies, destroy slavery, and reunite the states.

Come back, Ulysses, your country needs you.

Then, as now, the media was the enemy of the Republicans. The southern newspapers were rabidly supportive of the rebel cause, but the northern press was rife with naysayers, crybabies, and bedwetters for whom no victory was good enough, and every defeat proof positive that Lincoln was an ape and Grant was a drunk. Nonetheless, Grant shook off fierce media criticism of his bloody but critical victory at Shiloh in 1862 and a few years later accepted Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House, Va.

Who is our Grant today? Rather than being ashamed of their explicit anti-Americanism, the modern Democrats have doubled down on betting against the U.S.A. Their shambolic, cognitively crippled president shuffles through one executive order after another, signing anything his handlers in the exiled Obama administration up in Kalorama shove under his nose. The domestic energy industry has been at least temporarily hobbled, our woke armed forces are an international joke, career criminals like George Floyd are elevated to secular sainthood, and behavior that not long ago would have gotten you arrested for child abuse, such as "transgender"  hormone blockers for toddlers, or for contributing to the delinquency of a minor with explicit homosexual propaganda in grade school. Democrats hail these "advances" with their usual blather about "breaking barriers" and "pushing boundaries" but anyone with an ounce of common sense knows what they're really up to

The midterms are still eight months away but Real America is crying out for succor right now. Gasoline, home heating oil, electricity, natural gas—the prices continue to soar, already past the point of recent plausibility and heading into economic terra incognita. Millions of illegal aliens pour across the nearly erased southern border. A befuddled Joe Biden threatens to sleepwalk us into an armed conflict with the ghost of the old Soviet Union in the form of Vladimir Putin's Russia, and disinformation is rife on both sides of the conflict in the Ukraine. In a parliamentary system, Biden's government would have fallen right after the debacle in Afghanistan—but barring a miracle we've got another three years to suffer.

For just over a year, Americans have watched with admirable patience as their economy collapsed, their legal system was perverted to serve the interests of a few, their nation's military degraded, and their freedom of speech subverted via the government's fascistic and unconstitutional co-opting of the social media sites. Meanwhile, woke corporations and a thoroughly compromised media crack down on the commercial and personal privacy of anybody that runs afoul of the New Normal while manic Greens demand a return to the days of three-masted schooners and windmills. Such relentless cultural and economic sabotage would be considered an act of war if done by anyone else—but here it goes by the fellow-traveler names of "dissent," "patriotism," and "progressivism."

Ask not for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

For a time, it seemed as if Donald Trump might be the answer. Deeply flawed personally, Trump had everything break his way in 2016, including the good fortune of running against the most repellant figure in the Democrat Party at that time, Hillary Clinton. But with Covid-19 weaponized against him, first in a Chinese lab, then by the CDC and a bona fide madman named Anthony Fauci, Trump was unable to overcome his provoked overreaction to the phantom Covid menace, the unconstitutional changes made to swing state electoral systems, a senescent Biden, and his own inability to control his mouth, and shamefully lost in 2020.

As we learned in the back alleys of Berlin and Moscow during the Cold War, the way to fight shadows is with other shadows; America could do worse if we had some semblance of the British shadow-cabinet system. British election campaigns are short, and the transition time between governments brief, because the voters already know who would take over if and when the current government falls. Instead, we prolong our nominating processes for a year or eighteen months before getting to the endless campaign itself. After which we waste two months "transitioning" and then suffering through a honeymoon period (except in the case of Republicans) during which the new Man of the Hour can do no wrong, but much damage can be done to the nation. The first thing Biden did, for example, was trash the Keystone XL pipeline from the oil fields of Canada to refineries in and around the Texas Gulf Coast—which is one of the principal reasons gas is now pushing five bucks a gallon.

We don't have shadow cabinets, but we do have two shadow presidents. One is Trump, who is making noises about running again, largely on a platform of grievance and revenge for his loss in 2020. Whether this would be enough to boost him back into the White House is questionable; while he may have received more than 70 million votes, the fact still remains that even more people voted against him. He lost the 2020 election as he had won the 2016 election: narrowly. But Trump will be 78 years old in 2024, one year younger than the tottering Biden is now. 

The other is Florida governor Ron DeSantis. Smart, pugnacious, and unflappable, DeSantis has emerged as the chief thorn in Joe Biden and the Left's side. After his narrow win over a guy who was later found dead drunk in a Miami Beach hotel room he was sharing with a gay porn producer who had overdosed on crystal meth, DeSantis has cemented his hold on the former swing state, turning it solid red. Unlike Trump, who at the moment is powerless, the squeaky-clean DeSantis upstages Biden and the Democrats on a regular basis; his canny and unflappable handling of the "pandemic" has given rise to a new nickname for the Sunshine State: the Free State of Florida.

Message to China: up yours.

DeSantis, 43, can make no public noises about seeking the presidency at this point. He must get past his re-election for governor in the fall first and hope the voters rally to take back control of Congress from the narrowest-of-narrow Democrat majorities. With his wife, Casey, now seemingly recovered from a bout with cancer, he is sitting pretty.

It's widely thought that if Trump declares, DeSantis will wait his turn in 2028. But why should he spend four years on ice behind a lightning rod with no further political future? Polls already show him creeping up on Trump and a smashing re-election victory will only gain him more prominence. Lots can happen in three years, especially when his possible primary opponent is getting on in years. After Biden, will America want another geriatric president? Or will the voters prefer a guy 32 years younger, with nothing but upside?

The chances of Biden's running again are next to nil. If the Democrats could figure out a way to get rid of him without elevating the albatross known as Kamala in his place, they'd have already done it. Further, there's no apparent successor to Biden on the donkeys' side; should Biden somehow stumble toward a second term, a Biden-DeSantis matchup would be worth putting on pay-per-view. We could retire the national debt on the debates alone.

Meanwhile the shadows cast by DeSantis are lengthening, the clock is ticking, and all he has to do is wait. Now, a specter is haunting the Democrats. It's about time.

Listen to the author speak about this article and other things at the CutJib Newsletter podcast with CBD and JJ Sefton from Ace of Spades.

Who Killed Ashli Babbitt?

On November 19, 2019, Nathaniel Pinnock was shot and killed by officers of the Los Angeles Police Department. Pinnock, 22, had robbed an auto parts store in Hollywood while armed with a machete and was walking from the scene when officers arrived and confronted him. Despite the presence of several officers, Pinnock refused orders to stop and drop the machete. Instead he ran to the drive-through lane of a nearby Chick-fil-A restaurant where he carjacked a Lexus and sped off. He made it only as far as the adjacent street where, after colliding with police cars, he got out and ran down Sunset Boulevard.

Officers pursued on foot, and after running some distance Pinnock turned and charged at one of them while wielding the machete. The officer retreated and fired his pistol at Pinnock, who despite being shot continued charging. The officer ran into the street where he stumbled and fell, and when it appeared Pinnock was about to deliver what surely would have been a devastating blow with the machete, the officer again fired his pistol. A second officer also fired. Pinnock fell to the ground mortally wounded.

That Pinnock’s death did not become a national news story is owing to the fact that the shooting was so manifestly justified, as can be determined even from the cursory presentation of facts above. But such is the transparency now attendant to officer-involved shootings in Los Angeles that anyone questioning the propriety of the officers’ actions can find the LAPD’s video summary of the incident and the involved officers’ body camera footage here, the civilian police commission’s 37-page report here, and the Los Angeles County district attorney’s 12-page legal assessment here. All officer-involved shootings in the city of Los Angeles are similarly investigated and documented, and while one may argue with the conclusions reached by the police commission or district attorney in any given case, no one can claim the relevant facts have been concealed.

This level of transparency regarding the use of deadly force by police has come to be expected and is now common (though not yet ubiquitous) across the country, which makes it all the more curious that what rightly should be regarded as one of the most controversial police shootings to have occurred recently has gone all but unexamined in the press. The case of Ashli Babbitt, the Air Force veteran who was shot and killed by a U.S Capitol Police officer during the so-called insurrection of Jan. 6, has gone largely unexamined, either in the media or among the self-professed experts who find fault in even the most clearly justifiable police shootings.

Ashli Babbitt’s shooting was not clearly justifiable, far from it in fact, yet the U.S. Department of Justice, in a memo just over a page in length, explains it away by saying their “investigation revealed no evidence to establish that, at the time the officer fired a single shot at Ms. Babbitt, the officer did not reasonably believe that it was necessary to do so in self-defense or in defense of the Members of Congress and others evacuating the House Chamber.”

And that, peasants, is that. Your rulers have made their decision, do not dare question it.

How the other half thinks.

Within a day of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year, the entire country came to know the name of Derek Chauvin, the police officer who ultimately was convicted of murdering him. (Chauvin was sentenced on Friday to 22 and a half years in prison for second-degree murder.)

Similarly the name of every officer involved in a shooting that has tickled the antennae of the Black Lives Matter movement and its fellow travelers has been made public, in some cases forcing the officers and their families to flee their homes so as to avoid hostile protesters. Yet the officer who shot Babbitt remains unidentified and, as far as we know, employed by the Capitol Police.

More disturbingly, the officer’s rationale for shooting Babbitt remains a mystery beyond the perfunctory language in the DOJ memo. Compare this to the LAPD shooting of Nathaniel Pinnock, or to any LAPD shooting in which the officers’ actions are scrutinized and publicly judged by the district attorney in light of the applicable California law and U.S. Supreme Court precedent, specifically the case of Graham v. Connor (1989). In Graham, the Court held that an officer’s use of force must be “objectively reasonable” under the circumstances. In the case of Ashli Babbitt, how can the public be reassured the officer’s actions were in fact reasonable when his explanation for firing remains cloaked in secrecy?

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The Washington Post has produced a video of the Babbitt shooting, compiling two points of view from cameras carried by protesters in the crowd that included Babbitt. In the video, three uniformed police officers can be seen blocking the doorway to the Capitol’s Speaker’s Lobby, beyond which is the House Chamber. A man who appears to be a police officer dressed in a suit stands nearby. Just beyond the locked doors can be seen several men, one of whom is identified as a congressman. Inexplicably, none of the police officers appears to take any action to prevent the windows from being broken or otherwise interfere with the protesters. The officers look to be perplexed but not panicked, nor do they display any apparent concern at what might occur should the protesters breach the doorway.

Indeed, after some moments the officers abandon their position and allow the protesters to continue their efforts to break the windows. We then see, just beyond the doors, the extended arm of man in whose hand is a semi-automatic pistol, and when protesters at last succeed in breaking one of the windows, Babbitt is the first to attempt to climb through. While she is still in the window, the man with the gun fires a single shot, striking Babbitt and causing her to fall backward to the floor.

At the time the shot was fired, the Speaker’s Lobby appeared to be empty save for the shooter and two or three men walking casually at the far end. Babbitt, who was of slight build, carried neither a weapon nor anything that might reasonably be mistaken for one. The officer was about ten feet away from Babbitt when he shot her and cannot reasonably claim he was under an imminent deadly attack at the time, nor can he claim he was defending someone else from such an attack as no one else visible on the far side of the doorway appeared to be closer than fifty feet away. If it is true that the officer fired in self-defense or the defense of others, what was his explanation for doing so when no justification is evident in the video, the only publicly available evidence we have? The government will not say.

The Capitol Police and the Justice Department may be forced to produce whatever evidence they have in the course of a lawsuit expected to be filed by Babbitt’s family, though I expect the case to be settled prior to the discovery phase with the government, i.e. the taxpayers, paying a considerable sum to the plaintiffs. Their decision to clear the officer notwithstanding, the government’s position rests on such a feeble legal foundation as to make going to trial potentially expensive and embarrassing. When the facts are placed before a jury, the shooting simply cannot withstand the reasonableness test as outlined in Graham v. Connor, and no credible use-of-force expert would dare testify otherwise absent evidence not yet revealed.

"Insurrection" or provocation?

The Babbitt case is only the most fearsome example of what can plainly be seen as a dual system of justice as it relates to political protest. The FBI and DOJ have spared no effort in identifying, arresting, and prosecuting every last person who entered the Capitol on Jan. 6, and even those accused of nothing more than trespassing have languished in jail for months without trial, often in solitary confinement.

I have no sympathy for those who violated the law at the Capitol on Jan. 6, least of all for those who assaulted police officers. Yet video recorded in and around the Capitol that day reveals varying levels of criminality on the part of protesters, from those who merely walked through the hallways as if on a lark, to those who vandalized or stole property, to those who, again, assaulted and even injured police officers. Let them all be punished, each according to the law and his own misdeeds.

Would that the authorities exhibited equal zeal in pursuing all lawbreakers, but in Portland, Ore., many people arrested in the nightly attacks on the federal courthouse, in which officers were injured and the building repeatedly set afire, have been released on bail or had their charges reduced or dismissed altogether. In Minneapolis, few have been held accountable for the destruction of a police station, and in New York City, charges have been dismissed for hundreds of people arrested for rioting and looting. Similar leniency for rioters has been displayed in cities across the country.

Justice is blind, goes the old maxim, but when it comes to political protests under the current administration, one must himself be blind to believe it.

Does Anthony Fauci Even Exist?

Dr. Anthony Fauci is likely the most celebrated, or most notorious, public figure currently claiming the lion’s share of national attention. He rose to the heights of prominence as President Trump’s ubiquitous medical advisor, preening for the camera during Trump’s press briefings detailing the progress of the COVID pandemic and the means to combat it. Fauci’s dictates and pronouncements were regarded as gospel and came to be a major determinant of the nation’s COVID preventive policies. He seemed infallible—until now.

Recently a tranche of Fauci’s emails as well as articles and letters were released via the FOIA and through open records requests calling his bona fides into question. We learn there, among other things, that masks are ineffective, that people should wear multiple masks, that the virus has a natural origin, that the virus may have come from a lab leak, that the NIH did not fund gain-of-function research, that the NIH funded through EcoHealth Alliance president Peter Daszak a team of Chinese scientists who may have worked on gain-of-function experiments, and so on. (Chinese virologist Dr. Li Meng-Yan has added further weight to the lab-leak revelations.) 

The bordereau of planned evasions and collusive misdirections—as witness a “spectrum of correspondence” with such influential figures as Scripps Research professor Dr. Kristian Andersen (January 1, 2020), NIH Deputy Director Dr. Hugh Auchincloss (February 1, 2020), and others—is striking. The controversy is assuming epic proportions as Fauci’s presence and calendar of activities and decisions have polarized the country. 

Do I contradict myself?

In my opinion, all the fuss and bother about Anthony Fauci is nothing but a tempest in a beam-splitter. For Anthony Fauci does not exist. Rather, he is a gaseous exhalation of the Swamp, in effect a computer-generated hologram projected onto the public stage to advance the insidious project of the political left and the class of billionaire scavengers seeking to profit from the national malaise while advancing an agenda of oligarchic social control. 

Why this elaborate charade or pneumatic figment should have been created is another question and invites some speculation. Tom Woods asks: “Can it be that for some in the Establishment Fauci has finally worn out his welcome? Some 64 percent of independents say it's time to resume normal life. That's a big, big chunk of people for the Democrats to alienate. So are they pushing back on Fauci?”

Was the Fauci construct, then, a defensive artifice? If things went sideways and Fauci was exposed as a false prophet speaking from both sides of his mouth, he could be made to disappear, alleging fatigue, family responsibilities, or even COVID itself. Perhaps the virus will have taken its toll or the vaccine misfired, thus provoking a trickle of memorial sympathy among his detractors? Perhaps, weary of the fray and having done his duty, the apparition will have retired to the Pitcairn Islands—0 new cases, 0 confirmed cases, 0 deaths—never to be heard of again?

I think his credibility is entirely shot," Stanford professor Jay Bhattacharya told Fox News. “And I think it's really unfortunate that we have this person who just didn't really have the expertise to lead the response, and yet we somehow venerated him.” Bhattacharya cited Fauci for a rookie mistake, conflating “the case mortality rate with the infection mortality rate.” Fauci’s 2 percent fatality number should have been 0.2 percent, an order of magnitude lower. “It wasn't the science changing,” Bhattacharya said; rather, “Something else happened where he just changed.” 

I am large, I contain multitudes.

What might that “something else” have been? For all we know, it may be that the real Fauci, if he existed, was surreptitiously replaced by a chimerical substitute, a creature of light and air. Or, more likely, that the “program” was changed in medias res, once the hologram had inspired public confidence, and so could begin to implement the larger scheme of tactical disinformation. Holograms are easily manipulated and impervious to attack, at least for an interim period.

Commenting on the doctor’s woefully mediocre and indeed pernicious track record, which has resisted scrutiny up to the present, Stephen Kruiser at PJM believes that Fauci has “proven himself to be a petty, small, pathetic man,” but Kruiser seems not to understand that Fauci is not a “man,” as we commonly understand the term, but a kind of wraith, an illusion, a three-dimensional photonic transmission serving to distract attention from the ulterior purposes of the real plotters. Which is why it is irrelevant to fulminate against him. There’s nothing there. 

It is interesting to note that the compromising email dump came at the instigation of collaborating hard-left news organizations, BuzzFeed and The Washington Post. Tom Woods may have had a point. Once “Fauci” begins feeling the heat, he can made to simply vanish, as we have seen, on any of various excuses, including personal resentment at suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous slander. The possibility must be entertained. He was never a material Fauci but the Schwabian emanation of a shadowy cabal of political manipulators conspiring to impose a Great Reset upon an unsuspecting people. 

Very well then, I contradict myself.

As Steve Deace and Todd Erzen write in their definitive Faucian Bargain, Fauci’s “name may be on the marquee, but the truth is he’s not really the main villain. Fauci is not some sinister figure who cynically manipulated… events in order to rise to power… he contradicts himself way too much, and is too easily exposed… Fauci is not the disease but the symptom [of the] federal leviathan,” a mere figurehead. And we have fallen for this meretricious fiction. “Fauci has only sold much of America what it wanted to buy. Our fear has gifted such authority to Fauci.” And not only fear, but our passion for entertainment and the marvels of medical technology.

The cabal knows this. And it knows that should the operation grow counterproductive, it could then insist it had been misled by Fauci’s ostensible credentials and suave persona, proceed to diffuse public indignation, and devise other means to carry out its intentions. Meanwhile, an “exit strategy” would be put in place, the hologram would evaporate and Fauci would just fade away, exempt from interrogation and exposure. No one would really know what happened to him or where he is. Eventually he would be forgotten. After all, the virtue of non-existence is immunity. 

Caveat profluvium.

Russian Pipelines, Da, American Pipelines, Nyet

Let me get this straight. Recently, Russian hackers shut down North America's largest pipeline for days, massively disrupting the supply chain on the eastern seaboard and leading to shortages and price spikes. Eventually Colonial, Inc, the line's owner, paid a $5 million ransom to get it up and running again, a decision about which the Biden administration officially had no opinion. Of course, anyone with half a brain knows that's a lie, that they must have been working both sides, pushing Colonial to towards a course of action (presumably the one they took) on the one hand, and engaging their Russian counterparts about it on the other.

Well, the cyberterrorists got what they asked for, and now the Putin regime have gotten their dearest wish as well: the Biden Administration will allow construction of the Nord 2 pipeline project which will enable Russia to satisfy Germany's appetite for oil and gas (which has become more voracious since Germany embarked on its foolhardy Energiewende policy) without passing through Ukraine, a country where anti-Russian sentiment is rife. Moreover, Biden is waiving existing sanctions on the company building the pipeline and its president, Putin ally and former Stasi officer Matthias Warnig, to get the project done.

This is surprising, as Team Biden have been very open about their opposition to Nord Stream 2, fearing it would shift the balance of power in the region by getting Germany addicted to cheap Russian energy, boosting Russia's economy, and further subordinating the smaller countries in the region to the larger. Just this February, Jen Psaki was uncompromising when she articulated the administration's view on the matter:

Our position on Nord Stream 2 has been very clear, and it remains unchanged. President Biden has made clear that Nord Stream 2 is a bad deal. It’s a bad deal because it divides Europe, it exposes Ukraine and Central Europe to... Russian manipulation, and because it goes against Europe’s own stated energy and security goals.

And then suddenly Bidenettes backed down. Something strange is going on here. Foreign policy analyst Rebeccah Heinrichs tweeted sarcastically, "How absolutely wild is it that Russians attacked a US pipeline while gas prices were already high and like two days after the US company pays the relatively small ransom Biden lifts sanctions on Nord Stream 2." It's definitely suspicious.

Then again, the two events might be unrelated. What is indisputable, however, is that this move looks  ridiculous in light of Biden's anti-pipeline domestic policy. As Dan Foster put it, "Killing energy jobs in Oklahoma and creating them in St. Petersburg is so comically inept and villainous you could never even try it without the entire press in your back pocket."

It isn't hyperbole to say Donald Trump (alleged Putin patsy, who was actually tougher on Russia than any president since the fall of the Berlin Wall) would have been impeached for this. After all, he was impeached for less.

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.