THE COLUMN: Never Forget, Never Forgive, Never Again

The presidency of Donald J. Trump ended on a bleak day in February 2020 when he ceded control of the United States of America to a malevolent midget with a medical degree named Anthony Fauci. A prisoner of his own poor judgment, insecurity, and horrible taste in advisers, Trump allowed himself to be stampeded into something called Operation Warp Speed, and was sandbagged in his quest for re-election when the announcement of a "vaccine" -- actually, experimental gene therapy inflicted on hundreds of millions of people with no clear idea about what would happen next -- was made immediately after he lost a "fortified" election to a dementia patient who had campaigned from a basement in Delaware.

From then on, the constitutional provisions of the First Amendment were trampled and trashed, a police state that was just itching to happen finally came out into the open, American churches capitulated to governmental demands, a sizable portion of the population voluntarily or involuntarily masked themselves like coolies, and then turned on the their fellow but non-compliant citizens in a fury born of fear to rat them out to the authorities. The booming economy promptly tanked. Trust in the electoral system evaporated. Race relations cratered. The courts, of course, did nothing. It was and remains the single most disgraceful moment in the history of this country.

Worst of all was the American media, which at last abandoned all pretense of "objectivity" (something once prized when I was a young reporter and now scorned by the red-diaper-baby mafia) and burst out of the ideological closet as fully hatched apparatchiks of the Regulatory State that has since replaced the republican democracy we once enjoyed. Brimming with unrighteous indignation, filled with scorn for flyover Americans they'd long despised (this in spite of the fact that many of them were themselves flyovers who'd trekked eastward to the imperial capitals in New York and Washington and been baptized in the new secular religion of Government), they spewed derision and hatred from their foam-flecked mouths, directed at you. Have a look:

Thus did such loaded terms as "mis- and disinformation" enter the lingo, courtesy of the fascistic collaboration between government and the corporate media that temporarily birthed the monstrous Disinformation Governance Board, now allegedly terminated. ("Disinformation," by the way, is a Soviet/KGB term leftover from the Cold War -- a war that the American CIA and other charter members of Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party's "Forever Wars" wing dearly missed and have cheerfully restarted via their proxy war against Russia in the Ukraine ).

Ah, but the terminology lives on elsewhere, burrowed into the bowels of the Security State apparatus, here called somewhat redundantly the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, which is very much concerned with -- you guess it -- "Foreign Influence Operations and Disinformation." Never heard of it? No worries -- their first concern is protecting your rights:

CISA helps the American people understand the risks from foreign influence operations and disinformation and how citizens can play a role in reducing the impact of it on their organizations and communities. This work is done in close partnership with the interagency, private sector, academia, and international stakeholders.

The guiding principles for addressing risk from foreign influence operations and disinformation include the protection of privacy, free speech, and civil liberties. CISA works with its Privacy Office and Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties to ensure these principles are reflected in all of its activities.

We are also committed to collaboration with partners and stakeholders. In addition to civil society groups, researchers, and state and local government officials, we work in close collaboration with the FBI’s Foreign Influence Task Force, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Defense, and other agencies across the federal government. Federal Agencies respective roles in recognizing, understanding, and helping manage the threat and dangers of foreign influence operations and disinformation activities on the American people are mutually supportive, and it is essential that we remain coordinated and cohesive when we engage stakeholders.

So take that First Amendment and shove it, folks -- we've got a country to protect here!

Latterly, there's a movement afoot by those who brought you the continuing Covid disaster to feign remorse over what they did. Don't buy a word of it. These crocodiles -- a cabal of frightened women and pusillanimous yet power hungry men -- enjoyed every minute of your misery, even as they swan about on their mini non-apology tours and warn direly about the next iteration of the Black Death that is surely headed our (but not their) way. Meanwhile, they're allowed to quietly resign and cash in their enormous pensions, courtesy of you.

Will they get away with it? Of course they will. As gangster Johnny Caspar says in the Coen brothers' peerless film, Miller's Crossing: "if you can't trust a fix, what can you trust?" Sure, we hear brave noises about how "this is not going away," but go away it will as the conservative American populace dives into the next Harry and Meghan story or frets about whether Sean Hannity is up to replacing Tucker Carlson.

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At last, someone at the highest levels of government seems to understand what happened, and right under his nose. In a recent opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch said what so many of us have been saying all along:

Since March 2020, we may have experienced the greatest intrusions on civil liberties in the peacetime history of this country. Executive officials across the country issued emergency decrees on a breathtaking scale. Governors and local leaders imposed lockdown orders forcing people to remain in their homes. They shuttered businesses and schools, public and private. They closed churches even as they allowed casinos and other favored businesses to carry on. They threatened violators not just with civil penalties but with criminal sanctions too. They surveilled church parking lots, recorded license plates, and issued notices warning that attendance at even outdoor services satisfying all state social-distancing and hygiene requirements could amount to criminal conduct. They divided cities and neighborhoods into color-coded zones, forced individuals to fight for their freedoms in court on emergency timetables, and then changed their color-coded schemes when defeat in court seemed imminent.

Federal executive officials entered the act too. Not just with emergency immigration decrees. They deployed a public-health agency to regulate landlord-tenant relations nationwide. They used a workplace-safety agency to issue a vaccination mandate for most working Americans. They threatened to fire noncompliant employees, and warned that service members who refused to vaccinate might face dishonorable discharge and confinement. Along the way, it seems federal officials may have pressured social-media companies to suppress information about pandemic policies with which they disagreed.

While executive officials issued new emergency decrees at a furious pace, state legislatures and Congress—the bodies normally responsible for adopting our laws—too often fell silent. Courts bound to protect our liberties addressed a few—but hardly all—of the intrusions upon them. In some cases, like this one, courts even allowed themselves to be used to perpetuate emergency public-health decrees for collateral purposes, itself a form of emergency-lawmaking-by-litigation.

Doubtless, many lessons can be learned from this chapter in our history, and hopefully serious efforts will be made to study it. One lesson might be this: Fear and the desire for safety are powerful forces. They can lead to a clamor for action—almost any action—as long as someone does something to address a perceived threat... We do not need to confront a bayonet, we need only a nudge, before we willingly abandon the nicety of requiring laws to be adopted by our legislative representatives and accept rule by decree. Along the way, we will accede to the loss of many cherished civil liberties—the right to worship freely, to debate public policy without censorship, to gather with friends and family, or simply to leave our homes. We may even cheer on those who ask us to disregard our normal lawmaking processes and forfeit our personal freedoms.

The time for Gorsuch and his colleagues to say that was in March 2020, not May 2023. But when seconds count and the country's fate is on the line, the courts are years away. So: what are we going to do about it the next time they try it? I know how I'm betting.