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The PM has announced that Covid restrictions will not end on June 21 as planned and may continue for up to four more weeks. “At a certain stage, we are going to have to learn to live with the virus and to manage it as best we can,” the prime minister said.
James, of course, doesn’t think restrictions will ever end.
This weekend, I traveled to the city of Findlay, Ohio, to see an old friend. I expected to find beautiful buildings and good conversation, and I did. What I didn’t expect to find was a corporo-civic woke propaganda campaign being waged on its streets.
First, I wandered around the older residential neighborhoods and saw a few of the usual yard signs and rainbow flags. This is to be expected. But downtown surprised me. Rainbow banners festooned the lamp posts along Main Street, and a rainbow blob (intended to be a rainbow Ohio, I gather) had been painted at the center of the main intersection, in front of the county courthouse. A large flag mounted to a coffee shop read “HATE HAS NO HOME HERE,” and a bulletin board at the local deli was covered with posters advertising a marijuana dispensary and various LGBTQWERTY clubs and activities. Two activists of some kind roamed the streets in their Pride Month shirts, handing out business cards, while a local eccentric, also clad in rainbow attire, muttered to himself and occasionally yelled indecipherable words at the joggers and dog-walkers going to and fro.
. . .
“You ever do crossovers or bobbing?” One of the men asked the Reserve Marine Recon man sitting across from him. It was Sunday night in Key West Florida and we were finishing dinner and sipping a cold one.
“Nope!” He said confidently. We all just made silent eye contact around the table. He has no idea what is coming. No one says anything but we all know tomorrow is going to be a nightmare for him. At the time pre-SCUBA was not a prerequisite for the Marines and SCUBA school was grossly underestimated by them.
It was on Tuesday, June 13, 1967 — 54 years ago yesterday — that a nineteen-year-old girl gave me the precious gift of life.
Then, from a place of love and fierce protection, my birth mother gave me the precious gift of unselfish love and made the tough choice of allowing someone else to raise me as their own, in the hopes that I’d have a better life than she believed she could provide.
I’ve always wanted to read Alexis de Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America” but have never gotten around to it. I tried once, but I got distracted, and drifted away. This summer I plan to read Harvey Mansfield’s “Tocqueville: A Very Short Introduction.” Maybe that will inspire me to try again. Powerline’s Scott Johnson just finished reading “Democracy in America” and wrote a wonderful post on it today, which included the following passage:
Tocqueville wrote as a friend of freedom. He worried that the passion for equality (think “equity”) would overwhelm freedom and that democracy would therefore tend toward a new form of despotism.
It’s hard to imagine a more precise and concise description of our current situation in America in 2021. And remember, Tocqueville was a Frenchman in 1840. His prescience is simply astounding. I’ve just got to read his work sometime. And Scott’s summary should be shouted from the rooftops. In fact, I just can’t help but repeat it right now: “Tocqueville wrote as a friend of freedom. He worried that the passion for equality (think “equity”) would overwhelm freedom and that democracy would therefore tend toward a new form of despotism.” And here we are. Mr. Tocqueville would look at Critical Race Theory, our tax code, affirmative action, America’s entitlement industry, our educational system, and the modern Democrat party and he would just grimly nod his head. He saw it coming. And here we are.
It was too hot to be out digging, but someone was just the same. There was a pile of old manure nearby, sweet and hayey, and a rose in an old clay pot. A forkful went into the bottom of the trench, got dug in, and then followed by another further along. The shade was just about clinging to the border there by the wall, but the sun was beating down. For a while, she just stood and watched, taking in the flowers all around the little walled garden, occasionally glancing back. Either time was flowing a lot quicker here, or she was losing herself in the colours and the smells as much as the solitary gardener was in the digging because, when she looked back again, the last section of dug trench had been filled in and the rose was being firmed gently into place in the ground, its empty pot lying on its side nearby. She made a decision, closed the delicate wrought-iron gate behind her, and started on up the path.
The crunch of the gravel made the gardener turn, and the spade fell to earth with a muffled clump, wobbling back and forth a moment on the ground. ‘Surprised to see me?’ she said.
“There is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9
A major pandemic that killed more than 600,000 Americans is finally winding down. Taxes are raised on individuals and corporations. The nation has experienced the most progressive presidency in American history. White supremacy is a major threat, as race riots hit some cities. Systemic racism is everywhere. Soldiers are coming home after a long war. A reportedly debilitated President is largely protected by his spouse. Major movements are afoot to improve the human condition.
Albert Einstein was one of the twentieth century’s great men, vying with Winston Churchill for the title of “Man of the Century.” In addition to relativity, he was an accomplished musician and a noted pacifist. He was an Anglophile. He was also an assassin’s target in the 1930s.
“Einstein on the Run: How Britain Saved the World’s Greatest Scientist,” by Andrew Robinson tells two tales. It explores the admiration Einstein and Great Britain mutually shared. It shows how the British offered Einstein sanctuary at the scientist’s moment of greatest peril.
The book is also a biography of Einstein, but it is a focused biography. It recounts his life in the context of his relation with Britain. It shows how British physicists, most notably Sir Isaac Newton and James Clerk Maxwell, shaped Einstein’s scientific studies, and fostered an admiration for British scientists.
My body conceals a hidden vascular time bomb. The surgeons tried to defuse it in 1981 but weren’t successful. Unbeknownst to everyone, the bomb kept ticking. They finally discovered in 2011 that it was still ticking. In 2013 they tried to defuse it again. That time all they succeeded in doing was speeding up the ticking clock and in 2016 the bomb actually started to go off. Through desperate measures the surgical bomb squad turned back the clock and, though the fuse had already lit up and started burning, the surgeons managed at the very last second to prevent the bomb from going off. I live every day with the discomfort that accompanies the uncertainty of hosting a hidden time bomb. It is not psychologically satisfying to know about such things. But in my situation, ignorance might actually be fatal. The psychological discomfort of knowing is the thing that fuels the kind of medical vigilance that may be the only thing that will keep me alive.
Here is a life lesson I’ve learned: psychological comfort can be fatal if it deafens you to the ticking time bombs in your life.
There was a little kerfuffle in downtown Austin early this morning, resulting in several people being rushed to the hospital:
Yesterday I was startled to read (and later it was confirmed by Tucker) that the reason for my backwardness is that all my life I’ve been stricken with the disease of “Whiteness” and, regrettably, there is no known cure.
When I told my wife, we were both stricken with grief (since she is Hispanic, I assume that there is still hope for her). As it turns out, my condition is “malignant, parasitic-like” and I have little to look forward to, except a life of misery.
In 1993 (or 94, I’m terrible with years) I was a young reporter at my first job in Ashland, OH. It was a tiny town, halfway between Columbus and Cleveland and not much happened there. I was married, worked a fair-few hours and had no hobbies or any real connection to the town where I was working.
But then, in the spring, we were told that a big movie would be filming in our area. At the time, it was called “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption,” … which folks would hasten to add “Was written by Stephen King! In the same short story book as ‘The Body’ … which became ‘Stand By Me’ … you know … Stephen KING!”
Anthony Fauci is a very senior federal bureaucrat who has clung to the top of one small bureaucracy for the past fifty years. He falsely poses as an objective oracle of “science.” In truth, he was far past his sell-by date when put forward as the supposed non-partisan face of federal medical authority. Anyone who had advised every president since Reagan must be safe, just like nobody was fired for buying IBM products back in the day.
Fauci knew, Fauci lied:
- Fauci knew the scary model with millions dying was a complete fraud, generated as the latest iteration of a serial scam artist posing as a real “scientist.” He used it to deliberately deceive the president, the Congress, and the world.
- Fauci knew the “flatten the curve” cocktail napkin graph was empty of quantitative data and entirely unsupported by any peer-reviewed scientific publication. He used it to deliberately deceive the president, the Congress, and the world.
- Fauci knew he was entirely unqualified to speak on the whole of public health. He knew that his plandemic experimental course of treatment for the United States would have entirely predictable side effects, quantified by decades of real science in cancer, heart disease, blood clots, stroke, diabetes, suicide, drug addiction, and more. He willfully falsely held himself out at all times as speaking for all of medicine, for public health, as opposed to grubby economics and other political considerations.
- Fauci ignored the facts of Chinese Communist Party control and distortion of science, evidenced in the early 2000’s SARS epidemic. He knew that his counterparts were not able to actually behave as he falsely claimed he trusted them to do. Here he lied to Congress, claiming it was reasonable and safe to fund research in China because the scientists could be expected to behave according to science standards.
- Fauci went from no mask, to mask, to double mask theater, never once actually citing any controlled, quantified testing of the face coverings he first rejected and then endorsed. This one was low-hanging fruit, an obvious experiment begging to be run in, say, defense test labs. Think protective mask design testing. Fauci avoided science like the plague.
- Fauci directly contradicted centuries of hard-won scientific knowledge about contagion containment through quarantine, both internal and external. Shutting down entry from China was what real science indicated. Fauci lied. He gave knowingly false counsel.
- Fauci lied through his teeth about the science of the origin of COVID-19. He did so for self-serving political reasons. He was and is a butt-covering bureaucrat, not a noble scientist. Fauci lied and people died.
- Fauci lied about COVID-19 being somehow different from all other infectious diseases, where surviving a disease leaves you with a natural immune response, which is what every vaccine ever has sought to artificially induce. That is centuries of real medical science, starting with cowpox inoculations to prevent smallpox sickness and death.
- Fauci lied through his teeth about gain-of-function research, about funding research in China to test the behavior of viruses manipulated to more effectively attack humans. He lied to Congress. He lied.
I should never post when I’m angry or drunk. But if I followed that rule, I’d never post anything, so there you go. But anyway, I just got off a conference call with, um, I’m not sure who, exactly. So, um, let me explain. I use “Chip” who works for “EF Hutton” to manage my retirement plan. I’m blessed with a high income (after decades of building up to this point), but I’m 52, and after decades of reinvesting everything I have into building my business, I need to save some money for my retirement. So “President” Biden proposed some tax legislation that has financial advisors all over the country completely stressed out. So my buddy “Chip” calls me, and says my 401k won’t be sufficient – I’ve got to do something else to keep my income below a certain level, and that is likely to be very important. If “President” Biden’s proposed legislation actually goes through. Which they think it will. So “Chip” calls “Chris” who gets someone to suggest that “Chad” call me – “Chad” works as a sort of liaison between ”Chip” and “Chris” and “EF Hutton” and “various record keepers” to “build” “retirement plans” to “create tax savings” and “maximize opportunities” while “keeping fees down” and “ensuring regulatory compliance.”
I just got off a phone call with Mayo explaining that one of my patients was about to die, and there was nothing I could do about it. And then, with “Chad”, I have a very long phone call. With someone I’ve never met, who does something I don’t understand, who apparently will help me “achieve my goals,” which really are pretty simple – I just want to save some money. My own money – I want to save some of my own money. And I earn a good living, but I’m not Mark Zuckerberg, for Pete’s sake. And after that phone call, I think that there will be at least four (possibly five?) multinational financial corporations involved in my efforts to save some of my own money. It was a long phone call. And I don’t understand what we talked about. I asked questions about concrete realities, and “Chad” answered in code. A sort of code that used vague terms which may mean something to other people like “Chad,” but means nothing to me, whose success is measured in things like ‘how many of my patients are breathing today?’ “Chad” probably felt like he was trying to explain differential equations to a Bassett Hound. And I’m the Bassett Hound. Which is why I’m angry and drunk.
I have a simple job. My patients pay me money to prevent them from becoming dead. I then put that money in a bank account, and use it to pay for groceries and electricity and bourbon and other necessities. Despite my simplistic finances, I hire an accountant to prepare my tax returns. Which are over 100 pages long. He gives me an envelope with over 100 pages of God-knows-what in it, and he says, “Be sure to read through that before you send it in.” As if I could decipher even the first page. I’m a really good doctor, but I don’t understand tax law. So I hire my accountant named “Chris.” Who recommends somebody who recommends “Chip.” Who calls somebody who recommends “Chad,” who recommends working with companies who advertise during golf tournaments, so that I can save some of my own money. And I don’t understand what any of these people do. And this is my money. And, technically, my country. And my government. Pretty much, I thought. After a fashion. Which is passing laws I don’t understand which require me to hire people I don’t know who work for companies I don’t understand to do something that makes no sense. All so that I can save some of my own money.
It’s been a terrible year for travel–locally, nationally, and especially, internationally–and while things seem to be easing up some on the domestic front, it looks as if it may be a while before other countries feature prominently on anyone’s itinerary. So this month’s group writing theme of “journeys” has come at just the right time for me, and has already transported me to Jerusalem, Hawaii, Minnesota, and Ireland; as well as filling my head with musical, literary, and cultural whimsy and insight.
I can’t wait to see where we go next!
Just for today, though, I’d like to step back into the realm of the written word and take a quick look at the man who’s often been described as the best English-language travel writer of the twentieth century, and in particular, at the book that established his reputation.
Cultural American ideologies, which were historically influenced by Christian beliefs, have continued to deteriorate throughout the years. Faith in politics, rather than having a theological perspective, continues to grow aggressively. While our country is greatly divided, American culture turns to ideological politics for a solution. Shadi Hamid, senior fellow at the center of middle east policy at the Brookings Institution calls it, “religion without religion” in an article titled, “America without God,” published in the Atlantic.
We’ve got another Happy Hour show this week! (If you haven’t heard, we like Happy Hour.) And who better to spend it with than our very own members? Rob, Peter and James field questions from the men and women who make Ricochet the best “place” for civil conversation and debate. So grab your favorite cocktail, beer or wine and enjoy another episode from the website whose biggest problem is that we get too many good questions and not enough time to field them all. No Lileks Post of the Week, but hats off to Full Size Tabby for a compliment so fine it made James blush (and rendered him nearly speechless). Cheers!
Music from this week’s show: Never Been To Spain by Three Dog Night
Don’t take my word for it. Listen to CNN and CBS. CNN reports that border deaths tripled over last year. CBS reports a nightmare increase in lethal drugs, and overdoses, directly connected to the Democrats controlling immigration policy. AND. Do not believe a word of supposed opposition spewed by the RepubliCANT party of Lyin’ Ryan, the Bush clan, California Republican House Minority “Leader” McCarthy, and McConnell. They all colluded in subverting President Trump’s attempt to keep the 2016 Republican Party’s promises and the much older post 9/11 legislative promise to build a wall. Remember that this year and next and strictly hold it against them and every candidate who does not vocally reject them. The death toll was entirely foreseeable. Everybody knows.
CNN’s Rosa Flores reports on the massive surge in border-crossing deaths. Understand, these are mostly horrible deaths of dehydration and heatstroke, with a few drowning deaths in canals. Special techniques have been developed to get fingerprints from sun-baked and bloated corpses. We do not get those disturbing details from CNN, but the bare facts are terrible in themselves.
When Representative Justin Amash voted for the original – politically motivated – Donald Trump impeachment, it made his re-election in his relatively conservative west Michigan district untenable. This opened up his seat to challengers and it was ultimately won by the heir to a multibillion-dollar retail empire, Representative Peter Meijer.
And his first act upon arriving in Washington was to… vote in favor of a politically motivated impeachment of Donald Trump. This may have disappointed his constituents in western Michigan, but it was a coup for an ambitious freshman congressman. Meijer immediately because a darling of the media; the go-to “good Republican” to go on the Sunday news shows and soak up the adoration for bravely agreeing with CNN’s opinions. (And sneering at grassroots conservatives as a “low-dollar fundraising base.”)