Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Heroes Fighting Cancel Culture


So many of you have inspired me with your posts of the people, companies, and organizations fighting back against cancel culture. In some ways, the number of people who speak out seems small; every time I see a new person, I keep wishing there were more; I’ve decided I want to have one place I can go and periodically review a list of them, to remind myself there are many more than I’ve realized.

Also, I’m sure there are some people whom we’ve missed, even people in our own personal universe, who’ve risked their lives, reputations, and jobs but speak out anyway. So, I’m going to list a few of those who have heartened me through their actions and courage. And I hope you’ll add to the list!

One of the most difficult institutions to call out are the universities. Several employees at universities have been singled out and are fighting back:

Cornell faculty and alumni are waging a campaign to fire law professor William Jacobson, founder of the Legal Insurrection blog, because he questioned the motives of the Black Lives Matter movement. UCLA business school fired a lecturer, Gordon Klein, for refusing to grant more time to, or change his grading system for, black students during the Floyd protests, though he apparently was following the school’s own rules. Professor Walter Block, a libertarian who serves as the Chair of the Economics Department at Loyola University in New Orleans, is facing student demands for his ouster over claims that he made racist comments published six years ago in the New York Times—though the Times settled the defamation suit he had brought against it for misconstruing his remarks. Berkeley’s public policy school summarily fired lecturer Steven Hayward, objecting to his allegedly racist and homophobic statements on the Powerline blog, among other conservative outlets. [bolding is mine]

Our own John Yoo is fearless and seems to brush away these threats like annoying flies buzzing around him.

Celebrities who have spoken out include John Cleese, Ricky Gervais, singer Kelly Rowland, and John Malkovich. And I’m sure there are many more.

One of the first companies who’s corporate leader pushed back was Robert Unanue who expressed support for Donald Trump. The left launched a boycott; in response, Mr. Unanue was shown overwhelming support by grocery customers, a “buy-cott,” who cleared out store shelves buying his products.

Red Bull, an energy drink company, was criticized in a letter by 300 employees for not adequately speaking out in support of Black Lives Matter. When the letter was leaked out, Red Bull’s Florian Klaas fired the employee who leaked it. In addition, two employees had been pushing for more diversity in the company for several months; they’ve both been fired.

Another corporate example is Trader Joe’s, who has refused to change the names of some of its food labels in order to be seen as politically correct.

* * * * *

We need role models who remind us that we must fight for our country’s values, for our communities, and for our families. These people have put, in some cases, everything on the line. We should emulate them.

I know there must be plenty of “ordinary people” who have spoken out, but they are ignored by the media. So, if you know someone who has had the courage to push back, who has been fearless in his or her efforts to let others know that we can no longer tolerate this fascist and anti-American behavior, this is your chance to add them to the list.

Let’s demonstrate that we believe they make a difference.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Woke Left’s Totalitarian Roots


Professor Richard M. Ebeling has a piece on AIER’s website that compares today’s woke Left with its Marxist and Nazi antecedents. In sum, Ebeling argues that each of the three ideologies:

  1. Reduce all human experience and history to one or two “truths” taken to their illogical extremes
  2. Reject reason and the Enlightenment
  3. View people, not as individuals, but in terms of dogma-dictated categories
  4. Reject the notion that there can be common ground between people assigned to different categories
  5. Hold that people in different categories have their own, mutually exclusive, truths
  6. Are focused on concentrating power in the hands of the “enlightened” few

Here are a few excerpts:

Like their Marxian and Nazi forbearers, these new totalitarians look at the world with a fanatical self-righteousness that they have the clear and correct vision of the “true” bases of society’s ills and the only answer for its healing. The Marxists saw nothing but a two-dimensional world of exploiting capitalists who were abusing the “workers of the world.” The Nazis were certain that all the evil in human history was due to a worldwide Jewish conspiracy to dominate and defile mankind’s purer “races.”

Our modern-day identity politics warriors are absolutely certain that all of history is the story of white, male domination of women and “people of color” through the institutional means of private property and capitalist methods of production and control. Everything else is a “false consciousness” created by white men determined to maintain their power over all others on the planet.

All the talk about individual liberty, free enterprise, freedom of speech and the press, or freedom of association are ruses and rationales, they say, to hide from view the underlying “real” relationships of domination and oppression that cover over what actually binds people together and represents their “objective” identities.

They talk about “social justice,” but it really means the injustice of force through coercively determining what for and how individual human beings may go about thinking, acting and interacting with others. They refer to dignity and diversity, but in their lexicon of meaning this really means demeaning anyone who thinks and acts differently than their tribal ideologies dictate, and homogenizing human uniqueness and difference into political group pigeonholes for purposes of paternalism and power-lusting.

The new totalitarian tribalists, like their Marxist and Nazi intellectual ancestors, reject the ideas and achievements of the 18th and 19th centuries, achievements that cultivated and created a social, economic and political climate and institutional setting respectful for individual human beings, compared to the degradations and indignities and cruelties for most of human history before then.

Marxism spoke of your raised “class consciousness.” Nazism urged you to discover yourself in your “blood” and primitive racial emotions. The Identity Politics Warriors insist that you self-identify based on the color of your skin, the cultural roots expressed in your ancestor’s clothing, customs, and cuisine, and how you “feel” about your self-designating gender today that might be different tomorrow and which no one else may judge or fail to recognize.

Doctrinaire Marxists often asserted that capitalist and proletarian interests were so inescapably in conflict with each other that no common ground could be found through attempts to “reason together.” Your social class molded the way you thought. “Reason,” therefore, was a servant of class interests. Nazis insisted that each race possessed its own “logic,” and even insisted that there was a distinct German science from Jewish science; no common ground for reasoning together existed between German and Jew, the Nazis said. These different logics were tools in the battle between races for survival and domination.

Our Identity Politics Warriors declare that any disagreement or dissent from their conceptions of human beings in terms of declared group definitions and designations are to be discounted and condemned as “proof” of racism, sexism and power for the white one percent. Even trying to understand another ethnicity’s experiences of life are instances of condemnable “cultural appropriation.” Each ethnic and racial group, and one presumes every one of the dozens of different genders as well, lives in its own unique hermetically sealed world, with no common humanity of shared knowledge and experience.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Bunch of Entitled Kids


A bunch of entitled kids
A news story today reports that “Portland’s top newspaper reported Tuesday that after weeks of unrest in the city’s downtown, the ‘main action’ appears to have shifted to neighborhoods just outside the city.

This has suburban residents very concerned, as one might imagine. As the mostly peaceful rioters and looters focus their efforts at urban renewal on residential neighborhoods, the nice liberal Portland suburb dwellers are struggling to criticize the wanton destruction of their own neighborhoods without sounding racist. A nice liberal can’t criticize Black Lives Matter, right? Not even if that organization has just peacefully protested their neighborhood into a post-apocalyptic video game cityscape.

One resident of the Kenton neighborhood, just outside of Portland, was displeased about his suburb being destroyed. He commented, “Lots of people worked hard to make our little neighborhood pleasant and to help local businesses stay open. Now it’s trashed. This was not a BLM [Black Lives Matter] protest, this was a tantrum by a bunch of entitled kids.” Some cynics, like me for example, have been struggling with the distinction between “Black Lives Matter” and “a bunch of entitled kids” for some time now.

I think that by blaming “a bunch of entitled kids,” the Kenton resident feels better because that sounds like he is blaming rich people for his troubles. After all, all problems are because of rich people, right?

Selfie time at the riot

But I think he’s stumbled upon a fundamental truth. Black Lives Matter is little more than a bunch of entitled kids. These kids may be 25 years old, but they’ve never had to grow up. They may be black, but a lifetime of entitlements have made them feel, well, entitled. They may be white, but a lifetime of spoiling and over-protective parents have made them feel, well, entitled. And it’s not clear what specific policy proposals that BLM is making at any given time. They don’t debate their viewpoints during panel discussions. They use bullhorns and spray paint to get their message across. Which sounds more like a tantrum than a debate.

Which is why it can be so hard to discern a Black Lives Matter protest from “a tantrum by a bunch of entitled kids.” After all, that’s all it really is.

So I think the Kenton resident has a point. But not for the reason he thinks.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Dawn Breaks over Chicago


It appears to have finally penetrated to one Blue mayor the damage being done to the Blue brand and, maybe even, to her constituents. From Charles Love writing in the City Journal:

It started with a false story on social media about police shooting a black “child.” Within minutes, hundreds of young black men and women filled the streets, targeting businesses along the Magnificent Mile, in River North, and in the Central Business District. This was the scene playing out in Chicago on Sunday, August 9th and continued through the early part of Monday morning.

People sat in idling cars as looters calmly brought them merchandise. The thieves cleaned out high-end stores like Gucci, Dior, and Hermes, taking everything, including the mannequins. A woman livestreamed a video of herself running through a department store muttering that she couldn’t find a tool to detach expensive garments from their racks. “I can’t breathe!” she exclaimed, either in protest or fatigue.

Others set their sights on the police tasked to protect businesses and the city. By daybreak, the city had tallied more than 100 arrests, 13 officers injured, two shot, and countless businesses looted. “These individuals engaged in what can only be described as brazen and excessive criminal looting and destruction,” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot at a press conference. “And to be clear, this has nothing to do with legitimate, protected First Amendment expression.” Lightfoot later called upon “our state’s attorney and our courts to make sure that these individuals who are arrested, and those to come, are held accountable. Put your best people on this.”

70+ days of malarkey about peaceful protesters and the First Amendment protections of arson and looting, and when the political repercussions become undeniable, suddenly standards of civil order are uttered and enforced.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. “Destined to Despotism and Unsuited for Self-Government”


Back in 2004, President George W. Bush proclaimed that, “It is cultural condescension to claim that some peoples or some cultures or some religions are destined to despotism and unsuited for self-government.” Perhaps diplomacy requires presidents to say such things, but the cold, hard, fact is that some people, cultures, and religions are unsuited for self-government. We’ve seen that in Afghanistan and the Middle East, and we’re seeing it now in American cities.

The college student who called the police and demanded that they arrest a PragerU video commentator for “terrorizing” the campus with his ideas; the CHAZ/CHOP denizens who got rid of the police and began stealing, raping, and murdering; the Mayor of Seattle who let her city’s citizens be victimized by the mob until the mob came for her; the BLM and Antifa rioters who assault innocent people and burn and loot businesses; and the left-wing legislators, city officials, and journalists who ignore or excuse the violence. 

None of these people wish to live under a rule of law that applies equally to all people nor are they even capable of doing so. Instead, they demand the right to shut down dissent and do it violently if necessary. They demand that their violence be protected as free speech and that others’ free speech be criminalized as violence. They demand the right to destroy other people’s property and they shout down anyone who calls such destruction “violence.” They demand that people be granted preferential treatment under American law on the basis intersectionality rankings. They demand that the country’s history be rewritten and that their new “narratives” be taught in public schools. They demand the right to live at others’ expense. They demand that their “life choices” not only be tolerated but “celebrated” and subsidized.

Such people are not fit for self-government; they can be ruled only by force.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Why Johnny Can’t Get Ahead


I have a theory: American education is great at teaching facts but not much else. What it’s not great at teaching, and what fellow Ricochet member Brandon apparently is great at teaching, is how to think critically. It is such a gift to have teachers who find ways to help students understand that critically analyzing data and rhetoric is more important than mastery of any set of tasks, or any set of skills. Knowing how the war of 1812 started is great factual information and may, at some point down the road, be important to a student. But knowing how to evaluate an author’s biases and explore the depth of his data analyses so as to formulate independent thoughts from those evaluations is far more important. But it isn’t taught. At least, not that I’ve seen. I hope I’m wrong, but I doubt it.

I believe that so many schools spend so much time teaching facts because facts can be easily mastered, easily listed, and objective scores determined from this kind of rote memorization. It makes teaching, and more importantly, grading, easier, and less subjective. It also turns students into fact repositories, not thinkers. We need more thinkers. Anyone can repeat facts. It’s the analysis of those facts that is the really important skill that must be learned to obtain success in life.

In spite of this, the job of many teachers in many systems, particularly those where the state tests student’s performance on standardized tests, is to teach the test, not the subject. That is such a disservice. Allow me to demonstrate with my own mistakes in this area.

In 2011, I became interested in Amateur radio. The FCC at one point required a person to learn and master Morse code (sometimes called CW for continuous wave) in order to get a license. When that changed, I decided to get a license. The technician exam was heavy on theory, but like all things done by the government, the evaluation of a potential licensee’s knowledge is measured against standardized tests, and the government puts out the actual test questions that will be on the test. You read that right. There are websites that will create practice tests for people getting ready to test so that they can see if they have mastered the material. And these practice tests are made from the actual questions in the question pool.

I simply studied the questions, all 300 of them, until I knew the answers to the questions and not the material that the questions were designed to test. I went from Technician to General, and on to an Amateur Extra license in six months. I passed each test with better than 95%. And there is still a great deal about radio that I do not know, I build that knowledge every day. But in terms of understanding some things (like antennas) at a deeper level, I do not. I cheated myself.

This is what high schools have become. They are institutions that teach the materials and skills to be able to score high enough on the ACT or SAT to get into college. They long ago stopped serving the idea of molding students into useful members of society. Instead, they became about teachers demonstrating that they could produce students who could pass tests. Education, then, became about pleasing instructors by passing tests, not about learning and using the knowledge so acquired. Thus, when these students reached college what they became was Jello molds for the socialist gelatin the professors poured in. There’s no need to wash a brain that’s already clean.

What high schools need badly, in fact, what all forms of education need badly, is a curriculum built around critical thinking and success-related skills. Consider just the importance of one success skill in particular: goal setting. A Harvard Business School study demonstrated that the three percent of students graduating from its MBA program who had written goals earned ten times as much as the students who graduated without specific, written goals.

The study found that only three percent of the students had written down their goals prior to entering the program, while some 13% had goals, just not written ones. Apparently 84% of the students entering had no goals whatsoever. As Yogi Beara is credited with saying, “if you don’t know where you’re going, when you get there, you’ll be lost.” That study proved it. When a Harvard MBA gets you $158,000 walking in the door, a person making ten times that amount simply because of a series of written goals likely has enough to pay off his sizeable student debt.

Another problem with American education is that it puts subtle emphasis on things that do not matter. Prom Queens, class presidents and social clubs in high school all put value on the ability to be popular and well-liked. While these are important, to some people they all too quickly become ends of their own. It is more important to be popular in high school than smart. The blog piece by Peter DeWitt (no relation) sets out how quickly things that would be minor issues laughed off at 23 become suicide-inducing dramas at 15. We do not teach students the simple fact that association with smart, successful people is often the catalyst to becoming great in any endeavor. As a friend of mine put it, if you want to learn to fly, you don’t spend time hanging out at the submarine base. Yet that is exactly what high school has become for so many students who choose the easy path in high school. You do become known by the company you keep. It has the power to alter your life’s goals and choices. Yet teachers do not spend any time discussing this because there is no class called “Your Life 101.”

Values like persistence, perseverance, and the importance of a creative vision are not taught, and sometimes they’re difficult to teach. For these the great writers like Napolean Hill, Claude Bristol, Maxwell Maltz and even Zig Ziglar can provide the kind of mind-opening experiences that allow people to see beyond today and plan for a new tomorrow. For me, Think and Grow Rich made a huge difference in my life. Even though I am not a salesperson, Zig Ziglar’s See You At the Top was another eye-opener. There are so many others, like Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit that could really go a long way to making the next generation the very best generation. If only the majority of students could be exposed to these works.

Yet, my guess is that if you went to your local school board and voiced these issues you’d be met with a lot of “we’ll consider that carefully,” and then see a whole not of nothing because such education is not in the state’s curriculum. So the successful students get this at home, and they absorb it from their parents and grandparents. They see what they did to get where they are, and they internalize their stories and methods. Sometimes the best predictor of a successful person is the struggle of their parents.

When BLM and the other socialists talk about income inequality, they are never really talking about lifting everyone up, but bringing the wealthy down. That is why socialism has never worked. It has never worked because it has never made any life better. Handouts do not motivate people to be better, they motivate them to do less. Everyone understands this at a personal level, which means the socialists are lying even unto themselves.

One of these days I hope that teachers like Brandon manage to make the inroads in the education system that are needed to teach critical thinking and success philosophy to the upcoming generations. But as long as we keep education federalized, with bureaucrats making decisions in DC for people who live in Kansas City, that will never happen.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post


Her personality. Yes, she has plenty of other baggage, of which we politicos know well – sometimes too well – but a good portion of voters go by personality. (See: Trump, Donald.) People have a fairly sophisticated sense of a ‘good’ person, and television and public appearances amplify personality. Of course, every public figure works […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. J. Edgar Hoover Would Be Proud


Politico published an intriguing piece of real journalism in late July. It turns out that Donald Trump was not the first elected target of J. Edgar Hoover’s boys and girls. They caught a Delaware businessman, Christopher Tigani, violating fundraising laws. FBI agents then ran Tigani as an informant against the 2008 Joe Biden primary campaign. The FBI continued after the 2008 election, trying to get the sitting Vice President. The FBI had this businessman wired at meetings with various campaign and fundraising players. They allegedly tried but repeatedly failed to get their stoolie in direct contact with Vice President Biden.

Yes, there has been especially focused illegal behavior by federal officials against President Trump. And. Yes, it appears the name on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s headquarters has informed their organizational culture, despite a big show of reform in the 1970s. It appears very likely that the FBI ran Christopher Tigani against Joe Biden a decade before running agents against Donald Trump. One they targeted for old-fashioned campaign finance violations and one they targeted with an intelligence operation morphed into a criminal investigation.

So, what did President Obama know about each of these investigations, and when did he know it? Were his attorneys general in the loop? The FBI director during the anti-Biden operation was Robert Mueller, who then became the figurehead for the conspiracy wrapped in a coverup against President Trump. So, over the past decade and more, the FBI has targeted top presidential candidates in both parties, not stopping at the elections but pursuing the winning ticket into office. Perhaps this has been conveniently released now to provide cover against charges of partisan interference in our elections. Perhaps it was intended to make Biden out as a victim then rather than a perpetrator more recently against President Trump.

Exit question for Attorney General Barr: how many other presidents and vice presidents have the FBI investigated since 1974? How many top-tier candidates? Show us the files and reveal the decision-makers.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Some Monsters Are Real


In Full Metal Jacket, the doorgunner, responding to the question of how someone could kill a child, says that it’s easy. “You just don’t lead them as much.” Perhaps black comedy is emblematic of the debacle that was Vietnam, but the line for me has always shown such a callous disregard for the life of children that it’s a movie I will never watch again. Once was more than enough. Killing children should never be the point of any joke.

After I got out of the Army, I became a respiratory therapist. In that role, I got to meet the Grim Reaper on a daily basis. When I heard “Code Blue,” I ran to wherever that loss of cardiopulmonary activity was reported and did my best to wrest back that life from the great beyond. We were successful about 30% of the time. When God calls, no one gets to put Him on hold.

I saw a lot of people who were 50, 60, or 70 years old who spent their last minutes on earth with a plastic tube down their airway and me or one of my colleagues pounding on their chest. We did our best. We always did our best. We didn’t care what race they were. We didn’t care what sex they were. We just did our best every time. It really stunk when we couldn’t resuscitate someone, but those were the way the breaks went in that game, and while we didn’t like it, we accepted that result. A 70-year-old patient had lived his life. We were trying to get him another day, another week, sometimes only another month. But, we accepted the inevitability of the end of human existence as a cost of doing business.

Perhaps I should say that we accepted that most of the time.

I dreaded calls to the Emergency room between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. While you occasionally got your Monday morning heart attack, all too often it was a child that had sudden infant death syndrome, and in spite of everything we did, a child died and a family was devastated. Even the most jaded among us couldn’t laugh that one off.

I remember a child I cared for in the nursery. He was full-term, delivered normally, but he began to crash right after his bath. We intubated, ventilated, and gave medications to stabilize for a transport to the local level-three nursery. But that nursery was full, and so a more distant nursery sent their helicopter.

They refused to take the child with them. He had Potter’s Syndrome. Tied to a lack of amniotic fluid, Potter’s babies have no kidneys, sometimes no adrenal glands, and hypoplastic lungs and heart. There is literally no way to save them. The pediatrician was a big man, a man’s man, and he couldn’t stop himself from crying. We all did. It was a tragedy none of us could have done anything about, but we still felt like we had failed.

Genetic and developmental abnormalities resulting in death were bad. Drowning, electrocution, poisoning, and other accidents were awful too, but they were not the worst.

One bright Friday morning I was called to the ER for an inbound baby of about six months. When he arrived he had very shallow respirations and even at first glance you could tell there was something wrong with his head. The head radiograph showed a pattern I had never seen before except in junk cars with broken safety-glass. The image looked like this image found with DuckDuckGo.

The child went for emergency surgery for his swelling brain. Every possible measure was taken to save his life, but in spite of that, the swelling inside the brain was too great. When the swelling inside the brain causes the pressure to be greater than the blood pressure pumping blood into the brain, the brain suffocates and dies. The body follows. All of us in that ICU knew how the situation would end. There were a lot of red eyes in the unit that day.

Mom was devastated but hopeful, even though the doctors told her not to be. She watched the infant’s heart develop bradycardia (slowed heartbeat) and then stop. She told us she was sure we were messing with the monitor. She refused to accept that her baby was dead. But he was dead, and when that painful reality hit her, the wail she let go with is something no one should have to hear. She collapsed on the floor. She clung to the bed. She did not want to leave the room. And that cry: It was a human soul being ripped from its moorings.

The police arrested the boyfriend. He admitted that the mom asked him to watch the baby while she worked. The boyfriend (it’s always the boyfriend, not the father) got tired of the baby crying and just “squeezed the top of his head till he heard a pop.” He just wanted to sleep. He “didn’t mean to hurt the damned brat.” I guess he had never heard of a pacifier or a bottle. There was no way to know how long the child’s brain was injured before mom got home, noticed something wrong, and raced with him to the ER. She was not jailed. The boyfriend got seven years for manslaughter. Seven years in Illinois meant out in three. That was hard to take.

I saw a number of children abused and neglected in that role, and every one of them hurt. As a lawyer, I doubt I could effectively represent someone who intentionally injured a child. All lives matter, but you’ll be lying if you say you do not place a higher value on some lives. For example, your own, your family’s. Children matter.

That’s why two events from yesterday’s news feed really bother me. The first involved a Wisconsin police officer, on suspension because the mob came for his job, who had a brigade of BLLM (Black Liberal Lives Matter) protesters show up at his home, assault him when he tried to reason with them, and then fire a shotgun blast into the house where his children stayed. I can understand being angry at someone, I can even understand the psychoses that leads someone to shoot at a grown man. I can’t understand, nor would I be able to forgive, someone that shot at a child. And, if black lives matter, does wearing a blue uniform mean that a person is no longer black? And if that’s so, what about black children of a police officer? Do they lose their “blackness” by virtue of being the offspring of a police officer? I assume the “protesters” did not know he had children in the house. Who would knowingly shoot at a child?

A monster would. That’s what I found when I went to this website. Read the story, and watch the report. A neighbor, upset because a child was riding a bike on his lawn, runs up to him, and simply executes him with a shot to the head. What kind of monster does that? What kind of person feels so passionately about their grass that they would shoot a five-year-old child in the head?

I’m not an angel. I’ve done some mean things in my life. I’ve certainly had my fill of children screaming their lungs out at 30,000 feet. I dread getting on an airplane with children for that reason. But I understand that it’s pain they’re feeling and I am not mad at them, I’m mad at the adult that’s making them experience that pain without a plan for dealing with it. I don’t understand how anyone could knowingly and intentionally harm a child.

Children screw up. They make mistakes. They learn from them. That this little boy won’t be able to learn from his, and that the monster who allegedly killed him will likely plead out to something that will get him something less than the death penalty are equally upsetting. The shooting was witnessed. There is no doubt about guilt (allegedly). The only real defense is mental disease or defect, and the taxpayers in that county will pay a public defender to hire a psychiatrist (and the DA will do the same) and at some point, there will be accountability if he doesn’t plead guilty sooner or get sent to the hospital for the criminally insane.

It is long past time to make the penalties for assault with intent to kill, murder, and other crimes committed against children carry the same penalty, and the same sentences, as crimes against adults.

Because what we have now is not protecting our children.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. There Are No Solutions


There are no solutions. There are only trade-offs.
-Thomas Sowell

Our friends on the left have a proclivity for monomania that appears to be getting worse. It is normal for debaters to emphasize the value of outcomes they favor and to minimize the cost of achieving them or to take the exact opposite position. But we are entering a new kind of politics in which we are simply not allowed to consider costs or even frame policy questions in that way. 

To combat COVID, we have imposed hideous costs. We are losing lives to the broad and real effects of massive economic loss, depression, and delayed medical treatments. Our 14-day effort to “flatten the curve” was based on the realistic assumption that we could only delay the spread not really stop it. But that was too much like a reasonable trade-off so now idiot politicians are actually saying things like “if even one life..” as if there are no competing considerations. It is bad form to allude to dead businesses, lost jobs and all that accrues from that damage when Lives Are At Stake.

To combat climate change, we are asked to incur hideous costs and surrender economic rights in order to achieve minuscule decreases in atmospheric CO2. We were supposed to join the silly Paris Climate Accord so that we would be Doing Something About It or ‘At Least it is a Start’ or some other bumper-sticker level of reasoning. Many people don’t even consider that there might be a choice between mitigation and adaptation. The planet is at risk so costs do not matter, even if they will almost certainly be born by poorer people.

Because about one-tenth of one percent of all homicides of African-Americans involve unarmed persons killed by police, we must toss out the Constitution, rewrite American history and each forever live out our assigned identities in a script written by second-rate Marxists. The solutions proposed to cure “systemic racism” are so spectacularly stupid and so divorced from the actual history and substance of the expansion and protection of our rights that is stunning that so many succumb in silence. And if one criticizes the current massive destruction and looting by concerned citizens of the leftist faith, the usual non sequitur response is “how is any of that worth more than a human life?”, presumably George Floyd’s.

Inequality requires the end of capitalism and private property. Young women are not permitted to reject the ideology that gave us hook-up culture, so we have to eliminate all due process in favor of elastic notions of consent instead. Medical care, college tuition, and personal income must be freely provided as if there are no downsides, tradeoffs, or costs.

One problem (among others) in our current political discourse is that it is no longer characterized by reasonable debates among grownups of goodwill about costs and benefits but a series of monomaniacal demands for outcomes that are not likely achievable in any event and which failures will come at an astronomical cost.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Oprah Magazine’s White Guilt Special


The most successful black entrepreneur of the age wants you to know how terrible life has been in racist America. So Oprah Winfrey is using the pages of the September issue of O to drive home the Black Lives Matter message: you are racist and you just can’t help yourself. You were raised in white privilege, and even if you feel bad about the racial injustice that sustains you, there is a price to pay. Get ready to be re-educated, right here in this nice lifestyle magazine you may have enjoyed reading for two decades.

For the first time in its 20-year history, the cover does not present an idealized photograph of a beaming, smartly attired Oprah. Instead it features a digital rendering of Breonna Taylor, the young woman shot to death in a police drug raid on her home in Louisville. The raid appears to be an egregious police blunder and is still being investigated. It’s a great tragedy, and Oprah’s signed editorial is a heartfelt lament. 

But, setting aside the facts of the case, it is also a convenient cudgel to smite any white readers in swinging distance. Almost every page of this issue conveys a most un-Oprah-like grievance, even barely contained rage. It’s embedded in the story selection, of course, with features like “Hard White Truths,” (We asked white readers about the moments when they’ve been mostly acutely aware of their privilege, and what they’re doing about it). Or Ask Dr. Joy, in which a psychologist “offers advice to Black women beset by needy white friends.”

 Yet even the usual lifestyle filler — “Beauty O-wards; it’s time to celebrate the best of the best in makeup, skincare and haircare with our top picks for feeling gorgeous from head to toe” — offers no haven from the scolding. Every editorial page bears a footnote-like banner urging some act of contrition or self-flagellation. A few of the many: 

HIRE more Black people and people of color, especially into management, if you’re in a position to do so.

DINE at Black-owned restaurants. People of color are two to three times more likely to be denied business loans, and Black restaurant workers tend to be the lowest paid in the industry.

THWART the racist cash-bail system by contributing to a local bail fund.

TAKE a knee the next time you’re at a sporting event.

READ the 1619 Project . . . a masterful examination of American slavery and its legacy.

ACCEPT the hard truth — if you’re a white American, you’ve benefited from a racist system.

The hard truth is that an accomplished, much-loved television personality, who overcame a life of childhood adversity through her own hard work and talents, is insulting the very country that gave her a path to stupendous success. Over the years on television, Oprah has no doubt inspired many people with her example. Now she chooses to spread white guilt among her loyal audience. 

Who can know, in this time of contraction in magazine publishing, if O will survive this departure into identity politics and grievance-mongering. No matter. Oprah has greater “woke” ambitions for her empire. Word is that her production company is hard at work translating the 1619 Project into a movie or perhaps a TV series. The browbeating has just begun. 

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Democrat Dream Ticket


Joe Biden has been a Washington politician for nearly 50 years. His racist statements are legendary, as are his habitual inappropriate touching and sniffing of women and young girls. His corruption has made him and his family incredibly wealthy, earning millions and millions of dollars by selling influence to foreign interests. He is clearly suffering from rapidly advancing dementia, and at times seems to lose track of where he is.

Given the 22 candidates in the Democrat primary, I suspect that most Republicans would have selected Biden as the easiest to beat in the general election, with maybe two to three exceptions. Kamala Harris slept her way into politics, then used ruthless politics to work her way into national prominence. She exudes the warmth of Hillary Clinton and the ethics of, well, Hillary Clinton.

I only bring all this up to point out that this team of Biden and Harris are going to win around half the vote in the upcoming election. This says a lot about today’s Democratic Party, and it says even more about today’s Democrat voters. I understand that Donald Trump is a hard guy to like. But it’s hard to argue that until COVID, America was doing extremely well under his leadership. Anyone who looks at this situation and decides to vote for Biden/Harris, well, that is simply extraordinary. And tens of millions of Americans are about to do exactly that. Which brings a few questions to my mind:

  1. Who could the Democratic Party possibly nominate who would not get about half the vote in a presidential election? The mind boggles.
  2. Why did Bernie Sanders withdraw from the race when he did?
  3. Who selected Kamala Harris?
  4. Is it possible that the Democrats intend to replace Biden as their presidential nominee before the election?
  5. Are there any Democrat voters out there, looking at their presidential ticket and thinking, “Oh heavens no…?”

If we have mail-in ballots in this election, it doesn’t matter who either party nominates – the Democrats will win, and win big.

But without mail-in ballots, I just can’t imagine Biden/Harris winning more than 10-15 states. But again, I’ll bet they will, somehow.

American politics – it’s bonkers right now.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Group Writing: Connecting the Years


My parents first met in Worcester, MA, after my father returned from World War II. He was a translator in the Army; he’d learned French in high school so “translator” must have seemed like a logical assignment. His first name was Carlton, but everyone called him Tex, after a baseball player named Tex Carlton. As a teenager, he was a skinny kid and his friends called him “Tweet.”

Mom was pretty much a loner named Shirley, but she and my dad made a connection after the war. When they decided to be married, they had a large wedding with lots of family and friends. But when the photographer went to develop the photographs, they were somehow lost or destroyed.* The only testament to their wedding was a movie that was taken on 16mm film. Years later, when my uncle who had the only copy offered to share it with them, they learned that the projector needed to play the film wasn’t readily available. So, the film sat in a drawer.

Finally, a friend was able to convert the film for them so that it could be played! (I have no information about the technical details; I only know that we were going to see a wedding film of my parents’ special occasion—finally!)

So, one afternoon we all gathered to view this special occasion, which at that point had taken place 30 years earlier. It was a silent film, of course, and showed lots of people we didn’t know, although we could pick out a few relatives we had gotten to know over the years. The highlight of the viewing was when my mother and father walked down the aisle together—we all called out, “Jim!” The man who had my mother’s arm was the spitting image of my brother, who was about the same age as my father was that day. We played that segment of the film over and over again. My dad/brother shared the same sheepish grin, walk, and posture. It was so shocking, but delightful at the same time.

* * * * *

After all these years, I have no idea where that film now rests. My parents passed away some years ago. But thinking about that film, I’m reminded that in spite of the distance between my brother and me and our infrequent communication, we are connected by the same blood, the same heritage, the same parents. That connection is in one sense a superficial one, and tenuous at best, but it is also deep and lasting in other ways. We share a history, various versions of the same stories, our recollection of good times and bad. And when I think of that wedding film, I am also reminded of the remarkable links of nature and genes that will always be with us. In a sense, the people walking down the aisle were my father and brother, my mother, and me. I am always amazed at how resemblances are passed on, from one generation to the next.

* My husband and I are pictured above since I have no photo of my parents

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Andrew Coumo has been quoted as: The Democratic governor noted that 1 percent of the population pays 50 percent of taxes in New York, and these people are among the most “’mobile” in the world. “I literally talk to people all day long who are now in their Hamptons house, who also lived here, or […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. New Rider for Auto Insurance?


In @kozak’s post to The Firing Line, he suggested that when people in vehicles are threatened by gun-waving or gun-pointing Antifa thugs to “Duck and FLOOR it.” To which I responded:

Maybe a new rider to your auto insurance? Seems like with all the publicity there would be a large market for such a rider. Pattern after conceal carry insurance. My guess is that if a lot of people buy it, it should only have to be used a few times before the word got out that “protesting” in this way can get you killed by your well-insured citizens and the actuarial estimates would make such coverage very profitable.

There are insurers having to pay (I hope for the owners’ sake) for riot damage. I think they might be able to make some of the money back by offering this new insurance line. If you live in a major metropolitan area why wouldn’t you spend a couple of hundred bucks to get

  • death and medical payouts if found liable
  • defense costs
  • bail money coverage

As I said in my comment, yes, the initial payouts might be large. But as soon as the “pajama boys/girls” rioters see that there is a personal cost the potential for claims would drop precipitously and the collected premiums would be quite profitable.

Maybe President Trump can sign an Executive Order adding this to the national flood insurance program.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Reagan’s Riffing During Sound Check


“My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” — Ronald Reagan, August 11, 1984

August Eleventh. It is a day in history that should be remembered. The day that Ronald Reagan outlawed Russia. Joking around while doing a soundcheck, Reagan freestyled something that was based on his intended speech of the day:

“My fellow Americans: I’m pleased to tell you that today I signed legislation that will allow student religious groups to begin enjoying a right they’ve too long been denied—the freedom to meet in public high schools during nonschool hours, just as other student groups are allowed to do.”

I always preferred the joke. But the press went wild with it, saying it was proof he should not be re-elected. Of course.

Do you remember that day?

Do you remember any other good jokes pulled by Presidents?

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. BLM Organizer Says Reparations Are Theft


Another news story about another riot in another major city: “Black Lives Matter members in Chicago held a rally on Monday to support the more than 100 arrested last night following widespread looting and rioting that caused at least $60 million in property damage and saw 13 police officers injured, according to a report.”

But this next passage in the article caught my eye – a quote from a Black Lives Matter organizer named Ariel Atkins: “I don’t care if someone decides to loot a Gucci or a Macy’s or a Nike store, because that makes sure that person eats. That makes sure that person has clothes. That is reparations. Anything they wanted to take, they can take it because these businesses have insurance.”

Ok, so Black Lives Matter acknowledges that reparations are theft. Simple, straightforward theft. Based on the ethics underlying the Black Lives Matter movement, theft is apparently acceptable – even admirable – in this setting. I find that concerning, but not as concerning as this: I wonder how many Democrat voters would agree with this point? I wonder how many Democrat leaders and politicians would agree with this point? I wonder how many university professors and media personalities would agree with this point? I don’t know, of course. But I suspect that the answer to those questions would depress me.

I could write an essay about this. But I won’t. It’s too depressing.

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Brooklyn College Education Prof. Claims Math Is ‘White Supremacist Patriarchy’ Brooklyn College Professor of Math Education Laurie Rubel argued this week on Twitter that the mathematical equation 2+2=4 “reeks of white supremacist patriarchy.” Rubel’s tweet was retweeted and promoted by several academics at universities and colleges around the nation. According to a report by Campus […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post


You know things are bad when you look back fondly on the Obama years as the good old days. Sure, it was on his watch that race relations did a one-eighty, the White House glowed in the rainbow colors and most of us were depicted as bitter clingers. But still, nobody back then would have […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Tea Time


Things aren’t made the way they used to be. Take time: time used to have a much nicer quality than it does today. And light: when was the last time you got proper light? And something seemed to have happened to all the spaces, like they’d been … sort of shrunk down and actual space taken out of them … So it really wasn’t his fault when he stopped time.

He was trying to build time machine, okay? Never mind why. He had his reasons. He hadn’t meant to rip a hole in the fabric of causality. He just wanted to go back and make things right. Instead of just having them seem to go more and more wrong. And now there was a gaping lapis-edged void twinkling with stars and infinite blackness facing him from across the workshop, and he couldn’t get to the kettle or the sink. Never travel through time without a cup of tea – he thought he’d read that somewhere. Or else the thought had occurred to him in one of those times in the wee small hours, when the world is all your own. The other thing, of course, was that there was … like a “time ghost” blocking his way.

She was beautiful. Not just ordinarily beautiful, but beautiful in the way that lines of blue light flowed through the air like the most perfect sketch of a person, etched in time. She echoed with life.

‘Don’t even think about it,’ she said, stepping in front of the rip. ‘This rift is not stable. It needs to heal and disappear. Then time will resume, and it will be as if it never happened.’

‘Who are you?’ he asked.

The time-ghost smiled. ‘Not a bad question to ask, in the circumstances. I am a might-have-been, an if-only, a shadow of a memory – a spirit of being.’

He looked at her, disbelieving. ‘But—’

‘Oh, I’m as human as the next man,’ she said, glancing at him as if she was beginning to enjoy herself. ‘And who knows,’ she added with a twinkle, ‘we might even have known each other at some point in time and space, through the byways of being. Somewhere, anyway. You have another question?’

‘Um, would you like a cup of tea?’

The spirit nodded with satisfaction. ‘Ah, another very good question.’

‘It’s just – can you … sort of reach the kettle and the teabags? I can’t without crossing the rift.’

‘I believe I can,’ she said with a smile. ‘We shall have a cup of tea,’ she said moving about among the tea things, ‘since you so graciously offered.’

He was a little unsure if she was making fun of him. She turned towards him amid the tinkling of spoons and cups. ‘And we shall talk of many things. Of life and time, and might-have-beens.’

He didn’t quite know what to say to that.

‘Now, tell me,’ she said floating closer and handing him a gently steaming cup and saucer. ‘Why do you seek to travel the temporal plane? Why do you risk everything?’

There was a long silence.

She looked up from her cup. Then she nodded and reached up a finger to brush away a tear.

He felt the ghostlike touch under his eye and a tingling frisson like a perfect moment.

‘I think I begin to understand,’ she said. She patted his hand. ‘Drink up, before it gets cold. Never underestimate the importance of a good cup of tea to the process of time-travel.’

He looked up sharply.

She had her cup held over her face, but he got the feeling there was an inscrutable smile twitching across her features.


The teacups were on the sideboard. The spirit was looking brighter. She was glancing back at the rift and then at him. She appeared to reach a decision.

‘Here,’ she said, ‘take my hand, and we’ll walk awhile. The repairman probably won’t get round to this rift for a while. And who knows, maybe we’ll even bump into a few people along the way.’

He looked at her. ‘Do I have to come back afterwards?’

She glanced back. ‘We can talk about it. Can I borrow a scarf? The infinite void gets a bit chilly round about now.’

He lent her his scarf. The faded wool seemed to suit the time-spirit. The outlines of light in the air seemed to fill out a bit when she put it on, gaining solidity and colour. ‘Ready?’ she said.

He nodded.

They drew back the way she explained to him, took a leaping dancing step towards the rift, and disappeared in a twinkle like a pair of stars fluttering in the air for a moment.

One happy moment.

You take them where you can get them.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post His first recommendation: do not cancel college football! Trump’s Newest Coronavirus Adviser Wants College Football To Happen: ‘There’s No Reason To Shut Down Out Of Fear’ Atlas, former chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center and a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, told host Martha MacCallum that he agrees with Clemson […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Joe Biden’s VP Dilemma


With less than 90 days until the election, Joe Biden still has not yet selected his running mate for Vice President. This has led to speculation, as you might imagine. Although also much less speculation than you might imagine, because Mr. Biden has already said that he will select a black female running mate. Based purely on qualifications and skills, of course.

It has also led to threatening letters from “black male leaders” informing Mr. Biden that if he does not select a black female running mate, that he is sure to lose the election. Because of Mr. Biden’s apparent failing health (cognitively, at least), many people view his choice for the Vice President to be unusually relevant in the upcoming presidential election. There are many interested parties involved, who are presumably putting as much pressure on Mr. Biden as possible to get their way. I have rather strong feelings on this matter, and if you’re interested in my analysis, please read on:

It does not matter who Joe Biden selects as his running mate.

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With about three weeks to go before I get back in the classroom, I have my readings and discussion material all squared away. I teach three preps, but my favorite class is always Honors rhetoric (11th grade), a combination of literature, non-fiction, art, and current events all tied around the student’s continual improvement at a […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. COVID-19 For Non-Premed Majors


Let’s talk SARS CoV2. It is a very simple RNA virus, that is a capsid of proteins that contains a single strand of RNA. Your body uses RNA to direct cells to build proteins. It’s like a hard-coded program, directions, that organize cell function for growth and repair. SARS CoV2 attaches to certain cells in the body that play a part in a feedback loop that monitors and controls blood pressure. Unfortunately, this includes lung, heart, kidney, fat and even nervous system tissues.

When you are exposed to the virus, it travels into your eyes, nose, lungs or mouth and literally, by happenstance, may come in contact with its favorite cell (ACE 2) receptor. The more viruses you inhale (initial exposure) the higher the probability that a virus will bind with a receptor. The virus capsid itself is a spiky little sphere. When one of about ninety spikes touches a receptor, it binds. Within ten minutes, instead of receiving chemical signals from your body, the receptor opens and becomes an entry way for the viral RNA. The viral RNA enters the cell, reprograms the cell’s normal RNA directed functions and turns the cell into a SARS CoV2 factory. Within 7-8 hours, some 7000 newly created SARS CoV2 viruses begin exiting the infected cell. The infected cell does not “burst” at the end of its reproductive cycle spilling a massive dose of viruses and toxic byproducts as is characteristic with a cold or the flu. Hence, a COVID 19 infection lacks the characteristic fever/chill reproductive cycle that accompanies other common viral infections.

The infection is exponential, within days creating multiple billions of cloned viruses. The sheer number of viruses created increases the likelihood that a mutation in the viral RNA will occur, potentially creating a new form of the virus. However, study of the SARS CoV2 genome has led scientist to believe that SARS CoV2 contains genetic material that protects against random deleterious mutation. The virus is already a very efficient one. And it is not like influenza viruses, which are multi-RNA strand (8) viruses and prone to genetic material swapping in a host infected by more than one flu strain. Flu reproduction can much more easily result in a viable “new” viral infection.

We know that SARS CoV2 infections (COVID 19) are disproportionately more dangerous and lethal in those over 65. Of course, those with significant health concerns are more susceptible to any infection, not just COVID 19. But more specifically, there are two issues that have been suggested that may be the primary contributors to age-related risk. Many older people suffer from hypertension and have been prescribed medications that inhibit ACE 2 reception, which results in the creation of more ACE 2 receptors, especially in the lungs. This availability of receptors would in turn provide the virus easier entry, hence a larger initial dose of virus at the time of initial infection. In addition, researchers also speculate that prior coronavirus infections (not SARS CoV2 but common “cold” type coronaviruses which make up about 20% of all colds) are more likely present in older patients. The related antibodies for these “lesser” coronaviruses may contribute to an over-reaction to COVID 19, especially in the lungs, causing a destructive, sometimes fatal, auto-immune response.

The suggested ACE 2 inhibition mechanism would also at least partially explain the susceptibility of certain populations. Hypertension disproportionately affects people of African and Native American descent and type 2 diabetes and hypertension nearly always flock together and are also disproportionately reflected among those same groups.

A destructive autoimmune response to a new viral infection attributed to the existence of anti-bodies from other similar earlier infections has been noted with other viruses, like the flu. That would explain why the elderly would be more susceptible to that aspect of COVID 19. They are far more likely to have been exposed to other nominal coronaviruses. Younger people, on the other hand, would not suffer this immune over-reaction as their immune-historical exposure to coronaviruses would be far more limited.

Obesity, some medical researchers suggest, is likely itself a contributing factor to SARS CoV2 infection irrespective of hypertension and type 2 diabetes. Fat cells also have ACE 2 receptors and obesity seems to increase the number of ACE 2 receptors in the body, so the obese may provide the virus with a more receptive host. Also, obesity in general comes with other health issues that could exacerbate an auto-immune over-reaction to the virus.

New studies are, in addition to looking at existing anti-virals and other possible treatments, looking at vitamin D deficiency as a potential risk factor that could be easily remedied. We know that the virus can persist on some surfaces for a very long time, that it is susceptible to ultra-violet light, that thrives in certain environments where relative humidity is low and temperatures are moderate and that it is most likely shed with exhalation. The virus itself is quite small, however, N95 masks can do a decent job filtering out the virus and any mask will significantly slow the velocity of any virus expelled by an infected individual. Of course, the handling of potentially contaminated masks posits another potential problem.

Researchers also believe that initial exposure, that is how much virus an individual was exposed to, either at one time or over a number of days before the immune system could initiate a significant response, strongly correlates with the severity of COVID 19 and its lethality, especially for people under the age of 65. This would explain why certain otherwise young and healthy people, especially health care workers, have succumbed to the disease. So while wearing a mask, washing hands and social distancing might not provide great protection from infection, these steps will likely lessen potential initial exposure and lead to a lesser, even asymptomatic result should one be infected.

Unfortunately, since so many cells in the body play a part in the internal blood pressure monitoring loop, all receptor tissues are susceptible to COVID 19. While COVID related pneumonia may be the most difficult and common problem associated with the disease, we now know that kidney, heart, and even nervous tissue damage (encephalitis) can occur. COVID 19 has even been associated with clotting disorders leading to strokes. These complications are not common or unique to COVID 19, but they are worth noting.

There are several notable immunization efforts underway and some have shown early promise. However, it should be noted that previous attempts to produce any sort of coronavirus vaccine have all failed.

The initial US response to the SARS CoV2 was mixed. States that took steps to protect the elderly and most vulnerable fared the best. Those who mixed COVID 19 patients with at-risk patients in the same facilities fared the worst.

Initial responses may have been effective in keeping the health delivery system from being overwhelmed by infection, however, this strategy may have only delayed the achievement of exposure-related herd immunity, prolonging the crisis. The response did overestimate the severity of infection in most people and the virus’s negligible effect on those under 20. The delay did, however, allow the medical profession some time to learn about the infection and develop tests, protocols and treatments for dealing with it. These treatments have significantly decreased the severity and lethality of the disease and hospital stays for those with more severe infections have declined.

For all the effort put into attempts to control the spread of COVID 19, we have seen an increase in deaths from all other factors throughout the country. Suicides, overdoses, alcohol-related deaths, murders as well as deaths related to heart disease, cancer, strokes, and other chronic conditions have all reportedly increased. People at risk with chronic issues have obviously not sought care for fear of contracting COVID 19 or for lack of insurance brought on by job loss. As for the other categories, financial uncertainty and job losses caused by the COVID 19 response have likely contributed significantly to reported increases in death in those categories.