Inferiority Complexes Lead from Equality to Supremacy

 

As I was reading a particularly insightful and brilliant post (even by Ricochet standards) about smartphones, it occurred to me that the alternative medicine trend has something in common with feminism and Black Lives Matter.  I immediately made two decisions – perhaps I’ve had enough bourbon for today, and perhaps I should share my thoughts on this fascinating topic, that I’m sure has been keeping you up at night.  You’re welcome.

The feminist movement and the civil rights movement have a few things in common, the most obvious of which is that they are both equality movements that rapidly evolved into supremacy movements.  Or perhaps ‘devolved,’ if that’s a word.  I think that alternative medicine is falling into the same trap.  It’s not hard to imagine certain ‘alternative’ treatments playing an important role in our treatment of certain diseases under certain circumstances.  Which is fine.  We should study this.  But the idea that modern medicine is more sophisticated only in the realm of Medicare reimbursement and not in the realm of outcomes requires a suspension of disbelief that, until recently, was difficult for most people to achieve.  But no longer, it seems.

Why do the supporters of alternative medicine feel the need to not simply promote their ideas, but also to denigrate the ideas of modern science?  That would seem to be a losing proposition for them.  Once someone looks at the data, they will lose.  Badly.  They would only attempt a power play like this if they presumed that no one would look at the data.  And that’s ridiculous, of course.  Except it’s not.  With the internet, you can look at whatever data you want.  It’s very reassuring.  It beats thinking.  And it certainly beats questioning your own assumptions.  That can be uncomfortable.  This is better.  Well, in a way.

So where does that take us?  In the realm of feminism, we end up with men in women’s sports.  In the realm of civil rights, we end up with CRT and anti-racism (whatever that is).  And in the realm of alternative medicine, we end up with cancer patients dying because they’re trying homeopathic remedies until just before they die – by the time we get them on conventional chemo, it’s too late for anything to work.

Our desire to see that which is not there leads us to be blind to that which actually is there.

I mentioned in a comment that the real trick to being an outstanding physician is balancing the arrogance necessary to take people’s lives in your hands, with the humility to recognize that you may be wrong about even your most basic assumptions.  That really is difficult, and physicians struggle with it.  Well, the good ones do, at least.

The excitement of a revolutionary movement like feminism or the civil rights movement tends to blind its adherents to the possibility that they might be wrong, about even their most basic assumptions.  Their admirable passion leads their arrogance to overtake their humility.  There is a reason that all revolutionary movements start with impressionable and impulsive students.

So we rapidly descend from “Perhaps there is a better way to do things” to sharing the view of the philosopher Elwood Blues: “We’re on a mission from God.”

Looking for better ways to do things is what defines Western Civilization.  Once we stop arguing and striving for a better tomorrow, societal growth stops, and we rapidly transition from America to Syria.  We should avoid that at all costs.

But there is a big difference between looking for better ways to do things, and simply attempting to defend whatever point is popular at the time, at all costs.  It’s ok to be wrong about something.  It’s not ok to defend a position that’s wrong, just to make yourself look virtuous.

Such behavior is the opiate of the lazy and the weak-minded.

And it’s becoming a national pandemic, which I would argue is significantly more dangerous than COVID-19.

As a nation, we find ourselves in desperate need of adult supervision.  I see none immediately available.

I heroically maintain sufficient humility to acknowledge that perhaps I was wrong about even my most basic assumptions.  Perhaps I’ve not yet had enough bourbon for today…

Antiracism: Another Addition To The Anti-White Toolbox

 

Ibram X. Kendi: As soon as you see a name like this in the public arena, you know you’ve got trouble. And when you see all of our institutions, including the United States military, being infected with the neo-Marxist, race-based rantings of someone with a name like this, you know you’ve got really big trouble.

So, who the hell is Ibram X. Kendi? Well, let’s see … He’s got the African/Muslim-sounding name. His original name was Ibram Henry Rogers, but he rejected the white/European sounding parts (how original!) and replaced them with names from Kenya and southern Africa, two places where there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell he will ever be taking up residence. He’s an author, a professor, and a “historian of race and discriminatory policy in America,” because, of course, that’s a thing that a racialist ingrate wants to obsess over.

But what really put him on the map is his book How To Be An Antiracist. And what, exactly, is “antiracism?” Stripped down to its essence, it’s the idea that simply not being racist is not good enough. You must be “antiracist,” which involves actively fighting against racism. And since white racism permeates everything, everywhere, all the time, you must be righteously obsessed with fighting it, every waking moment, even though if you’re white, you are basically defective and you can never get rid of it. Got it?

And you know what one of the surest signs of your racism is, according to Kendi? “To be racist is to constantly, consistently, deny, deny, deny, like Donald Trump.”

Case closed, deplorables! You’re not fooling anybody with your incessant denials!

Due to the success of his book, Kendi has hustled his way into becoming the founding director of – are you ready for this? – the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. Just let that sink in for a moment. How slick is that? This has to be one of the greatest hustles of all time! By the way, guess who donated ten million smackeroos to it? It’s that guy who looks like somebody you might bump into at a methadone treatment center. That’s right, leftist Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey! See how these things work?

Speaking of Twitter, here’s a relevant tweet from Kendi: “We should eliminate the term ‘not racist’ from the human vocabulary. We are either being racist or antiracist. Is that clear for you? There is no such thing as ‘not racist.’”

Excuse me while I pick my jaw up from the floor. “There is no such thing as ‘not racist?’” Actually, what there’s really no such thing as, is a legitimate intellectual discipline called “antiracism.” That’s just something Kendi thought up as a way of assuaging the gigantic chip on his shoulder, but it’s nothing more than a crock of neo-Marxist claptrap that any garden-variety, leftist academic could have thought of while loafing in the faculty lounge during a break between classes on any given afternoon.

Nonetheless, a prestigious university, which costs approximately $76,000 per year to attend, has provided him with his very own “antiracist” research center to play with. He can sit up in there all day long cranking out his pseudo-intellectual, racialist nonsense to his heart’s content and all the while this very woke university gets to virtue signal with its very own mascot of color. Talk about a win-win.

Look, can I interrupt the woke, intersectional, racialist revolution long enough to ask a simple question here? If systemic racism, white supremacy, white privilege, unconscious bias, etc., etc., ad infinitum, ad nauseam, are as ubiquitous and intractable as guys like Kendi claim, then why are they the toast of the town and being fawned over like pop stars? If all our institutions (which are all controlled by leftists) are shot through with systemic racism, then why are they all onboard with guys like this? Do you think that could have happened in pre-civil rights America, which was the last time systemic racism actually existed to any significant degree? Let’s think about that for a moment . . .

. . . Harking back to a time of actual systemic racism … a l-o-o-o-n-g, l-o-o-o-n-g time ago … going back … b-a-a-a-c-k … so far back that only elderly people can even barely remember it through the hazy mists of time … going w-a-a-a-y-y back to a time of segregation and oppression … grainy black and white images … Martin Luther King … I have a dream … civil rights marches … police dogs … fire hoses … remembering b-a-a-a-c-k, b-a-a-a-ck across the many decades … actual Jim Crow … actual systemic racism … s-o-o-o, s-o-o-o very long ago…

Nope, there ain’t no way there could have been something calling itself the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research back then. And its existence now is more than ample evidence that systemic racism in present-day America is total BS. And that, in turn, makes “antiracism” total BS because part of its premise is that racism is so ubiquitous.

Let’s just get down to cases here. Why does a guy like Kendi devote his life to this divisive garbage? He was lucky enough to have been born in the United States of America, rather than Africa, long after the victories of the civil rights movement. He had all the advantages in life, including successful parents, private schools, and college. In other words, he had privilege. He could have chosen to become a doctor or an engineer or an architect or a computer scientist or anything else he might have wanted that would have actually contributed something to society. Instead, he chose race hustler. Why?

I’m not a professional psychologist, but I know enough about human beings to do a little spitballin’ about their motives. So, how about … because he feels compelled to come up with a reason why so many blacks have failed to take advantage of the endless opportunities afforded in America and anything other than racism would require some kind of accountability on their part. Yeah, I think we’re onto something here.

And how about power? In this case, it could be about his self-perceived moral power that comes from calling out white people for their endless alleged sins. But I wonder … Could that supposed moral power really just be compensation for – dare I say it? – his envy of white/European accomplishments that we generally think of as Western civilization?

Those accomplishments would include the development of virtually everything that modernized the world and made life longer, healthier, richer, safer, more productive, more free, more enjoyable, and less of a struggle. Those accomplishments provide Kendi with a very nice place to live and you can bet your last money he won’t ever be moving to Mother Africa, despite its glorious absence of oppressive whiteness.

Of course, contrary to what race hustlers like Kendi would have you believe, there’s no reason why black people can’t fully partake in and contribute to the accomplishments of Western civilization. Every institution in this country has been bending over backward for decades to try and help make that happen. And plenty of black folks do take full advantage of the opportunities here (more power to ‘em!) and are able to accomplish anything they want, up to and including becoming president. Thanks to majority-white America, Obama was the most powerful man on earth for eight years.

But if you try to convince Kendi that America is fundamentally decent and as unracist as any human society can be, he will “constantly, consistently, deny, deny, deny.”

Would it be too harsh to say that Kendi is a parasite on Western civilization? Well, in what other civilization could he get away with this hustle? He denigrates it endlessly, fomenting resentment and hatred towards whites, but all the while he is siphoning off an excellent living and prestige for himself. Parasitic? You make the call.

One thing’s for sure. He’ll never live in a country that isn’t majority-white because that life is too damn good to give up, despite his endless bellyaching and his nauseating ingratitude. It’s like a black co-worker of mine once told me: “I don’t wanna live in no Africa!” And neither does Kendi. He’ll just settle for the disingenuous ostentation of an African name while he lives the good life right here in the U.S.A.

Member Post

 

At the local grocery store today I noticed a prominent display of a newly featured item. Movie Theater Buttered Popcorn. A generic local grocer brand in a very bland box that seemed to me to have a rather long but fetching product name. I knew that Almost Angina or Carcinogens Be Damned were never even […]

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Quote of the Day: James Madison on Factions

 

In my readings for the Hillsdale Constitution 101 online course, I came across this passage in Federalist 10.  Was this guy ahead of his time, or what?  Clairvoyant?

A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project, will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union than a particular member of it, in the same proportion as such a malady to taint a particular county or district than an entire State.

I think the Founders might be somewhat alarmed today, if they could see how many “improper or wicked projects” have inflamed entire States.

Smartphones Destroy Empathy

 

When I’m at a social event, I never tell anyone I’m a doctor, because I don’t want to talk about medicine when I’m trying to relax.  But we went to a party last night in our neighborhood here in Hilton Head, and all our friends of course know what I do for a living.  So Mrs. Jones comes up to me and says she hurt her shoulder, and it’s not getting better, and what should she do about it?  I couldn’t just glare at her and leave, because I was in her house drinking her Scotch.  So I politely listened to her complaints.

But I didn’t answer.  I just pointed across the room:  “Why don’t you go ask Bob?  He’s an orthopedic surgeon.  Surely he’d know more about this than me.  I’m just a humble primary care doc.”  Her face lit up, she thanked me, and she hustled right over to Bob, who had been enjoying her Scotch until that moment.  She started talking to him, he smiled at her, and then he looked across the room at me and gave me the stink eye.  I smiled and raised my glass to him.  I’m a giver.

There are a few reasons I deferred.  First of all, I really try to avoid giving medical advice to people who aren’t my patients.  I don’t know the case, I don’t know the background – that’s an easy way to say something stupid.  Second, it’s true, Bob would know more about this than me.  As it happens, her condition is one with which I have a lot of experience, and I probably could have answered her question.  But Bob is obviously more qualified.  And the third reason is that I try to avoid looking like a fool.  What if I answer, then she asks Bob, he gives a different answer, and I look like a fool?  No.  I try to avoid looking like a fool.  But then Tom came over, struck up a conversation with me, and proved that not everyone tries to avoid looking like a fool.

Tom is an airline pilot who has developed an interest in nutritional supplements, essential oils, acupuncture, and God knows what else.  At a party last year, he said that curing MS was easy by altering your diet and taking high dose vitamins or something, and that doctors knew this, and that they refused to use this cure because they couldn’t profit from it.

So, I inferred, apparently my job is to earn money by intentionally killing people.

I blew up in his face.  Great entertainment for everyone.  My wife guided me out the door.  Forcefully.  Holy crap I was angry.

I apologized to him the next time I saw him.  I don’t think he recognized what a profound insult that was to someone like me, who believes that he serves God by devoting his life to healing the sick.  Or at least doing the very best I can.  Tom was just chatting about his hobby.  To me, this is no hobby.

So I made nice, and we moved on.

On the other hand, the only way that Tom would not recognize what a profound insult that would be to me is that he lacks empathy.  He can’t see things from anyone’s perspective other than his own, so he didn’t realize that what seemed like a casual statement to him would come across as a vicious attack to me.  I’m sure he was surprised when I jumped down his throat.

If you lack empathy, other people become mysterious creatures.  ‘What’s wrong with these people?  Can’t they see the truth?’

Anyway, so Tom sits down next to me last night.  I immediately start saying to myself, over and over, “…don’tsayanythingdon’tsayanythingdon’tsayanything…” as Tom starts to talk.

He talked about COVID.  Now, if someone is a big enough conspiracy theorist to honestly believe that doctors are intentionally killing MS patients for profit, you can imagine what he thinks of the COVID mess.  He’s an anti-vaxxer, and he spent 30 minutes telling me the dangers of the COVID vaccines.

Now, these vaccines are new, and perhaps we’ll discover problems as we go forward.  I think they’re probably a good idea, but honestly I’m not really sure yet.  Just like on most other topics, the more I read the less I know for sure.  And I’ve read a lot on this topic.  It’s just too soon to say.  I think it will be years before we really know if the vaccines were a good idea.  I think they are.  Probably.  But we’ll see…

Which brings me back to my conversation with the lady with the bad shoulder.  I was reluctant to answer her question, because I knew there was someone in the room that knew more about it than me, and if he somehow became involved in our conversation, I might look stupid.  So I shut my trap and deferred to the guy who has spent his life studying the question at hand.

That was not Tom’s approach last night.  He sat right down next to someone who he knows does this for a living, and gives a 30-minute dissertation on something that he knows very little about.  An amateur telling an expert how to do his job.  And he seemed perfectly comfortable doing so.  Tom did not ask me a single question.  He lectured me.  About my field.  He wasn’t concerned about me publicly pointing out that he was wrong.  Because he knew he wasn’t wrong.  He believes.

Or, perhaps, he lacks sufficient empathy to understand that there may be perspectives other than his own which may have some validity.

It would be like me telling him how to fly a plane.  Ok, maybe I’ve flown a Cessna before.  Maybe I read about aviation as a hobby.  But he flies passenger jets for a living.  Why would I try to tell him how to fly a plane?  Why would that thought even cross my mind?  “You know what I’m going to do at this party?  I’m going to go over there and tell that pilot how to fly a plane.  This should be fun!”

Why would I do that?

As I sat there trying to be nice, it occurred to me that Tom wasn’t exactly lecturing to me.  He was preaching.  He was preaching with the confidence of someone preaching to the choir.  Because in his world, everyone is in the choir.  They all believe.  Which got me to thinking about smartphones and social media.

Tom may have been the only one in the room last year that actually believed that doctors intentionally kill people for profit.  And he was probably surprised that I reacted to his casual comment with such hostility.

He was surprised because he hangs out on websites that confirm his biases.  He’s the only one in the room who thinks that, but he can pull out his iPhone and instantly connect with a virtual room full of like-minded individuals.  And that’s where he lives.  So his occasional excursions out into the real world probably feel sort of odd.  ‘What’s wrong with these people?  Can’t they see the truth?’

Politics is getting more and more tribal and hostile because we’re no longer fellow Americans discussing tax policy or immigration laws or something.  We identify more and more with smaller and smaller subgroups online to such an extent that we’re losing the ability to communicate, and more importantly to empathize, with nearly anyone else.

So every debate just turns into a shouting match.  Even if it’s about something as boring as scientific research.

I’m convinced that Tom is a nice person, and he means well.  He’s just so far down some rabbit hole that he can’t even see out anymore.  That describes a lot of Americans, these days.

We’re losing the ability to see things from the perspective of others.  We’re losing empathy.

Is it possible that smartphones are destroying our society by destroying our empathy?  What if that’s true?  What should we do?

I love my smartphone.  I really do.  But I’m starting to think they’re dangerous.

I’ll Take ‘Corrupt to the Core’ for 1000, Alex

 

Answer: A four letter acronym that serves as the modern definition of corrupt, corruption, and corruptible.

Question: What is FISA?

These are the days of our lives:

It’s Official: The NSA Unmasked Tucker Carlson

Three weeks after Fox News host Tucker Carlson accused the National Security Agency of reading his communications, the agency has confirmed he was unmasked.

And the fact that they still stick to the party line as if we don’t all already know that the official “target” is just the means to get to those they really intend to spy on [is just insulting anymore]:

“On June 28, 2021, Tucker Carlson alleged that the National Security Agency has been ‘monitoring our electronic communications and is planning to leak them in an attempt to take this show off the air.’ This allegation is untrue. Tucker Carlson has never been an intelligence target of the Agency and the NSA has never had any plans to try to take his program off the air. NSA has a foreign intelligence mission. We target foreign powers to generate insights on foreign activities that could harm the United States. With limited exceptions (e.g. an emergency), NSA may not target a US citizen without a court order that explicitly authorizes the targeting,” the NSA released in a statement.

[Emphasis Added]

Unfortunately, the question on everyone’s mind goes unanswered…but it must be asked: Are they still using Samantha Power’s signature to request all of the unmaskings?  (It seems to be the one that auto-fills on the request form.)

Here is some background information for those not paying attention:

…either with or without her knowledge, her name was used to unmask over 260 American citizens…

Samantha Power claimed she never tried to unmask Michael Flynn, but records show she unmasked him 7 times.

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power testified to Congress in 2017 that she never sought to unmask records containing information about former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. … “I don’t recall making such a request,” Power said. … “Yes, I have no recollection of making a request related to General Flynn,” Power again claimed.

Well, here is hoping that we are all “never intelligent targets” so we (and our rights) will remain safely protected by rigorous policies and processes established and followed in good faith by this government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Have a nice day.

An Excerpt from the Art Auction Catalog of George Berges Gallery (Artist Anonymous)

 

Catalog Item 3987: “Phone Call” (acrylic on paper; opening bid = $75,000)

This minimalist, neo-cubist painting was inspired by a phone conversation with a cabinet secretary (maximum duration = 15 minutes). The work is eminently accessible from both a conceptual and a budgetary perspective. Since this is part of an ongoing series of works by the artist, the collector may commission a version of the painting in specific colors to complement any room décor.

Catalog Item 4268: “Meeting with Light Refreshments” (oil on wood; opening bid = $150,000)

This fine example of 21st century surrealism evokes the spirit of a brief face-to-face encounter supplemented with coffee, cold beverages, and a selection of fresh fruit and pastries. Winning bids that are contingent on the exact titles or positions of attendees will be subject to a surcharge.

Catalog Item 4897: “Lincoln Bedroom” (mixed media on canvas; opening bid = $500,000)

This avant-garde pointillist work offers the artist’s interpretation of a unique experience: An overnight stay at the White House, followed by continental breakfast with the President. It is an ideal acquisition for display in the offices of a prestigious lobbying or consulting firm. No discounts for union representatives.

From The Police Blotter: DC Police Chief Tells The Truth

 

The justice system is broken. There are a lot of experts out there on policing, and some of them have no clue about policing. Police officers are opting for early retirement, and some are just resigning.

Regardless of what you might be hearing from the White House, mayors, and city council members crime rates are soaring. The failure to set bail, or to sentence violent offenders, the seeds of the whirlwind are being sown.

The State of Connecticut conducted a study on the recidivism rate of individuals that were in possession of a firearm when they were arrested. The recidivism rate was about 73% for those individuals. I have two observations about the people I arrested during my time on the streets. Some were just stupid, and some were evil. Regardless of which category they were in they were all capable of mayhem.

Judges, and the new Soros prosecutors are confused about who is the victim, and who is the criminal. When George Soros passes away I’ll pour myself a wee dram of a good single malt, but I won’t shed any tears.

The following video contains remarks from the DC police chief.

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A Short Lesson in Reading the Defense

 

I’ll keep this brief: Today provided some convenient material for demonstrating just how to assess your play calling strategy from the line of scrimmage in today’s ultra politicized game world.

The first comes from the propaganda spread at the top of the morning Yahoo Finance page. Aside from the asinine, fill-in-the-blank statement on early market activity, the other headlines almost always contain a tell and/or planted language to guide the browsing idiots. (Hint: Don’t ever read the articles, the headlines are brain numbing enough.) Earlier this year there were several moronic stories about how there is no downside to student debt forgiveness. Today we were greeted with a sure sign that our non-beltway special teams are undoubtedly doing something right:

Well, at least two or three are pulling a large part of the load. More need to join in…and soon.

On the other side of the coin, there are times when you break the huddle and, before you get to the line, you notice that one of your own players is lining up with the other team:

Liz Cheney Weighs in on Pelosi’s Refusing GOP for Jan. 6 Committee

So she wasn’t just saying that she’s agreeing with Pelosi, she’s not denying she might have been behind the suggestion. …

…she completely a minion of Pelosi, which she’s not hiding it at this point… Anyone that ever had any sympathy for this person should take a look at what she’s become now and learn a lesson. She needs to be removed from any committees she’s on and she needs to get primaried into next week. Having Cheney on the Committee doesn’t make it bipartisan. It makes it fully craven people serving the Democratic cause.

I would say that even stronger action is required for this pathetic turncoat…she must not be a part of any future huddle for Team R:

Republicans Have One Move Left to Make Regarding Liz Cheney and They Better Make It

Republicans have one move left to make – remove Cheney from the GOP caucus.

This foolishness has gone on long enough. It was one thing to obsess over on January 6th. It’s another to lock arms with Nancy Pelosi, endorsing her ridiculously staffed committee, in order to backstab Republicans who are being denied a seat at the table. …

[Emphasis added]

If nothing else, removing one turncoat now may help flush some of the others…YES, THERE WILL BE OTHERS…out into the open sooner rather than later. The time is ripe for some housecleaning before 2022:

Even more than the Trump presidency, the Biden presidency has revealed whose loyalty to the establishment exceeds all other loyalties.

Be warned: Loyalties to the establishment are stronger and more widespread than most care to imagine. [These people] were bought and paid for long ago…and, in the right situations, it shows very plainly on their faces:

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Quote of the Day: Leftists are Prisoners of Their Own Ideas

 

Men are qualified for civil liberty, in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites. Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters. –Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke foretold the disaster that would become the radical political Left in the United States. The Left is disdainful of the morality to which many of us subscribe. They are weak and greedy and are therefore doomed to failure, because they don’t value the most honorable aspects of human nature: generosity, trust, respect and many other attributes that those on the Right have come to appreciate and venerate.

Our country has been based, however, on minimally limiting the controls and supporting the freedom of its citizens. But since the Left is demanding, compulsive and uncompromising in its expectations, they will do whatever they can to accomplish their agendas. To do so, they don’t realize that they have become prisoners of their own ideology. They have tossed the foundations of this country in the dustbin. They have created false narratives to substantiate their goals. They don’t care whether they alienate others; they are quite happy to try to force others to comply with their schemes.

But the day will come when they will want to put their final plans in place—until they realize that they have trapped themselves within their own ideological prisons. They have created barriers between themselves and the rest of society, and they will come to realize that there is almost no one who will release them or rescue them, because they have trapped themselves. They will have underrated the American spirit to resist them, and we will watch them protest and refuse to accept the reality they have created; they will be crushed under the weight of their own ignorance.

And we will work to restore the foundations of, and faith in, this country, in spite of their ignorant and selfish ambitions.

[photo by Hasan Almasi from unsplash.com]

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Last weekend, Mrs. Scrubb and I had a fun adventure going to Joe Bob Briggs Jamboree, a celebration of Drive-In films. It was held at the Mahoning Drive-In in Lehighton, PA, and it was a very big week for the Mahoning in other ways. A day before the Jamboree began, with hundreds of viewers (and […]

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First Flight with the Skipper

 

I joined my first A-7 squadron, the “Golden Warriors” of Attack Squadron VA-87, at the beginning of January 1981. They had deployed to the Indian Ocean aboard the USS Independence (CV-62 – a non-nuclear-powered – Forrestal Class carrier) the previous October. My trip from stateside had been long and interesting (see my post – “A Long Way to the Indian Ocean”). The carrier’s trip was more straightforward; departing Norfolk, VA, south around the southern tip of Africa and then north to the Indian Ocean.

There were no flight ops the day after I arrived. It was standard practice for the Air Wing to fly a few days and then take a couple of days off for maintenance of the catapults and arresting gear. I arrived during one of those non-flying days and the next opportunity to fly wouldn’t be for a couple more days. There were some administrative tasks to complete first so the delay wasn’t unexpected.

USS Lexington (CVT-16)

I flew my final carrier-qualification traps (landings) almost two weeks earlier on the USS Lexington (CVT-16) off Jacksonville, Florida.

Two weeks is a long time to go without a trap, especially when you’re fairly inexperienced. Plus, we were a long way from any potential divert airfield ashore. If you ran into a problem that prevented you from landing on the ship, your next option would have been an ejection nearby with a helo ride back to the carrier. No one, least of all the pilot, wanted that option. So, I was anxious to get airborne again before losing whatever skill had not yet atrophied during my long trip.

My new roommate, call sign “Bigfoot” (size 13 flight boots), had a full deployment under his belt and was one of the squadron’s Landing Safety Officers (LSO). Since my arrival, he had been generous with tips for flying around the ship and getting aboard safely and I was lucky to have him as a roommate.

A-7E Corsair on the cat

When a typical “nugget” joins a squadron, his abilities and talent are a big question mark. Everyone wants to know whether he’s a good guy, a decent “stick”, whether he’ll fit in and add to the squadron’s reputation, or require extra mentoring. His potential and abilities are probably a mystery to him too since his previous experience consists of earning his Naval Aviation Wings followed by learning to fly a specific fleet aircraft in the transition squadron.

I was still a nugget even though I’d had an additional 15 months of flight experience, flying as a flight instructor in the TA-4J Skyhawk and teaching Instrument flying and landings. In fact, my experience “around the ship”, was even less than a typical nugget’s on his first deployment because I hadn’t been with the squadron during their training prior to deployment. I had missed a lot of valuable practice. The question was whether I could pick up what I needed to know quickly enough and without damaging my reputation and the squadron’s.

Finally on January 5, 1981, almost 5 days after joining the squadron, I was scheduled for my first flight. We were several hundred miles south of Iran in the Indian Ocean. It was a typical hot, muggy but clear day. In a squadron with single-pilot aircraft (like the A-7E Corsair II) the first several flights are as a wingman with one of the senior pilots so I was scheduled to fly with the Skipper on the first launch of the day, a short 1 hour and 15-minutes from launch to recovery.

I wanted to be known as a “can-do” guy, and to show that I could keep up with the more experienced junior pilots in the squadron. I allowed myself to be talked into something I should have politely declined and that made my first flight off the Indy memorable mostly for what went wrong.

Our briefed “mission” was practice bombing. We each carried six MK-76 practice bombs (25-lb. training bombs meant to have the aerodynamics of a real bomb without the weight and expense) on a wing-mounted multi-rack (multiple-ejector-rack: MER) which allowed you to carry all six bomblets on a single wing pylon.

A-7 Corsair w/ Multi-rack

This scale model shows a Sidewinder missile on the left fuselage station (#4), a single bomb on wing station #1, a MER with six bombs on station #2 and a Forward Looking Infared (FLIR) pod on station #3. My load only had the station #2 MER.

I was excited to fly with the Skipper and to do the practice bombing. That had been one of my favorite phases during training and I was sure that he’d be impressed. But the best-laid plans…

The Skipper launched while I was still trying to determine if my jet was flyable. It wasn’t. After doing a full startup and checklist, one of my critical avionics boxes failed and was unfixable in the remaining time available in the launch. I told the Squadron Duty Officer that my airplane was “down”. I was disappointed. I’d lost my chance to fly that morning. Not so fast. The Squadron Duty Officer (DO) disagreed.

His job was to ensure that every scheduled flight was completed. Every squadron was in competition with all the other squadrons. One of the criteria was “scheduled sorties completed”. If I didn’t get airborne, we’d lose a sortie and no one wanted a lost sortie, especially the Skipper.

The Duty Officer grabbed me as I climbed down from the cockpit and dragged me over to another aircraft. We were running out of time. Any minute now the Air Boss would end the launch. I started my most expeditious pre-flight and quickly noticed a problem. There were no practice bombs. The DO wanted me to fly an A‑7 tanker.

A-7E Tanker configured

An A-7 tanker carries two 300-gallon external drop tanks on pylons on the right wing and the 300-gallon tanker “package” on the left wing station #1. That package consists of an external fuel tank with a powered reel and extendable hose for fueling other aircraft. (Shown to the right – Aircraft #314)

A tanker-configured A-7 holds 4,000 more pounds of fuel than a non-tanker with its single external drop tank (16,000 instead of 12,000-lbs.). At takeoff, it would weigh over 37,000 lbs! This meant a really spine-jarring bang of a launch off the cat. Plus, with all the external tanks on wing pylons, it had a lot more drag and would fly differently than any A‑7 I’d ever flown.

The Duty Officer had 18 months more carrier experience and I wanted to believe that his request was reasonable and just a routine challenge for a new guy. It wasn’t. It was a really bad idea.

The Navy had rules governing who could fly these specially configured A-7s. They were an important Air Wing asset because they refueled other aircraft in the Air Wing. Only “experienced” pilots were supposed to fly them and the definition of “experienced” was: having flown a complete deployment and be qualified to fly them ashore. Clearly, I didn’t meet that requirement and the Duty Officer should have known better.

When I objected that I’d never flown a tanker he brushed it off by saying “Don’t worry. The tanker package is just like a drop tank. Select this switch to transfer the gas into your internal tanks and make sure you’re light enough to land.” Well, that sounded simple enough. I soon discovered that he’d left out quite a bit…

I scrambled and succeeded in getting airborne before the launch ended. It was indeed a tooth-rattling catapult shot. And thanks to the high temperature and humidity of the Indian Ocean morning, the engine struggled to accelerate the heavily-laden jet. It took all the skill I possessed to gently coax the aircraft into a climb. I managed to get the gear up and watched anxiously as the Rate of Climb gauge barely registered positive and my altimeter slowly began to climb. Instead of the usual healthy climb I expected, it felt like I was only gaining altitude due to the curvature of the earth! (slight exaggeration!) Eventually, I had sufficient airspeed that my climb rate improved and I was able to climb up and rendezvous with the Skipper overhead the ship at the assigned squadron altitude.

When I joined up on his left wing his helmet turned and I swear he did a double-take. He signaled me over to the private squadron frequency and we had a “discussion” in which I mostly listened to all the reasons I wasn’t supposed to be in that airplane. Then he told me to hold overhead the ship while he went and dropped his practice bombs.

Navy F-4J Phantoms

While he was gone, a couple of the F-4 Phantoms joined up with their refueling probes extended; hopeful at the prospect of receiving some extra “go-fast juice” only to be disappointed when I had to signal them that the tanker was not available. They banked away and disappeared to go do what fighter guys do (probably with a few choice words about the “unavailable” tanker).

I orbited at normal holding speed which didn’t burn a lot of fuel, even with all the extra drag. Before landing, I needed to completely drain the external tanks and get down to a total fuel weight of no more than 3,000-lbs. Heavier than that and two bad things could happen: 1) I could overstress (or break) the landing gear on touchdown; and 2) If I was heavier than maximum gross landing weight, the arresting gear might not stop me without damaging either or both my plane and the arresting motors.

A-7 Rough Landing

It was even possible that the tail hook could get pulled off and if the plane was slowed down too much, it wouldn’t be able to get airborne again. It would just dribble off the end into the salty brine. The pilot’s only hope for survival then was to eject before the plane left the flight deck and hope his parachute didn’t get tangled up with the rapidly sinking airplane. That had happened to an A-6 Intruder on one of my deployments. The Bombardier/Navigator had escaped but the pilot’s chute became tangled in the airplane and he didn’t make it.

The Skipper returned and I rejoined on his wing. I’d been calculating how much more fuel I had to consume or dump before landing. The numbers said that I would have to dump a lot. I advised the Skipper how much I still needed to unload and he said to proceed. I began dumping the excess fuel as we descended from holding and entered the day landing pattern. I briefly stopped the fuel dumps while we flew up the starboard side of the ship at the 800-foot pattern entry altitude (nobody likes jet-fuel-rain) and then turned them back on once past. I finished dumping the last of the excess fuel during my “break”, the decelerating turn to the downwind leg. I dropped the landing gear and completed the landing checklist; double-checking the landing gear down and locked, the hook down, the seat harness locked, and fuel level again. Checklist complete.

Oops. I was a little tight abeam at the 180-position and had to wrap up my turn tighter than the normal 22.5 degrees. This meant I also had to carry some extra speed to stay above the stall speed. (The more angle-of-bank the faster the required airspeed.) I anticipated having to decelerate back to the proper wings-level “On-Speed” airspeed as I rolled onto final. What I didn’t anticipate was that the amount of power I needed to pull in a tanker with all the drag of the external fuel tanks, was a lot less than the amount I was accustomed to pulling when flying the clean A-7’s in the transition squadron.

The A-7s we learned to fly seldom had drop tanks and were very “slippery”; hard to slow down. If you were a little fast rolling into the groove you had to pull a lot of power to slow them down. Not so with the tanker (I belatedly discovered). It required just the smallest of throttle reductions followed immediately by restoring the power to the correct level. Otherwise, you sank like a rock.

I realized my mistake as soon as it began to happen but my power correction didn’t have time to do anything more than keep me from landing short. A perfect landing generally snags the 3rd wire from the stern. You work very hard to land past the #1 and #2 wire. I landed on the #1 wire. My first landing with this squadron! It was just as ugly when I watched the video replay afterward.

A-7E Tanker landing

I knew I’d messed up the landing by how much extra landing area was still in front of me when the airplane came to a stop. I throttled back to idle, followed the flight director signals to raise my hook and taxied clear of the landing area so the rest of the planes could land. My feelings as I taxied up the bow to my parking spot were a mix of relief and frustration.

I was still upset as I walked back down to the Ready Room to wait for the LSOs to debrief our landings. I had been playing mental catch-up from before takeoff! I knew I’d earned the bad landing grade despite the extenuating circumstances. This is not how you want your first flight to go.

Fortunately, my roommate was one of the LSOs on the platform during my landing. He took me aside and gave me the bad news: I’d received a “No-grade; taxi 1-wire”, just about the worst you could do. But then he asked: “Why were you flying the tanker?” I explained and he shook his head. He then explained why I shouldn’t have been in that bird.

The Skipper didn’t have much to say in the debrief except to reiterate that I shouldn’t have been in the tanker. He was probably grateful that nothing worse than an ugly landing had been the result. It would have been nice if he’d been impressed with my ability to fly such an unfamiliar aircraft under unfavorable conditions. If he was, he kept it to himself.

It was a hard but valuable lesson that day. Sometimes you just have to say “No” to keep someone from putting you in a box. The requirements for flying a tanker wasn’t something I should have known. It had never been briefed, especially in my short time since joining the squadron. The Duty Officer had minimized the difficulty in order to convince me to take the bird. He was locked onto the target: Get the sortie(!), and hadn’t seen all the possible ways that decision could have gone badly wrong.

Over the next several flights I adjusted to the differences between the A-7s I’d flown in Jacksonville and the squadron planes and my landings improved. Eventually, my reputation recovered from that initial flight and by the end of the deployment my day landings had become almost routine. But no matter how well I flew them and how many I accumulated, night landings never became routine and most carrier pilots would agree with that statement.

I did learn to love and depend upon the HUD (Heads-Up-Display). Here’s a great video explaining the information it displayed. It was quite an advance for the 1960s and still pretty unusual when I flew in the late ’80s. Without it, night landings would have been considerably more difficult because it provided an immediate indication of your flight path. If you started to flatten out or come down too fast, the HUD showed that trend before any other gauge in the cockpit.

All airplanes have their quirks. One of the characteristics that made the A-7 tricky to land on the carrier where your airspeed, rate of descent, and glideslope have to be precisely controlled, was its engine response. The A-7E was stable in the landing configuration and nimble due to its size but the engine was slow to accelerate, especially if you started at a low rpm setting. The closer the engine was to idle, the more sluggishly it accelerated to full power. The air intake feeding its Allison TF-41-A-1 turbofan engine was 30 ft. long. The actual front of the engine was about even with the main landing gear at the back of the wing. The intake started under the nose. That’s a long way to feed air. As a general rule, the shorter the distance between the intake and the engine, the more quickly the engine can accelerate.

In the A-7, if you made the mistake of pulling the power too close to idle, it could take 2-3 seconds to get back to full power. Imagine a night landing where you started to go high on glideslope and pulled too much power. If you didn’t catch it before the engine decelerated, it didn’t matter how much you jammed full throttle, the engine might not respond quickly enough to prevent a dangerous rate of descent or worse.

Most of the other carrier jets at that time had their own quirks, but sluggish engine response wasn’t one of them. Corsair pilots were generally fond of their airplane and appreciated its ability to accurately deliver dumb (i.e.; unguided) bombs on target. By the late 80’s it was no longer survivable in a hot war with our expected adversaries and was replaced by the F/A-18 Hornet, a truly amazing dual mission (fighter and attack) jet with capabilities an A-7 pilot could only dream of. I flew one and it made me smile. A lot. But that’s a story for another time!

The Kids Are Alright… Sorta.

 

A newly released poll, carefully constructed and conducted, has some surprisingly good news about American college students’ views. The results are consistent with a 2019 Pew poll of the general public. The vast majority of videos and stories on college culture and students suggest very different answers than those offered by real students. The left has not won. It ain’t over ’til it’s over. No fate.

College Pulse Poll, June 2021: College Pulse offers marketing and research products linking American college students with businesses and non-profit organizations. Their June 2021 poll asked twenty-two questions on policy issues. The sample was drawn from over 400,000 enrolled students and carefully adjusted to reflect the actual demographics of the student population. See a brief, clear explanation of the survey design here.

Question 13: **Race-blind admissions**: colleges and universities would not be able to take a student’s race or ethnicity into account in their admissions decisions

All: 67% strongly support + 18% somewhat support = 85% support (+/- 2%)
White: 71% strongly support + 16% somewhat support = 87% support (+/- 2%)
Asian: 65% strongly support + 21% somewhat support = 86% support (+/- 7%)
Black: 55% strongly support + 20% somewhat support = 75% support (+/- 5%)
Hispanic/Latino: 66% strongly support + 22% somewhat support = 88% support (+/- 4%)
Two or more races: 62% strongly support + 14% somewhat support = 76% support (+/- 13%)

Not one racial group supports what they have all been taught they are supposed to believe and to advocate. Not even Black students, who have been told from all sides that they benefit from race-conscious admissions, come anywhere close to supporting the policies pushed by the left, from college administrations to the U.S. Department of Education, and even somewhat supported by the U.S. Supreme Court under the false flag of “diversity.”

Question 15: Universities should lose public funding if they prohibit students from freely expressing their opinions on campus when the students haven’t broken the law

All: 41% strongly support + 23% somewhat support = 64% support, 26% neither agree nor disagree (+/- 2%)
White: 45% strongly support + 24% somewhat support = 69% support, 22% neither agree nor disagree (+/- 2%)
Asian:36% strongly support + 32% somewhat support = 68% support, 23% neither agree nor disagree (+/- 7%)
Black: 31% strongly support + 23% somewhat support = 54% support, 33% neither agree nor disagree (+/- 5%)
Hispanic/Latino: 37% strongly support + 18% somewhat support = 55% support, 36% neither agree nor disagree (+/- 4%)
Two or more races: 62% strongly support + 14% somewhat support = 76% support, 31% neither agree nor disagree (+/- 13%)

This cuts directly against “microaggressions” and speech as violence. Every racial or ethnic identity group supports cutting off public funding to universities that impose speech codes. Further, strong majorities of both men and women support the strong penalty for silencing unpopular opinions.

Male: 49% strongly support + 19% somewhat support = 68% support, 23% neither agree nor disagree (+/- 3%)
Female: 35% strongly support + 26% somewhat support = 61% support, 29% neither agree nor disagree (+/- 2%)

At the center of the current push to impose leftist speech codes is sexual identity. This is the latest “safety” and speech as violence fraud. Yet, those current college students who self-identify as some part of LGBTQIA+ hold the identical position to those students who identify as “straight.”

Straight: 41% strongly support + 23% somewhat support = 64% support, 28% neither agree nor disagree (+/- 13%)
LGBTQIA+: 42% strongly support + 21% somewhat support = 63% support, 22% neither agree nor disagree (+/- 13%)

These positive results agree with a 2019 Pew Research poll of the general American public. This adds some confidence that the results reflect the real views of the populations these polls claim to represent.

2019 PEW RESEARCH CENTER’S AMERICAN TRENDS PANEL WAVE 43, Admissions Topline:

Here are some factors colleges and universities may consider when making decisions about student admissions.
Do you think each of the following should be a major factor, minor factor, or not a factor in college admissions?

a. Race or ethnicity
7% Major factor
19% Minor factor
73% Not a factor
* No answer

b. Gender
5% Major factor
14% Minor factor
81% Not a factor
1% No answer

So, for all the drumbeat of doom, for all the hyped headlines, for all the viral videos, the left is not necessarily dominating the hearts and minds of the young. The problem may be manufactured by a small social media activist core, mobbing effects, and a leftist infiltration of leadership across private and public sectors, using the false cover of a loud tiny minority to advance very old leftist goals.

The left has not won. It ain’t over ’til it’s over. No fate. Perhaps the kids are still alright.

Quote of the Day: President Biden Clears Everything Up

 

And the question is whether or not we should be in a position where you are — why can’t the experts say we know that this virus is, in fact — is going to be — or, excuse me — we know why all the drugs approved are not temporarily approved, but permanently approved. That’s underway, too. I expect that to occur quickly–US President Joseph Biden, July 21, 2021

Last night, Joe Biden appeared at a “Town Hall” meeting in Cincinnati, OH.  The event appears to have been sponsored by CNN, as one of its luminaries (Don Lemming) was the host. What?  That’s not his name?  Oh, well, silly me.  (If the shoe fits, etc.)

The quote above, which reads like a parody of something a person suffering from verbal incontinence might say, can be verified here.

Some highlights from the event:

Don Lemon starts by asserting that everyone is “live” in Cincinnati, OH, on the campus of Mt. Saint Joseph University.  Pretty sure Lemon, at least, has a working central nervous system.  Not sure about the star of the show.  The opening schmoozefest went as follows:

LEMON: So without further ado, everyone, let’s welcome the 46th president of the United States, Joe Biden.

(APPLAUSE)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: How you doing, pal?

LEMON: Good to see you.

BIDEN: Good to see you.

LEMON: How have you been?

BIDEN: Well.

LEMON: You’re good.

BIDEN: Well. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

LEMON: It’s good to see you.

BIDEN: It’s good to be back here.

I’ll spare you the rest of the banter between the two of them which continues, for the duration of the meeting, in much the same banal and treacly vein.

Lemon states that almost all the recent US hospitalizations and deaths from Covid are among the unvaccinated.  (That may be true, but flies in the face of what other countries are saying.)  Uncle Joe states, unambiguously it appears, that “If you’re vaccinated…you are not going to die.”

What?  Never?  (Well, hardly ever.) Party on!

Joe then says it’s “gigantically important” (sounds like sizeism to me) that we “act like Americans” and get vaccinated.  Just like 85% of Americans over 50 have already done.  “This is not a pandemic,” he unequivocally states.

Good to know, although he stated, a minute or two before that “this is a pandemic for those who haven’t gotten a vaccination.” Now I’m confused.

There follows much discussion about the process by which the vaccine drugs were approved.  Joe is adamant that they were not “approved too quickly,” but have, in fact, been in the works for decades.  Two decades.  Again, good to know, even it it’s a fact (or a bit of historical revisionism) that both Joe and Kamala must have been ignorant of prior to the 2020 election when they were both insisting that they wouldn’t be caught dead (to coin a phrase) submitting to a rushed-to-market and untested Trump vaccine.

Joe once again assures us that, if we’re vaccinated, “you’re not going to get COVID,”  even the Delta variation.

And again, that’s good to know.  I wonder if his assurance is legally binding, though. Hmmm.

Joe then states that there are “12 individuals” on Facebook who are spreading almost half of all the “misinformation,” and repeats his “they’re killing people”  accusation, saying that that wasn’t a joke. So I guess he meant it.

(Apparently, this claim comes from a report by a UK-based outfit called the Center for Countering Digital Hate.)

This is followed by still more schmoozing on the question of why certain demographics (African American, primarily, and one in which, although Trump made electoral strides there is, let’s face it, not majority Trump-friendly) are still inimical to the vaccine.

No worries; Joe to the rescue!

BIDEN: One of the things though we’re doing is — what I’ve done — we’ve done, excuse me — my team has done is we provided the ability to put in African-American communities the vaccine and those who are, in fact, able to administer the vaccine and people who are respected in the community in the — in those areas, particularly in areas where you have public health centers, where you, in fact, have people who are the folks who are really at the low end of the economic scale, don’t have much access to anything.

And a little further on:

BIDEN: And people are unfortunately — some more slowly than others — now, by the way, remember when I first got elected, the issue was, when I said I was going to do a million shots a week, and people said, “Biden can’t do that,” or, “The Biden team can’t do that,”

Umm, I think when you got elected, Bud, the previous (Trump!) administration was already just about doing that….

I think that’s enough.  You can read a transcript of the entire thing, here.  I suggest some sort of alcoholic fortification before you start.

It’s truly incredible.  And it is sad (and infuriating) to see Don Lemon, and the other participants in this farcical show, pretending not to notice the struggles of Joe Biden, never an inspiring speaker at the best of times, as he wanders off course and flounders into incoherence on any question which requires more than the words “and” and “the” in response.

What a disgraceful exhibition.

Roald Dahl’s Message to Anti-vaccination Groups

 

“Olivia, my eldest daughter, caught measles when she was seven years old. As the illness took its usual course I can remember reading to her often in bed and not feeling particularly alarmed about it. Then one morning, when she was well on the road to recovery, I was sitting on her bed showing her how to fashion little animals out of coloured pipe-cleaners, and when it came to her turn to make one herself, I noticed that her fingers and her mind were not working together and she couldn’t do anything.

‘Are you feeling all right?’ I asked her.

‘I feel all sleepy,’ she said.

In an hour, she was unconscious. In twelve hours she was dead.

The measles had turned into a terrible thing called measles encephalitis and there was nothing the doctors could do to save her. That was…in 1962, but even now, if a child with measles happens to develop the same deadly reaction from measles as Olivia did, there would still be nothing the doctors could do to help her. On the other hand, there is today something that parents can do to make sure that this sort of tragedy does not happen to a child of theirs. They can insist that their child is immunised against measles.

…I dedicated two of my books to Olivia, the first was ‘James and the Giant Peach’. That was when she was still alive. The second was ‘The BFG’, dedicated to her memory after she had died from measles. You will see her name at the beginning of each of these books. And I know how happy she would be if only she could know that her death had helped to save a good deal of illness and death among other children.”

– Roald Dahl, 1986

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Francis Collins Cavils

 

On CNN, during an interview with Jim Acosta, the NIH director stated regarding the clash between Rand Paul and Anthony Fauci “Well, it’s very unfortunate to have something that I think could be readily resolved in terms of understanding the meaning of the term ‘gain of function.’ But instead this has turned into political theatrics.  It’s really unfortunate.  We have so many more important things to spend our time on right now. But it’s a diagnosis of just how polarized everything has become. So, that even in the face of this terrible pandemic that has taken more than 600.000 lives in this country, this kind of time is being wasted on this kind of posturing.”

Collins of course never tries to clarify the term “gain of function.”  His answer impresses me as a variation on a theme of Bill Clinton’s, every time he was asked about Monica Lewinski. He would refuse to answer and say he had to get back to work for the American people. Same sort of caviling.

Collins goes on to avoid answering directly Acosta’s question on Fauci’s insistence that the NIH never funded gain of function research at Wuhan, He simply states that Anthony Fauci has been truthful in all his interactions with Collins and is a great public servant, but never specifically denies that gain of function research was funded by NIH at Wuhan. Cavil after cavil, avoidance after avoidance. Non sequitur after non sequitur.

Collins:  “I absolutely support Tony Fauci in every way. I have never known him to be anything other than completely truthful. He is a public servant that people should all be thankful to. And to see him attacked and demonized this way on political grounds is really hard to watch.”  Methinks the director, like Anthony Fauci confronting Rand Paul, doth protest too much.

He has as much responsibility as does Fauci if gain of function research funded by the NIH at Wuhan did indeed produce this pandemic. Which is looking increasingly likely. He was in the loop with Fauci on the successful effort to avoid the moratorium on such research funding. SO he has a very strong vested interest in denying that the NIH funded gain of function research at Wuhan. Yet he never clearly states that the NIH did not fund such research. He punts, and gives Fauci the benefit of the doubt, then pleads victimhood for him. Disgraceful.

Then he enthusiastically agrees with the judicial decision regarding the Indiana University vaccine mandate, though he had just acknowledged that such mandates were problematic with a vaccine not fully cleared for use as nonexperimental. He states that full approval of the vaccines is a month or two away. Obviously, he is putting pressure on the FDA for full clearance of the vaccine, removing the vaccines from experimental status. The FDA may be foolish enough to succumb to such pressure.

That judicial decision, as I have noted previously, utterly violates the bedrock medical ethics (that phrase has become an oxymoron, unfortunately) principle that no medical experimentation be done without informed consent of the subject of the experimentation, without coercion of any sort. That principle was ostensibly established at Nuremberg. We now have the NIH director on record as supporting such coerced medical experimentation.

I invoke Richard Feynman, who used to wander around Los Alamos cracking safes and leaving notes for Security stating: “This safe is not safe.”  Francis Collins’ medical ethics are not ethical. But you can say that about pretty much all medical ethics today, sadly. And in my opinion, as a physician, that has been the case for a very long time. To paraphrase AlanPaton: Cry, the beloved profession.

Should Giannis Be the New Face of the NBA?

 

Truth is, I did not watch a single minute of NBA basketball this season. Caught some highlights on the news, but didn’t watch any games. Last year was pretty much the same.

I know for many, the kneeling and protesting against America, while at the same time defending communist China, has turned people against the league. But what if the face of the league wasn’t LeBron James but Giannis Antetokounmpo? The so-called “Greek Freak” celebrated his 50-point performance in the NBA Finals by going to Chick-Fil-A and ordering a 50 piece box of chicken nuggets.

I’m not going to tell the NBA how to market themselves, but this video is just fun . . .

.

The Observations of a Lioness: A Review of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s ‘Prey’

 

Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s book Prey is about Islamic immigration into Europe and how it affects women’s rights and safety in Europe. I recommend the book for those interested in the subject. It is a solid 11 hours on Audible and covers many countries and issues within a broad category.

Notably for an Audible book, she handled statistics in an audiobook form. She included a PDF file with statistics and graphs, something other Audible books desperately need. Additionally, Ayaan Hirsi Ali doesn’t get bogged down. The audiobook format doesn’t really work well for memorizing numbers. In addition to her PDF, she goes through the important statistics slowly and deliberately. 

To summarize the numbers, things look bad for integrating Muslims in Europe. In terms of both opinions and behaviors, Islamic immigration seems to pose serious difficulties to both the immigrants and European societies. With regard to free speech or women working outside the home, or in terms of behaviors like rates of crime and polygamy, Muslims do worse than Vietnamese. Sadly, even after a generation or two of living in Europe, Muslim populations on average aren’t doing as well. 

As fans of hers know, Ayaan Hirsi Ali has the most fascinating background. The parts of the book that interweave her personal story with the wider immigration story are by far the most interesting. She talks about the family conflict that her father’s polygamy caused and how she was encouraged to be violent in her community. It’s always nice to have a human face to understand larger social phenomena. 

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is my spirit animal.

It’s surprising that she doesn’t talk more about Islam in this book. She makes a convincing case that Muslims fail to succeed in European society because of their religious faith and culture. Admittedly, this would be a difficult chapter to write but, like Charles Murray’s recent book on race, she describes differences without describing the causes. But why is always the hardest question and it makes sense to  focus on more manageable queries,  especially since she wants to establish as wide a tent as possible in order to address the problems.

The book is useful in that it clearly shows a problem with admitting Muslim communities in Europe with regard to the rights of women. It’s hard to argue with her concise data sets and arguments. In fact, throughout her book, she mentions how common it was for people to ignore such observations. I cannot say I am surprised. It feels illiberal to say that a particular religion isn’t compatible with democracy. It can appear in the distance like the old conflicts between Protestants and Catholics and the old European antisemitism that made Jews second-class citizens. However, like ignoring higher crime rates among Black Americans so as not to sound racist, ignoring a reality never advances good causes. 

Overall, I recommend the book for folks interested in the social tensions brought about by Muslims failing to assimilate into European society. However, who I really wish would read this book would be those who are most likely to ignore it. She makes a very calm and reasonable case that immigrants from Muslim countries increase the rates of sexual violence against women. What’s more, she addresses immigration from the perspective of LGBTQ people, Jews, and the native poor who are also adversely affected by uncontrolled immigration in Europe. Even the concluding chapter of her book is called “A Return to Gilead” referring to Margaret Atwood’s novel about the oppression and subjugation of women. 

It is with a heavy heart that I view the current Left as unable to grapple with this reality. As much as Europeans rightly make fun of America’s Wokeness, I can’t see the Left abandoning their condescensions for a fervent liberal universalism. For everybody else, the book is a good read.

This Ain’t the ’90s, or the ’70s, or Even the ’60s

 

I was reminded of what to some was a kinder, gentler time a few days ago when some dozen reliable Republicans were paraded out for a photo op to tout a “deal” that had been struck on where to throw the next trillion or so of new dollars in a demonstration of bipartisan expansion of government, Democrat agenda items and debt. For a few moments, at least the dog-and-pony Republicans were back in the limelight. Of course, the deal was soon blown up, revived again, blown up again, so on and so on. But we need not worry Mitt Romney has already been on CNN, where he is always welcome, to assure us that Joe Biden can be trusted. Some things are just too predictable.

I am required by conscience to pause here to give credit to @rodin for at least part of the title. I had most of the thoughts floating in my head, if not completely gathered yet. As you are about to see, they are still only loosely penned. But the phrase “’90s Republicanism” in one of his posts struck a chord. But I did feel that the concept easily applied to a few other decades as well, the ’90s edition was just the natural growth from the same old stump.  With that said, I just hope I am remembering right and it really was him! If not, “thank you” mystery contributor!

We are standing on a genuine deciding point in the history of our republic. It has been a fairly steady march to this cliff for about 100 years. There have been a few chances to not just slow the pace but alter the course. But for the most part, they became just very brief pauses. They became brief pauses because the Republican Party has had a reality problem.

The Democrat Party might not have always known where they were taking us but they were always about a growing concentration of power in their hands. I don’t believe that even the FDRs and LBJs dreamed of the radical future we are staring into. But I am not sure they would have minded it as long as they were the ones in charge. They knew they were taking us to a centralized oligarchy of some sort, they just saw themselves as oligarchs. And there is that thing about being comfortable in the moment without a lot of regard about what things will look like a couple of generations ahead. I have come to suspect that is true of all members of the political class regardless of party affiliation.

A part of the reality problem of the GOP is that their vision only goes so far, either direction, future or past. The establishment Republicans for almost a century have never understood where all this was leading. They look across the table and see their own likeness with just a slightly different take on things but without an understanding of the roots of the policy or the distinct direction it is pointed. I will allow that in several cases the same might could be said of Democrats. But those days are over. The time is past for the establishment’s allegiance to be stronger toward political decorum than to solid principled results.

Those roots sprouting “progressive” policy may change their label from decade to decade but they run deep into the soil of totalitarianism, often in the soft loam of Marxism. They all require control. They all require for our founding culture to be discarded.

The fight today is with stems from the Marxism branch that grew from 19th century Europe to infect continents from Asia to the Americans. But I see it as being just another extension of a struggle much as Thomas Sowell outlined for us several years ago in Conflict of Visions. Marxist intentions run through all that is tearing at our nation and society today and they have been allowed to grow slowly but steadily from lack of effective or determined confrontation.

I will only go back to the 1950s in this discussion but it could easily be started around the turn of the 20th century. William Knowland held Republican leadership in the Senate during this decade more than anyone else, even being majority leader for a while.

The ’50s were a decade with a relatively conservative president, a period of GOP control of the Senate and a growing prosperity. There were some accomplishments certainly but for the most part, Knowland was constantly outmaneuvered by his Democrat counterpart, LBJ. Even a major, meaningful accomplishment like the Civil Rights Act of 1957 for which Knowland was floor manager was allowed to become a feather in Johnson’s cap despite the strong opposition among the Democrat Party. It was Knowland who urged Ike to nominate fellow Californian Earl Warren as Chief Justice. Later in life, Ike reflected that most of his presidential mistakes were sitting on the Supreme Court and it is hard to disagree with that assessment.

The ’70s saw the Democrat Party reflect more and more the radicalism that showed its head beginning in the ’60s. Oh, there was a reaction of unrest among the voters resulting in Nixon’s election. But the old habit of “go along, get along” did not result in major gains for conservative policy. The power and role of national government grew in almost all domestic corners. Even price controls were thrown into the mix. To convince yourself that the election of Reagan was simply a reaction to the failures of Carter would be missing the boat. The stage for them was set by the whole decade.

The Reagan years might have seemed a reset. He certainly had what was for the most part a conservative agenda. But creatures of government don’t like to see government lessened. The ’80s was the first time period since Coolidge when what we think of as conservatism ruled in the Oval Office, but that does not mean it made the GOP establishment comfortable. In fact, it was the opposite.

Reagan’s ability to go around the press, the Democrats, and the foot draggers in his own party helped a lot but it was hardly complete. The failure to do away with the Department of Education is an example and American education has been expanding and getting worst ever since.

One lesson that should have been learned in the 80s is that Democrats cannot be trusted to keep a deal. There is much made by some of the relationship between Reagan and Tip O’Neill. And they did reach some deals. With a split Congress, some dealings are necessary. But point to a time when O’Neill’s word was kept. It certainly wasn’t on the immigration bill, etc.

Reagan might have been the “happy warrior”. But the upper levels of the party were uncomfortable with his determined anti-communism and with pushing back on a social agenda from the left. Mostly, I feel, they were uncomfortable with the disapproval of the press.

After five years of a seemingly unprecedented parade of smears and mostly false attacks on Trump, the manner in which Reagan was perceived and presented in the press is dulled for us. Reagan was hardly accepted by the national media as a spokesman for America. And the establishment GOP was most uncomfortable with that.

It is no accident that phrases such as “kinder and gentler” and “compassionate conservatism” appeared as soon as Reagan left office. Instead of laying out the clear case for conservative principles and their better results and building that case, there was a conscious effort to distance from the press’s harsher view of “Reaganism”. Once again, I will say there is no such thing as “Reaganism” any more than there is “Trumpism”. There is only “Americanism” and the principles embodied in it. Attaching individual’s names to it is a distraction.

I will qualify here. I am using the Bush II years as an extension of the ’90s. The mid-’90s surge due to the Contract with America was soon pressed down by establishment concerns and DC culture. The tendency of establishment Republicanism has been to moderate toward the left when they can as if they can “conservatize” the overreach of government. The Bush years illustrate this.

In an attempt to appear “kinder, gentler and compassionate” under the false assumption that it would widen their “base” the Karl Rove clan expanded entitlements and extended the national government’s reach into education even deeper. They even let Ted Kennedy practically write the bill.

There was a helpful across-the-board tax cut that came with a time limit. There was never a strong counterattack to the constant chime of “tax cuts for the rich” that came from the media and the left (was that a redundancy?). Instead of fight from the administration, there were attempts to moderate as if it would draw the other side to the middle. Sorry, but the lessons of history put the lie to that false hope.

Bush even had a reasonable plan for beginning a fix for entitlements but abandoned it after resistance meant making a strong case and going toe-to-toe. So the administration simply came up with an entitlement of its own! Of course, there were corporate bailouts and the deep concept of “abandoning the free market to save the free market”. I will leave foreign policy for another time except to say that believing one can “democratize” a place that doesn’t already have a culture that appreciates liberty shows a lack of understanding of our own experience as well as all of history in general.

The grassroots Tea Party Movement was every bit as much a frustration with the Bush years as it was a rejection of the Obama administration. What was expected, wished for over the decades were results. And results were something that the GOP had been terribly short on. There was a deeper frustration when the establishment types pretty well held the Tea Party at bay with their presidential nominations against Obama. My opinion is that if either of those gentlemen had won, we would have had amnesty by now. With Obama in office, the attention was more on the healthcare takeover.

Without banging away at single events or personalities, the Trump administration saw more concrete results and implementation of policies and concepts than at any time since Coolidge. And most of it was uphill. For the first time since Reagan, there was an actual determined push for a genuine conservative agenda.

The list of items checked is impressive if you are really committed to results over appearances. Even the object of oh so many GOP candidate speeches and promises, ObamaCare, was on the verge of death only to be rescued by the votes of ……. Republican Senators.

Now so many of those long-awaited gains are being not just swept away but replaced with purposeful destructiveness. And we are only talking about a matter of a few months. And it was and is being aided by those who hide their preference for decorum over decisiveness behind an unconvincing countenance of ideological purity. I really don’t believe they even convince themselves. But they are not comfortable with just how desperate this moment or this fight is. So they refuse to believe it is that desperate and that like before there will be another day when we just start over without all the bare-knuckled ugliness.

But this is not the ’50s, or the ’70s, or the ’90s, or any of those other lost decades. They set the stage for the cliff we are now peering over.

For those with a taste for ancient world history, I suggest reading The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Empire by Mike Duncan. Read it with one eye in the present. You might be able to see some political class operatives being sweep along by changes they don’t understand. There might be a few radicals tearing down traditions. The keen eye could discover a power seeker or two taking advantage of radicals and selfish politicos. You might even find a Never Trumper or two unwittingly helping all of them.

Liberty was not intended to be comfortable or easy. It is a constant battle. It always will be. But it has real and deep benefits. Conservatism is certainly about liberty but it is also pragmatic. It works. It gets real results which affects lives. There was pragmatic proof of that in the few years before this slander of our history and our national purpose.

Those real results have to be a major part of our message as we try to hang on into the 2022 elections. Our message is not just shinning ideas. It is directed toward people who have day-to-day lives and concerns. It is they who matter, certainly not a political class who have already shown their first concern rests among themselves.

The changes we are facing at this moment can be fatal to our republic. That is their purpose. This very day could determine the fate of an “infrastructure” bill that would be a deep wound.

The “barbarians” are not at the gate. They are among us.

Abolitionist Teaching Network: Coming to a School Near You

 

Have you heard about the latest partnership between the federal government and the Abolitionist Teaching Network? If not, I’m not surprised; you weren’t supposed to hear about it, since the Biden administration has been contracting with the ATN with      no announcement or fanfare. The reason? They don’t want you to know that they’ve created this alliance to intensify and increase the indoctrination of Critical Race Theory, not only for children, but for the teachers, too.

What does this alliance look like? The funding has already been allocated:

Congress allocated nearly $200 billion in COVID-19 relief funds for K-12 schools over the past year. While this money was intended to help reopen schools and mitigate learning loss, President Joe Biden’s Department of Education is encouraging school districts to spend some of it on a different purpose: providing ‘free, antiracist therapy for white educators.’

The American Rescue Plan requires districts to reserve 20 percent of funds for ‘evidence-based’ interventions that ‘respond to students’ academic, social and emotional needs’ — a very sensible charge. But the devil is in the definition, and Team Biden’s guidance booklet for spending ARP funds suggests that students’ social and emotional needs include the disruption of ‘whiteness’ and the propagation of critical race theory.

The American Rescue Plan provides a guide to this curriculum, “Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students’ Needs” and provides a link to the Abolitionist Teaching Network (ATN), which in turn provides “Guide for Racial Justice & Abolitionist Social and Emotional Learning.” It says, in part:

Abolitionist SEL is ‘not a lesson plan,’ but rather a ‘way of being that informs all aspects of teaching, learning and relationship-building with students, families and communities.’

To bring about this shift at the level of being, the document endorsed by Biden’s Department of Education urges districts to:

  • Partner with and compensate community members to develop and implement Abolitionist SEL models.
  • Remove all punitive or disciplinary practices that spirit-murder black, brown and indigenous children.
  • Require a commitment to learning from students, families and educators who disrupt Whiteness and other forms of oppression.
  • Offer ‘free, antiracist therapy for White educators and support staff,’ and ‘free, radical self/collective care and therapy for educators and support staff of color.’

In other words, the community will be recruited to indoctrinate their neighbors; the emphasis will be on race; black, brown and indigenous people will not be subject to punishment for unacceptable behavior; all parties involved will be required to submit to indoctrination; and teachers will need “therapy” if they don’t embrace the correct mindset.

For the uninformed, here is a definition of “spirit murder” created by the founder of the group, Bettina Love: “Spirit murder” is “a slow death, a death of the spirit, a death that is built on racism and intended to reduce, humiliate, and destroy people of color.”

One writer pointed out that public funding can’t be used in a way that violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act by discriminating against teachers or students. But one has to ask, who will stop them?

*     *     *     *

Recently the Secretary of the Department of Education, Miguel Cardona, tried to reassure the public that they had nothing to worry about, after receiving 35,000 complaints about CRT. But as often happens, the Cardona response was far from reassuring:

After more than 35,000 public comments objected to such ideology, Cardona released a statement clarifying that decisions about specific curricula ‘will continue to be made at the local level,’ resulting in some right-leaning taking this to mean the administration is pumping the brakes on CRT.

Far from it. Cardona’s Friday blog post should still worry Americans interested in preserving an education system that honors American values. DOE still stated it will be ‘encourag[ing] projects that incorporate racially, ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse perspectives’ in relation to federal American history and civics education grants.

In other words, don’t be fooled.

If you have any doubts about the true agenda of Bettina Love and the ATN, here’s more clarity:

According to Fox, the Abolitionist Teaching Network’s co-founder Bettina Love said during a webinar earlier this year she would ‘create a national database of antiracist school counselors, therapists and teachers.’

She also said the organization is ‘dedicated to not creating new schools or reimagining schools, but destroying schools that do nothing but harm Black and brown children.

‘If you don’t recognize that White supremacy is in everything we do, then we got a problem,’ Love said. ‘I want us to be feared.’

So the federal government is clearly committed to moving forward with radical racist indoctrination in our schools and has found a partner willing to team with it. The government will continue to obfuscate, intentionally mislead and deceive U.S. citizens in this endeavor. They have no qualms about saying whatever is necessary to carry out their propaganda goals.

In some respects, the most alarming part of observing this process is the vehemence, anger, disdain, and hatefulness that is on full display by Bettina Love and her writings. She is living in the freest country in the world, where she has more opportunity than anywhere else. What is the source of that mindset? How can she live in that darkness every day? And how can others allow themselves to be lured into it?

We must look into our own minds and hearts and rally the strength to fight this hateful and destructive process.