Donald Does Daytona

Donald Does Daytona, by John Hinderaker.

In what many deem a stroke of political genius, President Trump served today as Grand Marshal of the Daytona 500 NASCAR race. …

Short version:

Long version:

NASCAR is famously patriotic, and Trump is a patriotic president. That may turn out to be the most fundamental difference between Trump and his Democratic opponent in November.

In 1972, I was discussing the upcoming presidential election with a friend from college. Both of us were on the left at the time, but my friend summed up the race succinctly: “Nixon is going to win because he is for America, and McGovern is against America.” It depends somewhat on who wins the Democratic nomination, but essentially the same dynamic will be on display this year.

Scientists believe killer coronavirus may have begun in Chinese government research facility 280 meters from Wuhan wet fish market

Scientists believe killer coronavirus may have begun in Chinese government research facility 280 meters from Wuhan wet fish market, by Ross Ibbetson.

A new bombshell paper from the Beijing-sponsored South China University of Technology says that the Wuhan Center for Disease Control (WHCDC) could have spawned the contagion in Hubei province.

‘The possible origins of 2019-nCoV coronavirus,’ penned by scholars Botao Xiao and Lei Xiao claims the WHCDC kept disease-ridden animals in laboratories, including 605 bats.

It also mentions that bats — which are linked to coronavirus — once attacked a researcher and ‘blood of bat was on his skin.’

The report says: ‘Genome sequences from patients were 96% or 89% identical to the Bat CoV ZC45 coronavirus originally found in Rhinolophus affinis (intermediate horseshoe bat).’

It describes how the only native bats are found around 600 miles away from the Wuhan seafood market and that the probability of bats flying from Yunnan and Zhejiang provinces was minimal.

In addition there is little to suggest the local populace eat the bats as evidenced by testimonies of 31 residents and 28 visitors.

Instead the authors point to research being carried out withing a few hundred yards at the WHCDC.

Only 55 labs in the world are certified to handle coronavirus. There is only one in China, and it just happens to be 280 meters from the Wuhan wet market.

One of the researchers at the WHCDC described quarantining himself for two weeks after a bat’s blood got on his skin, according to the report. That same man also quarantined himself after a bat urinated on him.

And he also mentions discovering a live tick from a bat – parasites known for their ability to pass infections through a host animal’s blood.

‘The WHCDC was also adjacent to the Union Hospital (Figure 1, bottom) where the first group of doctors were infected during this epidemic.’ The report says.

‘It is plausible that the virus leaked around and some of them contaminated the initial patients in this epidemic, though solid proofs are needed in future study.’

Copy of the paper here.

When the people of China find out that their own government did this and covered it up, they will be furious. People might tolerate a competent authoritarian government, but not an incompetent one.

Boris Johnson tells BBC licence fee will be axed

Boris Johnson tells BBC licence fee will be axed, by Tim Shipman.

Downing Street has turned on the BBC — vowing to scrap the television licence fee and make viewers pay a subscription. The national broadcaster could also be compelled to downsize and sell off most of its radio stations.

In a plan that would change the face of British broadcasting, senior aides to Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted on Sunday AEDT that they were “not bluffing” about changing the BBC’s funding model and “pruning” its reach into people’s homes.

The blueprint being drawn up in government will scrap the ­licence fee and replace it with a subscription model; force the BBC to sell off the vast majority of its 61 radio stations but safeguard Radio 3 and Radio 4; reduce the number of the corporation’s national television channels from 10; scale back the BBC website; invest more in the World Service and ban BBC stars from cashing in with lucrative second jobs.

Set at £154.50 a year, the licence fee generated £3.69bn for the BBC last year. …

A No 10 source rejected [a] claim a subscription model would cost the BBC money: “The BBC is making a wonderful case for the importance of the BBC; if the people of this country agree, they’ll subscribe.”

Take note, those on the Australian right. In Australia, the ABC is even more dominant than the BBC in the UK, and ensures a leftward tilt to Australian politics.

hat-tip Stephen Neil

The corruption of Barack Obama

The corruption of Barack Obama, by J.B. Shurk.

For those of us not seduced by pretty words and skillful theatrics, the Obama years were a cesspool of corruption that brought back the stench of the Clinton years in a fashionable new package.

Obama ignored court orders and congressional oversight, protected his friends from criminal prosecutions, and stirred up racial tensions by creating unnecessary controversies and playing whites and blacks against each other for electoral gain.

He entered the White House as one of our poorest presidents, and he will die as one of the richest ex-presidents. Whereas the Clintons found fortune through their charity, Obama has found fortune by greatly benefiting in his post-presidency from companies who coincidentally benefited greatly during his time as president.

On his way to making a billion dollars out of holding the office of US President for eight years. Puts the Clintons in the shade.

Wherever he goes, he picks up checks, including a staggering sixty-five-million-dollar book deal advance from Penguin Random House, a publishing house taken over in 2013 by Bertelsmann, a privately held German company; one of the world’s largest media conglomerates; and the parent of Bertelsmann Investments, an international network of private banking funds in the services and natural resources industries, including those in Iran. The “most transparent president in history” has now become the “most transparent billionaire in history,” adding to his vast wealth in ways the public can only imagine.

Although there are numerous ways to describe the present divide in America, one of the simpler is thus: those Americans who take Barack Obama at his word that his presidency was historically “scandal free” and those Americans who see the unrelenting stream of Deep State attempts to take down President Trump as a continuing coup and the natural extension of an unethical, criminal, and at times unconstitutional Obama presidency.

For those of us in the latter camp, Barack Obama presided over a corrupt administration and used his historic election as the first non-white American president as a get-out-of-jail-free card to abuse his power while silencing his critics.

See the article for a long list of scandals. But with the media on his side, most people never knew at all and are never reminded. Do you believe the picture curated by the media, or reality?

The Obamas are ‘Becoming’ a billion-dollar brand, by Isabel Vincent.

The launch of Michelle Obama’s cross-country book tour for her new memoir, “Becoming,” last week is just the latest marker on the road to fabulous wealth for the former first couple, who are on their way to becoming a billion-dollar brand.

In addition to a $65 million book advance and an estimated $50 million deal with Netflix, both of which she shares with husband Barack Obama, the former first lady is poised to rake in millions from appearances on her 10-city US tour and sales of merchandise connected to her autobiography. …

Michelle Obama is currently in demand as a speaker for corporations and nonprofits, commanding $225,000 per appearance, The Post has learned.

Forbes estimated the couple made $20.5 million in salaries and book royalties between 2005 — when Barack Obama became a US senator and they first arrived in Washington — and 2016. They are now worth more than $135 million. …

Barack Obama currently rakes in $400,000 per speech, and earned at least $1.2 million for three talks to Wall Street firms in 2017.

Top 10 “Most Corrupt” List Dominated by Obama Administration, by Alex Newman in 2013.

President Obama and key members of his Democrat cabinet like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, disgraced Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, and UN Ambassador Susan Rice were all among the top ten most corrupt politicians in Washington for 2012, according to an annual list compiled by the non-partisan Judicial Watch. Also on the roster were several lawmakers including two GOP congressmen from Florida and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada).

The president himself made the infamous “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians” list due to a series of scandals and broken promises that have plagued virtually his entire time occupying the White House. Lawless behavior, regular violations of the U.S. Constitution, unprecedented secrecy, and abuse of so-called “executive privilege” to protect his senior officials all contributed to Obama’s designation as one of the most crooked politicians in the capital today.

hat-tip Scott of the Pacific

Planning, Not Home Ownership, Caused the Housing Crisis

Planning, Not Home Ownership, Caused the Housing Crisis, by Wendell Cox, principal of Demographia, an international public policy and demographics firm.

The Economist explains: “The soaring cost of housing has created gaping inequalities and inflamed both generational and geographical divides. In 1990 a generation of baby-boomers, with a median age of 35, owned a third of America’s real estate by value. In 2019 a similarly sized cohort of millennials, aged 31, owned just 4%.” …

OECD says of the middle-class that “there are now signs that this bedrock of our democracies and economic growth is not as stable as in the past.” The threat is indicated by the fact that costs of living are rising much faster than incomes. OECD places much of the blame on “house prices have been growing three times faster than household median income over the last two decades.” …

[The Economist again:] “Young people’s view that housing is out of reach — unless you have rich parents — helps explain their drift towards “millennial socialism”.

These concerns are understandable. Unlike previous generations, younger people, do not believe their futures will be better than that of their parents …

And the growth in housing prices is due to the growth in money supply, which is due to excessive money manufacture and increase in debt. The current system of creating money, with no constraint such as the supply of physical gold, is the root cause. So, the millennials are accidentally right — their economic woes are due to capitalism. Literally, in the way we manufacture money that represents capital.

There is also a second cause: bureaucratic planning, which artificially restricts the supply of housing and thus drives up the prices of houses (in the areas where the bureaucrats and policy makers live!).

In their rush to stop the spatial expansion of cities (pejoratively called “urban sprawl”) urban plans have imposed bans or serious constraints on new urban fringe housing. These “urban containment” policies typically include “urban growth boundaries,” “green belts,” and other strategies. As with any policy that seeks to regulate markets, there are consequences. …

Figure 2 shows price-to-income ratios at least doubling in Australia and New Zealand, where urban containment has become virtually universal. … In the US and Canada, the price-to-income ratios have risen, but less, because many markets have retained more liberal regulation …

Look at how efficient those bureaucrats down-under are!

The long term median price to income ratio is a touch under three, which is where it was in the 1980s when the present money bubble began. But look at Australian cities in the last three decades:

It’s a bubble awaiting a pin. And when the Australian housing bubble bursts, it may take our banks with it. Normally our banks have 25% of their loan book in residential housing, but CommBank’s is now around 70% and ANZ is not far behind.

All markets revert to their mean ratios eventually (note that the use of ratios steps around the effect of money manufacture and inflation in making currency worth ever less in absolute terms.) It’s not different this time. Only market distortion can prevent the housing price ratio returning to three, but that won’t last forever either. The market will eventually find a way of resolving this unstable situation.

World must prepare for Trump’s second term

World must prepare for Trump’s second term, by Paul Kelly.

Having declared Trump unfit to govern, a law-breaking president and morally corrupt, the Democrats are locked in a confused contest to find a candidate who can save American democracy from the crisis they proclaim….

As for the impeachment, … that removal should come only by the democratic vote of the people at an election. The Democrats risk being exposed as frauds — seeking to remove Trump in a trial because they cannot beat him at an election. They disguise their weakness with a flawed moralism.

Trump represents the “racists” so he should not be allowed to govern, says the left. Meanwhile, the left trashed Martin Luther King’s dream and are promoting anti-white discrimination. Then they cannot work out why they are not so popular anymore!

Trump’s removal in the impeachment process would have had a potentially catastrophic impact on US democracy — the entire pro-Trump populist right would have declared they were robbed and their president sacked by a partisan Washington establishment that could not defeat him at the polls. …

[Trump’s] State of the Union speech that saw Republicans breaking into their “four more years” chant revealed the superiority of his political skills.

“Three years ago we launched the great American comeback,” Trump said at the outset. “Tonight I stand before you to share the incredible results. Jobs are booming, incomes are soaring, poverty is plummeting, crime is falling, confidence is surging and our country is thriving and respected again.

“The years of economic decay are over. The days of our country being used, taken advantage of and even scorned by other nations are long behind us. In just three short years we have shattered the mentality of American decline and we have rejected the downsizing of America’s destiny.

“Our agenda is relentlessly pro-worker, pro-family, pro-growth and, most of all, pro-American. …

“After decades of flat and falling incomes, wages are rising fast — and, wonderfully, they are rising fastest for low-income workers who have seen a 16 per cent pay increase since my election. This is a blue-collar boom. Since my election, US stockmarkets have soared 70 per cent, adding more than $12 trillion to our ­nation’s wealth, transcending anything anyone believed was possible … wealthy people and companies are pouring money into poor neighbourhoods or areas that haven’t seen investment in many decades.”

Trump is running a cultural campaign appealing to the nobodies against the somebodies. Peggy Noonan, speechwriter to Ronald Reagan, said in The Wall Street Journal: “This was the President putting the Republican Party on the side of the ­nobodies of all colours as ­opposed to the somebodies. (Van Jones on CNN had it exactly right: Trump is going for black and Hispanic men and the Democrats are foolish not to see it.)…

Trump is now creating a movement for the times based on the resentment of the economic disadvantaged, the lure of economic revival, renewed patriotism, cultural tradition and a populist war on his opponents that aims to split the country, with the Democrats locked into an electoral college minority.

There are many differences between Trump and Johnson. But their radical, reinvented conservatism shares a conspicuous strategy: their penetration into the working class and lower middle class, non-tertiary educated, often non-capital city base that once belonged to the Democrats and the British Labour Party but now feels betrayed by parties that have become socially progressive. …

But the difference with Morrison is conspicuous. The Prime Minister is an incrementalist, a function of his temperament of the times in Australia. At home there is no existential crisis like Brexit. There is nothing like the depth of middle American ­resentment of elites and the ruling class.

Morrison won last year because he discerned the Australian people opposed radical change, as offered by Labor, and actually wanted reliable, competent government. While Morrison penetrated the Labor base at the last election there is little evidence of any realignment in Australia comparable to the situation in the US and Britain.

hat-tip Stephen Neil, Stephen Harper

Our top judges are vying for the title of the most activist judges in the common law world

Our top judges are vying for the title of the most activist judges in the common law world. By James Allan, Garrick professor of law at the University of Queensland.

This week’s High Court of Australia case, Love v Commonwealth, on the question of deporting plaintiffs who were born outside Australia, are foreign citizens and who have not been naturalised or made Australian citizens, but who claim to be Aborigines, was in my view a disgrace.

By 4-3 it effectively constitutionalised identity politics; in a weird sort of way it elevates the common law — judge-made law to be clear — above the Constitution itself; it introduces a race-based limit on the parliament’s power …

It looks very much to be a clear case of outcome-oriented judging, meaning you start with the conclusion you want and then struggle to find rationales to get you there.

Sounds harsh, I know. But I stand by all of the above claims. …

Brendan Thoms, left, has more rights than most Australians reading this, because he is aboriginal.

The third dissenter, Justice Patrick Keane, comes out and says what the vast preponderance of Australians believe. “There is no support in the … Constitution for the contention that there is a special class within the people of the Commonwealth who, by virtue of their biological descent … enjoy a constitutionally privileged [position].” …

The other three majority judgments, by Justices Geoffrey Nettle, Michelle Gordon and James Edelman, indulge in all sorts of politically correct nostrums and observations that sound far more political and activist than legal and constitutional — all basically leveraging or bootstrapping off the common law decision in Mabo to end up with a constitutional outcome that amounts to a just-discovered limit on the elected parliament’s power.

High Court in the crossfire of runaway judicial activism

High Court in the crossfire of runaway judicial activism, by Janet Albrechtsen.

The word swamp is an acronym for “superior wisdom alienates mere peasants”.  …

In creating this exception … to treat two people differently based on their race, a majority of the High Court has revealed a likely trajectory of brazen activism, and a propensity to divide the country by race. The silver lining is that the court’s activism will help convince Australians it would be a grave mistake to insert a race-based voice into our Constitutions. …

This runaway court needs fixing fast. If it can do this in a case involving section 51 (xix) of the Constitution that gives parliament power to make laws with respect to naturalisation and aliens, what will the High Court do with other clauses?

Lawyers across the country effectively received an invitation from the country’s highest court to ask courts to concoct other special race-based exceptions. …

Now remember that three of the four majority judges were appointed by a conservative government. Labor MPs must be laughing. If there is one thing Labor knows how to do expertly, doggedly and unashamedly, it is putting its kind of people into big jobs to shape the politics of this country well beyond parliament.

By contrast, conservative governments are hopeless on this front. Whether they are too polite, too nervous or lacking conviction about their values, they consistently appoint activist judges who thumb their noses at elected politicians. Our politicians could learn something from Donald Trump. He has built a powerful political coalition by arguing against unelected philosopher kings presuming to make law because they think a lumpenproletariat and their elected repre­sentatives won’t do it.

From the Prime Minister down, the Coalition should remember Brexit, too, where millions of British people have good reason to distrust experts — all those with big jobs, public servants, tenured professors, banking bigwigs, judges too, who warned against Brexit. In fact, right across the West, distrust among ordinary people of the so-called “clever classes” — people with lots of degrees but little common sense — is at an all-time high.

When the High Court added itself to this group, presuming to change the Constitution because its policy preferences are more important than those of voters, it gave the Morrison government a political opportunity. And, make no mistake, this a political matter. The High Court has made it political by ignoring the law when dreaming up special exceptions based on race to allow two criminals, two non-citizens, to live in Australia.

The real question is whether the Morrison government has the political courage and the commitment to the rule of law to turn this court around.

hat-tip Stephen Neil

Patronizing and Racism by the Elite in the UK

Patronizing and Racism by the Elite in the UK, by Rod Liddle.

I don’t know their names, but let’s call them Bob and Hilda for the time being. Bob and Hilda, the last two working–class people alive in the Labour party. The two of them say that while middle-class party members are in general very nice, Bob and Hilda sometimes feel patronised and talked to as if they were children. Bob and Hilda have recommended ‘awareness–raising group workshops’ to address this problem. Hmm. This made me wonder if Bob and Hilda were themselves middle-class people disguised as working-class people, because I know of no working-class people who would use the phrase ‘awareness-raising group workshops’, still less voluntarily attend one.

Still, at least Bob and Hilda are presumably not black. If they were, they would even more fully experience the pleasure of being treated like children by middle-class lefties. There is something deeply racist in the middle-class left’s behaviour towards black people, something proprietorial and quite offensive. Only Labour, said Labour, can ‘unlock the potential of black, Asian and minority ethnic people’, as if they were not merely children, but children in the special needs class. The same attitude is betrayed by that phrase they often use when criticising comedians and writers for making jokes about ethnic minorities: ‘punching down’. Down, you will note. They see themselves effortlessly above this morass of people who they consider simply too dumb to help themselves — black people, the white working-class, women. Anyway, I wish Bob and Hilda all the very best of luck, not least in finding one or two other working-class Labour party members, so they don’t feel lonely going into those workshops.

Ejecting people who arrive from another country and abuse the laws of the land — obvious, right? Not to the left:

Item one on the workshop agenda might be ‘why the working-class wants foreign-born criminals deported immediately’. I am referring to the hoo-ha currently obsessing the BBC. …

Yet again, the corporation has totally failed to understand either the mindset of the public on this issue or indeed the rectitude of what is happening. For every witless BBC reporter keening by the runway as a Boeing 707 packed with Jamaican rapists, killers and drug dealers departs for Kingston, there will be a million licence-payers quietly applauding in their homes.

The arguments raised against the government’s actions are, as usual, a succession of non-sequiturs and idiocies. David Lammy thinks it all ‘racist’, but given that he thinks absolutely everything is racist we might discount this objection immediately. …

Some of them were ‘only’ involved in selling drugs, according to the protesters and the BBC: the very trade which is fuelling our epidemic of knife crime in the capital. Why should drug dealers who are not British citizens be allowed to remain here? What is the point of principle? We are enjoined to worry about the reception they will receive in their native country and that they may fall prey to gangsters. Well indeed. That is because many of them are gangsters themselves. We are also told that it’s not fair on Jamaica. It is utterly intolerable, of course, that Jamaica should be forced to put up with Jamaicans in their own country. …

There isn’t a single coherent argument from the protesters, and yet their massed sobbing is filling the BBC’s airwaves. The simple fact that citizenship is a privilege, not a right, and that people who arrive from another country and abuse the laws of the land should have no redress is something accepted pretty much worldwide. And yet we are urged to believe it shouldn’t apply here, when it is Jamaicans. It is a bizarre argument, lacking logic and morality. …

If I were in charge of the deportation programme, it would be like the Berlin airlift: one plane leaving every 30 seconds. I’d save a little bit of space on every flight for any protesters who found it intolerable to live in a country which didn’t grant automatic permanent citizenship to rapists and drug dealers from foreign lands, especially when — as they’ve explained to the BBC — they’re now going straight and wish to retrain as brain surgeons, or awareness-raising workshop facilitators. And I’d plant a tree to offset the carbon emissions, obvs. …

The left is in crisis. It cannot win elections. It wonders why this is so. Its sponsors in the broadcast media wonder likewise. A story such as this crops up and they pile into it, convinced that this is the issue which will finally make the dunderheaded voters realise that we’re living Under Fascism, I mean like actually, OMG, we really are. And all those people who trooped across to the Tories in December look at the plane taking off and think: ‘At last! Why on earth didn’t I vote Conservative before?’

Harvard Professor Sounds Alarm on ‘Likely’ Coronavirus Pandemic: 40% to 70% of World Could Be Infected This Year

Harvard Professor Sounds Alarm on ‘Likely’ Coronavirus Pandemic: 40% to 70% of World Could Be Infected This Year. By Charlie Nash.

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health professor Marc Lipsitch told the Wall Street Journal this week that “it is likely we’ll see a global pandemic” of the coronavirus with up to 70 percent of people infected worldwide.

“I think it is likely we’ll see a global pandemic,” Lipsitch claimed, adding that “If a pandemic happens, 40% to 70% of people world-wide are likely to be infected in the coming year.”

What proportion of those will be symptomatic, I can’t give a good number,” he continued.

Who’s agenda is this? Why not quarantine and block international travel?

There’s already a village in Vietnam locked down, and Vietnam will not allow any cruise ships to visit.

China Admits That More Than Half A Million People Have Had “Close Contact” With The Infected. So it’s at least that many.

China Is Disintegrating: Steel Demand, Property Sales, Traffic All Approaching Zero, by Tyer Durden. Several indicators are flatlining, for example:

Coal consumption in power plants, as Chinese electricity use craters:

Chinese real estate, property sales across 30 major cities:

Construction steel sector. As Goldman puts it, “construction steel demand is approaching zero.”

Many more  at the link.

Ask yourself: How serious would a disease have to be to make the Chinese react the way they are? For starters, it would have to be very contagious — and that is now established fact. But the death rate? Higher than the 0.15% for the flu obviously, but what? Or could we instead be seeing a massive distrust of government, reluctance to go to concentration camps with sick people, settling political scores, and the consequences of an authoritarian government? Or is the death rate simply much higher than for flu and most everyone is scared witless?

Coronavirus can be spread by people who don’t show symptoms, US CDC warns

Coronavirus can be spread by people who don’t show symptoms, US CDC warns, by Jackie Salo.

Coronavirus can be spread through people who aren’t exhibiting symptoms of the illness, the director of the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention said Thursday.

Dr. Robert Redfield confirmed reports out of China that the virus can spread when the person is still asymptomatic, according to CNN.

How it spreads: Wuhan virus in Hawaii? By Lion of the Blogosphere.

Let’s examine the timeline:

  • January 28: Japanese man arrives in Hawaii.
  • January 31: Trump orders travel ban for anyone who had been in China during the previous 14 days.
  • February 3: Japanese man first had cold symptoms.
  • February 7: Man returns to Japan.
  • February 8: Japanese man visits doctor with 38C (100.4) fever.
  • February 10: Japanese man visited hospital and had signs of pneumonia.
  • February 13: Japanese man is hospitalized.
  • February 14: Japanese man tests positive for the Wuhan virus.

Given that virus symptoms usually take 6 days or less to first appear, and assuming his “cold” was the first symptom, it’s most likely that the Japanese tourist caught the virus in Hawaii and he did not bring it with him from Japan.

Approximately 15,000 Chinese tourists visit Hawaii each month, and the visit of the Japanese man happened just before the travel ban.

I believe it’s highly likely that the Japanese man caught the virus, either directly or indirectly, from a Chinese tourist who was also in Hawaii. The Japanese man’s vacation happened before the travel ban would have prevented Chinese tourists from also being in Hawaii.

If only we had instituted the Chinese travel ban a week earlier.

Notice how the Japanese man went for several days without symptoms, or only mild cold-like symptoms, during which time he may have been spreading it.

How much coronavirus is there in the West? No one knows. And Chinese students are side-stepping the travel ban from China by going via a third country. Duh.

The globalist/PC line is that put out by China and their puppet at the WHO: travel bans and quarantines don’t work. Obliviously they work, if in place early enough.

Which is cheaper?

  • Making everyone who comes into Australia by any means go into two weeks quarantine at a remote location. Cost: accommodation, time lost, and most journeys are postponed or cancelled. No deaths.
  • Allowing people who come by air into the Australian population, then putting all those who get severely sick into intensive care in hospitals. Cost: A day at an ICU costs $5,000 per day, and the number of ICUs is geared to the normal ‘flu season and other emergencies — that is, there won’t be nearly enough of them. Crash-build many more ICUs. Possibly lots of deaths.

Joanne Nova:

We could start building emergency hospital ICU rooms like China has, or we could start building quarantine cabins which are infinitely cheaper and ask all entrants from countries with uncontrolled cases of Covid 19 (or SARS CoV 2, whatever it is called) to go through a two week quarantine. This will limit traffic drastically, affecting weddings, conferences, holidays and all kinds of business. It will be costly and inconvenient, but it will possibly save people and quite a lot of money. (ICU care is $5000 a day). Separated families can still be reunited after the two week delay. Am I mad, stopping all flights to nations at risk seems like the cheap conservative option?

Our hospital system is designed to cope with the annual flu load, even if this only doubles it, it will be onerous. If 10% of cases need major hospital help (as we see in the cases in Hong Kong and Singapore) the system will be overwhelmed.

I repeat, now that we know this is very infectious the best case scenario is that the virus causes thousands of undetected low grade infections, and that for some reason it is not as severe in the West (genes, pollution, medical care, lower population density, summer, past infection immunity, etc). Perhaps it blows over and we can look back and say “hyped”. We’ll know a lot more in a few weeks time. Are three weeks worth of weddings and conferences really worth the risk?

After Attending a Trump Rally, I Now Know Democrats Have No Shot in 2020

After Attending a Trump Rally, I Now Know Democrats Have No Shot in 2020, by Karlyn Borysenko.

I’ve been a Democrat for 20 years, but my experience made me realize just how out of touch my party is with the country at large …

I was one of those Democrats who considered anyone who voted for Trump a racist. I thought they were horrible (yes, even deplorable) and worked very hard to eliminate their voices from my spaces by unfriending or blocking people who spoke about their support of him, however minor their comments. I watched a lot of MSNBC, was convinced that everything he had done was horrible, that he hated anyone who wasn’t a straight white man, and that he had no redeeming qualities.

But when I witnessed the amount of hate coming from the left in this small, niche knitting community, I started to question everything. I started making a proactive effort to break my echo chamber by listening to voices I thought I would disagree with. I wanted to understand their perspective, believing it would confirm that they were filled with hate for anyone who wasn’t like them.

That turned out not to be the case. The more voices outside the left that I listened to, the more I realized that these were not bad people. They were not racists, nazis, or white supremacists. We had differences of opinions on social and economic issues, but a difference of opinion does not make your opponent inherently evil. And they could justify their opinions using arguments, rather than the shouting and ranting I saw coming from my side of the aisle.

I started to question everything. How many stories had I been sold that weren’t true? What if my perception of the other side is wrong? How is it possible that half the country is overtly racist? Is it possible that Trump derangement syndrome is a real thing, and had I been suffering from it for the past three years?

And the biggest question of all was this: Did I hate Trump so much that I wanted to see my country fail just to spite him and everyone who voted for him?

The New Hampshire primary:

I’ve seen almost every Democratic candidate in person and noticed that their messages were almost universally one of doom and gloom, not only focusing on the obvious disagreements with Donald Trump, but also making sure to emphasize that the country is a horribly racist place. …

But with all of this, I was still reticent to even consider attending a Trump event. …

I’m not going to lie, I was nervous, so I thought I would start my day in familiar territory: at an MSNBC live show that was taking place a few blocks away from the rally. …

In chatting with the folks at the taping, I casually said that I was thinking about going over to the Trump rally. The first reaction they had was a genuine fear for my safety. I had never seen people I didn’t know so passionately urge me to avoid all those people. One woman told me that those people were the lowest of the low. Another man told me that he had gone to one of Trump’s rallies in the past and had been the target of harassment by large muscle-bound men. Another woman offered me her pepper spray. I assured them all that I thought I would be fine and that I would get the heck out of dodge if I got nervous.

What they didn’t know is that they weren’t the only ones I had heard from who were afraid. Some of my more right-leaning friends online expressed genuine fear at my going, but not because they were afraid of the attendees. They were afraid of people on the left violently attacking attendees. This was one day after a man had run his car through a Republican voter registration tent in Florida, and there was a genuine fear that there would be a repeat, or that antifa would bus people up from Boston for it. Just as I had assured those on the left, I told them I thought I would be fine, because we don’t really have antifa in New Hampshire.

The good bit:

So, I headed over an hour and a half before the doors were scheduled to open — which was four hours before Trump was set to take the stage — and the line already stretched a mile away from the entrance to the arena. As I waited, I chatted with the folks around me. And contrary to all the fears expressed, they were so nice. I was not harassed or intimidated, and I was never in fear of my safety even for a moment. These were average, everyday people. They were veterans, schoolteachers, and small business owners who had come from all over the place for the thrill of attending this rally. They were upbeat and excited. In chatting, I even let it slip that I was a Democrat. The reaction: “Good for you! Welcome!”

Once we got inside, the atmosphere was jubilant. It was more like attending a rock concert than a political rally. People were genuinely enjoying themselves. Some were even dancing to music being played over the loudspeakers. It was so different than any other political event I had ever attended. Even the energy around Barack Obama in 2008 didn’t feel like this.

I had attended an event with all the Democratic contenders just two days prior in exactly the same arena, and the contrast was stark. First, Trump completely filled the arena all the way up to the top. Even with every major Democratic candidate in attendance the other night, and the campaigns giving away free tickets, the Democrats did not do that. With Trump, every single person was unified around a singular goal. With the Democrats, the audience booed over candidates they didn’t like and got into literal shouting matches with each other. With Trump, there was a genuinely optimistic view of the future. With the Democrats, it was doom and gloom. With Trump, there was a genuine feeling of pride of being an American. With the Democrats, they emphasized that the country was a racist place from top to bottom. …

I think the Democrats have an ass-kicking coming to them in November, and I think most of them will be utterly shocked when it happens, because they’re existing in an echo chamber that is not reflective of the broader reality. I hope it’s a wake-up call that causes them to take a long look in the mirror and really ask themselves how they got here.

Read it all.

I don’t miss the nastiness of the Left

I don’t miss the nastiness of the Left, by Giles Fraser.

Before I tentatively dropped my ballot paper in the box, I feared that making the jump from being a Labour voter to being a Tory one was going to mess with my head far more than it actually has. I expected disorientation, a sense of not knowing my way about.

But, so far at least, the reverse is true. Indeed, some of the landmarks of this new ideological architecture are so familiar, it feels like something of a homecoming.

Among the most familiar and welcome of these landmarks is the presence of the Christian notion of original sin. Theorists of Conservativism don’t always use this language; they are more likely to speak of a suspicion of human perfectibility. But it amounts to pretty much the same thing. The Left believes itself to be participating in some grand project of human improvement, an ambitious endeavour that points towards a comprehensive moral transformation of society. Conservatives don’t believe in this because they have a much more heightened sense of human fallibility. …

Properly understood, original sin was simply a very particular way of speaking about human brokenness, and an understanding that this brokenness was deep in the marrow of human life.

We evolved from single cell animals. There is an ancient reptile brain still deep within, concerned mainly with food, sex, and survival. It is selfish, and not very nice. It is overlaid with a mammal brain, and quite recently a social human brain, etc. etc. Original sin is about those thoughts and impulses from the older parts of our brains that are in conflict with the more moral, social, and recent parts. We are each a loose collection of sub-personalities, and they don’t always agree on everything. Where do our thoughts, impulses, and emotions come from? Somewhere deep within, out of sight of the conscious gaze …

The first animals with modern consciousness?

The historian Tom Holland commented: “Purity spirals are what happen when societies saturated in Christian assumptions abandon that most democratic of Christian doctrines: original sin. If perfection on earth is possible, then boo to those who are less than perfect.” …

Augustine’s idea of original sin is that human beings are constitutionally incapable of the sort of moral perfectionism asked of them by Pelagius. The Adam and Eve story is a way of introducing the idea that our lives are shot through with moral failure like a stick of seaside rock. This is why Christianity is absolutely not a story about human beings being good and then going off to heaven, but is a story about the need for us to recognise our constitutive brokenness and our need to be fixed of it by nothing less than outside help i.e. God.

Even leaving these big theological narratives on one side, it is surely obvious that a political philosophy that recognises human weakness is going to be a good deal nicer a political environment than one that whips people on to ever greater demands of moral stringency and then condemns them for failing to live up to what is expected.

It is this Pelagianism of the Left that makes it so nasty a place to be, with its constant monitoring of micro-aggressions, and denunciations of those whose shade of socialism differs, one from another. A kinder, gentler politics it is not. …

That’s probably why people on the Right often feel like they are a good deal kinder to each other than people on the Left. The search for total innocence becomes persecutory to those who do not achieve it. The acceptance of fallenness, though, is properly inclusive, a recognition that we are all in the same boat, all stumbling about getting it wrong, all children of Adam helping each other along in the dark. …

Conservatism, then, is the politics of human imperfection.

Jordan Peterson Deserves Love, Not Spite, in Time of Darkness

Jordan Peterson Deserves Love, Not Spite, in Time of Darkness, by Michael Davis.

I’m not quite sure what to make of Jordan Peterson — but then I’m not quite sure Dr. Peterson does either. Maybe that’s what makes his writings and his speeches so compelling. His best-selling book, 12 Rules for Life, probably falls in the self-help genre, but he’s no guru. He doesn’t claim to have all the answers to life’s problems — just a few helpful tips. And he presents those answers with hard evidence and emotional detachment, as any good scientist would.

Dr. Peterson saw a problem. The men (and women, but mostly men) of the West are declining — physically, intellectually, and morally. He studied the habits of those who eke out some meaning from their lives in this wasteland, and he wrote them down in a book. It’s as simple as that. He doesn’t claim any kind of divine revelation; he doesn’t say he’s smarter or more insightful than anyone else. He’s just a clinical psychologist looking to help people. And as he himself admits, 12 Rules “isn’t only written for other people. It’s a warning to me.”

This is why his critics despise him. Those on the Left detest that one of their own — an accomplished academic in a field dominated by progressives – is using their tools against them … Some on the Right, meanwhile, are wary of his lukewarm commitment to conservative orthodoxy. …

Worn down by hostile lefty nonsense?

Last week, it was revealed that Dr. Peterson is receiving treatment for his addiction to benzodiazepine, a tranquilizer used to treat anxiety. … Dr. Peterson nearly died from complications related to his addiction. … According to the Post, Dr. Peterson “has only just come out of an intensive care unit” and suffered “neurological damage,” which apparently resulted in a seizure disorder.

Of course, his progressive detractors are rejoicing. And of course, this is yet another symptom of our moral disease — the gangrenous soul of modern man. Those on the Left claim to be truly compassionate, unlike traditional Christians and their fellow-travelers (like Dr. Peterson). … Yet when a man nearly dies from his addiction to prescription drugs, they throw a party. And why? Because he holds opinions contrary to theirs. …

Dr. Peterson won’t be surprised to find progressives celebrating his brush with death. And frankly I doubt he’ll care. As he’s quick to remind his reader, “you’re not as nice as you think.” But mark my words: if and when Dr. Peterson returns to the public eye, he’ll speak with a new wisdom drawn from his experience. …

Up until this point, Dr. Peterson’s advice has been mostly of the fatherly sort: make your bed, etc. That’s why he’s struck a chord with his legions of fans. So many young men lack real father figures, and while we shouldn’t need a college professor to teach our sons Manhood 101, we do. Dr. Peterson has done an admirable job. …

The whole of modernity seems geared up specifically to wreak havoc on one’s mental health. From blue-light smartphones to alarmist news media, Western man is on the verge of a collective nervous breakdown.

Yet the single greatest cause of anxiety, no doubt, is the decline of traditional Christianity. … Christian civilization was built upon two simple laws: love for God and love for one’s fellow man. Nobody, left- or right-wing, has much use for either principle today. …

Those unmade beds are only a symptom of a far more dangerous malaise: selfishness, rootlessness, and (inevitably) despair. …

Dr. Peterson has long expressed admiration for Christianity. He once said the Bible is, “for better or worse, the foundational document of Western civilization.” And his pessimistic view of human nature is entirely in keeping with the Faith. “Only man will inflict suffering for the sake of suffering,” he noted. “And with this realization we have full legitimization of the idea of Original Sin.”

He’s right, of course. But that’s the easy part. Only the most foolhardy optimist would deny that human nature is, in some very meaningful way, Fallen.

hat-tip Stephen Neil

Trump Battles the Progressive ‘Fear Society’

Trump Battles the Progressive ‘Fear Society’, by Bruce Thornton.

“Fear Society” is Natan Sharansky’s term for a socio-political order that flunks the “town square” test: People are too frightened to speak their mind in public spaces because they fear retribution. A victim of Soviet tyranny before emigrating to Israel, for Sharansky the consequences of free expression could be arrest, imprisonment, torture, and death.

For us, the regime of political correctness, “cancel culture,” “microaggressions,” and “woke” commissars reinforces a similar repression, a “softer” one, as Tocqueville called it, but effective nonetheless in silencing dissent and promoting an illiberal progressive ideology.

Sharansky goes on to describe the consequences of living in a fear society, which typically comprises three groups:

  1. True believers, those who sincerely believe in the regime’s ideology;
  2. Dissidents, those who oppose the regime and speak out against it;
  3. Doublethinkers, the majority who oppose the regime yet do not publicly express their opposition, particularly to outsiders.

Donald Trump’s political success has emboldened the conservative and Republican “doublethinkers” to express their opinions in the “town square” and challenge the domination that for several decades the progressives have enjoyed over political speech. …

One method is to discredit and ostracize any alternative to progressive doctrine … That is the point of political correctness: to demonize alternatives to the dominant ideology by attributing them to mental disorders like racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, xenophobia, and “white privilege.” Violence will sometimes be used, as in the mobs shouting down conservative speakers, or the Antifa goons physically attacking opponents. But more effective is the self-censorship of the “doublethinkers” who know that political correctness is illiberal and compromises political freedom, but will not publicly challenge its doctrines. Over time, the assumptions and vocabulary of political correctness become reflexive positions people express in public spaces.

We have seen this process at work in establishment Republicans who accept the Left’s degradation of language. “Racism” in particular has been a powerful verbal weapon for bludgeoning opponents into conformity. … Mere criticism, no matter how justified or unrelated to race, of a “person of color” is prima facie racism. …

Moreover, this progressive revision of language has now become joined to notions of decorum, civility, “principles,” or manners, which always have been instruments of social-class identification and elite gate-keeping. Now ideologically skewed terms like “racism” or “homophobia” define public decorum. The “right” people — those with university credentials and a self-proclaimed superiority of intellect, taste, and knowledge — distance themselves from the semiliterate rubes and “bitter clingers to guns and religion” by conspicuously condemning and decrying “racism” and other thought-crimes. Self-censorship has evolved into good manners that sacrifice truth and coherence of argument to one’s class identity.

Donald Trump has challenged this whole regime of doublethink, and encouraged the “dissidents” who for decades now have been frustrated by alleged conservatives ceding so much moral and linguistic high-ground to the illiberal Left. Trump’s blunt, sometimes crude manner and style relentlessly attack the tyrannical regime of political correctness, and its abettors among NeverTrump Republicans who mask their irrational bitterness and wounded professional and personal self-love in cries of violated “principles” and “decorum.” Most important, he has exposed the hypocrisy of both cohorts: The affluent progressives who compensate for their privilege by endorsing the illiberal tenets of identity politics and political correctness, and the NeverTrump careerists and elitists angry that their political country club has been crashed by a brash vulgarian.

We obviously live in a society that is becoming more fearful. Over the two decades, the left has turned us into a fear society. The typical punishments for contradicting the left on any of many, many topics include ostracism, a side-lined career, public ridicule, and possible loss of job.

The State of the Race: Democrats In Despair?

The State of the Race: Democrats In Despair? By John Hinderaker.

I and many others have been saying for a long time that the Democrats don’t have an adequate presidential candidate this year. …

In Biden’s three presidential campaigns, he has never once finished higher than fourth in any primary or caucus. It is time to discreetly draw the curtain on Biden’s 2020 effort.

It was only a few months ago when we said that the Democratic nomination was Elizabeth Warren’s to lose. She has lost it. Her decline seemed to begin with the unraveling of her “Medicare for all” plan, but I think it actually goes deeper than that. As of six months ago, most voters probably knew nothing about her false claim to being an Indian and the role that claim played in her academic career. As she has gotten better known over the course of the campaign, her ethnic fraud has likewise become more widely known, in large part due to President Trump’s mockery.

A second factor is probably even more important: Warren is a harridan. It should be no surprise that few people want to be lectured at by her for the next four years. …

Bernie Sanders has a loyal following, mainly among the young and ignorant. But he hasn’t been able to expand that following beyond the base he had four years ago. More likely, his support has contracted. He went from 60% in the New Hampshire primary four years ago to 26% this year–and that was against Hillary Clinton, not Pete Buttigieg. Sanders’ age, his recent heart attack, his unabashed extremism (which still hasn’t been aggressively exploited by his opponents), the enmity of the Democratic establishment, and his lack of support among African-Americans all tell against him. It would be fun to see Sanders as the Democrats’ nominee, but if he can’t score over 25% in the states that on paper are most favorable to him, it isn’t going to happen.

“Mayor Pete” has a basic problem: he is utterly unqualified for the presidency. Barack Obama at least warmed a Senate seat briefly before launching his presidential run. … The obvious fact is that Buttigieg is in the race only because he is gay. No one imagines that, absent that fact, anyone would consider him a plausible candidate for the presidency.

[No picture. No one dares make fun of Pete Buttigieg. There are no critical memes about him, and political cartoonists won’t mock him. Did I mention he is gay?]

I don’t consider Michael Bloomberg much of a threat, either. He has one thing going for him: money. Unfortunately for Bloomberg, money, beyond some reasonable level, is not a very important factor in presidential politics. Just ask Hillary Clinton. …

So who is left? I still think Tulsi Gabbard would be the Democrats’ strongest general election candidate, but she is 1) patriotic, and 2) not a hater. She even wished Rush Limbaugh well when he announced his cancer diagnosis. So there is no risk that the Democrats might nominate her. …

That leaves Amy Klobuchar, who disappointed in Iowa but came on strong in New Hampshire. It is always dangerous to predict based on a process of elimination, but I think the nomination is now Amy’s to lose. (Heh.) She is smart enough and far left enough, while at the same time preserving the aura of moderation that made her popular in Minnesota.

hat-tip Stephen Harper for pictures, in this and other posts

Could Mayor Pete Secretly Be More Radical Than Bernie?

Could Mayor Pete Secretly Be More Radical Than Bernie? By Roger Simon.

Pete Buttigieg is … now ahead in the delegate count.

But is he really a moderate? Could he actually be as radical as Sanders or (gasp!) even further left?

While many are skeptical of his limited experience as mayor of a small city, few have bored down ideologically, let alone asked that question.

This is perplexing considering Pete Buttigieg is what we used to call a “red diaper baby” (born into a communist family).

Yes, being a red diaper baby doesn’t mean you are red yourself. Many have gone in the other direction, David Horowitz being a well known example. But the old conundrum remains: how far has the apple fallen from the tree?

In the case of Mayor Pete, that tree was his father Joseph Buttigieg who died shortly before his son announced for the presidency. Who was Joseph? The Washington Examiner wrote back in April 2019:

“The father of Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg was a Marxist professor who spoke fondly of the Communist Manifesto and dedicated a significant portion of his academic career to the work of Italian Communist Party founder Antonio Gramsci, an associate of Vladimir Lenin.

Father’s interest in Gramsci was more than a mild, “academic” one:

“[Joseph] Buttigieg was a founding member and president of the International Gramsci Society, an organization that aims to ‘facilitate communication and the exchange of information among the very large number of individuals from all over the world who are interested in Antonio Gramsci’s life and work and in the presence of his thought in contemporary culture.’” …

The man who shaped modern leftism and your world

So just who was Antonio Gramsci? … There are few political thinkers more important in our time. … The Italian Marxist was among those Leninists who were frustrated by the slow pace the recalcitrant “workers of the world” were taking in “throwing off their chains.” He theorized the better approach to revolution, to an ideal communist society, was through the careful organization and efforts of what we now call “elites.” Revolution should be top down.

Gramsci called his system “the march through the institutions”—that is, the media, entertainment, the bureaucracies, the academy, and so forth

Sound familiar? Anything like the United States in 2020? …

If you wanted to change today’s America, to bend it inexorably to socialism, scientific or not, would you choose Bernie Sanders’ conventional, in-your-face, “workers of the world unite” method or a more subtle approach that involved slowly co-opting the institutions of our country, from the educational system to, sadly, religion?

This pertinent factoid about Pete Buttigieg will be shared with you by the mainstream media any moment now … waiting …