MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A Totalitarian Virus – Physicians for Civil Defense

Posted by M. C. on July 2, 2020

If governments claim they are “following the science,” why didn’t scientists speak out? Wittkowski notes that most depend on government for funding (https://tinyurl.com/y83jh4sh).

Policy has been dictated by technocratic planners, “self-appointed tyranny experts,” writes Douglas Wilson. If the results are disastrous, they claim things would have been much worse without their interventions (tinyurl.com/y8v9hmgp). As Thomas Sowell writes, “No matter what happens, the vision of the anointed always succeeds, if not by the original criteria, then by criteria extemporized later—and if not by empirical criteria, then by criteria sufficiently subjective to escape even the possibility of refutation. Evidence becomes irrelevant” [emphasis added].

In Saxony, Germany, rooms in psychiatric hospitals are being freed up to confine, under police supervision, persons who resist home-quarantine orders. It is supposed to be a last resort, when all other measures have failed (tinyurl.com/utdf5q8).

Dress Rehearsal for a Police State

https://www.physiciansforcivildefense.org/2020/06/23/a-totalitarian-virus/

Civi Defense Perspectives May 2020 (vol. 35 #3)

A virus is not exactly alive itself. It is a bundle of chemicals so arranged that they attach to a living host’s cell membranes and are transported into the cell. The cell’s own metabolic machinery then begins to use the viral genetic blueprint to make more viruses. The raw materials, the chemical energy, the milieu that permits the synthesis of viral components to occur (such as pH and temperature) are all supplied by the host cell, bringing about its own destruction. The virus released into the environment can then repeat the cycle in other hosts, until there are no more receptive hosts because they are isolated, immune, or dead.

As viruses are replicated, many errors (mutations) occur, especially in RNA viruses, so that progeny may be more or less effective in causing infection.

All viral pandemics have come to an end, even those that have been far more devastating than the current COVID-19.

The world is full of pathogenic organisms. Animals survive only because their immune defense mechanisms rid them of the invaders or keep them in check. At times, an over-exuberant immune reaction, instead of the virus itself, kills the host.

Many deaths in COVID-19 are attributed to a cytokine storm, a term coined in the context of graft-versus-host disease and popularized for avian H5N1 influenza virus infection. It applies in many infectious and noninfectious diseases (e.g. pancreatitis). Cytokines are proteins serving as hormone-like messengers that coordinate the immune response. They can be pro- or anti-inflammatory. Infiltration of excess inflammatory cells can cause acute respiratory distress syndrome and multi-organ failure in COVID-19 (tinyurl.com/y9hd7n5m). Balance in the coagulation system is also disturbed; many die with microthrombi blocking capillaries or clots in major vessels (tinyurl.com/yapo24xv).

The incidence of blood clotting problems in seriously ill COVID-19 patients is remarkably high. A series of 12 autopsies from Hamburg, Germany, showed that 58% had unsuspected deep vein thrombosis, and in four patients, pulmonary emboli were the direct cause of death (https://tinyurl.com/ybaqfjno).

Lockdown Nation

Initially, when an extraordinarily lethal virus was thought to have arrived recently and to be confined to a few hotspots, restrictions for the duration of the incubation period made sense. But when the computer projections of lethality were found to be wildly inaccurate, and the virus had in fact been widely circulating, probably at least since November, the unprecedented quarantine appeared to be both unnecessary and futile. Rather than lifting the restrictions and protecting those at greatest risk—tacitly admitting to an egregious error, government kept extending the lockdowns, month after month.

The healthy parts of the population were attacked, their livelihoods destroyed, and the arteries of commerce were clotted off, with wreckage up and down the whole supply chain. Has their oxygen been cut off too long to permit resuscitation?

Good citizens have complied with very little resistance, if not out of fear for themselves, out of a wish to protect others in case they were asymptomatic carriers. Those who dared to venture out, especially without a mask, have been shamed for being “no better than a serial killer.” Snitch lines to report noncompliance have lighted up.

As re-opening is being “phased in,” the “suspension” of personal liberty may become permanent. A massive surveillance system is being developed, using smartphone and Bluetooth technology. It could alert everyone who pinged within range of an infected person during the contagious period—and tell that person to self-isolate. A huge army of up to 100,000 “contact tracers” is proposed; New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced plans to hire 17,000. Texas signed a $295 million contract with the MTX Group, which soon plans to staff up with 4,000 Texas employees, including case investigators, epidemiologists, and contact tracers. Applicants will need to pass a six-hour-long online training course offered by an authorized organization such as Johns Hopkins University. Such a person might be empowered to make a quarantine decision for an exposed individual deemed incapable of “voluntarily” deciding that for himself, writes Larry Bell (https://tinyurl.com/ybd8ulxd).

Who Decided?

Governments did not have an open discussion that included economists, biologists and epidemiologists, writes Kurt Wittkowski, who for 20 years was the head of biostatistics, epidemiology, and research design at the Rockefeller University Center for Clinical and Translational Science. “In Britain, it was the voice of one person—Neil Ferguson.” His fundamental flaw was “the assumption that one per cent of all people who became infected would die. There is no justification anywhere for that.”

If governments claim they are “following the science,” why didn’t scientists speak out? Wittkowski notes that most depend on government for funding (https://tinyurl.com/y83jh4sh).

Policy has been dictated by technocratic planners, “self-appointed tyranny experts,” writes Douglas Wilson. If the results are disastrous, they claim things would have been much worse without their interventions (tinyurl.com/y8v9hmgp). As Thomas Sowell writes, “No matter what happens, the vision of the anointed always succeeds, if not by the original criteria, then by criteria extemporized later—and if not by empirical criteria, then by criteria sufficiently subjective to escape even the possibility of refutation. Evidence becomes irrelevant [emphasis added].

The Last Battle?

“The shutdown’s goal was not eradicating the [corona]virus. That’s not possible,” writes Betsy McCaughey. “Shutting down won’t stop the virus, but it will destroy our rights and the nation we love” (https://tinyurl.com/ybr2tn8s).

Czech physicist Luboš Motl asks whether freedom and prosperity can return at all (tinyurl.com/yaaxlyh5). There is no exit strategy from the extreme measures. If a society is ready to switch to martial law or a similar type of heavily centrally regulated regime “because of such numbers of infections that are still a tiny percentage of the population,…then it means that the switch to these de facto totalitarian regimes is basically unavoidable.”

Now that the totalitarian virus nurtured in our system has become visible to all, will we develop immunity—or succumb?


For Memorial Day

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

John McCrae (1872-1918)


Quarantine Enforcement

In Saxony, Germany, rooms in psychiatric hospitals are being freed up to confine, under police supervision, persons who resist home-quarantine orders. It is supposed to be a last resort, when all other measures have failed (tinyurl.com/utdf5q8).

Dress Rehearsal for a Police State Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

When in the Course of Human Events – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on July 2, 2020

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/07/andrew-p-napolitano/when-in-the-course-of-human-events-2/

By

“Government requires make-believe. Make believe that the king is divine, make believe that he can do no wrong or make believe that the voice of the people is the voice of God. Make believe that the people have a voice or make believe that the representatives of the people are the people. Make believe that governors are the servants of the people. Make believe that all men are created equal or make believe that they are not.”
 — Edmund S. Morgan (1916-2013)

…How is it that men and women take oaths to uphold the liberties that the founders risked all to achieve and then enter office and ignore them? If I can legally refuse health care, why can’t I legally take the chance of exercising my rights to travel and assemble whether that exposes me to contagion or not? Is not among the freedoms Jefferson wrote about the freedom to take chances?

Are laws written to preserve liberty or to enforce order? Is the concept of the consent of the governed real or is it make-believe? Does liberty expand in each generation or does it shrink?…

When Jefferson and his buddies revolted from the king, they, too, engaged in a little myth. They coined a popular phrase that they didn’t really mean but caught fire with the colonists: “Taxation without representation is tyranny.”

They didn’t mean it, because they didn’t really want to send representatives to Parliament. They wanted their own small government, and they wanted it here. But the colonists were sick of taxes imposed by London aristocrats.

Are all men created equal or are they not? Does the government have our consent or does it not? Are our liberties natural to our existence or are they not?

Be seeing you

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

End of empire | Spectator USA

Posted by M. C. on July 1, 2020

A massive reordering of national priorities is required. It goes without saying that Trump is incapable of presiding over any such reordering. Yet whether anyone else in mainstream politics is capable of doing so remains very much an open question.

https://spectator.us/end-american-empire-dominion/

This article is in The Spectator’s July 2020 US edition. Subscribe here to get yours.

The end of World War Two inaugurated the era of American dominion, with the United States politically, economically and militarily the most powerful nation on the planet. Yet throughout the subsequent period of American global ascendency, the American people endured a seemingly endless sequence of domestic crises, upheavals and disasters. Primacy abroad did not insulate them, convinced of their unique place in human history, from the trials and tribulations routinely befalling other, more ‘ordinary’ nations.

Yet neither did trials at home undermine the deep-seated belief that history had summoned the United States — and no one else — to lead the world. So even as presidents from Harry Truman to Barack Obama wrestled with pressing challenges at home (for Truman there was race and McCarthyism, for Obama race and the Great Recession), they all, without exception, testified to the nation’s indispensability. They deemed it their duty to do so. All, therefore, found ways to prevent domestic problems from encroaching upon America’s assertion of singularity among nations. Leading the world took precedence over addressing the contradictions and shortcomings affecting the American way of life. So from 1945 until the end of the 20th century, creating ‘a more perfect Union’ took a back seat to venturing ‘abroad, in search of monsters to destroy’.

Whatever the turmoil on the home front, this conviction that the United States was called upon to exercise global leadership remained unwavering. Even in 1968, when assassinations, racial unrest and widespread opposition to a deeply unpopular war brought the nation precariously close to unraveling, the conviction held. Two decades later, the fall of the Berlin Wall seemingly validated that conviction for all time. We were indeed, as presumably serious US officials proclaimed, the ‘indispensable nation’ and destined to remain so until the end of time. So we were led to believe.

Now, a mere three decades since the end of the Cold War delivered its seemingly decisive verdict, the barrier between what happens ‘out there’ and what happens ‘back here’ has been breached. Foreign policy and domestic matters are becoming intermingled. As a direct consequence, American global leadership appears noticeably rickety.

At a moment when media coverage suggests that Trump is everything and everything is Trump, it’s important to note that this intermingling dates from long before his presidency. It commenced on 9/11 when an event that was never supposed to happen — a devastating attack on the United States itself — did happen. Americans suddenly awakened to the fact that global leadership as practiced by the United States can produce painful blowback.

Reinforcing this shock to the system were other unpleasant surprises. First came wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that the world’s mightiest military was supposed to win but did not, despite sustaining terrible casualties and expending trillions of dollars. Second came episodes of stunning ineptitude by political authorities. Hurricane Katrina provided one example among many, showing that the people in charge were clueless about how to protect the population for which they were responsible. Hard on the heels of Katrina came the worst economic crisis since the Depression, suggesting that the people charged with managing the economy were incompetent, on the take, or both.

In 2016, the electorate responded by repudiating the establishment, voting into office a thoroughly unqualified presidential wannabe who promised to ‘drain the swamp’ and put ‘America First’. Donald Trump has kept neither of those promises. As the end of his first term approaches, the actual legacy of his presidency has now become clear: yet more ineptitude, cluelessness and incompetence, all reinforced by Trump’s trademark narcissism, vulgarity, blustering tough-guy posturing and casual dissembling.

History will doubtless judge Trump harshly. As US president, he has proven to be an abysmal flop. Trump has failed to end the wars he vowed to end. For all his self- touted skills as a dealmaker, his record consists chiefly of unfulfilled promises. He also failed to address effectively — or even acknowledge — the threat posed by COVID-19. As a direct consequence of his administration’s belated and bungling response to the pandemic, the death toll in the United States now exceeds a staggering 125,000. Trump, of course, accepts no responsibility for that outcome. Coming hard on the heels of the pandemic is the worst economic calamity since Herbert Hoover occupied the White House almost a century ago. Hoover ‘owned’ the Great Depression. So too Trump ‘owns’ the economic consequences of the Great Lockdown. Yet again he refuses accountability.

And finally, there is Trump’s typically callous and ham-handed response to the wave of civil unrest triggered by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Looking back on the nation’s recent past, baffled Americans are left to ponder two questions: how could this have happened? And what can we do to escape from the terrible straits in which we find ourselves?

 

A partial answer to the first question is this: for too long, ruling elites allowed the purported obligations of global leadership to take precedence over tending to the collective wellbeing of the American people. This was a conscious choice made by leaders of both political parties. We are now living with the consequences of that choice, with the persistence of racism offering just one example of what neglect has produced. Yet it deserves to be emphasized: the neglect was not Trump’s doing; he was merely its ironic beneficiary. We are its victims.

A preliminary answer to the second question must begin with this admission: the era of US dominion has now passed. So Americans can no longer afford to indulge in the fiction of their indispensability, cherished in elite circles. In fact, the sun has set on the American empire. Subordinating the wellbeing of the American people to ostensible imperatives of global leadership — thereby allowing racism, inequality, and other problems to fester at home — has become intolerable.

A massive reordering of national priorities is required. It goes without saying that Trump is incapable of presiding over any such reordering. Yet whether anyone else in mainstream politics is capable of doing so remains very much an open question.

Be seeing you

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Bunessan – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on July 1, 2020

But more importantly it is you who matter. Between your ears, developed over years of struggle, redrafting, learning, trialing, erring, and learning some more, has your life philosophy been developed — and dare I say praying. If you’ve found your way to this hidden corner of life where this piece of writing lives, then I have little question about the next: the world needs to hear more from you and less from the people who can offer little more than data.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/07/allan-stevo/bunessan/

By

In a hymnal, every song represents someone who took hours to craft it — maybe weeks, maybe months — who then spent even more time sharing it with others. Many others went through this process, failing along the way.

Text was added and changed, tunes were tweaked. A great deal of human effort and sacrifice later, it appeared in a hymnal to be sung by you.

Someone forsook other activity for the activity it took to make that hymn a reality. Imagine the amount of passion represented by one of those hymns in that heavy book you hoist each Sunday.

This process, by-and-large, is not a well structured process. There is no right way to get it done.

Many pieces of writing you read — articles, essays, poems — go through a similar process. While our era is one that acts to “professionalize” every human activity, writing largely remains an exception.

In a hymnbook hundreds of hymns in length, you might have some people who have ten hymns to their credit. Each hymnal you pick up therefore represents the work of hundreds of people who were so moved that they put in the effort to make each of those hymns a reality.

Bunessan is the name of a small Scottish village. A tune was sung there. Someone sang that tune first. Long after that, someone put words to that tune that were different from the original. A translator, Lachlan Macbean, affixed the name Bunessan to the tune in the 1880s. In time, it became the tune for a widely known church hymn, a beloved one at that.

Imagine what it would be like for the long-deceased person who first sang that tune to a crying baby to be able to see a full church singing that song.

Imagine what it would be like for that person hearing Cat Stevens sing it to a full stadium alongside the words for “Morning Has Broken.”

Imagine what it would be like to know that millions a day sing that song in churches.

There are activities that work better than others to make your dreams a reality. 

In our lives, we are called on to do our best and work our hardest and smartest for as long as we can. That is the very best we can do. We have no idea where the ripples set in motion by our life may come to an end. Nor can we know which decisions in our lives will make the most ripples. Anyone who has attended a funeral in memory of a life well-lived knows how true that is.

We are in a historical moment.  Two powerful ideologies are in conflict with one another. A level of conflict never seen in the United States in time of peace. The outcome of this moment will decide many moments hence.

Medical doctors and epidemiologists, statisticians and modelers have opinions, but their opinions matter fairly little. Not one. Not a committee full. Not dozens of committees full.

The committees don’t matter. Their PhDs don’t matter. Their credentials don’t matter. They can’t offer what the moment calls for.

It is the philosopher who must be turned to. It is the writer. It is the thinker. They may have something to offer.

But more importantly it is you who matter. Between your ears, developed over years of struggle, redrafting, learning, trialing, erring, and learning some more, has your life philosophy been developed — and dare I say praying. If you’ve found your way to this hidden corner of life where this piece of writing lives, then I have little question about the next: the world needs to hear more from you and less from the people who can offer little more than data.

Data divorced from wisdom is futile. America in the spring of 2020 is futile. Turning the country over to Silicon Valley is futile. Letting public health officials, econometricians, and modelers of omniscient algorithms command the details of life is futile. All they offer is data divorced from wisdom.

People who have lived lives seeking wisdom, people who have lived lives giving themselves time to learn, people who have sought space to learn from the world, are the people most needed right now. If the best you can offer the world in a moment of crisis is a spreadsheet, then you aren’t the right answer.

In our increasingly specialized world, it is infrequent to see the data gather also be a student of wisdom. As many data gatherers have learned in the spring of 2020, using unapproved wisdom to interpret the data will not be tolerated.

The more rural, the better. Not everyone rural gets it. The more religious, the better. Not everyone religious gets it. The more relaxed, the better. Not everyone relaxed gets it. The older, the better. Not everyone old gets it. The more you combine these characteristics, and a few others, the more likely you are to find wisdom.

If you want wisdom, go back and find the woman who first sang the tune of Bunessan. Don’t let her be subjected to a moment of media fear or pharmaceutical promises to save the world. Tell her “A sickness is spreading. Some people are falling ill. Some are even dying. What do I do?” In the midst of her answer, you are promised more wisdom than any type-A, young or young-wannabe, urban, well-diplomaed, intellectual will be able to offer you.

All they can offer you, with few exceptions, are data, and the mistaken belief that enough data can provide wisdom.

The two are not precedent to one another. The two are differing concepts. Just like claiming that enough guns will bring justice, or enough medical procedures will bring health, or enough sex will bring love. The two — data and wisdom — can travel together, but the former will not suffice at bringing the latter.

You do the best you can with what you have. You do it as much as possible. 

Eventually the Bunessans emerge as treasures in the world.

But it’s not data that gets you there.

In A Moveable Feast, Hemingway described a type of person one could find at the Louvre: “the measuring worm.”

“About a week afterwards I met Miss Stein and told her I’d met Wyndham Lewis and

asked her if she had ever met him.

“’I call him the Measuring Worm’,’ she said. ‘He

comes over from London and he sees a good picture and takes a pencil out of his pocket

and you watch him measuring it on the pencil with his thumb. Sighting on it and

measuring it and seeing exactly how it is done. Then he goes back to London and does it

and it doesn’t come out right. He’s missed what it’s all about.’

“So I thought of him as the Measuring Worm. It was a kinder and more Christian term

than what I had thought about him myself.”

We live in an era that elevates the measuring worm. Under their unchallenged guidance, spring 2020 reminded us why that should never again happen. If the lesson did not register with enough people, it is sure to be repeated until it does.

One of the most commonly mentioned promises of our modern era is that of artificial intelligence. At the root of this promise is that data can bring wisdom. It can’t. Artificial intelligence assures us that enough data will eventually provide wisdom. The reality is, you will only end up with a computer with a great deal of data about you, and perhaps, as a result, a lot of power and influence, but ultimately missing “what it’s all about.”

Akin to this thinking about AI, similar thinking in our modern era says that more guns in the hands of more government will bring about justice. The same wisdom assures us that more sex, earlier in life, later in life, sooner after an introduction, and with more people, will bring more love.

In all three examples, the two are qualitatively different. Quantity will not bridge that gap. Artificial intelligence is one of the many examples of quantitative-qualitative inversions in our era. Quantitative-qualitative inversions are examples of people asking the wrong questions, and consequently missing “what it’s all about”:

How do we have more Bunessan?

How do we live better?

How do we love more and do better for others around us?

These are fundamental questions.

Allowing ourselves to be swept up in our era’s blind drive for data at the hands of disaffected nerds who demand influence over our lives ensures that we will miss what it’s all about.

As the Ides of March 2020 arrived, the country where some believe the pinnacle of human advancement to date can be found, the United States, has shown the world how much more concerned so many are with data than wisdom.

Do you happen to know the way to Bunessan?

I assure you this road we are on is not it.

Be seeing you

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Pretend ‘Defund the Police’ Movement, and the Real One – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on July 1, 2020

What we need is a separation of police and state.

We need an end to victimless crimes, which are a major source of unjust profiling and harassment. You cannot meaningfully “defund the police” while still intending to harass the public with an endless array of intrusions and regulations.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/07/thomas-woods/the-pretend-defund-the-police-movement-and-the-real-one/

By

The conversation about the future of the police shifted dramatically after the death of George Floyd on May 25. At first most people doubtless assumed that activists would demand a series of reforms to American police departments. And yet before we knew it, the call to “defund the police” was being heard everywhere.

So far, though, calls to defund the police have been fraught with confusion.

On social media, curious observers have wondered how people will acquire security services in the absence of police. In response, many defenders of the “defund the police” cause have impatiently lectured them (“do your research!”), explaining that of course defunding the police doesn’t mean reducing their budget to zero. “Defund the police” means the police will be funded, but we’ll just rethink the way they operate.

Have these people ever looked up the word “defund” in the dictionary?

But others, meanwhile, seem genuine in literally wanting to defund the police.

The president of the Minneapolis City Council, for example, said she looked forward to a “police-free future,” and therefore does appear to have wanted to defund the police in the ordinary sense of the word. But when asked what people should do if their homes are invaded, replied that, well, maybe it’s about time they got a taste of how the marginalized feel.

Still others say we need social workers to do some of the work we’ve been assigning to police.

Oh, that sounds great. So instead of shooting your dog, they’ll take your children away.

These are not very good answers, to say the least.

Yet the cause of defunding the police is not without merit. It is the correct view, in fact. The problem with the standard proposals is that they are not nearly radical enough.

What we need is a separation of police and state.

We need an end to victimless crimes, which are a major source of unjust profiling and harassment. You cannot meaningfully “defund the police” while still intending to harass the public with an endless array of intrusions and regulations.

Now to be sure, there are reforms that can be made that can do some good.

We can start by demilitarizing the police, both in equipment and in approach. We might decentralize police forces and make sure officers live in the neighborhoods they patrol, thereby reducing the chances of misunderstanding and conflict, and increasing the likelihood of nonviolent conflict resolution.

The recent challenge to “qualified immunity,” a doctrine that makes it easier for police to get away with rights violations and more difficult to hold them accountable, should be supported.

We should confront police unions and recognize their role in establishing provisions that obstruct police accountability.

But as long as we refuse to entertain original thoughts, and instead stay wedded to the monopoly model for police, there will be problems. The predictable results of any monopoly are less satisfactory service at ever-higher prices. There is no reason to expect that security provision to be any different.

Want to defund the police? Start by busting the monopoly.

Be seeing you

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

When New York Times Reporter Was Chief Propagandist for Atomic Bomb – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on June 30, 2020

It was the beginning of the decades-long official suppression of key evidence and falsifications, including the sabotaging – by President Truman and the military – of the first movie drama on the bomb, from MGM, the subject of my new book The Beginning or the End: How Hollywood – and America – Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

https://original.antiwar.com/greg-mitchell/2020/06/29/when-new-york-times-reporter-was-chief-propagandist-for-atomic-bomb/

William L. Laurence earned the nickname “Atomic Bill” several times over. He was a Pulitzer-winning New York Times science reporter who became embedded with the Manhattan Project and followed its creation of the first atomic bombs at several sites around the United States. As the first use of the new weapon against Japan neared, seventy-five summers ago, he wrote several lengthy articles glorifying the Bomb and the men who made it, which were published, with overwhelming impact, by his newspaper (and others across the country) starting on August 7, 1945.

Then, on August 9, he observed the atomic bombing of Nagasaki from one of the support planes, another unique experience. Later he wrote about that for the Times – again, an account that required government clearance. It expressed wonderment and pride in the death-dealing device, without concern for the tens of thousands of civilians who died below. As always, Laurence provided colorful depictions of the bomb’s blast and visual effects with little focus on its startling radiation dangers.

Less well-known: Laurence continued his role as chief bomb cheerleader weeks after the Nagasaki bomb exploded.

To that point, U.S. officials had downplayed Japanese casualties in the two atomic cities and largely pooh-poohed Japanese “propaganda” claims on the lingering effects of radiation exposure and accounts of thousands perishing from some new “plague.”  A US general, Thomas Farrell, had toured the ruins in Hiroshima and wrongly claimed Japanese reports of at least 100,000 killed there were wildly inflated – and that only a handful died due to radiation effects.

It was the beginning of the decades-long official suppression of key evidence and falsifications, including the sabotaging – by President Truman and the military – of the first movie drama on the bomb, from MGM, the subject of my new book The Beginning or the End: How Hollywood – and America – Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

William L. Laurence and General Leslie Groves

On September 9, 1945, Laurence toured the Trinity test site, in New Mexico, where the United States tested its first atomic weapon on July 16, with General Leslie Groves and physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer. The top-secret area finally had been opened to journalists.

Two weeks earlier, President Truman’s secretary, Charles G. Ross, had sent a memo to the War Department urging the military to recruit a group of reporters to explore the test site. “This might be a good thing to do in view of continuing propaganda from Japan,” Ross wrote.

Now General Groves, who believed the reports of radiation disease from Japan were a “hoax,” was personally escorting some of the newsmen near ground zero. His driver, a young soldier named Patrick Stout, spent several minutes in the crater of the blast and was photographed, smiling.

Laurence’s account of this visit (delayed three days until September 12  due to a censorship review) disclosed quite frankly why he and thirty other journalists had been invited: to “give lie to” Japanese “propaganda” that ” radiations were responsible for deaths even after” the Hiroshima attack, as he wrote.   He quoted General Groves calling any deaths by radiation in Japan as “very small.” (In truth, the total was probably 20,000 or more in the two bombed cities.)

General Groves had expressly asked the reporters to assist him in this effort, and they did not disappoint him. (He was also in the process of securing script approval on that MGM movie about the bomb.) Geiger counters showed that surface radiation, after nearly two months, had “dwindled to a minute quantity, safe for continuous human habitation,” Laurence asserted. He did introduce one bit of contrary information: the reporters had been advised to wear canvas overshoes to protect against radiation burns.

But Laurence was keeping a lot to himself. Embedded with the Manhattan Project for months, he was the only reporter who knew about the fallout scare surrounding the Trinity test: scientists in jeeps chasing a radioactive cloud, Geiger counters clicking off the scale, a mule that became paralyzed. Here was the nation’s leading science reporter, severely compromised, not only unable but disinclined to reveal all he knew about the potential hazards of the most important scientific discovery of his time.   In his report he repeatedly used the word “propaganda” to describe Japan’s claims, the debunking of reported symptoms of radiation disease, the explicit claim that the bomb had to be dropped to end the war.

The press tour, in fact, had “an oddly reassuring effect,” the New York Times observed in an editorial. Still, a scientist informed the young soldier, Patrick Stout, who stood in the crater during the press tour, that he had been exposed to dangerous levels of radioactivity. Twenty-two years later Stout became ill and was diagnosed with leukemia. The military, apparently acknowledging radiation as the cause, granted him “service-connected” disability compensation. Stout died in 1969.

W.L. Laurence would win another Pulitzer for his Bomb-related reporting in 1945.

Be seeing you

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Of Two Minds – Forget the V, W or L Recovery: Focus on N-P-B

Posted by M. C. on June 30, 2020

The only realistic Plan B is a fundamental, permanent re-ordering of the cost structure of the entire U.S. economy. Call it DeGrowth, or creative destruction, or disruption if you prefer, but whatever name we use, the reality will be extraordinarily disruptive, uncertain, risky and unpredictable.

https://oftwominds.cloudhostedresources.com/?ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.lewrockwell.com%2F2020%2F06%2Fcharles-hugh-smith%2Fforget-the-v-w-or-l-recovery-focus-on-n-p-b%2F&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.oftwominds.com%2Fblogjune20%2Fno-planB6-20.html

Charles Hugh Smith

The only realistic Plan B is a fundamental, permanent re-ordering of the cost structure of the entire U.S. economy.

The fantasy of a V-shaped recovery has evaporated, and expectations for a W or L-shaped recovery are increasingly untenable. So forget V, W and L; the letters that will shape the future are N, P, B: there is No Plan B .

All the hopes for a recovery were based on a quick return to the economy that existed in late 2019. All the bailouts and stimulus programs were based on this single goal: a quick return to The Old Normal . This was Plan A.

For all the reasons that have been laid out here over the past six months, The Old Normal is gone for good. The Old Normal economy was too precarious, too brittle and too fragile to survive the toppling of any domino, as the only Plan A “solution” was to push destabilizing extremes to new extremes , i.e. doing more of what failed spectacularly and increasing the fragility of precariously fragile systems .

A short list of what’s been irreversibly destabilized due to a systemic collapse in demand, exponential rise in risk and uncertainty, dependence on over-indebtedness, imploding global supply chains, structural decline in income and employment and the rapid emergence of new business models that obsolete high-cost, inefficient, sclerotic, bureaucratic monopolies include:

1. Healthcare

2. Higher education

3. Commercial real estate

4. Tourism

5. Restaurants / live entertainment

6. Business travel / conferences

7. Office parks, commutes, urban work forces, etc.

8. High-cost urban lifestyles

We could also include entire sectors that have yet to recognize the tsunami that’s about to wash away their Old Normal: marketing, finance, local governance, etc.

The problem is there’s no Plan B for anything in the U.S. economy. There is only Plan A, a return to 2019 / The Old Normal . If that’s no longer possible, there is literally nothing left on the policy / response plate.

What nobody dares even ask is: what businesses and industries will still be financially viable running at 50% capacity? How many cafes, restaurants, resorts, airlines, etc. will turn a profit operating at 50% capacity? How many can not just survive half of the seats being empty, but turn a profit?

The short answer is very few, because the operating costs of most businesses are unbearably high. The likely survivors are those enterprises with low fixed costs and low operating costs– enterprises that own their facilities in locales with low property taxes, and enterprises that can be run by the owners without employees.

How many enterprises have these kinds of barebones cost structures? Very few.

For most enterprises, the only way they can lower their costs to a level that enables their survival is to cut costs by half: cut rent, mortgages, debt service, property taxes, fees, utilities, insurance, etc. by half.

That would mean everyone down the line would have to survive on half of their previous revenues: landlords, banks, local municipalities, service providers, and so on.

How many of these institutions and enterprises could survive on 50% of their previous revenues?

The only realistic Plan B is a fundamental, permanent re-ordering of the cost structure of the entire U.S. economy. Call it DeGrowth, or creative destruction, or disruption if you prefer, but whatever name we use, the reality will be extraordinarily disruptive, uncertain, risky and unpredictable.

As many of us has explained over the years, unstable, brittle, fragile systems characterized by soaring inequality, pay-to-play political corruption and dependence on debt, leverage and speculative bubbles were unsustainable.

Plan B can be a chaotic mess of denial and failed half-measures that only make all the problems worse, or it can be a positive transformation that results in a society that does more with less. The choice is ours.

Be seeing you

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Now It’s Woodrow Wilson’s Turn – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on June 30, 2020

Four years ago, Eisgruber rebuffed student demands to wipe Wilson’s name off the public policy institute, because, as he wrote last week, Wilson “transformed” Princeton “from a sleepy college to a world-class university.”

Talk of ingratitude! Woodrow Wilson is being dishonored today by the house that Woodrow Wilson built.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/06/patrick-j-buchanan/now-its-woodrow-wilsons-turn/

By

Now that statues of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, Grant and Theodore Roosevelt have been desecrated, vandalized, toppled and smashed, it appears Woodrow Wilson’s time has come.

The cultural revolution has come to the Ivy League.

Though Wilson attended Princeton as an undergraduate, taught there and served from 1902 to 1910 as president, his name is to be removed from Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs.

And why is this icon of American liberals to be so dishonored?

Because Thomas Woodrow Wilson disbelieved in racial equality.

Says Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber: “Wilson’s racist opinions and policies make him an inappropriate namesake.” Moreover, Wilson’s “racism was significant and consequential even by the standards of his own time.”

And what exactly were Wilson’s sins?

“Wilson was… a racist,” writes Eisgruber, who “discouraged black applicants from applying to Princeton. While president of the United States he segregated the previously integrated civil service.”

Another of Wilson’s crimes was overlooked by Eisgruber.

In February 1915, following a White House screening of “Birth of a Nation,” which depicted the Ku Klux Klan as heroic defenders of white womanhood in the South after the Civil War, a stunned Wilson said:

“It’s like writing history with lightning. My only regret is that it is all so terribly true.”

Princeton’s board of trustees has endorsed Eisgruber’s capitulation, declaring that Woodrow Wilson’s “racist thinking and policies make him an inappropriate namesake for a school or college whose scholars, students, and alumni must stand firmly against racism in all its form.”

Yet, as Wilson left the U.S. presidency a century ago and has been dead for 96 years, one wonders: Was Princeton unaware that Wilson had resegregated the civil service? When did Princeton discover this?

Wilson’s support of segregation was a matter of record in his own time and is a subject about which every biographer and historian of that period has been aware. When did Princeton discover that this Southern-born president, the most famous son in the school’s history, like so many of his presidential predecessors, did not believe in integration?

Four years ago, Eisgruber rebuffed student demands to wipe Wilson’s name off the public policy institute, because, as he wrote last week, Wilson “transformed” Princeton “from a sleepy college to a world-class university.”

Talk of ingratitude! Woodrow Wilson is being dishonored today by the house that Woodrow Wilson built.

Wilson was also a history-making liberal Democrat, a two-term president who took us into the Great War, advanced his “14 Points” as a basis for peace, became an architect of the Versailles Treaty, championed a League of Nations and won the Nobel Prize for Peace.

True, it did not all work out well.

Sold as “the war to end war” and “to make the world safe for democracy” Wilson took us in in April 1917 as an associate power of four empires. And rather than make the world safe for democracy, the war made the world that emerged accessible to Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini and Hitler.

Yet, if Wilson’s disbelief in equality is sufficient to get the most famous son Princeton produced from having his name on a public institute, this is likely just the beginning.

The Wilson Center, chartered by Congress in 1968, a nonpartisan policy forum led today by ex-Congresswoman Jane Harman, is the official memorial to President Wilson in Washington, D.C.

It, too, is likely to be headed for the chopping block.

One of the largest and most integrated public high schools in D.C. is Woodrow Wilson High, which has stood since before World War II in the northwest corner of the city. Is that name to be changed as well?

What of the D.C. Beltway’s Wilson Bridge, south of the city, which has brought traffic into, out of and around the capital for decades?

Will we need a name change there as well?

Theodore Roosevelt is under fire for his negative views of Native Americans. Yet, he, too, has a bridge over the Potomac named after him — and a D.C. high school as well.

The Key Bridge connects Georgetown to Virginia’s Lee Highway, which was named for General Robert E. Lee in 1919. The bridge is named after Francis Scott Key, author of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and whose statue was lately toppled in Golden Gate Park.

If support for segregation is a disqualification for honor in the new America, is it likely that the oldest of three Senate office buildings on Capitol Hill can remain named for Sen. Richard B. Russell of Georgia?

A confidant and ally of President Lyndon Johnson, Russell was a co-signer of the Southern Manifesto of 1956, which called for “massive resistance” to integrating public schools. Russell also voted against every major civil rights bill in his 40 years in the Senate.

If D.C. ever becomes a state surrounding the Capitol, Mall, White House and major monuments, look for the sweeping destruction of statues and monuments and a changing of the names of streets, parks and circles.

Where does the madness end?

Be seeing you

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

‘The God That Failed’: Why the U.S. Cannot Now Re-Impose Its Civilisational Worldview — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on June 30, 2020

Tucker Carlson, a leading American conservative commentator known for plain speaking, frames the movement a little differently: “This is not a momentary civil disturbance. This is a serious, and highly organized political movement … It is deep and profound and has vast political ambitions. It is insidious, it will grow. Its goal is to end liberal democracy and challenge western civilization itself … We’re too literal and good-hearted to understand what’s happening … We have no idea what we are up against … These are not protests. This is a totalitarian political movement”.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/06/29/god-that-failed-why-us-cannot-now-re-impose-its-civilisational-worldview/

Alastair Crooke

It was always a paradox: John Stuart Mill, in his seminal (1859), On Liberty, never doubted that a universal civilisation, grounded in liberal values, was the eventual destination of all of humankind. He looked forward to an ‘Exact Science of Human Nature’, which would formulate laws of psychology and society as precise and universal as those of the physical sciences. Yet, not only did that science never emerge, in today’s world, such social ‘laws’ are taken as strictly (western) cultural constructs, rather than as laws or science.

So, not only was the claim to universal civilisation not supported by evidence, but the very idea of humans sharing a common destination (‘End of Times’) is nothing more than an apocalyptic remnant of Latin Christianity, and of one minor current in Judaism. Mill’s was always a matter of secularized religion – faith – rather than empiricism. A shared human ‘destination’ does not exist in Orthodox Christianity, Taoism or Buddhism. It could never therefore qualify as universal.

Liberal core tenets of individual autonomy, freedom, industry, free trade and commerce essentially reflected the triumph of the Protestant worldview in Europe’s 30-years’ civil war. It was not fully even a Christian view, but more a Protestant one.

This narrow, sectarian pillar was able to be projected into a universal project – only so long as it was underpinned by power. In Mill’s day, the civilisational claim served Europe’s need for colonial validation. Mill tacitly acknowledges this when he validates the clearing of the indigenous American populations for not having tamed the wilderness, nor made the land productive.

However, with America’s Cold War triumph – that had by then become a cynical framework for U.S. ‘soft power’ – acquired a new potency. The merits of America’s culture, and way of life, seemed to acquire practical validation through the implosion of the USSR.

But today, with America’s soft power collapsed – not even the illusion of universalism can be sustained. Other states are coming forward, offering themselves as separate, equally compelling ‘civilisational’ states. It is clear that even were the classic liberal Establishment to win in the November U.S. elections, America no longer has claim to path-find a New World Order.

Yet, should this secularised Protestant current be over – beware! Because its subterranean, unconscious religiosity is the ‘ghost at the table’ today. It is returning in a new guise.

The ‘old illusion’ cannot continue, because its core values are being radicalised, stood on their head, and turned into the swords with which to impale classic American and European liberals (and U.S. Christian Conservatives). It is now the younger generation of American woke liberals who are asserting vociferously not merely that the old liberal paradigm is illusory, but that it was never more than ‘a cover’ hiding oppression – whether domestic, or colonial, racist or imperial; a moral stain that only redemption can cleanse.

It is an attack – which coming from within – forecloses on any U.S. moral, soft power, global leadership aspirations. For with the illusion exploded, and nothing in its place, a New World Order cannot coherently be formulated.

Not content with exposing the illusion, the woke generation are also tearing down, and shredding, the flags at the masthead: Freedom and prosperity achieved via the liberal market.

‘Freedom’ is being torn down from within. Dissidents from the woke ideology, are being ‘called out’, made to repent on the knee, or face reputational or economic ruin. It is ‘soft totalitarianism’. It recalls one of Dostoevsky’s characters – at a time when Russian progressives were discrediting traditional institutions – who, in a celebrated line, says: “I got entangled in my data … Starting from unlimited freedom, I conclude with unlimited despotism”.

Even ‘science’ has become a ‘God that failed’; instead of being the path to liberty, it has become a dark soulless path toward unfreedom. From algorithms that ‘cost’ the value of human lives, versus the ‘costing’ of lockdown; from secret ‘Black Box’ algos that limit distribution of news and thinking, to Bill Gates’ vaccination ID project, science now portends despotic social control, rather than a fluttering standard, hoist as the symbol of freedom.

But the most prominent of these flags, torn down, cannot be blamed on the woke generation. There has been no ‘prosperity for all’ – only distortions and warped structures. There are not even free markets. The Fed and the U.S. Treasury simply print new money, and hand it out to select recipients. There is no means now to attribute ‘worth’ to financial assets. Their value simply is that which Central Government is willing to pay for bonds, or grant in bail-outs.

Wow. ‘The God who failed’ (André Gide’s book title) – a crash of idols. One wonders now, what is the point to that huge financial eco-system known as Wall Street. Why not winnow it down to a couple of entities, say, Blackrock and KKR (hedge funds), and leave it to them to distribute the Fed’s freshly-printed ‘boodle’ amongst friends? Liberal markets no more – and many fewer jobs.

Many commentators have noted the wokes’ absence of vision for the future. Some describe them in highly caustic terms:

“Today, America’s tumbrils are clattering about, carrying toppled statues, ruined careers, unwoke brands. Over their sides peer those deemed racist by left-wing identitarians and sentenced to cancelation, even as the evidentiary standard for that crime falls through the floor … But who are these cultural revolutionaries? The conventional wisdom goes that this is the inner-cities erupting, economically disadvantaged victims of racism enraged over the murder of George Floyd. The reality is something more … bourgeoisie. As Kevin Williamson observed last week, “These are the idiot children of the American ruling class, toy radicals and Champagne Bolsheviks, playing Jacobin for a while, until they go back to graduate school”.

Is that so? I well recall listening in the Middle East to other angry young men who, too, wanted to ‘topple the statues’; to burn down everything. ‘You really believed that Washington would allow you … in’, they taunted and tortured their leaders: “No, we must burn it all down. Start from scratch”.

Did they have a blueprint for the future? No. They simply believed that Islam would organically inflate, and expand to fill the void. It would happen by itself – of its own accord: Faith.

Professor John Gray has noted “that in The God that failed, Gide says: ‘My faith in communism is like my faith in religion. It is a promise of salvation for mankind’’. “Here Gide acknowledged”, Gray continues, “that communism was an atheist version of monotheism. But so is liberalism, and when Gide and others gave up faith in communism to become liberals, they were not renouncing the concepts and values that both ideologies had inherited from western religion. They continued to believe that history was a directional process in which humankind was advancing towards universal freedom”.

So too with the wokes. The emphasis is on Redemption; on a Truth catharsis; on their own Virtue as sufficient agency to stand-in for the lack of plan for the future. All are clear signals: A secularised ‘illusion’ is metamorphosing back into ‘religion’. Not as Islam, of course, but as angry Man, burning at the deep and dark moral stain of the past. And acting now as purifying ‘fire’ to bring about the uplifting and shining future ahead.

Tucker Carlson, a leading American conservative commentator known for plain speaking, frames the movement a little differently: “This is not a momentary civil disturbance. This is a serious, and highly organized political movement … It is deep and profound and has vast political ambitions. It is insidious, it will grow. Its goal is to end liberal democracy and challenge western civilization itself … We’re too literal and good-hearted to understand what’s happening … We have no idea what we are up against … These are not protests. This is a totalitarian political movement”.

Again, nothing needs to be done by this new generation to bring into being a new world, apart from destroying the old one. This vision is a relic – albeit secularised – of western Christianity. Apocalypse and redemption, these wokes believe, have their own path; their own internal logic.

Mill’s ‘ghost’ is arrived at the table. And with its return, America’s exceptionalism has its re-birth. Redemption for humankind’s dark stains. A narrative in which the history of mankind is reduced to the history of racial struggle. Yet Americans, young or old, now lack the power to project it as a universal vision.

‘Virtue’, however deeply felt, on its own, is insufficient. Might President Trump try nevertheless to sustain the old illusion by hard power? The U.S. is deeply fractured and dysfunctional – but if desperate, this is possible.

The “toy radicals, and Champagne Bolsheviks” – in these terms of dripping disdain from Williamson – are very similar to those who rushed into the streets in 1917. But before dismissing them so peremptorily and lightly, recall what occurred.

Into that combustible mass of youth – so acultured by their progressive parents to see a Russian past that was imperfect and darkly stained – a Trotsky and Lenin were inserted. And Stalin ensued. No ‘toy radicals’. Soft became hard totalitarianism.

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

To Understand BLM – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on June 30, 2020

Why is it BLM’s aim to disrupt ordinary families, and not to promote families with fathers?

Why does BLM focus on black women and largely ignore black men?

Why is BLM’s leadership Marxist and trained to be Marxist?

Why is BLM willing to attack images of Jesus and religious places of worship?

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/06/michael-s-rozeff/to-understand-blm/

By

“The Black Lives Matter movement (BLM) casts itself as a spontaneous uprising born of inner city frustration, but is, in fact, the latest and most dangerous face of a web of well-funded communist/socialist organizations that have been agitating against America for decades.”

However, if you do not believe that conclusion and the evidence leading to it, then to understand the true nature of BLM, ask questions like the following and reach your own conclusion.

Why is the BLM aim to defund police, and not to defund the War on Drugs? The latter is what fills the prisons with black lives.

Why is BLM willing to defund police without having a viable alternative system?

Why does BLM aim to tear down the policing of black communities, including that which is directed at violent crimes?

Why does BLM want to release violent criminals from prisons?

Why is BLM so dead set against people who have built up wealth?

Why does BLM want reparations from whites, whoever they may be, when they cannot possibly identify past perpetrators and link them to victims in the present?

Why does BLM blame everything relating to black people on racism, when this case cannot be rationally sustained?

Why does BLM disregard rational argument and replace it with rhetoric, slogans and demands?

Why is it BLM’s aim to disrupt ordinary families, and not to promote families with fathers?

Why does BLM focus on black women and largely ignore black men?

Why is BLM’s leadership Marxist and trained to be Marxist?

Why does BLM paint today’s society as systemically racist when it is not?

Why does BLM promote the fiction that faulty theories of race that used to be prevalent generations ago are at work discriminating against black people today?

Why does BLM attack capitalism, free enterprise and free markets?

Why does BLM violently attack speech that opposes their views?

Why doesn’t BLM dissociate itself from antifa and its violence?

Why doesn’t BLM condemn rioting and looting, especially that which destroys black businesses and communities?

Why is BLM willing to burn down the system?

Why is BLM willing to attack images of Jesus and religious places of worship?

Why is BLM not transparent financially? Why do they conceal their financial statements?

Why does a BLM leader speak of forming a military arm?

Be seeing you

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »