Peter Van Buren


Souce: The American Conservative

The virus is a threat. Yet at the same time, we are making fundamental changes to society that will outlive the virus. It is not only possible to hold these two ideas in mind at once, it is vital.

Only two weeks ago, I had an hourly paid, part-time job. That made me a lot like the 60 percent of the American workforce who are also hourly employees, not to mention independent contractors, adjuncts, and the massive undocumented labor force behind our farms, hotels, and restaurants. The government ordered us to stop working and we did. Nobody is entirely sure if they can just do that, but they did. Now we wait like baby birds for that same government to drop checks into our mouths. Overnight we went from workers to dependent on handouts. The balance of power between Americans and their government just changed dramatically.

Perhaps the clearest example has taken place among teachers, who from kindergarten through college worked frantically on their own time to eliminate the need for classrooms and move instruction online. Something that might have been rejected as unacceptable six months ago, or expected to take years under normal circumstances, was done overnight at no

Souce: The American Conservative

Customers rush to purchase toilet paper at a Target store during the panic shopping in Orlando, Florida. ( Paul Hennessy / Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

I’m not worried about the guy coughing next to me. I’m worried about the ones who seem to be looking for Jim Jones.

Jones was the charismatic founder of the cult-like People’s Temple. Through fear-based control, he took his followers’ money and ran their lives. He isolated them in Guyana where he convinced over 900 of them to commit suicide by drinking cyanide-laced grape Kool Aid. Frightened people can be made to do anything. They just need a Jim Jones.

So it is more than a little scary that media zampolit Rick Wilson wrote to his 753,000 Twitter followers: “People who sank into their fear of Trump, who defended every outrage, who put him before what they knew was right, and pretended this chaos and corruption was a glorious new age will pay a terrible price. They deserve it.” The tweet was liked over 82,000 times.

The New York Times claims that “the specter of death speeds across the globe, ‘Appointment in Samara’-style, ever faster, culling the most vulnerable.” Others are claiming Trump

Souce: The American Conservative

Former Vice President Joe Biden, sided by Dr. Jill Biden delivers remarks at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, PA on March 10, 2020. (Photo by Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

How did the Democrats end up with Joe Biden as their presumptive nominee?

After three years of preparatory media fire about diversity and change, and chumming the electorate with promises of free college alongside all the health care-they-care-to-eat, Democrats started with six women, a couple of black people, the gay guy, and progressive ideas ranging from the necessary to the kooky. The full list included 30 players.

They ended up choosing a candidate left over from 1958. Joe Biden is old, he’s tired, he lost the race for president twice already (once for plagiarism and once for lying about his education), and he appears to be in some state of cognitive decline. Between the hair plugs and the botox, he looks waxy, like grandpa putting himself out there for one last fling after Grandma Obama passed away, God rest her soul.

The Democrats’ entire premise is false. They misunderstood Trump’s election as a fluke if not an outright scam. This was sustained by a relatively small group of disconnected

Souce: The American Conservative

(Original Caption) Trenton, N.J.: A small group of parents protesting the admission of children with aids to public schools pickets in front of the State Department of Education which has ordered local districts to admit children suffering from aids.

Nothing is more viral than fear. Fear—fight or flight–is a terrible way to make decisions that call for time, science, and rational thinking. Want to screw up a public health crisis? Let fear drive.

Democrats, Pavlovian conditioned by years of believing everything Trump does is “an existential threat,” are about twice as likely as Republicans to say the coronavirus poses an imminent danger. Make a joke of it—pandemic or Dempanic—but one’s political party should not affect how we respond to an epidemic.

“Our hyper-polarization is so strong that we don’t even assess a potential health crisis in the same way. And so it impedes our ability to address it,” saidsaid Jennifer McCoy, a Georgia State political science professor who studies polarization.

 “I am not scared of Covid-19,” Abdu Sharkawy, an infectious disease expertat the University of Toronto in Canada,an infectious disease expert wrote. “I am scared about the loss of reason and wave of fear that has induced the masses of

Souce: The American Conservative

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci, Vice President Mike Pence, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield and Surgeon General Jerome Adams look on during a news conference at the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House February 29, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Everyone settle down. Welcome back to Propaganda and the Death of Media 101. Its, um, March 9, 2024. Now we were discussing the role of propaganda and the media in the re-election of Donald Trump by tying his leadership to a global pandemic. Propaganda in these cases seeks to diminish people’s view of a leader’s competence. The ultimate goal is to influence you to vote him out. The word “influenza” even comes from the Italian word for “influence.”

Okay class, let’s start by contrasting the media-induced panic of 2020 with 2009 under Obama. The first cases of the swine flu, H1N1, appeared in April 2009. By the time Obama finally declared a national emergency that fall, the CDC reported that 50 million Americans, one in six people, had been infected and

Souce: The American Conservative

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren (L), former Vice President Joe Biden (C) and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders participate of the seventh Democratic primary debate in Des Moines, Iowa on January 14, 2020. (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

The chaos of the primaries, the lack of a clear party vision in the last debate—are Democrats a progressive party, a party of moderates, a plaything for billionaires, or just people sniping each other for virtue points? It is time for concern.

Politics is always about the biggest story you tell and how voters see themselves in that story. If the Democrats lose in November, one of the main reasons—and the competition is strong—will be that they’ve gotten trapped inside a set of false narratives. Or they’re, in the words of James Carville, “Losing our damn minds.”

Think how powerful the narratives of “Morning in America” and “Hope and Change” were, and contrast those with the Dems’ “things suck more than you realize, people,” and you see where this is headed.

At the top of the list is the economy. The Democratic narrative is that the economy is bad, with a recession just around the corner (or maybe the corner

Souce: The American Conservative

Former CIA director John Brennan (2nd L) and former director of National Intelligence James Clapper (R) arrive at a closed hearing before the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee May 16, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Russians are back, alongside the American intelligence agencies playing deep inside our elections. Who should we fear more? Hint: not the Russians.

On February 13, the election security czar in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) briefed the House Intelligence Committee that the Russians were meddling again and that they favored Donald Trump. A few weeks earlier, the ODNI briefed Bernie Sanders that the Russians were also meddling in the Democratic primaries, this time in his favor. Both briefings remained secret until this past week, when the former was leaked to the New York Times in time to smear Trump for replacing his DNI, and the latter leaked to the Washington Post ahead of the Nevada caucuses to try and damage Sanders.

Russiagate is back, baby. Everyone welcome Russiagate II.

You didn’t think after 2016 the bad boys of the intel “community” (which makes it sound like they all live together down in Florida somewhere)

Souce: The American Conservative

Every day, Manhattan denizens stoically navigate 80,000 vagrants at the epicenter of economic equality.

New York is America’s richest city and is Ground Zero in how economic inequality is reshaping every day of our lives. 

NYC is home to 70 billionaires, more than any other American city. Living among those billionaires (NYC is also home to nearly one million millionaires, more than any other city in the world) the city also has the highest homeless population of any American metropolis, close to 80,000 and growing. The number of homeless single adults today is 142 percent higher than it was ten years ago, and currently at the highest level since the Great Depression.

Some 3,000 human beings make their full-time home in the subway system. Their belongings crowd out morning commuters. In the winter many never emerge above ground. A visitor from outer space would be forgiven for thinking they weren’t even human, recognizable as just a head emerging from a urine-soaked bundle of clothing, not living really, just waiting. The ones who ride the trains hours a day are like one-celled amoebas that react to light by moving out of the way, in the specific case of a transit

Souce: The American Conservative

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, proposes bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $15, April 2017. (U.S. Congress/public domain)

Sorry Sanders supporters: your guy might be well-meaning, but like everyone else he has no practical solutions. 

Bernie, et al, imagine there exists some means to redistribute wealth, most likely following the economist Thomas Piketty, via a progressive tax on the rich. Just talking about that may be enough to scare the wealthy into putsching a corporate Democrat in Bernie’s place yet again, despite his human shield of nose-pierced volunteers. But even if Sanders were to win, it would not be enough to change America. It’s a reality problem.

The reality of wealth is that the gap between most Americans and those who sit atop our economy continues to grow. During the two decades after 1960, the real incomes of the top 5 percent and the remaining 95 percent increased at almost the same rate, about 4 percent a year. But between 1980 and 2007, incomes diverged, with those at the bottom seeing annual increases only half that of those at the top. Then it got worse.

Lower savings and hyper-available credit (remember fraudulent Countrywidemortgages, ARMs, and usurious re-fi’s?) put the