Legitimate Fear in the Face of Shutdown

The predominant fear of 9/11 stemmed from our sudden and violent realization of national vulnerability. America was supposed to be an untouchable safe zone despite the unpredictability of the rest of the world, yet suddenly we were brutally wounded and wondering where the next blow would fall. America was on her knees, confused and hurting, facing an aggressive (and to the average American) unknown enemy.  

Yesterday, I flew from Washington, D.C. to Saint Louis, Missouri.  When my plane took off, it raced up the runway at Reagan National past cluster after cluster of empty jetways.  As we lifted up over the bridge and the Pentagon, 395 stretched out below with only a trickle of cars—at  3:30pm on a Saturday. Even from 30,000 feet, I could see major highways across the country were all but bare. I had the same ominous foreboding and sense of fear that permeated the country on 9/11 and in the strange days that followed.

We all fear this pandemic. But for many of us, our fear is not simply the invisible virus, it is the deafening silence of the American economy and the internal and external repercussions that might flow from a shutdown if it extends too long. 

The internal threat is that a prolonged shutdown could ultimately wipe out the middle class and fundamentally alter our national DNA.  The middle class—wealth producers—is central to America’s stability and longevity.  This shutdown has a tipping point, a point at which small business will no longer be able to hold out. Wherever the tipping point is, if we reach it and tip, it is not overly dramatic to say that the life of the nation is on the line.  I remember looking up into the cloudless sky on September 11th and wondering how many years it would be before we got back to normal. What it took me many years to realize was that life would never ever be the same again. We can’t let this pandemic prove to be a similarly negative inflection point.    

The external threat is China.  We are a nation at war. The virus has brought us to our knees, and like 9/11, we are weak and wondering if our adversary will hit us while we are down, or capitalize on our stumble with catastrophic success.  These are very real and very chilling fears.     

The positive news is that Donald Trump is our President in this time of crisis, in this time of war.  We could not have found a President better equipped to handle this emergency, because Trump has proven commitment and expertise in the three critical areas needed to navigate the trade-offs we have to evaluate—he truly values American life, he understands the American economy, and he understands we are at war with China. 

Trump is both empathetic and patriotic, which means he will do everything in his power to protect the health and lives of American citizens from this virus. Already he has taken decisive action to encourage lifesaving treatments and produce critical medical equipment. He has the obvious covered. 

Less obvious, but perhaps more critically, he also has shown a special expertise in the economy.  His first term pays tribute to his ability to create a robust economy.  I take a lot of comfort in the knowledge that Trump understands how vital the American middle class is to our national character and our freedom, and that he knows just how far he can push this shutdown before the middle class folds.  He must know he cannot push small business past the breaking point. 

Finally, Trump understands China’s agenda and has not shrunk from engaging in the new Cold War China has waged against us. In the past three years, his strong stance on tariffs weaponized our economy against the CCP and other dangerous regimes that have sought to wreak havoc on America and take American lives. He will have an eye to those threats as he plots his pandemic strategy. 

The key is to understand that our national lockdown is not without consequences.  Fear of illness (and I fear the coronavirus) can blind us to other dangers that could rival that of a pandemic.  Reinvigorating the economy (which is certainly more complicated than simply reopening the economy, but also certainly starts there) is critical. No one should be ashamed to worry and wonder about dangers posed by a nation at stand-still, and no one should be criticized for demanding our leaders and our press engage with those concerns, too, despite the sickness that surrounds us. 

Good News

My mom is doing much better. The hospital was very aggressive in targeting her pneumonia and she responded well to the antibiotics. Although her lungs were too weak to undergo a biopsy after all (and so we have to wait to hear about the spots on her lungs), we are grateful she has improved so well and that her pneumonia seems to be clearing up. One hurdle at a time. 😊 Thank you all for your prayers!

Prayers for my mom

Last Thursday, my mom collapsed at home and was taken by ambulance to Barnes West with a fever and racing heartbeat. She had a rough few days in the step-down ICU while doctors worked to bring her temperature down and normalize her heart rate.  She seemed to be getting stronger, but on Saturday night her oxygen levels dropped and an x-ray Sunday showed she had contracted pneumonia.  She was placed on oxygen and antibiotics to fight that complication.  At her last scan, approximately five weeks ago, her doctor saw nodules on her lungs.  Although he agreed the spots could indicate her cancer has metastasized to her lungs, he was hopeful the spots would disappear by the next scan.  Worryingly, in the course of scanning her for the pneumonia this week, we found out that the spots are still on her lungs and that they have grown.  Today, Mom will undergo a biopsy to determine whether or not the spots are cancer. It has been a long week of ups and downs—please pray for her today. We continue to trust in the Blessed Mother’s intercession and God’s loving Providence.
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Vindman Testimony Reveals Crisis of Deep State Control

This is an excellent article from Jim Hanson via The Federalist. It provides a simple and clear definition of “the Deep State,” which a lot of people seem to struggle defining, and it explains why–whatever Vindman’s service might have been and without questioning his patriotism–his testimony was inappropriate and his understanding of his authority and that of his colleagues is contrary to the Constitution.

War Room: Impeachment Radio/Podcast

Steve Bannon, Raheem Kassam, and Jason Miller have launched a daily radio hour called “War Room: Impeachment.” The three share news and provide analysis on the ongoing push by Democrats to undo the 2016 election. I cannot recommend this radio show/podcast enough. It is a great resource to stay up-to-speed on the twists and turns of this impeachment, and it energizes the base to critical action. In one of the earliest episodes, Bannon made the point that Republicans are not taking impeachment seriously enough. He is absolutely right.

Currently, both the majority of the Republican leadership and most Republican voters lack the zeal and drive to mount an aggressive defense of Trump. The reasons the two groups are detached are quite different.

For two years, we (the base) have watched the Democrats try to undo our electoral victory by pushing the Russian collusion narrative. Now that Mueller has killed that play (in more than one way), Democrats have turned to the next strategy–impeachment. The mood seems to be that this assault was inevitable, is ludicrous, and ultimately is something we just have to endure.

Republican leadership is quiet for a more troubling reason, primarily because they are more concerned about conserving their own power and reputations than defending the people’s choice for President. Donald Trump was not the Republican leadership favorite–you could say he hijacked the Party–and he is the most embattled President in U.S. history. It takes guts and real confidence in the clarity of one’s convictions to stand near that kind of lightning rod.

It really is up to the American people–those who elected Trump, new supporters converted by his successful record, and Americans who simply believe in self-government and fundamental American principles like due process and deference to the Constitution, to get involved. In tonight’s episode (ep. 23), Bannon, Raheem, and Miller name members of Congress who are bold–“killers” as they call them–and who need to join Jim Jordan on the House Intel Committee for the public hearings. These three members are Mark Meadows, Lee Zeldin, and Matt Gaetz. The action item from War Room tonight is to call Kevin McCarthy’s office (202-225-3121) and ask that these three members be placed on the committee.

Give War Room a listen, because it is time to kick into action.

Patent Lunch with USPTO Director Andrei Iancu

Last Monday I was in St. Louis for a lunch with several members of the Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organization and USPTO Director Andrei Iancu and two of his staff. I was there at the invitation of PSE President Ed Martin, who has made championing Phyllis’s legacy as a defender of patents one of his cornerstone initiatives.

It was exciting for me to meet Director Iancu, because IP law has always been a particular area of interest to me. When I was a 1L and still had no idea what type of law I wanted to practice, I was told that only students with an engineering background could pursue IP law. Even though I didn’t make IP my focus, I did take a trademark and copyright class one semester. It was fascinating. IP law really provides the bedrock of the American dream.

Phyllis Schlafly was passionate about patents. She believed it was the strength of our patent protections that provided a key foundation of America’s incredible success. Certainly there are brilliant people in every nation, but in America we rewarded hard work and creativity by protecting an individual’s work and the fruits of his or her labor. Director Iancu is of the same mind, pointing out over lunch that although encouraging “innovation” is a popular aspiration for businesses today, innovation can only be achieved with a strong patent system.

Sadly, our system has been weakened, and American patents no longer protect the creativity and hard work of America’s innovators. We need to make our patent system strong again to fire American creativity and to compete against global rivals. Director Iancu is committed to that goal, as is the Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organization–it was an encouraging lunch!

Phyllis produced (and narrated!) the below documentary in 1990. The Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution recognized it “to be of exceptional merit with national significance, and substantial educational and historical value.” Just the usual work product of Phyllis Schlafly. ;). It is worth a watch:

Photo of USPTO Director Andrei Iancu from the World Intellectual Property Organization via Flickr