By Charlie Johnston
Whew! Getting a big organization up and running is like walking through mud underwater. I’m just hoping the mountain of paperwork I’m going through doesn’t grow taller than Mt. Meeker. I’ve been through it before – and look forward to that day when everything starts to flow easier and easier. It does come, but only after the laborious slog. I’ve got enough of the paperwork and stuff going now that, with a full court press, I think we should be fully operational by the end of this month. That is what I initially figured based on prior experience; that it takes three months to get things moving consistently and coherently. (Sheesh, I have been so consumed by this, it is hard for me to fathom that we are only going into the third month since I came up with the concept.)
A couple of cool things. Our CORAC Team in Region 15 (California and Nevada) is busy getting a new ongoing initiative going. They are going to be holding rallies outside local police departments, bringing donuts, pastries and coffee for the police on the day of the rally. Of course, they are checking with each station they will go to ahead of time. I love it. Hat tip to Justin Paroski who came up with the idea and is leading the charge.
Another activist suggested we set up counter rallies to the Antifa-BLM rioting scheduled to begin at the White House. While I respect the concept, I do not want to go for direct confrontation right now. I do not expect the election to settle things, but I do expect it will illuminate just what the nature of the battle before us is. I don’t want to put any of our people at serious risk until I know what battle we are fighting and we have gotten some experience on the ground.
Our own MP has put up a CORAC Youtube Channel. Ha! Subscribe today! It’s free – and cool. I have also added it to the Menu Items on the site.
A friend asked me how I could say that the data from the CDC’s own website shows that Covid is serious, but not a great threat. Well, the headlines that some CDC officials spout sound horrifying, but like most clickbait, they don’t reflect the actual data onsite.
At the time I wrote it, I was thinking, in particular, of the CDC’s study on the effectiveness of facemasks. Their conclusion, based on data going back to 1946, is that facemasks are ineffective in preventing the spread of viruses. Don’t get me wrong, facemasks have uses which are effective, but preventing the spread of viruses are not among those effective uses. The CDC says so. It appalls me that so many medical employees are shocked and angered when I cite the only major serious study the CDC has done on the subject (although I DO love it when they challenge me by asking, “where did you get that information?” It’s like teeing up the golf ball for me to drive.)
I’m sure most of you saw last week when the CDC tried to quietly update its website to note that only 6% of reported Covid deaths actually come from Covid alone. Speaking generously, that means that less than 11,000 deaths can be unambiguously attributed to Covid. Now, the fact is that Covid is kind of the hyena of the virus world – it preys primarily on the already wounded or weakened. There is no doubt that Covid was a contributing factor in a lot of people who died from respiratory ailments this year. But the flu and other viruses are also often contributing factors in the death of people who are already significantly compromised. What we don’t do is say that a man who had the flu when he died of a heart attack died of the flu. We do say that he died of Covid if he was infected when the fatal heart attack hit. We don’t say that a man who had the flu when he was killed in a vehicle accident died of the flu. We do say it if he had that accident while infected with Covid. I don’t trust any of the data coming from the corrupted, politicized CDC – but even on its own terms, while trying to fan the flames of panic over this virus, it is not worth panicking over. Frankly, I think the reason for the update was that the CDC knows that all of this is going to be fully exposed in the next few months and wants to be able to deny that it dealt in panic porn that was not supported by the data.
Though the FDA is a different federal agency, I am appalled that it is pushing to ban hydroxychloroquine regimens, which frontline doctors and serious studies overwhelmingly show to be the most effective treatment for Covid when proper protocols are followed. Why would the FDA want to ban the most effective treatment, which comes in at $20-$50 a pop, to push the experimental and unproven drug, Remdesivir, which comes at $3,000 a pop? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out.
Panic over Covid, a virus with some significant variations from the norm, (most of which make it comparatively harmless to the healthy, while being unusually dangerous to the already sick) has been used to justify the destruction of much of the US economy and for minor officials and public health officials to unconstitutionally seize unprecedented unilateral power over citizens. I believe, with Dennis Prager, that it started as a colossal error and, after the left saw how it could be used and abused, has become a criminal assault on the very concept of self-government and liberty. A lot of people need to go to prison for this one. If I were still a local official, I would be pushing to gut all the politicized, corrupt public health departments under my purview and replace them with employees who care about public health and follow the actual science.
I loved being a newsman. Tracking down the facts to break a solid story with compelling evidence was, I thought, a noble pursuit – and a thrill, to boot. It was like solving a tough puzzle. When I was a managing editor, I would often talk to the reporters under me about the noble calling they had entered – and our obligation to get it right for the public.
In radio, I remember, with real pride, after interviewing a demagogue who was masquerading as a Republican, getting a call from a Mayoral office he had been blasting. The City Administrator told me that everyone at city hall had been listening after they heard this guy was scheduled for an interview. I asked him why such enthusiasm, when everyone knew I was a Republican. “We knew this would be his Waterloo, Charlie, because everyone knows you are fair and you just can’t abide open BS from anyone.” Yes, it was a Democrat administration – but life was different then.
Now, there is no honor in the profession. Activists who call themselves “journalists” routinely decide what they want the story to be before they know anything and then relentlessly try to pound square facts into the round holes they have drilled – and think we are all too stupid to notice. Intellectually and morally, I hate fake news, but I hate what these poseurs have done to a profession I was once very proud to be a small part of. I have a friend who won a coveted, major award that she used to display proudly on her mantle – and now keeps hidden in the basement. I can count on two hands the number of reporters today that I would not have fired with furious anger if they had turned in two stories that are as egregiously and flatly biased and wrong as today’s “reporters” routinely turn in.
A prominent cleric took issue with me a few weeks ago because of my statement, in passing, that 20-30 percent of the people lost to the Covid scare are never coming back to Church. Rather surprised, I told him I was being generous – that I think the actual number who won’t come back is closer to 50 percent…and would not be shocked if it was even higher.
He replied that all they have to do is reinstitute the Sunday obligation and people will have to come back. I laughed out loud. I couldn’t help it. I explained to him that for decades, the hierarchy has been preening and making ill-considered and feckless political statements that they have no authority for while neglecting the matters of faith they do. I know they thought they were expanding their authority, What they were actually doing was eroding their actual authority in the minds of the faithful. Now, with many Dioceses being even more draconian than their governments in lockdown restrictions, they have made it clear that they can’t be counted on to defend the faithful, either. The net result is that a LOT of people have decided that the hierarchy is far too leaky a vessel to entrust their faith to. The people that WILL come back will be those who are most solidly orthodox – and those are the very people who are least tolerant of virtue-signaling and meaningless word salads when fortitude, candor and resolve are called for. My friend is a good guy, but he was shaken by this possibility. I fear many of even the best of our hierarchy have gotten too bureaucratically remote from the faithful to understand how their pronouncements come off.
The much smaller Church Pope Benedict spoke of back in 2009 is going to soon become a reality. I read last week (and can’t remember what publication, so I can’t link to it) of the serious financial crises that are striking many Dioceses, leading to many Chancery layoffs, school closings and forestalling or abandonment of capital projects. Very soon, the hierarchy will no longer have the luxury of feckless virtue-signaling and political posturing. They will be fully engaged in trying to keep the Church afloat – and if they don’t lead on the things that matter while foreswearing the things that don’t, they will have no one following.
Turns out the path of least resistance is not always the safest course in a crisis.
In this time of deep unrest, many are turning to various prophecies, some dire, some strange, and some comforting to try to find a path forward. Others put excessive trust in ideological imperatives, while still others put their hope in some public figure or “white knight” to come in on a charger and rescue us all. There is no white knight: it’s all hobbits now.
From the time I started writing, I have emphasized the ordinary. Yes, I spoke bluntly about the Storm that was approaching, the global civil war fought on cultural lines, the greatest crisis in the history of the world up to this point. But my prescription was constant and emphatic: the only formula we get for this is to acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around you. The Storm comes to all. No family will be left untouched by it. While so many are waiting for a deus ex machina, I have maintained that we do not get it until we have stepped up and lived our call with courage and fortitude. For me, a lot of the gyrations and pleadings are a form of trying to bargain with God over why we should be exempt from the storm we have summoned upon ourselves. I understand the instinct, for to anyone who really understands the depth of the disorder we have brought down upon ourselves, they also understand that it won’t be lifted without divine intervention. So they would rather that be sooner rather than later. Not gonna happen until we step up.
This is the time of the hobbits, the apostolate of the laity, the ballad of the ordinary man. And it is just that it should be so. We can talk about how all of our institutions have failed us – and they have – but we have failed to exercise the basic oversight over those institutions that could have prevented it. It is not only the hierarchy that has to learn – and live – that the path of least resistance is not the most effective way to safety and prosperity.
I think God is both mocking us and revealing us to ourselves. We went into such a raw panic over what is, at bottom, a relatively mundane virus. We allowed public officials who never lift a finger to do their actual jobs because they are too busy opining about social justice and things that they are not responsible for to let many of our cities go up in flames while these officials cheered on the rioters. We kept taking the path of least resistance until we let things deteriorate to the point where it would take a violent crackdown to restore any semblance of order. It would take a sustained and painful austerity program to have a chance at averting a global economic meltdown. Yes, I know all the happy talk about the economy getting back on track – and it is. But we have so damaged the fundamental mechanisms that any prosperity now is like the blissful ignorance of a man walking around unknowingly with stage four cancer before the symptoms manifest. It would take a disciplined unity to have a chance at fending off the challenges that are about to beset us from without. Do you really think that China, the Jihadists, and other enemies have not been paying close attention to what is happening in the west? If I were a strategist for the evil regimes, I would stand back for as long as the west is tearing itself apart, but I would have a plan to strike hard (whether covertly or overtly) as soon as there is any hopeful sign of respite. The west looks like it is ripe to be toppled from without right now. If you don’t think China is making plans to do so, you just are not paying attention.
Now I am a committed Trump supporter. You might ask why, since I have such a gloomy short-term outlook. Just because you know you are about to face a withering assault is no excuse to neglect fortifications. Trump is the best, perhaps the only, strong fortification we have. It won’t stop the assault, but it will buy time and give us some room for maneuver in the defense of Western Civilization.
In Leo Tolstoy’s magnificent War and Peace, the section on life in society and the institutions just before Napoleon’s invasion of Moscow is starkly evocative. With doom right upon their doorstep, the glitterati of Russian society were plotting and scheming against each other, back-stabbing and seeking to undermine whoever was on the next rung of the ladder above them. It was a glittering spectacle that was utterly corrupt – and incapable of grasping the existential threat that was engulfing them. Like the famous rotting mackerel in the moonlight, it both shined and stunk. And doom came to engulf them all. Their plots, their dreams, their pretensions, their manners were all swept away in an instant by the horror and pathos that followed – and they had to humbly work to survive and then rebuild. For a couple of decades afterward, Russia was a far better country than what she had been before the crisis. But, human nature being what it is, like Old Testament Israelites, they were soon back to their old treacherous, pretentious, backstabbing ways.
I think we have three or four years of intense strife before us. Right now, politicians and activists are trying to maneuver the various disorders and scares to their advantage, They think themselves strategic masters of the universe. Before next year is over, I think all will be scattered like the Moscow glitterati in the aftermath of Napoleon’s invasion. You will know deprivation. You will know want. You will know hunger. It will take all our fortitude and resolve to endure the trials that loom before us. There will be no rescue until we have stepped up and acted as children of the living God, publicly acknowledging Him, taking the next right step and taking full responsibility for all the decisions we make before God, and applying ourselves with passion to caring for our neighbor in desperate times. That is not prophecy. You simply need to read the now visible signs of the times. Oh, we have become such a superficial and invincibly ignorant people!
I worry about people who are restlessly searching for some escape hatch that will exempt them from the vicissitudes of the storm that has risen around us. Yes, it seems harmless enough, even if a little feckless. But many may be lost because of their waiting for their exemption card instead of humbly doing what God calls all to now – to acknowledge Him, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope.
When I was on my pilgrimage, I did not think of my ultimate destination very often. I could only make 10-21 miles per day. Rather, I applied myself to the challenges of the day with fortitude and persistence. If you can gird yourself to focus on the challenges of the day before you, knowing that sufficient to the day is the evil thereof, without going into fantasies of sudden rescue, the day will come when you live to see the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart and the renewal of the faith and face of the world. But you will not get it by pleading for it: you will get it by living your duty with fortitude, resolve and humility each day. Do your daily work with fidelity, without expectation, and you will have good cause for supernatural hope. After 3,200 miles and a year and a half I DID stand at the foot of Mt. Meeker, the terminus of my pilgrimage, and entered in to make my terminal Novena in the mountain. But if I had daily expected to see what could only come after a persistent long and arduous journey, I would have been disappointed each day, and may have become so disheartened that I would have given up what was in my grasp with sufficient work. Instead, by focusing on the day, I often reveled in the beauty of each long and arduous day – for there is real beauty to be found in the midst of trial. Learn from my pilgrimage and do not spend your days worrying about what God is going to do for you. Rather, do your daily work well, offer it up to God, and trust that, in His time, He will refresh your spirit and renew your heart. That is what I really think.