The first investigative Journalism piece that is uncensored on whether the media has told the truth on the death rate of the virus by David Rosenberg who is Deputy News Editor at Arutz Sheva and Living underground before the Romans? 2,000-year-old rooms found by Western Wall and When the Romans turned Jerusalem into a pagan city, Jews revolted and minted this coin and The War for Free Speech Is Here and Antarctica does not and has never had an indigenous population (there are no native human Antarcticans).
Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement. Now also a Blogger on the Times of Israel. Look for my column
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Antarctica does not and has never had an indigenous population (there are no native human Antarcticans).
Antarctica does not and has never had an indigenous population (there are no native human Antarcticans).
The continent was once a part of a larger land mass called Gondwana that settled over the south pole and split from Australasia and South America long before humans evolved. There haven't been any land bridges to Antarctica for around 35 million years, it has been an isolated island for all this time.
Humans are thought to have evolved in East Africa very recently in geological terms (no more than 5 million years at most). We then left the ancestral homeland and moved across all of the continents of the world.
Antarctica was already too isolated by distance, climate and the storminess of its seas for primitive peoples to discover. It wasn't until 1820 when human technology and navigation was sophisticated enough to allow anyone to sail far enough south to even see Antarctica for the first time. There are a number of poorly substantiated claims of setting foot upon the Antarctic mainland from 1820, though 1899 is the first date accepted by some historians as indisputable. When the first people did set foot on Antarctica there wasn't anyone already there.
Antarctica is therefore one of the few places in the world that can truly be described as having been discovered, rather than there being people already living there who had known about it for hundreds or thousands of years before its "discovery".
Who lives in Antarctica? How many people live in Antarctica?
The people who travel to or live in Antarctica fall into two main groups, those who live and work on scientific research stations or bases, and tourists.
No-one lives in Antarctica indefinitely in the way that they do in the rest of the world. It has no commercial industries, no towns or cities, no permanent residents.
The only "settlements" with longer term residents (who stay for some months or a year, maybe two) are scientific bases. These vary in size, but typically have 50 people there in the summer and 15-20 in the winter (Antarctica is never really talked about as having spring or autumn/fall), summer lasts from October/November to March/April, the rest of the year is considered to be winter.
There are around 66 scientific bases in Antarctica, of which about 37 are occupied year round, the remainder are open during the summer and closed down for winter. There are about 4,000 people through the summer months and about 1,000 overwinter each year.
Most residents of scientific stations do a "summer only" this is anywhere from 3-6 months, with a smaller number staying over the Antarctic winter (when any chance of transport in or out is virtually impossible). A typical tour is one summer or one winter and the two summers either side, around 15 months in total (this time is continuous with no visits home or elsewhere in the meantime). It used to be quite common for some to stay for two winters and three summers, though this is rare now.
Some people have had an "enforced" winter, this is when ice conditions mean the ship that should have come to get them couldn't get through and had to go home without them until the following year. The result is a wait of another 6 months or more until a ship can get through again. This can mean three summers and three winters in a row or at least an extra Antarctic winter season that was not anticipated. Such events however were thankfully rare and did little for the mental state of the people involved, making fitting back into the world back home again more problematic.
The US base at McMurdo Sound has up to 1,000 personnel at the peak time, this is the nearest there is to a town. With such a rapid turn-over of people, Antarctic bases are more like oil-rigs or military bases than towns.
The figures for the 2016-17 season show that there were 44,202 visitors. A little down on the figure of 47,225 in the peak season so far in 2007-08, though rising again after falling to 26,509 in 2011-12. The drop was due to the fact that large ships are no longer allowed to visit Antarctica due to fuel spillage dangers.
In terms of numbers, tourists greatly outnumber national programme personnel, though the personnel on scientific bases clock up more man-days. While tourists may only only spend a relatively small time ashore on landings (for the most part staying on their cruise ships), it is by its nature relatively "high-impact" time at the most picturesque and easily accessible areas, compare this to a scientist or support worker who spend most of their time working on a permanent or semi-permanent base.
So can I go and live in Antarctica then?
Not in the way that is usually meant by this. You can't move to Antarctica, find somewhere to live and then find a job, meet someone, get married, buy a house, have kids, send them to school, start your own business, become a member of the local golf club and become mayor.
You can get a job in Antarctica as a scientist or in scientific support, but it has to be in advance before you go there. If you really want to and you have the required skills and you keep at it in case you don't get accepted first time (many people have to try more than once) then you can go and spend some time in Antarctica having an experience of your life. I recommend it, I did it for two winters and three summers and have been telling people about it ever since.
Access to Antarctica is restricted by the Antarctic Treaty. If you want to organize your own trip or expedition there, you will have to request permission from the government of your own country. You will have to show that you will be completely self sufficient and have a very good reason for wanting to go which will have little or no environmental impact, you will have to show exactly how you will do this. If you can't do these things, you will be denied permission and will be breaking the law (of your own country) if you just go anyway, you will also be breaking the law if you stay longer than you said you would or otherwise do anything against the Antarctic Treaty.
The first investigative Journalism piece that is uncensored on whether the media has told the truth on the death rate of the virus by David Rosenberg, who is Deputy News Editor at Arutz Sheva
Analysis: How bad is Israel's 'Second Wave' of the coronavirus?
Putting the 'Second Wave' of the coronavirus into perspective.
For months now, the public has been inundated with statistics on the coronavirus and its spread.
If one were to judge by the supply provided by the media and the Health Ministry, it would seem that there is an unquenchable thirst for numbers.
It is worthwhile taking a moment to understand what these different statistics mean, and which are important – and which are not. On a daily basis these numbers – the numbers of new infections, new fatalities, total infections, the infection rate, etc. – make the headlines and feature prominently in the speeches of our political leaders.
With the looming threat of a return to lockdown, coronavirus statistics seem to hover over the country, like a menacing Sword of Damocles, threatening at any moment to crush us either with plague or economic ruin.
Given the central role these numbers which we are constantly fed play in the government's decisions to open up or shut down the country, it is worthwhile taking a moment to understand what these different statistics mean, and which are important – and which are not.
The biggest headlines since the 'Second Wave' was first declared in late May have been the rising number of infections.
Measured by the number of new infections each day, this metric actually only measures the number of new confirmed infections.
The rise in the daily infection rate sounds impressive, soaring from about 100 per day to around 1,000 – until you realize that correlates heavily with the surge in the number of tests conducted.
More tests, more confirmed infections. Last week marked a peak in the number of tests administered each day, rising from a few thousand to 25,001 on Thursday.
A somewhat better indicator of the resurgence of the pandemic is the infection rate of those tested. This has also increased, rising from a little over 1% of those tested in late May to about 3.6% early last week to 4.5% on Friday.
This too, has only limited utility in actually measuring the real rate of the pandemic's spread, since testing is not done randomly, but follows people who may have come into contact with those suspected of having the virus and, increasingly targets areas with outbreaks of the pandemic.
So what metrics are actually indicative of the pandemic's strength?
The easiest way to measure the actual decline or resurgence of the pandemic is by counting the number of people whose condition cannot escape measurement, and are therefore most likely to be counted at a fairly consistent rate throughout the pandemic.
That would include, first and most obviously, the fatality rate, since deaths – unlike asymptomatic people infected with the virus – are difficult to miss at any stage of a pandemic.
Also the number of patients on ventilators or in serious condition provides useful clues in trying to measure the pandemic's strength. The number of hospitalizations, too, is a useful metric.
And what do the numbers tell us?
Regarding the number of fatalities, the number has remained remarkably stable.
During the "First Wave" of the pandemic, from the first coronavirus-related fatality on March 20th through to the beginning of the reopening of the economy and education system in early May, the daily fatality rate – that is, the average number of people who died from coronavirus-related complications each day – was 5.23.
During the roughly three-week reopening period in May, that number fell to 2.24.
Since the 'Second Wave' of the coronavirus was first assessed in the last week of May, the daily fatality rate has actually fallen further – down to 1.15.
Even in the last few weeks, the fatality rate has remained fairly stable.
From last Sunday till this Sunday, there were 12 deaths, or daily average fatality rate of 1.71.
The week before that, there were also 12 deaths, giving a rate of 1.71.
It is important to note that this does not mean there has not been a rise, however. Even though the rate is currently stable and well below the rate during both the first wave and the reopening period, it is double what it was several weeks ago, when six people died during the seven-day period ending June 21st, and it is six times what it was the week before that, when two people died in one week. One week before that, deaths were even higher, though, with 13 deaths from May 31st to June 7th for a daily fatality rate of 1.86.
To put this into proportion, each year in Israel, about 1,200 people die of the flu and flu-related complications during the 14-week flu season. That amounts to an average daily fatality rate of about 12.5, or well over twice the peak daily fatality rate during the first wave of the coronavirus.
But other experts have pushed back against the use of this metric, including Sheba Tel-Hashomer Hospital Infectious Diseases Unit head Professor Galia Rahav, who recently debated Prof. Lass.
Prof. Rahav, echoing the Health Ministry, said the number seriously ill patients is far more important than the fatality rate, noting that some patients suffered from long-term health problems even after they recovered from the virus itself.
For most of the second wave, the number of coronavirus patients in serious condition has actually remained fairly stable, at around 30 to 45.
At the end of June and beginning of July, however, there has been a notable increase in the number of patients in serious condition, which rose from 45 last Monday to 86 on Sunday. That's still far below the nearly 200 serious cases during the peak of the first wave in April, but nevertheless marks a troubling rise.
While the number of patients on ventilators has remained very stable, staying within the 20s for the past month, the number of hospitalizations has increased by nearly 50%, rising from the low-to-mid 200s to 335.
So what can we make of these conflicting statistics?
Is the pandemic getting worse, or is the whole thing overblown?
The answer, to some extent, is both are true.
The coronavirus pandemic in Israel is a health challenge and a serious concern, but it is not a plague that threatens to overwhelm the country.
Over a longer period than the annual flu season, it has managed to kill about a quarter as many people.
Even the hospitalization rates, while difficult to digest, are not "catastrophic", despite the kind of rhetoric used by government and senior health officials during the first wave of the pandemic, and again during the second wave.
In that sense, the dangers of the pandemic have been exaggerated.
At the same time, it is also clear that the pandemic has worsened since the reopening. It's happened slowly, taking over a month to really show up in the numbers, but it's real. To what extent this is due to the public ignoring social distancing regulations and mask requirements is unclear.
The death rate has inched upwards from what it was a few weeks ago, and the number of hospitalizations and patients in serious condition have both gone up significantly.
It is very possible that Israel's total lockdown, which was by some metrics among the most stringent nationwide lockdowns imposed in the industrialized world, curbed the pandemic's spread more effectively than in much of Europe.
But it may be that this only delayed the inevitable, pushing off the pandemic's spread through the country, which will only end when Israel achieves herd immunity – or a vaccine is developed, though the latter option is likely not realistic in the immediate future.
If that is the case, that doesn't mean we're forced into a false dichotomy of either strangling the economy – which has undergone its most acute crisis in Israeli history – or writing off the lives of those hundreds of people who could die of coronavirus if we simply ignore the virus and return to business as usual.
As former Defense Minister Naftali Bennett has proposed, Israel should embark an aggressive program of testing to locate and isolate people who are currently infected, while allowing those who are not currently infected (and not in the endangered groups) to return to work or school, allowing the maximum number of people to return to life as normal.
The Health Ministry has increased the number of tests it carries out, but they it still remains woefully short of what it needs to accomplish, with just 20,000 to 25,000 tests carried out a day last week.
Without such a program in place, no amount of precautions – from masks to social distancing – will save us from either suffering through hundreds of fatalities this winter, or leaving Israel's economy completely in ruins.
David Rosenberg is Deputy News Editor at Arutz Sheva
David Rosenberg , 05/07/20 22:00
Ideas, that help explain how the world works
Train yourself to look at the world with loving eyes. Practice with nature--flowers, sunsets, trees, etc. Then practice smiling at people with these same unconditionally loving eyes. This is true "eye power"--and "I power."
If Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were alive today, their infamous sketch, 'Who's on First?' might have turned out something like this:
COSTELLO CALLS TO BUY A COMPUTER FROM ABBOTT
ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?
COSTELLO: Thanks, I'm setting up an office in my den and I'm thinking about buying a computer.
COSTELLO: No, the name's Lou.
ABBOTT: Your computer?
COSTELLO: I don't own a computer. I want to buy one.
COSTELLO: I told you, my name's Lou.
ABBOTT: What about Windows?
COSTELLO: Why? Will it get stuffy in here?
ABBOTT: Do you want a computer with Windows?
COSTELLO: I don't know. What will I see when I look at the windows?
COSTELLO: Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.
ABBOTT: Software for Windows?
COSTELLO: No. On the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals, track expenses and run my business. What do you have?
COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?
ABBOTT: I just did.
COSTELLO: You just did what?
ABBOTT: Recommend something.
COSTELLO: You recommended something?
COSTELLO: For my office?
COSTELLO: OK, what did you recommend for my office?
COSTELLO: Yes, for my office!
ABBOTT: I recommend Office with Windows.
COSTELLO: I already have an office with windows! OK, let's just say I'm sitting at my computer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?
COSTELLO: What word?
ABBOTT: Word in Office.
COSTELLO: The only word in office is office.
ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.
COSTELLO: Which word in office for windows?
ABBOTT: The Word you get when you click the blue 'W'.
COSTELLO: I'm going to click your blue 'W' if you don't start with some straight answers. What about financial bookkeeping? Do you have anything I can track my money with?
COSTELLO: That's right. What do you have?
COSTELLO: I need money to track my money?
ABBOTT: It comes bundled with your computer.
COSTELLO: What's bundled with my computer?
COSTELLO: Money comes with my computer?
ABBOTT: Yes. At no extra charge.
COSTELLO: I get a bundle of money with my computer? How much?
ABBOTT: One copy.
COSTELLO: Isn't it illegal to copy money?
ABBOTT: Microsoft gave us a license to copy Money.
COSTELLO: They can give you a license to copy money?
ABBOTT: Why not? THEY OWN IT!
(A few days later)
ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?
COSTELLO: How do I turn my computer off?
ABBOTT: Click on 'START.'
The eyes are the window to the soul--its good we don't have to mask them!
The main way we have of tuning in to people's feelings is through their eyes. When people look at us, they either heal us or harm us. Eyes have power. Eyes filled with love, understanding and acceptance are healing.
When the Romans turned Jerusalem into a pagan city, Jews revolted and minted this coin
Archaeologists in Israel have discovered a rare coin minted about 1,900 years ago, when the Jewish people revolted against Roman occupation, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced (IAA) last week.
The bronze coin is so rare, that out of 22,000 coins found in archaeological excavations in the Old City of Jerusalem, just four are from the revolt, known as the Bar Kokhba revolt, Donald Tzvi Ariel, head of the Coin Department at the IAA, said in a statement.
A cluster of grapes and the inscription, "Year Two of the Freedom of Israel," appear on one side of the coin, and on other is a palm tree with the word "Jerusalem," making it the only coin on record from the revolt to bear the name "Jerusalem," the IAA said.
When the revolt began in A.D. 132, Jerusalem was a Roman colony. Tensions were high between the Jewish people and the Romans, led by Emperor Hadrian (ruled A.D. 117-138), who planned to turn Jerusalem into Aelia Capitolina, a Roman city dedicated to the god Jupiter, according to the book "A Short History of the Jewish People: From Legendary Times to Modern Statehood" (Macmillan General Reference, 1998).
The leader of the revolt, Simon bar Kosiba (also spelled Shimon Ben-Kosiba), was nicknamed Bar Kokhba, or "son of the star." That name suggested he was the messiah, as it drew from a line in the Torah (the Jewish Bible) that referenced the subject, Raymond Scheindlin, professor emeritus of medieval Hebrew literature, wrote in the book.
Bar Kokhba acted like a Judean king and military leader, and began issuing coins, such as the one recently unearthed in the William Davidson Archae
After the Romans crushed the revolt, they unleashed a reign of terror on the Jews of Judea. The Romans deported the Jews there, sending many of them northward to Galilee and selling others as slaves. So many captives were sold, that it was said that the cost of a slave was depressed to that of a horse, Scheindlin wrote.
"Jerusalem was definitively turned into a pagan city, with a statue of Hadrian and perhaps a temple to Jupiter Capitolinus in its center; Jews were prohibited from even entering it," Scheindlin wrote.
Even so, Bar Kokhba became a historical hero, according to the IAA.
The dig was paid for by the Ir David Foundation. It was done under the supervision of the Company for the Reconstruction and Development of the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem, Ltd. which is located between the Temple Mount and the City of David.
Bar Kokhba coins are well known to archaeologists, the IAA's Ariel said. Many of these coins (unlike this one) are found outside of Jerusalem, and each one helps researchers map out the revolt, he said.
So, how did this coin end up in Jerusalem?
"It is possible that a Roman soldier from the Tenth Legion found the coin during one of the battles across the country and brought it to their camp in Jerusalem as a souvenir," archaeologists at the IAA said in the statement.
These coins usually feature the facade of the Temple, (the Romans destroyed the Second Temple in A.D. 70), as well as symbols associated with the temple, such as trumpets, a lyre, palm branches and amphorae (clay jugs), according to the Jewish Virtual Library.
Coins minted during the first two years of the revolt typically carry inscriptions saying "Redemption of Israel" and "Freedom of Israel," but that changed to a message of hope with the inscription "For the Freedom of Jerusalem" during the third year, when the revolt became more of a defensive guerrilla action, according to the Jewish Virtual Library.
In what was likely an act of defiance, these coins were minted on Roman coins, the IAA said.
Despite their effects, the Bar Kokhba rebels were unable to breach the boundaries of ancient Jerusalem. Bar Kokhba was killed in 135, but the rebellion itself lasted almost five years.
Living underground before the Romans? 2,000-year-old rooms found by Western Wall
Purpose of unique ancient complex still unclear, but indicates possible subterranean Second Temple-era life in Jerusalem's Old City prior to the Roman conquest in 70 CE By Amanda Borschel-Dan
A singular two-millennia-old subterranean system of three rooms has been uncovered near the Western Wall. The three-room complex — painstakingly chiseled by hand out of bedrock prior to the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE — is the first evidence of everyday life gone underground in the ancient city.
"This is a unique finding. This is the first time a subterranean system has been uncovered adjacent to the Western Wall," said Israel Antiquity Authority co-directors Dr. Barak Monnickendam-Givon and Tehila Sadiel in a press release Tuesday.
"You must understand that 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem, like today, it was customary to build out of stone [blocks]. The question is, why were such efforts and resources invested in hewing rooms underground in the hard bedrock?" said the archaeologists.
The purpose of the three-room complex, hidden for centuries under a large 1,400-year-old Byzantine/Umayyad structure's white mosaic floor, is still being investigated, but it may have served as a basement pantry, living space, or even a place to hide during raids, excavation co-director Dr. Barak Monnickendam-Givon told The Times of Israel on Tuesday.
Dr. Barak Monnickendam-Givon at the excavations under Beit Straus in Jerusalem's Old City, near the Western Wall, May 2020. (Yaniv Berman/Israel Antiquities Authority)
The rooms, uncovered by students of a pre-military preparatory program in Jerusalem working in cooperation with the IAA, are located under the "Beit Strauss" complex, a historical ancient building purchased by philanthropist Nathan Strauss, which was once a soup kitchen and today houses beautiful public toilets and serves as an entrance lobby to the Western Wall Tunnels.
The underground excavations there were renewed a year ago under the recently renovated and enlarged Beit Strauss building to connect the building to a new segment of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation's Western Wall Tunnels tour, according to an IAA press release.
While the complex's purpose is "still a mystery," said Monnickendam-Givon, during the Second Temple era (and today), the placement of the subterranean system was considered a "prime location." He does not rule out the idea that it may have been part of a much larger public structure that has since been obliterated.
Hewn out of bedrock using hand tools, including iron hammers, the three rooms are rather spacious at circa 2.5 meters x 4 meters, 2.5 meters x 2.5 meters, and a third room that is still being excavated but appears to be circa 2.5 meters x 2.5 meters, said Monnickendam-Givon. The rooms occupy different floors and were connected by stairs, he said.
Excavation and conversation work under the Jerusalem Old City's 'Beit Strauss' complex, May 2020. (Shai HaLevi/Israel Antiquities Authority)
Asked how long it would have taken to create this large hand-hewn system, Monnickendam-Givon laughed and said he honestly had no idea, but that it was a "very impressive investment" of both time and resources.
Monnickendam-Givon emphasized that while there are numerous contemporary ritual baths and graves that were also hewn out of rock during this era, this is the first example of what appears to be a living space. Inside the rooms, what looks to be niches for shelves and storage, as well as doorjambs and lantern niches, were chiseled into the bedrock.
Excavation co-director Tehila Saldiel showing some of the artifacts from the excavations under Beit Straus in Jerusalem's Old City, near the Western Wall, May 2020. (Shai HaLevi/Israel Antiquities Authority)
"Among other things, we found clay cooking vessels, cores of oil lamps used for light, a stone mug unique to Second Temple Period Jewish sites, and a fragment of a qalal – a large stone basin used to hold water, thought to be linked to Jewish practices of ritual purity," said Monnickendam-Givon and Sadiel in the IAA press release.
While at first glance the niches hewn into the rock appear similar to those found in contemporary graves, Monnickendam-Givon said that it is unlikely that this was their use, as this area was already part of ancient Jerusalem during this era and custom would forbid burial within city limits.
Excavation and conversation work under the Jerusalem Old City's 'Beit Strauss' complex, May 2020. (Shai HaLevi/Israel Antiquities Authority)
As the archaeologists continue to ponder the complex's use, they are also continuing excavations. "It is very much a work in progress," said Monnickendam-Givon.
The War for Free Speech Is Here
By: J.B. Shurk
While most of us were busy surviving pandemic-fueled civil confinement and Democratic Party–led riots in the street, the shots over Fort Sumter were fired, and the war for freedom of speech began in earnest. Just as the mob outside seeks to control how we think and what we may say, Google, Twitter, and Facebook seek to do the same thing by targeting and discriminating against conservatives for their ideas. That there is now such a strong army of "Americans in name only" who have taken it upon themselves to tell others what they may learn and believe and write without being tormented or threatened by black-clad shock troops breaking windows and fire-bombing businesses or financially ruined by Democrat-aligned corporate oligarchs targeting conservative Americans' livelihoods only serves as jarring proof that we have tolerated these attacks on our freedom and woefully appeased our attackers for entirely too long.
It's not the rise of a charismatic leader in Sinclair Lewis's It Can't Happen Here that is hard to imagine. We've read about Julius Caesar and the fall of the Roman Republic, about the French Revolution's Robespierre and Napoleon Bonaparte, about the post-WWI rise to power of Russia's Lenin and Italy's Mussolini. We've seen the film reels of Adolf Hitler gesticulating before crowds of thousands and Hugo Chávez using the power of television to seduce his countrymen with socialist dreams.
What has always seemed difficult to grasp is how so many millions of ordinary people could become mindless cult followers, all marching together and repeating the same phrases as if part of one unitary organism. How do you teach millions of people to throw a straight arm high into the air as part of a Nazi salute? How do you condition a populace to greet one another with an exclamatory "Heil Hitler!"? How do you teach law-abiding citizens that breaking the windows of Jewish businesses is not only acceptable, but also patriotic? How do you mobilize a nation, as Mao did, to destroy its own glorious history?
Or convince a prosperous country, as Chávez did, to trade the wealth of the free market for socialist poverty? How do you so effectively harness the passionate hatred of uneducated children that they turn on their parents and teachers, destroy their churches and religious temples and statues and historical monuments, and violently punish anyone who gets in their way? How can any of the sins of authoritarian dictators, socialist despots, or communist mass murderers ever become reality in America, where freedom and personal liberty reign?
Then I look at police officers lying prostrate before a crowd demanding their obedience. And I watch Mitt Romney prove his devotion to those who would control his mind by declaring, like a victim of Stockholm syndrome, that "black lives matter" in cadence with the "woke" mob. And I see statues of Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln toppled over and churches and synagogues desecrated. And I watch thousands of people all bending a knee together, lest they be outed as insufficiently devoted to the new state church of the super-woke and its ever-evolving requirements for remaining in good standing. And I realize that teachers and parents and ordinary Americans who know better are too afraid to speak up and against the demands of the Black Lives Matter and Antifa and Democratic Party–run mobs. And I watch Google and Facebook and Twitter actively conspire to deprive Americans of their free speech, especially political speech most in need of protection. And I finally realize that this is how it can happen here. Not because there are too few of us who care about free speech and personal liberty, but because too many of us decide to go along to get along.
Marxist socialist politicians, global government technocrats, transnational corporate boards of directors, and "woke" mobs have joined forces to scare and control everyone else. During this time of mass hysteria driven by the political exploitation of disease and racial grievance, a normal American who simply wants to be left alone to attend church and run a small business can find both his church and business destroyed, while the United Nations, state and local governments, and virtue-signaling corporate brands actively support those waging war and damn the victim for having the temerity to pray and make a living.
When arsonists on the street are celebrated for burning down history and arsonists at the major tech companies are celebrated for preventing points of view, it's clear that the anti-Americans have gained the upper hand. When a celebrated and wealthy NFL quarterback retreats briskly from defending the American flag, you know that even those known for their courage have become too afraid to defend what is right. When your employment is threatened unless you learn to bow down before the mob and repeat meaningless slogans as if they were meaningful sacraments, there is nowhere left to hide from a war that will consume us all. We either fight and defend the free speech of every American now or no American will ever again be free. A middle ground no longer exists.
There is no more effective way to lead a nation to civil war than to deprive half of that nation of a voice. When politicians and privileged corporate giants and shock troops on the street all demand obedience to one point of view, there is no peaceful release valve for those who disagree. And when the strictures of political correctness are more threatening than their intended targets, then political correctness wages war on people of conscience.
The freedom to create ideas and release them into the world, to pray fervently and openly according to personal belief, to speak without worry of pain or punishment, is so essential to what America is that fighting for its preservation is nothing short of fighting for the survival of the American nation itself. If we lose it, everything else falls apart. Preserving free speech must be where we make our last stand.