Burt Prelutsky / Apr. 6, 2020

The Fog of War

We always hear that war is hell. No argument. But it’s also something else, though.

We always hear that war is hell. No argument. But it’s also something else, though. As we’ve seen with the battle being waged against the Chinese virus, it’s an opportunity for people to show what they’re made of when normal life has been turned on its head.

Even though I’ve questioned some of the extreme measures the politicians have forced on us, I have been impressed by the good spirits and generosity displayed by most people. I have had neighbors I’ve never even met offer to shop for me and even to share what they have, although never toilet paper. Which, fortunately, I haven’t yet needed.

Nobody ever wants to weather bombs and rockets the way that Londoners did 75 years ago, but it’s nice to know that our fellow Americans can stiffen their own upper lips with the best of them when the need arises.

Kudos should also be extended to some of the companies that have revamped their machinery in order to start turning out ventilators; it’s reminiscent of the way that companies stopped churning out cars and trucks in 1942 and began producing planes, tanks and ships.

On the other hand, there are, as is typical during wartime, Fifth Columnists who are doing everything in their power to sabotage the best efforts of others. Among them, are the Democratic mayors in cities such as L.A., San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, St. Louis and New York, who are releasing prisoners from jail at the very same time they are shutting down gun shops, thus preventing law-abiding citizens the means with which to protect themselves from these creeps.

Although I can’t always sit through the daily briefings provided by President Trump and V.P. Mike Pence, I have seen enough of them to draw distinct impressions of the major players. Pence always seems well-prepared, whereas Trump always seems to fumble and hesitate when reading off his prepared notes. The man is clearly more comfortable when he’s at his rallies ad-libbing and feeding off his friendly crowds. When addressing a room full of his media enemies, he at times seems tongue-tied.

The best of the experts is Dr. Deborah Birx, the Coronavirus Response Coordinator. She comes across as honest, well-spoken, sensible and reassuring. Young med students could do worse than study her if they’re looking to perfect their bedside manner.

If I didn’t already distrust Anthony Fauci, the diminutive expert they keep rolling out, I certainly would have after he delivered a spirited defense of the China-loving director of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, an Ethiopian leftist with a very checkered past.

In case anyone doubted the political bias of the WHO, they only needed to hear R. Bruce Aylward, the senior advisor to Director Ghebreyesus, gushing on and on about how responsible China has been throughout the siege. He was referring to “the extraordinary people,” ignoring the fact that they had kept a lid on the outbreak in Wuhan for an entire month, going so far as to arrest and possibly execute the doctors who attempted to warn the outside world.

An anonymous Democratic consultant likened Joe Biden’s mental state as being comparable to a melting ice cube. I’ll leave it up to the ice cubes if they wish to sue him for slander.

I heard from a longtime subscriber letting me know that he despises RINOs even more than he does Democrats because he regards them as turncoats and traitors.

Although I understand his attitude, I have over the years tried to point out that even people like Mitt Romney, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, serve a higher purpose even if they only occasionally support President Trump.

That’s because, as with the House, it’s party identity, not party loyalty, that determines whether Mitch McConnell or Chuck Schumer controls the agenda. So long as there are 53 Republican senators, McConnell can seat conservatives judges on the federal bench and conservative justices on the Supreme Court. He can also table most of Nancy Pelosi’s looniest pieces of liberal legislation.

Speaking of which, there is only so much that even Sen. McConnell can do. Although he managed to rid the $2 trillion dollar stimulus bill of some of its worst elements before sending it along to the House, it’s not ideal.

One of the reasons that it didn’t receive unanimous approval in the Senate and had to settle for a 96-0 vote was because senators Lindsey Graham, Rick Scott, Tim Scott and Ben Stasse, couldn’t pass their sensible amendment which would have capped unemployment benefits at 100% of the recipient’s regular salary.

As a result, those collecting checks will be paid at roughly the rate of $24-an-hour, meaning that a great many people will be paid more not to work than they made when they were employed. The four senators felt it sent the wrong message by placing an additional burden on taxpayers who will be forced to make up the difference.

It’s bad enough that major universities don’t think twice about conniving with banks to drown students in debt, but Harvard, with an endowment of $40 billion, has gone out of its way to be particularly revolting. It seems the arrogant patricians who run the place as their own fiefdom decided to lay off their dining hall staff for the duration without pay.

They are doing this even though, as Tucker Carlson pointed out, providing them with one month’s severance pay would amount to less than a million dollars, leaving them with an endowment of $39,999,000,000.

Or to put it another way, at the rate of $1,000,000-a-month, if they never received another dollar from the alumni association, Harvard could keep paying out that amount until the year 5353 rolled around.

It was eerie seeing the streets of New York City looking like a ghost town on TV the other day. It looked like a scene from one of those apocalyptic movies that show us what it would look like if a war was fought with those smart bombs that kill people but leave structures intact.

Watching the city’s pigeons walking around looking for the crumbs — the broken pretzels, the bits of hot dogs and buns and dropped pizza slices — that constitute their usual diet, had me wondering what they’re thinking. They must be wondering where all the people have gone Have they formulated any theories? Are they making travel plans? If they left the city for the hinterlands, would they know how to ferret for worms and grubs? Would they be able to survive in such an unnatural environment? Would the feathered urbanites be bullied and teased by the country birds who were native to the area? Or would the locals simply gawk at them and cluck among themselves: “Well, there goes the neighborhood”?

I can’t recall how we got on the subject, but I recently let a subscriber know that if I die in a hospital bed, as opposed to getting hit by a bus or killed by one of those nogootniks Mayor Eric Garcetti is letting out of jail, I would try to bribe a nurse or an intern to supply me with cocaine.

I would never try the stuff otherwise, as I wouldn’t want to become an addict.

But I have always been curious about its effect, seeing as how so many people – including some that I’ve known personally – have allowed it to destroy their lives.

My insatiable curiosity has been a blessing in my life, but it can also be a curse.

But at least my being aware of the downside means I’m willing to delay the experience until I’m standing on death’s doorstep and leaning on the doorbell.

I only wish everybody else would do the same.

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