Many would have us believe that the riots and violence sweeping across America’s cities this year are spontaneous. But history and current evidence tell us otherwise. By Katharine C. Gorka in Heritage Commentary, Sept 15, 2020 KEY TAKEAWAYS In 1960, ...
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How the 1960's riots foreshadow today’s Communist weaponization of black 'pain' and more...

How the 1960's riots foreshadow today’s Communist weaponization of black 'pain'

 Many would have us believe that the riots and violence sweeping across America’s cities this year are spontaneous. But history and current evidence tell us otherwise.  

 By Katharine C. Gorka in Heritage Commentary, Sept 15, 2020


  1. In 1960, there were no riots in the United States, only in foreign countries. But that quickly changed. By 1965, America’s cities were imploding.

  2. The riots of the 1960s had a long-term negative impact on both the value of black-owned properties and on black income and employment.

  3. Black Lives Matter is not about helping black people. It is about using black people to achieve the co-founders’ revolutionary, ideological aims.

Leaving the White House grounds recently, I knew I would encounter protesters. You could hear them throughout the evening, trying to disrupt.

Most of the protesters were to the east and north of the White House, so staff directed us to exit out the west gate. A security guard offered to accompany me and my husband south to Constitution Avenue to meet our Uber driver, and we went safely home.

We heard numerous stories the next morning of guests who had been threatened and endangered. One friend with whom we had walked out of that west gate actually decked a foul-mouthed biker. The biker had veered too close to our friend’s wife while shouting threats and obscenities, and the husband then acted as a man might reasonably be expected to — he punched the guy.

Elsewhere, dozens of angry protestors surrounded Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and his wife Kelley as they left the White House grounds. Eventually, more police officers arrived and escorted the couple to the safety of their hotel.

Sen. Paul later reported: “After we got back to our hotel room and some safety we heard something frightening. The ‘protesters’ were staying on our floor — including the room next door to us. They were talking about their mob activities and even saying they thought we were here on this floor. We had to develop a 3 a.m. plan with the Capitol Police to get to safety.”

Paul asks, “Who are these people? Who paid for their hotel rooms? Who flew them in?” What he saw that night led him to conclude, “It’s organized. It’s paid for. It’s violent.”

Several days later, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced the Justice Department had launched an investigation into the organization and funding of the violent protests that have wracked cities across America for months. On Sept. 10, 50 members of Congress signed a letter, calling on Attorney General William Barr to investigate the groups responsible for the ongoing attacks against our republic.

How To Turn Civil Unrest Into Riots

How do we know those are Marxist riots in our streets? That one’s easy: because the organizers tell us they are. In a 2015 interview, Patrice Cullors said she and Alicia Garza, co-founders of Black Lives Matter, are “trained Marxists.”

The second question is more challenging: If you are a Marxist, how do you start a riot? Or, as Methvin posed the question: “What turns an ordinarily trivial city street arrest incident into a gargantuan explosion of mass violence?” After 10 years of research, Methvin found the answer, and he published it in “The Riotmakers.”

He opens with the Newark riots of 1967, which were eerily similar to the riots following George Floyd’s death. From the windows of two public housing buildings on the evening of July 12, 1967, police were seen dragging a struggling man upstairs into the police station. Rumors quickly flew that the police had beaten and killed the prisoner.

Protests began and soon erupted into riots. Over the next four days, 26 people were killed as a result and many homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed. Within 10 days, riots had broken out in 43 cities across the United States.

Methvin dug deep to understand the cause. One factor he identified was the “Tractor Revolution,” the mechanization of agriculture after World War II that pushed poor blacks and whites into northern cities. While many of those poor whites were able to transition into industrial jobs, Methvin saw that blacks faced numerous obstacles such as poor education, union racism, and housing discrimination, which kept them out of the suburbs and thus out of reach of the industrial jobs.

Other factors playing a role were: the welfare policies of the 1960s, which had started to erode the black family; rampant corruption in Newark’s government, and epic overcrowding. Newark was a tinderbox. Tens of thousands of black Americans were underemployed, undereducated, alienated, exploited, and resentful.

Spontaneous or Incited?  read more beneath the link :

The month after the riots had finally ended and the buildings had stopped smoldering, The New York Times Review of Books published an article by Hayden, in which he wrote:

The role of organized violence is now being carefully considered. During a riot, for instance, a conscious guerilla can participate in pulling police away from the path of people engaged in attacking stores. He can create disorder in new areas the police think are secure. He can carry the torch, if not all the people [sic], to white neighborhoods and downtown business districts. If necessary, he can successfully shoot to kill.

Communist Incitement Buried

Methven cites the numerous investigations and court cases that found similar patterns of deliberate instigation in riots across the United States: in Rochester, Cincinnati, Baltimore, San Jose, Toledo, Philadelphia, Watts, Detroit, Chicago.

Young, bored, white college students decided to conduct their revolutionary experiment using black people as the trigger.

In spite of all the evidence to the contrary, including Hayden’s well-publicized admission of SDS’s tactics and the open calls for violence by Black Panther leader Stokely Carmichael, the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, appointed by President Johnson, concluded in what is known as the Kerner Report that racism was the primary cause of the riots.

Historian Sean Wilentz calls out the profound bias in that conclusion. The experts and analysts who made up the Kerner Commission were not unified in their conclusions.

Those who ultimately held sway justified the riots “not as signs of oppressive poverty and social breakdown but as righteous political protests against racist institutions, in particular the police. The events in Watts, Detroit, and elsewhere were not riots…they were rebellions; instead of seeking to quell the outrage in the nation’s inner cities, responsible government officials needed to awaken to the racism so deeply and systematically embedded in American life, and then attack it head-on.” Sound familiar?

Young, bored, white college students, seduced in their ignorance by the dysfunctional dream of Marxism, decided to conduct their revolutionary experiment using black people as the trigger. But at tremendous cost. The riots of the 1960s had a long-term negative impact on both the value of black-owned properties and on black income and employment.

Riots ‘Unambiguously’ Hurt Black People Most

Robert Margo, a professor of economics at Boston University, and William Collins, of Vanderbilt University, concluded: “the riots were unambiguously negative. They reduced incomes of African Americans’ employment, and they reduced housing values. In the case of housing values, it was broader; it actually affects overall housing values in cities, but the impact is primarily felt by African Americans.”

The Kerner Commission spent seven months looking into the cause of the riots and concluded, simply, it was racism. Methvin spent 10 years looking into the same question and came to a very different conclusion.

He fully acknowledged an array of negative factors affecting blacks in many American cities, but Methvin also demonstrated, incontestably, that the explosion of discontent into violence and rioting was not spontaneous. Indeed it was the direct result of planning and interference by white college students under the sway of Marxism.

Their meddling not only did nothing to help black people, it set many of them years back. As Margo concludes, “whatever was done afterwards was not enough to compensate for the damage and whatever economic consequences came after that.”

These Riots Are Not Random Or Spontaneous

Many of today’s leaders and mainstream media outlets would have us believe that the riots and violence sweeping across America’s cities this year are spontaneous. But history and current evidence tell us otherwise.

As Lora Ries and Charles Stimson of The Heritage Foundation pointed out in a recent report, “Video evidence and arrest records demonstrate that some rioters…have moved from city to city to cause violence using repeated tactics. Their movement and the places they go are not random. Rather, this appears to be part of an organized effort to cause chaos and destruction across the country…”

Similarly, Mike Gonzalez recently wrote in City Journal:

The protests that sprang up in the wake of George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis seemed like spontaneous outpourings of grief and anger. They weren’t entirely. Though many who joined their ranks may have been moved by outrage at the images of Floyd’s death, those operating behind the scenes have prepared for this moment for a long time.

Gonzalez cites Melina Abdullah, of BLM’s Los Angeles chapter, who told an interviewer that the demonstrations in that city had been strategically planned: “We built kind of an organizing strategy that said, build black community [to] disrupt white supremacy.”

The New York Times also cites the role of Black Lives Matter: “One of the reasons there have been protests in so many places in the United States is the backing of organizations like Black Lives Matter. While the group isn’t necessarily directing each protest, it provides materials, guidance and a framework for new activists.”

Not Just Parallels, But Direct Links

Not only are there strong parallels between the riots of 2020 and the riots of the 1960s, but there is a direct link between the organizers. As Gonzalez points out, one of the three BLM founders, Patrice Cullors, spent a decade working as a radical organizer in the Labor/Community Strategy Center, which was established and run by Eric Mann, a former member of the Weather Underground.

They bombed the State Department, the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, the California attorney general’s office, and a New York City police station.

The Weather Underground was formed in 1969 as a militant wing of the Students for a Democratic Society. They sought “the destruction of U.S. imperialism and [to] form a classless communist world.” In seeking those ends, they bombed the State Department, the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, the California attorney general’s office, and a New York City police station.

Andrew McCarthy recently documented ties between the BLM Global Network and the Weather Underground. Kyle Shideler has also exposed the ideological roots of BLM’s obsession with white privilege, which can be traced directly to the terrorists of the Weather Underground.

As the United States now finally embarks on a serious effort to uncover whether, as Rand Paul charges, the current rioting is planned and organized, they would do well to rediscover the ground-breaking work of Methvin. He exposed the very real injustices faced by black Americans, but he also exposed the way those injustices were exploited by those who had been seduced by the lies of Marxist utopia.

Through painstaking research, Methven was able to uncover exactly how those radical organizers turned despair and frustration into violence. We can also now see, with the benefit of hindsight, that the social demolition of the revolutionaries only hurt those it aspired to help.

To Truly Help Black People, Reject BLM

Why is this all of this so vitally important? Because right now, many well-intentioned Americans believe they are helping black people by putting Black Lives Matter signs in their front yards. A number of corporations believe they are helping stamp out racism by donating millions of dollars to Black Lives Matter. Middle schools and high schools across the country are using a curriculum developed by Black Lives Matter to teach children that America is riddled with systemic racism.

But in fact, Black Lives Matter is not about helping black people. It is about using black people to achieve the co-founders’ revolutionary, ideological aims.

BLM wants to overthrow the American system of deliberative democracy and ordered liberty and replace it with their Marxist hell. The sooner Americans wake up to that reality, the less black people will suffer as a result of their current exploitation by the radical left.

Read the original at Heritage Commentary

Katharine C. Gorka is the director of The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Civil Society and the American Dialogue.


Beverly Hills Police and Fire Depts mourn first responders, rescuers, and civilians murdered by jihadists on Sept 11, 2001

The Beverly Hills community honored the memory of the thousands of people whose lives were taken in Islamist terror attacks - in a remembrance ceremony outside the Beverly Hills Fire Station. Epidemic prevention guidelines precluded holding a public event in 2020, so we remind viewers of the event with our video news from last year.

Beverly Hills Police and Fire Departments present joint ceremony at Civic Center, Sept 11, 2019
“For all of us, the events of September 11, 2001, will forever live in our memories and we come together this evening to commit to never forget,” Fire Chief Greg Barton said to the more than 100 people in attendance at the somber ceremony. (Laura Coleman in the Beverly Hills Courier 9/12/19).

DemoCast asked Chief Barton what is the connection between Beverly Hills and New York City that makes this so important to Southern California?
Barton replied, "Such a tragic event touched everybody in the United States. Our true connection to this is the 343 brothers and sisters of the Fire Service lost on that fateful day -- and that we continue to lose through cancer and through respiratory problems. So this is why we commemorate this event every year, and the city supports this event, and we will be commemorating this event for years to come. "

How Beverly Hills honors the bravery of 9/11/01 NY/DC rescuers year-round - Fire Chief Greg Barton


Beverly Hills Fire Chief Greg Barton describes the Beverly Hills 9/11 Memorial Garden.

The Beverly Hills 9/11 Memorial Garden is open to the public on a daily basis and provides a sanctuary for those who wish to sit, contemplate and remember the events of that day," the City of Beverly Hills said. "In addition to the imposing Twin Towers floor beam erected at the center of the site, various vignettes have been incorporated to represent the locations of the three plane crash sites: the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
A wreath dedicated to the memory of the victims of 
The Garden contains an historic steel artifact that once served as a structural member at the World Trade Center site. It is supported by a Pentagon shaped base and prominently looks out, ever vigilant, towards the symbolic Twin Towers and the field of greenery representing Shanksville.

Encased in the foundation of this memorial are copies of the Declaration of Independence, United States Constitution, Gettysburg Address, and a piece of the aircraft from Flight 77 along with the Captain’s insignia wings.

City of Beverly Hills' public information manager, Keith Sterling, discusses the annual September 11th commemoration ceremony staged at the Beverly Hills 9/11 Memorial Garden outside of Fire Department Headquarters and Station #1.


The City of Beverly Hills commemorated 9/11 in an annual ceremony at the 9/11 Memorial Garden. The event featured a wreath laying, ringing of the bell and playing of taps.

Mayor John Mirisch and councilmembers, the City of Beverly Hills Fire and Police Chiefs, Color Guard and bagpipers were in attendance for the Wednesday ceremony which began at 5:30 p.m.

From 2009 to 2016, President Barack Obama proclaimed September 11 as Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance, in observance of Pub.L. 111–13, the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act.   In 2017, 2018 and 2019, President Donald Trump proclaimed September 8–10 as National Days of Prayer and Remembrance, and proclaimed September 11 as Patriot Day

Should September 11 commemorations be a teaching opportunity about the jihadist movement which still targets the West for conquest?  Writer, Cheryl Kane describes her experience from 2001 and how things have evolved as she watches the ceremony. 


The Beverly Hills 9/11 Memorial Garden serves to forever honor, respect, and remember the victims, rescuers, and heroes who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.

The Beverly Hills 9/11 Memorial Garden is located at 445 North Rexford Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210.  For more info:
The garden is open daily and is located on the grounds of the Beverly Hills Fire Department, 445 N. Rexford Drive (northwest corner of Rexford and South Santa Monica Boulevard).


Source of the riots and lootings? A natural outgrowth of the Covid lockdown or something more nefarious?

Across America citizens are wrestling with how the Covid relaxation so quickly spurred the George Floyd incident, which drove the newly freed Black Lives Matters protests into American streets with hammers and torches. To what may we attribute this curious confluence of events?

Who is recruiting, moving and paying the professional anarcho-rioters? by Patricia McCarthy in American Thinker 5/31/20

The death-by-cop of George Floyd in Minneapolis was grotesque, a clearer example of police brutality that has otherwise rarely been filmed for all to see.  Even if, as has been reported, Floyd did not die of asphyxiation or strangulation as it appeared, his death was without a doubt caused by that officer’s cruel and unnecessary action and the inaction of his fellow officers who stood by and watched.  That officer has been charged with third degree murder and the other officers have been fired.  Judicial due process will ensue, both state and federal.  In the meantime, that the people of Minneapolis have turned out to protest is understandable.

These upheavals seem to occur only in Democrat-run cities:  Ferguson, Baltimore, New York, Los Angeles.  It is easy to see why after seeing the mayor of Minneapolis called back the police and National Guard giving the vandals free rein to destroy his city.  His concern was that they be masked so as not to spread the virus!  The leadership of Baltimore did the same in 2015; “Let them have their space”  said then-Mayor Stephanie Rawlings.  (continued below)
Former NYC Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik tweeted today: "Is there anyone that truly believes that this was not an organized event?"

How much do you think it would cost for communications and travel and manpower for an event like this. Who’s money is behind it?"
— Bernard B. Kerik (@BernardKerik) May 31, 2020

The riots in Ferguson in 2014 were exacerbated by President Obama and Eric Holder, who, as was their habit, immediately blamed the police which had the effect of giving permission to angry citizens to act out in the most destructive ways.  Rioters in that city also burned the businesses owned and operated by their neighbors.  They burned the markets they regularly patronized.  The rent-a-mobs get the action going and the suddenly mindless residents join in to destroy their own community.

What is happening all over America these past several nights is not about George Floyd.  The rioters are using his death to embark on rampages, to loot small and large businesses alike.   These are not protests.  What we are seeing is mass thievery under color of protest.  Chances are if the looters in Los Angeles were asked “who was George Floyd,” they would not have a clue nor would they care.  Democrat-run cities have long valued “social justice” (different standards for different groups)  and identity politics over lawfulness and basic values. This is what you get when deviancy has been defined down so egregiously that we have citizens behaving like animals. 
Los Angeles protesters conquer a torched police car in the Fairfax District (Photo: Reuters via

The looting in Los Angeles, all filmed from above, continues unabated and without police presence.  Businesses that have been shuttered for two and a half months are now being completely destroyed, their merchandise looted.  Where is Mayor Eric Garcetti?  Making sure no one walks on dry sand. 😃 (Read more)

California Gov. Newsom says that coronavirus is an opportunity to create a new "progressive era.”

Artist, Sabo's Gov. Gavin Newsom caricature at ReOpen CA
After having been locked-down for 10-weeks,  Los Angeles residents gathered for protests on the steps of Los Angeles City Hall to urge officials city to ReOpen Los Angeles. Popular was the concern about public officials not structuring re-openings of lockdown based on public health and financial need, but on Democrat politicians' political agendas. Mark Reed, who is running for Congress against incumbent Brad Sherman, believes that Mayor Garcetti and Gov. Newsom are intending to impoverish conditions for the public, in order to increase the amount they might obtain from an additional Federal government grant.


Former Democrat, Michelle Stauder, believes that government officials are slowing stratified reopening of the state in order to weaken the economy and make families dependent on government sustenance, known as the Cloward - Piven strategy for overwhelming government services to evolve into Socialism - making the citizen dependent upon (and not critical of) state politicians. 


Los Angelenos dispute Dem officials' rationales for economically crippling lockdown

African-Americans and progressive-women among protesters sharing insight regarding Democrat officials' paralyzing economy beyond early May.

Los Angelenos at City Hall protest disproportionate lockdown extended by Gov. Gavin Newsom and L.A. officials

May Day Protests To ‘Reopen America’ Take Place In Huntington Beach, Downtown L.A. CBS-L.A. 2 May '20
On May Day, which is also known as International Workers Day, when workers usually take to the streets for a higher minimum wage and benefits, demonstrators are demanding that stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of coronavirus be lifted so people can get back to work. An organization called We Have Rights is in downtown Los Angeles and Huntington Beach, where beaches were closed by order of Gov. Gavin Newsom after large crowds descended last weekend.

In downtown Los Angeles, protesters from the same movement called for a walking protest and to gridlock the streets in and around Los Angeles City Hall.

“We can take other precautions,” said Eric Rodriquez, who joined the protest downtown. “But to shut it down? It’s a little too extreme.”

One of the main issues for the protestors was the loss of jobs since nonessential businesses were forced to close.  “We’re especially concerned for the people who have been plunged into poverty, including undocumented people who don’t qualify for unemployment,” said protestor Angela McArdle.

The demonstration downtown sparked a small counter protest of people calling for “humanity first.” They were against calls to lift stay-at-home orders and said that to do so would be a “callous disregard for public safety and human life.”
 'Personal-damage of govt Dems slowing reopening L.A. outweighs flu risk'- says addictions counseling manager:

Political artist, Sabo, depicts Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom
as a South Park abusive policeman at L.A. City Hall protest
Outside L.A. City Hall, tele-medical provider, Jim Kamanski, (who runs a substance addiction rehab called http://AlCure.Me/) challenges Democrat state officials, like Calif Gov Gavin Newsom, who in daily TV appearances,  professing benevolence, but comes up short
with regard to restoring freedom of movement, restoring business, shopping, lost wages, and jobs. Mr. Kaminski is concerned that the social damage Democrat leaders created (under the banner of health and safety) to harm the Republican White House's re-election image, now exceeds the mortality rate of the flu. He says it's up to citizens to demand that it be rectified.

Mr. Kaminski's sign states that the extended lockdown is causing unemployment, financial crisis, mental health problems, depression, family problems, child abuse, spousal abuse, homelessness, alcoholism, drug-overdoses, and suicides which will harm people, society, and the country for many months after actual freedoms are restored. Government officials and lapdog liberal media must be challenged and held accountable.

Lucid sign posted on bus-shelter outside of Los Angeles City Hall

African-American bodyguard declares pride to "#walkaway from the plantation." Why Democrat extended lockdown may be intended to impair the finances of white voters, too.


Steven Davis (@MagaMuscles) obliges a photo seeker, while Cong. Candidate
@Errol Webber (Congressional candidate) deciphers the politics of the lockdown
At the Re-Open California Rally at L.A. City Hall, church-going bodyguard, Steven Davis, reveals why he believes that Democrat politicians, such as Calif Gov. Gavin Newsom, Sen. Nancy Pelosi, and Mayor Eric Garcetti (among other Democrat officials around the country) prolonged business closures and forced personal lockdowns - including early termination of schools.

Black Republicans call to Re-Open Calif for work: We Have Rights! Steven Davis and Errol Weber at L.A. City Hall


At We Have Rights! demonstration at L.A. City Hall on May Day, Steven Davis of Victorville calls to Re-Open California to work. Congressional candidate, Errol Weber joins him to discuss how he believes that Democrat politicians exploit minorities - and they guilt whites into permitting it.

Progressive ladies teach: How "My body, my choice!" applies to gov't vs YOU - under and after CoVid pretense


Progressive women from West Los Angeles explain their objections to Gov. Newsom's state-control of their freedom of movement, forced apparel, and most of all, mandatory vaccinations.


Why take the newest China Virus seriously- and how to handle it with sanity

"Why take the newest China Virus seriously, and how to handle it with sanityby 

1. Why Take It Seriously
I face a dilemma. I do not believe a thing coming from CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, MSNBC, the Washington Post, or the New York Times. They have lied to me so often, and particularly these past three years, that I do not watch them, do not hear them, do not bother with them. I do read the headlines of the daily Washington Post and sometimes open a story, but rarely. Even a broken clock is correct twice daily.
Dov Fischer
Rabbi Dov Fischer

Likewise, when I watch Fox News, the only American news I can bear to watch on my TV, I do so mostly with a grain of salt. Some of them have my confidence: Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, Bret Baier, Brit Hume, Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo, and the occasional appearances of VDH and Mark Steyn. And, except for his adoration of animals and some of his salty references, Greg Gutfeld probably is the closest thing there to me.

As it happens, I watch one hour of Israel news every night. I do so because, although my mastery of Biblical Hebrew is strong, my day-long immersion in and love for the quirks and nuances of the glorious English language impel me to listen to an hour of spoken contemporary “street Hebrew” daily in order to maintain that added fluency. I also have come to enjoy the news coverage there because they cover Mideast, European, and Asian developments better and more objectively than does American news, and because it enhances my perspective on what’s cookin’ in Israel. This has proven to be particularly valuable for me as I follow the coronavirus scare because it affords me an in-depth second perspective. For the past month it has seemed to me that they are three weeks ahead of us. If so, we all will be expected to stay indoors by April, on pain of arrest and fine.

 Laura Ingraham Show (Photo: Media Matters)
On one hand, I am like so many supporters of President Trump who are so disgusted with the Corrupt Journalist Corps and their non-stop lies that I have no patience to watch or hear their “coverage” of COVID-19, which basically can be summarized as: Trump is to blame for the disease. Trump failed to foresee it when he was born. Trump should have had everyone wearing gas masks. All deaths are Trump’s fault. Oh, and did we mention that he is a RACIST!? How can he call it the Chinese virus? Because of Trump, we do not have enough test kits, enough masks, enough toilet paper. Impeach! Because, if only we had Joe Biden right now in the White House he would know what to do.

I have no patience for that garbage. When I watch and compare what is going on in Israel, and their coverage of Europe and Asia, I see that President Trump has led very effectively. All the countries were unprepared — in some same ways, in some different ways. Israel also did not have enough test kits and also is trying to line up more masks and ventilators. In Italy and Spain, they really messed up. RACIST!

Sure, it is easy for the perpetual Trump Haters now to say that he should have done more before. But when he closed down air travel from China, the same garbage-heavers went apoplectic:

Now the governors of more and more states are imposing serious quarantines that are requiring all residents of their respective state to remain indoors, alone with family, allowed to exit only for the most urgent needs: seeking urgent medical care and buying toilet paper.

Screen capture from video of a Chinese laborer, suspected of suffering from
coronavirus, being brought to Barzilai Medical Center, January 2020. (YNet)
In Israel, the country now is “b’hesger” — closed down. The only exceptions are for life’s urgencies: again, medical needs, shopping for food and pharmaceuticals, and — because it is Israel — attending political demonstrations (but staying six feet, or two meters, apart). Can you imagine what the Trump Haters would have said if he actually had ordered quarantines and businesses and people off the streets during the earliest days? CNN and MSNBC would have been hosting mental-health “experts” saying that Trump finally broke and now is like Hitler preparing to impose martial law and to impose the dictatorship-for-life that CNN’s and MSNBC’s crack commentators have been predicting insanely since he traveled down the escalator.

Nancy Pelosi doles "impeachment pens" to Dem managers of the case
(Photo: Associated Press)
Meanwhile, objective history will record forever that, as the rest of the world was coming to grips in January 2020 with the realization that we had a pandemic brewing, Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats were focused on souvenir pens, impeachment to nowhere, and tearing up speeches throughout the month, bogging down the President with a Senate trial that required huddling with legal counsel when the Congress and the country instead should have had eyes on Europe and on the newest China virus.

Regardless of the politics, I take this thing very, very seriously. My law students are in a safer age cohort, but my congregation includes several beloved families who are over age 60 and 65 and beyond. Some live very dynamically but with chronic health conditions that place them in the higher-risk categories. Some take meds to control those conditions and assure them longevity but that compromise their immunity. Even though the death rate or any severe results from this newest China virus among people under 60 is minuscule, those are precisely the sweet and kind people who unknowingly can transmit death to those in the higher-risk categories. So I do not regard this thing as an “overblown exaggeration.” My people do not eat bats, snakes, and dogs, and we do not have an established tolerance to China viruses.

COVID-19 both is less serious than the flu, and it is far more serious than the flu. On one hand, coronavirus numbers are a minuscule splotch compared to the annual numbers of American and worldwide flu infections and deaths. We Americans lose 30,000-60,000 Americans annually from the flu, and no one pays much attention. By contrast, almost everyone under 60 who contracts coronavirus comes out pretty solidly. So that makes the China virus seem milder. Even the 60-69 group sustain fewer than 10 percent dead. Even the overwhelming majority of the septuagenarians and octogenarians who contract come out alive and kicking. More than 80 percent in those age groups survive, even at that age. All that is one perspective — that the whole thing is way overblown, aimed at taking down Trump now that the Democrats and their Corrupt Journalist Corps failed with FISA and with Christopher Steele, with Blasey Ford and with Avenatti and Stormy, with Michael Cohen and with Omarosa, with Mueller and with impeachment.

But here’s the thing. People under 60 and without high-risk health conditions know pretty quickly when they have the flu, but do not know for two weeks when they are carrying coronavirus. This difference is critical. When someone has the flu, within two or three days they are sneezing, coughing, red-eyed, and a mess. You know to stay away from them, or you know you also are going to be so sick in two days. Moreover, if you are among the half of Americans who are sensible, you even can pursue partial precaution by getting a flu shot, even a multi-spectrum one for people more at risk. That immunization does not cancel every flu bug, but it helps a bunch and even mitigates flu’s worst symptoms for many who nevertheless get stricken.

The problem with COVID-19 is that it takes a long time — two weeks, a fortnight, even longer — before the carrier knows he is infected. That is why they quarantine for 14 days, not two or three days. And carriers tend to transmit it more broadly, to more people than flu carriers, perhaps because they are oblivious to their own infection. So all these robust and healthy people kiss a spouse, hug a kid, visit a grandma or grandpa, shake a hand, place hands on a coffee-shop table, borrow or lend a pen, hand-pick some fresh produce at the store, and transmit the bug. And then — two weeks later — it turns into a 1960s “Star Trek” episode, where everyone on the planet except for Kirk, Spock, Bones, Sulu, and Uhura ends up dying before the first commercial.

Unlike flu, we do not yet know for sure what we are dealing with because (except for Andrew Zimmerman) who eats bats? The flu season often ends in the warmer months, but Australia now is in summer because everything there is upside-down — lucky for them there is gravity! — and they have the China virus spreading there, too. Not only do we not fully know what we are dealing with here, but we also cannot be sure whether next winter the thing will mutate into a variant. So it is a real concern. Look dispassionately and objectively at what has befallen Italy and Spain to grasp what could be. Which raises the next epidemiological concern:

Let’s say, based on some people having stronger natural immunities and some being more susceptible, that this newest China virus eventually will hit “X” number of Americans in each of the various age and health categories. Even if the ultimate number of people stricken cannot be avoided, there is an enormous premium on slowing down the rate, the tempo of the spread so that not everyone gets critical at once. By reducing the speed of the spread, the public’s health system may avoid becoming over-taxed. We have a finite number of oxygen-generating equipment — ventilators, external oxygen machines — a finite number of hospital beds, of intensive-care beds, a finite number of health care workers, doctors, and nurses.

If all whom the coronavirus will strike get sick during the same time frame, the system will be forced into the ultimate “Medicare for All” nightmare: not enough resources to treat all the older, the immuno-suppressed, and the chronically weakened — so hospital administrators and medical personnel will have to make life-and-death choices as to who gets the ventilator and who is selected to die.

That concern is at the core of Israel’s response, as they have moved increasingly from the more relaxed early steps we have taken here. By now, they are enforcing home stays, except for limited exceptions. In their latest move, they actually are at the edge of the envelope of personal privacy, having engaged technology that, until now, they have employed only to track, monitor, and surveil potential terrorists. They have technology that enables them to go back and track retroactively to determine where an infected guy had been days earlier, and to identify and locate every person with whom he came into contact back then. And then they text those people to go into 14-day quarantine. The Knesset and Israeli Supreme Court are actively monitoring the implementation to assure that this desperate life-saving mechanism does not turn into our corrupted FISA court system.

2. Dealing With It

I am not hoarding. Hoarding is so foolish and socially evil, causing artificial disruptions to an ample supply chain. We are a land of plenty. Shelves are bare because supermarkets, proceeding as they do every other day, do not maintain in back storage room a million rolls of toilet paper, a million hand sanitizers, and a million cartons of milk. If they did, in normal times, the milk would spoil, and the toilet paper and sanitizers would crowd out the food items that normal consumers come to buy. So the store managers know how much of each thing to have on stock based on experiences with buyers’ normal patterns. At some point, those who have hoarded toilet paper are going to figure out that: (i) they have no more room at home to store any more of it; (ii) they have no room for food in their refrigerators because the cold shelves, vegetable bins, and cheese racks are jammed with toilet paper; and (iii) if they having nothing to eat, then — d’uh!— they ain’t gonna need so much toilet paper anyway!

For me as an Orthodox Jew, there is another dimension to all this. All my life, I have lived a 25-hour period every week, from Friday sunset to Saturday nightfall, observing the Holy Sabbath (Shabbat) in the manner of our tradition. For twenty-five hours, we do not activate electricity or electronics, do not drive a car, do not transact business, do not write, do not use phones or computers. Outsiders hear of an Orthodox Jewish Sabbath and ask compassionately: “You poor person, what do you do all day? Sit in the dark?”

No. When you cannot watch television or email or text and tweet your thumbs off, and cannot do clothes washes or write checks to pay bills, you instead slow down and take a breath for a day. You eat a slower, longer multi-course meal that you prepared before Shabbat, with no rush, no worries. You talk with your spouse, your kids, your parents, your invited friends, and you share a two-hour meal. You sing soulful songs at the table. The kids update you on their week at school, and you them on your week at work. Afterwards, you read. One person reads Team of Rivals. Another reads the weekly Torah portion with English-translated medieval Hebrew commentaries written by Rabbi Rashi of France, Rabbis Ramban and Ibn Ezra of Spain, Rabbi Sforno of Italy, perhaps something more contemporary like Rabbi Hirsch of Germany or Rabbi Soloveitchik of Boston and New York. The kids play board games: “Apples to Apples,” “Settlers of Catan,” chess, “Ticket to Ride,” Scrabble, Taboo! — or my favorite, 221B Baker Street.

When I was a little boy, I harbored mixed feelings about Shabbat because my non-Jewish friends and my non-observant Jewish friends would run off to the movies on Saturday afternoon; I could not go. The years have passed. If someone today were to ask me whether I wish I could go to the movies on Shabbat, I would look at them as though they were crazy.

It is going to be challenging for Americans to get used to living more indoors, slowing down the pace a bit, attending class and lectures via Zoom instead of in-person, watching streamed movies at home instead of traveling the world. This will be different and at times isolating. And it may go on for a year, not just three weeks. But some may look back a year from now and concede that it was a little bit nice to experience what June and Ward Cleaver, and Ozzie and Harriett had — nuclear family. In Israel, where not every Jew is Orthodox, this Shabbat will be the first time in the 71-year history of the country that there will be a Shabbat when all public transportation is closed down, all sports events are closed, all theaters, restaurants, beaches, and shopping malls are closed. Maybe some will appreciate what they have been missing.

Here, too, maybe we all can calm down a moment and realize that, in a world where an infinitesimally minuscule microbe can drive an entire planet into pandemonium, we do not and cannot control everything. We are incapable of destroying G-d’s planet because we are not omnipotent. And we also should think about whether anyone in our orbit is so isolated and shut in that they need a phone call or help in having food delivered to their door. That omnipotent we can be.

                                                                         *  *  *
This article originally appeared in The American Spectator, 20 March 2020.

Rabbi Dov Fischer, Esq., a high-stakes litigation attorney of more than
twenty-five years and an adjunct professor of law of more than fifteen
years, is rabbi of Young Israel of Orange County, California. His writings on contemporary political issues have appeared over the years in the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles  Times, the Jerusalem Post, National Review, American Greatness, The
Weekly Standard, and in Jewish media in American and in Israel. A winner of an  American Jurisprudence Award in Professional Legal Ethics, Rabbi  Fischer also is the author of two books, including "General Sharon’s War Against Time Magazine," which covered the Israeli General’s 1980s  landmark libel suit.


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