American Consequences - February 2021

Bitcoin has become front and center in mainstream news... Bulls say it will keep soaring, but bears caution its risks. We've got the experts to weigh in, plus all the latest financial and political content you won't find anywhere else...

The Future of Money

Riskiest Market of the Past Century

Cool Kids on the Block (Chain)





F EBRUARY 2 0 2 1


B itcoin has become front and center in mainstream news... Bulls say it will keep soaring, but bears caution its risks. This month in American Consequences , we’ve got the experts to weigh in, plus all the latest financial and political content you won’t find anywhere else... Publisher Trish Regan traces back bitcoin’s humble roots and wonders if its creators would approve of its mainstream status now as a crypto behemoth. Renowned author and blockchain guru Alex Tapscott makes the case that bitcoin can transcend being just a hot investment and could become the future of money itself. Editor in chief P.J. O’Rourke charts America’s long, unfortunate history and current obsession with political populism, a movement that preys on our worst impulses as Americans. Plus, P.J. shares the one crucial reason that folks love conspiracy theories... Since the stock market rebounded from its March low last year, many have noticed the glaring disconnect between a pandemic- ravaged economy and stocks that continue to soar. Executive Editor Kim Iskyan tackles this topic, and the answer may surprise you...

With Democrats now in the White House, executive editor Buck Sexton mulls over the fate of the GOP, the MAGA faithful, and Trump himself. Best-selling author Gordon G. Chang explores China’s role in the global pandemic with an insightful opinion piece – were they grievous mistakes or deliberate crimes? Speaking of the Red Dragon, escalating tensions between China and the U.S. have many speculating about a second Cold War... Author Marko Papic sets the record straight. Have you noticed there’s a lot of “Do as I say, not as I do” going on in politics lately? Award-winning journalist John Stossel talks hypocritical rule-breaking politicians. Expert value investor Dan Ferris explains why the U.S. stock market is more expensive and riskier than at any time in the past century... And what you should do as an investor. Regards, Laura Greaver Managing Editor, American Consequences


February 2021


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If you’re looking for an unfiltered opinion and real information surrounding the world’s most important issues... then you’re in the right place.







34 52



64 70

Inside This Issue BY LAURA GREAVER

40 QAnon and Beyond: Why America Loves Conspiracy Theories BY P.J. O'ROURKE 44 Crypto Capital: Is Bitcoin the Future of Money? BY ALEX TAPSCOTT 52 China's Role in the Pandemic: Negligent or Criminal? BY GORDON G. CHANG 58 The Riskiest Stock Market in Over a Century BY DAN FERRIS



Letter From the Editor BY P.J. O'ROURKE


Editor in Chief: P.J. O’Rourke Publisher: Trish Regan Managing Director: Jamison Miller Executive Editors: Kim Iskyan, Buck Sexton Managing Editor: Laura Greaver Creative Director: Erica Wood Contributing Editors: Alex Tapscott, Gordon G. Chang, Dan Ferris, Marko Papic, John Stossell Advertising: Paige Henson, Jill Peterson Editorial Feedback: Published by:

12 From Our Inbox

20 The Future of the GOP and MAGA BY BUCK SEXTON

26 Cool Kids on the Block (Chain): A Bitcoin Origin Story BY TRISH REGAN 34 Main Street and Wall Street: Broke and Broken BY KIM ISKYAN

64 There Will Be No Cold War BY MARKO PAPIC

70 Rule-Breaking Politicians BY JOHN STOSSELL



American Consequences


From Editor in Chief P.J. O’Rourke


February 2021




American Consequences


The only thing dated about that Time paragraph from almost half a century ago is “New Deal reforms.” An invasion of the Capitol building by ardent New Dealers would have required many more wheelchair ramps than the Americans with Disabilities Act We have a populism problem in America... One big, honking populist has just been shooed out of the White House. And his replacement – while more of an old political hack and Washington establishmentarian than a populist per se – is coming in trailing strong fumes of populism from his own political party.

stipulates, and New Deal disturbances in city business districts would have been limited to the occasional whacking of police riot shields with canes and the looting of Depends. Otherwise, Time puts it neatly. Populism is a muddle. This muddle may be “classic” in the sense that “disparate policies and passions” date to the beginnings of governance. But, in America, the type of muddle that’s currently on display began to manifest itself in 1874 with the founding of the “Greenback Party.” The main concern of the Greenback Party was inflation – they were for it. They felt that America’s post-Civil War return to the gold standard and a “sound dollar” gave too much power to big business and banking. They opposed deflation, believing lower prices were bad for “the little guy.” They wanted the government to print more money – because that way... everybody would have more money . Today, we would call them some sort of pinko flake advocates of Modern Monetary Theory.

Populism isn’t a Right-wing or Left-wing ideology. Populism isn’t an ideology at all... It’s about feelings, not ideas. Populism isn’t conservative or liberal, Republican or Democratic. But it is both MAGA and BLM, both QAnon and Antifa – AOC in a Boogaloo Boys Hawaiian shirt. A reasonably good definition of Populism can be found in an unsigned article from the April 17, 1972, issue of Time magazine cited by the Oxford English Dictionary : Populism is a label that covers disparate policies and passions: among many others, New Deal reforms, consumer rage against business, ethnic belligerence. Often it is merely a catch phrase. Yet it describes something real: the politics of the little guy against the big guy – the classic struggle of the haves against the have-nots or the have-not- enoughs.


February 2021

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR for women’s suffrage, labor union collective bargaining rights, an eight-hour workday, a graduated income tax, direct election of U.S. Senators by voters instead of state legislators, price supports for farmers, and federal regulation of railroad monopoly shipping rates. If you’re a well-meaning liberal (and,

But the Greenback constituency was primarily rural with support from labor, especially in mining and heavy industry. So really they’d be like some kind of reactionary nut supporters of Trump Forever. The Greenback Party won control of a number of municipal governments in what would later become the Rust Belt, and it elected 20-some members of Congress. But Greenback influence faded as American economic growth recommenced after the depression of 1873 to 1877. (Could that growth have had anything to do with a sound dollar?) Shifts in economic reality often have a way of dispersing the mists of populism. Widespread flirtations with Marxism among intellectuals in the 1930s (a sort of “highbrow populism”) disappeared into the capitalist war-making machinery of the 1940s. The populist “youth culture” social upheavals of the 1960s ended in the 1970s with thousands of hippies saying, “Oh wow, man, we’re broke.” And where did the occupiers of Occupy Wall Street go? Probably to Reddit and WallStreetBets, to day trade GameStop stock. However, another financial panic in the early 1890s gave fresh impetus to Greenback-style populism. A new political party was started in 1892, officially named the People’s Party, but popularly – as it were – called the Populist Party. (According to the OED , the word “populist” seems to have been coined that year by the Columbus Dispatch to describe the party.) The Populist platform called for an inflationary monetary policy. It also called

conservative though I am, I have no objection to your being so), this all sounds so attractive, and so politically advanced – such policies being proposed more than 120 years ago! But before you get too excited about this Populist movement of yore, you should know that there was, among the Populists, an element of another kind of populism that isn’t so popular with you. Before you get too excited about this Populist movement of yore, you should know that there was, among the Populists, an element of another kind of populism that isn’t so popular with you. Wikipedia is not the most precise or accurate research tool. But the crowdsourced nature of the free online encyclopedia does give us a rough survey of “what is commonly thought and known” about a subject. The Wikipedia article “People’s Party (United States)” is, in general, favorably disposed to the Populists. But the “Women and African Americans” section of the article (to which I’ve made addenda in brackets) reports that...

American Consequences


And... [Charles] Postel [history professor at San Francisco State University and author of The Populist Vision , where, overall, he views the Populists in a positive light] notes... White Populists embraced social- Darwinist notions of racial improvement, Chinese exclusion and separate-but-equal. And...

... racism did not evade the People’s Party. Prominent Populist Party leaders... at least partially demonstrated a dedication to the cause of white supremacy, and there appears to have been some support for this viewpoint in the party’s rank-and-file membership. After 1900 [Thomas E.] Watson [the Populist presidential candidate in 1904] himself became an outspoken white supremacist. From what I can learn about Watson, this is true. A Georgia politician and rabble- rousing publisher, Watson started out urging poor whites and poor blacks to unite against “elites.” But as time went by, he changed his mind about which rabble he was rousing. He first embraced racial bigotry and by the time he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1920, he had added nativism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Catholicism to his gross prejudices. In his Senate career, he distinguished himself by dying after 16 months in office. Further material from the Wikipedia article... Historian Hasia Diner [professor of American Jewish History at New York University] says: Some Populists believed that Jews made up a class of international financiers whose policies had ruined small

[Political scientist, former aide to President Gerald Ford, and Senior

Fellow at the (liberal leaning) Brookings Institute, A. James] Reichley (1992) sees the Populist Party primarily as a reaction to the decline of the political hegemony of white Protestant farmers... Reichley argues that, while the Populist Party was founded in reaction to economic hardship, by the mid-1890s it was “reacting not simply against the money power but against the whole world of cities and alien customs and loose living they felt was challenging the agrarian way of life.” (And, P.S., consulting other historical sources, it’s also clear that the Populists often worked in tandem with the Prohibition Party.) As someone who’s fond of loose living, charmed by alien customs, and having grandparents who, with alacrity, moved from the farm to the big city to escape the toilsome dullness of the agrarian way of life, I feel no affinity for the roots of populism or for any of the Donald Bernie Trump Sanders underbrush that has sprouted from its 19th century stump. Populism is a muddle – a political, economic, and moral dog’s breakfast.

family farms... owned the banks and promoted the gold standard, the chief sources of their impoverishment.


February 2021


Which brings us back to that quote from Time , “... the politics of the little guy against the big guy – the classic struggle of the haves against the have-nots or the have-not-enoughs.” Populism is a lie and a logical sophistry. The very idea of the “struggle of the haves against the have-nots” presupposes the zero-sum fallacy that only a fixed amount of good things exist in the world, and I can only have more good things if I take them from you. It’s the old “pizza delusion,” which you’ve probably heard explained before, but I’ll have it delivered again. To think of economics in terms of haves versus have-nots is to look at the economy like a pizza – if you hog too many slices, I’ll have to eat the Domino’s box. As hundreds of years of economic development – and the expansion of Domino’s from one store in Ypsilanti, Michigan in 1960 to more than 17,000 franchises today – proves, the answer is to make more pizza. Populism is also not American. There is no “little guy” in this country. Every American citizen stands with the same height and strength, equal before the law to a degree remarkable by any world or world history standard. We each have our disadvantages – economic, social, and circumstantial. But few of our ancestors landed here in circumstances such as arrival by Gulfstream private jet. America is a monument to what the disadvantaged can do. And none of us face the disadvantage – if his portrayal in The Social Network is anything to go by – of being as big an a-hole as Mark Zuckerberg.

As to the “politics of the little guy,” there is no other kind in America. The OED ’s definition of (small “p”) populist is “One who seeks to represent the views of the mass of common people.” There’s something sneaky and faintly sinister in that “seeks to,” as if there are secrets to be disclosed. Get out of here, you populist. In America, the views of the mass of common people are on view ! In fact, it’s impossible not to see them. And, in the matter of “represent the views,” they’re already represented. It’s called the House of Representatives (and the Senate too). These representative bodies may be full of nincompoops, but the mass of common people is free to exchange them for other nincompoops at every election. It’s the old “pizza delusion,” which you’ve probably heard explained before, but I’ll have it delivered again. To think of economics in terms of haves versus have-nots is to look at the economy like a pizza – if you hog too many slices, I’ll have to eat the Domino’s box. A populist is somebody offering democracy to a democracy, somebody saying, “I’ll give you a dollar for four quarters.” When you hear a proposition like that, you know something’s up, some con is being played.

American Consequences



P.J. O’Rourke Response: Thank you from a 73-year-old not-quite-retired-till-I-put-the– last-damn-kid-through-college. I appreciate what you said about humor. It’s an important aspect of my perspective and ideas. Some people think humor just means making wisecracks, but a key definition in Webster’s Third is “constitutional or habitual disposition.” I’m a strong Constitutionalist, and I enjoy pointing out how our politicians – with their habitual disposition to be fools – make a joke out of it. Trish Regan Response: Many thanks. I’m actually a retired musician myself! I was an opera singer. (And even a bit of a jazz pianist as a kid.) I’m so glad you’re reading, and I appreciate the compliments. Just read you for the first time. I like your views. The way you put the whole mess together without sounding like you have not thought your articles through with grace. Keep writing! – Joyce P.J. O’Rourke Response: Welcome to our pages, Joyce. And good point about “thinking through with grace.” It’s like a drive off the tee in golf. We try to avoid journalists whose “swing stops at 6 o’clock.” That kind of writer hits his or her point – “socialism is bad” or “free markets are good” or whatever – and thinks a good shot has been made. But there’s always more to an idea than just whacking it. Watch a real pro’s follow-through! Trish Regan Response: Thank you, Joyce. We appreciate that. And we will!

Re: Love us? Hate us? Trish and P.J., you are both the voices of reason we so badly need right now. What’s needed is a calm, but spirited, discussion of the issues confronting us right now. Thank you and Ron Paul for your input. – Stephen M. P.J. O’Rourke Response: Can’t speak for Trish or Dr. Paul, Stephen, but I find the best way to stay “calm but spirited” is scotch and soda. And – as for discussion – it puts my mouth in gear too! Trish Regan Response: Thank you so much, Stephen. It’s disappointing that it’s become so crazy out there, but opinion makers that are thoughtful, calm (yet still spirited!), and have huge faith in the American people are such a vital part of our democracy. I am thrilled to work with such a talented group of writers and I can promise you, we will do all we can to look out for America’s future. But we need your help. Please spread the word! I’ve been receiving your e-mails for a while now but I’m really enjoying them a lot of late. PJ was my initial attraction as my reading him goes back to the Rolling Stone days. I love his writing perspective & ideas with a fair amount of humor sprinkled in. And Trish Regan is also a huge addition. Quite the smart lady indeed. FOX’s Business channels loss. Love you guys more & more. – A 72-year-old retired salesman & musician


February 2021

To me it seems like the anger on each side is clearly the fault of our government. At least that’s one thing the Capitol rioters may have gotten right, although the ensuing violence was reprehensible. As anyone knows, capitalism is an ideality and isn’t enshrined in any specific building, especially not the White House. You wouldn’t know that from the outrage expressed by many of our elected (mostly Democratic) representatives. From their comments, you would think that breaching the Capitol almost brought down our government, which is why they have labeled it an insurgency. That’s laughable, but also elucidating. It shows how much they believe

Thank you so much for your articles that make me think instead of trying to find truth in the headlines of other news outlets. P.J. O’Rourke has been a favorite author for manyyears and for manyyears to come (I hope). – Bill & Nida P.J. O’Rourke Response: And I hope so too, Bill. (And so does that last kid who needs to get put through college.) A lot of news and commentary outlets show contempt for their readers in the way they write their headlines. They assume the reader will never bother to actually read the article, so they try to put their whole message in a few simple words. Our readers are better than that. (Giving us a chance to fool around and have some fun with our headlines.) Re: America’s Teeter-Tottering Democracy This is the first article I’ve seen that ties the violence for the summer riots to the Capitol riot. PJ got it right again and should run for president, or at least be the brains behind someone’s candidacy.

that they are the bastions of democracy and not the people themselves.

From my perspective, it seems clear that the decades of our War on Poverty have

done little to nothing to help most impoverished

people create a better life. The massive bureaucracy generated to fight that war though


has undoubtedly enriched thousands of government

American Consequences



say about the welfare state is still pertinent – or even more so. Thanks for the article on the riots in D.C. P.J. was right on target, as usual. There’s one other aspect of the riots that I’ve not heard any commentator mention: there’s a “monkey see, monkey do” element. For months, the D.C. rioters saw non-peaceful protests across the country accompanied by weird tacit acceptance from authorities and resulting in few consequences for the protestors. Perhaps the D.C. crowd concluded that this was the new normal. – David S. P.J. O’Rourke Response: True that, David! Although you’re being a bit unfair to monkeys whose mimicry usually stops short of the self-destructive. But in the matter of humans – and while I’m making book recommendations – let me point you toward Scottish journalist Charles Mackay’s 1841 masterpiece Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds . In his Preface Mackay writes, “The object of the Author in the following pages has been... to show how easily the masses have been led astray, and how imitative and gregarious men are, even in their infatuations and crimes.” Re: Yes! You Should Get the COVID-19 Vaccine You are not aware of the danger that this experimental vaccine called MRNA and has never been used before, and lacking the proper animal testing and the deaths that have been under-reported by everyone and that the Drug Companies cannot be sued for any after effects of the current experimental

workers. If the BLM and other demonstrators and rioters looked at the facts, it seems like the conclusion that the government they elected isn’t working for them would be obvious. If racism is systemic and the government has developed and been in charge of many of the public systems, then it seems like asking for more government is heading us in the wrong direction. It would be great to see a more in-depth report that digs further into these issues, especially highlighting the similarities behind the rage behind both movements. – DonW. P.J. O’Rourke Response: Don, to give you a short answer to a long (and wise and thoughtful) letter... You’re right! (Or, as I would have said when I was an antifa-type hippie twerp half a century ago, “Right on!”) We at American Consequences are raging to go with an article about “the rage behind both movements.” Although we can’t say exactly when that article will be written. We’re still waiting to see how the dust (or perhaps I should say muck) settles. Will Trumpian populism fade or thrive in the Biden era? Will the radicals of the Democratic Party turn on Biden or will Biden turn into a radical? Time will tell... maybe quite quickly. As for your perceptive insights on the War on Poverty turning into a War on the Poor, I have a couple of books to suggest – though you may have read them already: Losing Ground and In Pursuit of Happiness by the sociologist, scholar, and brilliant policy analyst Charles Murray. They were published in 1984 and 1988 respectively, but everything they have to


February 2021

vaccine versus not getting the vaccine, to face COVID-19. This is the first time I have been totally in agreement with one of your articles. I truly hope that many of your readers who have yet to get vaccinated get persuaded. I have had my first shot and my wife gets her first shot Sunday. We both have second shots scheduled. – Howard N. Ad: ‘ID Coin’ Could See Nationwide Rollout 2020 was a cybersecurity nightmare, but now the biggest employer in the United States is finally making plans to fight back with new "ID Coin" tech. A top analyst following the story believes this could spark a $6 trillion potential market... while handing early investors a small fortune. He explains everything here. Just a note to say: I am disappointed that AC published such a simplistic article on the C19 vaccine. There are many problems with this article, but the big one is that it pretends that taking the C19 vaccine is a simple choice, and the right choice for everyone. There is not a single pharmaceutical drug in existence that is “safe and effective” for everyone, and the C19 vaccine is no different. There are risks in taking it, just like there are risks in taking morphine, cannabis, and even Tylenol. In addition to this, the risks of the disease are not nearly as grave as your article states. The median risk of death from C19 might be around 2%, but for those of us under the age of 70, that risk is far, far lower. My children have a greater risk of death from lightning than from C19. Giving them this vaccine,

vaccine because they aremore concerned about profit than helping save lives. I am82 and willwait until a proper vaccine is developed!! Check your facts before youwrite about the benefits of the BS vaccine. – George F. Dave Lashmet Response: Ok, I checked my facts. These are from the CDC website, and from Johns Hopkins COVID tracker, so you can check them too. 1. First, here’s the bad news about COVID-19. Through the week of January 30, 2021, there were 1,375,000 U.S. hospitalizations for COVID-19. Of these 1.375 million Americans, 440,000 didn’t make it. 2. That’s the death toll at the end of January. That’s among 26 million positive cases by January 30. Simply put, this is a 5% hospitalization rate, and close to a 2% death rate. 3. Here’s the good news about the vaccine... Through February 8, 2021, 33 million Americans have received at least one dose of a RNA vaccine. 10 million people have gotten both doses. At least so far, there’s been one death. It’s a tragedy. But when you compare 440,000 deaths against one death, the odds are well, half a million to one in your favor if you get the vaccine. Now, we knew these MRNA vaccines had mild side effects, but we also know, they were 95% effective. Plus, for severe disease, they were 97.5% protective – and that’s for the 5% who were at risk after the vaccine. Those odds are 20 times in your favor and then 40 times in your favor (and these multiply, so it’s 800 times in your favor) if you get the


American Consequences



Even if your personal risk is low – you are a 38-year-old marathoner, say – this is still a contagious disease. So, you could be a vector – just like, someone else also vectored this disease to you. And my last example was not random: the first case in Italy was a 38-year- old marathoner. He spent three months in the hospital. Most of the U.S. cases in Massachusetts and seven other states started from an infection that came over from Italy. We can see this by tracing the random changes in the virus. That’s why everyone over 16 needs to get these vaccines, to stop spreading this respiratory infection to other people... even if your personal risk is low. Great piece by Dave Lashmet! It is well thought-out and persuasive. –Bruce R. While Dave L. is brilliant, I simply have to disagree with taking this experimental vaccine. They rushed these products to market and are guessing that it will work. The supposed experts, (Fauci, et al) have no clue – “don’t wear masks”, no wait, “wear masks”, oh wait, “wear two or three masks”... it is endless. Who the hell can breathe with 2 masks on? There are plenty of brilliant doctors and scientists saying “Don’t take the vaccine”, but nobody listens because their voices aren’t heard. People need to decide for themselves, but for this cowboy, there will be no poke. These powers that be are simply pushing this too much for me to trust these folks.

despite my family history of vaccine injuries in childhood, plus no clinical trials involving children, would be a far greater risk to them than the disease. Once they are older, and therefore at greater risk from the disease and less risk of injury, then they can get the vaccine if they choose. But not before. VAERs has already received reports of nearly 500 deaths from the vaccine, and 10,000 severe injuries, and we’re still in the early stages. Poppycock articles like yours will make these numbers worse, because you pretend that the disease is the worst thing since AIDs, and the cure is a beautiful panacea sent from the gods. This narrative is killing people, and the least you could do is stop pushing that BS. Everyone should be allowed to weigh their own risk profile – based on their own medical history – talk to their own doctor, and make the decision for themselves. That’s the only way to make sure that the vaccine does more good than harm. I generally enjoy and appreciate what you guys are doing over at AC, so thank you. I wish this article didn’t have to come between us like this! :) – Timothy Dave Lashmet Response: Yes, it’s true – the older you are, the greater the risk of hospitalization or death from COVID-19. But for hospitalizations, the risks are higher than average if you are over 50, according to the CDC. Plus, we know smokers are at greater danger, as are people who are overweight.


February 2021

a chance at taking a dig at the anti-vaxxers, though. While the sane among us want herd immunity, there is a contingent, who suffer from herd mentality. Trump bad, vaccines bad, Biden good, Iran good, and on and on. Too bad we don’t have Santa’s good-o-meter (naughty-nice) for everything that affects us and we have to wait for empirical and behavioral data. Keep the thoughtful articles coming. – Paul Ad: Bitcoin LegendWarns: ‘$48k Is Just the Start’ Will you be left behind? The most trusted expert in cryptocurrency says "thewindow is closing FAST"… which is why he has agreed to share his No. 1 crypto trading strategywith you – absolutely FREE. The same strategy that has helped a small group of Stansberry readers see gains like 273%... 288%... 292%... 596%... and a whopping 1,175. Learn more about it right here. Re: Biden’s Calculated Militarized Inauguration Thanks for hosting Mr. Sexton’s article. I find his a reasonable voice on the issues. I often listen to his radio program on my local station. Any chance you could replace Hannity on Fox? – Hershel R. Buck Sexton Response: Hershel, thank you so much for the support! Much appreciated. Which station do you listen on? From a Berkeley Pol Sci major who interned at the Library of Congress in 1975, you are offering a good service. Keep it up, especially insights from Buck with your boots on the ground experience. I offer my own FB insights

Oh, and where did the flu go? Never took that shot either and haven’t been sick in years. As my dad used to say when I was growing up, oh so many years ago, “diet and exercise”... Why were these “experts” not willing to look into the Ivermectin or the Hydroxychloroquine/zinc combo, which worked on many people? I get that many in the medical/scientific profession want to remain “relevant” and get invited to all the social gatherings (I’m sure they still have them), and frankly, these days, they probably fear the “cancel culture police” even more, but I’m not buying this nonsense. – Peter B. Dave Lashmet Response: For a year now, the people who say this is not a problem have been wrong, on every continent, and in every state, every time. Did this virus go away last spring, last summer, last fall, over Thanksgiving, over Christmas? It did not. One hundred million global cases prove that – so do 1.375 million U.S. hospitalizations, and 450,000-plus U.S. deaths. These numbers are real, because we have 5,000 U.S. hospitals, and the doctors and nurses can see the beds fill, and see them empty, and can count the body bags. The virus doesn’t care about you – it only seeks to infect you. And it spreads by mist. So you either stop the mist, or you stop the mist from infecting your lungs, or both. Figure it out. Take the vaccine, as it’s 95% effective. It’s an easy solution. I appreciate the article regarding COVID-19 and the Trump Vaccine. I like it. You missed


American Consequences



again. Keep up the great work you are famous for. – Tom S. Trish Regan Response: Tom, I would agree. Politics are destroying our society. The media environment that we now live in no longer cares about what’s real and what’s not – and have become highly political entities themselves. My hope is that Americans can make more informed choices about the future. I am honored to play any role I can in helping people synthesize the vast amounts of data, information, and opinions about the world right now. Glad you’re reading! Sometimes a person can be so right I’d ask her to marry me... not that I’mworth marrying or anything. You’d have to ask my wife. Yes, the GOP has shot itself in the foot yet again... and I’m from Kentucky. McConnell has revealed himself to be more loyal to the swamp than to his constituents. – George D. Trish Regan Response: Ha! Well, I appreciate the analogy. The Republicans certainly have a real mess on their hands and the Left will use this moment to advance some pretty horrendous policies, I fear. McConnell has not led and these are the consequences. Dear Ms. Regan, You seem to be the only one I read now on American Consequences. You are concise and on point. Even if there are things I sometimes disagree with, you give food for thought. I am in my 70’s and have been taught from youth to research the issues. I am also a Republican and Trump supporter, not an extremist, and the bias has been horrific. The media is now a far cry from what it was many years ago.

as musings to a few readers and use my boots on the ground experience from fed jobs as a Peace Corps Volunteer (1977-80, Mali Rural Development south of Timbuktu), Navy Special Operations Officer (1980-89), Hard Hat Diver, and IC analyst (Pentagon DIA 2008-11, State Dept. Diplomatic Security 2012-14) and a few others... I call it the DC DMZ as my trips to the DMZ and to Tiananmen Square and to Tikrit Iraqwith numerous African banana republic experiences, I sawwhat happened as an insult to American military and to the American nation. Keep it up and hope their collective bananas can’t, but it will get worse before it gets more worse. Stay the course! – Lt. Pat Buck Sexton Response: Lt. Pat, thank you for your service, sir! Very impressive life you’ve led. And I completely agree that the deployment of our national guard to Washington, D.C. for photo-op purposes, and as part of a greater Democrat purge of their political opponents, is troubling and beneath this country. Re: Trish Regan Named as Publisher of American Consequences Trish, I’m a Stansbury Alliance member who was introduced by them to American Consequences and have enjoyed PJ, Buck, and yourself ever since. Great insight, always honest and respectful with your audience. I was a big fan of yours when you were on Fox, but I believe you’re in a better and less political place with AC. Congratulations


February 2021


Thank you for speaking out in a time when too many are afraid to do so. – Joanie G. Trish Regan Response: Joanie, thank you. We have great writers here and I’m bringing more and more outstanding thought leaders and experts into our fold every month to help us all get a better understanding of the issues from every perspective. I appreciate your point on the research. I, too, was taught the importance of gaining knowledge and empathy for different viewpoints. It is critical to understand all sides, if only to be able to help form a better argument for your own viewpoint! It really is horrific that one side is being cancelled and shunned, and I can promise you I will do everything I can to change that. I will always speak out and give a voice to those that do not have one. For better or for worse, I wear my heart on my sleeve and care so deeply about our freedoms, including our First Amendment. It’s wonderful to have a reader like you that cares so much, as well. Missed you, Trish. Yeah, corny, I know. But I liked your passion and grit when you were on Fox News and your ouster was the last straw for me. I stopped watching them shortly thereafter and was proven right when they swung left on election assessments and political stances. America needs hard-hitting, no-nonsense personnel like you to kick ass and take names. So, I wish you well in your new endeavors and I hear you occasionally on Sebastian Gorka’s program. See you around! – Mike Trish Regan Response: Mike, thank you.

It’s critical for an organization to know who it is and wants to be. And it’s critical that organization support its team and its journalists. This is what I’m so committed to doing right here at the magazine. We have many excellent team members at American Consequences and they’re working so hard to deliver you the truth in opinion that matters. The negativity in the media in recent years has grown so vicious and so destructive, which is why it’s become even more important that we stand up to this media mob and honor diversity of thought. I’m proud to be part of an organization that speaks truth... and most importantly, defends truth.

American Consequences



February 2021

By Buck Sexton



some on good terms with their former boss, others more as quiet refugees... and they all share a form of political shell shock. They’d gotten used to things being highly unorthodox in Trump’s White House, but they didn’t think it would turn into all-out mayhem at the 11th hour. It all started to go off the rails with Trump’s loss to Joe Biden in November. No one around then-President Trump wanted to say out loud before the election that he was behind in the polls and might well lose... In any White House, that would be viewed as lacking in team spirit. In Trump’s immediate orbit, there was never room for

Among the Trump faithful, there was no plan for this... Nobody knows what’s next, or how this will play out. And to understand where the conservative movement is going, we first need to understand what got us here. The period after the 2020 election was a mess. Its worst day by far was the disastrous riot on January 6. Much of the uncertainty for the Trump world now – and the Republican Party overall – comes from what transpired on Capitol Hill then. I’ve been speaking to a few of those recently departed from the Trump administration,

American Consequences



even the slightest doubt about his electoral inevitability. Spend five minutes reading his (now banned) Twitter feed, and you know that one sin that Trump cannot abide is others lacking supreme confidence in him. It was after the election, though, that the situation in and around the Oval Office took a strange turn. Trump wasn’t satisfied with those closest to him saying that there were “election irregularities.” Nor was it sufficient to lean heavily into allegations (still unproven to this day) that there was substantial fraud. To change the end result in a national election, you need to find the proverbial smoking gun. And that didn’t happen... not even close. To be sure, there’s always some fraud in a national election, and Democrats have a long and storied history of it. But to change the end result in a national election, you need to find the proverbial smoking gun. And that didn’t happen... not even close. But Trump didn’t care. He wanted his people to go out into the world and state, definitively, that he won the election. And not only that, but he also wanted them to state he won “by a landslide,” as Trump repeated publicly many times, much to the delight of millions of his voters who refused to accept defeat. Needless to say, Trump’s pronouncements of victory caused problems among some senior White House staff as well as at the Department of Justice. For the month of

November, Trump’s election objections had stayed within the system. Bringing legal challenges in court are well within precedent. And the Democrats had (cynically) chosen to leverage the panic around COVID-19 to enact a slew of last-minute changes in various states to election processes. Some suspicion (and even disbelief ) about Joe Biden’s win was understandable from Trump and his base. Once the election battle dragged into December, however, it started to become clear that the legal challenges weren’t going to change the outcome. The Trump campaign’s legal team – now famously derided by former Attorney General Bill Barr as “clownish” – was handed defeat after defeat in federal courts. They seemed more attuned to cable- TV news appearances than pulling off the miracle of a Trump reelection. There was a constant bait and switch underway, one in which Trump’s legal representatives made bold pronouncements on TV about the “bombshell” about to drop in court. Then at the moment of truth, they’d present much meeker, more limited challenges before the judge. Many in the pro-Trump conservative media were willing to take on faith the legal team’s request to be open-minded, as they prepared to deal the Biden would-be presidency a crushing legal blow in court. The “kraken” would be unleashed! They promised... it was going to happen any day. But of course, it never came. As the new year approached, there was a growing recognition among Trump boosters in the media that the legal team had no shot whatsoever at getting a


February 2021

probable 15 Republican senators will join the Democrats to impeach a president who is no longer in office. For the Left, this is the continuation of a vendetta against Trump that began the moment they realized he defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016. Despite what they may say about the Emoluments Clause, the 25th Amendment, phone calls with the Ukrainian president, or even “incitement to insurrection,” Trump’s original sin has always been the victory that he was not supposed to win. That alone is justification in the eyes of the political establishment – “The Swamp” in Trumpian parlance – to persecute him even after his 2020 election defeat.

judge to overturn even a single state’s election results due to fraud, never mind four states. But there was also a sense that Trump voters deserved their due process. As long as the effort to look at election fraud stayed within the boundaries of law, even unsuccessful claims provide clarity and some degree of catharsis for very frustrated Trump supporters. Then came the January 6 march, and the ensuing riot on Capitol Hill. For a mob of Trump supporters to break into the halls of Congress while the certification of a presidential vote was occurring was destructive, idiotic, and wrong on every level. It was also a massive blunder, as the Democrats have leveraged the incident to crack down on speech and tried to ignite a civil war within the GOP. Before this incident, Trump was expected to be operating a “government in exile,” the leader in spirit if not name of the GOP. Nobody else within the Republican Party had anywhere near his support among the base, and challenging him even after his election loss would have appeared a fool’s errand. Now, Trump’s future is unclear, and with it, so is the GOP’s. Trump is facing a second impeachment trial in the Senate, after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi rammed through yet another impeachment in the House. The fact that this came almost exactly 12 months after the first impeachment of Trump proves the particular absurdity of this political moment. There was no serious chance of removing Trump from office in 2020, nor is it remotely

Now, Trump’s future is unclear, and with it, so is the GOP’s

While the Senate trial looms, it’s highly unlikely Trump will be convicted and then be barred from holding future office. Democrats might view that as a dream come true, though it’s not even clear if Trump would plan to run again in four years. While he’s not quite as “past his prime” as Biden (who’s almost an octogenarian, at 78 years old), Trump is old enough that four years could take a toll. Assuming Trump had planned to run in 2024, he may soon find his political brand has lost momentum. The disastrous 2020 transition period certainly tarnished him among GOP elites, though the voter base seems overwhelmingly willing to stand alongside him.

American Consequences



Many Fortune 500 companies have adopted Left-wing slogans and anti-Trump postures at the highest levels. Instead of winning the culture war, Trump seems to have rallied all the forces of the institutional Left against him and whatever’s left of the GOP in his absence. He kicked the beehive of the progressive Left for four years, and now the rest of the Republican Party is left behind to get stung. There’s always the possibility that Trump’s brand recovers from this downturn. If anyone’s capable of an improbable comeback story, it’s the man who went into election night in 2016 with the New York Times predicting a 97% chance of a Hillary Clinton win. We all know how that turned out... Trump is more a political phenomenon than a politician, he’s almost a movement unto himself. With that kind of sway over the base, anything is possible. Many observers with close ties to Trump expect that he will, at a minimum, become a GOP kingmaker. From his Palm Beach perch, he could play a large role in raising up the next round of Republican candidates, all with his “America First” stamp of approval. He certainly has the donor network, connections, and name recognition to push anyone he wants onto center stage. But even that role would come with complications. For one thing, it’s not clear at all that Trump will care much about the Republican Party (or politics at all) when he’s not the center of it all. Trump has a genius for self-promotion, and was willing to lend the support of his fervent base to GOP politicians in the past. But that was all a part of his patronage network. To borrow from mafia

There’s always the possibility that Trump’s brand recovers from this downturn. anytime soon. Its aftermath, however, is already quite clear... Republicans are grappling with their weakest political position in more than a decade. After four years in office, Trump departed the White House for Mar-a-Lago with the House, Senate, and presidency all in Democratic hands. There’s no check on Biden’s agenda beyond the Senate filibuster, and it may be only a matter of time before the Democrats steamroll that too. Beyond the losses in elected office, Republicans are out of power in major American institutions as well. While liberal bias in the media, Hollywood, and academia is nothing new, it has taken on a frenzied zealotry in response to Trumpism. Social media companies are now actively, openly suppressing ideas and figures on the Right, including Trump himself. What may be a bigger issue is the change in perception that will set in over time: Trump didn’t “get tired of winning.” He lost by millions of votes... And it was to Joe Biden, who is himself a two-time presidential candidate loser. That’s a far cry from the invincible Trump who voters came to know in 2016. The legacy of the MAGA agenda is a fiercely debated topic, and that’s unlikely to change


February 2021

Right now, the best asset the GOP seems to have is the ineptitude and overreach of the newly empowered Democrats. The Democrats beat the most consequential Republican president since Ronald Reagan. They’ve seized the most powerful offices in government and dominate America’s most influential institutions. The pendulum is likely to swing back toward the Right in time, but there’s no easy way through this moment. Who else can step forward to lead the GOP now? It’s a wide-open field. Some of those who were making the most headway with the Trump base before (Sen. Cruz and Hawley come to mind) have, for now, been hit with the blowback over Trump’s last few weeks in office. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has the single most impressive record of any leader of a large state during the pandemic, and may have aspirations to leave the sunshine state for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. For now, the primary feeling within the GOP is akin to “batten down the hatches.” The GOP is on defense and Trumpism is in exile. The American people are going to have to suffer through some very unfortunate Biden policies to remember why just a few short years ago, they handed the reins over to a political outsider with the simple promise that he would Make America Great Again.

lore, Trump was happy to create “made guys” when he was the godfather. It might be a very different thing when he’s no longer the head of the family... Which brings us to another possibility – his actual family. Trump may pass the political baton to his kids. There’s already a lot of chatter in the political press about the possibility of Ivanka running for Senate, in a challenge to incumbent Marco Rubio. Yet as attractive, connected, and wealthy as Ivanka is, her connection to the blue-collar Trump voter is unproven. An easier pitch may be Donald Trump Jr., whose fondness for hunting, fishing, and the trappings of Americana could propel him to the front of the GOP pack in 2024. Eric Trump’s wife, Lara, is also expected to run for Senate in her home state of North Carolina. The Trumps run a family business, and that extends to the business of politics. So, there very well could be another President Trump, it’s just not clear yet which one. That said, the 2024 presidential election right now feels like eons away... The Republican party has to focus on the immediate tasks ahead of stifling the most radical aspects of Biden’s agenda, and preparing for a wave election to take back the House in the 2022 midterms. Right now, the best asset the GOP seems to have is the ineptitude and overreach of the newly empowered Democrats. If they dramatically underdeliver on the “build back better” promise of the Biden campaign, it’s likely they will be made to pay a hefty price at the polls.

American Consequences


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