Suggestions for This Difficult Time

Since we are all stuck at home for weeks, here are some suggestions to help you and help America.

Watch less news. Interview and opinion shows on TV and talk radio shows that add to one’s understanding of the situation can be valuable. But watching depressing, panic-inducing news about COVID-19 24/7 will only make you jittery, anxious and depressed. It’s good for the news networks’ ratings, but it’s bad for your mental health.

Instead, you can read, talk to friends, watch movies, learn a language, listen to music, start a journal, walk outside, garden or engage in hobbies. Do that project you’ve never had time to get to. In short, don’t preoccupy yourself with the virus. My wife and I watched a James Bond movie a few nights ago, and I loved the total escape it provided. And I’m getting more work done on the third volume of my Torah commentary (“The Rational Bible”) than I could have under normal circumstances.

Make sure to stay in touch via phone or video with anyone you know to be alone. For such people, social isolation is close to being in solitary confinement. After two weeks of you and them remaining asymptomatic, I would also suggest visiting such people or having them visit you. Being alone for weeks is likely to be much more hazardous to a person’s health than the relatively small possibility of contracting, let alone dying from, the new coronavirus.

Decide to be happy. As Lincoln said, “We are as happy as we decide to be.” You owe it to those living under house arrest with you — in fact, you are morally obligated — to be as easy to live with as possible during this miserable time. Calibrating your mood now, when it’s tough, will set a great example for your family that could pay big dividends in the future. I could imagine your kids saying decades hence, “Remember how our parent(s) stayed upbeat during the coronavirus scare?” What a wonderful legacy that would be.

If you have kids at home — from as early as fifth grade through graduate school — watch PragerU videos with them. They are all just five minutes long, highly educational and very entertaining. Professors from major universities of the Western world, four Pulitzer Prize winners, three former prime ministers and some of the finest minds in the world offer these courses. There are 400 such videos. They will engender spirited discussion and take your mind off the virus and quarantine. They are all free, so I have no hesitation recommending something I am affiliated with.

Order as many meals as possible from local restaurants. Most Americans will get their food from supermarkets. If you can afford it — and I suspect most readers of this column can — try to get most of your meals from a local restaurant through takeout orders. We need to do everything possible to keep local restaurants in business.

Order online items. During this quarantine, Americans are purchasing more and more items through the internet. Try to order from vendors other than Amazon as much as possible. The purpose is not to hurt Amazon; Amazon is a remarkable company. The purpose is to keep as many internet vendors in business as possible. It takes only an additional minute or two to order from another site.

Don’t look to food for too much comfort. As it is, most people will be moving around far less than normally. When that is added to a lot of junk food, the results will not be pretty. It’s been reported that sales of cookies and chips have gone up significantly in the last few weeks. The last thing you want to do now is weaken your immune system. Eat as healthy as you can. Getting some exercise is also important. Going for a walk every day is a good place to start.

King Solomon, the story goes, asked his wise men (in the ancient world, they emphasized wisdom; people today emphasize knowledge) to make him a magic ring. This ring would lift up his spirits if he got depressed and bring him back down to earth if he got euphoric. The wise men returned with a ring in which the Hebrew words “gam zu ya’avor” were inscribed: “This, too, shall pass.” Keep in mind that this awful period will pass. The human psyche is programmed to think that whatever is happening now — happy or sad — will go on indefinitely.

Nothing does.

Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. His latest book, published by Regnery in May 2019, is “The Rational Bible,” a commentary on the book of Genesis. His film, “No Safe Spaces,” came to theaters fall 2019. He is the founder of Prager University and may be contacted at dennisprager.com.

COPYRIGHT 2020 CREATORS.COM

Last Updated: Monday, Mar 23, 2020 18:10:24 -0700




Why the Remedy May Be Worse Than the Disease

As of this writing, 6,400 people all over the world have died from the coronavirus. In the United States, 68 people have died.

Some perspective:

Chinese deaths (3,217) account for half of the worldwide total. If you add Italy (1,441) and Iran (724), two countries where many Chinese were allowed in until recently, that totals another 2,165. In other words, outside of China, Italy and Iran — with 5,382 deaths collectively — 1,018 people have died. There are 7.8 billion people in the world.

Regarding Italy, the Jerusalem Post of March 16 reported that according to Nobel Prize-winning chemist Michael Levitt, “Italy’s higher death rate was likely due to the fact that elderly people make up a greater percentage of the population than they do in other countries such as China or France.” As former CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson further explained: “Italy has the oldest population in Europe and more elderly per capita than the U.S. Most of the Italian deaths are in patients in their 80s and 90s. In addition, Italy has a great number of direct China contacts. Italy was the first to join China’s ‘silk road’ economic partnership project … (Italy’s) deaths are out of a population of 60 million people.”

Regarding Iran, the Wall Street Journal reported on March 11:

“Iranian officials trace the origins of the country’s coronavirus epidemic to the holy city of Qom, home to … a number of Chinese-backed infrastructure projects built by scores of workers and technicians from China … ‘(China has) turned into a very toxic bomb,’ said Sanam Vakil, deputy Middle East director at Chatham House, a think tank in London.”

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump announced a ban on flights from China on Jan. 31 — for which he was denounced by leading Democrats and throughout the left. The very next day, presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden declared, “This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysteria and xenophobia — hysterical xenophobia — and fearmongering.” On Feb. 2, the American Civil Liberties Union announced, “These measures are extraordinary incursions on liberty and fly in the face of considerable evidence that travel bans and quarantines can do more harm than good.”

The current consensus favors near total social isolation, or “social distancing,” as it is now called. The thinking is that we must shut down the Western world to prevent the exponential growth of the virus. If we don’t, our hospital systems will be overwhelmed. Many thousands, maybe more, would die, as doctors have to make grisly triage decisions as to who gets care and who doesn’t. This latter scenario is reported to have already happened in Italy.

Though there is no longer an exponential growth in the United States, they may otherwise be right.

Is this thinking correct? The truth is we don’t know.

We have no idea how many people carry the COVID-19 coronavirus. Therefore, the rates of either critical illness or death are completely unknown. Perhaps millions of people have the virus and nothing serious develops, in which case we would have rates of death similar to (or even below) the flu virus. On the other hand, perhaps not many people carry the virus, but the rates of illness demanding intensive care and of death are much greater than those of the flu.

We can only be certain that shutting down virtually every part of society will result in a large number of people economically ruined, life savings depleted, decades of work building a restaurant or some other small business destroyed. As if that were not bad enough, the ancillary effects would include increased depression and divorce and other personal tragedies. The effects of closing schools for weeks or months will include family chaos, vast numbers of bored young people, health care providers who will have to stay home and more. Yet young people are the least likely people to become ill from the virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released this statement regarding closing schools:

“Available modeling data indicate … that other mitigation efforts (e.g., handwashing, home isolation) have more impact on both spread of disease and health care measures. In other countries, those places who (sic) closed school (e.g., Hong Kong) have not had more success in reducing spread than those that did not (e.g., Singapore).”

But the longer-term ripple effects are potentially far worse. Economic disasters rarely remain only economic disasters. To give a particularly dramatic example, the Nazis came to power because of economics more than any other single reason, including Germany’s defeat in World War I, the Versailles Treaty or anti-Semitism. Nazi success at the polls was almost entirely related to the Weimar economy. Communist parties don’t fare well in robust economies, but they’re very tempting when people are in dire economic straits. Only God knows what economic dislocation the shutting down of American and other Western economies will lead to. I am not predicting a Nazi or communist ascendancy, but economic and political disaster may be as likely, or even more likely, than a health disaster.

But here is a prediction: If the government can order society to cease functioning, from restaurants and other businesses to schools, due to a possible health disaster, it is highly likely that a Democratic president and Congress will similarly declare emergency and assert authoritarian rule in order to prevent what they consider the even greater “existential threat” to human life posed by global warming.

The dam has been broken. Maybe it was necessary. But when dams break, flooding follows.

Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. His latest book, published by Regnery in May 2019, is “The Rational Bible,” a commentary on the book of Genesis. His film, “No Safe Spaces,” came to theaters fall 2019. He is the founder of Prager University and may be contacted at dennisprager.com.

COPYRIGHT 2020 CREATORS.COM

Last Updated: Monday, Mar 16, 2020 18:16:45 -0700




What We Lose By the Closing of Community Department Stores

Attention readers: Dennis Prager is off this week. Please enjoy the following column by Salena Zito.

PITTSBURGH — Five years ago, the sad goodbye to an icon began when Macy’s decided to close its flagship location in downtown Pittsburgh. The void, alas, still remains.

For most of that building’s storied 110-plus-year-old life, until Macy’s took it 15 years ago, it was Kaufmann’s department store: a place where parents, whether they were working-class or well-to-do, took their babies to get fitted for their first pair of shoes; or purchased their communion dress, prom dress, wedding gown, back-to-school clothes; or bought them the sheets, furniture, toasters, pots and pans they needed to start their adult lives.

It was also where young and old, rich or poor, went to the Adoria Beauty Salon to have their hair styled for the very first time. Or where they went to have their first special lunch with their parents or grandparents at Tic Toc restaurant. And maybe even where they have their first job.

It was 1.2 million square feet of community, where people came together no matter their age or where they were from to experience dozens of rights of passage.

Pittsburgh wasn’t the only place to have this experience; there was Higbee’s in Cleveland and Hudson’s on Woodward Avenue in Detroit, the latter of which was very similar to Kaufmann’s, where any working-class child could walk along its marble floors; gaze up at the sparkling chandeliers; absorb the smells and sounds of the flower shops or candy shops; and drink from the ornate water fountains.

Despite the affluent adornments, Kaufmann’s was everyone’s department store, a place to inspire and aspire. Your mother may have bought your clothes in the bargain basement, but as your family browsed the multiple floors and ascended on the escalators, you could imagine shopping one day for one of those sharply tailored suits to wear to work in one of the surrounding downtown office towers.

The absence of these stores from the core of our cities isn’t just about the loss of retail square footage. That is what mayors and politicians always get wrong when people bristle at the loss. What hurts most is the loss of community and touchstones that brought people from a variety of backgrounds, races, religions, education levels and income levels. We mourn the fact that we have not replaced them with a new attachment to community.

A 2018 Pew survey showed that roughly 4 in 10 adults “say they are not too or not at all attached to their local community.” This is a sharp veer away from that thing about us that awed French sociologist Alexis de Tocqueville in the 1800s, who observed with respect our robust habit of forever joining and forming communities, and how we have benefited from them.

As social media becomes a replacement for connection, online communities have proved to be a very weak link to the physical communities that made America stand out for its willingness to shed social barriers and congregate.

That is what places such as Kaufmann’s and Higbee’s and Hudson’s did, explained Ron Fournier, a native Detroiter, former newsman and current communications expert who returned to help bring his community back together several years ago.

“When Detroit was a lively, thriving brewing city 50 years ago, Hudson’s was the very center of that excitement,” he said. “For my mother’s generation as well as myself, you could go downtown and do your shopping, usually on a bus, and you would walk into this gorgeous ornate building, unlike anything you would see in your neighborhood, and you would be surrounded by luxury and nice things you couldn’t afford, but you could aspire to.”

It is in our very core to want to be around other human beings, said Fournier: “Technology is pushing us apart, it is allowing us to be disconnected from one another. But there is a pull in our DNA to gather and be around each other.”

We Americans have always balanced this equilibrium of where we work, where we live and where we congregate. Community centers, churches and fraternal organizations have always filled that last pillar, yet that last pillar has weakened substantially as we have changed how we shop (our phones) and socialize (our phones) and pray (we don’t, at least not as much as we used to).

The need for affiliation cannot be fully satisfied by work; human contrast and contact are needed to bring us together. When Kaufmann’s/Macy’s closed in 2015, it allowed people to come into its once-glamorous 13 floors and purchase the sewing machines the seamstresses used to tailor the clothes, the mannequins that boasted the newest fashions, the paintings that hung on the walls and the fixtures in the restaurant.

People came from all around to buy a part of their life they could never get back, and the outpouring of grief and loss was everywhere as people tried to buy a piece of something they lost.

They knew more than any politician or developer that whatever came next would never fill the void of community.

Salena Zito is a CNN political analyst, and a staff reporter and columnist for the Washington Examiner. She reaches the Everyman and Everywoman through shoe-leather journalism, traveling from Main Street to the beltway and all places in between. To find out more about Salena and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2020 CREATORS.COM

Last Updated: Monday, Mar 09, 2020 17:17:08 -0700




We Go From Hysteria to Hysteria

We go from hysteria to hysteria.

And even that’s not quite accurate. We now endure multiple hysterias at once.

The latest, of course, is COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus. In addition to China, where the virus originated, major cities in Italy and Japan are in lockdown mode, and Japan has closed all its schools. In the United States, where, as of this writing, six people — most, if not all, of whom were already ill — have died, the states of Washington (where all six deaths occurred) and Florida and the city of San Francisco have declared states of emergency.

Many international and domestic business conferences have been canceled, including:

—The Google News Initiative Summit in late April in Sunnyvale, California.

—The Microsoft MVP Global Summit March 15-20 in Bellevue and Redmond, Washington (now to be an online-only event).

—The Facebook Global Marketing Summit, March 9-12 in San Francisco.

—The MWC (Mobile World Congress) Barcelona, billed as “the largest mobile event in the world.”

Amazon has asked its 798,000 employees to stop all nonessential travel, both domestic and international, immediately.

Meanwhile, according to Time, “U.S. stocks lost nearly 12% and $3.5 trillion was erased for U.S.-listed stocks. It was the worst week for stocks since the financial crisis in October of 2008.”

And the “yield on the 10-year Treasury note hit a record intraday low [last] Tuesday as coronavirus rocked risk markets and investors flooded into safe-havens,” according to Markets Insider.

If these trends continue, the world economy is likely to enter a recession, if not a depression.

Unless the coronavirus becomes a worldwide mass killer, it will be fair to say that the hysteria over coronavirus will cause much more suffering than the virus.

All this leads to three questions:

1. Why aren’t we seeing a sober, measured reaction to the virus?

2. What has caused this hysteria?

3. Why are so many people in panic mode?

Answer to question 1: Because people have lost all perspective.

This flu, like SARS and swine flu before it, has been given a name. Every year tens of thousands of people die of that season’s generic flu. In the 2017-2018 flu season, in America alone, according to the CDC, about 61,000 people died of the flu. But because that flu didn’t have a special name, no one other than individuals close to those who died from the flu knows or cares about any no-name flu.

In 2003, there was hysteria over SARS, which also originated in China, and which killed a total of 774 people in 29 countries.

In 2009, the World Health Organization, which should be renamed the World Hysteria Organization, raised the worldwide pandemic alert level of the swine flu (a variant of the H1N1 virus) to Phase 6, the highest alert level.

According to the CDC, the swine flu infected approximately 61 million Americans, of whom 12,269 died. To put that into perspective, also according to the CDC, the next season’s flu, that of 2010-2011, killed about 37,000 Americans; in 2012-2013, 43,000 died of the flu; and as noted, in 2017-2018, 61,000 died (the CDC’s upper figure was 95,000).

Answer to question 2: Overwhelmingly because of the news media. The news media have been breathlessly reporting virtually every new diagnosis of the coronavirus 24/7. Typical of media reporting is this from Canada’s most widely read newspaper, The Globe and Mail: “COVID-19 spreads so rapidly that one Harvard researcher has warned that 40 to 70 per cent of the world’s adults will be infected.” But they never bother to tell you that being “infected” is, for almost everyone, not remotely life-threatening.

Answer to question 3: This one is perplexing.

I am not certain why people panic so easily. Perhaps it is built into human nature. Perhaps it is the power of the media to influence people. Perhaps it is because life is so easy in the modern world that people have come to expect a life without deadly illness or premature death from any cause. Perhaps it is because of the lack of perspective noted above.

There are things about which people should be panicked. For example, the contempt for America and capitalism taught to a generation of young Americans from elementary school through college is worthy of panic. The extreme levels of economy-collapsing debt we are irresponsibly piling onto the backs of future generations to maintain “entitlements” is worthy of panic. So is the premature sexualization of children — encouraging them to choose their own gender and taking 5-year-olds to public libraries for “drag queen story hour.” But such things hardly register with most Americans.

I feel awful for kids today. They are relentlessly told that global warming poses an “existential threat” to life on earth. They are relentlessly told that President Donald Trump poses an “existential threat to America” — the words used, for example, a few weeks ago by Frank Rich in New York Magazine, and used by the “moderate” Michael Bloomberg repeatedly in his speeches. And now they are told their families had better stock up on toilet paper because only God knows when they will be unable to leave their homes.

It was a Democratic president who told Americans, during World War II no less, that “we have nothing to fear but fear itself.” He is a liberal idol, in part for saying that.

That is more or less exactly what Trump has been saying. Yet he’s an “existential threat” to our country.

Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. His latest book, published by Regnery in May 2019, is “The Rational Bible,” a commentary on the book of Genesis. His film, “No Safe Spaces,” came to theaters fall 2019. He is the founder of Prager University and may be contacted at dennisprager.com.

COPYRIGHT 2020 CREATORS.COM

Last Updated: Monday, Mar 02, 2020 20:38:43 -0800




Why the Left Calls Good People Racist

A few weeks ago, I devoted my column to an article about me published in Newsweek under the headline “Conservative Radio Host Ridicules Anne Frank.” As the full context of my comments in the video made clear, it was a lie.

To its credit, after its editor was notified of this fact, Newsweek changed the headline and made revisions to the article and issued a correction.

Since then, two more smears have been spread about me, one by an official at Purdue University and the other by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the major source of news in Canada.

The Jan. 21, 2020, issue of The Exponent, the Purdue University student newspaper, published the following in a story about John Gates, Purdue’s newly appointed vice provost for diversity and inclusion: “John Gates has seen quite distinct viewpoints at Purdue, even in his first week at Purdue in early 2019. When he attended a Turning Point event that Dennis Prager spoke at, he noted that he was one of three black people in the room.

“‘His central thesis was as follows: Diversity is bad. Every dollar spent on diversity is a dollar wasted,’ Gates said. ‘He said slavery was not bad. In fact, every civilized nation was founded in slavery, and that blacks should just be happy to be in this country. And he got a rousing ovation.'”

A vice provost of Purdue University quoted me as saying, “slavery was not bad.”

Needless to say, I never said anything remotely like that.

After mentioning this on my radio show, some of my listeners wrote to Gates, which prompted him to write to me — not with a retraction or an apology but an invitation to have a chat.

I wrote vice provost Gates a letter, which began: “Dr. Gates:

“I am attaching eight video files of my speech at Purdue. See if you can find where I said, implied or hinted that slavery is not bad.

“Allow me to react to your invitation to chat over the phone. Had I, as a Jew, written in some publication that you said, ‘the Holocaust wasn’t bad,’ and then invited you to have a chat, would you agree to do so? Or would you first demand that I retract such a vile smear of you?

“When you unequivocally retract in The Exponent what you said and apologize for saying it, I will be happy to chat with you. In fact, I will even invite you on to my national radio show.”

I never received a response from Gates.

Then, about a week ago, on my radio show, I discussed the issue of private speech versus public speech, and the issue of character, using former President Harry Truman as an example of a good man who used foul language privately, specifically using “kike” when writing or talking about Jews, and the N-word when talking about blacks. A listener called to ask me why I could say “kike” but not the N-word. I told him that the left had rendered the N-word the only word unutterable in the English language, even when merely discussing it, as I was with regard to Truman. And, of course, I added that to ever refer to a black using the N-word is “despicable.”

On Sunday, the CBC published an article headlined “It’s ‘idiotic you can’t say the N-word,’ says radio host Dennis Prager, soon to speak at Calgary conference.”

The headline was an echo of the Newsweek headline, using an entirely out-of-context quote to make it sound as if I want to use the N-word in referring to blacks.

Now, why would the CBC bother writing about an American talk-show host, and how did it come up with this smear?

The answer to the first question is that the CBC, described to me by former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at a PragerU event as “to the left of MSNBC,” wants to charge Canadian conservative organization The Manning Centre with inviting racist speakers. (I will be speaking in Ottawa at the Centre’s annual conference next month.)

And how did the CBC come up with the phony headline and story? The author himself wrote how in his piece: from Media Matters for America, a left-wing site that each day distorts or lies about what conservatives say. The author never bothered to listen to my broadcast. He took what Media Matters wrote and recycled it.

So, then, why do left-wing media do this?

There are two major reasons.

First, truth is not a left-wing value. As I have said and written ever since studying communism and the left in graduate school at the Columbia University Russian Institute, truth is a liberal value and a conservative value, but it is not a left-wing value. However, destroying opponents by destroying their reputations is a left-wing value — whether it’s charging Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh with multiple rapes, preoccupying the country with the fake charge that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russia to manipulate the 2016 election, or the charges such as those made against me.

Second, smearing opponents is not only a left-wing value; it is the left’s modus operandi. And the reason for that is: The left does not win through argument. It wins through smear. If you differ with the left, you are, by definition, sexist, racist, bigoted, intolerant, homophobic, Islamophobic, xenophobic, fascist and/or a hater. The proof? You cannot name a single opponent of the left who has not been so labeled.

Readers can fight back by contacting the president of Purdue, Mitch Daniels, at president@purdue.edu. Contacts from Purdue alumni would be particularly helpful. And readers can contact the CBC through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or an email to its ombudsman:

Facebook.com/cbccalgary

Twitter.com/cbccalgary

Instagram.com/cbccalgary

ombud@cbc.ca

The CBC needs to change its headline and issue a correction, as Newsweek did. My email to the author of the article, in which I asked for these changes and explained the entire context, did not receive a reply. You can read the letter on my website and send it or link it to the CBC.

If good liberals and conservatives don’t fight the left, truth loses. If truth loses, all is lost.

It’s that simple.

Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. His latest book, published by Regnery in May 2019, is “The Rational Bible,” a commentary on the book of Genesis. His film, “No Safe Spaces,” came to theaters fall 2019. He is the founder of Prager University and may be contacted at dennisprager.com.

COPYRIGHT 2020 CREATORS.COM

Last Updated: Monday, Feb 24, 2020 19:01:56 -0800