Friday, October 28, 2022

Will There Be A Nuclear War?

Will There Be A Nuclear War? 

Jim Kavanagh

At this point, I put the chances at 50-50.

Read on, and see why.

On February 22, the day after Russia recognized the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, I said a situation had now been created in which the second most likely reaction by the US/NATO would be to “Launch a military effort to take back LPR, DPR, and Crimea—using Ukrainians as cannon fodder, or, if they dare, bringing in US/NATO troops directly,” and that would result in a “loss for US/NATO, before or after a devastating, probably nuclear, world war.”

Ten days later, on March 3rd, right after the Russian army entered Ukraine, I wrote: “WWIII is not a remote possibility. We are already in it. The only question is: How much worse will it get?

At that time, I would have put the chances of nuclear war at more than 0 but less than 30%.

By mid-April, I noted that it was now clear that Ukraine was an entirely dependent ward of the US/NATO, which is the principal in this fight, and whose weapons, as well as military and intelligence officers—in Washington, Brussels, and personally in Kiev—are effectively waging this war. I also insisted that the notion that some shrewd, mutually face-saving compromise can be negotiated to end this conflict is wishful thinking, and that the decisive question in this battle between Russia and the US/NATO is not “What compromise can they negotiate?” but “Who is going to accept defeat?” 

Since then, things have gotten much worse. It is now clear that US/NATO personnel are heavily involved in every aspect of the fighting in Ukraine. The Intercept reports of “a broad program” of:

clandestine American operations inside Ukraine are now far more extensive than they were early in the war…There is a much larger presence of both CIA and U.S. special operations personnel and resources in Ukraine than there were at the time of the Russian invasion in February….Secret U.S. operations inside Ukraine are being conducted under a presidential covert action finding…[T]he president has quietly notified certain congressional leaders.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Devil’s Advocate: Farewell to Fauci

Devil’s Advocate: Farewell to Fauci

Jim Kavanagh



Noble Heart

I watched the emergence of Anthony Fauci into international prominence over the past two years with particular interest. He and I are graduates of the same New York City high school, a commonality that gives me some insight into his intellectual formation. Though it was some years after him, I played on the basketball team, too. Somewhere, there’s a picture of me in those cool shorts, that I promise you will never see.

Regis High School is a unique institution. It is a highly selective, academically rigorous, all-boys Jesuit high school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It is widely considered the best Catholic high school (and one of the best overall) in the country. It gave Anthony Fauci (and me) a strong classical rhetoric-and-logic education in the Jesuit tradition —the Iliad and Odyssey, the Aeneid and Caesar’s Wars, in the original Greek and Latin. It’s an education that, at its best, laid the foundation for logical and critical thinking, and prepared students for the best liberal arts colleges. It also fostered Catholic and Jesuit ethical values, which, of course, have changed over the years.

The Jesuits were formed as the vanguard of the Counter-Reformation and have historically been attached to reactionary politics, but the order is also highly adaptable to the changes in social ideology, while maintaining a consistent commitment to educating the future elite. By the time I was in high school, some good men like Daniel Berrigan, were teaching smart students to see the world through lenses of intellectual and moral honesty, helping them lapse to the left. Like Fidel, who said the Jesuits who ran the high school he attended, “influenced me with their strict organization, their discipline and their values. … They influenced my sense of justice.”

Even more unusual for an academically elite school on the Upper East Side, Regis is tuition-free. Unique, indeed. That’s because it was endowed in 1914, by the widow of New York City mayor Hugh Grant, to offer a free rigorous education to the boys from the city’s poor Catholic (Irish, Italian, etc.) immigrant families. Yup, before it was the home of the UN and Gossip Girl, the East Side was a neighborhood of slaughterhouses and the East Side Kids.

So, into the 70s at least, Regis was a school to which middle strata (virtually all white) Catholic families—from dockworkers and firemen to lawyers and pharmacists (Fauci’s father)—throughout the NYC region strove to have their sons accepted. Many kids commuted over an hour each way every day. It was understood as the ticket to a solid professional career. And, indeed, it produced a slew of very smart lawyers, doctors, and professors (not so much bankers) who become loyal alumni. Here's a prototypical testimony—including the “it changed my life” part—from a well-known alumnus:

It was definitely my ticket out of Staten Island, because it got me into a Catholic high school called Regis, which would change the course of the rest of my life. I was extremely lucky to get accepted to Regis, because (a) it’s one of the best high schools in the country and (b) it’s free. For Catholics in New York, Regis is almost like the Watchtower building for Jehovah’s Witnesses. Tens of thousands of kids apply for a hundred and twenty spots in each class. To this day, if a Catholic mother hears that I went to Regis, she will grab my face and say, “God bless! What a wonderful place!” --Colin Jost
This Regis High School background might help you to understand a couple of things about how I understand the phenomenon of Anthony Fauci. First of all: Think you've seen Fauci worship in mainstream media over the past two years?  Nothing compared to the Zoom meetings with my Regis classmates! Anathema is the precise word for any criticism of Anthony Fauci in that circle. When I sent them the link to my anti-mandate article last year, I got a slew of derogatory responses, including this wish to see me die in agony: "My one regret is not being present in the COVID ICU to witness the author struggling for his final agonal breath." From a medical doctor. At a Catholic hospital. Noble Hearts, as we Regians call ourselves. (“My Ours Be The Noble Heart” is the school anthem.)

But what best explains the relevance of Regis to Anthony Fauci is an anecdote regarding my nephew, who applied to the school some years after me. His father, my oldest brother (who had not gotten into Regis and pooh-poohed it, though unavoidably respecting it) wanted his son to go, but my nephew was more interested in going to high school with his friends in Queens rather than commuting to the geeky school in Manhattan. Having passed the exam, my nephew headed into the obligatory personal interview with a Jesuit, who asked him a stock interview question: "Who is the historical personage you admire most?"  Sensing the chance to shock the sensibilities of the old priest and the old man, and to banish the prospect of four years in nerdville, my nephew replied: "Judas Iscariot."  When asked to elaborate, he pointed out that Judas did the dirty but necessary work that nobody else would, though it brought shame and scorn on him from all quarters, and performed the key act without which the rest of the story would not have been able to unfold in the gloriously celebrated way that it did, yada, yada.

My nephew was not showing off his knowledge of a recently discovered Gnostic gospel. He was just being a smart-ass. But, "smart" was the operative word. Much to his surprise—though not to those who are familiar with the intricate wiles of the mind that is known as "Jesuitical"—he was accepted. One can just hear the good fathers: "Now that is the kind of student we want at Regis."

And that is what I heard every time Anthony Fauci spoke: The rhetorical skill that crafts a sinuous and compelling narrative that fixes our attention on the best of a worst case and obfuscates the rest. The ability to deceive and dissemble without (for the most) part saying anything demonstrably false, by soliciting sympathetic identification with what his audience likes to think is true about the subject in question, but above all about how smart he and they are. That is the perfect intellectual persona for the apex medical bureaucrat speaking for the most corrupt corporate-captured “public” agency. Pharma is a devil, and Fauci is the Devil’s Advocate. And I know where he developed that rhetorical (in the classical sense of the word) skill and intelligence.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Let Roe Go: Winning Abortion Rights

 Let Roe Go: Winning Abortion Rights

Jim Kavanagh

With Roe v. Wade overturned, and multiple states rushing to institute draconian abortion bans, the abortion-rights movement faces the task of winning—anew, but effectively for the first time—a right many of us mistakenly thought was secured. To do that requires, I think, recognizing and abandoning the diversionary legal-constitutional and partisan-political paths in which confidence was misplaced, and sharpening the tools needed for a strong and irreversible victory in the wider political sense. 

Judge Not

Of course, the abortion-rights battle must be waged on all fronts. But legal and legislative victories will only be won securely as a result of winning broad and deep political support—persuading a majority of people of the justice and necessity of the cause. That is the kind of political work that created the conditions for Roe v. Wade—independent, risky personal and collective political action, including civil disobedience, that highlighted the plight and right of pregnant women, and the hypocrisy and cruelty of criminalizing abortion.

Though it was, at the time, a punctual victory that resulted from such work, Roe also turned out to be Pyrrhic. Roe has arguably weakened the abortion-rights movement, which centered itself on defending the decision, searching for Supreme Court nominees who would support it, and engaging in partisan battles about it—at the expense of building wider and deeper popular support for the substantive right throughout the country.

Roe pre-empted an offensive strategy of growing a mass political movement for abortion rights, and channeled it into defensive, system-reaffirming, judicial and partisan “politics.” The abortion rights movement complacently placed its trust in an alliance with sympathetic magistrates and Democratic politicians and forewent the task of non-partisan persuasion—continually making its case and strengthening its support among masses of people whose support cannot be taken for granted or written off. While “pro-choice” liberals were playing with their RBG dolls, 15-year-old girls (and their parents) throughout the country were being talked to, and shown pictures of dead fetuses, by conservative pastors. Who’s approach was more effective?

Thursday, July 7, 2022

The Wrinkle: Abortion Rights, Vaccine Passports, and Bodily Autonomy

The Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade marks an enormous defeat for women’s rights in the United States. We must not underestimate its importance, and how difficult it will be to overcome. There is a slew of things to consider about how this defeat occurred, and about how supporters of women’s rights and abortion rights can best organize to win a decisive and irreversible victory for a right that so many of us, mistakenly, thought had already been secured.

I’ll go over a number of those considerations in another essay. But here I want quickly to break out and discuss one wrinkle that has developed during the past two years—one that is of serious consequence for the abortion-rights argument because it directly touches on its essential element, and one that has enmired many leftists and abortion-rights supporters in confusion and contradiction that have weakened their abortion-rights position in ways they do not want to acknowledge.

That wrinkle is the dominant leftist attitude toward the mandatory covid vaccination policies, an attitude that is based, I think, on a strange and increasingly common epistemological stance—an inability, or stubborn refusal, to think things through honestly and consistently, considering all the arguments without pre-ordained conclusion.

Failing to have a consistent position based on bodily autonomy in regard to the forced intrusions of vaccine mandates/passports and abortion criminalization is a mistake of grave consequence, politically and epistemologically. Those who don’t recognize that mistake are undermining their political position in support of abortion rights, fooling themselves, and confusing and harming the movement.

And here’s the proof:

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Important News for Subscribers. Last Media Appearance Posting on This Page

Important News for subscribers: I now have enough email subscribers that my email service (MailChimp) is starting to charge me for excess mailings per month from this page. This has become an issue since I've been posting so many media appearances--usually 2-3 per week. As a result,  from now on, I will only post my media appearance on my Substack page (where I have also been posting them). I will continue, for now, to post my original essays on this page. So, please go over to that page and subscribe. You can take a free subscription and get all the posts, though I would greatly appreciate your support. Thanks for following my work. Here again is the link: 

Jim Kavanagh’s (The Polemicist) Substack

Below are the links to my appearance on The Critical Hour with Wilmer Leon and Garland Nixon on Thursday, June 23rd, discussing the dangers of narrative vs. reality discrepancies regarding the Ukraine War, Lithuania’s block of Russian transit to Transnistria, US/NATO/Ukraine's motivation to prolong & widen the conflict.

Critical_Hour_1001_Seg_3 (23 Jun 2022) (Google Drive)

Critical_Hour_1001_Seg_3 (23 Jun 2022) (One Drive)

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