NAOMI AND THE BEAST

Naomi Wolf was the toast of New York City – a popular feminist writer of several best sellers, a sure star of any social occasion, a trusted adviser to Democratic Presidential campaigns. As she notes in her gracefully written, tell-it-all new book, “Facing the Beast,” I was privileged to be part of the cultural scene made up of influencers on the progressive left, film premiers and art openings, book parties and galas. All of these events reassured us that we were at the center of the universe and that our world view was the right one and indeed the only one.”

Then suddenly, startlingly, she was out, glitter and all. Phone calls unanswered, shunned by friends, rejected by publishers, denounced by alleged experts, deplatformed from Twitter, Facebook, You-Tube.” It was if a hex had been cast over me and over the entire culture in which I had, till so  recently, felt so at home.”

What had she done to deserve this? Simply by being herself. She had applied her investigative skills to examining the new miraculous vaccines combating the spreading Covid disease. She had found they were not so miraculous, in fact rather dubious and incidentally causing considerable injury to many human bodies. The reaction was instantaneous outrage. Who did she think she was challenging the considered opinion of the nation’s elite? She must suffer the consequences and was pummeled with all the money and power at their disposal. Overnight she says she was thrust into a “new social and even legal category, that of second-class citizen, anti- vaxxer, dissident, weirdo, conspiracy theorist and though I remained a classic liberal, Trumper.” The idea was to keep her quiet.

It didn’t work, though this kind of assault usually does. In desperation she turned to a onetime enemy – conservatives who were happy to help and provided her the opportunity to speak and write. She was also introduced to a different world of less privileged and more practical folks. She says she hadn’t even been aware of their existence. “They come from all walks of life, and they pay little or no attention to status or class markers. Politics don’t unite these people. What unites them in my view is the excellence of their characters.”

Faced with many threats on her life because of her altered views, she acquired the services of a veteran U.S army intelligence officer who taught her, among other things, how to shoot despite her aversion to guns. Among this training they also got married, arousing suspicions of the hapless lady succumbing a dark force. But it was a homegrown marriage nurtured by chicken soup.

Along with other vaccine dissidents, Wolf got to examine  some of the 450 thousand pages of Pfizer pharmaceutical documents that the company wanted to keep secret for seventy-five years but was forced to disclose on court order. They confirmed all her fears of overrated, underperforming vaccines. She also became increasingly aware of the forces behind them:  “a class of global elite policy makers, nonprofit leaders and bureaucrats who are able to engage in cruel and oppressive policy making precisely because they are no longer part of the communities whose lives are affected by what they have done.”’

She was particularly disappointed with the prestigious college she had attended, Yale, which had forced students to vaccinate, wear stifling masks and stay apart. “The campus felt like a matrix of fears,” she recalls on a visit there. Generous sums of money from the U.S, Government and big tech sustained the fear, including a study to overcome “vaccine hesitancy.”  She concludes: “Basically, Yale is a sponge for vaccine money.”

A little research indicated yet another level of responsibility for the noxious vaccines: a contributing Chinese communist company. What better way to cripple the world’s other super power, she writes. It’s a crucial connection. That was the aim of global communism, which was averted with much struggle just as today’s global threat – the “Beast” – must be countered. You can expect Naomi Wolf to be in the lead.

TRUMP AND ANDREW JACKSON

Donald Trump is a hero for millions of Americans as well as an enemy for millions of others. But who is a hero for Trump? It would seem to be Andrew Jackson as he has suggested: sturdy frontiersman, victorious general and seventh President of the U.S.

And a President like none before him and not many since. He put a personal stamp on the office that had been occupied with some restraint by its first occupants. From George Washington to John Quincy Adams, a genuine elite had governed.  That was the problem, said elite-defying Jackson. It’s time for the people to speak and rule, he insisted, and he led the movement to accomplish it.

“King Andrew!” cried his incredulous critics, and it’s true he parlayed the only U.S. military victory in the doleful 1812 U.S. war with Britain into a run for the U.S. Presidency. But in his majestic “History of the American People,” Paul Johnson writes that while Jackson was something of a military autocrat, he differed from the caudillos of Latin America or Bonaparte Europe in being a genuine democrat. “He was the first major figure in American politics to believe passionately and wholly in the popular will, and it is no accident that he created the great Democratic Party which is still with us.”

Trump might take issue with this accomplishment, but he, too, claims to have given voice to a portion of the population that had been underrepresented and indeed disparaged much like the alleged “riffraff” of Jackson’s day. Yet elections didn’t always go the way of either leader. Jackson’s outrage over his defeat in the 1824 presidential election is uncannily similar to Trump’s in 2020. Jackson won the popular vote, but since it was still a minority, the issue was decided in the House of Representatives where a backroom deal gave the Presidency to John Quincy Adams.

Like Trump today, Jackson carried his rage into the 1828 election. Writes Johnson: “Those who believe that present day American politics are becoming a dirty game cannot have read the history of the 1828 election.” Amid a mountain of pamphleteering Jackson forces spread the word that Adams, while U.S. ambassador to Russia, had procured a young American girl for the lustful czar. Adam’s campaign replied that Jackson’s mother was a foreign prostitute who had several illegitimate children of whom Jackson was one. A private detective claimed he had evidence Jackson and his wife Rachel had been living in adultery because of a false marriage, a slander that led to a fatal heart attack for Rachel and a permanently embittered Jackson. 

Like Trump, even as President Jackson found it hard to keep sex out of politics. He ordered his minister of war, Tom Eaton, to marry Peggy with whom he was living. Eaton complied, but other cabinet members and their wives weren’t satisfied and continued to complain about free living Peggy. Normal business came to a standstill until a frustrated Jackson presided over a lengthy debate about Peggy’s love life. 

In the meantime he was forced to assemble a small group of advisers called a kitchen cabinet to handle his more serious agenda: abolishing the national bank which he thought was the center of elite control over the U.S. economy, and suppressing the first stirrings of southern secession over slavery. “To the union,” he toasted southern leaders. “It must and shall be preserved.”

Trump is accused of inciting his supporters to scramble into the U.S. Capitol in protest of the 2020 election, defying police and causing damage. Jackson did the opposite. On Inaugural day he urged a large crowd of followers to join him in the White House. They happily obliged, destroying furniture and everything else in their way as they cheerfully drank to the new Jacksonian era. The President managed to escape out a window.

Some Jackson measures are not available to Trump. Quick to anger, Jackson fought several duels, which left two bullets in his body, adding to the constant pain from other afflictions. Trump must be content with flinging mere barbs at opponents, which can be deadly in their own way. By making a strong personality central to the Presidency, Jackson was the first to face an assassin who took personal offense and luckily misfired. Such has been the challenge to all subsequent Presidents, and one can only imagine the target provocative Trump presents.

Trump is spared two issues that compromised Jackson. He was in the forefront of those who expelled native Americans from their homeland as settlers expanded westward. This aggression, writes Jackson biographer Robert Remini, combined “inefficiency, confusion, stupidity and criminal disregard of the rights of human beings.” A man of his time and place, Jackson owned slaves and traded them. It’s worth noting that his arch enemy, ex- President John Quincy Adams, spent his last years in the U.S. Congress inveighing against slavery, suggesting that an elite of this kind has a role even in a burgeoning democracy.