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In the pantheon of damnable lies, and political manipulations, one of the most oft repeated tropes in history was never actually said, and the woman it was attributed to was actually among the most moral and caring of wealthy people of her era.  Marie Antoinette never actually uttered the contemptible words, "Let them eat cake."  Worse, she was among the most charitable people of her era.  Historians who've taken the time to investigate the actual record, conclude that she donated lavishly to charities in her time, and so despite her enjoying a lavish lifestyle of her own, she was not unkind toward others, and was not blind to the plight of those less fortunate.

It could be termed ironic then that she's attributed to a quotation used frequently by people trying to draw historical parallel to those who care nothing for others.  But, the real truth, and tragedy, is that the quotation is not some happenstance of cruel irony.  Instead, it was and remains a shocking example of deliberate political manipulation.

While the overthrow of dictatorships cannot be termed evil of itself, and nor can the replacement of monarchies with a constitutional republic be considered amoral, what can be termed evil is when power mad people seek to scapegoat others out of an entirely selfish motivation, rooted in a desire to establish ones own self as the new ruler, and receive the spoils of power and privilege, no matter the cost to society.

The French Revolution is a vivid example that the stuff of revolutions can often lead to great evil.  And in the headstrong effort to murder the toppled French aristocracy, the suitable justification for beheading an innocent woman, was to appropriate a cover story that she was deserving of death because of her purported cavalier attitude toward other people.  More plausible accusations of appealing to her Austrian king and father to restore the French monarchy was a more reasonable foundation, but hardly deserving the beheading of a woman devoid of real power.

We can draw lessons from this tragedy and apply them quite accurately to events unfolding today.  When crises arise, it becomes vital to carefully weigh facts and draw only fair conclusions. 

The real cause of the famine in France that was the catalyst for the French Revolution was a natural disaster, termed the "Little Ice Age."  The actual age lasted considerably longer than this one era, but in 1783 the Laki volcano in Iceland erupted, sending ash into the upper atmosphere and triggering a drought and reduction of temperatures during the winter of 1784, which began a series of crop failures lasting until 1788, which was quite severe with cold and snow.  The spring thaws were equally sudden, and caused massive flooding, ruining a large part of the relatively few remaining productive farm lands.

It was starvation that caused the people to rise up against the French monarchy, and so while all of the Lockean anthems contributed to a desire for an American style government, brutal truth is that without people starving to death, Louis XIII would have likely survived, as well as his wife Marie Antoinette.  Sometimes, bad things happen that are beyond the powers of all people to control, even those in power over great nations.

The real cause of the COVID-19 outbreak was a cover up and delayed response by a Chinese Communist oligarch that cared more about their own face and power, than in the preservation of human life!  Several precious months were squandered by the evil treatment of principled Chinese doctors who first tried to report the facts of the outbreak in Wuhan province.  For their moral efforts, they were put under house arrest and in some cases left to die of the virus, denied the very medical treatments they selflessly provided to others!  That same Chinese oligarchy is today lying to try to blame others for the outbreak, and falsely report that their wonderful Communist system has outperformed the rest of the world in controlling the outbreak.  The only thing the Chicoms have outperformed the world on is their ability to fabricate self-serving false narratives.

Still, our technologies have made our encounter with today's COVID-19 pandemic a far better experience than the mass starvation of France between 1783 to 1789.  Nevertheless, we should remain guarded against following the selfish words of people who seek to leverage a crises to increase their own power and wealth.  With that in mind, one would think that once burned by his own words, "Never let a crises go to waste," that former Bill Clinton advisor Rahm Emanuel would have learned to temper his enthusiasm to craft power from tragedy.  But, this is not the case.  Hot on the heels of the Chinese viral outbreak, Emanuel appeared on national media television to boast once again not to allow a good crises to "go to waste."  Democrat Congressman Jim Clyburn of South Carolina actually said, of the stimulus bill to aid Americans put out of work by the outbreak,  "This is a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision."

What vision would that be?  Well, if we are to take the massive infusion of proposed pork spending that Nancy Pelosi initially offered up as mandatory for her support for this stimulus package, it would include such things as funding of abortions, waiving the debt the US Postal Service owed the Treasury Department, a mandate for the already hard pressed airline industry to agree to costly fuel emissions mandates, and a lavish funding of arts and entertainment foundations like the Kennedy Center and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting!

It would also include making ridiculous statements that Donald Trump has "blood on his hands," over how the executive branch has "handled" the COVID-19 outbreak.  This despite the Trump team working immediately to stop travel from China, and then Europe, combined with quick mandates of federal distribution of medical supplies to hard hit areas, and perhaps most critical of all, fast tracking possible medical treatments and cures.  Indeed, the stimulus bill originally engineered was a trim $1 trillion package that was heavy on putting money in the hands of the American people, as well as to their employers who provided them meaningful work.

It was a "let them eat meat and potatoes" answer to help reduce the obvious harm the viral outbreak had already caused, as well as promised to continue causing if immediate help was withheld.  Nevertheless, returning from her visit to California, Speaker Nancy Pelosi rode to the rescue of leftists everywhere to more than double the financial cost, by threatening to kill the entire stimulus bill if she didn't get her way on a myriad of leftist political goals having nothing at all to do with wiping out the pandemic.

Saner heads within her own party, combined with nearly all the Republican party, to streamline Pelosi's efforts, and get the quick passage back on track.  In a moment of bipartisan spirit, Trump even condemned Republican Congressman Thomas Massie's late efforts to needlessly delay the House vote, by calling for him to be tossed from the GOP!

No, we don't need to break out the guillotines and summon the spirit of the "Comite' du Salut Public" and the infamous Jacobin Maximillen Robespierre-led French Reign of Terror campaign, but we Americans do need to quickly put this pandemic out of commission, and then carefully consider who said and did what.  Those who worked to put the needs of the American people foremost deserve our thanks, regardless of party affiliations.  Likewise, those who chose to grandstand while innocent people were suffering, and some dying, deserve serious recompense for their outrages, and again without any regard to party affiliations. 

And in the righteous effort to do all this, we don't need to falsely fabricate statements, and create scapegoats.  We have plenty of the verified and truthful stuff to look at, as well as plenty of videotape of actual people making those actual statements, and carrying out those very real actions.  The prime reason is to ensure that, unlike in 1793, we do not allow those who abused their offices to corruptly extract power from crises to profit from their misdeeds.

-- Ken Stallings

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