Michael Flynn did not seem to be the best choice President-elect Donald Trump could have made for his first national security advisor. My own publication, The Daily Caller, broke the story of Flynn writing an op-ed praising Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan just before Trump's election. The op-ed was a clear break from Flynn's past comments criticizing Turkey for their policies toward the ISIS terrorist group. The most troubling part was Flynn's failure to disclose the fact that his private-sector intelligence consulting firm had just signed a lucrative contract with a company closely aligned with Erdogan before the op-ed was published. The whole thing looked a lot like a paid foreign influence campaign.

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s2smodern

As our fellow Americans lose jobs and lives due to this pandemic, it's helpful to pause and think about whether any positives can come out of this tragedy. With challenges this big, there are always important lessons.

First, we are learning a lot about our top leaders. We live in a politically fractured time. By the time we have a vaccine or herd immunity and can put this pandemic fully in our rearview mirror -- which may be quite a while away, unfortunately -- we will be better able to assess how each national, state and local leader steps up -- or shrinks -- when it counts.

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s2smodern

We live in a time when many people are so partisan that their views are easy to predict based solely on their political persuasion. If you're a hardcore Republican, you're pretty sure hydroxychloroquine is a solid treatment for COVID-19, and if you're a big-time Democrat, you know hydroxychloroquine is ineffective and even dangerous. Our system is so partisan that nothing is beyond politics -- even our choice of medicines.

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s2smodern

John Jacob Astor, the richest man on board the Titanic, famously gave up a seat in the final lifeboat when he saw two young children still on the ship's deck. "Women and children first" was the order from the ship's captain, and the final numbers show just how much the men on board -- even the rich and powerful -- adhered to that call. Women on the Titanic had a 75% survival rate, compared with just 17% for men. Besides some crazed radical feminists, most of us view the chivalry displayed on that sinking ship with a sense of awe and admiration. Hard to imagine many California tech billionaires behaving today the way Astor did the night he died.

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s2smodern

For the business community and those at the very top of America's economic ladder, China has been a godsend. They've made and saved billions and billions of dollars by outsourcing American manufacturing to China and offering goods and services to China's booming consumer market. For many top American companies, growth in China has been seen as essential for success. This is why so many American companies and upper-income American citizens are so thoroughly uninterested in hearing about Chinese atrocities. Remember last year when an NBA general manager made the mistake of tweeting something sympathetic to the freedom (and pro-American) protestors in Hong Kong? He was absolutely crushed by his league and the players, who all knew that China was where their future riches were to be made.

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s2smodern

The amazing thing about COVID-19 is how much we still don't know. Even the experts don't quite understand the nature of the virus or how we should respond. Due to their evolving understanding, we have seen quite a bit of change in the guidance they give to the public -- which is fine, as long as they remain transparent. More than anything else, we need more explanation and more honesty from our authorities.

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s2smodern

Things are getting real. We are at over 47,000 deaths worldwide and over 5,000 deaths in the U.S. alone. Our top experts are modeling between 100,000 and 240,000 American deaths by the end of this crisis. Those are massive numbers. We lost nearly 3,000 on 9/11; we suffered 7,000 (so far) U.S. military deaths in the "war on terror" and 58,000 after 20 years in Vietnam. Early hopes that COVID-19 could be overblown have more than dwindled. If anything, we are learning more every day about how China has understated the deaths they have seen -- drastically understated, according to some reports.

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s2smodern
Mike Scruggs