The Neo- Nazis are a loathsome, loutish, hateful group and the President made a dumb statement about “decent people on both sides.”As a result, the media, the left, and the never Trumpsters are out in force. Even many Republican summer soldiers and sunshine patriots are tucking up their petticoats in high dudgeon. So be it.

The right wing groups are amateur bigots- small in number with very limited national influence- none in the academies or the media. The Antifa groups are professional bigots who know how to manipulate and influence the public….and they employ every perceived gripe from every minority to inflame national rhetoric in order to destroy democracy.

The ones that really get my goat are the hypocrites who use Holocaust metaphor and anti-Semitism to denounce the Neo-Nazis. “This is the ideology that killed six-million Jews” screeched a young man recently. Funny, I never heard him denounce Islamic jihad driven genocidal goals. For that matter he supported Obama’s Iran deal which enabled a regime whose open and avowed and averred aim is to destroy Israel and kill six-million Jews. And he thinks that BDS is just an expression of tough love of Israel.

An e-pal J.P. wrote :

“But the bigger issue is the sudden interest in Nazis, when anti-semitism has been on the rise for the last ten years.Why is it that a couple of hundred anti-semites warrants such massive attention from the mainstream press, from the Democrats, and from the left? And from you? Why don’t they (or you) care when millions of college students get together every year for a week-long celebration of anti-semitism? Is the only difference that the college students don’t display the swastika? Or could it possibly be that all the faux-rage is seen as a way of scoring political points against Trump?”

Well said!


Muslims Tell Europe: “One Day All This Will Be Ours” by Giulio Meotti

The Archbishop of Strasbourg Luc Ravel, nominated by Pope Francis in February, just declared that “Muslim believers know very well that their fertility is such today, that they call it… the Great Replacement. They tell you in a very calm, very positive way: One day all this, all this will be ours…”.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán just warned against a “Muslimized Europe”. According to him, “the question of the upcoming decades is whether Europe will continue to belong to Europeans”.

“In the coming 30 years, the number of Africans will grow by more than one billion people. That is twice the population of the entire European Union… The demographic pressure will be enormous. Last year, more than 180,000 people crossed in shabby boats from Libya. And this is just the beginning. According to EU Commissioner Avramopoulos, at this very moment, 3 million migrants are waiting to enter Europe”. — Geert Wilders, MP, The Netherlands, and leader of the Party for Freedom and Democracy (PVV).

This week, yet another Islamic terrorist attack targeted the Spanish city of Barcelona. As it was for many years under Muslim rule, it is, therefore, like Israel, land which many Islamists believe they are entitled to repossess.

At the same time, far from Spain, elementary schools have been closing, shuttered by the state after the number of children dropped to less than 10% of the population. The government is converting these structures into hospices, providing care for the elderly in a country where 40% of the people are 65 or older. That is not a science-fiction novel. That is Japan, the world’s oldest and most sterile nation, where there is a popular expression: “ghost civilization”.

According to Japan’s National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, by 2040 most of the country’s smaller cities will see a dramatic drop of one-third to one-half of their population. Due to a dramatic demographic decrease, many Japanese councils can no longer operate and have been closed. Restaurants have decreased from 850,000 in 1990 to 350,000 today, pointing to a “drying up of vitality”. Predictions also suggest that in 15 years, Japan will have 20 million empty houses. Is that also the future of Europe?

Among the experts in demography, there is a tendency to call Europe “the new Japan”. Japan, however, is dealing with this demographic catastrophe with its own resources, and banning Muslim immigration to the country.

“Europe is committing demographic suicide, systematically depopulating itself in what British historian Niall Ferguson has called “the greatest sustained reduction in European population since the Black Death in the fourteenth century'”, as George Weigel recently noted.

Europe’s Muslims appear to be dreaming of filling this vacuum. The Archbishop of Strasbourg, Luc Ravel, nominated by Pope Francis in February, recently declared that “Muslim believers know very well that their fertility is such today, that they call it … the Great Replacement. They tell you in a very calm, very positive way: ‘One day all this, all this will be ours’ …”.

A new report by the Italian think tank Centro Machiavelli just revealed that if current trends continue, by 2065 first- and second-generation immigrants will exceed 22 million persons, or more than 40% of Italy’s total population. In Germany, as well, 36% of children under the age of five are being born to immigrant parents. In 13 of the 28 EU member countries, more people died than were born last year; without migration, the populations of Germany and Italy are expected to decline by 18% and 16%, respectively.

The impact of demographic free-fall is most visible in what was once called the “new Europe”, the countries of the former Soviet bloc such as Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, to distinguish these from the so called “old Europe”, France and Germany. Those Eastern countries are now the ones most exposed to the “depopulation bomb”, the devastating collapse in birth rate that the current-events analyst and author Mark Steyn has called “the biggest issue of our time”.

Confederate Statues Honor Timeless Virtues — Let Them Stay Don’t let extremists on both sides destroy honor and valor, even as they seek to destroy everything else. By Arthur Herman

There are times when I wonder if we’re coming to the harsh, bitter end of the American experiment. The weekend of August 12 was one of them.

My wife and I have lived in Charlottesville for the past 14 years, and on Saturday we got to see the sick political culture that’s infected this country for the past couple of decades sweep over our fair city, leaving three dead and many more seriously injured.

Beth and I like to run in the mornings, and that Saturday morning we headed over to the big four-story parking garage at John Paul Jones Arena, which we sometimes use as our running track when it’s raining or it’s very hot and sunny. Usually the garage is completely empty; that Saturday every bay was filled with a Virginia State Police car, with dozens of other police cars and vans parked along the side. Seeing them gave us both an eerie feeling filled with foreboding; I’d felt the same eeriness that Friday night, when white supremacists held their torchlight vigil at the University of Virginia, in a scene reminiscent of Nazi-party rallies in the 1930s.

Yet even with all these policemen in riot gear, no one could control the violence when extremists from the left and extremists from the right battled each other in the streets in Charlottesville — or the national political firestorm it set off. And all this happened because our city council decided in June it could score some liberal points by having the statue of Robert E. Lee removed from a park downtown, and by changing the name from Lee Park to Emancipation Park.

They’re not alone, of course; they’re part of a trend that’s sweeping — or, I prefer to say infecting — the country right now, and not just in the South.

I’ve heard many arguments as to why statues commemorating Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and other Confederate war heroes should come down in Charlottesville; and not many why they should stay, except from white supremacists who have no honest or rational views on the matter. So maybe it’s time for someone who is a scholar, a historian — a Pulitzer Prize finalist historian, and the New York Times–bestselling author of nine books — and a lifelong Civil War buff to rehearse the reasons why they should remain, and why, if they come down now under violent pressure from the Left, we may be losing a lot more than statues of dead Confederate heroes.

First of all, these are not “Confederate monuments.” They are monuments to the dead, soldiers who fought and often died for the Confederate cause. They were erected years after the Civil War. For example, the bronze Lee statue in Lee Park dates to 1924. It was begun by a French sculptor, completed by an Italian-immigrant artist, and then cast by a company in the Bronx. These monuments were dedicated to memorialize the courage and sacrifice that these Southern men and, in some cases, women (one of the sculptures in Baltimore pulled down earlier this week was dedicated “to the Confederate women of Maryland”) brought to a cause that they believed at the time deserved the same “last full measure of devotion” that their Northern counterparts brought to theirs. Of course, some of those who paid for and erected these statues also believed that cause had been right, not wrong. (I’ll say more about that in a minute.) But in the final analysis, they are monuments to timeless virtues, not to individuals.

On Charlottesville, Trump, and Anti-Americanism The president made some idiotic remarks, but he knows something the elites overlook. By Andrew C. McCarthy

Susan Rosenberg was a terrorist in the early 1980s. Like her Weathermen comrades, she would have killed many people had she been a more competent terrorist. She was a fugitive plotting more bombings when she and a co-conspirator were captured in New Jersey, armed to the gills and toting over 700 pounds of dynamite. At her sentencing, she proclaimed, “Long live the armed struggle” against “U.S. imperialism.” Her only regret was that she hadn’t shot it out with the police who arrested her. A federal judge sentenced her to 58 years’ imprisonment.

I know her story well because, when she claimed she was being denied parole unlawfully, I spent over a year as the prosecutor arguing that the court should keep her in the slammer. Finally, the court ruled against her.

So . . . Bill Clinton sprang her.

Her commutation may have outraged most Americans, but it was celebrated by the nation’s “progressive” opinion elites, the same ones who were cool with President Clinton’s release of the FALN terrorists. Granted, Rosenberg didn’t get the hero’s welcome at New York City’s Puerto Rican Day parade received by Oscar Lopez Rivera — the FALN terrorist released by President Obama. The teaching gig the Left arranged for her wasn’t quite as prestigious and long-lived as the ones her fellow Weathermen — and Obama pals — Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn fell into. She’ll never be a t-shirt icon, like Che Guevara or Tupac Shakur. The campaign to pretend she was innocent won’t rival the Alger Hiss fairy tale. There will probably be no statue of her, much less a performing-arts center like the one in Princeton named for Paul Robeson.

But she hates America, so she’ll be remembered fondly in the places where the cultural tune is called. Her books — such as An American Radical: A Political Prisoner in My Own Country — will continue to be taken oh so seriously. Her Wikipedia entry does not describe her as a terrorist; it says Susan Rosenberg is a “radical political activist, author and advocate for social justice.”

That’s why you got Trump.

It has nothing to do with statues of the dead. It is about the status of the living.

You’re upset over President Trump’s idiotic remarks this week? Oh, right, I need to specify. Not the crackpot bit about General Pershing mass-murdering Muslim prisoners in the Philippines (well explained by David French, here). I mean the one about the “very fine people” in Charlottesville — the supposed “many” who joined neo-Nazis, KKK die-hards, and other white supremacists in a demonstration that could not have been more overtly racist and despicable.

Yeah, I’m upset about that, too.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t notice the anti-fa thugs were out there. It doesn’t mean I don’t see the hard Left’s seditionist shock troops, at war with the country, much like the Weathermen, the Panthers, and the Black Liberation Army back in the day. As we’ve seen many times now (and will, alas, see many times more), the radical Left doesn’t need tiki-torch twits to spur them to arson and mayhem.

This time, though, in Charlottesville, the white supremacists were the instigators. They caused it. They orchestrated this disgusting event, they came ready for the violence they knew they were provoking, and one of them committed a murder.

If the roles were reversed, we wouldn’t want to hear a bunch of imbecilic “there’s blame on both sides” moral equivalence. We’d want the most culpable bunch called out and condemned, by name — and without any irrational hedging about phantom “very fine people” who confederate with sociopaths on the latter’s terms.

Missouri State Senator: ‘I Hope Trump Is Assassinated’ By Tyler O’Neil


On Thursday, a Democratic Missouri state senator posted, and then quickly deleted, a Facebook comment saying she hoped President Donald Trump would be assassinated. Democrats have called for her to resign, but she refused.

“I hope Trump is assassinated!” Maria Chappelle-Nadal, the state senator from University City, said in her comment, as preserved by radio host Mark Reardon.

As a result of Chappelle-Nadal’s comment, the U.S. Secret Service’s St. Louis field office is investigating, and both Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Missouri Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Webber called on her to resign.

Chappelle-Nadal posted the comment out of frustration with the “trauma and despair” the president has caused with his statements about the events in Charlottesville, Va., the Kansas City Star reported.

“The way I responded this morning was wrong,” Chappelle-Nadal said. “I’m frustrated. Did I mean the statement? No. Am I frustrated? Absolutely. The president is causing damage. He’s causing hate.”

The state senator posted the comment on her personal Facebook page, which is not open to the public. “On my personal Facebook, I put up a statement saying that I really hate Trump. He’s causing trauma and nightmares. That was my original post,” Chappelle-Nadal added. Her assassination comment came later down in the thread.

“It was wrong for me to post that,” she said. “But I am not going to shy away from the damage this president is causing.”

Chappelle-Nadal recalled the three-year anniversary of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, a city she represents in the state senate. She also noted the NAACP’s travel advisory for Missouri, which warns that civil rights would not be respected in the state.

“There are people who are afraid of going out in the streets,” she said. “It’s worse than even Ferguson.” She blamed such a climate on the president. His comments this weekend “make it easier for racists to be racists.”

Missouri State Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh (D) condemned Chappelle-Nadal’s comment. “Promoting, supporting or suggesting violence against anyone, especially our elected leaders, is never acceptable,” Walsh said. “There is too much rancor and hate in today’s political discourse, and Sen. Chappelle-Nadal should be ashamed of herself for adding her voice to this toxic environment.”

Sen. McCaskill agreed. “I condemn it. It’s outrageous. And she should resign,” she said in a statement. CONTINUE AT SITE

Peter Smith Onward, Christian Soldiers!

Islam denies the divinity of Christ while venerating a warlord of decidedly unsavoury disposition. That many Christian leaders prefer to swap warm and cuddly platitudes with representatives of a creed bent on their subjugation would make St Paul’s jaw drop.

I was reading an interesting article (The Future of Christianity) by Anglican priest and regular Quadrant contributor Michael Giffin, who stopped me in my tracks by saying the Bible is silent about the Islamic threat. He added that he was proud that “for the most part, the Church has remained consistently silent about the supposed Islamic threat and stuck to preaching the Gospel of Christ.”

Now I admit to wanting the Christian churches to be more muscular when it comes to Islam. First, what do I mean by being more muscular? Well there is a middle course between Pope John Paul II kissing the Koran, as he did, and poking imams in the eye with a burnt stick. It’s a question of balance. To my mind a proper balance is not struck when Christian Church leaders make overtures towards Islam. Interfaith dialogue is misconceived, in my view, when the other side is committed to taking over.

It is no accident that where Islam predominates Christianity and Christians are driven out. Christ was not a doormat and neither should be those whose job it is carry his message. And it is a grave mistake to think the Bible is silent on the Islamic issue. Christ was quite clear about false prophets arising. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.”(Matthew 7:15-16)

How much clearer could He have been? St Paul was pretty clear as well in his letter to the Galatians:

…there are some who are confusing you to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven [even, I add, the Archangel Gabriel to Mohammed in a cave] should proclaim to you a different gospel contrary to what we have proclaimed, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, so now I repeat, if anyone proclaims to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let that one be accursed!

This should be instructive and alerting for those Christians who have ears to hear. St Paul bears reiterating: Let those who proclaim a gospel contrary to the gospel of Christ be accursed. Not invited, you will notice, to morning tea by the Archbishop of Canterbury to discuss matters of common faith. There is no faith in common. Islam denies the divinity of Christ and places a man of unsavoury disposition above Him in the pecking order. It is just not tenable to sit down with these people as purveyors of a false gospel.

Nor is it tenable to ignore them and remain silent when the faith to which they owe allegiance is responsible for the persecution of Christians. Whether Edmund Burke said it or not, it is surely true that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. I cannot see that Christian churches are right to simply stand by and allow the propagation of hateful scripture to go directly unanswered and unchallenged.

If a number of Popes in history had not taken up the cudgels it is doubtful that Christianity would have survived the militaristic onslaught of Islam. The fight isn’t over until both sides disengage. The other side have not disengaged.

Civil War Breaking Out at Fox News By Peter Barry Chowka

An internal civil war is tearing at the fabric of Fox News. The events of the past week have brought the long-simmering conflict closer to the surface. The legitimacy and viability of President Trump are under constant assault in the mainstream media as never before – and that is saying something. Fox News Channel executives, staff, and on air talent are taking sides. The future direction of the right-of-center, fair and balanced Fox News approach to presenting the news may well be in serious doubt.

One week ago in Charlottesville, Virginia, a melee that involved Nazis, the alt-right, Antifa, and anarchists resulted in the death of one woman with at least 20 more people injured. The whole country seems to be taking sides or at least trying to understand what really happened that led to such a violent confrontation over the future of Civil War statues and monuments on public land. Most mainstream news organizations are siding with the left-wing narrative and blaming President Trump for his unconventional reaction to the events at Charlottesville. They are also largely absolving the anarchist and Antifa participants of any responsibility for the violence that took place.

Fox News still has its defenders of Trump. But they are increasingly being outnumbered by other hosts, contributors, and guests on the channel. Newsweek, an anti-Trump publication, put it this way in its August 17 story “Fox News Can’t Stop Literally Crying About Donald Trump’s Worst Week Yet:”

It’s been a bizarre week for the folks at Fox News…. For many of the network’s personalities, it’s been one of the most challenging weeks since Trump took office – and the tears have been steadily streaming on live television for its millions of viewers nationwide.

A Trail of Tears

On Thursday, August 17, during a live discussion of the Charlottesville rally five days earlier, Fox News anchor and host Melissa Francis, according to Newsweek, was having a hard time:

“I am so uncomfortable having this conversation,” Francis said, bursting into tears. “I know what’s in my heart, and I know that I don’t think anyone is different, better or worse based on the color of their skin. But I feel like there is nothing any of us can say right now without being judged.”

Melissa Francis

As Newsweek described the moment:

The tears arrived after Francis’s fellow anchors, Juan Williams and Marie Harf [Harf is in fact a contributor, not an anchor], both rejected her support for the president’s statements[.] . . Francis was then comforted by Harris Faulkner, a black female anchor for the network’s show Outnumbered, who said “there have been a lot of tears on our network, and across the country and around the world.”

There was more crying when Abby Huntsman, filling in as a Fox & Friends weekday co-host on Wednesday morning, was discussing the controversy over Confederate statues and the President’s reaction to Charlottesville with two black guests. Newsweek provided the transcript:

“It’s beyond a monument. This is about hatred. This is about white supremacy,” Democratic contributor Wendy Osefo said Wednesday.

“There are good people on both sides of this debate.…” Huntsman responded, seemingly attempting to pivot away from an emotional conversation.

But when she leaned on her Republican pundit Gianno Caldwell for support, she was met with more disdain for the president’s behavior – and more tears.

“I come today with a very heavy heart,” Caldwell said, wiping away tears. “Last night, I couldn’t sleep at all because president Trump, our president, has literally betrayed the conscience of our country.”

“No…” Huntsman interjected, trailing off.

Charlottesville Is Not about the Forces of Good vs. the Forces of Evil By Abraham H. Miller

The chaos in Charlottesville is about two groups of fascists taunting each other in the public square and fighting it out
If President Trump called out each right-wing bigot that invaded Charlottesville, it would not be enough. Some obsessive Trump antagonist standing behind the arc of Klieg lights while holding a microphone would find that somehow, somewhere, he had left out something.

If there is anything we can agree on, say liberal pundits, it is that fascism is evil, and Trump should have rushed to condemn them after the vehicular assault on demonstrators.

James Fields, the alleged perpetrator of the vehicular assault in Charleston, is identified as a white nationalist but belonged to no group. Moreover, he seems to be mentally ill.

The Army discharged Fields after a few months in a manner that bespeaks mental problems — but let’s not raise that issue. It will prevent us from feeling sanctimonious about condemning the right.

We most certainly would not want to put Fields in the same category as Major Nidal Hassan, He committed that act of workplace violence at Fort Hood, slaughtering fellow soldiers while shouting “Allahu Akbar.”

When former attorney general Eric Holder jumped into the discussion of the Charlottesville vehicular killing, calling it terrorism, he was summarily mocked for his contrasting depiction of Hassan as merely a perpetrator of workplace violence. The hypocrisy was palpable.

Of course, nearly everyone wants Trump to condemn only the right. Far be it for us to examine the politics of the left.

If we think of fascism as a system of authoritarian rule, the suppression of basic liberties, a belief system organized around hatred for the “other” and the inevitability and glory of war (or violence) as a solution to political problems, there were a lot of candidates for the label in the streets of Charlottesville. Some of them were most definitely from the left.

If we can all agree that fascists should be condemned, let’s not stop with the neo-Nazis and white nationalists, let’s demand that the President condemn all the fascists.

The American Jewish Committee has called on President Trump to condemn the far-right groups in Charlottesville. Let us disabuse them of the idea that only the far right is anti-Semitic. One thing nearly every one of the major groups in the street shared is their antipathy toward Jews.

Yet the AJC depicted the events in Charleston as a conflict between the voices of hate and those who chose to stop hate in its tracks. We wonder if the AJC bothers to read the news or just dreams up this material. Since when are Black Lives Matter and Antifa concerned about stopping hate, especially hatred against Jews?

While progressive Jews were being warriors for social justice and the causes of others, the far left and their Muslim allies were building intersectionality, whose very foundation is anti-Semitism. Intersectionality singles out the world’s only Jewish state as a source of oppression and the denial of human rights. Not only is the characterization mindless, but every Muslim state busy stoning gays and female rape victims is given a pass.

That’s why Jews and Jewish symbols were bluewashed from Chicago’s Dyke March and Jews were found to be of insufficient virtue to participate in the city’s Slut Walk.

Reconstruction Ended in 1877, but It Isn’t Finished It took almost a century to end segregation, and Charlottesville showed the divisions that remain. By Allen Guelzo

First there was the Civil War, which ended in 1865, and then there was the postwar era of Reconstruction, which is generally said to have ended in 1877. The war concluded with the surrender of the Confederate armies, but there’s a real sense in which Reconstruction is still a work in progress. And if the Charlottesville confrontation is any measure, Reconstruction won’t be over soon.

Civil War historians enjoyed four tremendous years between 2011 and 2015, when almost every day was the occasion for some Civil War sesquicentennial event. But so far no similar celebrations have followed to mark the sesquicentennials of Reconstruction.

One reason for this is that Reconstruction simply doesn’t have the cinematic fizz of Pickett’s Charge or Appomattox. But far worse is the sense that the Reconstruction years were somehow one long, uninterrupted botch. White Southerners denounced Reconstruction as the imposition of corrupt Northern rule by bayonet. White Northerners grew tired of paying the costs and wanted an exit strategy. Southern blacks, newly freed from slavery, stood for a brief moment in the sunshine of freedom, casting their first votes and owning their own property, until they were dragged into the new bondage of segregation.

A better question to ask is whether Reconstruction could have turned out differently. There is a deep temptation to blame the entire mess on white racism and wonder why Americans in the 1860s couldn’t have shown the same gumption in tackling race issues that Lyndon B. Johnson and Robert F. Kennedy did a century later. But race was only one of several obstacles in Reconstruction’s path, and the others were enough to make even the flintiest pessimist weep.

The first obstacle to a different Reconstruction was economic. The Civil War clobbered the Southern economy, costing the South $13.6 billion (U.S. national debt at the end of the war was $2.7 billion). Abolishing slavery alone wiped out between $1.6 billion and $2.7 billion in capital investment. But the South still produced the finest species of the world’s most marketable commodity, cotton, and cotton swiftly returned to its old prewar profitability. So did the prewar owners of the land on which it grew.

In an area known as the “black belt” in western Alabama, 236 landowners possessed at least $10,000 in real estate in 1860; by 1870, 101 of those same landowners still owned that land. This was about the same rate of persistence that had prevailed before the war.

Radical Republicans hoped the war would allow them to end not only slavery but the entire plantation system, and replace it with New England-style capitalism, characterized by manufacturing, finance and small-scale commercial farming. They understood that confiscating and subdividing the plantations of Confederate leaders as traitors was the only way to break the stranglehold of the South’s feudal elite. But the Constitution prohibits permanent property confiscation—“bills of attainder”—even in cases of treason. The war ended, the old masters came back, and the master class spent freely in organizing restless whites to suppress black votes. The labor system changed—but only from slavery to serfdom. CONTINUE AT SITE

How HIV Became a Cancer Cure The immunologist behind the revolutionary new treatment set to win approval from the FDA.By Allysia Finley

When Ben Franklin proposed in 1749 what eventually became the University of Pennsylvania, he called for an academy to teach “those Things that are likely to be most useful.” Today the university lays claim to having incubated the world’s biggest cancer breakthrough. In 2011, a team of researchers led by immunologist Carl June, a Penn professor, reported stunning results after genetically altering the T-cells of three patients with advanced chronic lymphocytic leukemia, a cancer that affects white blood cells.

The patients had failed to respond to many different traditional therapies. Yet two of the three patients experienced miraculous recoveries after Dr. June and his team gave them infusions of their own doctored white blood cells. Seven years later they remain cancer-free. The third patient died after showing improvements, though might have been saved had the treatment begun earlier.

The results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in August 2011, opened the field of cancer immunotherapy. “It was a tipping point,” recalls the 64-year-old Dr. June. “There was an amazing outpouring because we showed for the first time that it could work.”

And it worked spectacularly well—more than 90% of pediatric patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in a subsequent clinical trial went into remission after being infused with Dr. June’s CAR T-cells (the acronym stands for “chimeric antigen receptor”). Last month an advisory committee of the Food and Drug Administration unanimously approved the therapy to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The FDA is likely to give final approval within weeks.

Dr. June sat down at his office at Penn Medicine’s Smilow Center for Translational Research—near where then-Vice President Joe Biden launched the U.S. government’s cancer “moon shot” initiative in 2016—to discuss the development of CAR T-cell therapy, its potential to cure other cancers, and the challenges ahead—both scientific and regulatory.

“Cancer immunotherapy isn’t a new idea,” he says. “It’s been around for 100 years, but everybody has always snickered at it because it had always failed, and we didn’t understand the complexity.” Scientists once thought cancers were usually caused by viruses: “It wasn’t until the 1970s that we understood that most cancers are caused by mutations.”

Dr. June graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1975 and was trained as an oncologist. But while serving in the Navy Medical Corps, he studied infectious diseases. “My first research was with HIV,” he says. Later he would use the virus as a tool to treat patients.

The characteristic that makes HIV so deadly—it incorporates its DNA directly into host cells’—also makes it pliable for gene therapy. In the 1990s, Dr. June’s lab at Penn experimentally treated HIV patients using a re-engineered form of the virus. The researchers used modified HIV cells as a tool to alter the DNA of T-cells, which prevented the virus from replicating. Dr. June calls the cut-and-paste job “an anti-HIV molecular scissors.”

About 15 years ago he first considered using HIV to kill cancer cells. At the time, he says, “the rest of the community that did cancer immunotherapy had all been using viruses out of mice, called gammaretroviruses. And it turns out the HIV works better with human T-cells than the mouse virus does.”

Dr. June pauses for a quick tutorial on the human immune system: “There are two major cell types in our acquired immune systems that distinguish us from flies, and those are B-cells and T-cells.” T-cells are a sort of offensive weapon, destroying viruses and bacteria. B-cells are more like a shield. They produce antibodies that detect and swat down foreign invaders based on unique molecular characteristics. A CAR T-cell is a “chimera”—Greek for a fusion of two animals. It combines the “killing machinery” of T-cells with the precise antibody targeting of B-cells.

A CAR T-cell is designed to bind to a particular site on the cancer cell. That means, unlike with chemotherapy and radiation, other cells in the body aren’t damaged when patients receive CAR T-cell infusions. The result is fewer unpleasant long-term side effects.

When a CAR T-cell binds to the target, the immune system responds the same way it does to a virus: T-cells kill the cancerous cells and then proliferate. Once all the cancer is destroyed, CAR T-cells remain on what Dr. June calls “memory level”: “They are on surveillance, we now know, for at least seven years.”

There is, however, a hitch or two. After being cured, patients must receive blood infusions every few months to prevent their immune systems from killing off their B-cells. And about a third of patients undergoing treatment with CAR T-cells experience a violent immune-system reaction known as cytokine-release syndrome. When cancer cells die, they release inflammatory proteins called cytokines that can cause high fevers and leave patients comatose.

Cytokine-release syndrome almost ended the therapy in its infancy. In 2012, Dr. June’s first pediatric patient, 6-year-old Emma Whitehead, developed a 106-degree fever and experienced multiple organ failure. “We thought she was going to die,” he recalls.