Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Are Riots, Looting, and Lawlessness Shifting Minority Voters Toward Trump?

While the radical left is seizing on the death of George Floyd to hurl blame at President Trump, new polling shows Trump’s compassionate response to the tragedy, distinction between peaceful protesters and terrorist groups like Antifa, and his measured response to defend the law is raising his approval ratings with minorities.

YouGov polling from last week before the chaos ensued showed President Trump’s approval rating at 39% among Hispanics, and 12% among Blacks. New polling taken between Saturday and Monday as the riots escalated shows his approval rating with Hispanics rose to 42% and with African Americans rose to 18%, as shown below.

Trump’s rising numbers with Minorities

President Trump’s ‘strong approval’ numbers increased for both groups as well. His strong approval went from 17% to 28% with Hispanics and from 7% to 11% with African Americans over between May 25th and June 1st.

Trump also gained a bump in the West, where his numbers generally trail the rest of the country. Pre-riots, Trump’s support in the West stood at 41%, but several days into the lawlessness that rocked Western cities from Seattle to Portland to Oakland, and his support had climbed to 45% as shown below.

President Trump has consistently shown compassion and sensitivity, promising justice for Floyd’s family, and separating peaceful protesters from radical mobs that are co-opting the protests. His May 30th statement calling for arrests of criminals was viewed positively by West Coasters and minorities alike.

Fifty-six percent of West Coasters viewed the President’s statement favorably. Over half of Hispanics (52%) and 20% of African Americans also viewed the statement favorably, as shown below.

Tweet calling out the Minneapolis mayor for his inability to quell the violence

George Floyd’s death is a tragedy and exposes a flaw in our justice system that must absolutely be remedied if we are to keep the peace and restore civility. President Trump has promised to make every effort to ensure justice is served for George and his family, but he has made it equally clear America will not tolerate anarchy, theft, and property destruction. He has made a clear distinction in his rhetoric between peaceful protestors rightfully calling out a great injustice, and self-serving mobs looking for an opportunity to incite fear and chaos. In his speech Monday night addressing the riots, Trump said:

“All Americans are rightly sickened and revolted by the brutal death of George Floyd. My administration is fully committed that for George and his family, justice will be served. He will not have died in vain.

But we cannot allow the righteous prize and peaceful protesters to be drowned out by an angry mob. The biggest victims of the rioting are peace loving citizens in our poorest communities, and as they are President, I will fight to keep them safe. I will fight to protect you. I am your President of law and order and an ally of all peaceful protesters.”

It is important to ask why Black Americans are expected to support a progressive agenda of unchecked power despite clear abuses of said power. Hispanic and Black Americans, many of whom find their communities destroyed, are not buying the mainstream narrative that Trump is to blame for the lawlessness that has reigned over the past few days. Instead, early polling indicates minorities favor Trump’s measured response to defend the law.


Police racism?

We should be angry about the death of George Floyd. It’s on video. It’s ghastly. And it was totally avoidable.

The protests and anger that ensued are justifiable. How this devolved into rioting, looting, vandalism, and arson is not. The country was united in outrage over Floyd’s death, even members of law enforcement said Chauvin’s actions and that of the Minneapolis Police were ridiculous. They were; it was a prime example of excessive force. But then the rioting happened. It’s engulfed the nation. The cities are burning and there was even talk of President Trump invoking the Insurrection Act, which would allow him to use the military to quell the mob. Bush 41 invoked that in 1992 to get Los Angeles under control. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen here. Yet, for Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), he said the troops should be sent in, which sent the Left, especially the “woke” brigade of activists who write for the publication, into a frothed-induced tantrum. Remember, this is the 'bad words are violence' crowd. Young, stupid, coddled, and think constitutional right to free speech is an obstacle to change.

Well, if they thought Cotton’s op-ed, which was innocuous was triggering, they better not read Heather MacDonald’s op-ed in The Wall Street Journal about the myth of systemic police racism, which is grounded in multiple studies, which she cites. As the country burns, there’s also this heinous resurrection of a narrative in which all cops are racist, and all police departments must be defunded and abolished. This is nonsense, and it’s where this whole Black Lives Matter movement goes off the hinges. To make this a top issue, especially in an election year, is just to invite disaster to the Democratic Party. No one who isn’t a clown thinks this is a good idea. Heck, even Vox writers who think this is insane. If words are violence to these lefties, and they do think this way, then this op-ed is bound to cause a Chernobyl-style meltdown with these folks. Cotton’s op-ed was Sesame Street compared to this:

This charge of systemic police bias was wrong during the Obama years and remains so today. However sickening the video of Floyd’s arrest, it isn’t representative of the 375 million annual contacts that police officers have with civilians. A solid body of evidence finds no structural bias in the criminal-justice system with regard to arrests, prosecution or sentencing. Crime and suspect behavior, not race, determine most police actions.

In 2019 police officers fatally shot 1,004 people, most of whom were armed or otherwise dangerous. African-Americans were about a quarter of those killed by cops last year (235), a ratio that has remained stable since 2015. That share of black victims is less than what the black crime rate would predict, since police shootings are a function of how often officers encounter armed and violent suspects. In 2018, the latest year for which such data have been published, African-Americans made up 53% of known homicide offenders in the U.S. and commit about 60% of robberies, though they are 13% of the population.

The police fatally shot nine unarmed blacks and 19 unarmed whites in 2019, according to a Washington Post database, down from 38 and 32, respectively, in 2015. The Post defines “unarmed” broadly to include such cases as a suspect in Newark, N.J., who had a loaded handgun in his car during a police chase. In 2018 there were 7,407 black homicide victims. Assuming a comparable number of victims last year, those nine unarmed black victims of police shootings represent 0.1% of all African-Americans killed in 2019. By contrast, a police officer is 18½ times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male is to be killed by a police officer.

The latest in a series of studies undercutting the claim of systemic police bias was published in August 2019 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers found that the more frequently officers encounter violent suspects from any given racial group, the greater the chance that a member of that group will be fatally shot by a police officer. There is “no significant evidence of antiblack disparity in the likelihood of being fatally shot by police,” they concluded.

A 2015 Justice Department analysis of the Philadelphia Police Department found that white police officers were less likely than black or Hispanic officers to shoot unarmed black suspects. Research by Harvard economist Roland G. Fryer Jr. also found no evidence of racial discrimination in shootings. Any evidence to the contrary fails to take into account crime rates and civilian behavior before and during interactions with police.

It's this false narrative that has led to police being assaulted, shot at, and even killed. We see it with the George Floyd riots right now. Cops are being shot, run over by cars, and assaulted on the streets trying to bring some order to the situation. MacDonald, of course, adds that former Officer Chauvin should be held accountable, but the course the Left wants is anarchy. Gee—it sounds like the philosophy of some of the looters and vandals causing chaos out there, which the liberal media said is really the work of neo-Nazis. That would be another false narrative. 

I’m pro-law and order. I love our police. But that also means calling out bad cops. And Minneapolis, and the surrounding areas, appear to have a lot of them. This must be fixed, but nothing can change when rioters burn, loot, and destroy cities with impunity and target police officers. Progress on police reform can be discussed. It’ll be a long discussion. It’ll be intense for sure, but none of that can happen until we put this mob down.



Hydroxychloroquine Misinformation Can Be Deadly: Let Patients decide

What President Trump called a potential “game-changer” in the battle against COVID-19—a safe, cheap, effective treatment, available NOW—is suddenly seen as a highly dangerous drug. Of the fake news and misinformation that has proliferated in this pandemic, the most harmful is the claim that hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is a serious heart hazard. That incorrect claim has been supported by prestigious medical journals.

This negative message contradicts 65 years of experience of safe, worldwide use of HCQ for malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. Hundreds of millions of patients have taken it without difficulty and without serious side effects. Recent studies in several countries have shown that if used early, within the first week of symptoms, HCQ is safe and highly effective for COVID-19.

Yet the Food and Drug Administration is severely restricting its use to hospitalized patients, and doing nothing to counter the fearmongering.

On May 27, Yale professor of epidemiology Harvey S. Risch published an article in the American Journal of Epidemiology entitled: “Early Outpatient Treatment of Symptomatic, High-Risk Covid-19 Patients that Should be Ramped-Up Immediately as Key to the Pandemic Crisis.”

Dr. Risch referred to five clinical trials, including two controlled trials, which showed “significant major out-patient efficacy” of hydroxychloroquine plus azithromyxin (HCQ+AZT). No cardiac problems were noted in these trials. He concluded: “Evidence about use of hydroxychloroquine alone, or of hydroxychloroquine+azithromycin in inpatients, is irrelevant concerning efficacy of the pair in early high-risk outpatient disease. Five studies, including two controlled clinical trials, have demonstrated significant major outpatient treatment efficacy.”

Dr. Risch concluded that theoretical fears of cardiac events were not borne out in real-world usage and were vastly overshadowed by lives saved. He writes: “These medications need to be widely available and promoted immediately for physicians.”

The FDA in its drug evaluation database has only 62 cardiac deaths attributed to HCQ out of 50 MILLION prescriptions for HCQ, an actual risk of 1.2 per one million people. You have a TEN-fold greater risk (1/74,000) of dying in a fatal car accident on a 1000-mile road trip than dying from a heart arrhythmia if you take HCQ.

The combination HCQ+AZT has been in widespread standard-of-care use in the U.S. and elsewhere for decades in older adults with multiple comorbidities. A large Oxford-based record-linkage study involving more than 300,000 patients with rheumatoid arthritis led to an estimate of only 47/100,000 cardiac arrhythmias attributable to these drugs, most not fatal.

But the media are ignoring this Yale report, instead hammering on studies of critically ill hospitalized patients that show no benefit when HCQ is used far too late in patients in whom severe organ damage has already been done—often to the heart. One study performed in Brazil and published in JAMA on Apr 24 used double the known lethal dose of chloroquine in debilitated, critically ill patients, many with multiple other diseases. Brazilian scientists have demanded JAMA immediately retract this study. The Brazilian government has launched a judicial investigation into the authors’ ethical and legal violations of approved dose guidelines, yet JAMA has still refused to retract the publication.

The recent Lancet data-mining report, also heavily covered in the news, again only included severely ill hospitalized patient, including those in that Brazilian study. Leading scientists from several countries are questioning the validity and accuracy of the data.

To put HCQ safety in perspective, consider the risks of common over-the-counter medicines (OTC) that most people don’t think twice about using:

Tylenol (acetaminophen) is the number 1 cause of acute liver failure in the U.S., ahead of hepatitis, with a death rate of 20-40 percent. It is also the second overall cause of liver failure requiring liver transplant.

Common pain relievers Aleve and Advil account for 21 percent of U.S. adverse drug events. They lead to a 50 percent increase in risk of acute kidney failure, and significant risks of life-threatening gastrointestinal bleeding.

OTC proton-pump inhibitors  (“acid-reducers”) cause a 31 percent increased risk of hip fracture, and 54 percent increased risk of spine fracture.

Other countries, which use HCQ prophylactically or early, have dramatically lower COVID-19 death rates than the U.S., as shown in the newly updated table below for May 30, 2020. The U.S. death rate is nearly 20 times that of India, and 265 times the FDA’s estimated rate of HCQ-related heart problems!

The President has the legal authority under the Defense Production Act in the Presidential Emergency Powers to bypass the FDA and change HCQ to over the counter during this National Emergency. Its long safety record supports that as a reasonable option when compared to risks of common current OTC medicines.

It is time for people to light up the switchboards at the White House, governors’ offices, and legislatures. Americans deserve accurate risk information and the right to choose whether or not to take HCQ. All Americans, not just the elite, should be able to access this life-saving, inexpensive, safe medication.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

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