Friday, August 14, 2020

Anti-Lockdown Dr. Scott Atlas Joins Coronavirus Task Force: Is Fauci Finally Out?

President Trump announced Monday that Dr. Scott Atlas is joining the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Dr. Atlas is a former chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center and a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. Before joining the team, Atlas penned an op-ed in The Hill that showed his approach to the coronavirus outbreak is much different than that of Anthony “Chicken Little” Fauci, who favors draconian lockdowns and now wants people to wear goggles to avoid getting a virus that most people recover from easily.

Here are some excerpts of the piece Atlas wrote, titled “The data is in -stop the panic and end the isolation.”

The tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be entering the containment phase. Tens of thousands of Americans have died, and Americans are now desperate for sensible policymakers who have the courage to ignore the panic and rely on facts. Leaders must examine accumulated data to see what has actually happened, rather than keep emphasizing hypothetical projections; combine that empirical evidence with fundamental principles of biology established for decades; and then thoughtfully restore the country to function.

Five key facts are being ignored by those calling for continuing the near-total lockdown.

Fact 1: The overwhelming majority of people do not have any significant risk of dying from COVID-19. The recent Stanford University antibody study now estimates that the fatality rate if infected is likely 0.1 to 0.2 percent, a risk far lower than previous World Health Organization estimates that were 20 to 30 times higher and that motivated isolation policies.

Fact 2: Protecting older, at-risk people eliminates hospital overcrowding…Dr. Leora Horwitz of NYU Medical Center concluded “age is far and away the strongest risk factor for hospitalization.” Even early WHO reports noted that 80 percent of all cases were mild, and more recent studies show a far more widespread rate of infection and lower rate of serious illness. Half of all people testing positive for infection have no symptoms at all. The vast majority of younger, otherwise healthy people do not need significant medical care if they catch this infection.

Fact 3: Vital population immunity is prevented by total isolation policies, prolonging the problem…In this virus, we know that medical care is not even necessary for the vast majority of people who are infected. It is so mild that half of infected people are asymptomatic, shown in early data from the Diamond Princess ship, and then in Iceland and Italy. That has been falsely portrayed as a problem requiring mass isolation. In fact, infected people without severe illness are the immediately available vehicle for establishing widespread immunity. By transmitting the virus to others in the low-risk group who then generate antibodies, they block the network of pathways toward the most vulnerable people, ultimately ending the threat. Extending whole-population isolation would directly prevent that widespread immunity from developing.

Fact 4: People are dying because other medical care is not getting done due to hypothetical projections…An estimated 80 percent of brain surgery cases were skipped. Acute stroke and heart attack patients missed their only chances for treatment, some dying and many now facing permanent disability.

Fact 5: We have a clearly defined population at risk who can be protected with targeted measures…it is a commonsense, achievable goal to target isolation policy to that group, including strictly monitoring those who interact with them. Nursing home residents, the highest risk, should be the most straightforward to systematically protect from infected people, given that they already live in confined places with highly restricted entry.

It’s a relief that someone with common sense may be taking a bigger role in combatting the panic response to COVID-19 that has taken over the nation. Many of us, who are not even doctors, have been saying that we need to target the elderly population for protection while the rest of us go back to reality. We were totally ignored. But Atlas is now in a position of authority to tell someone who will listen to what the right thing to do is. It isn’t more lockdowns and more isolation.

Strictly protect the known vulnerable, self-isolate the mildly sick and open most workplaces and small businesses with some prudent large-group precautions. This would allow the essential socializing to generate immunity among those with minimal risk of serious consequence, while saving lives, preventing overcrowding of hospitals and limiting the enormous harms compounded by continued total isolation. Let’s stop underemphasizing empirical evidence while instead doubling down on hypothetical models. Facts matter.

This would mean that schools should be open immediately at regular capacity since children are not in the high-risk category and never have been. Not only that, but they are the ones for whom the virus is the least severe and they can help us achieve herd immunity much easier and faster than older populations.

I hope this development means that we will not see Dr. Fauci or the scarf-obsessed Dr. Birx for the foreseeable future. But could we get that lucky in 2020? Somehow, I doubt it.



The Washington Post’s ‘Fact Checker,’ Not Pence, Deserves the 4 Lying ‘Pinocchios’

Glenn Kessler, the so-called “fact checker” at The Washington Post, this week called out Vice President Mike Pence’s answer to an interview question about election fraud. But it’s Kessler, not Pence, who deserves four “Pinocchios” for many of the misleading claims he makes about it in his column.

Pence said: “Make no mistake about it. The reality of voter fraud is undeniable. We’ve seen case after case around the country where there have been prosecutions.”

Kessler concentrates on a case in Indiana that the vice president—a former governor of that state—mentioned in passing, and the dispute is over the timing and exact details.

Fraudulent voter registrations were submitted by 12 individuals working for the Indiana Voter Registration Project, which, according to Kessler, was “associated with Patriot Majority USA.”

Pence characterized the case as “falsifying ballots.” Charges were eventually dismissed against one of the defendants; two pleaded guilty to perjury, but were given probation and no jail time; and nine agreed to pretrial diversion deals, in which they admitted their wrongdoing and, according to Kessler, “the cases were dismissed without prosecution.”

Kessler tries to characterize all of this as a minor incident because no one served any jail or prison time. All that demonstrates is that all too often, defendants who commit election fraud are treated too lightly by judges and prosecutors.

He also doesn’t seem to understand what a pretrial diversion program is when he says the prosecutions were “dismissed,” as though that means prosecutors really didn’t have a case against them. 

What Kessler gets wrong is this: There was a prosecution. He acknowledges that the defendants admitted their wrongdoing.

According to the IndyStar, they were given the privilege of participating in a pretrial diversion program in which they paid court costs, completed community service, and stayed out of legal trouble in “return for having the charges dismissed.” 

There was no conviction of these nine defendants, but there certainly was a prosecution. The fact that the defendants were in a diversion program doesn’t erase the fact that they committed voter registration fraud and were prosecuted for it.

Kessler also tries to minimize this fraud by claiming it is not really voter fraud and that no fraudulent ballots were submitted as a result of these fraudulent registrations.

But that’s only because election officials caught these false registrations before they could become effective.

That doesn’t make this type of fraud any less serious, since numerous cases show that election officials don’t always initially catch false registrations.

Kessler even cites The Heritage Foundation’s Election Fraud Database, claiming we only categorize voting under a false registration as “voter fraud.” No, voter registration fraud is election fraud.

And the term “voter fraud” covers all types of election fraud, whether it is committed by a voter or committed against a voter by others resulting in the dilution or theft of that voter’s vote.

Pence might have gotten the year this occurred wrong—it was 2016, not 2012—and ballots may not have been falsified. But voter registration forms were falsified, and that could have led to falsified ballots if the improper registration forms had not been caught by election officials.

Kessler also ignores the other cases of proven election fraud listed in Heritage’s database for Indiana, where false registrations that were not initially detected did, in fact, lead to fraudulent ballots being submitted.

That includes one Jerome Kesler (who I’m sure is no relation) who was convicted in 2017 of voting in Indiana from an Indiana address, even though he was a resident of Illinois. There are more than 40 other instances of convictions in Indiana for false registrations where defendants voted in precincts where they didn’t live.

In fact, there have been almost four dozen election fraud cases in Indiana (some with multiple convictions) since 2003, including numerous prosecutions in East Chicago, Indiana, over a Democratic mayoral primary that year.

That election was overturned by the state Supreme Court due to “voluminous, widespread, and insidious” absentee ballot fraud. That case also included convictions of voters who were voting in precincts where they didn’t actually reside.

The East Chicago case demonstrates one of the unfortunate aspects of absentee ballot fraud; namely, the voters who are often preyed upon and whose votes are stolen, altered, forged, and forced.

Those targeted in East Chicago in “a predatory pattern” were “first-time voters or others less informed or lacking in knowledge of the voting process, the infirm, the poor, and those with limited skills in the English language.”

That’s an important fact to keep in mind, given the current unwise push for all-mail elections.

Kessler even tries to minimize the perjury charges that two of the defendants pleaded guilty to for lying on the state-required affidavit, in which they affirmed under oath that they accepted the completed voter registration form from an applicant.

He says there would “have been no basis for a perjury charge” if the defendants had used the federal voter registration form instead of the state form because the federal form “does not have the same affidavit.”

Really? Kessler seems to be unaware that it is a felony under federal law, 52 U.S.C. § 20511, for individuals like the staff of the Indiana Voter Registration Project to procure or submit “voter registration applications that are known by the person to be materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent.” There is a similar provision in the Voting Rights Act, 52 U.S.C. § 10307.

Whether they were using the state or federal voter registration form, they were breaking the law. These two defendants are lucky that local prosecutors went after them, not federal prosecutors, because it’s highly likely they would not have gotten away with only probation, no jail time, or pretrial diversion programs.

The vice president is correct when he said that “the reality of voter fraud is undeniable” and that “we’ve seen case after case around the country where there have been prosecutions.”

In fact, Heritage’s database is up to almost 1,300 proven cases of election fraud. And the database is by no means comprehensive; it is just a sampling of cases.

There are many vulnerabilities in our system that too many people ignore. If you don’t look for something, you are not likely to find it, and that is the case with respect to too many officials pursuing election fraud cases.

As the U.S. Supreme Court said in 2008 when it upheld Indiana’s voter ID law, “Indiana’s own experience with fraudulent voting in the 2003 Democratic primary for East Chicago Mayor … demonstrate[s] that not only is the risk of voter fraud real, but that it could affect the outcome of a close election.”

I guess, according to The Washington Post’s standards, the Supreme Court would get four “Pinocchios” for that recognition of reality.




Trump signs executive actions after Congress stalls on COVID relief (Washington Examiner)

Ethics Committee orders Rep. Rashida Tlaib to return campaign funds she paid herself (The Washington Free Beacon)

Following Joe Biden's mea culpa, CNN and MSNBC defend former VP after virtually ignoring latest gaffes (Fox News)

Postal Service leader sets substantial reorganization amid scrutiny over mail ballots (The New York Times)

Chicago rocked by widespread looting after police-involved shooting (Fox News)

Riot declared after Portland "protesters" set police union building on fire (Washington Examiner)

New York City bloodshed: Shootings this year nearly double those during same time period in 2019 (Washington Examiner)

Trump administration penalizes 11 Hong Kong ChiCom officials for crackdown on protesters (The New York Times)

Germany pushes to end 2% GDP commitment to NATO (The Washington Free Beacon)

Agents discover "most sophisticated tunnel in U.S. history" connecting Mexico and Arizona (Washington Examiner)

New study finds Sweden's refusal to lock down saved the economy without sacrificing lives (The Federalist)

Economy added 1.8 million jobs in July, adding to record gains in wake of pandemic destruction (Washington Examiner)

Trump payroll tax executive order likely worth $1,200 per worker, says Larry Kudlow (Fox Business)

Unemployment fraud is rising thanks to $600 bonus (Washington Examiner)

Unemployment claims plummet after Arizona retools process to deter fraud (Washington Examiner)

Jerry Falwell Jr. taking indefinite leave of absence from Liberty University after uploading racy picture to Instagram (National Review)

NRA fights back, files its own suit against New York attorney general unlawfully seeking to disband organization (Fox News)


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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