Friday, June 12, 2020

Directed by President Trump, Law Enforcement Quickly Returned Order to D.C. Streets

Despite extensive protests over the weekend, the streets of Washington, D.C., have been free of mass vandalism and violence for nearly a week thanks to an infusion of federal law enforcement by the White House.

Last Monday, President Trump ordered agents and officers from a number of federal government agencies, in addition to the National Guard, to descend on the chaotic city. Within 24 hours and through extensive coordination, the streets were in order.

Because of this action, peaceful protestors have been able to exercise their First Amendment rights in a safe and orderly manner.

Across the country and in places where leftist mayors and governors have refused to call on the National Guard for assistance, violence against law enforcement and other crime has been out of control. According to the Department of Justice, over 700 local and federal officers have been injured by rioters. Nearly 200 federal buildings have been damaged with graffiti and arson.

During the last weekend in May, just before President Trump's directive, 60 U.S. Secret Service agents were injured by rioters attempting to breach the White House fence. They set fire to St. John's Episcopal Church. Forty National Park Police were also hurt.

"The streets of America didn't spontaneously become peaceful last week. It was a direct result of President Trump calling on Governors and Mayors to surge the National Guard in their states and restore law and order on America's streets so that peaceful protestors could demonstrate safely," White House Communications Director Alyssa Farrah tells Townhall.

"Juxtapose Washington, D.C., two weekends ago, when there was widespread vandalism, property damage, and arson with this past weekend – it was night and day. That is precisely because President Trump took decisive action to secure the streets of our Nation's Capital and restore law and order."

"I have just given an order for our National Guard to start the process of withdrawing from Washington, D.C., now that everything is under perfect control. They will be going home, but can quickly return, if needed," President Trump said Monday morning.



What Turkey got right about the pandemic

In early march, before Turkey had formally registered its first case of covid-19, Sabah, a pro-government newspaper, praised the country for setting a “leading example” in the fight against the novel coronavirus. Some 160,000 confirmed cases later, the fanfare is rather quieter. Still, as the country emerges from lockdown, there is some cause for cheer. Turkey’s government has a reputation for throttling dissent and picking fights with its European and American allies. But it has handled the pandemic better than many.

Turkey has defied lockdown orthodoxy.

Rather than place the whole economy in a coma, the authorities ordered the young and the elderly to stay at home and asked everyone else, aside from those in consum-er-facing businesses, to show up for work. The biggest cities were placed under a blanket curfew on weekends and holidays. Some domestic flights resumed on June 1st, and cafés, restaurants, beaches and parks reopened, but children and people 65 and over are still not allowed outdoors for more than a few hours a week.

The strategy seems to have worked. The most vulnerable escaped the worst of the pandemic, while those infected, mostly working-age adults, generally recovered. Despite a high number of cases, the death count (under 4,600 as of June 2nd) has been low, even given the likelihood of serious underreporting. New cases have plateaued at around 1,000 a day since mid- May, down from a high of over 5,000 a month earlier. Deaths have never topped more than 127 in a single day. Turkey has ended up with roughly the same testing rate as France and a death rate ten times lower than Britain’s. Demography mattered. Among oecd countries, only Mexico and Colombia have a lower proportion of people aged 65 and over than Turkey does. Few elderly Turks live in nursing homes, which became breeding grounds for the virus in Europe and America.

Any country that keeps its factories open during a pandemic had better make sure its health system can cope with the consequences. Turkey’s rose to the challenge. Over the past couple of decades, Mr Erdogan and his governments have poured tens of billions of dollars into health care, most recently by building a network of hospitals the size of international airports. The latest of these opened on May 21st, boasting nearly 2,700 beds, about a sixth of them in intensive-care units. Some of the contracts were awarded to cronies, and the hospitals may end up bleeding cash. But the extra capacity has helped. The wave of covid-19 infections never came close to overwhelming the health system and medical supplies never ran out. Credit is due not just to Mr Erdogan and his impressive health minister, Fahrettin Koca, but also to opposition mayors, especially in Istanbul and Ankara, who have raised funds and organised the distribution of masks.

Mr Erdogan muzzles the media, locks up critics and flouts some of the most basic norms of democracy. But there is another reason why he and his ruling ak party have not lost a general election in almost two decades. As even its critics acknowledge, ak works hard and gets things done. If opposition parties were ever to take power—and whether Mr Erdogan would allow such a thing is the biggest unspoken question in Turkish politics—they would have to prove they can work just as hard.



The Clear Differences Between the Left and the Right
The crisis of the coronavirus-induced economic lockdown and now the violent protests in the streets have unleashed a depression-level financial crisis and unprecedented human suffering — especially in our inner cities. These events have also exposed a Grand Canyon-sized chasm that now separates how the left and the right see America today. To wit:

No. 1: The right believes that stay-at-home orders and social distancing requirements are counterproductive and should be repealed safely and immediately. The left believes that those orders must stay in place but should only apply to those on the right, not to liberal protesters.

No. 2: The right engages in nonviolence. The left shows tacit support for mob violence.

No. 3: The right believes the best way to revive the economy is to incentivize a dormant workforce to get back on the job. The left believes that the best way to revive the economy is to pay people more money not to work than to work.

No. 4: When the right protests against injustice, such as 40 million people losing their jobs due to lockdowns, it is always during the light of day so they can be seen and heard. The left protests in the dark so people can’t see what crimes some of the protestors are committing.

No. 5: When the right attends rallies, they carry the American flag. When the left protests (and riots), the only American flags you see are burned.

No. 6: The right believes there are limits to how much governments can spend and borrow to avoid national bankruptcy and financial ruin. The left believes that trillions of dollars of added spending and debt are advisable and benign.

No. 7: When the right holds rallies, the protesters clean up after themselves. When the left protests, they ransack and burn their neighborhoods, spray-paint obscene graffiti and leave a mess of litter and trash everywhere for someone else to clean up. Yet leftists say they are the environmentalists.

No. 8: The right stands in support of small-business people’s rights and has been asking businesses like hardware stores, run by immigrants or other minority owners, to open up. The left’s rallies lead to looting and burning down the hardware stores.

No. 9: The right believes the best way to get people back to work is by getting money straight to people’s paychecks through a payroll tax cut. The left thinks the best course is to give money to mayors, governors and other politicians.

No. 10: The right wants to help prevent racism in urban police forces by firing incompetent and bigoted police officers. The left stands by the unions, which prevent police from being fired.

No. 11: The right wants to make America look like Florida and Texas. The left wants the rest of the nation to look like New York and Illinois – which are crumbling from rioting, lockdowns, high taxes and an accelerating stampede of businesses leaving the state.

Those are the monumentally important choices America faces. This is what the 2020 elections are all about on Nov. 3.



The wrong saint

The Associated Press captured the moment in all its regal splendor: "The funeral capped six days of mourning ... in three cities. ... After the service, [his] golden casket was taken by hearse to the cemetery. ... A mile from the graveyard, the casket was transferred to a glass-sided carriage drawn by a pair of white horses. A brass band played as his casket was taken inside the mausoleum."

JFK? Churchill? Ronald Reagan?

Nope. George Floyd.

The past two weeks have been nothing short of tumultuous, so perhaps it was unsurprising that such an unaccomplished man with such a violent and lawless past would command such a stunning send-off. It was a funeral attended by hundreds of people at a time when, thanks to the pandemic shutdown, countless other Americans were unable to attend or even have funerals for their loved ones. But this is the country we live in. "Everybody is going to remember him around the world," said George's brother Rodney. "He is going to change the world."

Indeed, he already has changed the world. But for the better?

"I do not support George Floyd and the media depiction of him as a martyr for black America," declared Candace Owens in a viral video she shared just days after Floyd's death. Owens, whose 18-minute missive has since been seen more than 60 million times, also made an observation that she credits to conservative thinker and Hoover Institution Senior Fellow Shelby Steele — an observation that would seem to explain the near-deification of George Floyd: "We [blacks] are unique in that we are the only people that fight and scream and demand support and justice for the people in our community that are up to no good."

The media, for its part, is clearly complicit here. After all, were it not for the exhaustive and over-the-top coverage, we'd never have heard of Michael Brown or Eric Garner or Freddie Gray. In a July 2000 speech at the NAACP National Convention in Baltimore, then-Texas Governor George W. Bush was making a point about education when he referred to "the soft bigotry of low expectations." But he might just as well have been making Candace Owens's point.

Let's be clear and unequivocal: George Floyd didn't deserve to die. But just think: Had he not (allegedly) tried to pass counterfeit money to a local merchant, he'd still be alive today. Perhaps had he not had fentanyl and methamphetamines in his system at the time of his arrest, he'd still be alive. But beyond that, at least 17 other Americans who died during the ensuing looting and rioting would also be alive. And untold storefronts and small businesses serving inner-city communities would still be intact. And ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News could've aired their regularly scheduled programming yesterday afternoon.

Another funeral will be held today, but the deceased man won't command nearly the attention afforded George Floyd. His name was David Dorn, he was 77, and he served 38 years with the St. Louis Police before retiring as a captain. During the early morning hours of June 2, he was gunned down as he tried to protect a friend's pawn shop from looters.

"The fact that he was protecting and serving," said Dorn's son Brian, "this is the way, I feel in my heart of hearts, that he would have liked to leave this earth."

David Dorn leaves behind a wife and five children, a life and legacy worth celebrating, and — forgive us — a case for martyrdom far stronger than that of George Floyd.




Long lines, voting-machine malfunctions, ballot hiccups... Messy Georgia primary raises alarms for November (Fox News)

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell taps black Senator Tim Scott to head up GOP police-reform efforts (Washington Examiner)

Christopher Columbus statue at Richmond's Byrd Park torn down, thrown into lake (WRIC)

Inevitably, NYPD officers are retiring in droves over leadership's mishandling of riots (The Daily Wire)

HBO Max pulls "Gone With the Wind Outrage Mob" from library amid racial tensions (Fox News)

"Cops" defunded: Police reality show is canceled after 33 seasons due to George Floyd protests as fate of hit series "Live PD" hangs in the balance (UK Daily Mail)

Air Force Gen. Charles Brown becomes first black service chief (Stars and Stripes)

Baltic nations brace for U.S. troop withdrawal as Russia waits and watches (Washington Examiner)

Decades of lax oversight allow Chinese telecoms to conduct espionage in U.S. (The Washington Free Beacon)

Attorney General William Barr on John Durham investigation: "I'm very troubled by" what "has been called to my attention so far" (The Daily Wire)

The COVID pandemic aside, Nasdaq hits 10,000 for the first time ever, up nearly 11% year-to-date (Business Insider)

Policy: Basing troops in Europe is about U.S. security. A pullout would be unwise. (The Daily Signal)


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.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here  (Personal).  My annual picture page is hereHome page supplement


Thursday, June 11, 2020

Trump Announces his Rallies Will Return and the Media Suddenly Remembers Pandemic

Protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody have been carried out in every state in the nation, in small towns and large cities alike with gatherings of hundreds to thousands of people. In Manhattan on Saturday, police estimated 15,000 people demonstrated.

And through it all, Democratic leaders like Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer who enforced some of the strictest lockdown orders in the country over coronavirus, all of a sudden seemed to not really care about social distancing. And the media who shamed Americans for protesting stay-at-home orders threw their full support behind the demonstrations.

But now that President Trump announced rallies will resume this month, the media suddenly cares about the pandemic again.

NPR: Trump To Restart Political Rallies This Month Despite Coronavirus Pandemic

Rich Lowry: The threat represented by the coronavirus varies depending on which side is engaged in mass gatherings



The Left-wing Mob is Massive, and Ready for War

2020 has been a clusterf**k of a year, huh? We're in the middle of an election year, then some Chinese plague hits the world and sends us into lockdown. Then, some of us overreacted, as new data shows the virus isn't nearly as bad, but then an unarmed black man was killed in Minneapolis while in police custody. Cue the calls to protest. I mean, there should have been protests over the death of George Floyd. What happened to him was an atrocity.

Those feelings, at least for me, ceased as soon as the looting, rioting, and arson began en masse. Riots engulfed the nation last week. They've calmed down some, but now the experts who told us to stay inside have done a 180-degree turn. We've gone from stay home, don't be selfish to "why aren't you out there protesting racism, you selfish bastard."

The riots have shown how quickly the left-wing mob can mobilize and how far their reach has grown in the past few years. It's massive, and they're ready for war. The unrest has caused some problematic columns to be printed. In The New York Times, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) called for the military to be activated to restore law and order.

In the Philadelphia Inquirer, there was an op-ed about "buildings matter, too" concerning the ongoing rioting. The triggering effect was as devastating as a nuclear blast. The Times was engulfed in a civil war between the liberal and hyper-left, woke wings, with the latter winning. The Times' editorial page editor was forced to resign. One of the Inquirer's top editors was forced to resign as well.

This isn't normal. There was a time when liberals would fight over something that was printed that they found disagreeable. Now, it's this stuff can't be posted, and if it does, we'll destroy that person. The "words are violence" crowd is starting to entrench themselves in some of the most powerful cultural bastions in the country—and we let them.

It's easy to ignore the rantings of some college leftists, but these kids graduate. They have graduated. And they found themselves jobs at major publications. They're even in the sciences. How else can you explain the mass, and wholly laughable, shift on COVID lockdowns?

Protesting to re-open is grounded in white nationalism, but protesting against racism, which I've been told is just as bad as this COVID pandemic, is good. That's pretty much the baseline. It's appallingly biased, transparent, and pandering. Those we entrust to collect data on diseases somehow think people will buy this notion that you're impervious to infection if you protest in support of liberal causes. It's a clown show.

At the Times and elsewhere, we're seeing what liberal reporter Michael Tracey has called a tantrum of the coddled, "cry-bully" wing of the Left, which he wants no part of in any way, shape, or form. While he calls out the Right often, he's never seen anything so unhinged. He plainly said this industry is "f**ked," given the two papers' capitulation to the outrage mob. The activist wing and the media world are fraught with total lunatics—and they're culturally ascendant.

Maybe we took the eye off the ball. Did we willingly give up on key bastions of power because we just thought the crazy would either wear off these kids or that the electorate would dismiss the idea? For sure, voters will reject this "defund the police" nonsense the Left is peddling, but it shouldn't get to this point. It should be squashed with ruthless efficiency.

When fruit snacks fold to avoid being possibly torched by the mob, you know we're in serious trouble. Folks, even Gushers and Fruit by the Foot felt it was in their best interest to come on the side of Black Lives Matter to avoid having legions of woke show up to unleash hell. These are products and companies that should really have no fear about political fallout since a) they're friggin' snacks, and b) sugary snacks tend to have bipartisan support. They felt forced to cower. Also, in doing so, they may still get torched because of the aforementioned, it all looks like a self-serving ploy to increase brand advertising. The far-left will see right through it.

Conservatives are disadvantaged in Hollywood, academia, tech, colleges, major news outlets, and the urban areas. I think we've relied too much on pride in our principles. Our principles will win out. Wrong. They haven't. They're under attack right now, and we seem hesitant to go on the offensive. Until we get a foothold in these cultural areas, we should ignore the rules, attack viciously, and show no quarter. Put the mob down. No prisoners until we've put the mob down.

This will be a long war. We've ceded a lot of ground. Maybe too much out of sheer annoyance from these leftist thugs. We have a media complex that's corrupt, activists that are peddling mayhem and the destruction of law enforcement, and cops themselves being shot at, beaten, and run over with cars. On top of all of this, we have an entire political party—the Democrats—who either defend or excuse the rioters. NFL football quarterback Drew Brees was brought down by these thugs for comments about not disrespecting the American flag. The man has issued what seems like 6,000 apologies. They don't want an apology, Drew. They want to destroy you. As the cities burn, their workers have quietly worked on another leftist pet project: the destruction of our history.

From Confederate war generals to the Texas Rangers, these statues are coming down. Amid the chaos, the mob pulled a flank march and got two birds with one stone, or in this case, one Molotov cocktail. It's going to get dirty. Are we prepared for it? Right now, the answer is hell no. Have we allowed the leftist mob to grow to the point where it's unstoppable? We'll see. Everyone is hiding under the bed right now, so that should tell you something.



Was the Shutdown Worth It?

A new German report has folks questioning the prevailing wisdom in our own country.

A leaked report out of Germany is causing all sorts of problems for its government and media because it portrays the handling of the coronavirus shutdown as a failure. The 93-page report, “Analysis of the Crisis Management,” was written by a team of scientists from several German universities appointed by the Interior Ministry.

The scientists take the German government to task on several points. Among them:

The danger posed by COVID-19 was overestimated and did not cross a threshold that went beyond normal levels for a new virus.

People who died from COVID-19 were statistically more likely to die this year anyway due to poor health and ancillary conditions.

The (now 400,000) deaths worldwide due to COVID-19 is eclipsed by the 1.5 million deaths caused by influenza in 2017-18.

The COVID-focused German healthcare system has postponed life-saving surgeries and treatments, making the overall health picture in the country worse, not better.

The embarrassed German government and its friends in the media there have closed ranks to minimize the damage done by the report. The first move in its damage-control strategy was to shoot the messenger, figuratively speaking. Stephen Kohn, who is identified with leaking the report to the press, has been suspended from duty and is currently having his name dragged through the mud by willing members of the media. Isn’t it telling how we’re seeing more instances of journalists in Western societies gleefully operating as the lapdogs of government?

The report is out there, though, and while German politicians remain committed to burying it and moving beyond the issue, citizens have grown irate about the news, taking to the streets to voice their concerns. This is part of a larger international backlash against governments’ imposition of national quarantines and economic shutdowns to contain the virus.

The accusation that the total shutdown was an overreaction, or even a government power grab, is one that the federal and state governments are facing here in the United States. Around the country, states have begun shedding draconian virus restrictions, allowing people to move about more freely and businesses to open. Responses to the reopening have been predictable on a scientific and political level.

Georgia and Florida, among the first states to ease their quarantine rules, have seen an uptick in the number of confirmed positive cases but a drop in the number of hospitalizations. In both Republican-run states, there are plenty more available hospitals beds than virus patients. Texas has experienced a bigger jump in confirmed cases, but its medical system is currently equipped to handle the case load.

All but seven states have rolled back or completely abandoned their quarantine lockdowns. Leftist politicians, who would prefer the lockdown to run indefinitely or at least until President Donald Trump is out of office, have attacked decisions to ease restrictions. The New York Times did its part by producing a hit piece that claimed Georgia’s rollback was equal to a racial attack on the minorities who ostensibly would be hardest hit. As one might imagine, no such racial genocide has materialized in Georgia, or elsewhere for that matter.

The rise in confirmed cases post-lockdown was widely predicted and expected as people began emerging from their homes and congregating in public again. The surge, however, also comes in the wake of broader testing to identify cases, so it’s difficult to determine just how much of a rebound the virus is having.

Two separate reports released by the journal Nature and by the Imperial College London put forth the idea that the shutdown prevented an additional 60 million infections in the U.S. and elsewhere. Scientists did find that school closures did not have an appreciable impact on preventing the spread of the virus, but claimed that further study was needed.

The timing of these additional reports that essentially praise the quarantine efforts of the federal and state governments is a bit suspect, as much of the data reached in the reports is still in play. There may be a time when we can accurately determine whether the lockdown and the price we paid for it was worth it, but it’s too early to tell that now. Leftists are mainly looking for any vindication in their efforts to close down the country, and maybe even an excuse to go back to that at some point.

The question that will be on many minds, and already posed here, is this: What do we do if there are no significant spikes in COVID-19 cases after opening the states? How should we interpret that information? Were we overly cautious? Was it a government power grab in disguise? Is government capable of handling a major national emergency? Only time will tell.




Political theater: Congressional Democrats kneel as they unveil Justice in Policing Act to rein in cops (The Daily Wire)

Economy entered recession in February, the National Bureau of Economic Research says, concluding a historic 128 consecutive months of growth (Washington Examiner)

Joe Biden rejects calls to defund police departments, plans increased investment in "community policing" (National Review)

CBS deceptively edits William Barr interview, leaving out key details on violent riots and police oversight (The Federalist)

Aide says the New York Times's claim that former President George W. Bush won't support Trump is "completely made up" (The American Spectator)

The WHO just gave us another great reason to end the lockdowns right now (PJ Media)

Coronavirus may have been in China in early fall, satellite data suggests (ABC News)

China May exports slip back into contraction, imports worst in four years (CNBC)

Pandemic accelerated decline in church funding and membership (Washington Examiner)

Why GDP metrics won't tell us much about the post-COVID recovery (Mises Institute)

Illiterate rioters deface monument honoring all-black regiment of Union Civil War soldiers (Disrn)

Virginia judge halts Governor Ralph Northam's decision to remove Robert E. Lee statue (National Review)

Eighteen murders in 24 hours: Inside the most violent day in 60 years in Chicago, where the outrage mob wants to defund the police (Chicago Sun Times)

If you want to know what disbanding the police looks like, look at Mexico (The Federalist)

Iran says it will execute man who allegedly provided U.S. with information on Qassem Soleimani (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.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here  (Personal).  My annual picture page is hereHome page supplement


Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Colin Powell: I’m Voting For Biden. Big Deal

Despite the fact the he hasn’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 2004, retired General Colin Powell, who served as Secretary of State under President George W. Bush, made headlines in the mainstream media when he stated on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that he would vote for former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, in November.

Arkansas GOP Senator Tom Cotton quickly fired back, stating, “I respect Colin Powell’s service and he’s entitled to his opinion, like every other American. But he hasn’t voted Republican for sixteen years. Apparently John McCain and Mitt Romney were ‘too extreme’ for Secretary Powell.”



Could the key to covid be found in the Russian pandemic?

The killer came from the east in winter: fever, cough, sore throat, aching muscles, headache and sometimes death. It spread quickly to all parts of the globe, from city to city, using new transport networks. In many cities, the streets were empty and shops and schools deserted. A million died. The Russian influenza pandemic of 1889-90 may hold clues to what happens next — not least because the latest thinking is that it, too, may have been caused by a new coronavirus.

In addition to the new diseases of Sars, Mers and Covid-19, there are four other coronaviruses that infect people. They all cause common colds and are responsible for about one in five such sniffles, the rest being rhinoviruses and adenoviruses. As far as we can tell from their genes, two of these coronaviruses came from African bats (one of them bizarrely via alpacas or camels), and two from Asian rodents, one of them via cattle.

This last one, known as OC43, is the commonest of the cold coronaviruses. It comes around every winter and apparently sometimes reinfects people who have had it before. Unlike the other three, its origin is not lost in the mists of time but is known to be comparatively recent. Comparing its genetic sequence with that of its close bovine cousin, Dr Marc van Ranst at Leuven University in Belgium and his colleagues calculated in 2005 that they shared a common ancestor around the year 1890. (There is also a version of the same virus that infects pigs but it is slightly less close to the human and cattle versions than they are to each other.) That date was therefore probably when the virus jumped into the human species for the first time.

The date is intriguing because 1889-90, as previously stated, saw a terrible pandemic, the worst of the 19th century, caused by a respiratory infection. Moreover, it was preceded by a global outbreak of what was thought at the time to be pleuro-pneumonia in cattle. It has always been assumed that the 1889-90 Russian or Asiatic flu was indeed a form of influenza. But direct evidence of this is lacking, and some of the symptoms do not seem quite right for flu. Given how many people fell ill, implying little pre--existing immunity, it seems probable that it was a virus new to the human species, and the dating coincidence with OC43’s species jump is highly suggestive.

The first case is thought to have been in Bukhara, in central Asia in the spring of 1889, but by October, Constantinople and St Petersburg were affected. In December, military hospitals in the Russian capital were overcrowded, factories and workshops closed for lack of workers and ‘whole districts of the city were abandoned by the population’, according to one report. The symptoms were said to include headache, fever, aching bones, facial rash and swollen hands. The illness lasted for five or six days but sometimes left the patient exhausted for weeks.

The virus reached Paris in November. By the turn of the year, with hospitals full, patients were housed in military barracks and tents in the city’s parks. Many schools were closed. In Vienna the schools closed early for Christmas and stayed closed till late January. In Berlin, it was reported that many post-office staff were affected. In London so many lawyers fell ill that the courts were closed for a while. One day in January at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the City of London, Dr Samuel West found more than 1,000 people crowded into the casualty ward, most of them men.

In every country, capitals and port cities were hit first and hardest because they had the busiest rail and ship connections. Celebrities were not immune. The Russian tsar, the young king of Spain, the president of France, the queen of Sweden and Lord Salisbury all fell ill. In Turin, the Duke of Aosta, who had briefly been king of Spain, died, as did Empress Augusta of Germany and Lord Napier. Mass-circulation newspapers engendered widespread alarm.

According to a modern analysis, the death rate peaked in the week ending 1 December 1889 in St Petersburg, 22 December in Germany, 5 January 1890 in Paris, and 12 January in the US. R0 has been estimated at 2.1 and the case fatality rate was somewhere between 0.1 per cent and 0.28 per cent: similar figures to today’s pandemic.

Contemporary newspaper reports say that like today’s epidemic, the Russian flu appeared to attack adults more than children, and in some schools the teachers were all affected but not the pupils. Like today’s virus, it was, intriguingly, reported to affect men much more badly than women. Newspapers were filled with statistics of mortality, anecdotes and reassuring editorials.

In 1890 the germ theory of disease was far from universally accepted, and viruses had yet to be distinguished from bacteria. The ‘miasma’ hypothesis that blamed such pandemics on the air remained popular, and the speed with which the illness had spread around the world seemed to indicate something other than person-to-person contact, though rail travel was in fact the cause. In an echo of today’s 5G fantasies, an editorial in the Lancet noted that there had been earthquakes recently: ‘Why should not this troublesome complaint have been produced by injurious emanations from the earth?’

By March 1890 the pandemic was fading in most places, just as common colds and flu do in spring today. The seasonal pattern displayed by colds and flus is so striking that it cannot be a coincidence that today’s pandemic was also in retreat by May all around the world, irrespective of the policies in place. By the northern summer of 1890 the virus was ensconced in the southern hemisphere, having reached Australia in March. It returned to Europe the following winter and for several years after.

If OC43 was the cause of the 1889-90 pandemic — far from proven, of course — and given that it is the cause of perhaps one in ten colds today, then it has evolved towards lower virulence. It is easy to see how this occurs with respiratory viruses, which are transmitted by people chatting and shaking hands. Mutations that affect the severity of the virus also tend to have an impact on whether people pass it on: if it sends you to bed feeling rotten, you will not give it to so many people. In the inevitable struggle for survival, the milder strains will gradually displace their nastier ones. This is why so many cold viruses affect us but so few kill us, except maybe when new to our species.

Perhaps, too, a degree of immune response in the population helps moderate the effects of the virus, even if not achieving full and permanent immunity. Some cross--immunity seems to exist today, whereby those who have had coronavirus colds do not catch, or do not suffer severely from, Covid-19.

Here is a disturbing thought: is lockdown preventing this evolutionary process, by confining the disease to settings where it can still thrive while being fatal, such as hospitals? Our fate is clear: without a vaccine or a cure, Covid-19 will fade, will be back, but will become less lethal till it is eventually indistinguishable from every other cold.



Knee-jerk government actions prolong recessions

By Martin Hutchinson, an economic historian

Governments and central banks worldwide have responded to the Covid-19 epidemic by massive doses of monetary and fiscal stimulus. Little of the money thrown at the problem has done any good. However, the further economic distortions governments have caused will have one long-term effect: they will delay and enfeeble recovery. Ever since 1929, government actions have prolonged depressions; you would think by now they would have learned better.

When the coronavirus hit, governments worldwide resorted to the same playbook they used in 2008 and in every recession back to 1929. They dropped interest rates and resorted to more deficit spending. In the United States, they sent $1,200 checks to every taxpayer and invented a program of debt support for small business that appears to have been used by everyone but actual small businesses. They also trebled unemployment pay, adding $600 per week to it until July, thus making it unattractive for many unemployed to return to work as the economy re-opened. Meanwhile, the Fed not only reduced interest rates to zero, but began to buy bonds of “fallen angel” corporations whose debts had recently been pushed into junk status by the rating agencies.

This collection of policies follows the instincts of John Maynard Keynes, but it has one huge flaw: it delays the “creative destruction” of Joseph Schumpeter that is the only way to emerge from recession and restore a healthy economy.

Take for example the Fed’s determination to buy the bonds of “fallen angels”. These are companies that used to be considered investment grade, but have borrowed so much money or whose operations have declined in profitability so much that their capacity to service debt is now questionable. If you wanted to devise a formula for selecting companies most likely to fail in the next recession, looking for “fallen angels” would satisfy that criterion. By allocating capital to them, the Fed is deliberately pushing investment towards the least profitable and least forward-looking sectors in the economy. By this action, it is reducing the amount of capital (and other resources, most notably skilled labor and management) available for the companies of the future. Thereby it hobbles innovation, productivity and new business formation.

To give one example, Hertz Global Holdings Inc. (NYSE:HTZ) on May 22 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy with debts of $20.6 billion on its March 31, 2020 balance sheet. Commentators blamed its demise on the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet I looked at Hertz in early 2017, at which time it had just lost $1 billion in the previous year and concluded that its bankruptcy was unavoidable. Its business had been cannibalized by competition from Uber and Lyft, which were subsidized through endless free money from the private equity industry and no need ever to make a profit. It had indulged in over-aggressive accounting, was over-leveraged and far too exposed to the weak second-hand automobile market.

My analysis was not extreme and led me to recommend a modestly profitable purchase of the company’s put options. Yet the company lasted another three years, during which its management and staff resources were employed in an enterprise that failed to make a profit and had no long-term purpose, though we are told it paid out some juicy bonuses to management. Most important, during the same period the company’s long-term debt increased from $13.5 billion at the end of 2016 to $20.6 billion. In other words, Hertz in its death throes absorbed another $7.1 billion of other people’s money that could much more usefully have been devoted to some other purpose, ideally to funding the growing companies of tomorrow.

Hertz’s unnecessarily prolonged and expensive decline illustrates the problem: if creative destruction takes years longer than it should and absorbs billions more in outside resources than it should, then economic recovery will be correspondingly delayed and made more expensive. Low interest rates and easy money are not the key to economic recovery, they are the greatest barrier to it.

As Walter Bagehot said in 1873, in a financial crisis the central bank should make money freely available, but only at a very high rate of interest. By lending at a high rate, the central bank ensures that only those borrowers that truly have a viable plan for long-term survival will borrow more money; the others will simply fold, liberating their assets and people. By making money cheap, the central bank is destroying the discipline by which markets function properly and recessions are brought to a swift end.

You can see Begehot’s principle at work in the history of past financial crises. In 1825, a major banking crisis was met with no additional lending by Lord Liverpool’s government, and the British economy recovered within a year. In 1921, neither the U.S. Federal Reserve nor Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon indulged in Keynesian “stimulus” remedies and so that exceptionally deep recession was over within eighteen months.

Horrible mistakes were made in the next recession, that following the Wall Street Crash of 1929. Once recession hit, President Hoover arm-twisted major corporations not to reduce the wages they paid. By doing so he eliminated their profitability and forced them to lay off additional workers rather than balancing their books through pay cuts, at a time when consumer prices had sharply declined. Then he increased government spending through Reconstruction Finance Corporation loans to politically favored projects, putting the government in the business of “picking winners” and increasing the pressure on small businesses that lacked government connections. Then he made matters worse through two tax increases: the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, which collapsed international trade and the Revenue Act of 1932, increasing the top income tax rate from 25% to 63%, which collapsed the domestic economy.

Hoover rightly lost the 1932 election, after which FDR by increased regulation and meddling made matters worse, so that the U.S. economy did not recover until after the mid-term elections of 1938, which produced a conservative majority in Congress and stopped the New Deal in its tracks. By the combined efforts of Hoover and FDR, the U.S. Great Depression lasted a decade. In Britain, where the free-market Neville Chamberlain became Chancellor of the Exchequer in September 1931, cut government spending and ended Britain’s unilateral free trade policy, the quinquennium 1932-37 saw the fastest growth Britain has ever seen.

In the recession of 2008, the same mistakes were made. When Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy, the authorities panicked and bailed everybody out, from the moribund General Motors through the ineffably foolish Citigroup to the utterly underserving Goldman Sachs’s AIG positions. Then money remained cheap for most of the next decade, while the U.S. budget was pushed into permanent deficit through pointless “stimulus.” As a result, unemployment remained very high far longer than it should have, while productivity growth disappeared altogether (a blizzard of new pointless regulations by the Obama administration did not help here). Only after January 2017 did deregulation by the new Trump administration combine with a much-delayed ultra-hesitant rise in interest rates by the Fed to produce a robust rise in productivity growth and living standards. Internationally, even worse monetary policies had produced the same productivity malaise and the same interminable delay in economic recovery.

In this recession, which differs from past ones in having been produced by the global supply-side shock of the COVID-19 epidemic and the shut-down of most world economies, policymakers have resorted once again to the tired Keynesian monetary and fiscal remedies, throwing public money at the problem. To be fair, some of the problem did warrant money-throwing; modestly-waged people who lost their jobs through the shutdown did indeed deserve help, economically as well as morally. Yet the restraints on policy from fiscal and monetary norms have been even weaker this time around than in previous recessions. There is thus no reason to expect that the results will be any better, as international bankruptcy and debt default approach ever closer.

If policymakers do the right thing now, economic recovery can be swift. The COVID-19 pandemic has destroyed few productive resources, so only the over-borrowing that existed before the pandemic needs to be written off. Unfortunately, the correct policy, pushing interest rates above the level of inflation and cutting back public expenditure sharply, is very unlikely to be pursued. It worked well for Neville Chamberlain in 1930s Britain, and for Poland and Latvia in the 2008-10 downturn, but it is very unlikely indeed to be tried now. Which is an enormous pity, because it would work, producing a rapid recovery followed by solid growth.

As it is, we are likely to get a “square-root-shaped” recession – a quick but partial recovery from the pit, as economies are reopened, followed by stagnation as governments throw unnecessary money at the remaining problem, making debt and mal-investment malignancies worse. Thus, the recovery-quelling influence of Maynard Keynes’ false doctrines will blight the futures of yet another young generation.



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.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here  (Personal).  My annual picture page is hereHome page supplement


Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Minnesota AG Keith Ellison May Have Just Screwed Up Case Against George Floyd Cops

Floyd almost certainly died of a heart attack brought on by his strenuous resistance to arrest. "I can't breathe" is a recognized symptom of a heart attack. There will at least be reasonable doubt about the cause of death so the cop could well skate.

And the knee on the neck procedure is recognized as a legitimate means of restraining a very active criminal so even that will probably not lead to successful charges

I’m no legal expert, but I wondered to myself if Keith Ellison hadn’t overcharged the cop who killed George Floyd. Now there’s someone much smarter than I who agrees.

Andy McCarthy, who writes for National Review, is a former federal prosecutor and has been a trusted guest on my radio show for the better part of 20 years. He believes Ellison might have just colossally screwed up his case against the cops. My words, not his. McCarthy called Ellison’s amended charges “dangerously flawed.”

Overcharging is tantamount to over-promising. It’s perceived as overly punitive and less thoughtful in some cases. Sure, everyone’s angry. Sure, Floyd’s death appears to be criminal. But you’ve got to be able to prove what you charge.

Ellison may have just Peter Principled himself out of this prosecution.

Police officer Derek Chauvin took a knee on the neck of George Floyd for nearly nine minutes. The hold on his neck, not part of any police training, killed Floyd. Floyd, who had drugs in his system and a heart condition, panicked and couldn’t breathe.

Yet Keith Ellison is still pursuing a murder conviction.  Statutorily, it's simply not murder.

Initially, the local district attorney took a long look at the evidence and charged Chauvin with third-degree murder, alleging Chauvin had depraved indifference to human life, but didn’t conspire to kill Floyd.

Then the case was kicked upstairs to virulently political Leftist Keith Ellison, part of the George Soros-funded attorney general project.  Ellison added a second-degree felony murder charge to the other less severe charges that McCarthy believes he won’t be able to prove. He’s ladled on aiding and abetting charges against the other officers on the second-degree murder charge and manslaughter.

McCarthy points out that the new charges don’t quite add up. Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane are charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder (the new charge against Chauvin) and manslaughter. Weirdly, under the circumstances, the three are not charged with the “depraved indifference” murder count; nor are they accused of committing manslaughter as principals — they are charged only as aiders and abettors, a theory that does not jibe with a negligence charge such as second-degree manslaughter (which is negligent homicide under Minnesota law).

He explains that defense attorneys will poke big holes in Ellison’s case:

By definition, a bad outcome caused by negligence does not happen intentionally; it happens because of carelessness that created a risk the actor did not foresee but should have.

See the problem? Aiding and abetting requires proof that the accomplice understood the principal’s conscious criminal objective. In a negligence case, the bad thing that happens is unintentional — i.e., it is nobody’s conscious objective. That’s why the prosecutors’ theory is, to my mind, a non sequitur.

Do not misunderstand. I think it would make sense to charge the accomplices with manslaughter as principals, rather than as aiders and abettors.

But here’s what might be the most diabolical part of Ellison’s move and maybe the one he wanted all along.

 By contrast, the new “felony murder” count, spearheaded by Keith Ellison, the radical leftist state attorney general, puts police on notice that they can be charged with a crime — felony assault — for doing their job, which routinely involves physically restraining suspects who resist lawful commands.

McCarthy talked about it in his podcast and in a piece in NRO.

Do you doubt that Keith Ellison would want to criminalize police work? Neither do I. Here’s a man who believes national borders are an “injustice.”

The unanswered question, however, is what would be the point of prosecuting charges that may not hold up?



Is There Really an 'Epidemic' of Racist Police Shootings? Several Studies Say No

The protests and riots that began in the wake of the death of George Floyd show no signs of stopping anytime soon. Lots of well-intentioned people are expressing their outrage over what they believe to be an epidemic of racist police brutality. Perhaps the most common form of alleged racist police “brutality” we hear about is shootings, particularly those with questionable justification. To hear some people, there’s an epidemic of racist police brutality and we need to do something about it.

Black Lives Matter is calling on the defunding of police—which is just silly. Congressional Democrats are looking to pass sweeping “police reform,” and one can only wonder what their real objectives are. But, this all leads to some very important questions. While we all agree that unjustified police brutality is bad, is there really an “epidemic” of racial bias in police brutality? It only takes one incident to go viral and serve as a call to arms for thousands of people to protest, but is it a really as big of a problem as people suggest it is?

Looking at the data, the answer might actually be no. According to a 2019 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, white officers are not more likely to shoot black civilians than black or Hispanic officers are. According to the study, there is “no evidence of anti-Black or anti-Hispanic disparities across shootings, and White officers are not more likely to shoot minority civilians than non-White officers. Instead, race-specific crime strongly predicts civilian race. This suggests that increasing diversity among officers by itself is unlikely to reduce racial disparity in police shootings.”

Other studies have reached similar conclusions, including a Harvard study that found no racial bias in police using deadly force, though there is some disparity when it comes to physical force. With regard to lethal force, however, no disparity exists.

“A solid body of evidence finds no structural bias in the criminal-justice system with regard to arrests, prosecution or sentencing,” explained Heather Mac Donald of the Manhatten Institute in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week. “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.

“However sickening the video of Floyd’s arrest, it isn’t representative of the 375 million annual contacts that police officers have with civilians,” she said.

Mac Donald also noted that “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.”

Mac Donald has been writing about this subject for a long time. In a 2016 piece called “The Myth of the Racist Cop” she pointed out that police officers “are second-guessing their own justified use of force for fear of being labeled racist and losing their jobs, if not their freedom.”

On Oct. 5 a female officer in Chicago was beaten unconscious by a suspect in a car crash, who repeatedly bashed her face into the concrete and tore out chunks of her hair. She refrained from using her gun, she said, because she didn’t want to become the next viral video in the Black Lives Matter narrative.

The Chicago Police Department now wants to institutionalize such dangerous second-guessing. Its proposed guidelines for using force would require cops to consider the “impact that even a reasonable use of force may have on those who observe” it.

The following breakdown from Law Enforcement Today also puts the issue of police brutality in perspective:

According to 2019 data, there are 328, 240, 469 people here in the United States.

According to stats from com, there are 670,279 full time police officers here in the United States out of a total of 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers (data from National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund).

There are approximately 2.1 police officers per thousand people.
Police officers are less than .21 % of population.

Officers come into contact with 17% of the population annually.
That means 55,800,880 contacts

Which, at the time of the last report, led to 26,000 excessive force complaints against officers. That’s 0.047% of contacts. Only 8% of those complaints were sustained. That’s 2,080 out of 53,380,000 contacts, or .0039%

A good friend of mine who is a Chief of Police put that into perspective:

You are seven times more likely to be murdered …

15 times more likely to be killed in a traffic accident …

42 times more likely to be raped …

… than to have a police officer use excessive force on you.

Simply put, the narrative that police officers are overwhelmingly racist is simply not true, and has likely contributed to police being assaulted or killed. During the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, Barack Obama perpetuated the myth of systemic police racism, described by some as a “war on cops,” resulting in a spike of cops killed in the line of duty—a spike that ended during Trump’s first year in office. In fact, the number of cops killed in the line of duty went up annually from 2013-2016.

So, cooler heads must prevail when it comes to this issue. Cops who use excessive force must be dealt with appropriately, but perpetuating the myth of a widespread epidemic of racist cops helps no one, and likely does more damage. We literally have people calling for the defunding of police. While there may be a few bad cops out there, we rely on them to protect our communities.




Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testifies he would not have signed FISA warrant for Trump aide if he knew of problems (Fox News)

Senate passes legislation making it easier for small businesses to use pandemic relief program (Washington Examiner)

Joe Biden fundraises off George Floyd's death (The Daily Wire)

Antifa planned anti-government insurgency for months, law-enforcement official says (The Washington Times)

Administration slaps sanctions on shipping companies moving Venezuelan oil (The Hill)

China militarizing stolen U.S. tech, State Department says (The Washington Free Beacon)

State Department to label several Chinese media outlets as government propaganda (Washington Examiner)

Coronavirus is not mutating to become more dangerous, WHO says (New York Post)

For the record: Liberty University, once accused of being reckless for reopening during pandemic, finishes semester with zero coronavirus cases (The Blaze)

Trump administration to ban Chinese passenger airlines from flying to U.S. (The Daily Caller)

Companies issue shares at fastest rate ever (Reuters)

Markets clawing back much of pandemic losses (Washington Examiner)

South Korea unveils $62 billion "New Deal" to reshape post-virus economy (Bloomberg News)

Paris bans protest over black Frenchman and George Floyd deaths, citing potential social unrest and virus spread (The Daily Caller)

Space Wars: China outlines ambitious plan to build space station in orbit (Axios)

Two NYPD cops shot, one stabbed during cowardly attack in Brooklyn (New York Post)

Virginia Gov. Ralph "Blackface" Northam to order removal of Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond (Fox News)

Policy: As cities burn, will Trump invoke the Insurrection Act? And should he? (The Federalist)


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.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here  (Personal).  My annual picture page is hereHome page supplement


Monday, June 08, 2020

Worlds Collide: George Floyd Tested Positive for COVID and Had Heart Attack

The cop did not kill him

The autopsy report for George Floyd shows that he suffered from heart disease, high blood pressure, had a variety of drugs in his system and tested positive for COVID-19.

The victim of Minneapolis police brutality – the death that birthed hundreds of protests, riots, arsons and looting – was in all likelihood asymptomatic and not suffering an active case of the Wuhan-imported virus.

The decedent was known to be positive for 2019-nCoV RNA on 4/3/2020. Since PCR positivity for 2019-nCoV RNA can persist for weeks after the onset and resolution of clinical disease, the autopsy result most likely reflects asymptomatic but persistent PCR positivity from previous infection.

His lungs were clear.

The sad story is well known by now. A Minneapolis police officer held down the handcuffed and face-down Floyd with his knee on his neck. All officers at the scene have been fired and face charges. Officer Derek Chauvin had his manslaughter charge elevated to a second-degree murder charge on Wednesday. The other officers on the scene of the police stop were charged with aiding and abetting.

The full autopsy was released last night. Floyd died from several horrible things all at once:

The report indicated that Floyd had tested for COVID in early April and that his lungs were clear, but that he had persistent infection from the virus.

Worse, at the time a panicked Floyd was pleading for his life and telling the officers he couldn’t breathe, *he was having a heart attack*.

Fentanyl was also in his system, which could have caused “severe respiratory depression,” according to the AP.

The 20-page report released by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office came with the family’s permission and after the coroner’s office released summary findings Monday that Floyd had a heart attack while being restrained by officers, and classified his May 25 death as a homicide.

The county’s earlier summary report had listed fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use under “other significant conditions” but not under “cause of death.” The full report’s footnotes noted that signs of fentanyl toxicity can include “severe respiratory depression” and seizures.



Home Health Care  Where’s the National ‘Science’ That Dr. Anthony Fauci Continues to Preach?

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force Dr. Deborah Birx are both old enough to have experienced the best known quotes within the last several decades, “just the facts, ma’am,” and “where’s the beef?”

They undoubtedly still remember from the late 1950’s this best-known quote “just the facts, ma’am.” from Sgt. Joe Friday with the TV series Dragnet. A few decades later there was Clara Peller who was a manicurist and American character actress who, at the age of 81, starred in the 1984 “where’s the beef?”  advertising campaign for the Wendy’s fast food restaurant chain.

Today, Fauci and Birx have yet to provide the President and the White House with the “science” numbers to support the efforts being expended to shut down the American economy. Their advice has been instrumental in Governors nationwide, taking actions to inflict catastrophic financial harm to their states, including the largest states, California, and New York.

The COVID-19 “science” is the actual statistical numbers. The virus is hard on the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions, with those 65 and older accounting for 80% of fatalities. The population age 65 and over represent about 15 percent of the population. It does not make a lot of statistical sense for our so-called medical advisers to the White House to be blind to the “real science numbers” and hold the other 85 percent of the 330 million population of America hostage which is a whopping 280 million, that has resulted in catastrophic damage to the economy. 

Where is the virus “science”? The Center for Disease Control (CDC) data shows America has experienced more than 2.7 million deaths per year since 2016 from ALL causes including Heart Disease, Malignant replasms, Accidents, Chronic respiratory disease, Cerebrovascular disease, Alzheimer disease, Diabetes, Influenzas and pneumonia, Nephritis, Suicide, and other causes.

Here’s a more concise look at the CDC science for 2016 and 2017, and for the year 2018 that shows the fatalities from those flu-like symptoms has remained constant at about 2 percent of America’s annual fatalities.

As a result of the microscopic sound bites from Fauci and Birx addressing only the flu like symptoms of the COVID-19 virus they may have provided a disservice to the White House and the 330 million residents of America. Yes, the COPID-19 virus has just exceeded 100,000 fatalities, but the influenza and pneumonia category, has accounted for  about 2 percent of all annual fatalities.

The resultant COVID-19 carnage on the job market that has been exposed and is horrific.

We have gone from an unemployment level of 3.5 percent a few months ago to over 40 million in unemployment claims. The U.S. unemployment rate jumped to 14.7 percent in April, the highest level since the Great Depression, as many businesses shut down or severely curtailed operations.

Over 99 percent of America’s 28.7 million firms are small businesses. These small businesses may see a 30 percent closure rate with the ramifications on employment devastating.

Among the largest sector of small businesses in America are the 1 million restaurants of which a third may close permanently as a result of the COVID-19 impacts.

President Trump recently questioned the credibility of the medical advice being given to the White House, so maybe its time for Fauci and Birx to share all the CDC science numbers to show how the 100,000 virus fatalities relate to the total fatalities of more than 2,800,000 every year.

The elderly and those with pre-existing conditions have been and continue to be the most vulnerable and should take extra precautions to avoid exposure to the virus, but is it fair to the other 280 million residents who are the least likely to be a fatality statistic from the virus?

Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx owe an explanation to the White House and the entire 330 million residents of America as to why they focused on a microscopic data point of the 2.8 million annual fatalities and did not share the CDC science numbers that demonstrate that flu virus fatalities have been constantly in the single digit percent of all fatalities, and continued to use their medical expertise influence to virtually kill the American economy.



Pipes, “A Reluctant but Unhesitating Vote for Donald Trump”

by Daniel Pipes

If I don't say so myself, my #NeverTrump bona fides are pretty impressive.

I watched in dismay as I helped the Ted Cruz presidential campaign, seeing Republican primary voters select Donald Trump out of a field of 16 viable candidates and make him president-elect. I signed an open letter committing to "working energetically to prevent the election of someone so utterly unfitted" to the presidency and wrote many articles lambasting Trump. I left the Republican party on his nomination and voted for Libertarian Gary Johnson in the general election. After the election, I hoped for Trump's impeachment and President Mike Pence.

In 2016, two matters primarily worried me about Donald Trump: his character and his policies.

Nearly four years later, Trump's character still troubles and repels me. If anything, his egotism, disloyalty, and bombast exceed those vices when he was a mere candidate.

But, to my unending surprise, he has governed as a resolute conservative. His policies in the areas of education, taxes, deregulation, and the environment have been bolder than Ronald Reagan's. His judicial appointments are the best of the past century (thank you, Leonard Leo). His unprecedented assault on the administrative state proceeds apace, ignoring predictable howls from the Washington establishment. Even his foreign policy has been conservative: demanding that allies contribute their fair share, confronting China and Iran, and singularly supporting Israel. Ironically, as David Harsanyi notes, a potential character flaw actually works to our advantage: "Trump's obstinacy seems to have made him less susceptible to the pressures that traditionally induce GOP presidents to capitulate."

(Economic performance drives many voters to support or oppose a sitting president, but not me. Partly, because the president has only limited control; partly, because it's a transient issue that matters much less than long-term policies.)

Of course, I also disagree with Trump: protectionism, an indifference to public debt, a hostility toward allies, a soft-spot for Turkish strongman Erdoğan, and those dangerous meetings with Kim Jong-un. His unrestrained behavior interferes with proper government functioning. The tweets are a protracted liability.

But, of course, we all disagree with some of what every president does; more surprisingly, I agree with about 80 percent of Trump's actions, a higher number than any of his predecessors', going back to Lyndon Johnson.

I have come to understand the wisdom in Salena Zito's September 2016 witticism about Trump that "the press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally." Or, as Daniel Larison notes, "We need to judge Trump by his actions and not his words." I also agree with James Woolsey that Trump would be a much better prime minister than president.

Slowly but inexorably over the past three years, my approval of the policies has outbalanced my distaste for the person. Finally, knowing that Joe Biden will represent the radicalized Democrats in November, I conclude that I will do my small part to help Trump get re-elected by writing, giving, and voting.

I reached this conclusion reluctantly but unhesitatingly. Emotionally, esthetically, and intellectually, I would prefer to keep my distance from Trump and inhabit a neutral space between the parties, as in 2016. But I will vote for him as the politician who represents my conservative views. I urge other reluctant conservatives to do the same.



Listen to the Doctors, End the Lockdowns

By Ron Paul

​Six hundred physicians recently signed a letter to President Trump calling for an end to the coronavirus lockdowns. The physicians wrote that, far from protecting public health, the lockdowns are causing “exponentially growing negative health consequences” for millions of Americans.

Since the lockdowns began, there have been increases in alcoholism, drug abuse, and domestic violence. There has also been an increase in calls to suicide hotlines. This is a direct result of the mass unemployment and limitations on people’s activities resulting from the lockdowns. As long as millions of Americans are sitting at home wondering how to survive until the government says they can go back to work — assuming the lockdowns did not drive their employers out of business, there will be more substance abuse and suicides.

At the start of the lockdowns, Americans were told to stay away from emergency rooms and doctors’ offices to avoid exposure to coronavirus. This has led Americans to neglect their health. US hospitals have seen a 40 percent decline in the number of patients admitted for severe heart attacks since March. Does anyone believe that the coronavirus panic just happened to coincide with a miraculous decline in heart attacks?

Physicians have also become unable to help many stroke victims who coronavirus lockdowns have kept from seeking medical assistance.

Early in the coronavirus panic, hospitals were told to cancel elective procedures to ensure space was available for an expected wave of coronavirus patients. But hospitals were not overwhelmed by coronavirus patients. Beds and other resources were unused.

According to the American Hospital Association, this has cost healthcare providers tens of billions of dollars in lost revenue. Inner-city and rural hospitals that already operate on slim profit margins are especially hard hit by the financial impact of the lockdowns. These hospitals may have to cut back on services. Some may even close. This will make it even more difficult for rural and inner-city Americans to obtain quality, affordable healthcare.

Postponing needed surgeries will have serious consequences. Many patients whose surgeries have been delayed will find that their once easily treatable conditions now require intensive and expensive care.

Some people are forgoing disease management and checkups that could keep them from developing more serious problems. The coronavirus lockdowns have even caused the canceling of chemotherapy treatments.

According to the physicians’ letter to President Trump, the coronavirus lockdowns are preventing 150,000 Americans a month from finding out they have cancer. Skipped routine cancer screenings mean cancer is not detected in an early stage, when it is most easily treated.

The coronavirus lockdowns have upended the lives of Americans to “protect” them from a virus with a 0.2 percent fatality rate, with the majority of those fatalities occurring in nursing homes and among people with chronic health conditions. Instead, the rational response would be to protect the vulnerable, and let the rest of the people live their lives. But politicians and government-anointed “experts” do not respond rationally to a “crisis,” especially when a panicked reaction can increase their power and prestige.

The lesson of the unnecessary lockdowns is clear: Government bureaucrats and politicians, even the media’s beloved Dr. Fauci, must be stripped of the ability to infringe on our liberty and prosperity.



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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Sunday, June 07, 2020


I had some unexpected surgery a few hours ago so am in no shape to put up blogs.  The surgery appeared to go well, however, so I should be back on deck tomorrow