Friday, December 25, 2020

How accurate is our Hebrew Bible?

My Christmas essay

Most Christians are aware that the Bible was not originally written in English, though some have thought so.  The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and the New Testament was written in ancient Greek.

But both were written over two thousand years ago.  So how do we know that we now have accurate copies of what was originally written so long ago?  That is what I want to address here.

The basic problem is that we do not have the originals of what was written.  All we have copies.  And the copies do differ in various ways.  So which -- if any -- is the correct version of the originals?

One way of looking at that is to find the oldest possible copy -- on the assumption that errors are less likely to have crept in the closer we get to the original.  But the oldest copies we have of the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) go back only about a thousand years.  A lot could have happened in the thousand years before that.

Over 60 years ago, however, there was a great find.  Hidden away in some caves in Israel were some copies of the Hebrew scriptures that dated from about the time of Christ.  They are sometimes referred to as the "Dead Sea Scrolls", though the term Qumran scrolls would be more accurate.

So how do those scrolls compare with the Hebrew Bible we have today?  That has been the focus of a huge body of scholarly enquiry and analysis.  And the broad answer is that some of the scrolls are exactly as we have them today and some are not.  So how do we account for that?

The biggest wonder is that some parts of the Hebrew text  -- particularly the book of Isaiah -- have survived without change for so long.  What we have today is the result of copies of copies of copies of copies and it is well known how inaccuracies can creep into any text that is the result of much copying.  So how did at least one book of the Bible survive copying without error?

The answer is religious.  About a thousand years ago a group of religious Jews emerged -- the Masoretes -- who devoted huge efforts into copying accurately.  It is the copies that they made which are the basis for our English Bibles. And the Masoretes claim that the copies that they have so painstakingly produced are an accurate copy of what was originally written.

So how can we check up on that?  There is one major way.  Since before the time of Christ, the old Hebrew text had been translated into Greek -- the language of learning in the ancient world. Those translations are called by scholars the LXX.   When Jesus and the apostles quoted from the OT, the words they used as quoted in the NT came from the LXX.  And we have some very old copies of the LXX -- going back to around the 4th century AD.  And being much older than the copies we have of the Hebrew Bible itself, the LXX could be regarded as as closer to the Bible as originally written. So how does the LXX compare with the Hebrew Bible we have today?

There are many differences, most minor but some major. So how do we account for those differences?  Based on very detailed studies by many scholars, it looks like the copy of the Hebrew text that the translators used was different from the Hebrew text that we have today.  Some scholars have even done a careful back-translation from the LXX to produce a probable version of the Hebrew text underlying it.  That version is usually referred to by the German word "Vorlage".  But the Vorlage too differs clearly from the current Hebrew Bible.

So the fact that the Vorlage differs in many ways from our current Bible reinforces what the Qumran scolls tell us -- that there is much uncertainty about what the Bible authors originally wrote.  The broad outline is there but many details are different.

One of the most prolific and authoritative writers on the Qumran scrolls is Emanuel Tov, an Israeli. From 1990-2009 he served as the Editor-in-Chief of the international Dead Sea Scrolls Publication Project, so he knows his subject.  And a few years back he produced a summary of what the many years of research into the scrolls have taught us.  Find it here. I have just read it and find much interest in it.

His final deduction is the most interesting. He concludes that, before and during the time of Christ, the Pharisees maintained in the Jerusalem temple copies of the sacred Hebrew texts that they regarded as authoritative.  Christ himself admitted that the Pharisees were meticulous scholars with a great reverence for Jewish law so we can assume that they went to great lengths to ensure that their copies of the ancient texts were as accurate as possible.  What they produced was probably nearly as good as what modern scholars would have produced in their position.

But Jews have always had great reverence for their scriptures so there would have been many copies of them in whole or in part throughout the land.  The Temple scrolls would have been in part a reaction to that.  They were an attempt to sort out from the many scrolls available what could be relied on.  And access to the Temple scrolls for any purpose would have been closely guarded.  So only a minority of the scrolls in circulation would have been copies of the Temple scrolls.  

But here's the thing:  From the copies of them that we have, it seems that the Temple scrolls were almost identical to the version that the Masoretes gave us, identical to our Hebrew Bible of today.  One could proclaim that to be a blessed miracle but the more likely explanation is that the early Masoretes of a thousand years ago did have access to good copies of the Temple scrolls and relied on them.  So what we have today is the version of the Hebrew scriptures that originated from the ultra-careful work of the ancient Pharisees

So the explanation for variations in ancient versions of the scriptures becomes clear:  There WERE different versions of some of the scriptures circulating in ancient Israel but we have the Pharisees to thank for sorting out that confusion and arriving at a version of the scriptures that is as close as possible to what was originally written.


Thursday, December 24, 2020

Cloth masks are NOT enough to stop the spread of Covid-19 without social distancing

Wearing a cloth mask may not shield the user from coronavirus because too many infected droplets can slip through, a study has claimed.

Scientists at New Mexico State University, in the US, studied five types of face coverings including cloth masks and surgical grade N95 masks.

They found that while all masks blocked at least 95 per cent of droplets from coughs and sneezes - there was still a risk of the disease being passed on.

Although cloth masks stopped 96.4 per cent of sneeze droplets at a distance of six feet, they still let more than 1,000 through - which the scientists said could carry enough virus particles to trigger an infection.

'Wearing a mask will offer substantial, but not complete, protection to a susceptible person,' said Dr Krishna Kota, an associate professor at the university who led the research.

The science behind mask-wearing was hazy at the start of the pandemic and authorities in the UK and other countries hesitated to recommend wearing them.

The World Health Organization did recommend masks until June 8, and then only for people over 60 and those with underlying health conditions.

In Britain, face coverings were first brought in for public transport in June, and later for shops and other indoor spaces in July. In the US regulations vary across the country, with some states setting up rules as early as April but others resisting making masks mandatory.

The general consensus now is that masks may offer only limited protection to the people wearing them, but they are quite good at stopping people spreading the disease if they have it without knowing, because they catch their breath.

Scientists have also suggested that masks could reduce severity of disease by exposing people to the virus in small doses, but this hasn't been proven.

'A mask definitely helps, but if the people are very close to each other, there is still a chance of spreading or contracting the virus,' said Dr Kota. 'It's not just masks that will help. It's both the masks and distancing.'

For the study, published in the journal Physics of Fluid, the team built a machine that mimics coughs and sneezes from humans. It uses an air generator to blow tiny liquid droplets, like those that would escape from a nose or a mouth.

The machine was tested on five different types of masks: an N95 mask, a surgical mask, a cloth mask, a two-layer cloth mask and a wet two-layer cloth mask.

The researchers say wetting a mask could help because the material’s fibers will expand, reducing the pore size accessible for droplets to get through.

Two glass square tubes were joined with a mask tightly fit between them and a camera lens to capture the number of droplets.

Each of the masks were able to block most of the droplets with the best-performing being the N95, which blocked 100 percent of droplets.

Meanwhile, the worst was the regular cloth mask, which only blocked 96.4 percent of the droplets from getting through.

However, at distances of less than six feet, letting in around three percent of droplets could be enough to make someone ill.

Studies have shown that the average infection threshold for COVID-19 is 1,000 virus particles, inhaled either all at once or on separate occasions.

In addition, a single sneeze has the potential to carry up to 200 million virus particles.

The cloth mask let through more than 1,000 sneeze droplets, each of which could have millions of virus particles.

The two-layered cloth mask with a PM2.5 filter let through more than 600 sneeze droplets.

This means that if someone wearing one of these masks is close to an infected individual, enough droplets could escape to make them contract COVID-19.

'Without a face mask, it is almost certain that many foreign droplets will transfer to the susceptible person,' Kota said.

'Wearing a mask will offer substantial, but not complete, protection to a susceptible person by decreasing the number of foreign airborne sneeze and cough droplets that would otherwise enter the person without the mask.

'Consideration must be given to minimize or avoid close face-to-face or frontal human interactions, if possible.'


'Balancing act': The problem with COVID mandates

Julie Leask comments from Australia:

Recent developments in the pandemic such as vaccines and the outbreak of COVID-19 on Sydney's northern beaches have prompted calls for governments to mandate public health measures such as vaccination or mask wearing to control the virus.

Mandating certain behaviours to prevent the spread of infectious diseases can be an effective measure in public health. It can bring about behaviour change at-scale and remove the burden on individual decision making. But mandates come with downsides which are often overlooked.

Mandates will always carry a penalty for non-compliance: a fine for not wearing a mask or denial of childcare or family payments for the incompletely vaccinated child. These are serious consequences, particularly for people experiencing disadvantage, who themselves are already more likely to be economically or socially affected by pandemic measures. Yet it is those experiencing disadvantage who are more likely to be fined for COVID-19 rule compliance breaches. For example, in April, Sydney’s poorer Fairfield Local Government Area had just 0.98 per cent of cases but 3.7 per cent of infringements while richer Waverly had 6.7per cent of cases but just 0.79 per cent of infringements.

Mandates lead to interpersonal conflict at the point of enforcement. This is a particular problem if those with roles in implementing the requirement also provide the service because it can undermine the relationship between citizen and service. For example, the driver who turns away unmasked people boarding a bus taking them to an appointment or a doctor refusing to grant a medical exemption for an unvaccinated child will inevitably end up dealing with distressed and sometimes abusive people.

Mandates bring a tonal shift in pandemic control – from solidarity to enforcement. Rules can offer support – it’s sometime easier to just be told to do something. A few people only respond to rules. But they can also undermine intrinsic motivations towards the public co-operation more generally, making behaviour more about what I can and can’t do than what I should do for others. For long-haul behaviours like pandemic control ones, intrinsic motivation is better because it carries across a number of minute and everyday behaviours impossible to police.

Mandates should bring a meaningful additional level of compliance to controlling the spread of a disease. Right now in NSW, some commentators have called for mandatory masks for all of Sydney, at a time when the state is recording reductions in locally acquired new cases, decreasing from a high of 38 on December 19 to 8 cases on December 23. The most important control measures have been rapid identification and isolation of cases and contacts, helping bring this outbreak under control, like NSW did in July after a cluster began in south western Sydney. In Victoria, mandatory masks were hoped to be enough to bring a rising outbreak under control. But within a week it was clear that a prolonged lockdown was also needed.

Mandates require significant resourcing and attention from government departments. Legislation needs to be carefully drafted to account for the range of implications they will bring. There should be a threshold for determining what is, and is not, required and means for determining compliance. This is easier for policing the wearing of masks. For vaccination, Australia uses a national register to determine compliance. But recording error or failure to enter the data means some fully compliant families have wrongly lost family assistance payments under the No Jab No Pay. Mandates need good systems in place to be fair and feasible.

Most of these issues can be justified and managed if the benefits of mandating a behaviour are deemed to outweigh the risks. Right now in Sydney, mask wearing when one cannot distance is strongly recommended. But a mandate to do so would be disproportionate when considering the downsides along with their limited role right now in controlling COVID-19. If we are unlucky enough to see established transmission across Sydney or any other region, that might change.

For now, the measures announced on Wednesday are reasonable – limited numbers inside homes with restrictions around movement of people on the northern beaches where the cluster remains focused. We must remain focused on the most effective measures – testing and isolating if symptomatic, rapid contact tracing, quarantining of contacts, and limiting large gatherings, vigilant hand and respiratory hygiene and wearing masks when social distancing is not possible. Venues need to systematically ensure all customers accurately log their details when entering.

Mandating individual actions to prevent infectious disease spread should only be in place when the shift to mandating will be effective and carries little risk, the requirement is reasonable, feasible to enforce, and well justified. Taken together, this is about weighing the benefits of an action against its risks – something Australians have become adept at doing in 2020 when it comes to infectious diseases.


Having the media on your side makes a big difference



Biden names Bruce Reed, fiercely opposed by the "Squad," as deputy chief of staff (Fox News)

Team Biden gently walking back election-year immigration promises (Washington Examiner)

Newsmax, OAN, and Trump campaign sued by voting systems worker who says false claims led to death threats (AP)

Georgia Runoff: Raphael Warnock's wife told officer that her husband is "a great actor" after domestic dispute (Fox News)
Government & Politics

Sen. Rand Paul's "Festivus Report" reveals $54 billion in tax dollars was "totally wasted" (Fox News)

Tulsi Gabbard justifiably rips young Congress members for taking vaccine before elderly (NY Post)

D'oh! Biden calls reporter asking about Hunter Biden a "one-horse pony" (Washington Examiner)

Washington Post depicts Republicans as rats in editorial cartoon eerily similar to anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda (Not the Bee)

Acting defense secretary accepts Inclusion Board's 15 woke recommendations (

Walmart sued by the Justice Department for allegedly fueling opioid crisis (CBS News)

November existing home sales fall 2.5%, following record summer (AP)

In final reading, GDP increased at record 33.4% annual rate in third quarter (Washington Examiner)

Detroit suing Black Lives Matter activists for "civil conspiracy" (Fox News)

Face masks significantly reduce brain's ability to recognize people (StudyFinds)

Policy: How the Centers for Disease Control went woke (Free Beacon)

Policy: Maximizing equality of opportunity is the only way to avoid lowering standards (City Journal)



Wednesday, December 23, 2020

If face masks really stop Covid, then why are so many of us still catching it?

Stifling. Itchy. Dehumanising. Oppressive. Profoundly un-British. Just some of the terms used to describe the experience of mask-wearing.

Despite the discomfort, we put up with it for the health of our nation and, so we’re told, to do what we can to bring this nightmare to an end, as soon as possible.

And last week, London Mayor Sadiq Khan argued that we should extend the annoyance to outdoors – on our high streets – to protect our fellow Christmas shoppers.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is urging us to wear face masks around the Christmas table.

But is all this face-mask-wearing helping? Surveys show that three-quarters of Britons are wearing masks in mandatory areas – public transport, offices, pubs and restaurants when not sitting at a table, and most indoor spaces.

Yet the infection is still spreading at a rate that requires 38 million Britons to be banned from mixing indoors with anyone outside of their household.

Last week, cases increased in every area of England bar Yorkshire and the Humber, and in some areas the infection rate leapt up to twice what it was in April.

So are they useless, after all? If Mr Khan’s logic is to be believed, perhaps the problem is that we aren’t wearing them outdoors – surrounded by crowds of people. But studies show that just one in 100 cases is transmitted outside.

Nations that did implement mandatory mask-wearing outdoors, such as Spain and Italy, haven’t been spared devastating further waves.

Indoors, the theory is that masks trap the viral particles that are expelled from an infected person’s mouth or nose when they cough, splutter, sneeze or talk. Over the past six months, some studies seem to have shown they are effective in doing so. In June, The Lancet compiled data from 172 studies from 16 countries and concluded that two-metre social-distancing and wearing a face mask reduced the risk of contracting Covid.

An American study, published in August, found that rates were four times lower in countries where mask-wearing was considered a norm or was enforced by the government.

In the UK, most of the data has concluded that masks are, on a population level, effective when an infected individual wears them.

Professor Paul Digard, a virologist at the University of Edinburgh involved in the trial, explains: ‘A major source of transmission is through liquid droplets – like coughs and sneezes – which send the virus flying through the air.

‘Covid particles are too tiny to be stopped by a mask but they often travel in larger water droplets. These droplets are large enough to be trapped in a mask.’

But droplets are not the only way the virus spreads. In July, the WHO published new guidance regarding viral spread via smaller, lightweight particles that travel through the air – like smoke or dust – and linger long after the infected person has left the area.

‘Masks can do little to stop airborne transmission,’ says Prof Digard. ‘Covid particles that aren’t contained in water droplets are too small to be stopped by them.’ However, he adds that only a minority of infections are spread by airborne infections as viral particles don’t linger for too long in the air. But there remains little proof of effectiveness in real life settings.

Most of the research completed in the spring and summer involved laboratory studies using artificial breathing machines to simulate human coughs and observe how effective masks are limiting the travel of water droplets.

One real-life trial, involving 6,000 participants wearing surgical masks at all times while out in public, proved inconclusive. Professor Jimmy Whitworth, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, adds: ‘Even real-world studies are hampered by the fact you don’t know whether participants are actually wearing the mask properly – if at all.’

There is little available research regarding whether we are wearing masks correctly, but experts say it’s an aspect of the debate that is often overlooked. Prof Whitworth says: ‘The studies show it’s effective but it has to be worn properly – with the mouth and nose covered.’

As for whether they stop the virus getting in, protecting the wearer, the evidence is even more flimsy.

Studies do not account for unknown variables – for example how often people are wearing them. ‘Masks are unlikely to stop you catching the virus but they’re much more likely to trap infected water droplets coming out of your mouth,’ says Prof Digard.

Masks are a less powerful tool than the other key mitigation measure – social distancing. Yet, according to a national poll in October, 42 per cent of Britons had at some point broken the two-metre rule, compared to only a tenth who hadn’t worn a face mask in a shop.

Prof Whitworth says: ‘The two most important risk factors for catching Covid are lack of ventilation and crowding. The more air you are sharing with others, the more likely you are to catch it.’

Yet masks, we’re led to believe, will mitigate the harm of crowds.

Official advice is to wear face masks when social distancing is not possible. Data suggests that this is in fact correct and scientists say if it wasn’t for masks, cases may be even higher.

Public Health England figures show the majority of outbreaks between August and October were in schools and workplaces – environments where mask-wearing is low. Only children over 12 must wear a mask. They are allowed to take them off at their desks, while many workplaces do not enforce mask-wearing. Meanwhile pubs and restaurants, where mask-wearing is required and only small groups can gather, accounted for roughly five per cent of all outbreaks.

Another hotspot is inside each other’s homes, where people rarely wear masks.

The truth is, we don’t know for sure how much of an effect masks are having. ‘But common sense tells us it is worth doing,’ says Prof Whitworth.


New COVID-19 Vaccines, Same Sluggish FDA

In October, large portions of the United States began experiencing rapid increases in new COVID-19 cases. Many European countries have experienced a similar surge in cases, even after being devastated by severe COVID-19 outbreaks earlier this year.

Fearing the arrival of a second wave, several states reenacted various lockdown measures to curb spreading disease. Many European nations followed suit.

But necessity is the mother of innovation. And pathbreaking medical innovation has arrived.

On November 9th, Pfizer announced it had developed a more than 90 percent effective COVID-19 vaccine. A week later, Moderna released clinical trial findings indicating its COVID-19 vaccine was 95 percent effective. Stanely Plotkin, the inventor of the rubella vaccine, found Moderna’s results to be “extremely encouraging” and “show that the platform really works… and considering the speed with which the platform was put into operation, it’s an excellent result.”

Federal regulators agreed. On December 11th, the Food and Drug Administration’s advisory board granted emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. Centers for Disease Control Director Dr. Richard Redfield gave similar approval shortly after, making a COVID-19 vaccine available to distribute.

Barring any unforeseen setbacks, Pfizer expects to produce 15 to 20 million vaccines by the end of the year, including 2.9 million doses in the next week. Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine is also expected to receive approval soon, with the hopes of distributing another 20 million doses by the end of December.

Pfizer’s and Moderna’s swift development of an effective COVID-19 vaccine has generated widespread and well-deserved praise. An opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal argues the scientists who developed the vaccines deserve the Nobel Peace Prize for their discovery. An article in the Irish Examiner called the leadership of BioNTech, which partnered with Pfizer to develop the vaccine, “heroes of our time.”

Even more remarkable, according to an article published in New York magazine’s Intelligencer, is that Moderna’s vaccine was developed on January 13th, only two days after the vaccine’s genomic sequence was made public. This was even before COVID-19 reached the United States.

However, until the FDA approved the vaccine, it was not legally available to anyone not participating in clinical trials. This means, as the article’s title indicates, “we had the vaccine the whole time.”

A nearly eleven-month gap between the vaccine’s discovery and FDA approval is frustrating. Unfortunately, the FDA’s sluggishness to approve life-saving medication is nothing new even during a public health crisis.

From 2014-2016, the Ebola virus caused nearly 11,000 deaths across western Africa. Fortunately, scientists across the globe worked together to develop a vaccine in less than a year. The Ebola vaccine, however, did not receive FDA approval until 2019—four years after it was created.

But would medical scientists be able to quickly develop a safe and effective vaccine without the FDA’s oversight? Evidence from previous influenza pandemics suggests they can.

From 1957-1958, the 1958 influenza (often referred to as the Asian Flu) spread through the United States, infecting 20 million individuals and causing 116,000 deaths. At this time, the FDA held significantly less regulatory authority and did not regulate vaccines.

Similar to Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, medical scientists developed a vaccine for the 1958 influenza before the virus reached the United States. Without the FDA prolonging approval, cooperation between public health agencies and private vaccine developers were able to distribute 60 million doses of the vaccine during the first two months of the pandemic.

Consequently, hospitals were not overwhelmed and there was “no serious disruption of community life” during the 1957-1958 pandemic. As an article written at the time in the Journal of the American Medical Association noted, quick development, approval, and distribution of the vaccine “made it possible for a nation to organize in advance of an oncoming epidemic for the first time in history.”

The frustrating delay between the time when a COVID-19 vaccine was discovered and the day the FDA gave its approval should not overshadow the Pfizer and Moderna scientists’ remarkable achievement. Their pioneering discovery is truly phenomenal. However, acknowledging the harmfulness of the FDA’s delay in authorizing a COVID-19 vaccine can help implement better policy during future public health crises.

COVID-19 is deadly. But regulatory barriers can be, too.



North Carolina regulator Michael Regan to lead EPA (NPR)

Native American Rep. Deb Haaland — who smeared Covington students — to lead Interior Department (AP)

Biden's tapping of third House Democrat further narrows Pelosi's majority (National Review)

Georgia conducting statewide "signature match review" of absentee ballots (Daily Wire)

Newly declassified texts reveal FBI spied on Fox News during Crossfire Hurricane (American Greatness)

Parting shots: Tulsi Gabbard introduces another pro-life bill that bars abortion for pain-capable babies (Disrn)

Nuclear weapons agency hit by massive hacking campaign (American Military News)

U.S. to blacklist dozens of Chinese companies (Fox Business)

Mexico passes law limiting power of the DEA (Daily Mail)

Kamala Harris is calling for "commonsense" gun control. She means confiscation. (Washington Examiner)

ATF decision could lead to biggest gun registration, turn-in effort in American history (Free Beacon)

Smith & Wesson sues New Jersey — for FIRST Amendment violations (Free Beacon)

Minneapolis city council members revise history, now claim they never advocated defunding police (Daily Mail)

California's population growth rate at record low (CNBC)

Rutgers prof claims "language matters," then compares "death cult" GOP to "fecal matter" (Campus Reform)

North Face accused of virtue signaling for refusing oil-and-gas firm's jacket order (Washington Times)

North Carolina governor establishes "Gender Expansive Parents' Day" (Disrn)



Tuesday, December 22, 2020

New Study Shows Mask Mandates Had Zero Effect in Florida or Nationwide, But the Lie Continues

Obviously, no amount of evidence, data, trends, facts, studies, or science will ever convince most ‘public health officials’ that masks aren’t doing squat to stop the spread of COVID-19. Cases and deaths continue to spike (yes, many of these are super-sensitive PCR test-driven numbers, but still) despite the fact that well over 90% of the country are complying with their absurd mandates. Yet, predictably, the virus keeps going right on virusing, as highly contagious respiratory viruses, unfortunately, tend to do, especially once cold weather hits.

Nevertheless, those of us who are mask skeptics have a difficult chore in front of us. Given that most of the country is under a mask mandate of some form or another, we can point to spikes all day AFTER these mandates were put in place only to have our opponents simply say, “Look how bad it would have been WITHOUT masks!”

It’s a tough argument to counter given the fact that our overlords have sold masking as a low-cost, easy “solution” that’s totally worth it even if they “save one life,” or something (nevermind the health risks - let’s censor docs who talk about those!). So, how DO we prove that things wouldn’t have been worse without masks? One way is to look at data from the few free states remaining.

In Florida, for example, most counties have so far bravely refused to implement mask mandates while others, usually in high population centers, have done so. Justin Hart and the team at Rational Ground (follow them on Twitter here - it’s worth it) just released a comprehensive data analysis of masked vs non-masked counties in the state. A total of 22 of 67 counties in the state have implemented a mask order at some point during the period of May 1 through December 15. It may not sound like many, but these include almost all of Florida’s largest metro areas. To be more than fair, if an area added a mask order at some point during the outbreak, the study’s authors gave a 14 day period to allow time for cases to begin subsiding. “Cases were summed for both mandate and non-mandate jurisdictions and adjusted per 100,000 people for days the mandates were or were not in effect,” wrote the authors, describing the methodology used.

If masks did even close to as advertised, one would expect to see the counties that went maskless to be absolute dumpster fires next to the counties that implemented mandates, right? At the very least, the numbers should favor the masked areas by more than a percentage point or two. So, how did it go? Yep, it was the Mask Cult’s worse nightmare:

“When counties DID have a mandate in effect, there were 667,239 cases over 3,137 days with an average of 23 cases per 100,000 per day. When counties DID NOT have a countywide order, there were 438,687 cases over 12,139 days with an average of 22 cases per 100,000 per day.”

In other words, counties with mask-mandates in place actually did WORSE than those that refused to implement them. (Yeah, color me shocked.) The authors even accounted for population density in their analysis, suggesting that it didn’t have an impact on the numbers because four of the 12 most populous counties in Florida never had a countywide order. “When the eight DID have an order in effect, there were 64 cases per 1,000. In periods 11 of 12 DID NOT have one, there were 40,” they wrote.

“But that’s just Florida,” you say. “They’re weirdos anyway. Surely masks have worked in the rest of the country.” Well, I’m glad you asked! The good folks at Rational Ground went on to compare national numbers, pitting the states that resisted the urge to impose a statewide mask mandate against those that masked up. How did those compare?

“When states DID have a mandate in effect, there were 9,605,256 cases over 5,907 total days and averaged 27 cases per 100,000 per day. When states DID NOT have a statewide order there were 5,781,716 cases over 5,772 total days averaging 17 cases per 100,000 people per day.”

So there you have it, incontrovertible data evidence that mask mandates do little to nothing to stop or even slightly curb the spread of COVID-19. If masks were the answer, wouldn’t you expect to see a drop in cases not long after mask mandates are implemented? At the very least, wouldn’t you expect to see cases level off and STAY leveled off? What you would NOT expect would be what has actually happened, for cases to spike as they have done since November seemingly all across the country, regardless of whether or not a mandatory masking policy was in place.

Further, wouldn’t you also expect states and areas that MASKED HARRDERRR than anyone else, states like California that have the ‘bold leadership’ to insist the plebes under their control mask up outside on hiking trails and sitting alone in parks, to have the lowest case counts of all? Just look at the latest per capita numbers there compared to Florida and tell me with a straight face that mask mandates ‘work.’ As Dave Rubin adeptly pointed out earlier this month, Florida’s numbers “should be ten times higher” than California’s. I mean, nobody is asking for masks to work perfectly, but hell, shouldn’t we expect SOME performance?

Numbers and data like this get down to the brass tacks. We can pit our doctors, scientists, and epidemiologists against their doctors, scientists, and epidemiologists on the actual science behind whether forcing people to put a moist, bacteria & virus-laden piece of cloth over the holes through which they breathe actually works to contain a virus that’s infinitesimally smaller than its threads (and yes, there are plenty of doctors, scientists, and epidemiologists on Team Reality too, and a bunch of them are on this must-follow Twitter list!), but if mask-mandates aren’t actually WORKING to curb the spread, why do we have them in place?

It’s complete and utter nonsense, of course. You know it, I know it, and the powers-that-be likely know it too. So why do they insist on continuing the charade? Whatever it is, it has NOTHING to do with either public health or real science.


Rates of depression and suicide are spiking among children and young adults

COVID isn’t killing teenagers, but the response of government officials is certainly taking its toll as suicides increase and mental health declines. It’s no wonder. Every day, the mainstream media blares alert-style updates on the number of new coronavirus infections and deaths, almost as if it were giving the casualty statistics of an ongoing war. However, unlike a war, these “casualty” numbers have a 99.98% recovery rate with almost no lingering discernible damage from the infection. Time, of course, will tell even more. Either way, panic is what the media wants, and panic is what the media is generating.

Meanwhile, the massive collateral damage caused by many of the nation’s governors and their draconian edicts allegedly issued to combat the pandemic has been ignored and dismissed by much of the MSM as inconsequential compared to the “terrible” virus. In fact, those who raise objections to overbearing and illogical lockdowns and business restrictions are declared to be selfish and unconcerned for the health of their neighbors.

And yet nothing could be further from the truth. More and more information is coming in regarding the impact of the COVID response on Americans’ mental health, and the information is extremely concerning. One of the saddest realities that has emerged is the deadly impact the shutdowns have had on those Americans least endangered by COVID — children and teenagers.

With many schools being locked down over fears of being vectors for spreading the virus, students have had to endure seemingly unending and logic-confounding isolation from peers and teachers. And the results, especially for high school students, have been especially devastating.

A study out of the University of Wisconsin found that nearly 68% of 3,243 high school student athletes polled reported greater anxiety and depression levels that usually require medical intervention — a nearly 40% increase over previous studies. Furthermore, physical activity levels of students are 50% lower than prior to the pandemic, a factor that only adds to depression. A recent survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that one in four teenagers questioned had thought about committing suicide in the past 30 days. All too many have actually done so.

These factors may explain why Tim McGuine, the lead researcher in Wisconsin’s study, concluded, “The greatest risk [to student athletes] is not covid-19. It’s suicide and drug use.”

Democrats have long loved to sell their Big Government programs with claims of doing it “for the children.” They self-righteously proclaim the virtue of their position while vilifying any opposition as uncaring and selfish. Such has been the case with COVID. How many times have Democrats claimed that those who reject their mask claims are “uncaring” or, even worse, want to spread the virus? Similarly, any suggestion that the damage from the lockdowns is worse than COVID is met with a Democrat-led cacophony of ridicule and anger for daring to question “the science.” Meanwhile, children are suffering and dying because of the abuse of authoritarian “do-gooders.”


Obama’s Latest Autobiography Rewrites Israeli History to Make You Hate the Jewish State

Obama portrays Britain and then Israel as occupying powers in Palestine, without ever explaining who actually owned the land they were and are supposedly occupying. He makes no mention of the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine. As The Palestinian Delusion explains in detail, the Mandate directed the British to encourage “close settlement by Jews on the land” for “the establishment of the Jewish national home.” What gave the League the right to do such a thing? The dying Ottoman Empire had ceded Palestine to the League in 1918. Jews had lived in that land from time immemorial, and it was otherwise sparsely populated. It was a perfect place for the Jews who faced discrimination, harassment and worse in Europe and elsewhere to settle.

Thus the common assumption, which Obama fosters, that the Israelis are illegitimate occupiers of a land that belongs rightly to the Palestinians, founders on the facts. There never was a Palestinian state. No Palestinian king, or emperor, or president. There never was a Palestinian nationality or ethnicity distinct from the nationality and ethnicity of the Arabs of the region. Palestine, like Staten Island or Georgetown, was always the name of a region, not a nation-state or ethnonational home.

Obama also claims that the Jews “organized highly trained armed forces to defend their settlements,” without mentioning that in 1919, a Muslim leader, Amin al-Husseini, a member of a prominent Arab clan in Jerusalem, orchestrated a series of attacks on Jews all over Palestine. The following year, he instigated riots in Jerusalem during Passover. Amid mass looting and rapes, six Jews were murdered and over two hundred more injured. A court of inquiry found that “the Jews were the victims of a peculiarly brutal and cowardly attack, the majority of the casualties being old men, women and children.”

This violence was ongoing. In August 1929 in Jerusalem, rioting Arabs murdered 133 Jews and injured over two hundred more, many in their homes. In Hebron, they murdered another sixty-seven Jews, and in Safed, twenty more. The British government-appointed Shaw Commission found that the riots “took the form, in the most part, of a vicious attack by Arabs on Jews accompanied by wanton destruction of Jewish property.” Obama mentions none of this.

His description of the birth of the State of Israel is no more fair or accurate: “As Britain withdrew, the two sides quickly fell into war. And with Jewish militias claiming victory in 1948, the state of Israel was officially born.”

The “two sides” were actually tiny Israel against the giant massed forces of Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Transjordan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia. They didn’t “fall into war”; the Arab League declared war immediately after Israel declared its independence. Obama’s use of the term “militias” to describe the Israel Defense Forces is doubtless chosen for its resonance with the right-wing, racist, white supremacist militias that American Leftists hysterically imagine to be stalking the land.

Even worse, Obama claims that “for the next three decades, Israel would engage in a succession of conflicts with its Arab neighbors.” One would get no hint from his account of the fact that Israel “would engage” in all these conflicts not out of some imperialist or supremacist impulse, but because each and every time, Arab forces carried out an unprovoked attack against the Jewish state. But Obama appears determined to portray Israel as the aggressor, trusting in the general ignorance of his readership.

Obama’s animus toward Israel is so great that he even calls the Temple Mount “one of Islam’s holiest sites,” without ever mentioning its central importance in Judaism.

A Promised Land thus includes a concise primer for Leftists to remind them of why they must hate Israel. As Obama’s dotty old puppet prepares to enter the Oval Office, this is not a good sign for America’s alliance with Israel, or for peace in the Middle East.



Naturally, attorney general candidates won't be asked about Hunter Biden (NY Post)

Trump campaign takes fight over Pennsylvania election, ballot laws to Supreme Court (Fox News)

Georgia Senate runoffs see more than 1.3 million ballots already cast (Fox News)

Tennessee governor enacts restrictions on social gatherings but rightfully forgoes mask mandate (Fox News)

London under full lockdown as UK struggles to contain new COVID strain (National Review)

Overdoses hit record 81,230 in single year (Disrn) | Memo to Pelosi: Overdose deaths far outpace COVID deaths in San Francisco (AP)

After government hack, media mum on ex-cybersecurity chief highlighted for contradicting Trump's fraud claims (Fox News)

New York Times quotes leftist who wants to withhold COVID vaccinations from the elderly since "older populations are whiter" and to "level the playing field" (NTB)

Straight from the source: Bill de Blasio says mission is to "redistribute wealth" in school system (Fox News)

Seattle district claims the U.S. education system is guilty of "spirit murder" against black children (City Journal)

DOJ accuses Zoom executive of leaking user data to Beijing officials (Disrn)

Congress to approve $1.375 billion for border wall in 2021 (The Hill)

"Big Tech was a huge part of why Biden won the election. It will receive its reward." —Keith Koffler

Judge rules San Diego County strip club ruling also protects eateries (Fox News)

NYC restaurants band together to ban Andrew Cuomo from dining in their establishments (Examiner)

Not identifying sex on birth certificates pushed in New England Journal of Medicine (National Review)

Judge rules Wisconsin inmate convicted of sexually abusing daughter has constitutional right to taxpayer-funded sex reassignment surgery (Washington Examiner)

Rick Warren and Saddleback Church host "blacks only" worship service (NTB)

Policy: The Left has now fully embraced racism (The Federalist)



Monday, December 21, 2020

'Show us the evidence': Scientists call for clarity on claim that new Covid-19 variant strain is 70% more contagious

Boris Johnson was last night urged to publish clear evidence of the Covid data he used to cancel Christmas for millions.

The Prime Minister has warned the new variant of coronavirus may be up to 70 per cent more transmissible than previous strains and could overwhelm the NHS.

But last night one scientist demanded greater transparency over the number that shut down swathes of the UK.

Carl Heneghan, Professor of Evidence Based Medicine at Oxford University's Nuffield Department of Primary Care, expressed scepticism over the 70 per cent figure.

He said: 'I've been doing this job for 25 years and I can tell you can't establish a quantifiable number in such a short time frame.'

He added 'every expert is saying it's too early to draw such an inference'.

Professor Heneghan said there was no doubt this time of the year, the 'height of the viral season', was a difficult time for the NHS. But he said failure to put out the basis of the figures was undermining public trust.

He added: 'I would want to have very clear evidence rather than 'we think it's more transmissible' so we can see if it is or not.

'It has massive implications, it's causing fear and panic, but we should not be in this situation when the Government is putting out data that is unquantifiable.'

He added: 'They are fitting the data to the evidence. They see cases rising and they are looking for evidence to explain it.'

The new variant was found on September 20 in Kent.

By mid-November, 28 per cent of cases in London were attributable to it. And in the week starting December 9, it was responsible for 62 per cent.

Professor Heneghan said that if it was true the new variant was more transmissible 'we should be locking down the whole country' as people leaving the capital to avoid restrictions would spread it.

Announcing the new Tier Four restrictions, Boris Johnson blamed the new Covid strain and said 'it may be up to 70 per cent more transmissible than the old variant'.

He also said the new virus could boost the reproduction rate – known as R – by 0.4. When R is above 1 the virus is increasing. If it is below 1, it is decreasing.

Mr Johnson said the figure, which came from analysis by government advisory body The New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), was 'early data' and 'subject to review'. But he added: 'It's the best we have at the moment.

'We have to act on information as we have it because this is spreading very fast.'

Peter Horby, chairman of Nervtag and Professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health at the University of Oxford, said the figure of 70 per cent was based on 'converging data'.

He said: 'This is including, but not limited to, the rate of change in the frequency of detection of the variant (the growth rate) and the correlation between R values and the frequency of detection of the new variant.'

Minutes from the Nervtag meeting from December 18 said they had 'moderate confidence' that the new variant, known as VUI-202012/01, 'demonstrates a substantial increase in transmissibility compared to other variants'.

The variant demonstrated exponential growth when national lockdown measures were in place, the minutes added.


Australian Bureau of Statistics: Australian deaths, 1 January to 27 October 2020

The coronavirus has actually SAVED lives. It has wiped out some of the elderly but the rest of the population is doing fine

Deaths have been lower than average during the winter months in 2020.

Respiratory disease deaths have been lower than historical minimums since June.

Throughout this report, counts of deaths for 2020 are compared to an average number of deaths recorded over the previous 5 years (2015-2019). These average or baseline counts serve as a proxy for the expected number of deaths, so comparisons against baseline counts can provide an indication of excess mortality. The minimum and maximum counts from 2015-19 are also included to provide an indication of the range of previous counts. Minimums and maximums for any given week can be from any of the five years from 2015-19.

Deaths remained below historical averages since mid May, although the difference temporarily narrowed in late July and mid August. The number of deaths typically declines during spring with the end of the influenza season. Despite the lack of a severe 2020 influenza season, the number of deaths has followed traditional patterns, declining during the spring months.

Deaths were below the historical minimum range for most of June and July, late August and since mid September. Between 3 June and 27 October, there have been 57,939 deaths, 3,388 below the average of 61,327.


Rep. Kevin Hern: Capitalism pulled me out of poverty, why can't AOC admit it saved her, too?

It is well-documented that my colleague, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., worked in the service industry before running for Congress. It’s part of the reason why she gained so much traction with young people in her party.

To be honest, I admire her ambition and think it should be applauded that she has found such success. It’s only possible in America.

What’s less well-known is that she is far from the first person to make that economic jump and that there are several sitting members of Congress who come from much poorer backgrounds and worked their way to prosperity.

No one wants to talk about it because we’re conservative. We believe that capitalism is what pulled us out of poverty and we want to maintain that system for future Americans.

The beauty of America is that anything is possible. No matter what economic class you are born into, there is an opportunity to turn yourself into anything, if you are willing to work for it. There’s no limit to what you can achieve with a big idea and a strong work ethic.

There are not many people in Congress who can testify to that statement quite like I can.

For many years of my childhood, we didn’t have electricity or running water, because my mom and stepdad couldn’t afford to pay the bill.

I remember coming home from elementary school not knowing if we’d have food for dinner most nights. I was mocked by my classmates for my worn-out clothes. I was looked down on for receiving free lunches at school. We were constantly moving from house to house because my stepdad never made the rent.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and I walked through similar doors of opportunity, a door called capitalism, but she wants to permanently shut that door to everyone behind her.

That didn’t stop me from dreaming. In fact, it motivated me. It inspired me to work so hard that my future family would never live like that.

To that end, I went to work and I worked hard. I earned an architectural drafting certificate while still in high school to earn money for college. I earned a degree in engineering and started working in aerospace.

My career took a detour when the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up, changing the aerospace industry forever. I was out of a job and didn’t know what was next when I first learned about the opportunities available as a McDonald’s franchisee.

What AOC and far-left have done for Democrats: SmithVideo
I spent 10 years flipping burgers at McDonald's while saving up $100,000 to buy my first restaurant in the franchise system. I wasn’t just flipping burgers, though. I worked every role in the store, from the cash register to the fryer to the drive-through.

I was learning the management side as well, every aspect of running a McDonald's. In my spare time, what little I had, I was writing code, developing real estate, pig farming – any small job I could do to save up for that first restaurant.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez likes to tell people that Republicans make fun of her for being a waitress, but you can imagine the condescending comments and ridicule I get for McDonald’s?

No doubt about it, I’m the butt of endless jokes. People call me the ‘McCongressman’ and trivialize my real-world experience because it’s tied to the golden arches.

It doesn’t bother me because the McDonald’s franchise program helped me realize my American Dream. I’ve embraced the nickname ‘Big Mac’ and I share my ‘secret sauce’ to success with anyone who wants to listen.

America is a one-of-a-kind place. We are lucky to live in a land of opportunity, where someone like me can build a multi-million-dollar company after growing up with absolutely nothing, where someone like Rep. Ocasio-Cortez can bartend one day and be elected to Congress the next.

She and I walked through similar doors of opportunity, a door called capitalism, but she wants to permanently shut that door to everyone behind her.

The American Dream is achievable for those who are willing to work for it. The same opportunities I had 40 years ago are still available today, but they’re in danger.

We must fiercely protect and defend those opportunities from socialist policies that would destroy us in pursuit of ill-conceived ideas that have repeatedly destroyed the countries who employ them.

What we’re seeing in California and New York under hypocritical COVID mandates is the future that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and her colleagues want.

The American entrepreneurial spirit will be crushed under their policies and the American Dream will die a tragic death.

It’s easy to promote impossible ideas and ride them to fame, but the danger comes when people expect you to act on them; you can never live up to those promises. Socialism has long been a dirty word because of the very real destruction it has caused across the globe.

Nevertheless, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez wants you to believe that this time will be different. We can’t afford to find out.



Sunday, December 20, 2020

2020: The Year We Lost The Plot

Rob Slane

“Our Government, along with Governments around the world will shortly announce the quarantining of whole populations for a seasonal respiratory virus which leaves 99.8-99.9% of those who get it in the land of the living. What is more, they will also announce a shutdown of the entire economy for months and then, when the epidemic has actually gone, will mandate that you cover the lower half of your face with a bit of cloth. They will do this by frightening people into compliance with a barrage of propaganda, slogans, data entirely taken out of context, and the threat of massive fines.”

Anyone making this claim at the beginning of the year would rightly have been thought to have mislaid the plot and their marbles, long ago. But here we are, at the end of that same year, and it is precisely what has happened.

Only it is much worse than that.

Had you somehow been persuaded to give credence to this insane prophecy, you would probably have been comforted by the following thought: “They’ll never get away with it. The people will never stand for it.”

Not a bit of it. Somehow, millions of people across the country, and in fact across the world, were persuaded to accept it. By far the majority somehow thought that quarantining whole nations of healthy people for a virus, for the first time in history, was a good idea. Well, actually the second time in history to be precise. It was tried in 2009 by the Mexican Government during the Swine Flu outbreak, but they had the good sense to end it after a couple of weeks after realising how much it would devastate the country.

Yet not only do we have our imaginary conspiracy loon’s mad ravings come true, but those same people who have accepted it look upon those of us who have been pointing out the madness of it all as if we were those who had taken leave of our senses. Oh irony, thou hast had a field day in 2020. As St. Antony the Great put it:

“A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him, saying, ‘You are mad; you are not like us.’”

To cut to the chase, we have gone and thrown out reason, rationality and proportionality this year. A coronavirus, which posed a danger to a very small proportion of our society, but which actually has an Infection Fatality Rate of around 0.2% – 0.26% (not too dissimilar to a bad seasonal flu), and which could thus have been dealt with proportionality, somehow became the catalyst for the biggest mass hysteria in the history of the human race. Indeed, many were so taken in by the great hypnotic spell set in motion by charlatans with their “hard-hitting emotional messaging,” that they adopted practices so irrational and disproportionate to the threat, one wonders how they managed to live before this year.

The history books tell of one of our great Kings, Canute, demonstrating to his courtiers that contrary to their supposition, he could not in fact control the waves. In our day, it’s like King Canute has gone rogue, telling his subjects that he can control the waves and viruses, and his subjects have responded by not only believing him, but by taking any action he tells them they must do to stop the waves or the virus, including confining themselves to their homes, closing their businesses, wearing cloths on their faces, along with umpteen other truly bizarre and wholly useless diktats. Then, when the waves or the virus continue doing what waves and viruses do, a wave of Covidian Logic bursts over us and we find it is our fault that they have not been controlled. We didn’t shut down hard enough or long enough, or we played board games at Christmas.

In the real world, the only thing that got controlled this year was not a virus, but people. That all went off spiffingly, or spaffingly as Comrade Johnson might put it. People were suppressed, people were controlled, people were — you might say — owned. And by and large they acquiesced in putting their hand to this National Suicide Plan.

Of course, the reply that comes the way of anyone who points this out is:

“Ah, but if we hadn’t locked down and masked up, the deaths would have been in the hundreds of thousands.”

To which the answer is simply:

“Nope. Lockdown cannot be shown to have saved a single life.”

Sweden, by not turning itself into a basketcase, failed to have the anything like wave of mass deaths predicted by the Enthusiasts for Lockdown. Nor did other nations that took a similar approach. A recent peer-reviewed study from France, looking at 188 countries, has confirmed what should have been obvious all along:

“Stringency of the measures settled to fight pandemia, including lockdown, did not appear to be linked with death rate.”

Then of course there was the Danish RCT study, which showed no significant statistical difference between infection rates of those wearing surgical masks, and those with no masks.

Imagine that!

Imagine that we were put under house arrest for months, made to cover our respiratory passages with bits of cloth, forced to alter our lives, and threatened with fines for non-compliance — and none of it made any difference to mortality.

Imagine that this Government and Parliament caused the complete shutdown of the economy for months, putting millions on the dole, wrecking 1,000s of businesses, causing the worst recession for 300 years, and piling up a future of debt, poverty, mental health issues and reduced life expectancy — and none of it saved any lives.

Imagine that we are still in this situation, with people still acquiescing in the destruction of their own country, the Government and media still feeding us lies, and with no real plausible end to this madness.

Actually, you have no need to imagine it. Even though it is so outlandish that even the most unhinged, basement-dwelling “conspiracy nut” on the planet could not have come up with this, it is indeed the year you just lived through. We lost the plot in 2020, and the most pressing question is: will we get it back in 2021?



Trump's Legacy: Blacks, Hispanics, and Blue-Collar Workers

The president's performance wasn't historic, but it was an improvement.

One of President Donald Trump’s many achievements is the way he shifted the demographics of the country’s electorate with his unique appeal. There are three key demographics that, for the last half-century or so, have been particularly tough for Republicans: blacks, Hispanics, and blue-collar workers. Trump made inroads with all three groups for a lot of overlapping reasons. And he gained among minorities while being slandered as a “racist” almost daily by the mainstream media. In many ways, this shift IS the Trump legacy.

Caveat: Ballot harvesting and bulk-mail balloting skewed a lot of things in the 2020 election, so, as always, keep that in mind with any discussion of results.

Call us crazy, but it’s almost like the color of someone’s skin or the amount of money they earn doesn’t automatically determine their political interests. In fact, most humans simply want jobs to provide for their families, economic security, and a culture and country they feel they belong in. Democrats win votes by dividing people along those lines and fomenting hate. Trump won them by bringing voters into the big tent. He continuously spoke to blacks, Latinos, and blue-collar workers in kitchen-table terms.

For blacks, Trump had the guts to ask for their votes in 2016, essentially asking, What do you have to lose? He continued to court the black vote in 2020. And why not? What president in recent memory had actually done more for blacks? 

Trump advocated school choice (which Democrats and their teacher-union backers hate) and increased funding for historically black colleges and universities. He pushed through significant criminal justice reform, which in large part undid the over-incarceration effects of legislation written by the 1990s version of Senator Joe Biden. President Trump advocated economic-empowerment zones and the “Platinum Plan,” which were just part of the policy agenda specifically designed to increase black employment. Prior to the pandemic, Trump’s presidency saw the lowest black unemployment on record.

That resulted in winning the votes of 9% of black women and 19% of black men — 12% overall, and a big improvement from his 8% showing in 2016. To put it in perspective, however, that’s not a historic achievement. While Trump did improve upon his own showing four years ago and upon that of Mitt Romney and John McCain (who ran against an incredibly popular black man), he only matched Bob Dole in 1996 (12%) and he fell short of the black vote (as a percentage) won by Ronald Reagan (14% in 1980), Gerald Ford (17% in 1976), and Richard Nixon (15% in 1968).

Hispanics have not been nearly as one-sided for Democrats as blacks, but Republicans still struggle to reach Latinos. Surely the “racist” wall-builder Trump, who “wants to keep out all the Mexicans,” wouldn’t gain among Hispanics, would he? Yes, he would. Heck, Trump even carried Zapata County, Texas, which is on the Mexican border and may be the most heavily Hispanic county in the nation.

As it turns out, being Hispanic doesn’t mean automatically and unthinkingly demanding open borders, as Democrats now seem to think. It also doesn’t mean you’re automatically a ward of the state, as Democrats seem to think.

Hispanics have families and want jobs to provide for them. The ones who went to the trouble of emigrating legally (or who have been here for generations) don’t want to compete for those jobs with low-wage illegals, regardless of their nation of origin. They have that in common with blacks.

Our Louis DeBroux wrote in January, “By assuming Hispanics will always vote Democrat and are driven primarily by immigration, Democrats are making little effort to understand the other issues that are important to Hispanic voters. Those include good jobs, a decent education for their children, the rising cost of college, affordable housing for their families, etc.”

A lot of Hispanics from nations like Cuba or Venezuela are terrified of Democrat socialism. They’ve seen it before, and it’s why they fled their home countries. You don’t board a makeshift raft and cross an ocean only to vote for the same policies you fled.

Trump’s pitch was simple: He was far preferable to the alternative. “Joe Biden has spent 47 years betraying the Hispanic American community totally,” he said, “sending their jobs to China, raising taxes on their families and small businesses, making their communities less safe, attacking their values, and trapping their children in failing government schools.” Trump worked to do the opposite of every one of those things, and an increasing number of Hispanics rewarded him with their votes — 47% of Hispanics in Texas went for Trump, for example, and according to Bloomberg, “he took 61% of Miami-Dade’s 482 majority-Latino precincts, up from 26% of them in 2016.” Nationwide, Trump won 32% of the Latino vote, up from 28% in 2016. That’s not the best ever for a Republican, as Ronald Reagan won 37% and 34%, respectively, and George W. Bush netted 35% and 34%, respectively. But, again, Trump saw improvement over recent Republican presidential performance.

Non-whites overall? Trump got 26% of their votes. Only George W. Bush outperformed that in 2004 with 28%.

Interestingly, however, according to Breitbart, Trump lost ground with whites: “President Donald Trump won 64 percent of white people who did not graduate from college in the 2020 election — which is down from his 70 percent share of those voters in 2016.” And he lost “roughly 4.5 million votes” among the “white/college-grad” segment.

Worst white supremacist president ever.

Blue-collar workers of any race — the hourly workers at your local grocery store, the servers at your local restaurant, the factory workers who made your car — have traditionally voted Democrat. Beginning at least with FDR’s “New Deal,” it was Democrats who were perceived to be “for the little guy,” who pushed for higher wages and better benefits. Somewhere along the line, however, Democrats forgot that and began pushing for speech codes, race (bait) training, and gender confusion in the workplace, and then shut down the country, costing many of those workers their jobs.

It was Barack Obama who called us “bitter clingers,” Hillary Clinton who dubbed us “deplorables,” and Joe Biden who derided the “chumps” voting for Trump. Leftist elitist contempt for the average American has only increased over the years, and, by golly, the average American noticed.

As our Douglas Andrews aptly put it, “Democrats are now the elites, the paternalists, the Chardonnay-sippers, the theater-goers, the media darlings, the foundation favorites, the advanced-degree types, and the party preferred by Wall Street. Republicans, on the other hand, have welcomed in the workers, the grinders, the hog butchers, the middle-managers, the guys and gals in the field and on the shop floor. The Republican Party is diverse, but the common thread is Patriotism. We love our country, and we don’t apologize for it.”

Lisa Lerer of The New York Times looked at blue-collar workers and found some “striking” results: “Of the 265 counties most dominated by blue-collar workers — areas where at least 40 percent of employed adults have jobs in construction, the service industry or other nonprofessional fields — Mr. Biden won just 15.” In other words, Scranton Joe underperformed among this cohort, and if he can’t win among these voters, what Democrat can?

Indeed, Donald Trump, the blue-collar billionaire, set about to get government out of our way by lowering taxes and reducing regulation. He battled the media over its gross bias, effectively revealing their tarnished reputation forever with the “fake news” moniker. He challenged the condescension from coastal elites and put a stop to divisive swamp-think like Critical Race Theory training in federal agencies. He undid bathroom mandates and rejected speech codes. In other words, he fought the same culture battles your average, er, Joe is out there fighting in the heartland.

As George Hawley and Richard Hanania write at National Review, “Cultural concerns, not economic interests or policy preferences, were the real dividing line in 2016, and remain so today.”

To sum it all up, what Trump accomplished was to significantly broaden the base of the GOP. If other Republicans can learn the right lessons from that, even Trump’s loss will provide a template for future victories.