Saturday, April 03, 2021


I have just been diagnosed with advanced stomach cancer. They wanted to admit me to hospital straight away but I am so far resisting that. If I am hospitalized, however, that may be the end of my blogging.


The resegregation of America

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to ignore a growing, insidious ethos overtaking America’s most powerful institutions.

Individual merit and reasoned debate are out. “Lived experience” and the hierarchy of group grievance are now what matter most.

Even truth is considered meaningless. Narratives are everything.

The concept of fundamental human equality, derived from ideas at the heart of America’s founding and famously rearticulated by civil rights champion Martin Luther King Jr. in his “I Have a Dream” speech, is now being replaced by the enforced “equity” of the woke.

The end result, ironically, is the resegregation of America.

This new woke ideology, building on critical race theory, not only rejects the concept that people should be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character, it increasingly also embraces actual governmental race-based discrimination.

The evidence of this shift is everywhere.

To no one’s surprise, segregation is popular on modern college campuses, where these ideas originally bubbled up. Many schools, such as New York University, have been besieged with demands for racially segregated student housing, despite that being likely illegal.

Columbia University is now offering segregated graduation ceremonies for various racial and gender identity groups. Columbia, an Ivy League school, insists that these segregated ceremonies are all voluntary and in addition to the larger, integrated ceremony, but who’s to say that will continue?

By next year, would it be a surprise to see schools all over the country copy this practice?

Such ideas are coming to corporate America, too.

Proposition 16 in California, which would have officially brought back race-based affirmative action to the state, was rejected by voters. But it was widely supported by a gaggle of corporations, nonprofit groups, and well-connected billionaires.

Voters may balk at race-based discrimination, but woke corporations are seemingly happy to inject racial categories in their business models.

Open up an app for food-delivery services, such as Uber Eats, for instance, and you will likely see a section for “black-owned businesses.”

Are we now going to start choosing our dinner by racial group rather than by cuisine?

Such moves to create a more racialized society would be bad enough if they were only limited to college campuses and the practices of woke businesses, but they are disturbingly being incorporated into government policy, too.

Two Democratic senators recently said that they would no longer vote to confirm “non-diversity” nominees for federal government posts.

“I am a ‘no’ vote on the floor, on all non-diversity nominees,” said Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., “You know, I will vote for racial minorities, and I will vote for LGBTQ, but anybody else, I’m not voting for.”

Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, concurred with Duckworth.

“We’re not just calling for [Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders],” Hirono said. “This is not about pitting one diversity group against them. So, I’m happy to vote for a Hispanic or black person and LGBTQ person and AAPI person.”

So, they’d vote to confirm any nominee—as long as he wasn’t straight and white.

Duckworth and Hirono eventually backed down from that stance, but the threat was telling.

Qualifications are irrelevant. Racial discrimination is good, as long as you discriminate against the right people.

The efforts to place identity before all other considerations do not just stop at those who can serve in government.

Several senators have floated legislation to create race-based programs that would direct funding toward specific racial groups. The Biden administration is backing the creation of a commission to investigate the possibility of reparations for slavery.

Cities are experimenting with race-based laws, too.

Libby Schaaf, the mayor of Oakland, California, announced that the city will be creating a universal basic income program in partnership with a nonprofit organization that will only give money to “black, indigenous, and other people of color,” according to KPIX-TV, the CBS affiliate in the Bay Area.

The program, which will give $500 a month to 600 low-income families for 18 months, was justified by supporters as based on statistical poverty disparities among racial groups.

The money for the program will come from Blue Meridian Partners, a philanthropic organization.

That opens up a few questions, beyond just its legality.

Will American citizens now need to take a genetic test to qualify for government services?

After all, we live in an age where gender is supposedly “fluid,” but race and culture, we’re told, are absolute.

Also, what exactly does a group disparity or statistic mean to anyone living in poverty who doesn’t qualify as a “person of color”?

You won’t receive aid, but there’s good news: You’re helping the government create more equity by being poor. Congratulations!

As my colleague Mike Gonzalez wrote for City Journal, many of these proposals are likely unconstitutional and illegal violations of the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause and Titles VI and VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

That clearly won’t stop the woke from pushing them on Americans anyway.

“The woke Left understands that, as written and amended, the Constitution stands in the way of many of the things that it wants to do,” Gonzalez wrote. “This is why the Left has set about to cast the Constitution as illegitimate by, for example, purposely mischaracterizing the three-fifths compromise, pretending that the document perpetuated slavery, or calling it, as Kendi does, a ‘colorblind Constitution for a White-supremacist America.’”

That’s a reference to Ibram X. Kendi, a so-called anti-racist intellectual who has become massively popular in media and in higher-education circles.

Kendi aims to redefine racism as a collective, systemic act, rather than an individual one; denounces the concept of a colorblind society; and argues that racial discrimination can be good—as long as it’s pointed in the right direction.

Whether you’ve heard of Kendi or not, his ideas are now everywhere and are being delivered in a steady and growing dose to Americans and other people throughout the West.

America hasn’t always lived up to the promise of equality laid out in the Declaration of Independence. Slavery and segregation ran alongside our institutions and culture of liberty.

But the founding generation designed our system to bend toward justice and the truth. In time, we have built upon our cornerstone of freedom and corrected our flaws as a nation.

The intellectual vanguards of wokeness and critical race theory demand that the most fundamental aspects of self-government and preservation of individual rights be abandoned to serve the cause of destroying “systemic racism.”

Arguing to the contrary may be racist and, if Kendi gets his way, practically illegal—at least illegal for anyone in a position of power.

So, not only is America to be resegregated, but unlike in our past—when the American people were persuaded and freely chose to abandon and prohibit race-based policies—this time we will have no choice, and will simply be at the whim of woke apparatchiks.

Today, we may be debating whether our national origin is 1776 or 1619, but if our current course continues, our future will look more like 1917, the year of the communist Russian Revolution. For one group to rise, another must come down.

Race will simply replace class as the prime motivator of the revolution and eventual tyranny.

What we will end up with is misery, recriminations, and segregation now, tomorrow, and forever.



"It's everywhere": Parents group fights left-wing indoctrination in schools (Washington Times)

Meet Brian Auten, the Russiagate prober who couldn't verify anything in the Steele dossier yet said nothing for years (RealClearInvestigations)

Congressman Matt Gaetz claims sex trafficking investigation is extortion attempt (UPI)

Biden admin formalizes genocide declaration in China while also preposterously rebuking Trump's religious liberty and pro-life priorities (Washington Post)

Texas migrant child detention facility at a mind-boggling 1,600% capacity amid border surge (National Review)

Arizona sheriff says illegal border crossings may be underreported by 300% (PJ Media)

Russia suspected of stealing thousands of State Department emails (Politico)

Cancel culture: GoFundMe yanks page run by Virginia parents fighting woke curriculum (Free Beacon)

Meanwhile, legislators in neighboring state override governor's veto of school choice bill; Kentucky is now the 28th state with some form of school choice (Reason)

Sad irony: Philadelphia shooting results in death of man working on video about city's violence (Fox News)

Adding insult to injury: Man busted for attack on Asian woman was on parole for killing his mom (NY Post)

Democracy dies with communism: China sharply reduces elected seats in Hong Kong legislature (AP)

An inconvenient truth: Three million masks get tossed out every minute and it's killing wildlife everywhere. Here are some photos of the damage. (Not the Bee)

The global gender gap will take an extra 36 years to close after the COVID pandemic, report finds (Time)

Policy: In a rebuke to teachers unions, school choice is going gangbusters in the states (Daily Signal)

Policy: Washington should steer clear of tax on vehicle miles traveled (Daily Signal)

Social engineering: Military re-allowing "transgender" troops to serve openly and "transition" on the taxpayer dole (U.S. News & World Report)

Friendly fire: Biden earns "Four Pinocchios" for false claim about Georgia voting law (Fox News)

The coronavirus was the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2020 (Axios)

Pfizer says its vaccine is 100% effective in children ages 12-15 (ABC News)

Shipments of Johnson & Johnson vaccine halted after 15 million doses are ruined by human error (The Hill)

Democrat Rita Hart finally drops challenge to results of Iowa race, concedes to Marianette Miller-Meeks (Daily Caller)

Derek Chauvin trial: Key witness to invoke the 5th Amendment, refuses to testify (Fox News)

Brown University students vote in favor of reparations to "atone" for abolitionist founder (Free Beacon)

Policy: Take "SALT limit" repeal with a truckload of salt (Issues & Insights)

Policy: Restoring the Founders' original vision for our constitutional republic (Daily Signal)

Satire: Parents disguising kids as illegal immigrants so they can receive in-person teaching (Babylon Bee)




Friday, April 02, 2021

Pfizer Covid vaccine 'is 100% effective against South African variant, beats Brazilian strain' AND works for at least six months

Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine is still 91 percent effective at preventing COVID-19, offers six months of protection and does work against worrisome South African variant, new firm data reveal.

In fact, the shot was 100 percent effective in preventing illness among trial participants in South Africa, where a new variant called B1351 is dominant, although the number of those participants was relatively small at 800.

Dr Anthony Fauci called the results 'really very encouraging,' in a Thursday CBS interview.

While the new overall efficacy rate of 91.3 percent is lower than the 95 percent originally reported in November for its 44,000-person trial, a number of variants have become more prevalent around the world since then.

However, the shot was more effective in the U.S., preventing nearly 93 percent of symptomatic infections.

Pfizer previously only had data to suggest the shot's protection lasted nine months. The new data is the largest real-world test of the shot since its approval and doubles the duration of vaccine immunity.

It comes at a critical moment, when variants are taking hold in the U.S., and as the nation will look to Pfizer and Moderna to make up for ten of millions of doses of Johnson & Johnson's one-shot vaccine lost to human error.

To-date, the U.S. has given one or more vaccine doses to nearly 30 percent of Americans and more than 16 percent of people are fully vaccinated

Pfizer's Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said the updated results, which includes data on more than 12,000 people fully inoculated for at least six months, positions the drugmakers to submit for full U.S. regulatory approval.

The vaccine is currently authorized on an emergency basis by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The trial data 'provide the first clinical results that a vaccine can effectively protect against currently circulating variants, a critical factor to reach herd immunity and end this pandemic for the global population,' Ugur Sahin, chief executive officer at BioNTech, said in a statement.

Experts fear new variants of COVID-19 from South Africa and Brazil may be resistant to existing vaccines and treatment.

More than 300 cases of the South African variant have been detected in more than 25 U.S. states and jurisdictions, according to federal data.

Pfizer and University of Birmingham researchers found that the the vaccine triggers protective antibodies against the Brazil variant.

In Pfizer's real-world study, the vaccine was 100 percent effective in preventing severe disease and death in the small South African trial, and 95.3 percent effective in preventing severe disease in the overall trials.

It was 91.3 percent effective at preventing symptomatic infection, overall.

Researchers identified 927 total cases of COVID-19 among the more than 46,000 members of the original trial.

Of those, 850 cases were in people who received a placebo shot. Just 77 infections were found among the participants who got the real vaccine.

The shot's efficacy was even higher in the U.S., where just 50 of the 697 total COVID-19 cases occurred in people who got the vaccine. The remaining cases were among participants who got the placebo shot.

Based on those results, the shot was 92.6 percent effective in the U.S.

All nine COVID-19 cases that arose among the 800 South African participants were in the placebo group.

South Africa's variant appeared in lab tests to dull the effects of antibodies triggered by vaccines in the lab, prompting alarm worldwide that the variant would render a year of frantic shot development useless.

The variant, known as B1351, is now dominant in South Africa and has spread to many other countries - including the U.S. and UK, but is not dominant in most other regions -

In fact, AstraZeneca shot performed so poorly against the South African variant that the nation gave its allocation away.

Pfizer's latest findings bring a sigh of relief that the vaccine will still work against the more infectious variant that emerged there.

And Americans who got vaccinated with Pfizer's shot in December can rest assured that they still have immunity.

Pfizer had only followed a sizable share of its trial participants for three months when its vaccine was authorized by the FDA in December.

Now, at least 12,000 of those participants have been vaccinated for six months and the shot's efficacy remains over 90 percent.

Protection likely extends well beyond that duration, too, but has yet to be proven.

That's an encouraging sign that the incoming supply of Pfizer's vaccine won't need to be used as booster shots and can be used to get more people vaccinated.

The U.S. will need that supply, especially after 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine were ruined by an ingredient mix-up and forced a halt on next month's supply of the one-dose shot, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

Fortunately, Pfizer is ahead of its production schedule, and Moderna will soon be able to ship 40 percent more vaccine in each of its vials, a drastic increase to the overall supply.

There were also no serious safety concerns observed in Pfizer trial participants up to six months after the second dose, the companies said.

Johnson & Johnson will meet its goal of delivering 20 million doses of its one-dose COVID-19 vaccine to the U.S. by the end of March, with a whopping 11 million doses shipping next week

They added that it was generally equally effective irrespective of age, race, gender or ethnicity, and among participants with a variety of existing medical conditions.

And earlier this month, data on health care and essential workers showed their risks of contracting symptomatic COVID-19 were reduced by 80 percent after the first dose of either Pfizer or Moderna's vaccine.

The release of Pfizer's updated results comes on the heels of separate data that showed the vaccine is safe and effective in 12- to 15-year olds, paving the way for the drugmakers to seek U.S. and European approval to use the shot in this age group within weeks.


COVID-19 is especially harsh on elderly people, and researchers think they know why

Australian researchers have been investigating why elderly people respond so poorly to COVID-19, and theorise that it's linked to their repeated exposure to other seasonal coronaviruses.

There are seven types of coronaviruses that can infect people (including SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19 disease), four of which are common causes of acute respiratory infections.

In a study published in Nature Communications, scientists looked at blood samples from 89 healthy children, 98 adults, 57 elderly individuals and 50 COVID-19 patients, comparing antibodies to a range of coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2.

Lead author Amy Chung, laboratory head at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, said researchers hypothesised that when an elderly person was first exposed to SARS-CoV-2, their immune system viewed it as a typical, seasonal coronavirus instead of a new strain.

Dr Chung said in this case the immune memory wasn't helpful because the two were very different and needed different responses to fight off infection.

She likened the immune memory response to SARS-CoV-2 to playing sport, with an older person's immune system thinking it had taken on the virus before.

"You have an opponent, and for the elderly, this is someone that in their minds is a team they have played multiple times beforehand," she said. "They know the stats, and they know the key players to target."

By comparison, children (who overall had less exposure to human coronaviruses) saw SARS-CoV-2 as a new opponent.

"They're coming in without all these preconceptions of, 'hey, these are the stats, this is how it should be played' and therefore are inducing this fresh immunity, without this preconception, and are able to target really specific responses for COVID-19," Dr Chung said.

'Fundamentally different' immune cells

Vanessa Bryant from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute said the study identified unique antibody responses in the elderly and children, and then compared these signatures to COVID-19 recovered adults.

It found a greater level of highly specialised antibodies in elderly people and more broad-functioning antibodies in children.

Dr Bryant said this difference in antibodies was not just a direct result of exposure to coronavirus.

"[But] more of an indirect relationship between an existing pool of antibodies against other coronaviruses in elderly people that can recognise SARS-CoV-2, and elderly people being more likely to have poor immune responses and develop severe COVID-19," she explained.

The theory proposed in the paper was that the pool of immune cells in elderly people and children was fundamentally different.

"Elderly people are drawing on a smaller pool of virus-naïve, or inexperienced, immune cells; instead they have a high number of coronavirus-experienced cells that may be selected because they can also recognise SARS-CoV-2," Dr Bryant said.

Selection of these already existing memory cells may skew their antibody response to antibodies that bind SARS-CoV-2 well, but are less effective at eliminating the virus, she explained.

"On the other hand, children, who have a more immature immune system, will have lots of virus-naïve cells to choose from, and perhaps this makes them more likely to find more 'perfect matches' for SARS-CoV-2 that bind strongly and can attack the virus effectively in multiple ways," Dr Bryant said.

University of Queensland professor of medicine Paul Griffin described the study as "incredibly interesting", but noted the small sample size used by researchers.

"Given the numbers in the study, all of the outcomes being reported are fairly preliminary and need to be validated by larger studies," he said.

Professor Griffin said this was especially the case in the number of COVID-19 patients examined, with only 50 people in the study itself.

People over the age of 70 are at a higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, whereas research shows children don't tend to get as sick as older adults. This is unusual, because children often play a key role in the transmission and development of respiratory-type illnesses.

Dr Chung said researchers went into the project aiming to understand why elderly people were more susceptible to COVID-19, especially in comparison to children.

Prior to launching the study, Dr Chung said the team theorised that because kids regularly had respiratory-type illnesses caused by seasonal coronaviruses, this induced immune responses in children protected them from COVID-19.

"Our study actually showed the complete opposite," she said. "It showed that the elderly, due to their long lives, were repeatedly being exposed to seasonal coronaviruses."

Dr Bryant said experts had some data, and lots of ideas, about why children had a better response to COVID-19 to older adults.

One reason, she explained, could be the type of immune response in children versus adults.

"Another is that children have fewer ACE2 receptors on the cells lining their respiratory tract and lung," she said.

"SARS-CoV-2 hijacks this receptor as an entry point to infect cells. … fewer ACE2 receptors means less opportunity for the virus to infect cells and make millions of viral copies, a lower viral load also gives the immune system a fighting advantage."

Professor Griffin said while some of the paper's findings could explain why elderly patients were so susceptible to COVID-19 disease, it was likely to form part of the puzzle — not the whole picture.

"I think it's more complex, I don't think it will be explained solely by the differences outlined in this paper," he said.

Dr Bryant also said elderly people could also be immunocompromised, which led to a weaker immune response.

"There are lots of reasons for this. An elderly person may have more underlying conditions or undiagnosed health issues that dampen their ability to make a strong response," she said.

Dr Chung said there was "something really unique" about children's different response to SARS-CoV-2. "Kids had this ability to activate surrounding white blood cells … to come and clear the virus away," Dr Chung explained.

This was a significant finding, she said, because it was an understudied research area.

Dr Bryant said research had previously uncovered how important other immune cells could be fighting COVID-19 disease.

"A recent Australian study looked at immune responses in children and adults with mild disease from the same household," she explained.

"In particular, children made a robust response in one particular type of innate cell, neutrophils, and in some children, this response was so effective that the viral load was below detectable levels."




Thursday, April 01, 2021

Americans Misinformed About COVID Hospitalization

A recent survey found that more than one-third of Americans overestimate by as much as a factor of ten the probability a person with COVID-19 will require hospitalization.

Researchers involved in the Franklin Templeton/Gallup study asked Americans in December what “percentage of people who have been infected by the coronavirus needed to be hospitalized.” The correct answer is not precisely known, the authors note, but the best available estimates place the figure between 1 and 5 percent.

Many people’s perceptions of the data, however, were completely off.

“Less than one in five U.S. adults (18%) give a correct answer of between 1 and 5%,” the study authors said. “Many adults (35%) say that at least half of infected people need hospitalization. If that were true, the millions of resulting patients would have overwhelmed hospitals throughout the pandemic.”

The authors of the study say the conclusion is clear.

“The U.S. public is also deeply misinformed about the severity of the virus for the average infected person,” the study’s authors stated.

Why Are Americans so Misinformed?

The obvious question is why Americans are so wildly misinformed about the true risks of COVID-19.

One possibility is that Americans are receiving information that is skewing their sense of reality, and research confirms this hypothesis.

Studies have shown that US media in particular created a climate of fear by publishing a deluge of negative news in 2020. One Ivy League-led study found that 91 percent of US stories in major media were negative in tone (compared to just 54 percent in non-US media)—even when the virus was in retreat and positive results were being achieved.

‘Those who overestimate risks to young people or hold an exaggerated sense of risk upon infection are more likely to favor closing schools, restaurants, and other businesses,’ the authors note.

“The negativity of the U.S. major media is notable even in areas with positive scientific developments including school re-openings and vaccine trials,” researchers noted. “Stories of increasing COVID-19 cases outnumber stories of decreasing cases by a factor of 5.5 even during periods when new cases are declining.”

As I noted when the study was released, a global pandemic isn’t exactly a cheerful topic. Yet this fact alone doesn’t explain the discrepancy between US media coverage and non-US media. Nor does it explain why negative news trends continue even during positive developments—such as declines in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, as well as vaccine breakthroughs.

The steady drumbeat of negativity was described as “panic porn” by some media critics.

“Enough with the ‘life will never be the same’ headlines,” HBO pundit Bill Maher said back in April. “Everything looks scary when you magnify it a thousand times.… We need the news to calm down and treat us like adults.”

That didn’t happen, however. Months later, as the virus had receded and scientists concluded COVID was not as deadly as previously thought, the media were still engaging in panic porn, characterizing Florida’s laissez-faire approach to the pandemic as a “death march.”

In his work Crisis and Leviathan, the economist Robert Higgs observed that crises have been utilized to mount the biggest government power grabs in modern history.

Why media and public officials engaged in panic porn for months is a discussion for another day. What’s apparent is that the phenomenon severely skewed Americans’ sense of reality as it relates to the actual dangers of COVID-19, a virus that does not require hospitalization for up to 99 percent of those infected.

Unfortunately, authors of the Franklin Templeton/Gallup study say, the disconnect has real-world consequences.

“Those who overestimate risks to young people or hold an exaggerated sense of risk upon infection are more likely to favor closing schools, restaurants, and other businesses,” the authors note.

Lockdowns: A Policy of Panic

The harms of these lockdown policies are well-documented: severe mental health deterioration, mass social unrest, health procedures deferred or foregone, soaring global poverty, increased suicide, extreme loneliness, and many others.

FEE’s Brad Polumbo recently testified before the US Senate on some of these dangers, noting that doctors across the world warn lockdowns have resulted in an “international epidemic” of child suicide.

These were policies born of panic.

“When people feel fear, they’re much more willing to accept anything that makes the world seem a little safer,” Sean Malone noted early in the pandemic in an episode of Out of Frame.

For far too long Americans were told they must sacrifice liberty by embracing lockdowns or risk mass fatalities. This was always a false choice, and a dangerous one. The reality is, passing sweeping legislation during panics is a recipe for bad outcomes. But all too often, that is precisely what happens.

In his work Crisis and Leviathan, the economist Robert Higgs observed that crises have been utilized to mount the biggest government power grabs in modern history. During the Great Depression it was the New Deal. Following the 9-11 attacks it was the War on Terror and the Patriot Act (and everything that came with them). In 2020 it was the lockdowns.

Each of these historic encroachments was driven by mass panic. In each instance, only in hindsight did it become apparent that the greater danger we faced was fear itself.

This isn’t to say there are not real threats in the world. The pandemic, terrorism, and the Great Depression were all genuine threats.

It’s only to say we must reject panic in our decision making, and those who would have us abandon freedom for the false promise of safety.


Technology, Not Government, Beat the Pandemic

The legacy of the COVID-19 era is largely characterized by a series of governmental and para-governmental failures. The Chinese Communist Party’s failure to tackle the virus before it became a pandemic, the inability of governments around the world to curb international spread, and the World Health Organization’s concerning behavior with respect to the Chinese government turned what could have been a limited epidemic into a global pandemic of disturbing proportions.

Perhaps most concerning from an American perspective, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was seemingly unprepared for a pandemic, even in the context of two serious and global novel coronavirus outbreaks in as many decades.

The CDC stepped in early to implement widespread testing, but contaminated the very test kits they themselves produced. At every level of government, officials stood by powerless as the virus tore through the population, disproportionately affecting persons of color.

On the state level, we have seen the New York governor bungle his pandemic policies surrounding nursing homes, and then attempt to cover up the unimaginable human suffering which resulted. The Los Angeles mayor boldly declared “Snitches get rewards”, while encouraging citizens to report each other for breaking quarantine. Meanwhile, Hollywood continued business as usual: production of music, films, and television was deemed ‘essential’.

However, though blunted by the dark curtain of the ineptitude of the public sector, the light of private enterprise has continued to shine brightly. Remdesivir, a drug developed by Gilead Sciences originally for investigation in the treatment of unrelated viruses, was found in trials to yield improved outcomes when used to treat moderate to severely ill COVID-19 patients within mere months of the virus going global. The U.S. community hospital system, more than 2/3rds of which is composed of privately-managed facilities, buckled under the strain of the pandemic, but held. Other systems around the world were not so fortunate.

Any vaccine seemed far off in those first few months. The U.S. government, in “Operation Warp Speed,” tellingly turned to the private sector and not their own agencies or proxies to develop a vaccine and other desperately needed COVID-19 technologies; more than $10 Billion was spent across multiple firms. In a monumental scientific achievement, the first ever mRNA-based vaccine to receive regulatory go-ahead was approved in December 2020, just over a year after the virus first emerged. Another mRNA vaccine followed later that very month.

Many have proven squeamish about the new technology in these vaccines, but they may be relieved by recent news. Recently, Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine received FDA emergency use authorization. Although another example of scientific progress in that it is one of the first adenovirus vector vaccines to see widespread use, it induces immunity through a more traditional and direct mechanism than seen in the mRNA vaccines. Administered in a single dose, it will likely see greater compliance. As added bonuses, it is easier to store and transport than the other approved vaccines, and was developed on a not-for-profit basis. As expected, the market has offered consumers choice.

That both the Trump and Biden administrations have botched the rollout of vaccines does nothing to reduce the stunning achievements they represent. The innovation and flexibility of the private sector has proven invaluable through this pandemic, not only through the development of vaccines, but also testing, treatment, and ancillary services. As we enter an era where governments are likely to play a much larger role in healthcare, we would do well not only to remember public sector failures, but also the private sector successes in this era, lest we have a rude awakening during the next global crisis.



Supreme Court sits on potentially blockbuster abortion case (Examiner). The case arose after Mississippi passed a 2018 law banning abortions after 15 weeks.

Border Patrol discredits Biden claim on unaccompanied minors (National Pulse)

Addendum I: New photos show what Biden is trying to hide at the border (Townhall)

Addendum II: Donald Trump confirms he'll visit the border "over the next couple of weeks" (

"Progressive" stumbling block: Moderate Democrats buck Biden tax hikes (Axios)

"We cannot in good conscience take money from a company that repeatedly, and blatantly, suppresses conservative speech": Heritage Foundation judiciously declines six-figure donations from Google and Facebook (Disrn)

Potential 2024 GOP presidential candidates Mike Pompeo, Tom Cotton, Rick Scott, and Tim Scott head to Iowa to canvass voters (Disrn)

New York City foolishly ends qualified immunity for police officers (Fox News)

Los Angeles County ups police funding by $36 million after rise in crime (Post Millennial)

Is this a hate crime? White woman drugged, raped, and found dead in Miami Beach hotel (Fox News)

Church membership falls below majority for first time, further demonstrating that politics is downstream of culture (Gallup)

SolarWinds hack got emails of top DHS officials (AP)

Birds of a feather: Iran and China sign 25-year cooperation agreement (Reuters)

Myanmar forces kill 100+ in deadliest day since coup (AP)

Suicide bomb hits Palm Sunday Mass in Indonesia (Fox News)

Twitter says calling Boulder shooter a "white Christian terrorist" is okay (Newsweek)

Policy: Why DC statehood would be a tragic mistake (National Interest)

Policy: Asset recycling could be the best fix to crumbling national infrastructure (The Hill)




Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Trump Slams Fauci and Birx for Revisionism

“When I saw what happened in New York City,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci during a CNN interview that aired Sunday, “it was like, ‘Oh my goodness.’ And that’s when it became very clear that the decision we made on January the 10th to go all out and develop a vaccine may have been the best decision that I’ve ever made with regard to an intervention as the director of the institute.”

Who knew the diminutive doc was the Decider-in-Chief and the driving force behind Operation Warp Speed — the life-saving decision to strip away traditional barriers to vaccine development and thereby conceive, create, and begin administering multiple coronavirus vaccines in just nine months rather than the usual three to five years?

Why, it’s as if this guy Fauci is trying to take credit from this guy Biden, who’s trying to take credit from the man who actually delivered a vaccine in record time.

That man, of course, would be Donald Trump — and he doesn’t seem inclined to sit idly by while his two underlings attempt to create a version of history more pleasing to the ear of their new boss.

As Fox News reports, “Former President Donald Trump slammed Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx on Monday, accusing the infectious disease experts of ‘trying to reinvent history’ in televised interviews detailing their roles in combating the coronavirus pandemic. Trump spoke out after Fauci and Birx, who both served as key members of his administration’s coronavirus task force, were interviewed for a CNN special titled ‘COVID WAR: The Pandemic Doctors Speak Out.’”

“Based on their interviews,” said Trump in a statement, “I felt it was time to speak up about Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx, two self-promoters trying to reinvent history to cover for their bad instincts and faulty recommendations, which I fortunately almost always overturned. They had bad policy decisions that would have left our country open to China and others, closed to reopening our economy, and years away from an approved vaccine.”

Trump then gave the two self-promoters a master’s course in self-promotion: “We developed American vaccines by an American President in record time, nine months, which is saving the entire world,” he said. “We bought billions of dollars of these vaccines on a calculated bet that they would work, perhaps the most important bet in the history of the world. Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx moved far too slowly, and if it were up to them we’d currently be locked in our basements as our country suffered through a financial depression. Families, and children in particular, would be suffering the mental strains of this disaster like never before.”

Birx, who history might remember as the wearer of colorful scarves during Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force press briefings, said she had a “very difficult” phone call with the president after she spoke candidly about the severity of an outbreak last August. During the CNN interview, she said the COVID-19 death toll should have been much lower once an initial surge had subsided. “There were about 100,000 deaths that came from that original surge,” she said. “All of the rest of them, in my mind, could have been mitigated or decreased substantially.”

To this, Trump fired back: “Dr. Birx is a proven liar with very little credibility left.”

Trump then gave Birx and Fauci something to discuss the next time they have a quiet moment together. “Many of her recommendations were viewed as ‘pseudo-science,’” said the former president, “and Dr. Fauci would always talk negatively about her and, in fact, would ask not to be in the same room with her.”

As for Fauci, Trump says he was “incapable of pressing the FDA” to get a vaccine produced any more quickly. “I was the one to get it done, and even the fake news media knows and reports this,” he said. “Dr. Fauci is also the king of ‘flip-flops’ and moving the goalposts to make himself look as good as possible.”

In a mud-slinger like this, no one tends to come out looking good. But Donald Trump is at least used to it — five years of battling a vicious and deeply dishonest media have seen to that. He’s also entirely within his right to tell his side of the story — especially when it seems history is being rewritten before his eyes.


Corporate America Goes Beyond Redlining Conservatism

Regardless of what you think of South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem’s tactical retreat on protecting women’s sports — and there are good arguments both by those arguing the strategic sense of it and by those saying it was a squishy backtrack — one thing has been made clear in recent years: Big Business is willing to move beyond redlining conservatism. In fact, it’s taking a page from an anti-Semitic campaign.

The boycott, divest, and sanction (BDS) movement has long targeted Israel over measures that are intended to prevent that country’s destruction. In essence, companies are threatened with boycotts, banks and financial institutions are urged to divest from Israel, and sanctions are applied against Israel itself to coerce it into surrendering its security.

Now, the same approach is being used against conservatives.

South Dakota was particularly targeted for this by the NCAA, which threatened legal action if Governor Noem signed a “transgender” bill into law. Noem decided to ask the legislature for modifications and to secure at least protection for girls competing in high school, junior high school, or elementary school, while leaving out colleges in hopes of mollifying the NCAA. The legislation died yesterday due to the impasse.

This has happened before. Remember the battles over Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act? Salesforce’s CEO began helping employees who wished to leave the state, and other companies also threatened to boycott the state. Then-Governor Mike Pence conceded ground.

Similar demands are being made of major companies that call Georgia home, like Coca-Cola, Home Depot, and Delta Airlines, as well as Major League Baseball and the PGA Tour, over Georgia’s new election integrity law. Activists are trying to get MLB’s All-Star Game and the Masters golf tournament moved out of the Peach State to protest the fact that Georgia’s legislature actually cares about fighting voter fraud. President Joe Biden has falsely called the law “Jim Crow in the 21st century,” and nothing sticks like the “racist” label — especially with ignorant consumers of mainstream media lies.

And that brings us to a very harsh reality for grassroots Patriots to confront: Many voters who don’t have our focus on current events tend to vote on the economy. If the economy is (deliberately) cratered, or when economic opportunities are not coming, they tend to vote out the party (i.e., Republicans) they perceive as being responsible for it. This is true whether it’s the Left fighting fracking or when a company pulls a major event over conservative policy.

In 2019, Salesforce announced that it would revoke licenses for users of its software if they sold certain legal firearms and accessories that anti-Second Amendment extremists want banned. On top of that is Operation Choke Point, a form of sanctions for companies that don’t boycott and divest promptly.

The immensely frustrating fact of the matter is that with the dominance of Big Tech and so many major corporations now taking one particular side on hot-button political issues, grassroots Patriots will have to fight smarter than ever. Part of that will be building our own versions of these enterprises, but part of it will also be making corporate America face consequences if companies continue to play political favorites or go along with redlining and this new iteration of BDS.


The States Must Resist the Federal Takeover of Elections

Although federal courts certainly played their part, the main malefactors in the sham that was the 2020 presidential election were “the several States.” Through their court mandates, their gubernatorial malfeasance, and, especially their new election laws, the states created the changes by which an election could be stolen and democracy could be subverted. The changes that determined the outcome of the election were primarily in the key battleground states. But now the feds want to get in on the action and impose the 2020 changes to election law of the battleground states on the entire nation.

It’s often noted that the states created the federal government. But in doing so, the states did not surrender their own sovereignty. The federal government under the new Democrat majority in Congress now seeks to federalize elections and to abolish state election laws. That would end the sovereignty of the states. The states need to resist and even preempt this un-American power grab.

On March 3 in a nearly party-line vote of 220-210, the U.S. House passed H.R. 1, the so-called For the People Act. A more appropriate title for this anti-democratic bill would be the “For the Incumbents Act” or the “For the Political Class Act,” for the People don’t figure in this vile bill at all.

The text of “H.R.1 -- For the People Act of 2021” is quite long and few readers will want to wade through it all. The bill’s ideas are unsophisticated, even backward. And that’s especially the case with regard to voter identification and to voter registration. The word “identification” appears 34 times in the bill. The bill would outlaw any state requirement to present voter ID to vote. To counteract this insane provision, the states need to enact much stricter voter ID laws.

Of course, Stacey Abrams will wail that demanding ID is voter suppression and denies access to the ballot box and is racist. Okay, then the states should use as their voter ID an ID that everyone already has -- the SSN.

Members of state legislatures may think they know better and may want to devise their own voter IDs. But they should resist that impulse, for the full nine-digit SSN has built-in capabilities that no new ID could match. For instance, if all the states required the use of the SSN to vote, it becomes possible to easily find those who have voted in more than one state, and then back out their votes.

The word “registration” appears 369 times in H.R. 1. “Rolls,” as in voter rolls, appears twice, but “registry” and its plural don’t appear at all. If the states were to require the SSN to vote, they’d have no need of separate voter registries that they would have to laboriously maintain. That’s because the government, both state and federal, already has our data. They know where we live, and whether we’re eligible to vote. So it’s wasted effort to register voters. Besides, voter registries in these United States are notoriously inaccurate. Democrats push registration because they don’t want elections to depend on accurate databases.

For years now, I’ve been urging the use of the SSN and existing federal databases in elections. I still believe that the complete computerization of voting is the best way to go but consider this: the mail-in voting that was ramped up for 2020 could be made to work properly if, and only if, a unique national ID, like the SSN, were attached to each mail-in ballot. With the SSN on one’s ballot, there’s no need for separate voter registries, as the ballot could be authenticated against already existing government files.

Because the Supreme Court refused to hear Texas v. Pennsylvania due to a supposed “lack of standing,” the states need to get out in front of H.R. 1 and make sure they have standing that is undeniable. One way to do that is for the states to pass laws, right now, that set up a showdown with the feds. Georgia just did that on March 25 when Governor Kemp signed SB 202 into law. There are some good changes in the law, but it doesn’t require the use of the full SSN, only its last four digits. If I could mandate but one change to election law, it would be to require the inclusion of the full SSN on the ballot. With that change, verification of the vote becomes possible.

The “genius” (for Democrats) of the 2020 changes to election law is that they made verification of vote counts even more unobtainable and unknowable. With the corrupt use of mail-in ballots, election results in America became entirely unchallengeable. We must take the word of the authorities that the vote counts are accurate, and they needn’t demonstrate nor prove what the true vote is.

After Trump delivered the best economy in years and multiple vaccines for the Wuhan virus, if Biden really won the election, then this kid would have to say that we’re a nation of ingrates and deserve whatever we get. I tend to believe that the average American has not sunk that low. It seems much more plausible that the Democrats and their criminal operatives stole the election.

But it is possible that Joe Biden won the 2020 election; that is, that he received more legal votes than did President Trump. It’s possible, but not probable. And if Trump received more legal votes than Biden in the key battleground states, then Biden is an illegitimate president and we’re a nation of theft victims. But there’s no way to prove what the legitimate vote count is.

If H.R. 1 makes it through the Senate and our dried-up husk of a president signs it, the Supreme Court “should” find it unconstitutional. But who knows, they may let it slide, just like they let ObamaCare’s individual mandate slide. So the states need to bolster their “standing.” And they need to have systems in place that are much better than what H.R. 1 institutes.

It was “the several States” that brought America the most radical government in history, and the states need to fix that. Even if H.R. 1 were to fail in the Senate or be found unconstitutional by the Court, the election systems in the states are still scandalous and need to be reengineered with genuine election reforms.

It was battleground states in particular that gave us the frailest dimmest oldest president in our lifetimes. Those states must fix the problems they created by setting up election systems that ensure the integrity of the vote. The states need to anticipate and counter the coming encroachments of the feds by enacting new election laws. (They might also consider impeaching judges, like Pennsylvania’s Max Baer, and secretaries of state, like Georgia’s Brad Raffensperger.)

Essentially, H.R. 1 institutionalizes election theft. Some may wonder why such theft needs to be institutionalized. After all, Democrats have been doing a good job of stealing elections without new legislation. Maybe the Dems just want election theft to be easier and surer.




Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Good news: Pfizer and Moderna's vaccines are 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 infection after two doses and 80% effective after one shot, real-world study of health care workers finds

Two doses of either Moderna's or Pfizer-BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine are highly effective at preventing infection, a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) real-world study published on Monday finds.

Researchers looked at vaccination rates among nearly 4,000 healthcare employees, first responders, and other essential and frontline workers from mid-December 2020 to mid-March 2021.

Results showed the risk of infection among fully vaccinated workers was reduced by 90 percent two or more weeks after the final dose - the amount of time it takes to produce antibodies.

What's more, the risk decreased by 80 percent among people who had only received their initial dose of the vaccine.

'This study shows that our national vaccination efforts are working. The authorized mRNA COVID-19 vaccines provided early, substantial real-world protection against infection for our nation's health care personnel, first responders, and other frontline essential workers,' said CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky in a statement.

'These findings should offer hope to the millions of Americans receiving COVID-19 vaccines each day and to those who will have the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated in the weeks ahead. The authorized vaccines are the key tool that will help bring an end to this devastating pandemic.'

It comes as Moderna announced on Monday that it has shipped its 100 millionth dose, out of a 300-million-dose order, to the U.S. government.

At the same time, 10 states plan to open eligibility of vaccines to all adults this week, in line with President Joe Biden's goal of making every adult eligible for a shot by May 1.

So far, just Arkansas and Wyoming -have not yet confirmed plans to expand eligibility ahead of or by the deadline, likely due to clinicians still prioritizing high-risk groups and differences that vary state-by-state in supply and demand of the shots.

For the CDC's study, researchers looked at the vaccination status of 3,950 frontline workers in six states from December 14, 2020 to March 13, 2021.

During that time period, 62.8 percent of workers, or 2,479, received both doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, and 12.1 percent, 477 workers, received one dose.

The remaining 25.1 percent of frontline or essential employees were unvaccinated.

Participants were surveyed for symptoms of COVID-19 including cough, fever, chills, shortness of breath and loss of taste or smell through weekly text messages, email or in-person appointments.

The workers received nasal swabs each week, regardless of whether or not they had symptoms, and had an additional swab collected if they reported feeling ill.

Over the course of the study, 172 COVID-19 infections were identified. Of those, 161 were among workers who had not been vaccinated yet.

By comparison, just eight of the partially immunized participants were infected as were three of the fully immunized participants.

This means fully vaccinated workers were 53.6 times less likely to test positive for COVID-19 than those who were not vaccinated.

Even one dose offered substantial protection with partially immunized workers 26.8 times less likely to contract the disease that unvaccinated workers.

According to the CDC, this shows that under real-world conditions, Moderna's and Pfizer's vaccines are 80 percent effective after one dose and 90 percent effective after two doses.

'The findings complement and expand upon these preceding reports by demonstrating that the vaccines can also reduce the risk for infection regardless of COVID-19–associated illness symptom status,' the authors wrote.

'Reducing the risk for transmissible especially important among health care personnel, first responders, and other essential and frontline workers given their potential to transmit the virus through frequent close contact with patients and the public.'

On Monday, Moderna announced it had shipped 100 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to the U.S. government.

The company says it expects to meet its agreement with the administration and deliver its second batch of 100 million doses by the end of May and the third batch of 100 million by the end of July.

'I would like to thank the millions of people who have put their confidence in Moderna's science and our COVID-19 vaccine,' said Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel in a statement.

'We are encouraged by the fact that more than 67 million doses have been administered in the U.S. and we are humbled to know that we are helping address this worldwide pandemic with our vaccine.

Moderna said its vaccine shipments has risen five-fold - from more than 16 million doses in the fourth quarter of 2020 to 88 million doses in the first quarter of 2021 - since its inoculation received emergency authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December.

This week, the U.S. government ramped up its shipments of COVID-19 vaccines, about 27 million per week, after about a month of sluggish weekly deliveries, so states can finish vaccinating high-risk groups and make the shots available to all.


The Lockdowns Were One Big Fat Mistake

Like nearly all U.S. states, Georgia imposed a stay-at-home order in March 2020 in response to demands from public health officials claiming a stay-at-home order would lessen total deaths from COVID-19.

But unlike most states, Georgia ended its stay-at-home order after only five weeks, and proceeded to lower other restrictions quickly.

The legacy media responded with furious opposition. For example, an article in The Atlantic declared the end of Georgia’s lockdown to be an “experiment in human sacrifice.” The Guardian approvingly quoted one Georgian who insisted the end of the stay-at-home order was “reckless, premature and dangerous.”

A few weeks later, other states began to end their stay-at-home orders and to end other restrictions as well. Florida was the largest among these states.

Shortly thereafter the Daily Beast declared that the scaling back of restrictions in Georgia and Florida was “terrifyingly premature,” and quoted one expert who insisted, “If you lift the restriction too soon, a second wave will come, and the damage will be substantial both medically and economically. We don’t want to throw away the sacrifices we have made for weeks now.”

All this hyperbole about human sacrifice and recklessness leads us to conclude that states which ended lockdowns quickly must have experienced far worse numbers of deaths from covid than states which maintained lockdowns longer. Indeed, when it came to lockdowns, we were told, the longer the better. Ideally, lockdowns shouldn’t be loosened up at all until everyone can be vaccinated.

But things didn’t turn out that way. Experts have scrambled to come up with explanations for why this is the case, but the fact remains some of the most strict states (i.e., New York and Massachusetts) have covid deaths at far worse rates than the “reckless” states like Georgia and Florida.

Moreover, with little to show for their lockdowns in terms of “public health,” these states with extreme lockdowns also have some of the worst unemployment rates. This occurred in spite of the fact that experts insisted that a failure to impose lockdowns would doom a state’s economy to later economic disaster.

State-to-State Comparisons Aren’t Helping the Prolockdown Narrative

A year after stay-at-home orders began, even the usual media outlets are being forced to recognize the outcomes aren’t what was predicted. The Associated Press reported earlier this week:

California and Florida both have a COVID-19 case rate of around 8,900 per 100,000 residents since the pandemic began, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And both rank in the middle among states for COVID-19 death rates—Florida was 27th as of Friday; California was 28th.

Connecticut and South Dakota are another example. Both rank among the 10 worst states for COVID-19 death rates. Yet Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, imposed numerous statewide restrictions over the past year after an early surge in deaths, while South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, issued no mandates as virus deaths soared in the fall….

Like Florida, Missouri had no statewide mask mandate, ended business restrictions last June and has a cumulative COVID-19 death rate similar to California’s.

Even the LA Times was forced to admit this reality, although they insisted that when you consider the higher levels of poverty and “overcrowding” in California—translation: California is a filthy breeding ground for disease—California should have had far worse rates than Florida for covid deaths. Thus, the LA Times concludes, “California better controlled the virus.”

The LA Times goes on to point to the fact Florida’s covid death rate, while similar, is nonetheless 6 percent higher than California’s, and this translates to three thousand deaths that presumably wouldn’t have happened if Florida had adopted lockdown rules similar to California.

But the numbers don’t stack up so well in favor of lockdowns if we use the LA Times‘s method to make other comparisons. For example, New York’s total deaths-per-million rate is 67 percent higher than Florida’s. Translated into raw numbers, that means if Florida were like New York, Florida would have experienced 54,000 deaths instead of the 33,000 that the CDC now attributes to covid in Florida. (New Jersey’s outcomes are even worse than New York’s.)

Similarly, if Florida were like Massachusetts in its outcomes, Florida would have experienced 54 percent more deaths.

If the LA Times is going to claim overcrowding should translate into more death in California, it should also note that Florida fares worse than California in terms of median age and incidence of obesity. Since advanced age and obesity are major factors in covid hospitalizations and deaths, we might conclude it is Florida, and not California, that is primed for especially bad covid numbers.

(According to the CDC, Florida and New York are evenly matched in terms of obesity, Florida has more obesity than Massachusetts, and Florida has the highest median age of them all.)

And what about Georgia, that experiment in human sacrifice? Well, the CDC reports Georgia’s total deaths-per-million rate at 1,720. That’s worse than California’s rate of 1,400, but Georgia is still far and away better than New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, which have rates of 2,530, 2,690, and 2,400, respectively.

What about Economic Performance?

Meanwhile, it is likely that the economies of Florida and Georgia have suffered less. Although the Daily Beast assured us that the “damage will be substantial both medically and economically” if a state ends lockdowns “too soon,” we now find that the unemployment rates in Florida and Georgia are 4.8 and 5.1, respectively.

In California, the picture is quite different, where the unemployment rate now sits at 9 percent. New York doesn’t fare much better, with an unemployment rate of 8.8 percent. New Jersey clocks in at 7.9 percent.

In other words, the dire predictions surrounding states that first canceled stay-at-home orders have been spectacularly wrong. Many lockdown enthusiasts will now do what the LA Times did: quibble over small differences between Florida and California to show that California did a little bit better. New York, of course, will just be completely ignored.

As one doctor at UC San Francisco admitted: “One might’ve expected that the Floridas of the world would’ve done tremendously worse than the Californias of the world… ” Places like Florida and Georgia were supposed to be overwhelmed by an absolute tsunami of death if they were “reckless” in ending COVID restrictions. That didn’t happen.




Monday, March 29, 2021

Covid and cruelty to the aged "for their own good"

Bad as the whole coronavirus charade certainly is, it's hard to find a parallel for the sheer perversity of the propagandists' abuse of the aged. The "experts" are never more self-righteous than when they thunder at us that the smallest deviation from their New Normal prescriptions amounts to killing off our elders. But no one has ever treated the old with more cynical cruelty - or with less justification.

Think of the title of an article published by one Rabbi Shai Held in the Atlantic - one of the most relentless purveyors of coronavirus propaganda - a year ago:

The Staggering, Heartless Cruelty Toward the Elderly."

When I first saw those words, I thought the Atlantic editors had suddenly seen the light and wanted their readers to know about the evils of the harsh nursing home confinements recently ordered by governors-turned-dictators in states like New York and New Jersey.

But no. The Atlantic was only showcasing a spiteful sermon from the rabbi about some obnoxious people - Trump supporters or similar unworthies, I assume - who, it was said, were claiming that COVID19 wasn't really so bad if it only killed old people, who after all were going to die soon anyway.

I don't know of any real people who said such things - not that facts would have mattered to the Atlantic. What I do know - and what the Atlantic's Rabbi Held never mentioned - is that officials like Governor Andrew Cuomo, to the applause of the propagandists, forced old people into crowded nursing homes where they were isolated from friends and relatives, forbidden to leave, told they were surrounded by a deadly disease they could not escape, and otherwise either neglected or "helped" by terrified attendants dressed in space suits - a grotesque scenario that could only have added to their sense of danger and hopelessness.

Not surprisingly, many of those inmates died.

Now that's cruelty.

I'm still hearing stories of people who have not been allowed to visit elderly relatives for months on end; many of us have friends or acquaintances who were prevented from saying goodbye to a dying friend or cousin or grandparent or uncle. This is taken almost for granted nowadays.

Some of the stories I hear are even worse. One man reports being told that his aged mother, a patient last spring at a crowded New York hospital, would not be treated for her COVID19 infection as a matter of "hospital policy" because she had signed a "do not resuscitate" order: since the hospital staff didn't know how to treat COVID19, a nurse told him, they were treating her illness as terminal.

In other words, they would let the old woman die even if they believed that giving her oxygen could save her life.

A policy like that - if indeed it existed - violated New York law. And when propagandists point to the high death rates at those New York hospitals in March and April as "proof" of the dangers of the coronavirus, I can only wonder how many of the patients they have in mind were killed not by an infection but by medical malpractice.

And what about reports - this time not from patients' relatives but from a medical professional with first-hand experience - that another New York "hospital policy" involved excessive use of ventilators, likely resulting in damage to the patients' lungs and possibly hastening their deaths?

The propagandists never mention this; such things, too, are taken for granted.

And these people have the nerve to complain about "cruelty toward the elderly"? If you ask me, they should be giving lessons on the subject.

I'll say it again: I know that lots of younger people are being tortured too. If you want evidence of how bad things really are - and from the horse's mouth - take a look at this sadistic effusion in the Atlantic's February 4 issue, from a woman who watched her husband suffer:

At about 2am on Thursday morning, I woke to find my husband shivering beside me. For hours, he had been tossing in bed, exhausted but unable to sleep, nursing chills, a fever, and an agonizingly sore left arm. His teeth chattered. His forehead was freckled with sweat.

A cautionary tale about the ravages of the "deadly virus"? That's what it would have been if the poor man had tested positive for COVID19 six months earlier. But now her spouse's torment is the cue for a flood of joyous propaganda:

[A]s I lay next to him, cinching blanket after blanket around his arms, I felt an immense sense of relief. All this misery was a sign that the immune cells in his body had been riled up by the second shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, and were well on their way to guarding him from future disease.

Ah, the innocence of ideological purity! For the Atlantic apparatchik, her husband's "misery" meant "an immense sense of relief," just as being burned alive in a bombed building in 1941 moved a British Communist Party member to bless Joe Stalin (as related years later by her friend Teddy Prager):

Isn't it nice to know that indoctrination still works? Long live Pfizer! Long live experimental drugs and human guinea pigs! Hurray for Joe Biden! Who cares what happens to my husband, so long as the corporate bosses and mask-maniacs and police-state enthusiasts get everything they want?

So yes, every detail of this sinister farce is ugly. But the lockdown-lovers have always claimed to be driven by particular solicitude for the aged. And so it is especially disgusting to watch them lie to old ladies in order to make them submit to dangerous drugs, after terrorizing them for a solid year with fictions intended to leave them more vulnerable to the next round of fraud.

And let's not mince words: fraud is the right name for what they've done to my mother (and so many others). The evidence of all-cause mortality figures in the US (and elsewhere) demonstrates clearly enough that COVID19 has had no significant impact on medical death rates, at least since last summer.

On top of that, a study conducted by several prestigious scientists, chaired by the estimable John Ioannidis, recently concluded that the drastic lockdowns imposed in 2020 did not stem the spread of the virus any better than far milder measures would have done. There is no COVID19 emergency - and if there ever was, which is doubtful, the hysterical official response did more harm than good.

And yet most of the United States still languishes - illegally - under quasi-dictatorial rule, with the acquiescence of mainstream media, which apparently never thought ordinary people should be allowed to control their own lives in the first place. One result of this coup (the only accurate word for it) was the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, engineered in significant part through dishonest COVID19 reporting, and spurred by mail-in voting procedures that almost certainly would not have been approved by the legislative processes required by the relevant state constitutions.

But don't expect any outrage about this political chicanery from the people who regularly denounce illiberal government in places like China or Venezuela. Representative democracy was largely scrapped in the US a year ago, so it just doesn't matter that the presidential voting system was illegally altered in order to promote a Democratic victory - just as it doesn't matter that the mainstream media produced a torrent of worthless claims about Trump's "mishandling" of the virus in order to make voters blame him for 200,000 deaths as they cast their ballots.

Mention these facts and you are a "conspiracy theorist." Pretend not to know them and you are "following the science."

And what if you happen to care about the welfare of elderly people - or of children, whose vulnerability has always been supposed to entitle them to special consideration? Well, if you take your cues from coronavirus propaganda, there's only one right way to treat both groups: cynically exploit them so as to spread the fear porn as thickly as possible.

Consider, for example, a bizarre January "news" story in which children in California were described making tearful apologies to their grandparents as the latter died, allegedly from COVID19, in off-limits hospital rooms.

The "experts" and the reporter just knew those kids must have infected their elders after attending a Thanksgiving or Christmas party. True, there's little real evidence that children function as contagious carriers of COVID19, let alone that any have actually passed the infection to an elderly relative. But why let facts get in the way of cruelty? The kids had to learn a lesson: enjoying an innocent holiday celebration meant killing off Granny.

No one in mainstream media challenged that piece of cynical sadism, as far as I know - just as no one challenged the claims of California "health" officials during the same period that the state was experiencing death tolls from COVID19 of over 400 per day. (In fact, for the week ending January 9, the putative daily death tolls for the state edged closer to 500.)

But was that even true?

According to the all-cause mortality figures shown on the CDC website, during the weeks ending January 2 and January 9 there was a total of 8,958 deaths in California, as compared with a total of 11,761 deaths during the same period a year earlier, before any "pandemic" was declared.

In other words, during the same period when California "experts" were screaming about 400-500 extra deaths each day from a disease that presumably wasn't killing anyone the previous January, the total number of deaths actually decreased by an average rate of 200 per day as compared with the same period a year earlier.

To square California's claimed coronavirus deaths with those facts, we would probably have to suppose that heart disease, cancer, traffic deaths, diabetes and so on were all so drastically reduced in California that their daily death tolls diminished by more than 600 per day since the previous year.

Yes, miracles do happen, as Forrest Gump reminded us. But the more reasonable interpretation is that the COVID19 horror story California "health" officials were telling us in January was a fiction made out of numbers-juggling. Which is pretty much what the whole "deadly plague" story has been from the start - a combination of alarmist and unscientific "projections," unreliable and over-used tests, arbitrary diagnoses, fear-mongering and politically-driven cause-of-death classifications, which were then fanned to hysteria by power-hungry politicians and a compliant "news" media, not to mention corporate behemoths that stood to gain from the panic.

Our country is being torn apart by measures that the public and its elected representatives have never been permitted to debate, let alone to approve

Can I preserve the principles of civil rights in an era when the very notion of freedom is scoffed at from the headlines of every "liberal" newspaper in the West? I don't know. But I can do my best to ensure that it won't happen with my consent, that I won't be an accomplice in my own victimization

The crimes against us all may continue. I will not contribute to them.


FAT as a Covid factor

As it turns out, we don’t hear much about the dirty little secret that obesity easily killed as many people as mask avoidance — perhaps more. The Washington Examiner’s Brad Polumbo did a deep dive into the issue of weight and Covid deaths and found some shocking correlations.

COVID-19 is much more deadly for the elderly and those with preexisting conditions that weaken the immune system. One of those conditions is obesity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Adults with excess weight are at even greater risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.” The CDC said that of the roughly 900,000 adult COVID-19 hospitalizations from the start of the outbreak to Nov. 18, 30% were attributed to obesity.

Meanwhile, a new study examining over 150,000 adults across 20 hospitals confirmed that obese people are much more likely to be hospitalized or to die from the virus. Severely obese COVID-19 patients were 61% more likely to die and 33% more likely to face hospitalization than their peers at healthy weights.

This isn’t really “news” in the sense that the CDC had been warning obese people since the beginning of the pandemic that they were at higher risk of serious illness and death. So why did so many obese people ignore the warning?

This alarming pre-pandemic crisis and recent acceleration should be setting off enormous alarm bells. But instead, liberal-leaning media outlets and cultural influencers have glorified obesity and downplayed its health risks.

For example, Cosmopolitan ran a series of magazine covers featuring significantly overweight women under the heading, “This is healthy!”




Sunday, March 28, 2021

Non-invasive suport for COVID breathing difficulties

The treatment of COVID patients can create its own difficulties and problems. A treatment that is now avaiable reduces some of those difficulties: Helment ventilation. The study below shows that it can be used with no loss of efficacy

Effect of Helmet Noninvasive Ventilation vs High-Flow Nasal Oxygen on Days Free of Respiratory Support in Patients With COVID-19 and Moderate to Severe Hypoxemic Respiratory Failure

Domenico Luca Grieco et al.

Question: Among patients admitted to the intensive care unit with COVID-19–induced moderate to severe hypoxemic respiratory failure, does early continuous treatment with helmet noninvasive ventilation increase the number of days free of respiratory support at 28 days as compared with high-flow nasal oxygen?

Findings: In this randomized trial that included 109 patients, the median number of days free of respiratory support within 28 days was 20 days in the group that received helmet noninvasive ventilation and 18 days in the group that received high-flow nasal oxygen, a difference that was not statistically significant.

Meaning: Among critically ill patients with moderate to severe hypoxemic respiratory failure due to COVID-19, helmet noninvasive ventilation, compared with high-flow nasal oxygen, resulted in no significant difference in the number of days free of respiratory support within 28 days.


Importance: High-flow nasal oxygen is recommended as initial treatment for acute hypoxemic respiratory failure and is widely applied in patients with COVID-19.

Objective: To assess whether helmet noninvasive ventilation can increase the days free of respiratory support in patients with COVID-19 compared with high-flow nasal oxygen alone.

Design, Setting, and Participants: Multicenter randomized clinical trial in 4 intensive care units (ICUs) in Italy between October and December 2020, end of follow-up February 11, 2021, including 109 patients with COVID-19 and moderate to severe hypoxemic respiratory failure (ratio of partial pressure of arterial oxygen to fraction of inspired oxygen ≤200).

Interventions: Participants were randomly assigned to receive continuous treatment with helmet noninvasive ventilation (positive end-expiratory pressure, 10-12 cm H2O; pressure support, 10-12 cm H2O) for at least 48 hours eventually followed by high-flow nasal oxygen (n = 54) or high-flow oxygen alone (60 L/min) (n = 55).

Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was the number of days free of respiratory support within 28 days after enrollment. Secondary outcomes included the proportion of patients who required endotracheal intubation within 28 days from study enrollment, the number of days free of invasive mechanical ventilation at day 28, the number of days free of invasive mechanical ventilation at day 60, in-ICU mortality, in-hospital mortality, 28-day mortality, 60-day mortality, ICU length of stay, and hospital length of stay.

Results: Among 110 patients who were randomized, 109 (99%) completed the trial (median age, 65 years [interquartile range {IQR}, 55-70]; 21 women [19%]). The median days free of respiratory support within 28 days after randomization were 20 (IQR, 0-25) in the helmet group and 18 (IQR, 0-22) in the high-flow nasal oxygen group, a difference that was not statistically significant (mean difference, 2 days [95% CI, −2 to 6]; P = .26). Of 9 prespecified secondary outcomes reported, 7 showed no significant difference. The rate of endotracheal intubation was significantly lower in the helmet group than in the high-flow nasal oxygen group (30% vs 51%; difference, −21% [95% CI, −38% to −3%]; P = .03). The median number of days free of invasive mechanical ventilation within 28 days was significantly higher in the helmet group than in the high-flow nasal oxygen group (28 [IQR, 13-28] vs 25 [IQR 4-28]; mean difference, 3 days [95% CI, 0-7]; P = .04). The rate of in-hospital mortality was 24% in the helmet group and 25% in the high-flow nasal oxygen group (absolute difference, −1% [95% CI, −17% to 15%]; P > .99).

Conclusions and Relevance: Among patients with COVID-19 and moderate to severe hypoxemia, treatment with helmet noninvasive ventilation, compared with high-flow nasal oxygen, resulted in no significant difference in the number of days free of respiratory support within 28 days. Further research is warranted to determine effects on other outcomes, including the need for endotracheal intubation.


Media Cartel Bill Is Bait and Switch to Strangle Conservative Outlets

The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JPCA) is a bait-and-switch attempt that claims to help conservative news sources but would instead purge them from the marketplace of ideas, and Congress should reject it for the freedom-killer it is.

JCPA would give media companies—broadcast and print—an exemption from federal antitrust laws, so they can operate in a coordinated fashion to negotiate prices that social media companies like Facebook would have to pay them to carry their content. It would ensure that these tech billionaires would have to direct some of their riches into content providers.

But that’s a Big Boys’ game where the major players could decide who to let into their club. Smaller outlets would be left out in the cold, and the market would suffer.

This is because almost all of the Big Boys are liberal. For print, there’s The New York Times and The Washington Post. For video content providers, you have the networks, CNN, and MSNBC. The twin star performers owned by News Corp—Fox News Channel and the Wall Street Journal—are some of the only ones to the right of the 50-yard line.

The bill’s supporters say it would help small, conservative outlets like the one you’re reading now. No chance. I talk almost daily with friends on Capitol Hill, and I heard from them the names of a couple of hard-charging right-wing outlets who were supposed to be the beneficiaries of this legislation. But then I talked with the CEO of one of those companies and found out that no one had approached him on this bill before it was rolled out. (And for that matter, he opposes it.)

Aside from having done thousands of interviews over the past half-century, I used to be part owner of some radio stations and know how the media industry works. The reality is this: Media companies prefer cartels and monopolies, just like many other businesses.

This provides them a chance to have one without the lean and hungry conservative happy warriors. Offer a bill with the sales pitch that it will protect those citizen journalists, then have the big dogs circle the wagons on terms that the social giants must meet for huge corporations, but then keep those citizen journalists outside the circle.

That’s what this is—a classic bait and switch. News Corp would be fine under the JCPA and with it all of that company’s conservative voices. But there are as many moderates at Fox News and the Wall Street Journal as there are conservatives and more than a few liberals. Facebook couldn’t turn those outlets away, but that company might be the only right-of-center media company at that level. It would effectively give Fox and the Journal a monopoly on news that is not hard-left, which means that “conservative” would be whatever the Murdoch family says it means. People who get all their news from social media—and there’s an increasingly high number of those—would never hear voices like the ones who they are accustomed to reading at this outlet.

So JCPA would allow the liberal big media company to have a cartel with only one non-liberal company. All the plucky, intrepid conservative outlets could form their own cartel, but it would make up such a small slice of the media pie that social media could ignore them altogether.

If Facebook has to negotiate on a rate to carry news from outlets that are stridently conservative, they would just let the conservative outlets name a price—any price—agree to that price per piece, then rarely or never take any of their pieces. In theory, everything is okay because they have an agreement, but the big tech titans would just never pick up any content under the agreement.



"Absolute power grab": Democrats' election overhaul extends far beyond ballot box (Washington Times)

Benefiting from chaos: Insurance companies, reaping shareholder benefits from protests, get in line with Black Lives Matter (Free Beacon)

Who actually wears the pants: White House elevates VP with "Biden-Harris Administration" directive in public communications (Washington Times)

Friendly fire: Democrat breaks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on push to overturn Iowa election (Examiner)

GOP mounts defense against DC statehood as bill gets House hearing (Examiner)

Sidney Powell, who totally missed the forest for the trees, seeks dismissal of Dominion lawsuit (The Hill)

U.S. Treasury sanctions two top Chinese officials for "serious human rights abuses" of Uyghur Muslims (Daily Caller)

What a novel idea: Army pulls the pin on "gender-neutral" combat fitness test, creates separate tiers for men and women (Washington Times)

America last: Americans wait for COVID vaccines as U.S. commits millions of doses for neighboring countries (Fox News)

The data shows lockdowns end more lives than they save (NY Post)

Morgan Stanley requests employees fulfill "diversity" quota in job application process (Daily Wire)

Deloitte tells employees "microaggressions" are considered a punishable offense (Daily Wire)

Forty-five black intellectuals demand Smith College apologize to workers wrongly accused of "racial profiling" (National Review)

Policy: Earmarks represent corruption, waste, and The Swamp. Keep the ban in place. (Daily Signal)

On second thought... Majority of voters now want to finish Trump's wall as crisis intensifies (Washington Times)

Administration expelled just 13% of nearly 13,000 family members in past week (Axios)

Non compos mentis: Biden still hasn't nominated commissioner for agency that oversees the border (Examiner)

Montana governor understandably threatens legal action if feds fly migrants from southern border (Examiner)

BLM anarchists mob store in Rochester, New York, trapping 100 customers inside (Daily Wire)

Church of England may impose ethnic quota for clergy (Disrn)

Pandemic unemployment benefits fraud could top $200 billion (Fox Business)

Policy: The everything bubble: How a debt-driven economy creates more frequent crises (Mises Institute)

Double standards: Press Secretary Jen Psaki's sister gets cushy government job despite Biden's "no family members" pledge (National Pulse)

Once held hostage by teachers unions, West Virginia just passed the nation's broadest Education Savings Account program (The Federalist)

As predicted, a significant 5.6 percentage point increase in homeschooling rates in Fall 2020 (

Virginia, with second-most executions, outlaws death penalty (AP)

Workers file 684,000 jobless claims, fewest since the pandemic began (NY Post)

Illinois state senator who sponsored "no cash bail" law upset that man who threatened him with a gun was released on $,1500 "affordable bail" (TTAG)

Kamala Harris to discuss "empowering women" with womanizer Bill Clinton (White House Dossier)

Policy: Abolish the corporate income tax (City Journal)

Bump stocks not "machine guns" and not subject to ATF ban, federal appeals court rules (Washington Times)

Arkansas dignifies women, bans biological men from female sports (UPI)

Washington state to automatically restore voting rights for people on parole and probation (Axios)

San Francisco school board, which wasn't satisfied with her attempts to make amends, strips VP's title after anti-Asian tweets surface (Fox News)

Irony: Abe Lincoln statue vandalized by Black Lives Matter activist in Boise, Idaho (Daily Wire)

USC reaches $852 million sex abuse settlement involving former doctor and 710 female victims (UPI)

High school cancels teacher after she accurately disputes cause of George Floyd death during class (Disrn)

Parler says it repeatedly warned FBI about violence planned for January 6 (Daily Caller)