Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence..

Why are Leftists always talking about hate? Because it fills their own hearts

As President, Trump will be as transformative as Reagan; He has blown the political consensus out of the water

This document is part of an archive of postings on Dissecting Leftism, a blog hosted by Blogspot who are in turn owned by Google. The index to the archive is available here or here. Indexes to my other blogs can be located here or here. Archives do accompany my original postings but, given the animus towards conservative writing on Google and other internet institutions, their permanence is uncertain. These alternative archives help ensure a more permanent record of what I have written. My Home Page. My Recipes. My alternative Wikipedia. My Blogroll. Email me (John Ray) here. NOTE: The short comments that I have in the side column of the primary site for this blog are now given at the foot of this document.


31 July, 2020

Sweden’s Actual COVID-19 Results Compared to What Modelers Predicted in April

At a press conference last week, Anders Tegnell said a massive decline in new COVID-19 cases shows Sweden’s “lighter touch” strategy is doing what it was designed to do.

“It really is yet another sign that the Swedish strategy is working,” Tegnell, Sweden’s top epidemiologist, said. “It is possible to slow contagion fast with the measures we are taking in Sweden.”

Unlike most nations in the world, Sweden avoided a hard lockdown. The nation of 10 million people instead opted for a strategy that sought to encourage social distancing through public information, cooperation, and individual responsibility. Restaurants, bars, public pools, libraries, and most schools remained open with certain capacity limits.

Sweden’s decision to forego lockdowns brought a barrage of scrutiny and criticism. Its approach was described as a “cautionary tale” by The New York Times.

But as I’ve pointed out, the criticism stemmed less from the results of Sweden’s experiment than the nature of the experiment. There are ample examples of nations (and US states) that have suffered far more from COVID-19 than Sweden even though these countries (and states) initiated hard lockdowns requiring citizens to shelter at home.

Perhaps the best way to measure the success of Sweden’s policies is to compare the outcome models predicted to the actual results.

On May 10, Dagens Nyheter—Sweden’s biggest daily newspaper—analyzed a pair of models inspired by the Imperial College of London study, which predicted as many as 40 million people could die if the coronavirus was left unchecked. The models predicted that Sweden's ICUs (intensive care units) would expire before May and nearly 100,000 people would die from COVID-19 by July.

“Our model predicts that, using median infection-fatality-rate estimates, at least 96,000 deaths would occur by 1 July without mitigation,” the authors wrote.

It’s a frightening prediction. And perhaps that was the point.

As Johan Norberg pointed out in The Spectator back in May, these models were used by critics of Sweden’s strategy to show its healthcare system would collapse if it did not “make a U-turn into lockdown” similar to the United Kingdom.

Well, we’re nearly through July. So how do the predictions stack up against the results?

Total COVID-19 deaths in Sweden stand at 5,700, nearly 90,000 less than modelers predicted. Hospitals were never overrun. Daily deaths in Sweden have slowed to a crawl. The health agency reports no new ICU admissions.

As the chart above shows, modelers weren’t just wrong. They weren’t even remotely close.

How did the experts get it so wrong? There are many reasons, of course, including the fact that COVID-19 isn’t as deadly as modelers originally feared. The simplest answer, however, is that modelers overlooked a basic reality: humans spontaneously alter their behavior during pandemics.

This should not be a surprise. Humans are intelligent, instinctive, and self-preserving creatures who will seek to avoid high-risk behavior. The natural law of spontaneous order shows that humans naturally adapt their behavior when circumstances warrant it. (In his 1988 book The Fatal Conceit, the economist F.A. Hayek described this process as “the least appreciated facet of human evolution.”)

Scientific evidence, as it relates to the current pandemic, bears out this economic idea. Research shows that in the US, workplaces and consumers changed their travel patterns before governments began issuing stay-at-home orders. In other words, without being ordered or even instructed, tens of millions of Americans were already adapting their behavior to the unknown threat of COVID-19.

A similar experience took place in Sweden, where foot traffic and train traffic were sharply reduced without draconian orders and penalties.

“We actually made a comparison to our Nordic neighbors, and the Swedish travel patterns have changed just as much as our Nordic neighbors, in spite of them having much more legal lockdowns than we have,” Tegnell said in a May interview.

The Swedish experience is important. As Phil Magness has noted at AIER, Sweden’s success suggests the presumed risks and benefits of lockdowns were largely a fiction.

“[T]he assumed benefits of a more severe lockdown policy appear to have been greatly exaggerated,” Magness wrote. “The assumed risks of the milder course adopted by the Swedish government appear to have been similarly inflated. And the overall death toll of the baseline ‘do nothing’ scenario appears to have little grounding in reality.”

One might argue that caution was warranted given the unknown threat of COVID-19. This argument is less persuasive when the costs of the lockdowns—a looming global recession, hundreds of millions of jobs lost, millions of businesses shuttered, historic social unrest, surging extreme poverty, and widespread health deterioration—are taken into account.

Fortunately, it’s not too late to learn from our mistakes. First, however, we must acknowledge them.



Yesteryear's Propagandist Is Today's 'Journalist'

The Left has long glorified and lionized journalists as the nation’s cultural truth-tellers. Starting with the muckrakers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, however, came the rise of the activist journalist. This type of person sees the role of journalist as not merely that of accurately informing the public of news, but also that of cultural reformer. To be fair, the journalists of yesteryear believed in the power of the truth to bring about reform and a more justice society, but they had nothing on today’s activists.

Somewhere along the way, these activist journalists lost faith in the power of truth to evoke the kind of progressive reforms to society they believed in. Therefore, they increasingly aim to direct and limit what information is reported.

Fast forward to today’s news media and it becomes patently clear that this activist journalism has produced anti-journalism.

As National Review’s Jim Geraghty observes, “Major institutions of American journalism have decided that certain viewpoints must not be expressed within their pages, and certain factions and narratives must not be questioned, challenged, or opposed. Certain arguments must not be heard, certain supporting evidence must not be examined; certain ideas are simply too dangerous or malevolent to be brought to a wider audience. We are instructed that the very expression of them in any form makes certain staffers ‘feel unsafe’ and thus must be treated as akin to a physical assault.”

Geraghty continues, “This is not the pursuit of knowledge; this is the avoidance of knowledge. This is not curiosity; this is an ironclad certainty that everything that is needed to be known about any given subject is already known. This is not informing the audience about what is going on in the world; this is making sure they don’t hear what is going on in the world, because it might run counter to a preferred narrative.”

So committed are today’s mainstream journalists to seeing society transformed into their idealized leftist utopia that they will ignore or downplay any news that fails to support their biased political and cultural views.

David Burge joked a few years back, “Journalism is about covering important stories. With a pillow, until they stop moving.” Today’s “journalism” also means weaving false narratives that advance the leftist agenda. Again, that’s not journalism; it’s anti-journalism.



Here's one fearless woman's story of government oppression and media malpractice

Every once in a while, we stumble onto a story that sticks with us — a story whose component parts seem so outrageous as to be fictional but whose description of raw Big Brotherly power being used against a single law-abiding citizen makes us fear for our republic.

You’ve likely never heard of Catherine Engelbrecht, and that’s understandable; she hasn’t been in the news in years. But as then-National Review’s Jillian Kay Melchior wrote back in 2013, “Catherine Engelbrecht’s tale has all the markings of a classic conspiracy theory: She says she thinks that because of her peaceful political activity, she and her family were targeted for scrutiny by hostile federal agencies. Yet as news emerges that the Internal Revenue Service wielded its power to obstruct conservative groups, Catherine’s story becomes credible — and chilling. It also raises questions about whether other federal agencies have used their executive powers to target those deemed political enemies.”

Melchior then chronicles this law-abiding Patriot’s ordeal from her founding of an election-integrity organization called True the Vote to her years-long harassment through a series of menacing and punitive visits from various agencies of the Obama administration.

Engelbrecht’s story is one of toughness, though — and ultimately of vindication. As the True the Vote website notes, the organization won a legal victory just last year against the IRS for its unconstitutional discrimination and unethical behavior. “This decision marks the end of a nearly decade long battle that first began in 2010, when federal government agencies including the IRS, DOJ, FBI, ATF, OSHA weaponized against True the Vote and its founder, Catherine Engelbrecht. Under Obama Administration leadership, the agencies leveled a barrage of attacks, including twenty-three audits, investigations, and inquiries, against the group in an attempt to stop their work in election integrity.”

From the beginning until her legal victory, Engelbrecht never wavered. “I testified before Congress and swore that I would never retreat or surrender,” she said. “Today I have fulfilled that oath. Thank you to all the citizens across the country who stood steadfastly beside us. We could not have done it without your support.”

Aside from serving as a cautionary tale of raw government power run amok, Engelbrecht’s story puts the lie to the laughable myth of the “scandal-free” Obama-Biden years. Not that she needed any help. As Kevin Williamson and Victor Davis Hanson (among others) have pointed out, that claim didn’t age well. We now know, beyond any doubt, that those eight years reeked of scandal.

Just imagine the media uproar, for example, if Donald Trump had snubbed and stonewalled the nation’s independent inspectors general the way his predecessor did.

“There is nothing left of the Obama creed of the ‘most scandal-free’ administrant in memory,” wrote VDH. “Before the collusion/obstruction hoax, the Horowitz report, the failed Mueller investigation, and the release of classified information, the public knew well of Fast and Furious, the data surveillance of the AP reporters, the GSA and VA messes, the weaponization of the IRS, the Benghazi mythologies, the Bowe Bergdahl swap, and the echo-chamber silence about the hidden details of the Iran deal. Each time Susan Rice was wheeled out to swear the truth, the public assumed it was a lie. The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

Perhaps worse than all that documented malfeasance, though, was the media’s abdication of its traditional watchdog role. By continually and willfully looking the other way, by failing to hold the Obama-Biden administration to account, the vaunted Fourth Estate failed miserably to protect the Catherine Engelbrechts of the world.

And that’s the sorriest scandal of all.




Six big takeaways from the attorney general's Capitol Hill testimony (The Daily Signal)

Hidin' Biden hits Trump's "law and order" message: He's trying to "scare the devil" out of people (The Hill)

Declassified Senate report details "bitter argument" between CIA and FBI over bogus Steele dossier (The Daily Caller)

NFL to transform fields, player helmets into Black Lives Matter billboards (The Federalist)

Black leaders in Portland criticize violent protesters (The Washington Free Beacon)

Twenty-eight states issue warnings about residents receiving unsolicited seed packets from China (NBC News)

Scientists get closer to blood test for Alzheimer's disease (AP)

EU levels sanctions over Hong Kong security law, inching toward tough U.S. stance on China (The Wall Street Journal)

New Zealand suspends extradition treaty with Hong Kong (Reuters)

Vatican computers hacked in Chinese espionage effort (Washington Examiner)

Chicago deputy police chief dead in apparent suicide soon after promotion (Fox News)

Policy: Why Marxist organizations like BLM seek to dismantle the nuclear family (Mises Institute)

Policy: The Federal Reserve is both too politicized and too powerful (Foundation for Economic Education)


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

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


30 July, 2020

Coronavirus: Hospital breakthrough removes the fear factor

A story of globally significant medical ingenuity has emerged from the rubble of Australia’s ­second coronavirus wave, as doctors and nurses use a local invention to better treat patients and protect staff.

Western Health and Melbourne University this year helped create a world-leading ventilation hood that is placed over victims, with the twin benefit of protecting staff and improving treatments.

Associate professor Forbes McGain has received the results of an initial study into the effectiveness of the hood, which is designed to contain the droplet spread of the coronavirus.

Dr McGain, who works for Western Health, said the study feedback from the first 20 patients had been “overwhelmingly positive”.

Many thousands of healthcare workers globally have been infected with COVID-19 while trying to save the lives of the sick and dying.

The ventilation hood separates medical staff from the patient without losing line of sight and contains the droplets.

For Dr McGain, an intensive care specialist at Melbourne’s Sunshine Hospital, the first obvious benefit is in the wellbeing of nurses and doctors. “The nurses in particular feel safe,” he said.

“That’s the most important thing for the hood. The nurses aren’t as worried nursing and caring for quite unwell patients.”

The hood, which effectively creates a bubble around the ­patient, also enables staff to provide less invasive therapies and improved interaction with those being treated.

Some 17 of the hoods are being used in Victoria as the medical world starts to struggle with the increasing load of the virus.

There is rising interest in the device from other hospitals and it has presented as a significant opportunity for local manufacturing and potential global exports.

The ventilation sucks air away from the patient but restricts the flow of droplets, with the hood acting as a barrier. It also enables other intensive care machines to function without compromising the safety of the staff.

The project was made possible with the support of Melbourne University’s School of Engineering, led by professor Jason Monty.

“We only have 17 of these hoods at the moment but more can be made,” Dr McGain said. “There is an opportunity for expansion with local manufacturing.”

There are 32 coronavirus inpatients at Sunshine Hospital with four in intensive care.

Western Health research nurse manager Sam Bates said the presence of the ventilation hoods was embraced by staff: “They are just so excited to see it.”



Short-Term Insurance Is Not The Problem. It’s The Solution

Republicans are in court trying to abolish Obamacare. Democrats in Congress are trying to abolish something called short-term, limited-benefit insurance.

Both types of insurance are meeting important family needs. With a huge number of people potentially losing employer coverage, an alternative in the individual market has never been more important. Yet neither party has a replacement in mind to meet those same needs in better ways.

Let’s take the Democrats first. Their target, the short-term plan, is less well-known and the market for it is growing while the Obamacare market is shrinking.

Congressional Democrats say short-term plans “are a bad deal for consumers.”

Yet last year alone, the market for them grew by 27 percent – providing 600,000 new customers a better deal than they could find anywhere else. And that occurred at the same time that the non-subsidized market in the Obamacare exchanges was in free fall.

So what is short-term insurance and why do so many people find it attractive?

The basic product has been around for many years. The reason for the phrase “short-term” is that it traditionally lasted for only 12 months and served as a bridge for people transitioning from a family policy to school, or from school to work, or from job to job.

There are three important things to know about it.

First, it is largely unregulated. Obamacare-mandated benefits, for example, don’t apply; and most state regulations don’t apply either. That means these plans don’t have to cover maternity care or substance abuse. Many of them don’t even cover prescription drugs. The Obamacare prohibition on discrimination based on health status also doesn’t apply. The plans can and do ask health questions. They exclude people with expensive chronic conditions.

Precisely because these plans avoid cost-increasing regulations and they only need to cover risks healthy people care about, they often sell for one-third the price of Obamacare insurance. They also typically have lower deductibles and broader provider networks.

This is ideal insurance for a healthy person with no chronic illness who wants transition coverage in case an auto accident or some other misfortune creates medical expenses during a transition period. It is not good insurance for a chronically ill patient who needs expensive drug therapy.

The second thing to know is that the Obama administration viewed these plans as a threat. Summarized in a single sentence, Obamacare is an elaborate system designed to force healthy people with no medical needs to pay high premiums in order to subsidize the coverage of relatively sick people with lots of needs.

That whole system falls apart, however, if the healthy can escape to some other market and buy insurance tailored just for them. So, President Obama used his regulatory authority (in a move never approved by Congress) to restrict short- term coverage to three months, with no renewal after that.

One of the most important things Donald Trump did was to reverse that restriction. Under a Trump administration ruling, short-term insurance can now last up to 12 months and it can be renewed for up to three years.

That has been a godsend for thousands of people who don’t get Obamacare subsidies. In the individual market, they have seen their premiums double, their deductibles triple and their access to the best doctors and hospitals denied. Trump has given them a better option.

That said, the typical plan in the short-term market today looks pretty much like short-term insurance has always looked. But that may change because of the third thing you need to know.

The Trump executive order went out of its way to sanction a separate type of insurance, what I call “change-of-health-status insurance,” to bridge the gap between the three-year periods. Say you are in a short-term plan and you get cancer. At the end of a three-year period you are likely to be rejected if you try to buy insurance for another three-year period. And if not rejected, you might be charged a much higher premium because of your health condition.

Health-status insurance protects you against these bad outcomes. It pays any extra cost that arises because of a change in your medical condition, leaving you free to pay the same premium a healthy person would pay.

By stringing together these two types of insurance, we now have the possibility of a market that healthy people can buy into and that is guaranteed to be renewable (regardless of health condition) indefinitely into the future. Going forward, expect to see insurance companies enter this market, which looks very much like traditional Blue Cross insurance before there was Obamacare – with reasonable premiums and a full menu of benefits. It will be the closest thing we have ever had to genuine free market health insurance.

Surprisingly, the very thing that will make this transition easy is the existence of Obamacare. Democrats complain that today’s short-term plans don’t cover services people might need.  “What if you get sick and need expensive drugs?” they might ask. The answer is: you drop your short-term plan and enroll in an Obamacare plan.

The Obamacare exchanges are serving as an ongoing safety net. They are similar in some respects to the risk pools that states maintained before there was Obamacare. They are available to those who buy their own insurance and can’t get their medical needs met in some other way.

And this is why the GOP might want to rethink its goal of abolishing Obamacare completely.

Obamacare has one design feature Republicans should like. It provides tax subsidies that enable people to buy private insurance. That was the core idea behind John McCain’s health plan in the 2008 election. It also is a core idea behind other Republican reform plans.

The reason why Obamacare looks like a Rube Goldberg contraption is that it is a market designed by Democrats who don’t believe in markets. It is funded by tax credits designed by Democrats who don’t believe in tax credits. It tries to force young, healthy families to buy the wrong kind of insurance and overcharges them in the process. It over-subsidizes lower-income families who are healthy and under-subsidizes middle-income families with real medical needs.

Here is the way out:

1.   Let the short-term market continue developing into a largely unregulated market for real health insurance.

2.   Provide the same tax credit to everyone, regardless of which market they buy insurance from.

3.   Let the Obamacare market serve as quasi-risk pool insurance and keep the premiums reasonable with subsidies paid for by taxpayers generally.

4.   To keep Obamacare costs under control, encourage ”focused factories” –health plans that focus on specific serious health conditions such as cancer and diabetes – and thus encourage competition in chronic care.

By following these suggestions, members of both political parties could be far more productive than continuing their efforts to abolish insurance they don’t like.



The Liberal Media Thinks You're Too Dumb to See the Riots For What They Are

Are we living in a quasi-Oceanic state? Are we living in the United States or a place more resembling Airstrip One? Okay, maybe not that far, but the liberal media’s refusal to utilize the English language to describe what is happening on the Left Coast is troubling. Is it shocking? Not really, but disconcerting all the same.

While most of the country has moved on from rioting in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis Police on May 25, there are small pockets where these clowns have simply not gone home. Most of it is occurring in the usual places, California, Portland, and Seattle. These leftists are still there because it’s not about George Floyd, which unleashed a new wave of Black Lives Matter activism and political correctness policing. Oh, and it also set forth a renewed push to…eliminate all law enforcement, but that’s a tale for another time.

It’s no longer about police brutality or racial justice. That’s over. That was never the message with the folks still rioting. It’s about the Marxist revolution. The Floyd protests were merely a means to mobilize—and now they’re trying to torch federal buildings. Black Lives Matter has, in some areas, been overtaken by insufferable white liberals, which I was told is problematic in nature. This assault on order is what prompted President Trump to initiate Operation Legend, the deployment of federal troops in these lawless Democrat-run regions with the intention of restoring law and order and protecting federal property.

Of course, this set off a frenzy with the liberal media morons, who thought this was either a prelude to martial law or a test run to Trump stealing the upcoming presidential election. Trump derangement has hit a new stage in evolution. We have an entire industry that is helmed by idiots. And they’ve created a new language, a new code for reporting on these riots that defies logic. Take this tweet from ABC News, for example.

“Protesters in California set fire to a courthouse, damaged a police station and assaulted officers after a peaceful demonstration intensified.”

Say what? They were aggregating an Associated Press piece, but dear Lord—what in the fresh hell is this? In this new era of journalism, when people set fires, it means the “peaceful” protest only got…more serene? No. It’s a riot, which means law enforcement should deploy all means available to crush these vermin. It means break out the rubber bullets, the tear gas canisters, the flashbangs, the water hoses, anything to put this mob down. Now, some locations, like Seattle, tried to ban the use of crowd control munitions, which was blessedly blocked by a judge.

These aren’t soccer moms. These aren’t good people. These are unhinged, violent left-wing revolutionaries. And for some reason, setting fires to buildings and attacking police is okay because “orange man…bad.” The media refuses to put pressure on left-wingers for their illegal behavior, plus their unshakeable list for revolution is a toxic combination. It didn’t have to be this way. If Democrats could govern, it wouldn’t be this way. These governors and local leaders might as well be sixth graders. Trump is literally dealing with children, and it only gets worse concerning the media.

Is their bias so great that they’re now incapable of calling what things are now? Maybe we saw glimpses of this during the Obama era, the inability from those on the Left to call something for what it was because it might make them look bad. When Putin rolled into Ukraine and annexed Crimea, it wasn’t called an “invasion.” It was called an “uncontested arrival.”

Now, it’s “protestors” attack police, shine lasers into federal agents’ eyes to blind them, set fires to federal buildings, and commit mass looting as “peaceful” demonstration intensified. And folks, it’s not just members of the media, as even some liberals appear to have succumbed to abject cognitive dissonance.

 Forget COVID—is this the new normal? What’s next, some long-form piece about how killing is not murder?



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

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


28 July, 2020

Why the Black Lives Matter protest is dangerous

By Australian immunologist John Dwyer.  His comments are about Australia but they are equally applicable to the USA

The vast majority of people infected with COVID-19 met the virus while in close physical proximity to an infectious individual for an extended period of time. Prolonged exposure not only results in a much greater chance of being infected; it makes it likely one will be infected by a lot of virus – "high viral load" – which will be a major factor in determining the clinical consequences.

This reality is not being given sufficient emphasis in our mitigation strategies.

As we attempt to tame this epidemic it is crucial that we not only practise social distancing but also focus on minimising occasions when we are close to fellow citizens for a prolonged period of time, a strategy we might call "social brevity".

Remember our local experience of one infected individual attending a wedding reception with 35 others, all of whom went home infected.

No matter how laudable the cause of yesterday’s planned Black Lives Matter protest in Sydney, it was ridiculous to even contemplate having a gathering which 1500 people had indicated on Facebook they would attend – even if wearing masks – to give voice (and potentially virus) to their shared concerns for a prolonged period.

While the organisers had pledged to divide into legal groups of no more than 20, how feasible might that have been? As it turned out, only 40 turned out for the rally, which was abandoned when its leader and others were arrested. But it shouldn't have come to that.

What irony that a protest about the need to save lives could be responsible for the loss of lives. It’s disturbing that after all these months of struggle to contain COVID infections, the organisers were defying a court order not to proceed.

As we have seen in Melbourne, a single carrier can set off a tidal wave of infections. Prolonged exposure to COVID carriers results in clusters of infection as we have seen in meat-packing plants, nursing homes, cramped housing estates and, increasingly notable, hospital settings.

More than 700 Australian health professionals caring for COVID patients have been infected. In the Italian crisis more than 100 previously healthy and often young doctors died as they were constantly exposed to huge numbers of infected individuals over many weeks.

Now, you might get infected making you way around a crowed supermarket. You might pick up COVID from a solid surface or meet it in air exhaled by a fellow shopper, but the risk is low. To avoid the greater risks, we have to extend our thinking to social brevity.

Religious services, choirs, funerals, parties, hotels where drinking while standing in groups is allowed, public transport and the normal daily routines in nursing homes all create dangerous opportunities for infection.

The data also highlight how important are opportunities to work at home. We need to pay special attention to the working conditions associated with "essential services". We have had clusters of infection on construction sites and in factories. Industry experts should be working with government health authorities to devise the best possible protective gear and arrangements for workers in such industries.

The recent outbreak of infections in Victoria clearly illustrates how quickly we can see a reassuringly low rate of new infections explode to produce so many new infections that our best efforts at contact tracing are unable to arrest the exponential increase in cases.

In NSW we are understandably nervous that our currently manageable numbers of new infections could suddenly accelerate.

While vaccine news features much optimism, the data is very preliminary and we are learning from numerous studies that natural infection may not be associated with any long-term immunity.

Too often we hear that COVID infections are only a problem for "oldies". Yet globally they are causing more and more serious clinical consequences for young people (very noticeable in Victoria at the moment), often resulting in chronic illness.

It was of some comfort that the Black Lives Matter protesters had pledged to wear masks, but that would have given them no guarantee. Numerous studies have been performed trying to quantify the value of mask wearing by the general population as a strategy for defeating COVID; the results are mixed. The controversies are well presented on the NSW Department of Health’s COVID website.

The wearing of masks by all citizens, as is currently required of Victorians, needs to be put into an evidence-based perspective. There is no doubt about the effectiveness of masks in reducing the likelihood that an infected individual will infect another.

Of course, individuals with respiratory symptoms should wear a mask as they seek testing and then self-isolate until the results are in. No-one with symptoms should be at large in the community and thinking that a mask will guarantee they are harmless.

The World Health Organisation and America’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the importance of mask wearing by all in situations such as Victoria’s. Certainly the same is true for the likes of Florida and Texas where 25 per cent of those tested are infected, but mask wearing will not provide the panacea that will terminate the COVID epidemic.

Stay-at-home orders will slow the infection rate but our need to "live" with this virus and restore our economy requires us to adapt our normal social interaction to the long-term epidemiological reality we face. That adaptation must address the need for "social brevity" for the foreseeable future.



HHS Acts to Preserve Religious Freedom at Hospitals During Pandemic

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services took two important steps Tuesday to protect religious freedom during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The agency’s Office for Civil Rights announced that patients at hospitals within the University of Maryland Medical System may receive visits by clergy amid the pandemic.

And, the office said, a medical student at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City may follow his religious belief by not shaving his beard despite having to wear a mask. 

“We can protect people’s physical safety and their spiritual and emotional well-being at the same time,” Roger Severino, director of the HHS Office for Civil Rights, said on a conference call with reporters Tuesday afternoon. “Those two things are not in tension and when we protect both, we actually protect the mental health as well as the physical health.”

“Religious liberty doesn’t cease to be a fundamental human right during a pandemic,” Ryan T. Anderson, a research fellow specializing in religious liberty at The Heritage Foundation, said in an email to The Daily Signal. “As these HHS resolutions demonstrate, we can combat COVID-19 and respect religious liberty.”

In the case prompting the first decision, Sidney and Susanna Marcus were airlifted to Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly, Maryland, after a motorcycle accident May 25.

Her husband’s injuries were more severe than hers, Susanna Marcus explained on Tuesday’s conference call, placing him in the hospital’s intensive care unit for an extended period.

Susanna Marcus requested that a priest visit her husband because she was “very fearful for his condition,” she said.

She and her husband are Catholic, she said, and “believe that in the sacraments our souls are united to God’s.”

“I needed to know that he had access to that,” she said. “And when I was told that no priests were allowed, I was able to contact HHS and was connected to the best people … and finally Sidney was able to have access to a priest and to the sacrament.” 

The Office for Civil Rights and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services worked with the University of Maryland Medical System to ensure that patients have access to clergy and chaplains during the pandemic, Severino said.

The University of Maryland Medical System updated visitation guidelines for all 13 of its hospitals to allow patients, including those in COVID-19 care units, to receive visits from pastors, priests, or other clergy—provided they wear the appropriate personal protective equipment.

In an email Tuesday night to The Daily Signal, Michael Schwartzberg, media relations director for the University of Maryland Medical System, said:

After we became aware of an issue regarding clergy visitation for a patient who was potentially nearing the end of [his] life, we engaged in extensive discussion with key stakeholders including legal counsel on how to best accommodate situations that require exceptions to our visitation policy while not compromising the safety of others.

We have since amended our policy, with all individuals visiting a COVID-19 positive patient provided a form acknowledging the risk, and will allow clergy visits with adherence to safety protocols.

HHS would like to see other states and hospital systems follow University of Maryland Medical System’s lead, Severino said.

“It’s a tragedy when people are deprived of the ability to have access to their faith practices,” he told reporters.

The Office for Civil Rights also acted to protect the faith practices of the New York City medical student in June, leading to the second announcement Tuesday.

The unnamed student was set to do rotations at Staten Island University Hospital during the summer. Hospital supervisors asked him to shave his beard before getting fitted for an N95 protective mask, but the student explained that he could not do so because of his religious beliefs. He was told he could not return to rotations until he shaved.

The Office for Civil Rights worked with the student and the hospital to find an alternative that “provides greater protection than an N95 mask and would allow for a facial beard,” HHS said in a press release.

Patients and health care providers “have [an] interest in religious freedoms, and both should be accommodated and protected to the extent possible,” Severino said.



Black Privilege in the Media

Several Leftmedia outlets have announced they'll capitalize the "B" in black.

This just in: The Leftmedia is biased. Clearly that’s not news, but what is news is the recent decision by the Associated Press, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other outlets to begin capitalizing the “B” in black when describing people. The “w” in white will remain lowercased, however, to make sure white folks remain properly chastised. “White privilege” indeed.

The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) says “white” should be capitalized as well, and Fox News, CNN, and others say they’ll do so. The white leftists at the AP, Times, and Journal, however, are too busy putting white people in their place to listen to fair-minded black people.

The AP made the change to “B” on Juneteenth but only yesterday announced that “W” would not follow. In reporting on its own decision, the AP noted, “The AP said white people in general have much less shared history and culture, and don’t have the experience of being discriminated against because of skin color.” So the AP is going to discriminate against white people in news coverage to teach them a lesson.

Indeed, John Daniszewski, the AP’s vice president for standards, was almost explicit in saying so: “We agree that white people’s skin color plays into systemic inequalities and injustices, and we want our journalism to robustly explore these problems. But capitalizing the term white, as is done by white supremacists, risks subtly conveying legitimacy to such beliefs.”

Evidently, Daniszewski and his fellow race-baiting cadres believe blacks are incapable of perpetrating inequality, injustice, or supremacy. To assign such sinful human behavior only to whites is, of course, racist. So is making skin pigmentation the defining characteristic these media outlets will highlight — as if all blacks have to think and behave in some uniform fashion, while whites are evidently free to think for themselves. Why can’t Americans be united in our national culture instead of being divided by skin color?

This is all part of the Marxist cultural revolution of identity politics that has swept the country in recent weeks. It includes rebranding food, renaming sports teams, and the redefinition of language itself.

On a final note, let me give you a taste of what this idiocy would look like in my own home. I have three white children and two black children, adopted from Africa. They are African Americans, if you really want to get technical, but that term is even falling out of favor as “Black” sweeps it away. Imagine if I followed these media outlets and not only showed my black kids favoritism but insisted that my white kids — especially that deplorable male one — were privileged, discriminating, and downright evil for being … white.

I’d be a horrible father, a deranged person, and a racist. Yet that sort of racism is exactly what passes for “enlightened” media coverage today. One might almost conclude that the Leftmedia truly is the enemy of the people.




U.S. Supreme Court denies Nevada church's appeal of discriminatory coronavirus restrictions (NBC News)

Hidin' Biden declines Chris Wallace interview (Fox News)

Democratic National Committee platform mentions "whites" 15 times, all of which are critical (Washington Examiner)

Big wins for Bernie Sanders wing in Democrat platform (Washington Examiner)

Economic adviser Larry Kudlow says next coronavirus stimulus bill will include more checks, extend moratorium on evictions (Fox News)

Parking tickets covered by Eighth Amendment's ban on excessive fines, federal court rules (Forbes)

Leftist George Soros pours record $50 million into 2020 election (The Washington Free Beacon)

Seattle police chief sends simple message to businesses during riots: You're on your own (The Daily Caller)

If you thought "defund the police" was insane, you'll love "abolish prisons" in Seattle (PJ Media)

Rifle ammunition, Molotov cocktails found by Portland police on 60th consecutive night of "protests" (Fox News)

Civil rights activists fire back at Portland protesters: It's no longer about black lives (The Daily Wire)

Chicago violence: Two dead, 47 injured in another bloody weekend (Fox News)

Ecstatic teen opens his first-ever paycheck, learns what taxes are, is absolutely crushed (Disrn)


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

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


28 July, 2020

Where the current craziness began

The arrogance of youth

It has long struck me how the Frankfurt School, a collection of Leftist émigrés from Nazi Germany, could have been so successful in dominating the curriculum of the American university and wielding so massive an influence over following generations of students. Its major figures, Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, and Herbert Marcuse, were the main authors of the political revolution of the 1960s which gradually filtered into the culture to produce the revisionist “narrative” and physical violence we observe all around us today.

The most publically significant spokesperson was Herbert Marcuse, whose One Dimensional Man, Eros and Civilization and his influential, totalitarian-inspired essay “Repressive Tolerance” planted the seeds of political and epistemic subversion in the fertile soil of American academia and, ultimately, in the marl of the cultural and institutional life. Marcuse argued in the essay that we must be “intolerant toward the protagonists of the repressive status quo.” By “status quo,” he meant classical liberal thought with its emphasis on tradition, individual autonomy, civic responsibility, and limited government, which he thought were responsible for deep-rooted social injustice. The narrative he developed was irresistible to his legion of acolytes.

The Frankfurters were the red brigades of the university Left, striving to fill their students’ minds with the doctrine of human and social perfectibility according to the egalitarian principles of their Marxist forbears, in particular the theories and ruminations of the Italian revolutionary thinker Antonio Gramsci and Hungarian Marxist Georg Lukács. The Woke generation now rioting in the streets of Portland, Seattle, and other cities are their unwitting progeny, the shock troops of Antifa and BLM who never read Marcuse, let alone Horkheimer, Adorno, Gramsci or Lukács—and surely would be incapable of doing so with any comprehension. They have succumbed to a political virus of which they are unaware, fallen prey to a toxic narrative developed by the luminaries of the intellectual Left. This is what I would dub trickle-down intellectonomics, how complex thought (however specious) gradually leaks away into howls, bellows, and yawps.

There is no doubt that the crucial figures of the “Western Marxist” movement were brilliant men and erudite scholars, eloquent to a fault. They were right about some things, in particular about the rise of anti-Semitism as a function of a world sinking into barbarism. But how could they have been so wrong about America, working to transform the American Dream into the American Nightmare? Could they not see how their analysis of America’s ills was based not on a thorough and intimate knowledge of American life in all its variety and complexity but on the hoary concept of “commodity fetishism” and a theoretical explication of a mystical force Adorno called “negative dialectics,” an understanding of which could show how American society might be perfected? 

Adorno believed that Western and American society could transcend its fundamental contradictions between labor and capital, between constraint and freedom, the compulsion to dominate both men and nature and the struggle for “unitary existence,” “in view of the concrete possibility of utopia,” as he wrote in Negative Dialectics. (Italics mine.) A “right condition,” he continued, could be freed from the inherent contradiction of “dialectic antagonisms.” Marcuse was much blunter. He was not interested in transcendence but repression—albeit in the name of that convenient Marxist evasion, a harmonious future. It must be said, however, that both men commanded a facility with language, combining complexity, expressiveness, and philosophic range, that few contemporary writers are capable of today. We should resist the temptation to dismiss their language as merely unintelligible or pretentious, yet their linguistic convolution is part of the problem.

Thomas Hobbes in Leviathan put the dilemma in a nutshell. “As men abound in copiousness of language,” he wrote, “so they become more wise, or more mad, than ordinary. Nor is it possible without letters for any man to become either excellently wise or . . . excellently foolish.”

The Frankfurters were excellently foolish, and the majority of our politicians, editors, public intellectuals, and corporate tycoons have imbibed their folly. With respect to the latter, as Rupert Darwall shows in Green Tyranny, “Capitalist wealth has been used to fund the Frankfurt School” to advance its own interests, primarily in the Green environmental industry; capitalists are subsidizing the very people dedicated to bringing them down. But this is true of the entire elitist cartel pushing the wages of intellectual abuse in our universities, media and political class. They have bought into the opiate narrative of the Left.

Social worker Judith Acosta puts the issue neatly when discussing the economic question with socialists young and old, who believe in “sharing the planet,” in doing away with free-market enterprise, in the free distribution of goods and services, and state ownership of the means of production: “They don’t concede that there is even such a thing as human nature, replete with base impulses. To them, humanity is perfectible (with a little government help and a lot of regulation).” She continues: “Human nature is bifurcated and fallen…there will be atrocities and power grabs no matter what economic system we have. The question more appropriately becomes…which economic and social system best deals with the reality of human nature, its innate indolence and selfishness, its ambition and creativity…So far, based on worldwide experience, a gently regulated capitalism seems to produce the most good for the broadest segment of humanity.”

But the Left will not concede to reality in attempting to advance its doctrine with mental sedatives like “social harmony,” “classless society,” “planetary village,” “unitary existence,” and so on. Its apostles and epigones have been thoroughly indoctrinated. And so their folly seems poised to prevail. We need to acknowledge that once in power the Left will enact policy predicated not on promoting the freedom and prosperity of the nation or recognizing the empirics of economic life but on a sweeping “narrative” of human perfectibility ushered in by an all-seeing aristocracy of political authoritarians. The Social Democratic “narrative” is an ideological tissue of unsustainable ideas, no matter how imposingly it may be formulated. Thanks to the Frankfurters and their infecting a generation of impressionable students with the illusion of human perfectibility and the dogmatic assurance of a self-regarding master class, excellent foolishness has become the air we breathe and the order of the day.



Biden Vows to Stamp Out 'Islamicphobia'

That means more Islamic proselytizing is coming to American public schools.

The presidential campaign of 2020 has so far unfolded in more of a crisis atmosphere than any campaign in decades. Portland, Oregon and other cities are still engulfed by Antifa violence (as the Democrats side with the violent rioters), coronavirus hysteria is still hamstringing the nation’s economic life and prosperity, social media giants are waging all-out war against the freedom of speech, and America’s history and heritage is under direct and unapologetic assault from Marxists vowing a revolution in America. In the midst of all this, on July 20, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden demonstrated anew the disturbing priorities of his increasingly anti-American party.

Instead of addressing the sharp rise in crime and lawlessness, the demonization of American history and culture, the Left’s assault on the Second Amendment and other basic rights, or any of the other burning issues of the day, Biden chose to address the “Million Muslim Votes Summit,” hosted by Emgage Action, which claims to be is the largest Muslim PAC in the United States. In the course of his rambling remarks, Biden declared: “One of the things I think is important, I wish we taught more in our schools about the Islamic faith.”[1]

In the midst of what could very well turn out to be a second American civil war, or even the end of the United States as a free republic, Joe Biden is preoccupied with getting our schools to proselytize for Islam more intensively than they already do. For make no mistake: that is what Biden means when he says he wishes that our schools taught more about Islam. Schools already teach about Islam as a major world religion. That teaching has already been widely criticized as whitewashing the crimes committed in the name of Islam and in accord with its teachings, and Biden wants even more of that: he thinks the cure for what he repeatedly called “Islamicphobia” (there’s that famous “stutter” again, but you can’t really fault him for getting a word wrong that’s artificial and made-up in the first place) is for American schoolchildren to be relentlessly indoctrinated with the idea that Islam is wonderful, and never mind about all those dead bodies of people killed to screams of “Allahu akbar.”

Biden was in effect adopting a familiar trope of post-9/11 Leftists and Islamic supremacists: that opposition to jihad violence and Sharia oppression of women is “hate,” a hatred that could be eradicated if we redneck yahoo Americans were just made to learn a bit about Islam. And so the public schools, which Democrats have worked for years to cleanse of every trace of Christianity, must be made an arena for teaching Islam. Imagine the uproar if Biden had said: “One of the things I think is important, I wish we taught more in our schools about the Christian faith.” He would have been denounced everywhere and probably would already have been replaced as the likely Democratic Party presidential candidate.

But his far-Left supporters will only applaud his recommendation that the public schools be increasingly devoted to teaching Islam. This is certain, as Biden went on to claim that America was a dark, dangerous place for Muslims, and it was all Donald Trump’s fault. The Islamic education was apparently needed because “under this administration, we’ve seen an unconscionable, an unconscionable rise in Islamicphobia and incidents including kids being bullied in schools and hate crimes in our communities.”[2] President Trump, Biden insisted, has “named people with a history of open Islamicphobia — open, straightforward, who have no business serving in high positions in our government — to key leadership roles in our Department of Defense and the US Agency of International Development.”[3]

“Islamophobia,” which is likely what Biden meant to say when he said “Islamicphobia,” is defined in a New York Post article about his address to Emgage as “prejudice against Muslims.”[4] Prejudice against any group is never justified. All too often, however, the term is used to refer to honest and accurate analysis of the ways in which jihadis use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and make recruits among peaceful Muslims.

Biden is vowing to end all that, and effectively criminalize criticism of Islam, including all opposition to jihad terror, something that the Left has been working toward for a long time.

Even worse, the Washington Free Beacon reports that Emgage Action is “a George Soros-backed Muslim group, which cohosts a conference that in recent years drew speakers who called homosexuality a ‘disease’ and defended terrorist groups….Emgage has collaborated with a Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated group on events that in recent years attracted speakers who openly opposed LGBT rights and supported terror groups. Last year, Emgage became an official cohost of Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) conferences. ISNA was previously revealed to be part of the Muslim Brotherhood network—though it claims it is no longer associated with the group.”[5]

Biden didn’t hesitate to throw this crowd plenty of red meat, promising: “If I have the honor of being president, I will end the Muslim ban on day one, day one.”[6] There is no “Muslim ban,” but the idea that such a ban does actually exist is not just a product of the candidate’s rapidly deteriorating mental capacity. Islamic supremacists and their Leftist allies insist on calling the Trump administration’s travel bans on nationals from 13 countries a “Muslim ban,” even though five of those countries, Burma, Eritrea, Tanzania, North Korea and Venezuela, are not Muslim countries, and there are 49 other Muslim countries upon which there is no ban at all.

The ban exists because these countries cannot or will not provide accurate information about prospective immigrants. The list of countries was devised during the Obama administration, while Biden was Vice President. But that didn’t stop Biden from casting it in racial terms, declaring: “Muslim communities were the first to feel Donald Trump’s assault on black and brown communities in this country with his vile Muslim ban.”[7] It’s a peculiar “assault on black and brown communities” that leaves untouched scores of countries inhabited by “black and brown communities,” but the Left is working on the gut level of rage and hatred, not rational consideration.

Digging even deeper, Biden declared: “A hadith from the Prophet Muhammad instructs, ‘Whomever among you sees a wrong, let him change it with his hand. If he is not able, then with his tongue. If he is not able, then with his heart.’”[8]

The hadith Biden is quoting is this one: “On the authority of Abu Sa`eed al-Khudree (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah say, ‘Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.'” (Nawawi 34)

What might Muhammad, or whoever put this saying into his mouth, have meant by changing a wrong with one’s hand? One of the hazards of analysis of statements of jihad terrorists is that in an Islamic context, words seldom, if ever, mean what they are taken for granted as meaning by Westerners. This fools mainstream counterterror analysts on a daily basis: when Muslim leaders speak about wanting to establish justice, they think they’re ready to set up free societies, when actually they mean they want to impose Sharia.

So it is with Biden’s favored saying. Fighting and killing infidels is repeatedly commanded in the Qur’an (cf. 2:191. 4:89, 9:5, 9:289, 47:4, etc.), not because Islam is committed to mayhem for its own sake, but because the society of the unbelievers must be swept aside in favor of the rule of Islamic law. The twentieth-century Pakistani political leader and Islamic scholar Syed Abul A’la Maududi taught that Muslims must fight until non-Muslims were not be entrusted with the responsibilities of governing a state – any state. He declared that non-Muslims have “absolutely no right to seize the reins of power in any part of God’s earth nor to direct the collective affairs of human beings according to their own misconceived doctrines. For if they are given such an opportunity, corruption and mischief will ensue. In such a situation the believers would be under an obligation to do their utmost to dislodge them from political power and to make them live in subservience to the Islamic way of life.”[9]

This is the highest activity in which a Muslim can engage: another hadith has a Muslim asking Muhammad: “Instruct me as to such a deed as equals Jihad (in reward).” Muhammad replied, “I do not find such a deed.” (Bukhari 4.52.44)

Biden’s hadith, therefore, was not some Islamic Hallmark card; it was a command to wage war against unbelievers.

Note also Biden’s reference to “the Prophet Muhammad.” It’s standard journalistic practice today to assume that everyone is a Muslim and believes Muhammad is a prophet, so Biden is just following along with the crowd and pandering to his constituency, but it’s still a manifestation of Islamic supremacism. Biden’s handlers would never, ever give him a statement that referred to “our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” But Islam is the Left’s preferred religion, and Islamopandering is the order of the day, so Biden refers without hesitation to “the prophet.”



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

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


27 July, 2020

Why does the coronavirus sometimes strike young people?

It's usually clearcut.  The virus only strikes people with impaired immune systems -- people who have other ailments.  Old people normally have other ailments so they are very often affected by the virus.

And when young people get it, they are usually ones who are ill already. They too have other ailments.  But how come there are a few cases of young people being infected who seem otherwise healthy? Why does the virus single them out?  Why in their case was being young and healthy not enough to protect them?

The article from a major medical journal below shows why in at least some cases.  It shows that they have a genetic defect that weakens their immune system in crucial ways. That may not be the answer in all cases but it is clearly now an in principle explanation.  The vast majority of young people are safe

Presence of Genetic Variants Among Young Men With Severe COVID-19

Caspar I.van der Made et al.


Objective:  To explore the presence of genetic variants associated with primary immunodeficiencies among young patients with COVID-19.

Design, Setting, and Participants Case series of pairs of brothers without medical history meeting the selection criteria of young (age <35 years) brother pairs admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) due to severe COVID-19. Four men from 2 unrelated families were admitted to the ICUs of 4 hospitals in the Netherlands between March 23 and April 12, 2020. The final date of follow-up was May 16, 2020. Available family members were included for genetic variant segregation analysis and as controls for functional experiments.

Main Outcome and Measures:  Results of rapid clinical whole-exome sequencing, performed to identify a potential monogenic cause. Subsequently, basic genetic and immunological tests were performed in primary immune cells isolated from the patients and family members to characterize any immune defects.

Results:  The 4 male patients had a mean age of 26 years (range, 21-32), with no history of major chronic disease. They were previously well before developing respiratory insufficiency due to severe COVID-19, requiring mechanical ventilation in the ICU. The mean duration of ventilatory support was 10 days (range, 9-11); the mean duration of ICU stay was 13 days (range, 10-16). One patient died. Rapid clinical whole-exome sequencing of the patients and segregation in available family members identified loss-of-function variants of the X-chromosomal TLR7. In members of family 1, a maternally inherited 4-nucleotide deletion was identified (c.2129_2132del; p.[Gln710Argfs*18]); the affected members of family 2 carried a missense variant (c.2383G>T; p.[Val795Phe]). In primary peripheral blood mononuclear cells from the patients, downstream type I interferon (IFN) signaling was transcriptionally downregulated, as measured by significantly decreased mRNA expression of IRF7, IFNB1, and ISG15 on stimulation with the TLR7 agonist imiquimod as compared with family members and controls. The production of IFN-?, a type II IFN, was decreased in patients in response to stimulation with imiquimod.

Conclusions and Relevance:  In this case series of 4 young male patients with severe COVID-19, rare putative loss-of-function variants of X-chromosomal TLR7 were identified that were associated with impaired type I and II IFN responses. These preliminary findings provide insights into the pathogenesis of COVID-19



New pill that could prevent COVID-19 from entering body cells gets FDA OK for human trials

AI Therapeutics in Guilford received some exciting news from the FDA this week. Their drug, currently being used to treat some forms of cancers, will now go through 60-90 days of human trials at Yale and other locations across the country in an effort to prevent COVID-19.

Entrepreneur and genetics expert Jonathan Rothberg, Ph.D., shared details of the drug, Apilimod’s, promise, so far.

“A Gates Foundation study tested 13,000 compounds AI Therapeutics LAM 2 Apilimod, was the number one compound out of 13,000 tested and it stops the entry of the virus. You stop the virus from getting in the cell, you stop the virus,” says Rothberg.

He says the drug is already being used to treat some cancers.

“We know the drug is safe, it’s been safe in over 700 people but now we have to go from stopping the virus in a petri dish to stopping it in people we love, and that’s what is happening at Yale University.”

He says their goal is to demonstrate that in only a few days the pill is able to stop the effects of the virus and prevent a COVID-19 infection.

“The FDA has just given us approval to test it as a potential cure for COVID-19 and only after we show efficacy will we use it as a chemical vaccine,” says Rothberg.

He explained how COVID-19 enters our body: “The virus uses a mechanism similar to a garbage chute to get into your cell, and we shut it down and by shutting it down the virus has no access to the cell.”

Rothberg is also behind a company mass-producing $30 molecular home COVID tests that do not rely on antibodies. They are awaiting FDA approval. Rothberg came up with the idea in early March and his team went to work quickly.

Another one of his teams at Butterfly in New Haven created a hand-held ultrasound, revolutionizing patient testing around the world.

As for the drug, Rothberg says it has been tested in Wuhan, China and they have stocked enough compounds to make 5,000,000 pills if and when they receive the proper FDA approvals and clearances.



We need a Covid plan that is, dare I say it, sustainable

Comment from Australia, where the issues are similar:

When Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews blamed his own population for spreading the coronavirus, accusing them of flouting self-isolation rules (actually, his health authorities had given them the wrong advice), he threatened an extension of the current lockdown. Quite aside from the ugly blame-shifting by a leader who is yet to account for his government’s mistakes, few people seemed to consider the crucial sustainability question.

Can Victoria really keep going into lockdown? At what point does the balance between public health, economic wellbeing, community needs and individual livelihoods, deserve realistic evaluation? If you keep locking down, there won’t be much to lock down.

The whole country locked down in March and the federal government budgeted an unfathomable $130bn to sustain people through the following six months. They got the numbers wrong in a $60bn mistake that surely would have cost the Treasurer his job if the error had been to the other side of the ledger.

The wage replacement scheme has been extended by six months and $20bn but unemployment is still expected to top 9 per cent.

What if states are still locking down in a year? What if the virus is running rampant so that tourism and hospitality businesses cannot function 18 months from now? Would it be sustainable for wage replacement schemes, additional unemployment benefits and special industry stimulus packages to continue?

Scott Morrison, Treasurer Frydenberg and Health Minister Greg Hunt deserve enormous credit for putting Australia in this position; if an effective vaccine is readily available worldwide within a year, their response will rank as one of the world’s best.

But even if the current Victorian outbreak is suppressed and our national economy can operate relatively freely behind sealed international borders, how will we be placed in a year if the virus continues to run rampant across the world? How long can we continue to close ourselves off from overseas students, tourists and immigrants?

Would we simply be delaying the eventual spread of the virus across our nation? Would all our most drastic and costly measures have been in vain?

What we have done so far has our COVID-19 death rate per million people sitting at less than six, whereas the US is over 400, and in Britain and Spain it is more than 600. How long can we afford the policies that have delivered this staggering success?

We should thank our lucky stars that upwards of 98 per cent of infected people suffer minor symptoms only and the young are virtually impervious to the virus (compared to the Spanish flu which killed infants and healthy young people in their millions). We need ways of dealing with outbreaks that fall well short of closing businesses, crushing livelihoods and banning human interactions.

This is where widespread mask-wearing, social distancing and hygiene, coupled with protections for the vulnerable, offer vastly more sustainable options. We eventually might have to learn to live with the disease.

The economic sustainability of hard borders restricting interstate travel is highly questionable, especially for tourism and hospitality. And these measures hurt socially; communities like Albury-Wodonga and Coolangatta-Tweed Heads are being torn apart; families are being kept from each other.

Our politicians have been too eager to outsource decision-making to medical experts who have a singular focus on preventing infections, which we know can be stopped dead if we cease all human interaction.

This represents the “collapse of government legitimacy”, according to the Manhattan ­Institute’s Heather MacDonald, who has written about this phenomenon in the US.

“For three months, public officials abdicated their responsibility to balance the costs and benefits of any given policy,” she says. “They put the future of hundreds of millions of Americans in the hands of a narrow set of experts who lack all awareness of the workings of economic and social systems, and whose science was built on the ever-shifting sand of speculative models and on extreme risk aversion regarding only one kind of risk.”

MacDonald said the experts were “deaf to the pleas of law-abiding business owners who saw their life’s efforts snuffed out” as these decisions destroyed wealth through arbitrary decision making. This tragic summary sounds gut-wrenchingly familiar.

Secure in their permanent tenure, bureaucrats and publicly funded broadcasters have barracked for ever more draconian measures while the price has been paid by the unemployed and small business owners who have seen their hard-won assets eviscerated. As always, it is for politicians to carefully weigh-up costs and benefits.

Consider how the coronavirus measures have all but eradicated influenza infections this year and, according to the statistics, saved more lives than we have lost to COVID-19. Yet would we suggest imposing these lockdown measures every year, at these costs, to save 150 lives or so from flu? ­Obviously not, or else we would have done it ages ago.

Our leaders have changed their pandemic objectives on us without saying so explicitly. We were told initially that we were locking down to give authorities time to expand capacity within our health system so the pandemic would not overwhelm us.

Authorities tripled the availability of critical care beds nationally from just over 2000 to more than 7500 but, so far, the pandemic has not required more than 100 on any given day and fewer than 50 are being used now. We have ample surge capacity.

According to the original rationale, we ought to be more relaxed about higher levels of infection without shutting down society. So long as our hospitals are not overwhelmed, this might be more sustainable than lockdowns, especially if it is inevitable that we end up in this situation eventually anyway.

Instead, state politicians seem to be taking every infection case within their borders as a political blow. There is an absence of national policy as states ignore urgings from Canberra and shut borders and cities.

State governments seem able to shut down anything, except protests. And they are prepared to implement every pandemic ­response, so long as the federal government funds it.

This is the devolution of the federation; we are not all in this together, each state is in it for ­itself. It is not sustainable.




Trump ends Obama's socially engineered Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule (National Review)

"People don't make a distinction ... from a South Korean and someone from Beijing": Joe Biden makes racist comments while accusing Trump of being racist (The Federalist)

Biden says America has "never" had a more racist president than Donald Trump. Here are eight. (PJ Media)

Michigan, Minnesota, and Texas: Three races that will decide Senate control (Washington Examiner)

Wall Street Journal boldly vows not to "wilt under cancel culture pressure" or yield to "conformity and intolerance" (UK Daily Mail)

Nailed it: Washington Redskins to use "Washington Football Team" name for 2020 (NBC Sports)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has Christopher Columbus statues clandestinely removed from Chicago parks (Chicago Tribune)

Reality is enlightening: Democrat Oakland mayor votes down further police budget cuts after vandals defaced her house (The Daily Caller)

In landmark speech, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says China is world's biggest threat (The Washington Free Beacon)

FBI interviewing Chinese visa holders suspected of hiding military ties (Reuters)

186,700 illegal immigrants from 130 nations stopped by coronavirus border closure (Washington Examiner)

Tesla will build its next Gigafactory in tax-friendly Texas (CNBC)

Do as I say, not as I do: DC mayor exempts many city and federal government workers from strict new mask order (JusttheNews.com)

Cancel-culture fallout: Majority of Americans (62%) afraid of expressing political beliefs (The Washington Free Beacon)

Redwood City, California, removed "Black Lives Matter" street painting after request for "MAGA 2020" mural (The Hill)

Policy: Making the stimulus checks count: How Congress can better target a second round of economic impact payments (American Enterprise Institute)

Policy: Executive order on drug price controls would backfire (Forbes)


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

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


26 July, 2020

Major medical journal says Trump was right

The abstract below is from JAMA.  It acknowledges that both dexamethasone and remdesivir combat the coronavirus.  It also fails to mention lockdowns as helpful

Pathophysiology, Transmission, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

W. Joost Wiersinga et al.


Importance:  The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, due to the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has caused a worldwide sudden and substantial increase in hospitalizations for pneumonia with multiorgan disease. This review discusses current evidence regarding the pathophysiology, transmission, diagnosis, and management of COVID-19.

Observations:  SARS-CoV-2 is spread primarily via respiratory droplets during close face-to-face contact. Infection can be spread by asymptomatic, presymptomatic, and symptomatic carriers. The average time from exposure to symptom onset is 5 days, and 97.5% of people who develop symptoms do so within 11.5 days. The most common symptoms are fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath. Radiographic and laboratory abnormalities, such as lymphopenia and elevated lactate dehydrogenase, are common, but nonspecific. Diagnosis is made by detection of SARS-CoV-2 via reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction testing, although false-negative test results may occur in up to 20% to 67% of patients; however, this is dependent on the quality and timing of testing.

Manifestations of COVID-19 include asymptomatic carriers and fulminant disease characterized by sepsis and acute respiratory failure. Approximately 5% of patients with COVID-19, and 20% of those hospitalized, experience severe symptoms necessitating intensive care. More than 75% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 require supplemental oxygen. Treatment for individuals with COVID-19 includes best practices for supportive management of acute hypoxic respiratory failure.

Emerging data indicate that dexamethasone therapy reduces 28-day mortality in patients requiring supplemental oxygen compared with usual care (21.6% vs 24.6%; age-adjusted rate ratio, 0.83 [95% CI, 0.74-0.92]) and that remdesivir improves time to recovery (hospital discharge or no supplemental oxygen requirement) from 15 to 11 days.

In a randomized trial of 103 patients with COVID-19, convalescent plasma did not shorten time to recovery. Ongoing trials are testing antiviral therapies, immune modulators, and anticoagulants. The case-fatality rate for COVID-19 varies markedly by age, ranging from 0.3 deaths per 1000 cases among patients aged 5 to 17 years to 304.9 deaths per 1000 cases among patients aged 85 years or older in the US. Among patients hospitalized in the intensive care unit, the case fatality is up to 40%. At least 120 SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are under development.

Until an effective vaccine is available, the primary methods to reduce spread are face masks, social distancing, and contact tracing. Monoclonal antibodies and hyperimmune globulin may provide additional preventive strategies.

Conclusions and Relevance:  As of July 1, 2020, more than 10 million people worldwide had been infected with SARS-CoV-2. Many aspects of transmission, infection, and treatment remain unclear. Advances in prevention and effective management of COVID-19 will require basic and clinical investigation and public health and clinical interventions.



Medical journal says rinsing your nose out with salt water may fight the coronovirus

Benefits and Safety of Nasal Saline Irrigations in a Pandemic—Washing COVID-19 Away

Nyssa F. Farrell et al.

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has ignited interest in viral transmission and prevention owing to the significant morbidity and mortality associated with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Investigations into SARS-CoV-2 pathophysiology suggest that, similar to other viral upper respiratory infections, infection occurs primarily in the nasal and nasopharyngeal mucosa with high viral loads early in disease.1 Within the otolaryngology–head and neck surgery community, recent reports of viral transmission through endoscopic endonasal surgical procedures have caused increased concern regarding how nasal biology affects viral transmission. Further questions have arisen on the possible therapeutic role of commonly used topical nasal therapies. Nasal irrigations may play a role in reducing viral severity and further transmission. However, it is not yet clear whether topical nasal saline irrigations provide viral mitigation effects or conversely have a potentiating effect on viral transmission. Additionally, there are concerns about the consequences of topical adjuncts, such as nasal corticosteroids, for viral nasal infections. In this Viewpoint, we have briefly reviewed the current evidence regarding the association of nasal saline irrigations and their adjuncts with viral upper respiratory illnesses.

The nasal lining serves an important role in the innate immune system, providing a primary defense against inhaled viruses, bacteria, and other particulates. This lining, consisting of a superficial mucus layer atop an aqueous base, traps inhaled particulates that are then propelled by underlying cilia into the nasopharynx. They are ultimately driven into the gastrointestinal system, where they are destroyed.2 Topical nasal rinses take advantage of this secretory lining in multiple ways. First, nasal rinses physically disrupt the viscous surface layer, removing the mucus and its associated particulate matter. Additionally, the presence of nasal saline helps to increase hydration of the deeper aqueous layer, simultaneously improving the underlying ciliary beat frequency and reducing local inflammatory mediators. This can be particularly helpful during a viral respiratory infection, in which there is resultant mucociliary dysfunction and mucostasis that occurs secondary to the inflammatory response.2

While the benefit of topical nasal saline has been well established, optimal saline tonicity has been debated within the literature. There is supportive evidence for both isotonic saline and hypertonic saline (HS) efficacy in vivo.2 Isotonic saline consists of a 0.9% wt/vol sodium chloride solution, which is close to the physiologic salt concentration of the body. Conversely, HS solutions are greater than 0.9% wt/vol. It has been theorized that HS, which has higher osmolarity, pulls water out of cells resulting in increased hydration of the aqueous portion of the mucus layer. This improves mucociliary clearance while also decreasing epithelial edema. Additionally, there is evidence that the presence of HS can result in calcium efflux from epithelial cells, stimulating ciliary function and improving mucociliary clearance. Although in vitro studies have demonstrated these effects, some in vivo studies raised the concern of local adverse symptoms, including nasal burning, paradoxical nasal blockage, and rhinorrhea, which would limit the use of HS. A recent meta-analysis evaluating both isotonic saline and HS rinses for all sinonasal diseases concluded that HS, with a concentration less than 5% sodium chloride, was more beneficial than isotonic saline for the management of sinonasal pathology.2 Additionally, a recent randomized clinical trial evaluating the utility of HS for mitigation of the common cold demonstrated HS reduced duration of illness, over-the-counter medication use, transmission to household members, and viral shedding.3

Steroid compounds, such as budesonide or mometasone, are commonly added to saline irrigations for control of inflammatory mediators in chronic rhinosinusitis. In acute viral upper respiratory illnesses (URIs), corticosteroid use is less well understood. A Cochrane systematic review of 3 double-blind, randomized clinical trials of intranasal steroids (fluticasone or beclomethasone) for management of URIs found no evidence that intranasal steroid sprays improved URI symptom severity or duration.4 Their review did not identify significantly different rates of adverse events regardless of intranasal steroid use. So, while nasal steroids did not significantly alter URI symptom control, no significant harm was detected in this review. Although these trials did not look specifically at steroid use in an irrigation delivery, the effect can be extrapolated to steroid irrigations given the similar mechanism of action.

Betadine and other iodine derivatives have also been proposed to reduce viral load in the nasal cavity. In a recent review by Parhar et al,5 the role in povidone-iodine, a common surgical preparation, was evaluated. While they did not find many clinical trials, there was significant evidence of povidone-iodine resulting in substantial coronavirus reduction in in vitro studies. They identified 3 different studies of prior coronavirus epidemics in which topical application of povidone-iodine resulted in significant viral titer reduction.5 Furthermore, a prospective trial of 0.08% diluted povidone-iodine rinses in 29 patients demonstrated safety and tolerance by patients.6 There is concern regarding ciliotoxicity of iodine-based rinses; however, in diluted form these effects may be negligible. While the use of povidone-iodine rinses certainly requires additional review in future randomized clinical trials, it may serve as a useful adjunct to decrease viral transmission.

While there is evidence to support topical therapies for viral transmission mitigation, the potential risks must also be considered. Like other respiratory infections, SARS-CoV-2 is likely transmitted via physical contact with the virus through direct or indirect transfer to the upper aerodigestive tract mucosa or exposure to infected respiratory droplets.1 Transmission of the virus is high, especially because infected persons have shown evidence of viral shedding during the incubation period, asymptomatic infection, and even after evidence of recovery.1 As such, there is concern that performing irrigations of the nasal cavities may increase viral shedding, and thus transmission. Additionally, there is concern about viral contamination of the nasal rinse bottle itself, leading to increased transmission through contact-induced infections. Rhinovirus is detectable in nasal lavage, suggesting that viral contamination of surfaces may occur via rinsing.4,7 This surface contamination is important to recognize, because evidence has suggested that SARS-CoV-2 is stable on plastic and can be detected more than 72 hours after exposure.1 However, it is also important to note that there are many ways to inactivate viral particles on those surfaces, such as through the use of diethyl ether, 75% ethanol, chlorine, UV light, or heat (56 °C for 30 minutes).1

SARS-CoV-2 is a highly virulent respiratory virus with significant presence in the nasal and nasopharyngeal mucosa. Hypertonic nasal saline, which facilitates mucociliary clearance, likely decreases viral burden through physical removal. Other additives, such as povidone-iodine, may aid in eliminating viral particles within the nasal cavity and nasopharynx prior to active infection. Given available evidence, saline irrigations with or without indicated additives may be safe to use in the presence of COVID-19. This is critical to communicate for patients who already use these therapies for rhinosinusitis management. Importantly, the lavage fluid, rinse bottle, and surrounding surfaces may become contaminated and serve as a source of infection in the future. Thus, patients should practice good hand hygiene and decontaminate the surrounding surfaces (eg, sink, counters) and plastic rinse bottle to prevent subsequent infection. Given the safety profile of these therapies, HS nasal irrigations should be encouraged for patients and health care workers especially. For our patients with chronic rhinosinusitis, continued use of steroid irrigations should be encouraged. Emerging research is expected to shed further light on saline irrigation’s protective and therapeutic effect on COVID-19.




More than 280 Wall Street Journal cancel-culture warriors sign a letter protesting "misinformation" in the paper's conservative opinion pieces (UK Daily Mail)

Senator Tom Cotton — whose New York Times op-ed absurdly culminated in firings and reassignments — rips the Times for running China scientist's op-ed slamming U.S. virus response (Fox News)

House Democrats futilely vote to repeal Trump travel ban, as Senate is unlikely to vote on it (The Hill)

Joe Biden either forgets or ignores history, says Trump is America's first "racist" president (National Review)

Joe Biden'sBernie Sanders's plans near $10 trillion price tag (Fox News)

Is Kamala Harris planting evidence on her VP rivals? (The Washington Free Beacon)

Houston, we have a problem: Chinese consulate closed by Trump administration was "a hot bed of spying" (UK Daily Mail)

Meanwhile, China is harboring military-linked biologist fugitive at San Francisco consulate (Fox News)

Taiwan fears growing threat of attack by China (Washington Examiner)

For the record: The big surge in coronavirus deaths is a media-fed myth (Issues & Insights)

One-third of U.S. museums — which average 850 million visitors annually — may not survive the year, survey finds (NPR)

Gun purchases are up an unprecedented 95%, ammo 139% (Washington Examiner)

Predictably, gender-confused woman sues Catholic hospital for refusing to remove her uterus (Washington Examiner)

Patricia Mccloskey's gun didn't work, so a prosecutor ordered it reassembled and then declared it lethal (Hot Air)

The Sierra Club is disowning its cofounder over racist comments he made over 100 years ago (The Daily Caller)


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

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


24 July, 2020

How Sweden Faced COVID-19 Without Lockdowns

Coronavirus deaths have slowed to a crawl in Sweden. With the exception of a single death on July 13, no deaths in this nation of 10 million have been reported since July 10.

But the debate over Sweden’s approach to the COVID-19 pandemic, which relied on individual responsibility instead of government coercion to maintain social distancing, is far from over.

Last week, The New York Times labeled Sweden’s approach to the pandemic a “cautionary tale” for the rest of the world, claiming it “yielded a surge of deaths without sparing its economy from damage.”

To be accurate, Sweden has outperformed many nations around the world with its “lighter touch” approach and was one of the few nations in Europe to see its economy grow in the first quarter of 2020.

Meanwhile, Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s top infectious disease expert, continues to defend his nation’s approach to the pandemic.

“I’m looking forward to a more serious evaluation of our work than has been made so far,” Tegnell said in a recent podcast published by Swedish public radio before taking a scheduled vacation. “There is no way of knowing how this ends.”

Sweden’s Actual Pandemic Performance

Sweden has become a global lightning rod, but this has less to do with the results of its policies than the nature of its policies.

While Sweden’s death toll is indeed substantially higher than neighbors such as Finland, Norway, and Denmark, it’s also much lower than several other European neighbors such as Belgium, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Spain.

Indeed, a simple comparison between Belgium and Sweden —nations with rather similar populations— reveals that Belgium suffered far worse than Sweden from the coronavirus.

The reason Sweden is a “cautionary tale” and Belgium is not is because Belgium followed the script. Early in the pandemic, Belgian officials closed all non-essential business and enforced strict social distancing rules.

All non-emergency workers were told to stay home. Shopping was limited to a single family member. Individuals could leave for medical reasons or to walk a pet or get a brief bit of exercise—so long as social distancing was maintained.

These lockdown protocols, the BBC reported, were strictly enforced by Belgian police using “drones in parks and fines for anyone breaking social distancing rules.”

A More Suitable ‘Cautionary Tale’

Sweden clearly endured the pandemic better than Belgium, which had nearly twice as many COVID-19 deaths despite its economic lockdown.

Yet the Times chose Sweden as its “cautionary tale” because Sweden chose not to institute an economic lockdown. Sweden took such an approach for two reasons. First, as Tegnell has publicly stated, there is little to no scientific evidence that lockdowns work. Second, as evidence today shows, lockdowns come with widespread unintended consequences: mass unemployment, recession, social unrest, psychological deterioration, suicides, and drug overdoses.

Even if Sweden has seen its death toll rise more sharply than Scandinavian neighbors such as Finland and Norway, it’s strange that the Times would go thousands of miles across an ocean and continent to find a “cautionary tale.” A far better cautionary tale can be found right under the Grey Lady’s nose.

A simple comparison between New York and Sweden shows the Empire State has suffered far worse from COVID-19 than the Swedes. Yinon Weiss, an entrepreneur and founder of Rally Point, recently compared Sweden and New York using data from the COVID Tracking Project.

The first thing one notices about the comparison is that Sweden was able to “flatten the curve,” so to speak. Though the phrase is largely forgotten today, flattening the curve was originally the entire purpose of the lockdowns. To the extent that there was a scientific basis for lockdowns, it was in the idea that they were a temporary measure designed to help hospitals avoid being overwhelmed by sick patients.

Dr Robert Katz, founding director of the Yale?Griffin Prevention Research Center, observed that by flattening the curve “you don’t prevent deaths, you just change the dates.” But a temporary lockdown could at least prevent everyone from getting sick at once, which would be catastrophic.

If flattening the curve was the primary goal of policymakers, Sweden was largely a success. New York, on the other hand, was not, despite widespread closures and strict enforcement of social distancing policies.

The reason New York failed and Sweden succeeded probably has relatively little to do with the fact that bars and restaurants were open in Sweden. Or that New York’s schools were closed while Sweden’s were open. As Weiss explains, the difference probably isn’t related to lockdowns at all. It probably has much more to do with the fact that New York failed to protect the most at-risk populations: the elderly and infirm.

“Here’s the good news: You can shut down businesses or keep them open. Close schools or stay in session. Wear masks or not,” says Weiss, a graduate of Harvard Business School. “The virus will make its way through in either case, and if we protect the elderly then deaths will be spared.”

This is precisely the prescription Dr. John Ioannidis, a Stanford University epidemiologist and one of the most cited scientists in the world, has advocated since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Like Tegnell, Ioannidis early on expressed doubts about the effectiveness of lockdowns and warned they could produce wide-ranging unintended outcomes.

“One of the bottom lines is that we don’t know how long social distancing measures and lockdowns can be maintained without major consequences to the economy, society, and mental health,” Ioannidis wrote in a STAT article in March. “Unpredictable evolutions may ensue, including financial crisis, unrest, civil strife, war, and a meltdown of the social fabric.”

Sadly, many of the adverse consequences Ioannidis predicted have since come to pass, as he has acknowledged.

Is Sweden Truly a ‘Cautionary Tale’?

Tegnell and Swedish leaders have mostly stood by their lighter touch approach, although there is a recognition that they, too, could have more effectively protected at-risk populations.

“We must admit that the part that deals with elderly care, in terms of the spread of infection, has not worked. It is obvious. We have too many elderly people who have passed away,” Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said in June.

Yet it’s a mistake to label Sweden’s approach a failure. As noted above, Sweden is being criticized less because of the results of their public health policies and more because of the nature of them.

By embracing a much more market-based approach to the pandemic in lieu of a centrally planned one, Sweden is undermining the narrative that millions and millions of people would have died without lockdowns, as modelers predicted.

Without Sweden and a few similar outliers, it would be far easier for central planners to say, Sure, lockdowns were harsh and destructive. But we had no choice.

In the wake of the most destructive pandemic in a century, there will be considerable discussion as to whether the lockdowns, which stand to trigger a global depression in addition to other psychological and social costs, were truly necessary.

In a sense, the disagreement over the pandemic largely resembles a much larger friction in society: should individuals be left free to pursue their own interests and weigh risks themselves or should they be guided, coerced, and protected by planners who want to do all this for them.

As Ludwig Von Mises noted long ago, modern social conflict is largely a struggle over who gets to design the world, individuals or authorities. Mises saw few things more dangerous than central planners seeking to supplant the plans of individuals with plans of their own, which they see as a preeminent good.

When Mises speaks of the “pre-eminence of his own plan,” it’s hard not to think of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who in March sounded downright indignant when a reporter asked about nursing homes objecting to his plan of prohibiting them from screening for COVID-19.

“They don’t have the right to object,” Cuomo answered. “That is the rule, and that is the regulation, and they have to comply with it.”

Cuomo clearly saw his central plan as superior to that of individuals acting within the marketplace.

The policy of forcing nursing homes to take COVID carrying patients, which was adopted by numerous US states with high virus death tolls, is a stark contrast to Sweden’s market-based approach that trusted individuals to plan for themselves.

“Our measures are all based on individuals taking responsibility, and that is … an important part of the Swedish model,” Hakan Samuelsson, the CEO of Volvo Cars, observed in April.

Sweden’s approach of encouraging social distancing by giving responsibility to individuals may very well explain why the Swedes fared so much better than New York, where authorities disempowered individual actors and prevented nursing homes from taking sensible precautions.



Were the lockdowns effective at all?

See also https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8553929/Lockdowns-DONT-work-study-claims.html

With a lot of the country either locking down again or getting close to the brink, worth noting a study published yesterday in The Lancet. I know, The Lancet has been badly politicized and unreliable in recent years (and months), but it does still pull great weight with the establishment, so our public health Faucists should know about it at least.

The study bears the typically dense academic-style title, “A country level analysis measuring the impact of government actions, country preparedness and socioeconomic factors on COVID-19 mortality and related health outcomes.” Here’s the beginning of the long abstract describing what the researchers did:

A country level exploratory analysis was conducted to assess the impact of timing and type of national health policy/actions undertaken towards COVID-19 mortality and related health outcomes. . . We built a country-level model, incorporating data from 50 different countries, to assess country-specific socioeconomic factors and healthcare capabilities on COVID-19-related outcomes such as new case burden, critical cases, and mortality. . .

To our knowledge, no published articles have used a country-level analysis, pooling data across multiple countries, to report the impact of population health interventions, country-specific socioeconomic factors, and healthcare capacity on overall COVID-19 cases (recovered or critical), and associated mortality.

Now there’s a bombshell hidden in the dry prose typical of such studies about their findings—see the boldface sentence below:

Increasing COVID-19 caseloads were associated with countries with higher obesity, median population age and longer time to border closures from the first reported case. Increased mortality per million was significantly associated with higher obesity prevalence and per capita gross domestic product (GDP). Reduced income dispersion reduced mortality and the number of critical cases . Rapid border closures, full lockdowns, and wide-spread testing were not associated with COVID-19 mortality per million people. However, full lockdowns and reduced country vulnerability to biological threats (i.e. high scores on the global health security scale for risk environment) were significantly associated with increased patient recovery rates.

Translation: Lockdowns had little effect on the course of severe COVID-19 cases, with the exception of helping with recovery rates, which ratifies the “flatten the curve” logic so as not to overwhelm hospitals. More important were social distancing practices, and bans on foreign travel. (Or as the authors put it in the main body of the study, “government actions such as border closures, full lockdowns, and a high rate of COVID-19 testing were not associated with statistically significant reductions in the number of critical cases or overall mortality.” My emphasis.) This means that if what we care about most is mortality risk rather than mere infection rate, total lockdowns should be viewed skeptically.

But as the full study makes clear, much more important in the outcomes were underlying demographics and health co-morbidities, and the general economic profile of the country—essentially another ratification of Aaron Wildavsky’s shorthand axiom that “wealthier is healthier.” (Hard to believe such a common sense idea needs empirical demonstration.) Although richer countries experienced a higher rate of infection for reasons the study explains, they tended to have better recovery rates, as one would expect of wealthier countries that have more robust health care resources.




Trump signs legally contentious memo preventing illegal immigrants from being counted in congressional redistricting (Washington Examiner)

Jews back Biden even as anti-Semitism rears its head on the Left (Washington Examiner)

Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and four others arrested in $60 million nuclear power plant bribery case (Cincinnati Enquirer)

Defense secretary says U.S. is considering "adjustments" to troops in South Korea as the Pentagon strategizes against China (AP)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo seeks U.S.-UK coalition against "disgraceful" Chinese Communist Party (Washington Examiner)

Biden stays silent as Catholic churches and statues are burned and vandalized in string of targeted attacks (The Federalist)

More than a dozen people shot near Chicago funeral home, yet the mayor ironically says: "Under no circumstances will I allow Donald Trump's troops to come to Chicago and terrorize our residents" (The Daily Wire)

As crime and murders skyrocket in New York City, mayor has 27 officers a day guarding Black Lives Matter "mural" (Law Enforcement Today)

Finally getting the message on Margaret Sanger: Planned Parenthood of Greater New York to remove founder's name from flagship office over support for eugenics (National Review)

The awokening comes for American classical music: The New York Times's chief critic has launched a campaign to end the merit-based "blind audition" hiring process for orchestras (National Review)


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

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


23 July, 2020

Coronavirus drug hailed as game-changer after trial finds it cuts chances of severe illness

Treatment from biotech firm Synairgen uses interferon beta protein, which body produces when it gets a viral infection

A "game-changing" treatment for coronavirus could cut the chance of serious illness by 80 per cent, research suggests.

Trials using an inhaled protein, commonly used to treat multiple sclerosis, found patients who were given it were more than twice as likely to recover during the treatment period than those given a placebo.

Stays in hospital were cut by one third, according to the study of Southampton hospital patients.

The treatment, from biotech firm Synairgen, uses a protein called interferon beta, which the body produces when it gets a viral infection. The drug, known as SNG001, is inhaled using a nebuliser in order to stimulate an immune response.

Richard Marsden, the chief executive of the company, said: "We couldn't have expected much better results than these."...



Socialism: The Way It Was — And Never Should Be Again

As a young Army lieutenant, I looked at the East German and Russian soldiers through my binoculars and quickly figured out they were not 10 feet tall as I had learned through the American press as a college kid. Indeed, they were hardly as tall as I was; most were shorter. They appeared to be a bleak lot. As I “glassed” the town they occupied up against the East-West German border, the whole place looked sad, uninviting, and lackluster. The soldiers had guns, so indeed they were the enemy, but they sure didn’t look motivated. I remember very clearly that my first thought was, “This communist and socialist stuff is not all it’s cracked up to be. We can beat these guys.”

Twenty-plus years later as an Army colonel and right after the fall of the “Iron Curtain” — the reunification of Germany and liberation of Eastern Bloc countries — I visited that very village and some larger formerly East German towns and cities nearby. The communists had just departed. The drab of 20 years earlier had given way to disrepair and the citizens seemed numb. Yet in talking with them they displayed hope that the new democratic and free society of Germany into which they had just reunited would somehow give them renewed opportunity and turn around a dispirited communist existence. Every one of them had a glint in their eyes that spoke of a yearning for freedom and future opportunity.

Now retired from the Army after a 39-year career of helping defend my nation from, among other challenges, the false hope and promises of communism and socialism, I am near tears as I watch the proven failed socialist dogma infiltrate America and dominate the thoughts of many of our citizens. Democrats have turned into progressives who are increasingly turning into full-blown state-sponsored Marxist socialists. They believe that the promise of a utopian collective rule will provide America with a quality of life and happiness that is otherwise unachievable in Western democratic and capitalist countries. They’ve been taught this false promise in school.

Well, I’ve seen socialism up close around the globe, and here’s what I know to be true:

Socialism destroys the individual work ethic, dispirits the human dimension, and kills innovation — always. Under socialism, human productivity plummets and the state is faced with distributing fewer and fewer resources until the pie is too small to sustain the population, much less motivate it to achieve.

Socialism terminates and destroys, by design, all belief in any sort of supernatural God-like Heavenly entity in deference to the supremacy of the state. For Christians like myself, that means for Marxist socialism to succeed, Jesus Christ must be stricken from public belief and discourse. In all fully socialist states, Jesus Christ and God our Father are among the first enemies of the state and thus become brutalized victims of the state’s control apparatus.

Finally, socialism requires the destruction of the nuclear family. Indeed, it sees the family as a competitor that must be terminated. After all, the state assumes responsibility for all citizens’ health and welfare and thus any pushback or desired redirection by the family is fair game for the state’s wrath. That yields collective work groups and youth educational camps, etc.

So, if you’re interested in a socialist United States, then be ready for a dismal and marginally productive work environment, a state cap on your ability to achieve, worshiping at the altar of the state instead of God, and having the state tell you explicitly how to raise, educate, and discipline your family and children. Be ready to have your family separated to venture forth to collective state-run work groups. My sense is that we are near a tipping point of no return toward a society buying into the utopian dream and the follow-on guaranteed broken promises of a socialist/Marxist state. Buy into socialism if you will, but you’ll condemn our next generations to a Venezuelan-like existence — guaranteed.

On the other hand, if you, like me, cherish individual freedom, economic opportunity, the guarantees of our Bill of Rights, being the master of your own destiny, having the freedom to worship the God of your choice, and loving the age-old concept of a values-driven nuclear family, then it’s time for you — indeed all of us — to stand up and fight for America!

Don’t surrender to the false promises of a utopian socialist state. Fight right now for the same dream our Founders fought for and won — freedom, democracy, liberty, private-property ownership, and the right to dream amazing yet achievable dreams in an environment where you set your own course with a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. That’s the America I fought for!



De-Unionize Police and All Other Public-Sector Employees

Such unions inherently put public employees at odds with the people they ostensibly serve.

In light of the furor surrounding George Floyd’s death, it’s time to examine the one entity in every big city that incentivizes mediocrity at best and outright failure, sometimes criminal failure, at worst: Public-service employee unions.

Let’s begin with a reality check. Broad-brushing entire police forces in a given area, or law-enforcement officers in general, as trigger-happy bigots is a monstrous lie that anyone with an ounce of integrity would thoroughly denounce. Unfortunately for the Democrat Party and its equally repugnant progressive cheerleaders — for whom the acquisition and maintenance of power by any means necessary is all that matters — integrity left the building a long time ago. Their capitulation to the worst elements of our society, from allowing their own cities to be burned and looted to the establishment of a de facto country in the midst of American city, epitomizes sheer cowardice inspired by ideological bankruptcy.

Cowardice that makes one thing abundantly clear: A vote for the Democrat Party is a vote for anarchy presented as “social justice.”

Ironically, it is those same Democrat-controlled cities and states where public-service unions, including police unions, flourish most. So much so that states like New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and California are facing catastrophic funding shortages for the simplest of reasons — no one represents the public’s interest at the bargaining table. On one side there is the union representative. On the other is the politician more than willing to serve that union’s interests in return for the votes of its members and union campaign contributions.

This budget-busting dynamic has been the status quo for decades.

More important, public unions are anathema to the public interest by definition. A union exists solely to serve the interests of its members. Thus, even under the best of circumstances, what the public wants comes second, if it comes at all.

And it’s not just police unions where the status quo is a serious problem. As Walter Williams explains, “Democratic-controlled cities have the poorest-quality public education despite their large, and growing, school budgets.”

How poor? Williams cites the devastation in cities like Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Detroit, where the overwhelming majority of students are incapable of reading or doing math at grade levels. “It’s the same story of academic disaster in other cities run by Democrats,” he adds.

It isn’t hard to understand why. The two largest teachers’ unions, National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), have given Democrats at least 94% of the funds they’ve contributed to candidates and parties since at least 1990.

That the same kids who are shortchanged are the ones likely to view society with the kind of contempt that could precipitate anti-social behavior or rank criminality? Democrats and teachers’ unions apparently view this tragedy as a reasonable tradeoff for maintaining their unholy alliance.

The same dynamic applies to police unions. In a paper for the Stanford Law Review, scholar Katherine Bies explains that the increasing political power of police unions beginning in the 1970s has engendered a lack of public unaccountability. “Police unions have established highly developed political machinery that exerts significant political and financial pressure on all three branches of government,” Bies writes. “The power of police unions over policymakers in the criminal justice context distorts the political process and generates political outcomes that undermine the democratic values of transparency and accountability.”

As a result, punishment of excessive force is rare. A 2017 report by the American Constitution Society reveals that 54 officers nationwide “were criminally charged after they shot and killed someone in the line of duty” from 2005 to 2017. Of those 54, only 13 officers were “convicted of murder or manslaughter for a fatal, on-duty shooting.” As of April 2015, 21 of those officers had been acquitted, 11 were convicted, and the other 22 cases were pending or filed as “other.”

The report added that the “high acquittal rate is perhaps even more troubling given that in 80 percent of these cases, one of the following occurred: there was a video recording of the incident, the victim was shot in the back, other officers testified against the shooter, or a cover-up was alleged.”

Video recordings, usually by cellphone, “are game changers,” according to Andy Skoogman, executive director of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police. “They weed out the bad apples. Video is definitely the key in this case as it is in so many other cases in this day and age.”

Yet as columnist John Fund reveals, “Jim Pasco, the 73-year-old executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, the nation’s largest police union, with 342,000 members, is a clear obstacle to transparency. Pasco believes that it should be illegal for someone to record cops with their cellphones.”

Pasco’s rationale? “At some point, we have to put some faith and trust in our authority figures,” he told Reason magazine in 2010.

Which authority figures would those be? As Americans have learned in the last three years alone, corruption extends to the highest levels of federal law enforcement and the judiciary. And until the public sees accountability for what is arguably the biggest scandal in our nation’s history, Americans’ cynicism with regard to “faith and trust in our authority figures” will remain unchecked — among all ethnicities on both sides of the political divide.

How do we fix the problem of rogue cops? “The first big step toward individual accountability is to break the power of police unions over the investigation and discipline of individual officers,” columnist Dan MacLaughlin asserts. “Conservatives have long argued that unions in general tend to hamstring employers in distinguishing between good and bad employees, and ultimately lead to collective rather than individual responsibility.”

Jody Armour, a law professor at the University of Southern California, echoes that sentiment. “There are so many terms and conditions in the collective bargaining agreements that insulate police from accountability and transparency,” she explains. “Can we know who the bad police are? Are there public records? A lot of times, that is squelched in collective bargaining.”

There are some conservatives who believe defunding or eliminating police unions would cede the last supposed bastion of conservatism to the Left. Yet as this graph from OpenSecrets.org reveals, more Democrats than Republicans received campaign contributions from police officers, police unions, and law-enforcement PACs. Moreover, other public-sector unions overwhelmingly support Democrats.

Getting rid of all public-sector unions would go a long way toward restoring sanity and balance in a nation besieged by leftist propaganda. Even better, it poses a serious conundrum for a Democrat Party that wants to defund police forces, even as it would be decimated without those unions’ campaign contributions.

Merit and competence matter. Public unions are the antithesis of both




The New York Times joins the AP in capitalizing "Black," adding it to the "euphemism treadmill" (Washington Examiner)

"Incitement to violence against my family": Tucker Carlson blasts The New York Times for plans to write story about location of his new home (The Daily Caller)

Never forget? Joe "Trump Is Islamophobic" Biden: "I wish we taught more in our schools about the Islamic faith" (Fox News)

Joe Biden unveils $775 billion plan to fund universal child care and in-home elder care (CNBC)

ChiComs use Uyghur forced labor to produce masks (The Washington Free Beacon)

Trump administration adds 11 companies to sanctions list over Uighur oppression (Fox News)

UK suspends extradition treaty with Hong Kong (BBC)

Trump to send more federal law enforcement to cities like Chicago and New York (White House Dossier)

Trump pushes mask wearing and says he'll resume White House briefings amid spike in cases (USA Today)

Wave of promising study results raises hopes for vaccines (Reuters)

Vast majority of patients have antibodies for at least three months, though the study has yet to be peer-reviewed (Fox News)

Major League Baseball strikes out by defending anthem kneeling (Breitbart)

Fear of infection keeps patients away from emergency rooms, augmenting hospital bankruptcies (Washington Examiner)


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

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


22 July, 2020

Coronavirus: Oxford University researchers claim positive results from COVID-19 vaccine trials

Research published in the journal Lancet claims an experimental vaccine — labelled ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 — was tested on more than 1000 people and prompted a protective immune response in those aged 18 to 55. “The vaccine was safe and tolerated,” researchers wrote.

“Preliminary results from a phase 1/2 trial involving 1077 healthy adults found that vaccine induced strong antibody & T cell immune responses up to day 56 of the ongoing trial,” the Lancet wrote when announcing the breakthrough on social media on Monday night.

“These responses may be even greater after a 2nd dose, according to a sub-group study of 10 participants.”

The director of the Jenner Institute Oxford University, Dr Adrian Hill, said the results were hugely promising.

“What this vaccine does particularly well is trigger both arms of the immune system,” Dr Hill said.

He claimed the vaccine causes a reaction in the body’s T-cells which help to fight off the coronavirus and that a partnership was already underway with a drug manufacturer to produce millions of doses.

The trial took place between April 23 and May 21. Half of the 1077 participants were given the experimental vaccine.

The scientists wrote that “preliminary findings show that the candidate vaccine given as a single dose was safe and tolerated”.

“No serious adverse reactions ... occurred. The majority of adverse events reported were mild or moderate in severity, and all were self-limiting.

“We show that a single dose of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 elicits an increase in spike-specific Antibodies by day 28 and neutralising antibody in all participants after a booster dose.

“Further studies are required to assess the vaccine in various population groups including older age groups, those with comorbidities, and in ethnically and geographically diverse populations.

“We will also evaluate the vaccine in children, once sufficient safety data have been accumulated in adult studies. Phase 3 trials are now underway in Brazil, South Africa, and the UK and will evaluate vaccine efficacy in diverse populations.”

The BBC reports that the vaccine is made from a genetically-engineered virus found in chimpanzees that was altered to resemble the coronavirus.

The research is based on the theory that the immune system can learn how to attack the coronavirus when presented with a virus that resembles it.



Bankruptcies have already reached 2008 levels, and leftists want another shutdown

Americans are getting a trial run of socialism right now.

Businesses have been told whether they can or cannot open and at what capacity they may operate by governments. Trillions of dollars have been spent, put into the hands of workers, business owners, and those who fell victim to the destruction of jobs from the COVID-19 shutdowns. With enhanced unemployment, the Paycheck Protection Program, and other “pandemic supplements,” the reality is setting in.

When capitalism is shelved and state-run economies prevail, Americans don’t thrive and businesses close — permanently.

Bankruptcies are up to the same level of the 2008 financial crisis, with almost 3,500 in Chapter 11 protection already this year. Worse, there are almost certainly more to come, especially if leftists achieve their desired second shutdown.

A survey published by the National Federation of Independent Businesses reveals that 46% of small businesses that received government assistance anticipate a continued need over the next year in the current environment of uncertainty. Restaurants and small businesses are particularly impacted with not only forced shutdowns and slow reopenings but with a reduced capacity despite much of the overhead and expenses remaining fixed. These statistics and trials will only grow and worsen with a deliberately socialist agenda, global pandemic or not.

Our small foray into socialism is exactly what Marxist Democrats want for our nation. They understand that this election cycle is about capturing power to make policies, controlling the very principles that govern our key institutions, education, the family, entertainment, mass media, and the various sectors of our economy. The current crises are serving as a springboard for what could, with a Democrat-led government, become the fulfillment of their desires — the death of capitalism entirely.

The socialist Left would have Americans choose between Liberty and safety — the ability to earn a living and dependence. Patriots are being asked to sacrifice life, liberty, and pursuits of happiness along with private property and wealth.

As November approaches, observe the contrast between those invested in dread, dismay, and destruction and those encouraging renewal, rebuilding, and results. Democrats are invested in failure, economic collapse, and government dependence. Republicans aim to quickly return to the economic expansion that marked the three years preceding COVID-19. What will voters choose?



Democrats: Make Illegal Immigration Great Again

Despite the economic devastation borne by Americans, Dems are pushing for illegals.

The United States Department of Labor revealed last Thursday that more than 1.3 million Americans filed initial unemployment claims the previous week, marking the 17th consecutive week such claims have topped one million. Since the pandemic began, approximately 51 million people have filed for unemployment benefits. One might think such numbers would engender an all-hands-on-deck response to help those Americans. Unfortunately, one would be totally wrong as far as Democrats are concerned. The party that has long prioritized the needs of immigrants, refugees, and “migrants” remains wedded to that agenda — this time on steroids.

Presidential candidate Joe Biden leads the way, and the recently released Biden-Sanders unity policy recommendations are indicative. They promise Democrats will “rescind President Trump’s fabricated ‘National Emergency’” that allocated $3.6 billion from military construction projects toward the construction of the wall on our Southwest border. Democrats will put an end to building the wall because it is “unnecessary.”

The Biden-Sanders plan also embraces catch-and-release for illegals, promoting such efforts as “community-based alternatives to detention.” That even The Washington Post admits 44% of illegals never show up for their immigration court appointment — the same courts it characterizes as “under a mountain of backlogged cases” because “hundreds of thousands of Central Americans continue to arrive at the border each year”? That the same plan would further enhance catch-and-release by rescinding the Trump administration’s Supreme Court-approved Migrant Protection Protocols that required some asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico while their claims were being processed? That the plan would expand ObamaCare to cover DACA illegal aliens? That all of these efforts incentivize illegal immigration and would undoubtedly swell the ranks of what might be as many as 22 million illegals already here?

The real agenda is laid bare, with the plan stating, “Democrats believe it is long past time to provide a roadmap to citizenship for the millions of undocumented workers.”

Not undocumented workers. Illegal aliens. Illegal aliens Democrats are more than willing to exploit in their pursuit of unassailable power, even when that pursuit hurts millions of Americans forced to compete with illegals for jobs. Jobs that have become exponentially harder to secure during the pandemic.

And just like Democrat politicians who sit idly by while their cities are looted and burned by “protesters,” party leaders wish to reward the wholesale lawbreaking that mass amnesty represents. Biden himself will also sit idly by, as the plan promises to halt all deportations during his first 100 days in office. And while such a halt is occurring, Democrats intend to reward employers who hire illegal aliens. The plan promises to “end workplace and community raids.”

Merit-based immigration is also on the chopping block as the plan promises to “immediately halt enforcement of and rescind the Trump Administration’s un-American immigrant wealth test.” Wealth test is Demo-speak for self sufficiency — as in the party has no problem whatsoever with immigrants coming to America and immediately accessing our welfare state. Moreover, Democrats also remain committed to chain migration policies that vastly expand the number of family members who can come here.

That chain migration has quadrupled the 250,000 immigrants coming to America per year in the 1950s and 1960s to more than one million annually since 1990? The more the merrier, self-sufficient or not, and the millions of Americans forced to deal with the consequences — even when their own backs are against the wall — be damned.

Refugees are part of the agenda as well. The Biden-Sanders plans would raise the current cap from the 18,000 that Trump approved for fiscal 2020 to a whopping 125,000 per year.

When one looks at those who lead Biden’s immigration task force, such policies should come as no surprise. One member is Javier Valdes, an executive director of Make the Road, an open-borders group that supports abolishing ICE — and letting illegal aliens vote in state elections. Another is Marisa Franco, who ran the organization Not1More Deportation. It advocated a complete moratorium on deportations, and it currently wants to abolish ICE. The immigration task force’s cochair is Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, which also champions amnesty. It is partially funded by open-borders champion George Soros.

House Democrats are also hard at work promoting the causes of immigrants, even as the pandemic rages and Congress is forced to consider another round of relief checks necessitated by the lockdowns and wholly arbitrary definitions of what constitutes an “essential job.” Thus, the party is demanding another round of funding cuts for ICE, while aiming to undo key Trump policies that helped mitigate last year’s border surge. In short, the aforementioned new standards for asylum-seekers and deals made with Mexico and Central American nations that slowed down the massive flow of people toward our border are on the chopping block.

North Carolina Democrat Congressman David Price insisted such efforts were necessary to push back on the administration’s “cruel and arbitrary immigration policies.” He added, “We haven’t seen anything like this before.”

Oh yes we have. When the initial $3 trillion coronavirus relief package was being negotiated, Democrats demanded job protections for “essential” illegal-alien workers and the employers that hire them. They also insisted that the next round of stimulus checks should include those who file taxes via an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) rather than just a Social Security number, because that would enable illegal aliens excluded from round one to receive one in the second round.

How any of this helps Americans, who are enduring one of the most trying times in our nation’s history, is anyone’s guess. But as one of the final provisions in the plan reveals, to question Democrat motives is to embrace “systemic racism.” It states, “Democrats believe that our fight to end systemic racism in our country extends to our immigration system, including the policies at our borders and ports of entry, detention centers, and within immigration law enforcement agencies and their policies and operations.”

“These proposals would break the back of American workers and reduce much of the population to welfare status,” warns columnist Daniel Greenfield. “They represent the worst attack on the American working class in history.”




"I am tolerating chemotherapy well": 87-year-old Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg battling cancer again (USA Today)

Lawmakers are far apart on a new coronavirus relief bill. The sticking points are direct payments, liability reform, aid for state and local governments, school reopenings, and small-business relief. (NPR)

Trump expediently demands payroll tax cut while GOP eyes benefit cuts for unemployed (The Washington Post)

Pentagon bans Confederate flag in a sly way to avoid Trump's wrath (AP)

China expands its amphibious forces in challenge to U.S. supremacy beyond Asia (Reuters)

CDC test kits generate 30% false positive and 20% false negative results, peer-reviewed findings confirm (Business Wire)

"Strike for Black Lives": Tens of thousands to walk off job today to protest nonexistent "systemic racism" (AP)

Federal Trade Commission is considering deposing top Facebook executives in antitrust probe (Reuters)

Lawlessness-enabling Portland mayor accuses Trump of "absolute abuse" of federal law enforcement, demands officers leave as city's nightly violence continues (National Review)

Seattle rioters damage and loot stores while injuring 12 police officers (Fox News)

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D) implicated in massive bribery scandal (The Blaze)

Bubba Wallace booed at NASCAR race as Confederate flags fly (Washington Examiner)

Less than 30% of Americans say Redskins should change their name (The Federalist)

The family that owns The New York Times were slaveholders (New York Post)

Nearly 50% of Americans believe mail-in voting is vulnerable to significant levels of fraud. The other 50% is delusional. (The Daily Caller)

GOP gallery of nightmares: 10 policies Biden and Democrats would ram through after axing filibuster (Washington Examiner)

Vandalizing American history: A list of 64 toppled, defaced, or removed statues (The Daily Signal)


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

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


21 July, 2020

Radiation emerges as an intriguing — and divisive — treatment for Covid-19

Back in 2013, toxicologist Edward Calabrese and a colleague at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, were combing over a cache of century-old data on low-dose radiation therapy, hunting for evidence on the scientific idea that small doses of certain poisons might actually be beneficial. They found small amounts of radiation were surprisingly successful in combating pneumonia. Again and again, doctors reported symptoms subsided within hours of a single X-ray.

Hardly anyone took notice. Calabrese’s ideas had sometimes been brushed off by his peers as too out-there, and the idea of low-dose radiation as therapy had long been dismissed in favor of more modern treatments. The paper only gained a smattering of citations.

That all changed when Covid-19 snowballed into a crisis, fueling fresh interest in anything that might ease the devastating cases of pneumonia in some patients. At least 52,000 of the more than 135,000 deaths due to Covid-19 in the U.S. have involved pneumonia, according to federal health data.

“Back in February, I started getting just dozens and dozens and dozens of emails from radiation oncologists —people who treat cancer patients with targeted radiation. And they had come across our paper and they thought that this might be a vehicle by which they could help suffering and dying Covid patients perhaps survive,” he said. “Clinical trials are now going on across the country.”

There are at least a dozen trials worldwide testing low-dose radiation therapy, or LDRT, as a treatment for pneumonia related to Covid-19, some spurred by the same historical data Calabrese and colleagues scoured years ago. The theory: Targeted radiation to the lungs will halt the out-of-control inflammation responsible for the devastating pneumonia that bookends the course of some Covid-19 patients.

But the revived interest in radiotherapy has sparked a debate among physicians and researchers, who are divided on whether the idea is even ready for test-driving in clinical trials. With little known about the way LDRT works on inflamed lungs, some experts say it might exacerbate respiratory damage, while introducing the additional risk of cancer. Others say patients participating in the trials may suffer by missing out on more promising treatments.

On the other side, though, are experts who say there’s a clear and urgent need for Covid-19 treatments that work, particularly for cases that become severe. Antibiotics can help treat cases of pneumonia from bacterial infections, but not those caused by viruses. Those experts argue compelling historical data gives LDRT a promising head start.

“It seems to be such an almost emotional topic,” said Dörthe Schaue, a radiation oncologist at UCLA, on the debate raging over LDRT. “You get two extremes on the spectrum and the truth is probably somewhere in the middle, where you have to consider all the pluses and minuses.”

The new wave of low-dose radiation trials are registered at academic centers and hospitals around the world, including in Italy, Spain, Iran, India, and the U.S. The studies are recruiting anywhere from five to 106 Covid-19 patients with pneumonia, and half require participants to be at least 40 years of age.

Arnab Chakravarti, chair of Ohio State’s radiation and oncology department, is spearheading two of the four LDRT trials in the U.S. The first trial, PREVENT, will enroll around 100 oxygen-dependent Covid-19 patients at up to 20 hospitals around the country. The second trial, VENTED, is limited to Ohio State, where it will recruit 24 critically-ill patients who require ventilator support. Unlike PREVENT, VENTED is open to participants as young as 18.

Chakravarti hypothesizes that LDRT will tamp down the unchecked inflammation that ultimately overwhelms the lungs of some Covid-19 patients. In these individuals, immune cells overreact to the virus and secrete a dangerous excess of proinflammatory cytokines, known as a “cytokine storm.”

“The severe illness and death that we see from Covid-19 pneumonia appear to be mostly due to the inflammatory response to the infection in the lung tissues,” said radiation oncologist David Kozono, who is launching a LDRT trial at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “The idea is that low-dose lung radiation has the potential to reduce this inflammatory response.”

Some experts have theorized that small amounts of radiation might flip a switch on these immune cells so that they release soothing, anti-inflammatory cytokines instead, though this is just one among many proposed mechanisms.

“The history of the utilization of ultra-low-dose radiation for viral pneumonia actually dates back to the 1920s and ’30s and ’40s — just post the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918,” Chakravarti noted. He said literature from that era indicates that LDRT was effective in 75 to 90% of influenza-induced viral pneumonia cases, though the therapy “fell out of favor” after the development of antiviral therapies and vaccines.

Beyond historical data, Chakravarti said that his hypothesis is staked in recent evidence from an interim analysis of a clinical trial at Emory testing low-dose radiation in ten patients with Covid-19. All of the first five patients, averaging 90 years of age, were alive two weeks after treatment, and researchers reported three patients were weaned off oxygen within 24 hours of receiving radiation.



Why many medicines are so costly

Question:  How much do drug companies spend on research and development to bring a new medicine to market?

Findings:  In this study, which included 63 of 355 new therapeutic drugs and biologic agents approved by the US Food and Drug Administration between 2009 and 2018, the estimated median capitalized research and development cost per product was $985 million, counting expenditures on failed trials. Data were mainly accessible for smaller firms, products in certain therapeutic areas, orphan drugs, first-in-class drugs, therapeutic agents that received accelerated approval, and products approved between 2014 and 2018.

Meaning:  This study provides an estimate of research and development costs for new therapeutic agents based on publicly available data; differences from previous studies may reflect the spectrum of products analyzed and the restricted availability of data in the public domain.


Importance:  The mean cost of developing a new drug has been the subject of debate, with recent estimates ranging from $314 million to $2.8 billion.

Objective:  To estimate the research and development investment required to bring a new therapeutic agent to market, using publicly available data.

Design and Setting:  Data were analyzed on new therapeutic agents approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) between 2009 and 2018 to estimate the research and development expenditure required to bring a new medicine to market. Data were accessed from the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Drugs@FDA database, and ClinicalTrials.gov, alongside published data on clinical trial success rates.

Exposures:  Conduct of preclinical and clinical studies of new therapeutic agents.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  Median and mean research and development spending on new therapeutic agents approved by the FDA, capitalized at a real cost of capital rate (the required rate of return for an investor) of 10.5% per year, with bootstrapped CIs. All amounts were reported in 2018 US dollars.

Results:  The FDA approved 355 new drugs and biologics over the study period. Research and development expenditures were available for 63 (18%) products, developed by 47 different companies. After accounting for the costs of failed trials, the median capitalized research and development investment to bring a new drug to market was estimated at $985.3 million (95% CI, $683.6 million-$1228.9 million), and the mean investment was estimated at $1335.9 million (95% CI, $1042.5 million-$1637.5 million) in the base case analysis. Median estimates by therapeutic area (for areas with ?5 drugs) ranged from $765.9 million (95% CI, $323.0 million-$1473.5 million) for nervous system agents to $2771.6 million (95% CI, $2051.8 million-$5366.2 million) for antineoplastic and immunomodulating agents. Data were mainly accessible for smaller firms, orphan drugs, products in certain therapeutic areas, first-in-class drugs, therapeutic agents that received accelerated approval, and products approved between 2014 and 2018. Results varied in sensitivity analyses using different estimates of clinical trial success rates, preclinical expenditures, and cost of capital.

Conclusions and Relevance:  This study provides an estimate of research and development costs for new therapeutic agents based on publicly available data. Differences from previous studies may reflect the spectrum of products analyzed, the restricted availability of data in the public domain, and differences in underlying assumptions in the cost calculations.



If there is a second wave of Covid, the Swedish approach will have been right all along

Not going into lockdown was described as “a mad experiment” at the time, but Sweden can look to the winter with less trepidation than most

There have been times during this pandemic that I’ve felt as if my memory is playing tricks on me. I’m sure I remember scientists telling us that a second wave was inevitable. I could have sworn I saw a graph at the press briefings showing a scary bell curve of infections in the spring and an even scarier one in the winter. I’m sure I heard experts explaining that the only way COVID-19 would disappear would be when herd immunity was achieved, either through natural antibodies or vaccination.

Official documents reassure me that I am not going mad. The minutes from a Sage meeting in March say: “Sage was unanimous that measures seeking to completely suppress the spread of Covid-19 will cause a second peak.” As far as I can tell, this is still their view. Suppressing a wintry virus during the sunniest spring on record could turn out to be no great achievement. The worst may be yet to come.

One country can look to the winter with less trepidation than most. Last week, a study suggested that 30 per cent of Swedes have built up immunity to the virus. It would help explain why Covid-19 has been fizzling out in Sweden. If a measure of herd immunity also helps them avoid the second wave, Sweden’s take-it-on-the-chin approach will be vindicated.

Not going into lockdown was described as “a mad experiment” by Marcus Carlsson of Lund University in March. Dr Cecilia Söderberg-Nauclér of Sweden’s Karolinska Institute accused the government of “leading us to catastrophe”, and predicted that the healthcare system would collapse unless a lockdown was introduced. Every model predicted an exponential rise in infections.

With half of humanity living under lockdown, photos of Swedes socialising in bars and restaurants seemed like communiqués from another dimension. Aside from a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people, life carried on as normal. Children aged under 16 went to school. No one wore a mask. This, surely, was the calm before a terrible storm.

The catastrophe never arrived. As in most other European countries, Sweden saw a peak in Covid-19 deaths in the first half of April followed by a steady decline. Shown on a graph, the pattern of mortality is indistinguishable from that of many countries that locked down. Its daily death toll rarely exceeded double figures and has been below 30 since mid-June. As in Britain, half the deaths were in care homes and two-thirds of those who died were aged 80 or over.

Once it became clear that their apocalyptic prophecy had failed, critics of the Swedish approach turned to post hoc rationalisation. They cited low population density and a high rate of single person households as the explanation for Sweden’s lucky escape. Some claimed that social distancing was a natural part of Swedish culture or that Swedes did not talk enough for virus droplets to be transmitted. Some of this was true and much of it was nonsense, but none of it had been mentioned in March when Sweden was said to be doomed.

It is now considered gauche to compare Sweden to Britain, Italy, Spain or any other country that had a higher death rate. You are only allowed to compare it to its immediate neighbours where the death rate is lower. Mention the UK or, heaven forbid, Belgium (which locked down a week before the UK and has the highest COVID-19 death rate in the world) and you will be told that they should have locked down sooner. The proposition becomes unfalsifiable. Heads they win, tails you lose.

The goalposts have shifted. The purpose of lockdowns is no longer to protect health systems, but to prevent death at any cost. New Zealand has managed to eradicate the virus for the time being, but only by kissing goodbye to its biggest export industry – tourism – which sustains ten per cent of its economy and fourteen per cent of its workforce. Isolated from the rest of the world, it is a prisoner to a vaccine that may never be found.

Australia thought it had beaten the virus, but parts of Victoria are back under lockdown after new cases were found. There have been resurgences in the United States, Israel and South Africa, to name but three. Winning the battle against the first wave may prove to be like the invasion of Iraq, merely a prelude to a long war of attrition that wastes more money and lives.

 If there is hope of avoiding a second wave, it lies in contact tracing, but the NHS Test and Trace remains unproven in summer, let alone winter, and businesses will still be faced with crippling social distancing rules and – worst of all – the public’s fear of going out. For all the talk of ‘Super Saturday’, only five per cent of us went to the pub last weekend. A recent survey found that only 21 per cent of us would be comfortable eating in a restaurant.

And what of the costs? Sweden will not be unscathed by the global recession. Its GDP is expected to decline by 5.3 per cent this year. But GDP is expected to fall by 8.7 per cent in the Eurozone, by 9.7 per cent in Britain and by more than 10 per cent in Italy, France and Spain. Sweden has not put its children’s education on hold. It has not put its citizens under soul-sapping house arrest. If a vaccine goes into production by autumn, the Swedes will look reckless. But that is not going to happen - and winter is coming.


20 July, 2020

Left-Wingers Are Hysterical About Federal Agents Policing Protests in Portland

The New York Times headline is scary: “Federal Agents Unleash Militarized Crackdown on Portland.” They’re “unleashing” a “crackdown”? Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Naturally, the hysterical left is having a cow. While a decent argument could be made that even if Portland authorities aren’t doing their jobs, the feds should keep their noses out of local police matters, this is too much.

Fox News: One protester, Mark Pettibone, told The Washington Post men in green military fatigues and generic “police” patches jumped out of an unmarked minivan early Wednesday and arrested him as he walked home from what he characterized as a peaceful protest. He told the Post he was scared because he did not know who detained him. Reports of similar incidents have drawn condemnation from civil rights groups.

Some Democratic officials accused the Trump administration of sending unidentifiable agents.

“Authoritarian governments, not democratic republics, send unmarked authorities after protesters,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., on Twitter, along with a video of a protester being arrested and placed into an unmarked van. “These Trump/Barr tactics designed to eliminate any accountability are absolutely unacceptable in America, and must end.”

DHS says that’s nonsense, that their agents were uniformed and identified themselves. The spokesman said they weren’t wearing name badges because of fears for the agents’ personal safety. The same reasoning justifies an unmarked van. In a city where cop cars are being lit up like 4th of July fireworks, it’s a wise move to use an unmarked van.

The situation in Portland was bad — is bad. Federal property has been vandalized and destroyed. And since the local authorities appear powerless to stop the mayhem, someone in the federal government — presumably the president of the United States — decided that order had to be restored.

But is that really his job to do? Portland is not a federal city. It’s a city in the sovereign state of Oregon. The governor, the mayor, or the chief of police could put a stop to the demonstrations all by themselves. They are not powerless. But they have chosen not to.

It’s not for the president to say if it’s a wise choice or a good choice. That’s for the people of Oregon to decide. The local and state authorities have not requested federal assistance. They have, in fact, asked all federal law enforcement personnel to leave. They claim that the presence of federal law enforcement is not helping “to contain or de-escalate the situation, it’s obviously having exactly the opposite impact,” according to Mayor Ted Wheeler.

Well, that may or may not be true. Wheeler doesn’t acknowledge the counter-argument that is equally valid: that doing nothing encourages the violence. Be that as it may, it’s still troubling that any federal law enforcement personnel are assigned to do anything more than protect federal property. These CBP agents appear to be ranging far afield to protect federal structures.

CBP agents were sent to Portland to protect federal property. Federal officers have charged at least 13 people with crimes related to the protests so far, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported Thursday. Some have been detained by the federal courthouse, which has been the scene of protests. But others were reportedly grabbed blocks away.

On Thursday night, federal officers reportedly deployed tear gas and fired non-lethal rounds into a crowd of protesters hours after Wolf’s visit.

Wheeler and local officials are deluding themselves if they think playing nice with anarchists and barbarians will do anything except encourage more violence and destruction. The proof is in 50 nights of lawless behavior, including the destruction of property, which Wheeler and his cohorts might not look at as important. But people’s lives are being ruined because the mayor isn’t doing his job.

But enough people in Portland are apparently satisfied with what Wheeler is doing. There are no clarion calls for his resignation from his fellow politicians. So the question becomes: if the people of Portland are OK with what’s going on, why should the federal government care?



Florida Health Officer Labels Motorcycle Crash Victim a Coronavirus Death

An individual who was killed in a fatal motorcycle crash in Florida was recently listed as a COVID-19 death for the Sunshine State, according to a state health official.

The truth about the death was brought to light after FOX 35 News asked Orange County Health Officer Dr. Raul Pino whether the two individuals in their 20s who were listed as coronavirus deaths had any underlying conditions.

“The first one didn’t have any,” Pino said. “He died in a motorcycle accident.”

Pino was then questioned on whether the data from the individual who passed away in the motorcycle crash had been removed from the system, to which Pino said, “I don’t think so. I have to double-check.”



Trump's Outstanding Deregulation Record

Deregulation has been one of President Donald Trump’s best calling cards over the last three-plus years, especially given how much he has done to undo the work of his predecessor. Trump’s reelection pitch is that we need to move forward, not backward. In remarks Thursday on the South Lawn of the White House, he declared, “For every one new regulation added, nearly eight federal regulations have been terminated” by his administration. He insisted, “We must never return to the days of soul-crushing regulation that ravaged our cities, devastated our workers, drained our vitality right out of our people, and thoroughly crippled our nation’s prized competitive edge.”

Ever the showman, Trump recited a long list of his deregulatory accomplishments while flanked by blue and red pickup trucks, symbolizing the two parties. Both were heavily laden with stacks of weights, though a crane labeled “Trump administration” lifted the burden from the red truck to deftly illustrate the massive weight of regulation.

Trucks were an appropriate metaphor given that, earlier this year, Trump rolled back Barack Obama’s onerous fuel-economy standards. Arguably more significantly, Trump’s biggest move this week was to cut environmental red tape for infrastructure projects. “Environmental review” would routinely bog down infrastructure building for an average of 4.5 years and in many cases far longer. Trump has now reduced that to no more than two years for environmental impact statements, and just one for environmental assessments. It’s hard to overstate the positive impact this change will have on building highways, gas pipelines, and other needed projects.

In general, Obama’s heavy-handed regulation stagnated the economy for eight long years, whereas Trump’s red-tape cutting unshackled businesses and led to a solid economic expansion — an expansion that put our nation in position to withstand the dual assault of a pandemic and the resulting shutdowns.

Remember, regulation is a form of taxation. The president claimed, “Our historic regulatory relief is providing the average American household an extra $3,100 every single year.” By contrast, according to The Washington Times, “The Trump campaign said Thursday that the federal government during the Obama administration’s eight years imposed $872 billion in new regulations on the U.S. economy, creating 583 million hours’ worth of paperwork to comply with.” Trump said that “cost the average American an additional $2,300 per year.”

Joe Biden wants to turn back the clock and restore his former boss’s punishing regulatory regime … and then some. His newly proposed Green New Deal alone would hamstring the economy in disastrous ways, all while costing future generations big time.

“Our entire economy and our very way of life are threatened by Biden’s plans to transform our nation and subjugate our communities through the blunt force instrument of federal regulation at a level that you haven’t even seen yet,” Trump warned. He added that if Biden and a Democrat Senate are elected, “The American Dream would be sniffed out so quickly and replaced with a socialist disaster.”

Indeed, that kind of tyrannical economic devastation is on the ballot this November. Unless voters reject it.



Lying is what Leftists do

White House press secretary says science matters. Leftmedia reports the opposite

It isn’t news that the mainstream media is pulling for Clueless Joe Biden, or that it reflexively assumes the worst in every bit of reporting on the Trump administration. What’s news, though, is just how brazen it’s become in its willingness to lie.

A White House press briefing yesterday provided just such an example. Indeed, it was the confluence of two opportunities — a chance to attack Donald Trump’s press secretary and a chance to help the Left keep our kids out of the classroom this fall — which made the media’s urge to lie irresistible. As The Daily Wire reports, “Several left-wing reporters misleadingly quoted White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Thursday, falsely asserting that McEnany indicated that the administration’s position on opening schools was that science regarding the COVID-19 pandemic should not be taken into consideration.”

Now, before you dismiss this as a complicated case of she-said, that-Trump-hating-army-of-anti-American-scoundrels-said, let’s spend a minute — just a minute — looking at the videotape evidence from The Washington Post itself.

What part of a statement that includes “The science is very clear on this” and “The science is on our side here” and “We encourage localities and states to just simply follow the science” would cause an honest human being — much less a group of them — to instead run with a headline reading, “The science should not stand in the way of this”?

Yet that’s exactly what the Post did. And what The New York Times did. And what USA Today did. And what NBC News did. And what Yahoo! News did. And what PBS News Hour did. And what C-SPAN did. And what CNN’s Jim Acosta did. And, well, you get the idea.

Hey, media: Collude much?

It got so bad, though, that even CNN’s Trump-deranged Jake Tapper felt compelled to call out his colleagues. “Folks,” he tweeted, “read the ENTIRE McEnany comment about ‘the science should not stand in the way’ of opening schools. She’s arguing that the science is on the side of those who want to open them, she cites a JAMA study. I’m not taking a position on the matter but be fair.”

Two cheers for Jake.

It’d be encouraging if those in the media were sufficiently ashamed of this episode to do some soul searching, but the scorpion can’t not sting the frog. It’s what they do.

Power Line’s John Hinderaker summed it up best: “It is impossible to overstate how low ‘journalism’ has fallen in the United States,” he began. And he ended with this: “A sound adage holds that you should never assume malice when stupidity is a sufficient explanation. Here, the only explanation is malice. No one is as stupid as America’s reporters and editors pretend to be. The sooner their companies go out of business, the better.”




Donald Trump's list of 42 disastrous things Joe Biden would do as president (Breitbart)

Republican National Committee restricts convention attendance over virus concerns (AP)

Attorney General William Barr deservedly slams Hollywood and Big Tech for "kowtowing" to the Chinese Communist Party (The Federalist)

U.S. drug overdose deaths resurge to a record 72,000 in 2019 (The New York Times)

Who'd a thunk it? Vaping rate among naturally rebellious youth increased with anti-vaping campaigns (Competitive Enterprise Institute)

Florida and Texas both set coronavirus death records Thursday — but both are still far short of New York and New Jersey (Forbes)

Even mild obesity linked to severe coronavirus infection and death (Newsweek)

U.S. workers filed 1.3 million jobless claims last week as pandemic intensifies (National Review)

Fixed 30-year mortgage rates fall below 3% for the first time ever (UK Daily Mail)

Retail sales pop 7.5% — more than expected in June (CNBC)

Additional hospitals face bankruptcy due to moratorium on elective surgeries and ER volume drop (Washington Examiner)

"Does not have the legal authority": Georgia Governor Brian Kemp sues Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms over defiant face-mask order (NPR)

But by all means, let's concentrate on a harmless nickname! More than a dozen women allege sexual harassment and verbal abuse by former Washington Redskins team employees (The Washington Post)

Three churches sue Governor Newsom after California bans singing in places of worship (Fox News)

What could possibly go wrong? Prison populations down 8% amid coronavirus outbreak (AP)

ViacomCBS fires rapper Nick Cannon for "hateful speech" and spreading "anti-Semitic conspiracy theories" (CNS News)

Doh! Iranian spies accidentally leaked videos of themselves hacking (Wired)

United Kingdom ISIS bride can return to country to challenge citizenship annulment after leaving for Syria in 2015, court rules (American Military News)

New York City eliminated its anti-crime unit. Violent crime has surged. (The Daily Signal)

Lockdowns and protests causing big spike in child trafficking (The Federalist)

Policy: The State Department's human-rights report marks a turning point (National Review)


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

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


19 July, 2020

BRITAIN may already have enough herd immunity to prevent a second wave of coronavirus, scientists have claimed

Experts suggest a sizeable number of people may have immunity because of Covid-19's similarity to the common cold.  This confirms the theory of Swiss researcher Beda M Stadler, covered on this blog on July 8

While super-spreaders infect many, it appears some people are effectively super-blockers and enjoy natural resistance to the killer bug, say Oxford University boffins.

The scientists have written about "host resistance" to the new virus and a possibly lower threshold of herd immunity needed to fend off further devastating Covid-19 outbreaks.

Their paper, published on Medrxiv, says that it is widely believed the threshold needed to enjoy herd immunity against the new disease is more than 50 per cent.

But, its research suggests that if just 20 per cent of the UK's population has in-built resistance to Covid-19, a second wave is not inevitable.

Herd immunity refers to where enough people in a population have immunity to an infection to be able to effectively stop that disease from spreading.

For herd immunity, it doesn’t matter whether the protection comes from vaccination, or from people having had the disease. The crucial thing is that they are immune.

The Oxford Uni study suggests the epidemiological limit to reach herd immunity "may be greatly reduced if a fraction of the population is unable to transmit the virus".

This is feasible, they add, if people have inbuilt "resistance or cross-protection from exposure to seasonal coronaviruses".

The report says: "Significant reductions in expected mortality can also be seen in settings where a fraction of the population is resistant to infection."

Results "suggest that sufficient herd-immunity may already be in place to substantially mitigate a potential second wave", the researchers add.

"It has been evident from the outset that the risk of severe disease and death from Covid-19 is not uniformly distributed across all age classes.

"The bulk of deaths among the over 12 million cases reported worldwide are occurring among older age classes and those with [pre-existing conditions].

“It is further becoming clear that risk of infection is also not uniformly distributed across the population," the reports says.

Scientists at Oxford point to those managing to fend off the virus as having "high functioning immunity".

And, if antibodies to the disease are built up in "10-20 per cent" of the population, "this is entirely compatible with local levels of immunity having approached or even exceeded the herd immunity threshold.

"In which case the risk and scale of resurgence is lower than currently perceived," say the researchers.


The journal article behind the story above:

The impact of host resistance on cumulative mortality and the threshold of herd immunity for SARS-CoV-2

Jose Lourenco et al.


It is widely believed that the herd immunity threshold (HIT) required to prevent a resurgence of SARS-CoV-2 is in excess of 50% for any epidemiological setting. Here, we demonstrate that HIT may be greatly reduced if a fraction of the population is unable to transmit the virus due to innate resistance or cross-protection from exposure to seasonal coronaviruses. The drop in HIT is proportional to the fraction of the population resistant only when that fraction is effectively segregated from the general population; however, when mixing is random, the drop in HIT is more precipitous. Significant reductions in expected mortality can also be observed in settings where a fraction of the population is resistant to infection. These results help to explain the large degree of regional variation observed in seroprevalence and cumulative deaths and suggest that sufficient herd-immunity may already be in place to substantially mitigate a potential second wave.



Media Should Do a Mea Culpa as French Analysis Offers a Stunning Observation About Hydroxychloroquine Use

We have been told repeatedly by health experts to demonstrate the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine and the other meds prescribed with it we need strict clinical trials. These are studies where some patients receive medication, and some do not. For many healthcare providers, this is a noxious thought if there is evidence to believe a treatment may work.

How do you ethically deny a potential treatment to an eligible patient to conduct a study? So-called double-blind studies described above are the preferred method advocated by Dr. Fauci. These double-blind studies allow people to die in the name of “science” if a drug is effective. They are in the “control group.”

There are ethical issues with this approach that researches at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center addressed with a new concurrent trial based on machine learning developed following the H1N1 pandemic. This method has been ignored by the NIH and FDA approval processes.

Such was the fate of the hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and zinc combination. Scientifically there was every reason to believe it would work. Clinically, doctors saw results when directly treating patients. Several recommended that the drug be produced in sufficient amounts and given early and outpatient.

President Trump expressed optimism based on studies in France and China, and the media freaked out. The president’s political opposition would go on to cling to any proof the drug would not work and suppress any information that it would. This politicization culminated in the horrific study published by Lancet that the publication quietly retracted.

However, the damage was already done. The World Health Organization suspended trials immediately after the study published in Lancet. Switzerland, which had been using the treatment, prohibited the use of the drug in COVID-19 shortly after that on May 27th. The retraction was so stealth that the ban was not lifted in Switzerland until June 11th.

This window allowed French researchers to analyze what happened in the entire population of COVID-19 patients during the ban. They used the case fatality rate (CFR) as the measure observed. The graph is stunning.


It also the only period where the Swiss CFR approached or exceeded that in France where there has been no use of hydroxychloroquine outside a few isolated trials.

The CFR returned to the highest level it had been since early in the pandemic at over 15%. Upon resumption of treatment with hydroxychloroquine, it returned to below 5%.

For those who are not convinced of the observational result, we conducted a statistical difference test by comparing the three periods: May 28th – June 8th, June 9th – 22nd, June 23rd – July 6th . The period from June 9th till the 22nd is that in which the index increased some 13 days after the suspension of hydroxychloroquine. There is of course an effect of delay between stopping the prescription of the drug and possible deaths, which explains the delay of 13 days.

We therefore observe that for the period from the 28th of May till the 8th of June, the index is 2.39% and then drops to 11.52% or 4.8 times more and then drops to 3%.

When testing for statistical significance between the various observations, the difference is significant at 99% with a p <0 .0001.="" 13="" 3="" a="" after="" again="" and="" br="" days="" dropped="" effect.="" hcq="" index="" prescription="" resumed="" significant="" the="" this="" to="" was="">
For those who have forgotten statistics, a p-value of 0.05 or less indicates statistical significance. If the graph is not convincing, a confidence interval of 99% in a statistical analysis based on full population data should be.

Between this information and a study published by researchers in India, it is time for the media to do a mea culpa. Their hysteria convinced politicians in the United States to ban or restrict the drug. As Dr. David Samadi said on The Larry O’Connor Show, the decision to use this treatment needs to be left between a doctor and a patient. He has been disturbed by the interference by the government into the doctor-patient relationship.

Dr. Samadi re-emphasized the use of hydroxychloroquine cocktail is effective in early COVID-19 according to clinical experience and multiple studies. The FDA and NIH need to tell governors and other officials who have banned its use to lift their bans ASAP and tell pharmacists to stop questioning doctors who prescribe it.

It is far preferable to keep people out of the hospital using an old, inexpensive, and demonstrably safe and effective medication combination. There is no reason other than profit to wait until patients are hospitalized to get a new medication IV. If the media or the public health agencies cared about public health, this would be broadcast loudly and often. It is becoming increasingly clear they care more about politics.




Trump shakes up campaign leadership, demotes manager Brad Parscale and promotes Chris Christie campaign veteran Bill Stepien (The Hill)

Liberty University slaps New York Times with $10 million suit for "made up" coronavirus story (Washington Examiner)

U.S. weighs sweeping and deserved travel ban on Chinese Communist Party members (The New York Times)

"Disrupt and destroy MS-13": DOJ announces first-ever terrorism charges in nationwide gang crackdown (Fox News)

The Trump administration said it would no longer require foreign students to attend in-person classes during the coronavirus pandemic in order to remain in the country (The New York Times)

Florida department of health exposed for massively overreporting positive cases (The Blaze)

"I feel fine": Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt tests positive (The Daily Wire)

Can you get infected twice? Researchers say possibility is "certainly real" (USA Today)

China economy expands 3.2% after 6.8% contraction in previous quarter (Time)

August surprise: Tsunami of bankruptcies forecast as government aid runs dry (The Washington Times)

As frivolous lawsuits surge, liability reform remains top GOP priority (Washington Examiner)

Walmart will require shoppers to wear masks; other retailers urged to follow (NPR)

Atlanta police charge suspect in the perverse death of eight-year-old black girl Secoriea Turner (Fox News)

National Museum of African American History and Culture publishes multi-racist graphic linking "rational linear thinking" and "nuclear family" to white culture (National Review)

Court renders unconstitutional part of major Virginia gun control measure that would have virtually outlawed private handgun purchases for people under 21 (The Washington Free Beacon)

Policy: Joe Biden bends the knee to AOC on climate (Washington Examiner)

California rejected 100,000 mail-in ballots because of mistakes (AP)

Banks stand to make $18 billion in PPP processing fees (The Intercept)

NBA bans custom jerseys with "FreeHongKong," but allows "Burn Jews" and "KillCops" (The Federalist)

Local governments weigh major tax hikes to plug coronavirus-induced shortfalls (Fox News)

Policy: The two-party system isn't the problem. It's nationalization. (Washington Examiner)

Mainstream media mocks rise in crime, victims (Boston Herald)

Los Angeles County's black DA blasts Black Lives Matter for targeting her, showing up at her home, and speaks out against abolishing police (The Blaze)

Wisconsin's vote-by-mail looked bad. It was actually worse. (Hot Air)


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

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


17 July, 2020

Hebrew U. scientist: Drug could eradicate COVID-19 from lungs in days

New research by Hebrew University Prof. Ya’acov Nahmias and Sinai’s Dr. Benjamin tenOever revealed that the FDA-approved drug Fenofibrate (Tricor) could reduce SARS-CoV-2’s ability to reproduce or even make it disappear.

SARS-CoV-2 is the scientific name for the novel coronavirus.
“Viruses are parasites,” Nahmias explained to The Jerusalem Post. “They cannot replicate themselves. They cannot make new viruses. They have to get inside a human cell and then hijack that cell.”

As such, Nahmias and tenOever spent the last three months studying what SARS-CoV-2 is doing to human lung cells. What they found is that the novel coronavirus prevents the routine burning of carbohydrates, which results in large amounts of fat accumulating inside lung cells – a condition the virus needs to reproduce.

“By understanding how the SARS-CoV-2 controls our metabolism, we can wrestle back control from the virus and deprive it from the very resources it needs to survive,” Nahmias said, noting that it also may help explain why patients with high blood sugar and cholesterol levels are often at a particularly high risk to develop COVID-19.

The team then reviewed a panel of eight already-approved drugs that could possibly interfere with the virus’s ability to reproduce. Tricor caused the cells to start burning fat, Nahmias said. The result was that the virus almost completely disappeared within only five days of treatment.

The experiment was done in lab studies both in Israel and New York and was replicated several times with different lung samples. Nahmias said there is a strong indication that the experiment is highly repeatable in other labs.

The team is advancing to animal studies in New York and hoping to fast-track clinical studies in both Israel and the US within the next couple of weeks, since the drug is already proven safe.

The study is being published in this week’s Cell Press’s Sneak Peak. The work is being funded by the European Research Council, the Nikoh Foundation and the Sam and Rina Frankel Foundation.



Why Have Blue States Been Hit Hardest by COVID-19?

In March, data guru Nate Silver wrote about the different ways blue states and red states were experiencing the COVID-19 epidemic, noting that “states Clinton won do have considerably more total reported cases.”

COVID-19 was not just a blue state problem though. Silver pointed out that cases in red states were increasing far more rapidly.

“Nine of the 10 states that have seen the most rapid increase in coronavirus from Monday to Thursday are states that voted for Trump in 2016,” Silver wrote.

Days later, The Atlantic published an article titled “The Coronavirus’s Unique Threat to the South.”

The article saw similar ominous signs for red states, particularly a “four-state arc of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia.”

Months later we have a more complete picture of the data, which shows blue states have borne the brunt of the COVID devastation.

Eleven of the 12 states (including the District of Columbia) with the highest COVID-19 fatality rates are traditional blue states. Leading the way, unsurprisingly, is New York, which posted the highest deaths, total (31,346) and per capita (1,611 per 1M).* New Jersey is not far behind New York, however (1,478/1M). These states are followed by Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia. Just one red state—Louisiana, seventh highest with 680/1M—cracked the top twelve.

The question is, why?

After all, blue states tended to have the most stringent lockdowns. Indeed, eight red states—Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming—declined to issue stay-at-home orders at all (though some took less severe measures).

None of these states were among the states hardest hit by COVID-19.

The data could lend support to epidemiologists—John Ioannidis. Anders Tegnell, and others—who have expressed skepticism on the efficacy of lockdowns.

“Blind lockdown of entire populations has questionable added benefits,” Ioannidis, the C.F. Rehnborg Chair in Disease Prevention at Stanford University, recently wrote in the medical journal BMJ.

A second reason could stem from other policy decisions. Several states hardest hit by the coronavirus were among those that passed controversial policies that prohibited nursing homes from refusing to admit patients released from hospitals because they had the coronavirus.

Public health experts and trade association leaders had questioned the policies, noting older populations were the most at-risk and most nursing homes lack the resources to effectively quarantine COVID carriers. One 31-year-old health care worker told The New York Times the policy was “a sentence of death for all the older patients.”

The policy could explain why several states—New York, New Jersey, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, among them—experienced higher rates of fatality.

“The policy of sending recovering Covid patients back to nursing homes is the only policy of which I’m aware that seems unambiguously relevant for explaining differences we’ve observed between states with outlier death rates and the rest of the country,” Jeffrey Clemens, a Harvard trained economist and associate professor at the University of California-San Diego, told me in an email interview.

Following public outcry of the policy, many states shifted course. Politico recently reported that many states, including Massachusetts and Michigan, are now prodding eldercare facilities to admit COVID carrying residents by offering financial incentives, “raising the risks of spreading infections and substandard care for seriously ill patients.”

A third possibility is that blue states tend to have higher urban density, which in theory could make spreading of the virus easier. Eight of the states hardest hit by the coronavirus—New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts. Connecticut, Maryland, Delaware, New York and Pennsylvania—are also among the ten densest states in the US.

While urban density might seem like an obvious link to the spread of COVID-19, a recent World Bank report analyzing data from China suggested this was not actually the case.

“On the contrary, cities with the highest coronavirus infection rates were those with relatively low population densities, in the range between 5,000 to 10,000 people per square kilometer,” the authors found.

Dr. Mary T. Bassett, director of the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard, agreed, saying it’s a mistake to blame population density for the spread of COVID-19, noting population density is not the same as overcrowding.

“Everything we know so far about the coronavirus tells us that blaming density for disease is misguided,” Bassett wrote in The New York Times.

The truth is we don’t yet know with any degree of certainty why blue states have suffered more throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s safe to say numerous variables—health care system quality and access, underlying health and age of the population, policy decisions, habits of hygiene, etc.—all play a role.

It also must be noted that we’re still not through the pandemic. Cases continue to climb—in part due to increased transmission, and in part through expanded testing, which increased from 345,000 tests per day in May to 478,000 in June—and red states could yet see similar results.

For now, however, the record is clear: blue states have experienced far worse devastation from COVID-19.

*All numbers current as of June 24, 2020.




"The underlying reasons for the split are pretty self-evident": Andrew Sullivan, who (rationally) believes in genetic differences between races, to leave New York Magazine (The Hill)

The media don't just overpraise Democrat governors; they overpraise the wrong ones! (National Review)

Despite escalating Taliban-government violence, U.S. closes five military bases in southern and eastern Afghanistan as part of peace deal (Fox News)

"We've never seen everything go perfectly": Is too much hope being put into a coronavirus vaccine? (Yahoo News)

Moderna Phase 1 results show coronavirus vaccine safe, induces immune response (Reuters)

Travel from New York City seeded the nationwide crisis, research shows (Washington Examiner)

More collusion: Wuhan lab that researches COVID-19 won't be visited by WHO investigators looking into origin of virus (Independent)

Seattle just passed a new tax on jobs in the middle of an economic crisis — but exempted government workers (Foundation for Economic Education)

Apple wins major tax battle against EU; second-highest court invalidates $14.8 billion tax bill (Fox Business)

An already outrageous prosecution in Atlanta turns scandalous: Embattled District Attorney Paul Howard is suspected of issuing fraudulent grand jury subpoenas (Power Line)

Media blackout notwithstanding, black leaders rally to save Washington, DC's, Emancipation Memorial (The Daily Signal)

New York City black activists call on de Blasio and city council to "take your handcuffs off of the police" (Washington Examiner)

Federal judge rejects Harvey Weinstein's inadequate $19 million settlement with alleged victims (NPR)

In Tennessee, court halts "arguably the most conservative, pro-life piece of legislation in the country" 45 minutes after it was signed (Forbes)

Federal judge permanently voids Georgia "heartbeat" abortion restriction; governor to appeal (WRCB)

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art curator resigns after he is accused of racism for saying he would still collect art from white men (Reason)

Wave of violence overwhelms NYC: Contrary to what Bill de Blasio and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggest, criminal behavior is not an economic phenomenon (City Journal)

Most "dreamers" broke U.S. law on purpose to get ahead in the citizenship line (The Federalist)

Former VA health worker pleads guilty to murdering seven veterans with insulin poisoning (Military Times)

Record numbers of Americans try to buy guns (Fox Business)

At least 17 people shot in NYC on Monday as lawlessness soars (New York Post)

Washington state police officer killed, another injured by assailant (Fox News)

Wise decision: UK reneges, will purge Huawei from 5G by 2027 (Reuters)

China begins "mass production" of new stealth fighter jet in effort to dominate airspace (Washington Examiner)

Iran's nuclear facilities are "mysteriously" under attack (we have a pretty good idea of the perpetrator) (Fox News)

For first time ever, U.S. officially rejects China's "unlawful" South China Sea claims (American Military News)

The cost of China's intellectual-property theft (National Review)

Using face masks is still a good idea. Mandating them isn't. (The Heritage Foundation)

Governor Newsom orders closure of indoor activities across California (Fox News)

The WHO, which suppressed early information, sounds alarm as coronavirus cases rise by one million in five days (Reuters)

CDC's "best estimate" is 40% of infections are asymptomatic (Fox News)

Out-of-touch Beltway dweller Dr. Anthony Fauci says U.S. coronavirus cases are surging because nation didn't totally shut down (CNBC)

Asia ramps up coronavirus curbs as new clusters erupt (Reuters)


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

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


16 July, 2020  

Eugenics: An embarrassed silence and a hidden history

Eugenics was one of the great enthusiasms of the prewar Left.  In the 1920s and 1930's, Socialists everywhere embraced it, including National Socialists in Germany. 

The abiding mark of socialists is that they want to change the world -- change it into what they think will be a better place. And eugenics fitted that perfectly.  If they removed the "weeds" from the human race, that would make a greatly improved world.  And Leftist legislatures worldwide passed eugenic laws of varying severity: Sweden, Germany and the United States being prominent examples

The man who took it furthest was however Adolf Hitler. He killed "useless eaters" in droves.  So the military defeat of Hitler led to him and all his works being discredited: So suddenly there were no longer any differences between races and eugenics was immoral.  Hitler had been a such a great menace and ended up such an abject failure that any similarities with him had to be denied.

Leftists everywhere dropped eugenics like a sizzling potato.  They no longer advocated it. More significant, however was that they succeeded in casting a cloak of silence over it.  They succeeded in blanking out all memory  of their association with eugenics. Hardly anyone now knows what a great enthusiasm eugenics once was for the Left.  Were it well known, their great enthusiasms of the present -- such as global warming and transgenderism -- might also be viewed skeptically

Eugenics and scientific racism in the United States emerged in the second half of the nineteenth century and lasted through the 1930s. It claimed that heredity was the fundamental determinant of an individual’s ability to contribute to society. Eugenics claimed the scientific ability to classify individuals and groups as “fit” or “unfit.” The unfit were defined by race, mental and physical disabilities, country of origin, and poverty. Eugenics was widely accepted by academics, politicians, intellectuals, government, the U.S. Supreme Court, and especially progressives, who supported eugenics-inspired policies as policy instruments to be utilized by an interventionist administrative state to establish a healthy and productive society. Those who questioned the “settled science” of eugenics were dismissed as “deniers,” much like those who question the “settled science” of climate change are today dismissed as “deniers.”

Eugenics and slavery share much common ground in their inherent racist view of blacks; however, the inherent racist perspective of eugenics was broader in that the set of those considered unfit included individuals and groups beyond those who were black. Eugenics provided the scientific foundation for involuntary sterilization policies in thirty-two states, supported the racist immigration policies in the first part of the twentieth century, and supported a variety of de jure and de facto policies designed to limit those defined as “unfit” to less than full-citizenship status. More troubling, eugenics and eugenics-inspired policies in the United States were admired by Adolf Hitler. American and German eugenicists interacted and exchanged views up to the late 1930s, and sterilization laws, immigration restrictions based on race or ethnicity, and efforts to prevent full citizenship to the unfit in the United States became the model for the Nuremburg Laws of 1935. Stefan Kühl (1994) was the first to document in detail the American–German eugenics connection. In Hitler’s American Model (2017), James Whitman extended this research to illustrate how U.S. policies influenced Nazi race law in the 1930s and the Nuremberg Laws in particular. The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left (2017) by Dinesh D’Souza is the most recent effort to bring public attention to eugenics and the American–German connection.

The widespread acceptance of eugenics in the United States, especially by progressives, is a troubling part of U.S. history unknown to many Americans, and the role model America provided for Nazi race law is even more troubling. The conventional wisdom in the United States places blame for scientific racism on Germany, but the opposite is an inconvenient truth that continues to receive little public attention. The fall of the Third Reich revealed the logical outcome of eugenics. Eugenics disappeared almost overnight from public discourse and became an embarrassment to many who had supported it and its policy implications.

I have covered eugenics and related topics in my lectures on the history of economic ideas for many years and have been surprised at two reactions from students: first, many students find eugenics and related topics the most interesting part of the course, and, second, with only a few exceptions the students have never heard of eugenics in the United States and, especially, its relationship to Nazi Germany. This lack of awareness suggests a question and the catalyst for this paper: To what degree are high school students exposed to the history of eugenics?

One would expect that with the current political focus on discrimination and racism, eugenics would be an important topic in U.S. history and related courses at the high school level. Unfortunately, this is not the case. As I show in this paper, high school history textbooks essentially ignore the topic. Although our high school textbooks are impressive in presentation, length, and number of topics covered, eugenics and its influence on public policy in the United States and its relationship to Nazi Germany are ignored and when mentioned are presented as an incidental part of U.S. history.

I first discuss how eugenics emerged from a combination of the political economy of population growth initiated by Thomas Malthus (1798) and subsequent developments in human biology in the second half of the nineteenth century. Next I discuss how the United States became the center of eugenic research and policy, the relationship between eugenics and the progressive movement, and the degree to which eugenics in the United States influenced Germany and the Nuremburg Laws of 1935. Then I look in particular at nine high school textbooks and other textbook materials to determine the degree to which eugenics is covered in high school. In the concluding section, I offer conjectures to account for the omission and the missed opportunities to educate students resulting from the omission.



Biden’s enthusiasm gap versus Trump may prove to be Democrats’ undoing in 2020

President Donald Trump has two major advantages politically in 2020 presidential election over former Vice President Joe Biden: incumbency and enthusiasm.

The first is easy enough to understand. As the incumbent, President Trump has all the trappings of the head of state. He can do press conferences in the Rose Garden or the White House briefing room, meet with foreign leaders and dignitaries and address the nation in front of Congress or from the Oval Office. And after more than three years in office, the American people have a certain level of comfort with him.

Historically, incumbency has proven to be a major advantage in terms of electoral outcomes. The question for first term presidents like Trump is whether or not voters think it is time for a change.

Which brings us to Trump’s second advantage in 2020: enthusiasm. In a June poll by Economist/YouGov, 68 percent of Trump supporters say they are enthusiastic about voting for him versus only 31 percent of Biden supporters who say they are enthusiastic.

49 percent of Biden voters say they merely satisfied but not enthusiastic, 15 percent say dissatisfied but not upset and 3 percent say they are upset. Whereas, with Trump, just 26 say they are satisfied but not enthusiastic, 5 percent say dissatisfied but not upset and 2 percent say they are upset.

In the same poll, among Biden supporters, only 35 percent say they are voting for Biden, whereas 62 percent say they are voting against Trump. For Trump supporters, 81 percent say they are voting for Trump, and just 18 percent say they are voting against Biden.



The rise of the White British Saviour

Middle-class white people need to stop hectoring poorer white people about privilege.

The Black Lives Matter movement seems to have hastened the importation of divisive US culture-war politics into the UK. This has led to a number of absurd claims being made which are completely irrelevant to the British context. This includes framing police brutality as a shared UK-US problem, and arguing that the UK’s race relations are as bitter as those across the pond. As a consequence we also seem to be developing our own version of the White Saviour figure: those middle-class white people who lecture other white people on racial issues.

Britain is witnessing the rise of a youthful white middle-class convinced that it represents the height of enlightened thought. This was exemplified by a BBC Sounds segment posted on Twitter yesterday, featuring University of Southampton academic Dr Charlotte Lydia Riley and journalist Amelia Dimoldenberg. Dripping with condescension, the pair proceeded to insult supposedly unrefined and loutish ‘Karens’, those women in need of education on matters of white privilege and socially acceptable behaviour.

Overwhelmed by ‘white guilt’, members of this new tribe strive to spread out culpability for racism among the rest of the white population. Often it is insufficiently woke working-class people who they have in their sights. According to these White British Saviours, even those in deprived coastal towns and former industrial areas, places which have been starved of meaningful public investment for decades, including communities which have witnessed the large-scale abuse of white working-class girls, must be lectured about their supposed privilege.

These people paint an incredibly skewed yet undoubtedly powerful picture of British society. They frame our society as some sort of sinister, white-supremacist superstructure. We should not underestimate how enticing this kind of grievance politics is to many people. But this view of British society is extremely misplaced and unwarranted.

The UK government recently offered a pathway to citizenship for millions of people in Hong Kong, in light of China’s clampdown on freedom there. Moreover, the most recent Crime Survey for England and Wales shows that the vast majority of ethnic-minority people have confidence in their local police force – with a number of non-white groups having even a higher level of confidence than white Brits. In the British workforce, the two highest-earning ethnic groups, by hourly pay, are workers of Chinese and Indian origin.

Contrary to much of the divisive left-wing rhetoric in the media, Britain is one of the most tolerant, anti-racist, anti-discriminatory places on Earth. While Brexit has been portrayed by some as a case of a xenophobic country detaching itself from an oasis of tolerance and open-mindedness in the shape of the EU, the reality is, in many ways, the other way around. A study by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights has found that people of black African descent faced ‘widespread and entrenched prejudice and exclusion’ across the EU. But the UK had one of the lowest levels of reported race-related harassment and violence in the 12-country study.

The co-author of a study published by Frontiers in Sociology, Professor Mariah Evans, concludes that ‘prejudice against immigrant workers or minority or religious groups is rare in the UK, perhaps even slightly rarer than in equivalently developed EU countries’. Using a well-established symptom (or consequence) of prejudice – aversion to ‘outgroupers’ being neighbours – that study revealed that prejudice against immigrants, people of other races, and religious groups such as Muslims, Jews and Hindus, is relatively low in the UK.

Of course, none of this is of interest to the White British Saviour. In fact, these findings are treated as an inconvenience. This is because the members of this ever-growing ‘Brahmin class’ of pseudo-intellectuals are ultimately more concerned with gaining brownie points from fellow snobbish peers, on social media and among their friendship groups, than they are with the facts.

They also frame BAME communities as an oppressed mass, and so ignore, or even scorn, those from minority populations who think differently to them. This is where their neocolonial mindset is laid bare – they believe that non-white people who ‘resist’ identity politics have been duped into sustaining the structures of ‘white supremacy’, as opposed to being independent-minded individuals with agency.

The White British Saviour represents one of the most socially divisive forces in British society today. The flawed identitarian narratives and smug elitism of these people must be robustly challenged. A failure to do so will mean that their influence becomes more entrenched in various spheres of British life.



NBC, ABC gloss over details in coverage of armed St. Louis couple confronting protesters

“A Missouri couple went viral Sunday for brandishing guns in the front yard of their home as protesters passed — but anyone who relies on NBC or ABC’s evening newscasts for information wouldn’t know all the details, according to the Media Research Center. The couple told police the group broke a gate to get onto the private street in St. Louis, and the pair say they only retrieved their firearms when they spotted ‘multiple’ people who were already armed, department records show. Al Watkins, an attorney for Mark McCloskey, 63, and his 61-year-old wife, Patricia, said the protest was largely peaceful and the pair did not bring their guns outside of the home until two men in particular, both of whom were white, started menacing them.”



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

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


15 July, 2020

HCQ Helps Contain COVID-19 Cases: Impressive results from India

Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) — the controversial COVID-19 treatment touted by President Donald Trump — might be gaining new traction in the fight against the Wuhan coronavirus.

The latest positive results come from Vadodara, India, where city officials have conducted a major study involving more than 300,000 people, including “health workers and other frontline staff.”

The Indian Express reports:

The administration has analysed a sample of over 1 lakh [lakh = 100,000] residents, who were mostly close contacts of positive persons and the effect of HCQ in containing the transmission of the virus. According to the analysis, of the 48,873 close contacts of positive patients who took one dose of HCQ, 102 turned Covid-19 positive and 12 succumbed to the infection whereas 48 of the 17,776 close contacts of positive patients who took two doses of HCQ turned positive and only one died. The study also states that of the 33,563 close contacts of patients who took three HCQ doses, 43 tested positive and one died.

Local health official Dr. Devesh Patel told the paper, “It has shown positive results. We have the numbers and not one person has complained of complications. The only side effect reported is mild gastritis, which is common with administering heavy medicines and can be effectively handled.”

In other words, anyone who has taken the much more common azithromycin antibiotic for a simple sinus infection has probably suffered about the same distress — all gastric — as a subject of the Vadodara study.

Dr. Mohammad Hussain, who runs Vadodara’s Faith Hospital, told the Express, “There are conflicting studies about the use of HCQ. While initially the US studies rejected it and cited side-effects, European countries backed its prophylactic use. In Vadodara, it has shown positive results. We have been able to restrict cases in clusters. Nagarwada no longer has a huge number of cases.”

Hussain reiterated that no serious side effects were reported.



Why experts think the MMR jab may save adults from Covid: Childhood vaccine at heart of dramatic new trial

Think of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) jab and one image might spring to mind — a mother cradling an infant as a nurse injects the potentially life-saving vaccine into their arm.

It could soon be the mother receiving the vaccine too — to protect against Covid-19.

Some evidence suggests the triple jab, given to millions of British children since its introduction in the UK in 1988, could be a powerful weapon in the battle against coronavirus, either by protecting adults against infection, or reducing symptoms.

That was certainly the thinking behind the decision by Dr Martin Scurr, the Mail's GP columnist, to have the MMR jab — to 'ginger up' his immunity, as he explained in Good Health last week.

The protective potential of MMR hit the headlines when the crew of the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt was struck by a Covid-19 outbreak.

More than 1,100 sailors on board tested positive, yet just one needed hospital treatment, (and later died) according to a report published last month in the journal mBio.

Even allowing for the likelihood that many were young and fit, researchers calculated it would still be expected that about 14 per cent (over 150 in this case) would need to be hospitalised.

But the sailors all had one thing in common; as new recruits mostly in their late teens or 20s, each had been given the MMR vaccine, in line with U.S. military policy.

Some scientists think the jab may have protected many crew members against serious illness and could also explain why so few children develop symptoms from Covid-19. In the UK, children make up less than two per cent of confirmed cases.

Between 80 and 90 per cent of all UK children, teenagers and young adults have had the MMR jab, their first dose aged one, and a booster, at three years.

Now the idea that the readily available and relatively cheap vaccine (it costs about £50 privately) could be used to protect millions of adults against Covid-19 is attracting wider interest.

Last month, doctors at the Kasr El Aini Hospital in Cairo, Egypt, began recruiting up to 200 doctors, nurses and carers on the coronavirus frontline to see if giving them the MMR vaccine protects them against severe coronavirus symptoms. The trial — which will run until October — is the first of its kind.

But how might a vaccine against common childhood illnesses tackle the virus?

Most of the 100 or so Covid-19 vaccine trials under way worldwide focus on specific targets unique to the virus itself, and are made either with traces of the 'spike' protein found on the surface of the virus, or fragments of its genetic material. The idea is the immune system recognises the virus material in the vaccines as foreign and creates infection-fighting cells (antibodies and T cells) should it then encounter Covid-19.

In other words, they are designed to work against Covid-19 and nothing else.

The same applies to most infectious disease vaccines. But a small group of vaccines, including the MMR, the BCG jab given to protect against tuberculosis (TB) and the oral version of the polio vaccine, are different.

These are made with 'live' but massively weakened versions of the viruses or bacteria (in the case of the BCG) themselves.

As well as priming the immune system to produce disease-fighting cells that target the infectious organism, live vaccines pep up the whole immune system so it's more alert to any invading organisms. It's thought this is because the presence of any live virus or bacterium is enough to put the whole immune system on alert.

'It's a bit like an army putting all its snipers on duty, ready to take out anything that is a potential threat,' explains Eleanor Riley, a professor of immunology and infectious diseases at Edinburgh University.

As we reported in March, there are several trials under way globally to see if the BCG jab can soften the blow of Covid-19.

Last week a study found that the BCG vaccine, that was given to teenagers in this country from 1953 until 2005 to protect against TB, may protect against coronavirus. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy Of Sciences, compared the jab's popularity in a country with their rate of infection and death.

The vaccine has previously been found to combat infectious diseases other than TB. A study, published in The BMJ in 2016, found that babies given the BCG jab were 30 per cent less likely to die of any infectious disease in their first year.

News that the jab might also protect people against coronavirus has led to shortages in some parts of the world. Doctors in Japan said they were running out of BCG as so many adults were paying privately to be immunised as protection against Covid-19. But when it comes to MMR, there could be another reason why the vaccine buffers the effects of Covid-19, say University of Cambridge scientists.

They studied blood samples of British patients treated in the early stages of the pandemic —the antibodies made by their immune system were similar in structure to antibodies produced in response to rubella (German measles), one of three viruses targeted by the MMR vaccine.

The Cambridge team believes the rubella antibodies triggered by the vaccine may be seeing off the coronavirus before it does too much damage.

In a paper online (but not yet published in a peer-reviewed journal), the scientists wrote: 'If there is a link, we propose that vaccination of 'at risk' age groups with an MMR vaccination should be considered. 'To create a Covid-19 vaccine will be arduous and may require time which we cannot afford.'

But some UK experts warn against giving the MMR jab without stronger evidence.

There is 'a good chance' this effect on the immune system is short-lived in some people — days, rather than weeks, months or years, says Professor Riley.

'It's also likely that if as an adult or even as a child your immune system has ever come into contact with measles, mumps or rubella in the past, it will not respond as vigorously to another vaccine. There is no good reason for anyone to pay for a private MMR or indeed BCG vaccine in the hope of avoiding Covid-19.'



The Authoritarian Left Fears a Level Playing Field
New York Times columnist Tom Friedman’s proposal that Joe Biden shouldn’t debate President Donald Trump unless “a real-time fact-checking team” is part of the mix is an ironic illustration of the closed-mindedness of the left.

Why would Friedman want a candidate who is eager to contrast his views with Trump’s to impose conditions that would make a debate less likely, unless, of course, Friedman realizes that the failing Biden would be particularly disastrous in a debate?

That seems to be the case here, as Friedman’s other condition — that Trump agree to release his tax returns for 2016 through 2018 — is just as unrealistic but not for the reason Democrats would have you believe. It’s not that they think Trump is concealing some sinister criminality but that the returns would be a gold mine for ginning up class resentment against the mega-wealthy Trump and fodder to smear him with innuendo.

Friedman recommends the fact-checkers be approved by both candidates “and that 10 minutes before the scheduled conclusion of the debate this team report on any misleading statements, phony numbers or outright lies either candidate had uttered. That way no one in that massive television audience can go away easily misled.”

He arrogantly implies that his candidate — Biden — would automatically win in a truth contest. But why should anyone assume the confessed plagiarist and policy chameleon would have an advantage here?

The answer is that Friedman knows, perhaps subconsciously, that any such process would be rigged. Like so many terms in the liberal lexicon, “fact-checker” doesn’t mean what progressives want you to think it means.

Invariably, fact-checkers are adjuncts of the liberal media who depict opinions as facts, such as a conservative’s assertion (or progressive’s denial) that we have a crisis on the southern border. At one point, the network-news broadcasts were pregnant with panting anchors apoplectic over the claim and dubbed it an outright lie. As conditions at the border steadily deteriorated to undeniable crisis levels, we heard no retraction from Democrats, much less from the opinion-checkers.

We shouldn’t ignore Friedman’s ludicrous proposal simply because it will never be adopted, as it provides a window into the progressive mind. Many progressives are frighteningly narrow-minded, intellectually cloistered and authoritarian. They tend to believe their opinions are facts (or so morally superior that they ought to be treated as such) and so are justified in censoring opposing views as inarguably false, immoral, offensive or politically incorrect.

In institutions they dominate, such as academia and Hollywood (or bar associations), they get to define what is offensive and then ban it – by diktat. For example, Cambridge University rescinded a speaking invitation for psychologist Jordan Peterson because of his skepticism about white privilege and climate change. Compounding foolishness with absurdity, the censors claimed they disinvited him to promote an “inclusive environment.”

Similarly, some state bar associations now require, as part of the continuing legal education lawyers must imbibe to retain their licenses, a course in diversity, inclusion and anti-bias. Attorneys must sit through the propaganda, during which certain debatable assumptions are treated as fact and the progressive agenda is advanced. One presenter admonished his captive audience to consider the possibility of bias in every aspect of their law practice — that they should always be mindful of it as they tackle any legal problem, presumably even those that couldn’t remotely touch on the subject. How’s that for thought control?

One takeaway from these examples and hundreds more is that the left, at its core, lacks confidence that its views could prevail in the marketplace of ideas, and so it manipulates the playing field. We see this in its support for the destruction of monuments and erasing our history because it wants to control not only the current narrative but also the historical one.

Friedman’s fearlessness of fact-checkers doesn’t mean he’s confident that Trump’s dishonesty and Biden’s truthfulness will be exposed but that today’s" fact-checkers" will almost always come down on the side of progressives. Progressives are so used to controlling the narrative that they’re confident their subjective ideas will be presented as factual. Perhaps even scarier is that they think their opinions are objectively true.

Why must they control people and their thoughts? Why can’t they allow people to draw their own lessons from history instead of purging it? Why are they afraid of debate viewers deciding for themselves whether Trump’s or Biden’s ideas are more compelling and truthful?

How often do conservatives propose that we erase evidence of our history? That we ban certain speech because they find it offensive? Do conservative business owners ever send employees to sensitivity training because their views aren’t conservative enough?

Tom Friedman’s laughable idea is no laughing matter because he represents the authoritarian progressive mindset. That many such progressives sincerely believe their ideas are superior isn’t the problem. The problem is that they want to limit your freedom to oppose them.



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

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


14 July, 2020

A New York paradox

It would appear that a lot of New Yorkers broke the rules.  Avoiding one another in New York would be pretty difficult

At the beginning of March, a lively debate took place about whether Britain should pursue a strategy of "herd immunity" – allowing coronavirus to spread until so many people had developed antibodies that it no longer posed a threat to public health – or place the entire country under lockdown. As is well-known, Boris Johnson initially embraced the former, saying the public needed to take the virus "on the chin", then performed a U-turn and imposed a full lockdown on March 23.

But recent data coming out of New York reveals that this was a false dichotomy. Sixty-eight per cent of people who took antibody tests at a clinic in the corona neighbourhood of Queens received positive results, suggesting that, in this area at least, the population is already close to achieving "herd immunity". This is in spite of the fact that New York imposed one of the strictest lockdowns in the United States.



Shock Poll Shows Trump on Track to Win Reelection

A new poll conducted by the Washington based Democracy Institute for the Sunday Express shows President Trump tied with his rival Joe Biden at 47 percent, but surpassing him in the electoral college 309 to 229.

These positive results for Trump come amid a constant drumbeat of negative media coverage in recent weeks that paints his electoral chances in November as virtually nil.

According to the shock poll, Trump is “on course to win the crucial swing states including Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin where he outpolls Vice President Biden by 48 percent to 44 percent.”

According to David Maddox, the political editor of the Sunday Express, the poll indicates that the Black Lives Matter riots have created a backlash that is helping Trump.

The poll was conducted Jul 1–3, before the president went to the Mount Rushmore to make a speech that was very well received by most Americans, but furiously derided by Democrats and their allies in the corporate media.



A who’s who of conservative luminaries has unleashed a decidedly unwoke message for police-slamming, statue-toppling, history-canceling leftist protesters: “You will not prevail.”

This is a start but action rather than words is what is needed.  If State governors won't unleash their police on the vandals, Federal officers should be sent in

The six-minute video posted by the Media Research Center offered a “conservative answer to the mob,” featuring 15 leading figures on the right and Republican lawmakers responding to the “protesters, hoodlums and rioters out in force these last several weeks.”

“You will not prevail. America will prevail,” said MRC President Brent Bozell in the “We Hold These Truths: Our Answer to the Mob” video posted Tuesday. “Today, tomorrow and by the grace of God, forever.”

The speakers, working from a script by National Review’s Rich Lowry, praised Founding Fathers George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, whose statues have recently come under attack, as well as the military, first responders, free speech, free markets and American values.

“This is the greatest country the world has ever known,” said David Bozell, president of ForAmerica. “A beacon of liberty, an engine of wealth.”

The video also features one of the last appearances by country singer Charlie Daniels, who died Monday at age 83. “You will not redefine America or frighten good, honest Americans into submission,” Mr. Daniels said in the video.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee Republican, cheered “America’s real heroes,” including the military, medical workers and law enforcement. Sen. Mike Lee, Utah Republican, warned that police were needed to “protect the vulnerable and to keep dangerous communities from descending into chaos.”

“Are there bad players? Of course,” said Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin. “But don’t lie about the police. Don’t smear them as racist. Don’t dismiss that they have to put their lives on the line every single day with lowlifes who harass and threaten them.”

Indeed, there was plenty of red meat for the base, including blasts at the “ignorant mob,” “your vandalism and cancellations,” and “the hateful rot of an ideology that you champion.”

“Who suffers the most from lawlessness?” asked syndicated radio host Dana Loesch. “It’s unquestionably the innocents in inner cities caught in the crossfire of thugs, gangs and rioting mobs.”

Said political commentator Deneen Borelli: “How dare you intimidate and beat people with whom you disagree.”

“We live in the last best home of mankind,” said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. “And we’re not about to lose it to a bunch of fanatics aided and abetted by a complicit media and cowardly corporations.”



Economic Lockdowns DON'T Save Lives – But They Kill Jobs and Wages

We now have three months of data from the 50 states which show unequivocally that economic lockdowns did not save lives, they are associated with much HIGHER death rates.

The death rates in the strict lockdown states were about FOUR TIMES higher than in states that didn’t lockdown at all or had minimal restrictions. Amazingly, there is a linear relationship here between lockdowns and deaths, but in the opposite direction, that shutdown advocates would expect.

One could argue that the northeast had the most exposure to coronavirus in the first place (true), and that by locking down, they lowered death rates from going even higher (false).

Strict lockdowns failed because they were put into effect AFTER the infection had spread. New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Illinois and Michigan had catastrophically high death rates because their governors were almost criminally negligent in protecting seniors in nursing homes. If Andrew Cuomo, Phil Murphy and JB Pritzker had kept seniors and those with pre-existing conditions safe, they could have saved far more lives than shutting down barber shops, stores, schools, and office buildings.

By the way, liberal states with strict lockdown orders have by far the highest unemployment rates today. So the blue states succeeded in blowing up their economies AND still suffered the highest death rates. Congratulations.



COVID Panic Piece on Churches

The new COVID cases. It’s all the media can talk about—and it means nothing. Who cares about new cases? Is the death rate spiking? No. In fact, it’s low. Very low. Low enough that half of the country remains on their charted paths to reopening or they have reopened. And notice that it’s always the cases that are highlighted. Memo to the media, new cases don’t mean new deaths no matter how much you want it to be. You want another lockdown. You want more job losses. You want more economic despair. And you especially want more people to die. Sorry, but that’s not going to happen. For starters, the credibility behind the lockdowns met a quick death when y’all decided to just stop reporting on COVID for two-to-three weeks to give George Floyd rioters positive coverage. Don’t go outside, unless you’re going to protest…or riot, right?

The flip-flop from you and the equally shameless “medical experts” on this exposed this whole circus act. It’s not a big deal, is it? Because it certainly cannot be apocalyptic, which is what we’ve been told. Also, does this virus have a non-transmittable phase? If so, why did it only occur when the lefty mob was rioting? These “medical experts” are no better than the clowns we see on CNN bashing Trump. And when propaganda blows up, people simply do not care. It’s time to get back to living our lives, folks. Keep reopening and keep bringing those jobs back.

Speaking of propaganda, let’s take a look at this New York Times piece on places of worship. We cannot go back to church. It’s a bed of infection, right? Well, with the new cases, the NYT decided to create a panic, noting a spike in cases—the publication went after churches for spreading the virus:

Weeks after President Trump demanded that America’s shuttered houses of worship be allowed to reopen, new outbreaks of the coronavirus are surging through churches across the country where services have resumed.

The virus has infiltrated Sunday sermons, meetings of ministers and Christian youth camps in Colorado and Missouri. It has struck churches that reopened cautiously with face masks and social distancing in the pews, as well as some that defied lockdowns and refused to heed new limits on numbers of worshipers.

Pastors and their families have tested positive, as have church ushers, front-door greeters and hundreds of churchgoers. In Texas, about 50 people contracted the virus after a pastor told congregants they could once again hug one another. In Florida, a teenage girl died last month after attending a youth party at her church.

More than 650 coronavirus cases have been linked to nearly 40 churches and religious events across the United States since the beginning of the pandemic, with many of them erupting over the last month as Americans resumed their pre-pandemic activities, according to a New York Times database.

Yeah, so what? As some noted on Twitter, “that’s fewer than half the cases Florida alone has linked directly to travel from New York to Florida.”

Can you contract the virus in a church or place of worship? Sure. Is it a site for the supposed massive spread? No. It’s not. It’s yet another attempt by the Acela Media to scare you and to pivot away from the fact that New York is the mecca for COVID infections and deaths. It still is a total mess and their order to force nursing homes to accept COVID patients led to thousands of deaths. Forty-three percent of all COVID deaths in the U.S. come from nursing homes. Want to guess the party affiliation of the governors who said that had to happen? New York is the epicenter of the US-based outbreak, and it’s still a mess. It’s now dealing with the Big Apple suffering the fallout from the Floyd riots.

The media is doing all they can to keep us in fear. By their standard, no one should ever go outside again. That’s not going to happen. And we’re not going to stay inside until there’s a vaccine, of which I’m sure a good chunk of this nation wouldn’t even consider getting vaccinated due to the debate with that subject. Make it compulsory? Oh, well, talk about opening another can of worms.




Joe Biden and Sanders release leftist "unity platform" for Democrat Party (U.S. News & World Report)

If Biden follows platform compromises from task forces, he'll be "most progressive president since FDR," Sanders says (Breitbart)

Biden says he would restore pre-Hobby Lobby contraceptive mandate in wake of Little Sisters ruling (Fox News)

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, key figure in the impeachment charade, announces his retirement in scathing statement (AP)

Trump meets Mexican president at White House despite Democratic objections; it's Trump and Lopez Obrador's first face-to-face meeting (Fox News)

Surge in virus hospitalizations strains hospitals in several states (The Washington Post)

CDC weighs early vaccine access for minorities and others at risk (The New York Times)

Atlanta mayor defies the governor, orders masks to be worn in public spaces (NPR)

Ivy League rules out playing all sports this fall due to pandemic (ESPN)

One-third of American families missed their July rent and housing payments and 10% fear they could lose their homes in the next six months (UK Daily Mail)

New Yorkers look to the suburbs and beyond. Other city dwellers may be next. (NPR)

New York City councilwoman freaks out over white man holding black child: "It hurts people" (The Federalist)

Andrew Jackson statue to be removed from City Hall in namesake Mississippi capital (The Daily Caller)

Seattle held segregated training session for white staff aimed at "undoing their whiteness" and told them "not to take undeserved promotions" to be better allies for racial justice (UK Daily Mail)

Communist China's leash on Hong Kong tightens, choking an accountability broadcaster (The New York Times)

Trump has 91% chance of winning reelection, political science professor calculates (Mediaite)

Policy: How we will ward off 21st-century adversaries (Senator Rick Scott)

Anti-Rule of Law protagonist Nancy Pelosi shrugs off mob destruction in Baltimore: "People will do what they do" (The Washington Free Beacon)

Joe Biden maneuvers to steal Trump's thunder with economic nationalism plan (NPR)

Congress wants to narrow future aid after big businesses raked in millions in the first round (Washington Examiner)

It may take weeks to know the presidential election winner (Washington Examiner)

MSNBC appoints radical leftist Joy Reid as Chris Matthews's replacement (Time)


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

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


13 July, 2020

COVID-19:  Why are we not talking about Taiwan?

The international comparisons of Wuhan virus impact are fascinating.  Some things jump out at you. Canada and Australia are very similar in many ways but their virus story is very different.  Canada 95,269 cases; 7,717 deaths.  Australia 7,251 cases; 102 deaths.  Australia has a markedly conservative government and has had for some time.  Canada we all know about.

But with 443 cases and 7 deaths, Taiwan is the real standout. So why are we ignoring that?  Taiwan is politically contentious so that is clearly the reason but it does mean that information about it is sparse. 

With a population of 24 million people (similar to Australia) it is not insignificant among nations.  I give below what Time magazine says about it:

Taiwan has managed a truly admirable response in less-than-ideal circumstances, despite being next door to China. Rather than shuttering its economy for weeks on end in an attempt to slow the virus, the self-governing island went another way—after quickly closing its borders and banning exports of surgical masks, the government used contact tracing and mobile SIM tracking to ensure those in quarantine were actually abiding by the rules. Taiwan has a single-payer health care system. Medical officials held briefings for the public daily, and businesses were kept open with aggressive precautionary measures like taking temperatures and providing sanitizer before patrons could enter. Taiwan’s response ranks among the world’s best.

With no lockdowns they had a LOW death rate.  That adds to an increasing body of evidence that lockdowns are a mistake that should have been abandoned long ago.  Other measures should have been used



Sweden's coronavirus death rate is now falling FASTER than the UK's despite never having a lockdown

Sweden's coronavirus death rate is now falling faster than the UK's even though the country avoided having a lockdown.

Sweden registered 1.6 deaths per million people on Thursday which was higher overall than the 1.4 deaths registered in the UK. But the country's death rate has fallen by 2.51 deaths per million since June 9, when it was the highest in Europe at 4.12.

In the same time period the UK's death rate fell by just 1.88 deaths per million, with the figure largely stalling since mid-June as Britain attempts to exit a lockdown that has devastated the economy.

The only European countries which now have higher death rates than the UK and Sweden are Macedonia, at 3.4 deaths per million, and Kosovo, at 2.1, the European Center for Disease Control says.

By comparison Belgium, which for a time had the highest death rate anywhere in the world, registered just 0.27 deaths per million on Wednesday. Italy, where the pandemic first took hold in Europe, had 0.31.

Sweden's state epidemiologist Ander Tegnell has repeatedly argued against lockdowns, saying they 'fly in the face' of the science around epidemics and pointing to the UK's high death rate as evidence that they don't work. He has argued that the measures merely delay the inevitable and - over the long-term - all countries will end up in the same position.

Because of that, he argues that lockdowns are not worth the economic price-tag they carry. However, he has been forced to admit that Sweden's death toll is too high, and that harsher measures should have been taken to protect the vulnerable, particularly in care homes.

Sweden has so-far registered 73,858 cases of the virus and 5,482 deaths, far higher than its Nordic neighbours which did bring in lockdowns.

Norway has just 8,950 cases of the virus and 251 deaths after going into lockdown early, while Finland has 7,273 cases and 329 deaths. Denmark has 12,900 cases of the virus and 609 deaths.

The United States, which avoided full lockdowns of the kind seen in Europe, currently has a death rate similar to Sweden - at 1.76 per million on Wednesday.

South American countries which have found themselves at the epicentre of the pandemic currently have some of the highest death rates in the world. Brazil, where President Jair Bolsonaro has recently tested positive for the virus, has a current death rate of 4.8 per million people. Chile has one of the highest rates in the world at 5.58, narrowly followed by Peru with 5.52.

While deaths have also been increasing they have failed to keep pace with the number of cases, leading some to claim that the virus is getting weaker. Others tout improved treatments and hospital capacity



The vast reach of insane Leftism

It was another night of mayhem in Washington, D.C. Left-wing nutjobs descended upon Lafayette Park in an effort to destroy the statue of Andrew Jackson. The Left-wing mob has scalped The New York Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

"Eskimo pie" is now problematic. Uncle Ben's Rice and Aunt Jemima pancake syrup are now undergoing rebranding. Even Gushers has decided to take preventative measures in order to avoid being turned into sashimi by these progressives. The Confederate flag has been banned at NASCAR. Some are calling for the Masters Tournament to be renamed.

In the beginning, this was about tearing down Confederate statues. It was never about that. It was about the Left's hatred of America. Oh, and they're tearing down those statues, along with Thomas Jefferson, Christopher Columbus, George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, and now Theodore Roosevelt. This is a cultural revolution we're witnessing. These people are organized, violent, and devoted to burning America to the ground. They want to remake it, rewrite it, through a "woke" lens. It's an absurdity on a grand scale. This is what Tyler Durden would support and want if he were political and leaned way to the left.

"I am Jack's smirking revenge."

The desecration of statues, these leftists seizing portions of Seattle, and the general lawlessness that has plagued our cities is intolerable. And yet, it's all part of the far-Left's multifront war against us. I know I've said this, but these clowns that were made famous by us on various websites for their liberal antics have all graduated. They're now in publishing, media, the sciences, and now cooking.

Yes, Bon Appetit, the food publication that was engulfed in a brownface scandal recently that saw its editor-in-chief being jettisoned, will not be, get this, vetting recipes. No, I'm not kidding. You will get a political lecture with a side of penne. Is this real life? The Left has f**ked food, everyone. I mean, it's a tad funny, but also shows the reach the left mob has right now. Bon Appétit magazine, a publication that should be miles upon miles away from this political correctness nonsense, is now going to be ensuring food isn't racist anymore. Wait...what?! (via BA):

This newsletter has historically been Bon Appétit’s Letter from the Editor. Until we have a new editor in chief, the BA and Epicurious staff will use this platform to update you on the work we’re doing to address racism and biases at the brands, both internally and in our editorial coverage. This week, BA’s research director Joey Hernandez talks about how we’re auditing our existing recipes to add cultural context and address appropriation and tokenization.....

I grew up eating the Technicolor Filipino shaved ice dessert, a confection studded with sweetened beans, jellied fruits, flan, lychee, tapioca. It defined so much of my childhood of hazy California summers spent with my brothers sitting on our curb, scarfing down the haphazard assemblage with abandon. And here was one of my favorite treats in Bon Appétit, except with gummy bears, berries, and popcorn

It was jarring, to say the least. Was a Filipino person consulted on this? Did the writer do the first bit of research? Like many people who had seen a beloved recipe “riffed on” in a major publication, I had so many questions.

Halo-halo was hardly the only offender: BA’s recipes for Vietnamese pho, mumbo sauce, flaky bread, and white-guy kimchi all erased these recipes’ origins or, worse, lampooned them. Every time, promises to “do better” came quick and easy, but these mistakes are not one-offs. As San Francisco Chronicle restaurant critic Soleil Ho recently wrote, “The power of mainstream media is in what it normalizes. And in the case of today’s food media, what it normalizes is a white culture that sees everything foreign to it as a spectacle, something to be tamed and translated for an audience that can’t understand it.”

In all these cases and more, BA has been called out for appropriation, for decontextualizing recipes from non-white cultures, and for knighting ”experts” without considering if that person should, in fact, claim mastery of a cuisine that isn’t theirs.

In my role as research director, I’m working with the Test Kitchen editors of BA and Epicurious to address many of these problems of authorship, appropriation, the white gaze, and erasure. The events of recent weeks are indicative of larger problems, but correcting the record is a big part of our work of making BA a more inclusive publication.

To that end, our team will be auditing previously published recipes and articles that may not have been thoroughly fact-checked or read for cultural sensitivity when originally authored.

The Left will make you care. Whatever issue is out there, they will find a way to pervert it and turn it into another cultural battleground. Every time you eat something, remember, you might be aiding racism because the person who cooked it was a white person or something. Is it shocking? Probably not. When Portland went absolutely insane over two white women selling burritos, I guess the writing was on the wall.

This is our long war, folks. This will take generations to correct. It won't end if Donald Trump is re-elected. It won't end in elections after that. These are deeply entrenched bastions of liberal cultural power that must be destroyed. Hollywood, the news media, television, literature, the arts, academia, and now cooking publications are all infested with the stench of progressivism peddling illiberal agenda items. There is no discussion anymore. It's now "submit before Zod" or be destroyed. These are not people with differing views. These are intellectual terrorists who must be confronted. It's not going to be pretty, and I don't think the Right has the unity or the stomach to pull it off.




Despicable vandals cut down 9/11 Memorial flagpole in New York village (Fox News)

Tennessee's State Capitol Commission approves moving Nathan Bedford Forrest bust to Tennessee State Museum (Tennessean)

DC Council votes to end police involvement in public-school security (The Washington Free Beacon)

DC mayor: Police budget cuts make the district "less safe" (CNS News)

The Internet is changing drastically and dreadfully for Hong Kong's citizens (MIT Technology Review)

Australia ends Hong Kong extradition treaty, extends visas (AP)

Tropical Storm Fay bears down on mid-Atlantic, New England (Fox News)

Concealed carrier stops man who was strangling a woman in a Tennessee restaurant parking lot (The Truth About Guns)

Joe Biden supports two regulations that would destroy entire industries (Foundation for Economic Education)

Thousands of North Carolina voters double-voted, watchdog group finds (The Daily Signal)

After Trump took office, judicial-nominee obstruction skyrocketed from 3% to 75% (The Federalist)

Policy: After the U.S. leaves the WHO, should the UN be next? (Issues & Insights)

Despite the recent coronavirus surge in southern states, three states — New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts — account for about 42 percent of COVID-19 deaths in America. Why?

Jobless claims at better-than-expected 1.3 million, total getting benefits falls to 18 million (CNBC)

Pandemic accelerates the death of malls (Washington Examiner)

Big Ten moving to conference-only model for all sports this fall (ESPN)

Madison Avenue business sues Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio for riots, estimates $100 million in damages (PJ Media)

NYC Black Lives Matter marches can continue despite large-event ban, Bill de Blasio says (Fox News)

"Who the hell wants to stay on this job?" NYPD retirement filings surge by 400%, forcing department to limit applications

Plasma therapy successes stoke high hopes (Washington Examiner)

Wearing a mask cuts own risk of novel coronavirus by 65%, research shows (Fox News)

U.S. Treasury sanctions Chinese entities, officials using Magnitsky Human Rights Act (The National Pulse)

China vows to retaliate against U.S. sanctions (CNBC)

Army investigates handout suggesting Trump campaign slogan constitutes "covert white supremacy" (Military Times)

Arrests along Mexico border jumped 40% last month (The Washington Post)


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

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


12 July, 2020

It’s not Trump but America the left hates

Donald Trump’s speech at Mount Rushmore on the eve of the Fourth of July was the most important and riveting of his presidency. It was mostly a soaring celebration of America, though with a presidential election just five months away, there were a few partisan jabs at his opponents.

By the standards of contemporary debate it was civil throughout. By Trump’s own normal standards it was positively decorous.

Reaction to it was all but deranged and demonstrates the profound cultural crisis through which the West is passing.

A piece in Foreign Policy, a semi-official journal of liberal internationalism, in all seriousness described the speech as fascist. Fascist!

This bizarre reaction was sadly pretty widespread.

Time magazine said “Trump pushes racial division”. Annie Karni in The New York Times was typical, indeed relatively mild, of much of NYT reaction saying that Trump had delivered a “dark and divisive speech”. Esquire magazine called it “terrifyingly bonkers”. An Associated Press headline said the speech was all about advancing racial division.

Perhaps the most magnificent bit of nonsense of all came in the increasingly deranged Washington Post. It ran a piece saying the speech demonstrated Trump’s “unyielding push to preserve Confederate symbols and the legacy of white dominion”.

That piece deserves a special Leon Trotsky award for ideological madness because Trump didn’t mention, extol or support any Confederate figure at all. Instead he sang paeans of praise to Abraham Lincoln for abolishing the evil of slavery and constantly affirmed America’s civic universalism.

It goes without saying Trump brings some of the misinterpretation on himself. He has said so many intemperate, foolish, offensive and just plain wrong things that it’s what people have come to expect. At the personal level, Trump is an appalling figure to embody the defence of Western civilisation.

The Room Where It Happened, by Trump’s former National Security Adviser, John Bolton, is a brilliant read, but sobering and even disturbing in its depiction of Trump. Bolton is a lifelong hardline right-wing Republican, a natural America First type but from inside the system. You can discount part of his tone as self serving, though Bolton seems pretty self aware. But you cannot really argue he makes up the incidents where Trump is abusive and foul, or where he simply has no idea what he’s talking about (constantly confusing the president of Afghanistan with his predecessor, thinking Finland is a part of Russia, not knowing Britain is a nuclear power). Most presidencies look ragged from the inside, but this is pretty weird.

However, as well as many foolish things, Trump has said and done brave and even wise things. It is also the case that there is no serious evidence that Trump is a racist. Nonetheless, even if you believe the very worst of Trump, a sensible reaction to the Mount Rushmore speech might have been to argue that while Trump expressed noble and traditional American sentiments in this speech, he frequently doesn’t live up to those sentiments, that he was a hypocrite.

But I suspect we are dealing with something much more troubling than merely the normal Trump Derangement Syndrome. Many of the speech’s critics hate it partly because it expresses traditional American liberalism on issues of race and history. It is the turn away from that liberalism, towards a wholly destructive hatred of the Western project and of all Western history, combined with a profoundly illiberal desire to re-racialise society, that is disturbing in the reaction to Trump’s speech.

The Economist magazine addresses this a bit in this week’s issue. It is important for a moment to situate the Economist culturally and ideologically. The Economist was once an intelligently conservative magazine. It would be wrong to characterise it that way now. It is a strong proponent of markets, and mixed-economy capitalism, and of free trade, but on all social issues it has moved to the progressive side. Nothing wrong with that. Magazines, like people, are entitled to change their minds, change their outlooks. They go through different stages, adopt different identities.

But now on social issues The Economist is a journalistic expression of corporate wokeness. Partly one suspects to emphasise the devoutness of its adherence to the new religions, The Economist is seldom outdone in its detestation of Trump and all his works.

Yet this week, remarkably, The Economist finally finds in itself the wit to denounce the left-wing extremism of aspects of the Black Lives Matter movement and its recent efflorescence in protests. After running through its normal liturgical denunciation of Trump, The Economist actually made an interesting point. The cancel culture and extremists in the racial justice and social justice movements are actually attacking liberalism.

It said: “... a dangerous rival approach has emerged from America’s universities. It rejects the liberal notion of progress. It defines everyone by their race, and every action as racist or anti-racist... it is spreading out of the academy and into everyday life. If it supplants liberal values, then intimidation will chill open debate and sow division to the disadvantage of all, black and white.”

That looks like The Economist has been mugged by reality. It’s the first recognition for a long time in that august journal that the threat to liberalism comes from the activist left, the race-centred, history-hating, which nonsensically sees West as the enemy of humanity.

It is just this illiberal spirit that The Economist derides which I suspect animates so much of the denunciation of the Mount Rushmore speech. That is, the Trump haters have not assumed that Trump said something worse than he did and reacted against this. They actually heard what Trump said but have moved to a position where they now denounce the great liberal ideal of abolishing race as a constraint in civic identity, and building on the strengths of our liberal and conservative heritage, while of course always recognising the many times Western societies have failed to live up to their ideals.

I recommend people read Trump’s speech. Mount Rushmore is the site of carved likenesses of four great presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt. Each of these men had their faults of course, they were, after all, human beings. And each was a creature of their time, no-one can really escape that either. But on any rational assessment each was a friend and enlarger of liberty and each contributed magnificently to the American dream and the American achievement.

Trump partly uses the four men as the frame for his speech, which was certainly crafted by expert speech writers. Consider some of its key passages. Repeatedly, in this speech Trump denounces the evil of slavery and its contradiction of American ideals. He says of Lincoln: “He rose to high office from obscurity, based on a force and clarity of his anti-slavery convictions... Lincoln won the Civil War; he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, he led the passage of the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery for all time, and ultimately, his determination to preserve our nation and our union cost him his life...giving every ounce of strength that he had to ensure that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, did not perish from the Earth.” Trump cites and praises many African-American heroes.

Frequently, repeatedly, joyfully, Trump cites and celebrates the universalism of the American promise, that the American dream is open to every citizen of every background. He says: “We believe in equal opportunity, equal justice and equal treatment for citizens of every race, background, religion and creed. Every child of every colour – born and unborn – is made in the holy image of God.”

That is not fascism, but traditional liberalism, in this case, if you like, Christian liberalism.

Trump cites Martin Luther King, whose vision he supports.

King did not denounce the American dream. He did not denounce America’s core documents. Rather, in his famous I Have a Dream speech, he asked America to live up to those documents fully. Indeed he began that speech with a heartfelt tribute to Lincoln: “... a great American in whose symbolic shadow we stand, (who) signed the Emancipation Declaration. This momentous decree is a great beacon of hope...”

In a powerful formulation, King said he and his followers had come to Washington “to cash a check. When the architects of our Republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.”

It’s pretty clear isn’t it that if King were saying things like that today he would be denounced as a racist, a stooge for colonialism, as someone who refused to acknowledge the structural racism of America and its institutions, as someone who did not understand that, as The New York Times ridiculous 1619 Project has it, the central purpose of America was slavery. King would surely be denounced as threatening the safety of students who might have to listen to such shocking sentiments and he would be subject to the cancel culture.

King was also, like Trump, strongly, vigorously, stridently opposed to violence in demonstrations.

In his famous speech, King instructed: “In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for justice by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must not allow our creative protests to degenerate into physical violence.”

None of this, of course, is remotely to equate the heroic moral leadership of Martin Luther King, which has inspired millions of people across the generations, including me, with the often odious personality of Trump. However, those who style themselves as King’s heirs have become too often progenitors of ideological extremism he would hate.

In attacking Trump for his Mount Rushmore speech they are not just displaying an irrational hatred of a particular political leader, they are actually attacking Trump for espousing the same positions as King himself espoused.

Of course there were some contemporary, partisan, sharp edges to the Trump speech, but nothing remotely racist, or even race specific, nothing remotely offensive.

In his speech, Trump promises that the nation’s monuments to its founders will be protected. He promises that the police will “arrest the rioters”. He does not say protesters should be arrested. This is a vital distinction and one which Trump’s enemies never acknowledge. Barack Obama himself called violent protesters “thugs” and said they discredited the movements they claimed to support.

Republican senator Tom Cotton caused a firestorm by writing an oped in The New York Times in which he argued that violent protesters whom city police forces could not control justified the deployment of active service US military. That was probably a mistaken call at the time, though by no means extreme. But the real moral of the story is that when the newspaper staff revolted and the paper’s leadership went into craven surrender, and then full jihad denunciation of Cotton, they routinely claimed he had called for troops to be used against demonstrators.

These constant elidings and misrepresentations cannot really be seen any longer as accidental. The crime the ultra woke militants of illiberal liberal conformity want to punish is actually failing to support the new civic religion which involves hatred of Western civilisation and hatred of the societies this civilisation has created.

Trump at Mount Rushmore also had some shorter passages condemning the contemporary cancel culture and the left-wing indoctrination of students with hostility to America. In the attacks which claimed Trump was a fascist they claimed Trump was making this up, that no such thing really existed.

Are they kidding?

The West is under profound challenge internally and externally today. The irrational hatred of the West, within the West, is one symptom of a deep malaise. Trump was right to call it out.



Century-old BCG vaccine used to eradicate tuberculosis DOES 'reduce the chance of death from Covid-19', study confirms

The BCG vaccine given to every British teenager between 1953 and 2005 to protect against tuberculosis could offer protection against Covid-19, a new study has found. 

Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) was first mass produced in 1924, and widespread vaccination for secondary school children was only halted in the UK when TB was effectively eradicated.

Academics in the US compared the BCG jab's popularity in several countries with each nation's coronavirus outbreak — including both infections and deaths — and found a clear link between the vaccine and a lower mortality rate from Covid-19.

When differences in social, economic, and demographics were taken into account, scientists found that where there was a 10 per cent greater prevalence of the BCG vaccine there was also a 10.4 per cent reduction in COVID-19 mortality.

This suggests that in the UK, adults aged between 30 and 80 who were given the jab at school may have a greater level of protection. 

Children in the UK were required to have the injection by the age of 14, making the last cohort to receive the immune-boosting jab around 29 to 30 now.

BCG is still widely used in some countries around the world where there is a higher risk of TB, but in the UK only at-risk individuals, such as babies living with infected relatives and children in some BAME groups, receive the jab.

Professor Keith Neal, Emeritus Professor of the Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases at the University of Nottingham who was not involved in the research, said: 'Within the UK, most people over 30 and under 80 will have had BCG in the schools programme.

'Many children in the BAME groups will have continued to be vaccinated at birth, although people born outside the UK may not have been vaccinated. 'There are also many different BCGs around the world.'

The latest study, from academics at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and the National Institutes of Health, has been peer-reviewed and published in the journal PNAS.

The BCG vaccine was invented a century ago and gives immunity to tuberculosis (TB) — a bacterial infection — but it is known to have other benefits. 

Previous trials discovered people who receive the jab, which costs as little as £30, have improved immune systems and are able to protect themselves from infection.

For example, in a trial among Native Americans, BCG vaccination in childhood was able to offer protection against TB up to 60 years after vaccination.

These so-called off-target effects include enhanced protection against respiratory diseases, and have been recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO).



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

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


10 July, 2020

The retreat of Covid-19

Provided we learn the lessons of the first wave we will have little to fear as we reopen our economy

Matt Ridley

It is now three weeks since thousands of protesters first gathered in Trafalgar Square, and two weeks since London filled with even larger crowds, few of whom wore masks or kept two metres apart, and some of whom got involved in fights, resulting in arrests and injuries: a perfect recipe for spreading the coronavirus. Yet there has been a continuing decline in new cases of the disease and no uptick in calls to 111 or 999 about suspected Covid-19. By now, some effect should have shown up if it was going to. In June, London has seen fewer deaths from all causes than in a normal year. Why is this?

While respiratory viruses nearly always evolve towards lower virulence, essentially because the least sick people go to the most meetings and parties, this one was never very dangerous for most people in the first place. Its ability to kill 80-year-olds in care homes stands in sharp contrast with its inability to kill younger people. Fewer than 40 people under the age of 40 with no underlying conditions have died in Britain. On board the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, 1,100 sailors tested positive, many had no symptoms and only one died.

The summer weather is helping. Viruses are not easily caught outside, where ventilation, high temperatures and strong sunlight kill the virus. In addition, sunlight boosts vitamin D, which is protective against respiratory viruses; average vitamin D levels are especially low in Britons in winter because our public-health service does less than, for example, Germany’s to redress this deficiency.

The assumption expressed in the very term R0 was that everybody would initially be susceptible to catching this virus. But it soon became clear that this could not be the case. Frequent cases of family members not passing it on to each other baffled scientists. It turns out that there is lots of pre-existing immunity to the virus. Some seems to be generic protection conferred by so called innate immunity.

There is growing evidence that live attenuated vaccines such as polio and BCG have protective effects against other viruses by stimulating the production of interferons. More specific T-cell immunity resulting from previous infection with other common-cold coronaviruses is also widespread. Around 70 per cent of children under four show evidence of resistance to such coronaviruses.

This was a big part of the explanation for the vast over-estimates of death rates based on mathematical models. The virus was spreading like wildfire in hospitals and care homes where elderly people were far less resistant than the population at large. The modellers assumed these cases were coming into hospitals from the community when actually many were already in the care system. This wildly distorted their estimates. Outside such settings and large indoor gatherings, as the commentator Hugh Osmond has put it, the tinder was damp.

The influential Imperial College modellers have recently published a justification claiming that compulsory lockdowns are mainly responsible for the death rates being so much lower than they forecast, with other measures including school closure, public event bans, social distancing and self isolation only contributing 5 per cent of the infections averted.

However, they assumed, unrealistically, that all the reduction in coronavirus transmission was due to interventions. In reality people would have changed their behaviour anyway, and variability in people’s susceptibility to infection and number of contacts with others would have slowed its spread, as the pool of uninfected people most likely to become infected diminished.

Moreover, an expert scourge of dubious models, Nic Lewis, has shown that with arguably more realistic assumptions about the time between infection and death and how quickly interventions worked, their own model implies lockdowns did not make the largest contribution towards ending this wave of the pandemic. That is consistent with lockdown-free Sweden having also experienced a big reduction in transmission. Japan has one of the softest lockdowns and lowest death tolls.

Will there be another wave in the autumn? Most medics think so. But if we learn the lessons of the first wave – mainly that shielding the old and vulnerable is key – and we manage at least some effective contact tracing, then the winter wave should be more like a series of small, local outbreaks. A second national lockdown would be a huge mistake, given the harm the first one has done to everything from cancer diagnosis to mental health, let alone employment.



Is Donald Trump a Fascist and a Dictator?

If you listen to the liberal media, it’s Berlin 1933 all over again, or perhaps Moscow 1937, or maybe Madrid 1939. The liberals are literally wetting their pants, with hysterical cries that American democracy is under the imminent threat of a fascist dictatorship. And of course, that fascist dictator would be none other than President Donald Trump.

Reacting to Trump’s speech about mobilizing the military to protect our cities from lawless rioting and looting, California Senator Kamala Harris had this to say: “These are not the words of a president. They are the words of a dictator.”

And Oregon Senator Ron Wyden is heading to the barricades to protect American democracy from mean ole’ Fascists: “The fascist speech Donald Trump just delivered verged on a declaration of war against American citizens. I fear for our country tonight and will not stop defending America against Trump’s assault.”

So, this is it, The End Of America’s Democratic Experiment, the moment the lights went out in the City Upon a Hill.

Well, let me assure you that American democracy is alive and well. And understanding this essential fact is easier if you look at some real, actual dictatorships. (And note, modern dictatorships are liberal playgrounds compared to the dictatorships of the first half of the 20th century, such as Nazi Germany, a subject I will address next week).

I like to think I have some idea of what dictatorship actually looks like as I have spent quite a bit of time in countries that are ruled by undeniably dictatorial regimes, such as Uzbekistan, Belarus, Turkmenistan, Syria, Burma, and China. I’ve also spent time in countries that are run by authoritarian quasi-dictatorships like Russia, Kazakhstan, and Venezuela. In fact, I spent four years working in Russian state media and saw from the inside how such a regime operates. 

Uzbekistan is one of my favorite countries in the world. Samarkand and Bukhara were once important outposts on the famed Silk Road from Europe to China, and their architectural heritage is nothing short of stunning. Uzbek cuisine is equally stunningly delicious. And Uzbeks themselves are some of the friendliest and most hospitable people you’ll ever meet.

After the break-up of the Evil Empire, Uzbekistan gained independence. But its people have been anything but free. Former Communist Party boss Islam Karimov won the first ever presidential election in 1991, and was re-elected in 2000, 2007 and 2015 in blatantly rigged elections, each time with more than 90% of the purported vote. All real opposition parties have been outlawed, their leaders in prison, in exile, or dead. Until his death in 2015, Karimov ruled Uzbekistan for more than 23 years as an absolute tyrant.

A United Nations report described torture by the authorities as “institutionalized, systematic, and rampant.” The police and security services routinely kidnapped and murdered opposition figures; rape of prisoners was common. It is widely rumored that some prisoners were boiled to death. In 2005, there were widespread protests in the city of Andijan. Police closed all exits from Bobur Square in the city center and deliberately drove the protesters into a trap. An estimated 800 people were killed by snipers and machine-gun fire. When I was there in 2007, I knew it was a dangerous topic to discuss. But when I simply asked people, 'Excuse me, how do it get to Bobur Square?' I could see raw fear in their eyes.

There is no free media. In fact, when I was there, I could find only one newspaper distributed in the whole country, four pages daily, and mostly devoted to stories extravagantly praising Karimov, one I remember was headlined “President Karimov Receives Phone Call From Ambassador of Qatar.” There are several TV channels, all under government control, and all were dedicated to proclaiming Karimov the best president ever in world history. The internet is strictly regulated, and all websites critical of the regime are blocked. Even private conversations may be monitored for any signs of dissent. 

Belarus is much less interesting, except that its capital Minsk is the most perfect example of a city built almost entirely in the Stalinist style of architecture.  Alexander Lukashenko was elected president in that country’s first and only free elections in 1994. Since then he has been re-elected in 2001, 2006, 2010, and 2015, always with 80% to 84% of the vote.

I was in Minsk on the eve of the 2010 election. Protests were expected against his one-man rule, mostly peaceful. As I walked around the city’s “Independence Square” around dusk, I noticed dozens of buses carrying the fearsome and widely feared OMON (Special Purpose Mobile Police).  These riot police are Lukashenko’s Praetorian Guard, loyal only to him and completely beyond any civilian control. And these guys were clearly amped up, already fidgeting with their riot shields and heavy batons, obviously eager to get out and start bashing heads in. Knowing what they were capable of, and not feeling especially heroic, I decided to wait out the rest of the night in the relative safety of my hotel room.

The next day the Central Election Commission dutifully proclaimed Lukashenko the winner with the predictable 80% of the vote (most post-Soviet leaders are elected with around 80%, to seem like an overwhelming victory, but not so overwhelming as to be farcical). The OMON had arrested hundreds of protestors the night before, many severely beaten. Seven of the main opposition leaders were arrested by the KGB (yes, they still call it that) the day after the election, and an eighth was found dead, officially deemed a “suicide.”

So, what does a real dictatorship look like? Presidents-for-life, elected over and over again in sham elections. Opposition parties outlawed, and dissidents harassed, imprisoned, tortured, and murdered, or merely exiled if they’re lucky. All media under state control, and all access to opposition views blocked. Ordinary citizens cowed into submission by police and security services who stand above and beyond any laws. Plus, rubber-stamp legislatures who allow the dictator to rule by personal fiat, and judicial systems unable and unwilling to defy their employers, who are not the people but their rulers.

Now, as far as I know, Senators Harris and Wyden, as well as former Vice President Biden and the Clintons are not rotting in jail cells in secret prisons. Stephen Colbert, Chris Hayes, and Don Lemon are still on the air. Democrats still get elected to office, and Congress does not do Trump’s bidding merely at his command. The New York Times and Washington Post’s websites were still functioning last time I checked this morning, and neither paper was devoted to lavishly praising President Trump.

In short, Donald Trump is not a dictator, or a fascist. But liberals are desperate to tar him with these brazenly false labels. “Dictator” and “fascist” are boogie-man words designed to scare people into believing that Trump is a threat to their liberty and freedom, and the only way to save American democracy is to vote for Democrats. It’s downright shameful, and it shows their pathetic ignorance of basic reality. We need to fight their lies with the truth. 



Majority of New Yorkers oppose cutting funding to police

“A strong majority of New Yorkers oppose defunding the police, despite calls from activists to gut the NYPD’s vast $6 billion budget in the wake of protests over George Floyd’s death that triggered a wave of police reforms, a new statewide poll shows. Sixty percent of voters rejected compared to 30 percent who supported a radical entrenchment [sic], according to results from a Siena College poll released Tuesday. Even in New York City, more voters said they opposed defunding the police — 47 percent — than the 41 percent of respondents who said they supported shrinking the police department.”

More HERE 


These Aren’t Protests, They’re Religious Ceremonies

“At a park in New York City, I witnessed something odd. A group of women silently formed a circle in the middle of a large lawn. Their all-black outfits contrasted with the surrounding summer pastels, and they ignored the adjacent sun bathers as they began to kneel and slowly chant. They repeated a three word matin. The most striking feature of this scene was its familiarity. Any half-decent anthropologist would label this a religious ritual. Yet, few are willing to explicitly describe these events as part of a religion. The women may have been kneeling in a circle while chanting, but they repeated the words ‘black lives matter.’ Politics obscures the obvious. Wokeness is a religion, and conservatives must act as if large parts of our institutions are run by this cult.”

More HERE 


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

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


9 July, 2020

The long-term effects of Covid-19

By economic historian Martin Hutchinson

Four months after the Chinese-origin coronavirus impinged in a big way on our lives, it is finally becoming clear that it is not going away, and that the world will have to take account of it and its future cousins for many years to come. Accordingly, the world economy and life in general will suffer some major changes. The future will be very different from what we had imagined, obviously for the worse but in just a few respects for the better. The quicker we adapt, the better.

We have learned a considerable amount about Covid-19, which makes it easier than when it burst on the scene four months ago to analyze its implications. It is extremely infectious, and not very seasonal; thus, it is not going away in summer, but conversely should not become hugely worse next winter. It has a relatively low mortality rate, about 0.4-0.5%, but that mortality is heavily concentrated among those over 70, especially if they have diabetes or are overweight. It is beginning to appear possible that the immunity that we had hoped for against repeat infections may not be very powerful, perhaps lasting only a few months in many cases.

It is also clear that, although we may have a vaccine against Covid-19 by the end of the year, or shortly thereafter, that vaccine may not be very effective, perhaps only reducing the risk of infection by 50% or so, especially for the vulnerable old/fat/diabetic group. If that were the case, the vaccine would be essentially useless for that group, although it could sharply reduce the number of infections among the young and healthy, and thereby limit the disease’s spread.

Finally, as a geopolitical matter, China has persistently lied about the virus and its effects. First it denied its existence, then it claimed it rarely moved between humans, then it claimed an entirely spurious success in quelling it in mid-February, thus deceiving the health authorities worldwide into thinking the virus could be contained in the West. Even now, China is claiming 90 million tests for Covid-19 and only 83,000 cases, an infection rate of 0.09% of those tested, less than 5% of any Western jurisdiction, and less than 10% of the infection rate in Japan and South Korea, otherwise the lowest locations worldwide where statistics are extensive and reliable. That is well beyond the bounds of the statistically plausible; hence the Chinese authorities are lying.

The World Health Organization has acted as the accessory to China’s lies and possibly crimes; it should be closed down as should most other international organizations, for reasons I have discussed previously.

Finally, as well as repeated outbreaks of Covid-19, we may very well be subjected to various outbreaks of coronavirus “cousins” of that disease. We can hope those cousins will have only moderate mortality rates (it is difficult for a disease with high mortality rates to spread worldwide in modern conditions – thus our success against the Ebola virus in 2014.) However, we have clearly been very lucky in past decades in not suffering repeated such epidemics. We should not expect to be so lucky going forward, even if we can tentatively hope that modern advances in genetic engineering are not being used by state or private bad actors to create new such diseases. One way or another, we seem likely to live in a disease-ridden world; this has important economic implications.

To begin with a cheerful implication: the U.S. Social Security Trust Fund may not go bankrupt, and occupational pension schemes may be better funded than we believe. As far as fatalities are concerned, Covid-19 affects primarily those over 70, not those of working age. Hence if the disease and its cousins are around long-term, the actuarial assumptions under which Social Security is calculated are too unfavorable. While almost all working-age people will continue to exist, paying contributions into the system, the number of beneficiaries will be sharply reduced. Essentially the increase in life expectancies, that has caused the social security system to be unstable in the long-term, will go into reverse.

The effect may not be enough to avert a bankruptcy that is projected for the mid-2030s, but it should at least postpone it, and make the corrective actions (cutting benefits and raising contributions) needed when that bankruptcy arrives less severe. Currently, the present value of Social Security’s future revenues at the beginning of 2020 was $69 trillion, that of its future liabilities $84 trillion, for an actuarial deficit of $15 trillion. Covid-19 can at its present mortality be expected to remove about 5% from the liabilities and nothing from the assets, reducing the actuarial deficit to $11 trillion and pushing the default date out to 2040. That is not everything, but it is at least something!

That benefit does however depend on the authorities not being so foolish as to shut the economy down again (which reduces revenues) and not paying out any more large random amounts to those currently affected economically. Unfortunately, both of those assumptions may be too optimistic.

The shorter and more uncertain lifespans produced by Covid-19 and its cousins will also have major social effects. Since retirement can no longer be projected as a guaranteed 25-30 year vacation, fewer people will retire. Instead they will carry on working for as long as they are fit, thus removing the need to scrimp and save in their 50s and 60s. There will also be political effects. Since the young will no longer assume they are going to live to 120 or even 150, the salience of global warming will undergo a sharp decline (also the human brain is incapable of dealing with two life-threatening crises simultaneously and for most people, Covid-19 will be more life-threatening and immediate).

Since Social Security bankruptcy will no longer appear inevitable, there will be a greater willingness to make the sacrifices necessary to save it – raising interest rates and eliminating crazy budget deficits. Those higher interest rates, in turn will both improve the solvency of Social Security and restore productivity growth to its historic level, as the economic distortions of ultra-low interest rates will disappear. Naturally, higher interest rates and lower life expectancies will cause a mighty stock market crash and asset liquidation, but in the long run this will do only good. The next few years, with massive bankruptcies of obsolete services, urban real estate and asset prices in general will however be truly painful.

A further social change caused by Covid-19 will be to remove anti-natalism in the West. With lifespans shorter and more uncertain, productivity growth improved and the long-term “threat” of global warming less salient, people will once again want more children. This will not affect long-term global population trends much – getting fertility down in the world’s poor countries is necessary for that, and Covid-19 will affect those countries least, since they have relatively few old folk. It will however greatly improve the social health of Western societies and eliminate the desire by politicians in “demographic decline” countries like Japan and Italy to import more Third World immigrants for spurious demographic reasons.

Covid-19 and its cousins will also affect the world’s consumption habits. Cruises, crowded and filled with older people, will almost disappear. “Fine dining” restaurants, which also appeal to the older crowd, will also suffer, except those in spacious acreage outside the big cities, who can provide their diners with a Covid-free alfresco experience. Opera and serious theater will be badly affected, though probably not fatally. Cities in general will lose population, as I have already written, but growth will come in distant suburbs, with people adapting to working say 2 days per week at the office and 3 at home.

Dwellers in the outer suburbs will not take public transportation to commute on their working days, but will use Uber/Lyft, or more likely those services’ much cheaper self-driving replacements. Indeed, Covid-19 is likely to be very good for the embryonic self-driving automobile business; with the world spacing out, distances driven will increase, and there will be a strong desire to work, read or socialize while travelling, rather than concentrating on the road for hours. Self-driving cars will be cheaper on a day-to-day basis than Uber while allowing their owners both privacy and freedom from road rage.

On the other hand, crowded facilities that appeal to the young will suffer less. People who are prepared to riot and thereby risk Covid-19 will also go to bars and clubs. The number of urban singles will however decline since most people, however, not being anti-natalist, will marry early and have families. They will then patronize chain restaurants and fast food, ideally those with alfresco facilities. They will also home school to a much greater extent than at present, since schools and colleges will be correctly seen as vectors of disease both physical and mental, with their leftist indoctrination.

Overall, the pleasant changes that Covid-19 may bring in the long term, while substantial and gratifying, may seem less certain than the unpleasant ones. Humanity has however shown time and again an infinite ability to adapt, provided that politicians don’t get in the way.



An outbreak of common sense in Britain

Passengers arriving at Heathrow airport from “red list” countries like the US will be able to pay for Covid-19 tests to beat quarantine, under a pilot scheme expected to be backed by the Department for Transport.

Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, has signalled his support for Covid-19 testing as a way to revive flying after it was decimated by the pandemic and is seeking to agree international standards that could allow quarantine-free air travel.

The Daily Telegraph has established that 21 countries including Austria, Iceland, Jersey, Madeira, Thailand, Singapore, Barbados, Jamaica and Japan have already introduced airport tests that can allow some passengers to avoid quarantine if they are negative for Covid-19....




Supreme Court unanimously rules states can sanction or remove "faithless" presidential electors, hampering the Democrats' efforts to undermine the Electoral College (Fox News)

Mitch McConnell opens door to direct payments in next coronavirus bill (The Hill)

George Soros set to double 2016 spending, pouring $40 million into super PAC (The Washington Free Beacon)

Unhinged: Anti-Trump Republicans endorse an increasingly leftist Joe Biden (Issues & Insights)

Three-quarters of people who live with a coronavirus sufferer may develop "silent" immunity without needing antibodies (UK Daily Mail)

Immunity can be "short-lived," expert warns (Fox News)

Herd immunity may not be achievable in fight against coronavirus (Fox News)

EPA approves use of Lysol surface disinfectant products against COVID-19 (Fox News)

Protests and riots may have spread coronavirus, some cities admit (National Review)

Is the pandemic coming to an end at last? (Issues & Insights)

Judicial activism: Dakota Access pipeline must shut down by August 5, court rules, adding pressure to an already fragile industry (New York Post)

Harvard — with its $41 billion endowment — goes online, but $50K tuition cost is unchanged (Fox Business)

U.S. travel ban is costing Europe billions (Forbes)

States mandate masks and begin to shut down again — to the Left's glee (The Washington Post)

Georgia governor authorizes National Guard troops after eight-year-old killed (AP)

New bill would require New York cops to have personal insurance for liability suits (New York Post)

Massachusetts expands mail-in voting to all voters in state (Washington Examiner)

Florida orders public schools to reopen in August (Miami Herald)

"Cancel Hamilton" trends as social-justice warriors demand Disney pull musical that "glorifies slave trader" (The Daily Wire)

Country music legend and American patriot Charlie Daniels dies at 83 (Fox News)

DHS rule change will allow ICE to remove foreign students taking online course load in the fall (The Daily Caller)

Corrupt UN slams Donald Trump for killing Iranian General Soleimani because there was "insufficient evidence he was behind an ongoing or imminent attack" (UK Daily Mail)

Communist China detains Xu Zhangrun, leading critic of President Xi Jinping (The Washington Post)

Policy: Supreme Court's "faithless electors" decision safeguards Electoral College (The Daily Signal)

Policy: Protecting undersea cables must be made a national-security priority (Hudson Institute)


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

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


8 July, 2020

Coronavirus: Why everyone was wrong

The immune response to the virus is stronger than everyone thought

The original article below was published in the Swiss magazine Weltwoche (World Week) on June 10th. The author, Beda M Stadler is the former director of the Institute for Immunology at the University of Bern, a biologist and professor emeritus.  He asks some very troubling questions

The coronavirus is slowly retreating. What actually happened in the past few weeks? The experts have missed basic connections. The immune response against the virus is much stronger than we thought.

This is not an accusation, but a ruthless taking stock [of the current situation]. I could slap myself, because I looked at Sars-CoV2- way too long with panic. I am also somewhat annoyed with many of my immunology colleagues who so far have left the discussion about Covid-19 to virologist and epidemiologist. I feel it is time to criticise some of the main and completely wrong public statements about this virus.

Firstly, it was wrong to claim that this virus was novel. Secondly, It was even more wrong to claim that the population would not already have some immunity against this virus. Thirdly, it was the crowning of stupidity to claim that someone could have Covid-19 without any symptoms at all or even to pass the disease along without showing any symptoms whatsoever.

But let’s look at this one by one.

1. A new virus?

At the end of 2019 a coronavirus, which was considered novel, was detected in China. When the gene sequence, i.e. the blueprint of this virus, was identified and was given a similar name to the 2002 identified Sars, i.e. Sars-CoV-2, we should have already asked ourselves then how far [this virus] is related to other coronaviri, which can make human beings sick. But no, instead we discussed from which animal as part of a Chinese menu the virus might have sprung. In the meantime, however, many more people believe the Chinese were so stupid as to release this virus upon themselves in their own country. Now that we’re talking about developing a vaccine against the virus, we suddenly see studies which show that this so-called novel virus is very strongly related to Sars-1 as well as other beta-coronaviri which make us suffer every year in the form of a colds. Apart from the pure homologies in the sequence between the various coronaviri which can make people sick, [scientists] currently work on identifying a number of areas on the virus in the same way as human immune cells identify them. This is no longer about the genetic relationship, but about how our immune system sees this virus, i.e. which parts of other coronaviri could potentially be used in a vaccine.

So: Sars-Cov-2 isn’t all that new, but merely a seasonal cold virus that mutated and disappears in summer, as all cold viri do — which is what we’re observing globally right now. Flu viri mutate significantly more, by the way, and nobody would ever claim that a new flu virus strain was completely novel. Many veterinary doctors where therefore annoyed by this claim of novelty, as they have been vaccinating cats, dogs, pigs, and cows for years against coronaviri.

2. The fairy tale of no immunity

From the World Health Organisation (WHO) to every Facebook-virologist, everyone claimed this virus was particularly dangerous, because there was no immunity against it, because it was a novel virus. Even Anthony Fauci, the most important advisor to the Trump administration noted at the beginning at every public appearance that the danger of the virus lay in the fact that there was no immunity against it. Tony and I often sat next to each other at immunology seminars at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda in the US, because we worked in related fields back then. So for a while I was pretty uncritical of his statements, since he was a respectable colleague of mine. The penny dropped only when I realised that the first commercially available antibody test [for Sars-CoV-2] was put together from an old antibody test that was meant to detect Sars-1. This kind of test evaluates if there are antibodies in someone’s blood and if they came about through an early fight against the virus. [Scientists] even extracted antibodies from a Lama that would detect Sars-1, Sars-CoV-2, and even the Mers virus. It also became known that Sars-CoV-2 had a less significant impact in areas in China where Sars-1 had previously raged. This is clear evidence urgently suggesting that our immune system considers Sars-1 and Sars-Cov-2 at least partially identical and that one virus could probably protect us from the other.

That’s when I realised that the entire world simply claimed that there was no immunity, but in reality, nobody had a test ready to prove such a statement. That wasn’t science, but pure speculation based on a gut feeling that was then parroted by everyone. To this day there isn’t a single antibody test that can describe all possible immunological situations, such as: if someone is immune, since when, what the neutralising antibodies are targeting and how many structures exist on other coronaviri that can equally lead to immunity.

In mid-April work was published by the group of Andreas Thiel at the Charité Berlin. A paper with 30 authors, amongst them the virologist Christian Drosten. It showed that in 34 % of people in Berlin who had never been in contact with the Sars-CoV-2 virus showed nonetheless T-cell immunity against it (T-cell immunity is a different kind of immune reaction, see below). This means that our T-cells, i.e. white blood cells, detect common structures appearing on Sars-CoV-2 and regular cold viri and therefore combat both of them.

A study by John P A Ioannidis of Stanford University — according to the Einstein Foundation in Berlin one of the world’s ten most cited scientists — showed that immunity against Sars-Cov-2, measured in the form of antibodies, is much higher than previously thought. Ioannidis is certainly not a conspiracy theorist who just wants to swim against the stream; nontheless he is now being criticised, because the antibody tests used were not extremely precise. With that, his critics admit that they do not have such tests yet. And aside, John P A Ioannidis is such a scientific heavy-weight that all German virologists combined area a light-weight in comparison.
3. The failure of modellers

Epidemiologist also fell for the myth that there was no immunity in the population. They also didn’t want to believe that coronaviri were seasonal cold viri that would disappear in summer. Otherwise their curve models would have looked differently. When the initial worst case scenarios didn’t come true anywhere, some now still cling to models predicting a second wave. Let’s leave them their hopes — I’ve never seen a scientific branch that manoeuvred itself so much into the offside. I have also not yet understood why epidemiologists were so much more interested in the number of deaths, rather than in the numbers that could be saved.

4. Immunology of common sense

As an immunologist I trust a biological model, namely that of the human organism, which has built a tried and tested, adaptive immune system. At the end of February, driving home from the recording of [a Swiss political TV debate show], I mentioned to Daniel Koch [former head of the Swiss federal section “Communicable Diseases” of the Federal Office of Public Health] that I suspected there was a general immunity in the population against Sars-Cov-2. He argued against my view. I later defended him anyway, when he said that children were not a driving factor in the spread of the pandemic. He suspected that children didn’t have a receptor for the virus, which is of course nonsense. Still, we had to admit that his observations were correct. But the fact that every scientist attacked him afterwards and asked for studies to prove his point, was somewhat ironic. Nobody asked for studies to prove that people in certain at-risk groups were dying. When the first statistics from China and later worldwide data showed the same trend, that is to say that almost no children under ten years old got sick, everyone should have made the argument that children clearly have to be immune. For every other disease that doesn’t afflict a certain group of people, we would come to the conclusion that that group is immune. When people are sadly dying in a retirement home, but in the same place other pensioners with the same risk factors are left entirely unharmed, we should also conclude that they were presumably immune.

But this common sense seems to have eluded many, let’s call them “immunity deniers” just for fun. This new breed of deniers had to observe that the majority of people who tested positive for this virus, i.e. the virus was present in their throats, did not get sick. The term “silent carriers” was conjured out of a hat and it was claimed that one could be sick without having symptoms. Wouldn’t that be something! If this principle from now on gets naturalised into the realm of medicine, health insurers would really have a problem, but also teachers whose students could now claim to have whatever disease to skip school, if at the end of the day one didn’t need symptoms anymore to be sick.

The next joke that some virologists shared was the claim that those who were sick without symptoms could still spread the virus to other people. The “healthy” sick would have so much of the virus in their throats that a normal conversation between two people would be enough for the “healthy one” to infect the other healthy one. At this point we have to dissect what is happening here: If a virus is growing anywhere in the body, also in the throat, it means that human cells decease. When [human] cells decease, the immune system is alerted immediately and an infection is caused. One of five cardinal symptoms of an infection is pain. It is understandable that those afflicted by Covid-19 might not remember that initial scratchy throat and then go on to claim that they didn’t have any symptoms just a few days ago. But for doctors and virologists to twist this into a story of “healthy” sick people, which stokes panic and was often given as a reason for stricter lockdown measures, just shows how bad the joke really is. At least the WHO didn’t accept the claim of asymptomatic infections and even challenges this claim on its website.

Here a succinct and brief summary, especially for the immunity deniers, of how humans are attacked by germs and how we react to them: If there are pathogenic viri in our environment, then all humans — whether immune or not — are attacked by this virus. If someone is immune, the battle with the virus begins. First we try to prevent the virus from binding to our own cells with the help of antibodies. This normally works only partially, not all are blocked and some viri will attach to the appropriate cells. That doesn’t need to lead to symptoms, but it’s also not a disease. Because the second guard of the immune system is now called into action. That’s the above mentioned T-cells, white blood cells, which can determine from the outside in which other cells the virus is now hiding to multiply. These cells, which are now incubating the virus, are searched throughout the entire body and killed by the T-cells until the last virus is dead.

So if we do a PCR corona test on an immune person, it is not a virus that is detected, but a small shattered part of the viral genome. The test comes back positive for as long as there are tiny shattered parts of the virus left. Correct: Even if the infectious viri are long dead, a corona test can come back positive, because the PCR method multiplies even a tiny fraction of the viral genetic material enough [to be detected]. That’s exactly what happened, when there was the global news, even shared by the WHO, that 200 Koreans who already went through Covid-19 were infected a second time and that there was therefore probably no immunity against this virus. The explanation of what really happened and an apology came only later, when it was clear that the immune Koreans were perfectly healthy and only had a short battle with the virus. The crux was that the virus debris registered with the overly sensitive test and therefore came back as “positive”. It is likely that a large number of the daily reported infection numbers are purely due to viral debris.

The PCR test with its extreme sensitivity was initially perfect to find out where the virus could be. But this test can not identify whether the virus is still alive, i.e. still infectous. Unfortunately, this also led some virologists to equate the strength of a test result with viral load, i.e. the amount of virus someone can breathe out. Luckily, our day care centres stayed open nontheless. Since German virologist missed that part, because, out of principle, they do not look at what other countries are doing, even if other countries’ case numbers are falling more rapidly.

5. The problem with corona immunity

What does this all mean in real life? The extremely long incubation time of two to 14 days — and reports of 22 to 27 days — should wake up any immunologist. As well as the claim that most patients would no longer secrete the virus after five days. Both [claims] in turn actually lead to the conclusion that there is — sort of in the background — a base immunity that contorts the events, compared to an expected cycle [of a viral infection] — i.e. leads to a long incubation period and quick immunity. This immunity also seems to be the problem for patients with a sever course of the disease. Our antibody titre, i.e. the accuracy of our defence system, is reduced the older we get. But also people with a bad diet or who are malnourished may have a weakened immune system, which is why this virus does not only reveal the medical problems of a country, but also social issues.

If an infected person does not have enough antibodies, i.e. a weak immune response, the virus slowly spreads out across the entire body. Now that there are not enough antibodies, there is only the second, supporting leg of our immune response left: The T-cells beginn to attack the virus-infested cells all over the body. This can lead to an exaggerated immune response, basically to a massive slaughter; this is called a Cytokine Storm. Very rarely this can also happen in small children, in that case called Kawasaki Syndrome. This very rare occurrence in children was also used in our country to stoke panic. It’s interesting, however, that this syndrome is very easily cured. The [affected] children get antibodies from healthy blood donors, i.e. people who went through coronavirus colds. This means that the hushed-up [supposedly non-existent] immunity in the population is in fact used therapeutically.
What now?

The virus is gone for now. It will probably come back in winter, but it won’t be a second wave, but just a cold. Those young and healthy people who currently walk around with a mask on their faces would be better off wearing a helmet instead, because the risk of something falling on their head is greater than that of getting a serious case of Covid-19.

If we observe a significant rise in infections in 14 days [after the Swiss relaxed the lockdown], we’d at least know that one of the measures was useful. Other than that I recommend reading John P A Ioannidis’ latest work in which he describes the global situation based on data on May 1st 2020: People below 65 years old make up only 0.6 to 2.6 % of all fatal Covid cases. To get on top of the pandemic, we need a strategy merely concentrating on the protection of at-risk people over 65. If that’s the opinion of a top expert, a second lockdown is simply a no-go.

On our way back to normal, it would be good for us citizens if a few scaremongers apologised. Such as doctors who wanted a triage of over 80 year old Covid patients in order to stop ventilating them. Also media that kept showing alarmist videos of Italian hospitals to illustrate a situation that as such didn’t exist. All politicians calling for “testing, testing, testing” without even knowing what the test actually measures. And the federal government for an app they’ll never get to work and will warn me if someone near me is positive, even if they’re not infectious.

In winter, when the flu and other colds make the rounds again, we can then go back to kissing each other a little less, and we should wash our hands even without a virus present. And people who’ll get sick nonetheless can then don their masks to show others what they have learned from this pandemic. And if we still haven’t learned to protect our at-risk groups, we’ll have to wait for a vaccine that will hopefully also be effective in at-risk people.




A direct threat to the Democrat Party's stronghold on black voters: Kanye West says he's running for president (Politico)

Trump to hold outdoor New Hampshire rally on July 11 while Biden remains perpetually sequestered (Fox News)

Joe Biden tops Donald Trump in fundraising for second straight month: $141 million to $131 million (USA Today)

Supreme Court agrees to hear legal showdown over Mueller grand jury materials (CBS News)

Los Angeles Times publishes Beijing-funded propaganda (The Daily Caller)

Baltimore mayor defends vandals who toppled Christopher Columbus statue on July 4th (The Daily Caller)

Maryland governor urges Baltimore leaders to "regain control of their own streets" after Columbus statue toppled (Washington Examiner)

Atlanta mayor unloads after eight-year-old child is killed near BLM protest site: "You can't blame this on police" (Fox News)

Racists baiting racists: Armed protesters demonstrate in front of Confederate carving on Stone Mountain (Washington Examiner)

Black Lives Matter "protesters" filmed dancing on American flag in Washington, DC (The Daily Caller)

Frederick Douglass statue in New York removed from base and damaged (Washington Examiner)

Senate approves sanctions against Chinese officials over Hong Kong law (Washington Examiner)

With Beijing's military nearby, U.S. sends two aircraft carriers to South China Sea (The New York Times)

Niagara Falls region becomes ground zero in the coronavirus-era war on drugs (Washington Examiner)

Putting the coronavirus surge in Florida in context (The Daily Signal)

Texas governor mandates masks in most counties (Washington Examiner)

Extended lockdowns pose a serious threat to mental health (The Daily Signal)

Colin Kaepernick condemns July 4th as "celebration of white supremacy" (The Daily Caller)

NFL's Washington Redskins and MLB's Cleveland Indians are rethinking their names (NPR)

Report: NFL to play "black national anthem" prior to Week 1 games (Sports Illustrated)

Minnesota governor asks Trump for disaster declaration after George Floyd riots trigger over $500 million in damages (Fox News)

"Statuary sanctuary city": Ohio town offers to house any statues other cities remove (Washington Examiner)

U.S. population growth is driven only by minorities with the white population declining for the first time in the nation's history, according to new census data (UK Daily Mail)

New jobs report suggests Americans are eager to return to work after lockdown (The Daily Signal)

Policy: A deeper look at Black Lives Matter and its impact (The Daily Signal)


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

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


7 July, 2020

Coronavirus: why aren’t we talking more about vitamin D?

BAME people suffer more from Covid-19, but the problem probably isn't racism.

One area of anger in recent protests against racism has been the differential impact of Covid-19 on black, Asian and minority-ethnic (BAME) people. But assuming that viruses don’t discriminate, can those deaths really be put down to racism or is there something else going on?

One idea is that there may be something simpler going: vitamin D deficiency. Normally, when people talk about vitamin or mineral deficiencies, I tend to switch off. There is a mildly hypochondriac tendency in modern society to think that we should all be obsessing about supplements of all sorts of trace elements and odd herbal remedies. I tend to give Holland & Barrett a wide berth.

But the case for vitamin D seems stronger. Usually simply thought of as being a factor in osteoporosis and other bone conditions, vitamin D actually has a much wider impact in our bodies than that. In particular, it seems to play a role in regulating aspects of our immune system.

As the science writer Matt Ridley noted in May: ‘There has long been evidence that a sufficiency of vitamin D protects against viruses, especially respiratory ones, including the common cold. Vitamin D increases the production of antiviral proteins and decreases cytokines, the immune molecules that can cause a “storm” of dangerous inflammation. It has long been suspected that most people’s low vitamin D levels in late winter partly explain the seasonal peaking of flu epidemics, and rising vitamin D levels in spring partly explain their sudden ending.’

All sorts of effects of vitamin D have been suggested in recent years. For example, it seems to help with autoimmune diseases, where our immune systems become harmful to us. Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and psoriasis have been characterised in this way. Type 2 diabetes, usually thought of as a metabolic disease, may in part be an autoimmune disease, too. (Notably, BAME people have much higher rates of type 2 diabetes than white people.)

What does all this have to do with the colour of our skin?

Vitamin D is, arguably, not a vitamin at all, which is usually defined as something we need to get from our diet. The majority of our vitamin D comes from the effect of sunlight – ultraviolet light specifically – on our skin, where a derivative of cholesterol is converted into vitamin D. In northerly latitudes like the UK, we don’t get enough sunlight to produce vitamin D for six months of the year. This is even more pronounced for people with darker skin – it takes more sun exposure to produce sufficient vitamin D than it would for pale-skinned people.

A survey of evidence by Karl Pfleger shows several different lines of evidence pointing to vitamin D as an important factor in Covid-19. For example, comparing the vitamin D status of Covid-19 hospital patients has shown that the ones with low vitamin D are much more likely to end up in intensive care. Areas in northerly latitudes are more likely to be hard hit, but this is offset in countries where supplementation – through fortifying foods – is more common.

Perhaps another pointer is the fact that the first drug to show real promise in treating patients is dexamethasone – a steroid. Steroids work by decreasing inflammation and reducing the activity of the immune system. Vitamin D is a steroid, too. (To be more precise, vitamin D is a collective name for a group of steroids.)

So there is plenty of circumstantial evidence that vitamin D deficiency is important in Covid-19 and there are plausible biological mechanisms for why that might be the case. Giving vitamin D to patients who already have plenty seems to have little effect.

Yet a review of evidence by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), published on Tuesday, advised: ‘There is no evidence to support taking vitamin D supplements to specifically prevent or treat Covid?19. However, all people should continue to follow UK government advice on daily vitamin D supplementation to maintain bone and muscle health during the Covid?19 pandemic.’

This is a rather odd conclusion. The review examined five peer-reviewed papers. (It ignored the mass of pre-print research that has not had time to go through peer review in the short time the pandemic has been going.) ‘Four of the studies found an association or correlation between a lower vitamin D status and subsequent development of Covid?19. However, confounders such as body mass index (BMI) or underlying health conditions, which may have independent correlations with vitamin D status or Covid?19, were not adjusted for.’

The fifth paper, by Hastie et al, found the effect disappeared when these potential confounders were taken into account. NICE seems to lean very heavily on this one paper. But there are two problems. First, vitamin D status was gleaned from UK Biobank data – which was collected at least 10 years ago. Patients’ vitamin D status wasn’t measured at the time they got ill. Second, ethnicity and body mass index (BMI) are not independent variables from vitamin D. Rather, vitamin D deficiency is an attempt to explain why ethnicity and BMI matter. (People with high BMI are also more likely to have low vitamin D.)

Moreover, the cut-off date for the NICE paper meant it didn’t have a chance to consider two pre-prints of particular interest. A study from Singapore found ‘the active form of vitamin D, calcitriol, exhibits significant potent activity against SARS-CoV-2’ (the virus that causes Covid-19). A study on patients in Newcastle in the UK found that ‘patients requiring ITU admission were more frequently vitamin D deficient than those managed on medical wards, despite being significantly younger’.

In short, there is plenty of evidence to point to vitamin D deficiency as a risk factor for Covid-19. Yet officials and politicians seem wary of talking about it. If we were talking about a drug with significant side effects, like hydroxychloroquine (Donald Trump’s Covid drug of choice), we might have cause to be nervous about recommending it. But this is a vitamin and it is well known that many people across the world are deficient.

Indeed, the NHS already suggests that pretty much everyone takes vitamin D supplements, at least over the winter. In Scotland, for example, the NHS Scotland website is clear: ‘Everyone (including children) should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D.’ That’s probably far too little. There is little or no risk of overdosing for adults up to 100 micrograms per day, so taking significantly more would address insufficiency more effectively.

The advice is particularly emphasised for certain groups, including: ‘People who have low or no exposure to the sun, for example those who cover their skin for cultural reasons, are housebound, confined indoors for long periods or live in an institution such as a care home; and people from minority-ethnic groups with dark skin, such as those of African, African-Caribbean and South Asian origin, who require more sun exposure to make as much vitamin D.’

There is, of course, the possibility that Covid-19 deaths could be due to poverty, deprivation and ‘systemic racism’. And any research around the disease is obviously new and should be treated as provisional. Vitamin D is unlikely to be a panacea.

But serious cases seem disproportionately related to vitamin D deficiency. Among doctors – who are unlikely to be economically deprived – 94 per cent of deaths have been BAME medics. Moreover, testing for vitamin D deficiency is cheap. Supplements are cheap, widely available and safe. So wouldn’t it be better to focus more of our attention – both medical and research – on the ‘sunshine vitamin’?



Appease the Mob, Destroy the Nation

Perhaps the most distressing aspect of the current effort to “fundamentally transform the United States of America” into the Republic of Wokeistan is the seemingly invincible ignorance of history that attends it. The American Left is seeking to impose a totalitarian, Communist Chinese Red Guard worldview on this nation, whereby those who are insufficiently attuned to progressive ideology will be relegated to the margins — at best — and completely destroyed at worst.

Moreover, the smug self-assurance among elitists in media, academia, politics, Hollywood, sports, and business that a sufficient amount of ideological alignment and/or a craven level of guilt-signaling obsequiousness will render them immune from the depredations of the mob is, quite simply, a pipe dream.

As history reveals, the Red Guard movement collapsed from within, when even the most dedicated followers of Maoism were unable to keep up with the ever-increasing demands for absolute purity of thought. And despite leading the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror, during which more than 17,000 “enemies of the people” were guillotined, Maximilien Robespierre was also executed by the same mob he himself created.

Thus, when a number of progressive politicians in Democrat-controlled cities who imposed draconian lockdowns let “protesters” flout social-distancing edicts, while telling cops to stand down; when political hacks like Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey grovel before black protesters about “coming to grips with my own brokenness”; or when white police officers wash the feet of BLM protesters while apologizing for the “sins” of the white race, the results of such fecklessness are eminently predictable: Cities are looted and burned, a humiliated Frey is sent packing by an angry mob, and calls to defund police departments reach crescendo pitch throughout the nation.

The mob expects nothing less. In fact, it demands much more, and rigid conformity goes right to the top of the list. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who runs a charity helping sick and needy kids, has learned that no amount of apologizing by him and his wife for daring to suggest the American flag and national anthem are worthy of respect is sufficient. Even worse, he has managed to alienate almost everyone, first for expressing his opinion and then for being guilted into submission by members of a league run by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has also decided that alienating half of his potential audience is a reasonable tradeoff for being “down with the cause.”

He is far from alone. Amazon mogul Jeff Bezos is “happy to lose” customers who take offense at his decision to virtue signal his support for Black Lives Matter at the top of his website. A&E and Paramount are more than willing to postpone or cancel new episodes of police shows on their respective TV schedules, and HBO Max has temporarily removed 1939’s “Gone With the Wind” until it can attach statements to it denouncing its “racist” content. The New York Times and Philadelphia Inquirer are content to bow to the progressive mob — both outside and inside the newsroom — and allow it to determine what headlines and editorial content is acceptable. Kentucky’s Democrat Governor Andy Beshear has no problem announcing he intends to provide healthcare coverage for “100% of our individuals in our black and African-American communities.”

That such puerile pandering reveals the hypocrisy of a multibillionaire elitist who recently rescinded a two-dollar-an-hour, coronavirus-engendered pay increase for Amazon warehouse workers, even as his net worth increased $32 billion since January? That entertainment networks are attempting to solidify the mindset that there is something inherently wrong with police work and Oscar-winning film classics? That both newspapers have reduced their credibility to zero? That there are Kentuckians of other ethnicities who doubtlessly need healthcare coverage?

That the mob itself is wholly unconcerned with the most lethal, enduring, and primary source of black murders, epitomized by Chicago’s most violent day in 60 years?

An utterly bankrupt ideology must be served.

Let’s be clear: George Floyd and the legitimate protests surrounding his death have been completely co-opted by rank, America-hating opportunists whose motives are crystal clear as soon as reasonable Americans ask themselves a simple question: Who supported the killing of George Floyd? No one in their right minds on any part of the political spectrum, that’s who. Even an overwhelming majority of police have decried the actions of the four individuals involved, all of whom have been arrested and charged.

Thus another telling question inevitably arises: Who, exactly, is the “enemy” that must be vanquished so that “justice” can prevail?

The answer is as simple as it is damning: Anyone and everyone who fails to unquestioningly embrace each and every demand of a nihilist progressive mob. A mob every bit as virulent as any other mob that has sought absolute power throughout the history of mankind. A mob wholly disinterested in compromise, good will, or reconciliation. A mob decades in the making, courtesy of America-contemptuous, progressive indoctrinators presenting themselves as educators, entertainment industry titans who cater to the lowest common denominator, duplicitous multinational CEOs with no allegiance to this nation, progressive prosecutors who disdain the Rule of Law, craven politicians in both parties whose self-interest completely transcends statesmanship, and the useful-idiot talkingheads in the media who shill for all of it, 24/7/365.

“Americans want to stand with those peacefully protesting injustice,” writes columnist Joshua Lawson. “But the radical Left offers either the choice of self-condemnation for evils Americans had no hand in, or to be silent and stay that way. If the second option is chosen, that very silence is viewed as an indictment of ‘complicity’ often seen by the Left as akin to violence itself.”

Thankfully, there are those who refuse to be intimidated. “I took off today, this weekend, but I’m out here just to make sure y'all are safe. Don’t go there with respect, okay? I have much respect, but I only kneel for one person, and that’s God,” stated black Georgia State Trooper O'Neal Saddler.

Next November, the American electorate will face a choice between the mob and people like Mr. Saddler. If Americans embrace the collective guilt demanded by the mob, they will deeply regret it when those same demands for ideological purity that destroyed the Red Guard are imposed on them — and their children — with unrelenting ferocity.

As for the cadre of elitists who mistakenly believe they have bought themselves absolution, columnist Kurt Schlichter gets it exactly right: “Mansions and BMWs burn just like churches and police cars do.”

Indeed they do, Mssrs. Frey, Goodell, Bezos, Beshear, et al. Indeed they do.



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

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


6 July, 2020

New Study Shows Hydroxychloroquine can cut deaths in half  .. and Exposes Why The Media Attacked Trump Over It

The media has been running a full-blown offensive against the drug ever since President Trump mentioned it as a possible therapeutic against coronavirus. Hydroxychloroquine has been treated as something akin to heroin when it comes to these media folks who desperately find any which way to attack this administration.

They’re enemies of the people. What mental malfunction do you need to have to attack a possible drug that could help save lives? Well, liberalism is a mental disorder. We’re seeing that with every passing day, along with data that shows the coronavirus was overblown.

No, it’s not a hoax. It’s a real pathogen that’s contagious, but the lockdowns did more harm than good and the people who appear to be the greatest at risk for death were folks who were already in that category pre-COVID. The elderly, those with immune issues, diabetes, those who were fighting cancer, and those who had organ transplants. The list is obviously longer, but you get the point.

Still, for those who were infected and hospitalized, this anti-malarial drug appears to have prevented the death toll from increasing. That’s good news, but CNN found a new study on this “surprising” (via CNN):

"A surprising new study found that the controversial antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine helped patients better survive in the hospital.

A team at Henry Ford Health System in Southeast Michigan said Thursday its study of 2,541 hospitalized patients found that those given hydroxychloroquine were much less likely to die.

Dr. Marcus Zervos, division head of infectious disease for Henry Ford Health System, said 26% of those not given hydroxychloroquine died, compared to 13% of those who got the drug. The team looked back at everyone treated in the hospital system since the first patient in March.

"Overall crude mortality rates were 18.1% in the entire cohort, 13.5% in the hydroxychloroquine alone group, 20.1% among those receiving hydroxychloroquine?plus?azithromycin, 22.4% among the azithromycin alone group, and 26.4% for neither drug," the team wrote in a report published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases.

The Henry Ford team also monitored patients carefully for heart problems, he said.

"The combination of hydroxychloroquine?plus?azithromycin was reserved for selected patients with severe COVID-19 and with minimal cardiac risk factors," the team wrote.

The Henry Ford team said they believe their findings show hydroxychloroquine could be potentially useful as a treatment for coronavirus.

"It's important to note that in the right settings, this potentially could be a lifesaver for patients," Dr. Steven Kalkanis, CEO of the Henry Ford Medical Group, said at the news conference."

Oh, eat it, you liberal media clowns. Just eat it and shut up. It's not like you didn't know. Katie wrote about how thousands of doctors had already noted this drug as an effective treatment...in April.

For weeks you attacked this drug, even peddling fake news about it, insinuating that this treatment might have caused a heart attack that killed a New York woman. Buried in the story was the fact that this woman’s family didn’t know how she died; they did not get a death certificate at the time of publication. Oh, and you remember that Arizona couple, right? They blamed Trump for that fiasco.

It must suck to be wrong this much the liberal media, either because they’re too stupid or arrogant as hell, seem to like being whipped like this. Hey, no judgment here, everyone has their…proclivities. But the media has been gluttons for punishment regarding anything relating to this White House and eating crow and being wrong about everything



Democrats Are Fine With Watching America Burn

As Americans around the country and the world celebrate the founding of the United States this weekend, Democrats have made it clear whose side they’re on when it comes to attacking the values and traditions that matter most.

For weeks, cities across the country have been overrun by leftist anarchists seeking to destroy the United States from the inside out. Leftist mayors have not only stood by to watch but have openly endorsed criminal behavior. After all, it’s “for a good cause.”

In Seattle, Mayor Jenny Durkan allowed leftist anarchists to take over a number of city blocks and called it the beginning of a “summer of love.” After multiple murders of black teenagers, Durkan still did nothing to shut the zone down and tied the hands of the police chief. When 19-year-old Horace Lorenzo Anderson was killed, she didn’t bother to call his father with the news. She finally took action when rowdy protestors, led by socialist City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant, marched to her personal home.

In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot had the nerve to lecture President Trump on leadership as murders and shootings in the city skyrocket. In Minneapolis, the city council voted to defund the police while using thousands of dollars of taxpayer money for their own private security. In New York, Mayor Bill DeBlasio is slashing the NYPD’s budget and allowing the mob to vandalize statues of George Washington and other important historical figures.

But it’s one thing for Democrat “leadership” to watch their own cities burn, it’s another for leaders in Washington to allow for the desecration of monuments and property that belongs to all of us.

The Department of Homeland Security has deployed special teams to protect the nation’s monuments and to ensure they are available for enjoyment by American families during the long holiday weekend.

“If you’re thinking about defacing federal property this weekend, take note,” Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf tweeted, citing a story about criminal charges for Antifa anarchists who tried to tear down a statue of President Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Park.

The move was immediately criticized as instituting a police state in the name of federally sanctioned racism, conveniently ignoring weeks of chaos and destruction. Democrats on Capitol Hill condemned the move and groups like the ACLU released statements opposing it.

So the question is, what are Democrats and the left doing to prevent anarchists from destroying American tradition, property and ruining lives as a result? The answer is nothing.

And finally, Democrats have again exposed their agenda by condemning Independence Day celebrations while openly supporting mass Black Lives Matter demonstrations. They claim going to a local fireworks celebration will lead to Wuhan coronavirus super-spreader events, while failing to hysterically claim the same as thousands attend riots and protests without following scientific guidelines from the “experts.”



Trump blasts 'far-left fascism' at Mount Rushmore

Keystone, South Dakota: US President Donald Trump has delivered a speech against a "new far-left fascism" seeking to wipe out the nation's values and history.

Speaking underneath a famed landmark that depicts four US presidents, Trump railed against "angry mobs" that tried to tear down statues of Confederate leaders and other historical figures, warning thousands of supporters at Mount Rushmore in Keystone, South Dakota, that protesters were trying to erase history.

He warned the demonstrations over racial inequality in American society threatened the foundations of the US political system.  "Make no mistake, this left-wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American revolution," Trump said.

"Our children are taught in school to hate their own country," he claimed.

"There is a new far-left fascism that demands absolute allegiance. If you do not speak its language, perform its rituals, recite its mantras, and follow its commandments then you will be censored, banished, blacklisted, persecuted, and punished. Not gonna happen to us," he said.

The event at the start of the Fourth of July weekend, drew an estimated 7500 people packed tightly into an amphitheatre beneath the iconic landmark that depicts the images of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Masks were offered to attendees but many did not wear them.

Trump barely mentioned the pandemic, even as the country surpassed 53,000 new cases of the coronavirus in 24 hours and health officials urged Americans to scale back their Fourth of July plans. Seven states posted a record number of new cases on Friday. Almost a quarter of the known global deaths have now occurred in the United States – nearly 129,000.

Instead, according to The New York Times, the President "leaned into the culture wars that invigorate his base of supporters". Railing against what he described as a dangerous "cancel culture", Trump said the left wanted to "unleash a wave of violent crime" in cities across the country. He said they "think the American people are weak and soft and submissive." In contrast, "he framed himself as the leader who would protect the Second Amendment, law enforcement, and the country's heritage", The Times wrote.

Mount Rushmore has not hosted a fireworks spectacle since 2009 because of environmental concerns. Trump advocated for a resumption of the display, and the state says the surrounding Black Hills National Forest has "gained strength" since then and that fireworks technology has advanced.

South Dakota, a solidly Republican state, has not been hit as hard as other states by COVID-19, but cases in Pennington County, where Mount Rushmore is located, have more than doubled over the past month.



Liberalism Is Dangerous to Your Wallet and Your Health
The most recent jobs report found that nine of the 10 states with unemployment rates above 14% are in liberal blue states. Ranked from highest to lowest, they are Nevada (25.3%), Hawaii (22.6%), Michigan (21.2%), California (16.3%), Rhode Island (16.3%), Massachusetts (16.3%), Delaware (15.8%), Illinois (15.2%), New Jersey (15.2%) and Washington state (15.1%). I call this the “blue-state jobs depression.” The states with the lowest unemployment rates are all conservative red states: Nebraska (5.2%), Utah (8.5 %), Wyoming 8.8%, Arizona (8.9%) and Idaho (8.9%).

It is hardly shocking news. Liberals are anti-business, and their policies are especially hostile to small businesses. As my old boss, former Rep. Dick Armey of Texas, used to say, liberals love jobs but hate employers. Democratic governors had the strictest economic lockdowns, and they let their businesses burn and get looted during the riots. They raise taxes and protect the unions over the general welfare of the citizens.

The meltdown of blue-state America isn’t new. It has been going on for at least three decades. Over the last five, 10, 20 or 30 years, red states with low taxes have created double the percentage of jobs than blue states with high taxes.

So, liberalism is bad for your wallets and the overall economy. Voters get this. Polling shows that even people who don’t like President Donald Trump agree that he would be better for jobs and the economy than Joe Biden.

But the standard reply from the media and the liberal academics is that blue-state policies keep us safer and healthier. Those greedy free marketeers put greed and corporate profits over saving lives.

It is a false narrative: Nearly everyone agrees that saving lives during a pandemic must be a top policy priority. The question is, how do you keep people safe? Well, we now know that lockdowns didn’t keep us safer. The states that never locked down, such as Wyoming, had the lowest death rates as a share of the population. The states with the strictest lockdown policies, including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Michigan, had death rates three to eight times the national average. All of those states, except for Massachusetts, have Democratic governors.

To put it simply: People who live in blue states were more than twice as likely to die from the coronavirus as those who reside in blue states. Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York recently declared that he wants to keep New Yorkers safe by preventing Floridians from entering the Empire State. Is he joking? New York’s death rate from COVID-19 is 10 times higher than Florida’s. It would be like Mexico telling Americans at the border, “We aren’t going to let you in.”

New cases are rising in red states that have opened up for business faster than in blue states that have remained mostly closed. And we will have to see how this pans out. But the deaths, especially in nursing homes, remain much higher in the blue states. Moreover, studies are now finding that the adverse health effects from the lockdown (suicide, delayed treatments for cancer and heart problems, depression, spousal and child abuse, alcoholism, and drug overdoses, to name a few) could easily match the saved lives from lockdowns. These “lockdown deaths” are far more prevalent in blue states that shut down.

Also, if you want a safe and crime-free environment for your family, consider the Heritage Foundation analysis that reported that 18 of the 20 most dangerous cities are run by mayors who are Democrats.

So, congratulations to Govs. Andrew Cuomo of New York, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and J.B. Pritzker of Illinois. You rank last on jobs and health. And to think that the media herald them as the superstar leaders in America.



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

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


5 July, 2020

Big Pharma is RICH

Drug companies are a huge hate-object for the Left. Because they appear to be big and rich and successful, that alone  provokes hatred in the enviers of the Left.  Add to that the high prices of some drugs and it is clear to the Left that the drug companies are "ripping off" the rest of us.

But are they?  Conservatives point to the huge costs of drug development and the consequent huge losses when the drug is not a success.  So the profitability of drug companies generally is not at all clear.  Big profits are accompanied by big losses.

Fortunately, we now have an attempt at real information on the subject.  An article has recently appeared in JAMA that sets out to answer the question objectively. It is "Profitability of Large Pharmaceutical Companies Compared With Other Large Public Companies" by Ledley et al.  An excerpt:

Question:  How do the profits of large pharmaceutical companies compare with those of other companies from the S&P 500 Index?

Findings:  In this cross-sectional study that compared the profits of 35 large pharmaceutical companies with those of 357 large, nonpharmaceutical companies from 2000 to 2018, the median net income (earnings) expressed as a fraction of revenue was significantly greater for pharmaceutical companies compared with nonpharmaceutical companies (13.8% vs 7.7%).

Meaning:  Large pharmaceutical companies were more profitable than other large companies, although the difference was smaller when controlling for differences in company size, research and development expense, and time trends.

So that's it.  Open and shut.  The left have some justification for their views.  But only superficially. The methodology of the study is very poor.  Why compare 35 companies with 357?  Many of that 357 would have been much smaller than the pharma companies.  So you are not comparing like with like. Large companies would normally have some degree of monopoly in their markets, which makes them more profitable than smaller companies.  A more defensible method would have been to pick 35 companies in each sector with comparable market capitalization and compare them in profitability.

But the problems do not end there. Drugs are a very risky business.  You can spend a billion dollars getting a drug approved only to find that a few deaths have been attributed to the drug.  The deaths will most likely to have been coincidences but publc pressure will cause the drug to be taken off the market -- leaving the company in a ditch.

And there is normally a return to risk.  People normally do risky things only if the reward is great.  So a valid comparison to a drug company would need to be with other risky businesses.  But that was not done in this case.  So it seems likely that the higher profits made by drug companies are simply payment for risk taking.  There is nothing unfair about their profits.  Their profits are what is needed to encourage innovation.  Remove that profit and you will see few if any new drugs.  Such profits are needed to get people into drug research and development.


Scotland could eliminate the coronavirus – if it weren't for England

SCOTLAND is only weeks away from suppressing the coronavirus altogether, a situation that highlights the different approaches taken by the nation and England in recent months. While Scotland initially made many of the same mistakes as England, since late March, its government has acted on its own scientific advice.

The two nations responded to the coronavirus similarly from January and up until March, says Devi Sridhar at the University of Edinburgh. “There are a couple of things where Scotland’s gone slightly earlier, but not radically.”

One early Scottish success came in community testing for the disease. When Kate Mark at the National Health Service Lothian in Edinburgh realised that suspected cases were increasing, her team began testing people in their homes and set up one of the world’s first drive-through testing centres. But on 12 March, the UK government abandoned all community testing efforts to focus on testing in hospitals and other healthcare settings, due to a lack of resources. From then on, the disease spread fast until, on 23 March, prime minister Boris Johnson announced a lockdown across the UK.

This wasn’t soon enough to prevent waves of deaths in care homes in Scotland and England. In both nations, protecting social care had been deprioritised in favour of healthcare. When Scotland began collecting data on covid-19 in care homes on 11 April, 37 per cent of homes were already infected, according to a report co-authored by David Henderson at Edinburgh Napier University. “In certain weeks, there was a 300 per cent increase in care home deaths in England, and 200 per cent in Scotland,” he says. “We could say we were slightly better, but I wouldn’t say a 200 per cent increase in deaths is something to shout about.”

Then the paths taken by Scotland and England began to diverge. Two days after the national lockdown began, Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon created a scientific advisory group for Scotland to supplement the advice from the UK-wide Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies. “That’s probably when you started seeing more divergence,” says Sridhar.

Scotland has been slower to relax lockdown than England and has done so in a step-by-step way, so that each change’s effects can be measured. This differs from England’s rapid relaxation, says Sridhar.

Scotland has also been more successful at building up testing and contact tracing, without banking on the UK government’s much-delayed app. “We’ve stuck to our principles of old-fashioned, traditional, evidence-based contact tracing,” says Mark.

Two other factors have contributed to Scotland’s relative success, says Sridhar. The first is clear messaging. On 10 May, the UK government changed its “stay at home” slogan to “stay alert”, but Scotland stuck to the original line. It has since switched to “stay safe”.

What’s more, “there is a very high level of trust in the Scottish government and in Nicola Sturgeon’s leadership”, says Sridhar. According to YouGov, as of 1 May, 74 per cent of Scottish people approved of their government’s handling of the pandemic and 71 per cent were confident in Nicola Sturgeon’s decisions. In contrast, a June poll found that 50 per cent of British people disapproved of Johnson and only 43 per cent approved of him.

On 29 June, Scotland reported just 5 new cases, out of 815 for the UK as a whole, and announced no new covid-19-related deaths for the fourth day in a row. The nation could soon have days with no new confirmed cases. “Scotland’s weeks away from that,” says Sridhar. “England’s months away.”

Yet in practice, Scotland is unlikely to achieve full elimination in the near future, because it has a 154-kilometre border with England. “Many people cross that border every day,” says Sridhar. “I think we will probably never get, without England’s cooperation, to full elimination.”

On 29 June, Sturgeon said that there are “no plans” to quarantine people who enter Scotland from other parts of the UK, but that the nation would need to “be able to consider all options” to stop the virus bouncing back if infection rates are different elsewhere in the country.

However, it should be possible for Scotland to keep the number of new cases very low – and perhaps encourage England to follow suit.



The first drug shown to save lives from coronavirus: Dexamethasone

Trump was right

Dexamethasone is the first medicine shown to reduce deaths from covid-19. It belongs to a class of drugs called steroids, which damp down the immune system. Our immune response is normally what saves us from attack by viruses and bacteria, but in people with severe covid-19, it seems to overreact. Immune cells congregate in the lungs, releasing high levels of immune signalling chemicals called cytokines, which attract yet more immune cells, in a vicious circle known as a cytokine storm. This leads to excessive inflammation in the lungs, with fluid leaking into the air spaces, hindering intake of oxygen.

Steroid drugs like dexamethasone are often used to treat other diseases caused by an overreactive immune system, like allergies, and have also been used previously to treat people in intensive care with lung inflammation. But steroids reduce the immune system’s ability to fight bacteria, so it was unclear if they would be beneficial overall in covid-19, where there is a risk that patients develop secondary bacterial infections.

The answer came from a large randomised trial of giving dexamethasone or placebo to people with severe covid-19 in the UK. In people who were on ventilators, 41 per cent of those who got the placebo died, while 29 per cent of those who got the steroid died. This is a relatively large effect, compared with drug treatments for other diseases. There was also a smaller survival advantage in people who were less severely ill and needed supplementary oxygen but weren’t on a ventilator.

People outside of hospital should not start taking dexamethasone or other steroids on their own initiative, though, because the negative effects on the immune system might outweigh any benefits. In fact, the UK trial found dexamethasone gave no survival benefit for hospital patients with covid-19 who were not sick enough to need extra oxygen.

Dexamethasone is not the first medicine shown to help against covid-19. That title goes to remdesivir, a drug that blocks viral replication. However remdesivir has only been shown to hasten recovery, not lower the death rate, so the dexamethasone trial results are seen as a significant milestone on the road to treating coronavirus.



4.8 Million Jobs, the USMCA, and the 2020 Election

Democrats and their Leftmedia publicists really do not want the American economy to improve — at least not until Joe Biden (or his running mate in his stead) is ensconced in the Oval Office on January 20, 2021. Thus even with another record-breaking jobs report, the Associated Press is still playing Eeyore, running this headline earlier this morning: “A predicted surge in US job growth for June might not last.” Gotta keep that skyrocketing consumer confidence tamped down.

Once the incredibly great news exceeded expectations, that headline became a rather pedestrian treatment of it: “US adds 4.8 million jobs as unemployment falls to 11.1%.” Then the AP edited the good news out entirely, leaving only the utterly dour: “US unemployment falls to 11%, but new shutdowns are underway.”

In a sense, the pessimism is understandable. “The nation has now recovered roughly one-third of the 22 million jobs it lost to the pandemic recession,” the AP reports, while noting that spiking coronavirus cases and moves to reshutter some businesses will indeed stall a recovery. The economy is certainly not out of the proverbial woods yet, and if governors insist on closing businesses again rather than taking other mitigating efforts, we may collectively take one step forward and two steps back.

Enter President Donald Trump and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which took effect yesterday. As we have noted before, the USMCA serves to keep one of Trump’s campaign promises by improving trade relations with Canada and Mexico. The USMCA is not quite the wholesale replacement of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), as the president often claims. Nor was NAFTA a “disaster” or the “worst trade deal ever made,” as he decries. But the USMCA is a general improvement and modernization of the 1994 deal that should help create more American jobs.

“The USMCA is a big deal,” says Reason’s Eric Boehm. “Canada and Mexico are the top recipients of U.S. exports. The United States imports more goods from those two countries than anywhere else except China. The deal will affect more than $1 trillion in annual trade between the U.S. and its two neighbors.”

And as Trump declared, “Manufacturing looks like it’s ready to take off to a level that it’s never been. A lot of that has to do with our trade policy, because we’re bringing manufacturing back to our country.” He has made that a priority like few recent presidents, and, broadly speaking, his economic and regulatory policies deserve credit for why our economy was able to sustain the body blow of the coronavirus pandemic.

In any case, the economic choice this November is clear. One party wants to prolong and deepen a recession and then tax, spend, and regulate our way out of it. The president and his party, by contrast, want to keep America great by preserving lower taxes, less regulation, and Liberty itself.



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

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3 July, 2020

The rioters are a paper tiger

Just let the police do their job and they crumple

On Wednesday morning, Seattle police finally removed the anarchist and antifa rebels/protesters from the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) Occupied Protest (CHOP), which Todd Herman cleverly dubbed “antifastan.” Yet as the police went about restoring order to the six-block area unlawfully seized in the wake of the George Floyd protests, the police department reported a rather unnerving sight. It appears armed militants were patrolling the area in cars stripped of license plates.

“Officers are investigating several vehicles circling the area of today’s operation. Police have observed individuals in the vehicles with firearms/armor. The vehicles also appear to be operating without visible license plates,” the Seattle Police Department tweeted.

Andy Ngo, a victim of antifa violence and editor-at-large at The Post Millennial, condemned these “terrorist tactics.”  Ngo also highlighted ominous warnings about further antifa violence to follow the dismantling of CHOP.

All the same, the restoration of law and order in Seattle’s Capitol Hill district is worth celebrating. In fact, Ngo had to suspend his disbelief to report the final return of police on Wednesday. Last Monday, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) announced that she would break up CHOP after two shootings the previous weekend, one of which tragically claimed the life of a 19-year-old black man. Yet she only sent city workers, not police, in to break up the lawless occupation, and her efforts failed. After another black person, this time a 16-year-old boy, tragically lost his life in a shooting this Monday, it appears she finally did what was necessary to get the job done.

“Breaking: The Seattle Police are retaking the Capitol Hill neighborhood that was taken captive by BLM and antifa militants for more than three weeks,” Ngo tweeted. He emphasized, “This is no joke,” sharing a picture of police on bicycles rolling into the area. The journalist added that “CHAZ was retaken by police in a matter of minutes.”

Police have made at least 32 arrests for failure to disperse, obstruction, resisting arrest, and assault. In one case, they arrested a 29-year-old man who held a large metal pipe and a kitchen knife. City workers also removed improvised spike strips, designed to puncture vehicle tires.

This decisive action came one day after Horace Lorenzo Anderson, the father of the 19-year-old man killed in a CHOP shooting last week, asked for the National Guard to put down the lawless occupation.

“I ain’t been sleeping. You see my eyes. I’ve been crying. I’m trying not to cry on TV,” Anderson said in a heartbreaking interview with KIRO 7. “This doesn’t look like a protest to me no more. That just looks like they just took over and said, ‘We can take over whenever we want to.’”

Anderson called for the National Guard to end the lawlessness. “They should deploy them here to say, ‘Man, it’s time to go, it’s time to move on.’ And break this up,” he said.

Anderson’s 19-year-old son died in a shooting on Saturday, June 20. The shooting also injured a 33-year-old man. The next day, another shooting left a 17-year-old boy injured in the arm. Another shooting on Monday morning took the life of a 16-year-old boy and left a 14-year-old boy critically injured.

The lawless occupying rioters originally named the area CHAZ, claiming to set up an “autonomous zone” outside the reach of U.S. law. This made them legally rebels against Seattle and the U.S., and President Donald Trump rightly urged Durkan and Gov. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) to restore law and order. The Democratic leaders, however, condemned Trump. Durkan and Inslee said it was “illegal and unconstitutional” to put down a rebellion.

It may seem silly that a bunch of protesters occupied a six-block area of Seattle and tried to set up an anarchist utopia, but the occupation was deadly serious for locals whose lives have been damaged by the lawlessness.

Sixteen residents and businesses sued the City of Seattle, alleging that the city failed to protect their rights by not taking action to restore law and order in the CHOP area. The occupation followed looting, vandalism, and arson across America that destroyed black lives, black livelihoods, and black monuments. At least 20 Americans, most of them black, have died in the riots. In the case of CHOP, two black teenagers have lost their lives in this lawlessness.

Americans are rightly angered about the horrific police killing of George Floyd, and it seems the men involved will face the justice they deserve for their evil actions. But anger over that horrific death does not justify the destruction of property, the seizure of land, and the lawless violence that takes even more innocent life.

It appears the story of CHOP has ended — for now. But as the police report noted, antifa anarchists are still active in Seattle, and the unrest is sadly far from over.



New Polling Shows There Is Hope for Patriotism Among America's Youth

In partnership with Young America’s Foundation (YAF) and Echelon Insights, Townhall has obtained exclusive polling results on patriotism and the favorability of the United States among America’s youth.

Of those surveyed, 82 percent had a “very” or “somewhat” favorable opinion of the American flag, divided among 91 percent of high school-aged students and 73 percent of high school graduates. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they believe America is “exceptional and unique” and is a country that “values liberty.” The poll found 54 percent of those who participated enthusiastically feel America offers “opportunity for all who work for it,” and 46 percent said America is both a “good example for other countries” and a nation that “values justice;” 43 percent enthusiastically said America “values equality.”

While standing for the national anthem draws country-wide controversy, 63 percent of respondents feel “extremely” or “very” comfortable standing for the national anthem and 58 percent held the same view of saying the Pledge of Allegiance at a meeting or event.

Respondents logged an 80 percent “very” or “somewhat” favorable opinion of war veterans, 75 percent of the military, 72 percent of the Constitution, 65 percent of the Founding Fathers and 57 percent of American history as a whole. With these encouraging numbers, 34 percent of respondents would be “extremely” or “very” willing to serve in the military if America were to be attacked, while 31 percent said they would serve if we went to war and 30 percent during “peacetime.”

The overwhelming majority of those surveyed were full-time students, 47 percent male, 53 percent female. Forty-two percent identified as high-school aged, while 13 percent were working toward an associate’s degree, 31 percent toward a bachelor’s degree and seven percent toward a graduate degree. Eight percent indicated enrollment in trade or vocational school. Of those who participated in the poll, 21 percent identified as “very” or “somewhat” conservative, while 33 percent identified as “very” or “somewhat” progressive and 33 percent as moderate; four percent of respondents serve or have served in the military, while 16 percent have an immediate family member in the military and 17 percent an extended relative.

Patriotism has grown into a taboo subject among young adults, especially with the rise of social media dominance. For those who value pride in our country, this polling should be encouraging. Pro-America positions are alive and well among young Americans, even with the presence of unmistakable bias on college campuses and the leftist bubble constituting the overwhelming majority of social media platforms.



America’s War Zone: Guilt and Stupidity Fuel Extreme Grievances and Violence

“Two things are infinite,” Albert Einstein famously said: “The universe and human stupidity; and I am not sure about the universe.”

It is very difficult not to bear in mind Einstein’s depressing view of humanity when witnessing the recent turn of events.

HBO has withdrawn “Gone with the Wind” from its viewing library, claiming it’s a racist film. J.K. Rowlings, creator of the Harry Potter franchise, is being accused, under a litany of insults, of “transphobia” for pointing out, in reference to a magazine article, that the word “woman” used to be the way to refer to “a person who menstruates.”

The co-creator of “Friends” wants forgiveness for not including African-Americans in the series. Paramount Network has canceled the long-running “Cops” show for “glorifying” the police. And Winston Churchill’s statue in London’s Parliament Square was recently sullied in the name of anti-fascism because protesters claim the leader who defeated fascism was fascist.

To keep up with the mood of the times, perhaps we should bulldoze the Roman Coliseum, a symbol of barbarism, cover Machu Picchu with graffiti, reminding us that the Incas “enslaved the masses,” and paint the Taj Mahal with tar, to memorialize the disregard that Emperor Shah Jahan, an Islamic Mogul, had toward Hindus and women—with the exception, of course, of his 11 “wives” and the 2,000 or so other women who comprised his harem.

Part of what is happening originates in the guilty conscience that has long been a feature of Western elites. Combine this with the deep-felt resentments of certain groups and individuals, and the frivolity of bored middle-class kids, and you achieve what we are now seeing: significant numbers of people taking their grievances, many of them justified, to violent, illiberal extremes.

When was the West’s guilty conscience born? Perhaps during the colonization of Latin America by Spain, a dominant European power at the time, when Dominican friars like Bartolomé de las Casas, Francisco de Vitoria and Antonio Montesinos admirably lashed out at the mistreatment of the indigenous Indians.

Another possibility is that its antecedent can be found in what certain French academics call the “bourgeois bad conscience” that emerged in the 19th century during the Bourbon Restoration, when the sons of the bourgeois who had carried out the French Revolution on behalf of a more egalitarian society realized that “the people” were no better off and they had become the new aristocrats.

While those are possibilities, a more likely cause of today’s collectivized, identity—and grievance-based politics is multiculturalism.

Following World War II, when the European overseas colonies in Africa and Asia achieved independence, the idea that all cultures and values are equivalent became fashionable.

This notion, pushed by academics and intellectuals at first, turned into an ideology that sought to divide society into collectivist entities—groups—that were due certain “rights” and benefits from the rest of society.

Western civilization and its paradigms, liberal democracy and individual rights, fell out of favor. The idea that identity was based not on individual characteristics, but on belonging to a particular ethnic or minority group, became “cool,” with advocates demanding that society repair the damage suffered by these groups in the past through monetary compensation and that history be corrected by erasing the oppressive past from our memories by removing exterior signs and symbols.

The “Antifa” agitators who call everyone who is not allied with them a fascist—but act like fascists themselves by turning legitimate grievances into acts of vandalism and violence—weaken their cause by threatening liberal democracy and peaceful coexistence.

Decent people do not want America turned into a war zone in the name of anti-fascism, anti-racism or any other anti-ism. To think otherwise is the pinnacle of stupidity.




With follow-up report, New York Times subtly undercuts key aspects of its Russia-Taliban bounty scoops (The Daily Caller)

Joe Biden announces he will not hold campaign rallies, citing coronavirus fears (The Daily Caller)

Biden will release list of black women as potential SCOTUS nominees (Politico)

FCC designates Chinese tech giants Huawei and ZTE as security threats (National Review)

DHS deploys special federal unit to protect monuments over July 4 weekend amid vandalism fears (Fox News)

TikTok and 32 other iOS apps still snoop your sensitive clipboard data (Ars Technica)

We're one-third of the way to a widely available coronavirus vaccine, scientists say (USA Today)

Top Republicans encourage masks as virus spreads in Sun Belt (Washington Examiner)

Dow Jones Industrial Average posts best quarter since 1987 with 17% gain (Fox Business)

Local unions defy AFL-CIO in push to oust police unions (Politico)

"Not going back": Governor Ron DeSantis says no plans to reverse course on Florida reopening (Washington Examiner)

Walmart will stop selling "All Lives Matter" merchandise (USA Today)

Los Angeles City Council approves first step in replacing LAPD with community responders for nonviolent calls (FOX 11)

Virginia Democrats propose reducing charge for assaulting police officers (The Daily Wire)

Six Chicago children shot dead in a single week — all of whom are neglected by the mainstream media (FOX 32)

St. Louis prosecutor says she might overrule police and charge lawyers Mark and Patricia McCloskey who brandished firearms at protesters trespassers (UK Daily Mail)

"Worried that I was going to be killed": Mark McCloskey defends decision to draw guns on trespassers (Washington Examiner)

Mayor Bill de Blasio caves to absurd "defund the police" movement — while violent crime is up almost 190% (New York Post)

The kind of immigrant we should be welcoming to the United States: Afghan interpreter who saved U.S. troops gets American citizenship (NPR)

Woman walks into live CNN broadcast with "fake news" sign (The Daily Caller)


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

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


2 July, 2020

Don't Be Fooled, Recent Coronavirus Data Suggests the Lockdowns Were a Colossal Mistake

In various states across the nation, there’s been a noticeable trend of an increase in coronavirus cases. While this fact makes the headlines, the detail that seems to get overlooked is the fact that deaths have declined. Florida, Arizona, Texas, California, and Ohio are among the states that have experienced spikes in cases but have maintained declining death rates or no spike in deaths.

How is this possible? Conventional wisdom suggests that a spike in cases should result in a spike in deaths, but that has not panned out. The protests and riots following George Floyd’s death have been going on for nearly a month now. Surely a spike in deaths should shave occurred by now. But so far, it hasn’t.

Why not?

According to Justin Hart, an information architect and data analyst from San Diego, “who” gets the virus is just as important as “how many” get the virus. “Right now the average age of infected cases has dropped nearly 20 years,” Hart told PJ Media.

White House Coronavirus Task Force Member Dr. Anthony Fauci acknowledged this fact last week: “The overwhelming majority of people who are now getting infected are young people, like the people that you see in the clips in the paper or out in the crowds enjoying themselves.” 

Why does this matter, you ask? Let me explain.

Coronavirus data says risk is low for most Americans

Young people, possibly from the recent protests and riots, are likely behind the recent spike in cases, and that tells us a lot about why the data looks the way it does right now. According to the CDC’s current best estimate, the fatality rate of the coronavirus for symptomatic cases only are as follows:

When you take into account that approximately 30% of coronavirus infections are asymptomatic, that drives the fatality rate down even further. “The risk of death for the general population of school and working age is typically in the range of a daily car ride to work,” notes Josh Ketter on Medium.

Professor Mark Woolhouse, an expert in infectious diseases in Scotland, led a study that determined current lockdown restrictions could be easily lifted as long the most vulnerable populations are left protected. According to Woolhouse, for the non-vulnerable population, the coronavirus is comparable to a “nasty flu.”

Lockdowns should have focused on protecting the vulnerable

What the data is clearly telling us is that the lockdowns were not implemented correctly. While there is a significant risk for the older, at-risk population, for those under 65 years of age, the economy could have been kept open. Schools didn’t have to close down, and “non-essential” businesses could have continued to serve the public, many of whom had as much a chance of dying from the coronavirus as they did dying on their daily commute, but the lockdowns kept everyone, including the young and healthy, at home. We could have worn masks out in public to help slow the spread and flatten the curve to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. Life could have remained relatively normal, and the economy didn’t have to suffer the way it did.

“We knew early on that younger cohorts managed very well,” Hart explained to PJ Media. “We should have let that group thrive to keep the economy going while protecting the vulnerable.”

Protecting the vulnerable is where many, particularly New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, went wrong. On March 25, Cuomo ordered nursing homes to accept patients regardless of their coronavirus status. Even back then, it was known that the elderly were more vulnerable to the virus, so having coronavirus patients in nursing homes allowed the virus to spread like wildfire. Cuomo tried to cover up his deadly mistake before ultimately rescinding the order on May 11.

Nursing home patients represent a mere .46 percent of the United States population but account for approximately 43 percent of all coronavirus deaths. States should have protected them better from the beginning. Had they, we could have had a more strategic approach to the coronavirus lockdowns that allowed businesses and schools to stay open while quarantining the vulnerable.

The one-size-fits-all approach was a mistake

If school and working-age Americans understood that their risk of dying from the coronavirus was roughly the same as it is of dying during a daily car ride, do you think they’d want to continue the lockdowns? I don’t think so. Whether people realize it or not, every day they are making an assessment of risk as they go about their lives. It was true before the coronavirus, during it, and it will continue to be afterward. Is it really worth being afraid of living given the extremely low risk of fatality for a majority of the population? We should redirect resources to protecting the vulnerable and let the rest of us get this country working again.

The United States isn’t alone

Israel is also experiencing a second wave of cases that is mostly occurring in younger people. Israel did not experience the protests and rioting we had in the United States, but bars, beaches, and school reopened, causing a spike in cases, but, as you can see from the graphs from Worldometer, no spike in deaths.



A supermarket meltdown, which saw a woman throw her groceries across the store in a fit of rage, has exposed a deep divide in the US.

Footage from the weekend shows a shopper in a Dallas supermarket picking her groceries out of her trolley and throwing them across the store in a fit of rage after she was asked to wear a mask.

“I don’t give a f**k about these dumb-ass f***ing rules,” she can be heard yelling as she throws her food on the floor in a foul-mouthed tirade.

It is just one of many incidents that show how divided the US is over the issue of masks.

Another video circulating on social media over the weekend shows NYPD officers clearly breaking the rules of a local pizza joint by lining up without masks, enraging hundreds of commenters online.

The fraught situation is expected to worsen in coming weeks as states move to reopen their economies, bringing the mask-wearers and the mask-cynics into closer contact.

Masks are becoming increasingly viewed a shorthand for the debate around freedom in America and which side of the fence you sit.

Those who follow health guidance and cover their faces say they are protecting their fellow Americans, while those who don’t feel it violates their freedom or buys into a threat they think is overblown.

It is a divide which is playing out at the very top of the politics in the US.

President Donald Trump has also refused to wear a mask during the pandemic, whether at the White House where officials and aides are tested regularly, or in public settings.

He has even suggested some Americans are wearing facial coverings not as a preventive measure but as a way to signal disapproval of him.

In May, he wore a mask while visiting a Ford manufacturing plant in Michigan but took it off before he appeared in front of media cameras.

“I don’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it,” he told the Wall Street Journal earlier this month.

His Democratic rival Joe Biden has gone down the opposite route by showcasing his mask on social media and imploring Americans to follow suit.



Why New Zealand decided to go for full elimination of the coronavirus

They have subsequently had cases caught from overseas visitors

New Zealand has been widely praised for its aggressive response to covid-19. At the time of writing, the country had just 10 active cases. But Michael Baker, the doctor who formulated New Zealand’s elimination strategy, says that even some of his colleagues initially thought it was too radical a plan and resisted its implementation. “Some likened it to using a sledgehammer to kill a flea,” he says.

The first case of covid-19 in New Zealand was recorded on 28 February. Like most countries, it initially planned to gradually tighten its control measures as the virus gained momentum. But Baker, a public health expert at the University of Otago who is on the government’s covid-19 advisory panel, believed that this was the wrong approach. “I thought we should do it in the reverse order and throw everything at the pandemic at the start,” he says.

Baker was inspired by the World Health Organization’s report from its joint mission to China in February, which documented how the country largely contained covid-19 when it was already in full flight. This convinced Baker that New Zealand could also stop the virus from spreading and even wipe it out entirely if it implemented a strict lockdown as soon as possible.

Other experts, however, argued that New Zealand should take a lighter approach like Sweden, which never fully locked down. Many believed the spread of covid-19 was inevitable and that an elimination strategy would “never work”, says Baker. Others thought that locking down the country would lead to mass unemployment, poverty and suicide, which would outweigh the benefits of containing the virus.

The government ultimately decided to go with Baker’s advice, possibly because of his public health track record. In the 1980s, for example, he helped establish the world’s first national needle exchange programme, which has meant that rates of HIV among injecting drug users in New Zealand are some of the lowest globally.

“I thought we should do it in the reverse order and throw everything at the pandemic at the start”
On 25 March, when New Zealand had only 205 covid-19 cases and no deaths, the government implemented one of the strictest lockdowns in the world, only permitting people to leave their homes for essential reasons like buying food and going to the doctor. This followed the closure of New Zealand’s borders to non-nationals on 19 March.

Baker felt “very moved” by the government’s decision, but also anxious, because he didn’t know if it would work. “As a scientist, you feel very worried if you’re giving advice when the evidence base isn’t totally there yet, particularly when it’s something that could be harmful to people,” he says.

However, putting the entire country into home quarantine early on extinguished community transmission and gave authorities time to strengthen testing and contact tracing capacities, which were initially “really quite woeful”, says Baker.

The country has recorded only 1515 covid-19 cases and 22 deaths to date, and hasn’t had any new, locally acquired cases since 22 May. The current active cases are all citizens in supervised quarantine after returning from overseas. On 8 June, New Zealand lifted all its restrictions except for its border control measures. “There was this amazing sense of relief,” says Baker.

He is proud of New Zealand’s success, but says it is important not to become complacent or smug. Baker warns that other countries that have seemingly got on top of the virus, such as China and South Korea, have experienced subsequent outbreaks.

Last week, New Zealand was shaken by the news that two women had tested positive for covid-19 after returning from the UK and being allowed to leave quarantine early to visit a dying relative. Extensive contact tracing is now under way.

To guard against a second wave in New Zealand, Baker thinks masks should be worn on public transport, aircraft and at border control and quarantine facilities.




Democratic National Committee tweets then deletes post linking Trump's Mt. Rushmore event to "glorifying white supremacy" (Fox News)

Supreme Court refuses to block upcoming federal executions (AP)

John Hickenlooper condemned by liberal groups after photo of him dressed as Native American surfaces (Washington Examiner)

Department of Health and Human Services secures new supplies of the coronavirus therapeutic drug remdesivir (HHS.gov)

"Our luck may have run out": California's case count explodes — Los Angeles County, which has been averaging more than 2,000 new cases each day, surpassed 100,000 total cases on Monday (The New York Times)

Jacksonville, Florida, to require face masks to slow rising coronavirus cases (CNN)

China study warns of possible new "pandemic virus" from pigs (Reuters)

At long last, black man is charged with felony assault after attacking Macy's employee in viral video (Disrn)

First of four cops charged in the death of George Floyd will plead not guilty to second-degree murder and manslaughter (UK Daily Mail)

Why no outrage? Atlanta shootings surge, but it's not the cops (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Latest Seattle CHOP shooting kills 16-year-old boy, critically wounds 14-year-old boy — both of whom are black (Fox News)

Russia denies nuclear plant leaks as mysterious radiation spike reported over northern Europe (Washington Examiner)

Conservative groups see abortion ruling as catalyst for reelecting Trump (Politico)

John Wayne's family has defended the screen icon amid calls for his name to be removed due to "racist" comments made in 1971 (UK Daily Mail)

Why West Virginia hasn't canceled its Democrat senator from the KKK (RealClearInvestigations)


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

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


1 July, 2020

Chinese coronavirus vaccine approved for use in country's military after clinical trials

China's military has approved a coronavirus vaccine developed by its own research staff and a Chinese biotech firm, it was announced on Monday.

The vaccine was given the green light for use by troops after trials proved it was both safe and effective, said CanSino Biologics, the biotech firm involved.

However, its use for the time being will be restricted to military personnel, who offer a tighter medical control group than the general public. 

The vaccine candidate, named Ad5-nCoV, was developed jointly by CanSino and the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology in the Academy of Military Medical Sciences. It has been in development since March.

CanSino said the results showed the vaccine candidate has potential to prevent diseases caused by the coronavirus, which has killed half a million people globally....



Lockdown and the new Left Privilege

Powerful article by professor Augusto Zimmerman below

As a constitutional lawyer and legal theorist who appreciates our classical liberal tradition of constitutional government and the rule of law, I have been against the imposition of lockdown measures since they began, thinking that they are not only unnecessary but also completely arbitrary and ultimately a gross violation of fundamental rights and freedoms.

We have been harassed for sitting on park benches. We have been forced to cancel weddings, and have not been not allowed even to say goodbye to our loved ones or go to their funerals. But at least I took some comfort in the idea that “we are all in this together”.

This is now all gone, seeing how the rules have been flouted by the protests of the far left. Thousands of left-wing activists have defied the law to take part in the Black Lives Matter and other Leftist protests and marches.

I am deeply disappointed with the authorities who tacitly consented to these protests. They have turned such activists into a small group of privileged individuals who can go ahead with their disruptions despite the official health advice about COVID-19. For those “mortal beings” who have more fully complied with these draconian measures, it has resulted in severe disruption of their private lives and social gatherings. Their businesses and livelihoods have been seriously compromised.

It’s one rule for them and another rule for the rest of us. You may even call it ‘Leftist Privilege’ if you wish. The rules that apply to these Leftists are entirely different. They can freely protest because their illiberal worldview is considered more valid and more important by the country’s equally illiberal ruling elites.

In fact, it seems to me that the greatest privilege on offer in our society today is the privilege of being a Leftist. If one is a Leftist, it appears that you will be entitled to special privileges in exercising your intolerance with absolute freedom and be immune from the law. Such people can attend rallies that spread their bigotry, although they are also the very ones that, for purely ideological reasons, have been calling for an extended lockdown.

The level of hypocrisy is truly staggering, especially because we, law-abiding citizens, have been forced to withhold wedding ceremonies or been excluded from the funerals of our loved ones. Because our businesses have been forced into ‘hibernation’, some of us have now had our livelihoods entirely destroyed.

How can such politicians look their victims in the eye and say it was worth it?

The people, who felt their concerns about long-term economic and mental health costs were brushed aside just a few weeks ago, are now increasingly asking why these politicians are allowing the left-wing mobs to occupy the streets in blatant disregard of lockdown measures.

Ironically, these rallies provide more compelling evidence of how the so-called “pandemic” has been fabricated for ideological reasons, and successfully used to undermine individual rights, the market economy, and to further empower the coercive apparatuses of the State at every single level of government.

Spreading new cases of coronavirus and force more governmental intervention may very well have been the hidden agenda of some protest organisers. They might have hoped that these protests could result in more infections which would then lead to further deaths and government interventions, the greatest burden falling on black communities.

Once again these unpopular Leftist groups have achieved their ultimate goal and proven that laws which are supposedly valid for all, and passed to protect us, mean absolutely nothing to them. Of course, it will now become extremely difficult for these governments to impose their dictatorial powers on ordinary people, who have so far consented to the oppressive commands of their political masters without a more proper questioning of their constitutional validity.

Entitled by the mainstream media, more protests of this kind are planned despite possible court orders and health experts pleading for them to not go ahead at the risk of exposing people to coronavirus infection. But the number of people infected is likely to be much lower than they might expect, which then ironically exposes the measures to fight a “pandemic” in which the mortality rates are extremely low, and much lower than a normal flu.

Of course, there was never an emergency that could possibly justify the use of such extreme measures. Relying on a few experts, our federal and state politicians have used their powers beyond the limits of constitutionality, to destroy jobs and much of the productive sector of society, while leaving the bloated public sector intact. Inevitably, the job losses caused by these unconstitutional measures will lead to more homelessness and financial pressures, leading to higher suicide rates, drug abuse, poverty, and a dramatic growth in crime, which always increases in times of recession.

This leads some people to the reasonable assumption such protests may have assisted the population to better understand the political agenda behind a “pandemic” disaster that now appears to be entirely fabricated, and essentially justifying the concentration of power on a minority of privileged individuals, especially “experts”, bureaucrats and politicians.

If that was the hidden agenda behind the “pandemic”, perhaps even more significant is how these protests unintentionally expose the political elite’s illiberal agenda, with dramatic implications for the rule of law and basic rights of the people. Since the rates of community transmission of coronavirus are extremely low, and many states are simply not being able to report any new cases for days in a row, there is a real chance that these protests unwillingly expose the anti-democratic and illiberal nature of the country’s ruling elites.

With the public sector wholly protected, ordinary citizens are now being controlled minutely by extraordinary measures which are based on an arbitrary exercise of power. Of course, it will now become extremely difficult for the political elites to impose these measures on ordinary people, who have so far consented to them without a more proper questioning of their constitutional validity.

I personally find the latest developments truly disgusting and basically a sign that the people have been miserably betrayed by an uncaring, uncompassionate political elite in their insatiable desire for more power and control. In particular, those protests over the weekend have revealed the authoritarian agenda and reckless indifference of the political elites to the suffering of the people.

In this context, our political leaders should be reminded of John Locke, that great ‘Founder of Liberalism’. Locke, whose political philosophy underpins the 1688 Glorious Revolution and the UScDeclaration of Independence, argued that governments have no other end ‘but the preservation of these rights, and therefore can never have a right to destroy, enslave, or designedly to impoverish the subjects’. If a government exceeds the limits of its legitimate power, citizens have the lawful right to resist such acts of political oppression.

As Locke famously put it: "Whenever the legislators endeavour to take away and destroy the rights of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people, who are thereupon absolved from any further obedience, and are left to the common refuge which God hath provided for all men against force and violence."

We should not be too hasty in dismissing Locke’s idea of lawful resistance. This is our classical liberal tradition of constitutional government and it firmly communicates that there cannot be one rule for some and another for the rest of us. To be sure, the only positive outcome from these protests is that the population are finally getting an insight into the real mentality of their ruling elites.

Federal, state, and territory leaders have been considerably exposed. The people have the basic right to demand the lifting of arbitrary restrictions and restoration of our individual rights and freedoms. We have sacrificed our freedoms. We have lost our jobs and businesses apparently for nothing. End these draconian restrictions right now or face the lawful (and constitutional) resistance of the people.



The Four Horsemen of America's Apocalypse

It takes a lot to build a civilization, and though it is much easier to destroy a civilization, it takes a lot to do that, too.

But now we have four roots of evil that are guaranteed to do so.

No. 1: Victimhood.

The first is victimhood. The more people who regard themselves as victims — as individuals or as a group — the more likely they are to commit evil. People who think of themselves as victims feel that, having been victimized, they are no longer bound by normal moral conventions — especially the moral conventions of their alleged or real oppressors.

Everyone knows this is true. But few confront this truth. Every parent, for example, knows that the child who thinks of him or herself as a perpetual victim is the child most likely to cause and get into trouble. And criminologists report that nearly every murderer in prison thinks of himself as a victim.

On a societal scale, the same holds true — and being on such a larger scale, the chances of real evil ensuing are exponentially increased. One of the most obvious examples is Germany after World War I. Most Germans regarded themselves as victims — of the Treaty of Versailles; of a “stab in the back” German government; of the British, Americans and French; and, of course, of the Jews. This sense of victimhood was one of the most important factors in the popularity of the Nazis, who promised to restore German dignity.

That millions of black Americans regard themselves as victims — probably more so today than at any time in the past 50 years — can only lead to disaster for America generally and for blacks specifically. While victims generally feel free to lash out at others, they also go through life angry and unhappy.

No. 2: Demonization.

The second of the four ingredients of this civilization-destroying witches’ brew is demonization — demonizing a group as inherently evil.

That is being done now with regard to the white people of America. All — again, all — whites are declared racist. The only difference among them is that some admit it and some deny it. The notion that whites are inherently evil has long been associated with Louis Farrakhan. But it has apparently migrated out from his relatively small following to many blacks, even those who might consider Farrakhan a kook. Former President Barack Obama, hardly a Farrakhan follower, described America as having racism in its DNA. That is as close to inherently and irredeemably evil as it gets; you cannot change your DNA.

In that sense, not only are whites demonized, but America is, too. Unlike traditional liberals, the left regards America as a moral cesspool — not only racist but, according to The New York Times, founded to be so. The New York Times has created a history of America that declares its founding not in 1776 but in 1619, when the first black slaves arrived. The American Revolution was fought, according to this malign narrative, not merely for American independence but in order to preserve slavery, a practice the British would have interfered with. This “history” will now be taught in thousands of American schools.

The combination of victimhood and demonization alone is dangerous enough. But there are still two more horsemen galloping toward the looming apocalypse.

No. 3: A Cause To Believe In.

Most Americans throughout American history found great meaning in being American and in being religious — usually Christian. Since World War II, we have lived in a post-Christian, post-nationalist age. Until very recently, Americans would have found the expression “for God and country” deeply meaningful; that term today, on the left, is risible and execrable.

But people need something to believe in. The need for meaning is the greatest human need after the need for food. Leftism, with all its offshoots — feminism, environmentalism, Black Lives Matter, antifa — has filled that vacuum. In Europe, communism, fascism and Nazism filled the hole left by the demise of nationalism and Christianity. Here it is leftism and its offshoots.

No. 4: Lies.

The fourth and most important ingredient necessary for evil is lies. Lies are the root of evil. Ironically, slavery itself was made possible only because of the lie that the black was inferior to the white. Nazism was made possible thanks to the lie that Jews were not fully human. And communism was built on lies. Lenin, the father of Soviet Communism, named the Soviet communist newspaper “Truth” (“Pravda”) because truth was what the Communist Party said it was.

The New York Times, CNN and the rest of the mainstream “news” media are becoming our version of Pravda.

Objective truth doesn’t exist on the left. The universities have already declared “objective truth” as essentially an expression of “white privilege.” See what happens to a student who says in class, for example, that “men cannot give birth.”

The public self-debasement demanded of anyone who differs with the left — like New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees just did when he said not standing for the national anthem desecrated the flag and those who have died for it — happens almost daily. The only difference between this and what dissidents underwent during Mao’s Cultural Revolution is that the self-debasement here is voluntary — thus far.
Last week, when this Jew saw a store in Santa Monica with a sign reading “black-owned business” so as to avoid being destroyed, it evoked chilling memories.

That’s how bad it is in America today.



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

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



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Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party. And now a "Deplorable"

That Left and Right are so hostile to one-another is most unfortunate. Broadly, the world needs Leftists to highlight problems and conservatives to solve them. But the Left get angry with conservatives when conservatives point out that there are no good solutions to some problems

Social justice is injustice. What is just about taking money off people who have earned it and giving it to people who have not earned it? You can call it many things but justice it is not

But it is the aim of all Leftist governments to take money off people who have earned it and give it to people who have not earned it

Envy was once considered to be one of the seven deadly sins before it became one of the most admired virtues under its new name, 'social justice.’ - Thomas Sowell

At the most basic (psychological) level, conservatives are the contented people and Leftists are the discontented people. Conservatives don't think the world is perfect but they can happily live with it. And both those attitudes are largely dispositional, inborn -- which is why they so rarely change

The Left Doesn't Like Christmas because Christmas is just too happy for them

As a good academic, I define my terms: A Leftist is a person who is so dissatisfied with the way things naturally are that he/she is prepared to use force to make people behave in ways that they otherwise would not.

So an essential feature of Leftism is that they think they have the right to tell other people what to do. They see things in the world that are not ideal and conclude therefore that they have the right to change those things by force. Conservative explanations of why things are not ideal -- and never can be -- fall on deaf ears

Who is this Leftist? Take his description of his political program: A "declaration of war against the order of things which exist, against the state of things which exist, in a word, against the structure of the world which presently exists". You could hardly get a more change-oriented or revolutionary programme than that. So whose programme was it? Marx? Lenin? Stalin? Trotsky? Mao? No. It was how Hitler described his programme towards the end of "Mein Kampf". And the Left pretend that Hitler was some sort of conservative! Perhaps it not labouring the point also to ask who it was that described his movement as having a 'revolutionary creative will' which had 'no fixed aim, _ no permanency, only eternal change'. It could very easily have been Trotsky or Mao but it was in fact Hitler (O'Sullivan, 1983. p. 138). Clearly, Nazism was nothing more nor less than a racist form of Leftism (rather extreme Leftism at that) and to label it as "Rightist" or anything else is to deny reality.

A rarely acknowledged aim of Leftist policy in a democracy is to deliver dismay and disruption into the lives other people -- whom they regard as "complacent" -- and they are good at achieving that.

As usual, however, it is actually they who are complacent, with a conviction of the rightness and virtue of their own beliefs that merges into arrogance. They regard anyone who disagrees with them with contempt.

Leftists are wolves in sheep's clothing

Liberals are people who don't believe in liberty

Leftist principles are as solid as foam rubber. When they say that there is no such thing as right and wrong they really mean it.

Leftists FEAR the future

There is no dealing with the Left. Their word is no good. You cannot make a deal with someone who thinks lying and stealing are mere tactics, which the Marxists actually brag about

Montesquieu knew Leftists well: "There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice."

Because they claim to have all the answers to society's ills, Communists often seem "cool" to young people

German has a word that describes most Leftists well: "Scheinheilig" - A person who appears to be very kind, soft natured, and filled with pure goodness but behind the facade, has a vile nature. He is seemingly holy but is an unscrupulous person on the inside.

The new faith is very oppressive: Leftist orthodoxy is the new dominant religion of the Western world and it is every bit as bigoted and oppressive as Christianity was at its worst

There are two varieties of authoritarian Leftism. Fascists are soft Leftists, preaching one big happy family -- "Better together" in other words. Communists are hard Leftists, preaching class war.

Equality: The nonsensical and incoherent claim that underlies so much Leftist discourse is "all men are equal". And that is the envier's gospel. It makes not a scrap of sense and shows no contact with reality but it is something that enviers resort to as a way of soothing their envious feelings. They deny the very differences that give them so much heartburn. "Denial" was long ago identified by Freud as a maladaptive psychological defence mechanism and "All men are equal" is a prize example of that. Whatever one thinks of his theories, Freud was undoubtedly an acute observer of people and very few psychologists today would doubt the maladaptive nature of denial as described by Freud.

Socialism is the most evil malady ever to afflict the human brain. The death toll in WWII alone tells you that

American conservatives have to struggle to hold their country together against Leftist attempts to destroy it. Maduro's Venezuela is a graphic example of how extremely destructive socialism in government can be

The standard response from Marxist apologists for Stalin and other Communist dictators is to say you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. To which Orwell retorted, ‘Where’s the omelette?’

You do still occasionally see some mention of the old idea that Leftist parties represent the worker. In the case of the U.S. Democrats that is long gone. Now they want to REFORM the worker. No wonder most working class Americans these days vote Republican. Democrats are the party of the minorities and the smug

"The tendency of liberals is to create bodies of men and women — of all classes — detached from tradition, alienated from religion, and susceptible to mass suggestion — mob rule. And a mob will be no less a mob if it is well fed, well clothed, well housed, and well disciplined." —T.S. Eliot

We live in a country where the people own the Government and not in a country where the Government owns the people -- Churchill

"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others" -- Cicero. See here

The Left have a lot in common with tortoises. They have a thick mental shell that protects them from the reality of the world about them

Definition of a Socialist: Someone who wants everything you have...except your job.

ABOUT: Postings here from Brisbane, Australia by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party. And now a "Deplorable"

When it comes to political incorrectness, I hit the trifecta. I talk about race, IQ and social class. I have an academic background in all three subjects but that wins me no forgiveness

Let's now have some thought-provoking graphics

Israel: A great powerhouse of the human spirit

The current Leftist mantra

The difference in practice

The United Nations: A great ideal but a sordid reality

Alfred Dreyfus, a reminder of French antisemitism still relevant today

Eugenio Pacelli, a righteous Gentile, a true man of God and a brilliant Pope

Leftism in one picture:

The "steamroller" above who got steamrollered by his own hubris. Spitzer is a warning of how self-destructive a vast ego can be -- and also of how destructive of others it can be.

R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. Allende had just burnt the electoral rolls so it wasn't hard to see what was coming. Pinochet pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason

Leftist writers usually seem quite reasonable and persuasive at first glance. The problem is not what they say but what they don't say. Leftist beliefs are so counterfactual ("all men are equal", "all men are brothers" etc.) that to be a Leftist you have to have a talent for blotting out from your mind facts that don't suit you. And that is what you see in Leftist writing: A very selective view of reality. Facts that disrupt a Leftist story are simply ignored. Leftist writing is cherrypicking on a grand scale

So if ever you read something written by a Leftist that sounds totally reasonable, you have an urgent need to find out what other people say on that topic. The Leftist will almost certainly have told only half the story

We conservatives have the facts on our side, which is why Leftists never want to debate us and do their best to shut us up. It's very revealing the way they go to great lengths to suppress conservative speech at universities. Universities should be where the best and brightest Leftists are to be found but even they cannot stand the intellectual challenge that conservatism poses for them. It is clearly a great threat to them. If what we say were ridiculous or wrong, they would grab every opportunity to let us know it

A conservative does not hanker after the new; He hankers after the good. Leftists hanker after the untested

Just one thing is sufficient to tell all and sundry what an unamerican lamebrain Obama is. He pronounced an army corps as an army "corpse" Link here. Can you imagine any previous American president doing that? Many were men with significant personal experience in the armed forces in their youth.

'Gay Pride' parades: You know you live in a great country when "oppressed" people have big, colorful parades.

A favorite Leftist saying sums up the whole of Leftism: "To make an omelette, you've got to break eggs". They want to change some state of affairs and don't care who or what they destroy or damage in the process. They think their alleged good intentions are sufficient to absolve them from all blame for even the most evil deeds

In practical politics, the art of Leftism is to sound good while proposing something destructive

Leftists are the "we know best" people, meaning that they are intrinsically arrogant. Matthew chapter 6 would not be for them. And arrogance leads directly into authoritarianism

Leftism is fundamentally authoritarian. Whether by revolution or by legislation, Leftists aim to change what people can and must do. When in 2008 Obama said that he wanted to "fundamentally transform" America, he was not talking about America's geography or topography but rather about American people. He wanted them to stop doing things that they wanted to do and make them do things that they did not want to do. Can you get a better definition of authoritarianism than that?

And note that an American President is elected to administer the law, not make it. That seems to have escaped Mr Obama

That Leftism is intrinsically authoritarian is not a new insight. It was well understood by none other than Friedrich Engels (Yes. THAT Engels). His clever short essay On authority was written as a reproof to the dreamy Anarchist Left of his day. It concludes: "A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means"

Inside Every Liberal is a Totalitarian Screaming to Get Out

Insight: "A man's admiration for absolute government is proportionate to the contempt he feels for those around him." —Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)

Leftists think of themselves as the new nobility

Many people in literary and academic circles today who once supported Stalin and his heirs are generally held blameless and may even still be admired whereas anybody who gave the slightest hint of support for the similarly brutal Hitler regime is an utter polecat and pariah. Why? Because Hitler's enemies were "only" the Jews whereas Stalin's enemies were those the modern day Left still hates -- people who are doing well for themselves materially. Modern day Leftists understand and excuse Stalin and his supporters because Stalin's hates are their hates.

"Those who see hate everywhere think they're looking thru a window when actually they're looking at a mirror"

Hatred has long been a central pillar of leftist ideologies, premised as they are on trampling individual rights for the sake of a collectivist plan. Karl Marx boasted that he was “the greatest hater of the so-called positive.” In 1923, V.I. Lenin chillingly declared to the Soviet Commissars of Education, “We must teach our children to hate. Hatred is the basis of communism.” In his tract “Left-Wing Communism,” Lenin went so far as to assert that hatred was “the basis of every socialist and Communist movement.”

If you understand that Leftism is hate, everything falls into place.

The strongest way of influencing people is to convince them that you will do them some good. Leftists and con-men misuse that

Leftists believe only what they want to believe. So presenting evidence contradicting their beliefs simply enrages them. They do not learn from it

Psychological defence mechanisms such as projection play a large part in Leftist thinking and discourse. So their frantic search for evil in the words and deeds of others is easily understandable. The evil is in themselves.

Leftists who think that they can conjure up paradise out of their own limited brains are simply fools -- arrogant and dangerous fools. They essentially know nothing. Conservatives learn from the thousands of years of human brains that have preceded us -- including the Bible, the ancient Greeks and much else. The death of Socrates is, for instance, an amazing prefiguration of the intolerant 21st century. Ask any conservative stranded in academe about his freedom of speech

Thomas Sowell: “There are no solutions, only trade-offs.” Leftists don't understand that -- which is a major factor behind their simplistic thinking. They just never see the trade-offs. But implementing any Leftist idea will hit us all with the trade-offs

Chesteron's fence -- good conservative thinking

"The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley"[go oft astray] is a well known line from a famous poem by the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns. But the next line is even wiser: "And leave us nought but grief and pain for promised joy". Burns was a Leftist of sorts so he knew how often their theories fail badly.

Mostly, luck happens when opportunity meets preparation.

Most Leftist claims are simply propaganda. Those who utter such claims must know that they are not telling the whole story. Hitler described his Marxist adversaries as "lying with a virtuosity that would bend iron beams". At the risk of ad hominem shrieks, I think that image is too good to remain disused.

Conservatives adapt to the world they live in. Leftists want to change the world to suit themselves

Given their dislike of the world they live in, it would be a surprise if Leftists were patriotic and loved their own people. Prominent English Leftist politician Jack Straw probably said it best: "The English as a race are not worth saving"

In his 1888 book, The Anti-Christ Friedrich Nietzsche argues that we should treat the common man well and kindly because he is the backdrop against which the exceptional man can be seen. So Nietzsche deplores those who agitate the common man: "Whom do I hate most among the rabble of today? The socialist rabble, the chandala [outcast] apostles, who undermine the instinct, the pleasure, the worker's sense of satisfaction with his small existence—who make him envious, who teach him revenge. The source of wrong is never unequal rights but the claim of “equal” rights"

Why do conservatives respect tradition and rely on the past in many ways? Because they want to know what works and the past is the chief source of evidence on that. Leftists are more faith-based. They cling to their theories (e.g. global warming) with religious fervour, even though theories are often wrong

Thinking that you "know best" is an intrinsically precarious and foolish stance -- because nobody does. Reality is so complex and unpredictable that it can rarely be predicted far ahead. Conservatives can see that and that is why conservatives always want change to be done gradually, in a step by step way. So the Leftist often finds the things he "knows" to be out of step with reality, which challenges him and his ego. Sadly, rather than abandoning the things he "knows", he usually resorts to psychological defence mechanisms such as denial and projection. He is largely impervious to argument because he has to be. He can't afford to let reality in.

A prize example of the Leftist tendency to projection (seeing your own faults in others) is the absurd Robert "Bob" Altemeyer, an acclaimed psychologist and father of a Canadian Leftist politician. Altemeyer claims that there is no such thing as Leftist authoritarianism and that it is conservatives who are "Enemies of Freedom". That Leftists (e.g. Mrs Obama) are such enemies of freedom that they even want to dictate what people eat has apparently passed Altemeyer by. Even Stalin did not go that far. And there is the little fact that all the great authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Stalin, Hitler and Mao) were socialist. Freud saw reliance on defence mechanisms such as projection as being maladjusted. It is difficult to dispute that. Altemeyer is too illiterate to realize it but he is actually a good Hegelian. Hegel thought that "true" freedom was marching in step with a Left-led herd.

What libertarian said this? “The bureaucracy is a parasite on the body of society, a parasite which ‘chokes’ all its vital pores…The state is a parasitic organism”. It was VI Lenin, in August 1917, before he set up his own vastly bureaucratic state. He could see the problem but had no clue about how to solve it.

It was Democrat John F Kennedy who cut taxes and declared that “a rising tide lifts all boats"

Leftist stupidity is a special class of stupidity. The people concerned are mostly not stupid in general but they have a character defect (mostly arrogance) that makes them impatient with complexity and unwilling to study it. So in their policies they repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot; They fail to attain their objectives. The world IS complex so a simplistic approach to it CANNOT work.

Seminal Leftist philosopher, G.W.F. Hegel said something that certainly applies to his fellow Leftists: "We learn from history that we do not learn from history". And he captured the Left in this saying too: "Evil resides in the very gaze which perceives Evil all around itself".

"A man who is not a socialist at age 20 has no heart; A man who is still a socialist at age 30 has no head". Who said that? Most people attribute it to Winston but as far as I can tell it was first said by Georges Clemenceau, French Premier in WWI -- whose own career approximated the transition concerned. And he in turn was probably updating an earlier saying about monarchy versus Republicanism by Guizot. Other attributions here. There is in fact a normal drift from Left to Right as people get older. Both Reagan and Churchill started out as liberals

Funny how to the Leftist intelligentsia poor blacks are 'oppressed' and poor whites are 'trash'. Racism, anyone?

MESSAGE to Leftists: Even if you killed all conservatives tomorrow, you would just end up in another Soviet Union. Conservatives are all that stand between you and that dismal fate. And you may not even survive at all. Stalin killed off all the old Bolsheviks.

A Conservative manifesto from England -- The inimitable Jacob Rees-Mogg


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

Just the name of Hitler's political party should be sufficient to reject the claim that Hitler was "Right wing" but Leftists sometimes retort that the name "Democratic People's Republic of Korea" is not informative, in that it is the name of a dismal Stalinist tyranny. But "People's Republic" is a normal name for a Communist country whereas I know of no conservative political party that calls itself a "Socialist Worker's Party". Such parties are in fact usually of the extreme Left (Trotskyite etc.)

Most people find the viciousness of the Nazis to be incomprehensible -- for instance what they did in their concentration camps. But you just have to read a little of the vileness that pours out from modern-day "liberals" in their Twitter and blog comments to understand it all very well. Leftists haven't changed. They are still boiling with hate

Hatred as a motivating force for political strategy leads to misguided ­decisions. “Hatred is blind,” as Alexandre Dumas warned, “rage carries you away; and he who pours out vengeance runs the risk of tasting a bitter draught.”

Who said this in 1968? "I am not, and never have been, a man of the right. My position was on the Left and is now in the centre of politics". It was Sir Oswald Mosley, founder and leader of the British Union of Fascists

The term "Fascism" is mostly used by the Left as a brainless term of abuse. But when they do make a serious attempt to define it, they produce very complex and elaborate definitions -- e.g. here and here. In fact, Fascism is simply extreme socialism plus nationalism. But great gyrations are needed to avoid mentioning the first part of that recipe, of course.

Three examples of Leftist racism below (much more here and here):

Jesse Owens, the African-American hero of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, said "Hitler didn't snub me – it was our president who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram." Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt never even invited the quadruple gold medal-winner to the White House

Beatrice Webb, a founder of the London School of Economics and the Fabian Society, and married to a Labour MP, mused in 1922 on whether when English children were "dying from lack of milk", one should extend "the charitable impulse" to Russian and Chinese children who, if saved this year, might anyway die next. Besides, she continued, there was "the larger question of whether those races are desirable inhabitants" and "obviously" one wouldn't "spend one's available income" on "a Central African negro".

Hugh Dalton, offered the Colonial Office during Attlee's 1945-51 Labour government, turned it down because "I had a horrid vision of pullulating, poverty stricken, diseased nigger communities, for whom one can do nothing in the short run and who, the more one tries to help them, are querulous and ungrateful."

The Zimmerman case is an excellent proof that the Left is deep-down racist

Defensible and indefensible usages of the term "racism"

The book, The authoritarian personality, authored by T.W. Adorno et al. in 1950, has been massively popular among psychologists. It claims that a set of ideas that were popular in the "Progressive"-dominated America of the prewar era were "authoritarian". Leftist regimes always are authoritarian so that claim was not a big problem. What was quite amazing however is that Adorno et al. identified such ideas as "conservative". They were in fact simply popular ideas of the day but ones that had been most heavily promoted by the Left right up until the then-recent WWII. See here for details of prewar "Progressive" thinking.

Leftist psychologists have an amusingly simplistic conception of military organizations and military men. They seem to base it on occasions they have seen troops marching together on parade rather than any real knowledge of military men and the military life. They think that military men are "rigid" -- automatons who are unable to adjust to new challenges or think for themselves. What is incomprehensible to them is that being kadaver gehorsam (to use the extreme Prussian term for following orders) actually requires great flexibility -- enough flexibility to put your own ideas and wishes aside and do something very difficult. Ask any soldier if all commands are easy to obey.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a war criminal. Both British and American codebreakers had cracked the Japanese naval code so FDR knew what was coming at Pearl Harbor. But for his own political reasons he warned no-one there. So responsibility for the civilian and military deaths at Pearl Harbor lies with FDR as well as with the Japanese. The huge firepower available at Pearl Harbor, both aboard ship and on land, could have largely neutered the attack. Can you imagine 8 battleships and various lesser craft firing all their AA batteries as the Japanese came in? The Japanese naval airforce would have been annihilated and the war would have been over before it began.

FDR prolonged the Depression. He certainly didn't cure it.

WWII did NOT end the Great Depression. It just concealed it. It in fact made living standards worse

FDR appointed a known KKK member, Hugo Black, to the Supreme Court

Joe McCarthy was eventually proved right after the fall of the Soviet Union. To accuse anyone of McCarthyism is to accuse them of accuracy!

The KKK was intimately associated with the Democratic party. They ATTACKED Republicans!

High Level of Welfare Use by Legal and Illegal Immigrants in the USA. Low skill immigrants receive 4 to 5 dollars of benefits for every dollar in taxes paid

People who mention differences in black vs. white IQ are these days almost universally howled down and subjected to the most extreme abuse. I am a psychometrician, however, so I feel obliged to defend the scientific truth of the matter: The average African adult has about the same IQ as an average white 11-year-old and African Americans (who are partly white in ancestry) average out at a mental age of 14. The American Psychological Association is generally Left-leaning but it is the world's most prestigious body of academic psychologists. And even they (under the chairmanship of Ulric Neisser) have had to concede that sort of gap (one SD) in black vs. white average IQ. 11-year olds can do a lot of things but they also have their limits and there are times when such limits need to be allowed for.

The heritability of general cognitive ability increases linearly from childhood to young adulthood

The association between high IQ and long life is overwhelmingly genetic: "In the combined sample the genetic contribution to the covariance was 95%"

The Dark Ages were not dark

Judged by his deeds, Abraham Lincoln was one of the bloodiest villains ever to walk the Earth. See here. And: America's uncivil war was caused by trade protectionism. The slavery issue was just camouflage, as Abraham Lincoln himself admitted. See also here

At the beginning of the North/South War, Confederate general Robert E. Lee did not own any slaves. Union General Ulysses L. Grant did.

Was slavery already washed up by the tides of history before Lincoln took it on? Eric Williams in his book "Capitalism and Slavery" tells us: “The commercial capitalism of the eighteenth century developed the wealth of Europe by means of slavery and monopoly. But in so doing it helped to create the industrial capitalism of the nineteenth century, which turned round and destroyed the power of commercial capitalism, slavery, and all its works. Without a grasp of these economic changes the history of the period is meaningless.”

Revolutionary terrorists in Russia killed Tsar Alexander II in 1881 (after three prior assassination attempts). Alexander II was a great reformer who abolished serfdom one year before the US abolished slavery. If his democratic and economic reforms had continued, Russia may have been much less radical politically a couple of decades later, when Nicholas II was overthrown.

Did William Zantzinger kill poor Hattie Carroll?

Did Bismarck predict where WWI would start or was it just a "free" translation by Churchill?

Conrad Black on the Declaration of Independence

Some rare Leftist realism: "God forbid if the rich leave" NY Governor Cuomo February 04, 2019

Malcolm Gladwell: "There is more of reality and wisdom in a Chinese fortune cookie than can be found anywhere in Gladwell’s pages"

Some people are born bad -- confirmed by genetics research

The dark side of American exceptionalism: America could well be seen as the land of folly. It fought two unnecessary civil wars, would have done well to keep out of two world wars, endured the extraordinary folly of Prohibition and twice elected a traitor President -- Barack Obama. That America remains a good place to be is a tribute to the energy and hard work of individual Americans.

“From the fact that people are very different it follows that, if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position, and that the only way to place them in an equal position would be to treat them differently. Equality before the law and material equality are therefore not only different but are in conflict with each other; and we can achieve either one or the other, but not both at the same time.” ? Friedrich Hayek, The Constitution Of Liberty


The 10 "cannots" (By William J. H. Boetcker) that Leftist politicians ignore:
*You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
* You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
* You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
* You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
* You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
* You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
* You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
* You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
* You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
* And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

A good short definition of conservative: "One who wants you to keep your hand out of his pocket."

Beware of good intentions. They mostly lead to coercion

A gargantuan case of hubris, coupled with stunning level of ignorance about how the real world works, is the essence of progressivism.

The U.S. Constitution is neither "living" nor dead. It is fixed until it is amended. But amending it is the privilege of the people, not of politicians or judges

It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong - Thomas Sowell

Leftists think that utopia can be coerced into existence -- so no dishonesty or brutality is beyond them in pursuit of that "noble" goal

"England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution" -- George Orwell

Was 16th century science pioneer Paracelsus a libertarian? His motto was "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself."

"When using today's model of society as a rule, most of history will be found to be full of oppression, bias, and bigotry." What today's arrogant judges of history fail to realize is that they, too, will be judged. What will Americans of 100 years from now make of, say, speech codes, political correctness, and zero tolerance - to name only three? Assuming, of course, there will still be an America that we, today, would recognize. Given the rogue Federal government spy apparatus, I am not at all sure of that. -- Paul Havemann

Economist Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973): "The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office."

It's the shared hatred of the rest of us that unites Islamists and the Left.

American liberals don't love America. They despise it. All they love is their own fantasy of what America could become. They are false patriots.

The Democratic Party: Con-men elected by the ignorant and the arrogant

The Democratic Party is a strange amalgam of elites, would-be elites and minorities. No wonder their policies are so confused and irrational

Why are conservatives more at ease with religion? Because it is basic to conservatism that some things are unknowable, and religious people have to accept that too. Leftists think that they know it all and feel threatened by any exceptions to that. Thinking that you know it all is however the pride that comes before a fall.

The characteristic emotion of the Leftist is not envy. It's rage

Leftists are committed to grievance, not truth

The British Left poured out a torrent of hate for Margaret Thatcher on the occasion of her death. She rescued Britain from chaos and restored Britain's prosperity. What's not to hate about that?

Something you didn't know about Margaret Thatcher

The world's dumbest investor? Without doubt it is Uncle Sam. Nobody anywhere could rival the scale of the losses on "investments" made under the Obama administration

"Behind the honeyed but patently absurd pleas for equality is a ruthless drive for placing themselves (the elites) at the top of a new hierarchy of power" -- Murray Rothbard - Egalitarianism and the Elites (1995)

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money. -- G. Gordon Liddy

"World socialism as a whole, and all the figures associated with it, are shrouded in legend; its contradictions are forgotten or concealed; it does not respond to arguments but continually ignores them--all this stems from the mist of irrationality that surrounds socialism and from its instinctive aversion to scientific analysis... The doctrines of socialism seethe with contradictions, its theories are at constant odds with its practice, yet due to a powerful instinct these contradictions do not in the least hinder the unending propaganda of socialism. Indeed, no precise, distinct socialism even exists; instead there is only a vague, rosy notion of something noble and good, of equality, communal ownership, and justice: the advent of these things will bring instant euphoria and a social order beyond reproach." -- Solzhenitsyn

"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." -- Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV)

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. -- Thomas Jefferson

"Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power" -- Bertrand Russell

Evan Sayet: The Left sides "...invariably with evil over good, wrong over right, and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success." (t=5:35+ on video)

The Republicans are the gracious side of American politics. It is the Democrats who are the nasty party, the haters

Wanting to stay out of the quarrels of other nations is conservative -- but conservatives will fight if attacked or seriously endangered. Anglo/Irish statesman Lord Castlereagh (1769-1822), who led the political coalition that defeated Napoleon, was an isolationist, as were traditional American conservatives.

Some wisdom from the past: "The bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respectable stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment." —George Washington, 1783

Some useful definitions:

If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one. If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat. If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels. Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.
If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church. A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it's a foreign religion, of course!)
If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

There is better evidence for creation than there is for the Leftist claim that “gender” is a “social construct”. Most Leftist claims seem to be faith-based rather than founded on the facts

Leftists are classic weak characters. They dish out abuse by the bucketload but cannot take it when they get it back. Witness the Loughner hysteria.

Death taxes: You would expect a conscientious person, of whatever degree of intelligence, to reflect on the strange contradiction involved in denying people the right to unearned wealth, while supporting programs that give people unearned wealth.

America is no longer the land of the free. It is now the land of the regulated -- though it is not alone in that, of course

The Leftist motto: "I love humanity. It's just people I can't stand"

Why are Leftists always talking about hate? Because it fills their own hearts

Envy is a strong and widespread human emotion so there has alway been widespread support for policies of economic "levelling". Both the USA and the modern-day State of Israel were founded by communists but reality taught both societies that respect for the individual gave much better outcomes than levelling ideas. Sadly, there are many people in both societies in whom hatred for others is so strong that they are incapable of respect for the individual. The destructiveness of what they support causes them to call themselves many names in different times and places but they are the backbone of the political Left

Gore Vidal: "Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little". Vidal was of course a Leftist

The large number of rich Leftists suggests that, for them, envy is secondary. They are directly driven by hatred and scorn for many of the other people that they see about them. Hatred of others can be rooted in many things, not only in envy. But the haters come together as the Left. Some evidence here showing that envy is not what defines the Left

Leftists hate the world around them and want to change it: the people in it most particularly. Conservatives just want to be left alone to make their own decisions and follow their own values.

The failure of the Soviet experiment has definitely made the American Left more vicious and hate-filled than they were. The plain failure of what passed for ideas among them has enraged rather than humbled them.

Ronald Reagan famously observed that the status quo is Latin for “the mess we’re in.” So much for the vacant Leftist claim that conservatives are simply defenders of the status quo. They think that conservatives are as lacking in principles as they are.

Was Confucius a conservative? The following saying would seem to reflect good conservative caution: "The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved."

The shallow thinkers of the Left sometimes claim that conservatives want to impose their own will on others in the matter of abortion. To make that claim is however to confuse religion with politics. Conservatives are in fact divided about their response to abortion. The REAL opposition to abortion is religious rather than political. And the church which has historically tended to support the LEFT -- the Roman Catholic church -- is the most fervent in the anti-abortion cause. Conservatives are indeed the one side of politics to have moral qualms on the issue but they tend to seek a middle road in dealing with it. Taking the issue to the point of legal prohibitions is a religious doctrine rather than a conservative one -- and the religion concerned may or may not be characteristically conservative. More on that here

Some Leftist hatred arises from the fact that they blame "society" for their own personal problems and inadequacies

The Leftist hunger for change to the society that they hate leads to a hunger for control over other people. And they will do and say anything to get that control: "Power at any price". Leftist politicians are mostly self-aggrandizing crooks who gain power by deceiving the uninformed with snake-oil promises -- power which they invariably use to destroy. Destruction is all that they are good at. Destruction is what haters do.

Leftists are consistent only in their hate. They don't have principles. How can they when "there is no such thing as right and wrong"? All they have is postures, pretend-principles that can be changed as easily as one changes one's shirt

A Leftist assumption: Making money doesn't entitle you to it, but wanting money does.

"Politicians never accuse you of 'greed' for wanting other people's money -- only for wanting to keep your own money." --columnist Joe Sobran (1946-2010)

Leftist policies are candy-coated rat poison that may appear appealing at first, but inevitably do a lot of damage to everyone impacted by them.

A tribute and thanks to Mary Jo Kopechne. Her death was reprehensible but she probably did more by her death that she ever would have in life: She spared the world a President Ted Kennedy. That the heap of corruption that was Ted Kennedy died peacefully in his bed is one of the clearest demonstrations that we do not live in a just world. Even Joe Stalin seems to have been smothered to death by Nikita Khrushchev

I often wonder why Leftists refer to conservatives as "wingnuts". A wingnut is a very useful device that adds versatility wherever it is used. Clearly, Leftists are not even good at abuse. Once they have accused their opponents of racism and Nazism, their cupboard is bare. Similarly, Leftists seem to think it is a devastating critique to refer to "Worldnet Daily" as "Worldnut Daily". The poverty of their argumentation is truly pitiful

The Leftist assertion that there is no such thing as right and wrong has a distinguished history. It was Pontius Pilate who said "What is truth?" (John 18:38). From a Christian viewpoint, the assertion is undoubtedly the Devil's gospel

Even in the Old Testament they knew about "Postmodernism": "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

Was Solomon the first conservative? "The hearts of men are full of evil and madness is in their hearts" -- Ecclesiastes: 9:3 (RSV). He could almost have been talking about Global Warming.

Leftist hatred of Christianity goes back as far as the massacre of the Carmelite nuns during the French revolution. Yancey has written a whole book tabulating modern Leftist hatred of Christians. It is a rival religion to Leftism.

"If one rejects laissez faire on account of man's fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action." - Ludwig von Mises

The naive scholar who searches for a consistent Leftist program will not find it. What there is consists only in the negation of the present.

Because of their need to be different from the mainstream, Leftists are very good at pretending that sow's ears are silk purses

Among intelligent people, Leftism is a character defect. Leftists HATE success in others -- which is why notably successful societies such as the USA and Israel are hated and failures such as the Palestinians can do no wrong.

A Leftist's beliefs are all designed to pander to his ego. So when you have an argument with a Leftist, you are not really discussing the facts. You are threatening his self esteem. Which is why the normal Leftist response to challenge is mere abuse.

Because of the fragility of a Leftist's ego, anything that threatens it is intolerable and provokes rage. So most Leftist blogs can be summarized in one sentence: "How DARE anybody question what I believe!". Rage and abuse substitute for an appeal to facts and reason.

Because their beliefs serve their ego rather than reality, Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence.

Absolute certainty is the privilege of uneducated men and fanatics. -- C.J. Keyser

Hell is paved with good intentions" -- Boswell's Life of Johnson of 1775

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus


"Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him" (Proverbs 26: 12). I think that sums up Leftists pretty well.

Eminent British astrophysicist Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington is often quoted as saying: "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine." It was probably in fact said by his contemporary, J.B.S. Haldane. But regardless of authorship, it could well be a conservative credo not only about the cosmos but also about human beings and human society. Mankind is too complex to be summed up by simple rules and even complex rules are only approximations with many exceptions.

Politics is the only thing Leftists know about. They know nothing of economics, history or business. Their only expertise is in promoting feelings of grievance

Socialism makes the individual the slave of the state -- capitalism frees them.

Many readers here will have noticed that what I say about Leftists sometimes sounds reminiscent of what Leftists say about conservatives. There is an excellent reason for that. Leftists are great "projectors" (people who see their own faults in others). So a good first step in finding out what is true of Leftists is to look at what they say about conservatives! They even accuse conservatives of projection (of course).

The research shows clearly that one's Left/Right stance is strongly genetically inherited but nobody knows just what specifically is inherited. What is inherited that makes people Leftist or Rightist? There is any amount of evidence that personality traits are strongly genetically inherited so my proposal is that hard-core Leftists are people who tend to let their emotions (including hatred and envy) run away with them and who are much more in need of seeing themselves as better than others -- two attributes that are probably related to one another. Such Leftists may be an evolutionary leftover from a more primitive past.

Leftists seem to believe that if someone like Al Gore says it, it must be right. They obviously have a strong need for an authority figure. The fact that the two most authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia) were socialist is thus no surprise. Leftists often accuse conservatives of being "authoritarian" but that is just part of their usual "projective" strategy -- seeing in others what is really true of themselves.

"With their infernal racial set-asides, racial quotas, and race norming, liberals share many of the Klan's premises. The Klan sees the world in terms of race and ethnicity. So do liberals! Indeed, liberals and white supremacists are the only people left in America who are neurotically obsessed with race. Conservatives champion a color-blind society" -- Ann Coulter

Politicians are in general only a little above average in intelligence so the idea that they can make better decisions for us that we can make ourselves is laughable

A quote from the late Dr. Adrian Rogers: "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amendment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.

"Some action that is unconstitutional has much to recommend it" -- Elena Kagan, nominated to SCOTUS by Obama

Frank Sulloway, the anti-scientist

The basic aim of all bureaucrats is to maximize their funding and minimize their workload

A lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Some ancient wisdom for Leftists: "Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself over wise: Why shouldest thou die before thy time?" -- Ecclesiastes 7:16

"Foreign aid is the process by which money is taken from poor people in rich countries and given to rich people in poor countries." -- Peter Bauer

Jesse Jackson: "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery -- then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved." There ARE important racial differences.

Some Jimmy Carter wisdom: "I think it's inevitable that there will be a lower standard of living than what everybody had always anticipated," he told advisers in 1979. "there's going to be a downward turning."

Heritage is what survives death: Very rare and hence very valuable

Big business is not your friend. As Adam Smith said: "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty or justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary

How can I accept the Communist doctrine, which sets up as its bible, above and beyond criticism, an obsolete textbook which I know not only to be scientifically erroneous but without interest or application to the modern world? How can I adopt a creed which, preferring the mud to the fish, exalts the boorish proletariat above the bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia, who with all their faults, are the quality of life and surely carry the seeds of all human achievement? Even if we need a religion, how can we find it in the turbid rubbish of the red bookshop? It is hard for an educated, decent, intelligent son of Western Europe to find his ideals here, unless he has first suffered some strange and horrid process of conversion which has changed all his values. -- John Maynard Keynes

Some wisdom from "Bron" Waugh: "The purpose of politics is to help them [politicians] overcome these feelings of inferiority and compensate for their personal inadequacies in the pursuit of power"

"There are countless horrible things happening all over the country, and horrible people prospering, but we must never allow them to disturb our equanimity or deflect us from our sacred duty to sabotage and annoy them whenever possible"

The urge to pass new laws must be seen as an illness, not much different from the urge to bite old women. Anyone suspected of suffering from it should either be treated with the appropriate pills or, if it is too late for that, elected to Parliament [or Congress, as the case may be] and paid a huge salary with endless holidays, to do nothing whatever"

"It is my settled opinion, after some years as a political correspondent, that no one is attracted to a political career in the first place unless he is socially or emotionally crippled"

Two lines below of a famous hymn that would be incomprehensible to Leftists today ("honor"? "right"? "freedom?" Freedom to agree with them is the only freedom they believe in)

First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean

It is of course the hymn of the USMC -- still today the relentless warriors that they always were. Freedom needs a soldier

If any of the short observations above about Leftism seem wrong, note that they do not stand alone. The evidence for them is set out at great length in my MONOGRAPH on Leftism.

3 memoirs of "Supermac", a 20th century Disraeli (Aristocratic British Conservative Prime Minister -- 1957 to 1963 -- Harold Macmillan):

"It breaks my heart to see (I can't interfere or do anything at my age) what is happening in our country today - this terrible strike of the best men in the world, who beat the Kaiser's army and beat Hitler's army, and never gave in. Pointless, endless. We can't afford that kind of thing. And then this growing division which the noble Lord who has just spoken mentioned, of a comparatively prosperous south, and an ailing north and midlands. That can't go on." -- Mac on the British working class: "the best men in the world" (From his Maiden speech in the House of Lords, 13 November 1984)

"As a Conservative, I am naturally in favour of returning into private ownership and private management all those means of production and distribution which are now controlled by state capitalism"

During Macmillan's time as prime minister, average living standards steadily rose while numerous social reforms were carried out

"Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see." --?Arthur Schopenhauer


The Bible is an Israeli book

There is a view on both Left and Right that Jews are "too" influential. And it is true that they are more influential than their numbers would indicate. But they are exactly as influential as their IQs would indicate

To me, hostility to the Jews is a terrible tragedy. I weep for them at times. And I do literally put my money where my mouth is. I do at times send money to Israeli charities

My (Gentile) opinion of antisemitism: The Jews are the best we've got so killing them is killing us.

It’s a strange paradox when anti-Zionists argue that Jews should suffer and wander without a homeland while urging that Palestinians ought to have security and territory.

"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" -- Genesis 12:3

"O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: They shall prosper that love thee" Psalm 122:6.

If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy -- Psalm 137 (NIV)

Israel, like the Jews throughout history, is hated not for her vices but her virtues. Israel is hated, as the United States is hated, because Israel is successful, because Israel is free, and because Israel is good. As Maxim Gorky put it: “Whatever nonsense the anti-Semites may talk, they dislike the Jew only because he is obviously better, more adroit, and more willing and capable of work than they are.” Whether driven by culture or genes—or like most behavior, an inextricable mix—the fact of Jewish genius is demonstrable." -- George Gilder

To Leftist haters, all the basic rules of liberal society — rejection of hate speech, commitment to academic freedom, rooting out racism, the absolute commitment to human dignity — go out the window when the subject is Israel.

I have always liked the story of Gideon (See Judges chapters 6 to 8) and it is surely no surprise that in the present age Israel is the Gideon of nations: Few in numbers but big in power and impact.

Is the Israel Defence Force the most effective military force per capita since Genghis Khan? They probably are but they are also the most ethically advanced military force that the world has ever seen

If I were not an atheist, I would believe that God had a sense of humour. He gave his chosen people (the Jews) enormous advantages -- high intelligence and high drive -- but to keep it fair he deprived them of something hugely important too: Political sense. So Jews to this day tend very strongly to be Leftist -- even though the chief source of antisemitism for roughly the last 200 years has been the political Left!

And the other side of the coin is that Jews tend to despise conservatives and Christians. Yet American fundamentalist Christians are the bedrock of the vital American support for Israel, the ultimate bolthole for all Jews. So Jewish political irrationality seems to be a rather good example of the saying that "The LORD giveth and the LORD taketh away". There are many other examples of such perversity (or "balance"). The sometimes severe side-effects of most pharmaceutical drugs is an obvious one but there is another ethnic example too, a rather amusing one. Chinese people are in general smart and patient people but their rate of traffic accidents in China is about 10 times higher than what prevails in Western societies. They are brilliant mathematicians and fearless business entrepreneurs but at the same time bad drivers!

Conservatives, on the other hand, could be antisemitic on entirely rational grounds: Namely, the overwhelming Leftism of the Diaspora Jewish population as a whole. Because they judge the individual, however, only a tiny minority of conservative-oriented people make such general judgments. The longer Jews continue on their "stiff-necked" course, however, the more that is in danger of changing. The children of Israel have been a stiff necked people since the days of Moses, however, so they will no doubt continue to vote with their emotions rather than their reason.

I despair of the ADL. Jews have enough problems already and yet in the ADL one has a prominent Jewish organization that does its best to make itself offensive to Christians. Their Leftism is more important to them than the welfare of Jewry -- which is the exact opposite of what they ostensibly stand for! Jewish cleverness seems to vanish when politics are involved. Fortunately, Christians are true to their saviour and have loving hearts. Jewish dissatisfaction with the myopia of the ADL is outlined here. Note that Foxy was too grand to reply to it.

Fortunately for America, though, liberal Jews there are rapidly dying out through intermarriage and failure to reproduce. And the quite poisonous liberal Jews of Israel are not much better off. Judaism is slowly returning to Orthodoxy and the Orthodox tend to be conservative.

The above is good testimony to the accuracy of the basic conservative insight that almost anything in human life is too complex to be reduced to any simple rule and too complex to be reduced to any rule at all without allowance for important exceptions to the rule concerned

Amid their many virtues, one virtue is often lacking among Jews in general and Israelis in particular: Humility. And that's an antisemitic comment only if Hashem is antisemitic. From Moses on, the Hebrew prophets repeatedy accused the Israelites of being "stiff-necked" and urged them to repent. So it's no wonder that the greatest Jewish prophet of all -- Jesus -- not only urged humility but exemplified it in his life and death

"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here. For roughly two centuries now, antisemitism has, throughout the Western world, been principally associated with Leftism (including the socialist Hitler) -- as it is to this day. See here.

Karl Marx hated just about everyone. Even his father, the kindly Heinrich Marx, thought Karl was not much of a human being

Leftists call their hatred of Israel "Anti-Zionism" but Zionists are only a small minority in Israel

Some of the Leftist hatred of Israel is motivated by old-fashioned antisemitism (beliefs in Jewish "control" etc.) but most of it is just the regular Leftist hatred of success in others. And because the societies they inhabit do not give them the vast amount of recognition that their large but weak egos need, some of the most virulent haters of Israel and America live in those countries. So the hatred is the product of pathologically high self-esteem.

Their threatened egos sometimes drive Leftists into quite desperate flights from reality. For instance, they often call Israel an "Apartheid state" -- when it is in fact the Arab states that practice Apartheid -- witness the severe restrictions on Christians in Saudi Arabia. There are no such restrictions in Israel.

If the Palestinians put down their weapons, there'd be peace. If the Israelis put down their weapons, there'd be genocide.

Leftists are usually just anxious little people trying to pretend that they are significant. No doubt there are some Leftists who are genuinely concerned about inequities in our society but their arrogance lies in thinking that they understand it without close enquiry


Many people hunger and thirst after righteousness. Some find it in the hatreds of the Left. Others find it in the love of Christ. I don't hunger and thirst after righteousness at all. I hunger and thirst after truth. How old-fashioned can you get?

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies, mining companies or "Big Pharma"

UPDATE: Despite my (statistical) aversion to mining stocks, I have recently bought a few shares in BHP -- the world's biggest miner, I gather. I run the grave risk of becoming a speaker of famous last words for saying this but I suspect that BHP is now so big as to be largely immune from the risks that plague most mining companies. I also know of no issue affecting BHP where my writings would have any relevance. The Left seem to have a visceral hatred of miners. I have never quite figured out why.

I imagine that few of my readers will understand it, but I am an unabashed monarchist. And, as someone who was born and bred in a monarchy and who still lives there (i.e. Australia), that gives me no conflicts at all. In theory, one's respect for the monarchy does not depend on who wears the crown but the impeccable behaviour of the present Queen does of course help perpetuate that respect. Aside from my huge respect for the Queen, however, my favourite member of the Royal family is the redheaded Prince Harry. The Royal family is of course a military family and Prince Harry is a great example of that. As one of the world's most privileged people, he could well be an idle layabout but instead he loves his life in the army. When his girlfriend Chelsy ditched him because he was so often away, Prince Harry said: "I love Chelsy but the army comes first". A perfect military man! I doubt that many women would understand or approve of his attitude but perhaps my own small army background powers my approval of that attitude.

I imagine that most Americans might find this rather mad -- but I believe that a constitutional Monarchy is the best form of government presently available. Can a libertarian be a Monarchist? I think so -- and prominent British libertarian Sean Gabb seems to think so too! Long live the Queen! (And note that Australia ranks well above the USA on the Index of Economic freedom. Heh!)

The Australian flag with the Union Jack quartered in it

Throughout Europe there is an association between monarchism and conservatism. It is a little sad that American conservatives do not have access to that satisfaction. So even though Australia is much more distant from Europe (geographically) than the USA is, Australia is in some ways more of an outpost of Europe than America is! Mind you: Australia is not very atypical of its region. Australia lies just South of Asia -- and both Japan and Thailand have greatly respected monarchies. And the demise of the Cambodian monarchy was disastrous for Cambodia

Throughout the world today, possession of a U.S. or U.K. passport is greatly valued. I once shared that view. Developments in recent years have however made me profoundly grateful that I am a 5th generation Australian. My Australian passport is a door into a much less oppressive and much less messed-up place than either the USA or Britain

Following the Sotomayor precedent, I would hope that a wise older white man such as myself with the richness of that experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than someone who hasn’t lived that life.

"Remind me never to get this guy mad at me" -- Instapundit

It seems to be a common view that you cannot talk informatively about a country unless you have been there. I completely reject that view but it is nonetheless likely that some Leftist dimbulb will at some stage aver that any comments I make about politics and events in the USA should not be heeded because I am an Australian who has lived almost all his life in Australia. I am reluctant to pander to such ignorance in the era of the "global village" but for the sake of the argument I might mention that I have visited the USA 3 times -- spending enough time in Los Angeles and NYC to get to know a fair bit about those places at least. I did however get outside those places enough to realize that they are NOT America.

"Intellectual" = Leftist dreamer. I have more publications in the academic journals than almost all "public intellectuals" but I am never called an intellectual and nor would I want to be. Call me a scholar or an academic, however, and I will accept either as a just and earned appellation

Some personal background

My full name is Dr. John Joseph RAY. I am a former university teacher aged 65 at the time of writing in 2009. I was born of Australian pioneer stock in 1943 at Innisfail in the State of Queensland in Australia. I trace my ancestry wholly to the British Isles. After an early education at Innisfail State Rural School and Cairns State High School, I taught myself for matriculation. I took my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. I then moved to Sydney (in New South Wales, Australia) and took my M.A. in psychology from the University of Sydney in 1969 and my Ph.D. from the School of Behavioural Sciences at Macquarie University in 1974. I first tutored in psychology at Macquarie University and then taught sociology at the University of NSW. My doctorate is in psychology but I taught mainly sociology in my 14 years as a university teacher. In High Schools I taught economics. I have taught in both traditional and "progressive" (low discipline) High Schools. Fuller biographical notes here

I completed the work for my Ph.D. at the end of 1970 but the degree was not awarded until 1974 -- due to some academic nastiness from Seymour Martin Lipset and Fred Emery. A conservative or libertarian who makes it through the academic maze has to be at least twice as good as the average conformist Leftist. Fortunately, I am a born academic.

Despite my great sympathy and respect for Christianity, I am the most complete atheist you could find. I don't even believe that the word "God" is meaningful. I am not at all original in that view, of course. Such views are particularly associated with the noted German philosopher Rudolf Carnap. Unlike Carnap, however, none of my wives have committed suicide

In my teenage years, however, I was fortunate to be immersed (literally) in a very fundamentalist Christian religion. And the heavy Bible study I did at that time left me with lessons for life that have stood me in good stead ever since

Very occasionally in my writings I make reference to the greats of analytical philosophy such as Carnap and Wittgenstein. As philosophy is a heavily Leftist discipline however, I have long awaited an attack from some philosopher accusing me of making coat-trailing references not backed by any real philosophical erudition. I suppose it is encouraging that no such attacks have eventuated but I thought that I should perhaps forestall them anyway -- by pointing out that in my younger days I did complete three full-year courses in analytical philosophy (at 3 different universities!) and that I have had papers on mainstream analytical philosophy topics published in academic journals

IQ and ideology: Most academics are Left-leaning. Why? Because very bright people who have balls go into business, while very bright people with no balls go into academe. I did both with considerable success, which makes me a considerable rarity. Although I am a born academic, I have always been good with money too. My share portfolio even survived the GFC in good shape. The academics hate it that bright people with balls make more money than them.

I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak. Some might conclude that I must therefore be a very confused sort of atheist but I can assure everyone that I do not feel the least bit confused. The New Testament is a lighthouse that has illumined the thinking of all sorts of men and women and I am deeply grateful that it has shone on me.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age. Conservatism is in touch with reality. Leftism is not.

I imagine that the RD are still sending mailouts to my 1950s address

Most teenagers have sporting and movie posters on their bedroom walls. At age 14 I had a map of Taiwan on my wall.

A small personal note: I have always been very self-confident. I inherited it from my mother, along with my skeptical nature. So I don't need to feed my self-esteem by claiming that I am wiser than others -- which is what Leftists do.

As with conservatives generally, it bothers me not a bit to admit to large gaps in my knowledge and understanding. For instance, I don't know if the slight global warming of the 20th century will resume in the 21st, though I suspect not. And I don't know what a "healthy" diet is, if there is one. Constantly-changing official advice on the matter suggests that nobody knows

As well as being an academic, I am an army man and I am pleased and proud to say that I have worn my country's uniform. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

It would be very easy for me to say that I am too much of an individual for the army but I did in fact join the army and enjoy it greatly, as most men do. In my observation, ALL army men are individuals. It is just that they accept discipline in order to be militarily efficient -- which is the whole point of the exercise. But that's too complex for simplistic Leftist thinking, of course

A real army story here

It's amusing that my army service gives me honour among conservatives but contempt from Leftists. I don't weep at all about the latter. I am still in touch with some of the fine people I served with over 50 years ago. The army is like that

This is just a bit of romanticism but I do have permanently located by the head of my bed a genuine century-old British army cavalry sword. It is still a real weapon. I was not in the cavalry but I see that sword as a symbol of many things. I want it to be beside my bed when I die

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day and there is JUST ONE saying of Hitler's that I rather like. It may not even be original to him but it is found in chapter 2 of Mein Kampf (published in 1925): "Widerstaende sind nicht da, dass man vor ihnen kapituliert, sondern dass man sie bricht". The equivalent English saying is "Difficulties exist to be overcome" and that traces back at least to the 1920s -- with attributions to Montessori and others. Hitler's metaphor is however one of smashing barriers rather than of politely hopping over them and I am myself certainly more outspoken than polite. Hitler's colloquial Southern German is notoriously difficult to translate but I think I can manage a reasonable translation of that saying: "Resistance is there not for us to capitulate to but for us to break". I am quite sure that I don't have anything like that degree of determination in my own life but it seems to me to be a good attitude in general anyway

And something that was perceptive comes from the same chapter. Hitler said that the doctrines of the interwar Social Democrats (mainstream leftists) of Vienna were "comprised of egotism and hate". Not much has changed

I have used many sites to post my writings over the years and many have gone bad on me for various reasons. So if you click on a link here to my other writings you may get a "page not found" response if the link was put up some time before the present. All is not lost, however. All my writings have been reposted elsewhere. If you do strike a failed link, just take the filename (the last part of the link) and add it to the address of any of my current home pages and -- Voila! -- you should find the article concerned.

COMMENTS: I have gradually added comments facilities to all my blogs. The comments I get are interesting. They are mostly from Leftists and most consist either of abuse or mere assertions. Reasoned arguments backed up by references to supporting evidence are almost unheard of from Leftists. Needless to say, I just delete such useless comments.

You can email me here (Hotmail address). In emailing me, you can address me as "John", "Jon", "Dr. Ray" or "JR" and that will be fine -- but my preference is for "JR" -- and that preference has NOTHING to do with an American soap opera that featured a character who was referred to in that way


"Tongue Tied"
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"Education Watch International"
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"Marx & Engels in their own words"
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To be continued ....
Coral reef compendium.
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"Food & Health Skeptic"
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QANTAS -- A dying octopus
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Paralipomena (2)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
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Selected reading



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