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.


30 June, 2020

Who Can Save Us Now?

Sebastian Gorka

Long before the rampant violence of the past few weeks, wherever I traveled the country to speak publicly, I unfailingly would be asked the same question: “How did we get here?”

How has the freest nation in human history—the only one founded on the principle that all men are created equal because they are made in God’s image—arrive at the point where more than two-thirds of the millennial generation would prefer to live in a socialist or communist America?

Before the looting and the riots of recent days, my answer was the same and it hasn’t changed since the killing of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police officers.

How did we get here?

Sadly, we arrived at this deeply disturbing point because of a decadeslong campaign by the left and cultural elites to transform our country. They have indoctrinated generations of Americans into hating their own country through education, media, and institutions that once believed in the American ideal.

Unfortunately, despite noble efforts by a small number of conservative culture warriors, we have too often been stymied by the Republican political establishment. These political leaders have failed us, and they did so in multiple ways over multiple decades.

When and where did it begin? It began after the failure of the rioters the last time our streets were on fire and police stations were being razed to the ground.

In 1968 and ’69, the radical left went all in. From the University of Berkeley campus to the streets of Chicago, groups such as the Black Panthers and the Weather Underground were using violence to effect political change in the name of “justice” and “equality.” But they failed.

Despite the killings and the bombings, America didn’t turn into a Maoist utopia. Chicago’s “Days of Rage” fizzled out and their uprising resulted in a damp squib.

But what did the “revolutionaries” do? Did they surrender their radical dreams, did they fold up their Che T-shirts and donate them to the thrift store? No, they learned from the proponents of a subtler revolution, studied the method of the members of the Frankfurt School, and adopted the works of thinkers and activists such as Saul Alinsky, the grandfather of “community organizers.”

They realized that a culture and a society as robust in its classic traditional values as America can resist all forms of violent frontal assault and that the only what to dismantle it is from the inside. Thus, hardcore anti-American radicals such as the Weather Underground’s Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers, previously wanted by the FBI as domestic terrorists, made their way into our culture and wound up as college professors.

Yes, those who wished to destroy our nation were entrusted with shaping the minds of future generations. And this was allowed by establishment Republicans.

Nor was it just the college campuses that became centers for America-bashing indoctrination. Those who had failed to set the country ablaze set to work sabotaging the minds of our children in far subtler ways. And when fellow radical Howard Zinn wrote his 1980 book “A People’s History of the United States,” they had all the ammunition they needed.

Zinn was an unrepentant socialist, a man who saw the world through the Marxist lens of class struggle, with the population of the globe divided between victim groups—usually people of color—and the oppressor, exclusively white. And the worst imperialist oppressor of all? America, of course.

That was Zinn’s message and it suffused his book, which would have been fine had it stayed in the “class struggle” section of bookstores in San Francisco. But it didn’t.

Zinn’s America-hating screed would, thanks to the assiduous work of fellow travelers on school boards and in teachers unions across the country, become the most popular textbook of American history in our schools.

Consequently, for two generations, our children were taught that whatever the ill—poverty in Africa, environmental degradation of the Amazon, international terrorism—it was an imperialist America built on slavery that was invariably the root cause.

Labor camps in the Soviet Union? America’s fault because of our desire to “encircle” and destroy Russia. Communist China oppressing ethnic and religious minorities? America’s fault because we weren’t opening up trade relations rapidly enough with the dictators of Beijing. Religious oppression of the great people of Persia by the blood-soaked murderers of Iran’s Islamist regime? America’s fault because we shouldn’t have helped Iraq after the fall of the shah.

And on and on and on.

What did most of the Republican establishment do? Nothing. Of course, some brave souls said enough is enough and took their children back to school them at home.

But what did the party do collectively to stop the indoctrination of more than two generations in America’s schools and universities? Nothing. In fact, most of us kept writing those checks to our alma maters because, well, didn’t I have a good time in college?

What did establishment Republicans do as Alinskyite tactics were deployed across the other key elements of our culture? From taxpayer-funded NPR’s becoming a literal mouthpiece for the Democrat Party, daily parroting left-wing talking points, to Hollywood’s shifting from being the maker of incredible pro-liberty and pro-America movies such as “Casablanca,” “Sergeant York,” and “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” to being a mill for conservative-bashing agitprop films by Oliver Stone, Sean Penn, and Michael Moore?

What did the establishment do as the subtly biased news media of the Cronkite years devolved into a rabid, festering pile of leftist propaganda that would side openly with rioters, call white men the greatest danger to America, and label the incumbent president a Kremlin asset for four years straight?

What did each of us do to take back our republic? Did we even really understand what the late great Andrew Breitbart taught us when he warned us that “politics is downstream from culture?”

Conservatives have the facts on our side; indeed, we have the truth on our side. But does that matter? Commentator and radio host Ben Shapiro has built a career on the commonsense motto: “Facts don’t care about your feelings.” (Actually, facts don’t care about anything).

But so what? We live in an age when young Americans are so emotionally driven that they are actually proud to be called “snowflakes,” ready to melt if challenged.

Facts matter, but only so much if you can’t emotionally connect with the audience you wish to win over. Those who aren’t looting Saks Fifth Avenue or stores that sell Nike shoes but actually are marching for George Floyd believe America is systematically racist and feel that they are being virtuous by chanting “No Justice, No Peace!” and “Defund the Police!”

As conservatives, we have to win them over to our side with arguments that resonate as much as those empty yet radical slogans do. Our Founding Fathers knew how to do that, the men who pledged not only their possessions and their lives to justice and peace, but also their “sacred honor” to our nascent republic.

Is the conservative movement ready to do that? Do we have the tools necessary to win over the disaffected and the apolitical before the extremists win?

The window is short, my friends. We can do this, but we must get serious now.

The left has only division and anarchy to offer. Conservatives have answers that work.



Uruguay’s Freer Approach Has Severely Limited the Pandemic While Protecting the Economy

We are not talking enough about Uruguay. That small South American country boasts impressive results in its handling of the coronavirus. It is also signaling that it wants to prosper and that it understands more freedom might be the way to go about it.

Under president Luis Lacalle Pou, Uruguay has suffered a very low number of deaths from coronavirus (23 as of June 15) and the number of confirmed cases (848) is small. At no point did the government decree a national quarantine, preferring instead to let individual responsibility, guided by accurate and transparent information that originated from a team of scientists and experts, do the trick.

Rather than shut down the economy (80 percent of it kept going) and send the police or the military to arrest people, as was done in some other countries, the authorities, in coordination with civil society, put an emphasis on testing (proportionally, they are only behind South Korea in the number of tests as a percentage of confirmed cases) and briefly isolating those who had Covid-19. The external borders were shut, but the internal borders were kept open.

Uruguay’s government made it clear it would not fund its fiscal response to the trying circumstances through money-printing, large debts or higher taxation, but through reductions in public spending, particularly the money paid to politicians. There was pressure from within the governing coalition and the powerful left-wing opposition known as Frente Amplio (Broad Front) to engage in huge fiscal profligacy and make businesses pay for it, but President Lacalle explained that it was from private enterprise and capital that the economy would come back and that strangling businesses with regulations and more taxes would hinder that effort.

Wasting little time, Uruguay has announced a campaign to attract foreigners by making it much easier for them to become a fiscal resident of their country. Those who take up residence in Uruguay will not pay taxes for five years, after which time they will not have to pay a wealth tax on their foreign holdings and will only pay an income tax of 12 percent on the gains obtained from those assets. The fear in neighboring Argentina, where a demagogic government is destroying an economy that was already in dire straits, is that 44 million Argentines—the entire population—will settle across the border. (Uruguay has a population of only 3.4 million.)

When President Lacalle took office less than four months ago, the odds did not point in the best direction. He inherited a significant fiscal deficit and an economy that was barely growing. He governs with the help of a broad coalition that includes a range of ideas and interests, and whose backbone is made up of two traditional parties that have not shed all of their old ways. On top of that, the left, which held power for fifteen years before Lacalle defeated them, did much better than expected in the runoff election and continues to exert enormous pressure on the political system.

To top it all, only days after he took office, Lacalle had to deal, as had everyone else around the world, with the worst pandemic in generations. It is admirable that he was able to keep his cool throughout this crisis and, more importantly, that the crisis has only strengthened his resolve to put common sense back at the center of Uruguay’s politics and economy.

Uruguay was a highly developed country in the 19th and early 20th centuries. There is no reason why it cannot become Latin America’s great success story in Latin America in the way Portugal has become Europe’s shining star in recent years. Having so many times been disappointed by promising governments, I will keep my fingers firmly crossed for them.



Racism: Symbolism vs. Substance

Which party is the party of racism today? Which party offers real solutions to real problems?  And which party offers symbolism over substance? “While Democrats have long postured as defenders of black Americans, a closer look at their actions shows there’s a lot of the symbolism but very little of the substance.”

When black entrepreneurs are having their businesses destroyed by rioters and looters, what do Democrats do?  They do their best to divert attention away from the fact that the problems faced by black Americans in our major cities have been caused by Democrat politicians who have run these cities for decades and decades. They don’t want to talk about that, and they make no attempt to solve the problems. Instead, like Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, they offer symbolism over substance.  They divert attention away from the problems they have caused.  They do this by talking about taking down statues, changing the names of streets, changing the names of military bases, or removing statues from the United States Capitol.  They do this knowing full well that not one of these things will in any way help the plight of black Americans struggling to escape poverty. But because they have the support of the news media, they are able to divert attention away from these calamities they have caused. 

They don’t want black Americans to ever know that it is Democrat politicians who pour millions of tax dollars into Planned Parenthood that targets black babies for abortion. They don’t want African Americans to realize that it is Democrats who stand in the school house door blocking high performance choice schools for black children. This is perhaps their most heinous sin of all, keeping a poor black child from the one thing that will help him escape poverty, a good education.

Democrats also don’t want you to know that they are the ones in these big cities that create beauty salon, barber shop, and taxi monopolies that exclude or set impossibly high barriers of entry for black entrepreneurs.

They don’t want black Americans to know that they are the ones who seek to drive up the cost of energy, thus making it extremely hard to escape poverty. Democrats fear that black Americans will learn it is Democrat policies in these big cities that deny law-abiding black Americans their constitutional right of self-defense. And they certainly don’t want black Americans to know that Democrats are responsible for flooding the job market with illegal aliens who take jobs from black Americans and drive down their wages.

Our question is: If the Democrats really, truly care about black Americans, why do they support Planned Parenthood, block good schools for black children, drive up the cost of energy through support for a pie-in-the-sky “Green New Deal”, deny Second Amendment rights, and allow illegal immigrants to take black jobs and drive down their wages?

Excuse us, but when the Democrats do these things and know the consequences, isn’t that racism?  How else can you define it?  And when you use the power of government to do these things, isn’t that systemic racism?  By any fair and honest measurement, today’s Democratic Party is the home of racism in America today. 

Little has been done by Democratic presidents to help black Americans.  For eight years President Obama talked about prison reform, but President Trump did it in his first term.  Not only did Donald Trump sign prison reform into law, he combined that with job training and jobs for newly released non-violent and non-sexual black felons. 

Additionally, Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress dramatically cut taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood, appointed judges who believe in the Constitution, slashed regulations, and reduced taxes making it possible for black entrepreneurship to grow by 400% between 2017 and 2018.

Even more significantly, Donald Trump implemented economic policies that created the lowest black unemployment in recorded history. He created enterprise zones that brought job opportunities closer to where black Americans live. He pushed hard against the Democrat opposition to putting top notch choice schools in black communities. And he dramatically expanded support for historic black colleges and universities (HBCUs).  As pastor Darrell Scott said of Trump, he is “the most pro-black president that we've had in our lifetime.”

From Ralph Northam and Nancy Pelosi, all black Americans get is symbolism.  From Donald Trump black Americans get results, real substance. In the election this fall, black Americans will have an opportunity to choose. What will it be? Symbolism or substance?



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


29 June, 2020

Masks Increase Co2 Levels - making you Dumber

I don't know the political breakdown, but top health and political authorities in various states are mandating that masks be worn, even when the number of COVID-19 Hospitalizations and Deaths are declining. Here in Democrat-controlled Illinois, wearing a facemask is required, through all 4 phases of reopening the state.

Presidential Candidate Joe Biden said yesterday that we will probably have to wear masks for at least another year, as a "new normal", in order to protect ourselves and others.

All the emphasis and mandates regarding wearing a face-mask, comes from the same "people" who shut down the country over a virus that kills only 1.4% of the people who contract it.

Sure enough, there has been quite a bit of research on the subject, due to so many complaints of mental and physiological problems from workers in careers where masks are worn a lot. (Medical, Painting, Construction, etc..)

Findings Summary from a Study on N-95 face masks:

The results show that above 60% of inspired air is respired air in case I (wearing a mask), compared to less than 1.2% in case II (not wearing a mask).

In conclusion, the N95 respirator trapped respired air within the respirator which increased the VOF of respired air during inspiration. This might be one of the major contributors to elevated carbon dioxide level while wearing N95 respirator.

Full Study here

MOST IMPORTANTLY...This study explains what happens to us after repeated stints of Carbon Dioxide(CO2)/less Oxygen(O2) Inhalation:

Participants were tested on their cognitive abilities each day at about 3 pm. They were given real life situations (an example of a situation: if you were to be the mayor of the town what changes would you bring to your town) and the answers were later analyzed using software. The nine parameters that the participants were tested were:

* The ability to make decisions at any given time
* The capability to make decisions that achieved the desired goal
* The capacity to pay attention to surroundings
* The capability of completing given tasks
* The capacity to respond to an emergency
* The ability to gather information
* The ability to use the gathered information for the given goals
* The capacity to make decisions using a variety of options along with multiple dimensions
* The capacity of complex thinking

The results of the study were amazing.

Participants experiencing the elevated CO2 levels were found to have significant difficulty with their decision making abilities and thinking capabilities.

So what is the reason behind the impairments of the cognitive ability?

Increased level of CO2 in the blood decreases the cerebral metabolism of oxygen. In simple words, the brain becomes oxygen deprived and has an impact on our thinking abilities.

Carbon dioxide dissolves in our blood and reacts with the water in our blood to create carbonic acid. This, in turn, dissolves into ions of hydrogen and bicarbonate. If there is an increase in the concentration of hydrogen ions in our blood the blood acidity level increases and creates electrolyte imbalance, causing decline in intellectual performance.

With increased CO2 levels, a decrease in the IQ by even 5 points will bring a lot more people into the ‘mentally handicapped’ range, unless corrective action is taken immediately.

Google does not let you see the above articles unless you filter out (not show) any search results after 12/31/2019. All the articles/studies this year describe how great face masks are for us! No ill effects whatsoever.

Word to the wise...If there are rules/laws mandating face masks where you live, only wear it when necessary. Save those brain cells. Keep your independent critical-thinking abilities in tip-top shape! (We will need them if our leaders push things too far.)



Initial COVID-19 infection rate may be 80 times greater than originally reported

Many epidemiologists believe that the initial COVID-19 infection rate was undercounted due to testing issues, asymptomatic and alternatively symptomatic individuals, and a failure to identify early cases.

Now, a new study from Penn State estimates that the number of early COVID-19 cases in the U.S. may have been more than 80 times greater and doubled nearly twice as fast as originally believed.

In a paper published today (June 22) in the journal Science Translational Medicine, researchers estimated the detection rate of symptomatic COVID-19 cases using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s influenza-like illnesses (ILI) surveillance data over a three week period in March 2020.

“We analyzed each state’s ILI cases to estimate the number that could not be attributed to influenza and were in excess of seasonal baseline levels,” said Justin Silverman, assistant professor in Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology and Department of Medicine. “When you subtract these out, you’re left with what we're calling excess ILI – cases that can't be explained by either influenza or the typical seasonal variation of respiratory pathogens.”

The researchers found that the excess ILI showed a nearly perfect correlation with the spread of COVID-19 around the country.

Said Silverman, “This suggests that ILI data is capturing COVID cases, and there appears to be a much greater undiagnosed population than originally thought.”

Remarkably, the size of the observed surge of excess ILI corresponds to more than 8.7 million new cases during the last three weeks of March, compared to the roughly 100,000 cases that were officially reported during the same time period.

“At first, I couldn’t believe our estimates were correct,” said Silverman. “But we realized that deaths across the U.S. had been doubling every three days and that our estimate of the infection rate was consistent with three-day doubling since the first observed case was reported in Washington state on Jan. 15.”

The researchers also used this process to estimate infection rates for each state, noting that states showing higher per capita rates of infection also had higher per capita rates of a surge in excess ILI. Their estimates showed rates much higher than initially reported but closer to those found once states began completing antibody testing.

In New York, for example, the researchers’ model suggested that at least 9% of the state’s entire population was infected by the end of March. After the state conducted antibody testing on 3,000 residents, they found a 13.9% infection rate, or 2.7 million New Yorkers.

Excess ILI appears to have peaked in mid-March as, the researchers suggest, fewer patients with mild symptoms sought care and states implemented interventions which led to lower transmission rates. Nearly half of the states in the country were under stay-at-home orders by March 28.

The findings suggest an alternative way of thinking about the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our results suggest that the overwhelming effects of COVID-19 may have less to do with the virus’ lethality and more to do with how quickly it was able to spread through communities initially,” Silverman explained. “A lower fatality rate coupled with a higher prevalence of disease and rapid growth of regional epidemics provides an alternative explanation to the large number of deaths and overcrowding of hospitals we have seen in certain areas of the world.”



Black businessman says 'black people laugh at white people' toppling statues

BET founder Robert Johnson during a Wednesday interview with Fox News described people toppling statues as "borderline anarchists" and pushed back against the idea that black people support such behavior, suggesting instead that they "laugh" at those who knock down the statues.

"You know black people, in my opinion, black people laugh at white people who do this, the same way we laugh at white people who say we got to take off the TV shows," he said mentioning the "Dukes of Hazard," a decades-old television program that has come under fire for featuring a car emblazoned with a Confederate flag graphic.

He pointed out that knocking over a statue will not "close the wealth gap," "give a kid whose parent's can't afford a college money to go to college," "close the labor gap between what white workers are paid and what black workers are paid" or "take people off welfare or food stamps."

Johnson said that whites who seek to "assuage guilt by doing things that make them feel good" would be much more reluctant to support payments for blacks.

Referring to actions such as "changing names, toppling statues, [and] firing professors because they said all lives matter," Johnson explained that "it just shows to me that white America is continually ... incapable of recognizing that black people have their own ideas and thought about what's in their best interests."

He suggested that black people should be consulted before people take actions like tearing down statues or firing someone for a comment they have made.

"Give us the belief that you respect our opinion. You go out and do something and destroy something, fire somebody because you think it hurts us. Why don't you ask us first if it hurts us before you go and say 'Oh, I gotta do something for the negroes to make them feel better.' Well ask us if we want you to do that to make us feel better," he said.

Johnson likened white people's actions attempting to make black people "feel good" to "rearranging the deck chairs on a racial Titanic. It absolutely means nothing," he said.

Johnson's comments come as debates rage across the country in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd—in some cases protestors have defaced and toppled statues. President Trump has come out against changing the names of military installations named after Confederate leaders




Trump administration urges end to ObamaCare, which the media inevitably links to a heartless view of pandemic sufferers (AP)

Joe Biden campaign to limit contact with foreign governments now that Hunter Biden's windfall from foreign governments is politically injurious (Washington Examiner)

Government watchdog finds over one million relief checks were sent to dead people (National Review)

At Mayor Bill de Blasio's behest, "Black Lives Matter" will be painted on Fifth Avenue outside Trump Tower (The New York Times)

CBP chief says 95% of illegal immigrants are being returned rather than detained (Fox News)

"Tide is turning against Huawei": Companies eschew Chinese telecom over espionage fears (Washington Examiner)

Russian criminal group finds new target: Americans working at home (The New York Times)

Governors of Texas, Florida, and New Mexico pause reopening amid surge in cases (Washington Examiner)

In Washington State, not wearing a face mask will be a misdemeanor (People)

Pregnant women are five times more likely to be hospitalized (USA Today)

Verizon joins list of companies pulling adds from Facebook over its failure to crack down on "hate speech" — which is ultimately about silencing conservatives (UK Daily Mail)

Americans rush to start businesses, stoking optimism for a rebound (Bloomberg)

Microsoft is permanently closing its retail stores (CNBC)

The Fed said in a release that big banks will be required to suspend share buybacks and cap dividend payments at their current level for the third quarter of this year (CNBC)

Oil and gas firms suffer "significant contraction" in second-quarter activity (Fox Business)

Colorado reexamines black man's 2019 death in police custody (AP)

"Police are a real risk," claims Washington school district severing ties with law enforcement (The Daily Wire)

Racism solved: The Dixie Chicks officially change their name to The Chicks (AP)

Racism ultra solved: John Lennon's "Imagine" tops list of woke national anthem alternatives (The Washington Free Beacon)

Four out of every five Americans reject spending "taxpayer money to pay damages to descendants of enslaved people in the United States" (Reuters)

Protesters plan to topple Emancipation Memorial Friday evening despite new protective fence (Washington Examiner)

It's estimated that 6% of adults have attended a protest in the last month (Pew Research Center)

China, Russia rank as worst offenders in human trafficking (The Washington Free Beacon)

Policy: Public education has gone "woke" (Newsweek)


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 June, 2020

Sweden turns on WHO for saying it had suffered 'very significant resurgence' of Covid-19

Sweden's state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has hit back at the World Health Organization after it included Sweden in a group of countries facing "a very significance resurgence" of coronavirus infections.

Mr Tegnell, who has in recent months become one of the world's most high profile and divisive epidemiologists, said: "That is, unfortunately, a total misinterpretation of the data."

"It's very unfortunate that people lump Sweden together with countries that earlier have had no problem at all and are now apparently at the start of their epidemic," he told Sweden's state broadcaster SVT.

Hans Kluge, the WHO's Regional Director for Europe, on Thursday named Sweden in a list of eleven problem countries, the rest of which were all in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, or Central Asia, which are facing "accelerated transmission" of infection.

More HERE 


Britons ignoring the rules


Even the meek and obedient Brits have their limits

The Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned that the Government has powers to close public areas such as beaches if social distancing rules are not being observed

Mr Hancock's comments come after Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council declared a "major incident" after thousands of people defied advice to stay away and descended on beaches in Dorset on the hottest day of the year so far.

Services were described as having been left "completely overstretched" as visitors arrived in large volumes, and the council said there had been "a number of incidents reported which involved excessive alcohol and fights"

Asked if he would consider shutting some beaches in extreme cases after scenes in Bournemouth, Mr Hancock told TalkRadio: "Well, we do have that power. I am reluctant to use it because people have had a pretty tough lockdown.

"Everybody should be able to enjoy the sunshine. The key is to do it with respect. Stay with your households. Stay a good distance from other households. Outside is safer than inside. So, you have got to respect the rules. Respect the fact that social distancing is still important.

"We do have those powers - and if we see a spike in the number of cases, then we will take action."



Strange and debilitating coronavirus symptoms can last for months

WITHIN 24 hours of asking an online covid-19 support group if anyone had been experiencing prolonged or unusual symptoms, I had been messaged by 140 people. The list was mind-boggling and deeply upsetting. “I feel like I’m in the middle of a waking nightmare,” said Zoe Wall, who was previously fit and healthy. Two months after developing covid-19-like symptoms, she was still experiencing chest pains and “fatigue beyond description”.

Harry’s symptoms started with a terrible headache and itchy body, followed by shortness of breath. He was still experiencing breathing difficulties, chest pain, numbness in his arm and bloating 10 weeks later. Jenn had had no sense of smell or taste since testing positive for covid-19 on 31 March. Abbi had minimal respiratory symptoms, but very bad gastric ones and lost 19 kilograms in two months. Others reported fatigue, headaches, tingling fingertips and brain fog.

As the months tick by since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and we learn more about covid-19, it is becoming increasingly evident that even mild cases can have distressing and long-lasting effects. “There’s clearly something going on here. It is not their imagination or hypochondria. It doesn’t even seem to be linked to how severely they had the disease, as far as I can see,” says Danny Altmann, an immunologist at Imperial College London. All this means we need to rethink how we diagnose and treat covid-19. The long list of symptoms also seems to suggest there might even be several subtypes of the disease, which could help us predict which cases will become serious.



Newborn triplets in Mexico infected with coronavirus

I think this shows how inaccurate testing is

Mexican health authorities are baffled by how a set of newborn triplets became infected with coronavirus even though neither of their parents tested positive for the virus. Health authorities called the case “unheard of”.

The triplets, a girl and two boys, were tested four hours after being born last week in the central state of San Luis Potosi, health authorities said.

Initially, health authorities said the mother was believed to be an asymptomatic carrier of the virus.

But her tests later showed that neither she nor the father were infected.

“The parents’ results are negative, which catches our attention,” Health Secretary for the state Monica Rangel said during a news conference on Tuesday.

“We specifically requested since yesterday … that a group of experts investigates the case.” Two of the babies born on June 17 are in good health and show no symptoms of COVID-19, doctors treating the triplets said, while the third one has pneumonia but is in stable condition.

Ms Rangel said the triplets will remain hospitalised and under observation.

Mexico has reported more than 203,000 coronavirus cases and over 25,000 deaths – the seventh highest number of deaths globally.



Supreme Court Sides with Trump Administration on Expediting Deportations

The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that asylum seekers do not have the right to a federal court hearing before being deported in *name.* The 7-2 decision is a decisive win for the Trump administration’s immigration policy, and allows for the fast-tracked removal of noncitizens. The majority opinion is backed by the Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IRIRA) composed a system to deem asylum cases as meritless or fraudulent with limited judicial review.

The court ruled that the IRIRA, does not violate the Constitution’s Suspension Clause, which protects habeas corpus and gives the court jurisdiction to deem a person worthy of release from illegal detention.

The majority opinion, authored by Justice Alito, held that the respondent did not seek release, but rather a reprieve from his removal order. The high court overturned an original ruling from the Ninth Circuit:

“[The] respondent did not ask to be released.13 Instead, he sought entirely different relief: vacatur of his “removal order” and “an order directing [the Department] to provide him with a new. . .opportunity to apply for asylum and other relief from removal,” the justices wrote. “the historic role of habeas is to secure release from custody, the Ninth Circuit did not suggest that release, at least in the traditional sense of the term,14 was required. Instead, what it found to be necessary was a “meaningful opportunity” for review of the procedures used in determining that [the] respondent did not have a credible fear of persecution.”



RNC Gets Win in Florida Elections Lawsuit

When the RNC saw that Democrats were trying to abolish a state law in Florida to allow ballots to be counted after Election Day and to prohibit the state’s ban on ballot harvesting, they had to intervene.

As it turns out, it was a President Bill Clinton-appointed judge who gave the Republicans the victory. In his ruling in Nielsen v. DeSantis, Judge Robert Hinkle noted that "the plaintiffs have not shown likely success on the merits" of their case. He explained why it's imperative for the state law to remain intact.

"This eliminates the problem of missing, unclear, or even altered postmarks, eliminates delay that can have adverse consequences, and eliminates the remote possibility that in an extremely close election—Florida has had some—a person who did not vote on or before election day can fill out and submit a ballot later," Hinkle said.




The nefarious UN Humans Rights Council will "prepare a report on systemic racism, violations of international human rights law against Africans and people of African descent by law enforcement agencies" (Power Line)

Shootings, violence jump in Seattle, Minneapolis, New York City, and Chicago — cities where mayors have restrained the police (The Federalist)

"We do not want that history erased": Family of black woman who portrayed Aunt Jemima opposes move to change brand (KLTV)

In Portland, an American flag was used to set a George Washington statue ablaze (Power Line)

Ulysses S. Grant and Francis Scott Key Statues pulled down in San Francisco (The Daily Caller)

Vandals pull down and burn Washington, DC's sole statue of a Confederate general (AP)

Theodore Roosevelt statue to be removed from Museum of Natural History (The New York Times)

Hundreds test positive at Tyson Foods plant in Arkansas, most asymptomatic (National Review)

South Korea is fighting a second wave of infections, which it attributes to a holiday weekend in May (National Review)

Libyan refugee murders three and wounds several others in UK knifing rampage (The Telegraph)

International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran is engaged in secret nuclear work (The Washington Free Beacon)

Nineteen black Americans explain why they're conservative (The Daily Signal)

"The results of the investigation justified the relief": Navy upholds firing of former USS Theodore Roosevelt Captain Brett Crozier, who warned of coronavirus outbreak on ship (National Review)

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, which is tracking more than 860 institutions' plans, two-thirds of colleges are planning to welcome back students in person, while only 7% are planning to hold classes only online (USA Today)

Biden campaign commits to three brutal debates (The Daily Caller)

Trump signs executive order suspending certain work visas through 2020 (The Hill)

Congressional Democrats sign letter demanding Education Department allow males in girls sports (National Review)

Ex-CNN "reporters" now work for the Chinese Communist Party's propaganda outfit, CGTN (The National Pulse)

New York Times taps Intercept alum and bona fide leftist to manage editorial page (The Washington Free Beacon)

Federal Communications Commission shuts down radio station run by Chinese propaganda outlet Phoenix TV (The Washington Free Beacon)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo brands four Chinese state media outlets "foreign missions" (Washington Examiner)

Army soldier accused of planning attack on his own unit, giving classified info to Neo-Nazi group (Task & Purpose)

Texas Governor Greg Abbott says tougher anti-COVID restrictions might come back (Washington Examiner)

Coronavirus cases are increasing, but deaths aren't (Axios)

More evidence that lack of vitamin D is linked to COVID-19 severity (Relaxnews)

FDA warns nine hand sanitizers may contain a potentially fatal ingredient (USA Today)

Dutch doctor exonerated after euthanizing an unwilling patient (The Federalist)

Policy: Amid the pandemic and anti-racism protests, school choice can be so much more (Washington Examiner)

Policy: Americans want to own their retirement, not expand Social Security (American Enterprise 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


26 June, 2020

Sweden ‘followed classic pandemic model’ fighting COVID-19 pandemic

A Swedish expert says the world “went crazy” when they didn’t follow Sweden’s “classic pandemic model” to fight the coronavirus.

Sweden’s chief epidemiologist, who is largely behind the approach of keeping large parts of the country open during the coronavirus pandemic, says he was surprised to see other European Union countries close their borders.

Anders Tegnell, chief epidemiologist for Sweden’s Public Health Agency, described his country’s strategy in a program by Swedish public radio channel Sveriges Radio P1 as a “classic pandemic model” that he had been discussing with international colleagues for 20 years.

Tegnell said “it was as if the world went crazy and everything we discussed seemed completely forgotten”.

Sweden, a country of 10 million people, has so far recorded 62,324 coronavirus cases and 5209 deaths.

Tegnell said the coronavirus was unpredictable and stressed it was difficult to know which methods had the best effect.

A recent survey in Dagens Nyheter, one of Sweden’s largest newspapers, showed that support for Sweden’s Public Health Agency had dropped to 57 per cent in June from 69 per cent in April.

When most of Europe was in government-enforced lockdown, Sweden went against the grain.

The country’s unique strategy to deal with the deadly coronavirus without tanking the economy was to keep schools, cafes, restaurants and shops open, while encouraging people to voluntarily distance themselves and work from home. The idea was that the country would achieve “herd immunity” – a level of the disease where most of the population has been infected, and subsequently developed immunity, which would in turn stop the virus from spreading.

But a recent study has found the number of Swedes who have formed antibodies to the virus is smaller than expected, dashing hopes that herd immunity can be achieved.

The study, carried out by the country’s Public Health Agency and published last week, found that just 6.1 per cent of the country’s population had developed coronavirus antibodies by late May. This figure falls far short of the 40 per cent predicted by Anders Tegnell, the country’s chief epidemiologist.



The Confederate-Monument Controversy Is a Democrat-vs-Democrat Question

How should we think about those Confederate statues and those Confederate names on U.S. military bases?

If I were a Republican, I might be very strongly tempted to just sit this one out: If some Democrats want to pull down statues of other Democrats, then that’s a mess in the Democrats’ house. The Republicans might say, “You guys sort this one out. We’ll be over here with Honest Abe.” But, of course, they are not over there with Honest Abe — they’re down there with Dishonest Don, who cannot help but make everything about himself, even when doing so doesn’t serve his interests.

The Confederate controversy is a Democrat-vs.-Democrat question, but, fundamentally, so are the riots and arson and looting in Minneapolis and elsewhere. Those guys in the black uniforms setting fire to the police station are not, I think we can safely assume, for the most part registered Republicans. I haven’t seen a single pair of penny loafers or pleated khakis in the whole scene. We have default Democratic voters rioting in protest of the failure of Democratic policies cooked up by Democratic municipal governments and implemented, sometimes with lethal brutality, by Democrat-managed agencies. It takes a certain kind of perverse political genius for Republicans to get themselves on the wrong side of that, but there they are.

It is easy for a middle-aged white conservative to look at the fight over this statue or that base name and think of it as a silly exercise in cultural small ball, in that we could replace every statue of Jefferson Davis with a statue of Malcolm X and the schools would still stink in Philadelphia and St. Louis would still have an absurd murder rate.

The more cynical among us even suspect from time to time that these fights over monuments are provoked intentionally by the Democrats in order to distract from those Democratic governance failures in Democrat-run cities: “Well, yes, we Democrats have been running the police department in Minneapolis lo these many years, but what about Robert E. Lee?” But people have a right to their own priorities, even if those priorities mystify middle-aged white conservatives.

For some younger people on the right, this appears to be a straightforward issue. National Review recently published an excellent essay on the subject, arguing that the Southern rebellion against the duly constituted government put in place by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson was nothing like the rebellion of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson against the duly constituted government of their time. (The essay was written by Cameron Hilditch, our new William F. Buckley fellow, who hails from Belfast, where they are the world’s leading authorities on domestic tranquility and getting everybody on the same page behind the Union.)

The essay makes several excellent and true points: The Southern cause was not very much like the cause of 1776, as the Confederate leaders themselves attested, and there is no denying that the Southern cause was the cause of human bondage and white supremacy. Hilditch sums up: “Those who led a bloody rebellion against [the Union] flag to preserve an economy of human subjugation were traitors to the nation our military serves; they don’t deserve to be honored.”

That is an easy view to take in 2020. At the end of the Civil War and in its immediate aftermath, they took a different view. Surrendering Confederate troops were treated with military courtesy and offered courtesy in return, “honor answering honor” as General Joshua Chamberlain described the scene at Appomattox Court House. Jefferson Davis was imprisoned for a short period of time and treated harshly at first, but ultimately he was released on bail — paid in part by Horace Greeley and Gerrit Smith, both abolitionists — and then given amnesty by President Andrew Johnson. When Greeley’s fellow Republicans criticized him for extending his hand to Davis, he dismissed them as “narrow-minded blockheads, who would like to be useful to a great and good cause, but don’t know how.” Robert E. Lee was President U. S. Grant’s guest in the White House and became the president of Washington College, known today as Washington and Lee University.

President Lincoln had offered amnesty to most of the Confederate soldiers and functionaries, with pointed exceptions: “all who are, or shall have been civil or diplomatic officers or agents of the so-called Confederate government; all who have left judicial stations under the United States to aid the rebellion; all who are, or shall have been military or naval officers of said so-called confederate government, above the rank of Colonel in the Army, or of lieutenant in the Navy; all who left seats in the United States Congress to aid the rebellion; all who resigned commissions in the army or navy of the United States, and afterwards aided the rebellion; and all who have engaged in any way, in treating colored persons, or white persons in charge of such, otherwise than lawfully as prisoners of war, and which persons may have been found in the United States service as soldiers, seamen, or in any other capacity.”

Andrew Johnson was not a president to be very proud of. But President Grant as General Grant had actually fought the war, and he carried on President Lincoln’s legacy in important ways: appointing African Americans to federal office, prosecuting the Ku Klux Klan, and pursuing the cause of civil rights through constitutional reform and other measures. Was he wrong to honor Robert Lee with a White House visit and to treat other Confederate leaders with honor and charity? Are we so much wiser?

Maybe Grant was wrong — Lee remained an important force in Southern politics, an enemy of legal and civil equality for African Americans, insisting that black Americans had “neither the intelligence nor the other qualifications which are necessary to make them safe depositories of political power,” an opinion that long survived him and every other veteran of the Confederacy. The country probably would have been better off if the Radical Republicans had prevailed and imposed a more invasive model of Reconstruction than the one that was implemented.

Perhaps it was the case that Grant et al. were only being practical, doing what they felt they needed to do to keep the Union together and ensure the peace. Lee praised President Johnson as someone whose policy “has been doing much to strengthen the feeling in favor of the Union among us.” And, of course, he hated the Radical Republicans and had the audacity to blame them for feelings of disunion in the South:

They are working as though they wished to keep alive by their proposals in Congress the bad blood in the South against the North. If left alone the hostility which must be felt after such a war would rapidly decrease, but it may be continued by incessant provocation. The Southerners took up arms honestly: surely it is to be desired that the good-will of our people be encouraged, and that there should be no inciting them against the North. To the minds of the Southern men the idea of “Union” was ridiculous when the states that made the Union did not desire it to continue; but the North fought for the Union, and now, if what appears to be the most powerful party among them is to have its own way, they are doing their best to destroy all real union. If they succeed, “Union” can only be a mere name.

So if it is difficult to rehabilitate the name of Robert E. Lee, General Lee himself bears more than a little of the blame for that, though what this has to do with the behavior of police officers in Minneapolis in the second decade of the 21st century is something less than obvious. There is an argument that the police misbehavior in Minneapolis and the statues in Mississippi are part of the same vast edifice of white supremacy, which must be attacked on both the symbolic and the  practical fronts. And underneath the vandalism and hysteria and political opportunism, there is a reasonable argument for that point of view, not that the rioters and arsonists have any great interest in reasonable argument.

Conservatives should acknowledge that reasonable argument, but we should not permit its being used as political cover for a Democratic retreat from the failure of Democratic policies in Democratic cities into the safe abstraction of “white supremacy.” There are specific, urgent, and immediate questions that demand answers in Minneapolis, and those are questions mainly for its Democratic mayor, its Democratic city council, its progressive leadership and management class, for Democratic elected officials such as Representative Ilhan Omar, and a great many other people who are very comfortable talking about the ghastly moral failures of the Confederacy a century and a half ago but rather less eager to talk about the facts on the ground in Minneapolis in the here and now.

Of course the past matters. (It is incredible that some people who call themselves conservatives have to be reminded of that.) But the present matters, too, and surely it deserves more of our attention than some potential slight to the very mixed legacies of Braxton Bragg or John Bell Hood. Given current events, the Democrats are very eager to change the subject. They should not be accommodated.



Voice of America:  Overdue reform begins

As I observed in my Townhall column back in December 2016, the present day VOA—once the bastion of America’s Cold War efforts to battle Communism through broadcast arms Radio Free Europe and, more recently, Radio Marti—bears scant resemblance to the pro-USA agency taxpayers came to expect. For example, few taxpayers I know would approve of articles VOA distributed before the 2016 election in Russian, Urkranian and other languages calling Donald J. Trump “a dog,” “a pig,” and other derogatory terms. And lavish waste and mismanagement has continued to be of concern by those charged with Congressional oversight over the past three years with little—if any—actual corrective action.

As I personally learned from insiders at VOA, management offices at the “independent” agency throughout the 2016 campaign were often festooned with Hillary Clinton posters, photos of prominent Democrats, and those goofy lifesized cardboard cutouts of Barack Obama that tourists used to pick up at the souvenir shop at Reagan Airport in Washington.  That’s perfectly okay if you’re working at the teachers union or Planned Parenthood or any other wholly-owned subsidiaries of the DNC, though hardly kosher at a taxpayer-supported agency of the Federal government. But I digress.

The resignations of VOA director Amanda Bennett and deputy director Sandy Sugawara—per the Washington Post—was cloaked in mystery. “It wasn’t immediately clear,” Farhi darkly suggests, why the two submitted their letters of resignation. But he adds they came “amid concerns within the agency” that the Trump administration may “exert greater control” over VOA reporting.

Which is the equivalent of suggesting that there is concern amid the cockroach population that pesticides like Black Flag and Raid might “exert greater control” over their proliferation in your pantry.

Kicking Donald Trump one final time as she scurried out the door before the arrival of the new sheriff, Bennett whined about the Trump Administration’s efforts to limit access for VOA reporters…adding that might possibly“result in the kind of chilling effect on our journalism that we regularly see in the markets we broadcast to that have no free press.”  (You mean like the rest of us are saddled with in New York and Washington, Amanda?)

In an earlier hyperventilation, Bennett countered President Trump’s criticisms of her agency (which he referred to in private lunch with U.S. Senators as “the Voice of the Soviet Union”) with the lame suggestion that “even China” has branded VOA reports as propaganda and has at times “expelled” VOA journalists. I guess Ms. Bennett was asleep during the college history class when they taught how Nazis during World War II would shoot one of their own as “a spy” to cover their other anti-American activities.



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


25 June, 2020

Losing the wisdom of crowds

We’ve lived through the most bizarre experience of human folly in my lifetime, and perhaps in generations. Among the strangest aspects of this has been the near universal failure on the part of regular people, and even the appointed “experts” (the ones the government employs, in any case), to have internalized anything about the basics of viruses that my mother understands, thanks to her mother before who had a solid education in the subject after World War II.

Thus, for example, are all governments ready to impose new lockdowns should the infection data turn in the other direction. Under what theory, precisely, is this supposed to help matters? How does reimposing stay-home orders or mandating gym closures mysteriously manage to intimidate a virus into going away? “Run away and hide” seems to have replaced anything like a sophisticated understanding of viruses and immunities.

So I decided to download Molecular and Cell Biology for Dummies just to check if I’m crazy. I’m pleased to see that it clearly states that there are only two ways to defeat a virus: natural immunity and vaccines.

The book completely left out the option that almost the entire world embraced in March: destroy businesses, force everyone to hide in their homes, and make sure that no one gets close to anyone else. The reason that the text leaves that out is that the idea is essentially ridiculous, so much so that it was initially sold as a strategy to preserve hospital space and only later mutated into a general principle that the way to beat a virus is to avoid people and wear a mini-hazmat suit.

Here is the passage:

"For all of recorded history, humans have done a deadly dance with viruses. Measles, smallpox, polio, and influenza viruses changed the course of human history: Measles and smallpox killed hundreds of thousands of Native Americans; polio killed and crippled people, including US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt; and the 1918 influenza epidemic killed more people than were killed during all of World War I.

For most viruses that attack humans, your only defenses are prevention and your own immune systems. Antibiotics don’t kill viruses, and scientists haven’t discovered many effective antiviral drugs.

Vaccines are little pieces of bacteria or viruses injected into the body to give the immune system an education. They work by ramping up your own defensive system so that you’re ready to fight the bacteria or virus upon first contact, without becoming sick first. However, for some viral diseases no vaccines exist, and the only option is to wait uncomfortably for your immune system to win the battle."

A virus is not a miasma, a cootie, or red goo like in the children’s book Cat in the Hat. There is no path toward waging much less winning a national war against a virus. It cares nothing about borders, executive orders, and titles. A virus is a thing to battle one immune system at a time, and our bodies have evolved to be suited to do just that. Vaccines can give advantage to the immune system through a clever hack. Even so, there will always be another virus and another battle, and so it’s been for hundreds of thousands of years.

If you read the above carefully, you now know more than you would know from watching 50 TED talks on viruses by Bill Gates. Though having thrown hundreds of millions of dollars into cobbling together some global plan to combat microbes, his own understanding seems not to have risen above a cooties theory of run away and hide.

There is another level of virus comprehension that came to be observed in the 1950s and then codified in the 70s. For many viruses, not everyone has to catch them to become immune and not everyone needs a vaccine if there is one. Immunity is achieved when a certain percentage of the population has contracted some form of virus, with symptoms or without, and then the virus effectively dies.

This has important implications because it means that vulnerable demographics can isolate for the active days of the virus, and return to normal life once “herd immunity” has been realized with infection within some portion of the non-vulnerable population. This is why every bit of medical advice for ederly people has been to avoid large crowds during the flu season and why getting and recovering for non-vulnerable groups is a good thing.

What you get from this virus advice is not fear but calm management. This wisdom – not ignorance but wisdom – was behind the do-no-harm approach to the polio epidemic of 1949-1952, the Asian flu of 1957-58, and the Hong Kong flu of 1968-69. Donald Henderson summed up this old wisdom beautifully: “Communities faced with epidemics or other adverse events respond best and with the least anxiety when the normal social functioning of the community is least disrupted.”

And that’s what we did for the one hundred years following the catastrophic Spanish flu of 1918. We never again attempted widespread closures or lockdown precisely because they had failed so miserably in the few places they were attempted.

The cooties theory attempted a comeback with the Swine flu of 2009 (H1N1) but the world was too busy dealing with a financial crisis so the postwar strategy of virus control and mitigation prevailed once again, thankfully. But then the perfect storm hit in 2020 and a new generation of virus mitigators got their chance to conduct a grand social experiment based on computer modeling and forecasting.

Next thing you know, we had this new vocabulary shoved down our throats and we all had to obey strangely arbitrary exhortations. “Go inside! No, wait don’t go inside!” “Stay healthy but shut the gyms!” “Get away from the virus but don’t travel!” “Don’t wear a mask, wait, do wear a mask!” (Now we can add: “Only gather in groups if you are protesting Trump”)

People started believing crazy things, as if we are medieval peasants, such as that if there is a group of people or if you stand too close to someone, the bad virus will spontaneously appear and you will get infected. Or that you could be a secret superspreader even if you have no symptoms, and also you can get the virus by touching almost anything.

Good grief, the sheer amount of unscientific phony baloney unleashed in these terrible three months boggles the mind. But that’s what happens in any panic. Apparently.

Now, something has truly been bugging me these months as I’ve watched the incredible unravelling of most of the freedoms we’ve long taken for granted. People were locked out of the churches and schools, businesses were shuttered, markets were closed, governors shoved through shelter in place orders meant not for disease control but aerial bomb raids, and masks were mandatory, all while regular people who otherwise seem smart hopped around each other like grasshoppers.

My major shock is discovering how much sheer stupidity exists in the population, particularly among the political class.

Forgive a defense of my use of the term “stupid” but it is technically correct. I take it from Albert Camus and his brilliant book The Plague (1947). “When a war breaks out, people say: ‘It’s too stupid; it can’t last long.’ But though a war may well be ‘too stupid,’ that doesn’t prevent its lasting. Stupidity has a knack of getting its way.”

Indeed it is true.

It was only last February when we seemed smart. We had amazing technology, movies on demand, a smartphone in our pockets to communicate with everyone and reveal all the world’s knowledge. There was peace more or less. There was prosperity. There was progress. Our medical systems worked. It seemed that only a few months ago, we had it all together. We seemed smart. Until suddenly stupid took over, or so it seemed.

Actually we weren’t smart as individuals. Our politicians were as dumb as they ever have been, and massive ignorance pervaded the population, then as always. What was smart last February was society and the processes that made society work in the good old days.

“Please explain.”

I shall.

Consider the social analytics of F.A. Hayek. His major theme is that the workings of the social order require knowledge and intelligence, but none of this essential knowledge subsists within any individual mind much less any political leader. The knowledge and intelligence necessary for society to thrive is instead decentralized throughout society, and comes to be embedded or instantiated within institutions and processes that gradually evolve from the free actions and choices of individuals.

What are those institutions? Market prices, supply chains, observations we make from the successful or unsuccessful choices of others that inform our habits and movements, manners and mores that work as social signals, interest rates that carefully coordinate the flow of money with our time preferences and risk tolerances, and even morals that govern our treatment of each other. All these come together to create a form of social intelligence that resides not in individual minds but rather the process of social evolution itself.

The trouble is that a well functioning society can create an illusion that it all happens not because of the process but rather because we are so damn smart or maybe we have wise leaders with a good plan. It seems like it must be so, else how could we have become so good at what we do? Hayek’s main point is that it is a mistake to credit individual intelligence or knowledge, much less good governments with brainy leaders, with civilizational achievements; rather, the real credit belongs to institutions and processes that no one in particular controls.

“To understand our civilisation,” Hayek writes, “one must appreciate that the extended order resulted not from human design or intention but spontaneously: it arose from unintentionally conforming to certain traditional and largely moral practices, many of which men tend to dislike, whose significance they usually fail to understand, whose validity they cannot prove, and which have nonetheless fairly rapidly spread by means of an evolutionary selection — the comparative increase of population and wealth — of those groups that happened to follow them.”

The lockdowns took a sledgehammer to these practices, processes, and institutions. It replaced them nearly overnight with new bureaucratic and police-state mandates that herded us into our homes and arbitrarily assigned new categories: elective vs non-elective medical procedures, essential vs nonessential business, permissible vs. impermissible forms of association, even to the point of measuring the distance from which we must be separated one from another. And just like that, via executive order, many of the institutions and processes were crushed under the boot of the political class.

What emerged to take its place? It’s sad to say but the answer is widespread ignorance. Despite having access to all the world’s knowledge in our pockets, vast numbers of politicians and regular people defaulted back to a premodern cognition of disease. People did this out of fear, and were suddenly and strangely acquiescent to political commands. I’ve had friends tell me that they were guilty of this back in the day, believing that mass death was imminent so the only thing to do was to shelter in place and comply with the edicts.

The seeming intelligence that we had only in February suddenly seemed to turn to mush. A better way to understand this is all our smartest institutions and practices were crushed, leaving only raw stupidity in its place.

Truth is that we as individuals are probably not much smarter than our ancestors; the reason we’ve made so much progress is due to the increasing sophistication of Hayek’s extended orders of association, signalling, capital accumulation, and technological know how, none of which are due to wise leaders in government and industry but are rather attributable to the wisdom of the institutions we’ve gradually built over decades, centuries, and a millenia.

Take those away and you reveal what we don’t really want to see.

Looking back, I’m very impressed at the knowledge and awareness that the postwar generation had toward disease mitigation. It was taught in the schools, handed down to several generations, and practiced in journalism and public affairs. That was smart. Something happened in the 21st century to cause a kind of breakage in that medical knowledge chain, and thus did societies around the world become vulnerable in the presence of a new virus to rule by charlatans, hucksters, media howlers, and would-be dictators.

With lockdown finally easing, we will see the return of what seems to be smart societies, and the gradual loss of the influence of stupid. But let us not deceive ourselves. It could be that we’ve learned nothing from the fiasco that unfolded before our eyes. If economies come to be restored, eventually, to their former selves, it will not be because we or our leaders somehow beat a virus. The virus outsmarted everyone. What will fix what the political class has broken is the freedom once again to piece back together the institutions and processes that create the extended order that makes us all feel smarter than we really are.




Taxpayers still on the hook for stadium debts, even though coronavirus canceled sports; but then, those stadiums weren't likely to bring the growth the cities wanted in the first place (Reason)

Due to Seattle's unrest, a billion-dollar investment firm is moving to Phoenix (KTAR News)

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper vetoes bill to reopen bars and gyms (Washington Examiner)

Audio emerges of Jimmy Kimmel, a social-justice fraudster and misogynist, using the N-word (The Daily Wire)

Friendly fire: Black Lives Matter forces LGBTQ organization to face its history of racial exclusion (NBC News)

Colorado passes landmark law against qualified immunity (Forbes)

New Jersey ranked least patriotic state in America (New York Post)

Andy Ngo: My terrifying five-day stay inside Seattle's cop-free CHAZ (New York Post)

Black Lives Matter founder is an "expert" at George Soros's Institute for New Economic Thinking who called for "opposing capitalism"; colleague admitted "We are trained Marxists" (The National Pulse)

South Korea says John Bolton's memoir on Trump-Kim summit is distorted (Reuters)

Policy: Coronavirus cases are climbing again. So what? (Issues & Insights)


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


June 24, 2020

Forget Vaccines, Catch a Cold Instead

An interesting suggestion from  Jon N. Hall

The Wuhan pandemic has been compared to the devastating Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, but the two differ in their victims. The Spanish flu hit young adults aged 20-40, a group that the Wuhan virus mostly doesn’t prey on. The Spanish flu also hit children, which our virus virtually ignores. I’m not an epidemiologist, but when compared to the Spanish flu, COVID-19 seems almost “benign.”

The Spanish flu had a fatality rate of 2.5 percent, while the seasonal flu usually has a fatality rate of just 0.1 percent. Some research suggests that the fatality rate for Covid will ultimately turn out to be more in line with the seasonal flu than with the Spanish flu. And note that there’s a vaccine for the seasonal flu while scientists have yet to develop one for Covid.

So if the latest fatality numbers hold, then Covid will turn out to be much less lethal than the Spanish flu. But calculating the fatality rate is difficult, and can involve a lot of guesswork. To get a taste for the problem of putting a number on the fatality rate, read “Covid-19 Is Not the Spanish Flu” at Wired.

In his novel The Andromeda Strain (1969), Michael Crichton dreams up a pathogen which, in the small town it invades, spares no one except for two individuals. Perhaps the Wuhan virus, the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that has been flown around the globe on commercial airliners to infect the entire planet, might be thought of as a “reverse Andromeda strain,” in that it spares just about everyone except for old folks. If that sounds wacky to you, then you haven’t kept abreast of recent research which suggests that Covid has already infected far more of the population than had been thought.

In Crichton’s fiction, the two survivors of his Andromeda bug aren’t saved by having superior immune systems, but rather by another biologic factor (which I’ll leave for those who haven’t read the novel to discover on their own). Because the Wuhan virus is new, one might think that Covid’s survivors are protected by the immune systems they were born with, i.e. their innate immune systems.

The exquisite defense system that we were born with is a general system. But when that general system of innate immunity neutralizes a pathogen, it creates a second line of defense, an antibody that targets that specific pathogen. Antibodies are part of the adaptive immune system, which is acquired. I know of a hair stylist who swears that the reason she never gets sick is because her clients continually cough and sneeze all over her. The gal may have developed adaptive immunity.

It’d be interesting to see what kinds of antibodies are present in people who work in close proximity to others, like our hair stylist. I’m not an immunologist, but because the Wuhan virus is new, what could account for the ease with which some throw it off, often not even knowing they’ve contracted anything? Is it innate immunity or something else?

On May 14, the website for the journal Science ran “T cells found in COVID-19 patients ‘bode well’ for long-term immunity” by Mitch Leslie. The article cites research suggesting that T cells which fight Covid could have been developed in response to other coronaviruses, like the common cold:

T cells, in contrast, thwart infections in two different ways. Helper T cells spur B cells and other immune defenders into action, whereas killer T cells target and destroy infected cells. The severity of disease can depend on the strength of these T cell responses. …

The researchers think these cells were likely triggered by past infection with one of the four human coronaviruses that cause colds; proteins in these viruses resemble those of SARS-CoV-2...

Before these studies, researchers didn’t know whether T cells played a role in eliminating SARS-CoV-2, or even whether they could provoke a dangerous immune system overreaction. [Link added.]

On May 21, The Federalist ran “Stop Fear-Mongering: Kids Are Safer From Covid-19 Than Everyone Else” by Phil Kerpen, who wrote that “recent papers suggest they [i.e. children] may either have innate immunity or effective partial immunity from recent exposure to common cold coronaviruses,” and he cites much foreign research to support that. But nowhere in his lengthy article does Mr. Kerpin mention T cells. However, on June 2 Kerpen tweeted “A lot of people beat SARS-CoV2 with just T cells.”

On June 3 at Business Insider, science reporter Aylin Woodward wrote:

Some people's immune systems may have a head start in fighting the coronavirus, recent research suggested.

A study published last month in the journal Cell showed that some people who have never been exposed to the coronavirus have helper T cells that are capable of recognizing and responding to it.

The likeliest explanation for the surprising finding, according to the researchers, is a phenomenon called cross-reactivity: when helper T cells developed in response to another virus react to a similar but previously unknown pathogen.

In this case, those T cells may be left over from people's previous exposure to a different coronavirus --- likely one of the four that cause common colds.

The Wuhan virus affects different groups in markedly different ways. Responses range from the asymptomatic to death. If you’re weathering the “cytokine storm” and a hospital puts you on a ventilator, you’d best have your “affairs in order.” To more completely understand this virus, we might study those in each group who respond differently than the group as a whole; that is, study the anomalies.

Are there any commonalities held by the anomalies in each group? The main group that Covid attacks is the elderly, but it also has a taste for males, the obese, and those with underlying conditions (comorbidities), such as diabetes. So, if Covid were to sweep through a nursing home and kill off every last patient except for an obese 70-year-old man with diabetes, we’d have ourselves an excellent anomaly to study, (which might even put one in mind of Crichton’s Andromeda strain.) Likewise, a grade schooler who succumbs to Covid while his classmates don’t even know they’ve contracted it, or a fit pro football player who is laid low by the virus, such as Mark Campbell, would also be an anomaly to investigate.

The “experts” tell us that we can’t get back to normal until we get a vaccine. But often the yearly flu shot is ineffective more than half the time. And there’s no guarantee that science will be able to come up with a vaccine. The experts weren’t able to develop vaccines for other coronaviruses, such as those responsible for SARS and MERS and the common cold.

Americans are being asked to wait for a vaccine which the vast majority of them don’t need due to their innate immunity, their antibodies from growing herd immunity due to having already contracted the virus, and their T cells. Also, this hoped-for vaccine might quickly become useless if the virus mutates, as viruses are wont to do. Are we just supposed to remain in lockdown while we wait until the so-called experts say it’s safe to go outside?

Think of how devastating the Wuhan virus would have been if it had hit the younger still-productive part of the population. Think of the heartache were it to have preyed on kids, wiping out classrooms in the way it wiped out nursing homes. If I were a virus, or a cannibal, I think I’d be more attracted to the young and succulent rather than to the old and stringy. So, as far as viruses go we’ve been lucky with Wuhan, given its choice of victims. Be that as it may, to boost your killer T cells: man up, leave your bunker, and go out and catch a cold.



UK: One steroid, and all Europe, says lockdown must end

The discovery in Britain that a £5 steroid, dexamethasone, can be effective in treating COVID-19 marks a potential breakthrough in our understanding of the virus.

Much remains to be learned about the wider potential of the drug but the claims made about its success are striking: that it reduces deaths by one-third in patients on ventilators and by a fifth in ­patients receiving oxygen only.

It has not been shown to benefit COVID-19 patients who do not require oxygen, but this can still, in a global pandemic, mean thousands of lives saved.

There are two further points to be made. With COVID-19, there is a better chance of finding a treatment for the virus than of finding a vaccine. Second, the gathering and interrogation of this data can be of huge use in finding out what works and what does not. The British study looked at the role of old ­familiar generic drugs.

Pharmaceutical companies understandably focus on developing new products: that is their ­raison d’etre. There is no real money to be made in the discovery about the role of steroids.

It is understandable that Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been so keen to tell the world about dexamethasone. Some 4000 COVID patients are dying each day across the world, and if even a small fraction of those lives can be saved with a widely available drug then every day counts.

But another mass experiment is going on, which is also worthy of the British government’s attention. In schools, too, every day counts. Lockdown is being eased all over the world, without much sign of the second wave that so many feared.

In hundreds of thousands of classrooms, children are being taught in the same way as they were pre-COVID, without any viral backlash. The 2m rule should now be abolished and lighter regulations put in place, with schools first in line for a return to normal.

The evidence of London, too, needs to be taken into account. For two weeks now, the number of new lab-confirmed COVID cases has been, on average, two dozen a day — in a city of nine million. Nor have mass protests in Britain over the past fortnight ­resulted in the faintest flicker of a resurgence in new cases. There has been no triggering of the early warning systems (specifically in calls to the 111 hotline that mention COVID-­related symptoms).

We know this because the government is better now at collecting data. And the data should embolden ministers to move faster in reopening society.

The new cases, when they ­arrive, are isolated. Last week, we had news of an outbreak in Beijing, which may lead to the city being locked down in the way that Wuhan was in January. Bizarrely, China has responded by halting the import of European salmon. But overall, it is remarkable how little resurgence there has been in countries that have gradually eased their way out of lockdown or other restrictions.

Weeks ago, Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested the COVID-19 crisis might not be solved until a vaccine was found. No one knows when that will be, yet the announcement on dexa­methasone reminds us that therapeutic drugs can go a long way to make up for the lack of a vaccine.

Look at HIV/AIDS. In the 1980s, a vaccine was thought to be four or five years away. It still hasn’t been found, but in the meantime retroviral drugs have done a pretty good job of suppressing the virus within individuals, to the extent that new infections have fallen sharply.

Given the success other European countries have had in relaxing lockdowns without rekindling the virus, it is puzzling that the British government is proceeding so gingerly. The level of infection in the population is now so low that it does not qualify under the definition of an epidemic. That has been the case for several weeks, yet non-essential shops have only just reopened, and there is no firm date for reopening bars, restaurants, theatres, hotels — only a promise that it won’t happen before July 4.

Johnson began this crisis seemingly unaware of the medical havoc it might cause. Now he risks seeming to ignore the economic and social damage it has already caused — and the even greater havoc it will cause if lockdown is not lifted soon. Businesses can keep going for only so long without income. Should lockdown be imposed for much longer, we will begin to see a cascade of collapse.

Six months ago, Johnson won an election partly by promising to be the entrepreneurial candidate, who would lead us away from the EU’s precautionary principle towards faster growth. It is time he finds the resolve shown by European counterparts — and leads Britain out of lockdown so the recovery can begin.




Justice Department proposes rolling back protections for Big Tech (Reuters)

Trump signs bill protecting Chinese Uighurs on same day John Bolton claims he gave President Xi Jinping approval on detention camps (The Daily Caller)

Dick Durbin gives token apology to Tim Scott after "token" remark about police-reform bill (Washington Examiner)

Senate Democrats silent when asked if they condemn Dick Durbin's "token" comment (The Daily Caller)

Hypocrite Nancy Pelosi pours $180,000 into Facebook ads while calling for advertisers to boycott the site (The Washington Free Beacon)

Ex-Atlanta police officer who killed Rayshard Brooks charged with felony murder (CNN)

Georgia Bureau of Investigation says it was not consulted by the DA before charges were filed against officers in Brooks case (11alive.com)

"There are officers walking off": Atlanta cops vote with their feet on indictments (Power Line)

Dumb and dumber: Seattle adds concrete barricades to safeguard the militant group CHOP (Bearing Arms)

Cornell law professor censured by dean after criticizing Black Lives Matter movement (The College Fix)


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 June, 2020

Coronavirus is weakening, could die out on its own without a vaccine and patients now survive infections that would have killed them at start of the pandemic

I suspect that what the good doctor is noticing is that all the very vulnerable to the virus are now dead.  So he is now seeing what is left, people who were less vulnerable to it in the first place

But it is certainly true that viruses evolve and it certainly true that a form of a virus that does not kill its host will itself survive better.  So a non-letal form could well become dominant

The coronavirus, once an 'aggressive tiger' of a disease, has weakened and become more like a wild cat, according to a top Italian doctor.

Professor Matteo Bassetti said he is convinced the virus is 'changing in severity' and patients are now surviving infections that would have killed them before.

And if the virus's weakening is true, Covid-19 could even disappear without a for a vaccine by becoming so weak it dies out on its own, he claimed.

He has said multiple times in recent months that patients with Covid-19 seem to be faring much better than they were at the start of the epidemic in Italy.

Professor Bassetti suggests this could be because of a genetic mutation in the virus making it less lethal, because of improved treatments, or because people are not getting infected with such large doses because of social distancing.

But other scientists have hit back at the claims in the past and said there is no scientific evidence that the virus has changed at all.

Professor Bassetti, the chief of infectious diseases at San Martino General Hospital in Genoa, Italy, told The Sunday Telegraph the virus could wither away on its own.

He said: 'It was like an aggressive tiger in March and April but now it's like a wild cat. Even elderly patients, aged 80 or 90, are now sitting up in bed and they are breathing without help. The same patients would have died in two or three days before.'

Italy was one of the worst hit countries in the world during the pandemic's early stages, and has now recorded more than 238,000 positive cases and 34,000 deaths.

Scientists have said the elderly population there, the virus spreading in rural areas and the suddenness of the outbreak contributed to the country's high death toll.

Professor Bassetti suggests that one of the reasons the virus might be causing less serious illness is a genetic mutation which has made it less damaging to people's lungs.

Or, he said, people may simply be receiving smaller amounts when they get infected, because of social distancing and lockdown rules, making them less sick.

This theory depends on the severity of someone's illness being affected by their 'viral load' - the amount of virus that gets into someone's body when they're first struck by it.

Professor Bassetti said: 'The clinical impression I have is that the virus is changing in severity.

Viruses are known to change over time because they are subject to random genetic mutations in the same way that all living things are.

These mutations can have various effects and many will only happen briefly and not become a permanent change as newer generations of viruses replace the mutated ones.

However, some of the mutations might turn out to be advantageous to the virus, and get carried forward into future generations.

For example, if a virus becomes less dangerous to its host - that is, it causes fewer symptoms or less death - it may find that it is able to live longer and reproduce more.

As a result, more of these less dangerous viruses are produced and they may go on to spread more effectively than the more dangerous versions, which could be stamped out by medication because more people realise they are ill, for example.

The mutation may then be taken forward in the stronger generations and become the dominant version of the virus.

In an explanation of an scientific study about HIV, the NHS said in 2014: 'The optimal evolutionary strategy for a virus is to be infectious (so it creates more copies of itself) but non-lethal (so its host population doesn’t die out).

'The "poster boy" for successful long-living viruses is, arguably, the family of viruses that cause the common cold, which has existed for thousands of years.'   

'In March and early April the patterns were completely different. People were coming to the emergency department with a very difficult to manage illness and they needed oxygen and ventilation, some developed pneumonia.

'Now, in the past four weeks, the picture has completely changed in terms of of patterns.

'There could be a lower viral load in the respiratory tract, probably due to a genetic mutation in the virus which has not yet been demonstrated scientifically.'

But other scientists did not welcome the idea and said there was no evidence to back up Professor Bassetti's claims.

Dr Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz, from the University of Wollongong in Australia, told MailOnline that the idea the virus has disappeared 'seems dubious'.

The epidemiologist warned Italy - which was the centre of Europe's coronavirus crisis in March - was still recording new Covid-19 cases and deaths, showing the virus was still a danger.

At the start of June, in response to Professor Bassetti's claim, Dr Angela Rasmussen, from Columbia University, tweeted: 'There is no evidence that the virus is losing potency anywhere.'

She added less transmission means fewer hospitalisations and deaths - but warned: 'That doesn't mean less virulence.'

The virulence of a virus is how dangerous the illness is but may not directly relate to how contagious it is.

Dr Oscar MacLean, of the University of Glasgow, added: 'These claims are not supported by anything in the scientific literature, and also seem fairly implausible on genetic grounds.



It’s been more than three weeks since mass protests started in the US, sparking fears of a surge in infections. The data so far is surprising

No surprise.  The rioters were mostly young.  The coronavirus is almost always a disease of the elderly

On May 26, the day after George Floyd’s death, people started to stream onto America’s streets to protest against police brutality and racial discrimination.

Before long those streets were brimming with protesters. Day after day, tens of thousands of people were marching together in more than 100 cities across the country.

They were also jammed together like proverbial sardines – well inside the 1.8-metre distance dictated by their government’s coronavirus guidelines.

That created an obvious fear – that the protests would cause a huge surge in infections, just as the United States was trying to open up again.

Government officials allowed the demonstrations to continue; they were too big to shut down anyway. But several did express deep concerns.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti warned the protests could become “super spreader events”. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told protesters they should all get themselves tested for the virus. Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said she worried the mass gatherings could cause “spikes in coronavirus cases” later.

“Two weeks from now, across America, we’re going to find out whether this gives us a spike and drives the numbers back up,” Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said at the end of May.

Well, here we are, almost three weeks later. The US currently has 2.2 million confirmed cases of the virus, and its death toll stands at more than 120,000.

And yet, in news as welcome as it is baffling, so far there is little sign of the protests having the effect health experts feared.

According to America’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, someone can carry the virus without symptoms appearing for as long as a fortnight.

So, let’s take the example of Minneapolis, which was the site of Mr Floyd’s death and the initial epicentre of the protests. It has been 26 days since the demonstrations started there.

So far more than 10,000 Minneapolis protesters have been tested for the virus, and fewer than 2 per cent of those people were infected.

“We’re delighted that we are not seeing a huge increase in cases,” Kris Ehresmann, director of the Minnesota Department of Health’s infectious disease division, told reporters at a briefing on Wednesday, though she did say officials wanted to be “cautious” about drawing conclusions.

The statistics are similar in Philadelphia, Seattle and even New York.

Al Jazeera recently looked at a selection of cities where major protests took place. Its analysis is about a week old now, but still accounts for the virus’s expected incubation period. Again, there was little evidence of a protest-related spike.



Most Americans do not want to “defund” the police

But they support other reforms

“DEFUND THE POLICE”, a slogan that might once have appealed only to America’s left, has gone mainstream. Since George Floyd’s death on May 25th, protesters across the country have called for police departments to be “defunded”, or for a portion of funds to be diverted to social programmes. Others want departments abolished altogether. Some lawmakers appear to have listened. On June 7th Bill de Blasio, New York City's mayor, pledged to redirect some of the city’s $6bn police budget to youth and social services. The same day members of the city council in Minneapolis, where Mr Floyd was killed, vowed to dismantle the city’s police department entirely. The Los Angeles City Council is also researching how to cut its police department’s budget by $100m-150m.

But the proposal has yet to win over a majority of voters. A recent survey by YouGov, a pollster, found that only a quarter of American adults are in favour of cutting funding for police departments outright. (When respondents are alerted to arguments from opponents of defunding that it might lead to a rise in crime, the proportion drops even lower.) A larger share favour redirecting funds from police to alternative first responders, such as social workers, drug counsellors and mental-health experts. Nearly half of Americans approve of this approach, though support is split along party lines with 68% of Democrats in favour, and 55% of Republicans opposed.

Other police reforms enjoy broader support. Another survey, also by YouGov, found that large majorities of Americans favour training police officers to de-escalate conflicts (88%), equipping them with body cameras (87%), identifying troublesome officers sooner (80%) and banning restraint of suspects’ necks (67%; Mr Floyd was choked by an officer’s knee). Two bills introduced by the House and Senate, on June 8th and June 17th, respectively, include all of these ideas in one form or another. The Senate bill encourages de-escalation training; the House bill boosts funding for investigations of police misconduct; both encourage the use of body cameras. The House bill bans chokeholds and neck restraints outright, whereas the Senate one discourages chokeholds by blocking federal grants if used.

Yet when it comes to reforming the police, congressional powers are limited. Most of America’s 18,000 law-enforcement agencies are governed locally, so lawmakers in Washington can only regulate them in roundabout ways—for example by collecting data, prosecuting abuses of power or restricting access to federal grants. Some reforms passed in Congress could be ignored.

Things may not get that far. Democrats and Republicans in Congress struggle to pass controversial legislation even in amicable times, let alone during an election year. President Donald Trump, who recently signed an executive order creating a national database to track misbehaving police officers, could veto whatever legislators come up with. On the day the Democratic-led House unveiled its bill, Mr Trump tweeted his disapproval: “the Radical Left Democrats want to Defund and Abandon our Police. Sorry, I want LAW & ORDER!”




Nancy Pelosi orders removal of four portraits of Confederate House speakers — Democrats Robert Hunter, Howell Cobbs, James Orr, and Charles Crisp — from the Capitol (NBC News)

Only the beginning: Senate Democrats move to gut the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (National Review)

Europeans are working with the U.S. to restructure the World Health Organization (Reuters)

Fifty-five percent believe that Biden potentially has early stages of dementia (The Daily Wire)

Politico agrees that polls are underestimating Trump just like in 2016 (The Daily Wire)

Senator Marco Rubio introduces the Fairness in Collegiate Athletics Act to address name, image, and likeness in college sports (Rubio.senate.gov)

Olympia, Washington, Mayor Cheryl Selby, who supported Black Lives Matter, gets home vandalized during riots, calls it "domestic terrorism" (The Daily Wire)

Major fumble: Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy foolishly apologizes for "pain, discomfort" caused by sporting a T-shirt emblazoned with One America News (ESPN)

Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, said she would issue an executive order that would take effect before the November election, ending Iowa's distinction as the last state to deprive all former felons of voting rights for life (The New York Times)

Notre Dame Law School establishes Religious Liberty Clinic (Notre Dame News)

Massive spying on users of Google's Chrome shows new security weakness (Reuters)

Border violence could spur India to help U.S. counter China (Washington Examiner)

Policy: Reform our cities, not just the police (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


22 June, 2020

Incentives for innovation will eventually defeat Covid-19

Matt Ridley

It will be an innovation that eventually defeats the virus: a new vaccine, a new antiviral drug — or a new app to help us avoid contact with infected individuals.

So the one thing the world needs more than anything else is an incentive to innovate. Here’s an idea for how to do so.

The problem is that innovation is an uncertain, unpredictable process. I argue in my new book How Innovation Works that you can rarely summon an innovation to order when you need one.

We would love to have flying cars that run on water, or cheap ways to suck carbon dioxide out of the air, but necessity is not the mother of invention after all.

Take vaccines. Some viruses prove impossible to vaccinate against after decades, while others succumb quickly.

“Vaccine development is an expensive, slow and laborious process, costing billions of dollars, taking decades, with less than a 10 percent rate of success,” according to Wayne Koff, president of the Human Vaccines Project, writing just before the pandemic began.

There are lots of different teams working flat out on developing a vaccine for COVID-19. Some are using whole virus particles, killed or attenuated, some are using protein molecules manufactured in bacteria, some are using messenger RNA fragments that instruct human cells to make viral proteins to alert the immune system.

It is impossible to say which will work, if any.

So governments and venture capitalists have a problem: which horse to back? Giving grants and subsidies to those that shout loudest — or have the best connections — is regrettably, all too often the way innovation gets funded. But by trying to pick winners, governments all too often end up picking losers.

Luckily, there is a new idea out there for how to incentivize innovation without trying to pick winners. It’s called the Advance Market Commitment and it is the brainchild of the Nobel-winning economist Michael Kremer.

It is basically a prize, but not in the form of a lump sum, rather in the form of a contract at an attractive price to produce the innovative product once — if — it gets invented.

Earlier this month the global vaccine alliance, known as GAVI, launched an appeal to fund exactly this kind of reward for a vaccine for COVID-19. It aims to raise $2 billion through a financing instrument that would effectively guarantee sales of the new vaccine in developing countries where healthcare systems often cannot afford the costs of new vaccines.

Exactly such a venture, funded by various governments and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, achieved a remarkable breakthrough a few years ago in the search for a vaccine for pneumococcus, a bacterium that kills large numbers of children in the poorer parts of the world.

Hundreds of thousands of lives have been saved. The same idea also helped the development of a vaccine for Ebola, though the epidemic ended before that vaccine could be fully tested.

These Advance Market Commitments are surely the way to go to fund innovation more generally. They have the advantage of being agnostic about the means by which an innovator achieves his or her end.

Indeed, the ancestor of all such schemes, the famous Longitude Prize in 18th century England, demonstrated neatly how solutions to problems can come from unexpected directions.

Mariners were unable to measure longitude while at sea, resulting in a disaster in 1707 when a naval squadron turned out to be farther east than its commander thought and was wrecked on the Scilly Isles. The government offered the huge sum of £20,000 (over £4 million in today’s money, and over $5 million US) for the first person to solve the problem of measuring longitude.

To the consternation of the scientific establishment, it was eventually won not by an astronomer or mathematician, but by a clockmaker from Yorkshire, John Harrison, who pointed out that all you need to know is what time it is back in Greenwich and compare that with local time (by measuring when noon occurs) and you know how far west of Greenwich you are.

So good robust clocks that kept good time even on board ship were the solution, and so it proved.

Let’s solve lots of our problems in this way: not with grants and subsidies, but with prizes.



How Germany got coronavirus right

This April, Walther Leonhard got an unusual call from the authorities in Rosenheim, his hometown in southern Germany. He was being given a new job, in a new field, with a title that had just been invented, “containment scout”.

Leonhard, 33, who had been working as a court officer in Munich, was soon back home and hitting the phones. He was the latest recruit into Germany’s army of Kontaktmanagers (tracers) — the foot soldiers of its strategy for containing coronavirus.

Leonhard’s job is to call people who have tested positive — and all those they have recently come into contact with — to tell them to self-isolate for a fortnight. It’s not much fun. A lot of people are scared and confused when he breaks the news.

“They ask how they’ll be able to feed themselves, what they should tell their boss, whether they can go for a walk — and you tell them, ‘No, you have to stay inside your four walls,’ ” he says. “And you say, ‘This isn’t some mean, vile thing the government is doing to you — it’s for your own protection, and to protect those around you.’”

Combined with its six-week shutdown, Germany’s “track and trace” system has been instrumental in stalling the spread of Covid-19 and preventing it from overwhelming the health system.

It has also helped that the country has a well-oiled government, led by Angela Merkel, a physicist, that has avoided the screeching policy zigzags seen elsewhere. On April 17, authorities announced that the pandemic was under control — less than six weeks after Germany’s first deaths from Covid-19.

The country saw its first outbreak in January at the headquarters of Webasto, an automotive supplier near Munich. The source was quickly identified as a Chinese employee who had been attending in-house workshops there.

Some 10 employees ended up getting infected — one after using a salt shaker handed to him by a colleague with the virus. After extensive detective work, those with coronavirus were swiftly isolated, their friends and relatives found and alerted.

“Contact tracing has been important ever since Webasto,” Jens Spahn, Germany’s health minister, tells the FT. “With Webasto, we managed to quickly recognise all the chains of infection and interrupt them. And that meant we were able to stop it spreading all over the country.”

Some experts think it’s not entirely fair to hold Germany up as an exemplar of crisis management. “There are other model countries that have received much less attention, such as Vietnam, which has seen no deaths at all from Covid-19,” says Hendrik Streeck, professor of virology at Bonn University.

A lot of Germany’s relatively good performance was down to luck. “[We] had the advantage that we had more time to prepare,” he says. “We saw the images from China and Italy before the wave hit us too.” But it also reacted more quickly to those images than other countries, he says, with “consistent testing and track and trace”.

The figures bear that out. By June 1, Germany had 183,508 confirmed Covid-19 cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, making it the world’s ninth-worst-hit country.

But the number of infected people who have died is remarkably low — just 8,546, or about 4.7 per cent of the total. That works out at roughly 103 deaths per million inhabitants, compared with 430 for France, 554 for Italy and 579 for the UK.

This occurred despite one of Europe’s least draconian shutdowns. Though schools, non-essential shops and restaurants were closed for weeks, a large proportion of businesses and factories continued to operate as normal. Germany also left lockdown more quickly than many of its neighbours.

More importantly, the health system never came under too much pressure. “We never reached the point where we had too many people in intensive care,” says Streeck. “That meant we were never faced with the need for triage — when you only treat those patients with a greater chance of survival. For us, triage was only ever a theoretical possibility, never a real one.”

This pattern was being replicated across Germany. A key role in ramping up preparations was played by the country’s health ministry, led by Spahn, a 40-year-old politician who has long been seen as a potential chancellor. His department intervened early, telling hospitals to postpone all elective procedures. “That freed up a lot of intensive care capacity, which gave us an important buffer at the peak of the crisis,” says Spahn.

The call was backed by financial incentives: the ministry promised hospitals €560 a day for every bed they kept vacant for a potential Covid patient and €50,000 for each additional intensive care bed they created. Even before those measures were introduced, Germany had many more intensive care beds than other big European countries — 34 per 100,000 people, compared with 9.7 in Spain and 8.6 in Italy. This ratio increased in the pandemic, with the number of ICU beds rising from 28,000 to 40,000. There were so many that, in the end, a large number stood empty.

Part of the German system’s strength is how uniform it is in terms of financial resources and the quality of care — a factor that contributed to combating coronavirus. “Our hospital landscape is extremely homogeneous,” says Deerberg-Wittram, who has worked across the UK and knows about regional disparities in the NHS. “There are no real weak spots — the standard of care is the same everywhere.”

Germany’s system also benefits from being much more decentralised than, say, the NHS. Town hospitals are often controlled by elected local mayors, rather than by regional or central government. “The mayor of Rosenheim needs great schools, swimming pools and a great hospital, and that’s the same for the mayors of Hamelin and Münster too,” says Deerberg-Wittram.

Spahn sees the decentralised nature of health provision as an asset. The hundreds of mayors “don’t just get orders from above . . . A lot more people have to take on responsibility and make independent decisions,” he says. “And if they didn’t, they’d have to answer to their voters.”

The prevalence of testing meant cases were identified at a much earlier stage, and people could be admitted to hospital before their condition worsened — one of the reasons why Germany’s death rate has been relatively low.

“In Italy, people waited far too long and by the time they got to hospital they were seriously ill,” says Deerberg-Wittram. “That just overwhelmed the health service there. In Germany it was the opposite.”

Meanwhile, the authorities were gradually ratcheting up restrictions on public life. On March 8, they recommended the cancellation of all big public events. Five days later, most of Germany’s 16 states closed their schools and kindergartens. Then, on March 22, the government closed shops and restaurants and banned meetings of more than two people.

At the same time, Berlin launched a massive economic aid package that, according to the Bruegel think-tank, is equivalent to 10.1 per cent of the nation’s gross domestic product — larger than that of any other western country.

It included a €100bn fund to buy stakes in affected companies, €50bn in direct grants to distressed small businesses and €10bn for an expanded furloughed worker scheme. The aid came in very useful — according to government forecasts, Germany will this year face the worst recession in its postwar history.

While the emergency fiscal response was spearheaded by the federal government in Berlin, shutdown measures were co-ordinated in a series of teleconferences between Merkel and the governors of the federal states, in which the chancellor, whose approval ratings soared during the crisis, deployed her powers of persuasion to reach a national consensus.

“This isn’t in our constitution — it was newly invented for corona,” says Reinhard Busse, head of the department of healthcare management at Berlin’s Technical University. “It became the central organ of crisis management, and ensured that at least at the height of the pandemic, the response was highly uniform.”

Though there were occasional tensions, vicious bust-ups of the kind seen between US president Donald Trump and state governors are unheard-of in Germany.

Much policy was overseen by Helge Braun, head of the chancellor’s office. A trained anaesthesiologist, he worked for years in an intensive care and pain management clinic. “It makes a difference that the chancellor is a scientist and her chief of staff a doctor,” says Busse. “That has shaped our response to this pandemic.”

Jens Deerberg-Wittram says Merkel’s heavy reliance on experts was a critical factor in the crisis. “She said, ‘Before I do anything, I have to understand what’s going on here,’” he says. This meant Germany’s leading virologists played an outsized role in shaping policy. “There was a kind of ‘no bullshit’ attitude that dominated all decision-making,” he says.

Meanwhile, infection rates have slowed: Germany is now reporting a few hundred cases a day, compared with 6,000 a day in early April. As the crisis eases, the unity of purpose that defined the country’s initial approach has broken down. In April, Merkel expressed frustration at the “unthinking” way some states were rushing to ease the shutdown.

These differences broke out into the open late last month when the chancellery sought to extend Germany’s restrictions on social contact till July 5. The states rebelled, insisting they be scrapped by June 29. Some states are now increasingly ignoring Berlin and setting their own rules.




A tidal wave of bankruptcies is coming (The New York Times)

China will speed up purchases of U.S. farm goods (MarketWatch)

Thomas Jefferson statue should be removed from NYC Council chambers, lawmakers say (New York Daily News)

Uncle Ben's rice to take black man off box; Cream of Wheat mulls removing black chef (The Daily Wire)

D'oh! Oakland mayor launches hate-crime probe into nooses in trees. Black man says it's exercise equipment he put there. (The Daily Wire)

NYPD cops encouraged to strike on July 4 to give city its independence (New York Post)

10 times Barack Obama acknowledged that DACA was unconstitutional (PJ Media)

Hillsdale College refuses to bow to the totalitarian mob (The Federalist)

Susceptible to fraud: The federal government spent nearly $3 trillion on coronavirus relief. Oversight has been a mess. (Reason)

People would be mentally crushed by second wave, psychologists say (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


21 June, 2020

America's new enemy:  The "conservative" Supreme court

Being a justice of the Supreme Court is very much an elite position.  Unfortunately, persons obtaining a position there soon begin to exhibit elite attitudes.  They have recently handed down a stream of destructive Leftist opinions

The DACA decision

In a remarkable moment on the floor of the U.S Senate, Ted Cruz (R-Texas) used his ten minutes to take a flamethrower to the Supreme Court decision over Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Calling Roberts’ repeated siding with the liberals on the court a charade, he said, “Everyone knows the game they’re playing. They’re hoping that, come November, there’s a different result in the election, that a new administration comes in and decides that amnesty is a good thing.”

His fiery speech began:

Mr. President, today’s U.S. Supreme Court Ruling, in the Department of Homeland Security versus the University of California Regents, is disgraceful. Judging is not a game. It’s not supposed to be a game. But, sadly, in recent years, more and more, Chief Justice Roberts has been playing games with the court to achieve the policy outcomes he desires. This case concerned President Obama’s executive amnesty. Amnesty that President Obama decreed, directly contrary to federal law. He did so with no legal authority. He did so in open defiance of federal statutes.

He then tore apart the decision itself:

President Obama’s executive amnesty was illegal the day it was issued, and not one single justice of the nin Supreme Court justices disputed that. Not a one. Chief Justice Roberts wrote the majority opinion, joined by the four liberal justices on the court. This is becoming a pattern. The majority believes that Obama’s executive amnesty is illegal, and then, bizarrely, holds that the Trump administration can’t stop implementing a policy that is illegal.

Cruz points out the legal knots into which Roberts tied himself:

The majority holds that, of course, an administration can stop an illegal policy. “All parties agree”—that’s a quote—all parties agree that “DHS may rescind DACA.” …. The majority then says, “You know what? The agency’s explanation wasn’t detailed enough.”

He also reflects on the pattern of legal mumbo-jumbo Roberts has engaged in to side with the liberals on the court:

That is exactly the sleight of hand that Chief Justice Roberts did, almost exactly a year ago today. In another case where the Chief Justice joined with the four liberals and struck down another one of the Trump administration’s policies. The Commerce Department, which is charged with conducting a census every ten years, wanted to ask a commonsense question: “Are you a citizen of the United States?” That’s a question that has been asked in nearly every census since 1820.

Calling the Democratic Party and the press the party of illegal immigration, Cruz proceeded to destroy that argument too:

What did John Roberts do? He wrote an opinion that says, “Yes, of course the Commerce Department has the authority to ask in the census if you’re a citizen.” Of course they have! …. But, no, John Roberts, a little twist of hand. You know what? The Commerce Department didn’t explain their reasoning clearly enough.

Cruz is clearly onto the game Roberts has played, piercing the veil to reveal him as a pro-amnesty NeverTrumper. Roberts gave us Obamacare, and now he’s given us amnesty too. This allows the Democrats to run out the clock until November, hoping that Uncle Joe can take the White House and save them from the Bad Orange Man, implement permanent amnesty, and turn the United States into the illegal immigration utopia they all envision.


Redefining Sex

In what dissenting Justice Samuel Alito called one of the most “brazen abuse[s]” of the Supreme Court’s authority, a six-member majority of the court led by Justice Neil Gorsuch has rewritten Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sexual orientation and gender identity in the definition of “sex.”

Why bother trying to pass the proposed Equality Act when you can get the justices to make law for you?

Title VII prohibits an employer from failing or refusing “to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual … because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”

Gorsuch—joined by the four liberal justices, along with Chief Justice John Roberts—decided that employment decisions that take any account of an employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity necessarily entail discrimination based on sex in violation of Title VII.

In Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, which was combined with two other cases, Gorsuch wrote that the straightforward application of the terms in Title VII, according to their ordinary public meaning at the time of its enactment, means that an employer violates the law when it intentionally fires an individual based in part on sex.

In a logical and legal leap, Gorsuch then argued that includes sexual orientation and gender identity, since those concepts are related to sex.

Thus, Gorsuch reasoned, it means the employer is treating individuals differently because of their sex. An employer cannot escape liability by showing that it treats men and women comparably as groups. The employer has violated the law even if it subjects all male and female homosexual and transgender employees to the same treatment.

Gorsuch dismissed as irrelevant the historical fact that none of the legislators who passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964 would have ever expected or contemplated that Title VII’s ban on employment discrimination on the basis of sex would apply to a man hired by a funeral home who then told his new employer, the R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Home, that he planned to “live and work full-time as a woman.”

That was one of the three cases before the court. That provision of the 1964 law was intended to stop the blatant employment discrimination rampant against women at that time.

The majority opinion by Gorsuch upending more than five decades of prior precedents was only 33 pages long. Alito, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, filed a blistering dissent in which he said that “there is only one word for what the Court has done today: legislation.” He pointed out that the majority’s claim that it is “merely enforcing the terms of the statute” is “preposterous.”

As Alito undisputedly says, “if every single American had been surveyed in 1964, it would have been hard to find any who thought that discrimination because of sex meant discrimination because of sexual orientation—not to mention gender identity, a concept that was essentially unknown at the time.”

The majority tries to “pass off its decision” as just an application of the term “sex” in Title VII, claiming it is applying the textualism championed by the late Justice Antonin Scalia. But according to Alito, that claim and the majority’s opinion “is like a pirate ship.” He added:

It sails under a textualist flag, but what it actually represents is a theory of statutory interpretation that Justice Scalia excoriated—the theory that courts should ‘update’ old statutes so that they better reflect the current values of society.

Alito said that the majority’s “arrogance” is “breathtaking,” since “there is not a shred of evidence that any Member of Congress interpreted the statutory text that way when Title VII was enacted.”

Neither “sexual orientation,” nor “gender identity” appear on the list of five specified grounds for discrimination in Title VII, and the majority’s “argument is not only arrogant, it is wrong,” he wrote.  The terms “sex,” “sexual orientation,” and “gender identity” are “different concepts,” and neither of the two latter terms are “tied to either of the biological sexes.”

Alito is, of course, entirely correct, as one of us pointed out in a recent article in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy.

And, of course, Congress knew that “sex” didn’t include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” Alito recalled that there have been numerous bills introduced in Congress over the past 45 years to amend the law and add those terms, but they all failed.

The majority is “usurping the constitutional authority of the other branches” of government and has taken the latest congressional bill on this topic and “issued it under the guise of statutory interpretation.”

Justice Brett Kavanaugh also filed a dissenting opinion, in which he wrote that “this case boils down to one fundamental question:  Who decides?”

The issue is whether Title VII “should be expanded to prohibit discrimination because of sexual orientation,” he wrote, adding that responsibility “belongs to Congress and the President in the legislative process, not to this Court.”

Kavanaugh lauded the “extraordinary vision, tenacity, and grit” of the gay and lesbian community for working “hard for many decades to achieve equal treatment in fact and in law.”  But, he added, under separation of powers, “it was Congress’s role, not this Court’s, to amend Title VII.”

Alito made it clear that the “updating desire to which the Court succumbs no doubt rises from humane and generous impulses.” But the “authority of this Court is limited to saying what the law is.”

In their dissents, Alito, Thomas, and Kavanaugh got it right, and the majority got it wrong. The word “sex”— still today as when Congress passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964—refers to our biological reality as male or female. It doesn’t refer to our sexual orientations or malleable gender identities as some see it.

If those terms were contained within Title VII, there would have been no need for Congress to repeatedly try to amend the law to add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes.

In an act of judicial activism, a majority of the Supreme Court has simply legislated from the bench and amended the statute itself. 

Congress has not legislated such an outcome, and it was wrong for the court to usurp lawmakers’ authority by imposing such an extreme policy on our nation without the consent of the governed.


Gun rights

The Supreme Court of the United States delivered a blow to gun rights activists on Monday when they turned down the possibility of hearing roughly a dozen Second Amendment-related cases. The last time the Court heard a gun-related case was in 2010 with the landmark McDonald v. Chicago decision.

Below are the cases that were rejected (via Bearing Arms):

Pena v. Horan is a challenge to California’s microstamping law, which took effect in 2012 and has curtailed not only the availability of new models of handguns, but has caused existing models of handguns to be barred from being sold in the state.

Gould v. Lipson is a challenge to Massachusetts’ carry laws.

Worman v. Healey is a challenge to the state’s ban on so-called assault weapons.

Rogers v. Grewal, Cheeseman v. Polillo, and  Ciolek v. New Jersey all deal with challenges to New Jersey’s carry laws and “justifiable need” requirement for a carry permit.

Malpasso v. Pallozzi takes on similar requirements in the state of Maryland.

Culp v. Raoul challenges an Illinois law barring residents from 45 other states from applying for a non-resident concealed carry license, while Wilson v. Cook County takes on the Illinois county’s ban on modern sporting rifles.

Mance v. Barr is a case challenging the ban on interstate sales of handguns.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a dissenting opinion, which Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined, calling into question the Court's failure to hear firearm-related cases that need clarity.

"The text of the Second Amendment protects 'the right of the people to keep and bear Arms.' We have stated that this 'fundamental righ[t]' is 'necessary to our system of ordered liberty.' Yet, in several jurisdictions throughout the country, law-abiding citizens have been barred from exercising the fundamental right to bear arms because they cannot show that they have a 'justifiable need' or 'good reason' for doing so," Thomas wrote.

"One would think that such an onerous burden on a fundamental right would warrant this Court’s review. This Court would almost certainly review the constitutionality of a law requiring citizens to establish a justifiable need before exercising their free speech rights," he wrote. "And it seems highly unlikely that the Court would allow a State to enforce a law requiring a woman to provide a justifiable need before seeking an abortion. But today, faced with a petition challenging just such a restriction on citizens’ Second Amendment rights, the Court simply looks the other way."

Thomas also cited the lower court's split decision on Americans having to prove they are in need of a concealed carry permit. Having lower courts split on a decision is a prime reason the Supreme Court takes on a case.

"This case gives us the opportunity to provide guidance on the proper approach for evaluating Second Amendment claims; acknowledge that the Second Amendment protects the right to carry in public; and resolve a square Circuit split on the constitutionality of justifiable need restrictions on that right," Thomas said. "I would grant the petition for a writ of certiorari."

Thomas also made the argument that the Heller decision – which states a person has a right to carry a firearm outside of the home for self-protection – provided a framework for lower courts to decide cases.

The justice made it clear he believes these cases are being put off for political reasons, particularly for those on the Court who oppose the right to keep and bear arms.

"Whatever one may think about the proper approach to analyzing Second Amendment challenges, it is clearly time for us to resolve the issue," Thomas stated.


Sanctuary cities

The Supreme Court on Monday turned down an appeal from the Trump administration seeking to challenge a California “sanctuary law.”

As is the court’s custom, its order declining to hear the case gave no reasons. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. said they would have granted the administration’s petition seeking review.

The California law prohibits state officials from telling federal ones when undocumented immigrants are to be released from state custody and restricts transfers of immigrants in state custody to federal immigration authorities.

A unanimous three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, ruled that the federal government is not entitled to commandeer a state’s resources to further its immigration agenda.

Judge Milan D. Smith Jr., writing for the panel, acknowledged that the state law “may well frustrate the federal government’s immigration enforcement efforts.”

“However,” he wrote, “whatever the wisdom of the underlying policy adopted by California, that frustration is permissible, because California has the right."

The Trump administration told the Ninth Circuit that Congress, in enacting immigration laws, expected that states would cooperate with the federal government. “That is likely the case,” Judge Smith acknowledged. “But when questions of federalism are involved, we must distinguish between expectations and requirements. In this context, the federal government was free to expect as much as it wanted, but it could not require California’s cooperation.”

In a petition seeking the Supreme Court review of the case, United States v. California, No. 19-532, lawyers for the Trump administration wrote that the state law conflicted with federal ones and posed a risk to public safety.

“When officers are unable to arrest aliens — often criminal aliens — who are in removal proceedings or have been ordered removed from the United States, those aliens instead return to the community, where criminal aliens are disproportionately likely to commit crimes,” the petition said. “That result undermines public safety, immigration enforcement and the rule of law.”

In response, lawyers for California said the federal government was not entitled to take over the state’s resources.



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 June, 2020

UK: Around the world, other countries are opening up with no adverse effects. Why do we think we will be the exception?

Karol Sikora

To some people, a second wave of this pandemic more powerful and deadly than the first is an inevitability. So, hospitals have been instructed to prepare to increase critical care capacity. The Nightingales are ready to re-open. A much more rigid lockdown may be necessary in September. Waiting lists will exceed 10 million for the first time in history.

To even question the strategy is considered blasphemy. And yes, I know predictions are tricky. And the vaccine strategy is not looking good. But despite that, there are reasons to be optimistic.

Just look around the world. In Wuhan, China has tested 10 million residents and found no new cases. A minor outbreak in Beijing is being effectively controlled. In South Korea and Japan, it’s all over, and life is getting back to normal. In the West, countries like Austria and Denmark, which eased their lockdowns two months ago, have seen further declines in infections, with no spikes. The same can be said for Italy, Spain and France, just weeks ahead on their coronavirus journey. Schools are back; restaurants and bars are open. City squares all over Europe are buzzing again



Sweden passes 5,000 coronavirus deaths amid criticism of its lockdown-free strategy – but its death rate per million is STILL behind the UK

Sweden has passed the grim mark of 5,000 coronavirus deaths today as cracks began to emerge in the political consensus the government has until now enjoyed over its softer approach.

The Public Health Agency said it had recorded 5,041 Covid-19 deaths, giving it the world's fifth highest death rate at 499.1 per million inhabitants.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, a Social Democrat, insisted in a weekend televised interview that hospitalistions were down sharply and Sweden's strategy of not locking down 'was not a failure'.

The country's leader went on to say that the large share of deaths in elderly care homes 'has nothing to do with the strategy. 'It has to do with failings in society that we are correcting,' including basic hygiene deficiencies in many care homes, he added.

Sweden's political circles broadly supported the decision to not lock down, as did the general population.

But there has been growing criticism in recent weeks over the government's struggles to get mass testing off the ground, which only began in earnest this week.

Parties on the right have also accused the government of hiding behind public health experts and failing to take responsibility in the crisis.

'A leader has to step forward, but Lofven took a step back,' Ebba Thor, the head of the Christian Democrats, said during a recent party leader debate.

The Liberals' parliamentary leader, Johan Pehrson, said Sweden's softer approach 'may have contributed to the high death toll', while the head of the conservative Moderate Party, Ulf Kristersson, has called for a commission to be appointed immediately to probe the government's handling of the crisis.

Swedish officials have stressed that the situation has vastly improved in recent weeks, despite the dire death toll.

The Public Health Agency said the country of 10.3 million had 54,562 confirmed cases on Wednesday, a high infection rate, but said the large majority of new cases were mild ones recorded after testing began to ramp up several weeks ago.

The number of hospitalisations and intensive care patients had gone down dramatically since hitting a peak in April, officials said.

According to the Swedish Intensive Care Registry, there were on Wednesday a total of 218 COVID-19 patients in intensive care units, compared to a peak of 558 on April 25-26.

Doctors in the country also confirmed that their COVID-19 units had passed the peak. 'The number of patients has gone down dramatically,' Lars Falk, head of the ECMO unit at Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm, told AFP. 'There are much fewer patients needing ICU care than a couple of weeks ago,' he said.

Anders Tegnell, chief epidemiologist at the Public Health Agency, who has become the face of Sweden's strategy, has repeatedly insisted that lockdowns do not work. Once countries lift their restrictions and normal routines resume, the virus will begin to circulate again, he said. 'You can't eliminate the virus entirely in the long-run,' he told reporters on Tuesday.

Another scientific study published on Wednesday by the Public Health Agency showed that the infection fatality rate in Stockholm for those aged 69 and under was 0.1 percent, and 4.3 percent for those aged 70 and over. That study examined 1,667 people infected with the virus during March 21-30.

The figures come as Britain today announced another 184 deaths from Covid-19, taking the country's total number of lab-confirmed victims past the 42,000-mark.

Department of Health statistics show the daily number of fatalities has dropped 25 per cent in a week, with 245 posted across all settings last Wednesday. Some 233 deaths were recorded yesterday.



Poor Black Communities Devastated After BLM Riots Lead to New Food Deserts

BLM creates poverty and food deserts wherever they go
Weeks of civil unrest, rioting, and looting by Black Lives Matter and antifa agitators in some of the poorest areas of the country have resulted in devastating consequences for the residents, who are mostly black or minority. A video was taken by a woman in an undisclosed location. As she walks through her neighborhood grocery store in tears she describes the wreckage as she looks for milk for her children. “Look at this. Every grocery store looks like this,” she said. “Everything is either on the floor…look at this. I came into the store to buy something because I’m not a thief,” she said. People who already couldn’t feed their kids, now they really can’t feed their kids,” she cried. “I am so devastated right now.”

“We couldn’t even find tissue less than two months ago and now it’s on the floor,” she said as she surveyed the damage. “I feel like an animal and black people made me feel like an animal. Y’all did that!” She continued to berate the rioters, “This is what we’re fighting for…we’re so black and proud that we ain’t never going to be honest and be real about what’s really going on. Y’all are so wrong for this.”

Making black people drive out of state to buy food is….progress?
Neighborhoods near where I grew up outside of Chicago are devastated. One of my friends who lives on the south side of Chicago told me she and her husband have to drive to Indiana to get groceries now. There isn’t a grocery store anywhere near them that hasn’t been destroyed. She’s one of the lucky ones because she has a car. Many in her neighborhood don’t have transportation and they have no options to get to food stores now.

We have been berated and shamed for not supporting Black Lives Matter as an organization and “social movement,” but which is the more racist position: supporting the looting and burning of black neighborhoods where black people will suffer the consequences of more poverty, or supporting law and order and the protection of those neighborhoods and resources?

I’m getting the distinct impression that if you support the protection of these neighborhoods from criminals you are a terrible, no good, rotten, racist who can be fired from your job just for criticizing BLM. But if you support the crime syndicate that destroyed this woman’s grocery store and stores in poor black neighborhood’s all over American cities, you are a virtuous member of society who cannot and will not suffer any consequences for your beliefs that lead to the devastation that black people will now suffer.

BLM is the white leftist’s free pass out of responsibility for food deserts
All one has to do these days to be considered a good and non-racist white person is put a sign in your yard supporting BLM and their ruinous tactics that are hurting black families, keeping food off the shelves, and even milk from babies. It doesn’t matter that the people you support are actually terrorizing black neighborhoods and black mothers like the one in the video. You are allowed to support them openly, agitate with them, support them financially, and prop them up with legitimacy as they burn, loot, and destroy black livelihoods. This gives you the protection to point your fingers at those of us who think it’s a moral injustice to target black people through the destruction of their neighborhoods and call us, inexplicably, racists.

If you are a person who believes that grocery stores in minority neighborhoods should be protected by police, that the poor people living there should be protected from violence and civil unrest, you’re a bad person. Is everyone paying attention? This is the accepted philosophy of our time. If people don’t wake up in the neighborhoods that were just destroyed by agitators pretending to care about minority rights, there is no hope for America.

Republicans aren’t the answer for everything and in general, are feckless and ineffective legislators. They’re terrible at messaging, they don’t know how to deal with controversy and they bend over way too easily to Democrat pressure. But they have never supported the destruction of any neighborhoods by lawless criminals. The majority of Republican-run areas did not get looted and burned. They protected their communities from violence and terror. The Democrat strongholds did not. Remember that when you vote next time.




Fed-up black business owners wrestle with "defund the police" (Washington Examiner)

Starbucks caves to Social Justice Warriors, will allow employees to wear Black Lives Matter clothing after boycott campaign (National Review)

More than 1,300 Chinese medical suppliers falsified registration information to sell in the U.S. (Washington Examiner)

Amazon is fielding probes from California and Washington over trade practices (Gizmodo)

Oregon governor temporarily halts state's reopening (The Daily Caller)

Illegal immigration rose nearly 40% amid coronavirus reopenings (The Washington Times)

"Faded away into a dark nightmare": North Korea says diplomacy with Trump has failed (USA Today)

Seattle's "autonomous zone" and the Paris Commune of 1871 are ominously similar (Foundation for Economic Education)

Study finds mask-wearing "most effective means to prevent interhuman transmission" (Washington Examiner)

London police call for protest ban after 23 officers injured during demonstrations (Washington Examiner)

Policy: Democrats accidentally make the case against teachers' unions (Issues & Insights)

Adding insult to injury, the Supreme Court refuses to hear Trump administration challenge to California sanctuary law (National Review)

"Looking the other way": Justice Clarence Thomas accuses his colleagues of dodging gun cases (The Washington Free Beacon)

President Trump is considering a new $1 trillion infrastructure "stimulus" plan (Business Insider)

Joe Biden and the DNC raise over $80 million in May, their biggest monthly haul of 2020 race (CNBC)

Trump campaign and the RNC raise $14 million on Trump's birthday, breaking fundraising record (The Daily Caller)

Dow rallies after record retail sales jump of 17.7% in May (CNBC)

Facing huge budget gaps, governments have furloughed or laid off more than 1.5 million workers (The New York Times)

Research finds lockdowns are far worse for health and lives than coronavirus (The Federalist)

"No question it is going to make it harder to defend our religious freedom, as far as an organization being able to hire people of like mind": Conservative Christians concerned over "seismic implications" of Supreme Court ruling (The New York Times)

NYPD commissioner disbands plainclothes anti-crime units (FOX 5)

Orthodox Jews cut locks on closed New York City park to let children play (Washington Examiner)

Patients with underlying conditions were 12 times as likely to die of coronavirus as otherwise healthy people, CDC finds (The Washington Post)

Mutation in new coronavirus increases chance of infection (Reuters)

Mayor Bill de Blasio's "contact tracing team" isn't allowed to ask patients if they attended a protest (The Daily Caller)

Justice Department schedules first federal executions since 2003 for convicted child murderers (Washington Examiner)

NOAA leaders violated agency ethics code in "Sharpiegate," independent panel finds (Washington Examiner)

Supreme Court validates LGBT protections on grounds LGBT activists reject (The Federalist)

U.S. embassy in Seoul removes "Black Lives Matter" banner day after being unveiled (The Daily Caller)

North Korea blows up South Korea liaison office (Fox News)

Policy: SCOTUS's transgender ruling firebombs the Constitution (The Federalist)


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

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


18  June, 2020

FDA revokes emergency use status of hydroxychloroquine

The FDA approved hydroxychloroquine as “safe and effective” (for various ailments) decades ago. No “emergency use authorization” was — or IS — required for doctors to prescribe it as they see fit. FDA is just playing politics here.  If Trump favours it, it must be stopped

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday revoked its emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19, the drug championed by U.S. President Donald Trump to stave off the coronavirus. Based on new evidence, the FDA said it was no longer reasonable to believe that oral formulations of hydroxychloroquine and the related drug chloroquine may be effective in treating the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

The move comes after several studies of the decades-old malaria drug suggested it was not effective, including a widely anticipated trial earlier this month that showed it failed to prevent infection in people who had been exposed to the virus.”



Coronavirus treatment breakthrough: $50 steroid could save the life of one in every eight patients on ventilators

A steroid treatment for coronavirus could save thousands of lives across the world in what is being hailed as a 'major breakthrough'.

A study of dexamethasone suggests it reduces deaths from coronavirus by a wider margin than any other experimental treatment to-date, and has been described as the most important trial result for Covid-19 so far.

Researchers found the drug - which sells for $57 for 100 pills in the US - reduced deaths by up to a third among patients on ventilators, and by a fifth for those on oxygen.

It has been immediately approved to treat all UK hospitalized Covid-19 patients requiring oxygen, including those on ventilators.

Scientists estimate that if they had known what they now know about dexamethasone at the start of the pandemic, 4,000 to 5,000 lives could have been saved in the UK and thousands more in the US.

They added that, based on their results, one death would be prevented by treatment of around eight patients on ventilators, or around 25 patients requiring oxygen alone.

Currently, at least 2,156 Americans with coronavirus are on mechanical ventilators, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data - and that is likely an undercount, considering the agency's tracking has lagged well behind individual states'. 

The drug could offer hope to these US patient as well as those on oxygen support and the 385 in mechanical ventilator beds across the UK.



Rush Limbaugh on American conservatives

Conservative everything has just given up, has just ceded the country, ceded Hollywood, ceded music, ceded television, ceded the media, ceded everything.

“If one of the conservative billionaires out there has any stomach for saving their country from the mob, they should buy and flip a major media platform, or fund a new one, and make it an unsinkable aircraft carrier of true free speech.”

And I get this a lot. I’ve had this question, “Why doesn’t some wealthy conservative come along and buy CBS or ABC or anything else?” I don’t know. I have no idea. I happen to know that a bunch of people who have bought networks are not flaming leftists and they never do anything to change the news networks that are part of the corporations that they have purchased.

Buck Sexton continues. “We are completely outgunned in the platform wars, and it’s only getting worse. All the major social media and streaming content companies are part of the lib Death Star. Stop sending checks to think tanks that overpay 2nd tier scholars to churn out policy papers five people read.”

He’s thinking about people like Bill Kristol and Jonah Goldberg and the Never Trump contingent who at one time or another have worked at think tanks, where they have sought your donation on the basis that they and they alone are carrying the conservative banner into battle, when in fact most people have never heard of ’em.

“It doesn’t even have to be –” he says, this new enterprise “– doesn’t even have to be ‘conservative’ in mission, it would soon become dominated by conservatives though if it adamantly refused to censor speech for the woke mob. The Left can no longer debate like sane people, but they don’t have to. They just point, scream, and cancel. Meanwhile, I know ultra-wealthy conservatives who are terrified of anyone finding out what their politics are, because to be accepted among the elites, you have to at least allow those around you to believe you’re woke and lib.”

And, by the way, I can confirm that. I have over the course of my career, I have met and been introduced to some of the wealthiest conservatives, I didn’t even know they existed, in real estate and high finance in California, in whatever business in New York. And the last thing they ever wanted anybody to know was their politics. Some of them didn’t want anybody to know that they supported George W. Bush.

And I remember scratching my head, I said, “Why?” (interruption) They said, “Well, you know, Bush is stupid, he’s an embarrassment. I have a tough time explaining him.” That wasn’t it. That was just a convenient excuse. They valued their social status more than their political portfolio.

He says, “All of this adds up to a massive cultural failing of the right. And where are the older leaders in conservative media building up the next generation? Folks on our side seem obsessed with their own brands, and protecting their turf, which is a small slice of the media landscape. We need more voices with serious platforms that we control.”

Here again I know exactly what he’s talking about. There was a seminal moment — now, you may not agree with this. There was a seminal moment with the passing of William F. Buckley Jr. Now, William F. Buckley Jr. had retired years before he passed away, but he was the, quote, unquote, father of the intellectual conservative movement. And the thing that Buckley had the ability to do was anoint and grant approval to newly arrived young conservatives, and he did, and he bestowed upon them credibility that resulted from him.

He had that kind of credibility. He had that kind of juice that if somebody new came along, he wasn’t threatened by their existence. His National Review empire, he didn’t think, “Oh, my God. I gotta protect — this guy could overtake.” He didn’t think that way. He was truly a movement guy. But when he passed away, all that ended. And what happened, what replaced Buckley was a battle that’s still raging over the smartest conservative in the room and who is it and who gets to decide it.

And there isn’t a conservative movement that has a force leader individual who is attempting to encourage younger members, and even the younger members don’t seem to have much of an ambition. The joke around Washington today among young conservatives is if they can get a Fox News gig and a book deal, they consider their careers to have been made. There’s enough money and enough prestige there to say they’ve made it. Well, what’s not included in a Fox News gig and a book deal is no persuasion, no expanding the universe, no expanding a movement. That’s what Buck Sexton, formally of the CIA, is talking about here.

Where are the older leaders in conservative media who are welcoming and building up the next generation? We have people more concerned with protecting their own brands and their own turf, which individually these conservatives we’re talking about are some tiny and small that nobody knows who they are anyway.

We need more voices. And we need more encouragement for those voices. But the same time the young arrivals are not completely immune from the problem, you know, a book deal and a Fox News gig and that’s the definition of making it. And the two do go together. But it is not the kind of stuff that a building, growing, planting deep roots kind of movement is based on.

He says “When I first got into media -” this is Buck Sexton here, formally of the CIA “–when I first got into media, I thought our side would be like pro sports, generally the veterans would want to bring up the rookies as part of the natural order, to help their team win. Conservative media is more like warring cartels. Many of the big names just want to stamp out the upstarts.”

And Buck Sexton, formerly of the CIA says, “I know you could say, ‘That’s just business,’ but this is supposed to be about more than that too. And in fact some big names out there pretend the fame and money don’t matter at all. It’s just ‘the cause.’ They build brands on that promise to their audience. They’re full of it.

“Our side is losing right now. We have the Left going on a mad cancel spree, nobody is safe from it, the Supreme Court is a lib super legislature, corporate America is in the radical left’s pocket… and we are hoping Trump pulls off a miracle this fall. What if he fails? Whoever wins this fall, we will still be living in a country where you will be tweeting, facebooking, Amazon priming, YouTubing, Instagram posting, Netflix watching, and Hulu streaming based on the curated tastes and activism of the left. We lose if this continues. Full stop.

“An honestly,” writes Buck Sexton formerly of the CIA, “if we don’t do something about this, we deserve to lose. Who thought it was a sustainable plan to just cede 90% of media, all of Hollywood, academia, and now corporate America to the woke mob? We need to build conservative media motherships, right now.”




"We're not doing guns": Elmer Fudd stripped of rifle in Looney Tunes reboot (Washington Examiner)

Study claims shutdowns prevented 60 million infections in the U.S. (The Washington Post)

Coronavirus cases on the rise in California, several other states (Fox News)

New Zealand lifted all social and economic restrictions except border controls after declaring on Monday it was free of the coronavirus, one of the first countries in the world to return to pre-pandemic normality (Reuters)

Trump directs Pentagon to pull 9,500 US troops from Germany by September (Fox News)

Marine Corps bans Confederate battle flag: Display of banner "presents a threat to our core values, unit cohesion, security, and good order and discipline" (The Washington Times)

Dr. Anthony Fauci says protests are "a perfect setup" for a second coronavirus peak (The Daily Wire)

Joe Biden spent $1.6 million in one day on Facebook ads condemning Trump for fanning the "flames of white supremacy" (The Daily Caller)

Meanwhile, Biden calls for Facebook to fact-check and remove political ads (The Washington Free Beacon)

Fired State Department Inspector General Steve Linick sent confidential info to his personal email accounts (The Washington Free Beacon)

Twitter admits China used nearly 200,000 fake accounts to influence politics, 150x more than Russia (The National Pulse)

With virus all but eliminated, Australia lifts nearly all restrictions (The Washington Post)

Starbucks bans employees from wearing anything in support of Black Lives Matter (The Hill)

"He was BLM before there was a slogan": Park volunteer outraged over vandalism of Philadelphia abolitionist statue (National Review)

"I haven't seen s—t like this before": Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said rioters are "f—ing lawless" in meeting with panicked officials (UK Daily Mail)

"I don't believe it's the time or place to be doing that": Chicago officers who kneel with protesters could be kicked out of police union (FOX 32 Chicago)

Louisville Metro Council votes to ban no-knock raids three months after death of Breonna Taylor (Washington Examiner)

Can the Minneapolis City Council actually defund the police? No. (Hot Air)

Joe Biden conditions support of reparations on provisions for Native Americans (Washington Examiner)

Biden is demanding that Facebook fact-check political ads. Facebook says no. (Business Insider)

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says White House "seriously considering" second round of direct-payment coronavirus relief (The Daily Caller)

John Hickenlooper fined by Colorado Ethics Committee for accepting gifts while governor (The Federalist)

Ben Carson says Rayshard Brooks case "not clear-cut" like George Floyd's (AJC)

Confusion reigns as Seattle's seized six blocks known as CHAZ purportedly changes name to CHOP (Fox News)

Black Lives Matter protesters say Seattle's autonomous zone has hijacked message (Fox News)

Protesters in Asheville, Portland, Nashville, and Chicago try to create autonomous zones. Police aren't having it. (The Daily Wire)

Citing the "political climate," 10 members of the Hallandale Beach Police Department SWAT team voluntarily resign (WPEC)

"Repentance is not enough"? Left-leaning Christianity Today calls on churches to lead on reparations (Fox News)

Camden, New Jersey, removes Christopher Columbus statue (Fox News)


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

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


17 June, 2020

Are Riots, Looting, and Lawlessness Shifting Minority Voters Toward Trump?

While the radical left is seizing on the death of George Floyd to hurl blame at President Trump, new polling shows Trump’s compassionate response to the tragedy, distinction between peaceful protesters and terrorist groups like Antifa, and his measured response to defend the law is raising his approval ratings with minorities.

YouGov polling from last week before the chaos ensued showed President Trump’s approval rating at 39% among Hispanics, and 12% among Blacks. New polling taken between Saturday and Monday as the riots escalated shows his approval rating with Hispanics rose to 42% and with African Americans rose to 18%, as shown below.

Trump’s rising numbers with Minorities

President Trump’s ‘strong approval’ numbers increased for both groups as well. His strong approval went from 17% to 28% with Hispanics and from 7% to 11% with African Americans over between May 25th and June 1st.

Trump also gained a bump in the West, where his numbers generally trail the rest of the country. Pre-riots, Trump’s support in the West stood at 41%, but several days into the lawlessness that rocked Western cities from Seattle to Portland to Oakland, and his support had climbed to 45% as shown below.

President Trump has consistently shown compassion and sensitivity, promising justice for Floyd’s family, and separating peaceful protesters from radical mobs that are co-opting the protests. His May 30th statement calling for arrests of criminals was viewed positively by West Coasters and minorities alike.

Fifty-six percent of West Coasters viewed the President’s statement favorably. Over half of Hispanics (52%) and 20% of African Americans also viewed the statement favorably, as shown below.

Tweet calling out the Minneapolis mayor for his inability to quell the violence

George Floyd’s death is a tragedy and exposes a flaw in our justice system that must absolutely be remedied if we are to keep the peace and restore civility. President Trump has promised to make every effort to ensure justice is served for George and his family, but he has made it equally clear America will not tolerate anarchy, theft, and property destruction. He has made a clear distinction in his rhetoric between peaceful protestors rightfully calling out a great injustice, and self-serving mobs looking for an opportunity to incite fear and chaos. In his speech Monday night addressing the riots, Trump said:

“All Americans are rightly sickened and revolted by the brutal death of George Floyd. My administration is fully committed that for George and his family, justice will be served. He will not have died in vain.

But we cannot allow the righteous prize and peaceful protesters to be drowned out by an angry mob. The biggest victims of the rioting are peace loving citizens in our poorest communities, and as they are President, I will fight to keep them safe. I will fight to protect you. I am your President of law and order and an ally of all peaceful protesters.”

It is important to ask why Black Americans are expected to support a progressive agenda of unchecked power despite clear abuses of said power. Hispanic and Black Americans, many of whom find their communities destroyed, are not buying the mainstream narrative that Trump is to blame for the lawlessness that has reigned over the past few days. Instead, early polling indicates minorities favor Trump’s measured response to defend the law.


Police racism?

We should be angry about the death of George Floyd. It’s on video. It’s ghastly. And it was totally avoidable.

The protests and anger that ensued are justifiable. How this devolved into rioting, looting, vandalism, and arson is not. The country was united in outrage over Floyd’s death, even members of law enforcement said Chauvin’s actions and that of the Minneapolis Police were ridiculous. They were; it was a prime example of excessive force. But then the rioting happened. It’s engulfed the nation. The cities are burning and there was even talk of President Trump invoking the Insurrection Act, which would allow him to use the military to quell the mob. Bush 41 invoked that in 1992 to get Los Angeles under control. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen here. Yet, for Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), he said the troops should be sent in, which sent the Left, especially the “woke” brigade of activists who write for the publication, into a frothed-induced tantrum. Remember, this is the 'bad words are violence' crowd. Young, stupid, coddled, and think constitutional right to free speech is an obstacle to change.

Well, if they thought Cotton’s op-ed, which was innocuous was triggering, they better not read Heather MacDonald’s op-ed in The Wall Street Journal about the myth of systemic police racism, which is grounded in multiple studies, which she cites. As the country burns, there’s also this heinous resurrection of a narrative in which all cops are racist, and all police departments must be defunded and abolished. This is nonsense, and it’s where this whole Black Lives Matter movement goes off the hinges. To make this a top issue, especially in an election year, is just to invite disaster to the Democratic Party. No one who isn’t a clown thinks this is a good idea. Heck, even Vox writers who think this is insane. If words are violence to these lefties, and they do think this way, then this op-ed is bound to cause a Chernobyl-style meltdown with these folks. Cotton’s op-ed was Sesame Street compared to this:

This charge of systemic police bias was wrong during the Obama years and remains so today. However sickening the video of Floyd’s arrest, it isn’t representative of the 375 million annual contacts that police officers have with civilians. A solid body of evidence finds no structural bias in the criminal-justice system with regard to arrests, prosecution or sentencing. Crime and suspect behavior, not race, determine most police actions.

In 2019 police officers fatally shot 1,004 people, most of whom were armed or otherwise dangerous. African-Americans were about a quarter of those killed by cops last year (235), a ratio that has remained stable since 2015. That share of black victims is less than what the black crime rate would predict, since police shootings are a function of how often officers encounter armed and violent suspects. In 2018, the latest year for which such data have been published, African-Americans made up 53% of known homicide offenders in the U.S. and commit about 60% of robberies, though they are 13% of the population.

The police fatally shot nine unarmed blacks and 19 unarmed whites in 2019, according to a Washington Post database, down from 38 and 32, respectively, in 2015. The Post defines “unarmed” broadly to include such cases as a suspect in Newark, N.J., who had a loaded handgun in his car during a police chase. In 2018 there were 7,407 black homicide victims. Assuming a comparable number of victims last year, those nine unarmed black victims of police shootings represent 0.1% of all African-Americans killed in 2019. By contrast, a police officer is 18½ times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male is to be killed by a police officer.

The latest in a series of studies undercutting the claim of systemic police bias was published in August 2019 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers found that the more frequently officers encounter violent suspects from any given racial group, the greater the chance that a member of that group will be fatally shot by a police officer. There is “no significant evidence of antiblack disparity in the likelihood of being fatally shot by police,” they concluded.

A 2015 Justice Department analysis of the Philadelphia Police Department found that white police officers were less likely than black or Hispanic officers to shoot unarmed black suspects. Research by Harvard economist Roland G. Fryer Jr. also found no evidence of racial discrimination in shootings. Any evidence to the contrary fails to take into account crime rates and civilian behavior before and during interactions with police.

It's this false narrative that has led to police being assaulted, shot at, and even killed. We see it with the George Floyd riots right now. Cops are being shot, run over by cars, and assaulted on the streets trying to bring some order to the situation. MacDonald, of course, adds that former Officer Chauvin should be held accountable, but the course the Left wants is anarchy. Gee—it sounds like the philosophy of some of the looters and vandals causing chaos out there, which the liberal media said is really the work of neo-Nazis. That would be another false narrative. 

I’m pro-law and order. I love our police. But that also means calling out bad cops. And Minneapolis, and the surrounding areas, appear to have a lot of them. This must be fixed, but nothing can change when rioters burn, loot, and destroy cities with impunity and target police officers. Progress on police reform can be discussed. It’ll be a long discussion. It’ll be intense for sure, but none of that can happen until we put this mob down.



Hydroxychloroquine Misinformation Can Be Deadly: Let Patients decide

What President Trump called a potential “game-changer” in the battle against COVID-19—a safe, cheap, effective treatment, available NOW—is suddenly seen as a highly dangerous drug. Of the fake news and misinformation that has proliferated in this pandemic, the most harmful is the claim that hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is a serious heart hazard. That incorrect claim has been supported by prestigious medical journals.

This negative message contradicts 65 years of experience of safe, worldwide use of HCQ for malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. Hundreds of millions of patients have taken it without difficulty and without serious side effects. Recent studies in several countries have shown that if used early, within the first week of symptoms, HCQ is safe and highly effective for COVID-19.

Yet the Food and Drug Administration is severely restricting its use to hospitalized patients, and doing nothing to counter the fearmongering.

On May 27, Yale professor of epidemiology Harvey S. Risch published an article in the American Journal of Epidemiology entitled: “Early Outpatient Treatment of Symptomatic, High-Risk Covid-19 Patients that Should be Ramped-Up Immediately as Key to the Pandemic Crisis.”

Dr. Risch referred to five clinical trials, including two controlled trials, which showed “significant major out-patient efficacy” of hydroxychloroquine plus azithromyxin (HCQ+AZT). No cardiac problems were noted in these trials. He concluded: “Evidence about use of hydroxychloroquine alone, or of hydroxychloroquine+azithromycin in inpatients, is irrelevant concerning efficacy of the pair in early high-risk outpatient disease. Five studies, including two controlled clinical trials, have demonstrated significant major outpatient treatment efficacy.”

Dr. Risch concluded that theoretical fears of cardiac events were not borne out in real-world usage and were vastly overshadowed by lives saved. He writes: “These medications need to be widely available and promoted immediately for physicians.”

The FDA in its drug evaluation database has only 62 cardiac deaths attributed to HCQ out of 50 MILLION prescriptions for HCQ, an actual risk of 1.2 per one million people. You have a TEN-fold greater risk (1/74,000) of dying in a fatal car accident on a 1000-mile road trip than dying from a heart arrhythmia if you take HCQ.

The combination HCQ+AZT has been in widespread standard-of-care use in the U.S. and elsewhere for decades in older adults with multiple comorbidities. A large Oxford-based record-linkage study involving more than 300,000 patients with rheumatoid arthritis led to an estimate of only 47/100,000 cardiac arrhythmias attributable to these drugs, most not fatal.

But the media are ignoring this Yale report, instead hammering on studies of critically ill hospitalized patients that show no benefit when HCQ is used far too late in patients in whom severe organ damage has already been done—often to the heart. One study performed in Brazil and published in JAMA on Apr 24 used double the known lethal dose of chloroquine in debilitated, critically ill patients, many with multiple other diseases. Brazilian scientists have demanded JAMA immediately retract this study. The Brazilian government has launched a judicial investigation into the authors’ ethical and legal violations of approved dose guidelines, yet JAMA has still refused to retract the publication.

The recent Lancet data-mining report, also heavily covered in the news, again only included severely ill hospitalized patient, including those in that Brazilian study. Leading scientists from several countries are questioning the validity and accuracy of the data.

To put HCQ safety in perspective, consider the risks of common over-the-counter medicines (OTC) that most people don’t think twice about using:

Tylenol (acetaminophen) is the number 1 cause of acute liver failure in the U.S., ahead of hepatitis, with a death rate of 20-40 percent. It is also the second overall cause of liver failure requiring liver transplant.

Common pain relievers Aleve and Advil account for 21 percent of U.S. adverse drug events. They lead to a 50 percent increase in risk of acute kidney failure, and significant risks of life-threatening gastrointestinal bleeding.

OTC proton-pump inhibitors  (“acid-reducers”) cause a 31 percent increased risk of hip fracture, and 54 percent increased risk of spine fracture.

Other countries, which use HCQ prophylactically or early, have dramatically lower COVID-19 death rates than the U.S., as shown in the newly updated table below for May 30, 2020. The U.S. death rate is nearly 20 times that of India, and 265 times the FDA’s estimated rate of HCQ-related heart problems!

The President has the legal authority under the Defense Production Act in the Presidential Emergency Powers to bypass the FDA and change HCQ to over the counter during this National Emergency. Its long safety record supports that as a reasonable option when compared to risks of common current OTC medicines.

It is time for people to light up the switchboards at the White House, governors’ offices, and legislatures. Americans deserve accurate risk information and the right to choose whether or not to take HCQ. All Americans, not just the elite, should be able to access this life-saving, inexpensive, safe medication.



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 June, 2020

Rolling Stone Editor's Key Observation About the George Floyd Unrest Will Probably Infuriate the Left

I'd never thought that some liberals would actually take a stand and call out their colleagues for being totally unspooled for caving to the progressive mob. For some, the liberal agenda they grew up with is now considered right-wing in some circles. Why? Well, it doesn't go far enough. It has to be far-left and quasi-Marxist. The woke clowns we used to mock on The College Fix and Campus Reform have graduated. And now, their toxic agenda is spreading like a brush fire. No dissent is permitted. Just one slip-up or differing opinion from that of the far-left mob could get you canceled. These are the hordes of Mordor, an apt description by conservative commentator Erick Erickson. They will make you care. In one way or the other, the left-wing mob will find a way to get you. They also don't want apologies; they want the destruction of those they view as enemies to their unhinged worldview.

Matt Taibbi is no conservative. He's a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, but he's commented on the hysteria that has engulfed the Left, especially with the Trump-Russia collusion nonsense. In a lengthy post, Taibbi torched the media for being afraid to confront the terror campaign that's engulfed the nation's newsrooms. He also said if anything that's been exposed during the unrest over the officer-involved fatality of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 that sparked nationwide riots, it's that the American Left has gone totally insane and the liberal media is destroying itself.

For starters, Taibbi probably disagrees with virtually everything Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) stands for but was his op-ed, which sent The New York Times' woke reporters into a Chernobyl-like meltdown, really a threat to black lives? Was it even inaccurate? He notes that a lot of what Cotton said was backed up by a majority of the American public. Also, it seems clear that these leftist clowns didn't even read the column. The Philadelphia Inquirer sent their longtime editor, Stan Wischowski, packing for green-lighting the headline "Buildings Matter, Too." Again, another view that's supported by a healthy majority of voters; people value the protection of what they own. It's not that hard. For the woke, this is problematic. Wischowski helped diversify the newsroom and helped the paper get a Pulitzer for their series on Philly school violence in his two-decade career at the paper, but screw him, right?

Taibbi is surgical in highlighting all of the nonsense, all of the weird acts of contrition being exhibited by white liberals that he rightfully describes as activities that are more in line with cult behavior. Of course, he calls Trump a clown but directs most of his criticism at the media industry that is collapsing under the infection of wokeness and political correctness that are terrorizing newsrooms. Moreover, the pervasive "moral mania," as he calls it, has generated a list of the "Most Important Thing Ever" within the liberal media that is often met with the same fate: it's either forgotten or dropped, leaving the public feeling empty as to why they should be outraged besides the ongoing war cry of "orange man…bad" (via Matt Taibbi):

On the other side of the political aisle, among self-described liberals, we’re watching an intellectual revolution. It feels liberating to say after years of tiptoeing around the fact, but the American left has lost its mind. It’s become a cowardly mob of upper-class social media addicts, Twitter Robespierres who move from discipline to discipline torching reputations and jobs with breathtaking casualness.

The leaders of this new movement are replacing traditional liberal beliefs about tolerance, free inquiry, and even racial harmony with ideas so toxic and unattractive that they eschew debate, moving straight to shaming, threats, and intimidation. They are counting on the guilt-ridden, self-flagellating nature of traditional American progressives, who will not stand up for themselves, and will walk to the Razor voluntarily.

They’ve conned organization after organization into empowering panels to search out thoughtcrime, and it’s established now that anything can be an offense, from a UCLA professor placed under investigation for reading Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” out loud to a data scientist fired* from a research firm for — get this — retweeting an academic study suggesting nonviolent protests may be more politically effective than violent ones!

Now, this madness is coming for journalism.....

...the Philadelphia Inquirer’s editor, Stan Wischowski, was forced out after approving a headline, “Buildings matter, too.”

In the most discussed incident, Times editorial page editor James Bennet was ousted for green-lighting an anti-protest editorial by Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton entitled, “Send in the troops.”

I’m no fan of Cotton, but as was the case with Michael Moore’s documentary and many other controversial speech episodes, it’s not clear that many of the people angriest about the piece in question even read it. In classic Times fashion, the paper has already scrubbed a mistake they made misreporting what their own editorial said…..

Cotton did not call for “military force against protesters in American cities.” He spoke of a “show of force,” to rectify a situation a significant portion of the country saw as spiraling out of control. It’s an important distinction. Cotton was presenting one side of the most important question on the most important issue of a critically important day in American history.

As Cotton points out in the piece, he was advancing a view arguably held by a majority of the country. A Morning Consult poll showed 58% of Americans either strongly or somewhat supported the idea of “calling in the U.S. military to supplement city police forces.” That survey included 40% of self-described “liberals” and 37% of African-Americans. To declare a point of view held by that many people not only not worthy of discussion, but so toxic that publication of it without even necessarily agreeing requires dismissal, is a dramatic reversal for a newspaper that long cast itself as the national paper of record.

Incidentally, that same poll cited by Cotton showed that 73% of Americans described protecting property as “very important,” while an additional 16% considered it “somewhat important.” This means the Philadelphia Inquirer editor was fired for running a headline – “Buildings matter, too” – that the poll said expressed a view held by 89% of the population, including 64% of African-Americans....

After the 2016 election, we began to see staff uprisings. In one case, publishers at the Nation faced a revolt – from the Editor-in-Chief on down – after an articles by Aaron Mate and Patrick Lawrence questioning the evidentiary basis for Russiagate claims was run. Subsequent events, including the recent declassification of congressional testimony, revealed that Mate especially was right to point out that officials had no evidence for a Trump-Russia collusion case. It’s precisely because such unpopular views often turn out to be valid that we stress publishing and debating them in the press.

Oh, and there's this part about the Left's take on the George Floyd riots, which has become a massive exercise in doublethink:

Kathleen Kingsbury [The NYT’s newest opinion page editor], issued a staff directive essentially telling employees they now had a veto over anything that made them uncomfortable: “Anyone who sees any piece of Opinion journalism, headlines, social posts, photos—you name it—that gives you the slightest pause, please call or text me immediately.”

All these episodes sent a signal to everyone in a business already shedding jobs at an extraordinary rate that failure to toe certain editorial lines can and will result in the loss of your job. Perhaps additionally, you could face a public shaming campaign in which you will be denounced as a racist and rendered unemployable.

These tensions led to amazing contradictions in coverage. For all the extraordinary/inexplicable scenes of police viciousness in recent weeks — and there was a ton of it, ranging from police slashing tires in Minneapolis, to Buffalo officers knocking over an elderly man, to Philadelphia police attacking protesters — there were also 12 deaths in the first nine days of protests, only one at the hands of a police officer (involving a man who may or may not have been aiming a gun at police).

Looting in some communities has been so bad that people have been left without banks to cash checks, or pharmacies to fill prescriptions; business owners have been wiped out (“My life is gone,” commented one Philly store owner); a car dealership in San Leandro, California saw 74 cars stolen in a single night. It isn’t the whole story, but it’s demonstrably true that violence, arson, and rioting are occurring.

However, because it is politically untenable to discuss this in ways that do not suggest support, reporters have been twisting themselves into knots. We are seeing headlines previously imaginable only in The Onion, e.g., “27 police officers injured during largely peaceful anti-racism protests in London.”

And on that front, the public shaming aspect, he notes the torching of The Intercept's Lee Fang for daring to tweet an interview he had with a black man who said, "I always question, why does a Black life matter only when a white man takes it?... Like, if a white man takes my life tonight, it's going to be national news, but if a black man takes my life, it might not even be spoken of… It's stuff just like that that I just want in the mix."

Fang was smeared as a racist for peddling countervailing narratives relating to black-on-black crime. He was forced to apologize in a lengthy letter after his co-workers threw him under the bus; Taibbi credits him for being one of the last reporters out there who does excellent investigative work. Now, he's been tarred and feathered by the progressive mob for simply reporting on what's happening on the ground: rioting, looting, and arson.

He concludes his post by citing more odd behavior from the Left, like congressional Democrats kneeling in Kente cloth, white resident begging forgiveness for racism, and white police officers in Cary, North Carolina, washing the feet of black pastors. It's cult-like. And that ethos and the inability of the media to counter it due to the lefty mob is probably why issues like "Defund the Police" seem like it's a popular position. It's not. Taibbi noted polls "show 65% of Americans oppose [defunding the police], including 62% of Democrats, with just 15% of all people, and only 33% of African-Americans, in support."

But if you shame, de-platform, and purge those liberals who haven't gone totally insane from your ranks, I could see how abolishing the police could seem like a possibility if you're a lefty loon. The media appears to be a place where there can be no debate, where its writers work in fear, and the political correctness enforcers acting like ISIS' religious police watch their every move. Yeah, I can see why that's causing the liberal media to self-destruct.

Submit or die is the special of the day for the American Left. And that is why I'm proud not to be a liberal or a Democrat. Taibbi's post is lengthy but worth a full read.



New York Times Magazine's partisan writer Nikole Hannah-Jones rips paper's "both-sideism" over Tom Cotton op-ed: You "don't just hand over your platform" to air "misinformation" (Mediaite)

Speaking of misinformation, The Washington Post hides 60% cut in police shootings from 2015 to 2019 (Breitbart)

NASCAR bans display of Confederate flag at all events and properties (The Washington Post)

Jefferson Davis statue torn down in Richmond, Virginia (AP)

Portsmouth, Virginia, crowd dismantles Confederate monument (Fox News)

"Homage to hate": House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls for removal of Confederate statues from Capitol (NBC News)

U.S. Soccer kneels to Colin Kaepernick protégé Megan Rapinoe, decides to allow protests during the national anthem (Breitbart)

Portland mayor gives government workers 40 hours off to mourn "400 years of African American oppression" (The Daily Wire)

Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez under fire for using LAPD as her "personal security" while she filed a motion to cut the police department's budget by $150 million (UK Daily Mail)

Fed sees interest rates staying near zero through 2022, GDP bouncing to 5% next year (CNBC)

Chinese propaganda outlet has paid U.S. newspapers $19 million for advertising, printing (The Daily Caller)

Governors reject new lockdowns as virus cases spike, because they understand that economic restoration comes with consequences (Politico)

Coronavirus Task Force tells governors to prepare for spike in cases from George Floyd protests, says 70 testing sites have been destroyed (The Blaze)

Amazon suspends police use of facial recognition tool amid protests (Washington Examiner)

Joe Biden formally wins Democratic nomination to take on Trump (BBC)

Birds of a feather flock together: Anti-Trump deep-stater Lisa Page debuts as legal analyst for MSNBC and NBC News (The Washington Times)

Searching Twitter for "racist" shows you President Donald Trump's account (CNET)

Appeals court mulls making Hillary Clinton testify on emails (Politico)

Sen. Lindsey Graham says that he plans on calling former FBI Director James Comey and former deputy director Andrew McCabe to testify before his Senate Judiciary Committee (Fox News)

Minneapolis bans police chokeholds (New York Post)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announces NYPD funding cuts and reforms (Washington Examiner)

Michigan Supreme Court throws out shutdown orders against barber Karl Manke (Detroit Free Press)

Infamous hate-crime hoaxer Al Sharpton to host August race rally in DC (Hot Air)

NFL apologizes for "not listening" to players about racism (ABC News)


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

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


15 June, 2020

The Left Owns The Riots

It’s fitting that so many Democratic governors and other swamp creatures (the Pelosi from the Leftist Lagoon) are bashing Trump and rationalizing the coast-to-coast violence that seems almost demonic.

For the Democratic Party, these riots have been a project long in the works.

The rioting has two components – the rage-filled savages who are burning and looting for the insane joy of destruction, and the left’s brownshirts, who are taking advantage of the chaos to bring down what they call the system. The fingerprints of the Party of Plunder/Party of Treason are all over both.

Starting in the 1960s with the Great Society, the Democrats destroyed the black family. Instead of welfare going to families, it went to single mothers. You get more of what you subsidize. Back then, the out-of-wedlock birth rate was 3% for whites and 23% among blacks. Today, it’s 28% and 73% respectively. In some inner cities, it’s as high as 90%.

Boys raised without fathers, especially in decaying neighborhoods, often grow up to be angry, bitter young men – the type who beat helpless strangers, watch stores and homes burn, and dance around the flames.

The Democrats have nurtured this for decades. They can see no connection between single-parent families and all of the pathologies (crime, drug abuse, joblessness, early sexual activity) that afflict inner cities.

Almost as bad is the sense of entitlement Democrats have cultivated among those they consider their core constituency.

Whatever your problems, you’re not to blame, they tell impressionable young men. You have no responsibility for your condition (substance abuse, failure to find meaningful work, poverty). It’s all due to institutional racism, the “legacy or slavery and segregation,” police brutality, and the “white man’s culture.” As the presumptive Democratic nominee said on Tuesday, upon finally emerging from the Biden Bunker, “The black community has had a knee on its neck for too long.”

Now, rioters are taking the opportunity to strike back against their oppressors (like Korean grocery store owners and ATMs) by stealing, burning, looting, and stomping.

Still, Democrats tell them, it’s not your fault. It’s those damned, racist Republicans, white supremacists, Confederate war memorials, and FOX News. That this only increases the sense of alienation that’s endemic to the black community is irrelevant to those who claim to be its champions.

Antifa and other radical groups hellbent on tearing down civilization are products of the anti-Americanism, and an ethic that condones violence, that pervade what used to be the party of FDR and JFK.

From public school indoctrination to college groupthink, Democrats and their academic cadre have taught millennials that America was founded on genocide, nurtured on slavery, and grew to greatness through exploitation and subjugation -- that we’re responsible for most of the wars of the past hundred years and generally are a blight on humanity.

The man who mentored our last Democrat President is a case in point. The Rev. Jeremiah Wright – 9/11 was “the chickens coming home to roost” and “God damn America” – has enough hatred in his carcass to fuel an Antifa convention.

Democrats have also taught the nihilists surging in our streets that it’s perfectly acceptable -- in fact, preferable -- to shout down, harass and assault reactionaries. The skills Antifa thugs learned at colleges and universities they’ve applied to the current insurrection.

Viktor Frankenstein tried to kill his creature. The Democrats adore theirs. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was proud of his daughter, Chiara, for joining a Midtown mob throwing projectiles at the police. His response to the mayhem rocking Gotham was so bizarre that Governor Cuomo, a fellow Democrat, threatened to have him replaced.

When asked for her thoughts on the violence which just destroyed Newberry Street (Boston’s upscale shopping district), Massachusetts Attorney General Mura Healey said burning is “how forests grow.” I’m sure those who spent years collecting the kindling appreciate those sentiments.

New York State’s Attorney General Letitia James says she’ll investigate the police. First, she’ll have to keep her knee from jerking.

At the 2020 Democrat Nominating Convention, the looters, wrecking crew and goon squad that have spent several days making a hell of the lives of ordinary Americans, should be brought to the stage so Biden can embrace them – like a proud father showing off his sons.



The Cost of Riots

It’s weird that this needs to be said, but here we are.

Then again, the pundit who reprehensibly claims that destroying property “is not violence” risks nothing. She agitates for revolution from the safety of her apartment.

Much the same, I suspect, most of those excusing the destruction of our cities—either contending that businesses “have insurance” or peddling false choices about life being “more valuable than property”—have never built a business themselves.

Nor have I. Yet, I do know that having a business destroyed can be devastating, and “having insurance” won’t make victims whole.

My parents were immigrants from Hungary. My father, who’d worked as an industrial chemist in the old country, ended up in New York’s jewelry district in the 1970s learning how to set diamonds. Learning a new craft takes patience and hard work.

My mother, pregnant with me and unable to speak much English, would take the F-train from Rego Park to Manhattan to bring home necklace-beading work.

Like millions of Americans, after years of plying a trade, saving money, and taking out loans, my parents opened a small business in a strip mall in the suburbs.

As a kid, I often walked the mile and a half from my elementary school to spend time at our small jewelry shop. I was no different from the kids in the neighboring liquor or Chinese food stores, where parents toiled away for endless hours.

In those days, it was more common to see children helping out in family-run businesses, or at least that’s my recollection.

One day—on a half-day of school, as my luck would have it—our shop was robbed. The fact that the strip mall was situated on a busy road, or that it was the middle of the afternoon, didn’t deter the thieves. Three men, two inside and one outside, pulled out guns and demanded the combination to the safe. They cleaned out the place.

Seeing a sawed-off shotgun pressed against a family member’s head is not an experience I recommend. Yet, in 1981, many people in the metropolitan area had been either mugged, robbed, threatened, or had their cars stolen. That year, New York City reported more robberies than in any year in its history—over 120,000—and over 2,100 murders.

Anyway, my parents had insurance. They were lucky enough to be reimbursed for the things that were stolen, but they would never see a penny for the years of preparation, exertion, and sacrifice.

I suspect thousands of Americans who have built business—given up time with their kids, spouses, and parents—will end up in similar circumstances due to the inability of our elected officials to stop criminals and cosplay revolutionaries.

While it’s sickening to watch an Obama bro grouse that there’s too much media attention being paid to devastated communities, it’s unconscionable to see the attorney general of Massachusetts, the top law enforcement officer in her state, say, “Yes, America is burning, but that’s how forests grow.”

Is the forest growing in Minneapolis, where George Floyd was murdered? Doesn’t sound like it:

The riots and arson that followed protests of Floyd’s death have devastated organizations and businesses that serve communities of color. Destruction from the south side’s Lake Street to West Broadway Avenue in north Minneapolis has hit immigrant- and minority-owned businesses already struggling amid the pandemic-induced shutdown.

Now, ethnically diverse neighborhoods are grappling with the loss of jobs, services, and investments.

Riots may excite the keyboard revolutionary, but they won’t bring racial equality. The opposite, in fact. Not only are the anarchists who burn and loot stores subjecting many of their neighbors to a dehumanizing experience, they are destroying poor and minority neighborhoods.

Big businesses might be able to afford to fix the smashed windows and ransacked supply room, but family-owned ones are going to struggle.

Chain stores have insurance, but the individuals and smaller manufacturers who depend on them for their livelihoods also are threatened.

The big stores themselves will be paying higher insurance rates, and some of them may decide to never come back to these poorer neighborhoods.



The Silly Science of COVID-19 'Experts'

Appealing to the authority of "science" has arguably never been more political.

Like journalism before it, science experts are quickly losing their credibility as they have become more beholden to promoting biased narratives over the unvarnished truth. The COVID-19 pandemic is serving to expose this sad reality.

“From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual,” stated Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit. She further explained, “We have a number of reports from countries who are doing very detailed contact tracing. They’re following asymptomatic cases. They’re following contacts. And they’re not finding secondary transmission onward. It’s very rare.”

The implications of this claim could be significant given the fact that one of the primary arguments for the mass lockdowns was predicated on the notion that COVID-19 was being widely spread by asymptomatic carriers. If this latest claim is accurate, then it calls into question the extremity of the shutdowns, social distancing, and mask-wearing protocols government leaders have implemented. Still, note the source — the WHO’s track record with the China Virus should give everyone pause before accepting any of its conclusions.

In fact, Kerkhove later clarified that “asymptomatic” did not include those individuals who were “pre-symptomatic.” If that’s the case, Kerkhove’s claim doesn’t actually negate the apparent high rate of virus spread by people prior to becoming sick. This important distinction may explain the findings from a recently published study in the Annals of Internal Medicine concluding that 40% to 45% of infected individuals spread the virus without realizing they were sick.

Further adding to the “science” confusion is the fact that states reopening early — like Florida, Georgia, and Texas — have not experienced the so-called experts’ widely predicted massive spike of infections or significant rise in hospitalizations. While the numbers of infections did indeed increase, they have not come anywhere near overwhelming these states’ healthcare systems. Remember when “flattening the curve” was the original goal for the shutdowns?

Given the results from these reopening states, one would think others would follow suit. However, politics clearly determines the “science” of these “experts,” as notably most Democrat-run states have still doggedly maintained their shutdown measures … except, of course, for anyone joining the Black Lives Matter protests. This nonsense was typified by a letter signed by more than 1,000 health “professionals” who literally argue, “As public health advocates, we do not condemn these [BLM] gatherings as risky for COVID-19 transmission. We support them as vital to the national public health and to the threatened health specifically of Black people in the United States. We can show that support by facilitating safest protesting practices without detracting from demonstrators’ ability to gather and demand change. This should not be confused with a permissive stance on all gatherings, particularly protests against stay-home orders.” So, according to these “health experts,” COVID-19 is only a problem for those who express the “wrong” political opinions.

This isn’t science; it’s pure propaganda. As City Journal’s John Tierney astutely observers, “However scientific they try to be, they’re swayed by some of the same irrational biases and perverse incentives that afflict politicians and journalists. In creating their models and presenting their data, they’re rewarded for skewing negative, because scary predictions will bring them more attention, more funding, and more power. Their worst-case scenario may be utterly implausible, but it’s newsworthy, and it guarantees that no one will blame them for not anticipating every possible death from the virus.”

Update 6/9: Naturally, after we went to press, there’s more argument and backtracking on the science. The WHO walked back the claim on asymptomatic transmission, saying it probably accounts for somewhere between 16% and 40% of cases. This is, of course, a political walk back, especially in light of the German study just released. It makes WHO look very bad, so just walk it back.



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  June, 2020

Democrats at War

The Democrat party is at war with America. That is the clear message of the Democrats’ responses to the crises that have engulfed our nation over the last six months, made our streets war zones, and destroyed the small business communities that are the lifeblood of our system. When the country was attacked by a deadly virus from China in January, the Democrats attacked the president’s efforts to stop it at the border, then blamed him for the 100,000 deaths that followed. Yet Democrat governors controlled the health systems of every major center of the covid19 devastation and were 100% responsible for any policies that failed.

When the president attempted to re-open the economy in May, Democrat governors and mayors issued draconian orders to arrest individuals violating their “social distancing” injunctions by strolling in parks, lounging on beaches and – worst of all - attempting to revive their barbershops and salons. As a direct consequence of these imposed shutdowns forty million Americans lost their jobs. To many of us, the Democrats’ purpose was clear: to depress the economy and blame the consequences on the president. This became the incessant theme of their political utterances and ads.

Yet these seditious Democrat attacks on the commander-in-chief in the midst of the war against an invisible enemy maintained a cover of plausibility because of the uncertainties surrounding the virus and how it was spread. This mask was dropped when a civil insurrection erupted in the wake of the horrific police murder of George Floyd. In its wake America’s streets were filled with massive crowds of protesters and as it turned out domestic terrorists. These terrorists, led by the communist organization Antifa, used the protests as a cover for violent and hate-filled attacks on ordinary citizens and their businesses. As these attacks escalated into the torching of city centers and the devastation of poor communities, the hypocrisies of Democrats and their true agendas became inescapably clear.

Virtually all the mayhem was centered in Democrat-controlled states and cities. The same mayors who had jailed local business people and ordinary citizens for congregating in groups of more than ten were utterly silent as crowds of thousands formed to tear their cities apart. Meanwhile not a single word was uttered, not a single arrest made, by these same Democrat governors and mayors to prevent the protesters and rioters from violating the social distancing ordinances they had used to close churches and houses of worship the week before. While stores, apartment buildings and even police stations were torched by violent radicals, while ordinary citizens were being terrorized, Democrat governors were reluctant to call out their National Guard and nip the riots in the bud.

This reluctance became active resistance when they defied the president’s appeals to them to take every measure necessary to stop the the terrorists in their tracks and restore law and order to our cities. One of the most frightening sights amidst all the mayhem was the direct threat the street terrorists posed to the White House. Thousands of rioters and protesters gathered in front of the White House.

What were the protesters doing at the White House in the first place? The president had condemned the murder of George Floyd and called his family immediately after the event. There wasn’t a politician or public figure in the entire nation who was defending the killer cop. Why were these crowds menacing the White House and attacking the Secret Service – fifty of whose members had already been injured by their violent assaults? Every night for the preceding week, the “peaceful protest” had turned into violent attacks on law enforcement and the surrounding area. And night after night the Democrat mayor of Washington failed to provide the security necessary to make the street in front of the White House a safe place for the members of our government, including the president.

On Sunday May 31, the mob in front of the White House set fire to the 200-year-old St. John’s Church. Fed up with the support that Democrat governors and mayors were giving to the insurrection and the violence, the president decided on a bold step. On Monday June 1, he massed overwhelming numbers of the National Guard, and demanded an early curfew, planning to clear the streets and demonstrate to the seditious governors and mayors what they needed to do. The National Guard drove the angry mob – protesters and terrorists – away from the White House and then the president and key members of his cabinet walked over to the church.

Every American who cares for their country and its president, who was watching this walk, held their breath, uncertain as to whether the president and his cabinet would be attacked and possibly assassinated, as so many public figures on the left had already advocated. Yet no sooner had the walk been completed than CNN and the Democrat media were mocking the president and creating the Democrats’ new fake news talking point: Trump had ordered the National Guard to use tear gas to attack a group of peaceful protesters in order to feed his narcissism for a photo-op. As if Donald Trump needed a photo op, and as if the peaceful protesters across the country had not systematically provided cover for the black-clad Antifa terrorists wreaking havoc on the country. As if the need to purportedly use tear gas did not expose the menace posed by a crowd that was ready to violate a curfew in front of the White House and resist the representatives of law enforcement who had asked them three times to leave.

Along with Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and the Democrat mayor of Washington DC, Senator Elizabeth Warren condemned the president’s action, summing up the party line: “The President of the United States tear-gassed peaceful protestors in order to clear the way for a useless photo-op outside the White House -- just after vowing to activate the military against our own people. Lives and our democracy are in danger.”

Lives and our democracy are definitely in danger. But the danger comes from a Democrat Party that is at war with their country and willing to aid and abet a terrorist force, Antifa, whose clearly stated purpose is the destruction of the country.



How low can they go?

Two South Carolina National Guardsmen deployed to Washington D.C. to respond to civil unrest found glass baked in a pizza they ordered while staying in an area hotel.

The soldiers found broken glass in the dough and cheese of the pizza they ordered, according to a Defense Department report shared with The Post and Courier. The soldiers did not eat the pizza and were not injured.

“The command says that the soldiers are OK, and that this was the only incident to their knowledge,” Capt. Jessica Donnelly, a spokeswoman for S.C. National Guard told the publication.

Donnelly told the publication that the soldiers were advised to file a police report on following the incident, but a separate spokeswoman for the D.C. Metro Police Department said no report was filed at the time.

The incident occurred amid deployments of National Guard units from various states to respond to increasingly destructive demonstrations following the death of a black man,



Manipulating Stats on Police Shootings to Create a Narrative

"Protests spread over police shootings. Police promised reforms. Every year, they still shoot and kill nearly 1,000 people." So read a Washington Post headline this week. We all wish we lived in a world where police didn't kill anyone because they didn't have to kill anyone. Unfortunately, we live in the real world where some people — sometimes raging under the influence of drugs — are belligerent and violent toward those who volunteer to keep law and order. The Post's provocative headline doesn't even come close to conveying that very real nuance.

First, some of the Post's statistics: "Since 2015, police have shot and killed 5,400 people." Broken out by year, that's 994, 962, 986, 991, 1,004, and 463 so far this year, respectively. It is indeed rather remarkable that 2020 is outpacing even 2019 given the COVID shutdown, but that's another story.

The Post also notes, "The overwhelming majority of people killed are armed. Nearly half of all people fatally shot by police are white." But then it adds, "Since The Post began tracking the shootings, black people have been shot and killed by police at disproportionate rates — both in terms of overall shootings and the shootings of unarmed Americans. The number of black and unarmed people fatally shot by police has declined since 2015, but whether armed or not, black people are still shot and killed at a disproportionately higher rate than white people."

Where to begin?

First, as Mark Alexander wrote several years ago, "When 90% of murders in urban centers are 'people of color' and 90% of perpetrators are 'people of color,' cops of any color are going to be more cautious with 'people of color.'" Unfortunately, that also includes more deadly confrontations.

Second, researcher Heather Mac Donald has gone to great lengths to prove that "there is no epidemic of racist police shootings."

Third, as Gary Bauer notes, "Thirty-five paragraphs [into the Post's story], these hacks finally got to the most relevant information: There has been a 60% decrease in the number of unarmed people shot and killed by police officers since 2015." In other words, police have made strides in better training and response.

Fourth, to be abundantly clear: Just because someone is unarmed doesn't mean they're not incredibly dangerous. Even Barack Obama's (Social) Justice Department found that the 2014 killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson — the death that sparked most of this anti-police outrage with the phony "hands up, don't shoot" slogan — was justified, despite Brown being "unarmed." And, by the way, according to the FBI, "Hands, fists, feet, etc." kill far more people each year than rifles of any type. Yet all we hear about is banning so-called "assault weapons," not the murder spree committed by literally unarmed people.

None of this is to say George Floyd's death was justified — in fact we've gone to great lengths repeatedly to call it unjustified and negligent. And it isn't to say that every person killed by police deserved it. There are wrongful deaths, and offending police should be held to account. (The officers responsible for Floyd's death have been charged, though we wonder if Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison isn't setting that up for failure to spark more riots.)

As with every human institution, reforms to police departments are sometimes needed. However, leftists are either using emotional anecdotes as data or manipulating actual data to produce an emotional response, all in service to a bogus narrative of "systemic racism." That narrative will make a compromise on useful reforms much harder.



Seattle's 'Lord of the Flies' Experiment

They call it Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, or CHAZ — a six-block area in downtown Seattle that has been taken over by the radical leftists of antifa, Black Lives Matter, and the John Brown Gun Club. A cardboard sign on the edge of CHAZ reads, "You are now leaving the USA." Rapper Rap Simone, who appears to have become the self-appointed "police chief," patrols the area with an AK-47 slung around his shoulders. There have been several reports of Simone assaulting individuals who failed to obey his orders. Former mayoral candidate and hard-left activist Nikkita Oliver has taken leadership of CHAZ, declaring, "[We will] align ourselves with the global struggle that acknowledges [that] the United States plays a role in racialized capitalism. Racialized capitalism is built upon patriarchy, white supremacy, and classism."

How did this happen? As protests escalated last week, Seattle law enforcement, following the order of Police Chief Carmen Best, abandoned the East Precinct station, allowing the leftist mob to take control. Seattle's leaders are fearful of running afoul of the anti-police sentiments roiling the country and are essentially at a loss as to how to respond.

As City Journal's Christopher F. Rufo reports, "The city government has not developed a strategic response to the takeover of Capitol Hill. According to one Seattle police officer with knowledge of internal deliberations, the city's 'leadership is in chaos' and 'the mayor has made the decision to let a mob of 1,000 people dictate public safety policy for a city of 750,000.' The officer said that Chief Best had dispatched high-ranking police officials to the autonomous zone to establish a line of communication, but the officials were immediately sent away by armed paramilitaries at the barricades. 'The tide of public opinion is on the side of the activists and they're pushing the envelope as far as they can,' said the officer. 'It's not hyperbolic to say the endgame is anarchy.'"

Further complicating the issue is the fact that several Seattle City Council members are supportive of these leftist radicals. Councilwoman Kshama Sawant actively championed CHAZ, calling it a "victory" over "the militarized police force of the political establishment and the capitalist state."

Meanwhile, Washington's Democrat Governor Jay Inslee claimed he was entirely unaware of CHAZ, replying when asked by a reporter on Wednesday, "Well, that's news to me." It's certainly not news to President Donald Trump, who called for law and order and blasted the non-response of Washington state leaders: "Radical Left Governor Jay Inslee and the Mayor of Seattle are being taunted and played at a level that our great Country has never seen before. Take back your city NOW. If you don't do it, I will. This is not a game. These ugly Anarchists must be stooped [sic] IMMEDIATELY. MOVE FAST!"

These Democrat leaders are playing with fire. Clearly, they're motivated by political calculations, believing that their feigned support of these anti-police protests and riots will benefit them. However, as the situation is allowed to spiral out of control, how many businesses looted and destroyed, how many assaults, how many lives lost will it take for these feckless politicians, protected behind their personal police details, to act? Trump is correct. This in't a game.



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 June, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



What Turkey got right about the pandemic

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

Turkey has defied lockdown orthodoxy.

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



The wrong saint

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

JFK? Churchill? Ronald Reagan?

Nope. George Floyd.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


11 June, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Was the Shutdown Worth It?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


10 June, 2020

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Knee-jerk government actions prolong recessions

By Martin Hutchinson, an economic historian

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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


9 June, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

“A solid body of evidence finds no structural bias in the criminal-justice system with regard to arrests, prosecution or sentencing,” explained Heather Mac Donald of the Manhatten Institute in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week. “Crime and suspect behavior, not race, determine most police actions.”

In 2019 police officers fatally shot 1,004 people, most of whom were armed or otherwise dangerous. African-Americans were about a quarter of those killed by cops last year (235), a ratio that has remained stable since 2015. That share of black victims is less than what the black crime rate would predict, since police shootings are a function of how often officers encounter armed and violent suspects. In 2018, the latest year for which such data have been published, African-Americans made up 53% of known homicide offenders in the U.S. and commit about 60% of robberies, though they are 13% of the population.

The police fatally shot nine unarmed blacks and 19 unarmed whites in 2019, according to a Washington Post database, down from 38 and 32, respectively, in 2015. The Post defines “unarmed” broadly to include such cases as a suspect in Newark, N.J., who had a loaded handgun in his car during a police chase. In 2018 there were 7,407 black homicide victims. Assuming a comparable number of victims last year, those nine unarmed black victims of police shootings represent 0.1% of all African-Americans killed in 2019. By contrast, a police officer is 18½ times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male is to be killed by a police officer.

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

Mac Donald also noted that “A 2015 Justice Department analysis of the Philadelphia Police Department found that white police officers were less likely than black or Hispanic officers to shoot unarmed black suspects.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You are seven times more likely to be murdered …

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

42 times more likely to be raped …

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Companies issue shares at fastest rate ever (Reuters)

Markets clawing back much of pandemic losses (Washington Examiner)

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


8 June, 2020

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

The cop did not kill him

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

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

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

His lungs were clear.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

by Daniel Pipes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Listen to the Doctors, End the Lockdowns

By Ron Paul

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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


5 June, 2020

Violent protests may help Trump at the ballot box

The death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis policeman is heartbreaking and traumatic to watch. If I hadn’t seen it, I would scarcely have believed it.

Apart from the sheer terror and inhumanity of this encounter, two other things are striking. Chauvin is aware people are filming him. That displays either un­believable arrogance or stupidity, or perhaps both.

And finally, for almost the whole time, Chauvin keeps his hand in his pocket — a kind of ­ostentatious, theatrical touch.

This theatricality helps explain why the killing has had an effect similar to an act of terrorism. The act itself was intensely evil, but it is also perfectly designed to transfix public attention in this media, and internet-dominated age.

Notwithstanding the riots and the demonstrations, at one level the death has united America. I have not heard a single voice in any part of the American debate that hasn’t condemned Chauvin’s actions. No one thinks this is justifiable­ or comes anywhere near a grey zone.

US President Donald Trump, for all the criticism his words and actions have provoked, has been as forthright as anyone in condemning the killing. Among many statements of this kind, Trump said that all Americans had been “rightly sickened and appalled by the brutal­ death of George Floyd”.

Where Trump has been critic­ised, however, is in his denunciations of the protesters who had broken various city curfews and the riots, looting, assaults and ­destructiveness of some of the subsequent demonstrations.

The US has seen more deadly race riots than the ones of the past week. In 1992 a jury acquitted four Los Angeles police officers of using excessive force after they had savagely beaten Rodney King, which was also caught on camera. In the riots after that, 63 people were killed.

But probably not since the 1960s has the US seen such widespread rioting connected with ­racial issues as it is seeing today.

At this point, civilised opinion diverges. Everyone is rightly horrified by the killing of Floyd. But there is a legitimate debate about how much it represents deep structural racism in the US, even in the nation’s police forces, and how much it was just a terrible action by a shocking individual.

In 2017, also in Minneapolis, Justine Damond Ruszczyk, an Australian, was shot and killed by policeman Mohamed Noor. She had rung the police about what she thought was a sexual assault happening behind her house. When she approached the police car, she was shot by Noor. As it happens, Diamond was white and Noor was black. I don’t think that had any relevance at all, and neither did anyone else. Although it was a tragic incident, it didn’t really reveal­ any wider cultural pattern. It wasn’t given wider significance. This is only relevant to suggest that not everything is racial.

The outrage at Floyd’s death is so overwhelming that surely ­anyone who is seen as crass and unsympathetic, as Trump has been, would suffer politically.

This is by no means certain. In fact, based on all the history, Trump is more likely to benefit in November’s election from the tough stance he has taken against the looters and rioters.

Trump declared: “I will fight to protect you. I am your President of law and order and an ally of all peaceful demonstrators.”

And, of course, he used a lot of tough language against rioters and looters. The longer civil disorder goes on, the more likely it is that Trump will gain some advantage from it at the election.

The comparison everyone makes is the 1968 election. Huge demonstrations and race riots in the months before the election, ­especially after the assassination of Martin Luther King in April that year, contributed, paradoxically, to Richard Nixon’s victory on a law-and-order platform. Not only that, there were demonstrations against Nixon all through his presidency, but he won re-election in a landslide in 1972.

Barack Obama was notable not only for being the first African-American president, but for being the first northern liberal to win the presidency for the Democrats since John F. Kennedy in 1960. From 1960 to 2008, 48 years, is a long time for liberals not to win.

The Democrats who won the presidency in that time — Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton — were all southerners, and in the case of Carter and Clinton­ ran as religious and social conservatives. As governor of Arkansas, Bill Clinton made a point of breaking off his early presidential campaign to return to Arkansas and oversee the execution­ of a convicted killer, incidenta­lly a black man, just to underline his support for the death penalty. Conversely, Michael Dukakis lost in 1988 to George HW Bush partly because Dukakis was portrayed as soft on crime as governor of Massachusetts.

In Australia, there is almost an iron law that the bigger the demonstration you get in the streets in support of your cause, the more heavily you will lose at the ballot box. John Howard’s decision to send troops to Iraq provoked some of the largest demonstrations in Australian history in protest. Howard increased his majority at the next election.

But the US electorate is more liberal than it was. That the Floyd killing came amid the roiling unemploymen­t and the setback to impoverished African-American communities brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, reinforces the feeling that the system is rigged against blacks.

But civil disorder, violence and street protests generally help parties­ of the centre-right. Nor can meaningful economic and social progress for blacks proceed on the basis that whites have collective guilt for shocking actions of partic­ular individuals.

Trump is often unseemly, but in focusing on law and order he may be saying things that Americans will increasingly want to hear.



Hormesis: The Word COVID-Warriors Don't Want Us to Learn

On November 30, 1847, Marcus and Narcissa Whitman were among thirteen whites massacred by Cayuse Indians at Waiilatpu Mission, near present-day Walla Walla, Washington. This came about because, as the expression goes, certain facts were somewhat misunderstood.

Various tensions had arisen between the Indians and settlers, only to be made much worse when a measles epidemic broke out. About two hundred natives died of a disease that was mostly a nuisance among settlers. The Whitmans died because they were thought to have poisoned the natives with the disease.

White settlers didn’t have the “foolproof vaccine” that Pennsylvania Governor Wolf demands before re-opening his state. What they did have was a very effective lifetime of casual exposure. Most people were exposed in their childhood. They got a minor illness, recovered and became immune.

Since most of the public believed illnesses were just part of life, little effort was made to avoid them. Many people got sick. Most recovered and became immune. But when an adult with a mild case passed through Waiilatpu, the result was “COVID-19.” White settlers had herd immunity that limited measles to a minor illness. Cochise Indians had none.

There’s another group with immunity. Some people get infected but don’t get sick. That’s right, there’s a big difference between getting infected and getting sick. Jeffrey Singer MD, describes how he chanced to be tested for SARS CoV-2. To his great surprise, he had antibodies, even though he hadn’t been sick for a single day since “COVID-19” entered the language. To make life more interesting, his wife was negative. He got infected, became immune, and probably didn’t pass the bug on to anyone.

Dr. Singer demonstrates how such immunity spreads. Most people don’t get enough exposure to get sick. But even at lower exposures, they develop immunity. And this brings us to the word of the day: Hormesis.

“In the fields of biology and medicine hormesis is defined as an adaptive response of cells and organisms to a moderate (usually intermittent) stress. Examples include ischemic preconditioning, exercise, dietary energy restriction and exposures to low doses of certain phytochemicals.”

On the street this might be expressed as, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

Your body has a host of defense mechanisms. But if they aren’t exercised, they atrophy, just like your muscles. So at low levels of exposure, your defenses perk up. “There’s something bad here!” Defenses ramp up and repairs get going. Those low levels of carcinogens in your diet just improved your health. And that improvement continues until the biological insults become overwhelming. Then disease takes over.

As you might imagine, there are dozens of examples. Many people are afraid that diagnostic x-rays will increase their risk of cancer. But multiple studies show that the low level of radiation in diagnostic x-rays may actually reduce the risk of cancer. If radiation breaks a DNA strand, repair enzymes fix it, and the body makes more of the enzymes to get ready for a bigger challenge.

The same applies to infections. If you are exposed to low doses of virus, your body defends against it, making more antibodies to protect against a bigger threat. This is what happened to Dr. Singer. He was exposed and infected, but the infection simply wasn’t enough to make him sick. Instead, it made him stronger by turning his immune system on. As long as a person isn’t exposed to overwhelming numbers of virus particles, turning on their immune responses makes them healthier. They will make antibodies and increase their immunity. It’s only when the insult it massive that they head for the bottom side of the daisies.

Vaccination is alleged to be the way we will get herd immunity. But we haven’t been able to make vaccines for any coronaviruses. Not SARS, not MERS, and not the common cold. HIV has no vaccine, and neither does Ebola. Even our influenza vaccines are based on guesses. But we don’t die out because we develop herd immunity through casual exposure.

That’s right. It is essential to public health for large numbers of people to get exposed to low doses of SARS CoV-2. As immunity spreads, illness will stop spreading. It will become part of the background of disease risks we live with daily. But as long as we do paranoid social distancing, trying to “prevent the spread of the disease,” we can’t develop herd immunity. All those useless masks just make us look stupid and may even increase our risk. If you’re under 60 without bad diseases, you should be back in public. Your chance of becoming seriously ill or dying from COVID-19 is almost nil.

“Hormesis” needs to be understood as the answer to the pandemic. The incalculable financial and medical damage the lockdowns are causing have done us no good. They have kept us from taking advantage of the natural defense mechanisms our Creator built into us. The lockdown is making us worse. It’s time to stop committing mass suicide.




"Not stopping": Defiant New York City protesters march through curfew (AP)

Rioters lit house on fire that had child inside — then blocked firefighters (Law Enforcement Today)

South Philadelphia gun-shop owner shoots, kills looter (NBC Philadelphia)

Black retired police captain shot to death at St. Louis pawn shop in slaying caught on Facebook Live (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Sacramento Kings announcer Grant Napear out following "All Lives Matter" tweet (Fox News)

Elderly black woman slams looters for wrecking small business: "You needed money? Get a job!" (Fox News)

Minnesota Human Rights Department launches probe into Minneapolis police (StarTribune)

Minneapolis school board votes to end contract with police (Fox News)

George W. Bush — who was unfairly panned as a racist while president — calls out racial injustices and celebrates protesters who "march for a better future" (The Washington Post)

Political theater: Joe Biden to attend George Floyd funeral (The Hill)

Good riddance: Inflammatory Rep. Steve King ousted on historic primary night (Politico)

Coronavirus will cost the economy nearly $8 trillion, Congressional Budget Office says (CNBC)

Thanks, Caption Obvious: China delayed releasing coronavirus info, supposedly "frustrating" WHO (AP)

U.S. to send two million doses of hydroxychloroquine to Brazil (UPI)

Wuhan doctor at whistleblower's hospital dies from coronavirus (AFP)

SpaceX to follow historic astronaut mission with yet another launch (CNET)

Economic destruction from riots and looting will hit minorities hardest (Washington Examiner)

Policy: Why abusive cops so often keep their jobs (Mises Institute)

Policy: Yes, Trump can use military to quell spreading riots — and he should if states and cities fail to do the job (Issues & Insights)


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


4 June, 2020

Apparent fraud in the study that discredited Hydroxychloroquine

NEJM and The Lancet issue expressions of concern as researchers question where the company got its data on thousands of coronavirus patients

Scientists are questioning the validity of two influential studies of COVID-19 patients as concerns grow about the provenance of the dataset underpinning them. Despite assurances from Surgisphere Corporation, an Illinois-based company that owns the data, hundreds of researchers have now signed open letters to The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), voicing their concerns. Today, NEJM and The Lancet issued expressions of concern about the reliability of the papers’ conclusions.

“Recently, substantive concerns have been raised about the quality of the information in that database,” writes NEJM editor-in-chief Eric Rubin in the expression of concern. “We have asked the authors to provide evidence that the data are reliable. In the interim and for the benefit of our readers, we are publishing this Expression of Concern about the reliability of their conclusions.”

    A number of hospitals in New York, New Jersey, and Illinois tell The Scientist they did not contribute to Surgisphere’s dataset.

A statement by The Lancet editors reads: “Although an independent audit of the provenance and validity of the data has been commissioned by the authors not affiliated with Surgisphere and is ongoing, with results expected very shortly, we are issuing an Expression of Concern to alert readers to the fact that serious scientific questions have been brought to our attention. We will update this notice as soon as we have further information.”

Both studies relied on Surgisphere Corporation’s database, which the papers state contains COVID-19 patient data from hundreds of hospitals around the world. A third paper from Surgisphere, which described the effects of the drug ivermectin in COVID-19 patients, was posted as a preprint in April.

The studies’ findings have influenced research and policy, with the World Health Organization recently suspending testing of malaria drug hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns reported in the Lancet study. Regulatory agencies in the UK and in France have also suspended recruitment into clinical trials of the drug in COVID-19 patients.
See “WHO Halts Hydroxychloroquine Study Over Safety Concerns”
The search for sources of Surgisphere’s COVID-19 data

Scientists are expressing doubts that Surgisphere Corporation could have collected so much detailed patient data in such a short period of time. The open letter to the NEJM requests that, “at the very minimum, [Surgisphere should share] the aggregated patient data at the hospital level (for all covariates and outcomes).”

The Lancet study reported that Surgisphere’s registry contained data from more than 63,000 COVID-19 patients admitted to 559 hospitals in North America by April 14. By that date, around 580,000 total cases had been reported in the United States, with New York and New Jersey accounting for nearly half of them.

Surgisphere CEO and founder Sapan Desai has so far declined to release the names of any hospitals involved in providing the data, citing pre-arranged privacy agreements.

The Scientist has reached out to some of the largest health systems in the states hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic to inquire whether they participated, but could not find any that did.

Instead, a number of hospitals confirmed that they did not contribute data, namely, New Jersey health systems RJWBarnabas Health and Cooper Health, NYC Health + Hospitals and NYU Langone in New York, and Illinois-based health systems Rush and Advocate Health Care.

Northwest Community Hospital, which employed Desai as a vascular surgeon until February 10 this year, did not contribute data, it confirms in an email to The Scientist. Nor did coauthor Mendeep Mehra’s institution, Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

In an interview last week, Desai told The Scientist that he would ask if any hospitals were willing to come forward voluntarily to confirm their participation, but has not provided any names yet.

Desai continues to stand by Surgisphere’s registry, saying in a statement to The Scientist that “it is essential that the scientific and lay community alike understand the value—and legitimacy—of databases such as Surgisphere’s.”
See “Disputed Hydroxychloroquine Study Brings Scrutiny to Surgisphere”

A growing list of discrepancies

The Lancet study’s full dataset included 96,032 patients admitted to 671 hospitals across six continents by April 14. Of those patients, 10,698 had died in hospital by April 21, the study reported.

Readers have argued that the data presented in these papers don’t jibe with reported numbers of COVID-19 patients. For example, researchers at Australian institutions told the The Guardian last week (May 28) that the number of Australian deaths in the Lancet paper, counted up until April 21, exceeded the number of COVID-19 deaths recorded by health authorities up until that date.

Desai told the Guardian that this was due to an error that caused one hospital in Asia to be included in the Australian dataset, but didn’t provide any further detail about country-level or hospital-level data. The Lancet subsequently published a correction from the authors with the amended Australian data, and with an added table that included continent-level raw data, instead of the adjusted data Desai said had been shown previously.

Researchers also expressed doubts about the African data in interviews with The Scientist and in the open letter to the Lancet, noting that the quality of electronic health records on the continent makes it unlikely that Surgisphere Corporation could have obtained the records of 4,402 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Africa by April 14, when only 15,738 cases had been reported.

Mehra, the medical director of Brigham and Women’s Hospital Heart and Vascular Center, told The Scientist in a statement yesterday that “the results, findings and overall interpretations reported in the study remain unchanged.” However, he adds that the coauthors “have initiated an independent academic review of the data” in the Lancet study.

Desai says in a statement sent via Liz DeForest of the public relations firm Bliss Integrated, that he and his coauthors have today initiated a “voluntary third-party audit of that paper in collaboration with The Lancet.”

In the meantime, concerns about a second study, also coauthored by Mehra, have come to the fore. An open letter to the NEJM co-organized by James Watson, a senior scientist at the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit in Thailand who also organized the open letter to the Lancet, today noted several discrepancies between Surgisphere’s database and national COVID-19 data.

For example, the NEJM study reports data from 346 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Turkey by March 15. However, the letter states, “countrywide, the first COVID-19 case was diagnosed at Istanbul Faculty of Medicine on the 9th of March. The second COVID-19 patient in that hospital was not seen until the 16th of March. The Turkish Ministry of Health reported a total of only 191 PCR positive cases by the 18th of March.”

In response to the NEJM expression of concern—issued just a few hours after the open letter was posted—Desai says he is “arranging a non-disclosure agreement that will provide the authors of the NEJM paper with the data access requested by NEJM. I am confident Surgisphere is able to address the concerns of NEJM, The Lancet and the broader scientific community.”



The Real Reason Why They Hate Him: Donald Trump is a Heretic from the Left’s Secular Religion

Donald Trump is a heretic. He is persecuted by the Church.

No, not any of the Christian Churches. For them, although few realize or will admit it, Donald Trump, the famous playboy womanizer, is the most pro-Christian President in recent memory. Trump is a heretic from the Leftist church, the secular religion of today’s political and media elites, and as such he must be treated as heretics were in the old days of the Spanish Inquisition: he must be burned at the stake. Actually, that’s inaccurate, as archaism is frowned upon by this religion’s clergy. He need not be burned at the stake, but by whatever means, he must be destroyed.

Although most people in the United States today still identify themselves as Christians, the dominant religion of those who have dominated the political arena, own the establishment media, and set the cultural tone for the nation is not Christianity, but Leftism.

Leftism is a religion without a being who is identified as god as such, except insofar as the atomized individual is exalted to deity status and its every whim canonized as tantamount to divine writ, but it is as rigidly dogmatic, as fervently held, and as fanatically divorced from rationality as the worst and most destructive religious manifestations in human history. It is also extremely influential and all-pervasive. Every President since Franklin D. Roosevelt, with two notable exceptions, has held to this religion to varying degrees, and in some way paid obeisance to its gods and made offerings at its altars.

The first exception was Ronald Reagan. Richard Nixon was virulently hated by the high priests of Leftism, almost as much as Trump is now, but as President, instead of fighting them, Nixon endeavored in numerous ways to show that he was as good a Leftist as those who were determined to drive him from office and destroy him. They were, obviously, not appeased. As is shown in the forthcoming Rating America’s Presidents: An America-First Look at Who Is Best, Who Is Overrated, and Who Was An Absolute Disaster, it was Reagan who was the first post-FDR President to blaspheme the Leftist religion by refusing to adhere to the Leftist dogma that the best way to deal with the Soviet Union was through the admixture of naïve self-abnegation and suicidal concession known as détente.

But Reagan, too, lit incense at the Leftist altars, opening the floodgates to millions of migrants, including all too many with little understanding of, much less love for, the founding principles of the American Republic, when he signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, also known as the Simpson-Mazzoli Act, on November 6, 1986. This act made it unlawful to hire people who had come into the country illegally, but also granted amnesty to virtually all illegal immigrants who had entered before 1982—some three million people.

It was left to Donald Trump to challenge the very religion of Leftism itself. The Leftist religion is fervently internationalist, believing that any and all manifestations of nationalism or patriotism are evil in themselves and a recrudescence of Nazism. Trump, by contrast, has repeatedly declared that as President he puts America first, refusing to be intimidate by ongoing efforts to discredit the America-First slogan, and the imperative behind it, as neofascist or racist. Never-Trump commentator William Kristol enunciated the Leftist dogma when he tweeted: “I’ll be unembarrassedly old-fashioned here: It is profoundly depressing and vulgar to hear an American president proclaim ‘America First.’”

As far as Kristol was concerned, the President of the United States should put the interests of the entire world first. This would involve sending American troops on “humanitarian” missions all over the globe, even when no conceivable American interest was involved. Economically, it would require the United States to tie itself into the global economy, another sacred Leftist dogma that Trump has rejected.

It doesn’t matter to the adherents of the Leftist religion that the coronavirus pandemic has shown why it is unwise to depend on China to manufacture anything that America needs. Their beliefs are not rational. Religious faith can be rational, but it often is not, and the Leftist religion is not rational. It is a set of feelings, and emotions, and manifestations of wishful thinking about the world that can be frankly dangerous when it collides with reality – as the coronavirus showed yet again.

But religious faiths can survive all manner of disconfirming evidence. And so Trump is a heretic, and nothing but a heretic, and as such he is persecuted. As far as Leftists are concerned, he must be destroyed, because if he is not, he will destroy their religion. This will be for them a fight to the death.




Barack Obama obligatorily condemns riots: "Let's not excuse violence" (National Review)

BET founder Robert Johnson calls for $14 trillion in slavery reparations (Forbes)

Prosecutor is probing whether Russians fed disinformation to dossier author Christopher Steele (The Daily Caller)

Nineteen killed: Chicago has deadliest weekend of the year amid riots, looting (The Daily Wire)

California liquor store owner uses AR-15 to protect his property from looters (Fox News)

Nebraska bar owner who killed protester in self-defense will not be charged (New York Post)

Iron-fisted Governor Gretchen Whitmer at long last lifts Michigan's stay-at-home order (AP)

Sweden launches inquiry into handling of pandemic as deaths per million becomes highest in the world (Hot Air)

Hong Kong bans Tiananmen Square vigil for first time in 30 years (The Daily Caller)

Family medical examiner concludes George Floyd died of asphyxia, rules death a homicide (National Review)

Policy: Reforming occupational licensing in reopening plans would benefit everyone (The Federalist)

Policy: Over-policing is rooted in over-reliance on politics (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


3 June, 2020

Anakinra for severe forms of COVID-19: a cohort study

Thomas Huet et al.


Coronaviruses can induce the production of interleukin (IL)-1?, IL-6, tumour necrosis factor, and other cytokines implicated in autoinflammatory disorders. It has been postulated that anakinra, a recombinant IL-1 receptor antagonist, might help to neutralise the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-related hyperinflammatory state, which is considered to be one cause of acute respiratory distress among patients with COVID-19. We aimed to assess the off-label use of anakinra in patients who were admitted to hospital for severe forms of COVID-19 with symptoms indicative of worsening respiratory function.

The Ana-COVID study included a prospective cohort from Groupe Hospitalier Paris Saint-Joseph (Paris, France) and a historical control cohort retrospectively selected from the Groupe Hospitalier Paris Saint-Joseph COVID cohort, which began on March 18, 2020. Patients were included in the prospective cohort if they were aged 18 years or older and admitted to Groupe Hospitalier Paris Saint-Joseph with severe COVID-19-related bilateral pneumonia on chest x-ray or lung CT scan. The other inclusion criteria were either laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 or typical lung infiltrates on a lung CT scan, and either an oxygen saturation of 93% or less under oxygen 6 L/min or more, or aggravation (saturation ?93% under oxygen 3 L/min) with a loss of 3% of oxygen saturation in ambient air over the previous 24 h.

The historical control group of patients had the same inclusion criteria. Patients in the anakinra group were treated with subcutaneous anakinra (100 mg twice a day for 72 h, then 100 mg daily for 7 days) as well as the standard treatments at the institution at the time. Patients in the historical group received standard treatments and supportive care. The main outcome was a composite of either admission to the intensive care unit (ICU) for invasive mechanical ventilation or death. The main analysis was done on an intention-to-treat basis (including all patients in the anakinra group who received at least one injection of anakinra).

From March 24 to April 6, 2020, 52 consecutive patients were included in the anakinra group and 44 historical patients were identified in the Groupe Hospitalier Paris Saint-Joseph COVID cohort study. Admission to the ICU for invasive mechanical ventilation or death occurred in 13 (25%) patients in the anakinra group and 32 (73%) patients in the historical group (hazard ratio [HR] 0·22 [95% CI 0·11–0·41; p<0 0="" aminotransferases="" an="" anakinra="" analysis="" and="" br="" ci="" effect="" four="" group.="" group="" historical="" in="" increase="" liver="" multivariate="" occurred="" of="" p="0·0002)." patients="" remained="" seven="" significant="" the="" treatment="">
Anakinra reduced both need for invasive mechanical ventilation in the ICU and mortality among patients with severe forms of COVID-19, without serious side-effects. Confirmation of efficacy will require controlled trials.



Japan ignored playbook but still tamed virus

Japan’s state of emergency ended Monday with new cases of the coronavirus dwindling to mere dozens. It got there despite largely ignoring the default playbook.

No restrictions were placed on residents’ movements, and businesses from restaurants to hairdressers stayed open. No high-tech apps that tracked people’s movements were deployed. The country doesn’t have a center for disease control. And even as nations were exhorted to “test, test, test,” Japan has tested just 0.2% of its population — one of the lowest rates among developed countries.

Yet the curve has been flattened, with deaths well below 1,000 people, by far the fewest among the Group of 7 developed nations. In Tokyo, its dense center, cases have dropped to single digits on most days. Although the possibility of a more severe second wave of infection is ever-present, Japan has entered and is set to leave its emergency in just weeks, with the status lifted already for most of the country while Tokyo and the remaining four other regions exited on Monday.

Analyzing just how Japan defied the odds and contained the virus while disregarding the playbook used by other successful countries has become a national conversation. Only one thing is agreed upon: that there was no silver bullet, no one factor that made the difference.

“Just by looking at death numbers, you can say Japan was successful,” said Mikihito Tanaka, a professor at Waseda University specializing in science communication, and a member of a public advisory group of experts on the virus. “But even experts don’t know the reason.”

One widely shared list assembled 43 possible reasons cited in media reports, ranging from a culture of mask-wearing and a low obesity rate to the relatively early decision to close schools. Among the more fanciful suggestions include a claim that Japanese speakers emit fewer potentially virus-laden droplets when talking compared to other languages.

Experts consulted by Bloomberg News also suggested myriad factors that contributed to the outcome, and none could point to a singular policy package that could be replicated in other countries.

Nonetheless, these measures still offer long-term lessons for countries in the middle of a pandemic that may yet last for years.

An early grass-roots response to rising infections was crucial.

While the central government has been criticized for its slow policy steps, experts praise the role of Japan’s contact tracers, which swung into action after the first infections were found in January. The fast response was enabled by one of Japan’s inbuilt advantages — its public health centers, which in 2018 employed more than half of 50,000 public health nurses who are experienced in infection tracing. In normal times, these nurses would be tracking down more common infections such as influenza and tuberculosis.

“It’s very analog — it’s not an app-based system like Singapore,” said Kazuto Suzuki, a professor of public policy at Hokkaido University who has written about Japan’s response. “But nevertheless, it has been very useful.”

While countries such as the U.S. and Britain are just beginning to hire and train contact tracers as they attempt to reopen their economies, Japan has been tracking the movement of the disease since the first cases were found. These local experts focused on tackling so-called clusters, or groups of infections from a single location such as clubs or hospitals, to contain cases before they got out of control.

“Many people say we don’t have a Centers for Disease Control in Japan,” said Yoko Tsukamoto, a professor of infection control at the Health Sciences University of Hokkaido, citing a frequently held complaint about Japan’s infection management. “But the public health center is a kind of local CDC.”

The early response was also boosted by an unlikely happening. Japan’s battle with the virus first came to international attention with its much-criticized response to the Diamond Princess cruise ship in February that led to hundreds of infections. Still, the experience of the ship is credited with providing Japanese experts with invaluable data early in the crisis on how the virus spread, as well as catapulting it into the public consciousness.

Other countries still saw the virus as someone else’s problem, said Tanaka. But in Japan, the international scrutiny over the infections onboard and the pace at which the virus raced throughout the ship raised awareness and recognition that the same can happen across the country, he said. “For Japan, it was like having a burning car right outside your house.”

Although political leadership was criticized as lacking, that allowed doctors and medical experts to come to the fore — typically seen as a best practice in managing public-health emergencies. “You could say that Japan has had an expert-led approach, unlike other countries,” Tanaka said.

Experts are also credited with creating an easy-to-understand message of avoiding what are called the “Three Cs” — closed spaces, crowded spaces and close-contact settings — rather than keeping away from others entirely.

“Social distancing may work, but it doesn’t really help to continue normal social life,” said Hokkaido University’s Suzuki. “The ‘Three Cs’ are a much more pragmatic approach and very effective, while having a similar effect.”

Infectious disease experts also pointed to other determinants, with Shigeru Omi, the deputy head of the expert panel advising the Japanese government and a former chief of the World Health Organization’s Western Pacific office, citing Japanese people’s health consciousness as possibly the most important factor.

The possibility that the virus strain spreading in Japan may have been different, and less dangerous, than that faced by other nations, has also been raised.

Researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the U.S. studied coronavirus variants in a database and found one strain of the virus spreading through Europe that had several mutations distinguishing it from the Asian version, according to a paper in early May. Although the study has not been peer-reviewed and drawn some criticism, the findings point to a need to more thoroughly study how the virus changes.

Large questionsremain over the true extent of the pathogen’s spread. In April, a Tokyo hospital conducted tests on a handful of non-COVID19 patients and found that around 7% had the coronavirus, showing the danger of missing asymptomatic or mild carriers that can become the source of an outbreak.

An antibody test on 500 people in the capital suggested the true outbreak could be nearly 20 times larger than figures have shown. Analog contact tracing breaks down when infection numbers are high, and reports of people unable to get tested or even medical treatment for COVID19-like symptoms peppered social media during the height of the outbreak.

And the fact remains that Japan’s response was less than perfect. While the overall population is much smaller, neighbors such as Taiwan had just seven confirmed COVID-19 deaths, while Vietnam had none.

“You can’t say the Japan response was amazing,” said Norio Sugaya, a visiting professor at Keio University’s School of Medicine in Tokyo and a member of a World Health Organization panel advising on pandemic influenza. “If you look at the other Asian countries, they all had a death rate that was about 1/100th of Western countries.”

While Japan may have avoided the worst of the health outcomes, the loose lockdown hasn’t protected the country from the economic impact. Its economy, already dealing with the impact of a sales tax hike in October, officially slid into recession in the first three months of the year. Economists have warned the second quarter will be the worst on record, and the specter of deflation, which haunted the economy for decades, once again looms. Tourist numbers plummeted 99.9% in April after the country shut its borders, putting the brakes on a booming industry that had promised to be a growth driver for years. As in other countries, bankruptcies have risen sharply.

Even with the the state of emergency about to end, authorities are warning that life will not return to normal. When case numbers slowed in early March, there was public optimism that the worst was over — only for cases to spike again and trigger the emergency declaration.

If a deadlier second wave does follow, the risk factor in Japan, which has the world’s oldest population, remains high. The country has speedily approved Gilead Sciences Inc.’s remdesivir and is now scrambling to allow the use of still unproven Fujifilm Holdings Corp.’s antiviral Avigan. There are calls for the country to use the time it has bought itself to shore up its testing and learn in the way its neighbors did from SARS and MERS.

Officials have begun to speak of a phase in which people “live with the virus,” with a recognition that Japan’s approach has no possibility of wiping out the pathogen.

“We have to assume that the second wave could be much worse than the first wave and prepare for it,” said Yoshihito Niki, a professor of infectious diseases at Showa University’s School of Medicine. “If the next explosion of cases is worse, the medical system will break down.”




Minneapolis city councilman and son of Keith Ellison declares support for antifa (Washington Examiner)

The daughter of Mayor Bill de Blasio, who said "the president of the United States helped to create this atmosphere," is arrested at Manhattan protest (New York Post)

CNN Center in Atlanta damaged during protests riots (CNN)

Historic St. John's Church near White House set on fire (The Christian Post)

Rioters breach Treasury Department (The Daily Wire)

Trump says U.S. to sanction China for handling of Hong Kong, terminate relationship with WHO (AP)

China, where people who dare protest disappear, trolls U.S. over protests after Trump criticized Hong Kong (Bloomberg)

Supreme Court absurdly rejects challenge to limits on church services; Justice John Roberts sides with leftists (Fox News)

Picking up where his predecessor left off: DNI John Ratcliffe declassifies transcripts of Michael Flynn-Sergey Kislyak conversations (National Review)

Minneapolis police rendered 44 people unconscious with neck restraints in five years (NBC News)

SUCCESS! U.S. launches men into space from American soil for the first time in nearly a decade (The Daily Wire)

Sweden's economy actually grew in the first quarter after it opted against a full virus lockdown (CNBC)

Policy: It's past time to examine how police unions protect bad cops (National Review)

Policy: The free market of space: What we once considered "the final frontier" is now a grand business opportunity (Issues & Insights)


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 June, 2020

Trump does his part

Riot control is the job of State and  Local authorities but some Federal action is possible

On Sunday, after days of rioting, looting, and arson in cities across America following protests over the horrific death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers, President Donald Trump announced that his administration would formally declare the loosely-organized radical leftist agitator group known as “antifa” a terrorist organization.

“The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization,” Trump tweeted.

As PJ Media contributor Victoria Taft noted two years back, the Department of Homeland Security already considers antifa a form of domestic terrorism. In 2017, Politico reported that “the Department of Homeland Security formally classified their activities as ‘domestic terrorist violence,’ according to interviews and confidential law enforcement documents obtained by POLITICO.”

Even so, a formal declaration is arguably warranted following the devastation in recent days. Lamenting the riots, looting, and arson should not be a partisan or racial issue, as black citizens and business owners have broken into tears after witnessing the devastation in their communities and the destruction of their livelihoods.

As of Sunday morning, police had arrested nearly 1,400 people in 17 U.S. cities since Thursday. Governors in at least nine states have activated their states’ National Guards to respond to riots: Minnesota, Ohio, Georgia, Colorado, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Texas, Utah, and Washington State. In another five more, governors have said they planned to activate the National Guard.

As the United States was leaving lockdowns imposed to fight the coronavirus, cities across the country have enforced a new limited kind of lockdown to prevent the destruction. Cities across the country set curfews to stem the violence, including: Minneapolis, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Denver, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Cleveland, Columbus, Portland, Miami, Milwaukee, Salt Lake City, and Rochester.



DeBlasio gets one thing right

On Saturday, two NYPD vehicles drove into a crowd of rioters who were violently attacking the vehicles.

When a reporter asked him about the video during a press conference, de Blasio said “it’s inappropriate for protesters to surround a police vehicle and threaten police officers. It’s wrong on its face.” He argued that “a different element has come into play here who are trying to hurt police officers and trying to damage their vehicles. And if a police officer’s in that situation, they have to get out of that situation.”

“The video was upsetting, and I wish the officers hadn’t done that. But I also understood that they didn’t start the situation,” he said. “In a situation like that … I’m not gonna blame officers who were trying to deal with an absolutely impossible situation.”

He later said on NY1, “If those protesters had just gotten out of the way, and not created an attempt to surround that vehicle we would not be talking about this situation.”



The Chauvin-Floyd Affair: What the media left out

Michael P. Tremoglie

“(Officer) Lane asked, “should we roll him on his side?” and the defendant (Officer Chauvin) said, “No, staying put where we got him.” ... Officer Lane said, “I am worried about excited delirium or whatever.” Officer Derek Chauvin replied, “That’s why we have him on his stomach.”

These quotes - exculpatory evidence - are taken directly from the criminal complaint filed against Officer Derek Chauvin, which was either all or in part, taken from the unedited body-cam videos of the officers during the arrest of George Floyd.

As stated, Officer Lane was “worried” meaning he was thinking about unpleasant things that might happen because of excited delirium. Officer Chauvin replied “That’s why” meaning this was the reason he was trying to keep George Floyd in the position he was. But this has not been publicized, at least as of this writing.

There are some interesting facts about Excited Delirium that are pertinent to this case. Indeed, they are an integral part of this incident.

According to a study of Excited Delirium ( EXD) conducted by Drs. Takeuchi and Henderson of the USC Keck School of Medicine and Terry Ahern of UCSD Medical School, which was published in the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine, EXD is

“ ...characterized by agitation, aggression, acute distress and sudden death, often in the pre-hospital care setting. It is typically associated with the use of drugs that alter dopamine processing, hyperthermia, and, most notably, sometimes with death of the affected person in the custody of law enforcement. Subjects *typically die* from cardiopulmonary arrest, although the cause is debated. Unfortunately, an adequate treatment plan has yet to be established, in part due to the fact that most patients die before hospital arrival.

This scientific research also notes, “As mentioned before, people experiencing EXD are highly agitated, violent, and show signs of unexpected strength so it is not surprising that most require physical restraint. The prone maximal restraint position... where the person’s ankles and wrists are bound together behind their back, has been used extensively by field personnel. In far fewer cases, persons have been tied to a hospital gurney or manually held prone with *knee pressure on the back or neck.”*

Therefore, Officer Chauvin was not committing an act of murder but implementing a restraining technique. Indeed, he may have been trying to prevent Floyd from hurting himself.

The criminal complaint reveals more facts about this incident than the strategically edited, very damning to the police, video touted by the media. That video played endlessly, shows George Floyd walking handcuffed one moment and then suddenly on the ground the next with Officer Chauvin placing his knee against Floyd’s neck. But there is a huge gap in the video indicating the events preceding the interaction between Chauvin in Floyd.

Given the recent history of mainstream media doctoring videos this is very disconcerting. One must wonder why a profession that claims to tell the truth would do this.

There are other very important facts contained in the body-cam videos that are omitted by the media reportage. For example, Floyd, a man with a prior arrest for a violent felony - a home invasion and armed robbery - resisted arrest and threw himself down on the ground to avoid being placed in the police car for transport.

Another fact omitted by the media; Floyd was complaining about *not being able to breathe while he was standing*. [suggesting that he was having a heart attack]  Does this not indicate that Chauvin’s actions did nothing to suffocate him?

Still another fact obscured by the media is the preliminary report by the Medical Examiner which stated, “The autopsy revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation. Mr. Floyd had underlying health conditions including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease. The combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death.”

Knowing these facts, not just supposition and half-truths, does it still seem that Officer Derek Chauvin, committed a cold-blooded racist murder as the elite media have implied?




My friend Mark Green, Republican representative for Tennessee, pointed me to a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine

The NEJM report in question is "Universal Masking in Hospitals in the Covid-19 Era, which regards the efficacy of requiring all medical staff in hospitals to wear protective masks. I will leave that debate to the medical professionals, though suffice it to say, every physician and nurse among our family and friends believes that masking in hospitals is an important safety measure.

But what in this report should be of interest to everyone regarding the use of masks outside of hospitals is the second paragraph, where the authors note: "We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic."

Feel free to read that again, and then forward it to Virginia Governor Ralph "Blackface" Northam, who has mandated, effective today, that every citizen of his state wear a mask when outside their home. And The Washington Post insists that those refusing to wear masks outside their homes are scoundrels. (Notably, in that WaPo article, there are seven advertisements for grossly overpriced and ineffective masks — one more reason The Patriot Post is certified "ad-free"!)

Task Force expert Dr. Anthony Fauci declared in March, "There is no reason to be walking around wearing a mask. When you are in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel better and might even block a droplet, but it's not providing the perfect protection people think it is, and often there are unintended consequences."

In April, the CDC clarified its position on using cloth masks. Despite the fact the masks being worn by almost all people outside of hospitals are not surgical standard N-95 respirators, which the more recent NEJM report notes "offers little, if any, protection from infection," the CDC "recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain."

Bottom line: Feel free to wear a mask, especially if your governor is going to throw you in jail if you don't. But regardless, if you are symptomatic, have the common decency and courtesy to stay home — to stay away from other people in accordance with the basic CDC guidelines. I learned those guidelines from my first-grade elementary school teacher, Mrs. Howell. Apparently some of Ralph Northam's constituents did not get that far...




Twitter censors Trump's Minneapolis tweet for "glorifying violence"; the tweet simply stated, "Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts." (Fox News)

Twitter slaps misinformation label on Chinese spox's tweets claiming U.S. Army started COVID-19 (The Daily Caller)

"Tantamount to monopoly": Trump signs executive order to curb "unchecked power" of social-media giants (Washington Examiner)

In 417-1 vote, House passes bill to grant flexibility for small business aid program (The Hill)

House again cancels vote on FISA reauthorization due to a dearth of GOP support (The Hill)

Corporate profits drop by 13.9% in first quarter, the most since the 2008 Great Recession (MarketWatch)

U.S. economy shrank at a revised 5% annual rate in the first quarter (previous estimate was 4.8%) (CNBC)

Possible vendetta? George Floyd, fired officer overlapped security shifts at south Minneapolis club (KSTP.com)

For the record: A supposed photo of Officer Derek Chauvin wearing a "Make Whites Great Again" hat is of another individual altogether (The Dispatch)

Armed civilians save local businesses during Minneapolis riots (The Washington Free Beacon)

The more asymptomatic coronavirus cases, the better (Washington Examiner)

Policy: Florida has proven that a measured, evidence-based response to reopening works (City Journal)

Policy: How to reform unemployment insurance for a reopened economy (E21)


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 June, 2020

Beijing now admits that coronavirus DIDN'T start in Wuhan's market... so where DID it come from?

China has become used to public confessions on television. But this time the words came from one of the nation’s top officials and had seismic global implications.

‘At first, we assumed the seafood market might have the virus, but now the market is more like a victim,’ said Gao Fu, director of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

This was a stunning admission. For the same scientist had unequivocally pointed the finger of blame at Wuhan’s market where wild animals were sold when his country eventually told the world about a deadly new virus in the city.

The market was shut and cleaned up like a crime scene, in the words of another expert, as global attention focused on the ghastly trade in wild animals.

Gao’s initial analysis had made sense after previous outbreaks of zoonotic viruses (diseases that jump from animals to humans). Yet suspicion grew over the Chinese government’s failure to share data from animals sampled in the market following its early cover-ups.

Now Gao has admitted no viruses were detected in animal samples. He said they were found only in environmental samples, including sewage – before adding an intriguing aside that ‘the novel coronavirus had existed long before’.

No-one should doubt the significance of the statement since Gao is not just China’s top epidemiologist but also a member of the country’s top political advisory body.

Curiously, his revelation followed a television interview with Wang Yanyi, director of Wuhan Institute of Virology, in which she insisted that claims about the disease having leaked from her top-security unit were ‘pure fabrication’.

Gao’s sudden reversal came after a series of studies cast doubt on his original claim.

A landmark Lancet paper found only 27 of the first 41 confirmed cases were ‘exposed’ to the market – and only one of the four initial cases in the first two weeks of December.

Two weeks ago, The Mail on Sunday revealed another key academic paper by three America-based biologists that said all available data suggested the disease was taken into the market by someone already infected. So what does this all mean?

Sadly, the amount of massive research findings seems to be deepening rather than dispersing confusion over coronavirus, which is much more unpredictable than a simple respiratory virus in the way it attacks the body.

As Gao said in another interview, this is the seventh coronavirus to infect humans, yet none of its predecessors acted like this strange one. ‘The behaviour of this virus isn’t like a coronavirus,’ he said.

With regard to those three American biologists, they were ‘surprised’ to find the virus ‘already pre-adapted to human transmission’, contrasting its previously known stability with a coronavirus that evolved quickly during the global Sars epidemic between 2002 and 2004. Last week, I revealed that Australian scientists had similarly found Sars-CoV-2 – the new strain of coronavirus that causes disease – is ‘uniquely adapted to infect humans’.

Genetic stability makes it easier to find vaccines. But Nikolai Petrovsky, the vaccine researcher who headed the Australian team, said the virus was ‘not typical of a normal zoonotic infection’ since it suddenly appeared with ‘exceptional’ ability to enter humans from day one. He also highlighted the ‘furin cleavage site’, ‘which allows the spike protein to bind efficiently to cells in several human tissues, increasing infectivity, and does not exist in the most similar coronaviruses.

Some experts say this might have evolved through mutation during ‘unrecognised transmission in humans’ after crossing from an animal. Certainly it would help to find any intermediate host such as civets that ‘amplified’ the Sars virus from bats.

A paper by Professor Yong-Zhen Zhang, a prominent Chinese expert, said this was ‘arguably the most important’ difference between the new virus and its closest known relative, a virus called RaTG13 derived from a bat by Wuhan scientists.

Prof Zhang also noted the viruses closest to the new one were sampled from bats in Yunnan, 1,000 miles from Wuhan. Although 96 per cent genetically similar, ‘in reality this likely represents more than 20 years of sequence evolution’.

Last week, virology institute director Wang said scientists at her laboratory had isolated and obtained coronaviruses from bats but insisted they had only ‘three strains of live viruses’.

Her claim was dismissed as ‘demonstrably false’ by biosecurity expert Richard Ebright, professor of chemical biology at Rutgers University, New Jersey, who said the institute had published analyses of many more than three strains of live bat coronavirus.

Few doubt this freak virus came in lethal guise from an animal.  ‘Nature created this virus and has proven once again to be the most effective bio-terrorist,’ said Francis Collins, director of the US National Institutes of Health.

Yet this widely respected geneticist, appointed by Barack Obama, added significantly: ‘Whether [the coronavirus] could have been in some way isolated and studied in this laboratory in Wuhan, we have no way of knowing.’

Here lies the key point. It is foolish at this stage to rule out the possibility, however remote, that this pandemic might be the consequence of a Chinese laboratory leak.

As Professor Petrovsky said, scientists anywhere working with microscopic viruses can make mistakes and there are many examples to prove this point.

Above all, it is crucial to find the origins. If this pandemic is a natural event, it can erupt again from a similar source – and next time with even more explosive impact.

An example is ebola, another zoonotic disease (from fruit bats) that first appeared in 1976. All data indicated outbreaks led to fewer than 300 fatalities – until a subsequent outbreak in West Africa in 2014 led to 11,310 deaths.

Matters are complicated by Donald Trump’s finger-pointing at Beijing and the fact that a proven lab leak would be catastrophic for China’s President Xi Jinping as he tries to exploit the pandemic to push his dictatorial creed and nation’s global leadership.

Perhaps the best argument against the idea of the virus being lab-made came from Susan Weiss, professor of microbiology at Perelman School of Medicine, Pennsylvania.

‘There is no way anyone could design a virus that is this diabolical,’ she said succinctly.



ABC: No "second wave" in States That Started Re-Opening in Early May

This is excellent news in nearly every way, given that ABC News' data-based conclusion is drawn from information gathered over nearly four full weeks.  There may still be serious outbreaks, secondary waves, or changing trajectories that could require fresh mitigation efforts -- but so far, these are very positive developments for everyone except for those clinging to doomsday predictions about the impact of gradual state-level reopening strategies:

@ABC looked at 21 states that eased restrictions May 4 or earlier & found no major increase in hospitalizations, deaths or % of people testing positive in any of them. [SC, MT, GA, MS, SD, AR, CO, ID, IA, ND, OK, TN, TX, UT, WY, KS, FL, IN, MO, NE, OH]

Most, but not all, of those states are governed by Republicans, which almost certainly contributed to the tone and tenor of the news coverage of their strategies.  As the above tweet indicates, ABC examined not just a single metric (for instance, the misleading category of total cases, given increased testing), but an array of measuring sticks: Percentage of positive tests, hospitalizations, and deaths, the last of which is a lagging indicator.  Their verdict?  "No major increase[s]" in any of those categories, in any of the states mentioned, all of which started easing stay-at-home (or similar) restrictions on or before May 4th.  It is now nearly June. 

The dire proclamations, coupled with intensely negative coverage of GOP governors (Democratic leaders who presided over early re-opening processes strangely seemed immune to similar condemnations) must now be revisited.  Again, it's still premature to declare any semblance of victory over the disease for full vindication but some very important trends continue pointed in the correct direction:

Texas' senior Senator notes that as his state approaches 1 million COVID tests administered, infection rates continue to decline, despite a potential minor uptick in hospitalizations.  Relatedly, this interview with Dr. Gottlieb is worth reading. Among his points: "I think there will and should be an attempt to open schools in the fall. I don't think schools are going to remain closed until we get a vaccine."  Speaking of schools and the question of children as Coronavirus vectors, there's this new data point:

Sending children back to schools and day care centres in Denmark, the first country in Europe to do so, did not lead to an increase in coronavirus infections, according to official data, confirming similar findings from Finland on Thursday. As countries across Europe make plans to exit months of lockdown aimed at curbing the virus outbreak, some parents worry that opening schools first might put the health of their children in danger. Following a one-month lockdown, Denmark allowed children between two to 12 years back in day cares and schools on April 15. Based on five weeks’ worth of data, health authorities are now for the first time saying the move did not make the virus proliferate.

More than 100,000 Americans have died from this virus, a staggering percentage of whom contracted the disease in nursing home and long-term care facilities.  This is a humanitarian disaster, and the results have been, and will continue to be, deeply tragic.  Positive news and hopeful trends cannot erase these losses, but they can help shape our policy decisions moving forward, given the enormous public health and economic stakes. 



Did the lockdown save lives?

An economist's view

Whether school closings and stay-at-home orders slow an outbreak is an important and really challenging research question. This question must be answered before we compare economic costs and health benefits.

In March, states undertook dramatic and unprecedented measures to stem the spread of the SARS2-COV virus.  And yet COVID-19 has claimed 100,000 lives in the U.S.   Was the lockdown effective?  Economists frequently address such questions in our research.

Seeing the unseen, or the path that we did not choose, is the key here.  It is the fundamental challenge of economics, as illustrated by Frederic Bastiat’s parable of the broken window.  A shopkeeper must replace a broken window.  A neighbor, perhaps offering solace, points out that if windows never got broken, the town glazier would starve.  To avoid believing that broken windows boost the economy, we must recognize what the shopkeeper did not buy due to replacing the window.

Economists visualize the alternative paths we could choose.  What would have happened if we didn’t pass NAFTA, or hadn’t bailed out banks during the financial crisis, or if we raised the minimum wage to $15 per hour?  The term counterfactual refers to the unchosen path.

Economists devise principles for constructing counterfactuals.  Scenarios must be logically coherent and consistent with the available evidence.  We must avoid overly optimistic or pessimistic alternatives.

I have never estimated potential deaths in an outbreak of a disease but have researched tornado warnings and “worst case” tornadoes.  Like most economists, I recognize the challenges in evaluating the lockdown.

Here’s a first challenge.  WalletHub has scored the strictness of states’ COVID protection measures.  The average COVID fatality rate for the ten states with the strictest lockdown policies is 686 per million residents, versus a fatality rate of 68 for the ten least strict states, or one tenth as much.  The three highest fatality rate states are among the ten strictest states.

Does this show that lockdowns cause COVID-19 deaths?  No.  The states suffering the worst outbreaks will impose the strictest measures.  This is the endogeneity of policy problem.  Ignoring this issue would lead us to conclude that hospitals cause death because many people die there.  Controlling for policy endogeneity is a major research focus.

Another problem arises because states imposed policies and Americans realized that COVID-19 was a serious health threat at about the same time.  The NBA suspended its season March 11, people sharply reduced travel around March 15, and the first state stay-at-home order took effect March 19.  We have very few data points to tease out the effect of various policies from behavioral changes.

The United States was slow in rolling out testing for COVID-19, creating another challenge.  If we compared the number of COVID-19 cases in the month before and after lockdowns to test effectiveness, the total would rise simply because many more people were tested.  Can we detect a decline in infections during a period of expanding testing?

Even if March’s lockdown was effective, the policies may not be effective in another time or place.  Policy effects may not transfer for several reasons.  For the COVID lockdown, an important factor is peoples’ willingness to comply.  If Americans do not favor shutting down the economy for a second wave of the virus, stay-at-home orders may prove ineffective when reimplemented.

Researchers at Columbia University have evaluated the lockdown, based on computer simulations with travel data between cities and reported cases and deaths.  The policies appear to have stemmed the illness; indeed implementation of the same policies two weeks earlier could have avoided 83 percent of U.S. deaths through May 3.

The sophisticated technical analysis here, I think, obscures a bigger point.  “Nonpharmaceutical interventions,” as epidemiologists call such policies, do not prevent COVID-19 deaths.  Americans who did not get COVID this spring can still get sick next fall.  Only a vaccine or effective treatment will truly prevent deaths.

Whether school closings and stay-at-home orders slow an outbreak is an important and really challenging research question.  This question must be answered before we compare economic costs and health benefits.  Ultimately a lockdown is merely a delaying action.  Delaying actions are only worth fighting as part of a larger strategy.



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


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To be continued ....
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Rightism defined
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