My search for coronavirus artifacts began in the vast sedimentary sludge of late Holocene reporting from national health centers around the world. (That is, not quite a week ago.) I noted, for example, how the very high death rate from the virus in Italy contrasted with the very low death rate in Germany. Specifically, 8% of infected Italians were dying, while only 0.3% of infected Germans were dying. That is a ratio of more than 25 to one, and I concluded it could not possibly be accounted for by the various explanations offered—the smoking rate in Italy, an older population, less frequent hand washing, closer personal space etc. There had to be something else at work.
On the morning of March 19th I wrote to family and friends: “I have a suspicion that the data on the coronavirus epidemic is being misapplied. Looking at the exponential growth in the number of new coronavirus cases, it strikes me that this could simply be an artifact reflecting the exponential growth in the number of people being tested.” (An “artifact,” in this sense, is a misleading or confusing creation or application of data.) I explained that as the number of people tested increases, the number of new cases will fall off because we will reach a point of diminishing returns. “It will be like picking cherries,” I wrote, “slow at first until you bring out the ladder, and then increasing rapidly until only the most difficult fruit to access is left on the tree. The more rapidly the tests are being deployed, the more dramatic this data artifact will be.” Continue reading
Democrats, it seems, will take every opportunity to fund their No. 1 cause, even when the nation is focused on an unprecedented crisis.
When the emergency bill was introduced in Congress to address the coronavirus pandemic, it was no surprise that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi included millions of dollars for abortion.
But when President Trump threatened a veto, she blinked and the provision vanished.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, recounted the behind-the-scenes fight in which Trump emerged victorious over Pelosi. He noted the final version of the relief bill remains to be seen. But Republican “leaders won’t have to contend with at least one thing: abortion funding.”
Under Pelosi’s direction, “in the wee hours of Saturday morning” the House Democrats “had tried to tack on a secret slush fund for abortion.”
“Even MSNBC couldn’t hide its shock,” he wrote, with host Joy Reid asking, “What does that have to do with COVID-19?” Continue reading
Our system may not be the fastest, but it’s giving us trustworthy answers
Federal officials recently testified before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform about government responses to the COVID-19 crisis. Committee members exhibited concern and frustration, and engaged in politicized finger-pointing, over what they said was needlessly slow development and distribution of diagnostic tests – particularly as compared to some other countries.
Some praised South Korea for testing more people in one day than the U.S. did in the past two months. Italy and the U.K. also got positive mention. One wonders whether these Oversight Committee members have any real appreciation for the system that they and their predecessors created.
In response to one question, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci said “the system is not really geared to what we need right now” and “the idea of anybody getting it easily the way people in other countries are doing it, we are not set up for that.” He added, “that is a failing.”
Committee members and the media seized on this widely misquoted and misinterpreted response as evidence of the government’s failure to provide needed tests. Some background about our system, and facts about the federal government’s actual actions, should correct at least some of the fake news that quickly dominated many articles, editorials and talking head comments. Continue reading
The UN, environmentalist pressure groups and their financial backers have a lot to answer for
The ChiCom coronavirus and COVID-19 outbreaks, deaths and responses continue to dominate US, European and Asian news. Meanwhile, a very different infestation is devastating East African crops and leaving tens of millions at risk of starvation and death. If COVID hits these weakened populations, amid their malaria and other systemic diseases, it would bring tragedy on unimaginable scales.
“Across Somalia, desert locusts in a swarm the size of Manhattan have destroyed a swath of farmland as big as Oklahoma,” the Wall Street Journal’s Nicholas Bariyo reports. “In Kenya, billions-strong clouds of the insects have eaten through 800 square miles of crops and survived a weeks-long spraying campaign. They have “swept across more than 10 nations on two continents.” In parts of East Africa they “are destroying some 1.8 million metric tons of vegetation every day, enough food to feed 81 million people.”
East Africa has a Desert Locust Control Organization. But it, the region and the individual countries were totally unprepared for the onslaught, unaware the hordes were coming, irresponsibly underfunded, with almost no pesticides or aircraft to spray them. By the time they acted, it was too little, too late.
The massive swarms are hardly unprecedented. Locusts “covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they ate every herb of the land and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left. So there remained nothing green on the trees or on the plants of the field throughout all the land of Egypt.” [Exodus 10:15] Locusts pillaged long before that, and have returned hundreds of times since. Continue reading
Oral arguments were heard last week before the Supreme Court on the legal challenge to a Louisiana law that requires an abortionist to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of his clinic. This is so a woman who experiences a medical emergency during an abortion can get quality emergency care. Anybody who claims to care about health care for women should celebrate this law.
However, regressives are virulently opposed to this bill and have chased it all the way to the Supreme Court. From a practical standpoint, it’s difficult for abortionists to even get admitting privileges to area hospitals. This is largely due to the fact that abortion providers are considered blood-sucking, bottom-feeding scavengers by virtually everyone in the medical community.
The Hippocratic Oath calls for doctors to “first, do no harm.” But abortionists do harm to their patients as a first order of business, and this moral inversion of medical ethics causes abortionists to be rightly despised in the medical community. Abortionists are out to destroy human life, while everyone else in medicine is out to save human life. Continue reading
Some wag once changed the opening line of Rudyard Kipling’s classic poem, “If,” this way: “If you can keep your head while all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you…you haven’t understood the gravity of the situation.”
And so it seems to be with the coronavirus crisis.
I can’t remember the last time church was canceled. (I think it was during one of the hurricanes we frequently experience in Florida.) We as a family ended up having a mini-service in our own home.
On the other hand, one can’t help but feel that fears surrounding the virus are being exaggerated. We are taking all due precautions because of the coronavirus.
Every morning when I arise, coronavirus or not, I try and repeat a number of Scriptural truths to put me in the right frame of mind. It keeps me positive and focused. I go through them in the night as well.
I recommend this practice because this is such a negative world. I cannot imagine what life would be like if all we did was watch cable news. To watch that news all the time, we could easily lose perspective on life. Continue reading
Air travel worsens climate crisis – unless passengers are climate activists and wealthy elites
Just over a year ago, newly elected U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and U.S. Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) shocked the world by proposing a Green New Deal. One of its more controversial provisions was a proposal to build high-speed rail at a scale that would make air travel unnecessary.
In 2013, Elizabeth Rosenthal told New York Times readers that air travel is the “most serious environmental sin” for many Americans. A single round-trip flight from New York to Europe or San Francisco adds 2 or 3 tons of carbon dioxide per passenger to the atmosphere, she claimed. Air travel emissions are rising, because the volume of air travel is increasing much faster than gains in flight fuel efficiency.
The website Green Choices calls air travel “one of the most greenhouse-gas-rich forms of transport in existence,” and laments that the lack of fuel taxes on aviation fuel is a subsidy that makes air travel “surprisingly” (and unacceptably) cheap. In addition to carbon dioxide, air travel generates nitrogen oxides and water vapor that also contribute to the greenhouse effect. In the view of allegedly Green Choices, aviation industry growth is incompatible with efforts to combat climate change.
The European Union brought aviation into its emission trading system in 2012. However, protests from China, the USA and other countries confined that program to intra-EU flights through 2024. Transport & Environment, which bills itself as “Europe’s leading clean transport campaign group,” claims the aviation sector has a climate impact that “continues to spiral out of control,” with “no sign of abating.” Continue reading
The coronavirus is already taking a toll on our pocketbooks. Families are facing layoffs. Businesses are closing—and some may never reopen. Our elected leaders are urging everyone to do their fair share. Property owners have been asked to give tenants a six-month grace period to pay their rents. They’re considering forcing small businesses to provide paid sick leave to their employees. That means property owners won’t have the money they need to pay their mortgages and property taxes. That means small businesses will be spending money on workers who aren’t working.
Oregon politicians have been silent on how government is going to do its fair share to relieve the burden of COVID-19. They need to do more than just promise more facemasks and testing kits.
People need cash, but they don’t want handouts. And that’s where state and local governments can help out. Now.
For years, Oregon politicians have been loading new and higher taxes on its people and businesses. They had a permanent prosperity mindset. They believed employment would always increase, wages would always grow, and the stock market would always rise. Year after year, more and more taxes were added—just the price of a latte a week, they’d tell us. But, it all adds up. Property taxes, gas taxes, business taxes, and payroll taxes are just a few of the nibbles that over time have added up to a big bite out of our wallets. It’s time to let us keep some of that money until this crisis passes.
First, the state and local governments must give everyone an automatic six-month extension to file—and pay—their income taxes. Families need that money more than the government. Continue reading
Dr. Michael Pillsbury is fluent in the Mandarin Chinese language, allowing him to be a wealth of information on China. He has served in eight presidential administrations and periodically appears on the Lou Dobbs show.
During the Nixon presidency, China’s Marshal Chen Yi became aware of Nixon’s wish to “win over China”. After some correspondence between Beijing and the White House, Nixon accepted an invitation to visit Beijing. When Mao Tse-tung sat face to face with Nixon he portrayed China as a harmless vulnerable supplicant desperate for aid and protection. Mao lamented the Soviet’s actions on the northern border. Nixon secretly offered aid to China’s Army.
Deng Xiaoping, Mao’s replacement, declined the U.S. offer of military equipment. Instead he wanted to obtain knowledge and skills from the U.S. President Ford continued the enhanced relationship with China. The magnitude of the gifts was kept secret from the U.S. Citizens.
To foster Deng’s goal of a short cut to massive scientific technological development, President Carter became a willing partner. This massive technical material was followed by Carter’s administration granting China most- favored Nation status as a U.S. trading partner. And the romance with China found President Reagan permitting the Pentagon to sell advanced air, ground, naval and missile technology to make China a world-class force.
President Bush’s February 1989 visit to China resulted in another massive quantity of advanced military supplies. Initially President Clinton resisted the ongoing romance with China but finally viewed China as something of an ally.
During Xi Jinping’s 2015 visit to Washington, D.C. he dazzled President Obama with his admission of having read The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton and Common Sense by Thomas Payne.
According to Dr. Pillsbury, we should be concerned with China’s non- military efforts. Specific concern should be with Colonel Liu Mingfu’s program “The Hundred — Year Marathon”. It describes how to achieve Xi’s dream of China surpassing and then replacing the United States as the world’s leader. This Marathon began in 1949 and is to reach Xi’s dream in 2049. Continue reading
Recently, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on an abortion case out of Louisiana. The law in question mandates that an abortionist have access to a hospital in case something goes wrong.
Abortions go wrong more often than we are led to believe. Federal Law does not require clinics to report abortion complications and deaths to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) where most statistics are collated. Cheryl Sullenger, vice president of Operation Rescue, has written extensively on how abortions are often unsafe for the women seeking them. Yet, abortion advocates will fight tooth and nail against even the most common sense protections for women undergoing abortion.
While arguments were taking place inside the Court, protesters were speaking outside. The most famous of these was Chuck Schumer, Senate minority leader. He tried to intimidate the two Trump appointees to the High Court: “They’re taking away fundamental rights. I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind! And you will pay the price! You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.” Continue reading