Monday, August 31, 2020

Democrats Weaponize Science. Use China as Model.

 
New Chinese Academy of Sciences Building



Governments don’t belong in religion, arts, or the sciences.  Unfortunately, authoritarians can’t leave these realms alone because they compete for power and messaging.  Typically, autocrats repress religion, co-opt art, and decree science.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) is the premier arbiter of research, collaborations, and communication about all things scientific.  CAS funds pure and applied scientific research throughout China and the rest of the world.  It comprises over one hundred institutions that directly employ over sixty thousand researchers.  The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has given CAS permission to build independent sources of income.  CAS owns or holds shares in more than thirty enterprises.  For example, CAS is the largest Lenovo shareholder, one of the three major personal computer companies in the world.

CAS presents itself to the outside world as wealthy enough to thumb its nose at CCP apparatchiks. Only the gullible believe this. No organization important to the Chinese state is allowed independence. Several members of the executive board are CCP members and one is a Member of the Presidium with the title Head of the Discipline Inspection Team.  With watchdogs underfoot and CAS members twice previously subjected to harsh re-education, the Academy dutifully adheres to CCP wishes.

Nature wrote an editorial titled “The Chinese Academy of Sciences at 70.”  More interesting, the journal published a letter-to-the-editor from Qingquan Zhang, the CAS Chief Public Information Officer.  He found several things in the article “quite misleading.”

CAS is not run independently of government, as you imply.  The establishment and development of CAS have been entirely based on the wisdom and support of the central government.

Contrary to your headline, CAS has never sought or achieved financial autonomy.  Over the past 40 years, half of its income has come directly from central-government investment; the rest has been from competitive funding or technology transfer.  CAS could not develop without the funding and support of the central government.

In carrying out its scientific and technical mission, CAS stands firmly with the central government and with the people.  We reject any such false allegations with disruptive intentions and are strongly opposed to biased judgments of China’s internal affairs, and to any unnatural linking of political or ideological positions with our mission.

The Chinese government does not accept criticism, even when embedded in an otherwise positive portrayal.  Most Americans would consider the editorial a puff piece, however, Nature did state that during the Cultural Revolution:

Torture was commonplace and, according to CAS’s own records, 229 scientists were either killed or took their own lives in this time.

What does this portend for us?  Is the United States at risk of having science unduly influenced by government?  We don’t bundle our scientific institutions under a single umbrella organization, however, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is our best-known government funded medical institution.  Does our government interfere with CDC work or communications?

This is a more complex question than in China.  In China, the political party and government are one in the same, whereas the United States has a two-party system.  Theoretically, control over government agencies should shift with elections.  Due to what is popularly called the Deep State, this is not true in practice.  Since 2015, all but five of the eight thousand political donations made by CDC employees went to Democrats or left-leaning organizations.  China could send home their political officers if they could achieve this level of groupthink.  

The overwhelming dominance of Democrats at the CDC could not have happened by accident. During the Obama administration, the Human Resource Department filtered candidates by their support for the Democrat agenda. Even with Democrats in a reduced power position, CDC communications have often shown more loyalty to the party narrative than to the underlying science. This is especially obvious in headlines and report summaries which frequently promote a theme not found in the detail findings.  (A propaganda trick used by the UN to turn research on its head.)

It should be the public health officials that are leading policy. -- Kamala Harris at the Democrat Convention.

Democrats frequently set up an outside organization as an unbiased source of policy guidance.  In truth, they run the outside organization and ensure that its guidance is in lockstep with the party agenda.  The organization’s real purpose is to act as a cut-out to avoid accountability.  The vice-presidential candidate would not have uttered these words if she didn’t believe she could control public health officials.

Science is the opposite of politics.  In science you not only have to prove your hypothesis, but others must replicate your experiment and achieve the same results.  Science is rational, objective, orderly. Everything that politics is not.  Yet, politicians love to meddle in this space.

If Democrats gain control of the White House and Congress, our scientific institutions will be forced to embrace the China model.  Make no mistake, Democrats want to control science so they can use the discipline as a public relations tool.  We can’t allow science to become the handmaiden of politicians.


Thursday, August 20, 2020

Karen writes a letter to her local principal.

The article was originally published in American Thinker.


Dear Principal,

These are difficult times and I know you’ve received a tremendous amount of impolite pushback against mandatory masks.  I want you to know that there are many in the community who support your actions in this matter.  Children are priceless and any action that avoids even one unnecessary death is warranted. Protecting our youth and heroic educators is paramount.  Thank you for your compassion and caring stewardship of our youth.

As a supporter of mandatory masks, I have a few proposals for the school.


  • Masks must always be worn indoors, on school grounds, in the faculty lounge, and on school buses by administrators, faculty, teacher aides, janitorial staff, visitors, students, bus drivers, and grounds keepers.
  • Masks must be N95 respirators or professional-grade surgical masks.
  • Surgical mask must be changed every two hours.
  • On entering school, a monitor must check students wearing surgical masks to verify that they have four masks on their person.
  • To isolate mask changers from other students, a monitored, dedicated room must be established for changing masks after the two-hour limit.
  • Since hundreds of contaminated masks must be disposed of daily, the school must contract for daily removal by a certified hazardous waste disposal company.
  • All removed masks must be deposited in a sealed trash container equipped with a foot lever.
  • Trash cans, bathrooms, and school grounds will be constantly surveilled for improperly discarded masks.
  • No mask breaks allowed because they weaken discipline and defeat the entire purpose of the protective measures.
  • Children choosing to eat lunch must wear a face shield to be positioned in place prior to the removal of the mask.
  • Parents should be instructed to pack lunchboxes with finger food that can fit under the shield without lifting.
  • Paper straws for drinks must be disposed of as hazardous material.
  • Teacher aides should assist in mask discipline, and volunteers must be restricted to ardent mask supporters.
  • Teacher aides must sign a daily affidavit that for the previous twenty-four hours they have worn a mask at all times when outside their domicile and to their knowledge have not come in proximity with an individual who tested positive for Covid-19.
  • Teacher aides cannot bring purses or used masks onto school grounds.
  • All school employees and volunteers must begin the day with a surgical scrub.
  • Faculty bathrooms must be monitored to ensure compliance with AST standards for scrubs by all adult personnel on school grounds.
  • All cell phones that leave school grounds must, on return, be sanitized with ultraviolet light.

Needless to say, social distancing must also be maintained at all times by all persons on school property. This is a hurried and incomplete list, but I was in a rush to get this to you as soon as possible. I will pull together a group of concerned parents to work on this further.

Thank you for your compassionate leadership and we will get back to you soon with further safeguards against this deadly virus.

We are all in this together.

Karen

P.S. Have you thought about how to sanitize donations to the annual auction? Maybe I should have my committee work on that as well.



Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Democrats Weaponize the Post Office

 


Mark Meadows, President Trump's Chief of Staff, went on CNN Sunday to deny the removal of Postal Service sorting machines.  He added that the administration did not intent to remove any sorting machines prior to the election.  This accusation has been gurgling on social media all week.  If Republicans want to win the 2020 election, they cannot take five or six days to deny a false narrative.

(Republicans in the USPS are as rare as Democrats at a Right to Life meeting.  Senior management is filled with political partisans, and the postal union has endorsed Biden.  A couple managers might have noisily moved a few sorting machines to get the narrative going and set a trap for the administration. Gird yourself for stories that machines were moved or shackled.  Meadows will be immediately branded a liar.)

Early last week, social media exploded with full-throated outrage over Trump defunding the United States Postal Service (USPS) and removing sorting machines.  President Trump was charged with destroying the USPS to steal the election.  Only a quick perusal was needed to see that this was a highly orchestrated campaign.  Democrats must win the 2020 election. Losing would be catastrophic. They don't intend to cheat this time … they have a battle plan to steal the election lock, stock, and barrel.

The plan depends on mass confusion and total disarray on election eve.  Vote counts are meant to go on for months, with the election challenged until doomsday.  Results will be contested in the courts, in the streets, in the press, and in the halls of congress.  When Democrats plan nefarious doings, they think ahead so they won’t be fingered as the culprit.  Democrats’ one true talent is shifting blame. They are setting up Trump as the fall guy.  He defunded the USPS.  He took away their equipment. His Postmaster General is a toady.  See, it’s all Trump’s fault.  He caused the chaos to steal the election.

The absence of timely and effective response could crater the Republican campaign.  This is political combat and the rapid response team is supposed to be the special forces.  Democrat campaigns always include a heavy dose of disinformation and unchallenged narratives become truth.  In this case, it appears White House operatives didn’t take notice until elected Democrats started sputtering their indignation.  Finally alerted, they hurriedly cobbled together a damage control plan.  Here’s a tip for beltway dwellers, by the time Democrat officials shout out a new offensive, it's already been spread across the nation.  Democrats start their brush fires in the hinterlands.  They’re easy to spot, but you need to look.

According to Sunday’s Daily Mail, Trump’s Director of Rapid Response was fired last week.  I followed him on Twitter and would have fired him months ago.  After reading the Daily Mail article, I'm not sure his group’s poor performance was entirely his fault.  His marching orders made no sense.

scour Internet, TV and radio for positive news coverage of the Trump administration and get it into the hands of reporters and other 'influencers.' Reporters got frequent in-case-you-missed-it emails from him.

Really?  That’s not rapid response.  It's sycophantic and pointless.  The media doesn’t report positive news about Trump because it doesn’t want to.  Reminding them makes no difference.

So, what now?  Democrats just told us the USPS is the key to the election.  We need to lasso and hogtie it.  If a way is not found to stop mass mail-in voting, then post offices should be designated polling places, and Republicans should insist on poll-watchers at every post office.  Our country has a long tradition of each party placing watchers in every polling place.  We should insist on the same procedure for post offices to ensure the chain of custody is never broken.

Next, impose the same scrutiny on the USPS that any other election entity would be required to endure. An inspection of preparedness, procedures, and training should be led by a handpicked Inspector General.  The IG should also look for corruption throughout the USPS, especially in contracting.  After all, the nation does not want a thief to act as the linchpin of their democracy.

Last, investigate corruption in the postal union.  This should get a full court press by a Department of Justice appointee.  This individual should investigate illegal political expenditures and any other improper handling of members’ dues.

There’s a big difference between absentee ballots and Democrat vote by mail.  In the first, a ballot is sent on request, which means the person is alive, intends to vote, is not in prison, and still lives in the state.  In vote by mail, every voter on the registration rolls is sent a ballot.  Tens of thousands of unrequested ballots are ripe for "harvesting."

Democrats push every change making registration and voting easier.  Fight all checks against voter fraud.  Support every change that opens a new path to fraud. Legalize vote harvesting.  Fight cleansing of voter rolls.  Automatically register drivers to vote. Provide sanctuary to illegals and issue them driver’s licenses. Enough is enough.  It’s time for Republicans to protect the integrity of our elections.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Omaha Caves to the Mask Bigots


On August 11, 2020, Omaha city council voted unanimously for a mandatory mask ordinance. This was very disappointing to me because I moved to Omaha in the hope of finding a more rational and sane community. The unanimous part stuck in my craw.

Republicans voted for the ordinance to lighten a few onerous constraints. A typical Democrat move. Insert a few landmines in legislation as bargaining chips to extort Republican votes. With this vote, the entire council plus Mayor Stothert are on record as being in favor of mask oppression.

Republicans fall for this ruse every time. They deburr unpopular legislation only to discover later that Democrats craftily thrust full accountability onto their shoulders. The Republican amendments did not make this good law. These nips and tucks only succeeded in putting a Republican imprint on a ridiculous ordinance. Tolerable bad law does not make for proper governance. It would have been better to let the idiocy of the original ordinance fall with its full weight onto an unsuspecting populous. If the Democrat atrocity had been allowed to pass intact, then responsible councilmembers who voted nay would have gathered up allies across the city.

Was a mandatory mask ordinance necessary? Doulas county has been designated red, but state government has challenged the counts as erroneous. But even if the numbers are accepted as accurate, they present a weak case for making it unlawful to wander about town with your face uncovered.

Cases

Cumulatively, there have been 11,722 cases with 7,897 recoveries. Total cumulative deaths are 142. Since the only options are death, recovery, or active illness, this would mean that presently there are 3,683 active cases. That would be 31% of the confirmed cases since inception of the pandemic. This is an obvious statistical error, but it illustrates the difficulty of getting actionable numbers.

The recent peak in cases was July 13th at 106. Since that date, the number of cases has trended down.  In the week prior to the vote they were 47, 29, 16, 9, 7, 3, and 0. This doesn’t look like a catastrophic public health issue that would require the abrogation of Americans’ civil rights. In truth, with increased testing and lessening symptoms, the number of cases is near meaningless. Deaths and hospitalizations should direct public policy.

Deaths

The peak in Covid-19 deaths was 18 for the week of May 23, nearly three months ago. For the four weeks prior to the vote the weekly deaths were 4, 6, 4, 3, or less than one per day. Without a mask mandate, the pandemic waned anyway. Granted, governments are slow to react, but in an emergency, it would seem they could pick up the pace a little.

Hospitalizations 

We see a similar story on covid-19 hospitalizations. The peak of 170 was on May 27. For the week prior to the vote, the numbers were 108, 102, 101, 118, 112, 109, 108. More important, on May 27th county hospitals had 51 patients on ventilators. The average for the week prior to the vote was 13. Governor Ricketts has announced that presently Covid-19 patients comprise only 2% of hospital utilization.

As an aside, Doulas county reports two useless measurements of hospitalizations, cumulative, and total utilization. Cumulative is the default measure on the county dashboard, but this number will always be “record breaking” even if only a single patient is in the hospital. Total hospital bed utilization is meaningless because hospitals operate like hotels and airplanes in that they seek full occupancy. Hospitals are never empty and, in an emergency, can free up beds by postponing elective procedures. This measurement had merit only at the very start of the pandemic when hospitals were overwhelmed with a surge of cases. Despite breathless reporting to the contrary, this is not the situation today.

Why a Mask Mandate Now?

Using the county’s own numbers, the relevant trends indicate that the pandemic is waning. (This is true at the national level as well.) As predicted, a second wave did occur, but it wasn’t as severe as the initial phase and the duration appeared short-lived. If mandatory masks were needed, they should have been required months ago. 

The Omaha city council is a day late and a dollar short'

Friday, August 7, 2020

Even discredited CDC stats don't support media narrative.

 From news reporting, it would appear the pandemic is resurging. Only those hearty souls masked and distanced stand a chance of surviving this menace. Corporate America refuses to service the unmasked. Schools? Don’t even think about it. The entire campus is a petri dish. Only hazmat clad students will be allowed inside on the condition they remain six feet away from all others, never talk at lunch, and sign a legal wavier releasing the school from liability. And don’t you dare get close to a teacher or you’ll be branded a murderer.

Why the renewed panic? To understand the breathless warnings of doomsday, I went to the CDC website. I understood that CDC statistics had been discredited, but I wanted to see if even cooked numbers could support media reporting. The site is a maze of numbers with unexplained headings. As a manager of statisticians in direct marketing, I knew the best way to ferret out trends was to compare this period with the prior period and against the same period the prior year. I expected to see year over year comparisons because seasonality effects almost everything, especially illnesses. 

No year over year analysis. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t there. The most common questions on every American’s mind were buried five or six pages deep in a website that only a government could design. So last year’s numbers could be somewhere. I just couldn’t find them. Worse, the chart I did find started with week 40 of 2019 and ended with week 30 of 2020. It didn’t make sense. Why not show weeks 1-30 of 2019 so I could have done my own year over year analysis? 

Let me summarize what I could find.

From the limited CDC data presented, the total deaths from all causes prior to the onslaught of Covid-19 was 57,161 a week. Total deaths from all causes have been less than the pre-covid-19 number for the last seven weeks. That means that in the aggregate, there are no more people dying today than before the virus hit us earlier this year. 

Another way to look at this is to use the average total deaths across the entire 43 weeks reported. That number is a similar 57,602. The last seven weeks have been below this average as well.

Is the virus gone. No. People are driving less, vacationing less, getting elective surgery less, and except for Democrat cities, probably murdering less. Isolating from the Wuhan Virus also isolates us from other dangerous activities like driving to work. Bottom line? The total population trends are not changing and probably won’t until the lockdown baby boom hits.

Let’s look at deaths from Covid-19 and related illnesses. Peak PIC deaths of 21,121 occurred in mid-April. What’s PIC, you might ask. That’s deaths from Pneumonia, influenza, or covid. CDC bundles them together for some reason. PIC deaths have declined to 5,099 in the most recent fully reported week. In the same period, PIC deaths declined as a percent of total deaths from 28% to 12%. Five thousand is still a lot, but the trend is downward and there was no surge that came close to the April numbers.

How about hospitalizations. Remember, they threw us in lock-down to flatten the curve, so we had enough medical resources to properly treat patients. According to the CDC, the peak in hospitalizations also occurred mid-April, with a resurgence in early July that has tapered off once again. Recent numbers are equivalent with mid-March at the beginning of the pandemic. It should be noted that this chart reflects the rate of hospitalizations per 100,000 population. It’s the demand side only. It does not show the increased supply of treatment resources or personal protective equipment (PPE). When both supply and demand are taken into account, hospitalizations are far less threatening than what we've already experienced.


These are not scary numbers. Still serious, but trending in the right direction. So why the hysteria? 

For months, the number of recent deaths was permanently pinned to the upper right-hand corner of our television screens. Broadcasters reported the daily tally of people dying. Then the narrative shifted to cases. Why? For the same reason that the media was aghast at the shortage of hospital beds, then at the criminal scarcity of PPE, then the supposed dearth of respirators, then at the lack of adequate testing. As each of these noisy demands was satisfied, a new strawman consumed media reporting. The agenda was to keep the populous in a constant state of fear and anxiety.

Should we fear an increase in cases while deaths decline? Virology and common sense say no. It means the virus has become less deadly. That’s a cause to celebrate. But we’re not celebrating. If anything, we’re in a greater panic mode. 

We’re emerging from isolation to gingerly engage the world, we’re force-fed daily doses of panic, strangers lecture us, and we see only terrified eyes above gloomy masks that forewarn of death. This irrational fear has been engineered by Democrats and their allies for political purposes. Although we must remain prudent, we shouldn’t succumb to emotional manipulation. Keep in mind Franklin Roosevelt’s admonition, “the only thing we have to fear is ... fear itself -- nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes.”


Friday, July 24, 2020

Vilify our Founders? To what purpose?




Most of us watch aghast as hoodlums rip down Confederate flags and statues.  After a couple years, the absence of a statue will hardly be noticed, so these acts had little consequence.  The wanton destruction may have seemed mindless, but there’s a bigger goal in mind.  Democrats intend to progress beyond heroes on horseback to our revolutionary Founders and Constitutional Framers. To what purpose?  Their end game is the obliteration of our Constitution.

Progressives have always hated the Constitution.  Our system of government hinders ruling in a manner they deem appropriate.  They’ve whittled the edges for over a hundred years, but the Framers were so clever that even a stripped-down version remains a forceful restraint against them exercising their full ambitions.  To a committed progressive, the Constitution must be brushed aside so real progress can be made.

Here’s their problem.  The Constitution has become so entrenched in American culture that it’s more than words on parchment. Our Constitution is as American as baseball and apple pie.  To rid the nation of something that ingrained, the first task is to discredit the authors.

The Founders feared centralized power and designed an instrument to thwart the ambitions of despots and crackpots.  For perspective, let’s look at the intent of the Framers and some of the erosion of their vision.

Most Americans are familiar with the term checks and balances.  It is often spoken as if it were a single word, but in the eighteenth century, the phrase represented distinctly different concepts.  John Adams may have been the first to put the words together in his 1787 publication, A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States, but balances and checks is the phrase used in The Federalist, and that is the sequence James Madison would have thought appropriate.  First balance powers between the branches of government, then place checks on those powers so they may not be abused.

The Framers first line of defense was enumerated powers, later reaffirmed by the states and Congress with the 10th amendment.  Unfortunately, few in Washington consider the enumerated powers a present-day constraint.  Many find it amusing that someone might claim there are limits on national power.

Another bulwark erected by the Framers against concentrated power was a limited national taxing authority.  Squeeze the purse, throttle the power.  However, progressives under Woodrow Wilson passed the 16th Amendment, which allows the government to “collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived.”  That pretty much took care of any money restraint.

The delegates to the Constitutional Convention intended the states to provide a potent check on the national government.  They included five provisions for this purpose: enumerated national powers, equal state representation in the Senate, senators elected by state legislatures, limited national taxing authority, and the Electoral College.  The 17th Amendment, also passed under Wilson, provided for the popular election of senators, so three of the five provisions have been negated while the other two are under assault.
A mere demarcation on parchment of the constitutional limits of the several departments, is not a sufficient guard against those encroachments which lead to a tyrannical concentration of all the powers of government in the same hands. James Madison

Despite these and other erosions the Constitution remains a potent restraining order against overly ambitious politicians.  Healthy tension exists between the three branches and most of their respective powers remain intact.  Something must be done.  The rebellion has already progressed from flags and statues to condemnation of the Founders and Framers.  In recent years, learned articles have periodically appeared that impugn our Constitution as too restrictive, woefully out of date, and written by white males who owned slaves.  (The first is a feature, not a flaw; the second untrue; and the third partially true but irrelevant.)  In the coming months, expect to see many more think-pieces along these lines.  On cue, criticism will expand to the popular culture.  The topic will have crested when late-night talk show hosts tell disparaging jokes about the Framers and our Constitution.

We cannot allow this to happen.  Fifty-five highly educated and talented men debated daily for four months to define a government that would work for the people while shielding them from the power crazed.  Their work was ratified by conventions of the people who argued at home, at church, in taverns, and in print until every facet had been examined and reexamined.  New states, wars, depressions, state succession, GDP growth, longevity, and the constant striving to live up to our founding principles proves that the Framers’ foresight remains invaluable.

Human frailties are no reason to throw away the Framers’ brilliance.  Rapacious politicians are reason enough to heed their counsel. 

The Founders ultimate check on the national government is the people.  John Adams wrote, “There is a simple sense in which at every election the electorate hold their representatives to account and replace those who have failed to give satisfaction.”

On November 3, the people will have another opportunity to “hold their representatives to account.” To protect our Constitution, vote against all who want to toss it aside like worthless flotsam.