Where Did Omicron Come From?

On Tuesday, Hot Air posted an article about the origins of the new variant of the coronavirus. As usual, what we are being told does not necessarily line up with the actual facts.

The article reports:

Last year, Trump complained frequently that the only reason America’s COVID case numbers looked so grim on his watch is because we did so much testing. There was logic to that, of a sort: Obviously the less testing you do, the fewer confirmed cases you’ll find. If you’re dejected by the misery around you, just close your eyes and pretend like it’s not there. What if Omicron has been spreading in hot spots across the globe but South Africa is the only country with its eyes open, doing the testing needed to detect it? Like the UK, they’re aggressive about genomic surveillance. It’s no surprise that they would detect a case of a new variant early while the U.S. still has no confirmed cases despite the fact that literally everyone believes the variant is already here.

If the variant didn’t originate in Africa but was merely spotted there first, the travel ban that’s been imposed on the southern part of the continent is essentially a penalty for being diligent about surveillance. Not great.

The news today from the Netherlands bolsters the possibility that Omicron didn’t originate in Africa, although what’s described here isn’t the earliest known case of the variant.

The article notes:

Three different European countries had Omicron on their turf before South Africa’s experts knew about it, eh? And at least one case in Germany was found in a person who hasn’t traveled abroad or been in contact with anyone who has, a smoking gun of local community spread. Are we looking at a European origin for Omicron?

Well, hold on. The earliest known samples to test positive from the variant came from four people in Botswana who tested positive on November 11. Botswana is an African country, of course, one that borders South Africa to the north. But there’s a catch about the four people who tested positive: They were … foreign diplomats. And Botswana hasn’t said which country they were from or where else they had traveled. Did those diplomats bring the virus in from their home country or did they pick it up while they were in Botswana? Hmmmm.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It includes charts and graphs that create more questions than answers. The only good news here is that so far medical experts are saying that the new variant is much less severe than the variants we have seen so far. If that is true, we can end our panic and get back to life as usual.

Progress In The Fight Against Terror

Yesterday Just The News reported that Yusuf Jiis, was one of three enemy fighters killed in a joint, April 2 strike with the Federal Government of Somalia. The strike took place near Bush Madina, about 135 miles west of the capital city of Mogadishu.

The article reports:

Jiis was a foundational member of al-Shabaab and held key positions within the group, according to AFRICOM.

“This individual was a key leader in the al-Shabaab organization,” said U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, who leads the command. “He was violent, ruthless, and responsible for the loss of many innocent lives. His removal makes Somalia and neighboring countries safer.”     

Another AFRICOM official, Army Maj. Gen. William Gayler, said that the terrorist, fundamentalist jihadi group continues to present a significant threat to peace in the region.

“Al-Shabaab remains a disease in Somalia and is an indiscriminate killer of innocent people and their only desire is to brutalize populations inside Somalia and outside of Somalia,” said Gayler, the AFRICOM director of operations. “Putting pressure on this network helps contain their ambition and desire to cause harm and destruction.”

The article concludes:

“While we might like to pause our operations in Somalia because of the Coronavirus, the leaders of al-Qaeda, al-Shabaab and ISIS have announced that they see this crisis as an opportunity to further their terrorist agenda so we will continue to stand with and support our African partners,” Townsend said.                 

Roughly 500 American troops are now in Somalia. Among them are special operations troops who train the Danab Brigade of Somalia’s special forces. Others launch the air strikes.

“American air support is key,” Somalia’s ambassador to the United States, Ali Ahmed, recently said. “The drone attacks have increased under (President) Trump.”

President Trump is doing what he can to end terrorism without jeopardizing the lives of American soldiers.

Realizing The Threat To European Civilization

Reuters posted an article today reporting that Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban has decided not to sign the Global Compact For Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. The agreement was approved on Friday by all 193 U.N. member nations except the United States, which pulled out last year.

The article reports:

“This document is entirely against Hungary’s security interests,” Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told a news conference, adding: “This pact poses a threat to the world from the aspect that it could inspire millions (of migrants).”

Hungary, along with Poland and Czech Republic, has taken a tough stand against the admission of migrants, putting it at odds with the European Union, but striking a chord with voters by arguing that irregular immigration threatens European stability, and fencing off Hungary’s southern borders.

Szijjarto said the U.N. pact was “extreme, biased and facilitates migration.

“Its main premise is that migration is a good and inevitable phenomenon … We consider migration a bad process, which has extremely serious security implications.”

France, Germany, and Sweden have all experienced drastic increases in crime due to the influx of immigrants from Muslim countries. Unless the immigrants are willing to assimilate (and most of them are not), the attitudes of the immigrants towards women and other western cultural norms have been a problem. Hungary has recognized this and acted accordingly.

The solution to the massive migration to Europe from Africa and the Middle East is for the people in the African and Middle Eastern countries to clean up their act. Generally speaking, in the countries the migrants are coming from, the wealth and the law are controlled by a select group of people in charge. I don’t blame these people for fleeing, but they need to stay and fight. If you look at the pictures of the migrants, the majority of them are men between the ages of about eighteen to thirty-five. They are fleeing rather than joining together to fight for economic (and other) freedoms. I wonder if these migrants were forced to remain in their home countries if they would be willing to fight for those countries.

Losing Our Culture And Harming Our Young Girls

As the debate about accepting Muslim refugees into America continues, there is something we need to understand–assimilation of the new Muslim population cannot be assumed. There is one statistic that illustrates that the Muslims that are already here are not interested in assimilation, but instead are carrying out a practice that is illegal in America.

The Population Reference Bureau reported the following in July:

The ABC News piece, “Underground in America: Female Genital Mutilation,” quotes PRB’s figures revealing that 500,000+  women and girls are at risk of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) in the United States—more than twice the number of women and girls estimated to be at risk in 2000.

Mark Mather, a co-author on the PRB article and associate vice president of U.S. Programs, told ABC News: “There haven’t been new numbers made available for more than a decade. We knew the immigrant population had grown considerably over the past 10 years, so for a population changing so rapidly, it’s important not to wait to get more updated estimates.”

FGM/C is illegal in the United States. PRB looked at immigrant families coming from countries with a high prevalence rate of FGM/C, including places where 80 percent to 90 percent of women undergo the procedure. So the rapid increase in women and girls at risk reflects an increase in immigration from these countries—or daughters with parents from those countries—to the United States, rather than an increase in the share of women and girls at risk of being cut.

Advocates warn that the risk of FGM/C can go up during summer months—”vacation cutting”—when girls often travel back to their home countries, particularly in Africa, to visit family. PBS NewsHour cited the PRB data analysis, underscoring the risk of FGM/C being a particular concern in New York, which has the largest population of African immigrants in the country. In 2013, about 97 percent of U.S. women and girls at risk were from African countries, while just 3 percent were from Asia (Iraq and Yemen).

This is not a practice that is welcome in America. We need to make it clear to immigrants that this is unacceptable. If families want to come to America, they need to refrain from breaking our laws in the name of their customs or religion.

The Buck Stops…Somewhere

The two big news stories of the week this week were the death of Cecil the lion and the release of the videos showing Planned Parenthood selling aborted baby body parts. It is a sad commentary on our society that Cecil got more coverage on the mainstream networks and more outrage than the selling of aborted baby body parts.

Cecil was majestic. He was obviously everything a lion should be. The man who killed him is in hiding, fearing for his life. The dentist who killed Cecil claim that his guides misled him and that he thought he was just killing an ordinary lion. I am the first person to admit that I don’t understand hunting (other than with a camera), but I am not ready to condemn those who hunt. When I devour my cheeseburger, I really don’t want to think about its prior life. But that does take away my moral high ground to condemn hunting and hunters. Americans are very upset that Cecil was killed. Meanwhile, the videos of Planned Parenthood show that the organization is marketing aborted baby body parts. Where is the outrage? I don’t know. I don’t support the idea of killing abortion doctors or bombing abortion clinics, but why aren’t the people who are dismembering babies and selling the parts in hiding? Where are the people who protest using animals to test cosmetics?

I am reminded of the death of Princess Diana. People saw her as the embodiment of the fairy tale princess. She was a beautiful and seemingly gracious lady. When she died, the world mourned. Her funeral was the epitome of pomp and circumstance. Shortly after the death of Princess Diana, Mother Theresa died. Her funeral was simple (and beautiful—as was her life). The mourning for Mother Theresa was much more subdued—not like the show of grief for the loss of a princess. I think our values have been upside down for a while.

To conclude. Cecil is dead and Planned Parenthood is selling aborted baby body parts. People are outraged about Cecil and not really interested in the Planned Parenthood videos. Congress can’t even scrape together the votes to stop federal funding of Planned Parenthood. Eventually the buck stops…somewhere.

Losing Our Foundation As A Country

John Adams had some very definite ideas as to what it would take to preserve America in the future. He believed that there was more to America than simply writing a Constitution for a representative republic.

John Adams stated:

“…because we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, • would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” (from beliefnet.com)

Unfortunately, many of our current leaders do not agree with that philosophy. Yesterday Breitbart.com posted an article about a recent comment from Secretary of State John Kerry:

This is a time here in Africa where there are a number of different cross-currents of modernity that are coming together to make things even more challenging. Some people believe that people ought to be able to only do what they say they ought to do, or to believe what they say they ought to believe, or live by their interpretation of something that was written down a thousand plus, two thousand years ago. That’s not the way I think most people want to live.

According to the article, President Obama made a similar statement circa 2008:

Democracy demands that the religiously-motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values.

Religion-specific values were exactly what John Adams felt were needed to preserve America. It’s time for both of these men to go back and read the writings of the people who founded America. They have not idea what the founders of this country were about.



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Does Marriage Have Value?

Yesterday the New York Daily News reported that a Manhattan judge has given a couple who are just friends the green light to become legal co-parents to an adopted girl. What happens to that child if one of the friends meets someone and gets married? Who gets custody of the child? Is it possible to divorce a friendship?

The article reports:

The pals identified, only as LEL and KAL, met in 2000 and have been close friends since, according to court papers.

Several years ago, KAL decided she wanted to become a mom, and LEL offered to be her sperm donor.

But when she couldn’t get pregnant, they “decided to instead adopt a child together,” the court papers say.

“They spent years planning and hoping” for a child, and their dream came true in 2011, when KAL was able to adopt a child — identified as G. — from Ethiopia.

They traveled to Africa together to bring the baby home, but because they weren’t married, only KAL was able to adopt, filings say.

When they returned to the U.S., the pair petitioned Manhattan Surrogate’s Court to have LEL named as a second legal parent, even though they don’t live together and are not romantically involved.

In a landmark ruling, Judge Rita Mella did so.

“From the moment they met G,, more than two years ago now, KAL and LEL have functioned as her parents,” the judge wrote in a decision from last month.

It’s not a puppy–it’s a child. What example of a loving family will this child grow up with? If the family is one of the building blocks of our society, then what impact does this ruling have on the foundation of our society?

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The Death Of Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela has died at the age of 95. Nelson Mandela spent 27 years as a prisoner in South Africa for opposing apartheid, then emerged to become his country’s first black president. All of the major (and minor) news outlets are posting stories about his death. As usual, I have a few observations.

In the early 1970’s my parents made a business trip to South Africa. They spent time in Johannesburg and in Durban. This was during the time that Nelson Mandela was in prison. Upon returning to America they observed that South Africa was in a place very similar to where the American south was before the civil rights movement–things were very tense and there was no harmony between the white and black populations. Something was going to explode. There were some explosions, but compared to what has happened in other Africa nations, they were relatively minor. Apartheid ended in 1994 after international sanctions and negotiations between Mandela and South African President F. W. de Klerk.

What is the lesson we can learn from the life of Nelson Mandela? I think the most important lesson is the lesson of forgiveness–this man spent 27 years in jail for opposing apartheid and was able to forgive his country for the way he had been treated. Because he was able to move forward rather than dwell on the past, Nelson Mandela became President of South Africa. If more leaders followed the example of Nelson Mandela in forgiving past wrongs and wanting to do what is in the best interests of all people in his country, the world would be a very different place.

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Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

The legacy for George W. Bush won’t really be written for a number of years. I suspect President Bush will remain a controversial character because he was not a fiscal conservative and because of the war in Iraq. However, there is one very positive aspect of his presidency that he is rarely given credit for.

On Monday, the Washington Post posted an article about President Bush’s role in helping fight AIDS in Africa. In his 2003 State of the Union address, President Bush stated, “Tonight I propose the Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a work of mercy beyond all current international efforts to help the people of Africa. This comprehensive plan will prevent 7 million new AIDS infections, treat at least 2 million people with life-extending drugs and provide humane care for millions of people suffering from AIDS and for children orphaned by AIDS.”

The President then worked to make those words come true. President Bush launched The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

The article reports:

PEPFAR gathered the support of an odd coalition. Its congressional sponsors included Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), a pro-life leader, and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.); Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.). Religious conservatives joined with traditionally liberal health organizations to push for the measure. It was signed into law four months after it was announced.

Implementation was swift, under a theory that PEPFAR’s first administrator, Ambassador Randall Tobias, described as “Ready, fire, aim.” By late 2005 — with the help of PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria — there were about 800,000 people on treatment. That number today is more than 5 million.

Because of a few words in the State of the Union address and the willingness to put those words into practice, millions of people are alive today. That is impressive.Enhanced by Zemanta

Eventually The Truth Will Come Out

Yesterday Breitbart.com reported that the Annex at Benghazi may have been used as a detention site for local militia forces and possibly for prisoners from other parts of Africa. This would indicate that it was a black ops site (something the Bush Administration was heavily criticized for and that President Obama supposedly outlawed).

The article reports:

The CIA denies this saying the CIA has not had detention authority since January 2009. That’s when the President signed executive order 13491. The CIA claims any suggestion that the agency is still in the detention business is “uninformed and baseless.”

It really would have made more sense for the Obama Administration to tell the truth when this incident occurred. President Obama has been re-elected, but his Administration may be somewhat crippled by this scandal.

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Interesting Insight From Thomas Sowell

Yesterday Investors.com posted an article by Thomas Sowell with an interesting perspective on the Obama Administration.

The article opens with the following paragraph:

After reading Barack Obama’s book “Dreams from My Father,” it became painfully clear that he has not been searching for the truth, because he assumed from an early age that he had already found the truth — and now it was just a question of filling in the details and deciding how to change things.

Combined with the few bits of personal history of President Obama told by colleagues along the way, this makes perfect sense. The article points out that President Obama, when a professor at the University of Chicago chose not to mingle with the other professors. He wasn’t open to participating in the marketplace of ideas. He still isn’t. When presented with the conclusions of the Bowles-Simpson report, he not only ignored them, he didn’t even enter into negotiations to pass something that would begin to bring the federal government’s spending and deficits under control.

Mr. Sowell points out:

When Obama wrote that many people “had been enslaved only because of the color of their skin,” he was repeating a common piece of gross misinformation. For thousands of years, people enslaved other people of the same race as themselves, whether in Europe, Asia, Africa or the Western Hemisphere.

Europeans enslaved other Europeans for centuries before the first African was brought in bondage to the Western Hemisphere.

The very word “slave” is derived from the name of a European people once widely held in bondage, the Slavs.

Facts can be very inconvenient things.

The article concludes:

Barack Obama is one of those people who is often wrong but never in doubt. When he burst upon the national political scene as a presidential candidate in 2008, even some conservatives were impressed by his confidence.

But confident ignorance is one of the most dangerous qualities in a leader of a nation.

If he has the rhetorical skills to inspire the same confidence in himself by others, then you have the ingredients for national disaster.

We have lived that disaster for the past four years.

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