Why Are We Still Doing This And What Does It Accomplish?

On October 7th, Newsweek reported the following:

More than 6,000 scientists have signed an anti-lockdown petition saying that coronavirus policies are causing “irreparable damage.”

The petition, which is named the Great Barrington Declaration after the town in Massachusetts it was signed in, was written on October 4 and has signatures from at least 2,826 medical and public health scientists, 3,794 medical practitioners and over 60,000 members of the general public.

It was co-authored by Dr. Martin Kulldorff, a professor of medicine at Harvard; Dr. Sunetra Gupta, a professor at Oxford University; and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a professor at Stanford University Medical School.

“As infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists we have grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies, and recommend an approach we call Focused Protection,” the petition says in its opening line. “Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health.”

…The petition also discusses its approach for vulnerable people, noting that implementing measures to protect this group “should be the central aim of public health responses to COVID-19.”

The petition offers a number of examples of how to protect vulnerable people, such as recommending that nursing homes use staff with acquired immunity and delivering groceries and other essential goods to those who are retired.

“Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal,” the petition says.

It goes on to say that simple hygiene measures, such as handwashing and staying home when sick, can help achieve the goal of herd immunity, while also noting that young adults should work from home and advocating a full reopening of the economy.

Meanwhile, Just the News posted an article today contrasting the current economic conditions between red and blue states.

The article reports:

As Democratic candidates across the nation harp on the economic devastation they attribute to the Trump administration’s mishandled COVID response, a closer look at state by state unemployment data reveals something far different: a tale of two economies on starkly divergent paths out of crushing shutdown economics. In “red” states, economic recovery is in full roar. “Blue” states, meanwhile, lag far behind, still staggering under unemployment levels associated with the deepest recessions. Suspended somewhere between these two poles are politically mixed “purple” states muddling through with fittingly middling unemployment numbers.

Just the News reviewed  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment data by state for August (the latest data available).The national unemployment rate — which now stands at 7.9% — was 8.4% in August. However, the economic pain represented by that number was not spread evenly across red, blue and purple states — far from it. Fueled by broader, faster economic reopenings following the initial coronavirus crash, conservative-leaning red states are by and large far outpacing liberal-leaning blue states in terms of putting people back to work.

Just the News found that 9 of the 10 states with the lowest unemployment rates are are led by Republican governors (Montana, led by Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock is the lone exception). In startling contrast, 9 of the 10 states with the highest unemployment rates are led by Democrats (the exception being Massachusetts, led by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, a critic of President Trump).

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. This article illustrates why local elections matter. The states whose voters put Republicans in their state government are doing much better than the states being run by Democrats.

When Fake News Is Forced To Apologize

Yesterday The Daily Wire reported that Newsweek was forced to issue a retraction of statements it made about possible Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. The attack on Judge Barrett was probably only a portent of things to come. It was a lie, but that won’t matter to many people who want to oppose her nomination because of her stand on abortion.

The article reports:

Newsweek magazine has issued a major correction to an article smearing potential Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, accusing the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals judge of belonging to a Catholic sect that “inspired” the novel “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Initially, Newsweek claimed that “People of Praise,” a charismatic Catholic group to which Barrett reportedly belongs, “served as inspiration for Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale,” adding that female members are forced to report to spiritual superiors known as “handmaids” and that the group stresses that “men have authority over their wives.”

The article continues:

The problem? People of Praise’s “handmaids” are little more than spiritual advisors, according to sources familiar with the 1,700-member group that spoke to The Daily Wire. And as National Review Online’s David Harsanyi points out, Barrett’s partner’s “authority” must be severely limited, given that her “knuckle-dragging misogynistic religious fanatic husband has only let the poor woman out of the house twice. Once, to serve a 15-year stint as a law professor at a highly prestigious university,” and the other to serve on the 7th Circuit.

Deeper than that, though, it turns out Newsweek’s story is actually completely wrong based on information from Atwood herself, which Newsweek points out in its “correction.”

The article notes that the author has also stated that the group was not the inspiration for the book:

“Correction: This article’s headline originally stated that People of Praise inspired ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. The book’s author, Margaret Atwood, has never specifically mentioned the group as being the inspiration for her work,” the note read. “A New Yorker profile of the author from 2017 mentions a newspaper clipping as part of her research for the book of a different charismatic Catholic group, People of Hope. Newsweek regrets the error.”

“The clipping includes a spokesperson for the People of Hope sect based in Newark, New Jersey saying, ‘We’re all Roman Catholics. We differ in the sense that we are a Charismatic group, which would mean that we have prayer meetings, during which there is raising of hands, singing and speaking in tongues,’” the outlet notes. “People of Praise has never had a presence in the state of New Jersey.”

How many people have read the article but are unaware of the correction?

When Politics Overrides Science

Yesterday Just the News posted an article about some recent statements by Harvey Risch, a professor of epidemiology at Yale and director of that school’s Molecular Cancer Epidemiology Laboratory.

The article reports:

Harvey Risch, a professor of epidemiology at Yale as well as the director of that school’s Molecular Cancer Epidemiology Laboratory, argues in a Newsweek op-ed this week that “the data fully support” the wide use of hydroxychloroquine as an effective treatment of COVID-19. 

“When this inexpensive oral medication is given very early in the course of illness, before the virus has had time to multiply beyond control, it has shown to be highly effective,” Risch argues in the column. 

…Risch, at Newsweek, argues that multiple studies over the past several months have demonstrated that the drug is a safe and efficacious treatment method for COVID-19.

Among the successful treatment experiments, he writes, are “an additional 400 high-risk patients treated by Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, with zero deaths; four studies totaling almost 500 high-risk patients treated in nursing homes and clinics across the U.S., with no deaths; a controlled trial of more than 700 high-risk patients in Brazil, with significantly reduced risk of hospitalization and two deaths among 334 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine; and another study of 398 matched patients in France, also with significantly reduced hospitalization risk.”

The media’s portrayal of this drug (which was approved for medical use in the United States in 1955 has been commonly used to treat arthritis, lupus, and certain types of malaria) has been almost entirely negative. It should be noted that the drug costs about 60¢ a pill. Some of the other drugs pharmacy companies are recommending to treat the coronavirus cost as much as $6,000 a pill. You don’t suppose there might be a financial as well as a political aspect to the objections to hydroxychloroquine.

The article concludes:

Risch says the drug is most effective “when given very early in the course of illness, before the virus has had time to multiply beyond control.”

Though according to Risch the benefits of the drug are clear, he nevertheless concedes that the subject “has become highly politicized.”

“For many, it is viewed as a marker of political identity, on both sides of the political spectrum,” he said. “Nobody needs me to remind them that this is not how medicine should proceed.”

He also argues that “the drug has not been used properly in many studies,” and that delays in administering the drug have reduced its effectiveness. 

“In the future,” Risch says in the column, “I believe this misbegotten episode regarding hydroxychloroquine will be studied by sociologists of medicine as a classic example of how extra-scientific factors overrode clear-cut medical evidence.”

“But for now,” he adds, “reality demands a clear, scientific eye on the evidence and where it points.”

Some objectivity on the part of the media would be nice.

The World Is Upside Down

Yesterday Newsweek posted an article about Alabama’s new pro-life law.

The article includes a tweet from Amnesty International:

Abortionfacts.com states:

As early as eight to ten weeks after conception, and definitely by thirteen-and-a-half weeks, the unborn experiences organic pain…. First, the unborn child’s mouth, at eight weeks, then her hands at ten weeks, then her face, arms, and legs at eleven weeks become sensitive to touch. By thirteen-and-a-half weeks, she responds to pain at all levels of her nervous system in an integrated response which cannot be termed a mere reflex. She can now experience pain.

Doesn’t abortion violate the baby’s human rights? Killing babies in not healthcare–it is just the opposite. I don’t necessarily agree with all of Alabama’s law, but I believe that we have taken too lightly the murder of approximately 61 million babies since 1973. It is time to end the billion dollar abortion industry that so callously sells aborted baby body parts. The defense of the practice of killing babies and selling their body parts is simply inexcusable.

 

Something To Consider

Yesterday John Solomon posted an editorial at The Hill that should give all of us pause. The editorial involves one particular email sent between Lisa Page and Peter Strzok.

The editorial states:

It is no longer in dispute that they held animus for Donald Trump, who was a subject of their Russia probe, or that they openly discussed using the powers of their office to “stop” Trump from becoming president. The only question is whether any official acts they took in the Russia collusion probe were driven by those sentiments.

The Justice Department’s inspector general is endeavoring to answer that question.

For any American who wants an answer sooner, there are just five words, among the thousands of suggestive texts Page and Strzok exchanged, that you should read.

That passage was transmitted on May 19, 2017. “There’s no big there there,” Strzok texted.

The date of the text long has intrigued investigators: It is two days after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein named special counsel Robert Mueller to oversee an investigation into alleged collusion between Trump and the Russia campaign.

Since the text was turned over to Congress, investigators wondered whether it referred to the evidence against the Trump campaign.

This month, they finally got the chance to ask. Strzok declined to say — but Page, during a closed-door interview with lawmakers, confirmed in the most pained and contorted way that the message in fact referred to the quality of the Russia case, according to multiple eyewitnesses.

The admission is deeply consequential. It means Rosenstein unleashed the most awesome powers of a special counsel to investigate an allegation that the key FBI officials, driving the investigation for 10 months beforehand, did not think was “there.”

On December 1, 2017, Newsweek reported:

Since his appointment almost seven months ago, Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his crack team have racked up a $5 million tab as they probe Russia’s meddling in last year’s presidential election and alleged collusion with Donald Trump’s campaign to claim the White House, according to ABC News.

The editorial continues:

In other words, they had a big nothing burger. And, based on that empty-calorie dish, Rosenstein authorized the buffet menu of a special prosecutor that has cost America millions of dollars and months of political strife.

The work product Strzok created to justify the collusion probe now has been shown to be inferior: A Clinton-hired contractor produced multiple documents accusing Trump of wrongdoing during the election; each was routed to the FBI through a different source or was used to seed news articles with similar allegations that further built an uncorroborated public narrative of Trump-Russia collusion. Most troubling, the FBI relied on at least one of those news stories to justify the FISA warrant against Carter Page.

That sort of multifaceted allegation machine, which can be traced back to a single source, is known in spy craft as “circular intelligence reporting,” and it’s the sort of bad product that professional spooks are trained to spot and reject.

Please follow the link to read the entire editorial at The Hill. A lot of people need to lose their jobs over this. It is a disgrace.

Influencing An Election Or Just Causing General Chaos?

On Friday, Newsweek posted the full text of the Mueller Indictment (here). You can read the whole thing if you choose–it’s thirty-seven pages long. I don’t have that kind of patience, but I did glance at it and found an interesting snippet:

Number 53 show that the Russian meddlers used a Muslim Facebook group to support Hillary Clinton because supposedly she had made a statement in favor of Sharia Law. Later on the same Facebook page, they stated that Muslim voters were “between Hillary Clinton and a hard place.” What does that even mean? They also used Facebook and Twitter to organize political rallies in New York for Trump. I don’t know where it is in the indictment, but it has also been reported that they organized pro-Trump and anti-Trump rallies in New York City on the same day. I suspect that the motive behind that scheduling was the possibility of violence.

The thing that occurs to me here is that the Russians were able to accomplish whatever they accomplished (and it is questionable whether they accomplished anything) because of the unwitting cooperation of Americans. We, as Americans, are the ones who have let our political discourse get out of hand. Many of us have forgotten how to have a civil discussion of issues–instead we resort to name calling or changing the subject. Maybe it is time to require debating classes for everyone over the age of two so that we can bring back civility.

At any rate, I find it interesting that the Russians used a Muslim Facebook page to promote Hillary Clinton.

Also, just for the record, we as Americans have meddled in a few elections ourselves.

Sometimes The Source Is More Interesting Than The Story

There are two recent stories in the news about some of the large donors to the Clinton Foundation. The first is a story from last week posted at Hot Air, relating back to a Newsweek article. The second story is from a New York Times article posted today. The Newsweek article deals with the fact that one of the large donors to the Clinton Foundation was trading with Iran despite the sanctions imposed by the United States.

The Newsweek article states:

Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk, 54, has courted the Clintons for at least nine years – in the United States, the Alps and Ukraine.

Earlier this year, he was confirmed as the largest individual contributor to the Clinton Foundation, whose aims include the creation of “economic opportunity and growth”. He also has links to the Tony Blair Foundation and represented its biggest single donor in 2013.

The fourth richest man in Ukraine, Pinchuk owns Interpipe Group, a Cyprus-incorporated manufacturer of seamless pipes used in oil and gas sectors.

Newsweek has seen declarations and documents from Ukraine that show a series of shipments from Interpipe to Iran in 2011 and 2012, including railway parts and products commonly used in the oil and gas sectors.

Among a number of high-value invoices for products related to rail or oil and gas, one shipment for $1.8m (1.7m) in May 2012 was for “seamless hot-worked steel pipes for pipelines” and destined for a city near the Caspian Sea.

Both the rail and oil and gas sectors are sanctioned by the US, which specifically prohibits any single invoice to the Iranian petrochemical industry worth more than $1m.

Follow the link to the Newsweek article to read the whole sordid story.

The New York Times article reports:

The headline on the website Pravda trumpeted President Vladimir V. Putin’s latest coup, its nationalistic fervor recalling an era when its precursor served as the official mouthpiece of the Kremlin: “Russian Nuclear Energy Conquers the World.”

The article, in January 2013, detailed how the Russian atomic energy agency, Rosatom, had taken over a Canadian company with uranium-mining stakes stretching from Central Asia to the American West. The deal made Rosatom one of the world’s largest uranium producers and brought Mr. Putin closer to his goal of controlling much of the global uranium supply chain.

But the untold story behind that story is one that involves not just the Russian president, but also a former American president and a woman who would like to be the next one.

At the heart of the tale are several men, leaders of the Canadian mining industry, who have been major donors to the charitable endeavors of former President Bill Clinton and his family. Members of that group built, financed and eventually sold off to the Russians a company that would become known as Uranium One.

Again, follow the link to the New York Times to read the entire story.

So what is this about? The mainstream media is actually reporting scandals related to the Clintons. Theories abound. One of the more interesting theories espoused on Rush Limbaugh today is that the media is quietly hinting to Hillary to step aside of they will expose more of her questionable dealings. Another theory (which I believe is more likely) is that the media is trying to get all of this out of the way so that it is old news next year when people begin to pay attention.

Either way, there are some basic facts here. The Clintons have never been known for being squeaky clean in their financial (or political, or personal) dealings. Americans may well be faced with a decision next November as to whether or not they want to endure the drama of another Clinton in the White House. These stories are important, if only to remind us of the angst that comes with electing a Clinton.

The Problem With Playing Politics With A Tragedy

In the current world of the Internet, it would behoove politicians to look into past statements regarding a tragedy before making total fools of themselves.

Yesterday’s Daily Caller posted a story about comments made by Rhode Island’s Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse after the tornado outbreak in Oklahoma. Senator Whitehouse spent 15 minutes chastising GOP senators for denying the theory of anthropogenic global warming. The implication being, of course, that the tornadoes were the result of global warming and that if the Republicans would just acknowledge global warming, the tornadoes wouldn’t have happened. Right. He somehow forgot to mention that tornadoes in the middle of the country in the spring are more common that hurricanes on the east coast in the summer. But it gets better.

A blogger named Steven Goddard posted the following Newsweek article from April 1975:

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This is the link to the entire article.

The Senator does not need to play politics with this tragedy. What he does need to do is to figure out a way to get aid to the people affected by creating a bill that will help them that does not include tons of pork-barrel spending. I strongly suggest that he devote his time to crafting that bill rather than citing science that has already been proven to be faulty.

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The Earth Is Warmer Near The Air Conditioning Exhaust

In August 2008, in the early days of this blog (rightwinggranny.com), I posted an article about surface stations–the measuring devices used to calculate changes in the earth’s temperature. The article linked to a website called surface stations.org, which posted pictures of various surface stations used to measure global temperatures.

For example:

The location of the air conditioning exhaust and the cell tower might have something to do with how the temperature at this particular surface station seems to be increasing.

Well, a few years later, a scientific type (which I am definitely not) has done further research.

WattsUpWithThat posted the following Press Release today:

A reanalysis of U.S. surface station temperatures has been performed using the recently WMO-approved Siting Classification System devised by METEO-France’s Michel Leroy. The new siting classification more accurately characterizes the quality of the location in terms of monitoring long-term spatially representative surface temperature trends. The new analysis demonstrates that reported 1979-2008 U.S. temperature trends are spuriously doubled, with 92% of that over-estimation resulting from erroneous NOAA adjustments of well-sited stations upward. The paper is the first to use the updated siting system which addresses USHCN siting issues and data adjustments.

The new improved assessment, for the years 1979 to 2008, yields a trend of +0.155C per decade from the high quality sites, a +0.248 C per decade trend for poorly sited locations, and a trend of +0.309 C per decade after NOAA adjusts the data. This issue of station siting quality is expected to be an issue with respect to the monitoring of land surface temperature throughout the Global Historical Climate Network and in the BEST network.

This is the image that appears in the article along with the Press Release:

I am not a scientific type. I do not claim to fully understand what I have read in this article or even what is shown by the pictures. I strongly suggest that you follow the link to WattsUpWithThat and read the article for yourself. I am pretty good at bottom lines, though, and the bottom line here seems to be that global warming is not happening at the frightening rate that we have been told it is happening. We can now all take a deep breath and continue on with life as we know it. I strongly suggest that we do try to be stewards of our beautiful planet, but I also strongly suggest that we don’t overreact to the fear mongering that has been going on in recent years.

In 1975 Newsweek warned us of the “Coming Ice Age.” Now we are warned of the global warming catastrophe. I think we can safely conclude that scientists really don’t know as much as they think they do.

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