Do You Trust The Vaccine?

This is not an article supporting or not supporting the coronavirus vaccine. Everyone has the right to make their own decision on that. It is an article reminding people about the statements made by leading Democrats about the vaccine during the Trump administration.

John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article yesterday with screenshots of tweets from Democrats about the coronavirus vaccine during the Trump administration. I will post a few of these screenshots, but I suggest you follow the link to the article to see the entire selection. Then ask yourself why there are so many vaccine skeptics.

The article reports:

The article concludes:

Did the Democrats’ relentless attacks on the vaccines that were expedited by President Trump get some people killed? I suppose they probably did. But I am not aware of a single Democrat who has expressed remorse for discouraging people from taking advantage of the vaccines, or who has acknowledged their party’s 180 degree turnabout as soon as the election was over. I think the Democrats’ view is that no one should ever have taken their anti-vaccine stance seriously. We should have known it was all just politics, and once the hated Donald Trump was out of they way, we should all have lined up for our shots.

That certainly is how I saw it, and I was among the first to get vaccinated. Sadly, there apparently are a few people who still take the Democrats seriously.

As I said, this article is meant to be neither pro-vaccine or anti-vaccine, it is just posted to show you some of the history and to show one man’s opinion.

Good News For America

John Hinderaker posted an article today at Power Line Blog about a recent statement by Senator Joe Manchin.

The article reports:

Now that they control Congress, although by the barest of margins, the Democrats can do considerable damage. But for their long dreamt-of power grab–adding more states, packing the Supreme Court, institutionalizing electoral fraud–they need to break the filibuster.

Ending the filibuster would require the votes of all 50 Democratic senators. That has always seemed unlikely, and yesterday Joe Manchin made it official in an op-ed in a local newspaper. Manchin said that he will not vote for H.R. 1, the Universal Voter Fraud Act, nor will he vote to end the filibuster…

Yesterday Senator Manchin posted an editorial in the Charleston Gazette-Mail explaining his vote.

Here are some highlights from that article:

The right to vote is fundamental to our American democracy and protecting that right should not be about party or politics. Least of all, protecting this right, which is a value I share, should never be done in a partisan manner.

…Unfortunately, we now are witnessing that the fundamental right to vote has itself become overtly politicized. Today’s debate about how to best protect our right to vote and to hold elections, however, is not about finding common ground, but seeking partisan advantage. Whether it is state laws that seek to needlessly restrict voting or politicians who ignore the need to secure our elections, partisan policymaking won’t instill confidence in our democracy — it will destroy it.

As such, congressional action on federal voting rights legislation must be the result of both Democrats and Republicans coming together to find a pathway forward or we risk further dividing and destroying the republic we swore to protect and defend as elected officials.

Democrats in Congress have proposed a sweeping election reform bill called the For the People Act. This more than 800-page bill has garnered zero Republican support. Why? Are the very Republican senators who voted to impeach Trump because of actions that led to an attack on our democracy unwilling to support actions to strengthen our democracy? Are these same senators, whom many in my party applauded for their courage, now threats to the very democracy we seek to protect?

The truth, I would argue, is that voting and election reform that is done in a partisan manner will all but ensure partisan divisions continue to deepen.

…I believe that partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy, and for that reason, I will vote against the For the People Act. Furthermore, I will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster. For as long as I have the privilege of being your U.S. senator, I will fight to represent the people of West Virginia, to seek bipartisan compromise no matter how difficult and to develop the political bonds that end divisions and help unite the country we love.

American democracy is something special, it is bigger than one party, or the tweet-filled partisan attack politics of the moment. It is my sincere hope that all of us, especially those who are privileged to serve, remember our responsibility to do more to unite this country before it is too late.

Interesting. I don’t mean to by cynical (but I am good at it), but considering the pressure Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema have been under to support the For the People Act, it may be that both of them have put the interests of America above their party or personal interest. If that is the case, that is wonderful. But there is another possible scenario. It is quite possible that they are not the only Democrats who don’t support the For the People Act. In that case, their statements may be an excuse for the Democrat leadership not to bring the vote to the floor. In that case, no one is on the record for supporting it. Also, Senator Manchin is a Senator from a state that voted 68 percent for President Trump in 2020. If the bill was not going to pass anyway, this puts Senator Manchin in a very positive light. I wonder if he would have voted against it if all of the other Democrats were willing to vote for the bill.

 

Slowly The Light Dawns

I am not a scientist or a doctor, but occasionally I have a grasp of the obvious. There are two very interesting articles about the coronavirus on the internet right now concerning the beginnings of the virus.

Scott Johnson posted the following at Power Line Blog today:

It will not come as a great shock to Power Line readers to learn, as the Wall Street Journal reports from previously undisclosed U.S. intelligence: “Intelligence on Sick Staff at Wuhan Lab Fuels Debate on Covid-19 Origin.” Subhead: “Report says researchers went to hospital in November 2019, shortly before confirmed outbreak; adds to calls for probe of whether virus escaped lab.”

With a New York Times-style byline listing three reporters, the story relates from previously undisclosed intelligence that the reporters themselves have not seen: “Three researchers from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick enough in November 2019 that they sought hospital care[.]”

Alright, it may shock you that U.S. intelligence has the information, but the substance of it will shock only the willfully blind, whose numbers should not be underestimated.

The Power Line Blog article continues:

The Journal story is laughable with its gingerly handling of the sensitivities involved. We don’t want to be too rash. However, we do have this from happier days:

David Asher, a former U.S. official who led a State Department task force on the origins of the virus for then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, told a Hudson Institute seminar in March that he doubted that the lab researchers became sick because of the ordinary flu.

“I’m very doubtful that three people in highly protected circumstances in a level three laboratory working on coronaviruses would all get sick with influenza that put them in the hospital or in severe conditions all in the same week, and it didn’t have anything to do with the coronavirus,” he said, adding that the researchers’ illness may represent “the first known cluster” of Covid-19 cases.

Long characterized by skeptics as a conspiracy theory, the hypothesis that the pandemic could have begun with a lab accident has attracted more interest from scientists who have complained about the lack of transparency by Chinese authorities or conclusive proof for the alternate hypothesis: that the virus was contracted by humans from a bat or other infected animal outside a lab.

Meanwhile The New York Post reported yesterday:

Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top adviser to President Biden on the coronavirus pandemic, said he’s “not convinced” the deadly virus developed naturally and has called for further investigations into where it emerged.

Fauci was asked during a Poynter event, “United Facts of America: A Festival of Fact-Checking,” earlier this month about whether he was confident that COVID-19 developed naturally.

“No actually. I am not convinced about that. I think we should continue to investigate what went on in China until we continue to find out to the best of our ability what happened,” Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, said, according to Fox News.

“Certainly, the people who investigated it say it likely was the emergence from an animal reservoir that then infected individuals, but it could have been something else, and we need to find that out. So, you know, that’s the reason why I said I’m perfectly in favor of any investigation that looks into the origin of the virus,” he added.

I guess the facts change (even about diseases) when you get a new President.

A Cease-Fire Will Be Called If Israel Is Winning

For a short time in 2020, it looked as if peace might break out in the Middle East. Instead, the ending of the policies that were moving in the direction of peace has brought us war. It is interesting to see the divide in America regarding this war. Yesterday John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line Blog about what is happening in America and in the Middle East.

The article reports:

The current round of violence that was initiated by Hamas firing thousands of rockets into Israel is depressing on a number of fronts, not least because we are once again hearing brain-dead shibboleths from the White House. After a four-year respite under President Trump, ignorance again reigns. Today Jen Psaki was pressed by White House reporters on why President Biden had not yet called for a cease fire. She bobbed and weaved, saying that “we all know” that the only way to end violence is “for there to be a two-state solution.”

Really? How do we all know that? The Arabs were offered a two-state solution in 1948, and they turned it down, preferring to try to destroy Israel and kill the Jews. They have made the same choice consistently over the last 73 years. And if Gaza were a “state,” why would Hamas be any less prone to launch missiles against Israel?

The article notes that President Biden has called for a cease-fire and asked Israel to make every effort to protect innocent civilians.

The article concludes:

This is the weird false equivalence that we see all the time where Israel is concerned. How about if the world’s “leaders” demand that Hamas “make every effort to ensure the protection of [Israel’s] innocent civilians”? But that wouldn’t make sense, since the whole point of Hamas’s terrorist offensive is to kill innocent civilians. The Palestinians have sown the wind, and yet the world’s prime concern is that they not reap the whirlwind. Why?

Similarly, world “leaders” tell Israelis that their response to Hamas’s thousands of rockets must be “proportionate,” which means, apparently, that no more Palestinians than Israelis should die. Evidently Israelis are supposed to downgrade their own competence to match Hamas’s primitive, if brutal, rocketry.

This is a standard never before known to warfare. If you are attacked by an enemy, it is appropriate to respond with overwhelming force so as to devastate your enemy and disable him from further attacks, not at the least cost to your enemy, but at the least cost to your own citizens. See, e.g., the U.S. response to Japanese and German aggression in World War II. Hamas started this war, and Israel has every right to inflict maximum damage until it is satisfied that Hamas can never again pose a threat.

Of course, for reasons I will never understand, that is not how things play out in the Middle East. I suppose Israel will stop too soon, under pressure from “world leaders” and public opinion, and leave Hamas more or less intact to fight again another day. This is, I think, the real reason why the “cycle of violence” that is such a cliche in the region persists.

The definition of insanity is ‘doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.’ That is exactly what the Biden administration is doing in resurrecting the failed Middle East policies of the Obama administration. Until Hamas stops lobbing rockets at Israeli civilians, there will not be peace. Until the world stops trading with Iran who is supplying the rockets, there will not be peace. Meanwhile, if Israel begins to win this war, the United Nations will demand a cease-fire. That’s how things work in the Middle East.

An Interesting Perspective

John Hinderaker has a very interesting perspective on the Covid-19 epidemic. He posted an article at Power Line Blog that explains his theory that Covid is now saving lives.

The article reports:

More precisely, fewer Americans are now dying than would be the case if the Wuhan virus did not exist. Total mortality in the U.S., per this CDC chart, is sinking like a stone and is now below demographic projections:

This is the chart:

So what in the world is happening?

The article explains:

The last two weeks of data are incomplete, but the point is obvious. A large majority of “covid deaths” were people who were both elderly and already very sick. My own review of data from thousands of death certificates in Minnesota confirms that in most cases, given the number of severe conditions itemized as contributors to a “covid death”–i.e, one in which the word “covid” appears on the death certificate–it seems remarkable that the person was still alive at all.

I think the mortality statistics over the next couple of years will confirm that in most cases, people who died with “covid” on their death certificates would have died, in any event, in a matter of months or perhaps a year or two. This is why we are now seeing mortality dip below demographic norms: people who otherwise would have died in April 2021 died in, say, October 2020 instead. If this is the case, it will expose the irrationality of devastating the lives of younger and healthy people through shutdowns, school closings and mask mandates, while those who were at meaningful risk were almost exclusively those who, as one doctor put it, had one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel.

The truth will eventually come out.

Can You Be Punished In School For What You Said Outside Of School?

Yesterday Paul Mirengoff at Power Line Blog posted an article about a case that will be heard by the Supreme Court today. The case is particularly interesting to me because it illustrates how social media has impacted the lives of our children. Essentially a student threw a temper tantrum on social media after she failed to make the varsity cheer-leading team. Back in the days of dinosaurs when I was in school, she would have done this in the privacy of her own home, calmed down, and that would have been the end of it. Unfortunately when you post something on social media, people see it and sometimes react. That’s what happened.

The article reports:

Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will hear the case of Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. Brandi Levy (B.L.) is a high school student who, after failing to make the varsity cheerleading team, went on social media to post a picture of herself raising her middle finger under the caption “F*** school f*** softball f*** cheer f*** everything.”

The school suspended B.L. from junior varsity cheerleading. It found that she had damaged its image and had violated its policies, to which she had assented, requiring respect for coaches and prohibiting “foul language and inappropriate gestures.”

The suspension produced the lawsuit now before the Supreme Court. B.L. prevailed in district court and at the appellate level. The district court concluded that her mini-rant did not disrupt the school’s operation and therefore was protected under the Supreme Court’s decision in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District. In Tinker, the Supreme Court upheld a student’s right to wear an armband at school in protest of the Vietnam war because the protest was non-disruptive.

The Third Circuit affirmed. It held, however, that the Supreme Court’s decision in Tinker does not apply to off-campus activity. Even disruptive speech by students is protected if it takes place outside of school, the panel majority said. A third judge on the panel, in a concurring opinion, applied Tinker to off-campus speech, and agreed with the district court that B.L’s speech was not disruptive.

I am not condoning her behavior or saying that she was smart to put the rant on social media, but I do agree that she does have the right to free speech.

The article concludes:

As to what should replace the “disruption” standard, Will points to a brief filed by three law professors, one of whom is Eugene Volokh. Their brief argues that while schools may control virtual as well as physical classrooms, they may not control online or other speech outside the “school context.”

Under this approach, schools could punish online, school-related cruelties, but only when they are about “the characteristics of individual people, not about broader policy matters.” Thus, schools would not be powerless to punish online bullying. However, as Will describes the brief, the professors argue that only truly threatening speech can be punished, not speech that threatens only the serenity or the sense of “safety” of the hypersensitive.

The approach of the three law professors, as described by Will, seems preferable to a “disruption” standard, at least in cases of off campus speech. The distinction they draw between speech about individual characteristics and speech about broader policy matters seems both easier for courts to adjudge and more attentive to free speech concerns. Off campus speech about policy matters may be disruptive, but unless it poses a true threat to safety, it should be permitted.

Or so it seems to me.

Never put anything in writing (or on social media) that you wouldn’t want your mother to see on the front page of The New York Times. Following that advice would solve a lot of problems.

Exactly What Is Our History?

Scott Johnson posted an article at Power Line Blog today refuting the often made claim by the left that America is a systematically racist nation. Among other things, the article notes that the United States is alone in the history of the world in its foundation on the principle of equal rights.

The article quotes “Original intent and the American soul.” by Harry Jaffa (paragraphs added for clarity by Scott Johnson):

In 1987 Justice Thurgood Marshall refused to celebrate the bicentennial of the Constitution because, he said, it was a racist document that enshrined slavery. Quoting Chief Justice Taney in Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857), he said that the original Constitution regarded black people “as so far inferior that they had no rights that white people were bound to respect.” It is this view of the Constitution that has justified liberals, in their own minds, in rewriting the Constitution to conform to their own opinions of what it ought to be….

The original Constitution, and hence original intent jurisprudence, can only be defended if one distinguishes the principles of the Constitution from the compromises of the Constitution. The framers made concessions to slavery because they believed that the Constitution would not be ratified without them.

Had the Constitution not been ratified, slavery would have been in a far stronger position. Instead, the new Constitution created a government strong enough to deal with slavery when the crisis finally came. Moreover, the future of the Union as a guardian of the cause of human freedom throughout the world depended upon this distinction between the Constitution’s principles and its compromises.

But the Constitution itself does not make this distinction. Although it guarantees to every state of the Union a republican form of government, it does not say what the principles of this form are. These principles are spelled out in the Declaration of Independence, which the United States Code lists as the first of the Organic Laws of the United States.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. We are not a racist nation, and there is no valid reason to ac

Looking At Actions Rather Than Words

Most of us who live in middle class America are not overly concerned with the limit placed by the Trump administration on the state and local tax (SALT tax) deduction on our federal income tax. Generally that deduction impacts people who live in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, California and one or two other states. Generally speaking, the people who are impacted by the limitations placed on that deduction are among the high earners among us who own large homes and live in states with high real estate taxes. Limiting that deduction was a way to end the practice of fiscally responsible states subsidizing fiscally irresponsible states. Limiting that deduction should have jarred the states impacted into being more fiscally responsible. Not only did that no happen, the Democrat Congress wants to end that limit–thus providing a tax break for the rich–something they continuously accused President Trump of doing.

On Tuesday Steven Hayward posted an article at Power Line Blog about the move to end the limits on the SALT deduction.

The article notes:

If you need proof that Democrats are really on the side of the plutocracy, look no further than New York’s Democratic House members, who today wrote to Speaker Pelosi threatening to vote against any of (P)resident Biden’s tax increase proposals unless the bill includes full repeal of the state and local tax (SALT) deduction limitations that were part of Trump’s 2017 tax reform. The SALT limitation was the single most “progressive” tax increase on the rich in years, but chiefly in high tax states like California, Illinois, New York, and New Jersey.

Read the letter for yourself and enjoy the casuistry: We need SALT repeal, the New York Dems day, so that our taxpayers won’t be “double-taxed,” but of course their citizens only face this problem because those states impose those extra high taxes. And most of the benefit of the SALT deductions go to high income people—the very people Dems are always telling us should pay their “fair share,” which they never define in any concrete way. “Fair share” just means “more.” Well, Trump delivered that, so what’s the problem?

I also like how the letter, in paragraph three, admits that cutting taxes on the rich will help spur job growth. I thought liberals didn’t believe in supply-side tax cuts?

This is the letter:

I guess the Democrats really do like tax cuts for the rich.

The Harm Caused By Good Intentions

John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line Blog today about the harm done by environmentalists.

The article reports:

The damage done by contemporary environmentalism is a big topic. For now I want to note two important instances that are on my mind because they are fronts on which my organization, Center of the American Experiment, is battling self-interested or misguided environmentalists.

Environmentalists cause great damage by blocking needed development, including exploitation of mineral resources. This is grossly hypocritical, since the principal goal of today’s environmental movement is to replace fossil fuels by electrifying everything, while getting the bulk of our electricity from wind and solar power. Apart from being impossible, the amount of mining that would need to be done to supply the necessary electrical hardware and batteries would dwarf anything in human history. At the same time, however, environmentalists refuse to allow mining of the needed materials–copper, nickel, cobalt and others–here in the United States. In effect, they insist on massive environmental degradation, only not in their back yards.

…At GreenEnergyFails.com, you can watch videos that explain the Texas blackouts, and the site includes a lengthy and utterly definitive explanation of why those blackouts were, contrary to the desperate assertions of the environmental lobby, caused by Texas’s excessive reliance on unreliable wind and solar energy.

Like other organs of the Left, the environmental lobby is backed by an extraordinary amount of money. This is understandable, as enormous profits are being made on the “green” energy chimera by utilities and by wind and solar companies (many foreign-owned) that feed at the government trough.

Perhaps more significant is that the environmental movement, in its early stage, actually did some good. As Steve Hayward documented over a period of years, it contributed to a remarkable improvement in air and water quality across the U.S. That cleanup was a great achievement for which the environmental movement can take partial credit. Unfortunately, the good will that was created decades ago continues to boost environmentalism, even though in its current manifestations the movement is actually hurting not only public safety and our peoples’ livelihoods, but also our environment.

The search for the perpetual motion machine was alive and well during the Middle Ages. It looks like it is back with us again.

Hong Kong Has Lost Its Freedom

I am sure that the headline above is not news to anyone who has been paying attention, but there has been another nail in the coffin of freedom in Hong Kong.

The London Times reported the following today:

China’s grip on the city tightened yesterday when its parliament unanimously approved new election rules that make it almost impossible for democracy activists to run for office.

The National People’s Congress voted 2,895-0, with one abstention, for the changes that will give Beijing a veto on candidates deemed unpatriotic.

…Beijing said the changes were necessary to return Hong Kong to its constitutional order after mass protests, and that patriots would be able to stand.

…Zhang Xiaoming, from the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, said that the “chaos” of recent years showed that the city’s electoral system had “clear loopholes and shortcomings”.

John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog commented on the election changes in Hong Kong:

Our electoral system had “clear loopholes and shortcomings” too, as revealed by the election of Donald Trump. The Democrats are moving to close those “loopholes” via H.R. 1 and other measures intended to assure that only those approved by them can be elected in the future.

The rest of the Times article is devoted to the ongoing exodus of freedom-loving Hong Kongers to Australia and the U.K. Here in America, I am not sure where we will flee if the Democrats succeed in curing the “loopholes and shortcomings” in our electoral system.

I am also unsure of where to flee. Does anyone know of a small island in the Caribbean that might be for sale?

Some Of The Nominees For Positions In The Biden Administration Are Troubling

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line Blog posted an article today about Merrick Garland, President Biden’s pick to lead the Justice Department.

The article notes:

I don’t consider Merrick Garland a moderate liberal, and I don’t think he came across as one during his confirmation hearing yesterday. He couldn’t even bring himself to say that illegally entering the U.S. should be a crime.

I consider Garland a front man for the radicalization and politicization of the Department of Justice. As Julie Kelly puts it, “he’ll be a figurehead [like Robert Mueller] and Weismann-type prosecutors will run the show.”

Two of those who, if confirmed, will run the show are Vanita Gupta and Kristen Clarke. Gupta is Joe Biden’s nominee for Associate Attorney General. Clarke is his nominee for Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.

Yesterday, Sen. Mike Lee asked Garland about these two. Garland dutifully vouched for them on the basis of having “gotten to know them.” The question is: What else could he say? Also: Whom should we believe, Merrick Garland or our lying eyes?

Please follow the link above to read the responses by Merrick Garland when asked specific questions about Vanita Gupta and Kristen Clarke.

The article concludes:

It’s important to note that Garland did not select either Gupta or Clarke for the positions in question. He got to “know” them only after they had been picked by Team Biden. And clearly, he had no choice but to vouch for them at his confirmation hearing.

But even if Garland was giving his honest opinions of the two based on his conversations with them, these opinions count for next to nothing.

Garland may be a decent guy and a competent court of appeals judge, but he’s not a seer. Gupta and Clarke weren’t going to confess to him their raw hatred of Republicans, their most extreme political views, or any strands of anti-Semitism and Black supremacy in their thinking.

But Gupta’s intemperate comments about her political opponents, which approach those of Neera Tanden in their venom, are there, in writing, for all to see. So is Clarke’s history of advocating Black supremacy and promoting anti-Semitism. So is her unwavering support for racial discrimination against Whites.

The Senate should confirm Merrick Garland. He’s the nominee for Attorney General one would expect in a Democratic administration — nothing better, nothing worse.

The Senate should not confirm Vanita Gupta and Kristen Clarke. The public record, from which Sen. Lee’s questions were drawn, shows them to be nasty extremists committed to key elements of the radical BLM agenda — whatever Garland’s true impression of them might be.

Even in a Democratic administration, we should expect, and demand, better.

There are words to describe the cabinet the Biden administration is putting together, but I can’t use them in a G-rated blog.

 

 

For everyone who believes that the Trump administration only helped the rich, here are the numbers (the chart is from Power Line Blog):

Under President Trump the percentage of poor, lower, and middle middle class people decreased. The percentage of upper middle class and rich increased. People at all economic levels prospered under the Trump administration. The Workforce Participation rate climbed to 63.4 before the coronavirus arrived. Unfortunately the Biden administration’s economic policies will reverse much of these gains.