POLL: Almost Two-thirds of Americans Believe China Should Pay Pandemic Reparations


Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that the Chinese regime should pay reparations for the destruction caused by the human coronavirus pandemic, according to a TIPP Poll conducted for the Center for Security Policy.
That number rises from 63 percent to 78 percent if investigations reveal that the Chinese government released the SARS-CoV-19 human coronavirus on purpose.
About half of those surveyed believe that the virus “was developed in a lab,” with a quarter of the public convinced that the Chinese government created it “intentionally” in a lab and released it “intentionally.”
While southerners and Midwesterners are most likely to think that the Chinese government created the virus and is responsible for unleashing the pandemic, people in the more liberal Northeast are the toughest when it comes to making China pay reparations if an investigation reveals an accidental release from a government lab.
These are astonishing numbers. They reveal a powerful narrowing of the gap since the pandemic began a year and a half ago. The American people are taking an increasingly hard line toward the Chinese regime.

The Center’s numbers coincide with Politico-Harvard poll

The Center’s poll results generally coincide with the numbers of a new Politico-Harvard poll, which shows that 52 percent of the public believes that the virus that causes COVID-19 came from a “laboratory leak in China.” The Center for Security Policy poll found that 49 percent believe that the virus “was developed in a lab.”
In the Politico-Harvard poll, 59 percent of Republicans, 52 percent of Democrats, and 47 percent of independents say that the virus came from a Chinese lab.
The Center for Security Policy poll found greater polarization on a similar question: 67 percent of Republicans, 42 percent of Democrats, and 52 percent of independents say it came from a lab. This is important. Politico and Harvard are very liberal institutions, yet their poll results showed greater public agreement with what had been the Center for Security Policy’s position all along.
The Politico-Harvard poll also found that 82 percent of the public thinks it is “important” for the U.S. government to investigate the origins of the virus. 0f that 82 percent, 33 percent said it was “extremely important,” 29 percent called it “very important,” and 20 percent termed it “somewhat important.” That poll did not ask about reparations.
“The poll’s findings show what was once a fringe belief held mainly among some on the political right has become accepted by most Republicans, as well as most Democrats, amid heightened scrutiny of the lab leak theory,” according to Politico.
Center for Security Policy analysts have insisted from the beginning that the virus originated in a Chinese Communist Party-run virology lab in Wuhan, China, calling the plague the “Wuhan Virus.”
“Usually, our polls find a big split between Republicans and Democrats, so this is unique,” Robert Blendon, the Harvard professor of health policy and political analysis, told Politico. “More conservative media have been carrying the ‘lab leak’ issue, and it’s been a Trump talking point from the beginning, so we expected people who lean Democratic would say either ‘It’s not true’ or ‘I don’t know.’ But the belief is bipartisan.”

Reparations

Even if the release was accidental, 63 percent of those surveyed in the Center’s poll said that China should be “required to compensate” Americans and other victims for the damage.
Here – and consistent with the Politico-Harvard poll pattern about a closing gap between the parties – 71 percent of Republicans and 61 percent of Democrats and independents in the Center for Security Policy poll say that China must pay reparations.
This shows that an absolute majority of the Americans polled agree with the Center’s position since the beginning that the Chinese Communist Party must pay for the international death and destruction that it caused.
Americans from the Midwest and South are most likely to suspect that the Chinese regime intentionally released the virus, though people in the more liberal Northeast are the most likely to call for reparations.
In every demographic group except young people age 18-24, more were “not sure” about reparations than were those who opposed reparations.
What if it was found that the Chinese Communist Party intentionally released the killer virus? In all, 78 percent of the public would want reparations.
Here’s the breakdown:
CHART 1
CHART 2

Reparations effect

Reparations would have a two-fold positive effect: they would compensate American taxpayers and citizens for their personal and financial losses, and they would start the process of taking down the CCP.
In April 2020, the Center issued a Decision Brief titled, “Time to decide how Chinese Communist Party pays reparations for pandemic.”
“Anticipating that the U.S. will hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable for the Wuhan Virus pandemic, the U.S. should next decide how to enforce that accountability. The Chinese Communist Party must immediately pay reparations for human and economic damages,” the Decision Brief said.

About the polls

The Center’s poll was conducted by TechnoMetrica, between June 30 and July 2, 2021, and the nationwide study had a sample of 1,424 Americans, 18 or older.  TechnoMetrica’s network of panel partners provided the study sample. Upon the study completion, TechnoMetrica weighted the study dataset by gender, age, race, education, and geographical region to mirror known benchmarks such as the U.S. Census. The credibility interval (CI) for the survey is +/- 2.8 percentage points, meaning the study is accurate to within ± 2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Americans been surveyed.
The Politico-Harvard poll surveyed 1,009 adults from June 22-27, with a margin of error of 3.8 points.
COLUMN BY

J. Michael Waller

Senior Analyst for Strategy.
EDITORS NOTE: This Center for Security Policy column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

No, Fidel Castro Didn’t Improve Health Care or Education in Cuba


Cuba has made less educational and health care progress than most Latin American countries over the last 60 years, data show.


On CBS’s 60 Minutes, Senator Bernie Sanders recently praised the achievements of communist Cuba. An interviewer asked him about his 1985 comments that Cubans supported communist dictator Fidel Castro because he “educated their kids, gave their kids health care, totally transformed society.” In response, Sanders defended those comments, by stating that when “Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program.”
But Castro did not give Cubans literacy. Cuba already had one of the highest literacy rates in Latin America by 1950, nearly a decade before Castro took power, according to United Nations data (statistics from UNESCO). In 2016, the Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler debunked a politician’s claim that Castro’s rule significantly improved Cuban healthcare and education.
In today’s Cuba, children are taught by poorly paid teachers in dilapidated schools. Cuba has made less educational progress than most Latin American countries over the last 60 years.
According to UNESCO, Cuba had about the same literacy rate as Costa Rica and Chile in 1950 (close to 80 percent). And it has almost the same literacy rate as they do today (close to 100 percent).
Meanwhile, Latin American countries that were largely illiterate in 1950—such as Peru, Brazil, El Salvador, and the Dominican Republic—are largely literate today, closing much of the gap with Cuba. El Salvador had a less than 40 percent literacy rate in 1950, but has an 88 percent literacy rate today. Brazil and Peru had a less than 50 percent literacy rate in 1950, but today, Peru has a 94.5 percent literacy rate, and Brazil a 92.6 percent literacy rate. The Dominican Republic’s rate rose from a little over 40 percent to 91.8 percent. While Cuba made substantial progress in reducing illiteracy in Castro’s first years in power, its educational system has stagnated since, even as much of Latin America improved.
Contrary to Sanders’ claim that Castro “gave” Cubans healthcare, they already had access to healthcare before he seized power. Doctors frequently provided free healthcare to those who couldn’t afford it. As the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler noted:

As for health care and education, Cuba was already near the top of the heap before the revolution. Cuba’s low infant mortality rate is often lauded, but it already led the region on this key measure in 1953-1958, according to data collected by Carmelo Mesa-Lago, a Cuba specialist and professor emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh.

Cuba led virtually all countries in Latin America in life expectancy in 1959, before Castro’s communists seized power. But by 2012, right after Castro stepped down as Communist Party leader, Chileans and Costa Ricans lived slightly longer than Cubans. Back in 1960, Chileans had a life span seven years shorter than Cubans, and Costa Ricans lived more than two years less than Cubans on average. In 1960, Mexicans lived seven years shorter than Cubans; by 2012, the gap had shrunk to just two years.
(Today, life spans are virtually the same in Cuba as more prosperous Chile and Costa Rica—if you accept the rosy official statistics put out by Cuba’s communist government, which many people do not. Cuba has been credibly accused of hiding infant deaths, and exaggerating the life spans of its citizens. If these accusations are true, Cubans die sooner than Chileans or Costa Ricans).
Cuba has made less progress in health care and life expectancy than most of Latin America in recent years, due to its decrepit health care system. “Hospitals in the island’s capital are literally falling apart.” Sometimes, patients ”have to bring everything with them, because the hospital provides nothing. Pillows, sheets, medicine: everything.”
As The Washington Post’s Kessler noted:

Reporters have also documented that Cuban hospitals are ill-equipped. A 2004 series on Cuba’s health-care system in Canada’s National Post said pharmacies stock very little and antibiotics are available only on the black market. “One of the myths Canadians harbor about Cuba is that its people may be poor and living under a repressive government, but they have access to quality health and education facilities,” the Post said. “It’s a portrait encouraged by the government, but the reality is sharply different.”

Under communism, Cuba has also fallen behind on more general measures of human development. As the progressive economist Brad DeLong pointed out:

Cuba in 1957—was a developed country. Cuba in 1957 had lower infant mortality than France, Belgium, West Germany, Israel, Japan, Austria, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. Cuba in 1957 had doctors and nurses: as many doctors and nurses per capita as the Netherlands, and more than Britain or Finland. Cuba in 1957 had as many vehicles per capita as Uruguay, Italy, or Portugal. Cuba in 1957 had 45 TVs per 1000 people—fifth highest in the world …Today? Today the UN puts Cuba’s HDI [Human Development indicators] in the range of … Mexico. (And Carmelo Mesa-Lago thinks the UN’s calculations are seriously flawed: that Cuba’s right HDI peers today are places like China, Tunisia, Iran, and South Africa.) Thus I don’t understand lefties who talk about the achievements of the Cuban Revolution: ‘…to have better health care, housing, education.’

As Michael Giere notes, Cuba was prosperous before Castro’s communists seized power:

A United Nations (UNESCO) report in 1957 noted that the Cuban economy included proportionally more workers who were unionized than in the U.S. The report also stated that average wages for an eight hour day were higher in Cuba than in “Belgium, Denmark, France, and Germany.”…PBS explained in a 2004 retrospective, that
“Havana [prior to Castro] was a glittering and dynamic city. Cuba ranked fifth in the hemisphere in per capita income, third in life expectancy, second in per capita ownership of automobiles and telephones, first in the number of television sets per inhabitant. The literacy rate, 76%, was the fourth highest in Latin America. Cuba ranked 11th in the world in the number of doctors per capita. Many private clinics and hospitals provided services for the poor. Cuba’s income distribution compared favorably with that of other Latin American societies. A thriving middle class held the promise of prosperity and social mobility.”

But after Castro took over, the prosperity came to an end:

Castro’s destruction of Cuba cannot be over dramatized. He looted, murdered, and destroyed the nation from the ground up. Just one factoid explains it all; Cubans once enjoyed one of the highest consumption of proteins in the Americas, yet in 1962 Castro had to introduce ration cards (meat, 2 ounces daily), as food consumption per person crashed to levels not seen since the 1800s.

Hunger became so widespread that a visiting Swedish doctor, Hans Rosling, had to warn Cuba’s dictator in 1992 about widespread protein deficiency among Cubans. Roughly 40,000 Cubans had been reported to have been experiencing “visual blurring and severe numbness in their legs.” Rosling investigated at the invitation of the Cuban embassy in Sweden, and with the approval of Castro himself. Rosling travelled to the heart of the outbreak, in the western province of Pinar del Río. It turned out that those stricken with the disorder all suffered from protein deficiency. The government was rationing meat, and adults had sacrificed their portion to nourish children, pregnant women and the elderly. Dr. Rosling told Fidel Castro about this.
During this period of widespread hunger, Bernie Sanders was peddling the myth that hunger was non-existent in Cuba. In 1989, he published a newspaper column claiming that Fidel Castro’s Cuba had “no hunger, is educating all of its children and is providing high quality, free health care.”
This article was reprinted with permission from Liberty Unyielding.
COLUMN BY

Hans Bader

Hans Bader practices law in Washington, D.C. After studying economics and history at the University of Virginia and law at Harvard, he practiced civil-rights, international-trade, and constitutional law.
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EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

‘I’m from the Government, and I’m Here to Vaccinate’



Most people were shocked when the president wanted to go door-to-door with his vaccine campaign — but that’s only the half of it. According to a Pentagon spokesman, the White House is also planning to go barracks to barracks — requiring the men and women of our voluntary military to involuntarily surrender their freedom and take an unproven shot some of them don’t want.
Frankly, Obama Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told CNN, “I think the president ought to issue an order requiring everybody in the military to get a COVID-19 shot — period. That’s an issue involving our national security,” he argued. “The last d— thing you need is to have those in the military that are our warriors unable to respond to a mission because they’ve gotten COVID-19. There’s no excuse for that.” Interesting, considering that the same military leadership has been cheerleading the troops’ gender reassignment surgery, which renders patients completely undeployable for months. Apparently, it’s no problem if you skip out on your job for the extreme LGBT cause. But if you have a personal objection to the vaccine, well then, a handful of potential sick days is unacceptable.
Republicans, who’ve been absolutely outraged at the government’s heavy-handedness, introduced a bill to stop the Pentagon from forcing the shots, which have not yet received final FDA approval, on our troops. Although the vaccination rates are high across every branch, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) says he’s been contacted by members of the military who vow to quit if the COVID shots are forced on them. And it’s no wonder, Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) explains. “Keep in mind,” he told listeners on “Washington Watch,” “it’s not received final approval from anybody.” And there are enough new red flags with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to make young people think twice.
As deadly as the virus has been, Brooks points out, certain age groups are in more danger than others. “That’s not to say there’s no risk, but it is substantially lesser [for] the people who are serving in our military. So right now, I very much prefer that our military personnel have the right to choose for themselves, exercise their free will, exercise their liberty to decide for themselves which risk they want to accept” — whether that’s the risk of the virus or the vaccine. “I hope that they’ll make the right decision,” Brooks added, “but it ought to be their decision. Because it is a life and death one.”
In the Marines, where I got more immunizations than I could count, no one was ever ordered to get a flu shot. And essentially, that’s what this is. It’s not a vaccine in the traditional sense, because it won’t protect people from the virus forever. That’s not to say it doesn’t have value — it offers protections to people, especially in the high-risk categories. But the fact that the Defense Department has its fingers on the trigger of a mandate, as they alluded in the last few days, ought to be concerning to everyone. Brooks says he finds it “disconcerting” that the military would have this kind of order “already drafted and ready to unleash, particularly insofar as it relates to a vaccine that has not been thoroughly vetted and tested.” When the FDA gives its blessing, that’s one thing. But there’s still the issue, he points out, of “taking the vaccine versus the risk associated with the youth catching COVID. And I much prefer that we defer that to the liberty and freedom and good judgment of our military personnel, all of whom are adults. And I believe that they are mature enough to be able to make that decision for themselves.”
Regardless, this idea that the government feels entitled to dictate what’s best for us ought to sound all kinds of alarm bells. Just this week, the White House doubled down on the idea of vaccine mandates, arguing that it’s the “right” of local officials and employers to demand it. As for Biden’s widely panned door-to-door intimidation campaign, Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) warned over the weekend where it could lead. “Think about what those mechanisms could be used for. They could go door-to-door to take your guns. They could go door-to-door and take your Bibles.”
That’s also crossed the mind of former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (and FRC Board Chairman), who told Fox News on Saturday that every American should go out and buy a “No Trespassing” sign at their local hardware store “because the government has zero business to do this. Zero. And what they’re wanting all of us to do is to check our Bill of Rights, our civil liberties, at the door.” The whole point of this country, she argued, “is based upon the fact that we have rights against the government. And they want us, just as a matter of idea, [to] give up all of our [freedoms].” Don’t be deceived, she warned. “There will be a database — and everybody will be in that database. And it’s not just vaccine status, it will be your entire medical history. It will be connected to your finances. This is going to get bigger, bigger, bigger, so stop it now, and don’t give any information to the government official at your door.”
And yet, Dr. Anthony Fauci insists that Americans should have less personal choice. “… I do believe, at the local level, there should be more mandates,” he insisted. “… We have got to put aside this ideological difference thinking that somebody is forcing you to do something… Vaccinations have nothing to do with politics.” Tell that to 2020’s Democrats, who spent months sowing doubts about the shots, just because they were created while Donald Trump was president. At one point Biden openly questioned whether a vaccine approved by Trump’s agencies would be safe. They are the ones who stoked fears and undermined the scientific progress. Now, suddenly, they want to flip a switch, undo that damage, and blame all of the hesitancy on conservatives. You can’t have it both ways. It was their politicking that put people’s lives at risk. And now, their heavy-handedness threatens to do the same — to our freedoms.
COLUMN BY

Tony Perkins

Tony Perkins is Family Research Council’s fourth and longest-serving president, joining the organization in August of 2003. Described as a legislative pioneer by the national media, Tony has established himself as an innovative pro-life and pro-family policy and political leader since first being elected to office in 1996.
EDITORS NOTE: This FRC column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Repudiating Roe: The Most Important Abortion Case in 30 Years


Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is a signal moment in America’s constitutional history.


For the first time in a generation and a half — nearly 30 years — there is a realistic chance that the Supreme Court might overrule Roe v. Wade, the Court’s 1973 decision establishing a constitutional right to abortion. The Court has agreed to hear a case next fall that presents a direct challenge to the foundations and validity of Roe.
This is a signal moment in America’s constitutional history. One of the most notorious decisions in the Court’s history is likely either to be repudiated and overruled — discarded, finally and definitively — or else reaffirmed and entrenched, perhaps permanently. The case is Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. And the stakes could not possibly be higher.
My discussion of Dobbs proceeds in two parts. In this article, I explain why Dobbs is the most important abortion case to reach the Court in nearly thirty years — since Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), the case in which a splintered Court, by the narrowest of 5-4 margins, reaffirmed Roe, not because a majority of the justices thought Roe was right, but on the basis of the judicial doctrine of “stare decisis.”
Dobbs is important because it frames a direct challenge to Roe and Casey, forcing the Court to confront the legal indefensibility and radicalism of the Court’s pro-abortion jurisprudence. Dobbs poses the enormously important question whether Roe and Casey, two of the worst constitutional decisions of all time, were wrongly decided and should now, finally, be overruled. On the merits, I submit, the answer must be yes.
Later on, I will take up the somewhat peculiar-sounding question whether the judicial doctrine of “stare decisis” — the (inconsistent) judicial practice of generally adhering to precedents — can properly require the Court deliberately to reaffirm precedents that it is persuaded are egregiously and atrociously wrong. That, I maintain today, is the only true question remaining at issue in Dobbs. And the answer is emphatically no.

Roe’s wrongness

Start with Roe v. WadeRoe is regarded, rightly, as one of the most consequential and controversial — and one of the very worst — constitutional decisions of the Supreme Court in its history.
In simplest terms, Roe created a constitutional right to abortion of the life of a living human fetus. That result, and Roe’s reasoning in support of it, are indefensible from a legal standpoint. No plausible argument from the constitutional text, no rule or principle fairly derived from its structure or internal logic or deducible from other propositions contained therein, and no credible argument from historical understanding or intention remotely supports the abortion right created in Roe.
Roe v. Wade is simply a lawless decision. I know of no serious constitutional scholar who defends Roe’s result as a faithful interpretation of the Constitution’s language, understood according to its natural and original meaning, as understood at the time of its adoption, or as consistent with the original intent of its adopters in 1868.
To be sure, a small cottage industry of legal academics has grown up around the enterprise of attempting to concoct “alternative” legal theories to support the result in Roe. These theories range from the merely strained and historically insupportable — the claim that abortion restrictions constitute sex discrimination in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment is the most common — to the comically absurd and outlandish.

The latter include wild assertions that abortion laws violate the Constitution’s prohibition of slavery or interfere with the guarantee to women of the right to vote. (I address and refute these theories in a book chapter of a volume collecting many of the most “creative” such contrivances, and also in an academic article.)
The Court has never adopted any of these alternative theories for abortion as a constitutional right. Nor has it come anywhere close to doing so. Instead, it has left the right to abortion where Roe purported to find it, in the guarantee that government not deprive persons of life, liberty, or property “without due process of law.”
That’s the same bogus legal reasoning on which the Supreme Court had rested its infamous Dred Scott decision in 1857, holding unconstitutional Congress’s law prohibiting the introduction of slavery into federal territories. This reasoning, if one can call it that, goes by the oxymoronic label “substantive due process.” It is gibberish, as most sensible people recognize.
In Casey, the Court, while nominally reaffirming Roe’s substantive due process holding, could not bring itself actually to embrace Roe’s reasoning as correct. Indeed, a majority of justices seemed to indicate they believed that the case was wrongly decided. Casey left Roe in place almost purely on the basis of the doctrine of stare decisis. In other words, the justices concluded the Court should stick to Roe “whether or not mistaken,” simply because it was a precedent on which the Court had staked its authority, and it might look bad if it were to reverse itself.
In tomorrow’s essay, I will attack this craven, unprincipled reasoning. For now, my point is simpler: Roe is a relic of abandoned reasoning that almost no one — including the Court itself — any longer thinks correct on its own terms. If Roe retains any legitimacy at all, it is only because it is a precedent and for no reason moored to the text of the Constitution.
It is important to grasp this. Roe v. Wade’s rule no longer rests on any provision of the Constitution. It rests on Roe’s rule being Roe’s rule. The constitutional right to abortion has been cut loose from any tether to the Constitution’s text. It now depends, essentially entirely, on the force of Roe’s status as a precedent and the doctrine of stare decisis.
Roe’s indefensibility as a matter of faithful constitutional interpretation is, frankly, almost no longer a matter of serious dispute. The incorrectness of Roe as a matter of first principles is practically a point of common ground, certainly so for the principled constitutional conservatives that now compose the majority of the justices on the Court. Bluntly put: Roe is as wrong as wrong can be, and everybody knows it.

Roe’s extremism and its human consequences

Roe’s formulation of the abortion right is also quite extreme. In a nutshell, Roe established a constitutional right to abortion of a living human fetus for essentially any reason that a pregnant woman chooses. Under the Court’s decisions, the right to abort exists throughout all nine months of pregnancy, albeit in slightly varying forms depending on the stage of pregnancy.
Prior to fetal “viability” — that is, the point when the child could live outside his or her mother’s womb, now around twenty-four weeks — the right to abort is explicitly plenary. There is no ground on which states may prohibit an abortion from being obtained. This includes, as I have recently written, eugenic reasons — aborting an unborn child because of his or her race or sex, or on account of disability.
After viability, an abortion may be had for any “health” reasonbut “health” is defined broadly (and misleadingly) to embrace emotional, psychological, age, or “familial” considerations. This loophole is big enough to make the right to abortion functionally absolute, even when the child could live outside the womb.
The Court’s opinions concerning “partial-birth” abortion, in 2000 and 2007, bear this out. They uphold a right to kill a fetus capable of living independently of the mother, under the rubric of the need to permit late abortions on “health” grounds. Thus, partial-birth abortion — the gruesome technique of inducing labour, delivering all of the body except the head, puncturing the skull and vacuuming out the child’s brain, collapsing the head, and then completing removal of the dead child — can be prohibited as an abortion method, even after viability, only if there is available some equally safe (to the pregnant woman) alternative method for killing the fetus.
The right to abortion is thus essentially absolute. This is especially clear for pre-viability abortions. State governments may adopt certain informed consent and waiting-period requirements, and they may enforce some (but not many) regulations of abortion clinics. But they may not prohibit abortion itself, for any reason, prior to viability.
Planned Parenthood v. Casey tinkered slightly with Roe’s framework but did not alter its essentials. It retained the absolute right to pre-viability abortion and it retained the “health” right to abortion of even viable unborn babies.
It is worth pausing briefly to reflect on just how radical the RoeCasey abortion-rights legal construct is. It is no cautious “balance” of interests. It is almost unreservedly pro-abortion. It adopts one of the most extremely lenient pro-abortion legal regimes anywhere in the world. It fails to recognise any legal rights of the unborn human fetal children, in any respect, at any stage of pregnancy.
It does not recognise them as legal persons in their own right, entitled to the equal protection of the laws from private violence (a debatable but infinitely more plausible legal understanding of the common law and of the Constitution’s guarantees than is Roe’s creation of a constitutional right to abortion). Nor, short of that, does it recognise the unborn as members of the human species meriting protection by the state, whether or not they possess a constitutionally recognised legal “right to life” of their own. The living human fetus is treated, absurdly, as “potential life.”
In short, if Roe were an act of legislation, a bill passed by a legislature, it would be extremist pro-abortion legislation. And, not to put too fine a point on it, Roe is an act of legislation. (As is Casey — a modest, friendly amendment to Roe.) That Roe and Casey are acts of extremist legislation, adopted by a runaway judiciary, only makes matters worse.
The most important point about Roe’s extremism is, of course, its human toll. Roe’s practical and moral consequences have been truly stunning. Roe sanctioned, and Casey perpetuated, in the name of our fundamental law, the killing of over sixty million human beings.
This is not rhetorical overstatement but simple description. That abortion kills should not be a controversial proposition. There is no doubt that abortion results in the death of a distinct living being — an organism that was alive before is now dead. And there is no doubt that the living being killed by abortion is a human living being, distinct from the mother.
Abortion thus ends a human life. To be sure, it is a human life at an early and vulnerable stage in its development. But it is the same human life it will be at all stages of its life cycle, as an embryo, fetus, infant, child, and adult.
Roe created a right of some human beings to kill other human beings. It is important to be clear about that. Since Roe, the running human death toll from abortion in America has exceeded that of the Nazi Holocaust, Stalin’s purges, and the Rwandan genocide combined. Our familiarity with Roe has led to a strange acceptance of, or numbness to, its shocking, murderous radicalism and the scale of its havoc.
Roe is both a constitutional monstrosity and a moral atrocity.  As I wrote in these pages nearly a decade ago, Roe is simply unbearably wrong. It is time — long past time — to overrule Roe v. Wade.

The Dobbs case

That brings us to Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The Dobbs case poses a direct, head-on challenge to Roe’s framework and, by necessary implication, its legitimacy. Here’s how: As noted, Roe and Casey hold that abortion cannot be banned for any reason before the point of fetal viability, when the child would be capable of living outside his or her mother’s womb, currently at about twenty-four weeks of pregnancy.
Dobbs involves a legal challenge to a Mississippi law forbidding abortions after fifteen weeks of pregnancy. This is more than two months before the point of viability. Simply put, if Roe is right, Mississippi’s law is “unconstitutional” (to accede, for purposes of argument, to an inaccurate characterisation). And conversely, for Mississippi’s law to be upheld, Roe and Casey must be rejected.
The Dobbs case thus squarely presents the issue of whether Roe v. Wade is wrong and should be overruled. Given what Roe and subsequent abortion decisions hold, and what the Mississippi law in question provides, the issue is practically unavoidable. And the Court’s order granting review shows no desire to avoid it. The legal question on which the justices granted review was stated as follows: “Whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.” That’s another way of asking whether Roe v. Wade is rightly or wrongly decided and should remain the operative legal rule.
What will the Court do? A solid majority of justices now on the Supreme Court clearly believes that Roe is unequivocally wrongly decided, as flagrant a departure from constitutional text, structure, and history as any precedent in the Court’s history.
There is no doubt in my mind that six of the nine sitting justices firmly believe Roe is wrong. They are, in rough order of certainty: Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, and Chief Justice John Roberts.
In truth, I believe Justice Elena Kagan in her heart of hearts is unpersuaded of Roe’s legal correctness, too. But she and fellow liberals Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor can be counted on to vote for unrestricted abortion rights no matter what.

The stakes and snare of “stare decisis

Everything — everything — thus depends on the Court’s treatment of the legal doctrine of “stare decisis.” “Stare decisis” is a fragment of the Latin phrase taken to stand for the general rule of practice and judicial policy, drawn from the common law, that courts tend to follow their own precedents unless they have a good and sufficient legal justification for departing from them.
Significantly, the doctrine has never been thought to be constitutionally required. It is a rule of judicial policy and usual practice only. Nor has the doctrine ever been thought absolute. There are literally hundreds of examples of cases that have been overruled. Even at common law, courts could overrule prior decisions demonstrated to be unsound.
Moreover, the doctrine’s roots in common-law adjudication — where the law actually consists of general principles discerned from the overall course of judicial decisions — mean that it does not transpose neatly (if at all) to constitutional interpretation, where the relevant law consists of an authoritative, written legal text.
Simply put, if the text is the touchstone, judicial precedents contrary to the text are simply not faithful understandings of the relevant law. The Supreme Court’s jurisprudence in constitutional cases has consistently affirmed that core principle, leading the Court repeatedly to emphasise that adherence to precedent is “not an inexorable command.”
Nonetheless, the doctrine retains some intuitive appeal, especially for “conservatives,” as it purports to advance conservative-sounding values of stability, predictability, consistency, humility, and restraint. And it does advance these values, at least to some extent. But the doctrine is slippery, deceptive, and readily manipulated.
In practice, the doctrine often disserves the very policies it claims to serve, undermining predictability and stability and disguising judicial discretion. There is a strong claim that it is not “conservative” at all — that faithful adherence to the Constitution requires just that: faithful adherence to the Constitution, not to faithless departures from its text, structure, history, and original meaning.
Ironically, the staunchest defenders of stare decisis today are liberal, activist judges, who invoke it selectively and perhaps a bit cynically, as a tool for entrenching liberal decisions that are not defensible under the Constitution. That is, they invoke stare decisis precisely to preserve such faithless departures from the text itself.
Like the apple in the Garden, then, the doctrine of stare decisis can be deceptively enticing. Dangled by the devil for evil purposes, the doctrine has an enormous capacity to mislead and deceive. Some nominally “conservative” members of the Court have succumbed to its appeal in the past, including in abortion cases, substituting a corrupted version of the doctrine for constitutional principle.
That is what happened in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 decision in which a 5-4 majority of the Court voted to reaffirm Roe v. Wade on the supposed basis of the doctrine of stare decisis — even while changing Roe’s standards and framework and overruling two cases.
Is there a risk that something like this could happen again in Dobbs? Is there a risk of another Casey? Might the Court hold, in the name of stare decisis, that Roe and Casey should be upheld, no matter how wrong they were, how extreme they are, and how atrocious their consequences, simply because they were decided before?
I take up that question next: Does the doctrine of stare decisis require adherence to an egregiously wrong, legally indefensible precedent, in conflict with a proper understanding of the Constitution, simply because it is a precedent?
Republished with permission from The Public Discourse.
COLUMN BY

Michael Stokes Paulsen

Michael Stokes Paulsen is Distinguished University Chair & Professor of Law, at the University of St. Thomas, in Minneapolis. More by Michael Stokes Paulsen
EDITORS NOTE: This MercatorNet column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

What is China doing?


On May 26, 2021, President Joe Biden announced that he had asked the U.S. intelligence community to redouble its efforts to determine the origins of the COVID-19 virus. The U.S. findings are expected in about 90 days. So now we know what the Biden administration is doing, but what will the Chinese government, or the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), do? In light of China’s obfuscation so far, it is absurd to imagine that it will be cooperating with the U.S. investigation. Neither will it be sitting idly by waiting to learn of the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusions. Instead, the CCP will be doing everything it can to shape the report and ensure that the findings will be released in a context saturated by Chinese propaganda.
What does China want the narrative to be? The ideal outcome would be that the virus originated outside of China. Failing that, an acceptable outcome would be, as highlighted in a recent Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article, that the virus “that killed millions of people and shattered the global economy” would be “among the world’s most consequential mysteries.”
There is one outcome that would be unacceptable to the CCP: China will do almost anything to keep the U.S. from concluding that the virus was developed in the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The CCP is already taking steps to encourage the U.S. to reach “the right” judgment, and it appears to have people in the West, including in the U.S., who are willingly supporting those efforts.
On July 5, 2021, The Lancet published “Science, not speculation, is essential to determine how SARS-CoV-2 reached humans.” This letter was written by the same “reputable” experts who in early 2020, shortly after the outbreak of the pandemic, hurried to state — despite egregiously insufficient evidence — that the virus developed naturally and could not have been manufactured in a lab. That false narrative set the tone for more than one year.
Now, one-and-a-half years later, The Lancet has again come out with an unjustified dismissal of the lab leak theory, couched in support for the G7’s call for a new COVID origins study, led by the World Health Organization (WHO). Among repeated affirmations of “solidarity… with those in China who [have] confronted the outbreak,” the letter piously cautions that “it might take years of field and laboratory study to assemble and link data essential to reach rational and objective conclusions…” This type of delay, strategically accompanied by a strong but carefully hedged reassertion of the original claim that “we believe the strongest clue from new, credible, and peer reviewed evidence in the scientific literature is that the virus evolved in nature, while suggestions of a laboratory leak source of the pandemic remain without scientifically validated evidence that directly supports it in peer-reviewed scientific journals,” is exactly what the WSJ warned might happen. More significantly, it is exactly what China wants. Nothing could be better for China than having The Lancet as the messenger, lending scientific credibility to what the CCP wants the world to believe.
Click HERE to read more.
Originally published by the Gatestone Institute
COLUMN BY

 Pete Hoekstra

Pete Hoekstra is a former Representative in Congress from Michigan. He served as the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. More recently he was U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
EDITORS NOTE: This Center for Security Policy column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Knock, Knock, It’s Big Brother Joe



After the Biden administration failed to meet its target of vaccinating 70 percent of Americans by July 4, the president suggested he may turn to drastic measures to boost vaccination rates, including sending people “door-to-door — literally knocking on doors.” The remark earned swift criticism. Rep. Pat Fallon (R-Texas) tweeted, “BIG red flags anytime the federal government is ‘going door to door.'” His colleague, Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) agreed that federal door-to-door visits are “only really contemplated in Constitution for the census.” Despite the criticism, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki reiterated the White House’s focus on “targeted community door-to-door outreach” as one strategy for combating the coronavirus. The White House has a tin ear for the concerns of private citizens.
One concern regards the right to privacy, specifically “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches,” per the Fourth Amendment. Federal law strictly protects access to medical history — like vaccinations — a fact abortion activists exploit by claiming that the decision to abort should be kept between a woman and her doctor (the difference is that abortion is not healthcare). But abortion activist Xavier Becerra, Biden’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, insisted today that knowing whether a person has been vaccinated for COVID is “absolutely the government’s business.” Why the double standard?
Related to privacy, Americans could face retaliation if the government forced them to disclose their vaccination status, and it was leaked. The Supreme Court just struck down a California law (formerly championed by Xavier Becerra), in part due to concerns over retaliation from leaked confidential information. “The Left is now politicizing this issue of the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), so a door-to-door campaign could lead to intimidation or worse. Norman warned “there appears to be [studies] targeting of Republican males” for their lower vaccination rates. The mafia, too, was known for its “targeted community door-to-door outreach” — and baseball bats.
To date, Psaki and Biden have insisted that the door-to-door outreach is purely to spread information. In mellow tones, they laugh off conservative warnings about mandatory vaccine targeting, just like the Left laughed off conservative warnings of CRT in schools and of transgender ideology following gay marriage, following legalization of homosexual behavior. See the pattern?
President Biden’s latest policy flub demonstrates his misunderstanding of Americans’ relationship to their government that led to the vaccination shortfall in the first place. As Norman said, Biden believes “the government is our keeper.” He believes vaccination rates are low because people don’t know they should get vaccinated. He expects people to get the vaccine simply because the government tells them to. Biden does not expect Americans to act rationally and make their own decisions, so he feels no need to persuade them with reasoned arguments. There’s no other way to explain Biden’s pathetic rhetoric like, “It sounds corny, but it’s a patriotic thing to do.”
But this is America, where people are free to make their own decisions for themselves and their families. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) explained, “The burden is on [Biden and Harris] to make sure people understand these vaccines are safe.” Ever since his vaccine skepticism in September 2020, Biden has failed to fulfill the burden of moral suasion Americans expect from a president. For instance, the president could end the public transportation mask mandate for vaccinated people. What won’t persuade Americans — particularly conservatives — to get the vaccine is federal intimidation tactics. When Biden’s persuasion campaign without persuasion fails, what more draconian tactics will he turn to?
COLUMN BY

Joshua Arnold

EDITORS NOTE: This FRC column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

Ivy League Study Shows How U.S. Media Created a Climate of Fear Over COVID-19


A new NBER paper titled “Why Is All COVID-19 News Bad News?” shows how US media fanned the flames of public panic.


n February 18, the Oxford Mail published an article headlined “Scientists working on a coronavirus vaccine in Oxford.”
The article explained that Sarah Gilbert, a British vaccinologist and professor at the University of Oxford, was leading a team of scientists at Oxford’s Jenner Institute in rapid development of a vaccine.
The article was short (less than 200 words), featured a quote from Gilbert, and was reported without any predictions on possible death tolls.
For months, Gilbert’s research was not covered in the US. And when US media did cover it months later, the successful track record of the Oxford researchers was downplayed, as was the possibility of getting a vaccine developed quickly.
“The earliest available (major outlet) U.S. story is from CNN on April 23rd and begins with a quote from England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty saying that the probability of having a vaccine or treatment ‘anytime in the next calendar year’ is ‘incredibly small,’” authors of a new National Bureau of Economic Research paper explain.

The authors of the NBER paper—titled “Why Is All COVID-19 News Bad News?”—use media coverage of Gilbert’s vaccine research as a case study to highlight a larger trend: the unique way US media covered the coronavirus pandemic.
The authors of the paper—Bruce Sacerdote, Ranjan Sehgal, and Molly Cook, who hail from Dartmouth College and Brown University—analyzed the tone of COVID-19 related news articles written since January 1 and found a striking difference in the way US media covered the pandemic compared to media in other countries.
“Ninety one percent of stories by U.S. major media outlets are negative in tone versus fifty four percent for non-U.S. major sources and sixty five percent for scientific journals,” the authors concluded.
To be sure, pandemics are hardly a cheerful topic. We’re not talking about a firefighter rescuing a kitten from a tree or a local man winning the lottery. But that wouldn’t explain the discrepancy in media coverage or the fact that positive developments do occur in pandemics.
This invites an important question: how did US media respond to positive developments?
“The negativity of the U.S. major media is notable even in areas with positive scientific developments including school re-openings and vaccine trials,” the authors found. “Stories of increasing COVID-19 cases outnumber stories of decreasing cases by a factor of 5.5 even during periods when new cases are declining.” (emphasis added)


The trend toward pessimistic news coverage was so acute, James Freeman noted in the Wall Street Journal, that the media mostly missed the amazing vaccine development story that took place right under their nose.
As the NBER report states, US media stories discussing President Donald Trump and hydroxychloroquine alone outnumber all the stories on vaccine R&D media produced during the pandemic.

In his classic book Dune, Frank Herbert wrote about the power of fear.
“Fear is the mind-killer,” wrote Herbert. “Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.”
For many, 2020 has been the most fearful year of their lives. The coronavirus pandemic has brought uncertainty, change, and deadly risk. A certain amount of fear during a pandemic is warranted, of course. But there are rational ways to respond to threats and irrational ways, and that is a line America crossed in 2020.
Indeed, new research developed by scientists working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests the virus appears to have arrived in the US in December 2019. This would mean the coronavirus was in the US for months and Americans didn’t even know it.
But once the media caught wind of the disease and fanned the flames of public panic, the fear took on a life of its own. Americans and, worse, lawmakers, began to respond to the virus in irrational ways. Basic virology went out the window as 15 days to flatten the curve devolved into a mad idea that we must close down society and shelter from the virus, unleashing unprecedented restrictions on economic freedom and destroying untold numbers of lives and livelihoods in the process.
This is the power of fear. It caused many rational people, such as Rich Lowry of National Review who in April called opponents of lockdowns “absurd,” to suddenly view the sacrifice of timeless civil liberties as entirely reasonable because they believed it would save lives.
Today, of course, we know the lockdowns were worse than useless. While they did little to nothing to slow the spread of the virus, their collateral damage speaks for itself. A global collapse in economic output. A projected 150 million people falling into extreme poverty. A historic surge in depression and social isolation that will have consequences that reverberate for decades. Millions of children thrust into learning environments that appear to be even worse than their previous situations, despite the fact that health officials have for months said closing schools is not an effective way to curb the spread of the virus.
Again, this is the power of fear, and it caused Lowry and lockdown proponents to forget an age-old truism from Benjamin Franklin.
“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety,” Franklin once observed.
Sadly, that is usually what they get.

COLUMN BY

Jon Miltimore

Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has been the subject of articles in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Star Tribune. Bylines: Newsweek, The Washington Times, MSN.com, The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, the Epoch Times.

5 Charts That Show Sweden’s Strategy Worked. The Lockdowns Failed
WHO Reverses Course, Now Advises Against Use of ‘Punishing’ Lockdowns
4 Life-Threatening Unintended Consequences of the Lockdowns
Lockdown Despotism and the “Control Panel” Delusion
Harvard Researchers: Nearly Half of Young Adults Showing Signs of Depression Amid Pandemic
Why Sweden Succeeded in “Flattening the Curve” and New York Failed
EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

CDC Data Shows COVID-19 was Pandemic for the Elderly

Data published recently by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conclusively shows that COVID-19 primarily infected and caused the deaths of elderly people. In deaths where the SARS-CoV2 virus was the underlying cause of death, 377,883 people died. The virus took the biggest toll on people over the age of 75 with at […]
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Data published recently by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conclusively shows that COVID-19 primarily infected and caused the deaths of elderly people.

In deaths where the SARS-CoV2 virus was the underlying cause of death, 377,883 people died. The virus took the biggest toll on people over the age of 75 with at least 635.8 deaths per 100,000. Those under the age of 14, school children who were unable to attend school for most of 2020, suffered the least, with 0.2 deaths per 100,000.

“The disruption of children’s education and socialization will haunt us for years to come in terms of earning potential and mental health,” wrote Marilyn Singleton, M.D., J.D. on the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons website. “The central planners punished children for months although the mortality in children from COVID-19 is roughly equivalent to that of influenza year to year.

“How many lives could have been saved if we had protected the vulnerable (the elderly and the sick)?” the Committee to Unleash Prosperity asked on its hotline.

COVID-19, however, was not the biggest killer in 2020. Heart disease took 690,882 lives, followed by cancer at 598,932. Overall, there were 3,358,814 deaths in 2020, with a little less than one-third of deaths being people age 85 or older.

*****

This article was published on June 28, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from the Heartland Institute.

CDC Data Shows COVID-19 was Pandemic for the Elderly

Data published recently by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conclusively shows that COVID-19 primarily infected and caused the deaths of elderly people.

In deaths where the SARS-CoV2 virus was the underlying cause of death, 377,883 people died. The virus took the biggest toll on people over the age of 75 with at least 635.8 deaths per 100,000. Those under the age of 14, school children who were unable to attend school for most of 2020, suffered the least, with 0.2 deaths per 100,000.

“The disruption of children’s education and socialization will haunt us for years to come in terms of earning potential and mental health,” wrote Marilyn Singleton, M.D., J.D. on the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons website. “The central planners punished children for months although the mortality in children from COVID-19 is roughly equivalent to that of influenza year to year.

“How many lives could have been saved if we had protected the vulnerable (the elderly and the sick)?” the Committee to Unleash Prosperity asked on its hotline.

COVID-19, however, was not the biggest killer in 2020. Heart disease took 690,882 lives, followed by cancer at 598,932. Overall, there were 3,358,814 deaths in 2020, with a little less than one-third of deaths being people age 85 or older.

*****

This article was published on June 28, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from the Heartland Institute.

From My Mother’s Womb, You Are My Strength


Randall Smith: If we turn a blind eye on abortion, can we really face the God who made both them and us? More is at stake than Republican vs. Democrat.


There were several especially interesting readings for the recent Solemnity of St. John the Baptist. One set begins with this text from Jeremiah 1:5:

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I dedicated you,
a prophet to the nations I appointed you.

The responsorial psalm was a selection of verses from Psalm 71 that contained these lines:

R.   Since my mother’s womb, you have been my strength.
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked.
R.    Since my mother’s womb, you have been my strength.
For you are my hope, O Lord;
my trust, O LORD, from my youth.
On you I depend from birth;
from my mother’s womb you are my strength.

The other option for the day contained a reading from Isaiah 49 that included these two passages:

The LORD called me from birth,
from my mother’s womb he gave me my name. (Is 49:1)

. . . my reward is with the LORD,
my recompense is with my God.
For now the LORD has spoken
who formed me as his servant from the womb. (Is 49:4-5)

The responsorial psalm that went with that reading was taken from Psalm 139 and contained these popular words:  “I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made.”  The sermon I heard that day took its basic theme from these words.  I am grateful any time the readings of the day are mentioned in a homily, but I have yet to hear anyone comment on the following words in that same psalm:

R.   I praise you for I am wonderfully made.
Truly you have formed my inmost being;
you knit me in my mother’s womb.
I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made.

Both sets of readings make sense as precursors to the Gospel reading for the day, which recounts the story of John’s naming.  When Elizabeth announced that the child in her womb would be named John, her family members objected, saying that no one else in the family had that name. When they appealed to Zechariah, who had been struck dumb during his service in the Temple, he wrote:  “His name is John,” and his tongue was loosed.
What should we make of all this?  Well, one thing we might take from it is the rather obvious conclusion that human beings are “known by God” in the womb. Or to put this in modern terms, fetuses are persons intended by God.
I am aware that a Scriptural argument of this sort would not be credible to the non-Christians in our society. Fine.  But what about the rest of us? What about Catholics? What about our Protestant brethren? Wasn’t the Protestant Reformation supposed to be about defending the Scriptures as the inspired and authoritative word of God?
Scholars throughout history, both Protestant and Catholic, have pored over the Scriptures diligently, exhaustively, trying to unlock its innermost secrets in the conviction that the Scriptures contain the words of truth and life.  Is something hidden or obscure in the passages I’ve quoted? Or is it not rather that the truth of the matter is proclaimed like a loud trumpet blast? Is Christ both fully man and fully God from the moment of His conception or not? If He is, then all the rest of mankind is fully human from the moment of their conception too. And if so, then one cannot “terminate” these lives without violating the commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.”
Please understand, this isn’t meant as a partisan political appeal.  I set it before any reader who is Christian as an existential choice. Do the Scriptures contain God’s inspired word and truth or not?  And if they do, are we really listening to God’s word to understand what it teaches and to heed its directives? Or are we picking through to find passages that fit our prejudices and preconceptions while avoiding the ones calling us to something we might find unpleasant?  Have we, like so many in Christ’s day, simply closed our ears, our minds, and our hearts to a message we need to hear?
Because if the constant teaching of the Church that has for centuries unequivocally condemned abortion is to be easily ignored and if even the words of the Scriptures have become a dead letter to us, then I really have no idea who we are or what we’re doing in all these “Christian” churches.  Are we simply making ourselves feel better about ourselves?  Banking some “brownie points” to earn our way into heaven – or perhaps into the local country club?
If we fail to be moved by God’s word and harden our heart against these little ones, can we really call ourselves “Christians” in any serious sense?  Wouldn’t we be guilty of the “cheap grace” that the great Dietrich Bonhoeffer warned about?  Could any of our blessed ancestors who gave their lives in defense of the faith fail to be disgusted by the hypocrisy of this generation, much the way we are disgusted at the hypocrisy of the German Christians who failed to condemn the murders of millions of Jews?
The slaughter of 66 million children in the womb since 1973, each of whom (if the Scriptures are telling the truth) is “known by God” and “fearfully and wonderfully made,” is no more “just another issue” than was the slaughter of 6 million Jews.  No one cares now about the labor policies of the 1937 German government.  We only care that Christians didn’t protect 6 million Jews from slaughter.
If we turn a blind eye to the wholesale slaughter in our own midst, if we do not see in each one of these unborn children the handiwork of the Creator, can we really face the God who made both them and us?  More is at stake than Republican vs. Democrat.
COLUMN BY

Randall Smith

Randall B. Smith is a Professor of Theology at the University of St. Thomas. He is the author of Reading the Sermons of Thomas Aquinas: A Guidebook for Beginners and Aquinas, Bonaventure, and the Scholastic Culture of Medieval Paris: Preaching, Prologues, and Biblical Commentary (2021). His website is: randallbsmith.com.
EDITORS NOTE: This The Catholic Thing column is republished with permission. © 2021 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org. The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

Here Are the 10 Best [And Worst] Cities Ranked By Post-Pandemic Economic Recovery


When the COVID-19 outbreak began and governments started imposing economic lockdowns, most parts of the country experienced huge upticks in unemployment. But how have different cities fared in the year since? A new report from WalletHub offers some insight.
The financial analytics firm looked at cities’ most recent unemployment rates, from May 2021, and compared them to their pre- and mid-pandemic unemployment rates from May 2019, May 2020, and January 2020. Using the national unemployment rate of 5.9 percent as a standard, this gives us a useful comparison showing how different cities have recovered from the pandemic and ensuing economic damage.
Here are the top 10 cities with the best post-pandemic unemployment rates as of May 2021:

  1. Manchester, New Hampshire: 1.6 percent
  2. Nashua, New Hampshire: 1.7 percent
  3. Burlington, Vermont: 1.3 percent
  4. South Burlington, Vermont: 1.2 percent
  5. Lincoln, Nebraska: 2.2 percent
  6. Huntsville, Alabama: 2.4 percent
  7. Omaha, Nebraska: 2.8 percent
  8. Salt Lake City, Utah: 2.7 percent
  9. Sioux Falls, South Dakota: 2.7 percent
  10. Billings, Montana: 3 percent

And, in stark contrast, here are the 10 cities with the worst post-pandemic unemployment rates as of May 2021:

  1. Hialeah, Florida: 8 percent
  2. New Orleans, Louisiana: 11 percent
  3. Long Beach, California: 10.6 percent
  4. Glendale, California: 10.4 percent
  5. Newark, New Jersey: 11.6 percent
  6. New York City, New York: 9.8 percent
  7. Los Angeles, California: 10.1 percent
  8. San Bernardino, California: 9.6 percent
  9. Chicago, Illinois: 9.3 percent
  10. North Las Vegas, Nevada: 9.9 percent

What explains the wide discrepancy between the cities who have essentially entirely recovered and those that remain deep in the red? Well, there are undoubtedly many factors influencing these cities’ unemployment rates, but two glaring ones stand out.
First, not all parts of the country locked down their economies with equal vigor or duration. From New Hampshire to Vermont to South Dakota, many of the states with cities represented in the top 10 strong recovery spots had relatively lighter government restrictions and rolled them back sooner. On the other hand, cities from intense lockdown states like California, New York, and New Jersey are heavily represented on the list—and that’s surely no coincidence.
Economies are complex systems, and cannot simply be switched on and off like a light switch. Those cities whose governments strangled economic activity over an extended period of time and hoped it would all come back when they decided to “open up” are clearly still experiencing the economic pain.
Secondly, the availability of ultra-generous unemployment benefits that pay many unemployed people more to stay home on welfare surely has had some influence on these rankings. States like New Hampshire with cities ranking highly have announced that they would end these benefits early, whereas states like California, Illinois, and New York have left them in place. The clear work disincentive presented by an unemployment system where households can earn the equivalent of $25/hour in many states has surely led to prolonged and heightened unemployment in the states which continue to embrace it.
Of course, there are many complex causes of city-level variations in unemployment rates and the economic recovery. But time and time again across these statistics and, frankly, the entire global economy, we see that areas with freer markets and less interference prosper more than those stifled by government control.


Data of the Day:
The jobs report for June was released today, and it shows an economy on the rebound. The economy added 850,000 new jobs in June, while the unemployment rate actually ticked up from 5.8 percent to 5.9 percent. This latter change likely indicates more people seeking work—only active job hunters count as “unemployed”—rather than more layoffs/job losses.
EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

The Covid McGuffin


The brilliant director Alfred Hitchcock often used the term “McGuffin” to describe one of his favorite plot devices—an object or event that set the plot in motion, while essentially inconsequential in itself. And while Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps and North by Northwest provide stellar samples, the ultimate exemplar of this phenomenon is The Maltese Falcon from the beloved John Huston film of that name. In the movie, a group of suspicious characters will stop at nothing in their pursuit of a black statuette of a falcon. Why? Because underneath its dark enamel exterior lay a solid gold falcon encrusted with priceless gems—or so they thought.
Spoiler alert: they never find the Maltese Falcon—it was simply a catalyst for a terrific film, and no one ever pulled off a McGuffin plot better than Huston or the inimitable Hitch. That is, until now. For the powers-that-be have trumped not only the famous director, but also America herself, and quite possibly, the world at large.
How, you ask? By exploiting their own McGuffin: a microscopic virus.
This was brilliant on at least two counts: first because no one can see the virus—though they made sure we were inundated with artists’ colorful renditions on websites and publications galore; and second, because the so-called “elites”—the New World Order/Great Reset billionaire globalist cabal and friends—control our media, as well as much of the world’s media, so guess who got to tell the story?

THE PANDEMIC’S DEBUT PERFORMANCE

In fact, they even had a rehearsal, known as Event 201! And if that’s not galling enough, they gave the invitees souvenir plush coronavirus toys complete with little rounded “spikes” as party favors! Seems they couldn’t wait to celebrate their psy-op that would pave the way to their utopian One World Government by destroying First World economies.
And who were the sponsors of Event 201, you ask? Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, the World Economic Forum, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Do you find that reassuring? Me neither.
In a very real sense, they were the scriptwriters as well as the filmmakers of the Plandemic, bringing to mind the movie Wag the Dog about a deliberately faked “war” presented to the public as real—which, in retrospect, now seems like mere child’s play.
Remember those horrifying videos of people dropping in the street in Wuhan, and Italian hospitals so filled with Covid patients they had to lodge many in the corridors? What perfect cinematography to panic the public. And let’s not forget the scary Johns Hopkins “dashboard” with predictions of “geometric progression” of Covid cases and fatalities. So of course we needed to take extreme measures, like shutting down our country.  Otherwise two million Americans would die in our suddenly overcrowded hospitals, struggling for breath. Or so we were told, as the rationale for more or less placing us under house arrest to “stop the spread” and “flatten the curve,” in what has been arguably the most brazen con job in history.
By the way, not only can we not see the virus, but some scientists are now saying it doesn’t exist! That’s right. This would mean that what they called Covid-19 was really just the seasonal flu! In fact no one, including the CDC, has been able to isolate and purify Sars-Cov-2, the virus supposedly responsible for wrecking our lives—I mean for causing Covid-19.
But even if the virus exists, as it certainly seems to, and even if it was designed in a gain-of-function experiment in the biohazard lab in Wuhan, China—funded by our own Dr. Feckless Fauci, head of NIAID—it still fits the McGuffin paradigm.
In fact, the Covid-19 version has been so successful that Bill Gates and pals are likely planning a sequel, and it looks like the title will be The Delta Variant. We’re in unprecedented territory now, as We the People are both their captive audience, as well as unpaid movie extras—who are always replaceable.
Stay tuned.

THE SPIKE PROTEIN

It seems curious that although no one has isolated the Sars-COV-2 virus, scientists have been able to make a Covid-19 vaccine for the virus.
Or have they?
A number of doctors and medical researchers, such as Dr. Sherri TenpennyDr. Andrew Wakefield, and Dr. Steven Hotze, to name just a few, point out that the Covid shots are not vaccines but rather experimental “gene therapy” that some would call dangerous genetic disrupters. In Dr. Wakefield’s words, “This is not a vaccine. It is an irreversible genetic modification.” Vaccines require a dead pathogen that puts the immune system on notice to form antibodies against it. But since there was no isolated Covid virus, they couldn’t do this. Ah, but there’s that ubiquitous “spike protein” we’ve all seen pictures of ad nauseam—so why not use that?

MY SPECULATION

With my Sherlock Holmes’ cap in place, here’s what occurred to me earlier this year regarding the plandemic:
The virus itself was a blind—It was all about the spike protein. And the spike protein was very likely developed through Dr. Mengele Fauci’s funded “gain-of-function” research carried out in Wuhan. Perhaps the Frankensteinian scientists working on this malevolent project simply hollowed out the original Sars-CoV virus–as J&J hollowed out an adenovirus for its vaccine—and injected it with their genetically engineered spike protein, which was the actual bioweapon all along.
From there it would be an easy step to make so-called “vaccines” to deliver the spike protein bioweapon directly into the bodies of millions of unsuspecting people, primed as they were by the media and public health officials’ daily trumpeting the dangers of Covid, to line up for their shots. More to the point, they were desperate to return to normal life after a year of insane “lockdowns” and believed getting the jab was the only way to do it.

AN EXPERT WEIGHS IN

But don’t take Sherlock’s word for it. In an interview on June 11th, 2021 regarding Covid-19 and the vaccines, Dr. Peter McCullough—one of the foremost frontline doctors who’s treated patients with Covid-19—pointed out that both the virus and the vaccine infect the body with “the spike protein—the gain of function target of this bioterrorism research.”
And let’s not forget that the mortality rate for Covid was only around .1% for the general population, up to .2% for the elderly and those with co-morbidities; yes, sadly, the death rate was higher in nursing homes that were forced to take sick Covid patients back from hospitals—thanks to Andrew Cuomo and his ilk. Nevertheless, most people’s immune systems could vanquish the genetically engineered Covid-19 virus, spike protein and all.

CANARIES IN THE COAL MINE

Yet there were also rare occurrences of blood disorders, sometimes fatal, in a very small percentage of those who got Covid. It now seems that those blood issues, which we were told distinguished Covid from an ordinary flu, were directly caused by the spike protein. As this happened very infrequently, primarily in people with compromised or weakened immune systems, those who died of such disorders were the proverbial canaries in the coal mine—harbingers of the dangers looming ahead from the vaccines themselves.
Now imagine the difference between catching Covid and quickly recovering from it, versus being injected with “instructions,”—translation: orders—to your cells to make millions of spike proteins! We don’t even know whether this bioweapon production machinery ever turns itself off!  In any case, not only would this onslaught of spike proteins be likely to overwhelm anyone’s immune system, but these tiny bioweapons can travel all over your body, wreaking havoc in multiple organs and doing untold harm, including causing miscarriages and making women infertile. Hmmm… coincidentally, that oughta slow population growth….one of the goals of the NWO crowd.

FELONIOUS PFIZER

And it’s now come out that Pfizer knew many of these dangers prior to marketing its vaccine—or more accurately put, prior to launching its experimental study conducted with the largest experimental group ever assembled: millions of unsuspecting human guinea pigs.
Here are some quotes from a recent article on Dr. Joseph Mercola’s website:

  • Pfizer’s data, however, show the mRNA and subsequent spike protein are widely distributed in the body within hours
  • This is a serious problem, as the spike protein is a toxin shown to cause cardiovascular and neurological damage. It also has reproductive toxicity, and Pfizer’s biodistribution data show it accumulates in women’s ovaries
  • Once in your blood circulation, the spike protein binds to platelet receptors and the cells that line your blood vessels. When that happens, it can cause platelets to clump together, resulting in blood clots, and/or cause abnormal bleeding
  • Pfizer documents submitted to the European Medicines Agency also show the company failed to follow industry-standard quality management practices during preclinical toxicology studies and that key studies did not meet good laboratory practice standards

Here’s what Canadian immunologist and vaccine researcher Byram Bridle, Ph.D. had to say after reviewing Pfizer’s study that tracked where the spike protein ended up in the body:
“We made a big mistake,” Bridle says. “We thought the spike protein was a great target antigen; we never knew the spike protein itself was a toxin and was a pathogenic protein. So, by vaccinating people we are inadvertently inoculating them with a toxin.”
I beg to differ with Dr. Bridle’s assessment on a key point: I do not believe this was a “mistake.” Consider the following:

  • We know the pandemic, aka Plandemic, was carefully planned in advance, and the lockdown scenario rehearsed in the infamous Event 201 “table-top” pandemic preparedness conference in October 2019—coincidentally, just a few months prior to Covid emerging, and funded by Bill Gates, who’s concerned about “overpopulation.”
  • We know the virus was manipulated to make it more lethal through the nefarious process known as “gain-of-function.”
  • We know the globalists/Davos cabal/Deep State, et al. wanted to destroy the Trumpian economy, oust the President, and cripple America to make her easy pickings for the Elites in their New World Order/Great Reset planned dystopia.
  • We know pregnant women were encouraged to get the vaccine though there were no relevant safety studies done. The result? The miscarriage rate for vaccinated women has skyrocketed to 82%.
  • So far, in just a few months, it’s been estimated that 25,800 Americans have died from these vaccines, and 1,000,000 more have been disabled—many permanently—though you won’t hear about this on the evening news.
  • Agencies such as the CDC, as well as our Fake News Media and its assorted “fact-checkers” are hush-hush about the vaccine tragedies all around us, and still pushing vaccination for all, including children, who were never at risk from Covid!

THE TROJAN HORSE VACCINE

How likely is it, when the above points are taken into consideration, that Big Pharma simply goofed when concocting its highly experimental, virtually untested “gene therapy” mRNA “vaccines,” and really was trying to save humanity from the supposedly deadly virus known as Covid-19?
Sherlock himself addressed such complex quandaries as ours with pithy eloquence:
“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”
In our own present-day case, what might that truth be?
Here’s the way Shauna O’Neill, the mother of Haley Link Brinkmeyer who died after getting the Moderna vaccine, sees it:

“My 28 year old daughter took the vaccine on a Tuesday and she was dead by Thursday. …Anything with Bill Gates or Quack Fauci’s name attached should be a red flag. Depopulation my folks, depopulation. That’s their objective.”

Improbable, yes.
Impossible, no.
©Cherie Zaslawsky. All rights reserved.
RELATED ARTICLE: Half of Adults Infected in Latest COVID-19 Outbreak Were Fully Vaccinated: Israeli Official

Fatherlessness Can Be Fatal


There were more shootings in Chicago over the weekend. The irony of these shootings, in which 52 were shot and 5 died (Chicago Sun-Times Wire, 6/21/21), is the weekend itself….Father’s Day weekend.
Some sociologists note that what we’re seeing in large part are quite often the results of fatherlessness in America.
Mark J. Perry, a scholar with American Enterprise Institute, put out a chart on March 30, 2021 on fatherlessness in America. He compiled the statistics from the National Center for Health Statistics, and the chart compares the “percentage of U.S. births to unmarried women by race” for the year 2019.
The chart notes that:

  • 11.7% of Asian births in America were to unwed mothers,
  • 28.2% to white mothers,
  • 40% for all races,
  • 52% for Hispanics,
  • 69% for Americans Indians,
  • 70% for Blacks.

That explains a lot. The breakdown of the family in America is one of the leading causes of societal breakdown. The cliché is correct: “As the family goes, so goes society.”
Fathers can make a huge difference in the life of their children, and their absence can lead to all manner of problems.
African-American leaders are expressing concern. John Diggs, M.D. of Massachusetts once talked with me about the devastation wrought by the breakdown of the family.
About 15 years ago, Dr. Diggs told me in an interview for Christian television that the seeds of fatherlessness were sown in the sexual revolution: “Social science has borne out that all the bad effects associated with sex outside of marriage have increased under this paradigm. For example, you can look in the Black community. If you look at 1960, it was on the order of 5 out of 100 children were born out-of-wedlock. Now that number is something on the order of 60 out of 100.  And once you get that kind of number, the whole society tends to break down.”
Tragically, that 60% has now increased to 70% as noted in the chart cited above.
Diggs continued, “Marriage has a very important function. It gets people to commit to each other even when they don’t want to, even when they don’t like each other for some short period of time. It’s financially better to have a mother and father in the house where you have two different personalities, two different orientations in terms of maleness and femaleness affecting both the child, both the girl and the boy. And I think, clearly, the crisis of fatherlessness can be laid at the feet of the sexual revolution.”
He said one of the biggest problems with all this is viewing the father as “expendable.”
And who fills in the gap? Uncle Sam? The gang leaders? Of course, many young men become gang-bangers because the gang leader becomes surrogate fathers for them. The Bible warns: Bad company corrupts good morals. And the whole thing becomes a vicious cycle.
And then on top of all this: welfare transfer payments reward those who bear children out of wedlock and punish those households where the father remains. We get what the government subsidizes. What a tragic nightmare. Fatherlessness can be fatal.
To compound all this are those on the left who are saying we need to defund the police.
Civil Rights leader Robert Woodson thinks that is a terrible idea. Woodson created the Woodson Center in Washington, D.C., which has had many years of providing effective help for inner-city communities. A Gallup Poll backs up Woodson. The pollsters found that 81% of Blacks do not favor defunding the police.
Noted Woodson: “The people who are advocating hostile actions against police do not have to suffer the consequences of their advocacy. They live in gated communities; they live where they are protected.”
Woodson added, “This battle is critical to our future. I don’t think we have been this close to just anarchy that you see this assault on police. It is resulting in withdrawal from some of the most high crime areas. As a result, murder is soaring in some of these cities, and it’s directly related to the nullification of policing.”
Woodson remembered when Black families used to be a model for the rest of the nation. He said, “From1930-1940, during America’s 10 years of depression, when racism was enshrined in law, elderly people could walk safely in their community without fear of assault because of our faith in Christ and also our marriage—we had the highest marriage rate of any group…that has been our history.”
Ultimately, a spiritual renewal is what is needed to turn things, including fatherlessness, around. Woodson told me, “As a country, we must seek redemption and understand that we need to be all that we can be as a nation. If we were to mimic Christ and understand the importance of our future, it depends upon redemption and restoration.”
©Jerry Newcombe. All rights reserved.

With Mitigations Gone For Months, Arizona Keeps Emergency Declaration

Even though Arizona’s business and individual COVID-19 mitigations haven’t been in effect since March, the state remains in an official state of emergency. Gov. Doug Ducey rescinded much of Arizona’s COVID-19 mitigations on businesses and individuals in March. Three months later, he’s yet to give up his emergency declaration powers, allowing him to reach further […]
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Even though Arizona’s business and individual COVID-19 mitigations haven’t been in effect since March, the state remains in an official state of emergency.

Gov. Doug Ducey rescinded much of Arizona’s COVID-19 mitigations on businesses and individuals in March. Three months later, he’s yet to give up his emergency declaration powers, allowing him to reach further with his executive orders and maintain a flow of certain federal money.

Ducey’s office didn’t respond to requests for comment on the matter, but the Arizona Department of Health Services expounded on the benefits of keeping the emergency declaration active.

“The state of emergency is required for federal reimbursement for the COVID-19 response, provides for data collection essential to tracking COVID-19, and takes into account the uncertainty of what COVID-19 will do as it remains active in the community and continues changing through mutation,” the department said.

Several other states have seen their governor’s voluntarily relinquished their emergency powers. Some state legislatures have elected to strip them from their chief executive. Arizona, like California, Hawaii, and others, continues to operate under recurring declaratory orders.

Opinions of whether Ducey should maintain the emergency powers seem to fall on whether someone agrees with how he wields them.

Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, wrote Attorney General Mark Brnovich in December, asking about how the Arizona Legislature would go about rescinding Ducey’s emergency powers. In his letter, Kavanagh didn’t express intent to undo the governor’s declaration, rather asking about the process and consequences of doing so legislatively.

Kavanagh said Thursday his concerns with Ducey’s emergency powers were the mask and distancing mandates, which were rescinded in March. He now fully supports Ducey keeping the power.

“The main purpose that the present emergency orders serve is to limit the powers of the universities and municipalities to impose their own mask, vaccine mandates and other mandates,” Kavanagh said. “The governor used his emergency powers to stop ASU’s vaccine mandate to avoid masking and onerous health check requirements. If we terminate the governor’s state of emergency, the ASU mask mandate returns.”

As he had mentioned in his letter to Brnovich, Kavanagh said the emergency powers allow Ducey to keep municipalities from imposing unnecessary restrictions.

“If we end the state of emergency, we unleash cities to impose their own restrictions,” he said. “I would not like that.”

Will Humble, executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association and former director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, went from supporting Ducey’s emergency actions to opposing them once, as he said in a blog post, he began to do bad things with them.

“Governor Ducey [and] Director (Cara) Christ will not be lifting the emergency declaration anytime soon because they are clearly enjoying the authority that the public health emergency declaration gives them to micromanage cities, counties, businesses, the K-12 system, and now universities and community colleges,” he said.

In January, Humble and his organization opposed SCR1001, which would have rescinded Ducey’s emergency powers at a time when COVID-19 infections were high.

Humble does admit if he were still running ADHS and had autonomy from the governor, he would like the emergency declaration to remain because he would use it for “evidence-based things, not bad things like the way they are.”

*****

This article was published on June 18, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from The Center Square.

Quacks in the Ivory Tower: How Conspiracy Theorizing Took Over Lockdown Science

Is the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD) simply a front for a secret global eugenics plot, hatched at AIER by the British Ministry of Defence and financed by the Koch Brothers as part of an ongoing effort to force climate change, tobacco, and Covid-19 infections on our senior citizens? Such claims may sound like the farcical […]
The post Quacks in the Ivory Tower: How Conspiracy Theorizing Took Over Lockdown Science appeared first on PRICKLY PEAR.Is the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD) simply a front for a secret global eugenics plot, hatched at AIER by the British Ministry of Defence and financed by the Koch Brothers as part of an ongoing effort to force climate change, tobacco, and Covid-19 infections on our senior citizens? Such claims may sound like the farcical
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Is the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD) simply a front for a secret global eugenics plot, hatched at AIER by the British Ministry of Defence and financed by the Koch Brothers as part of an ongoing effort to force climate change, tobacco, and Covid-19 infections on our senior citizens? Such claims may sound like the farcical ravings of an internet paranoiac, yet precisely this narrative has gained a shocking amount of currency among ostensibly serious public health scientists and journalists since the Declaration launched last October 4th.

This outcome is the result of a disturbing turn in the academic discourse around Covid-19 policy over the past several months, with scientific disagreement taking a back seat to the political vilification of anyone who questions the wisdom of lockdown ideology – even as the lockdowns themselves utterly failed at their stated aims. Rather than debating the evidence around these policies and evaluating their performance over the last year, it has now become the norm to accuse anyone who questions “the science” of lockdowns of being beholden to secretive “dark money” interests and operating in the service of nefarious profiteering and political malice.

This bizarre string of conspiratorial attacks on AIER began in the days after the GBD’s release last fall. Self-described “journalists” with dubious backgrounds led the charge from peripheral media outlets that nonetheless provided a political message for the GBD’s opponents.

Consider the case of Nafeez Ahmed, a writer from a London-based blog called the Byline Times who has spent the better part of the last year posting conspiratorial bromides against scientists who question lockdown ideology. Fresh off of an unsuccessful Twitter campaign to flood the GBD’s website with fraudulent signatures during the week after it went live, Ahmed shifted his tack in mid-October with a new charge. In a succession of blog posts, he purported to show that the GBD was part of an elaborate scheme by libertarian billionaire Charles Koch to force the reopening of the American economy in spite of Covid’s risks, using AIER as its front. After outlining the financial portion of his conspiracy theory, Ahmed quickly appended a new “partner” in the alleged plot: the British Ministry of Defence, which he implied to be the source behind the GBD’s website. To top it off, this growing plot was allegedly orchestrated through the owner of a resort hotel in Wales, operating amid a web of military contracts that somehow or another pointed back to the GBD authors and AIER.

If that sounds like loony talk, it is.

Contrary to Ahmed’s wild imagination, Charles Koch had absolutely no involvement with the Great Barrington Declaration or AIER’s hosting of the conference that produced it. While I cannot say with certainty where Mr. Koch himself stands on these issues, his philanthropic organizations appear to have mostly stayed away from Covid-19 policy debates (the few exceptions where a Koch-network organization has weighed in on the subject at all tend to take a pro-lockdown stance, such as the Mercatus Center’s Tyler Cowen, who awarded a research prize to Neil Ferguson of Imperial College for his Covid-19 lockdown model. AIER was one of the first high-profile critics of Ferguson’s model and continues to track its abysmal performance over the last year.)

It is the right of philanthropic foundations, including both Cowen and Koch, to direct their grants and donations to projects of their own choosing. Indeed, AIER partnered with Koch in 2018 on a small grant to co-sponsor an economics conference in North Carolina – the apparent origin of Ahmed’s confused claims. But it also appears that we find ourselves taking different approaches to pandemic policy issues, and not by conspiratorial design but rather honest disagreement of the type that has unfortunately been lost amid the heated debates over the last year.

Oh, and that bit about the British Ministry of Defence supposedly orchestrating the GBD’s website through some hotel in Wales that nobody at AIER has even heard of? Utter nonsense – our web developer put it together on-site during the GBD conference, pulling an all-night marathon to ensure that it would be ready to go live the day of the release.

Although Ahmed’s batty narrative about the GBD’s origins does not withstand even minimal scrutiny, his conspiracy theories spread like wildfire on the pro-lockdown side of the epidemiology profession, and among the journalistic outlets that support them. For a brief period back in October, Google News inexplicably boosted the fringe Byline Times blog on search results for the Great Barrington Declaration, ranking Ahmed’s postings above coverage in mainstream outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and Fox. Paul Krugman even promoted the product of Ahmed’s ravings in his New York Times column.

Several of the most widely-quoted critics of the Great Barrington Declaration in the press seized on the same narrative and began repeating tall tales about nonexistent funding sources and the wholly imaginary British Ministry of Defense website scheme. Some even added new fringe theories of their own to augment the salacious charges.

David Gorski, a professor of medicine at Wayne State University and one of the media’s favorite go-to sources for quotes denouncing the GBD, published a blog post on October 12th where he liberally quoted and endorsed Ahmed’s conspiracy theories. Not to be outdone by the Byline Times blogger, Gorski appended his own paranoid attack by branding the GBD a “eugenics-adjacent” plot to cull and “sacrific[e] the elderly” in the name of economics. Even though the GBD drew tens of thousands of co-signers in the medical and public health professions, Gorski went on to label it a “magnified minority” campaign – his term for a propaganda initiative to dupe the public into accepting the secret eugenics scheme he repeatedly claimed to have uncovered. Gorski’s attacks are not only symptomatic of a deeply disturbed state of mind – they’re unbecoming of a scientific professional, let alone one that the media enlists for expert quotations as a primary interlocutor of the GBD.

Gorski was far from the only lockdowner in the public health world to embrace Ahmed’s conspiracist blogging. So did Eric Feigl-Ding, one of social media’s most aggressive promoters of school closures and the fringe “Zero Covid” theory. Deepti Gurdasani of Queen Mary University in London, a principal organizer of the pro-lockdown John Snow Memorandum, has promoted the Byline Times conspiracy theories about the GBD’s funding on multiple occasions, pairing it with another conspiracy theory of her own that tries to fault the GBD authors for the failure of three successive lockdowns in Britain. As has Gabriel Scally, a UK-based epidemiologist who serves the pro-lockdown “Independent SAGE” group. David Fisman, a Canadian epidemiologist who aggressively pushed for lockdowns and school closures in Ontario, is another fan of Ahmed’s conspiracy theories, praising him for providing “important context” to the policy debate.

Justin Feldman, a self-described “epidemiologist of social inequality” at Harvard, added his own twist to Ahmed’s favorite conspiracy by alleging an elaborate plot to place favorable media coverage of the GBD on the UK’s Unherd website, only to walk it back a day later when he realized he had confused Unherd with another outlet. The public misstep did little to shed Feldman of his conspiracist tendencies though. His Twitter feed since that time has published a nonstop stream of frenzied allegations against lockdown critics in the public health profession, usually consisting of unsubstantiated innuendo about shady pecuniary motives behind their scholarship.

Duke University epidemiologist Gavin Yamey offered a “huge shoutout to Dr. Nafeez Ahmed” for supposedly uncovering the bizarre conspiracy linking the GBD website to the British Ministry of Defense and the Welsh hotel proprietor. Elsewhere he praised the Byline Times’s “great investigative journalism” about the GBD. Half a year later he still asserts that “Charles Koch shaped [pandemic] policy in the US” through a group of scientists who have no tangible connection to Koch’s philanthropy. Indeed, Yamey’s twitter feed contains dozens of examples of him promoting the Byline Times articles. Naturally, this whole-hearted believer of Ahmed’s conspiracy theories is also one of the journalism world’s favorite sources for an expert quotation denouncing the GBD, and a principal co-signer of a letter to the Lancet arguing against the petition’s scientific merits.

Columbia University virologist Angela Rasmussen, another frequent critic of the GBD in the press, embraced the funding conspiracy theory without the slightest skepticism or investigation of its assertions. “The GBD authors don’t actually mean well,” she continued, accusing the three scientists of being part of a “propaganda campaign” in the service of AIER’s supposed goal of “ignore the pandemic, let’s get back to making money via unfettered capitalism.”

Martin McKee, a public health professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who denounced the GBD as a “fringe view” shortly after its publication, has a habit of giving his endorsement to Ahmed’s conspiracy theories about the very same document. Ahmed’s crazy tales of intrigue have another fan in Robert Dickinson, a professor of medicine at Imperial College London and signer of the pro-lockdown John Snow Memorandum. Snow Memorandum signer Hisham Ziauddeen promotes the same conspiratorial claims, in addition to his own blogging against the GBD for Ahmed’s outlet. Epidemiologist Gregg Gonsalves of Yale, another of the media’s favorite sources for ad hominem-laced anti-GBD hot takes, apparently concurs with Ahmed’s paranoid ravings. So does the University of Washington’s Carl Bergstrom, another press favorite for expert statements defending lockdowns.

Keep in mind that these endorsements of Ahmed involve claims that are not simply dubious or uncharitable interpretations – they are factual falsehoods that have entered the talking points of scientific experts who simply agree with their associated political connotations and believe that repeating them enough will discredit an opposing viewpoint. As matters of scientific analysis though, it would not be inaccurate at this point to state that leading academics on the pro-lockdown side of the Covid political debate are now regularly relying upon the paranoid ravings of a conspiracist blogger as one of their primary sources for attacks upon the Great Barrington Declaration.

Had these academics, public health professionals, and journalists spent even a moment investigating the source of their parroted stories about “dark money,” the British Ministry of Defense, and obscure hotel properties in Wales, they might have exercised more reservations before credulously repeating such unreliable claims.

Ahmed himself is no stranger to fringe political causes. The late Christopher Hitchens once described this particular writer as “a risible individual wedded to half-baked conspiracy-mongering.” Indeed, for almost two decades prior to Covid-19, Ahmed was a recurring presence in the circles around the so-called 9/11 Truth movement – the motley band of internet oddballs and kooks who claim that the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center were actually a controlled demolition carried out on behalf of some sort of “false flag” operation. In 2006, he added his own version of “jet fuel doesn’t melt steel beams” to their cause. As Ahmed wrote in an article to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the attacks:

“[I]t is agreed by all that the fires never burned hot enough to melt the steel columns. Whether or not the steel was hot enough to buckle, the official account fails to explain the deposits of molten metal found after the collapses. If not the fires, what could have caused the steel to melt?”

Reiterating his own contributing interests in 9/11 Trutherism, Ahmed continued with a stunning assessment of the “jet fuel” claim. “Shocking and absurd conspiraloonery? Not really. That’s the easy way out. The scientific validity of [9/11 conspiracy writer Steve] Jones’ line of inquiry has been supported by several other experts,” upon which he proceeded to name a long list of Truther cranks and crackpots who maintain that the terrorist attacks by Al Qaeda were really an inside job. (Ahmed quietly scrubbed this article from his personal blog in late 2020 after it became an embarrassment in light of his more recent attacks on the GBD, but an archived copy remains.)

With no small irony, many of the same scientists who frequently attack skepticism of lockdowns by labeling it a “fringe” and “unscientific” position have not the slightest compunction about taking their own cues on the GBD from an unmistakably fringe source of their own. That source’s ramblings remain equally mired in the same brand of “absurd conspiraloonery” he’s peddled on other topics for decades.

Sadly, several distinguished scientific figures in the epidemiology and public health professions have decided to seize onto and adopt Ahmed and the Byline Times’s paranoid style as their own, now that their star writer has shifted the focus of his attention away from World Trade Center Building 7 and onto anyone who dares to question the efficacy of Covid-19 lockdowns. The immediate result is both comical and horrifying, yet the real damage to epidemiology will play out for years to come. Scientific inquiry has succumbed to a proliferation of quacks in the ivory tower.

*****

This article was published on June 19, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from AIER, American Institute for Economic Research.

Racism Is Alive And Well At Yale

Yale, which protects its fragile students from dead white authors and offensive Halloween costumes, nevertheless featured a psychiatrist lecturing at Grand Rounds of her fantasies “unloading a revolver into the head of any white person that got in my way, wiping my bloody hands, like I did the world a f___ing big favor”. Grand Rounds […]
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Yale, which protects its fragile students from dead white authors and offensive Halloween costumes, nevertheless featured a psychiatrist lecturing at Grand Rounds of her fantasies “unloading a revolver into the head of any white person that got in my way, wiping my bloody hands, like I did the world a f___ing big favor”.

Grand Rounds is an educational presentation by which teaching hospitals augment routine clinical training with presentations of unusual cases or medical advances. It’s not a political forum nor a venue to permit social causes.

Yet Dr. Aruna Khilanani, a New York psychiatrist, gave a widely-advertised speech on “The Psychopathic Problem of the White Mind“. “There are no good apples out there. White people make my blood boil“ she informed the assembled doctors-in-training.

She backed up her opinions by “taking some actions. I systematically white-ghosted most of my white friends“ including some “white BIPOCs“. Talking to white people is a “waste of time. We are asking a demented, violent predator who thinks they are saints or superheroes to accept responsibility. It ain’t going to happen. They have five holes in their brain.“

We’re well aware that there are bigots with pathological tendencies from both political extremes out there. Until now they haven’t been featured in legitimate academic settings. Not only that, her lecture was well received in some quarters.

A Yale psychologist pronounced her talk “absolutely brilliant”. A woman thanked the doctor for “giving voice to us as people of color”.

Dr. Khilanani was given space in the Washington Post to explain that any negative reactions were mistaken. She simply was concerned about “minority mental health“. She hoped to stimulate “more serious conversations about race“, rather remarkable considering she had just claimed reasoning with whites was impossible due to their inherent evil.

After some faculty members expressed concern, the medical school leadership allowed that “the tone and continent were antithetical to the values of the school“. Their response was to limit access to the lecture video to members of the Yale community.

But their concerns were primarily with the vulgarity and lack of respect in the speech. They never apologized for or condemned the speech, instead stating that the School of Medicine doesn’t condone violence or racism. Which is nice.

To Dr. Khilanani this was “suppression of my talk on race”. But she made an obvious point. Yale should not claim surprise because “they knew the topic, they knew the title, they knew the speaker“. Exactly. They bought it, they own it.

The doctor is hardly a lone wolf. A paper accepted by the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association instructed that “whiteness is a malignant, parasitic-like condition that renders its hosts’ appetite voracious, insatiable and perverse” and to which white people have a particular susceptibility.

Corporations spend millions demanding their employees accept that they’re secret, unacknowledged bigots. School children are called out and demeaned simply for belonging to the wrong race.

Yet in spite of all the provocation to hate raining down from the cultural heights, America is not a racist nation. Look around you. Of course there’s racism (see above). But normal Americans today bear no ill will personally to people of other races and accept them implicitly. Racism doesn’t drive policymaking. Judging people on the basis of their skin color is considered unacceptable by most of us.

Even though America is the least racist nation on the planet, it’s still a work in progress. But among the woke population, emerging voices are urging an ethos of resegregation. The renowned “anti-racist“ Ibram X. Kendi openly teaches that “the only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination”.

Free Americans have traditionally favored the opposite, liberal mindset of Frederick Douglass, Lincoln, and MLK, urging true equality and comity among the races. Chief Justice John Roberts expressed this ethos in his opinion that “the way to stop racial discrimination is to stop discriminating on the basis of race“.

It’s time for choosing. Roberts and Kendi can’t both be right. Hopefully, Americans will decide to work together for a future of yet greater equality and opportunity.

We can’t afford to lose the progress we have made. Bigotry is not OK, no matter what.

*****

Thomas C. Patterson, MD is a retired Emergency Medicine physician, Arizona state Senator and Arizona Senate Majority Leader in the ’90s. He is a former Chairman, Goldwater Institute.

With Mitigations Gone For Months, Arizona Keeps Emergency Declaration

Even though Arizona’s business and individual COVID-19 mitigations haven’t been in effect since March, the state remains in an official state of emergency.

Gov. Doug Ducey rescinded much of Arizona’s COVID-19 mitigations on businesses and individuals in March. Three months later, he’s yet to give up his emergency declaration powers, allowing him to reach further with his executive orders and maintain a flow of certain federal money.

Ducey’s office didn’t respond to requests for comment on the matter, but the Arizona Department of Health Services expounded on the benefits of keeping the emergency declaration active.

“The state of emergency is required for federal reimbursement for the COVID-19 response, provides for data collection essential to tracking COVID-19, and takes into account the uncertainty of what COVID-19 will do as it remains active in the community and continues changing through mutation,” the department said.

Several other states have seen their governor’s voluntarily relinquished their emergency powers. Some state legislatures have elected to strip them from their chief executive. Arizona, like California, Hawaii, and others, continues to operate under recurring declaratory orders.

Opinions of whether Ducey should maintain the emergency powers seem to fall on whether someone agrees with how he wields them.

Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, wrote Attorney General Mark Brnovich in December, asking about how the Arizona Legislature would go about rescinding Ducey’s emergency powers. In his letter, Kavanagh didn’t express intent to undo the governor’s declaration, rather asking about the process and consequences of doing so legislatively.

Kavanagh said Thursday his concerns with Ducey’s emergency powers were the mask and distancing mandates, which were rescinded in March. He now fully supports Ducey keeping the power.

“The main purpose that the present emergency orders serve is to limit the powers of the universities and municipalities to impose their own mask, vaccine mandates and other mandates,” Kavanagh said. “The governor used his emergency powers to stop ASU’s vaccine mandate to avoid masking and onerous health check requirements. If we terminate the governor’s state of emergency, the ASU mask mandate returns.”

As he had mentioned in his letter to Brnovich, Kavanagh said the emergency powers allow Ducey to keep municipalities from imposing unnecessary restrictions.

“If we end the state of emergency, we unleash cities to impose their own restrictions,” he said. “I would not like that.”

Will Humble, executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association and former director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, went from supporting Ducey’s emergency actions to opposing them once, as he said in a blog post, he began to do bad things with them.

“Governor Ducey [and] Director (Cara) Christ will not be lifting the emergency declaration anytime soon because they are clearly enjoying the authority that the public health emergency declaration gives them to micromanage cities, counties, businesses, the K-12 system, and now universities and community colleges,” he said.

In January, Humble and his organization opposed SCR1001, which would have rescinded Ducey’s emergency powers at a time when COVID-19 infections were high.

Humble does admit if he were still running ADHS and had autonomy from the governor, he would like the emergency declaration to remain because he would use it for “evidence-based things, not bad things like the way they are.”

*****

This article was published on June 18, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from The Center Square.

Progressive Lawmakers Are Working on a Backdoor Plan to Quietly Take Us One Step Closer to Socialist Healthcare


Bipartisan talks over compromise spending legislation are ongoing in Congress, but the prospects of the two parties reaching a compromise aren’t exactly bright. So, progressive lawmakers in Washington, DC are already planning a $6 trillion spending bonanza that they will try to push through on a party-line vote if or when bipartisan talks hit a roadblock. Included in this plan is a big expansion of government healthcare.
“The package – which Democrats could pass on a party-line vote using their slimmest-possible Senate majority – includes other Democratic goals, such as lowering Medicare’s eligibility age from 65 to 55 or 60 and expanding the program to cover dental work, glasses and eye surgeries as well as hearing aids,” Fox Business reports.
This sounds like a small tweak to Medicare, the massive government healthcare program for senior citizens. But lowering the age to 60 is actually a move with drastic ramifications.
For one, Medicare is already one of the biggest drivers of our federal budget crisis. Its major trust funds are projected to reach insolvency within the next 5 years. Further expanding this program that’s already fueling our debt crisis will only accelerate this impending fiscal nightmare.
But even more importantly, it represents a significant step toward the socialist dream of government-run healthcare for all. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 60—let alone 55—could lead to up to 14.1 million people being shifted off of private health insurance and onto the government plan.
In short, it’s a big step toward “Medicare for All,” the progressive dream where private health insurance is all but eradicated and the government controls our healthcare. The problems with this are endless.
As flawed as our crony, highly-regulated healthcare system may be, the preservation of some degree of profit-motive due to the remaining private sector is why we have one of the most innovative healthcare systems in the world. As the Washington Examiner’s Tiana Lowe explains, “The United States comprises 4.4 percent of the world’s population, yet we produce 44 percent of the world’s medical research and development. This is not a coincidence. Of the $171.8 billion we spend on R&D, the federal government contributes just one-fifth, with private industry footing the overwhelming majority of the bill.”
Meanwhile, shifting everyone on to the government’s healthcare would eventually require more than doubling federal income and corporate taxes—and that’s a conservative estimate. And even then, healthcare shortages and rationing are sure to ensue.
More fundamentally, if the government completely takes over our healthcare, we may soon find that the choices we make about our health are no longer our own.
Regardless, if lawmakers want to pass a massive expansion of government healthcare, they should openly propose it and make their case to the American people. If they’re able to quietly slip it into a huge spending bill, a big loss for freedom could occur without much of a fight.
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EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Quacks in the Ivory Tower: How Conspiracy Theorizing Took Over Lockdown Science

Is the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD) simply a front for a secret global eugenics plot, hatched at AIER by the British Ministry of Defence and financed by the Koch Brothers as part of an ongoing effort to force climate change, tobacco, and Covid-19 infections on our senior citizens? Such claims may sound like the farcical ravings of an internet paranoiac, yet precisely this narrative has gained a shocking amount of currency among ostensibly serious public health scientists and journalists since the Declaration launched last October 4th.

This outcome is the result of a disturbing turn in the academic discourse around Covid-19 policy over the past several months, with scientific disagreement taking a back seat to the political vilification of anyone who questions the wisdom of lockdown ideology – even as the lockdowns themselves utterly failed at their stated aims. Rather than debating the evidence around these policies and evaluating their performance over the last year, it has now become the norm to accuse anyone who questions “the science” of lockdowns of being beholden to secretive “dark money” interests and operating in the service of nefarious profiteering and political malice.

This bizarre string of conspiratorial attacks on AIER began in the days after the GBD’s release last fall. Self-described “journalists” with dubious backgrounds led the charge from peripheral media outlets that nonetheless provided a political message for the GBD’s opponents.

Consider the case of Nafeez Ahmed, a writer from a London-based blog called the Byline Times who has spent the better part of the last year posting conspiratorial bromides against scientists who question lockdown ideology. Fresh off of an unsuccessful Twitter campaign to flood the GBD’s website with fraudulent signatures during the week after it went live, Ahmed shifted his tack in mid-October with a new charge. In a succession of blog posts, he purported to show that the GBD was part of an elaborate scheme by libertarian billionaire Charles Koch to force the reopening of the American economy in spite of Covid’s risks, using AIER as its front. After outlining the financial portion of his conspiracy theory, Ahmed quickly appended a new “partner” in the alleged plot: the British Ministry of Defence, which he implied to be the source behind the GBD’s website. To top it off, this growing plot was allegedly orchestrated through the owner of a resort hotel in Wales, operating amid a web of military contracts that somehow or another pointed back to the GBD authors and AIER.

If that sounds like loony talk, it is.

Contrary to Ahmed’s wild imagination, Charles Koch had absolutely no involvement with the Great Barrington Declaration or AIER’s hosting of the conference that produced it. While I cannot say with certainty where Mr. Koch himself stands on these issues, his philanthropic organizations appear to have mostly stayed away from Covid-19 policy debates (the few exceptions where a Koch-network organization has weighed in on the subject at all tend to take a pro-lockdown stance, such as the Mercatus Center’s Tyler Cowen, who awarded a research prize to Neil Ferguson of Imperial College for his Covid-19 lockdown model. AIER was one of the first high-profile critics of Ferguson’s model and continues to track its abysmal performance over the last year.)

It is the right of philanthropic foundations, including both Cowen and Koch, to direct their grants and donations to projects of their own choosing. Indeed, AIER partnered with Koch in 2018 on a small grant to co-sponsor an economics conference in North Carolina – the apparent origin of Ahmed’s confused claims. But it also appears that we find ourselves taking different approaches to pandemic policy issues, and not by conspiratorial design but rather honest disagreement of the type that has unfortunately been lost amid the heated debates over the last year.

Oh, and that bit about the British Ministry of Defence supposedly orchestrating the GBD’s website through some hotel in Wales that nobody at AIER has even heard of? Utter nonsense – our web developer put it together on-site during the GBD conference, pulling an all-night marathon to ensure that it would be ready to go live the day of the release.

Although Ahmed’s batty narrative about the GBD’s origins does not withstand even minimal scrutiny, his conspiracy theories spread like wildfire on the pro-lockdown side of the epidemiology profession, and among the journalistic outlets that support them. For a brief period back in October, Google News inexplicably boosted the fringe Byline Times blog on search results for the Great Barrington Declaration, ranking Ahmed’s postings above coverage in mainstream outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and Fox. Paul Krugman even promoted the product of Ahmed’s ravings in his New York Times column.

Several of the most widely-quoted critics of the Great Barrington Declaration in the press seized on the same narrative and began repeating tall tales about nonexistent funding sources and the wholly imaginary British Ministry of Defense website scheme. Some even added new fringe theories of their own to augment the salacious charges.

David Gorski, a professor of medicine at Wayne State University and one of the media’s favorite go-to sources for quotes denouncing the GBD, published a blog post on October 12th where he liberally quoted and endorsed Ahmed’s conspiracy theories. Not to be outdone by the Byline Times blogger, Gorski appended his own paranoid attack by branding the GBD a “eugenics-adjacent” plot to cull and “sacrific[e] the elderly” in the name of economics. Even though the GBD drew tens of thousands of co-signers in the medical and public health professions, Gorski went on to label it a “magnified minority” campaign – his term for a propaganda initiative to dupe the public into accepting the secret eugenics scheme he repeatedly claimed to have uncovered. Gorski’s attacks are not only symptomatic of a deeply disturbed state of mind – they’re unbecoming of a scientific professional, let alone one that the media enlists for expert quotations as a primary interlocutor of the GBD.

Gorski was far from the only lockdowner in the public health world to embrace Ahmed’s conspiracist blogging. So did Eric Feigl-Ding, one of social media’s most aggressive promoters of school closures and the fringe “Zero Covid” theory. Deepti Gurdasani of Queen Mary University in London, a principal organizer of the pro-lockdown John Snow Memorandum, has promoted the Byline Times conspiracy theories about the GBD’s funding on multiple occasions, pairing it with another conspiracy theory of her own that tries to fault the GBD authors for the failure of three successive lockdowns in Britain. As has Gabriel Scally, a UK-based epidemiologist who serves the pro-lockdown “Independent SAGE” group. David Fisman, a Canadian epidemiologist who aggressively pushed for lockdowns and school closures in Ontario, is another fan of Ahmed’s conspiracy theories, praising him for providing “important context” to the policy debate.

Justin Feldman, a self-described “epidemiologist of social inequality” at Harvard, added his own twist to Ahmed’s favorite conspiracy by alleging an elaborate plot to place favorable media coverage of the GBD on the UK’s Unherd website, only to walk it back a day later when he realized he had confused Unherd with another outlet. The public misstep did little to shed Feldman of his conspiracist tendencies though. His Twitter feed since that time has published a nonstop stream of frenzied allegations against lockdown critics in the public health profession, usually consisting of unsubstantiated innuendo about shady pecuniary motives behind their scholarship.

Duke University epidemiologist Gavin Yamey offered a “huge shoutout to Dr. Nafeez Ahmed” for supposedly uncovering the bizarre conspiracy linking the GBD website to the British Ministry of Defense and the Welsh hotel proprietor. Elsewhere he praised the Byline Times’s “great investigative journalism” about the GBD. Half a year later he still asserts that “Charles Koch shaped [pandemic] policy in the US” through a group of scientists who have no tangible connection to Koch’s philanthropy. Indeed, Yamey’s twitter feed contains dozens of examples of him promoting the Byline Times articles. Naturally, this whole-hearted believer of Ahmed’s conspiracy theories is also one of the journalism world’s favorite sources for an expert quotation denouncing the GBD, and a principal co-signer of a letter to the Lancet arguing against the petition’s scientific merits.

Columbia University virologist Angela Rasmussen, another frequent critic of the GBD in the press, embraced the funding conspiracy theory without the slightest skepticism or investigation of its assertions. “The GBD authors don’t actually mean well,” she continued, accusing the three scientists of being part of a “propaganda campaign” in the service of AIER’s supposed goal of “ignore the pandemic, let’s get back to making money via unfettered capitalism.”

Martin McKee, a public health professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who denounced the GBD as a “fringe view” shortly after its publication, has a habit of giving his endorsement to Ahmed’s conspiracy theories about the very same document. Ahmed’s crazy tales of intrigue have another fan in Robert Dickinson, a professor of medicine at Imperial College London and signer of the pro-lockdown John Snow Memorandum. Snow Memorandum signer Hisham Ziauddeen promotes the same conspiratorial claims, in addition to his own blogging against the GBD for Ahmed’s outlet. Epidemiologist Gregg Gonsalves of Yale, another of the media’s favorite sources for ad hominem-laced anti-GBD hot takes, apparently concurs with Ahmed’s paranoid ravings. So does the University of Washington’s Carl Bergstrom, another press favorite for expert statements defending lockdowns.

Keep in mind that these endorsements of Ahmed involve claims that are not simply dubious or uncharitable interpretations – they are factual falsehoods that have entered the talking points of scientific experts who simply agree with their associated political connotations and believe that repeating them enough will discredit an opposing viewpoint. As matters of scientific analysis though, it would not be inaccurate at this point to state that leading academics on the pro-lockdown side of the Covid political debate are now regularly relying upon the paranoid ravings of a conspiracist blogger as one of their primary sources for attacks upon the Great Barrington Declaration.

Had these academics, public health professionals, and journalists spent even a moment investigating the source of their parroted stories about “dark money,” the British Ministry of Defense, and obscure hotel properties in Wales, they might have exercised more reservations before credulously repeating such unreliable claims.

Ahmed himself is no stranger to fringe political causes. The late Christopher Hitchens once described this particular writer as “a risible individual wedded to half-baked conspiracy-mongering.” Indeed, for almost two decades prior to Covid-19, Ahmed was a recurring presence in the circles around the so-called 9/11 Truth movement – the motley band of internet oddballs and kooks who claim that the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center were actually a controlled demolition carried out on behalf of some sort of “false flag” operation. In 2006, he added his own version of “jet fuel doesn’t melt steel beams” to their cause. As Ahmed wrote in an article to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the attacks:

“[I]t is agreed by all that the fires never burned hot enough to melt the steel columns. Whether or not the steel was hot enough to buckle, the official account fails to explain the deposits of molten metal found after the collapses. If not the fires, what could have caused the steel to melt?”

Reiterating his own contributing interests in 9/11 Trutherism, Ahmed continued with a stunning assessment of the “jet fuel” claim. “Shocking and absurd conspiraloonery? Not really. That’s the easy way out. The scientific validity of [9/11 conspiracy writer Steve] Jones’ line of inquiry has been supported by several other experts,” upon which he proceeded to name a long list of Truther cranks and crackpots who maintain that the terrorist attacks by Al Qaeda were really an inside job. (Ahmed quietly scrubbed this article from his personal blog in late 2020 after it became an embarrassment in light of his more recent attacks on the GBD, but an archived copy remains.)

With no small irony, many of the same scientists who frequently attack skepticism of lockdowns by labeling it a “fringe” and “unscientific” position have not the slightest compunction about taking their own cues on the GBD from an unmistakably fringe source of their own. That source’s ramblings remain equally mired in the same brand of “absurd conspiraloonery” he’s peddled on other topics for decades.

Sadly, several distinguished scientific figures in the epidemiology and public health professions have decided to seize onto and adopt Ahmed and the Byline Times’s paranoid style as their own, now that their star writer has shifted the focus of his attention away from World Trade Center Building 7 and onto anyone who dares to question the efficacy of Covid-19 lockdowns. The immediate result is both comical and horrifying, yet the real damage to epidemiology will play out for years to come. Scientific inquiry has succumbed to a proliferation of quacks in the ivory tower.

*****

This article was published on June 19, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from AIER, American Institute for Economic Research.

 

Racism Is Alive And Well At Yale

Yale, which protects its fragile students from dead white authors and offensive Halloween costumes, nevertheless featured a psychiatrist lecturing at Grand Rounds of her fantasies “unloading a revolver into the head of any white person that got in my way, wiping my bloody hands, like I did the world a f___ing big favor”.

Grand Rounds is an educational presentation by which teaching hospitals augment routine clinical training with presentations of unusual cases or medical advances. It’s not a political forum nor a venue to permit social causes.

Yet Dr. Aruna Khilanani, a New York psychiatrist, gave a widely-advertised speech on “The Psychopathic Problem of the White Mind“. “There are no good apples out there. White people make my blood boil“ she informed the assembled doctors-in-training.

She backed up her opinions by “taking some actions. I systematically white-ghosted most of my white friends“ including some “white BIPOCs“. Talking to white people is a “waste of time. We are asking a demented, violent predator who thinks they are saints or superheroes to accept responsibility. It ain’t going to happen. They have five holes in their brain.“

We’re well aware that there are bigots with pathological tendencies from both political extremes out there. Until now they haven’t been featured in legitimate academic settings. Not only that, her lecture was well received in some quarters.

A Yale psychologist pronounced her talk “absolutely brilliant”. A woman thanked the doctor for “giving voice to us as people of color”.

Dr. Khilanani was given space in the Washington Post to explain that any negative reactions were mistaken. She simply was concerned about “minority mental health“. She hoped to stimulate “more serious conversations about race“, rather remarkable considering she had just claimed reasoning with whites was impossible due to their inherent evil.

After some faculty members expressed concern, the medical school leadership allowed that “the tone and continent were antithetical to the values of the school“. Their response was to limit access to the lecture video to members of the Yale community.

But their concerns were primarily with the vulgarity and lack of respect in the speech. They never apologized for or condemned the speech, instead stating that the School of Medicine doesn’t condone violence or racism. Which is nice.

To Dr. Khilanani this was “suppression of my talk on race”. But she made an obvious point. Yale should not claim surprise because “they knew the topic, they knew the title, they knew the speaker“. Exactly. They bought it, they own it.

The doctor is hardly a lone wolf. A paper accepted by the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association instructed that “whiteness is a malignant, parasitic-like condition that renders its hosts’ appetite voracious, insatiable and perverse” and to which white people have a particular susceptibility.

Corporations spend millions demanding their employees accept that they’re secret, unacknowledged bigots. School children are called out and demeaned simply for belonging to the wrong race.

Yet in spite of all the provocation to hate raining down from the cultural heights, America is not a racist nation. Look around you. Of course there’s racism (see above). But normal Americans today bear no ill will personally to people of other races and accept them implicitly. Racism doesn’t drive policymaking. Judging people on the basis of their skin color is considered unacceptable by most of us.

Even though America is the least racist nation on the planet, it’s still a work in progress. But among the woke population, emerging voices are urging an ethos of resegregation. The renowned “anti-racist“ Ibram X. Kendi openly teaches that “the only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination”.

Free Americans have traditionally favored the opposite, liberal mindset of Frederick Douglass, Lincoln, and MLK, urging true equality and comity among the races. Chief Justice John Roberts expressed this ethos in his opinion that “the way to stop racial discrimination is to stop discriminating on the basis of race“.

It’s time for choosing. Roberts and Kendi can’t both be right. Hopefully, Americans will decide to work together for a future of yet greater equality and opportunity.

We can’t afford to lose the progress we have made. Bigotry is not OK, no matter what.

*****

Thomas C. Patterson, MD is a retired Emergency Medicine physician, Arizona state Senator and Arizona Senate Majority Leader in the ’90s. He is a former Chairman, Goldwater Institute.