“Ukraine’s Asymmetric War” (WSJ | Armstrong n Getty)

Armstrong and Getty read from the Wall Street Journal about Ukraine’s success in fighting a more tech-savvy war. Pretty interesting.

Here is the WSJ article, but unlocked:

Ukraine’s Asymmetric War — Moscow has more firepower, but Kyiv is using digital technology better.

Reports from Ukraine are filled with stories of Javelin antitank missiles and Turkish Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles taking out Russian tanks and armored vehicles. The Biden administration has announced $800 million in defensive weapons for Ukraine, including Javelins, Stinger antiaircraft weapons and Switchblade drones. More amazing is what Ukraine has also been doing on the cheap. And I don’t mean Molotov cocktails.

Wars are increasingly asymmetric—the lesser-armed side can put up a strong fight. The U.S. learned this in Iraq with insurgent use of improvised explosive devices, basically roadside bombs triggered with cellphones. Similarly, Ukraine has been deploying inexpensive, almost homemade weapons and using technology to its advantage.

The Times of London reports that Ukraine is using $2,000 commercial octocopter drones, modified with thermal imagers and antitank grenades, to find and attack Russian tanks hiding between homes in villages at night. Ukraine’s Aerorozvidka, its aerial reconnaissance team, has 50 squads of drone pilots who need solid internet connections to operate.

When the internet was cut in Syria in 2013, enterprising techies set up point-to-point Wi-Fi connections to bring internet access from across the border in Turkey. You can do this with Pringles potato-chip cans and $50 off-the-shelf Wi-Fi routers. Ukraine may be spared this ad hoc setup as

Elon Musk and his firm Starlink have donated thousands of satellite internet-access terminals to Ukraine, including to the Aerorozvidka squads, which come with warnings to camouflage the antennas. They typically cost $499 each and $99 a month for service.

Ukraine also effectively jammed Russia’s long-in-the-tooth wireless military-communication technology, which apparently uses a single-frequency channel to operate. Former Central Intelligence Agency Director

David Petraeus told CNN that Russians were then forced to use cellphones to communicate until Ukraine blocked the +7 country code for Russia and eventually took down 3G services that Russia uses for secure connections. Russian soldiers were forced to steal Ukrainian cellphones to communicate with one another. That’s no way to fight a war.

Ukraine also has taken advantage of crowdsourcing. The Journal told the story of Russian tanks that would fire on the city of Voznesensk and then back up a few hundred yards to avoid return fire. Civilians and Territorial Defense volunteers would then message the tanks’ new coordinates via the Viber social-messaging app.

The propaganda war is also being fought on the cheap, from President Volodymyr Zelensky’s Zoom call with the U.S. Congress to Ukraine’s work spreading news inside Russia. The Russians have blocked Facebook and Twitter, independent media has been shut down, and on Russian television no one is allowed to say “invasion” or “war.” But no country can completely filter and firewall real news. The Telegram and WhatsApp messaging apps encrypt their communications. Ukraine has begun using facial recognition to identify killed and captured Russian soldiers, even contacting their families and posting their photos on Telegram channels. Twitter now is using a service to disguise its origin and restore service to Russian users.

Most surprisingly, after much hype and many warnings, Russian cyberwarfare has been deemed fairly ineffective. Hours before the invasion, someone, presumably the Russians, launched a Trojan.Killdisk attack, disk-wiping malware that hit Ukrainian government and financial system computers and took down Parliament’s website. Cyberattack tracking firm Netscout called the attack “modest.” A Ukrainian newspaper then released a file with details on 120,000 Russian soldiers, including names, addresses, phone and passport numbers. Where the information came from is unknown.

But we have a hint. Ukraine is filled with smart coders, and the government set up an “IT Army of Ukraine” Telegram channel to coordinate digital attacks on Russian military digital systems. As many as 400,000 have volunteered so far. An officer of the Ukraine State Service of Special Communications said they were engaged in “cyber-resistance.” This digital flash mob has taken down Russian websites, though I doubt we will ever fully know the damage it may have inflicted. This is definitely a social-network-influenced conflict.

In the fog of war, stories and disinformation swirl. Most are impossible to verify. I’ve heard of foreign volunteers swarming to Ukraine who then post photos on Instagram. Both Facebook and Instagram strip GPS location coordinates from smartphone photos, but they allow these volunteers to tag nearby locations, potentially giving away refugees’ hiding places. These could be targeted by Russian missiles and may have been the reason the Mariupol theater was destroyed.

New technology for use in commerce often emerges after the smoke of battle clears. World War I produced tanks, field radios and improved airplanes. World War II brought radar, penicillin, nuclear power, synthetic rubber, Jeeps and even duct tape. What we are seeing in Ukraine is the asymmetric power of pervasive inexpensive commercial technology, especially citizen-empowering social networks and crowdsourcing. So far these tools have been altering the war’s outcome. Welcome to 21st-century warfare.

As Russian invasion continues, Makariv may be small in size, but it has big strategic value as it blocks Russia’s armed forces from encircling Kyiv. Ukrainian volunteer fighters use drones in the area for reconnaissance that can be used by Ukrainian artillery units to strike back.

Footage out of Ukraine shows the impressive accuracy and timing of an air-to-ground anti personnel operation by means of a quadcopter dropping a small point-detonating explosive.

Delusions of Gender | Matt Walsh (WSJ Article Added)

There’s no doubt about it, the Left has transformed gender from a biological fact into an ideological opinion, but how did we get to this point? Why is everything the Left tells you about gender wrong?

Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh dispels the Left’s delusions of gender during a special event from The University of Texas at Austin. This event is part of Young America’s Foundation’s Robert and Patricia Herbold Lecture Series.

YAF makes every effort to host in-person campus events. Unfortunately, administrators at the University of Texas at Austin limited attendance to only 99 for this event.

Here is an excellent WALL STREET JOURNAL article (via TOP TECH SOLUTIONS):

‘What are your pronouns?” is a seemingly innocuous question that has become increasingly common. Pronouns are now frequently displayed prominently in social-media bios, email signatures and conference name tags. Vice President

Kamala Harris

features “she/her” pronouns in her

Twitter

bio, and Transportation Secretary

Pete Buttigieg

includes “he/him” in his. Then there are the singular “they/them” pronouns used by “nonbinary” people who identify as neither male nor female, as well as a growing list of bespoke “neopronouns” such as “ze/zir” or “fae/faer,” and the even stranger “noun-self” neopronouns like “bun/bunself” which, according to the

New York Times,

are identities that can encompass animals and fantasy characters.

A recent survey of 40,000 “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth” in the U.S. found that a full 25% use pronouns other than she/her and he/him exclusively. The Human Rights Campaign, which claims to be the “nation’s largest LGBTQ+ civil rights organization,” recently tweeted that we should all begin conversations with “Hi, my pronouns are __________. What are yours?” We are told that asking for, sharing and respecting pronouns is “inclusive” to trans and nonbinary people, and that failing to do so may even constitute violence and oppression.

If this all sounds confusing and makes you uncomfortable for reasons you find difficult to articulate, you’re not alone. While being subjected to constant rituals of pronoun exchanges may seem silly or annoying at best and exhausting at worst, in reality participating in this ostensibly benign practice helps to normalize a regressive ideology that is inflicting enormous harm on society. To understand why, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with its core tenets.

Proponents of gender ideology have completely decoupled the terms “man,” “woman,” “boy” and “girl” from biological sex. Gender ideology teaches that the terms “man/boy” and “woman/girl”—and their corresponding “he/his” and “she/her” pronouns—refer to a person’s gender identity, while “male” and “female” refer to biological sex. While you may define a woman as a female human adult, gender ideology contends that a “woman” is an adult of either sex who simply “identifies” as a woman.

But what does it mean to “identify” as a man or woman?

Gender activists believe that being a man or a woman requires embracing stereotypes of masculinity or femininity, respectively, or the different social roles and expectations society imposes on people because of their sex. Planned Parenthood explicitly states that gender identity is “how you feel inside,” defines “gender” as a “a social and legal status, a set of expectations from society, about behaviors, characteristics, and thoughts,” and asserts that “it’s more about how you’re expected to act, because of your sex.”

A recent New York Times piece refers to “men, women and gender nonconforming people,” as though gender nonconformity were incompatible with being a man or a woman. According to the Genderbread Person, a popular educational tool for teaching young children about gender identity, the properties of “man-ness” and “woman-ness” include certain stereotypical “personality traits, jobs, hobbies, likes, dislikes, roles, [and] expectations.”

The clear message of gender ideology is that, if you’re a female who doesn’t “identify with” the social roles and stereotypes of femininity, then you’re not a woman; if you’re a male who similarly rejects the social roles and stereotypes of masculinity, then you’re not a man. Instead, you’re considered either transgender or nonbinary, and Planned Parenthood assures you that “there are medical treatments you can use to help your body better reflect who you are.” According to this line of thinking, certain personalities, behaviors and preferences are incompatible with certain types of anatomy.

So when someone asks for your pronouns, and you respond with “she/her,” even though you may be communicating the simple fact that you’re female, a gender ideologue would interpret this as an admission that you embrace femininity and the social roles and expectations associated with being female. While women’s-rights movements fought for decades to decouple womanhood from rigid stereotypes and social roles, modern gender ideology has melded them back together.

Coercing people into publicly stating their pronouns in the name of “inclusion” is a Trojan horse that empowers gender ideology and expands its reach. It is the thin end of the gender activists’ wedge designed to normalize their worldview. Participating in pronoun rituals makes you complicit in gender ideology’s regressive belief system, thereby legitimizing it. Far from an innocuous act signaling support for inclusion, it serves as an implicit endorsement of gender ideology and all of its radical tenets.

Let me offer an analogy. Consider the Human Rights Campaign urging people to begin conversations with “Hi, my pronouns are ________. What are yours?” Now imagine a similar request from the American Federation of Astrologers encouraging everyone to begin conversations with, “Hi, I’m a Sagittarius. What’s your sign?” To respond with your own star sign would be to operate within and signal your tacit agreement with the belief system of astrology. If you reject astrology and respond to the question with “I don’t have a sign,” the reply might be “Of course you do! When were you born?” But that’s a completely different question.

Similarly, if you reject gender ideology’s claim that men and women are defined by their willful adherence to masculine and feminine roles and stereotypes, and so refuse to answer a request for pronouns, your interlocutor might say, “We all have pronouns! Do you identify as a man or a woman?” But because that concept of man and woman is nothing like yours, stating pronouns will only further normalize the ritual and validate a radical worldview.

The redefining of “man,” “woman,” “boy” and “girl” around sex-related stereotypes has serious real-world implications. The rejection of these stereotypes is now commonly viewed as a medical condition (gender dysphoria) to be treated with puberty blockers (for children), cross-sex hormones and surgeries that result in permanent sterility and consign patients to a lifetime of medical bills. The redefinition is also threatening the safety of women in prisons, as well as compromising the safety, fairness and dignity of women and girls in sports, as males who simply “identify” as girls or women are allowed access to these protected spaces.

The effort to resist gender ideology is reality’s last stand. We simply can’t ignore fundamental realities of our biology and expect positive outcomes for society. Pronoun rituals are extremely effective at normalizing and institutionalizing the abolition of biological sex in favor of gender identity. These rituals take advantage of people’s confusion and compassion to achieve compliance. But the time for politeness has long passed. The only proper response to the question “What are your pronouns?” is to reject the premise and refuse to answer.

Mr. Wright, an evolutionary biologist, is managing editor of Quillette.

 

 

Coercion Made the Pandemic Worse (WSJ + AIER)

I wanted to make sure this WALL STREET JOURNAL article was saved in my feed (Hat-tip to Todd A):

Freedom is the central component of the best problem-solving system ever devised.

By David R. Henderson and Charles L. Hooper

The online Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “anti-vaxxer” as “a person who opposes the use of vaccines or regulations mandating vaccination.” Where does that leave us? We both strongly favor vaccination against Covid-19; one of us (Mr. Hooper) has spent years working and consulting for vaccine manufacturers. But we strongly oppose government vaccine mandates. If you’re crazy about Hondas but don’t think the government should force everyone to buy a Honda, are you “anti-Honda”?

The people at Merriam-Webster are blurring the distinction between choice and coercion, and that’s not merely semantics. If we accept that the difference between choice and coercion is insignificant, we will be led easily to advocate policies that require a large amount of coercion. Coercive solutions deprive us of freedom and the responsibility that goes with it. Freedom is intrinsically valuable; it is also the central component of the best problem-solving system ever devised.

Free choice relies on persuasion. It recognizes that you are an important participant with key information, problem-solving abilities and rights. Any solution that is adopted, therefore, must be designed to help you and others. Coercion is used when persuasion has failed or is teetering in that direction—or when you are raw material for someone else’s grand plans, however ill-conceived.

Authoritarian governmental approaches hamper problem-solving abilities. They typically involve one-size-fits-all solutions like travel bans and mask mandates. Once governments adopt coercive policies, power-hungry bureaucrats often spout an official party line and suppress dissent, no matter the evidence, and impose further sanctions to punish those who don’t fall in line. Once coercion is set in motion, it’s hard to backtrack.

Consider Australia, until recently a relatively free country. Its Northern Territory has a Covid quarantine camp in Howard Springs where law-abiding citizens can be forcibly sent if they have been exposed to a SARS-CoV-2-positive person or have traveled internationally or between states, even without evidence of exposure. A 26-year-old Australian citizen, Hayley Hodgson, was detained at the camp after she was exposed to someone later found to be positive. Despite three negative tests and no positive ones, she was held in a small enclosed area for 14 days and fed once a day. Even the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says quarantine can end after seven days with negative tests. Why didn’t the government let her quarantine at home? And why doesn’t it exempt or treat differently people who can prove prior vaccination or natural infection?

Although U.S. authorities haven’t gone nearly that far, early in the pandemic the Food and Drug Administration used its coercive power to discourage the development of diagnostic tests for Covid-19. The FDA required private labs wanting to develop tests to submit special paperwork to get approval that it had never required for other diagnostic tests. That, in combination with the CDC’s claims that it had enough testing capacity, meant that testing necessitated the use of a CDC test later determined to be so defective that it found the coronavirus in laboratory-grade water.

With voluntary approaches, we get the benefit of millions of people around the world actively trying to solve problems and make our lives better. We get high-quality vaccines from BioNTech/ Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna, instead of the suspect vaccines from the governments of Cuba and Russia. We get good diagnostic tests from Thermo Fisher Scientific instead of the defective CDC one. We get promising therapeutics such as Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Merck’s molnupiravir.

With authoritarian approaches, we get solutions that meet the requirements of those in power, regardless of how we benefit. Consider this hypothetical example:

Policy A ends with 1,000 Covid-19 cases, 5,000 people who have completely lost their liberty for two weeks, 1,000 lost jobs, and 300 missed key family events, such as the funeral of a loved one.

Policy B ends with 1,020 Covid-19 cases, 4,000 who have lost some of their liberty for one week, 1,000 who have completely lost their liberty for two weeks, 300 lost jobs, and 100 missed family events.

The government may prefer Policy A because it is focused on one aspect of the problem. You might prefer Policy B because many aspects of life matter to you—not only coronavirus cases—and B is much better on the other dimensions. But your preferences don’t count.

With coercive solutions, you’ll often deal with an official who will absolve himself of responsibility by pinning the rule on those giving the orders. With voluntary solutions, if it doesn’t make sense, we usually don’t do it. And therein lies one of the greatest protections we have to ensure that the solution isn’t worse than the problem.

The supposed trump card of those who favor coercion is externalities: One person’s behavior can put another at risk. But that’s only half the story. The other half is that we choose how much risk we accept. If some customers at a store exhibit risky behavior, then we can vaccinate, wear masks, keep our distance, shop at quieter times, or avoid the store.

Economists understand how one person can impose a cost on another. But it takes two to tango, and it’s generally more efficient if the person who can change his behavior with the lower cost changes how he behaves. In other words, to perform a proper evaluation of policies to deal with externalities, we must consider the responses available to both parties. Many people, including economists, ignore this insight.

By what principle do we throw out the playbook of the more successful country, ours, and adopt one from less successful, more authoritarian countries? The authoritarian playbook has serious built-in weaknesses, while solutions based on free choice have obvious and not-so-obvious strengths. Freedom is beneficial in good times; it’s even more crucial in challenging times.


Mr. Henderson is a research fellow with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He was senior health economist with President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers. Mr. Hooper is author of “Should the FDA Reject Itself?” and president of Objective Insights, whose clients include pharmaceutical companies.


AIER Bonus


A Perfect Storm of Incentives

It is not yet clear whether history will remember the 2020s more for an outbreak of a deadly virus, or for an outbreak of mass psychosis. No doubt, both were at play, the former because the virus was novel and deadly, the latter because we had no idea how much so. In March of 2020, the World Health Organization estimated Covid’s case fatality rate to be over 3 percent. Some outlets reported case fatality rates above 10 percent. By comparison, the case fatality rate for the common flu is a mere fraction of a percent.

But the early information ranged from sketchy to biased. In the early days, the number of Covid tests was limited, so physicians only tested those who were sick enough to show up at hospitals. This skewed the early data toward showing Covid as being deadlier than it actually was. With no randomized testing, the actual lethality was impossible to know.

This bias interacted with the media and politicians’ incentives to create a perfect storm of incentives. The media had an incentive to repeat the worst fatality projections and to play down the bias behind the projections because bad news attracts viewers, and viewers attract advertising dollars. Heavy media coverage of the worst Covid projections alarmed voters, and that forced politicians to respond. But the politicians’ incentives were skewed toward a heavy-handed response.

[….]

By late 2020, it became clear that early case fatality rates were overstated, but it was too late for politicians to change course. A feedback loop had ensued wherein the media sold advertising by spotlighting the Covid danger. This made people fearful, and the people pushed politicians to act. Politicians acted and then hid the potential error of unnecessary lockdowns by emphasizing the danger of Covid. This gave the media more material to spotlight and more advertising to sell. Social media then jumped into the fray by anointing itself the arbiter of what was and wasn’t “misinformation.” But social media was as motivated as the mainstream media to attract eyeballs and sell advertising, and so anything that contradicted the official line on Covid was deemed “misinformation.”

The result was mass psychosis in which people’s behaviors toward the real threat of Covid became inconsistent with their behaviors toward other real threats.

[….]

As with all things, lockdowns do not come without tradeoffs. Some people died of cancer, kidney disease, and other non-Covid causes because they were afraid to go to hospitals out of fear of contracting Covid. In Canada, cancer screening was suspended so that hospital resources could be devoted to Covid care. Early estimates show up to a 10 percent increase in cancer deaths as a consequence. In the US in the early days of Covid, there was a 30 percent decline in the number of people seeking initial treatment for kidney disease.

At the start of the pandemic, calls to suicide hotlines spiked across the country, as did instances of domestic violence. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that the total number of deaths in the US was 450,000 larger than it should have been in 2020. That 360,000 of those were directly due to Covid means that the remaining 90,000 were due to Covid only indirectly or due to the lockdowns themselves.

In addition to the lockdowns costing lives, we expended unprecedented resources maintaining them. These came initially in the form of unemployment and business closures, and later in the form of supply chain problems and inflation and higher taxes to pay for massive stimulus spending. In late 2020, economists estimated that, provided it ended by the fall of 2021, the pandemic will cost the United States around $16 trillion over the next decade. That’s around $40 million for every life saved.

But how many more lives might we have saved had we done something different with those resources? Around 660,000 people die each year of heart disease in the US. The National Institutes of Health spends around $5 billion each year researching cures for cardiovascular diseases. Americans spend another $330 billion each year for hospitalization, home health care, medication, and lost productivity associated with cardiovascular diseases.

Suppose that, over the next decade, it turns out that the 2020-21 lockdown saved a total of 1.1 million US lives (including people who may have contracted Covid in 2020-21 but died over the subsequent decade from lingering complications). This is three times the 370,000 the lockdown appears to have saved in 2020 alone. We will have spent $16 trillion in direct costs and lost productivity to save those 1.1 million people. But, over the same decade, 6.6 million people will have died of cardiovascular diseases. To save them, we will have spent $3.3 trillion. We are dedicating one-fifth the resources to fighting a disease that kills six times the number of people. That makes no sense.

Of course, Covid and cardiovascular diseases are very different in that heart disease isn’t contagious. And yet, that criticism cuts both ways: because heart disease isn’t contagious, we can’t develop a herd immunity, and so heart disease will remain with us for generations whereas Covid will not.

[….]

As Omicron looms, and as surely as Pi, Rho, and Sigma will follow, voters should meet their fears with reason, view the media with a skeptical eye, and demand that politicians discuss tradeoffs openly and honestly.


Antony Davies is the Milton Friedman Distinguished Fellow at the Foundation for Economic Education, and associate professor of economics at Duquesne University. He has authored Principles of Microeconomics (Cognella), Understanding Statistics (Cato Institute), and Cooperation and Coercion (ISI Books). He has written hundreds of op-eds appearing in, among others, the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, New York Post, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, US News, and the Houston Chronicle.

The Effectiveness of Ivermectin via The Wall Street Journal

If Ivermectin is effective against Covid and all indications suggest that it is, why aren’t we making it more accessible? Why does the medical establishment dismiss it and even suggest that it’s harmful? Dennis Prager discusses two articles in his monologue. One from The Wall Street Journal, the other from Slate:

  • Why Is the FDA Attacking a Safe, Effective Drug? (WSJ)
  • The Noble Lies of COVID-19 (SLATE)

The Slate article deals more with masks.

Via THE WALL STREET JOURNAL’s article, Why Is the FDA Attacking a Safe, Effective Drug?(via The Burning Platform)

Ivermectin is a promising Covid treatment and prophylaxis, but the agency is denigrating it.

The Food and Drug Administration claims to follow the science. So why is it attacking ivermectin, a medication it certified in 1996?

Earlier this year the agency put out a special warning that “you should not use ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19.” The FDA’s statement included words and phrases such as “serious harm,” “hospitalized,” “dangerous,” “very dangerous,” “seizures,” “coma and even death” and “highly toxic.” Any reader would think the FDA was warning against poison pills. In fact, the drug is FDA-approved as a safe and effective antiparasitic.

Ivermectin was developed and marketed by Merck & Co. while one of us (Mr. Hooper) worked there years ago. William C. Campbell and Satoshi Omura won the 2015 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for discovering and developing avermectin, which Mr. Campbell and associates modified to create ivermectin.

Ivermectin is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines. Merck has donated four billion doses to prevent river blindness and other diseases in Africa and other places where parasites are common. A group of 10 doctors who call themselves the Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance have said ivermectin is “one of the safest, low-cost, and widely available drugs in the history of medicine.”

Ivermectin fights 21 viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the cause of Covid-19. A single dose reduced the viral load of SARS-CoV-2 in cells by 99.8% in 24 hours and 99.98% in 48 hours, according to a June 2020 study published in the journal Antiviral Research.

Some 70 clinical trials are evaluating the use of ivermectin for treating Covid-19. The statistically significant evidence suggests that it is safe and works for both treating and preventing the disease.

In 115 patients with Covid-19 who received a single dose of ivermectin, none developed pneumonia or cardiovascular complications, while 11.4% of those in the control group did. Fewer ivermectin patients developed respiratory distress (2.6% vs. 15.8%); fewer required oxygen (9.6% vs. 45.9%); fewer required antibiotics (15.7% vs. 60.2%); and fewer entered intensive care (0.1% vs. 8.3%). Ivermectin-treated patients tested negative faster, in four days instead of 15, and stayed in the hospital nine days on average instead of 15. Ivermectin patients experienced 13.3% mortality compared with 24.5% in the control group.

Moreover, the drug can help prevent Covid-19. One 2020 article in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications looked at what happened after the drug was given to family members of confirmed Covid-19 patients. Less than 8% became infected, versus 58.4% of those untreated. Among 200 healthcare workers and others at high risk of exposure, only 2% of those given ivermectin developed Covid-19. But 10% of the control group did.

Despite the FDA’s claims, ivermectin is safe at approved doses. Out of four billion doses administered since 1998, there have been only 28 cases of serious neurological adverse events, according to an article published this year in the American Journal of Therapeutics. The same study found that ivermectin has been used safely in pregnant women, children and infants.

If the FDA were driven by science and evidence, it would give an emergency-use authorization for ivermectin for Covid-19. Instead, the FDA asserts without evidence that ivermectin is dangerous.

At the bottom of the FDA’s warning against ivermectin is this statement: “Meanwhile, effective ways to limit the spread of COVID-19 continue to be to wear your mask, stay at least 6 feet from others who don’t live with you, wash hands frequently, and avoid crowds.” Is this based on the kinds of double-blind studies that the FDA requires for drug approvals? No.

Mr. Henderson, a research fellow with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, was senior health economist with President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers. Mr. Hooper is president of Objective Insights, a firm that consults with pharmaceutical clients.

Most important in this post is this, WHERE CAN I GET Hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin? AMERICA’S FRONTLINE DOCTORS has a consultation sign up HERE! See also FLCCC ALLIANCE (Click Pic)

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Ben Shapiro Discusses Vaccines and Kids

Some Covid Fodder (Reason) via Ben Shapiro

This comes by way of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL:

The Flimsy Evidence Behind the CDC’s Push to Vaccinate Children | The agency overcounts Covid hospitalizations and deaths and won’t consider if one shot is sufficient.

A tremendous number of government and private policies affecting kids are based on one number: 335. That is how many children under 18 have died with a Covid diagnosis code in their record, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet the CDC, which has 21,000 employees, hasn’t researched each death to find out whether Covid caused it or if it involved a pre-existing medical condition.

Without these data, the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices decided in May that the benefits of two-dose vaccination outweigh the risks for all kids 12 to 15. I’ve written hundreds of peer-reviewed medical studies, and I can think of no journal editor who would accept the claim that 335 deaths resulted from a virus without data to indicate if the virus was incidental or causal, and without an analysis of relevant risk factors such as obesity.

My research team at Johns Hopkins worked with the nonprofit FAIR Health to analyze approximately 48,000 children under 18 diagnosed with Covid in health-insurance data from April to August 2020. Our report found a mortality rate of zero among children without a pre-existing medical condition such as leukemia. If that trend holds, it has significant implications for healthy kids and whether they need two vaccine doses. The National Education Association has been debating whether to urge schools to require vaccination before returning to school in person. How can they or anyone debate the issue without the right data?

Meanwhile, we’ve already seen inflated Covid death numbers in the U.S. revised downward. Last month Alameda County, Calif., reduced its Covid death toll by 25% after state public-health officials insisted that deaths be attributed to Covid only if the virus was a direct or contributing factor.

Organizations and politicians who are eager to get every living American vaccinated are following the CDC without understanding the limitations of the methodology. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky claimed that vaccinating a million adolescent kids would prevent 200 hospitalizations and one death over four months. But the agency’s Covid adolescent hospitalization report, like its death count, doesn’t distinguish on the website whether a child is hospitalized for Covid or with Covid. The subsequent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report of that analysis revealed that 45.7% “were hospitalized for reasons that might not have been primarily related” to Covid-19.

Hospitals routinely test patients being admitted for other complaints even if there’s no reason to suspect they have Covid. An asymptomatic child who tests positive after being injured in a bicycle accident would be counted as a “Covid hospitalization.”

The CDC may also be undercapturing data on vaccine complications. The CDC’s risk-benefit analysis for vaccinating all children used rates of complications extrapolated from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System database, known as Vaers, which contains raw, self-reported data that is unverified and likely underreports adverse events. The CDC or the Food and Drug Administration should expeditiously assign doctors to research each of the thousands of vaccine complications reported to Vaers.

Authorities should also consider whether a single-vaccine dose is a safer option for healthy kids. Researchers at Tel Aviv University reported that a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine was 100% effective against infection in kids 12 to 15. Not only has the CDC refused to examine the possibility of a one-dose regimen for minors; Harvard epidemiologist Martin Kulldorff told me he was kicked off the advisory committee working group on Covid-vaccine safety after he expressed a dissenting opinion.

The CDC’s poor performance isn’t limited to kids or vaccine safety. Early in the pandemic the CDC left us all flying blind by not reporting the medical conditions of those who died of Covid. Collecting this information early would have made it easier to protect nursing-home residents and patients with renal failure or diabetes. It took until March 2021 for the CDC to report that 78% of Covid hospitalizations were among overweight or obese patients.

Most striking, the CDC has never systematically collected and reported the No. 1 leading indicator of the pandemic—daily new hospitalizations for Covid sickness. Instead, the CDC offers the lagging indicator of hospitalization for anyone who tests positive for Covid.

The CDC data on natural-immunity rates is similarly disappointing. The CDC reports this measure in fragments on their website, but it’s outdated and some states are listed as having “no data available.” The low priority given to this indicator is consistent with how public-health officials have played down and ignored natural immunity in their drive to get everyone vaccinated.

Given the tremendous resources of the CDC and FDA, which together employ 39,000, these agencies ought to be able to report the statistics needed to make informed policy decisions. If the data are incomplete or flawed, so too will be the decisions derived from them. The vaccine’s benefits may outweigh its risks for healthy kids, but the government shouldn’t try to push that conclusion based on faulty data.

Dr. Makary is a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Bloomberg School of Public Health and Carey Business School. He is author of “The Price We Pay: What Broke American Health Care—and How to Fix It.”

R.R. Reno: “Why I Stopped Hiring Ivy League Graduates”

This comes by way of the WALL STREET JOURNAL:

  • Why I Stopped Hiring Ivy League Graduates — Even those who aren’t woke seem damaged by the experience, and they’re deprived of role models.

I’m not inclined to hire a graduate from one of America’s elite universities. That marks a change. A decade ago I relished the opportunity to employ talented graduates of Princeton, Yale, Harvard and the rest. Today? Not so much.

As a graduate of Haverford College, a fancy school outside Philadelphia, I took interest in the campus uproar there last fall. It concerned “antiblackness” and the “erasure of marginalized voices.” A student strike culminated in an all-college Zoom meeting for undergraduates. The college president and other administrators promised to “listen.” During the meeting, many students displayed a stunning combination of thin-skinned narcissism and naked aggression. The college administrators responded with self-abasing apologies.

Haverford is a progressive hothouse. If students can be traumatized by “insensitivity” on that leafy campus, then they’re unlikely to function as effective team members in an organization that has to deal with everyday realities. And in any event, I don’t want to hire someone who makes inflammatory accusations at the drop of a hat.

Student activists don’t represent the majority of students. But I find myself wondering about the silent acquiescence of most students. They allow themselves to be cowed by charges of racism and other sins. I sympathize. The atmosphere of intimidation in elite higher education is intense. But I don’t want to hire a person well-practiced in remaining silent when it costs something to speak up.

The traditional Islamic world exhibited a modicum of tolerance. Christians and Jews were dhimmi, allowed to exist, but on the condition that they accepted their subordinate role in society. While studying this arrangement, sociologists coined the term “dhimmitude,” which refers to the mentality of those who have internalized their second-class status.

Haverford, like Harvard and other top tier schools, graduates fine young people, no doubt many with well-adjusted personalities and sensible views of the world. But in the past decade, dhimmitude has become widespread. Normal kids at elite universities keep their heads down. Over the course of four years, this can become a subtle but real habit of obeisance, a condition of moral and spiritual surrender.

Some resist. They would seem ideal for my organization, which aims to speak for religious and social conservatives. But even this kind of graduate brings liabilities to the workplace. I’ve met recent Ivy grads with conservative convictions who manifest a form of posttraumatic stress disorder. Others have developed a habit of aggressive counterpunching that is no more appealing in a young employee than the ruthless accusations of the woke.

In recent years, I’ve taken stock of my assumptions about who makes for the best entry-level employee. I have no doubt that Ivy League universities attract smart, talented and ambitious kids. But do these institutions add value? My answer is increasingly negative. Dysfunctional kids are coddled and encouraged to nurture grievances, while normal kids are attacked and educationally abused. Listening to Haverford’s all-college Zoom meeting also made it clear that today’s elite students aren’t going to schools led by courageous adults. Deprived of good role models, they’re less likely to mature into good leaders themselves.

My rule of thumb is to hire from institutions I advise young people to attend. Hillsdale College is at the top of that list, as are quirky small Catholic colleges such as Thomas Aquinas College, Wyoming Catholic College and the University of Dallas. In my experience, graduates from these sorts of places are well-educated. But more important, they’ve been supported and encouraged by their institutions, and they haven’t been deformed by the toxic political correctness that leaders of elite universities have allowed to become dominant.

Large state universities and their satellite schools are also good sources. In my experience, top-performing students at Rutgers are as talented but less self-important than Ivy Leaguers. They’re more likely to accept the authority of those more experienced. This allows for better mentoring, which in turn produces better results over time.

The biggest liability that comes with hiring graduates from places like Haverford and Harvard is that they have been socialized to panic over pseudocrises. Talk of systemic racism and fixation on pronouns inculcate in young people an apocalyptic urgency, a mentality that often disrupts the workplace and encourages navel-gazing about “diversity,” “inclusion” and other ill-defined notions that are far removed from the main work of my organization, which is good writing, good editing and good arguments.

A few years ago a student at an Ivy League school told me, “The first things you learn your freshman year is never to say what you are thinking.” The institution he attended claims to train the world’s future leaders. From what that young man reports, the opposite is true. The school is training future self-censors, which means future followers.

Mr. Reno is editor of First Things.

Biden’s BIG-Government

Here are the two articles mentioned in the below audio by Armstrong and Getty (Hour 1 Thursday, and Hour 3 – same day):

  • America’s Welfare State Is on Borrowed Time — Biden has fully embraced the mad goal of giving 98% of the population lavish benefits at no cost. (WALL STREET JOURNAL | THE RED LINE [no pay wall])
  • Democrats Are Killing the American Dream — Joe Biden’s American Families Plan replaces individual striving with middle class entitlements. (WALL STREET JOURNAL | BLACK REPUBLICAN)

REASON.COM has been on fire as of late:

 

 

The Myth Of American Inequality (Armstrong & Getty)

Armstrong and Getty read from and discuss a bit an article in the WALL STREET JOURNAL entitled: The Myth Of American Inequality. See more via my post titled, “Wealth Inequality in America – Critiques On Inequality” (The below video was the update to that post)

The article is originally found at the WALL STREET JOURNAL, titled:

  • The Truth About Income Inequality: The Census Fails To Account For Taxes And Most Welfare Payments, Painting A Distorted Picture.

Here is the non-paywall article via PECKFORD 42:

Taxes and transfers in the U.S. put its income distribution in line with its large developed peers.

America is the world’s most prosperous large country, but critics often attempt to tarnish that title by claiming income is distributed less equally in the U.S. than in other developed countries. These critics point to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which ranks the U.S. as the least equal of the seven largest developed countries. American progressives often weaponize statistics like these to urge greater redistribution. But the OECD income-distribution comparison is biased because the U.S. underreports its income transfers in comparison to other nations. When the data are adjusted to account for all government programs that transfer income, the U.S. is shown to have an income distribution that aligns closely with its peers.

The OECD measures inequality by determining a country’s “Gini coefficient,” or the proportion of all income that would have to be redistributed to achieve perfect equality. A nation’s Gini coefficient would be 0 if every household had the same amount of disposable income, and it would approach 1 if a single household had all of the disposable income. The current OECD comparison, portrayed by the blue bars in the nearby chart, shows Gini coefficients for the world’s most-developed large countries, ranging from 0.29 in Germany to 0.39 in the U.S.

But there are variations in how each nation reports income. The U.S. deviates significantly from the norm by excluding several large government transfers to low-income households. Inexplicably, the Census Bureau excludes Medicare and Medicaid, which redistribute more than $760 billion a year to the bottom 40% of American households. The data also exclude 93 other federal redistribution programs that annually transfer some $520 billion to low-income households. These include the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. States and localities directly fund another $310 billion in redistribution programs also excluded from the Census Bureau’s submission.

This means current OECD comparisons omit about $1.6 trillion in annual redistributions to low-income Americans—close to 80% of their total redistribution receipts. This significantly skews the U.S. Gini coefficient. The correct Gini should be 0.32—not 0.39. That puts the U.S. income distribution in the middle of the seven largest developed nations.

Gini scores for other countries in the OECD ranking also might shift with better data: The OECD doesn’t publish transfers by income level for other countries. But the change in income distribution for other countries would likely be less drastic. The poorest fifth of U.S. households receive 84.2% of their disposable income from taxpayer-funded transfers, and the second quintile gets 57.8%. U.S. transfer payments constitute 28.5% of Americans’ disposable income—almost double the 15% reported by the Census Bureau. That’s a bigger share than in all large developed countries other than France, which redistributes 33.1% of its disposable income.

The U.S. also has the most progressive income taxes of its peer group. The top 10% of U.S. households earn about 33.5% of all income, but they pay 45.1% of income taxes, including Social Security and Medicare taxes. Their share of all income-related taxes is 1.35 times as large as their share of income. In Germany, the top 10% pay 1.07 times their share of earnings. The top 10% of French pay 1.1 times their share.

If the top earners pay smaller shares of income taxes in other countries, everybody else pays more. The bottom 90% of German earners pay a share of their nation’s taxes on income 77% larger than that paid by the bottom 90% of Americans. The bottom 90% in France pay nearly double the share their American counterparts pay. Even in Sweden—the supposed progressive utopia—the top 10% of earners pay only 5.9% of gross domestic product in income-related taxes, 22% less than their American peers. The bottom 90% of Swedes pay 16.3% of GDP in taxes on income, 77% more than in the U.S.

Even these numbers understate how progressive the total tax burden is in America. The U.S. has no value-added tax and collects only 35.8% of all tax revenues from non-income-tax sources, the smallest share of any OECD country. Most developed countries have large VATs and collect a far larger share of their state revenue through regressive levies.

When all transfer payments and taxes are counted, the U.S. redistributes a larger share of its disposable income than any country other than France. Relative to the share of income they earn, the share of income taxes paid by America’s high earners is greater than the share of income taxes paid by their peers in any other OECD country. The progressive dream of an America with massive income redistribution and a highly progressive tax system has already come true. To make America even more like Europe, these dreamers will have to redefine middle-income Americans as “rich” and then double their taxes.

Wealth Inequality in America – Critiques On Inequality

(UPDATED w/ Armstrong and Getty [3-24-2021])

Armstrong and Getty read from and discuss a bit an article in the WALL STREET JOURNAL entitled: The myth of American inequality (https://tinyurl.com/ymy5rjz9). Unfortunately the article is behind a pay-wall… but PECKFORD 42 has it for reading.

(UPDATED April 2014 and Today: 12-27-2020)

The below video is a “pop-culture” challenge to an economic principle that if the free-markets are left to choose (free contractual trade for services between people in the supply-and-demand market) would allow the most people to succeed as the innate abilities of people and the market can bare:

Prager University notes that “INEQUALITY IS GOOD”

What if everything you’ve heard about income inequality is wrong? What if it’s actually a good thing for there to be people who are rich and people who aren’t? John Tamny, editor of RealClearMarkets, clarifies one of the big misunderstandings of our time.

If you want a quick dealing with this instead of the more thoughtful look below, here is one excellent quickie:

Politicians and reporters often rail about “the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.” In fact, the incomes of poor and middle-income Americans are up 32% since the government began keeping track several decades ago (The Distribution of Household Income [CBO] – PDF). Yes, that increase is adjusted for inflation. Another misleading claim, says Stossel, is the idea that the U.S. “no longer has economic mobility.” But a paper in The Quarterly Journal of Economics found that most people born to the richest fifth of Americans fall out of that bracket within 20 years. (Table 2)) Likewise, most born to the poorest fifth climb to a higher quintile. Some climb all the way to the top.

AEI has a good critique of the video challenge at the top, I will follow this by a video response by Lee Doren:

A video titled Wealth Inequality in America has gone viral on the Internet, it’s up to almost four million views on YouTube. It’s not clear who produced it, and it’s not clear what solution is being proposed to the “problem” of wealth inequality identified in the video. What is clear is that it’s another fallacious, static analysis of wealth distribution that focuses only on abstract, statistical brackets at a given point in time, while completely disregarding the most important point: what is happening to actual flesh-and-blood human beings whose income and wealth change all the time and who are moving among the various abstract statistical brackets from year to year.

In the video above titled “What Wasn’t Said in ‘Wealth Inequality In America,’” Steve Horwitz responds to the Wealth Inequality video and reminds us that the most important issue is not what abstract statistical bracket people fall into in a given year, but rather the degree of income or wealth mobility from year to year. It’s an important point, and one that’s completely overlooked in the viral video.

Thomas Sowell has discussed extensively the issues of static versus dynamic analysis of wealth and income distributions, and income and wealth mobility, and here are some of his quotes as an antidote to the limited, static “analysis” of wealth inequality presented in the viral video:

1. Comparing the top income bracket with the bottom income bracket over a period of years tells you nothing about what is happening to the actual flesh-and-blood human beings who are moving between brackets during those years. Following trends among income brackets over the years creates the illusion of following people over time. But the only way to follow people is to follow people. Source

2. Sports statistics are kept in a much more rational way than statistics about political issues. Have you ever seen statistics on what percentage of the home runs over the years have been hit by batters hitting in the .320s versus batters hitting in the .280s or the .340s? Not very likely. Such statistics would make no sense, because different batters are in these brackets from one year to the next. You wouldn’t be comparing people, you would be comparing abstractions and mistaking those abstractions for people.

But, in politics and in commentaries on political issues, people talk incessantly about how “the top one percent” of income earners are getting more money or how the “bottom 20 percent” are falling behind. Yet the turnover in income brackets over a decade is at least as great as the turnover in batting average brackets. Source

3. Only by focusing on the income brackets, instead of the actual people moving between those brackets, have the intelligentsia been able to verbally create a “problem” for which a “solution” is necessary. They have created a powerful vision of “classes” with “disparities” and “inequities” in income, caused by “barriers” created by “society.” But the routine rise of millions of people out of the lowest quintile over time makes a mockery of the “barriers” assumed by many, if not most, of the intelligentsia.” Source

4. Most people are not even surprised any more when they hear about someone who came here from Korea or Vietnam with very little money, and very little knowledge of English, who nevertheless persevered and rose in American society. Nor are we surprised when their children excel in school and go on to professional careers. Yet, in utter disregard of such plain facts, so-called “social scientists” do studies which conclude that America is no longer a land of opportunity, and that upward mobility is a “myth.” Source

5. Most working Americans who were initially in the bottom 20 percent of income-earners, rise out of that bottom 20 percent. More of them end up in the top 20 percent than remain in the bottom 20 percent. People who were initially in the bottom 20 percent in income have had the highest rate of increase in their incomes, while those who were initially in the top 20 percent have had the lowest. This is the direct opposite of the pattern found when following income brackets over time, rather than following individual people. Source

6. Most of the media publicize what is happening to the statistical brackets — especially that “top one percent” — rather than what is happening to individual people. Source

Here is Lee’s response (Preserved by me!)

Lee Doren has a passion for public speaking, being the youngest speaker to lecture for the Ronald Reagan Political Lecture Series at Oberlin College. He has given speeches in Annapolis, Maryland on the Bill of Rights and at the U.S. Capitol for the 9/12 March on Washington. He has been invited to lecture at The Cato Institute, The Institute for Energy Research, the Young Britons’ Foundation in the United Kingdom, the State Policy Network and Lehigh University. He has also provided commentary for Fox News, CNN, Reuters, PBS and Air America.

I would recommend the following articles for further reading:


  1. YouTube Wealth Inequality Video Fails to Tell the Whole Story (Policy Mic);
  2. Why Inequality Doesn’T Matter: At Least Not Income Inequality (The Federalist);
  3. Inequality Fallacies: The Left Gets The Facts Wrong On Economic And Racial Disparities (National Review Online);
  4. Income Inequality Deception (Forbes);
  5. Dispelling Myths About Income Inequality (Forbes);
  6. The Five Biggest Myths About Income Inequality (Forbes);
  7. The Income-Inequality Myth: Reports Of Skyrocketing Incomes For The Wealthy And Stagnating Wages For The Rest Are Unfounded (National Review Online);
  8. The American Dream of Income Equality Still Lives (Scientific American);
  9. Debunking The Top Three Myths About Income Inequality (CNBC);
  10. Inequality Myths (CATO).
  11. Five Myths About Economic Inequality In America (CATO)

(This portion can also be found in the “Rich Get Richer/Poor Get Poorer” Mantra.) Larry Elder notes when this “widening” happened the most:

Here are some myth busting to help the layman researcher get more facts to respond to the pop-politics we run-across in our social media lifestyle. Investors Business Daily makes some key points that are hard to ignore:

Income Inequality Rose Most Under President Clinton

But it turns out that the rich actually got poorer under President Bush, and the income gap has been climbing under Obama.

What’s more, the biggest increase in income inequality over the past three decades took place when Democrat Bill Clinton was in the White House.

The wealthiest 5% of U.S. households saw incomes fall 7% after inflation in Bush’s eight years in office, according to an IBD analysis of Census Bureau data. A widely used household income inequality measure, the Gini index, was essentially flat over that span. Another inequality gauge, the Theil index, showed a decline.

In contrast, the Gini index rose — slightly — in Obama’s first two years. Another Census measure of inequality shows it’s climbed 5.7% since he took office.

Meanwhile, during Clinton’s eight years, the wealthiest 5% of American households saw their incomes jump 45% vs. 26% under Reagan. The Gini index shot up 6.7% under Clinton, more than any other president since 1980

[….]

As University of Michigan economist Mark Perry notes, while the income gap has grown since 1979, almost the entire increase occurred before the mid-1990s: “There is absolutely no statistical support for the commonly held view that income inequality has been rising recently.”

A similar analysis found that income inequality has fallen among individuals since the early 1990s, but risen among households due to factors such as more marriages of people with similar education levels and earnings potential.

Others argue that income mobility matters more than equality.

One study found that more than half of the families who started in the lowest income bracket in 1996 had moved to a higher one by 2005. At the other end of the spectrum, more than 57% of families fell out of the top 1%.

…read more…

Another smaller post points out nearly the same:

Busting The 1% Vs. 99% Myth

The left says current levels of income inequality echo the late 1920s and the Gilded Age. They’ve zeroed in on the richest 1%, citing Census Bureau data showing these top earners “grabbing” more income than the bottom 90%.

But the census stats are misleading.

For one, they are a snapshot of income distribution at a single point in time. Yet income is not static. It changes over time. Low-paying jobs from early adulthood give way to better-paying jobs later in life.

And income groups in America are not fixed. There’s no caste system here, really no such thing even as a middle “class.” The poor aren’t stuck in poverty. And the rich don’t enjoy lifetime membership in an exclusive club.

A 2007 Treasury Department study bears this out. Nearly 58% of U.S. households in the lowest-income quintile in 1996 moved to a higher level by 2005. The reverse also held true. Of those households that were in the top 1% in income in 1996, more than 57% dropped to a lower-income group by 2005.

Every day in America, the poor join the ranks of the rich, and the rich fall out of comfort.

So even if income equality is increasing, it does not mean income mobility is decreasing. There is still a great deal of movement in and out of the richest and poorest groups in America.

…read more…

Joe Biden’s Executive Order Purge

Dennis Prager reads a portion of Kimberley Strassel’s WALL STREET JOURNAL article about the tyrannical purge of Hunter Biden’s father. The full article to follow the audio:

Via the WALL STREET JOURNAL:

The “unity” lasted all of a couple of minutes. Then, hours after President Biden pledged in his inaugural address to show “tolerance and humility,” the brass knuckles came out.

One duster was aimed at Peter Robb, general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board. Within minutes of Mr. Biden’s swearing-in, and as the new president told the nation it needed to “be better,” the new White House delivered Mr. Robb an ultimatum: resign by 5 p.m., or be fired.

The general-counsel position is a Senate-confirmed four-year appointment at an independent agency; Mr. Robb had 10 months left in his term. No NLRB general counsel had ever been fired, and the Biden White House provided no cause for the action. Mr. Robb pointed all this out in a return letter and respectfully declined to step down. So Mr. Biden (“we must end this uncivil war”) canned him.

For four years, the media and Democrats cast every action of the Trump administration as something law-breaking or verging on a constitutional crisis. This week’s headlines, by contrast, were a mass media celebration of the return to “normalcy.” Mr. Biden ran on, and won on, a promise to restore norms to Washington.

The Robb firing illustrates the falsehood of both those narratives. For all Mr. Trump’s bad manners, his administration’s actions were largely by the book. Mr. Trump never fired Richard Griffin, Barack Obama’s NLRB general counsel, who served nine months to the end of his term in 2017. For all the talk of Mr. Biden as the embodiment of gentlemanly politics, Democrats have no intention of playing by the rules. They intend to impose an agenda and won’t let a little thing like a 70-year-old precedent, or embarrassment over double standards, get in their way.

The Robb firing is an early indicator of Mr. Biden’s top priorities. Democrats rely on unions to get elected, and unions are therefore first in line to get rewarded. The most effective vehicle for that is the NLRB, which has sweeping power to enforce labor practices on companies across America. Mr. Obama used the NLRB to rig the rules so that unions could dominate workforces.

Mr. Biden nonetheless has a problem. The five-member NLRB currently has three Republicans and one Democrat. Even as Mr. Biden fills the empty position in coming weeks, he still won’t have control—and won’t likely get it until August of this year, when the term of GOP member William Emanuel expires. Mr. Biden is moving to install a powerful general counsel who will block, sabotage or undermine the board’s work until that time.

It is also an early indicator of Mr. Biden’s governing philosophy, which is straight out of the Obama playbook. The last Democratic president was so intent on rewarding labor bosses, he proved willing to break almost anything (including the Constitution) to do it. Mr. Obama was frustrated in 2012 that the Senate wouldn’t rubber-stamp his radical appointments to the NLRB. So in January he named three NLRB members as “recess” appointments. The problem? The Senate wasn’t in recess. The Supreme Court in 2014 unanimously declared those appointments void.

Then there was the Obama acting NLRB general counsel, Lafe Solomon. Even after a lower court in 2013 declared the Obama appointments illegitimate, the NLRB continued to pump out pro-labor decisions. Mr. Solomon explained that these rulings were valid because he held a powerful and “independent” position—“appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.” That would be the same “independent” position that Mr. Biden just kneecapped in firing Mr. Robb. The new president can be forgiven for wanting his own people in office, but a little consistency would be nice.

It won’t be forthcoming, because the NLRB will be even more important to Mr. Biden than it was to Mr. Obama, given growing rifts in the labor community. The new president is under massive pressure from the progressive left, including many service unions, to act aggressively on climate. Yet his first-day executive action canceling the Keystone XL pipeline prompted a furious rebuke from blue-collar unions that are set to lose jobs. Mark McManus, general president of the United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters scored Mr. Biden for listening to “the voices of fringe activists instead of union members.”

Control of the NLRB will allow Mr. Biden’ to soothe labor divisions by handing out sweeping rule changes that will benefit unions across the spectrum. Mr. Robb’s firing will likely be only the first of many exercises of raw power, many of which will likely make the Obama NLRB look tame.

The nation will soon be disillusioned. Mr. Biden is likely to continue speaking a lot of pretty words in coming months. What matters are his actions.

Benjamin Franklin Cancelled (Armstrong and Getty)

Armstrong and Getty go read from a Wall Street Journal opinion article regarding the “cancelling” (erasing of) history by Democrats. The articles title is “BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, ‘PERSON OF CONCERN’ — D.C. ALSO PROPOSES TO CANCEL WASHINGTON AND JEFFERSON

Excerpt:

‘A republic, if you can keep it.” Benjamin Franklin’s 1787 quip about the government Americans would have is probably the most popular Founding-era wisdom still with us. Maybe not for long. As if to prove Franklin’s insight about the tendency of republics to self-destruct, a District of Columbia panel has identified Franklin, among other Founders, as a “person of concern,” and recommended his name be removed from D.C. property.

The astonishing proposals come from a Washington, D.C., government committee formed by Mayor Muriel Bowser to re-examine the names of schools, statues and parks in the wake of protests. The committee submitted its report Monday, and Ms. Bowser tweeted “I look forward to reviewing and advancing their recommendations.”

The committee says it hunted for historical figures with “key disqualifying histories, including participation in slavery, systemic racism, mistreatment of, or actions that suppressed equality for, persons of color, women and LGBTQ communities and violation of the DC Human Right Act.” The bureaucrats worked with uncharacteristic dispatch, taking six weeks to render the judgment of history on 1,330 properties named for people.

The committee doesn’t explain its case against Franklin, but we can assume he was judged for once owning slaves. He was later president of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, but anyone who believes the report is a considered historical exercise and not an Orwellian effort in ideological reprogramming has been taken in

American’s Should Not Kneel/Kowtow Before Provably False Ideas

KOW-TOW

  • DEFINITION: To kneel and touch the forehead to the ground in expression of deep respect, worship, or submission, as formerly done in China…. To show servile deference. synonym: fawn.

Vietnamese mandarins kowtowing before the Governor-General of Tonkin

AMERICAN THINKER has an intro to the below Tucker Carlson video I wish to excerpt from before you watch the video:

Back in the 1960s, authority figures also collapsed before the black mob. Shelby Steele, in WHITE GUILT, describes how his college president, the quintessential white liberal who gave to all the Civil Rights causes, backed down like a deflated balloon:

Dr. McCabe simply came to a place where his own knowledge of American racism—knowledge his personal integrity prevented him from denying—opened a vacuum of moral authority within him. He was not suddenly stricken with pangs of guilt over American racism. He simply found himself without the moral authority to reprimand us for our disruptive behavior. He knew that we had a point, that our behavior was in some way connected to centuries of indisputable injustice. So he was trumped by his knowledge of this, not by his remorse over it, though he may have felt such remorse. Our outrage at racism simply had far greater moral authority than his outrage over our breach of decorum. And had he actually risen to challenge us, I was prepared to say that we would worry about our behavior when he and the college started worrying about the racism we encountered everywhere, including on his campus.

And this is when I first really saw white guilt in action. Now I know it to be something very specific: the vacuum of moral authority that comes from simply knowing that one’s race is associated with racism. Whites (and American institutions) must acknowledge historical racism to show themselves redeemed of it, but once they acknowledge it, they lose moral authority over everything having to do with race, equality, social justice, poverty, and so on. They step into a void of vulnerability. The authority they lose transfers to the “victims” of historical racism and becomes their great power in society. This is why white guilt is quite literally the same thing as black power.

Steele, Shelby, White Guilt [Kindle Locations 370-374]. HarperCollins; emphasis mine.

In the 1960s, thanks to Jim Crow and endemic racism in the Northeast, whites had good reason to feel guilty.

But what about whites in 2020? Well, that’s where the Big Lie comes in….

Why Are Americans Surrendering To Violent Mobs?
Because They’ve Been Told They Have To

Here is an excellent CITY-JOURNAL article that Heather Mac Donald draws sensible reactions to these outliers:

Many protest supporters have expressed frustration with the attention being given to a relative handful of agitators driving the violence and looting—behavior, they say, that distorts the image of what is largely a peaceful movement. Their frustration is understandable but also ironic: the narrative that has driven thousands into the streets is itself a distortion. Just as the violence that has alarmed the American public does not represent the peaceful protesters exercising their right to air their grievances, the police violence depicted in viral videos does not characterize the institution of law enforcement.

This is not to say that police are perfect, or that officers never abuse their power; they are not perfect, and some do succumb to what can be an intoxicating sense of authority. This is a truth I’ve personally experienced. Nor is it to say that there is no room to improve policing and to make police-citizen encounters both safer and less fraught. But if there is to be any hope for peacefully bridging the gap so strikingly represented by the glass-covered asphalt separating rioters and police, destructive hyperbole needs to be recognized for what it is.

[….]

This is in line with other data I highlighted in these pages two years ago—namely, a 2018 study published in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, which analyzed more than 114,000 criminal arrests made across three midsize police departments, finding that more than 99 percent of arrests were carried out without the use of physical force. In 98 percent of the cases in which those officers did use physical force, suspects “sustained no or mild injury.”

Historical context is important, too. In 1971, New York City Police discharged their firearms 810 times, wounding 221 people and killing 93. By 1990, those numbers were down to 307, 72, and 39, respectively. In 2016, police discharged their weapons just 72 times, wounding 23, killing 9. This is real progress; but it would come as news to anyone observing the mobs that have spent the last few days hurling insults, rocks, and Molotov cocktails at exhausted and demoralized members of the NYPD.

As troubling as cases like that of George Floyd are, we must remember that they are outliers. That knowledge won’t bring comfort or justice to those harmed or killed by police who use unjustifiable force, or their families; but it can help lower the temperature in an environment that is about as inhospitable to reasonable discussion as can be imagined. …

THE DAILY CALLER weighs in:

However, this destructive delusion has been completely demolished by a recent study that demonstrates there is no epidemic of racially biased police shootings of black people, that black citizens are not more likely to be shot by white officers, and that the shooting of unarmed people of any race is extraordinarily rare. In fact, an individual American citizen is substantially more likely to be struck by lightning than he is to be shot by the police while unarmed.

In the article, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Joseph Cesario of Michigan State University and David Johnson of the University of Maryland assess hundreds of fatal police shootings since 2015. Their groundbreaking study exposes what is, at least for the anti-police mythmakers, an inconvenient truth indeed — that police shootings of citizens are not motivated by race or racism.

Here are the facts: 55% of all people fatally shot in America by the police are white — more than double the number of black (27%) or Hispanic (19%) individuals. Those police critics who accept at least this fact are generally quick to point out that black citizens are 27% of the people shot and killed by the police despite making up only 14% of the U.S. population. They say this disparity provides statistical proof of “systemic racism and bias,” but this superficial explanation doesn’t stand up. There are racial disparities in police shootings, but the disparities are not caused by racism.

According to Cesario and Johnson, who analyzed crime data from more than 200 U.S. counties, the strongest predictor of being shot by the police isn’t a person’s race, but whether the person is engaging in violent criminal behavior. Disparities across the major races in rates of police shooting are almost entirely consistent with the rates at which members of these different races are accused by victims of committing violent crimes. In other words, the greater the number of crimes committed by white individuals in a county, the more likely a white person will be shot by the police. And poor white Americans in Appalachia, for example, often are involved in police shootings. But, the greater number of crimes committed by black individuals in a county, the more likely it is that a black person will be shot by the police. The same is true for Hispanic individuals.

It’s not “systemic racism” that makes it more likely that a person will be shot by the police; it is how mathematically likely that person is to be committing crime. An individual’s behavior, not his race, is the determining factor.

The claim that racial bias on the part of individual officers is the cause of racial disparities in police shootings was also specifically found to be untrue. The researchers determined that: “The race of the officer doesn’t matter when it comes to predicting whether a black or white citizen will be shot.” White officers are no more likely to shoot a black person than are black or Hispanic officers. Not only is racial bias on the part of individual officers not a significant predictor of police shootings of black people, but also, remarkably, police officers off all races are statistically less likely to shoot a black than a white person under the same circumstances….

AGAIN, for good measure:

Here is Heather Mac Donald’s WALL STREET JOURNAL article in full [I believe] with thanks to PECKFORD 42:

Hold officers accountable who use excessive force. But there’s no evidence of widespread racial bias.

By Heather Mac Donald
June 2, 2020

George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis has revived the Obama-era narrative that law enforcement is endemically racist. On Friday, Barack Obama tweeted that for millions of black Americans, being treated differently by the criminal justice system on account of race is “tragically, painfully, maddeningly ‘normal.’ ” Mr. Obama called on the police and the public to create a “new normal,” in which bigotry no longer “infects our institutions and our hearts.”

Joe Biden released a video the same day in which he asserted that all African-Americans fear for their safety from “bad police” and black children must be instructed to tolerate police abuse just so they can “make it home.” That echoed a claim Mr. Obama made after the ambush murder of five Dallas officers in July 2016. During their memorial service, the president said African-American parents were right to fear that their children may be killed by police officers whenever they go outside.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz denounced the “stain . . . of fundamental, institutional racism” on law enforcement during a Friday press conference. He claimed blacks were right to dismiss promises of police reform as empty verbiage.

This charge of systemic police bias was wrong during the Obama years and remains so today. However sickening the video of Floyd’s arrest, it isn’t representative of the 375 million annual contacts that police officers have with civilians. A solid body of evidence finds no structural bias in the criminal-justice system with regard to arrests, prosecution or sentencing. Crime and suspect behavior, not race, determine most police actions.

In 2019 police officers fatally shot 1,004 people, most of whom were armed or otherwise dangerous. African-Americans were about a quarter of those killed by cops last year (235), a ratio that has remained stable since 2015. That share of black victims is less than what the black crime rate would predict, since police shootings are a function of how often officers encounter armed and violent suspects. In 2018, the latest year for which such data have been published, African-Americans made up 53% of known homicide offenders in the U.S. and commit about 60% of robberies, though they are 13% of the population.

The police fatally shot nine unarmed blacks and 19 unarmed whites in 2019, according to a Washington Post database, down from 38 and 32, respectively, in 2015. The Post defines “unarmed” broadly to include such cases as a suspect in Newark, N.J., who had a loaded handgun in his car during a police chase. In 2018 there were 7,407 black homicide victims. Assuming a comparable number of victims last year, those nine unarmed black victims of police shootings represent 0.1% of all African-Americans killed in 2019. By contrast, a police officer is 18½ times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male is to be killed by a police officer.

On Memorial Day weekend in Chicago alone, 10 African-Americans were killed in drive-by shootings. Such routine violence has continued—a 72-year-old Chicago man shot in the face on May 29 by a gunman who fired about a dozen shots into a residence; two 19-year-old women on the South Side shot to death as they sat in a parked car a few hours earlier; a 16-year-old boy fatally stabbed with his own knife that same day. This past weekend, 80 Chicagoans were shot in drive-by shootings, 21 fatally, the victims overwhelmingly black. Police shootings are not the reason that blacks die of homicide at eight times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined; criminal violence is.

The latest in a series of studies undercutting the claim of systemic police bias was PUBLISHED in August 2019 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers found that the more frequently officers encounter violent suspects from any given racial group, the greater the chance that a member of that group will be fatally shot by a police officer. There is “no significant evidence of antiblack disparity in the likelihood of being fatally shot by police,” they concluded.

A 2015 Justice Department analysis of the Philadelphia Police Department found that white police officers were less likely than black or Hispanic officers to shoot unarmed black suspects. Research by Harvard economist Roland G. Fryer Jr. also found no evidence of racial discrimination in shootings. Any evidence to the contrary fails to take into account crime rates and civilian behavior before and during interactions with police.

The false narrative of systemic police bias resulted in targeted killings of officers during the Obama presidency. The pattern may be repeating itself. Officers are being assaulted and shot at while they try to arrest gun suspects or respond to the growing riots. Police precincts and courthouses have been destroyed with impunity, which will encourage more civilization-destroying violence. If the Ferguson effect of officers backing off law enforcement in minority neighborhoods is reborn as the Minneapolis effect, the thousands of law-abiding African-Americans who depend on the police for basic safety will once again be the victims.

The Minneapolis officers who arrested George Floyd must be held accountable for their excessive use of force and callous indifference to his distress. Police training needs to double down on de-escalation tactics. But Floyd’s death should not undermine the legitimacy of American law enforcement, without which we will continue on a path toward chaos.