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Friday, July 10, 2020

What “Systemic Liberalism” Has Wrought

After another weekend of violence in Atlanta—where nearly three dozen were shot and five were killed, including an eight-year-old girl—Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said “enough is enough.” However, because her worldview is corrupted by modern liberalism—which is the case with the leadership in virtually every major U.S. city—she offered no real solutions for the recent epidemic of violence that plagues Atlanta.

As has been widely reported, Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp stepped in and ordered the activation of 1,000 National Guard troops in order to “protect state property and patrol” the streets of Atlanta. In his statement, Kemp declared,

Peaceful protests were hijacked by criminals with a dangerous, destructive agenda. Now, innocent Georgians are being targeted, shot, and left for dead. This lawlessness must be stopped and order restored in our capital city. I have declared a State of Emergency and called up the Georgia Guard because the safety of our citizens comes first. This measure will allow troops to protect state property and dispatch state law enforcement officers to patrol our streets. Enough with the tough talk. We must protect the lives and livelihoods of all Georgians.

Part of the problem in Atlanta—again, like we now see in so many large, Democrat-led U.S. cities—is plummeting police morale. After the death of George Floyd, and the unjust and incorrect accusations of “systemic racism” throughout America, police all over the U.S. were made into scapegoats for what really plagues the urban areas of America. As a result, police officers have been targeted for violence and mayhem simply for wearing their uniforms and doing their jobs.

In addition, police officers have been targeted—and unjustly fired—by their superiors. This has been the case in Atlanta. As a result, a recent wave of “blue flu” has swept through the Atlanta Police Department. Almost certainly, this means dangerous areas of Atlanta are not seeing the usual police presence. Thus the need for the Georgia National Guard.

And thus we see again the sad, sorry results of the “Ferguson Effect.” The “Ferguson Effect,” a phrase coined by Heather MacDonald, says that, when police stop, or reduce, policing—because of political pressure, community pressure, department policies, and the like—criminals are emboldened and crime increases.

Because of democrats’ relentless and dishonest campaign against law enforcement, the Ferguson Effect has led to numerous U.S. cities becoming significantly more dangerous. As John Nolte put it several years ago, “The obvious and predictable result is a rise in violent crime that only hurts predominantly poor, black, inner-city neighborhoods.” Of course, the magnificently foolish calls to “defund the police” or “abolish the police” (as some school districts are now doing) will only ensure that the Ferguson Effect will continue and will result in even more death and destruction in America’s urban areas.

Whatever one’s politics on these matters, one question that often is ignored when it comes to policing and America’s cities is, why do the urban areas of America require more policing in the first place? Why is it that certain parts of America—whether cities, towns, or schools—require very little policing and see almost no crime (certainly little to no violent crime)? I believe the answer is quite simple: Wherever one sees intact, God-fearing families—families with a married mother and father who regularly attend religious services—crime is virtually non-existent.

Of course, sound morality has long revealed this to be the case, but, if you require it, multiple studies have also shown that children raised by a married mother and father are better citizens; e.g., less likely to commit crimes, more likely to perform well in school, and so on. Additionally, multiple studies have shown that religious Americans are more involved with their families, less likely to divorce, do better financially, are more likely to donate their time and other resources to their communities, and are happier and healthier than their non-religious counterparts.

Modern liberalism’s war on the family and faith has been particularly devastating to fathers, and this has been particularly devastating to America’s youth and the communities that must deal with the consequences of fatherless children. Among many other sad outcomes, fatherlessness is one of the leading predictors of future criminal activity. Children from single-parent homes (almost always without a father) are

more likely to…engage in questionable behavior, struggle academically, and become delinquent.  Problems with children from fatherless families can continue into adulthood. These children are three times more likely to end up in jail by the time they reach age 30 than are children raised in intact families, and have the highest rates of incarceration in the United States.

Additionally, fatherlessness is the single greatest cause of poverty in the U.S. As Robert Rector pointed out years ago, “Being raised in a married family reduced a child’s probability of living in poverty by about 80 percent.” In order to further their big government agenda, modern liberals often point to education as the answer to poverty in America. However, marriage is a far better weapon against poverty than is education. Again, as Rector points out, “being married has the same effect in reducing poverty that adding five to six years to a parent’s level of education has.” In addition, a child living in a single-parent home in which the parent is a college graduate is nearly twice as likely to live in poverty as a child living with their married parents whose highest level of education is completing high school.

Marriage provides the safest environment for children. In addition to being much more likely to live in crime-ridden communities, children born to single moms face much more danger inside the home than do children living with their married parents. As marripedia points out:

  • The rate of physical abuse is 3 times higher in the single parent family.
  • The rate of physical abuse is 4 times higher if the mother is cohabiting with the child’s biological father (unmarried).
  • The rate of physical abuse is 5 times higher if the child is living in a married step family.
  • The rate of physical abuse is 10 times higher if the mother is cohabiting with a boyfriend.

The rates for sexual abuse are even worse than physical abuse:

  • The rate of sexual abuse is 5 times higher in the single parent family and when both biological parents are cohabiting (i.e., unmarried).
  • The rate of sexual abuse is 8.6 times higher if the child is living in a married step family.
  • The rate of sexual abuse is 20 times higher if the mother is cohabiting with a boyfriend.

As tragic as the outcomes of the Ferguson Effect are, the “Fatherless Effect” is much more wide-ranging, common, and deadly in American society. Of course, systemic liberalism is responsible for both. If today’s liberals have “accomplished” anything, they have given us the destruction of the biblical family model and the removal of God from virtually every public institution in America. No amount of policing, no number of soldiers can make up for either. And neither can the racist, Marxist Black Lives Matter organization—or any of their like-minded ilk.

If America wants our city streets to be safe, if we want our communities and schools to function properly, we must abandon the “principles” of modern liberalism and fix our homes and our hearts. To do that, we must look to the One who made us and what His Word says in all of these matters.

(See this column at American Thinker.) 

Copyright 2020, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Revival Lit the Fire for the American Revolution (Taken from The Miracle and Magnificence of America.)

Between the colonial and Revolutionary periods of American history came what historians have dubbed the (first) “Great Awakening.” Near the beginning of the eighteenth century, many churches under Puritan influence were beginning to be riddled with “comfortable pews.” This does not mean that such churches were filled with comfortably padded pews that lulled congregants into a comfortable sleep, but rather these churches were, as we see in much of today’s America, lacking in passionate Christianity.

Thus began a growing concern about the secularization of New England. The lack of passionate Christianity, along with the coinciding adoption of certain liberal interpretations of Scripture and a turn toward the secular, greatly concerned ministers such as Jonathan Edwards, Thomas Prince, and William Cooper. By the 1730s, passionate and animated pleas for the souls of the lost became widespread. A common refrain was soon heard throughout the colonies: “God was an angry judge, and humans were sinners!”

The earliest principle figure of this period of spiritual revival was the brilliant and pious Puritan minister Jonathan Edwards. Edwards was literally born into Christian ministry. His father was a Congregationalist minister, and his mother, Esther Stoddard Edwards, was the daughter of renowned Massachusetts minister Solomon Stoddard.

Jonathan Edwards succeeded his grandfather as pastor of the church at Northampton. Later, Edwards accepted a role as pastor of a church in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Jonathan Edwards loved the pulpit, and according to BJU Press, he was more teacher and preacher than pastor. In late 1734 and early 1735, revival broke out in Northampton. By the summer of 1735, it ended, but the seeds for something more lasting were planted. Enter the mighty George Whitefield.

Whitefield is generally considered “The Father of the Great Awakening.” Born in England in 1714, Whitefield entered Pembroke College at Oxford at age 17. There he joined a group called the “Holy Club,” where he befriended John and Charles Wesley. John Wesley led the group, and as a result of their “methodical” ways, critics took to calling them “Methodists.” Of course, the name stuck.

Upon graduating and receiving his BA, Whitefield was ordained at 22. He began his preaching in the British towns of Bath, Bristol, and Gloucester. However, he felt the call to join General Oglethorpe’s colony in Georgia. In 1738 Whitefield left for North America. It was not long before most of Georgia had heard of this young preacher with the booming voice and wild pulpit antics. News of Whitefield and his preaching soon spread throughout the colonies.

In 1739, after a brief return to England in hopes of securing land and funding for an orphanage in Georgia, Whitefield came back to America and would preach throughout the colonies. Jonathan Edwards invited Whitefield to preach in Northampton, Massachusetts. Whitefield’s message resonated with rich and poor, farmers and tradesmen, church-goers and sinners—virtually everyone within earshot of Whitefield, which, according to Ben Franklin, in open space, was 30,000 people!

Whitefield was not alone. Along with Edwards, men like Isaac Backus, David Brainerd, James Davenport, Samuel Davies, Theodore Frelinghuysen, Jonathan Mayhew, Shubal Stearns, the Tennent brothers (Gilbert, John, William), and others implored settlers and Natives alike to trust in Christ and Christ alone for salvation. Their message of repentance caught fire up and down the American East Coast. In the words of Brainerd, the ongoing revival was like an “irresistible force of a mighty torrent or swelling deluge.”

After the event at Pentecost as recorded in the Bible in Acts Chapter Two, and after the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century, many evangelicals of the eighteenth century considered the revival that was The Great Awakening as the third extraordinary outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Such spiritual power can spawn change that is felt world-wide. This was certainly the case with The First Great Awakening, for it was in the pulpits of American churches that the seeds of Revolution were sown. The British certainly thought so, as they blamed what they derisively described as the “Black Robed Regiment” for the thirst in the Colonies for American Independence. Modern historians have noted, “There is not a right asserted in the Declaration of Independence which had not been discussed by the New England clergy before 1763.” The Great Awakening played no small role in helping to unite the American Colonies against the British.

For example, in 1750 the Rev. Jonathan Mayhew, a Harvard graduate, Congregationalist minister, and pastor of West Church in Boston, published A Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submission and Non-Resistance to the Higher Powers. Out of this was born a sermon entitled “The Morning Gun of the American Revolution.” In this, Mayhew uses Romans 13 to justify throwing off the tyrannical yoke of England.

In 1765, Mayhew gave a powerful sermon railing against the evils of King George III’s hated Stamp Act. Mayhew declared,
The king is as much bound by his oath not to infringe on the legal rights of the people, as the people are bound to yield subjection to him. From whence it follows that as soon as the prince sets himself above the law, he loses the king in the tyrant.
According to historian Alice Mary Baldwin, joining Mayhew in leading the opposition to the Stamp Act were the Reverends Andrew Eliot, Charles Chauncey, and Samuel Cooper. George Whitefield accompanied Ben Franklin—whom he had befriended—to Parliament to protest the Act. Franklin revealed to Parliament that Americans would never willingly submit to the Stamp Act. A month later, in March of 1766, celebrating the repeal of the Act, Whitefield recorded in his journal, “Stamp Act repealed, Gloria Deo.”

John Witherspoon, Presbyterian minister, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and president of the College of New Jersey (Princeton)—in 1776, on a national day of prayer and fasting, preached a sermon entitled The Dominion of Providence over the Passions of Men. The sermon included the following:
There can be no true religion, till there be a discovery of your lost state by nature and practice, and an unfeigned acceptance of Christ Jesus, as he is offered in the gospel. Unhappy are they who either despise his mercy, or are ashamed of his cross. Believe it, ‘There is no salvation in any other.’ ‘There is no other name under heaven given amongst men by which we must be saved.’ Unless you are united to him by a lively faith, not the resentment of a haughty monarch, the sword of divine justice hangs over you, and the fulness of divine vengeance shall speedily overtake you…

If your cause is just, you may look with confidence to the Lord, and intreat him to plead it as his own. You are all my witnesses, that this is the first time of my introducing any political subject into the pulpit. At this season, however, it is not only lawful but necessary, and I willingly embrace the opportunity of declaring my opinion without any hesitation, that the cause in which America is now in arms, is the cause of justice, of liberty, and of human nature.
Preachers and teachers like Witherspoon had a profound impact in forming the United States of America. Among his students included James Madison, future U.S. President and “Father of the Constitution,” Aaron Burr, future U.S. Vice President, twelve future Continental Congress members, forty-nine U.S. representatives, twenty-eight senators, three Supreme Court justices, and a secretary of state. As America’s Schoolmaster, Noah Webster, would later note, “The learned clergy…had great influence in founding the first genuine republican governments ever formed and which, with all the faults and defects of the men and their laws, were the best republican governments on earth.”

According to historian David Barton,
When Paul Revere set off on his famous ride, it was to the home of the Rev. [Jonas] Clark in Lexington that he rode. Patriot leaders John Hancock and Samuel Adams were lodging (as they often did) with the Rev. Clark. After learning of the approaching British forces, Hancock and Adams turned to Pastor Clark and inquired of him whether the people were ready to fight. Clark unhesitatingly replied, “I have trained them for this very hour!"
As a result of this First Great Awakening, America was beginning to unite. Americans were beginning to rediscover the Covenant Way. One nation under God became the political as well as the spiritual legacy of The Great Awakening.

Contrast the faith-filled, Spirit-led American Revolution with the godless, lawless, mindless demands for “revolution!” in today’s America. Instead of revival, the mob that’s burning, looting, assaulting, and killing their way through the U.S. are motivated by pure evil. They are more rotten fruit of the liberalism that’s so prevalent in much of America today. Thus, we again see that any “revolution” not born of the Spirit of God is doomed to disaster, destruction, death, and failure. In other words, the only way to real, lasting positive change in any family, community, or nation is the way of the cross.

Copyright 2020, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Media (Still) Trying to Hide Trump’s Success in Georgia’s Primary (an UPDATE to an earlier Facebook post):

(This is an update to a post that I placed on my website's Facebook page.)

UPDATE: I found this via the Augusta Chronicle (still nowhere to be found in the national/statewide in GA, media): With just over 80% reporting, according to the GA Sec. of State, Trump's lead over Biden is now about 155k votes (~714k to ~561k). Trump has over 40k more votes that all democrat candidates combined. If you total the votes, by percentages, Trump has 51.5% of the vote to democrats 48.5%.

To put this in perspective, in the 2016 GA Presidential Primary, Hillary/Bernie, et al totaled about 761k votes. Trump/Rubio/Cruz totaled about 1.3 million votes. Recall, that the 2016 primary election was on March 1, and it would be months before either party decided on a nominee. In other words, all GA voters had a reason to turn out in the 2016 primary election. Yet Trump will total more primary votes than 2016 democrats as well.

In the general election in 2016, Trump beat Hillary 50.5% to 45.4%. Given that voter enthusiasm is significantly in favor of President Trump--it's highly unlikely that Biden will hold all of that democrat vote, and republican voters will have even more of a reason to turn out in November--it seems that President Trump is on pace to outdo his GA results in the 2020 election.

NOTE: This is IMPORTANT to remember as you encounter general election polls that show Biden with LARGE leads over Trump. (I've already warned about this here: http://www.trevorgrantthomas.com/2020/01/remember-pay-little-to-no-attention-to.html ) Polls are one thing, elections are quite another. As Rush Limbaugh has often said, liberals use polling to try and influence (as opposed to merely report on) elections. The message here (to all Conservatives and ALL America-loving Americans): KEEP YOUR ELECTION ENTHUSIASM! Either for Trump, or against the America-hating left!

ORIGINAL POST: More evidence of our GARBAGE media: Try and find Trump's vote totals in Georgia’s primary election. It's not easy. Most sites (The New York Times, local NBC media in GA, etc.) are ONLY showing totals in the Democrat Primary. Here's (probably) why: According to Newsweek, running unopposed, Trump has 140k MORE votes than Biden (~770k to ~560k) and more votes than ALL democrat candidates combined. This is in spite of the fact that, with a statewide U.S. Senate primary (to challenge GOP Sen. David Perdue), Democrats had more to turn out for.

What's more, Trump's lead will probably GROW as more votes are counted. Additionally, according to Newsweek, "The president also outperformed former President Barack Obama's vote totals from the 2012 Georgia primary. Obama was running unopposed in the state and got 139,273 votes, over 500,000 fewer votes than Trump has received thus far." Just yesterday, NY Times was asking (hoping) "Is This the Year Georgia Flips?" It doesn’t look like it! 

Copyright 2020, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Dear America, PLEASE Heed These Powerful Black American Truth-Tellers!

Given all the evil that we are currently experiencing in this GREAT nation, I will let these powerful, beautiful black voices speak for me (this post will be updated as necessary):



 



 
 


A little language in this one: 









Larry Elder explains: "Black America Needs Fathers"




"The Myth of Systemic Racism" in America:













YES and AMEN!

Saturday, May 30, 2020

George Floyd’s Death is Not “Normal” in America [Updated]

At The Stream, Josh Shepherd notes that George Floyd is remembered as a Christian “person of peace” who helped perform baptisms on a basketball court. Christianity Today reports that Mr. Floyd “left a gospel legacy in Houston.” By many indications, Mr. Floyd’s tragic death brought to a terrible end the life of a man who spent much of his time helping others. What Mr. Floyd’s death is most certainly not is “normal.” 

[UPDATE: As time has shed more light on this ugly incident, Candace Owens--a black American--offers some powerful insight into George Floyd's life and what are the real problems of black America. And by the way, Ms. Owens VERIFIES EVERYTHING I say here, and EVERYTHING I've said in the past (I've written frequently about the foolish, ignorant views of Colin Kaepernick, and the like), on these issues.] 

After Mr. Floyd’s death, Barack Obama issued a statement. In it he declared that,
It’s natural to wish for life “to just get back to normal” as a pandemic and economic crisis upend everything around us. But we have to remember that for millions of Americans, being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly “normal” — whether it’s while dealing with the health care system, or interacting with the criminal justice system, or jogging down the street, or just watching birds in a park.

This shouldn’t be “normal” in 2020 America. It can’t be “normal.” If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must do better.
Of course, the implication is that America is rife with racism, and it was this racism that led to the death of George Floyd, and such racism is all too “normal” in America today. Few things are further from the truth than this absurd and dangerous lie. In other words—living up to his title of “America’s Chief Racial Arsonist,” as Tucker Carlson recently described him—instead of dealing with the real problems faced by black Americans, Mr. Obama gave cover to the rioters and thugs that looted, smashed, and burned their way through several American cities recently.

When it comes to America’s “racial arsonists,” Mr. Obama is far from alone. Politicians and pundits across the left helped fan the recent riotous flames burning across the U.S. As I noted recently, not long after the arrest of two men in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery near Brunswick, Georgia, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms called the shooting “a lynching” and laid blame at the feet of President Trump. She was given voice for such foolish ignorance by the like-minded leftists at CNN.

Leftists at CNN and The New York Times also gave cover to the rioters and looters by comparing the criminal thugs to those participating in the Boston Tea Party. According to Newsbusters, “CNN Newsroom, sports journalist LZ Granderson seemed to justify the rioting, looting, and arsons happening in Minneapolis and all over the country Friday as akin to the American Revolution. Speaking to host Brooke Baldwin, Granderson compared the violence to the Boston Tea Party and claimed that was a ‘riot’ as well.”

Granderson went on to claim that violent riots are sometimes the way that things get “done” in America. He added,
And there is one other thing I would like to share. There is a lot of people that I've read over social media who say they understand why people are upset but don't agree to taking to the streets and don’t agree with the protests. The Boston Tea Party, despite its name, was not a party. It was a protest. It was a riot. What I’m saying is the very foundation of this nation is based upon what is happening right now.
The New York Times’ Charles Blow shared Granderson’s foolish sentiments.

After Mr. Floyd’s death, in an interview with TMZ—fully masked of course, because who knows what one can catch via the air waves—Democrat Representative Maxine Waters accused President Trump of “dog-whistling” to police officers in order to let them know that what happened to George Floyd was okay, and that they could “get away” with such behavior.

The idea that America’s police departments are—or our nation in general is—filled with racism and racists is one of the ugliest—and as we again see, one of the most dangerous—lies in America. Just so we’re clear, here’s the left’s narrative on the police in America: There’s widespread and institutionalized racism inside America’s law enforcement agencies, and black Americans are especially targeted. This racism has led to the deaths of a disproportionate number of innocent black Americans. In order to stop this heinous activity, we need more gun control legislation, more wealth redistribution (usually in the form of some welfare program), more job and education programs, and thus Americans need to elect more Democrats.

So far, there’s been no evidence that racism was involved in George Floyd’s death. What we do know is this: Minneapolis has LONG been controlled by the Democrat Party. At Powerline, John Hinderaker—a Minnesota resident—notes,
The City of Minneapolis has been governed exclusively by liberals for decades. The current mayor, Jacob Frey, who was quick to denounce his own police department, is a left-wing Democrat. The Minneapolis City Council consists of Democrats and Green Party members who think the Democrats are not radical enough. Under left-wing leadership, Minneapolis has been governed abysmally for a long time.
Replace “Minneapolis” with just about any other large American city, and Hinderaker’s claims are still true. Additionally, the current Minneapolis Chief of Police is a black man. He’s far from alone. Of the 50 largest cities in the U.S., 40% of them have black police chiefs (six of these are women), and another 10% have minority (white female or Hispanic) police chiefs. Thus, half of America’s 50 largest cities—including Minneapolis, Baltimore, and Chicago—have a minority in charge of the police force.

The unpopular fact is that many black Americans are much safer in the presence of law enforcement than they are in many black communities, especially when such communities—because of things like the “Ferguson Effect”—have little or no police presence. The statistics make this clear.
  • According to the CDC, the leading cause of death among black males ages 15-34 is homicide.
  • According to the FBI, the vast majority (over 90%) of black homicide victims were killed by other blacks.
  • For decades, black Americans have been more likely to be victims of violent crime (almost always at the hands of other black Americans) than are white Americans.
  • Time and again it is revealed: when police stop policing, crime increases, and black citizens suffer disproportionately.
  • The most dangerous neighborhoods in America—all with large (usually majority) black populations—are dominated by Democrats and liberal politics.
What’s more, according to Heather MacDonald, a police officer is 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black perpetrator than an unarmed black person is to be killed by a cop. In other words, it’s much more dangerous to be a police officer staring down a black perpetrator than it is to be an unarmed black suspect encountering a cop.

One of the reasons the deceptive liberal narrative about black lives is so doggedly defended and regularly repeated is that the truth about the very real suffering in the American black community runs counter to modern liberal dogma. The biggest reason for the rampant lawlessness and poverty that is so prevalent in many black communities is the breakdown of the family.

It has been widely reported for years now that the out-of-wedlock birth rate among American blacks is around 70 percent. Almost always, mothers are left to raise their children alone. In U.S. cities, where the violence and poverty among U.S. blacks is most pronounced, the out-of-wedlock birth rate is even worse. For example, in Chicago about 80 percent of black children are born to single mothers.

Single-parenthood (the vast majority being single mothers) is linked to a whole host of negative outcomes for children, not the least of which is poverty and crime. The absence of a father in the home is the single greatest cause of poverty in the U.S. and also strongly correlates to criminal behavior in adolescents and young adults. With its perverse LGBT agenda and devotion to the welfare state, the left in America has waged a long and tragically effective war on the family.

The destruction of the family, and all the tragic outcomes that result, is a far greater problem in the U.S. than racism. Yet, where’s the outrage? Where are the protests? Where’s the demand for change? If he were still with us, I think that George Floyd would wonder the same.

Copyright 2020, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

I’m Not Wearing a Mask because I Identify as Immune

I keep waiting—and hoping for—the parking lot television or radio interview wanting to know just how I’m dealing with the dreaded Wuhan virus—though, almost certainly they won’t use such language. I have to confess that I’ve frequently been in commercial parking lots during the “shutdown” and the subsequent “re-opening” (though, I consider what’s actually occurred as FAR from a real “re-opening”) of Georgia. And each time it’s been without a mask. Oh, my eager response to the hypothetical interview will be, “I’ve been fine because I identify as immune.”

You see, I don’t need a mask because of the simple fact that I’ve decided that I’m immune to the Wuhan virus and thus not a carrier of the disease. Therefore, I’m not a danger to myself or anyone else. Thus, I can go about all of my normal activities with no mask, no social distancing, and so on.

No, I’ve not been tested for the Wuhan virus, but because of my chosen position on the spectrum of immunology, the results of a test are irrelevant. I’m immune to the Wuhan virus because I feel that way. If you disagree with my position, just who are you to tell me that this is wrong?! After all, if biology doesn’t determine sex, then immunology doesn’t determine infection or contagion.

In other words, just as liberalism has decided that there is a “spectrum” when it comes to sex—or gender, if you prefer—then there must be a similar “spectrum” when it comes to diseases and infection. And if boys are merely allowed to identify as girls—and take trophies, scholarships, etc. from real girls—and if men are allowed to identify as women—and ascend to the level of Secretary of Health of an American state—then why can’t I identify as immune to the Wuhan virus and merely go about my business as normal?

I mean, if the person “leading the fight against COVID-19 in Pennsylvania” rejects the biology that a three year-old can comprehend, why in the world would anyone on the left object to my views on the Wuhan virus, the wearing of masks, social distancing, and the like? In other words, if someone is willing to ignore the real science of biology and sex, why not be willing to ignore the fake—or at least very suspect—science of those promoting the shutdown narrative?

Speaking of science, when it comes to face coverings, the CDC says “Cloth face coverings may slow the spread of the virus (emphasis mine).” Thus, the CDC is not even sure masks work to prevent spreading the virus. Even if they do work, where have all the masks been during flu season? After all, the CDC also recently noted that the mortality ratio of the Wuhan virus pandemic (0.27%) is very similar to the 1957-58 flu pandemic (0.26%).

During the 1957-58 flu pandemic, because there was no widespread lockdown of the U.S., there was no significant impact on the U.S. economy. Also, there was no widespread closure of schools and churches; no nation-wide ban on other large gatherings; and no extensive use of masks, social distancing, or quarantines.

What’s more, a Wuhan virus fatality rate of 0.27% (or 0.26% if you go with this calculation) is over 12 times less than the World Health Organization’s early March estimate of 3.4% and more than seven times lower than Dr. Fauci’s estimate (2%) from late March. Again, according to the CDC, for those under 50 years of age, the Wuhan virus fatality rate is only 0.05%, and it gets lower for younger people.

In my state of Georgia, there’s been only one recorded death from the Wuhan virus of a person younger than 22 years old. In that case, the individual is listed as having a “chronic condition.” Additionally, as Hans Bader recently reported,
No child has been found to have passed coronavirus to an adult, a review of the evidence in partnership with the Royal College of Pediatrics has found.

Major studies into the impact of COVID-19 on young children suggest they “do not play a significant role” in spreading the virus and are less likely to become infected than adults

While experts insist that more evidence is needed, they note there has not been a single case of a child under 10 transmitting the virus, even in contact tracing carried out by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Furthermore, The Spectator (UK) recently noted that, in Iceland, an analysis of Wuhan virus tests on 36,500 people by “a company called deCODE Genetics, in association with the country’s directorate of health and the national university hospital,” was performed. The analysis revealed that, “The tests identified 1801 cases of people suffering from the disease – and ten deaths. Each case was carefully tracked. In not a single case could the researchers find evidence of a child passing on the disease to their parents.”

In the U.S. from birth to age 24, there have been a total of 88 deaths from the Wuhan virus. Of these 88, there were 12 deaths that were under the age of 15. This flu season, the U.S. has seen 176 pediatric deaths alone. In the 2018-2019 flu season there were 144 pediatric deaths. In the 2017-2018 flu season there were 188 pediatric flu deaths. So, when it comes to mortality, the data reveal that children are in far more danger from influenza than from the Wuhan virus.

So, children are in relatively little danger from the Wuhan virus, and they are not passing the virus on to adults. Remind me again why the schools are shut down? Maybe it’s because schools are choosing to identify as Blockbuster Video stores.

Like the foolish and destructive notion that a man can simply decide that he is a woman (or vice versa), and all must accept and acquiesce to such evil, across the U.S., democrats—and like-minded never-Trumpers—continue to heap destruction upon the American economy by insisting that all Americans be subjected to a national shutdown. Many state and city leaders are foolishly saying that they will not fully reopen until there’s a vaccine. Leftist pundits ignorantly insist that “none of us are safe until all of us are safe.” Some (the Chinese?) are saying that “social distancing” in the U.S. must continue for years more.

Such thinking is not data driven, and it is not rooted in science, but scientism. Even more than the Wuhan virus, the shutdown is destroying lives and livelihoods. Perhaps the quickest way for this shutdown garbage to end is for fewer Americans to identify as democrats.

Copyright 2020, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Monday, May 18, 2020

Hate Crime Hysteria in Georgia

Since the shutdown apologists seem to be losing their argument—because the vast majority of us are in little to no more danger from the Wuhan virus than we are from other such illnesses, because the number of Wuhan virus infections is a near-useless metric, because “social-distancing” is pseudo-science quackery, because more and more of us are getting the proper context on Wuhan virus numbers, and because the hand-shake police really are out there—democrats are now resorting to their favorite political fallback: “Racism!”

No doubt you’ve probably heard of the death of Ahmaud Arbery that took place recently in a small South Georgia town near Brunswick. Mr. Arbery, a black man, was shot and killed after suspicious behavior in a neighborhood and a 911 call led two armed citizens—Gregory and Travis McMichael, both white—to give chase. According to multiple reports and video evidence, at the time of the shooting, Arbery was not armed and was in possession of no stolen property.

After a brief investigation, the McMichaels were initially not charged. Several weeks after the shooting, video of the event went viral and charges of vigilante murder, an unjust cover up, and racism ensued. The McMichaels have since been arrested. I’m not going to argue here the guilt or innocence of anyone involved in this ugly incident. I’m praying and hoping for truth and justice for all those involved.

However, as is often the case when someone white (or “white Hispanic”) kills someone of color, many others are not content with mere justice. Some folks want to make political hay out of such events. And, as often happens when we go down this foolish road, truth and justice get set aside for ugly politics.

A few days after the McMichaels were arrested, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms—whose jurisdiction lies about 300 miles north of the Arbery, McMichael incident—called the shooting “a lynching” and laid blame at the feet of President Trump. On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Bottoms said, “With the rhetoric we hear coming out of the White House in so many ways, I think that many who are prone to being racist are given permission to do it in an overt way that we otherwise would not see in 2020.” Left-wing pundits galore have been using similar ignorant, inflammatory, and deceptive rhetoric.

In addition to such foolishness, Arbery’s death has led to rampant calls for hate crime legislation in Georgia. Of course, this is unsurprising from the left, but many on the right in Georgia have signaled that they are at least open to the possibility of such legislation, and some have even directly called for it.

The most notable individual in the latter group is no less than Georgia’s Speaker of the House, republican David Ralston. Just days ago, in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC), Ralston said that once Georgia’s legislative session resumes in June, he would “challenge and implore” the Georgia Senate to pass the hate crimes bill already adopted by his chamber, House Bill 426, “with no delay and no amendments.” Ralston added,
The time for being silent ended last week. It’s time to do what’s right. It’s going to take some leadership and some courage, but I think it’s time to act…It’s a shame that it took a video of this to engage many leaders, but our responsibility is threefold: to demonstrate that Georgia and Glynn County will not be tarnished by this act of evil. It’s time that we bring our law into the 21st century and make it more just, and it’s time to do what’s right.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has indicated that he’s open to signing a hate crime law. Georgia is one of four U.S. states that don’t have hate crime legislation, and for good reason. Hate crime laws are unnecessary, and they do nothing to deter hate.

According to FBI data, in 2018, there were only 7,120 hate crime incidents involving 8,496 offenses in all of the U.S. More than half of the offenses (52.2%) involved property damage or “intimidation.” About two-thirds of the offenses (5,566) were crimes against persons. Of these, 80% were crimes of intimidation or simple assault. In 2018, there were 24 murders that were classified as a hate crime.

One murder is too many, but if you take just three U.S. cities—say Chicago, Baltimore, and St. Louis—there’s around 24 murders nearly every week of the year. Most of these murder victims are black Americans. Shockingly, the CDC reveals that for U.S. black males, from birth to the age of 44, the leading cause of death is homicide. As has been often reported (but also often ignored), the vast majority (over 90%) of these homicides are the result of black-on-black violence.

Using the latest Bureau of Justice Statistics survey of criminal victimization (2018), Manhattan Institute researcher Heather MacDonald reveals: “There were 593,598 interracial violent victimizations…between blacks and whites last year, including white-on-black and black-on-white attacks. Blacks committed 537,204 of those interracial felonies, or 90 percent, and whites committed 56,394 of them, or less than 10 percent.”

MacDonald adds that, “Blacks are also overrepresented among perpetrators of hate crimes – by 50 percent – according to the most recent Justice Department data from 2017; whites are underrepresented by 24 percent. This is particularly true for anti-gay and anti-Semitic hate crimes.” In other words, in spite of the narrative so often perpetuated by hate crime apologists, America does not have a problem with white on black hate crime.

Of course, in spite of its lack of hate crime legislation, this is true for the state of Georgia as well. North Carolina and Michigan both have a total population that’s almost exactly equal to Georgia’s—about 10 million. In addition, both North Carolina and Michigan have hate crime laws. According to the FBI, in 2018, North Carolina had 142 hate crime incidents. Michigan had 431. Georgia had 35. And despite having half the number of black Americans as does Georgia, Michigan had 10 times more incidents of racially-based hate crimes than Georgia. North Carolina has two-thirds the number of black Americans as does Georgia yet had three times the number of racially-based hate crimes.

What’s more, hate crime laws are predicated upon someone’s idea of what is “hate.” As they have done with most everything else they have had their hands in, the modern left has even perverted hate. Sadly, in today’s America, a “hate crime” is often nothing more than the “heinous” act of disagreeing with a leftist.

This is especially true when it comes to anything or anyone that runs afoul of the evil LGBT agenda. For example, many on the left today consider it an act of “hate” to declare that marriage is only the union of one man and one woman, to note that biology determines sex, or to refer to acts of homosexuality as sin. More than half of democrats want to criminalize such “hate speech.” Last year, The Washington Post ran an editorial (from the former editor of Time magazine!) that declared “Why America needs a hate speech law.”

America doesn’t need a “hate speech” law. America doesn’t need hate crime laws, and neither does Georgia. Most violent crime is motivated by some sort-of “hate.” The effort to get hate crime legislation passed in Georgia is nothing more than the Georgia left trying to elevate themselves politically. E.g. “Because we support ‘hate’ crime legislation, we ‘hate’ crime like this more than those who don’t support ‘hate’ crime legislation, thus vote for us!” Shame on Georgia conservatives for not realizing such.

(See this column at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2020, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Wuhan Virus Numbers: Some Much Needed Context

Before I again get into Wuhan virus numbers, let me say that I understand well the sudden and tragic loss that many Americans are experiencing during these difficult times. Almost exactly five years ago, we tragically lost my father-in-law in a hit-and-run homicide. He was riding his bicycle when he was hit by an intoxicated driver. He died instantly. There were no last goodbyes, no farewell hugs. One minute he was here, and the next he was gone.

David left behind a wife, four children, their spouses, and 11 grandchildren. As President Trump himself highlighted yesterday, it was the hardest thing we’ve ever dealt with, and this Wuhan virus has brought such sorrow to many American homes. However, our response to the Wuhan virus has brought a different kind of suffering to countless other Americans. As we continue this fight, we must recognize that we can protect those vulnerable to this dangerous virus while reopening our nation for business.

As the Wuhan virus continues to dominate the news, and most of America remains in some form of foolish “shutdown,” it’s time many Americans got some much needed information on the context of the many Wuhan virus numbers with which we’ve been inundated. I suspect your mainstream media is much the same as is mine in Northeast Georgia. I can’t look at a news website without being forced to read the (supposed) latest Wuhan virus death numbers and the new and the total number infected with the Wuhan virus.

First, let’s deal with the number of infections, or as the largest newspaper in Georgia, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) has been putting it, “confirmed cases.” As the previous link reveals, since very early in March the AJC has been keeping a daily tally of Wuhan virus deaths and cases in Georgia. Almost certainly, every U.S. state has a newspaper doing the same. However, when it comes to Wuhan virus infections, readers of the AJC are only getting total number of cases in Georgia, while other valuable and informative data is missing.

In other words, from one of the major news organizations in the state, Georgia citizens are not getting much needed “context” to the number of Wuhan virus cases. For example, as AJC readers scan the daily numbers, it is almost never stated that Georgia’s number of Wuhan virus infections is increasing because testing is on the rise. For weeks now, we’ve been hearing that we need more testing—and foolishly, many politicians and like-minded pundits are declaring that the un-sheltering and reopening of America largely hinges on the frequency and availability of Wuhan virus testing—thus it should come as little surprise that we now see a rise in those positive for the Wuhan virus across the U.S.

Though, I agree with John Hinderaker when it comes to testing:
The more tests we do, the more people we will find who have, or have had, the virus. So what? Epidemiologists say that the virus will continue to spread until a critical mass of us have had it and are immune, a number that probably lies between 40% and 70%. The virus will then more or less die out. I fail to understand how doing millions of tests on apparently well people is going to guide policy in any significant way.
What’s more, readers of the AJC do not see the number of Georgians who have completely recovered from the Wuhan virus. This is quite misleading, as the vast majority who contract the Wuhan virus recover within a two-week period, if they even have symptoms in the first place. As of this writing, the latest AJC headline on the Wuhan virus numbers blared that the “number of confirmed cases in Georgia increased by another 999,” and went on to note that “at least 28,133 residents have tested positive for the disease.”

As one looks day by day, because those who have recovered are never removed from the count, the number of Wuhan virus cases in Georgia continues to rise. Of course, this will happen as long as the AJC continues to count cases in such a way. Additionally, many who test positive for the Wuhan virus have very mild symptoms, if they have symptoms at all. That leads us to another important missing number when it comes to Wuhan virus cases: the asymptomatic.

Along with cruise ships, U.S. prisons have provided some valuable Wuhan virus data. A contagious virus will spread through a prison faster than fake news travels the mainstream media. One recent study on federal prisoners showed that more than 70% tested positive for the Wuhan virus. However, another recent study on prisoners revealed that, of those infected with the Wuhan virus, 96% were asymptomatic.

Additionally, as Jonathan Geach, M.D., Ankur J. Patel, M.D., Lacy Windham, M.D., OB/GYN, Ashkan Attaran, M.D., and Jason Friday, M.D. recently noted in The American Spectator,
Every study that has tested for COVID-19 in healthy individuals has found the disease’s prevalence to be surprisingly high, especially that of asymptomatic cases. These studies looked for the actual virus from a mouth or nasal swab using a technique called polymerase chain reaction (PCR). One of these was a study done at Columbia University, which tested every woman presenting for labor for COVID-19 for almost a month. Researchers found a 15 percent positive rate, and 88 percent were completely asymptomatic. Another study at a Boston homeless shelter tested nearly 400 guests, 146 of which tested positive. All were asymptomatic. Yet another study on the USS Theodore Roosevelt tested 94 percent of the crew for the virus, with 678 of 4,069 sailors testing positive. Sixty percent of these 678 have been asymptomatic.
So, of the over 28,000 Georgians who’ve tested positive for the Wuhan virus, how many of them have recovered or have mild or no symptoms? This is important—and potentially comforting and calming—information. Yet, we’re almost never told such things by the mainstream media. Because they are devoted to the removal of President Trump from office at almost any cost, the mainstream media has used print, television, and the internet to further the shutdown narrative.

Also, along with the number infected, we daily get the number of those killed by the Wuhan virus. Or do we? We do know that there is a definite financial incentive for hospitals to attribute as many deaths as possible to the Wuhan virus. We also know from the doctors themselves that there is pressure to count every death possible as a Wuhan virus death. And we know from state Public Health Directors that there is reason to suspect that the total number of reported deaths from the Wuhan virus is high.

As Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Illinois Department of Public Health Director, recently put it,
I just want to be clear in terms of the definition of people dying of COVID. So, the case definition is very simplistic. It means that at the time of death it was a COVID-positive diagnosis. So that means if you were in hospice and had already been given, you know, a few weeks to live and then you were also found to have COVID, that would be counted as a COVID death. It means that if, technically, even if you died of a clear alternate cause but you had COVID at the same time it’s still listed as a COVID death. So, everyone that’s listed as a COVID death doesn’t mean that that was the cause of the death, but they had COVID at the time of death. I hope that’s helpful.
Yeah, that is indeed “helpful,” but it’s something else the media virtually ignores as they report Wuhan virus numbers. Furthermore, we’re almost never told who’s dying. It’s surprisingly difficult (try it) to even get an internet search to reveal the average age of a U.S. Wuhan virus death. As Selwyn Duke noted recently, the average age of an Italian who’s died from the Wuhan virus is 79.5, with more than 99% of those having comorbidities.

In Georgia, the average age of a Wuhan virus death is 73.4, with only 4.5% having no known comorbidities (listed as a “chronic condition” on the Georgia Department of Public Health COVID-19 Daily Status Report). Of the Georgians who’ve died from the Wuhan virus with no (yet) known “chronic condition,” 15 of them were under the age of 65. Again, Georgia’s media virtually ignores such things when reporting their Wuhan virus numbers.

In addition, the total number of Wuhan virus deaths for the U.S. seems awry. Currently, the number being reported across the U.S. shows that we are coming up on 70,000 total Wuhan virus deaths. Though they do indicate that their numbers lag, the CDC site shows the total number of Wuhan virus deaths far smaller (almost half) than what is reported in the media. In addition, the CDC distinguishes between “COVID-19 Deaths” and “Deaths with Pneumonia and COVID-19.” Almost certainly the total number of Wuhan virus deaths the media reports includes the latter category (currently over 16,000), without ever including a similar distinction.

I’ll let the doctors from The American Spectator piece mentioned above summarize for me,
[I]t is clear that COVID-19 is more prevalent and less deadly than previous testing has shown. In addition, it has become clear that the disease progression is generally mild in those under 65 with limited co-morbidities and even less of a threat to children. Knowing how low the risk is for the vast majority of Americans, which is rapidly approaching the mortality rate of the flu, we can safely reopen most of the country’s economy while continuing to protect those who are most at risk from COVID-19. Once shelter-in-place orders have been lifted, those who remain fearful are free to continue to shelter in place for as long as they so choose. There is more than enough information available at this time to reopen America.
Copyright 2020, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Sunday, April 26, 2020

An ER Physician/Entrepreneur Perspective on the Wuhan Virus

In California recently, two emergency room doctors gave a powerful briefing on what’s going on when it comes to the Wuhan virus in their state, our nation, and the world over. The two doctors in the video below are Dr. Dan Erickson and Dr. Artin Massihi. Dr. Erickson is a former emergency room (ER) physician who now co-owns Accelerated Urgent Care in Bakersfield, CA. Dr. Massihi is his business partner. Bakersfield is the largest city and the county seat of Kern County, CA. Kern County has a population just over 900,000.


(UPDATE: It seems the original video has been removed by YouTube. This is totally unsurprising as the leftist media wants to censor most anything that contradicts the shutdown narrative. The above version is the "essential cut" version I also found on YouTube (here). Don't be surprised if YouTube removes all of these. However, they can't stop the truth. This video is elsewhere, along with many other truth-tellers!) (UPDATE 2: As I predicted, YouTube has now taken down the "essential cut" version. Above is again the full briefing. I embedded the code from the news site that produced this interview.)

The highlights from their briefing:

The Wuhan virus has caused “severe disruption” for their urgent care business. Because of the forced shutdown and the forced total focus on only Wuhan virus patients, their “volumes [of patients] have dropped significantly.” Confirming what Portland, OR nurse, Josie Alexander, boldly declared just one day prior to their briefing, Dr. Erickson also revealed that many California hospital ICUs “are empty, essentially.” Because of this, hospitals are “shutting down floors, they’re furloughing patients, they’re furloughing doctors.”

In certain places in California, the health system has been “evacuated” to the point that they are operating at a “minimal capacity—getting rid of our doctors and nurses because we just don’t have the volume [of patients].”After talking to ER physicians around the country, “because COVID has become the focus” of our healthcare system, Dr. Erickson concludes that people with critical illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, hypertension, and the like, are not going to the doctor out of “fear.” Thanks to the media and many politicians across the U.S., we are dealing with an irrational and uninformed fear.

When it comes to the widespread “shelter in place” orders that permeate the U.S., Dr. Erickson points out that typically we are supposed to quarantine the sick, not the healthy. “We’ve never seen where we quarantine the healthy—where you take those without disease, and without symptoms and lock them in your home.” This type of quarantine is not “really meshing with what we know as people of scientific minds that read this stuff every day.”

After testing 5,213 people for the Wuhan virus at their five Bakersfield locations—which is over half of the 9,197 tests performed in Kern County—340 came back positive. That’s a positive rate of just over 6.5%. This indicates a “widespread viral infection” that is “similar to [the] flu.” Dr. Erickson believes these numbers are “ubiquitous” for California.

The overall numbers for the state of California—those who tested positive divided by the overall number tested—show that about 12% of Californians are positive for the Wuhan virus. If you apply this rate to the overall population of California, you get just over 4.7 million Californians with the Wuhan virus. At the time of this briefing, California had 1,227 Wuhan virus deaths. That means, currently in California, you have about a 0.026% chance of dying from the Wuhan virus. These numbers differ vastly from the “woefully inaccurate” (Dr. Erickson’s words) models that first predicted millions of Wuhan virus deaths across the U.S.

Dr. Erickson next asks the important questions that many politicians in the U.S. seem unwilling to consider as most of us remain in some form of shutdown: Do such numbers “necessitate sheltering in place?” Do such numbers “necessitate shutting down medical systems?” Do such numbers “necessitate people being out of work?” Of course, the answers to each of these questions should be a widespread and resounding “NO!”

Also note, as most anyone with a basic understanding of math would see, the more you test, the rate of positives (those with the Wuhan virus) goes up. With the number of deaths staying relatively the same, the death rate then gets smaller and smaller. As Dr. Erickson repeatedly put it, “millions of cases, small amount of death.” This is playing out in every state in the U.S.—including the worst hit states such as New York. Also, it is well worth noting that across the U.S., the recovery rate for those actually contracting the Wuhan virus is well over 90%—much closer to 100% than 90% in most parts of the U.S.

When looking at the U.S. as a whole, with over four million Wuhan virus tests, we see a 19.6% positive rate. Again notice, more testing indicates a higher rate of Wuhan virus infection. If you apply 19.6% to the total population of the U.S. (~328 million) you get over 64 million infected. Per CDC numbers, that potential number of Wuhan virus infections is similar to what we’ve seen with the flu recently in the U.S. Likewise, the total number of Wuhan virus deaths is similar to what we’ve seen in recent bad flu seasons.

Dr. Erickson highlights the 2017-2018 flu season, where “50 to 60 million” Americans had the flu, with 43,545 flu deaths. (There are multiple reports that put the deaths from the 2017-2018 flu season at 80,000 Americans.) Again, these numbers compare very well with what we are seeing with the Wuhan virus. Yet, during the deadly flu season of 2017-2018, there was “no pandemic talk, no shelter in place, no shutting down of businesses, and no sending doctors home.”

“The flu’s dangerous, it kills people,” declares Dr. Erickson, and that’s with a vaccine. Yet, just because you have a vaccine—because only about half of Americans even get the flu vaccine—there are no guarantees when it comes to controlling the spread of, preventing death from, or that the vaccine will even be effective against the flu or a flu-like virus. So, unless we come up with a highly effective vaccine for the Wuhan virus, and unless we’re willing to force it upon people, as we see with the flu there are few guarantees when it comes to a vaccine.

Dr. Erickson is Norwegian, thus he compares Norway, which essentially shut down, to Sweden, which did not. These are neighboring Scandinavian nations, with significantly different approaches to battling the Wuhan virus. The results for both nations were “statistically insignificant” and again showed “millions of cases with small amount of death.”

Though Norway’s numbers were slightly better than Sweden’s, Dr. Erickson again asks the important question: Do Norway’s slightly better numbers justify “shutdown, loss of jobs, destruction of the oil [companies], furloughing of doctors?”

We then hear how the healthcare community’s almost complete focus on the Wuhan virus has led to a myriad of other negative health outcomes across the U.S. After hearing from the doctors in his clinics and ER doctors across America, Dr. Erickson concludes that the weeks-long isolation we’ve been in has led to a “severe” increase in child molestation, along with increases in spousal abuse, alcoholism, anxiety, depression, and suicide.

Having made it their “life’s work” to understand immunology, microbiology, biochemistry, and virology, Dr. Erickson and Dr. Massihi conclude that all of our sheltering in place, excessive hand washing, not touching our faces, wearing of masks, wearing of gloves, disinfecting our homes, and so on, has robbed our bodies of their natural ability to develop immunities. In other words, by staying home for extended periods of time, we are weakening our immune systems. The longer we do it, the worse it gets.

There’s much more. The briefing is just over 50 minutes and is well worth your time. To sum up, we’re reacting to a virus in a way that we’ve never before reacted, with disastrous consequences—economically and otherwise. We’re in a hole, and it’s time to stop digging. It’s time to get out, go to church, go to work, go to school, go play, and get on with our lives!

(See this column at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2020, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Friday, April 24, 2020

If You Kill Capitalism, You Kill the Media

The economic destruction of our government-imposed, nationwide (for the most part) shutdown has been unprecedented, widely felt, and well documented. There’s no need to get into all of those details here, save one exception: newspapers. The UK’s The Guardian provides revealing details:
The devastating sweep of Covid-19 is the biggest story in a generation, and for most newspapers and news sites it has triggered record numbers of readers. Yet the virus, industry experts warn, will spell the end for “hundreds” of those organizations, laying off journalists and closing titles.

Media outlets across the US have already responded to a huge drop in advertising triggered by the economic shutdown by sacking scores of employees. Some newspapers, just as demand is at its highest, have stopped printing – reverting to a digital-only operation that is just as vulnerable to the whims of advertisers.

The decrease in advertising was swift, as businesses tightened spending due to the economic impact of Covid-19. For a journalism industry already barely scraping by, the impact was almost immediate.
The Guardian goes on to quote Penny Abernathy, “the Knight chair in journalism and digital media economics at the University of North Carolina.” Ms. Abernathy predicts that hundreds of U.S. newspapers and websites will close. She graphically describes it as, “An extinction-level event will probably hit the smaller ones really hard, as well as the ones that are part of the huge chains.” Hey media, are you ready to end the shutdown yet?

I was aware of what The Guardian was reporting, though not the scale, days prior to encountering the article referenced above. This is due to an email we received from our local newspaper last week. As most well know, for a couple of decades now, newspapers across America have been on the decline. Newspapers in Northeast Georgia have been no exception.

Since about half of newspaper revenue comes from advertising, the main reason local newspapers are suffering now like never before is because this shutdown has so devastated local businesses, many of whom currently have little to no reason to advertise. Our small local newspaper, The Gainesville Times, recently detailed their financial struggles in an email and in an online article.

Things have gotten so bad for our local paper that they are now asking for donations to support their journalistic efforts. In addition, they seem to be hoping for a federal bailout. Just a few days ago, after their request for donations, The Gainesville Times ran an article detailing how a letter to President Trump from members of Congress suggested “federal spending to go toward advertising that would benefit local media outlets.”

The article hopefully quotes the Congressional letter:
Local news and information on radio, television and newsprint is more in demand than ever, yet local media outlets are experiencing catastrophic losses in the advertising revenue that allows them to continue investing in providing that news to the public. This national emergency has caused a near halt to local business activity and in turn, the regular and vital advertising they purchase from local media. Without advertising revenue, local media outlets cannot survive.
I hate what this “national emergency”—or, more accurately, our government-inflicted economic destruction—is doing to all areas of our economy—including journalism. However, like virtually all of the mainstream media throughout America, I can recall nothing The Gainesville Times has done to at least give voice to those who believe it’s time to end this shutdown!

In addition to near-endless fearmongering over the Wuhan virus and downplaying any success in fighting it, the mainstream media has virtually ignored the widespread economic suffering that is the result of our government-imposed shutdown. Where are the stories on local businesses and employees suffering because of the shutdown? Where are the stories on those perhaps on the verge of losing their businesses? Where are the stories on families suffering because parents are unable to work? No doubt those stories exist.

To be fair, we do not take the print edition of any newspaper, so perhaps some of those stories are there. Even if that is the case, they have been far too rare. What’s more, in their latest editorial (Sunday, April 19), The Gainesville Times editorial board continued the fatalistic and foolish message that “We have to stay the course, stay home and stay smart if we are to stay healthy and stay alive.” Okay, but if that is the case, American capitalism will remain severely hamstrung, and the advertising revenue newspapers so depend upon will continue to dry up. In other words, a federal bailout can never replace capitalism.

As bad as The Gainesville Times has been on matters concerning our shutdown, Georgia’s largest newspaper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC)—otherwise known as head of DNC print propaganda for the southeastern United States—has been worse.

Not even 24 hours after Georgia Governor Brian Kemp announced his first stage in the “reopening” of Georgia—because the models that Gov. Kemp had been relying on finally caught up with the real data—the AJC went on the attack. To begin their efforts at undermining the reopening of Georgia, the AJC ran an article that supposedly detailed how many of Kemp’s Wuhan virus task force “didn’t know about his order to reopen businesses.”

However, the article only mentions a handful of unhappy committee members (out of nearly 100), and how they were unaware of “some businesses” Kemp was allowing to reopen. Of course, that’s the real story here, isn’t it? Businesses all across America are being allowed to run because of a decision from a government executive. That should bother or scare nearly every right-thinking American, yet as our shutdown rolls on, the media merely yawns, implying “nothing to see here.”

And how many of those criticizing Kemp’s decision are sitting at home and doing without a significant portion of their income? It seems that the loudest critics of the “end the shutdown” movement—whether politicians, media, or others still working or getting paid—are not being hurt by the economic devastation sweeping the U.S.

After their task force article, the same day (4/21) the AJC ran an opinion piece, featured prominently on their website entitled, “When it comes to his pandemic decision, Brian Kemp is who he said he was.” The piece begins by labeling Operation Gridlock as a “Fox News-endorsed protest against shelter-in-place policies.” The column ignores the fact that the Operation Gridlock protests across the U.S. are the result of lives and businesses being destroyed because of these government-imposed shutdowns.

Later in the day, the AJC continued attacking Kemp with an articlenot an “opinion” piece—whose headline declared, “As business restrictions ease, Georgians on their own to fight virus.” As I stated at the time, this headline was nothing but pure evil—a brazen propagandist lie! Before editing their online piece—almost certainly after they saw my comments on the article—the author implied that Kemp was telling Georgians that it was “safe” to go about their business.

Of course, Kemp wasn’t telling people that it was “safe” to do anything, and neither is he telling business owners that they must open or customers that they must patronize any business. He was merely allowing people—again, tragic that we’re in such a position at all—who want to get on with their lives to do so. And neither was he leaving anyone “on their own” in our fight against the Wuhan virus. I doubt the AJC author himself really believes that. That accusation was made merely to hurt Kemp politically and further the preferred politics of the liberal fools that dominate the AJC. For publishing such garbage, the AJC richly deserves every decrease in advertising revenue that they experience!

Instead of fostering seemingly endless fear and sheltering in place orders over the Wuhan virus, the American media could do much to help end our shutdown. However, because they have been so focused on hurting—and ultimately getting rid of—President Trump and his allies like Gov. Kemp, the shutdown messaging dominates the mainstream media. Thus businesses—small and large alike—across America continue to struggle, and advertising budgets continue to shrink. So another great lesson from the Wuhan shutdown is revealed: if you kill capitalism in America, the media dies with it (right ESPN?).

(See this column at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2020, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com