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Saturday, August 22, 2020

Masks: What’s the Endgame? (EDITED!--All the Links Are Now Fixed!)

As of this writing, 34 U.S. states now mandate wearing a face diaper while in public. Let me make this abundantly clear to all of the mask apologists out there: masks are NOT going to halt the spread of the Wuhan virus. Even the CDC webpage devoted to promoting the mask mandate agenda declares that masks should be worn in order to “Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19 (emphasis mine).” This is stated just below the title of the page!

The second bullet point in the list below the title says that “Masks may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others (emphasis mine).” Let me also make this clear: yes, it is likely that masks do slow the spread of the Wuhan virus. If you can recall what we heard almost daily in the spring of this year, “slow the spread” was synonymous with “flatten the curve.” John Hinderaker at Powerline summarized “flatten the curve” well:
The point of curve-flattening is to prolong the epidemic, making it last longer than it otherwise would, as you can see in the curve-flattening diagrams. That way, more or less the same number will get sick and the same percentage will die, with one exception: our hospitals will not be overwhelmed by a crush of COVID-19 cases, and so ICU rooms and so on will be available for those who need them. That was the point of the shutdowns--to flatten the curve by stretching out the epidemic.
Thus, we can see that the purpose of the masks is the same as was the purpose of the shutdowns--to prolong the epidemic. As Mr. Hinderaker (along with countless others) points out, the purpose of prolonging the epidemic was to keep our healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed. However, as Mr. Hinderaker also pointed out--all the way back in the middle of April--the health care demands of the Wuhan virus were “grossly overestimated.”

These demands were so “grossly overestimated” that billions of taxpayer dollars were unnecessarily spent--in other words, wasted--on “field hospitals” that were supposedly meant to help “handle” the pandemic as states fought to “flatten the curve.” Numerous hospitals that cost tens of millions of dollars each to build never treated a single patient. Others treated only a few dozen.

Additionally, the vast majority of existing U.S. hospitals were never overwhelmed with Wuhan virus patients. However, because they heeded the rampant Wuhan virus fear mongering, and in anticipation of mass numbers of Wuhan virus patients that never materialized, and because they shut down services to all except Wuhan virus patients, U.S. hospitals suffered unprecedented, albeit self-inflicted, financial devastation.

Of course, what was clear in the middle of April is crystal clear as we approach the end of August: the U.S. healthcare system can well handle the demands of the Wuhan virus. So why are millions of Americans daily walking around--often outdoors with no one within spitting distance--or, even more perplexing, driving around inside an automobile, wearing a mask?

Much of this has to do with the fact that we continue to be bombarded daily with Wuhan virus case counts. And as was the case in early May, the numbers are almost always lacking in context. For example, the top of The New York Times’ “Coronavirus in the U.S.” map and case count page reveals that the number of “total cases” in the U.S. is “5.6 million+.” Nowhere is it stated that this is a running total that includes millions of people who were infected in March, April, May, June, and July and are no longer carriers of the virus.

Given (using the NYT’s numbers) that the average number of new daily cases of Wuhan virus in the U.S. is around 46k and that the typical infection period is about 10 days, on any particular day, the actual number of Americans who have tested positive for the Wuhan virus and are still actively carrying it is likely between 400k and 500k. Out of a nation of about 330 million people, that means, given the current data--if it can be trusted--on any given day in the U.S., about 0.12% to 0.15% of the population has the Wuhan virus. To put that in perspective, that means if you’re in an arena with 10,000 people, 12 to 15 of them would have the virus. Why are the case counts never presented in that way?

What’s more, the vast majority of those who test positive for the Wuhan virus are in absolutely no real danger. This is certainly true of the young. According to the CDC, from February 1 to August 15, of those in the birth to age 24 range, a total of 320 Americans died “from the Wuhan virus.” In almost all of these tragic cases--if not every single one--the deceased suffered from significant “comorbidities”--and thus died with the virus instead of from it. Though, as a couple of cases in Georgia have recently highlighted, in order to further the lockdown narrative, the media is trying to pretend this isn’t the case.

Regardless, there are numerous things that are far more dangerous for young people than is the Wuhan virus. For example, according to the CDC, the leading cause of death for teenagers is automobile accidents. In 2017, in the 16-19 age group alone, there were 2,364 Americans killed in motor vehicle crashes. Again, such context is also almost always missing when the drive-by media report on Wuhan virus case counts.

Additionally, when it comes to case counts, it should be clear that, as there is more testing, there will be more cases identified. Also, as we get back to normal pre-lockdown behaviors, there will be more cases. However, given that hospitals remain quite underwhelmed with Wuhan virus patients, we are now much better at treating the virus, and most of us are in little to no danger from the Wuhan virus, no one should be making policy--especially widespread mandating of masks and social distancing--based on case counts alone. Yet, these policies are rampant across the U.S., even where young people dominate the population.

Thus, the mask apologists need to be asked: what’s the endgame? When do the mask mandates go away? What are we waiting on? Why will taking them off in December or January (or February or March) be safer than now? There likely won’t be a vaccine then, thus those who don’t get the virus now will get it then (if they’re going to get it at all). For the few who require it, the hospitals then will be as capable of proper treatment as they are now, and health outcomes of those who contract the Wuhan virus will likely be exactly what they are now.

In other words, for the overwhelming majority of us, masks and social distancing aren’t necessary. The science and the data are clear: the curve has been flattened and the spread has slowed to a manageable rate. Thus, in the vast majority of the U.S., the masks need to come off, the social distancing done away with, and America needs to be open for business, school, sports, and church. 

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

Monday, August 17, 2020

Atlanta Journal-Constitution Again Spreads Wuhan Virus Fake-News Fear Porn

Barely a week after the media in Georgia—and much of the rest of the U.S.—ignored the fact that a Savannah-area seven-year-old boy who supposedly died “from the coronavirus” actually had a seizure and fell in the shower, the largest newspaper in Georgia—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC)—is again helping to perpetrate the false narrative that the Wuhan virus presents widespread danger for American children. 

Early in the afternoon on Saturday, August 15, the AJC had this headline: “15-year-old Gwinnett boy dies of COVID-19.” The first sentence of the piece declared: “A 15-year-old Gwinnett County boy with no underlying conditions [emphasis mine] has died after contracting COVID-19, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.” Having closely followed the science and the data on the Wuhan virus—and knowing well the leftist agenda of the AJC—I was immediately skeptical. 

An internet search revealed that the story was new (few others were reporting it yet). Thus, it seemed likely that all the AJC reporter who authored the story did was find the death info via the Georgia Department of Public Health’s website that counts Wuhan virus deaths in Georgia. On this site, ages of the deceased are listed, along with whether underlying conditions were present. Being apparently eager to scare parents of school-aged children and to further the lockdown narrative, the AJC went with the story and had it plastered at the top of their home page.

I also thought it likely that the AJC’s eagerness to promote the lockdown narrative would come back to bite them. It did. And like I suspected, it didn’t take long. Less than 24 hours after they again went with the child dying “with no underlying conditions” misrepresentation, Atlanta’s WSB radio reported: “A 15-year-old boy in Gwinnett County has died of the coronavirus, according to officials with the Georgia Department of Public Health. The boy, identified only as being Caucasian, was from Gwinnett County. Officials said he did have an underlying medical condition [emphasis mine].”

Of course the fact that the boy died “with an underlying condition” also makes it likely that he died with the coronavirus instead of dying “of the coronavirus.” Proving again the proverb that a lie makes it halfway around the world before the truth can get its pants on, much of the drive-by media were quick to run with the AJC’s false account of the Gwinnett County boy’s tragic death. 

The first two sentences of an AP story on the incident stated: “A 15-year-old boy in metro Atlanta has died from complications caused by COVID-19, making him the second-youngest individual to die from the virus in Georgia, according to state health officials. The Georgia Department of Public Health said the Gwinnett County teenager had no underlying conditions, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Saturday.” 

Since the AJC got it wrong, and these reports are likely to change or disappear, I provide you with screenshots: 

U.S. News & World Report repeated the AP’s account:  

The Times Union, an Albany, New York paper, also repeated the AP’s account:

Sadly, even my local media—housed in one of the most conservative areas of the U.S.—ran with the AP story:

The Daily Beast was quick to get in on the deceit, running their story on the same day as the AJC. A piece entitled “15-Year-Old Boy Dies of COVID in Georgia,” begins: “A 15-year-old boy has become one of Georgia’s latest coronavirus fatalities, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported on Saturday. The teen is the second-youngest person to succumb to the virus in the state and had no underlying health conditions.” 

There was also a Reddit thread on the incident. The self-described “front page of the internet” directly quoted from—and had the link to—the AJC story:

Whether or not they took their cues from the AJC, local TV also got in on the act. Atlanta’s CBS 46 reported, “A 15-year-old boy in Gwinnett County has become metro Atlanta’s youngest victim of COVID-19. The teen is the second youngest in the state of Georgia to die from the virus, and is reported as having no underlying medical conditions.” 

Notice that, whether or not a deceased individual has underlying conditions, if they have a positive Wuhan virus test (before or after death), they always seem to have died of the Wuhan virus. 

Interestingly, not long after WSB radio gave a more accurate account of the boy’s death, the AJC “updated” their story. (As of this writing, most other media reporting on this tragic incident have yet to do such.) Notice at the previous link that, though this account contains the “original story,” the first sentence of the “original story” has been edited, and the “with no underlying conditions” phrase removed. 

So again we see, the drive-by media is eagerly invested in keeping the lockdown narrative alive, and shamefully, are willing to use the deaths of children—thus scaring children and their parents alike—to do so. 

(See this column at American Thinker.) 

Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor is the author of The Miracle and Magnificence of America

Saturday, August 8, 2020

7-Year-Old Boy in Georgia Died "from COVID-19"? Media Leaving Out Key Details

Update: The AJC is now reporting that, 

An initial investigation suggests that the 7-year-old Savannah boy listed as the youngest Georgian to die from coronavirus had a fever-fueled seizure while in the bathtub and drowned, a local official told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Chatham County Coroner Bill Wessinger confirmed previous reports from Savannah media regarding the boy’s death, which was included in the state’s daily coronavirus report on Thursday. ...

Wessinger cautioned that the full results of a Georgia Bureau of Investigation autopsy are still pending and may be a long time coming. But he said preliminary investigation suggests COVID-19 gave the boy a fever, which triggered a seizure that happened to occur while he was bathing.

Febrile seizures are not uncommon in young children and can be brought on by a number of illnesses and infections. 

In other words, though the left-wing AJC has gotten around to reporting more of the important details of this boys death, we still dont really know why he had a seizure. We do know that the combination of the seizure and the bath/shower is what caused his death. The fact that he tested positive for the Wuhan virus post-death may mean nothing at all. After all, false positives on these test have been widespread. And even if he had the Wuhan virus, it certainly doesn’t mean that he died “from” the Wuhan virus. 

The Savannah media story (see herementioned above again reveals (as if we needed another reminder) why the “seven year-old Georgia boy died from the coronavirus” meme is prevailing. Their story on this tragedy begins, 

After a 7-year-old Chatham County boy was reported as Georgia’s youngest COVID-19 casualty Thursday, local medical leaders and community members are appealing to the public to regard this loss as evidence of the pandemic’s ongoing threat.

No single death should be used as evidence for the ongoing threat” of a pandemic, and the death of a child should never be used for political purposes. Shame on the Trump-hating left for using this tragedy in an evil attempt to keep us in lockdown mode!

Original Post:

It has been widely reported in the last several days that, sometime within the past 10 days to two weeks, a seven year-old boy from Chatham County (the Savannah area), Georgia has died “from COVID-19.” If the media didn’t say that the child died “from COVID-19” they reported that he diedof COVID-19” or “of coronavirus.”

Even Fox News declared, “A 7-year-old old boy from Savannah, Ga., with no underlying conditions, became the youngest victim to die from the coronavirus…” (Emphasis mine.) Also, like Fox News, virtually all of the media also repeatedly reported that the child had “no underlying conditions.” Even my local radio station—repeating the deception every 30 minutes for hours on end—which, among other conservative programming, carries The Rush Limbaugh Show, helped perpetuate this latest example of Wuhan virus “fear porn.”

The AP—whose storied are often widely distributed in the media—did more accurately report that the boy died “with COVID-19.” However, the AP did go on to say, “The boy had no other chronic health conditions, according to data released by the state. …The boy’s death comes amid nationwide debate about the risks that children face in getting infected or spreading the coronavirus, particularly as the school year begins.”

Of course, the implication is that schools should not reopen, fall sports should not be played, and that America must remain in shutdown mode. If not for our own sakes, we must do it “for the children!” As is often the case with so many things when it comes to the Wuhan virus and the drive-by media, few things could be further from the truth.

As of late Friday evening, except for one Savannah TV station—whose more accurate account I first found via Facebook—I could find no drive-by media telling the whole story on this tragic episode. WTOC reporter Cyreia Sandlin provides some crucial details on the seven year-old’s death that the vast majority of the media has so far ignored:

So it seems that the boy died, not “from COVID-19,” but rather as the result of a seizure and a fall in the shower. It seems that, prior to his death, the child had zero Wuhan virus symptoms, and that after he was pronounced dead, “a rapid test showed evidence of COVID-19 positivity.”

I don’t know about you, but I’ve followed the news and the science on this virus as closely as most anyone, and I have yet to hear any reports of the Wuhan virus causing seizures. If this were the case—especially where children are concerned—it is a virtual guarantee that the media would have daily told us so. It would seem that fair and accurate reporting of this incident would include all of the circumstances surrounding this terrible tragedy, and that this is almost certainly another example of someone dying with the Wuhan virusif even thatand not from it.

All the media has done here is give us another reason not to trust them in this grave matter.

(See this piece at American Thinker.)

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

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Big Tech Forgets Its Foundations (Capitalism and Conservatism)

In 2017, Mark Zuckerberg gave the commencement address at Harvard. As was noted at the time, Mr. Zuckerberg’s speech was laden with socialistic talking points. I wondered then, would the Mark Zuckerberg of 2017 have started Facebook? Likewise, would the Mark Zuckerberg of 2004—who was instrumental in building the world’s largest, most popular social networking website in the world—have given the 2017 commencement address at Harvard University?

In other words, how could a man who led the development of one of the world’s leading technology companies give a speech that touts principles that run completely contrary to what is necessary to build such a company? Tragically, as recent events have made clear, Mr. Zuckerberg is far from alone.

“TheFacebook” was launched in February of 2004. While Zuckerberg wrote the code for what would later become “Facebook,” the company never would’ve become the technology behemoth that it is today without a wide array of—gasp!—venture capitalists. In the summer of 2004, Peter Thiel—co-founder of, among other things, PayPal—made a $500,000 start-up investment into Facebook. Thiel was Facebook’s first outside investor.

With over two million users, by the spring of 2005 Facebook was valued at nearly $100 million. At that time, American venture capitalist firm Accel made a $12.7 million investment in Facebook. After Facebook went public in early 2012, Accel was listed as the second biggest—behind Zuckerberg—stakeholder in Facebook.

Almost exactly a year after Accel’s initial investment, a second round of funding was acquired. This time, several venture capitalists put up over $27 million. Thiel and Accel also provided additional investments. Such capitalists made Zuckerberg into a millionaire. According to The Guardian, “In 2008, Zuckerberg aged just 23, was named the youngest ever self-made millionaire by Forbes.” This was thanks in large part to American capitalists and capitalism.

According to Investopedia, as of June, 2020, after Zuckerberg, the next four largest shareholders in Facebook are all investment management companies—i.e., capitalists—such as Vanguard and T. Rowe Price. Facebook has created numerous millionaires and multiple billionaires. Almost all of this is the result of revenue generated from advertising—from companies like Panasonic and Microsoft (both early advertisers). You know, companies that sell us things—in other words, companies that engage in capitalism.

Of course, Facebook is far from alone when it comes to modern technology companies that owe their rise to capitalism. Google was officially incorporated in a garage in Menlo Park, California in September of 1998. Less than a year later, in June of 1999, venture capitalist rivals Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital together made the first large (nearly $25 million) investment in the young company. Initially, Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin opposed the idea of an advertisement-funded search engine. According to Planet Google, “In an April 1998 academic paper prepared when [Page and Brin] were still students, they criticized ‘advertising funded search engines,’ which they believed would be ‘inherently biased towards the advertisers and away from the needs of the consumers.’”

Nevertheless, in an effort to monetize their work—something that capitalism demands—in the year 2000, Google began selling ads that were associated with search keywords. The advertising of products—of course which leads to people buying things, sometimes referred to as “capitalism”—has been very good to Google. Again, according to Investopedia, “The bulk of Google’s 162 billion dollar revenue in 2019 came from its proprietary advertising service, Google Ads.”

In an effort to (gasp!) capitalize on the explosion of the internet, in 1994, Jeff Bezos left the Wall Street firm where he was employed and started—also in a garage—an online bookstore that would soon be known as Amazon. According to Amazon.com, Inc. History,
After reading a report that projected annual Web growth at 2,300 percent, Bezos drew up a list of 20 products that could be sold on the Internet. He narrowed the list to what he felt were the five most promising: compact discs, computer hardware, computer software, videos, and books. Bezos eventually decided that his venture would sell books over the Web, due to the large worldwide market for literature, the low price that could be offered for books, and the tremendous selection of titles that were available in print.
Of course, selling books was only the beginning. Amazon now sells almost anything that can be purchased. It is an “Everything Store.” In other words, Jeff Bezos saw the awesome opportunity the internet provided to sell things, and he led the creation of one of the world’s largest companies built on that principle.

To get the company up and running, in 1994 Bezos began pitching his idea to several dozen family, friends, and other investors. He hoped to raise around $1 million. About 20 agreed to invest and just over $980k was raised. In 1995, Amazon got $8 million from venture capitalists Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers—who, as noted above, were also early investors in Google.

How do you think Mr. Bezos got those first 20-something investors to write him checks? What was the lure? Of course, like everyone else starting a business and looking for investors—whether behemoths like Amazon, Facebook, and Google, or a small, single-location restaurant in your hometown—no doubt what got people to buy in was the hope of a return on their investment.

The idea that private citizens can freely start, own, invest in, or otherwise make money from a business is the essence of capitalism and is (or is supposed to be) as American as apple pie. As author W. Cleon Skousen points outs, the U.S. was the first nation on earth of any size or consequence “to undertake the structuring of a whole national economy on the basis of natural law and the free-market concept described by Adam Smith.”

Called the “Founding Father” of capitalism, Smith’s An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations—more commonly known as The Wealth of Nations—is one of the most important literary works in the history of humanity. A collection of five books, The Wealth of Nations is widely considered the world’s earliest, most comprehensive defense of a free-market economy.

As is noted in The Miracle and Magnificence of America, The Wealth of Nations, published in 1776, would have an almost immediate impact on government financial policy—especially in the U.S.—and is considered by many to be the most important treatise on economics ever written. Writing to John Norvell in 1807, Thomas Jefferson said that on “the subjects of money & commerce, Smith's Wealth of Nations is the best book to be read.”

If conservatism seeks to conserve anything, it is those things that have been settled for all time. As history has clearly demonstrated, no economic system has proven better than the free-market economics touted by Smith and embraced by America’s Founding Fathers, the free-market economics that allowed for the creation of Amazon, Facebook, Google, and the like. Thus, if conservatism seeks to conserve anything, it is capitalism.

On the contrary, the American left and the modern Democrat Party seek to destroy capitalism in America. Led by the likes of Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, this is especially true of younger democrats. The Democrat Party has gone so far left that democrats now significantly prefer socialism to capitalism. More than three-fourths of democrats say that they would vote for a socialist for President of the United States.

Likewise, in spite of the fact that their companies were built on, and their fortunes were made because of, capitalism, and in spite of the fact that conservatism is the political philosophy that embraces, promotes, and protects capitalism in America, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Jeff Bezos time and again demonstrate that they are, if not openly devoted to leftism and the Democrat party, typically very hostile to conservatives and conservative principles.

Thus, we again see that—after having employed and personally benefitted from the forces of capitalism, and thus, conservatism—Big Tech leftists have hypocritically decided that what worked for them is simply not for everyone else. 

(See this column at American Thinker.)

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