On Biden’s Speech to Congress

Photo Credit: Getty

Last night President Joe Biden delivered his first speech to Congress saying “America is on the move again’, while noting the nation is at an ‘inflection point’ too.

The moment calls for more spending the President argues.

Massive spending actually.

In the amount of another proposed $2.25 trillion in infrastructure spending, and another $1.8 trillion in a family safety net, and that’s in addition to the recent $1.9 trillion stimulus.

Republicans quickly jumped to attack Biden’s ambition plans of driving up America’s debt by $6 trillion.

This blog comes at policy from a fiscally conservative, business minded standpoint. The notion that America needs to spend trillions on unnecessary big government programs and drive up our national debt to compete in the 21st Century, while China is trapped in 300% debt to GDP ratio is to be nice, at best impractical.

Saddling down future generations with high debt interest payments will make USA unflexible, stagnant, and bloated.

While I’m not opposed to government spending on legit infrastructure to rebuild roads, airports, bridges to best compete in the 21st Century, I’d want to make sure we only spend what we need out of that projected $300 to $600 billion that actually makes sense. If we can do infrastructure for $200 billion, even better.

Most of what President Biden proposed last night will be DOA in the Senate.

Politicians should stop overpromising what they can’t deliver, and focus on what taxpayers (We The People) want to spend taxpayer $$$ on to improve the nation.

New Second Amendment Case Granted Cert by Supreme Court

New 2021
SCOTUS Justice Group Photo

When it comes to gun rights/gun control narratives, the media and opposing political establishment has it out for the Second Amendment.

Here’s the key talking points of what just happened yesterday:

Issue as SCOTUS defines it: “Whether the state of New York’s denial of petitioners’ applications for concealed-carry licenses for self-defense violated the Second Amendment.”

In non legal terms, can a state restrict a person’s right to get licensed to carry a firearm outside the home, based on the requirement of demonstrating “proper cause” for self-defense?

Even through the balance of power for the Second Amendment far outweighs political opposition, with the news that SCOTUS has accepted NYS Rifle & Pistol v. Corlett, this is seen as a case that could potentially be a landmark ruling, advancing gun rights in a major way, nationwide.

Not since District of Columbia v. Heller has the Supreme Court weighed in on a major Second Amendment case, and with this new case, SCOTUS has the potential to do four things:

1. Strike down the NYS restrictive concealed carry law that requires a person to demonstrate ‘proper cause’ for self defense.

2. Clarify the court’s stance on 2A, and concealed carry.

3. Set precedent on gun rights for American citizens, both in and outside their homes.

4. Establish new standards for review on gun rights cases.

The case will likely be argued later this Fall, with a ruling expected by or before June 2022.

In coming media segments on this SCOTUS case over the next year, credible gun right’s experts have an opportunity to educate and drive clarity on 2A realities.

Texas is Freezing. Renewable Energy Planning Appears to be a Big Part of the Problem

Some of us knew an extreme storm was going to hit Texas and surrounding states hard for days now. At the peak, five million were without power, and brutal cold (and snow) are hovering over the state, much of the region, and this is just day two of what will likely be a five day extreme weather event, with another big storm impacting Texas beginning tomorrow.

We are beginning to learn why Texans have seen such a dramatic loss of energy during part one of this storm, which is directly impacted by both the failure of renewable energy, and to be fair as Texas Govenor Abbott notes, “The ability of some companies that generate the power has been frozen. This includes the natural gas & coal generators.”

Word of the street is:

MichaelPalmerTWC: What’s happening in Texas is entirely predictable. A direct result of over investment in unreliable energy like wind and solar, and then not expanding reliable energy sources like natural gas and nuclear to meet an ever growing demand for that energy.

As I sit here with my kids freezing, I really don’t give a crap about your attempts to save face for the renewable energy sector. I lived in many places in the US including cold states and never have had to experience this. We lost power and heat when it was needed the most.— GalvestonChaser (@davis_wx) February 16, 2021

With the Biden Administration’s drive to tackle Climate Change, now is the time to have a national debate.

I would support the transition to a ‘balanced’ hydrogen economy by 2070. Wind and solar are fine on a small scale, but a sophisticated empire can’t rely on unreliable sources of energy. It takes a good 40 to 50 years to transition to a clean energy economy.

Possible, a once in a century weather event.

Mask Hypocrisy

In March 2020, Dr. Fauci said, “While masks may block some droplets, they do not provide the level of protection people think they do. Wearing a mask may also have unintended consequences.”

Months later, wearing masks has become a political flashpoint issue as COVID cases have yet to recede in parts of the nation, but here is Dr. Fauci yesterday at a baseball game after throwing out the first pitch, now not wearing his mask, and not social distancing.

America has a Federalist government, meaning that the Federal government does not exercise central control over our 50 states, but works in conjunction with the states, who also have their own Constitutional and state level powers. In times of a pandemic, states do have police power, and can make their own decisions on mask mandates.

Federally, there is no national mask mandate, even though many want this in a bad way. It continues to be this writer’s opinion that COVID is a contagious virus, we know who is most vulnerable to COVID related illness and they should be protected, but for a nation the size of America where infections are not soaring everywhere, it is important to keep perspective and a cool head, and not impose mandates on everyone to be politically correct.

While caution is wise, the COVID-19 hysteria continues to be severely overhyped.

If you want to wear a mask, have at it. But please don’t be a hypocrite.

Fauci USA Today

Photo Credit: USA Today

 

 

Thoughts on the George Floyd Case and Due Process

The video imagery of the George Floyd arrest on May 25, 2020 while Floyd appeared to be foaming at the mouth, while in a neck restraint was both disturbing and horrible to watch.

That said, I’m in the tiny minority that doesn’t believe what happened to George Floyd was excessive police force, or murder. I also believe the four police officers were trained and skilled, and were doing their job, and this case has zero to do with racism. The national uprising that led to riots and unrest could have been avoided had everyone let due process play out, and evidence weighed.

In America, we have ‘Due Process’ and presumption of innocence deeply embedded in our legal system. This means, the law (and Constitution) give the accused the right to fair treatment during the legal process, and allow the process of evidence to be compiled and objectively reviewed.

The lead video (there were three public videos, and activated police body cams) of George Floyd show one angle of the arrest, and neck restraint. Other video angles add to the evidence, and there were three autopsy reports, and a criminal complaint with a progression of documented events anyone interested in the case should read.

I’m arguing George Floyd was possibly having a heart attack during the arrest, while resisting arrest, and likely died of a health condition, and not from the neck restraint. The autopsy reports list heart disease, heavy drug use, and no evidence of strangulation from the neck restraint, which is listed a non deadly force option in the Minneapolis Police Department Policy & Procedure Manual.

On the initial 911 call, there was legit concern George Floyd was under the influence of some kind of substance when the alleged crime was committed, and during the time of arrest.

Yesterday the body cam transcripts were released. What is most interesting is while Floyd was standing (not on the ground in the restraint yet), officers observed foam on Floyd’s mouth. Also, at one point it was suggested maybe Floyd was on the drug PCP, a point I argued on May 28. Though PCP is not listed as a substance in the autopsy reports. Point is, Floyd was on a strong enough drug (Fentanyl and Methamphetamine listed on autopsy) that officers noticed shaking of the eyes, and the behavior of someone who just wasn’t acting right.

All this is important to the case, and while initial evidence was quickly overlooked to drive a reform agenda, now we wait for a trial (scheduled for March 2021), so evidence can be submitted and weighed.

Social Distancing: There are two sides to this coin

All in the family gif

Social distancing is a deeply personal and public issue, and our society and much of the civilized world has chosen to close down for safety reasons.

COVID-19 is a contagious disease. Back in January when Coronavirus became international news, people were thinking the disease had an RO of 3.8. Now it’s considered to be 2.0 to 2.5 RO. (RO is mathematical for determining how quick a disease spreads and reproduces itself)

There is some wisdom to social distancing. Obviously, with such a contagious disease, we want to avoid people who are sick. If you are sick, everyone agrees, quarantine yourself. Isolate the vulnerable elderly.

That said, and I know this is going to come off as controversial in a time when most states are shut down to some extent, but I’m observing when governments force social distancing on major cities, if enough people are infected in that city, forced social distancing can dramatically drive up case and death toll #’s as families huddle together, like we’re seeing in New York City.

Allow me to explain.

The current epicenter of Coronavirus cases in America is in Corona (Queens), NY. That’s an interesting enough coincidence, and it got me digging into demographics and trends.

Corona (Queens) was the fictional setting for the 1970’s television show ‘All in the Family’, which at the time was a cultural blockbuster hit, with over 60 million Americans tuning in to watch each week.

The opening credits of All in the Family had Archie and Edith Bunker singing the opening show theme as the camera hovered over New York City, eventually zooming into Queens, and ending at the Bunker House. Can see the opening theme on the below GIF. And as an All in the Family fan, I’ve been to the Bunker house that was used in the credits.

Two weeks ago I began arguing that the trends show Coronavirus clusters were showing up in densely populated residential areas. The All in the Family opening (into Corona) credits shows exactly what I’m talking about.

Higher case trends in the New Orleans region is another example. After mass crowds were shoulder to shoulder at Mardi Gras in February, the locals went back to their homes not far away and mostly spread the virus to family members.

The media doesn’t talk about this, but it’s become clear to doctors in NYC (who are learning more and more about Coronavirus each day), that the vast majority of Coronavirus cases are spreading at home, among families living together in those homes. Not just in NYC (Brooklyn, Queens), but overseas, in densely populated ares of Spain, France, Italy and China, where strict social distancing orders went in place in the last 1-3 months. These NYC doctors working at the big hospitals are seeing large amounts of sick patients each day, and are coming to their own conclusions on what the trends are, and how the virus is spread.

What we’re hearing now, is transmission of Coronavirus is more likely to happen when a person touches or is in sustained contact (15 to 30 minutes) with an infected person who has symptoms (fever, aches), or that infected person is 1-2 days away from getting sick.

Nothing new here, but the quickest way to get infected (if you’ve been in contact with an infected person is to touch your face (eyes, nose, mouth). So washing hands, and using hand sanitizer are highly recommended, and there is sound wisdom there.

Also, becoming clearer for some, that if you are sick, NYC doctors appear to prefer folks go to the hospital for evaluation if you have shortness of breath. Having a fever, and aches can be symptoms of COVID-19, but most people are not going to get sick from COVID, and more likely will have the cold or flu. Shortness of breath is when things are considered to be problematic. Also, for the statistically tiny % of the population that gets really sick from COVID-19, you really don’t want to be on a ventilator.

Rare for me to make such a statement, but if someone is that sick, options could be tough. Some may well consider taking something like Hydroxycloroquine that has some side effects, vs. going on a ventilator, and being heavily sedated for 7-10 days in a near coma. If a really sick person goes on a ventilator, and they are lucky, maybe they’ll come out of the experience not the same, but still alive.

Which brings me to the COVID-19 models, which are only as good as the best data, and the data has been lousy. In January, when ‘the experts’ thought COVID-19 was 3.8 RO, they were also saying 65 million people would die (globally). I documented this on Jan 25, and referenced that statistic for this post. Then last month, the experts said 1-2 million people could die, and showed those models to states and cities who hysterically shut down their economies, and now we’re near shut down as a nation. The Global death toll today is 82,191.

The most cited model now (IHME) projects (In USA, not globally) near 82,000 will die by August 4. Now everyone is dramatically scaling back their projections on death toll, hospitalizations, # of needed ventilators, to # of infected. Why? As I pointed out in my Detroit post on March 30, not every city is as densely populated as New York City. And, for a big region to see a spike in cases, need a lot of people infected in one densely populated area. That’s not happening everywhere.

I’m arguing, in a major city like New York City, after 1-2 months of mass transit closeness (subway, cab, uber, rail, etc), where people traveled together for sustained periods of time and got infected, once the state social distancing orders went into effect, masses of people were forced to stay at home in densely populated residential neighborhoods, with lots of families living together, and then things got really bad, really quick. Notice how NYC and Italy soon exploded in cases and death tolls when the lockdowns began?

Even as models are now scaling back the apocalyptic projections, the IHME model (subject to change based on new data) is saying this for peak dates, and death toll projections:

New York (Peaks tomorrow): Near 16,000 deaths by Aug 4.
New Jersey: (Peaks on April 11): Near 5300 deaths by Aug 4
Michigan (Peaks tomorrow): Near 2300 deaths by Aug 4
Louisiana (Peaked April 4): Near 850 deaths by Aug 4
Colorado (Peaked April 4) Near 300 deaths by Aug 4
California: (Peaks on April 13): Near 1600 deaths by Aug 4
Washington: (Peaked on April 2): Near 700 deaths by Aug 4

Model Link: https://covid19.healthdata.org/united-states-of-america

We’re still in a national emergency, and will be for awhile, but trends, data and reality are going to become clearer and clearer in coming weeks, and millions of people are going to be asking tough questions about why this happened, and I’m arguing a day of reckoning for the experts could be coming.

So here we are now. Many businesses have shut down, 10 million (minimum) Americans are out of work, we’re likely into a severe recession (or worse), and many businesses (and retailers) have invested and implemented social distancing guidelines, and overhauled their operations for public safety, and that’s the way it needs to be for now.

But I’m arguing, by simple observation, that as the experts who predicted mass death are now scaling back their projections, and have to save face by saying social distancing is working (and it does to a point), on simple observation, forced social distancing IS also the spark that makes the pandemic explode in big, densely populated cities.

COVID-19 is a contagious disease. There are no easy answers.

There are probably going to be several more smaller COVID-19 peaks through 2021. And we need to reopen our economy, and be smarter about trends, why some big cities see explosions in cases and death tolls (and most don’t), transmission realities, and how to do social distancing reasonably, so we don’t have a multi-year year severe recession, or economic depression.

Gif: All in the Family Opening/Theme (Top)
Photo: All in the Family House, near 50 years later (Photo Credit: Me)
All in the family

Some Perspective (Coronavirus)

Problematic clusters of Cornavirus cases appear more likely in:

1. Densely populated major cities, but not as severe in the downtown of a big city.
2. Uptown areas of a metropolitan area
3. Suburban neighborhoods closer to a big city
4. Inner City
5. Some tourist regions

At this time, New York State has 22x the case rate as Detroit area, and 176x the case rate as San Francisco.

Major State/County/City Case #’s (At this time)

– NYS: 60,000
– Detroit (County): 2704
– Seattle (County): 2077
– Los Angeles Area: 1818
– New Orleans (County): 1350
– Miami: 1192
– San Jose: 591
– Dallas (County): 488
– San Francisco: 340

In Michigan, 46% of the state’s cases are in Wayne County (Detroit area). Put another way, 82% of all cases in Michigan (at this time) are in 3 counties making up larger Detroit Metro, and outskirts.

In New Orleans, about 1.4 million people crammed into the city for Mardi Gras in February, so there’s a tourist connection, and explanation (I think) on why Louisiana is a hotspot.

In California, at this time, the state has about 5,700 cases vs. New York at near 60,000 cases.

– Los Angeles has 32% of California’s cases.
– Combined, Bay Area, Orange County and San Diego have 44% of the state’s cases.

Map: State of California Coronavirus ClustersCoronavirus CACredit: KSBW8/John Hopkins map

AP Headline: NIH’s Fauci projects possible ‘millions’ of US coronavirus cases, ‘100,000-200,000’ deaths.

Dr. Anthony Fauci is the medical expert face behind Coronavirus, who just significantly downsized his projections.

That 1-2 million death toll number that made everyone lose their minds and clean out supermarkets is no longer being used.

Here’s some math on Fauci’s new projections:

At 1-2% mortality rate in USA, to see roughly 100,000 to 200,000 deaths means 5 to 10 million people infected. Would need to see 300-600 deaths a day in America for the next 1-2 years to see that kind of death toll.

Using the mortality rate mostly seen in big city suburbs, or uptown parts of big city metros, Fauci’s projections would suggest 10 million Americans will get Coronavirus.

An estimated 61 million were infected with Swine Flu in 2009, and 12,400 died.

The news outlets got their big headline this morning. I’m skeptical.

Coronavirus Observations via NYC Map

This map was helpful to gain some perspective. For those who don’t know New York City, there are five boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island) in a city with over 8 million in population. NYC metropolitan population (including New Jersey, Connecticut, and Long Island) is about 20 million.

Coronavirus

Map: Govt of NYC, via Daily Mail

The red and deeper orange areas on the map represent the highest clusters of positive tests (via Govt of NYC map), and you can see this mostly in Brooklyn (left center), and Queens (right center), the two most densely populated boroughs in New York City.

At the top of the NYC map is ‘The Bronx’ with a concentration or deeper orange, while Manhattan (center left) isn’t as critical, except for parts of Harlem, Chelsea and Washington Heights. Staten Island (lower left) isn’t that bad either. Clearly NYC has a Coronavirus problem, as does New Jersey (mostly Bergen County), just across the Hudson River, where people commute by rail, and bus.

In Bergen County, New Jersey, the three cities that seem to be most impacted are Hackensack, Englewood and Teaneck, all near each other, and again more populated urban residential areas; but a lot of Northern NJ is like that anyway.

What’s interesting to me, is again, the highest cluster of cases are in the most densely populated areas of New York City, but here, both Brooklyn and Queens also have the largest senior population in all of New York City.

And these neighborhoods are often heavy residential, with lots of larger apartment buildings, or housing projects. When people think of New York City, they often think of the skyline in Manhattan, but the Coronavirus epicenter of NYC is across the bridges and tunnels into neighborhoods people don’t hear about as often, or even know about.

At the continual risk of being wrong, I just don’t see high NYC case #’s occurring in too many other places around the nation, unless in densely populated big city areas.

But Brooklyn and Queens are a problem, and New York City is approaching an Italy style surge of death rates.

‘How Dwight D. Eisenhower Quickly Contained the Spanish Flu at Camp Colt (Gettysburg) in 1918’

‘How Dwight D. Eisenhower Quickly Contained the Spanish Flu at Camp Colt (Gettysburg) in 1918’

The story I am about to tell has been sitting in a few books (documented for any future reader) on my bookshelves for years.

Also, it is well documented the pandemic of 1918 was known as the Spanish Flu, just as in 2020, some call it the Chinese Virus (or Wuhan Virus). As it is now clear, the obsession with racism made Coronavirus cases in Italy and New York City EXPLODE, so I find accusations of racism over the use of a flu origin to be both ridiculous, ignorant, and dangerous!

In 1969, The Washington Post would say of Eisenhower after he died (March 28,1969), “It could be argued that the General is the greatest figure in American and world history.”

In the final eight months of World War l, just as his military career was getting started, Eisenhower arrived at Camp Colt (on March 24), and turned a Gettysburg battlefield into a tank corps, where Eisenhower would command 10,605 men to train them to fight overseas in World War l.

From 1918 to 1919, over 500,000 Americans died from Spanish Flu. 50 to 100 million died, globally.

In 1918, while some say a first case of the pandemic in USA was reported in Kansas, I’m going with the Spanish Flu entered USA through a port in Boston, and made it’s way to Fort Devens, Massachusetts, where the first case was reported on Sept 8, 1918.

Soon after, 124 men (many infected) in Fort Devens were transferred to Camp Colt, where Eisenhower was in command.

As men in Camp Colt (Gettysburg) began getting ill, initially camp doctors thought the cause for the sickness was aftereffects of inoculations. It took about 24 hours to identify it was indeed the Spanish Flu.

Eisenhower and his chief surgeon Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Scott moved quick to isolate the patients into tents. No more than four men per tent.

On Eisenhower’s order, Camp Colt was quarantined. Not the town of Gettysburg. Just Camp Colt.

What Camp Colt MPs did do, was prevent any soldier that did not have a medical pass from leaving the camp. In the city (town) of Gettysburg, restaurants could not serve soldiers, and Gettysburg churches were off limits to Camp Colt soldiers.

On sunny days, tents where infected men at Camp Colt were quarantined, were opened up, and the bedding was exposed to the sun. They scrubbed the floors daily with Lysol and kerosene. All solders were given a medical examination daily.

Between Sept 15 and Oct 5, 1918 (3 weeks), 427 soldiers were hospitalized, and 175 died. By mid October 1918, the worst had come and gone at Camp Colt.

Less than 2 months after the first Spanish Flu case in USA was reported near Boston, The Gettysburg Times wrote (Oct 24, 1918), Camp Colt was “practically free of influenza”.

175 deaths, and 427 hospitalized out of 10,605 men was a pretty good outcome compared to other Army posts who got hit much harder, and in a nation where over 500,000 people would die from the Spanish Flu in 1918-1919.

The outcome of Eisenhower’s (and Surgeon Scott’s) efforts were so good, that Eisenhower’s leadership of the pandemic at Camp Colt got the attention of the War Department, who wanted to learn what measures Eisenhower took to stop the virus so soon at Camp Colt.

Tomorrow will be the 51st anniversary of Eisenhower’s death, which in 1969 was a huge deal, as is the death of most any President. But at the time, Eisenhower’s passing was a monumental loss to the nation.

On Oct 14, 1918, (Eisenhower’s Birthday) an impressed War Department promoted Eisenhower to Lieutenant Colonel, for his efforts at quickly containing the Spanish Flu at Camp Colt.

Soon after, the War Department sent their new rising star to France, just weeks before World War l ended.

As it turns out, the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic was where the legend of Eisenhower began.

Photos: Eisenhower and Camp Colt