Thursday, April 30, 2020

Brazil Is Starting to Fear the Reaper

Friends, Brazil, the world headquarters for partying and debauchery, isn't feeling the carnival vibe right now.  That's because the coronavirus appears to be raising death rates all over South America's largest country.  Testing is limited, so it's hard to tell how many Brazilians have the virus (even harder to tell than it is here!), but, if death rates soar, well, you can add two and two together to make four, can't you?  Now, we aren't hearing about the effect of the coronavirus in much of the developing world.  The number of confirmed cases in most Third world countries is tiny...but that doesn't mean many cases aren't going undetected.  Then again, poor countries are used to death, so it might not phase them nearly as much as it does us.  At the end of the day, we need to look at mortality figures when this pandemic has run its course.  We might learn some interesting things.  We might learn that just as many people died from increases in poverty and deferred medical care as they did from the virus.  We might learn that the overall death rate didn't shift that much, because the virus mainly felled people who were likely to die soon regardless.  We might learn that the virus will impact developing countries far more than it impacts us (imagine that!), because of their inability to organize effective countermeasures.  Or...we might learn none of these things, because any of them could turn out to be untrue.  We shall see!

In other world news, Trump is taking on the Swedes, defending America's lockdowns as the right approach to fighting COVID-19.  Well, on this one I have to take issue with our glorious leader.  He's right that the Swedes are seeing higher death rates than neighboring Nordic countries, but he fails to point out that their approach has distinct advantages, and it still hasn't produced death rates as high as Italy, Spain, or Belgium...  It may also soon achieve herd immunity, which could lead to LOWER death rates, when all is said and done.  I can see where Trump is coming from -- he doesn't want to admit that our strategy here in the U.S. could have been wrong -- but frankly it may have been, and we should be adult enough to acknowledge that possibility.

Here's another article on COVID-19 in the prison system, full of crocodile tears for our poor incarcerated maniacs.  The real story ought to be, however, that huge numbers of prisoners have been infected but remarkably few have died!

While most of the country seems to be moving in the direction of freeing the American people from punitive lockdowns, California is taking a step backwards, closing all beaches and state parks.  The reason?  Gov. Newsom doesn't like to see evidence of people having fun, when he's specifically instructed them not to...

And, lastly, you've got to love good, old fashioned lefty hypocrisy.  Check out this clip from Tucker Carlson about President Obama's "essential" golf outing:

Obama's not alone.  Pretty much every liberal is congratulating him or herself for social distancing and mask-wearing these days, and they're usually oblivious to all the ways in which they're NOT complying with the overriding message that we should hunker down and leave our homes only when absolutely necessary.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The Holocaust, Then and Now

Friends, you can't miss this week's Newsmaker Show.  Me and Brian talk over all the pressing issues of the day, including Trump's alleged advice to Americans to drink bleach (as if!), Mitch McConnell and the question of aid to the states, and when and how to restart the economy and normal life.

In addition, historically, Brian and I cover Nixon's odd decision to install a taping system in the Oval Office, the liberation of the concentration camps in 1945 and their legacy as (largely post mortem) justifications for World War II, the death of Mussolini and Hitler's marriage, the dangers of media conglomerations, and the tragic fate of Joan of Arc.  Man, oh man!  Is there any topic we didn't cover?

Tune in today!

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Be Like Florida, Dummy!

Friends, I highly recommend this article to you.  It's a comparison of the relative success of New York and Florida, and Gov. Cuomo and Gov. DeSantis, in meeting the challenge of the coronavirus.  Oddly enough, the state with the worst record in terms of mortality is held up by the media as the gold standard!  It defies belief.

Monday, April 27, 2020

The New (Ab)Normal?

Friends, quite a few liberals seem to be psyching themselves up for a permanent virus-related lockdown.  The state of siege, they say, must persist, because, even if cases and deaths decline, well, they could go up again later!  Only when the disease has ceased to exist can we venture out into the wide, wide world. 

Here's an analysis that suggests that the time has come to get back to something resembling normal life.  It's also an analysis that underlines the steep price we are paying -- not just financially, but in lives lost -- because we remain in lockdown and paralyzed by fear.

Take it for what it's worth, but I'm inclined to agree with Dr. Atlas and to think that we would have been better off from the start if we had locked down the most vulnerable and otherwise gotten on with our lives.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

A Cure Is Found!

Friends, as you know, I've been recommending the medicinal qualities of a crime spree for months now.  Well, it turns out I was right!  According to a recent study, COVID-19 ripped through an Ohio prison, infecting the vast majority of inmates, but, of those infected, fully 95% had no symptoms!  That's right: no symptoms at all.  What does this prove?  Either that the disease is a whole lot less dangerous and deadly than we've been led to believe -- but CNN and MSNBC assure us that can't be true -- or it proves that becoming a bloodthirsty desperado makes one virtually invulnerable to the disease's worst effects!  Either way, I can't see any downside to inflicting a little mayhem on your inveterate enemies...  It's very cathartic, or so I'm told, AND you'll be sent straight to prison, where apparently the coronavirus can't touch you!  A win-win.  So start polishing that "enemies list" -- you may need it!  Just try not to get shanked in the yard.  Hey, I never said the cure didn't have side effects, did I?

And note the good news coming out of Europe: the return to normalcy is accelerating, even in the hardest hit areas.  But note also that each country is charting its own path to recovery.  The takeaway is that pan-Europeanism/trans-nationalism/globalism really is hanging by a thread these days -- just how we like it!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Standing Up To China Could Be The Key To Slapping Down Joe Biden

Friends, the American people seem to be souring on the PRC.  Attitudes to China are almost as bad as attitudes to Putin or the Ayatollah.  For reasons we've discussed in depth, none of this is too surprising.  What might surprise us, though, is the potential for China to be the decisive factor in the 2020 election.  My latest article, soon to appear in American Greatness, is about just that.  Read on, and see if you and I are on the same wavelength:

Could 2020 Be The Year Of The “China Election”?

These days, consumers of the news could easily be forgiven for experiencing “pandemic fatigue”. The body count, the travails of the first responders, the massive disruptions to daily life — these narratives have become not just the lead story, but the only story, both in broadcast and in online media.

The truth, however, much as it may be obscured by our current obsession with all things corona, is that, one day relatively soon, public attention will begin to shift away from the pandemic and towards other important themes. One of these will, of course, be the pitched battle between Republicans and Democrats, between President Trump and adult day care escapee Joe Biden. When that battle is joined, however, it's still unclear on what ground the two sides will fight.

While it may be tempting to imagine that President Trump's reelection hinges on the public's assessment of his pandemic leadership, and on the degree to which the country has recovered from the virus-related recession, I would like to propose another critical theme that could tip the scales: China.

Everyone knows that President Trump places much of the blame for the global pandemic on China, and more specifically on its slow response to the initial outbreak and its failure to share information about the disease with the rest of the world. China strove to project a “business as usual” image to the world, to the great cost of the hundreds of thousands of people who will be killed by COVID-19, even in the most optimistic scenarios. Those hundreds of thousands could easily have become millions, had Western leaders, including President Trump, not acted so decisively to cut off travel to and from China back in January and February. China, meanwhile, has deflected blame, even nurturing bizarre conspiracy theories that describe the virus as an American bioweapon.

In the United States, opinion leaders' receptiveness to the China-is-to-blame narrative has largely tracked with their partisan leanings. Republicans and Trump fans have no hesitation in pointing the finger at China and its allies in the World Health Organization, whereas Democrats and Trump haters have often made excuses for China and vilified Trump as the Contaminant-in-Chief.

At the level of public opinion, however, as opposed to elite opinion, a recent Pew Research Center poll reveals that attitudes to China have grown dramatically more negative across the board. Even rank-and-file Democrats see China as a bad actor in the global tragedy of COVID-19. In short,72 percent of Republicans view China negatively, as do fully 62 percent of Democrats. Since skepticism about the Chinese is one of the few issues on which Republicans and Democrats can find any common ground, we might reasonably ask: could Sinophobia become an important theme in the presidential election?

Arguably, given President Trump's bitter trade war with China, the communist superpower was already fated to be a bone of contention between Trump and his eventual Democratic opponent. Since the Democrats and their media allies frequently criticize Trump's anti-Chinese rhetoric and trade policies, and since Vice-President Biden's controversial connections to China through his wayward son Hunter loom as potential vulnerabilities, there was never any question but that China would be front and center in November. China's role as the origin point of the current murderous pandemic merely raises the stakes, ensuring that China will be one of the top issues on voters' minds.

President Trump's forceful condemnation of China's mishandling of the coronavirus, coupled with the Democrats' reputation as proxies for Chinese interests and defenders of Beijing, give Trump and Republicans a key opportunity. Instead of running in November to vindicate Trump's leadership, which for all too many Americans is damaged goods, they can run against China and by arguing that the Democrats are beholden to the Chinese government and incapable of criticizing it. Democrats will counter, naturally, that Trump is a xenophobe. They say so constantly, and Trump's recent decision to suspend all immigration to the United States provides them with ammunition — not that they are above manufacturing their own.

The truth, though, is that nationalism, and nationally-specific solutions to containing and defeating the COVID-19 pandemic, are the order of the day. Borders are being closed, travel is being restricted, and national governments are charting their own independent courses almost everywhere, even in Europe, where pan-European, transnational cooperation, which was always more rhetorical than actual, is looking more threadbare than ever.

In an age when the key decisions are made by national governments, therefore, based on a frank assessment of national, rather than global, interests, one can argue that Trump's philosophy of “America First” is ideally suited to capitalize politically on, and to embody, the new public mood. When one couples this Trumpian nationalism with a clear and consistent message about China and the dangers it poses to the West — dangers to which the Democrats seem oblivious — Trump may have found an ideal formula to broaden his appeal to independents and even to some Democratic voters.

Just as some Bernie-minded Democrats voted for Trump in 2016 because of his strong stance on trade fairness, some non-GOP China skeptics may well vote for him this year, for similar reasons.

Thus, in 2020, the road to victory for Trump may pass right through China, just as it did before.

Dr. Nicholas L. Waddy is an Associate Professor of History at SUNY Alfred and blogs at: He appears weekly on the Newsmaker Show on WLEA 1480.

And here it is at American Greatness, as promised: 

Great News! Thanks to Liberalism, You're One Step Closer to the Harem You've Always Dreamed About!

Friends, you might recall that, back when the Supreme Court invented a constitutional right to gay marriage in 2015, conservatives warned that the legalization of polygamy or incest might be next.  Liberals scoffed!  Well, the movement to normalize and eventually legalize and recognize "polyamory" is well afoot.  If you ask me, lefties should be careful what they wish for, because what they're likely to get from this insane dethronement of the traditional nuclear family is both social instability and a whole lot more polygyny, which is to say: men with multiple partners and/or wives.  Women, by contrast, are biologically and psychologically much less likely to seek out multiple male partners.  So, in short, everything could work out for the best!

In other news, the mask police are getting pushier and pushier.  In truth, as some of you have already observed, it isn't the police pushing this agenda, by and large, but do-gooder politicians and their media allies.  Missing, still, is clear evidence that typical masks help typical people avoid infection.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Gas Attack!

Friends, that's right: I said "Gas Attack!"  No, your Uncle Earl didn't just eat a whole can of baked beans.  I'm talking about chemical weapons -- or rather, Brian and I discuss the rights and wrongs of chemical warfare in this week's Newsmaker Show.  But that's not all!  Historically speaking, Brian and I also cover Nixon's opening to China circa 1972, the legitimacy (or lack thereof) of the McCarthy hearings and the Red Scare in the 1950s, Hitler's gradual realization that the war was lost in April 1945, and more.

In terms of current events, Brian and I talk about changing attitudes towards China, in light of China's key role in facilitating the global spread of the coronavirus.  We also contemplate the morality and legality of the extreme measures now being undertaken to combat the pandemic, and the potential for any future vaccine to become mandatory.  President Trump's bold decision to suspend all immigration also comes under our penetrating gaze.

All in all, it's a great show, engorged with eloquence and reverberating with relevancy!  Don't miss it.

And here's a very compelling analysis of our COVID-19 predicament:

Saturday, April 18, 2020

To Swede, Or Not To Swede?

Friends, as every country plagued with this, well, plague struggles with the question of how to manage it, one of the most pressing issues is whether or not we want to emulate the "Swedish model" of fairly relaxed restrictions versus the Italian model of a total lockdown.  Today I bring you both sides of the debate.  The first article is a criticism of the Swedish approach, which argues that it has created far more deaths than in neighboring Nordic countries.  The second article is a frank conversation with a expert pathologist who suggests that the strict quarantine now being applied to everyone may make no sense.  He cites Britain's much higher death rate when compared with...Sweden!  What's the truth?  You decide.

Lastly, building on the article I posted yesterday, here's even more evidence that the spread of COVID-19 may be far wider than previously believed.  In one Massachusetts town, one-third of all residents (randomly selected) tested positive for antibodies!

Friday, April 17, 2020

Could COVID-19 Be...Everywhere?

Friends, new research out of California indicates that the percentage of the population that's been exposed to the coronavirus may be much higher than previously thought.  That's both good news and bad news.  It's good news, because it means that the virus is far less deadly, in terms of its death rate, than has been reported to date.  It's bad news, because it means a much higher percentage of virus-carriers must be asymptomatic, and thus telling who has it and who doesn't, and containing it by sequestering those who do, is nearly impossible.

What does all this mean?  Possibly, it means that President Trump's recent comment -- that we need to shift to a strategy of protecting the most vulnerable, rather than incarcerating everyone in their homes indefinitely -- may be correct.  At least, it might be the most realistic way to fight the pandemic in the next few months.

What's your view?

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Full Circle

Friends, a few short months ago, the only people wearing masks on our streets were Antifa thugs -- and municipalities pondered banning masks to stop their reign of terror.  Now, governments across the U.S. are pondering mandating the wearing of face masks to protect the public from the coronavirus.  It's a mad, mad world!

Now, do I believe that wearing masks is prudent?  I'm not a doctor, but it strikes me as more than odd that the authorities told us for weeks that masks were useless and not to bother, and now they've pivoted to "masks are lifesavers and ought to be worn from cradle to grave".  Where's the proof that masks are efficacious, especially when worn by laymen who are unschooled in their proper use?  Moreover, once we cross the threshold of telling people not only how to behave, but how to dress in public, how will we ever unwind this manifestation of Big Brother?  Let's not forget -- the risk of infection when you're in public will never be zero.  So when will it be safe, or relatively safe, to resume normalcy?  We're not told.  No one seems to have given the question serious thought.  We're playing it by ear.

I find it interesting that, in many respects, the Europeans are out in front in addressing the question of how society reboots after the worst of the scourge has passed.  Throughout Europe, shops are reopening, schools are back in session, and workplaces are once again buzzing with activity.  Thus far, we have no clarity on when that will happen here.

And so I ask the question: how long will we, how long can we, live in fear?  I sincerely hope the answer is: not much longer.  We in New York, who are still under lockdown and have just been commanded by our Governor (kinda, sorta) to wear masks in public, will soon witness other states and localities start to lift restrictions, when here they grow more onerous by the day.  It seems to me the momentum is shifting.  Gov. Cuomo may be the last to notice, but even he will have to face the music soon.

As for me, I don't claim to know whether wearing a mask is advisable or not, medically speaking, but I do know this: masks are dehumanizing, and they're an outward sign of our (closely cultivated) fear, as well as our blind obeisance to the powers-that-be.  I hope we dispense with them as soon as possible.

And here are some other stories worthy of your attention.

The irony in the fact that Democrats and liberals are now defending states' rights is incredibly thick.  The 10th Amendment is about as precious to progressives as the Book of Leviticus, under normal circumstances.

And that hoped-for primary contest between AOC and Chuck Schumer could, I repeat COULD, happen!

And lastly, at the risk of adding fuel to the fire of conspiracy theories, some in Washington, and at Fox News headquarters, are now taking seriously the idea that the coronavirus may have originated in a Wuhan laboratory.  We shall see.  No conclusive proof, as yet, but if the Chinese do bear even greater responsibility for this debacle than previously reported, you can bet the entire world is going to be hopping mad!

The Unsinkable Nick Waddy

Friends, this week's Newsmaker Show is 25% more awesome than ever!  (That figure has been verified by Nobel Prize-winning mathematicians.)  Brian and I cover the dust-up over whether President Trump has "total authority" over our nation's pandemic response, as well as the ongoing tensions between the President, Gov. Cuomo, and the Washington press corps.  President Obama's tepid endorsement of Joe Biden is also on the docket, as is the current state of the presidential race.

In "This Day in History," Brian and I cover the sinking of the Titanic, Castro's fateful 1959 visit to the United States, the role of sports in American culture, the death of President Lincoln, and so much more!

Check it out.  It will change your life!

Sunday, April 12, 2020

On the Mend

Friends, not only is the Western world approaching "peak corona," and therefore not only do we have better days ahead of us, but British P.M. Boris Johnson is also out of the woods!  He's been discharged from the hospital and is showing marked improvement.  Good!  He'll be blowing into his vuvuzela with gusto again soon.  More importantly, he'll be back in the saddle as Britain's leader and as the world's chief Eurosceptic.  Boris, we need you to put the nail in the EU's coffin!  Get well soon.

It's Easter, my friends, and it's Spring!  New life and new hope is blossoming everywhere.  Have a Coke and a smile, I say!  :)

Friday, April 10, 2020

It's the Apocalypse! Quick -- Install a Solar Panel!

Friends, you have to hand it to the Left.  They've really taken the old saying to heart: "Never let a good crisis go to waste."  They're dreaming up all kinds of ways to bend this mysterious pandemic to their will.  Want voting-by-mail?  Coronavirus!  Think society is racist?  Coronavirus!  Hate Donald Trump?  Coronavirus!  And now...want more wind and solar power?  You guessed it: Coronavirus!  They're inventive little buggers, aren't they?  Check out my latest article, which dissects the latest effort by the wind and solar lobby to squeeze more subsidies out of the American taxpayer.  Egads!

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Elon Musk and the Breath of Life

Friends, don't miss my latest article, which examines the role of Elon Musk and Tesla -- which has been essentially unhelpful -- in New York's pandemic response.  It bears repeating that we live in a state where taxes are very high...but government services are often poor.  Often, the reason is corruption and cronyism, and Musk, sadly, is a key beneficiary.

 And here's another great analysis of those exceptional Swedes and their refusal to lock down.  It sure looks like their death rates are more exemplary than they are cautionary:

This Just In: The New York Times Admits that Cuomo and DeBlasio Dropped the Ball

Friends, you have to hand it to the Times.  These days it's easy for lefties to blame Trump for everything.  A lot of liberals are also too busy drooling over the suavity of Andrew Cuomo's press conferences to examine the competence of his leadership.  Nevertheless, the NYT has done some excellent investigative reporting here, and what they've uncovered is pretty arresting.  Many more people in the Empire State will die -- have died -- because Cuomo and DeBlasio dragged their feet in taking action to stem the pandemic.  To be fair, there's plenty of failure to go around, but the fact that the left-wing media would train any of its criticism on Democrats is, well, refreshing.  Well done, Gray Lady!

Remembering the Iron Lady

Friends, this week's Newsmaker Show focuses on a number of hot stories in the headlines, including: New York's contentious ventilator shortage, Gov. Cuomo's political future, and speculation that Southern Tier Congressman Tom Reed could run for Governor in 2022.  Brian and I also talk about the depressing trend that has normalized the exploitation of tragedies like the current pandemic.  Apparently, shame is obsolete!

Historically, Brian and I discuss the fruitful alliance (and close friendship) between President Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.  We'll not see the likes of them in positions of leadership again, I'd guess!  We also talk about the secret to the Red Army's success on the Eastern Front, and the historic victory of the Army of the Republic of (South) Vietnam over the NVA and Viet Cong in 1972.  That victory proves, as nothing else could, that success was within our grasp in Vietnam...but unfortunately President Ford and Congress dropped the ball in 1975.  And that's a very nice way to put it!  A sports analogy frankly underrates the horrific consequences of our betrayal of the South Vietnamese people, not to mention the 60,000 Americans who died in Southeast Asia for what was, in my humble opinion, a just cause.

Tune in, if you please:

And here's some more pandemic context for you:

And this is the closest thing that I have seen to an analysis of the excess mortality caused by COVID-19.  The balance of the evidence is that the death rate is indeed being negatively impacted by the disease, and to a considerable extent in Italy.  Since this data is a bit out-of-date, one can assume that the effect is increasing...although statistically in many countries the overall effect on mortality could still be described as modest, at the end of the day (less modest if you happen to be the one dying):

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Will the Kindergartners Show Us the Way?

Friends, grade-schoolers in Denmark are about to return to the classroom!  Can you imagine?  That's more evidence that those strong-willed Scandinavians are bucking the trend and either resisting the urge to shut down every aspect of modern life, or they are gradually reintroducing activities that were previously forbidden.  The Scandinavians aren't known for making rash decisions either, so the Left, which tends to idolize the Nordic nanny states, can't dismiss their unconventional COVID-19 strategies out of hand...  The key assumption that the Swedes and the Danes appear to be making is that rational people can be trusted to act in their own best interest, and in the best interest of society, by "social-distancing" and improving their hygiene for the duration of the pandemic.  Their view seems to be that shutting down everything is less effective than if everyone simply exercises common sense.  Are they right?  Scandinavia has just become the world's biggest laboratory.  We're about to find out.

The Missing Links

Friends, today I bring you a very interesting analysis of the pandemic conundrum.  Check it out:

If the author is right, then many of our extreme measures in dealing with the coronavirus were, if not exactly unnecessary, at least disproportional to the risk that most people bear.  Along those lines, note the graph above, which clearly demonstrates that, if you want to people to live (rather than die), making them poor is a very bad way to go about it!  And make no mistake -- the effect many of these extreme measures will be a rise in poverty, unemployment, bankruptcy, and despair.

It strikes me that we're making enormous decisions about shutting down the country, and spending and borrowing vast sums of money, based on very incomplete data.  What will the excess mortality of this pandemic be?  That is, how many of its victims would have died anyway, and at roughly the same time?  How deadly is the disease, i.e. what is its true mortality rate?  And, to figure that out, we'd have to know how many people already have it -- and, months into the pandemic, we still haven't made much progress answering that simple question!

In the final analysis, the rosier analyses like the one above may turn out to be correct, or they may be incorrect, but the fact is that much of our pandemic strategy is just...a stab in the dark.  We deserve better than that.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

The China Syndrome (Reconsidered)

Friends, we can be thankful that President Trump cut off travel to and from China as soon as he did (even though Democrats chided him for it).  Nonetheless, it's clear that his move came too late, and included too many loopholes, for the U.S. to be spared the pandemic.  In future, we're going to have to consider whether the ease of international travel, which has so many cultural and economic benefits, is worth the inherent epidemiological risks.  That's an especially vexing question when some other countries obfuscate when a new illness materializes (I'm looking at YOU, President Xi).

In other news, there are indications that Italy and Spain may be past the peak of virus-related deaths.  That's extremely heartening.  Gov. Cuomo even thinks that NYC may be leveling off.  Let us hope and pray that he is right.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Good News: Your Number May Be Up, But The Woodland Critters Are Thriving!

Friends, leave it to the tree-huggers and the warmed-over hippies: they've found a ray of sunshine in all the coronavirus gloom.  They see the massive industrial/economic contraction now gripping the planet as a net plus, which could accustom us to a more "sustainable" lifestyle going forward.  Some of them also look approvingly on the rigid countermeasures many governments are taking -- and the unthinking compliance of hundreds of millions of loyal citizens.  Could this unprecedented mobilization to fight a pandemic be a precedent for even greater stave off climate change?  Keep your eye on the ball, conservatives, because you better believe the Left will squeeze every advantage out of this public health emergency that it can.

Thanks to the New York Daily News for hosting my latest tour de force!

Friday, April 3, 2020

Giving the Commander-in-Chief the Finger is Patriotic Now

Friends, times they are a-changin'!  The Navy has removed the Captain of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt because he wrote a critical letter about the service's response to the coronavirus, which leaked to the press.  Biden has now jumped all over the case, coming to the Captain's defense.  Biden's motivation is clear enough: anyone who criticizes Trump MUST be a true American hero -- for, clearly, in this moment of national peril, there's no greater service one can perform than Trump-hatred.  The facts of the case do matter a little, though.  The key question is: was the letter written so that it could be leaked?  Did the Captain himself leak it?  If so, that's a breach of the chain of command that more than justifies his removal.  I don't prejudge the case, personally.  Biden does, however.  He scents presidential weakness, so he pounced.  That he may do permanent harm to the country -- by politicizing the armed services -- seems not to matter.  In fact, I'm seeing signs that the (borderline neurotic and almost always duplicitous) attacks on Trump's coronavirus leadership may be working.  Trump's poll numbers are wavering.  That's depressing, but not entirely surprising.  People are sheep.  If you repeat something often enough, they'll believe it...  Of course, we've got a long way to go before this virus is licked...and even longer to go before November.

In other news, the Swedes just keep on truckin'.  Extraordinary.  Seems to me we ought to be asking the question: if lockdowns are so great, then why are the countries without them looking better in some metrics than many of the countries with them?  I'm not saying lockdowns are necessarily ill-advised, but they ought to be evidence-based.  I'm failing to see a lot of critical thinking in the application of these severe restrictions.  It's more like a mad rush to the exits...

Thursday, April 2, 2020

The Grim Reeper DOES Discriminate

Friends, as we face this pandemic, it's important to keep things in perspective.  For the elderly, and especially for the chronically sick elderly, COVID-19 is a very dangerous virus.  For people who are young and healthy, it rarely is.  We have to ask the question, therefore: is quarantining EVERYONE the best way to handle the outbreak?  Theoretically, if the virus can't spread at all, we can beat it, sure.  If all we do is slow down the spread, however, we will be drawing out the pain and the death, and prolonging the recession/depression, but not necessarily sparing many lives in the final analysis.  The public health/economic calculus is tough!  I don't have all the answers.  Maybe you do?

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Nixon: The "Smoker's Choice"?

Friends, this week's Newsmaker Show covers so much ground that, in future, Brian and I might need to get pilot's licenses!  For instance, Brian and I naturally talk about the ongoing pandemic and the thorny question of how far governments should go to compel behavior that limits the spread of the virus.  We also discuss the recent firing of a hospital administrator in Buffalo who advocated (tongue in cheek?) the death by coronavirus of all Trump supporters.

Our conversation about This Day in History ties in with current events when we turn to President Nixon's 1970 decision to sign legislation to ban tv and radio ads for tobacco products.  Some irony there, because Nixon was a major pipe smoker.  Now, New York State is moving to ban all cigarette sales for six weeks as an anti-corona measure.  Smokers are incandescent with rage!  In addition, Brian and I look at the founding of the RAF in 1918, the U.S. attack on Okinawa in 1945, and Hitler's treason trial in 1924.

Much food for thought!  (But zero nicotine content.)  Tune in today.