Categories
Coronavirus First Amendment Freedom Truth

The Birth Of An American Freedom Movement

Rod Thomson

We may be witnessing the birth of a movement that could be the most important result of the COVID-19 nightmare: the anti-lockdown protests sweeping the country.

Per our usual agreement, the media is totally getting it wrong. It’s not about being able to go to restaurants or movies or even only about going back to work. It’s certainly not about a death cult or not taking the virus seriously.

The protests are, at core, about people who want their rights back — rights that have been snatched in just a few weeks time. It’s driven by people who understand the threat of tyrannical government, and that threat is very, very real. It’s happening right in front of our eyes.

Probably the best face of Orwell’s dystopian 1984 is New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Although the Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is a close second. Mayor de Blasio is calling on residents to report their neighbors to law enforcement for violations of social distancing protocols. And it’s made super easy. Yay! How do you narc out your neighbors who don’t obey government edicts? “It’s simple: just snap a photo and text it to 311-692.” de Blasio said. “We will make sure that enforcement comes right away.”

Wow, wow, wow. Please read 1984. This is *exactly* what Big Brother teaches neighbors and children to do. Everyone is a snitch. People live in terror. In 1984, they disappear if they don’t follow the government line. We’re not there yet. But this is an astonishing step in the Big Brother direction.

Here’s where we are in different places in the country. Governments dumping tons of sand into the skate parks to keep them from being used. Cops patrolling streets with bullhorns to warn people to stay away from each other. Government threatening to turn off the power to your business if you do not close like you’re told. New “laws” that you may not drive from your house, in your car, to another property you own, even if you never leave your car. You may not go to drive-in church services, again even if you never leave your car. You may not go fishing. You may not assemble together in any way. You will be forcefully pulled off a bus without a face mask. Anti-quarantine protests being organized through Facebook in California, New Jersey, and Nebraska, are being removed from the platform on the orders of governments because they violate stay-at-home orders.

These are constitutional affronts of a level not seen since FDR rounded up Japanese-Americans and placed them in internment camps during WWII. Too many Americans have become complacent in our comforts about ceding individual rights to government. Save us! they demand. Take whatever rights you need! Of course if we will not fight for our freedoms, we won’t have them and we won’t deserve them.

So it is heartening to see the respectful, often social-distancing movement of protests across the country, in Seattle, San Diego, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina. These protesters are peaceful and organic, popping up big and small. And while they are demanding the economy be opened back up, they are also demanding that their rights be returned, First Amendment rights such as freedom of religion and freedom of assembly.

The Tea Party was launched over the financial recklessness of the federal government in responses to the financial crisis of 2008. It was at core a fiscal movement, though it broadened some. The fiscal recklessness today is many times larger. But worse are the overall trampling of rights — which is what makes this potential movement so important. 

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The truth is that a ton of voluntary social distancing and closing was happening long before jackboots like de Blasio decided to crush our rights. Much of the government’s totalitarian response has been unnecessary. And as the virus crests and starts declining, the heavy-handedness is getting worse in areas — such as New York City.

Americans largely don’t need to be told what to do, despite years of schools and colleges teaching us what to think instead of how to think. Common sense still pervades the land. But we need the spine to stand up to an overbearing government. 

The anti-lockdown protests are doing just that.

Rod Thomson is an author, past Salem radio host, ABC TV commentator, former journalist and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. 


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Coronavirus Truth

The Evidence Is Coming In: Virus Experts May Have Been Badly Wrong

Rod Thomson

It’s looking more like the experts got the handling of COVID-19 wrong. Maybe really wrong.

In analyzing the data from countries who took dramatically different measures in response to COVID-19, from the most severe restrictions to very few restrictions (countries that keep and share good data, not China or Iran) it appears they are all showing essentially the same spread, spikes, flattening and decline. This includes Sweden and others that did not shutdown.

The same phenomenon is playing out among individual states in the U.S. Some went into Stalinist lockdowns (Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer) while others never locked down at all and only encouraged social distancing (South Dakota Gov. Krist Noem.) Florida technically did a lockdown, very “late” as Gov. Ron DeSantis is constantly lectured, but even then DeSantis exempted so much it was really not much different than the voluntary social distancing. And Florida’s numbers, which were supposed to be the next hotspot after New York, are tracking ballpark with those that took the most draconian measures.

So again, as with nations, the states are at different timeframes on the graphs, but all looking very similar in a timeframe to timeframe comparison — similar to each other and, this is critical, similar to previous coronavirus outbreaks. That’s a head-scratcher.

Another data set is adding to the suspicions.

Denmark, Scotland and Germany have done thorough antibody testing in specific locals and found infection rates between 12 and 27 times higher than they thought and models had projected. And a majority of the people were either asymptomatic or had very mild symptoms. This means that the death rate might be wildly lower than is currently suggested, as low as 0.2 percent — which would be very near to the normal flu. It could be close to 1 percent, but that is seeming less likely now, and still way below the 3.4 percent the World Health Organization put out that was used in the Imperial College projections of death totals.

“Many magnitudes more people have been infected with it than we realized,” Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, professor of medicine at Stanford university, said on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show. “That means the death rate is lower than we thought, by orders of magnitude.”

It’s important to remember that because it is so contagious, the overall numbers may be higher, but then they may not be because of how quickly the peak is reached and the downside starts — much faster than anticipated even with the full lockdowns. Again, that is according to the models.

None of this was jibing with what the experts had said.

And then journalist John Solomon interviewed Dr. Knut Wittkowski, a biomedical researcher, statistician and modeler at Rockefeller University in New York, on his Just The News podcast. And a lot of bewilderment came into clarity. The numbers began making sense if, IF, Wittkowski is right.

First off, he is obviously an expert, but he also is a major outlier among the expert class. However, he mentions in the interview that more and more of his colleagues are agreeing with him and his bottom line, to wit: We not only did not need to shut down economies, we should not have. We may have made it worse by creating a second wave — which coronaviruses in the past did not have.

Wittkkowski said the first big mistake was closing the schools. If they had been left open, it would have gone through the children, who are least affected by the virus, and their parents, who also have low impacts from it. That’s a big way towards herd immunity of 60-70 percent. And the people who are vulnerable to it should stay away from children for the duration, which is a few months.

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He said the threat continues to be for the elderly and those with underlying health conditions — something we’ve known almost from the beginning. In that way, he said it is just like all of the previous respiratory viruses such as MERS and SARS. They all differ some in both contagiousness and fatality rate, but the similarities are strong.

Here’s the key: Wittkowski said the shut down probably did not slow the spread because herd immunity would have started kicking in now, or soon, as has been the case in the previous coronavirus outbreaks. However, by truncating the opportunity for herd immunity, we have set ourselves up for the feared “second wave” — something that did not happen in previous coronaviruses because we did not prevent herd immunity with the shutdown.

If Wittkowski is right, at least to some degree, these shutdowns may well have destroyed the strongest economy in history and ultimately made the virus impact worse. That would be a failing of the expert class in truly epic fashion.

Now I do not blame politicians from either party without more information. They relied on experts and did what they were told they should do. DeSantis and some other governors pushed back, but the pressure was great. However, I do blame the experts and the media’s near idolatry of the expert class. Just do what they say!

In reality, we will know by probably mid fall if the expert class made a colossal mistake. And if so, a lot of heads should roll, because mistakes of this magnitude cannot be tolerated.

Rod Thomson is an author, past Salem radio host, ABC TV commentator, former journalist and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. 


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Coronavirus Socialism Truth

Pennsylvania Governor Uses Virus Scare To Institute Socialism Measures

by Kimberly Kennedy

“The plea of necessity, that eternal argument of all conspirators.”
— William Henry Harrison, 9th U.S. President

Back on Jan. 15, 2020, I told a group of business owners at a Rotary meeting that freedom for the everyday citizen is in the hands of those who control their economic destiny. The enemy of Marxism is a population who have understanding based on truth. The following has just happened within the past couple of weeks.

Gov. Tom Wolf issued an executive order, dated April 8, 2020, allowing for the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, in coordination with Commonwealth agencies to “commandeer… personal protective equipment, pharmaceuticals, and other medical resources located within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.” 

The Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association responded with the following blistering statement:

“As with his business closure decree of March 19, the Governor’s order came with no warning and no input from employers. The order is excessive, considering that the National Association of Manufacturers has been surveying inventories for weeks. The order is unwarranted, as PMA and other business groups have been working with DCED to establish a portal for manufacturers to retool to fight the pandemic. The order is contradictory because it conflicts with established protocols between Pennsylvania health care institutions. All of these failings could have been corrected if the Governor or his front office staff had sought input from the stakeholders who actually understand these issues.

“Many manufacturers in Pennsylvania are retooling and assisting in the efforts to battle the COVID-19 pandemic despite Governor Wolf’s best efforts to shut down supply chains and distribution networks. Having our commonwealth’s manufacturers inventory all personal protective equipment, pharmaceuticals, and other medical supplies for state-directed ‘commandeering’ adds uncertainty, complexity, and anxiety to an already strained relationship between the private sector and state government.

 “Governor Wolf’s overreaching and extra-constitutional executive order threatens the foundation of the market response needed to battle the COVID-19 pandemic in our commonwealth and across the nation. We call on Governor Wolf to rescind this executive order immediately.”

Gov. Wolf is violating the Pennsylvania State Constitution as Section 12(c) forbids the suspending of laws and Section 32.1 states that the General Assembly shall pass no local law or special law regulating the affairs of counties, cities, townships, wards, boroughs or school districts. Is the Governor aware of the efforts of organizations such as PMA and their advanced experience to deal with such a crisis as opposed to government takeover? What kind of relationship does he have with the private sector? The private sector should be the friend of government to assist in such circumstances, and be a friend to the citizens to help keep government power in check. Overreaches like this are happening in other states.  

These are classic Marxist tactics to nationalize business and thus control the money flow, which means controlling people. There is no reason for this overreach. Why not work alongside private industry and let their expertise guide in this situation? Look to history and send out warning sirens to those around you. 

The integral relationship between liberty in general and freedom in the economic realm is a reality.  F.A. Hayek states in his book, The Road to Serfdom, Economic Control and Totalitarianism:

The authority directing all economic activity would control not merely the part of our lives which is concerned with inferior things; it would control the allocation of the limited means for all our ends. And whoever controls all economic activity controls the means for all our ends and must therefore decide which are to be satisfied and which not. This is really the crux of the matter.

A modern-day example of the above is Venezuela. This country was once the world’s leading exporter of oil. They were a prosperous nation and the people were self-sufficient. After Chavez came into office, oil workers went on strike and he replaced them with workers loyal to him. This resulted in inexperienced oil workers and a government who had no idea how to run this business soon. It was soon run in into the ground. 

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We are told by some “experts” that there is no connection between economic liberty and civil liberties. History tells a different reality. As everyday items for living became scarce, the government took control of regulating electricity, food, toilet tissue, etc. Long lines and selective processes for getting necessities ensued. For the everyday citizen, life was all about surviving.  

I say this as in early April I drove through King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, a prosperous suburb of Philadelphia, observing long lines outside a grocery store and employees telling people when they could enter and how long they could stay. This is a great time to remind people again about the virtue of self-government (don’t buy ALL the toilet tissue) and help them to learn how some in government use fear to grab power. 

As George Bailey tried to explain to his frightened customers in It’s A Wonderful Life, we are responding in fear to this economic crisis and Potter isn’t. He’s buying and we are selling and he’s getting some great bargains. We are acting in fear and Potter is not. I would say the same about some of my fellow Americans based on what I’ve heard and read. 

In Pennsylvania, I’ve not seen the state government demonstrate that they are more capable to handle this crisis than the private sector.  I suggest that citizens in Pennsylvania and from all around the country contact their local representatives and tell them they need to be included in the decision making before decisions are made. Let’s dust off our state Constitutions and read them over to be sure they are being heeded. Liberty hinges on it. 

Don’t tell yourself that when things go back to normal, control will go back to the private sector. Once again, history is not kind to that idea. Guard your liberty zealously.  

Kimberly Kennedy is Founder of Restoretheculture.org and can be reached at [email protected]


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Categories
healthcare Truth

BOOK REVIEW: The Powerful Case for Free Market Healthcare

By Rod Thomson

The power grab from leftists during this pandemic requires an answer. Dr. Julio Gonzalez provides it in his new book, The Case for Free Market Healthcare, that builds the powerful case for free market healthcare to solve our challenges from drug costs to available physicians to lower costs.

An orthopaedic surgeon, attorney, former Florida Representative and author of The Federalist Pages, Dr. Gonzalez draws on his rich and varied background and meticulous style to deliver one of the strongest and convincing cases ever for the free market available.  In this new book, you don’t just get the answers, you get the full background and reasoned case for why the free market is indisputably the best solution for healthcare delivery.  In Dr. Gonzalez’s telling, it is not enough for the reader to know that free market healthcare is the best option, he also wants you to know why in such a way that you can not only understand it, you can use it to convince others.

Personally, I’m hoping that policymakers will take the time to sit down and read this book. My gosh, it would enlighten them and tamp down some terrible ideas being discussed. The timing could hardly be more relevant.

Dr. Gonzalez makes the case for health savings accounts; not the meager program politicians have created, but a robust one that essentially transfers the power over healthcare back to Americans.  Physician shortages, he discusses opening American opportunities to Americans.  High drug prices? The primary reason for them, Gonzalez demonstrates, is the destruction by Medicare of those very forces that naturally work to keep those prices down. Too much government — not too little.

The drug shortages plaguing America’s healthcare providers? If he hadn’t given you citations that you could easily access from your computer, you wouldn’t believe what he reports.  Epinephrine, lidocaine, bicarbonate, and elemental intravenous antibiotics are just a few examples of medications American hospitals struggle to keep in their stocks.  You wouldn’t know about this dire situation unless you’re a hospital pharmacist, maybe a doctor with hospital privileges as Dr. Gonzalez is — or unless you read it in his book. I sure didn’t.

But it’s in the arena of rationing where The Case for Free Market Healthcare really overwhelms. Of course there are the contextual discussions of outright rationing through mandates and prohibitions like you see in Japan and some of Europe.  But did you know the extent to which government-directed rationing takes place in the United States? In meticulous detail, Gonzalez shows you the myriad of market manipulations the federal government is undertaking to steer you in favor or away from certain treatments to the point of making access to some prohibitive. That is rationing, my friends.

This book is a must-read for anyone caring about the country’s healthcare future. By going through the materials, you will be in a much stronger position to ward off the attacks from the big government left and to recognize why their arguments are so hollow.  It is one of the best reads you can undertake during this time of quarantine — and beyond.

Rod Thomson is an author, past Salem radio host, ABC TV commentator, former journalist and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. 


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Economy Truth

Studies: The Shutdown Is NOT Lives Vs. Dollars, It’s Lives Vs. Lives

Rod Thomson

“If you’d like to die for the sake of the economy you go right ahead and do that. I, on the other hand, have no intention of sacrificing myself or any of my family or friends for the economy.”

This common sentiment, expressed on Facebook, is the wrong formulation. It is the false equation of money or lives. It’s not only wrong, it’s deadly.

Here’s how: Unemployment increases the death rate. This is a known truism among economists — who are not much en vogue right now but economics really needs to be. It turns out, this correlation has been studied extensively since at least the 1970s. Maybe earlier. That it is true is not in doubt. The only question is how much does it increase deaths. What’s the ratio?

According to one meta-analysis of 42 studies involving 20 million people — I told you there are a lot — the risk of death increases 63 percent when you lose your job. Please note, not 63 percentage points, but 63 percent from a fairly small percentage. However, when applied to raw numbers the totals become surprising, as we will get to shortly.

From the meta-analysis from National Center for Biotechnology Information abstract: “We extracted 235 mortality risk estimates from 42 studies, providing data on more than 20 million persons. The mean hazard ratio (HR) for mortality was 1.63 among HRs adjusted for age and additional covariates. The mean effect was higher for men than for women. Unemployment was associated with an increased mortality risk for those in their early and middle careers, but less for those in their late-career.” 

A controlled study at the University of Helsinki concluded: “In a recent study, an excess mortality of 47 percent was observed among men unemployed or working part-time for reasons other than illness after adjustment for age, geographic region, social class, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, weight and known pre-existing disease.” So this study backed out as many factors as possible to isolate the impact of just being unemployed.

There are mountains of these studies. It’s astounding that apparently none of our intrepid media members have ventured to search this out and report on it.

So what are the actual numbers? Well that’s a lot trickier. The range I’ve found in this research goes from a few thousand up to 37,000 deaths for every one percent increase in the unemployment rate. 

And it’s dicey because even the unemployment rate is iffy being dependent on the labor participation rate — the total number of people employed divided by the total size of the labor force. When people get discouraged and stop looking for work, they are no longer counted as unemployed because they are no longer in the labor force. Those non-workers who are not labeled unemployed anymore would probably also have some increase in the death rate, but I can find no studies of that segment, perhaps because it is so malleable.

The high end number of estimated deaths comes from a 2011 textbook called “The American Economy: How It Works And How It Doesn’t,” by Wade L. Thomas and Robert B. Carson. Citing Bluestone, Harrison and Baker’s book, “The Causes and Consequences of Economic Dislocation,” they conclude that for every one percentage point increase in the unemployment rate, there are 37,000 deaths — the largest single source coming from heart attacks, presumably from stress, but another 1,000 from suicides and another 650 from homicides. The rest are not categorized, likely due to a lack of underlying data.

On the lower end, if you take data from the Great Recession, you find that the unemployment rate in 2015 had returned to its level before the financial crisis and downturn in 2009. (Remember, this lowered unemployment rate was with a greatly diminished labor participation rate, which is why it did not “feel” like a strong economy.) In those seven years, inclusive, there was an increase of 195,000 deaths in total, which means an average of 27,900 deaths per year. The unemployment was different each year, so we cannot say how much correlates to a percentage point, but clearly much less than 37,000. But this is back-of-the-napkin figuring and the actual studies are more reliable.

What all these studies conclude, to varying degrees, is that this economic shutdown will, absolutely, kill Americans just as COVID-19 is killing Americans. The rate of death due to forced unemployment is unknown, and maybe cannot be known, although I hope it will be researched a lot more after this unique event so we can understand the trade-offs next time.

Economists such as Larry Kudlow use a rule of thumb of 10,000 deaths for every one percentage point increase in the unemployment rate. That doesn’t seem unreasonable given the study ranges. The U.S. unemployment rate may surpass 30% in the second quarter of 2020 due to the broad shutdown. That’s higher than the Great Depression.

So if we apply the 10,000 rule just for ease of estimating, and start with a 3 percent unemployment rate, we can estimate that the 27 percentage point increase in unemployment could cost 270,000 lives over the course of a year. That is now much higher than the estimates of COVID-19’s death toll.

Few people think we will be shut down at this level for a year, but what will be the rate of increase once we re-start? That will not be overnight. We can see how, right now, almost assuredly the shutdown itself is taking American lives and will take thousands more.

Unfortunately Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that we cannot start to “relax” social distancing until there are “no new cases, no deaths.” This is a horrific formulation — the syndrome that arises from someone who is only looking at one side of an equation and who’s held the same job since 1984.

Fauci’s formulation would keep us either in a lockdown or social distancing that includes closed restaurants and public areas, for many months or even years, which would undoubtedly mean multiple times more deaths from the cure than from the disease. 

So the proper formulation is not to suggest we are trading money for lives. Everyone can feel quite righteous about that — particularly if they are not living paycheck to paycheck. But clearly the idea that we would be “dying for the economy” is just ignorant.

The proper formulation is that we are trading lives for lives. We are trying to save lives from COVID-19, but we are costing lives from unemployment. How many is unknown, but as death estimates from the coronavirus in the U.S. continue to fall, it makes the correct formulation, with perhaps better numbers than I have gleaned, all the more critical. 

The question our leaders need to ask and get an answer for is: What do the death toll estimates and unemployment numbers look like if we transition to practicing social distancing, no handshaking, no major events, but otherwise everyone younger than, say, 65 returns to work — including restaurants and retail — while those over 65 or with preexisting conditions remain self-quarantined until we have very effect treatments or a vaccine?

At some point, we will be killing more people by closing the economy than we are saving by closing the economy — if we are not already there.

Rod Thomson is an author, past Salem radio host, ABC TV commentator, former journalist and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. 


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Coronavirus Truth

A Physician Investigates: Should You Take Hydroxychloroquine?

by Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D.

A controversy has arisen regarding the utility of using chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine with azithromycin in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. 

On the one hand, there are the purists who maintain that these medications ought not be employed until the proof of their benefits has been established. On the other, some advocate for the aggressive and immediate deployment of these medications. With these two very valid competing arguments proffered by sophisticated scientists and healthcare providers, the question for the rest of us mere mortals is what should we do? 

The first step in addressing this question is to evaluate the state of the literature on the topic. An early indication that hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine in combination with azithromycin could be helpful in the treatment of CORVID-19 infection comes from a randomly controlled study from France involving 40 patients with early infection.  All patients in the experimental group improved and did better than those in the placebo group, except for one who was 86 years old and received the medicines in an “advanced form” of the disease. 

But the study suffered from its small size and lack of a peer review process.

Other studies seemed to support the French conclusion.  In the laboratory, evidence demonstrates that chloroquine helps defeat the virus by increasing a cell’s internal pH and interfering with the penetration of the virus into the cell. Another study, this time out of China, showed the effectiveness of chloroquine and another medication, Remdesevir, against the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the COVID-19 virus) in Vero E6 cells taken from African green monkeys. Yet another preliminary study out of Wuhan showed that the time to clinical recovery, body temperature recovery time, and cough remission time were shorter in patients treated with hydroxychloroquine than in untreated controls. 

There’s also experiential evidence suggesting that people who take chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine in low doses may be prevented from even developing the disease.  Additionally, informally reported observations find that patients who regularly take these medications for other conditions such as lupus are generally not contracting COVID-19.

But conflicting scientific information has also emerged. One study suggests no benefit to the administration of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin in patients with severe infection. The severe nature of the infections in these patients is notable, as it appears that the damage to the body goes beyond what an antibiotic can improve.

In light of all this emerging information regarding the potential benefits of administering the drugs it is tempting to conclude that we should treat all COVID-19 patients with these medications.  But what about the potential harm? Here, there is extensive evidence of the safety of taking chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. Yes, either medication can cause retinopathy and changes in heart electrophysiology, but these effects are exceedingly rare and take place in patients who consume the medication at higher doses and for much more protracted periods of time.  In reality, the use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine in the recommended doses and projected administration times for COVID-19 is very safe.  

So should we be taking chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine?  Well, the answer actually comes in three packets.  

• First, with the data available, those patients in respiratory failure ought definitely be treated with a regimen of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin.  They should also be placed on Remdesevir. These patients, of course, are generally being treated in the intensive care unit setting, and the optimal management controversy does not apply to the general public.  

• Second, for those patients who are not in respiratory failure, but are nevertheless infected with COVID-19, the more proper approach is one of drug administration.  Although treatment should be undertaken under physician supervision, there is little question that the balance between risk and benefit strongly lands in favor of benefit, especially when one considers the potential imminence of patient demise.  

• Third, there is the question of preventive treatment or prophylaxis. Here again, there is a strong suggestion of benefit and a very remote risk of harm particularly when one considers the exceedingly low doses required for prevention.  The conflict here lies in supply. Do we have enough chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to meet the demands from such a broad swath of the population? Ideally, it would be preferable that everyone takes one of these medications, but in light of supply limitations, at the very least, those coming into frequent contact with COVID-19 patients and elderly persons should be on a prophylactic dose.

What about those on chronic regimens of these medications?  Should they be kept from accessing chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine as many in the media claim is taking place?  They shouldn’t. But even in light of temporary shortages, the prophylactic use of these medications should still be considered.  

Let’s face it.  We are looking at a massive pandemic that is devastating the national economy and able to take some victims with great haste.  A short-term interruption of treatment on chronic patients is generally not going to result in their rapid demise, but the contraction of COVID-19 may.  Here, urgency considerations definitely fall on the side of the COVID-19 patient and its prevention.  

In the end, these are prescription medications so the decisions for administration or not lie with the physician.  Ultimately, each physician is going to have to make up his or her mind. However, although there is still some room for debate, the answer presently is falling on the side of administering rather than withholding these potentially life-saving medicines.

Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He is the author of The Federalist Pages and The Case for Free Market Healthcare.  He can be reached through http://www.thefederalistpages.com/contact.html or at [email protected]


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Coronavirus Government Truth

Non-Covid-19 Patients Are Being Ignored

by Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D.

On Friday night on The Ingraham Angle, Laura Ingraham reported her conversation with an unidentified doctor in Queens who shared his concern that non-Covid patients are being ignored in the United States as the medical community reacts to the surge of viral cases that are either overwhelming them or are predicted to do so in the near future.

The physician was ultimately restricted from openly sharing his opinion by his hospital so a live discussion was ultimately stymied.  And although Ingraham did not definitively answer the question on Friday night, the New York physician is absolutely correct.  

As a physician, I can confirm it. I see it happening to my patients. Non-Covid-19 patients are not getting the treatment they need.

Since the predictions made by the CDC and publicized by the likes of Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, our various governments, the medical community, and the general public have entered into a state of general quarters where the economy has been trounced and the usual conduct of medical care paralyzed.  

But the predictions foreseeing 2.5 million deaths in the United States as a result of inaction are nonsensical.  This is not to say that the United States is not faced with a serious challenge to the health, welfare, safety of the American people, but either the calculations or assumptions of these predictions are leading to indefensible results.  

Consider that at the time of this writing, over four months, in the whole world, there are 50,489 deaths.  So, after four months of free reign at the global population with infiltration into many underserved, third world, poverty-stricken countries, the Wuhan Pandemic has caused 50,489 deaths.  With this backdrop, it is inconceivable that 2.5 million Americans would die in April in the United States alone unless harsh and almost draconian mitigation efforts are undertaken.  

Although I review many cases of negative government interventions on healthcare in my book The Case for Free Market Healthcare, this present response overwhelms the magnitude and misguidedness of any other.  The reality is that any time an intervention is undertaken by fiat there will be negative repercussions.  Thus far, much of the nation’s attention has centered on the economic effects.  But it is true that the effects on the health of many non-Covid-19 patients are significant.  I know this because I see this personally throughout my community on a daily basis, and I am active in the implementation of this plan locally.  

Throughout the country, hospitals are no longer performing “non-essential” procedures.  People in need of pain-related surgery, low-grade cancers, many diagnostic procedures, orthopaedic interventions, prostate cancer, and hysterectomies, to name a few, are being prohibited from undergoing necessary interventions.  Note that just because a procedure is non-essential does not make it unnecessary. Despite this reality, patients are unable to access them regardless of whether their state has 185 reported cases like in Alaska, or 123,000 like in New York.

Meanwhile, hospitals throughout my community are actually laying off people because the ban on “non-essential” has caused a dramatic decrease in their patient loads while still treating relatively few Covid-19 patients.

The needs of non-Covid-19 patients are being placed on the backburner while the nation responds to what has become a massive pandemic.  Whether this is appropriate, and whether this prioritization ought to be undertaken in a blanket fashion or regionally tailored, is an analysis that needs to be completed.

Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He is the author of The Federalist Pages and The Case for Free Market Healthcare.  He can be reached through http://www.thefederalistpages.com/contact.html or at [email protected]


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Government Truth

The Real Reason For Hospital Shortages In The United States

by Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D.

An article published by the Kaiser Family Foundation on Wednesday showed the United States ranked eleventh in the world in per capita distribution of hospitals.  That article pointed out that the United States had a “lower hospital density than almost all comparable countries.” 

Predictably, there are a slew of other hospital-related resources in which the United States is lacking, including the number of hospital-employed nurses and the number of physicians.  Although the Kaiser article does not detail the cause of these shortages, I do so in my new book, The Case for Free Market Healthcare.  

The reason is actually quite simple and predictable: government intervention.  

Although the details of the dynamics are too extensive to cover in this forum (I therefore urge you to explore them further in The Case for Free Market Healthcare), there are a few observations that can be gleaned regarding the degree of error with which we have approached healthcare delivery in our country.  

First, government has been openly hostile to hospitals, particularly private hospitals, viewing them mostly as vehicles for greedy investors to make money off the sick and the poor.  This hostile and destructive attitude led to the passage of the Health Planning Resources Development Act in 1974 that actually rewarded states for implementing “certificate of need” (CON) programs to restrict the abilities of entrepreneurs to build hospitals.  

Within a few years, forty-nine states enacted CON laws, and their models for governmental interference have since been shown not to lower prices for inpatient services and not improve hospital financial investment in communities as had been touted by the bill’s advocates.  

But the damage still persists. To this day, despite the certificate of need program’s total failure, only thirteen states have rescinded it demonstrating the difficulty of undoing misguided legislation after it has been passed.  

Government also has and continues to manipulate the market in ways that have destroyed projects aimed at improving the availability of hospital emergency rooms.  In 2018, the Medicare Payment Advisory Board advised Congress to cut reimbursements to freestanding emergency rooms operating within 6 miles of their parent hospitals by 30%.  Why? Because, according to MedPAC, “such systems would encourage providers to treat lower intensity rooms rather than urgent care centers.” Which begs the question: what business is it of Medicare, an insurance company for seniors and the disabled, where the market decides that it is more efficient to treat urgent and emergent patients?

As a result of MedPAC’s misguided market manipulations, over 250 shovel-ready or unfinished projects were canned, robbing America of greater healthcare access — and a lot more beds to deal with today’s crisis.

To be sure, the federal government has also engaged in a wide variety of activities that favor hospitals over other models, but in each of unnatural interventions, the consequences are the same:  government continues to impose delivery models upon the population and with it, its bias of how healthcare is provided to the consumer.  

As a result, the market is not free to respond to consumer demands and cost-saving opportunities in an efficient manner.  Thus, we are never given the opportunity to develop the right number of hospitals and the correct number of physicians, nurses, physical therapists. . .you get the point.  

Now, we are faced with the challenges of a pandemic where many, including President Trump, have observed that we were not ready with a coordinated response mechanism.  In point of fact, we weren’t even ready with a baseline set of operating resources with which to handle the larger numbers that would present themselves, and the blame lies squarely on government for attempting to impose upon us its ideas of what those numbers should be, instead of allowing the market to settle upon them by itself.

If it had allowed the market to freely operate, we would have more hospital capacity, more medical personnel and more supplies. 

Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He is the author of The Federalist Pages and The Case for Free Market Healthcare.  He can be reached through http://www.thefederalistpages.com/contact.html or at [email protected]


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Media Trump Truth

Florida Gets Full Stock of Medical Supplies, Media Barfs

Rod Thomson

The media continues to vomit all over what’s left of their shredded credibility, criticizing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for doing too little for weeks now because he did not panic and shutdown the state, and now casting nasty aspersions at him for, somehow preparing too well.

It’s despicable and true.

The Florida media has harped incessantly that DeSantis is dawdling in not shutting down the state a la New York, California and others. Actually, he’s continuing to navigate the uncharted seas of requiring the closing of businesses and minimizing the infringement on both liberties and the workers who do not have to stay home — such as those in construction. 

But now we find that DeSantis has been very aggressive and successful in getting most or all of the medical supplies it appears the state will need for the outbreak. And guess what? Shock of shockers, the media is again hammering him, apparently for being so successful.

In addition to being a Republican, DeSantis is a close ally of President Trump. That alone makes him open season for the Democrat media hounds. But he also seems to be taking a similar tack on handling the disease as the President, not leaping forward too far until the data requires it — if it requires it.

But DeSantis is also like Trump in that he has been successful in his first year and a half as Governor of Florida, getting through a range of issues that the Democrat media hate.

Along these lines, he was quick to order a thorough assessment of the state’s medical needs to deal with COVID-19 and an upcoming hurricane season. Florida requested substantial supplies through Direct Federal Assistance, making a strong case for these needs. It appears as though the state is getting everything it asked for, being stored in a giant, converted warehouse in the centralized city of Orlando, from which the supplies are being distributed throughout the state 24 hours per day.

Here’s the rather impressive list:

5 mobile intensive care units

5,000 ventilators

5,000 hospital beds

50,000 two oz. bottles of hand sanitizer

250,000 coveralls

500,000 gloves

500,000 gowns

500,000 collection kits

100,000 16 oz. bottles of hand sanitizers

150,000 Personal Protective Equipment kits, including coveralls, gowns, and goggles  

2 million N95 face masks

In addition, DeSantis and team managed to obtain significant medical supplies from private vendors. They were so successful, infact, that the federal government stepped in and diverted some of those supplies to New York City, whose governor and mayor had not been as successful as DeSantis with the private sector. 

(Now however, it appears that some of those private contracts are unfulfilled as distributors from companies such as 3M are profiteering by getting states to bid against each other, or simply not delivering. Florida’s Emergency Management Director called it “chasing ghosts.” There will be a price to pay for that.)

Overall, this all is pretty good news for Floridians, as it suggests the state’s hospitals may not get overwhelmed, despite our large elderly population. Newspapers keep reporting worst-case scenarios and then talking to a nurse somewhere fishing for a quote about how bad it is or could get. But these stories, and model projections that have been shown to be unreliable, frequently don’t comport with underlying actual hard data from the state — such as above. 

The Democrat media machine was unable to accept even the blatantly good news that Florida is getting what it asked for from the feds, and spun around to make unsubstantiated insinuations. 

This Orlando Weekly headline was one of several I saw around the state, all the same. Headline: “Why did Florida get all the emergency supplies it requested when other states didn’t?” This reporter went so far as to call a hospital in Oklahoma, a state that has received less than requested, to fish for a comment from a nurse saying she was upset because they might not be able to care for their patients. (They will.)

This is the perfect spin because they can malign both President Trump and DeSantis at the same time — the two most hated political figures for the Florida media.

Imagine what these same “reporters” — Democrat operatives with a media platform — would be writing if DeSantis actually failed and got only a fraction of his request and the state was dangerously low on medical supplies. It takes literally no imagination. 

Bias partisanship and sensationalism is a toxic combo to media credibility. It’s just not clear they really care anymore.

Rod Thomson is an author, past Salem radio host, ABC TV commentator, former journalist and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. 


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Coronavirus Freedom Liberty Truth

Governor Despots? Panic Is Stripping Americans Of Essential Liberties

Rod Thomson

Ignored or buried in this global pandemic panic is the giant risk we have already taken not to the economy, as horrible as that is, but to our essential liberties. This is not theoretical anymore.

Forget the President. Since when does every governor, mayor, county executive and dog catcher in the country have unlimited powers over peoples’ lives in a time of crisis? Since never, at least if the Constitution has any relevance anymore.

But in this crisis, in which fear has driven public policy, they are all acting as though they do. And the question is whether the American people, once hearty, self-reliant and freedom-loving are now willing to bend the knee to every dictate from the local overlord or not.

Do I overstate? I hope so. But read the headlines.

One from today is that L.A.’s mayor is threatening to shut off water and electricity to businesses who are staying open after HE ordered them to close. Where does his authority come from to do that? I doubt it’s in the L.A. city charter. The City Council has not voted to make him a little despot. He’s  just doing it, with the power of the police force behind him.

At a press conference, Garcetti was frustrated some businesses did not obey his order. “You know who you are. You need to stop it. This is your chance to step up and shut it down, because if you don’t, we will shut you down.”

How far away from an overlord is that? Will he cede it all back when the crisis is past? Just think of the apocalyptic language used around climate change. It gets real sobering in a hurry.

Governors are shutting down whatever they want, whenever they want, without even pretending to show their homework — almost one-upping each other even as the evidence is now coming in that the virus apparently is not nearly as deadly as we thought two weeks ago. Yet several state’s are on lock-down, based on one person’s orders. (Side note: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been very cautious about doing so, and he’s been pilloried in the media and by Democrats. But he’s been right to not jump to such autocratic control.)

Governors do not have unrestrained powers even in quarantine situations. They have the power to quarantine those who are sick, because they do need some authority. But do they have the authority to tell every person in their state to stay home — except the ones they say can go to work? When they limit gatherings to 10, or even less, do they have the authority to abrogate the First Amendment’s right of freedom of assembly?

Beyond governors, it gets much more threatening. Mayors and county executives are acting in much the same way. We see it in New York and LA. Before that in San Francisco.

In Florida, there is an interesting mix because of DeSantis’ correct reticence to issue blanket orders. Miami-Dade and Broward and many other counties have issued stay at home “orders” through their county commissions. (Florida counties are run by elected commissions with a hired chief executive.)

But interestingly, the County Attorney’s Office here in Sarasota County, Florida has ruled that County Commissioners do not have the legal authority to issue a stay at home order with any further restrictions than those already ordered by Gov. DeSantis. Perhaps being a charter county makes a difference. Or being a very red county.

This is not a case against restrictions per se, but who orders them and with what authority. Because the risk is that many of these potentates-in-training may be reluctant to give up all of that power after the crisis — or simply label the next issue a “crisis.” And an even greater risk is that we the people may not force them to.

As Benjamin Franklin famously said: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

That’s a truism through the ages.

Rod Thomson is an author, past Salem radio host, ABC TV commentator, former journalist and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. 


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