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Coronavirus Government Truth

Five Key Lessons We May Not Learn From the COVID Pandemic

Rod Thomson

We may still be in the throes of COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., but five huge lessons are already veritably slapping us in the face, ready to teach valuable lessons to all those willing to learn. These should be mandatory college courses.

Unfortunately, too many of them will be washed away through the flood of partisanship or the Get Trump Mafia in the media.

But these are virtually unassailable lessons.

Lesson 1: The American people still know how to rise to the occasion. 

Private enterprise, private organizations, religious institutions all took the lead in response to the pandemic long before the giant behemoth of the federal government could begin to lumber into action. Some people see this as a failing of the federal government. It’s not. It’s the best of Americana. 

So we had the NBA, March Madness, the NHL, college sports, Disney, Six Flags, Busch Gardens and other theme parks, fairs, conferences, and so on all voluntarily cancelled their events long before the government at any level lumbered into action. 

This is an amazing approach. Apple closed all of its stores. WalMart and Publix, probably others, reduced open hours so they could do more thorough overnight cleanings and re-stock depleted shelves. Again, all before the government acted. No government told any of these groups or companies they had to do so.

The Republican Party across the country in hundreds and thousands of jurisdictions (and presumably the Democratic Party) cancelled all meetings, dinners and fundraisers, a very painful decision, all before federal or state governments acted.

We’ve already virtually forgotten this one, because all media focus is on government and what did Trump say or do, completely missing a huge lesson.

Lesson 2: State governments remain a better response mechanism than the federal government. 

While Democrats will use this opportunity to try again for universal government healthcare, it should be noted that the federal leviathan was slow and incompetent for a long time in response to this. (See the CDC and FDA bungling of initial tests and treatments.)

But states, including generally badly run ones such as California and Washington, moved much more quickly. Washington state, hit very hard when the virus got into a nursing home before it was identified, killing dozens of elderly people, enacted strict policies on event size, travel, etc. and California soon followed. In Washington, D.C., however, it was nonsense as usual. 

Now whether you think some of these state policies went too far or not, is a different question. The point is they reacted much more quickly than the federal government. This is classic historical Americana — and a great real-world study in the strengths of federalism.

Lesson 3: Big government is slow, inefficient and incompetent. 

When finally the fat lard of federal government roused itself, the nation discovered it was both incompetent, corrupt and hopelessly politicized inside and out.

This may be the point when history will look back and see that Americans had seen enough of the permanent bureaucratic state and endless volumes of environmental rules, regulations and procedures that throttled life-saving actions early in the pandemic. It was this paper-gushing bureaucracy that, in January, blocked the CDC and FDA from COVID-19 testing.

Once those rules were kicked aside and the CDC got its tests created, it managed to bungle the first ones, sending out kits that had very high false negatives. Ridiculously, they refused to use the tests that Washington was already effectively using. They wanted to create their own — because that is how government bureaucrats think. Turf protection and expansion.

Imagine putting these sorts of people and systems in charge of all Americans’ healthcare. Well, not Congress of course. They’ll exempt themselves with platinum plans on the backs of taxpayers.

Add the CDC and FDA to the FBI, IRS and other federal government agencies that have badly failed the American people in recent years. The picture becomes deadly clear.

Or should. But because the media coverage only touched on these issues, while spewing like an uncapped oil strike about Trump, too many Americans will miss the lesson. They will be propagandized to think it was all because of Trump, when it was actually the federal bureaucracy — which will always be slow, incompetent and corrupt.

Lesson 4: American companies are leading the way out.

This pandemic is reminiscent of how big business mobilized the nation during World War II. For all his faulty policies, FDR was spot on in some areas. He recognized that to defeat Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany, the government needed the help of the guys who knew how to make things happen and get the job done. And he was right.

President Trump called on business leaders to help lead response efforts by responding in ways the government is incapable of — quickly, efficiently retooling to begin manufacturing ventilators, N95 face masks, sanitizers and a range of other needed medical equipment. (These appeared to be needed. The more we learn, as we note in Lesson 5, the more we find the numbers were apparently vastly overstated.) 

In fact, we are already seeing that we now have plenty of medical supplies. The reality that the experts got the projections badly wrong does not take anything away from how quickly American companies responded. This was just not seen in other countries. 

Trump created partnerships with manufacturers such as General Motors to build ventilators, with tech giants like Google to develop a national website for coronavirus screenings and with Walmart to use their parking lots for drive-through testing.

On a small business scale, distilleries around the country shifted part of their production from whiskey, rum and other products to mass-producing hand sanitizer or surface sanitizers after reports of shortages. Many of them were giving the sanitizer away for free. There are hundreds of these stories.

Private enterprise is almost always the better path to a solution than government.

Lesson 5: The experts can be wrong, very wrong, even in their area of expertise.

This is maybe the toughest lesson for many Americans to swallow. We turn “experts” and “scientists” into little gods in whom we put our trust.

I examine this one in-depth here: The Evidence Is Coming In: Virus Experts May Have Been Badly Wrong.

This is not a knock on them getting it wrong. The truth is they were always doomed to get a lot wrong early on with this virus, because it was brand new. But as experts, they should have known that. Instead, they spoke authoritatively, put out numbers that were wildly inaccurate we now know, and we listened and followed as though it came from On High. 

The consequences of the experts being overconfident, the media hyping the worst case scenarios of wrong data as though it was fact, and the rest of us following too sheepishly is having devastating consequences on our businesses, jobs and lives.

Further, we only listened to experts and scientists in the area of viral infections. But from the start of conversations of shutting down, we really needed to also be hearing from economists, businessmen, government tax revenue experts and so on. A broad range of experts would have led to a balanced approach to the outbreak, which is looking more and more like the route we should have taken.

Because the pandemic response has naturally become politicized, the challenge will be learning these lessons when every one of them can break down into tribalism and cherry-picking, and using Trump as the pinata for every failure of the bureaucracy. That is the path toward learning nothing.

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 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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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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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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Coronavirus Trump Truth

Are We Seeing The Emergence Of Greatness In A Crisis?

Rod Thomson

Watching the evening press conferences that President Trump and his team are holding nightly during this crisis, I am seeing something I was not expecting — and now understand why some Democrats and many media members are pushing networks to cut the live coverage and make sure they get to” filter” everything.

The media calls to cut the mic made no sense after they had fits when Trump had stopped the daily press availabilities (because some media members had turned it into opportunities to grandstand.) Now I get it. It’s not hypocrisy. It’s because it works. And it works in a way that the intransigent never Trumpers could not have imagined possible.

These nightly press conferences are not only very effective, they are revealing how Trump has changed to deal with this crisis — something that many did not think possible. Trump looks downright presidential in the way all his critics claim he should be, but don’t really want him to be because they fear that would be good for his presidency.

He has an almost charming relationship with Dr. Deborah Birx and has her or Dr. Anthony Fauci handle most of the medical questions. He has a Navy Admiral explaining the efforts in the supply chain; Attorney General William Barr explaining the law for new rules; Vice President Mike Pence heading the federal task force to explain overall steps; and different specialists each night to answer questions.

Trump speaks, rarely invoking politics, then steps aside and has experts in each area explain from their respective areas of expertise.

Despite the socially distanced media clearly pushing him to make political statements in search of tomorrow’s headline, my goodness that is glaringly obvious, he stays very non-political for about two hours. That is a new Trump.

And the best Trump for this moment. Most great presidents, great leaders, are made during a crisis and their handling of it. Washington, Lincoln, Churchill, FDR (a very strong leader, just too often in the wrong direction) Reagan, even George W. Bush in his initial response to 9/11. Yes, there is some rarified company in that list. But we may be seeing that happening right now. After a slow start (minus blocking the flights from China in late January, which obviously bought us some time) and some missteps over seriousness, Trump has allowed his strengths to overcome his weaknesses.

This crisis has revealed his organizational abilities, intelligence, imagination, personal charisma and, very importantly, his boundless optimism for America. It also showed he does not have to be the center of attention. He spends a lot of time standing off to the side. But he directs the entire press conference like a maestro, from beginning to end.

He’s become what Dr. Sheldon Roth calls a “leader-follower” — which is just what the country needs at this critical moment.

The media is too far gone to allow that to come through directly to American people. They want to be the censors of Presidential speech, so they can cherry-pick and twist for their own, partisan agenda. That has not changed in this crisis. Neither apparently have many Democrats with their willingness to lard up the coronavirus bill with add-ons for pay equity, voting, private board representation, green initiatives, permanent paid leave, student loan bailouts and so much more. The crisis is an opportunity for them to get some goodies. (Notably, Democrats outside D.C., such as California Gov. Newsome and New York Gov. Coumo, have praised Trump’s responses.)

The media and the Democratic leadership seem not to have changed during this. Trump has, at least for the moment. And the American people are liking what they are seeing. The approval polls are showing it, with Trump soaring up to 54 percent on his handling of this, which is pretty phenomenal. And for the media and Democrats, that’s why the mic must be cut.

We may be seeing the emergence of a great U.S. President during a time of crisis. I honestly never thought Trump would be “great.” But what I see at these evening press conferences is something altogether unexpected — a Trump version of Roosevelt’s popular fireside chats.

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 Way Out From Here Means Rethinking The Shutdown

Rod Thomson

A lot of smart people are growing more concerned that we are overreacting to coronavirus in a way that could create dramatically more harm, including health effects, than the virus itself.

So let’s look at the possible overreaction impact along with a method for stepping out of it. Please accept as a given, that there is a lot we don’t know. But there is more and more we do. And a much better way to go forward.

First, the virus is very contagious, and spreads more easily and rapidly than the flu. Or so it seems. But it seems to be less deadly than the flu for young people and for the entire group under 50, about the same as the flu; while for 50-60 it is somewhat more dangerous than the flu and for 70 and above it is much more dangerous than the flu.

But we have shut down everything. Everyone. Some states have issued “shelter in place” orders (we can’t just say “stay home”?) and most others are encouraging everyone to stay home. Everyone. (I won’t even go into the First Amendment implications of the government ordering people not to gather together — right of assembly.)

This is done to keep younger people from infecting older people. But since this requires all of the older people to be quarantining anyway, do we need to include all the younger people, too?

This shutdown will generate its own health care issues, such as depression in a country where there is almost an epidemic of depression among young people, almost assuredly increased smoking, drinking and drug use. The longer we stay closed, the worse these get — directly on the health care system.

So there are some immediate health implications in the shutdown, but that barely scratches the surface of the real impact.

The economic repercussions of shutting down the country for 4-8 weeks is devastating, perhaps beyond our imagination. The chart below shows the spike in unemployment claims just from 17 states. Note how it reaches the peak recession-level claims at their peak. In. One. Week. JP Morgan is predicting that GDP in the second quarter will contract by 14%. They had it at 5% a few days earlier. This is a collapse level decline.

A recession is guaranteed at this point, but the risk is of throwing us into a full-scale Depression. The last one of those was 90 years ago and was crippling for most of a generation. Today, it would be worse because we are far more inter-reliant.

A Depression would risk crippling not just the economy, but the health care system in the long-term — the very system we are trying to keep from being overwhelmed. All those ventilators, masks, medicines and so on require companies to make them. That’s no problem right now because the demand is high.

But there are thousands and thousands of medical device needs, plus all the personnel. Do you know how that is all paid for? Hundreds of thousands of companies making a profit and paying their employees. Thriving companies and their employees send trillions of dollars in taxes to governments. If they are not thriving, or existing at much smaller levels, then a lot of that money goes away. There just isn’t money for health care.

But at the same time, people in a Depression would forgo regular doctor visits and use medical care only in an emergency, which we know is both less healthy, causes shorter lifespans, and costs more money. These health care costs physically and monetarily would not be caused by the virus, but by the reaction to it.

Have these trade-offs been weighed? Are they now?

If we go into a Depression, it’s guaranteed that the “cure” was worse than the disease. It will not have been worth it — based on what we know now. The long-term consequences of an 8-week economic nap are staggering.

But we don’t need to do it.

Right now, we should be making plans for stepping out of this national shutdown by allowing everyone under 60 to return to work as normal. Not life as normal, but work as normal.

Heather MacDonald wrote in the Spectator for us to “Consider the costs.” “We should focus our efforts on our known vulnerable populations — the elderly, the infirm, and those who care for them. The elderly should be protected from unknown contacts. Nursing homes must be immaculately maintained. But until there is clear evidence that canceling commerce is essential to preventing mass casualties, the stampede of shutdown oneupmanship should end.”

Post stay at home orders (or preferrably strong suggestions) for everyone over 60 and create financial help for that group. We can target that much, much smaller group with help that will cost our children considerably less than throwing a thousand dollars we don’t have at every American every few weeks. Because it is not necessary.

Everyone else, get back to work, wash your hands, practice social distancing, be extremely cautious with at-risk groups — as in, stay away from them like you carry the plague, because you might for them — but otherwise keep calm and carefully carry on.

This is a modified South Korean model. We crank out ventilators like crazy (although we already have more per person than most countries, including Europeans) and necessary crisis equipment and even adapt buildings while lightening-tracking treatments.

About 80 percent of workers would be back on the job, cranking on the economy. We will have a recession, that’s baked in at this point, but probably a short one. We’d pull back out pretty quickly. And we would continue on with a sound economy for moving past the virus.

Dr. David Katz, founding director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, said this targeted approach is best. “There may be more targeted ways to beat the pandemic.” This is the point: “The rush to impose sweeping restrictions on public and commercial life across the entire economy should be more carefully evaluated.”

We can’t wreck our economy for perhaps as long as a generation. The costs are just too high.

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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