As if 2020 Wasn’t Contentious Enough
As the summer rolls along with far too many of us than is necessary or wise under lockdown and travel restrictions, we deal with the failings of our infectious disease bureaucracy, the likelihood of another Supreme Court battle, and what Conrad Black correctly calls “The Nightmare Campaign of Outright Idiocy.” Hang tough. Reason will prevail.
1.) The Incompetence of the Federal Disease Control Bureaucracy
The White House has finally had it with the incompetence and partisanship of the CDC, and it couldn’t come fast enough for me. It has ordered all data on COVID-19 to be sent directly to the Department of Health and Human Services bypassing the CDC completely.
The latest blunder, and possibly the final straw is the discovery that CDC has been lumping positive tests for Wuhan virus and antibodies into one number:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and several state health departments have been reporting COVID-19 diagnostic tests and antibody tests as one grand tally, rather than keeping their results separate, The Atlantic reported.
Reporting these numbers as a lump sum, rather than two distinct data points, presents several major issues.
Namely, combining the numbers could make America’s diagnostic testing capabilities and testing rates appear higher than they actually are, according to The Atlantic. And as the tests serve profoundly different purposes, “positive” results from either test cannot be interpreted in the same way. Reporting all the positive results together, as one number, could skew our understanding of how many new COVID-19 cases emerge over time -- a crucial metric to help control outbreaks as states begin reopening.
When told how the CDC chose to lump the results of both tests together, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute Ashish Jha told The Atlantic, “You’ve got to be kidding me… How could the CDC make that mistake? This is a mess.”
Exactly so. But if you were trying to create a narrative of an out-of-control pandemic, one that was possibly deadly, what better way do that than include the results of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people who have had Wuhan and likely didn’t even know they’d ever been infected into the current count of active cases? Alternatively, you could just be a f***ing idiot.
Maybe it wasn’t just incompetence. Red State quotes Tracy Beanz:
A senior administration official who spoke to UncoverDC expressed serious concern about politicization at the CDC, saying “We have scientists who are working against the release of diagnostics that will help heal the American people, and we in the administration are concerned they will do the same thing with a vaccine. CDC has been doing studies and presenting analysis that is designed to hurt the President. They are laying out junk science, that is designed to discredit the President, and they are putting out reports that are designed to frighten the American people. They are leaking, they are talking to the media, and removing data from the website and doing whatever it takes to interrupt the President’s coronavirus response.”
When the pandemic began, the CDC was using an antiquated system to track infectious disease. The official we spoke to told this reporter that the CDC was hesitant to upgrade their systems, and when the Trump Administration made the decision to move data collection from the CDC to HHS, the CDC removed all hospitalization data from their website indiscriminately, and not at the direction of HHS or anyone else, as has been insinuated elsewhere. The official told us “CDC had all of the data and didn’t put it up, because they were mad. CDC has been ordered to continue providing the data; as an operating division of HHS, they must comply. Now, everyone is operating from the same database, in real time and complete.”
Addressing the issues with the data collection process from the start, UncoverDC was told “Before COVID struck, there was an outdated system that was monitoring infectious disease. This outdated system was still operating via fax in many cases. When COVID hit, the CDC resisted modernizing their database to provide COVID information that was necessary to save lives. When asked to improve their database they would give timelines in the weeks not in days. In the end, they were just unable to keep up with the pandemic.”
The official added, “They were just too slow, and too unconcerned with improving. They were the anchor dragging behind.” When asked whether the serious issues encountered at the CDC are purposeful, the official stated, “In many cases this is purposeful. There are people who hate Donald Trump more than they are committed to their duties as doctors and scientists.”
The latest storm of vitriol and partisanship is likely to center on Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who had known since some time in May that her liver cancer has returned, and had been undergoing a course of chemotherapy (gemcitabine) since May 19. This week she announced, quite tardily it seemed to me, this significant medical information, bringing us up to date on the latest:
My most recent scan on July 7 indicated significant reduction of the liver lesions and no new disease. I am tolerating chemotherapy well and am encouraged by the success of my current treatment. I will continue bi-weekly chemotherapy to keep my cancer at bay, and am able to maintain an active daily routine, Throughout, I have kept up with opinion writing and all other Court work.”
Whatever you think of her, I think it unlikely that she will survive much longer, even as resilient as she is. She’s 87. In 1999 she was treated for colon cancer; in 2009 for pancreatic cancer; in 2018 for lung cancer; in 2019 for a tumor on her pancreas. And now, liver cancer.
She has reiterated that she “will remain a member of the Court as long as I can do the job full steam. I remain fully able to do that,” but I think that is a very optimistic assessment, given her history and age.
If her assessment does prove overly optimistic and a replacement is needed, we can expect the Democrats will dial up the cant and lies we saw in the Gorsuch and Kavanaugh hearings a couple hundred notches. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will have his work cut out for him. It cannot have escaped Trump’s opponents that due to McConnell’s deft hand, the President has significantly altered the federal judiciary, getting Senate confirmation of 200 federal court judges. (Two Supreme Court justices, 53 Courts of Appeals judges and 143 U.S. District Court Judges.) Thanks, too, should go to former President Obama who left all these vacancies, doubtless in the belief that Hillary Clinton would be his successor and he could count on her to fill these slots with the same kind of activist leftwing judges he would have appointed. To no small extent, the judiciary and the Supreme Court in particular, have outsize, unwarranted power here these days and this is why such confirmation hearings increasingly look like pitched battles, but here we are and that’s the fact.
Conrad Black convincingly argues that Americans will banish the arsonists engaged in violent crimes in our major urban centers, who have the endorsement of people like Mitt Romney and Joe Biden, and that with its anti-Trump cast on everything, the media has immolated itself.
With less than four months before the election, this is the campaign: a constant media carpet-bombing of defamatory lies about the president on behalf of a comatose candidate, propagation of unfounded hysteria over a fading pandemic, self-induced and redundant economic depression, open borders to admit and give free medical care to the unskilled peasantry of the world, and national self-abasement before militant African Americans demanding minority rule and the renunciation and degradation of those who founded the United States and led it to a pinnacle of influence in the world unequaled in all history. And this ludicrous, almost unimaginable, mockery of a quest for the world’s highest office is, in the perversity of these times, apparently leading in the polls.
To expand upon Black’s comments on the Black Lives Matter movement, no one does it better than Glenn C. Loury, a black economist who is a professor at Brown University, in an interview I urge you read in its entirety.
Here are some brief excerpts:
On claims that you cannot understand blacks' positions because you are not black:
I think it’s extremely dangerous that people accept without criticism this argumentative-authority move when it’s played. It’s ad hominem. We’re supposed to impute authority to people because of their racial identity? I want you to think about that for a minute. Were you to flip the script on that, you might see the problem. What experiences are black people unable to appreciate by virtue of their blackness? If they have so much insight, maybe they also have blind spots. Maybe a black person could never understand something because they’re so full of rage about being black. Think about how awful it would be to make that move in an argument.
Suppose someone, a white guy, is arguing about affirmative action with you. Suppose he thinks that affirmative action is undignified because he thinks that positions should be earned, not given, but he allows that he doesn’t expect someone like you to understand that argument because you’re black. That would be terribly unreasonable -- even “racist.” Yet I’m hard-pressed to see the difference.
On the subject of systemic racism:
People cry, “structural racism.” Is that why the homicide rate is an order of magnitude higher among young black men? They say structural racism. Is that why the SAT test-score gap is as big as it is? They say structural racism. Is that why two in three black American kids are born to women without a husband? Is it all about structural racism? Is everything structural racism? It has become a tautology explaining everything. All racial disparities are due to structural racism, evidently. Covid-19 comes along and there’s a disparity in the health incidence. It’s due to structural racism. They’re naming partners at a New York City law firm and there are few black faces. Structural racism. They’re admitting people to specialized exam schools in New York City and the Asians do better. This has to be structural racism, with a twist -- the twist being that this time, the structural racism somehow comes out favoring the Asians.
This is not social science. This is propaganda. It’s religion. People are trying to win arguments by using words as if they were weapons. They point to history. But the history is complicated. Yes, there was slavery. Yes, there was segregation. Yes, there was redlining. There were other things, too. A lot has happened in American history. Is the relatively marginal position of African-Americans taken within American political economy a causal result of Jim Crow segregation? Nobody knows the answer to that question. I’m not saying that you won’t find many patterns or practices of racial mistreatment in history, but I’m saying that the link between them and the contemporary circumstances of African-American communities, especially at the bottom end, is woefully inadequate to explain what we see.
Toughen up, buttercups; your fellow citizens are not going to back a party that endorses looting and violence. Americans will not accept the Democrats’ propaganda that we are racists if we take the view that civilization demands respect for person and property. Americans will not vote for a party led into the battle by a demented weak old man, a puppet for Marxists which have taken over the Democratic party, who is running a campaign of “outright idiocy,” but it’s not going to be easy listening to all their lies for the next few months.