Feeling Panicked? Look Under Your Feet

Is there anything sadder than living in the past? I thought of that the other evening when viewing an Australian government ad still desperately pushing Covid boosters and vaccinations for children (aka, child abuse). Those of even modest sense can no longer see the rotting carcass of the Wuhan plague in their rear-view mirrors. To medico fascists, government busybodies, and rapacious big pharma; it’s over, get used to it. You’ll soon think of something else to keep the plebs tremorous. Unless, of course, the climate-change “crisis” is thought sufficient for the day.

Mencken nailed it more than a century ago: “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.” And, truer it's become, since the application of common sense became unfashionable. Around what time did that happen? Hard to say, but the establishment of the United Nations' IPCC in 1988 was a watershed moment. Shortly after that, if you recall, the scientific methodology of Karl Popper was completely discarded.

The onerous hurdles entailed in rejecting the null hypothesis became infra dig among establishment climatologists and other scientists. Hocus pocus prevailed. The alternative hypothesis that industrial emissions of CO2 were on course to cause catastrophic global warming became settled science. Irrefutable science. Geocentrism revisited.

Mencken: scourge of the booboisie.

Simple minds; to be kinder, blinkered minds; to be unkinder, paid-for minds, reduced the unfathomable complexity of climate variability to the alluring simplicity of statistical correlation; hid within technobabble; the modelling equivalent of bafflegab. Up goes man-made CO2, up goes atmospheric CO2, up goes temperature. Hence the first causes the second and the second the third. Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

And by this circuitous route I come to my tale. Imagine Isaac Newton in his day discussing his ideas with friends in one of those new-fangled coffee houses in London or Cambridge. Little did they likely know what scientific revolutions were afoot. Imagine Albert Einstein on his lunch break at the Swiss patent office in Bern talking about speeding trains or accelerating elevators. The gravity, so to speak, of such musings might have gone right over the heads of those in his company. In any event, we know nothing of the everyday companions of famous scientists, unless they too discovered something. History is not about ordinary people.

I have a friend who’s a scientist. Professor Emeritus Ivan Kennedy of Sydney University. His principal field is agricultural science; his speciality, soil science. I’ve mentioned him before on this site in context of his hypothesis that wind turbines cause turbulence and drying in surrounding areas. Possible outcomes: more (warming) water vapour in the atmosphere, less agricultural productivity, and foliage more susceptible to fire. How significant are these effects is indeterminate at this stage? He has a prospective paper in Wind Energy Science. Perhaps that will prompt empirical testing. Perhaps not. His conclusions aren’t within the zeitgeist.

To the larger point, he is presenting a paper in July at the quinquennial National Congress of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute on the effect on atmospheric CO2 of exporting agricultural produce from rural to urban environments. The scientific detail is beyond me, though he's taken time to explain it, but the substantive hypothesis is plain enough. Modern agricultural practices rob the soil of alkalinity, as waste products are not returned to the soil. The resultingly lower pH levels (more acidity) in soils means less net CO2 absorption.

Professor Kennedy’s view is that in normal course man-made CO2 would be absorbed back into the land and oceans and cause no problem. Thus, according to Kennedy, it’s not CO2 emissions per se that is causing increased CO2 in the atmosphere but the reduced ability of low pH soil to absorb it. He notes, on the basis of his “crude estimate,” that this effect “is very substantial, perhaps a major part of the atmospheric increase since the early 1800s.”

Scorched earth? No: parched earth.

Back to statistical correlation, upon which all models, however fancy, are based. Since 1800 the world’s population has increased from about one billion to close to eight billion today. Food production has more than kept up. Cropping has become more extensive and intensive, with closed-system production and use ever declining. I dare say this development correlates pretty well with increased atmospheric CO2. But if it’s not in the models, and it’s not, it won’t be picked up.

My purpose is not to promote Kennedy’s theories. I’m no scientist. On the other hand, they are plausible and certainly demonstrate the appalling naivety of fixing immutably on just one flimsy theory to explain complex phenomena. Who knows, I might be sharing coffee each week with a scientist whose theories will upend the world. Rid us of wind turbines and reinstate coal. Like my made-up chums of Newton and Einstein I will rate no mention in history books, yet I was there. Unlikely? Perhaps.

The delicious irony of the answer lying in the soil is that achieving net-zero industrial and household emissions will be of no avail in reducing atmospheric CO2.  Meanwhile, feeding the growing world population, on course for, say, 10 billion or 11 billion, will go on lowering the pH of soil and thereby increasing atmospheric CO2.

The insufferable irony is that Michael Moore (Planet of the Humans) might be right. Reducing the world’s population is the obvious solution, if indeed reducing atmospheric CO2 is the goal. Can we speedily reduce the population to the one billion of pre-industrial times? Easy-peasy. World government led by an El Supremo (Herr Schwab perhaps). One child per family; that is, only provided they have sufficiently high social-credit scores. Illegal babies aborted. The elderly cajoled into euthanasia, Soylent Green style. Recall, the movie made in 1973 was set in 2022. Somewhat prescient.

And, to go back to my start, this idea of food production causing “catastrophic warming” is a lot scarier than the current theory.  It gives the powers that be enormous scope to control human behaviour at its reproductive dawn and at its degenerative dusk. If only they had the benefit of this theory in 1988. What havoc they could have wreaked. Mind you, there’s still time for them to transition from one big scare to an even bigger one. It might be best to keep shtum about Professor Kennedy’s theory. But there it is, I’ve let the cat out of the bag.

THE COLUMN: The Specter That Haunts America

A specter is haunting America—the specter of the Democrat Party. Like an evil spirit that cannot be exorcised, the Democrats have been plaguing the United States since Aaron Burr shot and killed Alexander Hamilton in 1804. Ferociously pro-slavery, the Democrats divided the country practically from its inception, blocked the path to abolition and eventually took up arms against the nation after the election of the first Republican president, firing on Fort Sumter and seceding en masse from the Union. And, a week after they had lost that war, one of them assassinated Abraham Lincoln, elevating a Democrat from a Confederate state to the presidency, and plunging the country into more needless turmoil.

With a track record like this (read all about it) it's a wonder the party is even still legal. And yet, after the bloodiest war in our history—and with a sizable component of "peace Democrats" in the North actively rooting and voting against Lincoln in the election of 1864 while supporting his opponent: the failed Union general George McClellan—they're still around to plague us. It wasn't until the arrival of Ulysses S. Grant as commander of all the Union armies in 1864 that Honest Abe found the right man for the job: someone who would mercilessly crush the life out of the Democrats and their armies, destroy slavery, and reunite the states.

Come back, Ulysses, your country needs you.

Then, as now, the media was the enemy of the Republicans. The southern newspapers were rabidly supportive of the rebel cause, but the northern press was rife with naysayers, crybabies, and bedwetters for whom no victory was good enough, and every defeat proof positive that Lincoln was an ape and Grant was a drunk. Nonetheless, Grant shook off fierce media criticism of his bloody but critical victory at Shiloh in 1862 and a few years later accepted Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House, Va.

Who is our Grant today? Rather than being ashamed of their explicit anti-Americanism, the modern Democrats have doubled down on betting against the U.S.A. Their shambolic, cognitively crippled president shuffles through one executive order after another, signing anything his handlers in the exiled Obama administration up in Kalorama shove under his nose. The domestic energy industry has been at least temporarily hobbled, our woke armed forces are an international joke, career criminals like George Floyd are elevated to secular sainthood, and behavior that not long ago would have gotten you arrested for child abuse, such as "transgender"  hormone blockers for toddlers, or for contributing to the delinquency of a minor with explicit homosexual propaganda in grade school. Democrats hail these "advances" with their usual blather about "breaking barriers" and "pushing boundaries" but anyone with an ounce of common sense knows what they're really up to

The midterms are still eight months away but Real America is crying out for succor right now. Gasoline, home heating oil, electricity, natural gas—the prices continue to soar, already past the point of recent plausibility and heading into economic terra incognita. Millions of illegal aliens pour across the nearly erased southern border. A befuddled Joe Biden threatens to sleepwalk us into an armed conflict with the ghost of the old Soviet Union in the form of Vladimir Putin's Russia, and disinformation is rife on both sides of the conflict in the Ukraine. In a parliamentary system, Biden's government would have fallen right after the debacle in Afghanistan—but barring a miracle we've got another three years to suffer.

For just over a year, Americans have watched with admirable patience as their economy collapsed, their legal system was perverted to serve the interests of a few, their nation's military degraded, and their freedom of speech subverted via the government's fascistic and unconstitutional co-opting of the social media sites. Meanwhile, woke corporations and a thoroughly compromised media crack down on the commercial and personal privacy of anybody that runs afoul of the New Normal while manic Greens demand a return to the days of three-masted schooners and windmills. Such relentless cultural and economic sabotage would be considered an act of war if done by anyone else—but here it goes by the fellow-traveler names of "dissent," "patriotism," and "progressivism."

Ask not for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

For a time, it seemed as if Donald Trump might be the answer. Deeply flawed personally, Trump had everything break his way in 2016, including the good fortune of running against the most repellant figure in the Democrat Party at that time, Hillary Clinton. But with Covid-19 weaponized against him, first in a Chinese lab, then by the CDC and a bona fide madman named Anthony Fauci, Trump was unable to overcome his provoked overreaction to the phantom Covid menace, the unconstitutional changes made to swing state electoral systems, a senescent Biden, and his own inability to control his mouth, and shamefully lost in 2020.

As we learned in the back alleys of Berlin and Moscow during the Cold War, the way to fight shadows is with other shadows; America could do worse if we had some semblance of the British shadow-cabinet system. British election campaigns are short, and the transition time between governments brief, because the voters already know who would take over if and when the current government falls. Instead, we prolong our nominating processes for a year or eighteen months before getting to the endless campaign itself. After which we waste two months "transitioning" and then suffering through a honeymoon period (except in the case of Republicans) during which the new Man of the Hour can do no wrong, but much damage can be done to the nation. The first thing Biden did, for example, was trash the Keystone XL pipeline from the oil fields of Canada to refineries in and around the Texas Gulf Coast—which is one of the principal reasons gas is now pushing five bucks a gallon.

We don't have shadow cabinets, but we do have two shadow presidents. One is Trump, who is making noises about running again, largely on a platform of grievance and revenge for his loss in 2020. Whether this would be enough to boost him back into the White House is questionable; while he may have received more than 70 million votes, the fact still remains that even more people voted against him. He lost the 2020 election as he had won the 2016 election: narrowly. But Trump will be 78 years old in 2024, one year younger than the tottering Biden is now. 

The other is Florida governor Ron DeSantis. Smart, pugnacious, and unflappable, DeSantis has emerged as the chief thorn in Joe Biden and the Left's side. After his narrow win over a guy who was later found dead drunk in a Miami Beach hotel room he was sharing with a gay porn producer who had overdosed on crystal meth, DeSantis has cemented his hold on the former swing state, turning it solid red. Unlike Trump, who at the moment is powerless, the squeaky-clean DeSantis upstages Biden and the Democrats on a regular basis; his canny and unflappable handling of the "pandemic" has given rise to a new nickname for the Sunshine State: the Free State of Florida.

Message to China: up yours.

DeSantis, 43, can make no public noises about seeking the presidency at this point. He must get past his re-election for governor in the fall first and hope the voters rally to take back control of Congress from the narrowest-of-narrow Democrat majorities. With his wife, Casey, now seemingly recovered from a bout with cancer, he is sitting pretty.

It's widely thought that if Trump declares, DeSantis will wait his turn in 2028. But why should he spend four years on ice behind a lightning rod with no further political future? Polls already show him creeping up on Trump and a smashing re-election victory will only gain him more prominence. Lots can happen in three years, especially when his possible primary opponent is getting on in years. After Biden, will America want another geriatric president? Or will the voters prefer a guy 32 years younger, with nothing but upside?

The chances of Biden's running again are next to nil. If the Democrats could figure out a way to get rid of him without elevating the albatross known as Kamala in his place, they'd have already done it. Further, there's no apparent successor to Biden on the donkeys' side; should Biden somehow stumble toward a second term, a Biden-DeSantis matchup would be worth putting on pay-per-view. We could retire the national debt on the debates alone.

Meanwhile the shadows cast by DeSantis are lengthening, the clock is ticking, and all he has to do is wait. Now, a specter is haunting the Democrats. It's about time.

Listen to the author speak about this article and other things at the CutJib Newsletter podcast with CBD and JJ Sefton from Ace of Spades.

'Follow the Science'—but Whither?

Before he passed on, the late George Carlin developed a stand-up bit during which he decried the increasing wussification of America. He found our growing obsession with absolute cleanliness and “germ avoidance” pathetic and ultimately counter-productive. There’s a reason we have immune systems he declared, and if our immune systems aren’t allowed to deal with everyday germs, then they likely wouldn’t be all that good at dealing with the exotic variety.

Covid viruses are not germs of course, but the principle still holds. We can place our trust in preventative measures that may decrease our risk of premature death some nth of a percent in some cases, or we can deal with such outbreaks as best we can, while we try to maintain normalcy as much as possible.

Carlin was by no definition conservative or libertarian. He was a classical, as opposed to modern, liberal. He mocked those he perceived to be in charge, whom he thought were mainly conservative and likely Republican. But Carlin’s observations were sometimes spot on and this was one of those instances. His bit mocking America and Americans for being ridiculously over-the-top about risk avoidance rings as prophetic as anything Daniel or Isaiah ever came up with. (Language warning, of course).

I was never a Carlin fan, finding his mouth a bit too foul too often, and his schtick too formulaic, but he was capable of insight. Identifying the trend of American timidity may not have required exceptional perception but making fun of it took some guts. Cowards do not care to be so called.

There is a classic science fiction short story, the name of which unfortunately eludes me at the moment, that speaks to the gap separating risk-avoidance and living. The author envisions a time where life spans are measured in hundreds of years, rather than around a single century at best. Given the possibility to live that long, society has changed. Most of the populace chooses existence over living.

People vegetate safely in their homes, almost never leaving them. Why go to the store? If you go to the store, you might get killed in an accident and “miss out” on hundreds of years of hanging around planet Earth. If you go to the store, you might catch some bug from somebody else. You might slip and fall, break your leg and die because bone marrow seeps into your bloodstream. It’s better – safer – just to sit in your recliner and have people deliver whatever you need to exist to your doorstep.

We’re not quite there yet, but we’re aways down a road that ends with everyone hiding under their beds. We’ve got to wear masks, isolate, evacuate and vaccinate because, we are told, we have to “follow the science." If Congress passed a law that required everyone who uses the phrase “follow the science” to donate five bucks in the National Swear Jar, we’d eliminate federal debt in no time, Bidenflation or no.

As an actual scientist, I’ll let you in a secret: when it comes to Covid, just as is the case with climate change, nobody is following the science. There’s a very good reason for this: nobody knows the science yet, not in a form that would allow blue-state-nNazi lockdown leaders to make thoughtful decisions about public welfare, were they capable of doing so.

We don’t know, for example, which treatments are most effective. Ivermectin is now an approved treatment method in the US. Six months ago, “experts” were pooh-poohing, with extra pooh, reports of Ivermectin’s success overseas.

Some leaders support some preventative measures, some of the time, but are prone to make exceptions when the rules affect them. Some leaders ignore common-sense on a regular basis. Take for example Illinois’ massive Governor, J.B. ”Jabba the Guv” Pritzker. He is happy to preach the value of mask mandates to the citizens of the Land of Lincoln, but for some reason has never pointed out that one’s chances of becoming seriously ill with COVID are much reduced if one controls one’s weight. Wonder why he skipped that?

J.B. looks like he hasn't missed a meal.

If you think that masks are great, you can find “science” that supports that. If you think masks are pointless, there is “science” that supports that. If you think lockdowns are great, there are studies for that. If you think lockdowns do more harm than good, somebody has collected data that proves you right too. Vaccines? Either incredibly necessary or needlessly dangerous. Take your pick. There’s always an expert in your camp sure to agree with you and slap an “expert” stamp on the opinion you like.

Science happens when people are disinterested in the results. It doesn’t happen when people have an agenda to justify their actions, as is the case with many of leaders, or to prop up their expert status, or like Dr. Tony Fauci, both. Searching for data that proves you correct has nothing to do with analyzing data. It’s quite the opposite.

Someday, several years from now, when the panic, hysteria and virtue-signaling are long gone, some scientists who have no skin in the game – since the game will be long over – will dissect the data relevant to the Covid experience and we’ll know what worked, what didn’t and what fell in between. For now, the best we can do is to understand that one can’t follow the science when there is a dearth of unbiased scientists to create it and almost no leaders qualified to identify “the science” we are supposed to follow, even when it actually exists.

Suffer the Little Children

Headlined in an article published in Nature on July 20, 2021: “Deaths from Covid ‘incredibly rare’ among children.” The figures tend to be murky. Deliberately so, I’m inclined to believe. Nevertheless, it seems clear enough that almost all, perhaps all, of the relatively tiny number of children aged 5- to 11-years-of-age who have died from Covid have, in fact, died with Covid; having had serious underlying illnesses or disabilities of one kind or another, including untoward obesity.

Choose your virologist, immunologist or epidemiologist if you want a view that suits your own. They can be found. One of my choices is Yale epidemiology professor Dr. Harvey Risch. He’s often on Fox News. I prefer his cautionary approach when it comes to children. Keep them home-schooled rather than compulsorily vaxxed in school, he argues. Do no harm, rings a bell with me. This, from Dr. Eric Rubin, doesn’t. He’s professor of immunology at Harvard, and a member of the FDA advisory committee. When asked, prior to FDA approval, about the safety of the Pfizer vaccine for children, he reportedly replied:

We’re never going to learn about how safe the vaccine is until we start giving it. That’s just the way it goes.

Why are children akin to lab rats among those on the left? Rubin will be of the left; no doubt about that. You will know them by their utterances. I struggle, but think it is to do with the greater good, as they see it, trumping individual rights. If a child must die to save ten old people; well, do the sums.

Do it for the children.

Used to take coffee each week with a couple of blokes who lived in the same apartment building. Unsurprisingly, both were somewhat to the left of me but the conversation was convivial. Progressively, pun intended, the group grew by another four, including one dreadful feminist harpy. As the group grew, so did its centre of gravity move radically leftwards. I divorced the group to remain sane. I doubt they missed me, being unchallenged henceforth when swapping agenda-driven distortions and lies.

There was a gay marriage postal plebiscite in Australia in November 2017. As you might imagine I was the only one of seven who voted no, but that’s by the way. One bloke, a member of Australian Skeptics (skeptical of everything except for global warming) and vice president of a humanist fringe group, the Secular Party of Australia, was particularly far gone. He provided us all with a draft of a submission his party intended to make to government; arguing, in part, that the needs of gay ‘married’ couples needed to be weighed in deciding whether they could adopt babies and young children. I annotated his draft, before returning it, with NO, NO, NO! It didn’t influence his final submission.

But you see, being far gone leftwards, he took very little account of the rights of babies and infants who can’t speak for themselves. He seemed not to comprehend that their welfare in the matter of adoption is not only paramount but all that counts, whoever is adopting them. It isn’t something that can be put in the context of the greater good. But he was prepared to stack the interests of gay couples against the interests of babies and infants; presumably, to serve, in his warped mind, the greater good. And by this route, I come back to my point.

Governments and medical authorities seem prepared to stack the interests of aging adults against the interests of children. This thinking is so estranged from the thinking of yesteryear that we, those of us who’ve retained moral standards of the quite recent past, are thrown off balance. Effectively, we are at sea. Answer: set the compass due north and steer towards truth, justice and the American way, so to speak. No compromise. Put false trails into stark relief.

There is no medical justification for vaccinating young children against Covid.  Older children too for that matter. To all intents and purposes, they face no risk from the virus. How much risk they face from the vaccine, whichever one, is unknown with any certainty. In normal course, the vaccines would not be given to children. If the principal rationale is to inhibit the spread of the virus among adults; it’s unconscionable. Close enough to evil to scare me. Yet it’s happening.

What am I, a lab rat?

Countries are already doing it. Israel started in late November, as did Canada and the United States. Reports out of the U.K. suggest it may start there in the spring.  When the FDA gave its tick of approval for vaccinating twenty-eight million 5- to 11-year-olds in the U.S., Emma McBryde, an infectious-diseases modeller at the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine in Townsville said, “it will save lives.” She went on:

But it could also have a broader impact, given that many US children aged 5 to 11 have returned to school unvaccinated in the past few months, and the group now accounts for a significant portion of new Covid-19 cases, capable of transmitting the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 to others… For every child’s life you save, you may well save many, many more adult lives.

Catch the pointed end bit. Exactly how many children are worth putting at unwarranted risk from vaccines to save adult lives; and mostly aged adult lives? Median age of death from Covid in Australia in 2020 equals 87 years (82 years for deaths from all causes). No child has died.

But, amid the ridiculously hyped-up Omicron kerfuffle, Professor Paul Kelly, Australia’s chief medical officer, said that he was awaiting advice from the TGA (Australia's equivalent to the FDA) on offering vaccines to 5- to 11-year-olds. For what possible legitimate purpose?  And notice the word offering, implying a free choice. Really, exactly how long would it be before little Jill and Johnny were singled out as unvaxxed pariahs?

Finally, I have begun to realise that my erstwhile coffee companion is, in fact, no further gone leftwards than is the whole apparatus of governments throughout most of the world; and throw in most of the media; and, regrettably, most of the medical establishment. There is little remaining to know about the malign influence of the left. Yet, its influence has been even more pernicious than might have been thought possible. Locking children out of school is bad enough. Societies which are prepared to play fast and loose with children’s very lives have surely lost all moral compass.

The Coming Viral Dictatorship

A pivotal feature of dictatorial regimes is the institutional lie, expressed as an unfounded message of millennial hope, an ever-changing set of legislated policies, and the tendency of authoritarian leaders to violate their own axioms and edicts. We see this happening before our eyes as a Covid-19 tyranny takes root on our own soil.

The manifold inconsistencies and deceptions that circulate regarding the draconian mandates and coercive measures imposed by Big Government to combat the Covid pandemic should by now have alerted the public to their suspicious nature. We have observed the extent to which these ordinances are regularly flouted by the authorities, who have been seen without their masks, disregarding social distancing rules, and travelling during lockdowns. Such exemptions are obviously a privilege reserved only to the elites, who do not scruple to lecture us on the current proprieties.

One popular slogan that we meet everywhere, on radio and TV, on the Internet, and emblazoned on ubiquitous signage, is particularly irritating: “We’re All In This Together.” Clearly, we are not. While small business owners and entrepreneurs struggle with bankruptcy as their establishments are closed down, Big Box stores operate at full capacity, teachers retain handsome salaries while refusing to enter their classrooms, government personnel continue to be paid in absentia, and politicians suffer no loss of ample remuneration.

This means you.

Weddings, church services, funerals, social gatherings, holiday celebrations and anti-lockdown protests are either curtailed or banned to prevent proximity transmission of the virus; BLM demonstrations involving thousands of people cheek-by-jowl agitating for “social justice” are permitted and encouraged. Doctors are here to serve their patients; now many have embraced telemedicine, which does not impact their fees as it does their effectiveness. Diagnosis at a distance is not reliable medicine, though it is lucrative medicine. The overall hypocrisy that confronts us at every level of political, corporate and professional society is so blatant as to be unbelievable—except it is entirely believable. We are manifestly not in this all together, not by a long shot.

Another sedative to which we are constantly exposed is the official platitude that the mandates under which we malinger are intended “to protect public health and safety.” The collateral effects of this faux campaign have, in fact, endangered public health and safety. The category of “excess deaths” owing to delayed medical procedures for cancer, Alzheimer's, heart ailments and diabetes, among other conditions, including critical stress, depressive suicides, and adverse reactions and deaths linked to the Covid vaccines now arguably surpass Covid morbidity numbers—which themselves appear to have been grossly inflated. Indeed, in a crowning irony, the virus may itself be “boosted” by iatrogenic interventions. One need only consult virologist and immunologist Robert Malone, the actual inventor of the mRNA vaccines, who warns against them as Covid-19 suppressants. 

We were assured that vaccine passports were the route to “public health and safety” and that life would soon be back to normal. Now triple vaxxing, masks and renewed lockdowns have become mandatory in many jurisdictions and nations. The temptation to blame and penalize the unvaccinated for any upsurge of “cases” is spreading and may easily translate into second-class status for the unvaccinated and a policy of forced internment. 

But who are the “unvaccinated”?  Israel’s Director of the Ziv Medical Center Dr. Salman Zarka admits that the definition is changing: “We are updating what it means to be vaccinated.” In the absence of a third jab (and counting), even the double-vaxxed fall into the category of “unvaccinated.” As Kit Knightly writes in off-guardian, “Israel is the petri dish”; if it works there, the rest of the world will follow suit. Of course, in another sense of the phrase, it doesn’t really “work there.” A multi-sourced chart published in the Financial Times, comparing over-vaxxed Israel to under-vaxxed Egypt, provides a sobering metric. Egypt is doing at least an order of magnitude better than Israel. Equally distressing, on August 22 West Virginia governor Jim Justice reported a 26 percent surge among the fully vaccinated and a 25 percent increase in vaccinated deaths. This surely is not a one-off.

Where do you think you're going?

It should be obvious by this time that we are dealing with a vast shell game. In an open letter to the Canadian Minister of Health, McGill University theology professor Douglas Farrow argues, correctly, that vaccine mandates are incoherent. That is surely the right word. Masks were supposed to keep us safe. They didn’t do very well, so the first jab was introduced, which should have offered immunity. Then came a second jab, followed by a third and counting. Then came the vaccine passports. Meanwhile, as noted, double-and-triple-jabbed Israelis are still fighting infection and transmission and have now even been refused entry to Portugal and to open, prosperous Sweden.

It is no surprise, at least among the concerned, that distrust is growing of our health authorities, the political class and the collusive “misleadia,” assiduously promoting a medical dogma that is plainly muddled, deceptive and hypocritical. It is also, to put it bluntly, totalitarian.

The next step is the construction of quarantine or internment camps, as currently planned in Australia. Similarly, in the U.S. the CDC has proposed a “shielding approach” that would establish “a group of shelters such as schools, community buildings within a camp/sector…where high-risk individuals (the unvaccinated) are physically isolated together.” As if this weren’t plain enough, the proposal states that “High-risk individuals would be temporarily relocated to safe or ‘green zones’ established at the household, neighborhood, camp/sector or community level… They would have minimal contact with family members and other low-risk residents.” 

Meanwhile, the National Guard is in process of hiring “internment resettlement specialists” to supervise detention operations and “provide guidance to individual prisoners.” It is not clear from the explanatory description what this program precisely entails, but it doesn’t augur well. On August 6, 2021, governor Bill Lee of Tennessee signed an executive order authorizing involuntary internment of targeted citizens, under the convenient designation of “regulatory flexibilities.”

Not to be outdone, the Department of Homeland Security claims that those resisting the vaccines pose a “potential terror threat.” If you oppose the vaccines, you are an “extremist.” The document is very clear: “These extremists may seek to exploit the emergence of COVID-19 variants by viewing the potential re-establishment of public health restrictions across the United States as a rationale to conduct attacks.” Bill HR 4980 currently before Congress would place unvaccinated persons on a No-Fly list and lead inexorably to a No-Buy gun control law. A No-Buy gun list would prevent people from arming themselves. As they say, you have been warned.

Welcome to Australia.

My own country of Canada marches in lockstep with the heavily mandated nations of Israel, the U.K. and, of course, Australia and parts of the U.S. According to NaturalNews, the Canadian government has ordered enough vaccines to inoculate every man, woman and child many times over for the next three years, having stockpiled 293 million doses for a population of 38 million. The report continues: Just months ago, the Covid-19 vaccines were hailed as a ‘miracle of science’ that were putting an ‘end to the pandemic’… But now the narrative has changed” and we can expect more censorship, travel restriction, contact tracing, deprivation of human rights, dodgy testing, and mask and vaccine mandates. The fear is that even supermarkets may eventually be placed off limits for the unvaccinated, forcing one to rely on doorstep deliveries. 

As we’ve seen, this despotic program is being implemented in the name of “protecting public health and safety.” It appears, rather, as if it is being put in practice to create a system of “vaccine enslavement” and authoritarian control. Our Prime Minister, after all, is on record as admiring the “basic dictatorship” of Communist China.

What next? One shudders to think. Where next? Who's next?

From Dundee to Dan Andrews, the Fall of Oz

When we think of a country, we often conjure up a view of the character of its people. For example, Americans are individualistic and brash, the Japanese are collectivist and polite. It’s all nonsense. Each country’s population contains people with a range of temperaments and personalities.

Nonetheless, I consulted an organisation which claims to compare and scale cross-national cultural characteristics. I noticed that individualism was put at 91 for America yet only 46 for Japan. Preconception ticked. Australians, scoring 90 by the way, have built a reputation for being of a larrikin disposition; individualistic, disregarding of conventions. Probably started from our convict past, burnished through stories, true or false, of an irreverent attitude of soldiers to their officers in the two world wars. Crocodile Dundee brought the same attitude to the silver screen.

Let me say that when I first came to Australia from England, numbers of decades ago, there was a refreshing egalitarianism in society; akin, I think, to larrikinism. That was then. It has most definitely faded. Australia itself has changed profoundly. We are now much more multiethnic and multicultural. Whether this good or bad is incidental. It has changed the character of the nation.

Does that change in character of the nation account for the ludicrous response of government and health authorities in Australia to a virus which has killed so very few people compared with overall deaths from other causes?

Specifically, does it account for state border closures; banning citizens (à la North Korea) from leaving the country; preventing citizens from returning; keeping a child from its parents across a state border for weeks on end, preventing a daughter from visiting her dying father, handcuffing and arresting a pregnant woman in her own home for advising the time and location of a public protest; burly policemen wrestling women to the ground; using pepper sprays and rubber bullets on protestors in Melbourne; imposing curfews; putting troops on the streets; locking people in airless hotel rooms; and, beyond parody, Dan Andrews (the Victorian premier) ordering people not to demask while drinking their cocktails outside?

The answer to these questions is that the changing character of the nation might have played a small part. I don’t believe it played a large part at all. It’s complicated.

But to get mythology out of the way. It is clear that the (mostly) passive acceptance of the egregious overreaction to Covid on the part of the authorities has shown that the Australian population is not a race of larrikins bucking authority. Like any rule which fails the test, that particular romantic idealisation of national character is well and truly debunked. It cannot be resurrected. But was it ever true? I don’t think it was. Nor do I think Australia stands out in failing the test.

Individuals are powerless against the apparatus of the state. Where we see push back, trade unions are often instrumental. This is happening with opposition to requiring vaccine passports for employees in Australia as it is, for example, in the United States.

The twin keys to distinguishing one country from another in responding to Covid are leadership and circumstances. The liberal response of Sweden compared with the Denmark and Norway is purely down to leadership. Sweden by chance, I imagine, had an enlightened public health official and a prime minister willing to go along. No other country has been nearly so lucky.

Australia has been particularly unlucky. You might say that the population has the politicians it deserves. OK, but so do the Brits (Johnson), Americans (Biden), Canadians (Trudeau), French (Macron), Germans (Merkel). True, we have a mediocre bunch of like-minded state premiers (two of them Andrews and the Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk seemingly with undiagnosed personality disorders), and the prime minister is not much better; but that’s surely par for the international course. In the best of all possible worlds, they would have only done as badly as their overseas peers. That they are doing worse is down to circumstances, which have led Australian state premiers into a trap of their own making.

The trap was first set by Australia being an island continent. This gave the alluring, if delusional prospect, of keeping Covid out. Eradication or elimination became the goal, not merely flattening the curve. Backing this delusional prospect, Covid struck and the border closed before tens of thousands of Chinese students were due to return from China to Australian universities.

Only in the past week or so have the premiers of NSW (Gladys Berejiklian) and Victoria reluctantly conceded that Covid is here to stay. Mark McGowan, the premier of Western Australia, with zero new cases, still thinks he can keep Covid out of his state; and has his state border closed down. He's madder than Dan probably, but what can be done?

If elimination is the goal, lockdowns are imposed whenever cases get away from contact tracers and that doesn’t amount to many cases when the strain of Covid is highly infectious. When you have locked down for a hundred cases, it’s difficult to justify opening up when cases increase to two hundred. The trap springs shut.

And it's not as though the federal government can override the states. Australia is a federation. States have responsibility for public health and the ability to frustrate the federal government.

Each state premier did his or her polling. People liked the idea of being kept safe. Normally there might have been political or media opposition to impart perspective and lead people into having a less cowed more stoical response. Not so with Covid. And there is no financial burden to speak of on state governments locking down their states. State governments don’t levy their own income taxes or sales taxes. Their revenue primarily comes from the feds.

When states lock down the federal government funds people and businesses affected. Could the federal government do otherwise? Theoretically. But not with federal elections every three years it couldn’t.

The fanaticism of state governments in trying to eliminate Covid bled over to law enforcement. As we know police have enormous powers. And, as a fact of life, there are some within police forces prone to misusing them. Effectively, licence was given to such misuse by the stance and demeanour of state premiers. The woeful 1984-type encouragement of citizens to dob in one another for breaking Covid rules – having friends over, travelling too far, being unmasked (fine $500 in NSW) – is a particularly pernicious by-product. Part of the disintegration of civil society when put to the test.

My conclusion: Covid has revealed the nasty underbelly of the western world’s so-called system of limited government. Only limited in good times. Nowhere has this been greater exposed than in Oz.

Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Treating

I really can’t believe the bad luck of the last two hours but no matter the blame, it’s landed me in the A&E. Of course here in New York it’s called the ER, but it’s essentially the same thing -- the worst people, most of them in no real state of emergency, who’ve brought their entire family to sit with them while they wail about the real tragedy—the wait times. And obviously there are real emergencies, but those folks are whisked away while the rest of us cast furtive glances on those whose level of crisis may supplant our own place in the queue.

And it was a furtive glance that delivered me to hospital in the first place. Forgive me as I am indeed cross but lately the world seems filled with first-time parents who should no more be in charge of a small child than China in charge of our planet. Having arrived at the lobby level I stepped out of an elevator (OUT before IN as the rule goes) only to be thrust into a floral arrangement from the force of an urchin child no taller than my knee; and whose defeated parents were several paces behind. Before I’d even realised what happened, my eye was stinging and I realised I’d grazed it, or sliced it, or done something that now required someone with more than a makeup mirror to determine just what.

The doctor will see you now.

‘Oh sorry’, the hapless mother said, not really meaning it but hoping I’d find her cherub half as adorable as she clearly did. It was no use telling her what I really thought as the holy terror had undoubtedly been indulged and was likely to be fed large spoonfuls of ice cream while I sat in the most unflattering light, awaiting my fate at the Columbia University Medical Center. I’d grabbed a coffee, and a bottle of water, and a protein bar on my way in owing to incessant media reports of ‘capacity’ at emergency rooms around the country. Capacity and cases seemed to have replaced deaths in the ongoing Covid pandemic screed and I was grateful to find a charging station for my mobile as I readied myself for the long wait ahead. Seconds later I heard someone barking my name and when I looked up, I was led to a treatment area.

I looked down a row of empty chairs as a too-tight cuff told my blood pressure and three staffers in scrubs checked their phones while another scrawled on a clipboard. Two more came to talk to me and I was led down another corridor and into a large room with beds separated by curtains. I wasn’t about to start complaining about the short wait but what about the much-hyped capacity? The NHS had nothing on Columbia Med as I googled average wait times in London —‘our goal of four hours’.

While I waited for the specialist I asked the attending physician if all the beds were full? And where were all those' cases'? And bodies piling up? And what of the mad triage we had been hearing so much about? There are times when a British accent and freshly-washed hair will get you nearly anything from a young and eager chap, and I don’t mind admitting today was one of those times.

In twenty minutes he explained to me that American hospitals are actually paid 20 percent more for a coronavirus diagnosis and therefore ‘you can rest assured they are telling people to 'put it on the DRG' which he explained is some code for getting the highest reimbursement from the government. The reimbursement didn’t make that much sense to me as I well understood the U.S. was not all on one shared government programme but he further explained that since Covid, there were nearly no private hospitals anymore; and that everyone had become dependent on the government dollar. He also explained it was the same for anyone getting a Covid test, and although I’d already interacted with a dozen or so hospital employees—they would indeed test me for Covid before I left.

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Having understood the push to get as much government dollar as possible didn’t explain the ruse of cases, and claims of overcrowding, and understaffing… or did everyone just die before I got here? I asked. He leaned in so as not to be over heard and said: 

‘Wall Street could take a tip from hospitals when it comes to managing costs—everything we do is based on some measured care matrix to ensure maximum profit— who we treat, who we keep overnight, who we can over-bill, what we diagnose. Believe me—you don’t want to know. And if I have the stomach for it I may end up the head of a malpractice committee.’

I just stared at him, wondering if the specialist on his way would be equally cavalier about the human being sitting in front of him. ‘I probably won’t, he added, but hospitals hire the cheapest docs to staff the ER, those of us just starting out, and that’s the long and short of it.’

This made me quite unhappy as I rang Daddy in London. ‘Hello Jennifer.’ Daddy answered.

‘Hi Daddy, don’t panic, I’m at the A&E, and I’m fine, just sliced my eye on a plant and well… it’s very upsetting to learn that the hospital cares very little for me, and only for their bottom line.’

You'll be right as rain, plus 20 percent.

‘How is your eye?’

‘It’s fine, I promise, but I’m really not happy about a conversation I just had about the business model of a hospital, and I thought I was getting better care in the U.S., than from the National Health.’

‘You probably are.’ Daddy said, ‘But it is a business, and not a very successful one either. Most hospitals are losing money, so there’s an incentive to lie about the diagnosis. Even a positive coronavirus test while treating your eye injury will mean they can bill for 20 percent more so if you want to do them a favour why don’t you tell them you have symptoms of flu.’

‘I’m serious, Daddy.’

‘As am I, and as such, you need to accept that they are doing what they will to maximise profits. They don’t work for you… they work for their interests. Of course, they can’t be entirely irresponsible or that would hurt their bottom line as well.’

‘So the constant drumbeat of capacity and cases?’ I asked...

‘Serves their bottom line. This ability to collect an additional 20 percent won’t last forever, so they are going to push that as long as they possibly can, to make it seem as dire as possible, and to use fear to get the public not to complain.’

‘But how can the largest city in America not notice?’

No "cases" here.

‘You tell me. How did they not notice a hulking hospital ship floating in their harbour? It had a thousand beds available of which only twenty were ever used and they sent it away while keeping people quarantined by claiming capacity and cases. So if you are concerned about the conflict of interest… the fact that your doctor is working for the hospital, and your insurance company is looking after their own profits, I suggest you take their advice for tonight, and go see a private physician tomorrow -- one that has to answer to you.’

‘Like we do on Harley Street?’

‘Exactly like that. And in future, my little green vegan, you might take note that plants are not always your friend.’

'I Am Covid, Destroyer of Oz'

Curfews, the army on the streets, extra police powers, rubber bullets. Mogadishu? No, it's Australia. Though, to be fair, rubber bullets have been confined so far to Melbourne. Apparently, those protesting lockdowns got a bit unruly. Bring out the Stormtroopers. And note, so far to August 21, there have been only 978 reported deaths from Covid-19, while since the first Covid death in March 2020 well over 200,000 Australians have died, publicly unmourned, from other causes. Perspective defenestrated.

Australia right now is a poster child for how western civilisation and all we hold dear can quickly go down the gurgler. What do we most hold dear? Our freedoms. Make those freedoms privileges, dispensed at will and whim by government. See people go along with it. Welcome to the servile state. True some people, relatively few in number, do protest. But hefty fines, jail time and, if necessary, rubber bullets will keep dissidents in check. It worked in East Germany, didn’t it?

I will digress for a purpose. Don’t want to get into Jane Fonda’s head. It’s probably a tangle of leftism in there which is best to avoid. I will say that she is the best looking eighty-three-year-old I’ve ever seen. So, unless she has a Doriana Gray portrait in the backroom, I can’t help but feel that her motives have been and are good. Misguided and bad are not synonymous. And even those who are misguided can be occasionally right. And so has she been.

As she rightly said, Covid is a gift to the Left. Whether it’s God’s gift we can argue about. Though, as a Christian, I do believe in predestination, hence it’s not unreasonable to assume that Covid is serving some celestial purpose. Personally, I doubt that purpose is to produce an earthly communist nirvana. At the same time, there is little doubt that those on the left feel a Chris-Matthews-type thrill going up their legs when surveying the havoc which Covid is bringing down on Western civilisation.

After all, if your objective is to remake civilisation in the image of a Marxist utopia, you first have to tear down what’s there. And that means undoing individual freedoms, before the presumed interests of the collective can be put in their place.

Been there, done that.

Ironically, the freedoms of Western civilisation can be more easily taken away because of the prosperity which those very freedoms have underpinned. People can be locked away and businesses closed down yet still everybody can be well fed. Well-fed citizens are less prone to rebellion.

Marx and Engels might have been right after all. Communism, aka The Great Reset, aka Inclusive or Cooperative or "Woke" capitalism, aka “building back fairer and better,” will potentially supersede free-market capitalism on the back of the material riches that individual freedoms have wrought. Hope not, but that’s the way it feels right now as I contemplate the outdoor mask mandate, which comes into effect right now, to supplement rules which restrict me from travelling not more than 5 kms from home and to one essential shopping trip each day. Talking to other people is largely verboten.

One of my sons-in-law runs a carpet repair business. He has established rules which he hopes will allow him to continue to earn a living. For example, customers can make arrangements to leave their keys in a particular spot so that the repairers can enter and do the job while the occupants either leave home or ensconce themselves in another room. Being contactless is the key to survival in this brave new world.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the strata committee of the apartment building where I live in Sydney has just announced that renovations to two apartments cannot resume because zero contact between workers and residents in common areas can’t be guaranteed. Imagine the effect of this abundance of playing it safe across all apartment buildings – on electricians, plumbers, tradesmen generally, never mind the anguish of those living in apartments with half-renovated kitchens and bathrooms.

Not too close!

Mind you, the nervousness of our strata committee might be justified. “Special powers” have been given to the New South Wales police force “to lockdown apartment buildings while health assesses the Covid risk [and] to declare a residential premise a Covid-risk premise and require all people to present to police during compliance checks.”

Like the "Delta variant," the madness spreads. From health bureaucrats, to politicians, to the media, to the police, to strata committees, and of course, to scolds on the streets. Hard to remember what it was like in the B.C. (Before Covid) era. “Yes son, we didn’t wear masks then and we used to mix with and talk freely to other people. It was all very unhealthy. Now the government keeps us safe.”

A caveat. Might be feeling too down Down Under. Here there is no countervailing view of any weight. All political leaders are as one. No Red states. No Ron DeSantis. Maybe we have to rely yet again on America to save western civilisation and put this nightmare behind us?

Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Waiting

Just when you thought you’d seen it all… 2021 brings fuel shortages in the most developed nation in the world. I wouldn’t have believed it myself but my new client has me hopping to various locales, and today that has me absolutely stopped on the runway at Reagan National Airport. What would dear Ronnie have to say on the subject? 

One assumes he’d find someone to sack. But these days no one is to blame, and the airlines in particular have the insidious practice of pretending that things just happen upon them. They never have any idea that an aircraft that leaves very late is also going to arrive late. Of course they could simply look up into the sky and see if the bloody plane is not en route…then there should be no surprise when it doesn’t pull into the gate as scheduled. But surprised they are. Every. Single. Time.

And they pretend not to know they are short an entire crew until… oh gosh, did they really not turn up? Passengers have to check-in, but crew? Apparently there is no system in place until— like the thief that skips bail -- they don’t turn up. And today the excuse was that they did not have sufficient fuel to fly the thirty-five-minute flight from Washington D.C. to New York. Honestly…

Up, up, and away... maybe.

I can tell you this never happens to me—this confusion about how gas is expended or how to get more. I never go to my garage to then be utterly surprised that there is no fuel in my car. And when I hire staff, I have them arrive well before the guests. A shocking practice I know. But oh the reveal… as first time fliers gasp, and the eyes of seasoned passengers glaze over.

Is it any wonder so many would-be actors end up as cabin crew? It must take years of Meisner acting technique to convincingly utter the sentence that begins with "unfortunately." Perhaps I should try this…  just say unfortunately as an excuse for absolutely anything. Unfortunately I was applying lipstick while driving and… were you very fond of that child? 

And just now…unfortunately… (although we are already on board and strapped in) we just found out we haven’t any fuel. This is unfortunate? Like a surprise? Even as a teen I would never have the nerve to call Daddy and say… unfortunately I ran out of petrol -- your car is in Chelsea.

But today, (despite having a dreaded window seat) I am calm—knowing I have a whole eight hours to get where I need to be. No worries on my end, I will wait in silence and pen mean letters in my head that I will never send as they refuel—and off we will be. But, unfortunately, that is not what happened. Minutes turned into hours and we began to feel it indeed unfortunate that they had closed the door to the aircraft and no one was allowed to get off. At two hours and eleven minutes (eleven minutes past the legal allowable detainment) Captain Unfortunate told us that ‘by law’ they have to let us off and he would be opening the door… however, he added, if you get off the aircraft you will not be going to New York with us. What cheek.

This must be what hell feels like.

For the lucky few who were missing their flights—the choice was obvious, and an exit made sense. But (unfortunately) I had to show up for work. And Captain Unfortunate now became Captain Storyteller saying ‘Gosh folks…’ (a phrase that makes me immediately suspicious) ‘I’ve read about this happening but apparently (apparently??) there are not enough employees to fuel the aircraft and we have to wait our turn.’ Of course no explanation as to why said employee wasn’t summoned during the last two unfortunate hours, but the captain assured us that we were fourth in line for refuelling. And at which point I just had to call daddy.

‘Yes, Jennifer,’ he answered. But I had to make him wait because the captain was now telling us that weather would lead to a further delay even once we were fuelled. I opened my radar app… nothing going on in New York. Nothing at all.

‘Are you on an airplane?’

‘Yes, I am, and…’

‘Increasing your carbon footprint in service of your green client?’

‘It’s commercial and I’m paying a carbon offset.'

‘And your client?’

‘He’s uh… on his plane,’ I conceded, and crunched on the last of the ice from my G&T. ‘Thing is, Daddy, I was wondering is there a fuel shortage sufficient to delay a major airline at a major airport? Everything I found online says it is due to the Colonial Pipeline hack, which was already three months ago… and nothing mentioning the shutdown of the Keystone Pipeline… So is that the real reason?’

‘Ah, yes, the Keystone… To be clear, you know who shut that down don’t you? [of course I knew] It was your green president.’ He gloated.

‘Yes, daddy, my green president," I offered, (as if all environmentalists knew one another) ‘But is that the reason?’ I asked.

Now they tell me.

‘It is not.’ He said. ‘Stopping Keystone XL doesn’t keep Canadian crude from getting to market it just means that it is transported by less safe, and far less green methods—like rail and truck.’

‘So it really is a labour shortage?’ I asked, perhaps too loud for the other seven passengers in first class.

‘I couldn’t say. But we both know refuelling is not a highly skilled profession. I’ve done it, Patrick has done it. It’s even likely that in wartime Queen Elizabeth has done it. No… I’d say follow the money. It’s that thing you green-niks are forever going on about…profits and greed. Only here it likely applies."

How does he always manage to hand me my own hat? We were now at the four-hour mark and having finished my entire bottle of water and a second G&T, I was feeling woozy without any food and went into my carry-on to fish out a protein bar. When the pilot announced they would ‘in fact’ be allowing us off the aircraft but to stay close to the gate. Why couldn’t we have stayed close to the gate four hours ago?

I went straightaway to the burger bar I’d passed prior to boarding. I was first off, and fourth in line, and luckily the manager was railing on his staff to move things along. With order in hand, I deftly made my way to the club lounge to sit out the rest of the wait and book a hotel just in case, and YES I KNOW—no outside food allowed in the lounge, but I had a crafted a very curt answer if they had any intention of stopping me because truth be told, they had long stopped serving any real food in the clubs… ‘because of Covid’. Which, fortunately, is the other universal excuse when ‘unfortunately’ just won’t do.

Regarding Covid-19, Public Policy v. Panic

Nothing has better demonstrated to me the impossible clash of true science -- the constant search for and the skeptical sifting and winnowing of empirical evidence -- with public policy than the worldwide response to the Covid-19 virus about which so little was known  when it first appeared.

Science, like the Western legal advocacy system, depends on proponents and opponents clashing and presenting their best relevant arguments for us to decide an issue, but the search in science on any issue must be ongoing, and in law and public policy there are practical and procedural time limits. It would be wonderful if there were some alternative responsible forum to quickly test the assumptions of policy makers (often contradictory and based on little or poor evidence), but there isn’t much leeway to my knowledge.

The Western court systems are generally a reasonable way to test the validity of fact but the timing problems make it almost impossible to do so rapidly enough to matter when it comes to this disease. Good public policy on scientific issues should be made with far greater humility than it presently is, and perhaps the only way to get around the normal strictures is to create a rapid response team of experts critical of the public policy gurus who can file affidavits in support of their findings and persuade courts to issue temporary injunctions pending full expedited hearings. Absent that, the only way to deal with this overreaching is resistance, and -- down the road -- the ballot box. When it's often too late.

The face of the medical bureaucracy: Rochelle Walensky

This week the  CDC announced new guidelines suggesting fully vaccinated people should again mask. Among other things,"It added a recommendation for fully vaccinated people to wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission."

The CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status. Director Rochelle Walensky stated this week that “fully vaccinated people have just as much viral load as the unvaccinated, making it possible for them to spread the virus to others,” so school children should be masked. She should be ignored if it her claim is not supported by equally sound research -- and it isn't. It's based instead on data from a single study in India, where different vaccines were in use, and was so deficient it was rejected in peer review.

She’s not alone, however. There has been a drumbeat to reinstate some of the most loathsome and freedom-destroying diktats we’ve just come out from under. Organizations and businesses are demanding employees be fully vaccinated and some even requiring vaccinated persons to mask. How do these square with the feminist slogan, “my body, my choice,” and the concept of privacy of medical information in HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)? How are these requirements that you prove you’ve taken the vaccine even constitutional?

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On July 18  a U.S. District Court decided preliminarily the first test case I know of against the new restrictions, Klassen v. Trustees of Indiana University. Law Professor Eugene Volokh , a legal scholar worth respect, explains why the Court denied a preliminary injunction sought by the students against being forced to mask, social distance and  vaccinate or qualify for an exemption on religious or medical reasons. 

Under guiding principles of federalism, our Constitution preserves the power of the States, within constitutional limits, to adopt laws to provide for public health and safety. Twice the United States Supreme Court has upheld state authority to compel reasonable  vaccinations. [The court is referring here to Jacobson v. Massachusetts (1905) and Zucht v. King (1922). -EV] The States don't have arbitrary power, but they have discretion to act reasonably in protecting the public's health.

Students at Indiana University have a significant liberty protected by the Constitution—refusing unwanted medical treatment based on bodily autonomy. The Fourteenth Amendment says no state may "deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." U.S. Const. amend. XIV § 1. Given this due process protection of liberty, longstanding constitutional law prevents a public university—an arm of the State—from mandating a vaccine for its students unless it has rationally pursued a legitimate interest in public health for its campus community.

Does this mean that it’s constitutional for the university to issue such a mandate? Not exactly. The students sought injunctive relief, not a final decision on the merits. As Volokh notes, the injunctive relief “requires a strong showing that they will likely succeed on the merits of their claims, that they will sustain irreparable harm, and that the balance of harms and public interest favor such a remedy.”

You can always transfer, kids.

But the students have other options which the court had to balance -- they could apply for a medical deferral, take the semester off (the mandate applies only for the coming semester), attend another university or attend online. (In this respect the students have more options and may have had a weaker case for injunctive relief than might some other litigants covered by similar mandates.) And in a request for injunctive relief there is usually no opportunity to fully flesh out that these directives are unnecessary in the public interest, unreasonable, and therefore unconstitutional .

In a nutshell here’s the legal problem: testing the reasonableness of the state action would take a great deal of time, given the number of conflicting expert opinions on a scientific matter -- one on which we have so little empirical evidence  and where the evidence seems to be so quickly changing. Adding to that is that the mandates tend -- as here -- to be of short duration so that by the time the issue would be resolved it would likely be moot.

It would be wonderful if it were easier. It would be even more wonderful if the mass media and social media which combined in the Trusted News Initiative  to restrict information contrary to the official public health directives and the latter unable to hide behind the protections of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 to restrict diverse views on these mandates. More open discussion might improve state decisions and lessen the impact of scare accounts on judicial reviewers of those decisions. 

In any hearing on the merits here’s some of the evidence I expect the opponents of these mandates would produce;

  1. The mortality rate from Covid-19 in the U.S. has been low (affecting mostly the elderly and those with co-morbidities) and is now at the lowest point .Even the new bugaboo about cases from a new "delta" variant is overblown as the  “cases” are asymptomatic or very mild. Harvard Medical School Professor Martin Kulldorff pointed this out on Twitter, writing that “In [the] USA, COVID mortality is now the lowest since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.” He reports: "Far more people were dying from COVID-19 months ago as we were winding down restrictions than are dying today as some call to reinstate them." With mortality so low, it’s hard to argue that reinstatement of Covid restrictions is reasonable.
  2. Government restrictions ignore the fact that most of the U.S. has natural immunity to the virus. Some 80percent of American adults are immune to the virus: More than 64 percent have received at least one vaccine dose and, of those who haven’t, roughly half have natural immunity from prior infection. There’s ample scientific evidence that natural immunity is effective and durable, and public-health leaders should pay it heed. Only around 10 percent of Americans have had confirmed positive Covid tests, but four to six times as many have likely had the infection.
  3. At this point we know enough about treatment so that Covid 19 or its variants are easily treatable at home. It should be engaged in its early stages, not when hospitalization is required because no treatment has been received.
  4. Like every other drug or vaccine the Covid vaccinations are toxic at some level in some percent of people as Dr. Robert Malone, the inventor of the technology behind the mRNA gene therapy (the Covid vaccinations) indicates at the link.
  5.  There is already a cheap, effective, fast treatment in the early stages of Covid-19: Ivermectin.  “The statistically significant evidence suggests that it is safe and works both for treating and preventing the disease.”

So, on one hand we have reputable scientists confirming low Covid mortality, broad natural immunity to the virus, easy rapid treatability of the disease at home and seemingly deliberate  underreporting of vaccine toxicity by public health officials. The problem remains how to bring this information to judicial fora in time override the unconstitutional--because unnecessary and unreasonable -- restrictions on liberty.