Better to Take Our Time

The 2020 election is winding down. As it should be, canvassing and recounts are taking place. An election with an enormous increase in mail-in ballots with many states using methods for the first time was bound to be suspect. Add a very close election when all the polls predicted a “Blue Wave,” and you have questions. Of course, rumors will fly. Understandably, the likely winners want the losers to concede. Still, it is far more critical the nation is assured the election was fair. If this takes a little more time, it will prove to be best for the country. If Trump has questions, this is the time for answers.

If we don’t establish the truth and get it out quickly, we end up with Ferguson type myths. Even though subsequent investigations determined Michael Brown was the author of his own death, a false narrative in the interim gained currency. The legend lives on today. Black Lives Matter was born in the flames of a burning Ferguson, Mo on the lie Michael Brown was criminally shot by a cop. “Hands up don’t Shoot” Michel Brown’s supposed last words are still heard. Michael Brown’s name is used to justify further unrest. Of course, none of it was ever real. The false narrative was off in the running before the truth could be determined and communicated.

How deeply has the false Ferguson Narrative dug in? Recently Shelby Steele, a scholar at the Hoover Institution, and his filmmaker son Eli released their documentary “What Killed Michael Brown?.” A solid exposition of what actually happened in Ferguson and its ramifications. Hard to believe, but Amazon Prime initially refused to distribute the film. According to Shelby Steele, Amazon “contributed $10 million to Black Lives Matter.”

Maybe Amazon had a problem with the movie’s content. Eli Steele tells us,” There are four criteria in order to go into content review. We didn’t meet any of the four criteria. So it has to be something else.” Eventually, the documentary was cleared and is now available on Amazon Prime. A highly respected black scholar was put through hoops before his work was available at the monster merchant.

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Timing In Life Is Everything

In my last post, I mentioned a COVID-19 vaccine may be in distribution before Biden’s Inauguration. With Pfizer’s announcement today, that’s all but certain. The importance of a 90% effective vaccine can’t be overstated. A market opening up well over 1000 points attests to its significance. For this octogenarian, this is akin to a prisoner getting the news he’ll likely get out of jail soon on new evidence.

The Pfizer news also jogged my memory. Wasn’t there some political noise over its vaccine and when it might be announced? A quick search of my saved documents brought up a letter to Pfizer’s CEO on Sept. 25. In the letter to Albert Bouria , 65 of the nation’s top academic health authorities told the CEO that Pfizer’s accelerated vaccine process and announcements were eroding public trust in ways that could ultimately cause enough people to refuse to take the drug, preventing the achievement of national herd immunity. Signing the letter were top leaders from U.S. medical schools. https://ldi.upenn.edu/news/five-ldi-senior-fellows-among-65-top-health-experts-letter-cautioning-pfizer-ceo-against The letter looked for a late November approval at the earliest. Of course, this would put it well after the election.

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Pyrrhic victory

Joe Biden has won the Presidency. While a win is a win, as King Pyrrhus of Epirus found out, victories in the short run can come at too high a cost. Even after winning battles against the Romans, the price was so high that he had to abandon the war in the longer run. The Democrats may suffer the same fate.

If ever a party had everything in their favor going into an election, it was the Democrats. The Covid-19 epidemic turned Trump’s robust economy into a depression. While it is unlikely any President would’ve handled the pandemic correctly, the Democrats had the support of almost all media in branding the President’s actions as inadequate. Worse, a Fall wave of new cases was raging during the voting. The worst of it was in the upper Midwest swing states.

The President never had a high favorable rating. His abrasive and narcissistic personality appealed to many but turned off others. This is especially true of women. Covid-19 also is more problematic for women.

Adding to their advantages, the Democrats had an enormous amount of money. Call it Trump “derangement syndrome,” or simply some people just hate the President; they contributed heavily to defeat him. Wealthy Business people often contribute heavier to the party they think will be in power. Crony capitalism or close to it. Apparently, virtue shaming by the left also contributed to Democratic business support. Just look at the actions of the NFL and the NBA. Highly publicized black deaths at the hands of the police resulted in protests and riots. No business or anyone else, for that matter, wants to be labeled as racist.

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As We Approach the End

Here we are, a week from election day. It probably crossed the mind of each of the Presidential candidates they could lose. Both are probably asking themselves, how could I lose to this guy? That each candidate is highly flawed is no secret. Readers of this blog know I have not been Donald Trump’s biggest fan. Some of his policies, such as trade and immigration, I find self-defeating. Trump is a man unable to play well with others, even when it’s to his benefit. He has made enemies of many who might’ve helped widen his appeal. He speaks endlessly when it would profit him to let others do the talking. This was surely true of his COVID-19 updates.

Yet, much to my surprise, he has delivered on most of his campaign promises. A Mitt Romney would’ve been proud of the record of cutting taxes, reigning in regulations, filling the courts with originalist judges, and rebuilding our military. On policy and results, he’s a pretty good Republican.

If it weren’t for the Corona-virus, Trump would’ve been a solid bet for re-election. As I’ve noted, Trump’s actions on the virus have been uneven. Still, in less than a year, we may have a vaccine. With better methods and therapeutics, deaths have been stabilized even in the face of rising case levels. The new treatments have been put into practice in record time. Trump has joined most of the rest of the world in realizing lockdowns aren’t the answer. When we look at Trump’s performance, we again have to ask, compared to what?

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Pelosi and The Little People

As an octogenarian, I’m alert to anything moving us closer to “Herd Immunity.” At my age, with a wife recovering from lung cancer, life is basically a form of house arrest. It will remain that way until we arrive at “Herd Immunity.” We get there by enough people becoming immune to impede the virus. Natural spread, a vaccine, or a combination of the two are the ways we get there. Given the history of vaccine development, a successful one at first looked a very long way off. Due to herculean efforts by all hands, miraculously, we might have one in a month or two. A get out of jail card may be in the offing.

However, even when the clinical trials are over, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently decreed a further two-month observation period before release. This will probably push a vaccine well into the new year. The need for this is hotly contested in the scientific community. Unfortunately, it got injected into election-year politics. Having pulled out all stops with his “Operation Warp speed,” President Trump was looking forward to the early vaccine O.K. Democrats claimed he was pushing through a possibly unsafe vaccine to help in his re-election. If half the country refused to get vaccinated, it would be difficult to achieve any early “Herd Immunity.” The fact a delay would cost lives and cause further hardship is the basis of the FDA rules’ criticism. The critics see little risk in moving quicker.

In the midst of all of this, Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a warning a Covid-19 vaccine should not be authorized for use in the U.S. based on data from British trials. Ms. Pelosi told reporters in Washington, “We need to be very careful about what happens in the U.K. We have very stringent rules in terms of the Food and Drug Administration here, about the number of clinical trials, the timing, the number of people and all the rest.”

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