Coronavirus and the Country’s Future (23)

Jeffrey A. Tucker – December 16, 2020

What was the basis of panic that led the lights to darken on civilization? The most important date here might be March 11, 2020. That’s when Congress itself flew into an unwarranted panic, and acquiesced to a lockdown at the urging of the “experts.” State governors followed one by one, with few exceptions, and the rest of the world joined the lockdown frenzy. 

In February, people were aching to know the answer to the following. Would this “novel virus” have familiar patterns we associate with the flu, seasonal colds, and other predictable and manageable pathogens? Or would this be something entirely different, unprecedented in our lifetimes, terrifying, and universally deadly?

Crucial in this stage was public-health messaging. In previous pandemics from post-1918 throughout the 20th century, the central messaging was to stay calm, go to the doctor if you feel sick, avoid deliberately infecting others, and otherwise trust the systems in place and keep society functioning. This was long considered responsible public-health messaging, and this was pretty much where we stood throughout most of January and February, when publications regardless of their political outlook maintained sobriety and rationality. 

Something dramatically changed this time. They pushed panic, tapping into a primal fear of disease. The reality of pandemic, as it turns out, has been familiar. The severity of its impact has been radically disparate across demographics, hitting mainly the elderly and infirm with 40% of deaths tracing to long-term care facilities with an average age of death nearly equal to the average lifespan. It is regionally migratory. It follows a seasonal pattern from pandemic to its endemic equilibrium. 

What has been different has been the messaging that has almost universally been structured to create public frenzy, from the New York Times’s February 28 urge to “go medieval” to Salon’s latest demand that we panic even more. 

My own sense of impending doom began on March 6 with the cancellation of South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, an action of the mayor alone, and completely without modern precedent. I wrote about it on March 8. Four days later, President Trump gave a nationwide address that ended with a shocking announcement that all flights from Europe would be stopped to keep the coronavirus out even though the virus had been here since January. The next day, on March 13, the administration issued what amounted to a shutdown plan for the nation

This timeline, however, misses a crucial step. 

We should be grateful to Ronald B. Brown of Waterloo University for his extraordinary paper that appears in Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness (Vol 14, No. 3): “Public Health Lessons Learned From Biases in Coronavirus Mortality Overestimation.” It also appears on the website of the National Institutes of Health with a date of August 12. Our author’s thesis was that the wild overreaction and unprecedented lockdowns of life began with what was a terminological mixup that led to a misplacement of a decimal point in a report from the National Institutes of Health. 

It was a seemingly small error but it provided the basis on which Anthony Fauci testified at the House Oversight and Reform Committee about the seriousness of novel coronavirus spreading across the globe.

Here is the video in question. As you watch, you will note the seeming precision of data that actually masks a huge problem. He obscures the huge difference between the infection fatality rate, the case fatality rate, and the overall death rate. Nowhere does he mention survival rates. Not one person present pushed back on his claims. In the blizzard of data, he finally summarizes in a way that terrified everyone. Covid, he said, is “10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu.” 

Even apart from that prediction, his entire demeanor was: this is entirely new, very deadly, and unbearably unmanageable without extreme measures. Fauci’s implicit message to Congress and the American people was that it is time to panic. https://www.youtube.com/embed/2DekzGCJhJw?enablejsapi=1?feature=oembed

Note all the confused and confusing language: he refers to the “mortality rate” without specifying what he means, throws around numbers as high as 3%, and then talks of “cases” without symptoms. In all this hot mess of seeming science, Fauci was claiming what in fact he could not know, conflating two distinct data sets, and extrapolating in ways that allowed him to make a completely unsupported claim that very obviously turned out to be false. Two years ago, 61,000 Americans of all ages died of flu, exclusive of other ailments. If you incorrectly impose on that a “case fatality rate” of 0.1% and extrapolate to Covid infections, you end up with at least 800,000 deaths from Covid alone – not “with” or “involving” Covid as the CDC classifies deaths today (that alone represents a big change). This is a scary prediction at the time; it seemed to add weight to the estimates out of the Imperial College of London that 2.2 million people would die without locking down. This testimony led a whole generation of lawmakers to believe that none of the traditional medical measures could or would work. There is no comparing this with the flu or any respiratory illness. This was the Other that justified a once-in-many-generations national emergency that required an end to our way of life. 

The trouble is that the whole claim was based on a terminological misstatement that fed a basic math error. As Brown explains:

Sampling bias in coronavirus mortality calculations led to a 10-fold increased mortality overestimation in March 11, 2020, US Congressional testimony. This bias most likely followed from information bias due to misclassifying a seasonal influenza IFR as a CFR, evident in a NEJM.org editorial. Evidence from the WHO confirmed that the approximate CFR of the coronavirus is generally no higher than that of seasonal influenza. By early May 2020, mortality levels from COVID-19 were considerably below predicted overestimations, a result that the public attributed to successful mitigating measures to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Let’s follow Brown here as he takes the reader through the crucial differences between the IFR and the CFR. IFRs from samples across the population “include undiagnosed, asymptomatic, and mild infections.” To calculate the average IFR across the population, you do randomized samples to judge its prevalence. The results are inclusive of cases – what we used to call actual “sick” people – but extend to people who merely carry traces of the dead virus but are in no substantial danger of passing it onward or experiencing any severe outcomes. Cases, on the other hand, “are based exclusively on relatively smaller groups of moderately to severely ill diagnosed cases at the beginning of an outbreak.” The CFR is a smaller group. Brown provides the following graphic to show how epidemiology has long considered the difference. 

Based on this graphic alone, you can see why it becomes crucial to keep these terms straight. The CFR is higher; IFR is lower; the crude mortality rate is lower still. The CFR measures severity; the IFR measures prevalence. Those are the two general issues one needs to know to assess whether and to what extent a virus outbreak is mild, moderate, serious, or severe. This matters due to the long-observed evolved reality of respiratory viruses: there is a trade off between the forces. The more severe the virus, the quicker it burns itself out. The milder (and “smarter”) it is, the more it can spread. To mix up severity and prevalence is to make a mess of all the important categories that infectious disease specialists use to assess the social impact of a new virus. 

Moreover, if you are going to compare how severe a pandemic is, you have to compare apples to apples, which means at the very minimum that we must be careful to distinguish apples from oranges from pears. That is precisely what the early messaging surrounding the coronavirus did not do. 

Cases are not deaths; even more crucially, cases in a traditional sense mean that people are actually sick, not merely that they have been tested positive by a PCR test. Adding to the confusion, most data sources on Covid today use the term “cases” to identify any positive test, with or without symptoms, when the correct word would be “infections.” Further, the PCR test itself presents its own problems. As Brown notes, “A serious limitation of RT-PCR testing is that nucleic acid detection is not capable of determining the difference between infective and noninfective viruses.” The widespread use of the PCR test has made its own contribution to blurring all these crucial distinctions. 

Now consider an extraordinary article from the New England Journal of Medicine that appeared on February 28, with Anthony Fauci as the co-author. The import of the piece was to claim that Covid and flu are quite similar in severity. “The overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS, which have had case fatality rates of 9 to 10% and 36%, respectively.”

What matters here is not the prediction as such but the switching of the word infection with case: the flu has “a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%.” This was incorrect even at the time of writing. You can call it a misprint or sloppy or downright duplicitous. Regardless, even the World Health Organization had identified the 0.1% figure as the flu’s infection fatality rate. If you assume one symptomatic confirmed case for every 10 infections (or what is now confusingly called “cumulative cases”), the error could be a misplace decimal. Fauci’s article directly contradicted the WHO, and ran counter to everything that was already then known. But his CFR claim about flu is precisely what led him to claim in front of the Congressional committee that Covid would be deadly in ways that defy all experience of this generation. 

Brown further explains: 

As the campaign to mitigate coronavirus transmission was implemented from March into May, 2020, expected coronavirus mortality totals in the United States appeared much lower than the overestimation reported in Congressional testimony on March 11. Compared with the most recent season of severe influenza A (H3N2) in 2017-2018,with 80,000 US deaths reported by CDC officials, US coronavirus mortality totals had just reached 80,000 on May 9, 2020.By then, relative to the 2017-2018 influenza, it was clear that the coronavirus mortality total for the season would be nowhere near 800,000 deaths inferred from the 10-fold mortality overestimation reported to Congress. Even after adjusting for the effect of successful mitigation measures that may have slowed down the rate of coronavirus transmission, it seems unlikely that so many deaths were completely eliminated by a nonpharmaceutical intervention such as social distancing, which was only intended to contain infection transmission, not suppress infections and related fatalities.Also in early May, 2020, a New York State survey of 1,269 COVID-19 patients recently admitted to 113 hospitals found that most of the patients had been following shelter-in-place orders for 6 wk, which raised state officials’ suspicions about social distancing effectiveness. Still, polls showed the public credited social distancing and other mitigation measures for reducing predicted COVID-19 deaths, and for keeping people safe from the coronavirus.

As of this writing, however, deaths “involving” or “with” Covid has passed 300,000, which while less than half as high as what Congress heard they would be on March 11, is still quite high, provided these deaths have not been broadly misclassified. However, on March 24, the CDC made an announcement of serious significance. It would now calculate coronavirus mortality by including “probable” and “likely” deaths in the International Classification of Diseases code (ICD). 

This became an invitation to misclassification. People who otherwise would have previously been classified as having heart disease or some other comorbidity could now be classified as Covid. This also included a financial incentive to do just that. For this reason, when the CDC announced that “for 6% of the deaths, Covid-19 was the only cause mentioned,” it came as a shock to people. What that means is that 94% of the deaths attributed to Covid were associated with additional comorbidities that prevented the immune system from fighting off the virus. 

Following the March 11 Fauci testimony, in which he conflated IFR and CFR, the national media went wild with Covid and flu comparison. The following article, for example, blew up from BusinessInsider in June: “The coronavirus death rate in the US is almost 50 times higher than that of the flu. See how they compare by age bracket.” If you look carefully at the charts, you can see something fishy: they calculated infection fatality rate for flu against the case fatality rate for Covid. That necessarily generates a wild overestimate for Covid deaths. The charts are terrifying – and have nothing to do with reality. 

Let’s hop forward from the testimony days to one month later when full-scale panic had already hit the U.S. Speaking at a White House press conference, Fauci then made a claim that strains credulity at every level. He said at a White House press briefing that the stringencies and “social distancing” could not and would not be relaxed until there are no “no new cases, no deaths.” Such a thing has happened only once in the history of viruses: smallpox. From the first experiments with inoculation to the final eradication took some 250 years. And yet here we have Fauci explaining that life could not be normal and functioning again until this widespread virus, relatively mild for 95% of the population, was completely eradicated from the planet! 

And now we have the vaccine, and plenty of questions remaining about it, such as why non-vulnerable populations would prefer to take it over gaining the exposure necessary for naturally acquired immunity. Asking such a basic question is very close to being tabooed, even as lawmakers and other institutions are toying with the idea of making it mandatory. Even then, many of the lockdown advocates from earlier this year are saying that it will not enable us to go back to normal, to take off the masks, to go to the movies, or travel again. This is precisely the belief you might expect from a crowd that participated in what John Iaonnidis called a “one-in-a-century evidence fiasco” and are desperately trying to dig themselves out of losing every bit of scientific credibility. 

Whether Brown is correct that the whole panic truly does trace to a brain flakeout on the part of Fauci – or even perhaps a deliberate “noble lie” to deceive the public into accepting the unacceptable – it hardly matters. The problem we face now is a huge tangle over terminology such that “infections” that could include as many as 90% false positives (according to the NYT) are called cases, while the once-distinct condition called cases which used to indicate actually being sick no longer has any precise meaning. The cacophony of statistical confusion here truly boggles the mind. 

In the midst of all of this, the CDC itself finally updated its own estimates of the infection fatality rate of Covid-19. The CDC wisely took account of the huge demographic stratification of severe outcomes. There is not one rate that applies to the whole population or to any particular individual. There are only backward looking estimates of outcomes. They are all follows: 

  • 0.003% for 0-19 years
  • 0.02% for 20-49 years 
  • 0.5% for 50-69 years 
  • 5.4% for 70+ years

Flipping the data to state it by survival rate by age:

  • 99.997% for 0-19 years 
  • 99.98% for 20-49 years
  • 99.5% for 50-69 years 
  • 94.6% for 70+ years 

John Ioannidis sums up the disparity by age with the following infection fatality rate for people under the age of 70: 0.05%. This conclusion has been peer-reviewed and published by the World Health Organization. 

How does this compare with the flu? We do not really know. As science journalist Shin Jie Yong has written, “There seems to be no data on age-specific IFR of the seasonal flu.” What this means is that crucial testimony of Fauci from March 11, in which he casually predicted based on bad numbers, that Covid would be ten times worse than the flu, can neither be confirmed or denied based on age-specific severe outcomes. 

However, we can assemble the data based on years of lost life. Consider the long-term view over the future course of existing lifetimes. JusttheFacts reports:

If 500,000 Covid-19 deaths ultimately [in the future] occur in the United States—or more than twice the level of a prominent projection—the disease will rob about 6.8 million years of life from all Americans who were alive at the outset of 2020. 

In contrast:
* the flu will rob them of about 35 million years.
* suicides will rob them of 132 million years.
* accidents will rob them of 409 million years.    

As testing has expanded dramatically throughout the population, the estimated infection fatality rate of Covid will fall further. Thus can we observe a chart of “cases” (actually positive tests) all over the world and compare it with severe outcomes and see something remarkable that should make every living person fundamentally question why they decided to shut down the world and wreck billions of lives. 

Another statistic that bears repeating, Covid – based on infections vs deaths – has close to a 99.9% survival rate. Imagine how the world would have been different had Fauci told that to the Congress on that fateful day of March 11. Or what if Fauci had revealed that the average age of death from Covid would almost equal the average lifespan in the US and exceed it in most parts of the world? People present might have wondered why they were holding hearings at all. https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/total-deaths-and-cases-covid-19?time=2020-01-22..latest

All these categories of data placement carry with them the danger of creating an illusion of control. Viruses do not come with little gears inside them with these rates. Human beings collect data and create them, and not one of them (whether IFR, CFR, infection rates, mortality rates, survival rates) pertains infallibly to any single individual. Our response to a virus is contingent on our own health, age, cross immunities, T cell memory, and a thousand other factors that no politician controls. 

What we know is that a terminological confusion, a misplaced decimal point, a one-word error in data description, and a massive amount of arrogant presumptions about how to control a virus set in motion a series of events that turned our great and prosperous country into a disaster of confusion, demoralization, foregone medical services, closed businesses, wrecked arts and education, and long bread lines. The lockdowners who created this appalling disaster, the people who turned our trust into betrayal and a blizzard of statistical baloney, need to look at the science and data as they stand and come clean.

Coronavirus and the Country’s Future (22)

How the Lockdowns Have Shredded the Constitution

Thanks in large part to Covid lockdowns [in the US], this year has left vast wreckage in its wake, with ten million jobs lost, more than 100,000 businesses and dozens of national chains bankrupted or closed. Up to 40 million people could face eviction in the coming months for failing to pay rent, and Americans report that their mental health is at record low levels. But the casualty list for 2020 must also include many of the political myths that shape Americans’ lives.

Perhaps the biggest myth to die this year was that Americans’ constitutional rights are safeguarded by the Bill of Rights. After the Covid-19 pandemic began, governors in state after state effectively placed scores of millions of citizens under house arrest – dictates that former Attorney General Bill Barr aptly compared to “the greatest intrusion on civil liberties” since the end of slavery. Politicians and government officials merely had to issue decrees, which were endlessly amended, in order to destroy citizens’ freedom of movement, freedom of association, and freedom of choice in daily life. Los Angeles earlier this month banned almost all walking and bicycling in the city, ordering four million people to “to remain in their homes” in a futile effort to banish a virus.

The Rule of Law is another myth impaled by 2020’s dire developments. Courts have repeatedly struck down sweeping restrictions. Federal judge William Stickman IV invalidated some of Pennsylvania’s restrictions in a September ruling: “Broad population-wide lockdowns are such a dramatic inversion of the concept of liberty in a free society as to be nearly presumptively unconstitutional.” After the Michigan Supreme Court effectively labeled Governor Gretchen Whitmer a lawless dictator, she responded by issuing “new COVID-19 emergency orders that are nearly identical to her invalidated emergency orders,” as the Mackinac Center noted. How many governors and mayors have you seen on the television news being led away in handcuffs after their arrest for violating citizens’ rights this year? None.

Another myth that 2020 obliterated was the notion that politicians spending more than a hundred billion dollars every year for science and public health would keep Americans safe.

The Centers for Disease Control utterly botched the initial testing regime, sending out bogus tests to state and local health departments and taking a month and a half to do what the Thai government achieved in one day. The Food and Drug Administration helped turn the coronavirus from a deadly peril into a national catastrophe. Long after foreign nations had been ravaged and many cases had been detected in America, the FDA continued blocking private testing. The FDA continued forcing the nation’s most innovative firms to submit to its command-and-control approach, notwithstanding the pandemic.

The benevolence and compassion of public school teachers was another myth that 2020 obliterated. Teacher unions helped barricade school doors the same way that segregationist governors in the 1950s and 1960s refused to obey federal court orders to admit black students. The Chicago Teachers Union proclaimed: “The push to reopen schools is based in sexism, racism, and misogyny.”

Black and Hispanic students suffered much larger learning losses due to school shutdowns, leading former Education Secretary John King to warn of a “lost generation of students.” Despite a deluge of studies that showed that schools posed little risk of fueling the pandemic, teachers insisted that they were entitled to both their salaries and to stay at home as long as they considered necessary.

This was part of the collapse of the broader myth that the rulers and ruled have common interests. Among other splits, the response to the pandemic divided Americans into those who work for a living, and those who “work” for the government. Government employees in most states and at the federal level have been the Untouchables, continuing to draw full pay even when they were no longer even required to show up for work. One exception to this trend is government tax collectors, who continue commandeering as much as ever from citizens and property owners regardless of the collapse in public services in many places this year.

Another myth that perished in 2020 was that social media and the Internet could be a powerful propellant of free information. Instead, the biggest players pulled the most strings to suppress criticisms or dissent from the latest Covid policies promulgated by officialdom. On March 18, Twitter announced that, in response to Covid-19, it would ban tweets guilty of “denial of expert guidance” or “misleading content purporting to be from experts or authorities.”

The World Health Organization initially overestimated the Covid fatality rate by 50-fold but they remain Twitter-approved. Facebook recently launched far more aggressive policies, including directly contacting anyone who liked or commented on a piece that was later ruled erroneous by Facebook guardians and is refusing any ads that discourages people from getting vaccinations. Will they ban WHO’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan for declaring on Monday that there was “no evidence to be confident [vaccine] shots prevent transmission” of Covid? Google sought to suppress any doubts about lockdowns: “Most users in English-speaking countries, when they google ‘Great Barrington Declaration’, will not be directed to the declaration itself but to articles that are critical of the declaration,” a Spiked-Online analysis noted.

This year’s presidential election put a helluva dent in the credo that politicians rule with the “consent of the governed.” The pandemic provided the pretext to radically change voting procedures, spurring 65 million mostly unverified mail-in ballots. The New York Times warned in 2012 that “fraud in voting by mail is… than the in-person voting fraud that has attracted far more attention.” Many states solved that problem by “defining down fraud” and expunging the verification procedures previously used to routinely invalidate 20% or more of mailed-in ballots. The controversies around mail-in ballots, questionable software, ballot harvesting and other practices mean that a record number of Americans will doubt Joe Biden’s legitimacy even before he takes his oath of office.

Perhaps the saddest casualty of 2020 is the myth that average Americans cherish their personal freedom. Politicians continually shifted the rationale for lockdowns – from flattening the curve, to ending “community spread,” to reducing cases to near zero. Regardless of the proclaimed rationale, most people submitted without a fight, and usually without even a whimper. Politicians and bureaucrats fanned mass fears which quickly ripened into hatred of anyone who did not comply with the latest edict.

States and cities across the country set up snitch lines that were soon deluged with complaints of people outside without a mask, meeting friends, or having more visitors in their homes than could fit in a phone booth. Many, if not most, people quickly acquiesced to the “new normal” where any government hack who recited the phrase “science and data” became entitled to rule their lives with an iron fist.

As the Harvard International Review warned, “The very methods that liberal democracies are currently using to effectively fight the virus are the same tactics that authoritarian leaders use to dominate their people. The tools that have been temporarily deployed in the fight against a once-in-a-lifetime disease may become permanent.” That was written on May 23, more than 15 million Covid cases ago – proof of the failure of lockdowns and pervasive restrictions to make Covid-19 vanish. But the miserable batting average of officialdom will vanish into the Memory Hole if politicians launch a campaign to make Covid vaccinations mandatory, complete with boundless vilification of anyone who balks at the injection. Perhaps it has long been a myth that we live in a self-governing republic rather than a Leviathan Democracy where citizens merely make cameo appearances every few years at the voting booth. It is still possible that the catastrophic and pointless losses imposed by Covid crackdowns will finally awaken enough people to their growing subjugation. But the most dangerous myth is that Americans will finally become safe after they cease making any

Religious Freedom at Risk

sign pointing to plymouth rock where the pilgrims landed

(Andrea La Corte/Dreamstime)

By Jerry NewcombeTuesday, 24 November 2020 08:26 AM

Four hundred years ago this month, a weary band of Christians from England came ashore in New England after a grueling 66-day voyage aboard the Mayflower.

The Pilgrims came for one purpose, which they spelled out in writing: “for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.”

It was all about religious freedom. They wanted to worship Jesus in the purity of the Gospel.

150 years after the Pilgrims came, the founders of this nation enshrined religious freedom in our national charter, the Constitution.

When the Constitution was first written, there were some hesitations toward ratifying it. Many of those who accepted it did so upon the assurance that religious freedom would be guaranteed. Thus, the founders amended the Constitution with the Bill of Rights, the document’s first 10 amendments.

First and foremost among these was religious freedom. The first two freedoms enshrined in the First Amendment deal with religious liberty. In effect, these liberties were understood to mean there would be no national denomination, and people were free to practice their faith as they saw fit. Implied in that is that the non-believer would be free to practice his lack of faith.

Jump forward to today, 400 years after the Pilgrims arrived, and in the land for which they sought refuge, religious freedom is at risk. With tongue in cheek, one wag asked, “Can we uninstall 2020 and install it again? This version has a virus.”

That virus, COVID-19, has been the excuse many anti-Christians bigots have used to try to hamstring churches. We have seen in the last several months an unprecedented assault on religious freedom.

Just consider a few examples:

  • Last week a judge in California ruled that strip clubs should be allowed to re-open, despite the pandemic, because the First Amendment is not nullified by a virus. And yet at the very same time, officials in California insist churches must be closed or severely limited because of the pandemic.
  • The Supreme Court ruled in the Calvary Chapel v. Sisolak case (July 24) out of Nevada that it was OK for the state to limit how many people could attend worship services, but the casinos were allowed to operate more freely. In his dissent on this case, Justice Neil Gorsuch declared, “…there is no world in which the Constitution permits Nevada to favor Caesars Palace over Calvary Chapel.”
  • Abortion clinics have been deemed “essential services” by a number of liberal governors, while churches are categorized as “non-essential.”

The Rev. John MacArthur is one of the most listened-to and respected Bible teachers in our time. His church is in the greater Los Angeles area. He is generally not one to speak out on political matters. But after months of the pandemic and the way many state officials impair churches because of it, MacArthur decided that enough is enough. He reopened his church — despite threats from state and local officials.

Jenna Ellis, MacArthur’s attorney from the Thomas More Society, said “Our position has been that LA County shutting down churches indefinitely amid a virus with a 99.98% survival rate, especially when state-preferred businesses are open and protests are held without restriction, is unconstitutional and harmful to the free exercise of religion.”

Kelly Shackelford of First Liberty, which also fights for religious freedom, told D. James Kennedy Ministries: “All people have to do is look at the ‘experts’ saying, ‘Well, you can’t sing at church, but oh yeah, the [BLM and Antifa] protests, we’re OK with that because that’s important.”

It would appear that Christophobic bigots are using the pandemic to curb religious freedom in a country that was born for religious freedom.

Author and speaker Bill Federer once told me in a TV interview:

“Tolerance was an American Christian contribution to the world. Just as you drop a pebble in the pond, the ripples go out, there was tolerance first for Puritans and then Protestants, then Catholics, then liberal Christians, and then it went out completely to Jews. Then in the early 1900s, tolerance went out to anybody of any faith, monotheist or polytheist. Finally, within the last generation, tolerance went out to the atheist, the secular humanist and the anti-religious. And the last ones in the boat decided it was too crowded and decided to push the first ones out. So now we have a unique situation in America, where everybody’s tolerated except the ones that came up with the idea. And so when people say Christians are intolerant, we really need to correct them and say, ‘No, we’re the ones that came up with the idea of tolerance.'”

The Pilgrims sacrificed everything they had to practice religious freedom. It would be horrible to see the gift they bequeathed to the world uprooted in our time by secular fundamentalists.

Jerry Newcombe is co-host/senior TV producer of Kennedy Classics. He has written/co-written 25 books, including “The Book That Made America, Doubting Thomas” (with Mark Beliles), “What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?” (With D. James Kennedy), and “George Washington’s Sacred Fire” (with Peter Lillback). Read Jerry Newcombe’s Reports — More Here.

Coronavirus and the Country’s Future (20)

Tyler Durden's PhotoBY TYLER DURDENSUNDAY, DEC 20, 2020 – 19:45

Thousands of people have been unable to work or perform daily activities, or required care from a healthcare professional, after getting the new COVID-19 vaccine, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As of Dec. 18, 3,150 people reported what the agency terms “Health Impact Events” after getting vaccinated.

The definition of the term is: “unable to perform normal daily activities, unable to work, required care from doctor or health care professional.”

As The Epoch Times’ Zachary Stieber reportsthe people reporting the negative effects reported them through V-safe, a smartphone application. The tool uses text messages and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins and allows users to quickly tell the CDC if they are experiencing side effects.

The CDC and Pfizer, which produces the vaccine with BioNTech, didn’t respond to request for comments.

The information was presented by Dr. Thomas Clark, a CDC epidemiologist, to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, an independent panel that provides recommendations to the agency, on Saturday.

The CDC said that 272,001 doses of the vaccine were administered as of Dec. 19. That means most people who were vaccinated did not experience negative effects.

The CDC has identified six case reports of anaphylaxis, or severe allergic reaction, that occurred following vaccination with the new vaccine, Clark reported. Other case reports were reviewed and determined not to be of anaphylaxis.

In an update on Friday, the agency stressed that anyone who has ever had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient in a COVID-19 vaccine should not get that vaccine. People with severe allergic reactions to other vaccines should consult their doctor about getting the new vaccine while those with a history of anaphylaxis not related to vaccines “may still get vaccinated.”

“CDC recommends that people with a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications – such as allergies to food, pet, venom, environmental, or latex – may still get vaccinated,” the CDC said.

“People with a history of allergies to oral medications or a family history of severe allergic reactions, or who might have a milder allergy to vaccines (no anaphylaxis) – may also still get vaccinated.”

Anyone who experiences anaphylaxis after getting the first vaccine should not get the second shot, the CDC said. COVID-19 vaccines are meant to be given across two doses, spaced about three weeks apart.

At least five healthcare workers in Alaska experienced adverse reactions after getting the Pfizer vaccine, the Anchorage Daily News reported. One of two experiencing adverse reactions at the Bartlett Regional Hospital required treatment at the hospital for at least two nights.

An Illinois hospital halted vaccinations after four workers suffered adverse reactions.

Dr. Peter Marks, the director of Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, told reporters in a call on Thursday night that the agency is working with the CDC, and colleagues in the United Kingdom, on probing the allergic reactions.

“We’ll be looking at all of the data we can from each of these reactions to sort out exactly what happened. And we’ll also be looking to try to understand which components of the vaccine might be helping to produce them,” he said.

A container of 5 doses of COVID-19 vaccine sits on a table at Roseland Community Hospital in Chicago, Ill., on Dec. 18, 2020. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Noting that he was speculating, Marks said it’s known that polyethylene glycol – a component present in both the Pfizer vaccine and one from Moderna that regulators approved earlier in the day – can be associated, uncommonly, with allergic reactions.

“So that could be a culprit here. And that’s why we’ll be watching very closely,” he said. “But we just don’t know at this point.”

Both vaccines have “systemic side effects,” which are “generally mild,” Marks said.

They go away after a day. According to the FDA website, the most commonly reported side effects include tiredness, headache, muscle pain, and chills. The agency said they go away after several days.

One volunteer in Pfizer’s late-stage clinical trial experienced an allergic reaction. Two people in Moderna’s phase 3 clinical trial experienced anaphylactic reactions, the company said during a meeting on Thursday. But the data showed the benefits outweigh the risk, FDA officials said, as they granted emergency use authorization to the vaccines about seven days apart.

People who get a COVID-19 vaccine should be monitored for at least 15 minutes after getting vaccinated, according to the CDC.

If someone experiences a severe allergic reaction against getting a COVID-19 vaccine, vaccination providers are supposed to provide rapid care and call for emergency medical services. The person should continue to be monitored in a medical facility for at least several hours.

The Left’s Final Objective Is Subversion of Western Civilization, (2)

By Vasko Kohlmayer December 5, 2020

In the previous piece we showed that ending (non-existent) racism could not have been the real goal of the riots that convulsed the United States this year. Rather we argued that the riots represented a dramatic eruption of the left’s anti-western animus which is the psychological disposition that frames the left’s mindset and actions.

We will see what the riots’ real purpose was when we consider what the so-called anti-racist “protestors” targeted for destruction. In the weeks following the death of George Floyd hundreds of attacks against Catholic churches were reported across America. This may seem strange, given that America’s woke commissars of social justice never really charged the Catholic Church with complicity in this country’s current “racist” regime or the death of George Floyd. If anything, in recent years the Church has been a notable abettor of the progressive movement, having incorporated parts of the woke agenda into its own teachings. This has been especially true during the pontificate of Francis who in many ways sounds like a secular progressive clad in papal robes.

The protestors’ raids on Catholic churches, therefore, bewildered many people. But if you remember what the left’s driving impulse is, these acts will make perfect sense. Despite its recent dabbling in wokeness, the Catholic Church – along with our classical Greco-Roman heritage – has been a foundational pillar of Western civilization. This is the real reason why the churches became a target of the left’s destructive urge. To make their motivation completely clear, in some instances the protestors even inscribed sickle and hammer on the walls of the sacred structures they vandalized. Sickle and hammer stand, of course, for the Soviet Union and its communist revolution which condemned the western model and established a new system based on ideas that were antithetical to occidental tradition.

The attacks on churches, however, were not the only clue exposing the hidden agenda behind the faux anti-racist protests. The war on statues was just as revealing. They initially began with monuments of those who had at least some connection – however remote or tenuous – to slavery. Very quickly, however, no statue was safe from the mob’s wrath. So much so that they targeted even those who had done much for the advancement and liberation of black people. Abraham Lincoln would be one of them. This despite the fact that Lincoln is generally considered to be the man who effectually ended slavery in the United States. The widely-held view of Lincoln as the emancipator of black people was well expressed by the journalist Edward Achorn who wrote recently that in most Americans’ eyes Lincoln stands as “a symbol of wisdom, decency, sacrifice, and perseverance in defeating slavery and liberating millions of black Americans.”

And yet the allegedly “anti-racism” protesters repeatedly attacked Lincoln’s statues across America. The attacks were so flagrant that even CNN had to take note. In its October 12 dispatch, CNN reported that “protesters in Portland, Oregon, pulled down statues of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt…”

The protesters did not stop there, however. As part of their statue rampage, they also attacked edifices associated with our national heritage. In a piece headlined “The Mob Goes After Abraham Lincoln,” the Daily Signal reported that they “trashed the Oregon Historical Society, which preserves treasures of the past so that people of succeeding generations may understand their culture and history.”Buy New $61.98(as of 04:50 EST – Details)

The next morning CNN quoted Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell who made this observation:

“These events late at night, they purport to have a racial justice nexus. But they’re not that. They’re about violence and criminal destruction.”

Chuck Lovell is absolutely correct. The rioters’ actions had nothing to do with race – they were all about destruction. As was the case with the churches, their behavior may seem irrational, but only until we remind ourselves of the left’s ideological purpose. The structures and statues they vandalized commemorated the efforts of people who in one way or another advanced the cause of western civilization. It is the protestors’ deep-seated antipathy toward the west that explains why they acted the way they did.

Since the leftist mindset is transnational in nature, we could expect that a powerful eruption of its anti-western animus in one country would trigger corresponding disruptions in other countries belonging to the western stream. And this was, in fact, what happened. Within two weeks of the start of the George Floyd riots in the United States, similar events began taking place in other western nations. The protests waxed especially strong in leading European countries such as the United Kingdom, France and Germany where hundreds of thousands took part. On June 6th a British newspaper ran a  report which opened as follows:

“Furious Europeans have taken to the street this week to protest against police brutality and racism, following the death of George Floyd in the US, as major capitals across the EU were shut down by the protesters. Europeans have defied official bans against mass gatherings across the continent, as protests continue to erupt across major capitals from Paris to Berlin.”

The piece continued by listing some of the European nations where the “protests” took place.

“Thousands have taken to the streets in Europe to protest racism and police brutality, following the tragic US police killing of George Floyd, which has first triggered a wave of protests in America. Thousands poured in the streets in countries including France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Finland, Slovakia, Greece, Ireland, Poland, Sweden and others.”

Buy New $81.98(as of 04:50 EST – Details)It is deeply significant that the protests in Europe were organized by chapters of BLM. This should make us pause, given that BLM is an American organization which came into existence in 2013 in response to a shooting death of a black American teenager in Florida. Why, then, is this outfit organizing mass demonstrations across Europe? And even more importantly, why is Black Lives Matter trying to incite protests in countries that have virtually no black populations? In nations such Finland, Poland, Ireland or Slovakia – which are for the most part ethnically homogenous – racism has never been a significant problem.

So, again, the question forces itself: Why would BLM instigate protests in countries that do not really have racial issues? Whatever these protests were about, they could definitely not have been about racism.

This contradiction reveals what BLM is truly after: Black Lives Matter is a revolutionary outfit whose real agenda is the destabilization of western societies through upheaval and violence that invariably accompany its so-called “protests,” which it disingenuously portrays as events aimed at combating racial injustice.

Founded by militant revolutionaries, BLM is a seditious operation whose ultimate objective is the overthrow of the western socio-economic system. In a 2015 video, BLM co-founder and Board president Patrisse Cullors admitted that she and her colleagues in the leadership are “trained Marxists.” And these Marxists are clearly determined to implement their ideology in America and throughout the western world. This is what Cullors wrote in the conclusion of her recent missive to members of her organization:

“I know I can speak for most of us. We have fought like hell for our freedom and we will continue to fight like hell.”

Given the ideological disposition and attitude of the Black Lives Matter leadership, it was completely predictable that, as had happened in America, the BLM demonstrations in Europe would quickly take a violent turn.

“Black Lives Matter Protests Turn Violent Across Europe” announced a headline from VOA News June 13, barely two weeks after the George Floyd incident in Minneapolis. The article opened as follows:

“Riot police fired tear gas and charged at violent protesters at an anti-racism rally in Paris on Saturday…”

The piece then lists various European hotspots where violence took place. In the process we learn that even in normally calm Switzerland adherents of a “leftist group threw objects at police, as a wave of anger continued to sweep the world following the death of African American George Floyd.”

In the meantime, things were heating up in London, as conveyed by this headline from Express Online:

“London Protests Turn Violent As Police And Demonstrators
Clash Outside Downing Street.”

The first line of the article read:

“A BLACK LIVES MATTER protest in London has turned violent this afternoon after police and demonstrators clashed outside Downing Street.”

It then continued:

“While Boris Johnson was inside No. 10, leading the Government’s daily coronavirus press briefing, anger was mounting just hundreds of metres away. Officers and a number of demonstrators protesting against police violence following the death of George Floyd in the US have become engulfed in an angry confrontation with a number of objects being thrown.”

As is invariably the case anywhere BLM gets involved, the police came under attack. This is part and parcel of a deliberate strategy. Radical leftists can only take over societies if there is a breakdown of law and order. It is then that they can unleash their reign of terror and intimidate the terrified populations into submission. This is why BLM is such an enthusiastic supporter of the “defund the police” movement. “We call for a national defunding of police,” asserts a May 30th post on the BLM website. The title of the declaration which features this onerous demand is “#DefundThePolice.”

Here is another UK report from this summer:

“BLM (Black Lives Matter) protests were attended by thousands across the UK over the weekend, sparking some violent confrontations with police officers, branded “disgusting” by the Metropolitan Police Federation chairman, Ken Marsh.”

The article goes on to speak about Ken Marsh, who is one of Britain’s highest-ranking law enforcement officials, and who has apparently not yet completely succumbed to the virus of political correctness that has infected most of western institutions.

“Ken Marsh said he was ‘disgusted, sickened, and appalled’ by protester violence towards the police at BLM protests across the country. He told Talk Radio: ‘I’m not sure what my colleagues have done to warrant this abuse. It’s absolutely absurd and wholly unfair.’”

Once again, the protesters’ actions and statements were rife with contradictions. The most glaring among them was the fact that much of the violence and upheaval was unleashed in the name of George Floyd. Everywhere you looked you could see “protestors” carrying placards and banners with Floyd’s name and image. Consider this description of an incipient riot in London: “Crowds then moved towards No 10 after gathering this afternoon where they chanted Mr Floyd’s name.”

This prompts a series of questions:

Why would Europeans want to attack their own law enforcement for the death of a man that took place in a country thousands of miles away in an American state they could not even locate on the map?  What did the Swiss police have to do with Floyd’s demise and why did a leftist group shower Swiss cops with projectiles?

Why would Europeans blame their own national institutions for an incident that occurred on the other side of the Atlantic? Why did they direct their anger at their own government officials? What exactly was Boris Johnson’s connection the demise of George Floyd in Minnesota? How was the British prime minister responsible for the conduct of the officers from the Minneapolis police department? And yet the rioters demanded his resignation and the police had to reinforce security at his residence to shield him from physical danger.

On the face of it, this does not make logical sense. Not until, that is, we understand that what we saw was a manifestation of the left’s anti-western animus. What the left was attempting to do was to unsettle and destabilize western nations, and it used the cover of George Floyd to carry out its work of subversion.

The parallels on both sides of the Atlantic were striking and show that the behavior of the revolutionists on both sides of the Atlantic was not only coordinated but sprang from the same psychological root. As happened in the US, the “protestors” in Europe also embarked on a statue-slaying rampage. They first began with those for whom at least a tenuous connection could be made with slavery, but the pretense of racism quickly receded into the background, and soon no statue remained safe. Perhaps most notably, statues of Winston Churchill, the legendary prime minister who led Britain during World War II, came under assault. The situation became so critical that a deeply symbolic Churchill sculpture in the heart of London had to be boarded up to protect it from the BLM mob. One can clearly sense the delight of the Washington Post as it reported this development:

“LONDON — In the predawn hours Friday, workers boarded up an iconic Winston Churchill statue outside the Palace of Westminster to protect the public art work from further vandalism… Encased now in a large wooden box, painted a dull gray, the monument resembles a shipping crate, or an upright coffin — or the mysterious monolith from Stanley Kubrick’s science fiction masterpiece, ‘2001: A Space Odyssey.’”

For his part, Boris Johnson wrote on Twitter that it was “absurd and shameful” that Churchill’s monument was in danger of being wrecked. Johnson was, of course, correct, but it is also indicative of the west’s malaise that rather than taking tough measures against the perpetrators of these crimes leading politicians limit their actions to expressions of indignation on social media platforms.

But what so enraged the protestors about Winston Churchill? After all, Churchill was neither a slave owner nor did he advocate racial discrimination in Britain. Considered one of the greatest Englishmen who ever lived, he stands as one of the most beloved British politicians of all time. And deservedly so, since it was his exemplary courage and determination that pulled Britain through the dark days of the Second World War. Yet it is precisely there, at the point of his greatest achievement, that we find the explanation for the seemingly senseless attacks again him. Even though most normal people were genuinely shocked and perplexed by this, from the vantage point of the west-hating left the attacks made complete sense. By his fortitude and will, Winston Churchill was instrumental in helping to save Western civilization: first in the face of the evil Nazis and then by taking a strong stand against the equally depraved Soviets. That’s why the left hates him so.

The riots that began in the spring of 2020 gave us a unique opportunity to observe the left acting out its true nature. The protests that we witnessed in America and other western countries had nothing to do with racism, because the racism they claimed to oppose simply does not exist. A false cause par excellence, racism merely served as a cover under which to destabilize and hopefully – from the left’s point of view – topple western societies.

Dramatic and destabilizing eruptions such as we have seen this year across the western world usually occur in weakened civilizations that are nearing the end of their lifecycle. The end, however, is not inevitable. There have been cases in history where crisis-ridden, foundering civilizations reversed course to save themselves and continued to flourish for a long time yet. Rome, for example, went through a deep civilizational crisis in the second half of the first century AD. At that difficult time a selfless, patriotic man by the name of Vespasian, a commoner by birth, rose to the top and by his wisdom and courage extended the lease on life of that great civilization from whose achievements we still benefit today.

It is imperative that we fully grasp the meaning of this year’s dramatic events and summon the wisdom to do what needs to be done to save ourselves. The question is: Will we find the courage to push back against the west-hating left or will we stand by as it continues to ply its work of destruction?

Our destiny and the fate of our civilization is in our hands. It is truly for such a time as this that we have been born. Which way will we go?

Coronavirus and the Country’s Future (19) – How Belarus Exposes the Lockdown Lie

Rachel Allen

Crowds celebrating Victory Day in Minsk, May 9th 2020

Most European governments instituted the shutdown of economies, restrictions on freedom of movement and other policies known as lockdown. This was allegedly in response to the spread of Sars-Cov-2, a dangerous respiratory virus that originated in Wuhan, China.

Few countries rejected this approach; Sweden is the most well known of these. However, a more interesting case of dissent from the official narrative is Belarus and its leader Aleksandr Lukashenka.

This article will outline Lukashenka’s approach to the alleged pandemic, followed by an analysis of death figures and how the Belarussian case exposes the lies of lockdown advocates.

THE BELARUSSIAN APPROACH TO COVID 19

The alleged pandemic broke out in Europe in March 2020, and most European governments followed the severe strategy of imposing lockdowns. Lukashenka’s response was much more limited. A Belarussian press release from the 25th March talks about the quarantines set up for people who enter Belarus:

Quarantine stations were set up at all the points of entry. Screening measures include temperature checks. This system of control really works, [healthcare minister] Vladimir Karanik noted. This helped identify symptoms of a viral infection in more than 250 people, however the absolute majority of them had influenza, parainfluenza, and adenovirus. If a person tests positive for coronavirus, healthcare workers put their contacts under medical observation. “Such a targeted approach helps curb the spread of the virus,” the minister said.”

Lukashenka also advocated staying at home if one has symptoms of the virus. He also famously made some comments – reported widely in the Western media – giving health advice:

I am teetotal, but in recent times I say jokingly, that it is necessary to not only wash hands with vodka, but probably that [consuming] 40-50 grams of a measure of clean spirit a day – [can] “poison” [in commas in original text] this virus. But not at work.” He then says that “Today, go to the sauna. But if [you go] two-three times a week that is even healthier. The Chinese have told us that this virus cannot withstand temperatures of 60 degrees”.

Overall, the Belarussian approach has been the least authoritarian in Europe. Belarussian football went ahead as normal and fans were allowed to continue attending games. Theatres, cafes and other social events continued and there was no shutdown of the economy. Victory Day Parades also went ahead on the 9th May despite being cancelled in countries such as Russia. Neither did Lukashenka delay scheduled elections, unlike Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand.

Western media treated Lukashenka’s approach as a laughable curiosity (in cases where they did not ignore it entirely). They mocked Lukashenka’s comments about vodka and saunas, using this was a way to avoid asking any deeper questions.

According to the official narrative, Belarus should have been a zone of death, destruction and disaster. Neil Ferguson’s modelling – one of the key pieces of propaganda used to put Britain in lockdown – predicted that left unchecked Covid 19 would kill between 54,090 and 71,616 Belarussians.

So what are the facts?

COVID DEATHS AND BELARUS

The population of Belarus is around 9.5million. Of this population, as of December 12, 2020, a total of 1,263 deaths are recorded as being from Covid 19. It appears the first death in Belarus attributed to this disease was Mar 31, with between 2 and 11 deaths recorded each day up until Dec.12.

It goes without saying that 1,263 deaths out of a population of 9.5m is minuscule and hardly indicative of a deadly pandemic sweeping the country. But critics of the Belarussian approach may claim that Lukashenka is hiding the reality of Covid 19 deaths in the country.

The most logical way to examine this question is to look at whether there are any excess deaths in Belarus in general over this period, and if so, how many. Of course, just because there were excess deaths would not prove that the deaths were caused – or otherwise – by hidden cases of Covid 19. But a relatively low number of excess deaths would reveal that the claim that Lukashenka is hiding mass deaths from Covid 19 is not plausible.

According to the data, there were some excess deaths in Belarus in the second quarter of 2020 (April, May and June). 35,858 died in Belarus during this period, 5606 higher than in 2019. Examining the data, we can see that the vast majority of these excess deaths were in June, with virtually none in April and a small excess in May.

This figure is rather small compared with the predictions of doom and destruction put forward by the likes of Neil Ferguson.

BELARUS VS ENGLAND AND WALES

A comparison with another country that did pursue lockdowns gives further evidence that the scaremongering predictions regarding the consequences of not locking down are unfounded.

This analysis was performed by taking the number of excess deaths for Belarus and then calculating the same figures for England and Wales from the weekly death data from 2019 and 2020. Belarus had 5605 excess deaths in April, May and June 2020 from a population of 9.5 million. England and Wales had 54,798 excess deaths in the same period from a population of 59.5 million.

The population of England and Wales is 6.26 times larger than that of Belarus, so dividing the 54,798 figure by 6.26 gives a result of 8754. If Belarus had the same excess death rate as England and Wales another 3,149 deaths in Belarus would have been observed. Or to phrase this data another way, if England and Wales had the same excess death rate as Belarus, there would have been 19,711 fewer deaths over the period.

The BMJ’s article on Belarus: Saving the Case for Lockdowns?

This evidence looks damning for lockdown supporters. However, there is one attempt to explain the low Belarus death rate despite the fact that there was no lockdown there, printed in the British Medical Journal. The article puts forward four reasons why Belarus has a low death rate, some of which offer comparative data with the UK.

The first reason given in the article is that Belarus has a much higher amount of beds per capita – 11 per 1000 as opposed to the UK’s 2.5 per 1000.

Health services generally strike a balance between having enough beds available to deal with a crisis, and not so many that money is being wasted on unnecessary beds. The argument can be made that the NHS gets the balance wrong and leans towards having too few beds per capita. For example, the UK had a large number of flu cases in the 2017-2018 season with hospitals having high bed occupancy rates.

However, bed occupancy in the UK significantly decreased due to the lockdowns and NHS policy of discharging as many patients as possible. On the 13th April, a few weeks into lockdown, acute beds were 40% unoccupied. This hardly suggests a health service that would have been totally overwhelmed had it not locked down (for comparison, NHS beds are usually 90% full). It may actually have been the case that the lockdown cost lives by cancelling treatment, expelling people from hospitals and promoting a fear based message that discouraged people from seeking treatment.

Another main argument of the article is that Belarus has a small number of elderly people in care homes (it has 203 per 100,000, as opposed to the UK 854 per 100,000). It is true that a respiratory pathogen will find it easier to spread in an environment like a care home because of the close proximity of vulnerable individuals. It is also true that the UK had a large number of care home deaths during this period.

However, the UK government policy towards care homes likely contributed at least some of the excess deaths caused during this period. People in care homes were routinely denied hospital treatment and were unable to get access to GPs. The lack of visits by family caused many elderly patients to mentally give up and their condition deteriorated. Any deaths that resulted from this, therefore, cannot be attributed to a virus but government policy.

The argument also fails as a motivation for lockdowns. If the majority of deaths are in the fairly contained environment such as a care home, locking down the whole society, such as closing shops and sports events, is going to have no effect on transmission within that environment.

Two other reasons given in the article – the better Belarussian testing system, and the lack of interest in Belarus as a travel destination – also do not have any bearings on whether lockdowns are an effective strategy.

There is no evidence of people with a positive test but no symptoms being infectious. It follows that testing more people isn’t going to lead to fewer deaths, so this cannot explain the low Belarus death rate without a lockdown. Belarus did carry out quarantine measures, whereas the UK continued to allow flights into the country.

The piece argues that it is easier for Belarus (than the UK) to close its borders because it is not a major travel destination, which is true, but it can’t seriously be argued that setting up quarantine measures costs more than shutting down the entire country. Once any hypothetical virus is also present in a country in significant numbers quarantine also becomes irrelevant.

CONCLUSION

The Belarussian case is a significant problem for those individuals who argue that lockdowns were necessary to prevent mass deaths from the deadly Covid 19 pandemic. The limited measures taken in Belarus meant a lower death rate than lockdown supporting England and Wales. There are also no clear arguments as to why Belarus is so unique it could go without lockdowns while other countries had them.

Given the cost to the economy and mental wellbeing of imposing lockdowns, as well as the draconian restrictions on basic liberties, these facts strongly suggest that leaders that did impose lockdowns have a case to answer from their citizens.

Rachel Allen is an independent writer and activist living in the UK. Her work can be found at her website Cassandra’s Box

New Laws Mean New Sanctions

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2020 BY GARY DEMAR

Rejecting God’s laws and their moral implications does not mean that laws and their moral implications are done away with. With the rejection of God’s commandments new commandments replace the old and a new set of sanctions that go along with them. The more things change, the more things stay the same but with new masters and a different whip. These new laws and sanctions are implemented and enforced by the State. We see this in the new commandment forced into law by the Supreme Court that states, “Thou shalt not deny homosexuals the right to marry.” It’s been left up to the states and the courts to impose sanctions. By what standard?

The following question was asked of me by a university student working on a research paper:

I understand that American Vision is fearful of LGBTQ+ citizens sharing their values with a broader audience. With regards to LGBTQ+ rights, what do you believe is the biggest threat to restoring America to its Biblical Foundation?

It’s not only about LGBT+ individuals sharing their values with a broader audience; it’s about the government and its courts codifying specific types of sexual behavior into law with no ultimate foundational standard from which to appeal for legitimacy. It all comes down to defining “sex,” “gender,” and “marriage.” Who defines these terms, and on what basis are people who engage in defined sexual acts given legitimacy because of a sex act? A person’s race or ethnicity is not a behavior. The type of sex a person engages in does not elevate that person’s legal and personhood status the way race and ethnicity do. There are only two sexes. How do we know this? Because God designed them that way—“male and female He created them” (Gen. 1:27)—and that created design is reinforced empirically by the anatomy of each sex and the ability to procreate.

Libertines and their ideological compatriots make the individual their god. Abortion, in the name of “personal freedom” and “individual choice,” is its promethean statement of personal sovereignty and god-like decision making. Homosexual journalists abhor ideological competition. In a panel featuring top news executives in 2000, Michael Bradbury, managing editor of the Seattle Gay News, asks, “We have a tendency to always seek an opposing point of view for gay and lesbian civil rights issues…. how does the mainstream press justify that?” Moderator and CBS correspondent Jeffrey Kofman added: “The argument [is]: Why do we constantly see in coverage of gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues the homophobes and the fag-haters quoted in stories when, of course, we don’t do that with Jews, blacks, et cetera?” The reason is a person’s color or ethnicity are not behaviors. These homosexual “journalists” want an ideological jihad on contrary opinion concerning their “sacred” lifestyle choice.

The strategy is clear: If the media and the public they instruct can be convinced that opposing gay marriage, gay adoption, gay Boy Scout leaders and so forth, is no different from racism or anti-Semitism, those who hold such beliefs can safely be ignored. ((Rod Dreher, “Is WNBC 4 or Against Balance on Gay Issues?,” New York Post (September 14, 2000).))

Anyone who disagrees with the new sanctioned paradigm will be shouted down, forced out of long-held journalistic and educational positions, or run out of town. Many college campuses are filled with professors and procedures that denounce contrary opinions as an affront to all that’s liberally holy.

It’s not only homosexuality. The transgendered worldview is now beyond criticism. The department chain Target attempted to remove a book critical of transgenderism because of a single complaint.

The Twitter account for Target stores says the $80 billion corporation will stop selling a book about trangenderism’s harmful impact on young girls, following a complaint from a single Twitter account.

“Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention. We have removed this book from our assortment,” the Target tweet said after an activist complained that Target is selling the book, authored by Abigail Shrier.

“Target.com just made my book disappear,” Shrier responded. “Does it bother anyone that Woke activists and spineless corporations now determine what Americans are allowed to read?”

The book, titled Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, helps to explain how a wave of young girls are nudged and pushed into declaring they want to take life-altering drugs, adopt an opposite-sex identity, and undergo irreversible surgery. 

It was only after the public objected to the flagrant dismissal of objective criticism that Target relented and is now carrying the book. In the future, I suspect Target will never offer anything like I__rreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters. The dissenters were placated for the moment to avoid more untold bad publicity. But mark my words, Target will never let it happen again. The pro-homosexual lobby will make certain of it.

Attempts to cancel the book have been going on since the book was published. For example, Amazon will not permit ads for the book while permitting ads for books “that celebrate the medical transition of teen girls who suddenly decide they’re trans.”

Those found guilty of hate speech in Norway will “face a fine or up to a year in prison for private remarks, and a maximum of three years for public comments.” Who gets to define “hate speech”? The State. The claim is being made that there’s been an “increase” in “hate speech.” Madeleine Kearns of National Review explained why:

“We’re forever hearing about this supposed rise in ‘LGBTQ+ hate crimes,’ and it’s no wonder, really—given that the definition of what constitutes a ‘hate crime’ keeps being expanded. The latest example is Norway, which has just amended its penal code, first passed in 1981, to outlaw even ‘private remarks’ that the ruling class considers offensive,” she wrote.

“LGBTQ+ ideology has been mainstreamed in every sphere of life imaginable. Still, radical gender activists will not be at rest until every private citizen repudiates biological truth and relinquishes his every doubt about their dogma.” (WND)

Homosexuality is defined by what kind of sex a person engages in and with whom. These actions do not make those who engage in sex with people of the same sex a new civil rights category any more than someone who commits adultery is given a newly defined legal status because of their chosen sexual behavior.

Transgenderism is equally spurious morally and medically. But given the fact that homo sapiens are evolved material beings with no soul or moral compass, anything goes since there is no longer a secure definition of what marks a person a male or female. If morality is fluid, then everything else is equally fluid. The only thing that is not fluid is the empowerment of the State to enforce hate speech, that is, anyone who questions the new gender norms. What the State gives it can take away. It’s been done with slaves and unborn babies. Redefinition is now the prerogative of the State enforced by law and negative sanctions.

Transgenderism is a legal and biological fiction. It is anti-science. But it’s more than this. We are back to asking by what authority are these new laws created. By what standard? Who says?

Boys are boys and girls are girls. A person identifying as one or the other does not make their beliefs a reality. Look what such nonsense is doing to women’s sports. It took a long time for women to achieve equity in sports. Now boys and men come along who “identify” as girls and women and take top spots in races and team play. It’s insane. Irrational. Immoral. Girls are afraid to say anything because they will be retaliated against, so they endure the irrationalism and unfairness.

Why can’t a 40-year-old male who identifies as a high school girl play on a girls’ basketball team and dress in the girls’ locker room? Where does the “identify as” stop? Nearly all the transgenderism in sports is a one-way street. It’s almost always boys and men who identify as girls or women.

Sexual behavior cannot be compared to the struggle of blacks to secure full civil rights. General Colin Powell, who is black, at one time did not see any relationship between homosexual rights and civil rights:

Skin color is a benign, nonbehavioral characteristic. Sexual orientation is perhaps the most profound of human behavioral characteristics. Comparison of the two is a convenient but invalid argument. ((General Colin Powell, letter to Rep. Patricia Shroeder (May 8, 1992). Cited in John W. Whitehead, Religious Apartheid: The Separation of Religion from American Public Life (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1994), 126.))

Powell has since changed his position. He has succumbed to the pressure.

The Bible has always been used to combat social injustice. Slavery was denounced as a violation of the moral and civil laws of God outlined in the Bible. ((George Bourne, The Book and Slavery Irreconcilable (Philadelphia, PA: J.M. Sanderson, 1816).))

Coronavirus and the Country’s Future (18)

Big Pharma Sues Whistleblower Who Went Public about COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects

The technocracy is crushing the people.

Dec 12, 2020 By Shane Trejo

Big Pharma is hitting back against a whistleblower who has valiantly come forward to detail the horrific side effects that he experienced from COVID-19 vaccines.

The Serum Institute of India (SII) is suing a 40-year-old Indian businessman who had participated in a clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine. He went public with his account of suffering a “neurological and psychological” breakdown after being stuck with the dangerous shots.

“He spent 15 days in hospital, including 8 days in intensive care, suffering from acute neuro-encephalopathy (an altered mental state) that left him “totally disoriented,” so much so that he could no longer recognize close relatives,” his wife said to reporters, per Science Magazine.

He is suing SII for $676,000 in damages and demanding that these clinical trials are immediately shuttered. SII is suing the man in retaliation, alleging that he has engaged in “malicious” defamation against the massive corporation. They claim he was “specifically informed by the medical team that the complications he suffered were independent of the vaccine trial he underwent.” They are seeking $13.5 million in damages from the whistleblower.

“The COVISHIELD vaccine is safe and immunogenic. The incident with the Chennai volunteer though highly unfortunate was in no way induced by the vaccine and Serum Institute of India is sympathetic with the volunteer’s medical condition,” the SII said.

However, the whistleblower’s wife is claiming that her husband is still experiencing the negative impacts of Big Pharma’s shots.

“Even after two weeks, simple things like online payments… he asks me to do. He never does that. He got a good project during the pandemic; it was an American project that started on October 1. Apparently he has lost that. Because of his condition the clients have moved back. They wanted their work to be done quickly,” she said.

Big League Politics has reported on how medical doctors have demanded for government and corporate interests to be honest with the public about the negative side effects of the vaccines:

A group of doctors is urging the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to make the public aware of the painful side effects that will come with the experimental COVID-19 vaccines that have been rushed through the testing process.

Dr. Sandra Fryhofer of the American Medical Association (AMA) is worried that lying to the public will cause them not to pursue the full COVID-19 vaccine treatment, which is expected to take at least two doses.

“We really need to make patients aware that this is not going to be a walk in the park,” Fryhofer said during a virtual meeting with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a group of outside medical experts tasked with advising the CDC. “They are going to know they had a vaccine. They are probably not going to feel wonderful. But they’ve got to come back for that second dose.”

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, who works as director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, says their agency is working on providing a guidance of sorts for health care officials about the side-effects of the COVID-19 vaccines.

“How does that impact planning on a hospital level in terms of which staff gets vaccinated which day?” Messonnier said.

However, the CDC does not seem too concerned about educating the public about the dangers of these experimental vaccines. Big League Politics reported months ago on how initial guinea pigs for these shots experienced horrific side effects.

The technocracy is taking shape, and with America virtually overthrown via the electoral steal coup d’état, there will be nothing standing in the way to stop it from reigning supreme.

Prophecy Prognosticators are Part of the “Thought Collective”

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2020 BY GARY DEMAR

Like clockwork, when something bad happens in the world, Bible prophecy prognosticators start with their end-time claims. They are part of a “thought collective” where adherents share their beliefs in a closed system using the same language and shortcut responses to those who criticize their conclusions. When challenged with this question, “Where in the Bible does it say that?,” they avoid answering directly by offering a formula response that comes from the safety of the “thought collective” bubble.

It happens every time some new prophecy claim is made about current events and challenged. Here’s the latest since Joe Biden might be our nation’s next President:

It is amazing to see prophecy being fulfilled right before our eyes. 

How many times have you read something like the above? How many generations of failed prophetic predictions do we have to endure before Christians say “enough”?

Then I saw this:

There are only four passages in the Bible that use the word “antichrist.” You won’t find the word “antichrist” in the book of Revelation. The fact surprises a lot of prophecy enthusiasts. Not one of these passages mentions anything about the antichrist ruling anything. Read the passages for yourself from John’s epistles that were written before the temple was destroyed in AD 70:

  1. “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18).
  2. “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the ChristThis is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22)
  3. “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world” (1 John 4:2–3).
  4. “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the fleshThis is the deceiver and the antichrist” (2 John 7).

When I pointed out these biblical facts, I was dismissed with, “I respectfully disagree.” He didn’t tell me why he disagreed. It might be due to the fact that the passages are as clear as can be and do not fit today’s general understanding of the antichrist.

Notice that there were “now many antichrists” (1 John 2:18). “Now” refers to John’s day, a point made in again 1 John 4:3. In 1 John 2:22, we find, “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichristthe one who denies the Father and the Son.” In 2 John 7, we find a definition that compliments what we read in 1 John 2:22: “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.”

John’s definition of antichrist is exclusively theological. Nothing is said about a charismatic leader solving the Middle East conflict, promising to rid the world of terrorism, getting the Jewish nation and the Arab nations to sign a peace treaty that will pave the way for the long awaited Third Temple (of which the New Testament says nothing), a satanic superman, namely, “the most evil man that ever lived.”

John was describing antichrists (plural) in his day as evidence that “it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18). What did John mean by “the last hour”? It’s a reference to the prophecy Jesus made in the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21) and other places (Luke 11:46–5213:34–3517:22–3719:41–44) that a prophetic event was going to take place before their generation passed away. When John wrote his first epistle, the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 was near, possibly only a few years away. “Last hour” is not being used to describe thousands of years of history.

Who were these antichrists? They were Jews who understood the claimed relationship between Jesus and His Father. “I and the Father are one,” Jesus said (John 10:30). The Jews objected “and took up stones again to stone Him” (10:31).

Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” (10:32–33).

The unbelieving Jews understood the claim that Jesus was the Christ, that is, the promised Messiah. In John’s day, unbelieving Jews were the antichrists because they denied that Jesus was God incarnate (John 1:114) and that He was the promised Messiah. This is why Jesus was accused of blasphemy and the Jewish religious and civil rulers wanted to kill Him.

“If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God’; and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word. “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” So the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple (John 8:55–59).

John described these unbelieving Jews as a “synagogue of Satan” (Rev. 2:93:9), a type of “thought collective” who denied the reality of God’s revealed Word and instead adopted a type of anti-Messianic group think.

While tens of thousands of Jews embraced Jesus as the promised Messiah (read the book of Acts), many Jews rejected Him. They held on to the tradition of the elders and chafed under the claim that the old covenant was temporary and was in the process of passing away (Heb. 8:13).

After answering some of the responses about the antichrists and how those defining the term were not following the biblical definition, the topic of the great tribulation came up. It is during this supposed future event that the antichrist is said to make his appearance. John does not say anything about this claim. Neither does Jesus in Matthew 24:21.

I responded with the following:

The great tribulation is a past event that took place before the generation to whom Jesus spoke passed away. See my book Last Days Madness. John described himself as a “fellow-partaker in the tribulation” (Rev. 1:10).

What was the response of the person who posted the meme?: “I respectfully disagree.”

I responded with: “Disagreeing is not a refutation.” His answer is typical of a “thought collective” response in that it must stay within the narrow confines of the prophetic paradigm. Any attempt to question it must be rebuffed even if it goes against what is specifically stated in Scripture or what’s not stated.

The tribulation that Jesus describes in Matthew 24:21 is now an event of history. It happened in the past. Jesus said in Matthew 24:34, “This generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” “This generation always refers to the generation to whom Jesus was speaking. It never refers to a future generation.

  • “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces who call out to the other children…” (Matt. 11:16).
  • “The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here” (Matt. 12:41).
  • “The Queen of the South will rise up with this generation at the judgment and will condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here” (Matt. 12:42).
  • “Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation” (12:45).
  • “Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation” (Matt. 23:36).

F. F. Bruce wrote: “The phrase ‘this generation’ is found too often on Jesus’ lips in this literal sense for us to suppose that it suddenly takes on a different meaning in the saying we are now examining. Moreover, if the generation of the end-time had been intended, ‘that generation’ would have been a more natural way of referring to it than ‘this generation.’” ((F. F. Bruce, The Hard Sayings of Jesus (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1983), 227.))

More biblical examples could be given regarding the definition of “this generation” (Mark 8:128:3813:30Luke 7:3111:2911:303132505117:2521:32), and many more statements by commentators could be referenced that support the claim that “this generation” meant the generation to whom Jesus and the NT writers had in view. See my book Wars and Rumors of Wars.

How is it possible that the tribulation leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 could be “a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall” (Matt. 24:21). Because this was a covenantal judgment event. Jesus was not describing what would happen to the whole world. Jesus uses the same wording that’s found in Ezekiel 5:9 that describes Jerusalem’s desolation and judgment that took place in the 6th century BC:

“Thus says the Lord GOD, ‘This is Jerusalem; I have set her at the center of the nations, with lands around her. ‘But she has rebelled against My ordinances more wickedly than the nations and against My statutes more than the lands which surround her; for they have rejected My ordinances and have not walked in My statutes.’ “Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Because you have more turmoil than the nations which surround you and have not walked in My statutes, nor observed My ordinances, nor observed the ordinances of the nations which surround you,’ therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, I, even I, am against you, and I will execute judgments among you in the sight of the nations. ‘And because of all your abominations, I will do among you what I have not done, and the like of which I will never do again. ‘Therefore, fathers will eat their sons among you, and sons will eat their fathers; for I will execute judgments on you and scatter all your remnant to every wind. ‘So as I live,’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘surely, because you have defiled My sanctuary with all your detestable idols and with all your abominations, therefore I will also withdraw, and My eye will have no pity and I will not spare. ‘One third of you will die by plague or be consumed by famine among you, one third will fall by the sword around you, and one third I will scatter to every wind, and I will unsheathe a sword behind them (Ezek. 5:5–12).

This type of language is rhetorical hyperbole that’s used often in the Bible (e.g., Ex. 11:6Acts 2:5Col. 1:231 Kings 3:12 compare with Matt. 12:412 Kings 18:5 compare with 2 Kings 23:25). One of the commenters wrote that the “great tribulation is defined in Scripture as ‘a rut that cannot be escaped from.’” If this is the definition of the great tribulation, then it does not comport with what the Bible says about escaping it.

The great tribulation described by Jesus could be escaped on foot by fleeing “to the mountains” outside of Judea (Matt. 24:16). The conditions described by Jesus are indicative of first-century Israel: houses had flat roofs, the Sabbath was still operating, and a person’s cloak “is the one thing that is so precious and needful that it cannot be taken as a pledge during the nighttime hours, but has to be returned each night to its owner [Ex. 22:26-27].”

Luke’s version includes some of the same generation-defining elements of the prophecy and includes, “when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is at hand” (21:20). This means that the great tribulation described by Jesus could be escaped and was escaped by those who listened to Jesus and headed for the hills like Lot did. Those who did not, ended up like Lot’s wife, caught in the fiery conflagration.

Costs Must Be Weighed Against Benefits

By Walter E. Williams December 9, 2020

One of the first lessons in an economics class is every action has a cost. That is in stark contrast to lessons in the political arena where politicians virtually ignore cost and talk about benefits and free stuff. If we look only at the benefits of an action, policy or program, then we will do anything because there is a benefit to any action, policy or program.

Think about one simple example. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 36,096 Americans lost their lives in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2019. Virtually all those lives could have been saved if we had a 5 mph speed limit. The huge benefit of a 5 mph speed limit is that those 36,000-plus Americans would have been with us instead of lost in highway carnage. Fortunately, we look at the costs of having a 5 mph speed limit and rightly conclude that saving those 36,000-plus lives are not worth the costs and inconvenience. Most of us find it too callous, when talking about life, to explicitly weigh costs against benefits. We simply say that a 5 mph speed limit would be impractical.

What about the benefits and costs of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic? Much of the medical profession and politicians say that lockdowns, social distancing and mask-wearing are the solutions. CDC data on death rates show if one is under 35, the chances of dying from COVID-19 is much lower than that of being in a bicycle accident. Should we lockdown bicycles? Dr. Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard University, biostatistician and epidemiologist, Dr. Sunetra Gupta, professor at Oxford University and an epidemiologist with expertise in immunology, and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, professor at Stanford University Medical School, a physician and epidemiologist were the initiators of the Great Barrington Declaration. More than 50,000 scientists and doctors, as well as more than 682,000 ordinary people, have signed the Great Barrington Declaration opposing a second COVID-19 lockdown because they see it doing much more harm than good.

Efforts to keep very young from getting COVID-19, given most will not even realize they have it or will suffer only mild symptoms, may be counterproductive in that it delays the point where a country has herd immunity. According to the CDC, COVID-19 deaths in young people (from babies to college students) are almost nonexistent. The first age group to provide a substantial contribution to the death toll is 45-54 years, who contribute nearly 5% of all coronavirus deaths. More than 80% of deaths occur in people aged 65 and over. That increases to over 92% if the 55-64 age group is included.

Thus, only a tiny number of people under age 25 die of COVID-19. Yet, schools have been closed, and tens of millions of schoolchildren have been denied in-class instruction. Mandating that 5-year-olds wear masks during their school day is beyond nonsense. Virtual learning can serve as a substitute for in-class teaching but it has mixed results. Some parents can provide their children with the necessary tools, perhaps hire tutors, and take an active interest in what their children are doing online. Other parents will not have the interest, ability or the time.

Here is a lockdown question for you. Government authorities permit groceries and pharmacies to remain open during lockdowns. They permitted stores likes Walmart, Costco and Sam’s Club to remain open. However, these stores sell items that are also sold in stores that were locked down such as: Macy’s, J.C. Penney, J. Crew Group, Neiman Marcus and Bed Bath & Beyond. The lack of equal treatment caused many employees to lose their jobs and many formerly financially healthy retailers have filed for bankruptcy.

As political satirist H. L. Mencken said, “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” By the way, the best time to scare people, be wrong and persist in being wrong is when the costs of being wrong are borne by others.