Friday, December 31, 2021

Latest MSM Lunacy: 'The Constitution Isn't Working'

Latest MSM Lunacy: 'The Constitution Isn't Working'

(National Archives via AP)

Another day, another whiny leftist assault on American institutions, this time using the United States Constitution as cover.

A professor of politics named John Kenneth White has penned an opinion piece for The Hill titled “The Constitution isn’t working.” It’s an odd article because White actually gets a couple of things right at the beginning but eventually veers off into a boilerplate regurgitation of the leftist fever-dream wish list: nuke the Electoral College, JANUARY 6, reform the filibuster…yeah he had a ghostwriter from the Democratic National Committee working with him on this.

First, some of what he’s close to getting right:

The U.S. Constitution is the sacred text of American government and civic life. But it’s time to face facts: The document, written in 1787, isn’t working. The signs are all around us. Just 38 percent of Americans in a recent Gallup poll expressed either a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the presidency, down from 48 percent in 2001. Congress, never high in the public’s estimation to begin with, fell from 26 percent to a mere 12 percent. The Supreme Court has also taken a hit, down from 50 percent to 36 percent during the same period.

One reason often cited for the failing Constitution are the people who inhabit its carefully crafted institutions. In Congress, serious legislators are scarce, as many members aim for viral recognition on social media.

Professor Deep Think here is leading with the fact that the Constitution isn’t working because those tasked with making it work are failing it. Something I can agree with to a point, especially when it comes to Congress and the fact that our legislators have been punting their duties to the executive branch for decades now.

Here’s the thing though: he only takes issue with Republicans:

Freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.)  freely admitted, “I have built my staff around comms [communication], not legislation.” Cawthorn is hardly alone: Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) represent a new breed of legislators who seek recognition and are largely uninterested in passing actual laws.

The Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate are presently led by two of the most time-wasting, grandstanding buffoons in American political history. Remember this?

Nancy Pelosi, Kneeling
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

I’m still embarrassed for the country.

White then waxes nostalgic for the Senate the way it once was:

In the Senate, the filibuster is no longer the rare instrument designed to halt legislation and foster debate. Instead, the 60-vote threshold has become the default mechanism to stop all legislation without a word.

When George Washington supposedly was asked by Thomas Jefferson why the Senate was created, he responded, “Why did you just now pour your coffee into that saucer, before drinking?” Jefferson answered, “To cool it.” Washington responded, “Even so, we pour our legislation into the senatorial saucer to cool it.” The Senate was designed to cool legislation, not kill it.

As the Senate was originally created back when George and Tom were having that chat, senators weren’t supposed to be living long and serving terms that went on seemingly forever. At present, the five longest-tenured senators (Leahy, Grassley, McConnell, Shelby, and Feinstein) have been there for a combined 185 years. Only Leahy and Shelby are leaving soon.

You want the Constitution and the Senate to work better? Repeal the 17th Amendment.

The Constitution terrifies leftists because it prevents them from doing a couple of things: “adjusting” our rights according to whatever whims of the day are buffeting them about, and letting every American president from here on out be elected by California, Manhattan, and Chicago.

It’s working just fine. We don’t need more Supreme Court justices, we need legislators who will do their damn jobs, like Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, who are both representing their constituents very well.

What we most desperately need at the moment is a president who isn’t being run by a cabal of extremist puppet masters.

Which the Constitution provides a means of changing in a couple of years.

Never say die: Trump-Russia collusion theorists strike again

Never say die: Trump-Russia collusion theorists strike again

Call it the scandal that will not die. Or, more accurately, the scandalmongering that will not die. In the last few weeks, there has been a spate of new assertions that presidential candidate Donald Trump and the Trump campaign did, in fact, collude with Russia to fix the 2016 election. No matter that special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of prosecutors, an aggressive bunch with a big budget and all the powers of U.S. law enforcement, investigated the collusion allegation for years and failed to establish that it ever happened.

Now, there are more and more references to something called the "Russia hoax hoax." Anti-Trump types are unhappy that Trump, and some Trump defenders, and even some who aren't Trump defenders, now talk about the Russia investigation as a "hoax." Calling the Trump-Russia investigation a hoax, they argue, is a hoax in itself — thus the "Russia hoax hoax."


"The Real Hoax" is the title of a web piece by the Brookings Institution's Jonathan Rauch. "It Wasn't a Hoax" is the title of an article by the Atlantic's David Frum. "The End of the Great Russia Hoax Hoax" is the title of a Deep State Radio podcast featuring prominent Trump-Russia promoters Natasha Bertrand of Politico, Michael Weiss of the Daily Beast, Josh Campbell of CNN, and Susan Hennessey of the Brookings Institution's Lawfare website. Lawfare also produced a podcast featuring Rauch and Frum, as well as disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok, moderated by Brookings's Benjamin Wittes.

Why all the new activity? The Trump-Russia true believers are deeply concerned about the fallout from special counsel John Durham's investigation of the investigation. In particular, Durham's indictments have demolished any possibility of believing in the Steele dossier, which played a big role in the Trump-Russia investigation.

It really did, no matter who tries to deny it. Remember, top FBI officials hired former British spy Christopher Steele to investigate Trump for the bureau. (It didn't work out because Steele couldn't stop talking to the press.) FBI leaders also wanted to include Steele's unverified allegations, later shown to be ridiculously thinly sourced, in the Intelligence Community Assessment of Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election. In January 2017, the nation's top intelligence chiefs briefed outgoing President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump on Steele's tales. Then, when that briefing was leaked, the dossier became huge news when CNN reported it. Hours later, BuzzFeed published the whole thing. Ever since, it has been a near-sacred document for the truest of the true collusion believers.

But now, Durham has shown that some of the dossier's allegations, which we already knew were financed by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, were not only laughably sourced but also the work of a Clinton-connected politico who fed gossip to Steele's hired dirt-gatherer. The Steele dossier looks more and more like an elaborate and sadly effective political dirty trick.

It's not that the Russia hoax hoax crowd wants to defend the dossier. Rather, they are concerned that some will look at Durham's dismantling of the dossier and conclude that the entire Russia investigation was a hoax. Indeed, in that Brookings podcast, Rauch said he was concerned that some writers he respects — Jesse Singal, Andrew Sullivan, Eli Lake, and Peter Berkowitz among them — have dismissed the entire investigation. So, the anti-Trumpers have invented the Russia hoax hoax, the idea that anyone who, relying on Durham's findings, pronounces the whole Russia investigation a hoax is himself perpetrating a hoax. And doing Donald Trump's bidding, too. And that must be stopped.

The basic argument of the anti-Trump writers is that there really was Trump-Russia collusion. They didn't make it up! They go through the known events of the Trump-Russia timeline — Trump's famous "Russia, if you're listening" statement, the June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting, the "contacts" between Trump campaign figures and various Russians, the polling that then-Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort provided to a Russian who was a longtime business associate and also, perhaps, an intelligence agent, and the various actions of Michael Cohen and Roger Stone — and argue that it all adds up to an indisputable case of collusion, no matter what special counsel Mueller could or could not find.

This is not the place to answer each of the points in detail. Suffice it to say some of them are just plain wrong, while others are just plain weak. For example, when discussing the "Russia, if you're listening" line on the Brookings podcast, Rauch said that "Trump publicly ... asked the Russians to illegally ... steal and dump Clinton campaign documents." But in his July 27, 2016, news conference, Trump was not referring to Clinton campaign documents. When he mentioned "30,000 emails that are missing," he was clearly referring to emails from a personal account that Clinton, when secretary of state, deleted on her own, allowing her lawyers to stonewall a House investigating committee. Trump said so specifically: "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing." No one would expect Rauch to have done reporting deep inside the Trump campaign, but if he had, he would have known that the 30,000 missing Clinton emails, emails from her secretary of state days, had long been a topic of extensive discussion and speculation at senior levels of the campaign.

On the other end of the scale, the Trump Tower meeting is the best single exhibit for the collusion theory. But even it falls short. Promising negative information on Hillary Clinton, some Russians teased top Trump officials into a meeting. Then, they bored the Trump team with an adoption-based pitch to repeal the Magnitsky Act. The meeting ended pretty quickly with the Trumpers hurrying for the door. Nothing ever happened.

Other instances of alleged "collusion," such as the random set of contacts between Trump figures and Russians — any Russians qualified, apparently — don't tell us anything. The Manafort polling matter boiled down to a classic Manafort operation — the polling, according to close associate Richard Gates, was not secret, and Manafort was using it to show that he was a big deal in hopes of getting money to pay for his profligate personal spending, which is what Manafort was always trying to do. (For a deeper look at each of the collusion charges, please see my 2020 book OBSESSION.)

Perhaps Rauch's strongest point is his claim that the Russia investigation could not have been a hoax because the Justice Department inspector general found that the FBI's Crossfire Hurricane was sufficiently predicated, although the inspector general, Michael Horowitz, noted that the FBI had to meet a "low standard" to start the investigation. But here's the problem: What if an investigation is sufficiently predicated and then cannot establish that a crime has been committed, much less who might have committed it? And what if investigators knew that early on yet kept the investigation going and going and going?

That's what happened in the Trump-Russia investigation. Mueller was appointed in May 2017. By Christmas, after a period of extraordinary cooperation from the Trump defense team, the Mueller prosecutors knew they could not establish that conspiracy or coordination, the terms they employed in the investigation, ever took place. (See OBSESSION again.) And they didn't play word games; Mueller wrote that "even as defined in legal dictionaries, collusion is largely synonymous with conspiracy as that crime is set forth in the general federal conspiracy statute." So, whatever you want to call it — conspiracy, coordination, or collusion — Mueller did not find it.

The bottom line is, the Russia hoax hoax effort is pretty weak tea. Plus, the part coming from the Brookings Institution group looks a little strange, given that a number of figures at the liberal think tank had a part in handling the dossier as it made its way, unknown to the public, through the Obama administration and the media.

But there is another angle to the Russia hoax hoax story that is more interesting than the conventional analysis from Rauch, et al. Going through court papers in the Capitol riot prosecutions, the writer Marcy Wheeler, who posts as emptywheel, has noticed that not only do the riot defendants believe that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump, many also believe that Democrats, through the "Russia hoax," tried to steal the 2016 election from Trump. When they are accused of spreading the "Big Lie" — their 2020 stop-the-steal narrative — they counter by saying, in effect: "You call stop-the-steal the Big Lie? What about your claim that Russia rigged the 2016 election for Trump? That's the real Big Lie, and it was everywhere in the media for years after the election."

Wheeler noted the recent MSNBC appearance of Jan. 6 rally organizers Dustin Stockton and Jennifer Lynn Lawrence. (The two are not accused of any crimes.) Host Chris Hayes went through some of the wildest 2020 stolen-election theories and said, "You do get that it wasn't stolen, right? ... that all of those claims were not true, right?" In response, Stockton turned the question around on Hayes, pointing to the media's yearslong Russia frenzy. "Do you now admit," Stockton said to Hayes, "that the Russia memes that you guys ran 24 hours a day in the early days of Trump ... [were] undermining democracy? ... There were dozens of ridiculous claims. ... There were tons of ridiculous clips."

Wheeler wrote: "A key purveyor of the Big Lie [Stockton] excuses his actions because MSNBC reported on a Russia investigation that was based off real facts." She continued: "This is just one example where Trumpsters excuse their own participation in the Big Lie by turning a bunch of different prongs of reporting on Russia in 2017 — some undoubtedly overblown but much based on real facts about real actions that Trump and his aides really took — into the equivalent of wild hoaxes about efforts to steal the 2020 election."

What is going on here? First of all, the Russia hoax hoax arguments are coming from writers and commentators who believed deeply in collusion, so deeply that even when an extensive investigation failed to establish that collusion took place, some of them faulted the investigator and kept on believing. Now, in Trump's refusal to accept the results of the 2020 election, the stop-the-steal movement, and the Capitol riot, they see election-denial efforts that uncomfortably echo their own but turned up to 11 and, ultimately, into a riot and physical violence.

What if Trump had handled the post-election period differently? What if he had accepted the verdict of the election and had not accused Democrats of cheating, not launched court challenges, and not called for protests? What if, instead, Trump had followed the 2016 model and surreptitiously used the nation's intelligence and law enforcement agencies, and a willing media, to slander and undermine Biden and his administration in hopes of driving them from office? That would have been following a now-established Democratic/media precedent.

But Trump did what he did. And the Trump-Russia believers did what they did. And now, those believers see Trump followers such as Stockton, defending his denial of the 2020 election results, throwing their old, unproven Russia allegations back at them. So now, they have come up with the idea of a "Russia hoax hoax" — a new way to claim that it is the other guy who is making up false charges.

Thursday, December 30, 2021




There has been a lot of publicity around Joe Biden’s poor approval ratings, but I think his actual standing with the electorate is worse than they indicate. Take, for example, the Rasmussen survey, which I think is valuable because 1) unlike other polls, it samples likely voters, and 2) it polls constantly, publishing a three-day rolling average. Thus, whether the numbers are “right” or not, they are a good indicator of trends.

In Joe Biden’s case, the trend has been obvious: his approval rating quickly dropped to around 42%, and there it sits. But I don’t believe that 40+% of voters, surveying the wreckage of the last year, actually think that Biden is doing a good job. Some of them are lying to the pollster, out of party loyalty. We saw the same thing during the Obama administration. It is more revealing to see how voters assess a president’s performance on specific issues.

Today, Rasmussen headlined: Rating President Biden on the Issues: Most Voters Give Biden ‘Poor’ Rating on Crime, Immigration.

President Joe Biden is doing a poor job on both immigration and crime, according to a majority of voters.

A new national telephone and online survey by Rasmussen Reports finds that only 31% of Likely U.S. voters rate Biden excellent or good for his handling of crime and law enforcement issues. That’s down from 34% in July. Fifty-one percent (51%) give Biden a poor rating for his handling of crime, up from 48% in July.

Voters rate Biden even worse on immigration, with just 27% rating him excellent or good for his handling of immigration-related issues, while 54% give him a poor rating. That continues the president’s declining approval from September, when 52% of voters rated him poor on immigration.

Crime and immigration are huge issues, and Biden is viewed as “poor” by a majority of voters on both. While Rasmussen didn’t ask the question this time, I don’t think his rating on the economy would be much better. (The saving grace for Democrats on this question is that for quite a few people, “the economy” means getting checks from the government.)

These numbers support my hypothesis:

On both crime and immigration, even Democratic voters now rate Biden less favorably than they did before. On crime and law enforcement issues, for example, 57% of Democrats rate Biden excellent or good, down from 62% in July, while on immigration, the share of Democrats rating the president handling as excellent or good declined to 50% from 52% in September.

The point is that, to see how a president is doing with voters, it is important to look beyond the overall favorability numbers, which are driven in part by party loyalty. Pollsters tend to get more honest answers when they focus on a specific issue area. And in the case of Joe Biden–no surprise here–when you ask voters about particular, important issues, most say he is doing an awful job. As he is.

Experts Move The Goalposts on COVID to Create More Fear and Division

Experts Move The Goalposts on COVID to Create More Fear and Division

AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File

Remember when COVID-19 first came to prominence? We would see updates every day on local and national newscasts reporting the number of new cases of the virus, along with death tolls. President Trump and various governors held daily or almost-daily press briefings to talk about the spread of the disease and how they were working to help mitigate it.

And then came the variants. Suddenly we started to become familiar with Greek letters, and we would hear how each variant was different (meaning worse) than the one that came before it. In addition to the broken record of ways we could avoid these new variants — mask up, get vaccinated, don’t live your life — we’d hear the same stats: new cases, seven-day averages, and, unfortunately, deaths.

Now we’re facing omicron. This variant is different from anything we’ve seen. It’s less virulent than other strains by far, yet it spreads quickly. The symptoms of omicron resemble a nasty cold more than they do the variants with stronger symptoms. Omicron may even be more resistant to the vaccines than the variants that came before.

Omicron sort of upends The Narrative™ on COVID, doesn’t it?

So, what do bureaucrats and other leftists who know better than you do when they’re forced to adapt The Narrative™? They move the goalposts, of course.

A new article from The Hill has a telling headline: “Experts say COVID-19 cases don’t tell whole story.” Now the medical experts want us to know that actual cases don’t matter as much as hospitalizations and deaths do.

Oh, and there’s plenty of reminders in this article about the new haves and have-nots: the vaxxed and the unvaxxed.

Related: School Closures: CBS Censors Own Reporter for Telling the Truth (And Much More on Insanity Wrap)

Former Planned Parenthood darling Dr. Liana Wen, who has suddenly become the go-to expert on all things medical, says that the new focus on the extremes that result from COVID infections is part of our adjustment to knowing that we’ll always have the virus with us.

“This is the new normal,” said Leana Wen, a public health professor at George Washington University and former Baltimore health commissioner. “This is what we will have to accept as we transition from the emergency of COVID-19 to living with it as part of the new normal.”

The article later quotes her:

“Omicron in a way is the first test of what it means to live with COVID-19,” said Wen. “And by that I mean we are going to see many people getting infected but as long as our hospital systems are not overwhelmed and as long as vaccinated people are generally protected against severe outcomes, that is how we end the pandemic phase and switch into the endemic phase.”

Other experts, including Dr. Anthony “I AM SCIENCE” Fauci, say that measuring hospitalizations and deaths gives us an indication of how severe viral infections are.

In other words, those benchmarks allow public health bureaucrats to know just how much of the sky is falling and how much panic they can stoke.

And then there’s Joe “Great Uniter” Biden. He wants all of us to be prepared for the mass hospitalizations that will surely occur when those great, unwashed, unvaxxed rubes catch omicron and get super sick with the mild variant.

“Because we have so many vaccinated and boosted, we’re not seeing hospitalizations drive as sharply as we did in March of 2020 or even this past fall. America has made progress; things are better,” Biden said on Monday on a White House COVID-19 response team call with the National Governors Association to discuss the administration’s response to the omicron variant.

“But we do know that with rising cases, we still have tens of millions of unvaccinated people and we’re seeing hospitalizations rise,” he added, saying that some hospitals are going to get overrun both in terms of equipment and staff.

So bear in mind when you start to hear less about case numbers and more about hospitalizations and deaths, the panic porn crowd wants you to live in fear, and they want you to look down your nose at the unvaccinated.

They’ll never admit that they were wrong about trying to achieve a COVID-zero scenario, so they’ll modify The Narrative™ to deflect from their failure to reach an unreachable goal.

The Biden Presidency: A Horrible Accident of History

The Biden Presidency: A Horrible Accident of History

by Larry O'Connor

There's an accident in the Oval Office. Not the kind of accident left on the rug in front of the Resolute Desk on a regular basis by the untrained, rowdy dogs the Biden's sicced on the unwitting White House staff and Secret Service. I'm talking about the man who sits behind the resolute desk for his daily naps. 

Joe Biden is the accidental president. He is the result of an accident of American politics. 

His presidency will not be remembered with an asterisk, as my friend and fellow Townhall columnist Kurt Schlichter would say. No, it will be remembered... reviled... as the accident that it was, is and ever shall be. 

He became the Democrats' nominee in 2020 by accident. He shouldn't have even run in the first place. Everyone knows that's true. 

If he was such a great man and gifted leader and our nation couldn't do without him, why didn't he just run for Obama's third term in 2016 as the sitting vice president? This would've been the natural move for such a powerful, important, and wise leader to make. 

But he didn't run in 2016. And did you notice that nobody seemed to notice? Nobody seemed to care. Even Obama sat by and let him languish as the Democrats openly joked about him and Hillary Clinton's henchmen bullied him into officially declaring himself a non-candidate. 

At the time, the adoring and compliant media ran interference by declaring that he couldn't possibly run for office due to the grief over losing his son Beau to cancer. Sure. Yeah. That's what it was all about. I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that Biden had become a walking punchline and even then was seen as too old for the job. 

He ended up getting the 2020 nomination because the other choices at the time were Pete Buttegeig, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders. 

Biden was the dream nominee given the nightmare of that choice. So it fell into his lap. 

Couple that accident with the very deliberate bastardization of our elections and voting protocols in 2020 under the dubious guise of fear over China's diabolical gift to the world, Covid-19, and boom, we got President Accident. 

It's at this point when so many of my friends and colleagues who oppose this president start to voice some version of "Oh, I feel sorry for Biden" or "Oh, Jill shouldn't let him continue, look how out of it he is" or "He's not really in charge... he's so out of it he's just a puppet."  

Stop. Just stop it. Biden is and always has been a mean-spirited, power-hungry creep. 

You feel sorry for him? Ask the family of Robert Bork, who he slimed, slandered and destroyed during his confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court, if they feel sorry for him. 

Ask Clarence Thomas and his family if he feels sorry for him over the attempted character assassination Biden engineered during his hearings.

Ask Sarah Palin over the way he demeaned and degraded her in 2008. Or Paul Ryan in 2012. Or Mitt Romney when Biden declared to a black audience that the GOP nominee wanted to "put them all back in chains." 

Ask all the unborn babies that he now sits back and allows to be extinguished while still publicly grandstanding on his warped vision of something he thinks is the Catholic position on this despicable act. 

Further, ask all the other Catholics in this country who now wrongly believe you can be a Catholic in good standing and your salvation is guaranteed while still supporting and participating in the intrinsically evil act of abortion. By promoting his false teaching on abortion, Biden is leading multitudes of others to damnation because they believe his convoluted nonsense about Catholic teachings. 

Do you think Biden deserves your sympathy? 

I assure you, it's grace he would never extend to you if you oppose him politically. Ever. 

And now, this accident of a president has in just one year watched over one of the most disastrous economic periods of the last American century. 

With skyrocketing inflation, out-of-control government spending, ever-expanding authoritarian controls from our federal government, and an incoherent, unscientific, and incompetent public policy toward the Covid-19 pandemic, Joe Biden's America has reached a depressing and nauseating valley of despair. 

He literally proclaimed this week that certain Americans – the citizens of this country that he serves – are "looking at a winter of severe illness and death for the unvaccinated – for themselves, their families and the hospitals they'll soon overwhelm."

Joe Biden's presidency has been an awful, terrible accident that we now have to just get through until it can be corrected. At least now, thanks to the great people of West Virginia, the damage from President Accident has been somewhat mitigated, for now.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021




From the beginning of the covid epidemic, Dr. Jayanta Bhattacharya has been a voice of sanity. As a result, he has been smeared and censored. But as the epidemic begins to wind down with the omicron variant, many people–perhaps most–now acknowledge that he was right all along. This article is an excellent guide to where we are now, and where we should go from here:

My message is this: we can’t stop the spread of COVID, but we can end the pandemic.

In October 2020, I wrote the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD) along with Prof. Sunetra Gupta of Oxford University and Prof. Martin Kulldorff of Harvard University.

The centerpiece of the declaration is a call for increased focused protection of the vulnerable older population, who are more than a thousand times more likely to die from COVID infection than the young.

That approach seems obviously correct to me, yet many governments did the opposite–sacrificing nursing home residents while also devastating the lives of young people by shutting down schools and school-related activities.

As I stated above, we do not have any technology that can stop viral spread.

This shouldn’t be a news flash. Never in human history have people believed that a government can stop the spread of a virus.

While excellent vaccines protect the vaccinated versus hospitalization or death if infected, they provide only temporary and marginal protection versus infection and disease transmission after the second dose.

The evidence to this effect is overwhelming, and yet many cities and private venues require proof of vaccination, on the assumption that others–the other vaccinated people, evidently–are somehow being protected.

What about lockdowns?

It is now abundantly clear that they have failed to contain the virus while wreaking enormous collateral damage worldwide.

The simplistic allure of lockdowns is that we can break the chain of viral transmission by staying apart.

Only the laptop class — those who can just as easily work from home as in the office — can abide by a lockdown in actual practice, and even they have trouble.

Essential workers who keep society going cannot afford the luxury, so the disease will keep spreading.

Lockdowns don’t work, but they do horrific damage.

The harms of lockdown on children and the non-elderly are catastrophic, including worse physical and mental health and irretrievably lost life opportunities.

Lockdowns imposed in rich countries mean starvation, poverty, and death for the residents of poor countries.

Early in the epidemic, the United Nations projected that hundreds of thousands of children in underdeveloped countries would die as a result of first-world shutdowns. Did that happen? I have seen no sign of interest in the question on the part of our news media.

There is, however, a good alternative to lockdown.

The Great Barrington Declaration (GBD) calls for a return to normal life for low-risk children and non-elderly adults.

The principles at the heart of the GBD are as important today as they were a year ago.

In fact, they are more important now because we now have technological tools that make focused protection of the vulnerable much more straightforward than it was a year ago.

First and most importantly, the vaccine.

What is the vaccination rate among the elderly? It must be very high in the U.S. and other developed countries.

However, the vast majority of unvaccinated older people live in poor countries.

At current rates, the worldwide vaccination campaign will not be complete until the end of 2022, too late to save countless vulnerable people.

Prioritizing those who have never previously had COVID will help preserve doses for those who would most benefit since – like the vaccine — COVID recovery provides excellent protection against future severe disease.

One of the strangest aspects of governments’ responses to covid has been the lack of emphasis on treatment. While vaccination has been promoted with fervor bordering on hysteria, efforts to disseminate information about treatments that some doctors have found helpful–hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin–have been censored, while the conventional approach has been not to treat covid unless it becomes severe enough to require hospitalization. This reverses the common sense assumption that any disease is best treated before it gets out of hand. And for some reason, the Pfizer pills that apparently give good relief have not been fast-tracked in the same way that the vaccines were.

Second, we should make available effective early treatment options.

During Florida’s summer wave, Gov. Ron DeSantis promoted the use of monoclonal antibodies – an FDA-approved treatment – by patients early in the course of the disease, an action that saved many lives.

Safe and inexpensive supplements like Vitamin D have been shown effective. Promising new treatments from Pfizer and a new antibody treatment for the immunocompromised by Astra Zeneca promise to become more widely available. Until that happens, they should be preserved for use by the most vulnerable when sick.

There is more at the link, but I will close with this:

There are some hopeful signs that the political and ideological winds are shifting, while other developments signal a return to failed strategies.
The end of the pandemic is primarily a social and political decision.
Since we have no technology to eradicate the virus, we must learn to live with it. The fear-based lockdown policies of the past two years are no template for a healthy society.

PAUL ADDS: Is it true that many people, perhaps most, agree with the views of Dr. Bhattacharya? Do they really constitute covid common sense?

It depends on which views we’re talking about. The view that we should pay more attention than we have to treating the virus comports with common sense and, I’m pretty sure, is very widely held.

The view that we shouldn’t respond to the new, less deadly variant of covid with lockdowns seems to be the consensus right now and is supported by common sense, I think.

The view that the lockdowns of 2020 were, in some cases, too stringent and in those cases did more harm than good is what I believe and it may now have majority support. It’s not a matter of common sense, though. The validity of this proposition depends on a cost-benefit analysis and one’s value judgments.

The view that we do not have any technology that can stop viral spread is true and widely held, but almost meaningless in deciding what policies to implement. The meaningful questions are can we (and could we in 2020) limit the damage to health that covid inflicts and do (did) the costs of doing so outweigh the benefits. (My answers are “yes” and “generally no.”)

The view that “lockdowns don’t work” is one many people may agree with, at least in absolute numbers, but I see no evidence that it’s the majority view or even close to it. Nor is this view consistent with common sense.

Common sense suggests that reducing the amount of human contact will reduce the spread of a communicable disease, and that lives will be saved as a result. The evidence (per capita deaths attributed to the virus) from Sweden and Norway, which nearly everyone agreed was a good test case of the efficacy of lockdowns until the results started to come in, supports this common sense view.

Finally, the view that “the end of the pandemic is primarily a social and political decision” seems flatly wrong. A pandemic is an epidemic of an infectious disease that has spread across a large region. We can’t wish it away or define it out of existence.

I agree, though, that we can learn to live it. The extent to which doing so should mean a complete return to our pre-pandemic social patterns remains a matter for legitimate debate.