In 2010, I wrote a quick blog post, Boiling Frogs, that I think is as relevant today as it was then.

This week, I read an opinion piece, D.C. Swamp Deeper Than Ever, in Newsmax that reminded me of the Boiling Frogs tale. It was written by George J. Marlin, a former Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and author of Christian Persecutions in the Middle East: A 21st century Tragedy. In my view, Mr. Marlin’s piece is a must read for every American. Please use the link and look at it. This is the ultimate Frog Boiling Scenario which tops my list of significant under-reported stories of our lifetime.

Here are a few of the eye popping statistics from D.C. Swamp Deeper Than Ever:

The U.S. Government directly employs about 2.8 million people. Depending on your source, the USA has approximately 150 Million jobs. That means that just under 2% of all jobs in America are on the Federal payroll – paid with tax dollars. This, of course, does not include State and Local tax funded jobs which are estimated to be almost 20,000,000. It also does not count the jobs contracted out to private companies.

The Department of Defense has almost 700,000 employees and the U.S. Postal Service has about 20,000 fewer: 678,000.

Of the 1.4 Million Federal Employees in the Executive Departments of our government, more than 500,000 of them are paid in excess of $100,000 per year. That is on top of 11 paid holidays, 13 paid sick days, and 20 paid vacation days. That doesn’t even count the substantial pension benefits that average over 50% of the average of their highest three years of salary. The median income for all Americans is closer to $50,000. So we pay our public servants 2-3 times what we get paid ourselves?

Federal employment is growing at a rate of over 3.5% per year, doubling the number of Federal employees about every 20 years.

The source of much of Mr. Marlin’s piece was the Annual Report of Open the Books/American Transparency American Transparency is a very interesting project intended to shed some light on the size and costs of our government. The Chairman of that organization, Thomas W. Smith, wrote: “Whenever human beings gather to accomplish a task, any task, without strong and effective oversight, a natural evolution takes place. Whether it be in business, academia, philanthropy, or government, every activity morphs from the original goal to self-aggrandizement (my emphasis). In government, this process is particularly toxic. There are no profits, let alone a profit motive. No concern with productivity. No incentive to turn off the proverbial lights. No measure of success. No motivation to end counterproductive activities.

Add to this mix the influence of public employee unions. Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry Truman were opposed to them for reasons that long ago became apparent. The goal of all unions is self-preservation – just as management’s is to maximize profits. But public employee unions add two other noxious elements to the mix: (1) defending job incompetence and (2) heavy-handed involvement in the electoral process in a search for pliant politicians who can help them achieve their objectives by spending ever more of the public’s money.”

Today, approximately 38% of all Federal employees are represented by a Union.

In my view, our current path to a loss of our freedoms is not the path to Socialism or Communism. It is the takeover of our freedoms by politicians, bureaucrats and unions, bent on gaining power and control. They continue to grow, cancer-like, to subjugate all human activity to their policies, regulations, and control of the political process. Every new administrative rule, every new government form with the ever increasing demands for your private information, and every new code or regulation limiting your freedoms requires ever more bureaucrats to count, file, even to study them.

The growth in depth, breadth, and power of our government significantly limits our freedom and will lead to a state of government regulatory control of our lives. It is time we get serious about cutting government involvement in our lives. Let’s start by barring unions from all forms of government employment.

I wonder how much good has actually come from the mountains of regulations created by our government bureaucrats? It makes me wonder how we have made it this far.

Today, the predominant media is filled with positive articles about all the great reasons why you should consider an electric vehicle or EV. If you are swayed by this positive input and are considering buying an EV instead of an ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle, some of the following may be helpful.

from Geomarketing.com

Here are five top reasons to buy and some of the questions you might want to ask yourself:

  1. Annual cost to operate – Is an EV really less expensive to operate? – a – First is the cost of electricity vs. the cost of fuel. In general, the electricity to power an EV is cheaper than the fuel to power and ICE vehicle. If or how much you save is almost entirely a product of where you live and where the vehicle will be driven. In the Northwest, fuel prices are among the highest in the country (just under $4.00/ gallon for regular gas at the end of 2021) and electricity prices are among the lowest (some places as low as $0.75 per gallon equivalent). That means for the average driver who puts 12,000 miles on a car each year and gets 20 miles per gallon, you would spend $450 for electricity to power an EV vs. $2,400 for your fuel, a savings of $1,950 a year. In the Northeast, electricity is more costly and petroleum fuel not quite as expensive so the numbers are not as good. In Connecticut there are places where fuel is about $3.00 per gallon and electricity is almost $2.00 per gallon equivalent. You could save barely $600 per year. (see this article) – b – In an EV you will not have to pay gas tax and this is often billed as an additional operating cost savings. Unfortunately the gas tax is paid at the pump and is already included in the savings calculation so don’t count it twice. – c – Also remember that most states are scrambling to replace gas taxes lost to increases in EV usage and as such have enacted or are considering annual EV road use taxes. – d – You will likely save the cost of 2 or three oil changes each year which pending the type of oil and the type of car could be as much as $200 to $300 per year saved. Very few articles that you read will tell you that this savings will likely be offset by the increased cost of brake replacement. With the EVs extra weight to stop and regenerative brakes (energy captured in braking to add to the efficiency of the EVs power system), brake pads last less than half as long as on ICE vehicles. – e – And few articles will tell you about the increased tire wear (again largely due to the increased weight of the EV). Think of driving an EV as it would be to drive an ICE vehicle that was always loaded with a full load of cargo and/or passengers.
  2. Initial cost to own an EV – Most EVs cost between 20% and 40% more than their ICE counterparts. This means you will pay between $6,000 to $25,000 more for the privilege to drive an EV. This penalty is normally believed to be repaid by lower operating costs and the offset of rising fuel costs over the life of the vehicle. There are numerous government incentives (tax credits and tax deductions) that can often help reduce this initial cost, again much of this is dependent upon where you live.
  3. Good for the Environment – The majority of the articles written about EVs highlight the ‘fact’ that EVs are good for the environment. We are told they have zero emissions (see this article). In general, it is true that the operation of an EV produces fewer emissions than the operation of most ICE vehicles. What you will see in very few articles is the environmental cost to produce the EVs which is far greater than what is required to produce ICE vehicles. To name a few: the environmental cost to mine the lithium for the batteries, mostly controlled by China which has one of the world’s worst records of protecting the environment; the environmental cost to mine the cobalt, also used in the batteries, mostly done in the Congo but the processing is done in China; the fact that EVs are, on average, more than 20% heavier than their ICE equivalents increasing energy use and pollution from producing that much more product; excessive tire wear and road wear caused by heavier vehicles, etc. If you are truly concerned with the environment, you need to ask the questions not being asked in the media to see if you are really convinced that the EVs represent an improvement over ICE vehicles. Do you wonder about recycling of lithium ion batteries? As of today, there is no available, reliable way to reclaim value from LI batteries so what will happen to them when they are replaced? Do you wonder how the electric grid, already taxed to the limit in many part of the country, will hold up to the huge increased demand for electricity to power EV batteries? What will be the environmental cost to expand the power grid to meet the new EV demand?
  4. Lifetime Cost to Own – Much is made in the media about how in spite of the fact of higher initial cost, EVs have a lower lifetime cost to own. Most reports show a lifetime of 200,000 miles of use see this article which I found was the basis of many pro-EV articles that I found) 200,000 miles is the equivalent of 16+ years of driving for the typical American driver. Make sure to ask yourself if you are likely to keep the vehicle that long. “While the average new car buyer holds onto their car for 8.4 years, there is a wide variety of cars that owners are more likely to keep longer,” said iSeeCars. If you change the lifetime cost to own calculation from 16 years to 8, the cost to own picture is not as kind to the EVs. Or, if you add the cost of a full battery replacement, $12,000 to $15,000, almost no EV sold today pencils out to save you much or anything over its lifetime. Most EV manufacturers warranty their batteries for 8 years or 100,000 miles. That is a good indication of how many years you should be able to drive before the costly replacement. EV batteries don’t understand miles, or years. They age based on cycles and how you drive and how you charge your batteries will have a big effect on whether your battery system will need replacing in five years or twelve.
  5. Lifestyle and Social Credit – If you do most of your driving in town, the current lack of convenient charging options should not be a big concern. Charging stations are being built in most highly populated areas. And you will rarely be far from you home and its charging station. However, if you live in a rural area and much of your driving is between places not served by charging options, this should be a big concern. I like to equate the geographical reasons in favor of owning an EV to those that favor using public transit. Where there is a dense enough population to support convenient public transit, there is now or will soon be enough charging option available to make EV ownership a reasonable choice. You may want an EV because in your social sphere, ownership of an EV is a symbol of an Environmentally responsible person. If that is the case, an EV may be a good choice but wouldn’t riding public transit be a better choice for the environment?

Of course there are many more important comparisons that you might want to make. aSafety, for instance may be a big plus for occupants of the much heavier EVs. In general, in accidents, the heavier vehicle comes out better than the lighter one. However, heavier vehicles, in general take longer to stop or change direction so are less likely to avoid crashes. b – Cargo, is another issue to consider. Most EVs carry less weight than their ICE equivalent vehicles and some also have far less cargo volume due to space taken up by batteries. – c – Ground Clearance and turning radius are also impacted by placement of batteries and are worth considering pending the type of driving you do. – d – Resale value is a real unknown. There is the possibility that increased demand may make for high resale value. Just as likely is the possibility of low resale value due to battery age or lower demand than projected.

Last, I think we all need to understand that electric power for a vehicle represents a very flexible fuel profile. The electricity may be generated using solar, wind, coal, hydroelectric, biomass, oil, natural gas, or nuclear. In all cases, the electricity must be moved from the point of generation to the point of use. In the transmission of electricity, most estimates are that about 6% of the energy is lost (2% in transmission and 4% in local distribution). So, the price of this flexibility is a loss of efficiency. In fact, EVs are only less polluting if the source of their energy is less polluting. China, the biggest market for EVs and the fastest growing one generates between 70 and 80% of their electricity from coal. Will China’s big change to EVs really reduce the amount of pollution that they produce? Depending where your electricity is made, you may be driving a coal fired car or a natural gas fired car or a solar powered car. No matter where you are, we still don’t know what effect 250,000 more EVs each year will have on our power grid. Nor do we know what the environmental cost (each year) will be from the recycling (or not) of 250,000 or more huge lithium ion batteries. Lots to think about and not many people asking the important questions.

Before you buy your new EV consider all of the costs, not just those that are advertised and which favor EV ownership.

Mike M., a friend who occasionally participates in email discussions/debates with a group of about 10 of us, sent me the following today. I have often intended to write a post on Universal Conscription (the closest I have come is this) : but I would be hard pressed to write anything as eloquent and sincere as what Mike wrote. I agree with him wholeheartedly.

Mike’s note:

First, let me state my unequivocol opinion about “Conscription” or, what we more familiarly have known as “The Draft”….IMHO I believe that we did an enormous disservice to ourselves as a society when we abolished “The Draft”! 

I was conscripted into the Vietnam War in January of 1966 (which I believe ranks as the biggest Draft month in history!). Believe me, I didn’t want to go! I went, as we said in the vernacular of the day, “… like a man – handcuffed and hog-tied.” It turned out to be one of the seminal moments in my entire life! In one fell swoop, I became a piece of something much, much bigger than from whence I came. I was now in very close quarters, sleeping and eating next to, struggling with other members of our population with whom I would never have come in contact were it not for being “Drafted” – all colors, all ethnicities, all levels of education – Puerto Ricans from NYC, Hillbillies from Tennessee, Mexicans from East L.A., Blacks from Mississippi, even married guys – with kids! Suddenly, we were all pretty much the same – facing the very same future (we knew we were all going to Vietnam where we were going to be killed!), experiencing the very same sort of treatment and suffering the very same conditions; we learned to achieve seemingly impossible things by working together, as a team. But, the lessons learned greatly transcended the mere physical – we learned about ourselves! We now had a broader perspective, a greater “frame of reference” by which we could measure ourselves, realizing that in the big scheme of things, we all had more in common with each other than we might have thought before! 

I’ve been to College and have BA and MA Degrees on my Resume. But, I can honestly say, what I learned in College does not even approach what I learned in the Army! The College “theoreticals”, strewn from the Ivory Tower, cannot hold a candle to the lessons I learned while a member of our Military and I am so proud of and appreciatiative for being given the opportunity to serve our nation…. all because of “The Draft”.
Now, “service” does not mean only the Military. It can come in many guises – but, two(2) years in the Peace Corps, VISTA, a re-establishment of the historical WPA, etc. should be mandatory…. but, the commonality with all modes of “service” should be the same – a “military” level of discipline and standards, military-style housing, uniform treatment, attire, compensation…. The great social philosopher, Eric Hoffer, opined that no one should be allowed to go to College immediately after graduation from High School – they should first have to contribute to the workforce for a few years first. I agree with that wholeheartedly!  Seeing how the “real world” works will make the college experience, if chosen, much more meaningful and valuable and engender a level of “Critical Thinking” that is not being being taught in college. I have two close friends, both of whom are PhD Professors – collaborative partners in the publishing of “the best-selling” textbook in the entire U.S. college network in their field; they are considered “Gurus” of “Management” and have reaped great financial benefits as a result! And yet, ironically, neither one has EVER worked anywhere but the University – they have never managed anything – never managed a business or even a small business unit, never managed employees, have no practical experience “leading” and “motivating”, never had to make decisions that would have repurcussions…. and, yet, they are regarded as “experts”? If I had to compare them to Sergeant First Class Chang from Hawaii, one of the greatest leaders I have ever encountered, their societal contributions pale in comparison. I will always gravitate towards the “meat”, knowing the “sizzle” is merely specious.

Thanks, Mike.

I’ve driven from Oregon to Montana and back 6 times this year. Each time I drive through the Columbia Gorge, I see hundreds of huge windmills. I know very little about them: how much energy they convert from wind to electricity; what they cost to operate compared to the energy converted; why it so often appears that many, if not most are idle; how long will they continue to produce; etc. Similarly, when I see acres of fields covered with solar panels. I wonder how efficient they are. How much electricity can they convert from the sun’s rays when they have a thick coating of dust overing them? How much did they cost to manufacture and what is the operating cost?

Today I received an interesting piece from a friend, by an author I do not know. I think it is worth considering.

from the Daily Caller “New York Spent $5,000.000……”

The Shocking Naked Truth

Bruce Haedrich

When I saw the title of this lecture, especially with the picture of the scantily clad model, I couldn’t resist attending. The packed auditorium was abuzz with questions about the address; nobody seemed to know what to expect. The only hint was a large aluminum block sitting on a sturdy table on the stage.

When the crowd settled down, a scholarly-looking man walked out and put his hand on the shiny block, “Good evening,” he said, “I am here to introduce NMC532-X,” and he patted the block, “we call him NM for short,” and the man smiled proudly. “NM is a typical electric vehicle (EV) car battery in every way except one; we programmed him to send signals of the internal movements of his electrons when charging, discharging, and in several other conditions. We wanted to know what it feels like to be a battery. We don’t know how it happened, but NM began to talk after we downloaded the program.

Despite this ability, we put him in a car for a year and then asked him if he’d like to  do presentations about batteries. He readily agreed on the condition he could say whatever he wanted. We thought that was fine, and so, without further ado, I’ll turn the floor over to NM,” the man turned and walked off the stage.    

“Good evening,” NM said. He had a slightly affected accent, and when he spoke, he lit up in different colors. “That cheeky woman on the marquee was my idea,” he said. “Were she not there, along with ‘naked’ in the title, I’d likely be speaking to an empty auditorium! I also had them add ‘shocking’ because it’s a favorite word amongst us batteries.” He flashed a light blue color as he laughed. 

“Sorry,” NM giggled then continued, “three days ago, at the start of my last lecture,  three people walked out. I suppose they were disappointed there would be no dancing girls. But here is what I noticed about them. One was wearing a battery-powered hearing aid, one tapped on his battery-powered cell phone as he left, and a third got into his car, which would not start without a battery. So I’d like you to think about your day for a moment; how many batteries do you rely on?” 

He paused for a full minute which gave us time to count our batteries.  Then he went on, “Now, it is not elementary to ask, ‘what is a battery?’ I think Tesla said it best when they called us Energy Storage Systems. That’s important. We do not make electricity – we store electricity produced elsewhere, primarily by coal, uranium, natural gas-powered plants, or diesel-fueled generators. So to say an EV is a zero-emission vehicle is not at all valid. Also, since forty percent of the electricity generated in the U.S. is from coal-fired plants, it follows that forty percent of the EVs on the road are coal-powered, n’est-ce pas?”

He flashed blue again. “Einstein’s formula, E=MC2, tells us it takes the same amount of energy to move a five thousand pound gasoline-driven automobile a mile as it does an electric one. The only question again is what produces the power? To reiterate, it does not come from the battery; the battery is only the storage device, like a gas tank in a car.”  

He lit up red when he said that, and I sensed he was smiling. Then he continued in blue and orange. “Mr. Elkay introduced me as NMC532. If I were the battery from your computer mouse, Elkay would introduce me as double-A, if from your cell phone as CR2032, and so on. We batteries all have the same name depending on our design. By the way, the ‘X’ in my name stands for ‘experimental.’   

There are two orders of batteries, rechargeable, and single-use. The most common single-use batteries are A, AA, AAA, C, D. 9V, and lantern types. Those dry-cell species use zinc, manganese, lithium, silver oxide, or zinc and carbon to store electricity chemically. Please note they all contain toxic, heavy metals.

Rechargeable batteries only differ in their internal materials, usually lithium-ion, nickel-metal oxide, and nickel-cadmium.

The United States uses three billion of these two battery types a year, and most are not recycled; they end up in landfills. California is the only state which requires all batteries be recycled. If you throw your small, used batteries in the trash, here is what happens to them.

All batteries are self-discharging. That means even when not in use, they leak tiny amounts of energy. You have likely ruined a flashlight or two from an old ruptured battery. When a battery runs down and can no longer power a toy or light, you think of it as dead; well, it is not. It continues to leak small amounts of electricity. As the chemicals inside it run out, pressure builds inside the battery’s metal casing, and eventually, it cracks. The metals left inside then ooze out. The ooze in your ruined flashlight is toxic, and so is the ooze that will inevitably leak from every battery in a landfill. All batteries eventually rupture; it just takes rechargeable batteries longer to end up in the landfill. 

In addition to dry cell batteries, there are also wet cell ones used in automobiles, boats, and motorcycles. The good thing about those is, ninety percent of them are recycled. Unfortunately, we do not yet know how to recycle batteries like me or care to dispose of single-use ones properly.

But that is not half of it. For those of you excited about electric cars and a green revolution, I want you to take a closer look at batteries and also windmills and solar panels. These three technologies share what we call environmentally destructive embedded costs.”

NM got redder as he spoke. “Everything manufactured has two costs associated with it, embedded costs and operating costs. I will explain embedded costs using a can of baked beans as my subject. 

In this scenario, baked beans are on sale, so you jump in your car and head for the grocery store. Sure enough, there they are on the shelf for $1.75 a can. As you head to the checkout, you begin to think about the embedded costs in the can of beans.

The first cost is the diesel fuel the farmer used to plow the field, till the ground, harvest the beans, and transport them to the food processor. Not only is his diesel fuel an embedded cost, so are the costs to build the tractors, combines, and trucks. In addition, the farmer might use a nitrogen fertilizer made from natural gas. 

Next is the energy costs of cooking the beans, heating the building, transporting the  workers, and paying for the vast amounts of electricity used to run the plant. The steel can holding the beans is also an embedded cost. Making the steel can requires mining taconite, shipping it by boat, extracting the iron, placing it in a coal-fired blast furnace, and adding carbon. Then it’s back on another truck to take the beans to the grocery store. Finally, add in the cost of the gasoline for your car. 

But wait – can you guess one of the highest but rarely acknowledged embedded costs?” NM said, then gave us about thirty seconds to make our guesses. Then he flashed his lights and said, “It’s the depreciation on the 5000 pound car you used to transport one pound of canned beans!”

NM took on a golden glow, and I thought he might have winked. He said, “But that  can of beans is nothing compared to me! I am hundreds of times more complicated. My embedded costs not only come in the form of energy use; they come as environmental destruction, pollution, disease, child labor, and the inability to be recycled.”

He paused, “I weigh one thousand pounds, and as you see, I am about the size of a travel trunk.” NM’s lights showed he was serious. “I contain twenty-five pounds of lithium, sixty pounds of nickel, 44 pounds of manganese, 30 pounds cobalt, 200 pounds of copper, and 400 pounds of aluminum, steel, and plastic. Inside me are 6,831 individual lithium-ion cells.

It should concern you that all those toxic components come from mining. For instance, to manufacture each auto battery like me, you must process 25,000 pounds of brine for the lithium, 30,000 pounds of ore for the cobalt, 5,000 pounds of ore for the nickel, and 25,000 pounds of ore for copper. All told, you dig up 500,000 pounds of the earth’s crust for just – one – battery.

He let that one sink in, then added, “I mentioned disease and child labor a moment ago. Here’s why. Sixty-eight percent of the world’s cobalt, a significant part of a battery, comes from the Congo. Their mines have no pollution controls and they employ children who die from handling this toxic material. Should we factor in these diseased kids as part of the cost of driving an electric car?”  

NM’s red and orange light made it look like he was on fire. “Finally,” he said, “I’d like to leave you with these thoughts. California is building the largest battery in the world near San Francisco, and they intend to power it from solar panels and windmills. They claim this is the ultimate in being ‘green,’ but it is not! This construction project is creating an environmental disaster. Let me tell you why.

The main problem with solar arrays is the chemicals needed to process silicate into the silicon used in the panels. To make pure enough silicon requires processing it with hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, nitric acid, hydrogen fluoride, trichloroethane, and acetone. In addition, they also need gallium, arsenide, copper-indium-gallium- diselenide, and cadmium-telluride, which also are highly toxic. Silicon dust is a hazard to the workers, and the panels cannot be recycled.

Windmills are the ultimate in embedded costs and environmental destruction. Each weighs 1688 tons (the equivalent of 23 houses) and contains 1300 tons of concrete, 295 tons of steel, 48 tons of iron, 24 tons of fiberglass, and the hard to extract rare earths neodymium, praseodymium, and dysprosium. Each blade weighs 81,000 pounds and will last 15 to 20 years, at which time it must be replaced. We cannot recycle used blades. Sadly, both solar arrays and windmills kill birds, bats, sea life, and migratory insects. 

Thank you for your attention, good night, and good luck.” NM’s lights went out, and he was quiet, like a regular battery.

NM lights dimmed, and he quietly said, “There may be a place for these technologies, but you must look beyond the myth of zero emissions. I predict EVs and windmills will be abandoned once the embedded environmental costs of making and replacing them become apparent. I’m trying to do my part with these lectures. “

If you took the time to read this in its entirety, thank you. I hope you found it worth your time.

Thanks to TownHall.com

Every Veteran wrote a blank check to us, the citizens of the United States. Many left the service better off than they were when they entered service. They got training and education and life lessons which made them better people, more capable of contributing to society. Some gave their lives, others gave limbs, and still others were left with psychological scars. All these wounds left a mark on the families of the service member as well as the service person. So in celebrating Veteran’s Day and saying “Thank you for your service” we need to also remember all the others who paid at least part of the cost of the Veteran’s service.

Thank you, Veterans. Without you and your sacrifices, we would be less free and less of a society.

Deciphering the truth from the jumble of media informing (?) us today is a real challenge. Whether it is due to bias, simple laziness in research, or malfeasance, much of what we read, hear, and see is far from the truth. We all fall prey to confirmation bias which causes us to find what we want in the news. But, should we not question much of what we read?

Below is an experiment you may wish to participate in to see how sure you are of your sources.

First, go to /2013/06/stairwell-magic/

Next, go to youtube.com/watch?v=CkV7tDyqijc

Now, the most important part, please read the following https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/january-6-insurrection-hoax/

Does this make you question any of what the media provides to us? Any comments would be appreciated.

As a kid, I learned a life lesson while looking at leaves and bugs with my magnifying glass. A magnifying glass was a super present that I had received as a birthday gift from my grandfather. It was the basis of hours of fun in the back yard or down in the canyon by our house. Have you ever seen a kid’s eyes light up when first exposed to a highly magnified spider or the veins on the back of a leaf?

At some point while playing with it, a friend or maybe a friend’s big brother, showed me how to focus the sunlight through the lens to burn a leaf or start a fire. I was amazed that sunlight had the power to incinerate a green leaf by just focussing its energy. The tighter the focus, the faster the burn.

Yesterday, I opened the local newspaper and saw two articles on the front page about the hiring of a new Superintendent of Schools. That’s a really big thing in a small town. The first story was about the selection process and who was chosen, her background, what her salary and benefits would be, etc. The other article was headlined “Brockett focuses on equity”.

Throughout my life and business career, I have seen time and again that people with the ability and discipline to focus their efforts have succeeded while those who lack focus have struggled to make their mark.

As I look at our society today, I see most people, politicians in particular, wanting to be all things to all people. The result is a total lack of focus and an attendant lack of accomplishment. I have yet to see a professional athlete who got to where he or she was, at the top of the sport, who had not focused almost exclusively on the goal of success in that chosen sport.

My hope is that the article on “Equity” is just another example of a newspaper story that is really just an opinion piece. Hopefully it is just more ‘virtue signaling’ from our far left local rag. Certainly the new Superintendent will focus on Education. In this day and age when our State and Federal governments have burdened our schools with myriad non-education tasks (like feeding the poor, babysitting, public health, and political indoctrination), it will take all of her skill and experience to succeed in directing the education of our youth.

I also hope she does focus, but on education, because, if she does not, it is very likely that all children and all taxpayers will be ill served by her work.

I’m 74 and healthy. I am careful about contacts with others due to an excess of caution about Covid-19. I have read many sources who give proof that covid-19’s mortality rate is barely more than what we call the “common flu.” However, if I point out that a lot of the deaths counted as Covid-19 deaths are anything but, I am ridiculed as being a denier of science. I am more than skeptical about the numbers. When a friend’s father died, attributed to Covid-19, but in fact it was from his 4th heart attack, it took his family months to get the County Health Department to reclassify the death properly. When the total of deaths from all causes for the past year match almost exactly the numbers from each of the previous 5 years, it makes you wonder. It makes me want to ask:

If the USA has suffered 500,000 deaths due to Covid-19 in the past year, wouldn’t you think our deaths from all causes would have increased significantly?

If I suggest that I may not want to take an experimental vaccine just because my government says I should, is it fair that I should be forced to do so?

Why is it that the most aggressive voices saying that I must wear a mask and I must have the vaccine are the same who say that the government has no right to tell me I can’t get an abortion? “My body. My Choice.” Why not the same view as to other health concerns, like Covid-19?

Our government says it takes 8 – 15 years to develop a new drug or vaccine (see above Harvard chart) because it is unsafe until all the steps have been performed. That is the same government that says that it is completely safe to take a drug that has been developed in a year. Is it fair to ask, Why the mixed message? If the new Covid-19 vaccines are believed to save lives, and, as such, we needed to shortcut the “normal” process, may I ask, Why not allow the same shortcuts for numerous potentially lifesaving cancer drugs?

If the various Teacher’s Unions believe that it is unsafe for any teacher to return to the classroom until all teachers have been vaccinated is it fair to ask why children should be allowed back in class before all have been vaccinated? Or, is it possible that political power is the only good reason that the Unions have for withholding labor and shutting kids out of schools?

Over the past year, I have read literally hundreds of pieces about the Corona Virus Covid-19. The vast majority of them should be characterized as ‘fear mongering’ dressed up as news. I have found that if I question the media and state-approved narrative or attempt to discuss alternative views of the “pandemic”, like the Great Barrington Declaration, I am shut down, told I’m a fool, etc. Since, like me, you have been exposed to large daily doses of ‘information’ and ‘facts’ about Covid 19 that are acceptable to government and the news media, don’t you think it is worth a few minutes to read an alternative opinion. When did questioning authority or being inquisitive become sins? The following, from a Swiss doctor and professor is worth your time, if you have even a scintilla of an open mind:

Lockdowns are a Self-fulfilling Prophecy. from OffGuardian

I have chosen to write this text in addition to our two earlier contributions because of the development of the “second wave” which came afterward, and in reaction to the current relentless accumulation of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs, also called corona, “social” or lockdown measures).

These are characterized by separation/isolation of human beings through the application of masks, distance maintenance between people, stay-at-home orders and business closures.

An important study in Frontiers in Public Health on the data delivered by 160 countries has found no correlation between death rate and stringency of lockdown measures[1].

Another study showed no significant benefits of stay-at-home order and business closure on epidemic case growth[2].

The following two examples confirm these results: a country with low lockdown stringency like Sweden has at the moment the same fatality rate per million inhabitants as France, but lower than Spain, Italy and UK, where severe lockdown measures were applied.

In addition, Sweden has had for the second wave a much smaller excess mortality than France, Italy or Spain, an observation which allows one to suspect that lockdown measures are delaying the establishment of herd immunity. This is not desirable, as the time during which the old, sick and frail can be exposed to the virus gets longer.

As NPIs are imposed in an overloaded ambiance of viral threat, they are additionally in position to activate destructive neuro-immunological mechanisms as well as to trigger secondary deleterious psycho-social, medical and economic developments5. Both have a direct effect on population mortality.

Analyses indicate that at least a third, and possibly more than half, of the observed excess mortality may be caused by the applied measures[3][4]. Measure-based mortality will proceed and may even accelerate if the fear-mongering stays and no end to the nightmare is presented to a now chronically overloaded population.

We are in the typical context of a “self-fulfilling prophecy”, where, through neuro-immunological overresponses, physical immobilization, social isolation and socio-economic difficulties, the death toll gets maximized and the expected death prophecy confirmed.

This requires then the maintenance and even increase of measures, and explains why people questioning their necessity are swiftly qualified as fools, idiots, conspiracy theorists or even murderers (heartlessly risking lives).

For almost a year, cultivated virus hysteria has fuelled the belief in a necessity to suppress “Covid19”.

Epidemiological models, revealed regularly as strongly pessimistic, justify preemptive NPIs even if collected data show positive reassuring evolutions. These measures are presented as unavoidable parts of the fight to be held, and are applied relentlessly without questioning their efficiency (see reference [1]), and without considering, as mentioned above, their lethality.

PCR tests are enacted for the whole population, with their extreme sensitivity and false positives5, maintaining in the population the awareness of the dreadful presence of the virus. The fact that a large percentage (88% in Italy) of deaths happened in the presence of corona (but not due to corona) in the context of end-of-life situations is not considered.

Science moves on to find new threat markers, like the reproduction factor R and recently the rise of mutated virus variants. Thoughts and emotions remain focalized on covid-19 and its threat, taken out of the regular context of the normal human/virus interactions.

For example, tests of corona presence have never been performed before to establish what normality is along the year, and variants can be seen as the logical and usual answer of viruses to the development of human herd immunity.

In our county of Solothurn in Switzerland, 2,662 deaths have been reported for 2020[5], among which 219 were attributed to covid-19 and of these 211 were living in nursing homes[6]. Median age of covid-19 death in Switzerland is 86 years old[7], and the rate of significant premorbidities is very high (97% with at least one premorbidity).

Switzerland, in spite of a clear-cut “second wave”, has experienced no excess mortality for ages below 65, and even for 70 and above, a correction for the increasing size of this old age group shows no excess mortality for 2020[4], and a lower mortality in 2020 than in 2012, 2013 and 20156. Finally, for the whole swiss population, the total death rate per 100,000 inhabitants was the same in 2003 and even higher in 2000[8].

Where do we find, here and around the world, any motivation and necessity to limit the professional and social activities of a whole population for now almost a year?

Should we have locked populations in the past during former flu epidemics? Obviously no.

Shall we have to do that in the future? How long can our human environment resist such heavy, deleterious and questionable measures? And when shall the people of the world get their basic human rights and freedom back?

Of course, fear takes the best out of us, and nobody is to blame for damages produced unwillingly and under the pressure of fear.

There is, alas, no doubt about the following fact: modern, technological medicine often lacks the compassionate therapeutic dimension one expects from it, and presents the unpleasant tendency to promote huge profits through drugs and medical-technical products, with less than appropriate up to fraudulent practices[9][10]

Fraud resides in the highest levels, as exemplified by the recent withdrawal of a fraudulent article from the famous journal the Lancet[11]. This article claimed wrongly the inefficiency and dangers of a plant-based, well known, efficient and inexpensive medication.

A proper decision and information strategy in the corona crisis would have been to open the scientific, political and public debate to different views, with the goal to come up together to a balanced, consensual program, in which nobody is right or wrong and all agree to have worked together on the best possible solutions.

It is extremely counterproductive and dogmatic to promote the exclusive value of the dominant view, proposed by governments and their scientific task forces and widely distributed by the media. Other views are being seen as unacceptable, not-an-option, or even ethically wrong.

Why propagate the idea the whole world needs to be vaccinated against covid-19 in the context of the above-mentioned epidemic data? What of the recent confirmation, published by the WHO and authored by Dr. Ioannidis[12], of a general average case fatality ratio of 0.23% (analyzed from 61 studies), in the range of a flu epidemic?

In addition, to the contrary of what the WHO has proposed recently, we may strongly consider that the natural herd immunization process, established by life processes along millennia, and non-dangerous for the immense majority of the active population below 65, will be more efficient than any vaccination.

Finally, the essential role of physical and emotional health as protections against severe infectious developments has been dramatically ignored in favour of medical technical interventions, precipitating many human beings into severe disease evolutions by physical inactivity and social isolation.

Our governments should contribute to protect without coercion the old, sick and frail and free the rest of the population from all general NPIs. We have all learned what to do in winter with our old and frail parents, who particularly need our presence and can decide for themselves what they prefer: state-imposed protection, or an evening to their life surrounded by their beloved ones.

Numerous human beings have died these last months in appalling physical and emotional conditions, immobilized in their rooms and isolated from families and friends. This has lasted long enough and should be considered as inhumane and stopped. The Great Barrington Declaration enacts the reduction of measures to “focal” protection. It was proposed by 3 epidemiologists from Harvard, Stanford and Oxford and has collected more than 50,000 signatures from medical and public health scientists and medical practitioners as well as from more than 700,000 concerned citizens.

The people need to regain their democratic rights and freedom of decision without delay.

With courage and scientific data at hand, we should stop hiding away from the virus on the order of our governments. We should trust nature that things will balance back to normal, instead of tampering chaotically and arrogantly with the natural dynamics regulating the human/virus interactions.

The relentless, never-ending confinement measures have led to the appearance of a host of absurd, even pathetic measures and situations, with some citizens wearing masks alone in their own cars, or jogging masked and alone in the countryside…I have heard many people around me wonder if they were not in a nightmare or a bad movie.

We need to wake up and work to fix this.
Daniel Jeanmonod MD, Professor Emeritus of Neurosurgery at Zürich University and Physiology & Neuroscience at New York University.

References

[1] De Larochelambert Q. et al. Covid-19 mortality: a matter of vulnerability among nations facing limited margins of adaptation. Frontiers in Public Health (2020) [back].

[2] Bendavid E. et al. Assessing mandatory stay-at-home and business closure effects on the spread of Covid-19. European Journal of Clinical Investigation doi: 10.1111/ECI.13484 (2021) [back].

[3] Covid-19 – Infektionslage, Belastung der Spitäler in der Schweiz KW 50. Situationsanalyse, Reflexion, Lösungsansätze. https://aletheia-scimed.ch (2020).[back].

[4] Beck K. Corona in der Schweiz. Plädoyer für eine Evidenzbasierte Pandemie-Politik. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zRqNfvX–zY [back].

[5] Bundesamt für Statistik (14.1.2021), www.bfs.admin.ch [back].

[6] Kanton Solothurn, Departement des Inneren. Wöchentlicher Situationsbericht (11.1.2021)[back].

[7] Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft, Coronavirus-Krankheit-2019 (COVID-19), Eidgenössisches Departement des Innern EDI, Bundesamt für Gesundheit BAG, Situationsbericht zur epidemiologischen Lage in der Schweiz und im Fürstentum Liechtenstein – Woche 3 (18. – 24.01.2021). https://ww.bag.admin.ch [back].

[8] K-Tipp Nr. 1: Grippe war für ältere stets eine Gefahr. (13 Januar 2021) [back].

[9] Götzsche P.C. Tödliche Medizin und organisierte Kriminalität. Rivaverlag.de (2020) [back].

[10] Angell M. The truth about the drug companies: How they deceive us and what to do about it (2005) [back].

[11] Mehra M.R. Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis. The Lancet (2020) [back].

[12] Ioannidis J.P.A. Infection fatality rate of Covid-19 inferred from seroprevalence data. Bulletin of the World Health Organization (14 October 2020) [back].

The New York Times and other so-called mainstream media giants like the Washington Post, the L.A. Times, CNN, etc., all either ignored or quickly dispensed with many major stories this year in order to avoid letting any credit go to the “opposition” (Mr. Trump and/or those with more conservative views) or to provide cover for those who think like they do. Among the 8 stories are many of the most significant and far reaching of the year. Look them up on duckduckgo.com (the better alternative to Google).

Here’s the list:

  1. Middle East Peace movement – through the efforts of the Trump Administration, there has been more movement toward peace in the Middle East than in any previous 4 year period in a century. Where the mainstream media did report on this, they were quick to downplay its importance. Had the discussions and treaties been accomplished by any other person than Mr. Trump, a Nobel Prize would certainly have been in the offing.
  2. The Great Barrington Declaration – Three eminent health scientists, followed by almost 40,000 other medical practitioners declared the politicization of Covid-19 to be a greater problem than the disease itself. Like any group that opposes the Media agenda, the science was denied. It seams strange that they only believe the science when it supports their agenda.
  3. Biden Family Ties to Communist China/Access for sale – Rather than investigate and report on the Bidens numerous dealings with foreign companies, the NYT did its best to downplay or ignore the story, e.g. this article. Rather than investigate to see if there was/is any evidence of access for sale or influence peddling, they often just state that there is no evidence (which they may be able to say with a straight face if they refuse to investigate).
  4. Taiwan Semiconductor building a huge Semiconductor Plant in Arizona – The importance of a huge manufacturer of semiconductors expanding to the USA has not been publicized to any great extent. The fact that Taiwan is so close to China and in constant fear of absorbtion (like Hong Kong) by the CCP had a lot to do with this. The rush to get this up and running before the planned 2024 startup may in part be due to a perceived fear of the loss of strong support of Taiwan from the US under a new Administration.
  5. Clean Network Initiative – China’s plan to dominate the world was meant to be greatly advanced through their dominance of 5G networks, especially those used by Governments worldwide. The Trump Administration’s Clean Network Initiative not only stopped the Chinese from dominating the 5G world, it reversed it especially in Europe and here in the USA .
  6. Operation Warp Speed, the Creation and distribution of Coronavirus vaccines in less than a year – To be fair, the mainstream media has reported about this at length, but has been loath to give any credit to the Trump Administration for creating the environment where it could happen or for planning the massive distribution plan now in progress.
  7. NAFTA – The NYT and others of the same ilk have gone to great lengths to show this trade deal as a failure. It has been in place since January, 2020 (replacing NAFTA which had been around since 1994 and had no sunset provision) so any conclusions (including Mr. Trump’s claims) are at least premature. Are we well informed by our “mainstream media” about this trade deal?
  8. Environmental Concerns – Do you remember all the articles touting Mr. Trump’s efforts resulting in over 1,000,000 more acres of publicly protected lands since his inauguration? How about the fact that the USA has reduced carbon emissions more than any other nation since we withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord? Not likely if you are a regular reader of the NYT, WAPO, etc. Were you aware that China produces more carbon emissions than the USA, almost twice as much? Did you know that under the Paris Climate Accord China will increase carbon emissions for ten more years before it even begins (promises to begin) to slow down? Most of this is reported in NYT, WAPO, etc. but not anywhere near to the degree with which the US withdrawal from the failed Accord was or the degree to which the Trump Administration is called out for sponsoring things like fracking.

I still strongly believe that if you regularly get your news from the “Mainstream Media”, if you search using Google, if you regularly use Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter, you are ill informed.

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