Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Unmasking the COVID Fear Factor

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

As the media sound alarm bells about a possible second wave of COVID, we should firmly reject another nationwide economic shutdown enforced by stay-home orders and mandatory masks. Republicans need an approach that gets Americans back to attending church, Trump rallies, and in-person voting at local polling places.

Forcing everyone to wear a mask, even while jogging or boating, will do nothing to conquer the virus or restore public confidence. Sending the expensive new intravenous drug Remdesivir to hospitals, for COVID patients on their deathbed, will do nothing to calm public fears.

President Trump should turn instead to the approach which liberals fear and oppose the most: making hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) widely available to the American people. Trump may not realize that the medication which he took in May to successfully protect himself against COVID-19 is still inaccessible to most Americans.

A recent compilation of 50 studies of HCQ shows that it is effective as a prophylaxis and as early treatment, but less effective when used late in the course of the disease. This is similar to other anti-virals, such as Tamiflu, which are best given within 24 or 48 hours of first exposure to influenza.

Prophylaxis (or prophylactic) means using a medication to keep from getting sick or to minimize symptoms if you do get sick. Yet Americans are prevented from obtaining HCQ within a few days of exposure to the virus, before they develop symptoms or soon after.

A survey conducted this week by the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons yielded scores of responses by physicians about how their patients cannot obtain HCQ. Lives continue to be lost by denial of this inexpensive, safe medication to the public.

Based on impediments by liberal regulators, all but four small states have blocked the ability of Americans to obtain treatment by HCQ soon after exposure to COVID-19. Virtually nowhere can Americans, even health care workers on the front lines, obtain HCQ as a prophylaxis as Trump took for himself.

Indeed, most world leaders have taken HCQ as a prophylaxis to protect against COVID-19, according to the president of El Salvador as quoted by CNN. And millions of ordinary folks in many foreign countries now have early access to this medication, which is helping conquer the virus outside of the United States.

South Korea was hit early and hard by the Wuhan virus, but that conservative country made HCQ widely available and held its mortality down to only 2.3% per case and 6 per million in its overall population. Contrast that with the deprivation of HCQ from Americans, where the mortality per reported case is 4.8%, and 390 per million at large.

During a presidential election in which voter turnout depends on access to medication that protects against an infectious disease, Trump should not be beholden to biased advice by opponents of his reelection. Yet Never-Trumpers have so far pulled off one of the greatest election-year scams in American history.

Trump supporters did not vote for Anthony Fauci, whose emails gushing praise for Hillary Clinton were published by Wikileaks in 2016. But Dr. Fauci has dictated the most important policy decisions by the Trump Administration in 2020, with disastrous results for the American people and Republicans in November.

Contrast the interference with ordinary Americans’ access to HCQ with the successful response to COVID-19 elsewhere. Russia, India, Israel, and Turkey have all used HCQ to keep their mortality rate from the disease an average of half below ours, and their death rate below 70 per million which is less than one-fifth of the death rate in our overall population.

Sports fans would eagerly take HCQ to attend games and root for their favorite teams, and churchgoers would do likewise. As adults making decisions to protect their own health as they do every day in other contexts, Americans should be allowed to do so for COVID-19.

Everyone who has an allergy, diabetes, asthma, or other affliction knows the fear factor that results from lack of access to immediate treatment if needed. Without access to HCQ, many Americans will not be going to football games, Trump rallies, church, or even polling booths.

Peter Navarro observed how the Deep State has been sabotaging Trump’s reelection by blocking HCQ. He told the New York Times that this “is a Deep State blindside by bureaucrats who hate the administration they work for more than they’re concerned about saving American lives.”

It’s time for others in the Trump Administration to admit that Navarro was right, and make HCQ available immediately to all the American people, not just the well-connected few. Allowing a climate of fear to continue whereby Americans will not even attend church, let alone vote, is unhealthy for our country and unfair to Trump.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work. These columns are also posted on pseagles.com.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Removing Statues, to Smear America

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

Americans first watched in horror as mobs of anarchists seized the streets of our major cities, breaking windows, setting fires, and looting stores. Then they began pulling down statues that had stood for decades, or in many cases, more than a century.

The real targets of the violent Leftists are not George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt, whose faces are carved into Mount Rushmore. Rather, the goal is to discredit America itself by smearing those who gave us the freedom and prosperity we enjoy today.

Local police in Democrat-controlled cities have mostly stood and watched silently, neither stopping the destruction nor arresting and charging those responsible. At the White House, President Trump reacted on Twitter, promising to restore order if local officials fail.

The restraint by our president came to an end last night when a mob reached Lafayette Square in front of the White House. Cheered by onlookers who broke through a chain link fence, a small group of men tied ropes around the massive bronze figure of our 7th president, Andrew Jackson, mounted on a horse at the center of the park.

United States Park Police arrived at the scene to disperse the unruly crowd mere moments before the vandals would have toppled the 15-ton statue, though not before it was defaced with ugly words like “Killer Scum” that will be costly to remove. It is unlikely that the vandals had any appreciation for what Jackson achieved and stood for.

Andrew Jackson was perhaps the most influential American between the founding of our nation and the Civil War, who more than anyone else defined the scope of presidential power. He was also the first president to represent the common man, triumphing over the elite of his day, and voluntarily retired after two terms when he could have won reelection repeatedly.

“Last night, we stopped an attack on a great monument,” Mr. Trump told reporters the next morning. “I just want to thank law enforcement. Numerous people are in jail and are going to jail today.”

Aside from the character of the man it commemorates, the Jackson statue is remarkable in itself as an important work of art. It was the first bronze statue cast in the United States, and the first equestrian statue in which the horse is balanced on its two hind legs.

“We are looking at long-term jail sentences for these vandals and these hoodlums. They’re bad people, and they’re not taking down our monuments.”

What a difference from last Friday, when a mob succeeded in toppling and burning a statue of a Masonic leader, Albert Pike, in Washington’s Judiciary Square. The statue of Pike had been erected in 1901 with the approval of Congress after a nationwide fundraising campaign by the Masons.

Some weak Republicans have sought compromise with the radical anarchists by evicting Confederate statues from public spaces. But what about Arlington National Cemetery, where America’s honored dead are buried?

Arlington sits on the 1,100-acre estate once owned by the Virginian Robert E. Lee and his wife, who inherited the property from Washington’s adopted grandson, George Washington Custis. Some 400,000 American heroes rest in peace there under the silent watch of the now-empty Custis-Lee Mansion.

The ongoing attacks on statues has little to do with the Confederacy, as the vandals are just as resentful of most of the men in American history. The mob has attacked statues of patriots who fought for our country under the Stars and Stripes, including Presidents Ulysses S. Grant and Teddy Roosevelt.

The mob continued to depose statues of other great historical figures, including Francis Scott Key, author of our national anthem; Father Junipero Serra, the humble Franciscan friar who brought Christianity to California; and Christopher Columbus, who started it all in 1492. The orgy of destruction culminated last week with the toppling of a statue of George Washington by protesters in Portland, Oregon.

The victims of this outbreak of anarchism were not promoters of slavery. Teddy Roosevelt, for example, was born in New York City merely two years before the Civil War started, but Democrats have agreed to remove a remarkable statue of him outside its famed American Museum of Natural History.

Thomas Jefferson, meanwhile, was the man who penned the revolutionary phrase “all men are created equal” in our Declaration of Independence. Jefferson’s words were instrumental in ending slavery.

Ironically, it was white Leftists in Portland, Oregon who used an ax to tear down a statue of Jefferson. Portland is one of the least diverse cities in the nation, and yet wants to accuse great Americans of racism.

This is not really about a sculpture or monument, of course. It is an attempt to make America the object of scorn, while denying credit to those who made America great.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work. These columns are also posted on pseagles.com.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Judicial Supremacy Bites Again

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

What took Justice Antonin Scalia decades to build as a doctrine of textualism, his self-described heir Neil Gorsuch burned down in one decision on Monday. Applauded by the liberal media, his incoherent opinion throws federal courts into the middle of the culture war over transgenderism.

Justice Scalia could be rolling over in his grave at this demolition of the house that he so painstakingly built. This 6-3 decision in Bostock v. Clayton County granted a broad new right of transgenders and homosexuals to sue their employers in federal court.

Congress never intended to create special employment rights for transgenders and homosexuals when it enacted Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The text of the statute is crystal clear in protecting against only historical kinds of discrimination.

“But the limits of the drafters’ imagination supply no reason to ignore the law’s demands,” Gorsuch bizarrely wrote for the 6-3 court in creating privileges for transgenders and homosexuals to sue employers. By reinterpreting a statute beyond its drafters’ imagination, Gorsuch implicitly mocks textualism and originalism which have been the hallmark of conservative jurisprudence.

Instead, the court again falls for the bankrupt approach of legislating from the bench, as demanded by liberal culture. This abandons the role of a judge as a neutral umpire, to which Chief Justice John Roberts pledged fealty during his confirmation hearings but did otherwise by joining this activist decision.

To be confirmed, Roberts echoed the view of Phyllis Schlafly who had written about how Supreme Court justices should behave like umpires rather than legislate from the bench. She never thought we had a conservative court, as Roberts disappoints again.

Like scraping nails across a blackboard, Gorsuch even quoted Justice Scalia twice in an attempt to maintain a fa├žade of adherence to what Gorsuch promised when he was nominated. That is as discordant as an off-key performance by an amateur without permission by the songwriter.

Three justices in dissent dismantled the majority opinion. The dissenters could have gone further and echoed Scalia’s “hide my head in a bag” comment about the embarrassment of the same-sex marriage opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy, which read like a “fortune cookie” rather than legal reasoning.

“There is only one word for what the Court has done today: legislation,” began Justice Sam Alito’s dissent on Monday. “The document that the Court releases is in the form of a judicial opinion interpreting a statute, but that is deceptive,” he continued.

Properly quoting Scalia, Justice Alito wrote that “our duty is to interpret statutory terms to ‘mean what they conveyed to reasonable people at the time they were written.’” Title VII certainly did not mean at the time it was enacted to give special rights to transgenders and homosexuals.

The dissents, including the one written by Trump-appointed Brett Kavanaugh, are logical in contrast with the pandering to the liberal elite permeating the majority opinion. Justice Elena Kagan’s distorted view of textualism at oral argument made it into the opinion, which suggests that she was the ventriloquist for Gorsuch.

Together they began their opinion by posing the deceptive question of “whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender.” That is not a proper question for a federal court to ask, which is limited in authority by federal laws, and it was improper for the Court then to answer its own misleading question.

The phony question incorrectly implies that federal courts can and should create new rights whenever a handful of unelected justices want to do so. They should have asked whether Congress has commanded the federal judiciary to recognize special rights for transgenders and homosexuals to sue in federal court, which of course it has not.

When Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, delusional liberals thought that it settled the issue of abortion once and for all. Instead, it converted the judiciary into a political football and caused confirmation hearings to become theaters of the absurd.

Now unelected justices tell Americans that the Court has decided the cultural war concerning special rights for transgenders, so everyone should just accept this elitist teaching and fall in line. But the opposite will occur, as the Court creates unresolved issues about transgenders in school and sports, where girls are harmed by unfair competition from biological males.

On the same day that the Court rendered its decision giving extraordinary priority to cultural liberals, the Court denied ten petitions by Americans who have had their Second Amendment rights infringed. Rights that are actually in the Constitution, like the right to bear arms, are not as important to liberals on the Supreme Court.

The Court also refused to review California’s statewide sanctuary law, which prohibits cooperation with federal immigration authorities. This Court is a far cry from anything that is conservative.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work. These columns are also posted on pseagles.com.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

How Rioting Ended the Shutdown

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

After a second full week of mass demonstrations, protests, riots and civil disorders in over 30 cities, many law-abiding Americans are wondering why we were forced to comply with stay-home orders. Tens of thousands of people have congregated in confined public spaces for the last two weeks, many of them not wearing masks except to avoid being captured on video while they were looting stores or setting buildings on fire.

Whatever happened to the dire warnings of death and disease if ordinary people ventured outside to meet each other in restaurants, bars, and sporting events? Despite massive crowds filling the streets of our major cities, there is no evidence of any spike in cases of people getting sick from COVID-19.

Churches remain closed, unless they limit attendance to 25 people or 25% of capacity and require worshippers to wear masks and stay 6 feet apart from each other. No similar limits or restrictions have been imposed on street protesters, demonstrators, rioters and looters.

Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx, and other familiar experts from the CDC are suddenly nowhere to be found. In their place, “1,288 public health professionals, infectious diseases professionals, and community stakeholders” published a statement declaring that “white supremacy is a lethal public health issue.”

“Protests against systemic racism must be supported,” even if not done safely, the 1,288 public health professionals wrote in their widely circulated manifesto. “Our first statement must be one of unwavering support for those who would dismantle, uproot, or reform racist institutions.”

“This should not be confused with a permissive stance on all gatherings, particularly protests against stay-home orders” like those who peacefully gathered outside the Michigan State Capitol last month, the experts continued. Those peaceful protests, the experts agreed, were “rooted in white nationalism and run contrary to respect for Black lives.”

One of the peaceful Michigan protesters was Karl Manke, a 77-year-old barber in Owosso, a town of 15,000 people in central Michigan. A judge in Michigan’s Shiawassee County issued an order that Manke’s barber shop “shall be locked and closed,” and agents from the state attorney general’s office showed up in Owosso to enforce the order.

Manke appealed that decision to the Michigan Supreme Court, which summarily overturned it last Friday. The order shutting Manke’s barber shop without full briefing and argument was “extraordinary” and “inexplicable,” Justice David Viviano wrote.

“Courts decide legal questions according to the rule of law,” Justice Viviano continued. “One hopes that this great principle -- essential to any free society, including ours -- will not itself become yet another casualty of COVID-19.”

In Altamahaw, North Carolina, population 347, Ace Speedway was the scene of stock-car racing last weekend for over 2,000 spectators. The crowd that half-filled the 5,000-seat bleachers was far in excess of the 25-person limit imposed by Democratic Governor Roy Cooper, whose antics are preventing the Republican Convention from meeting in Charlotte in late August.

A sign outside the speedway advertised: “This Event is held in Peaceful Protest of Injustice and Inequality Everywhere.” The Alamance County Sheriff refused to issue a citation because, he said, “my citizens have basically been singled out for the same alleged violations that are occurring all over the State of North Carolina.”

One after another, so-called experts on public health have been proven wrong and forced to revise their earlier statements. The latest about-face comes from the discredited World Health Organization (WHO) which admitted on Monday that it is actually “very rare” to catch COVID-19 from an asymptomatic carrier -- someone who is not coughing or sneezing droplets into the air.

“We have a number of reports from countries who are doing very detailed contact tracing,” the WHO spokesman explained. “They’re following asymptomatic cases, they’re following contacts and they’re not finding secondary transmission onward.”

That contradicts the main reason that was given to justify the nationwide shutdown of our economy: fear of infection from people who do not appear to be sick. In the immortal words of Gilda Radner, who was a regular on Saturday Night Live in the 1970s, “Never mind!”

The two most distinguished medical journals in the world are The Lancet, which is based in England, and The New England Journal of Medicine. Last week both journals were forced to retract studies purporting to show that hydroxychloroquine, the same drug that President Trump took (in combination with zinc) to prevent COVID-19, was not only useless but harmful, and even resulted in death.

Both studies claimed to rely on data from many countries around the world, but when suspicious researchers asked to see the raw data, the authors refused to reveal it. These leading medical journals rushed into print with articles that were obviously intended to embarrass President Trump.

Although hydroxychloroquine is approved for off-label use to treat and prevent COVID-19, a number of federal and state restrictions have made it hard to get, even with a doctor’s prescription. Over 35 states have limited its availability, and five states have rules that prohibit doctors from prescribing the drug as a preventive measure.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work. These columns are also posted on pseagles.com.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Whatever Happened to Social Distancing?

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

For 10 weeks, law-abiding Americans submitted to the demands of so-called experts to maintain a 6-foot distance from our friends, relatives, and fellow human beings. That meant familiar gathering places such as restaurants, bars, hotels, and sports arenas had to close and remain closed indefinitely, causing economic hardship to millions.

When a few hundred law-abiding citizens, some lawfully carrying their personal weapons, marched in front of the Michigan state capitol to protest the nation’s most extreme stay-at-home order, liberals feigned outrage.

The “mask police” demanded that all Americans don intrusive face-coverings in public, supposedly to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The House of Representatives has switched to proxy voting despite its unconstitutionality, and Republicans have sued to stop this erosion of safeguards against improper procedures in Congress.

With citizens who respect the law stuck at home under lockdown orders by Democratic governors, the lawless seized the streets. Mobs of thousands of militants, many armed with crowbars, fire starters and other dangerous weapons, rampaged the darkened streets in search of soft targets to loot, burn and pillage in a senseless orgy of destruction.

The violent chaos is the tragedy that results from the absence of an armed citizenry, by which merchants defend their shops with their own lawful firearms. When a black professional basketball player saw his truck being vandalized by a protester in his residential neighborhood, the 6-foot, 6-inch, 225-pound athlete rushed out and beat up the vandal.

But we are not all as strong as giants who play in the NBA, and many of us rely on local police, sheriffs and mayors to protect our private property against lawlessness. The state governor, state police, and the national guard are there to be called in as needed to restore order.

Yet in city after city, all led by weak Democratic mayors, the police stood by while the life savings (and in some cases, the lives) of ordinary citizens went up in smoke. A police station was burned to the ground in Minneapolis and a federal law enforcement officer was shot and killed in Oakland.

The insurrection that has spread to more than 30 cities is fueled by socialists and anarchists who oppose President Trump and the Republican Party. This rebellion is built on three-and-a-half years during which elites in the liberal media and Democrats in Congress, who refuse to condemn the violence, ranted against our president.

The handful of giant companies that control our channels of communication have found profit in fomenting strife and division among the various groups that make up our body politic. Only last week the opulent high tech industry, which evades the brunt of the protests, used its monopoly power to essentially censor the president’s words on Twitter.

Twitter’s disparagement of President Trump by labeling his tweets would be comical if it were not so dangerous as politically motivated censorship. As a monopoly service provider, Twitter should not be allowed to regulate the statements of a political candidate to the advantage of his opponent in a contested election.

Decades ago, when the broadcast networks dominated politics, Congress passed a law to forbid network television from rejecting political ads based on their content. Another law established the Fairness Doctrine which required broadcast television and radio to present both sides of controversial issues of public importance.

Twitter, Google (which owns YouTube), Facebook (which owns Instagram), and other Big Tech companies enjoy monopoly power and immense wealth due to regulatory advantages conferred on them by government. They do not pay the real costs of the traffic that they attract, from which they profit, and they should not be picking sides in political discourse by placing derogatory labels on postings by political candidates.

Twitter gets its internet traffic without paying a dime for it. This free-riding by Twitter, Google and Facebook enable them to punish viewpoints they disfavor, in demeaning and sometimes secretive ways.

If Twitter had to pay its costs as radio stations do, it would be begging for a content-provider such as President Trump to post on its service and thereby attract other users and customers. Twitter would become more like talk radio, where robust competition to attract listeners results in less censorship, not more.

Google, meanwhile, uses secret algorithms that provide greater visibility to liberal websites and YouTube videos, while suppressing conservative views. According to a lawsuit in England, this is one way that Google uses its market power to choke off competition.

A court there has told Google either to produce its search engine algorithm by which it ranks websites in response to searches, or drop its defense to a lawsuit. The Trump Administration need not wait for a British court to compel transparency by the American behemoth, and the Federal Communications Commission should order Big Tech to disclose more than it has.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work. These columns are also posted on pseagles.com.