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"The government's cure is what is going to kill the economy"
Howard Richman, 5/19/2021

On Tucker Carlson's Wednesday show, Peter Schiff discussed the rising inflation. Unfortunately, the clock ran out before he had a chance to explain his last claim. That claim was that "The government's cure is what is going to kill the economy." Schiff was right when he said that. It is important for everyone to understand how the Biden administration is driving America straight to a crash:

In American Thinker on April 26, my son and I similarly predicted an economic crash when the government tries to cure the inflation. Here's our prediction of how the economy will play out:

Powell’s first four-year term at the Federal Reserve ends in February 2022. At that point, the Biden administration will likely reappoint him to a second term so that he can continue to restrict loans to fossil-fuel developers and continue to keep his feet off the interest-rate brakes.

Eventually, Powell or his successor will discover that it is a lot easier to let inflation get started than it is to bring it under control. Once the Fed puts on the brakes, Biden’s sugar high will turn into a post-sugar crash due to rising interest rates and rising trade deficits.

The worst-case scenario would occur if foreigners stop using the inflating dollar as the medium of exchange in international transactions, resulting in a crash in the dollar’s exchange rate, much higher prices for imports, and a huge cut in the American standard of living. China appears to be preparing for that scenario by rolling out a digital yuan that could be used as an alternative to the dollar for international transactions.

Since we wrote this, every trend that we predicted has been occurring:

  1. Inflation has been rising faster than expected. 
  2. The Fed has kept its foot off the brakes.
  3. The dollar has been drifting downward in foreign exchange markets.
  4. Russia has joined China's push to switch away from using the dollar for international transactions.

The Fed is blowing things big time. It should be tapping the interest rate brakes now, but it is not. 

President Biden is blowing things big time. He is simultaneously increasing Aggregate Demand (by calling for massive spending increases) and decreasing Aggregate Supply (by calling for large tax hikes). Both are fueling inflation.

But there is still hope that Congress will prevent the disaster. If it shelves Biden's proposals for additional spending and higher taxes, the inflation could be transitory. Only Congress can save us now.

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Click here to read this posting on the American Thinker website.

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U.S. Vaccines Work, Chinese are Ineffective - I'm published in American Thinker this morning
Howard Richman, 5/6/2021

So far two countries have exited the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic using U.S.-made vaccines (Israel and the United States) while two other countries have seen infection rates rising despite heavy use of Chinese-made vaccines (Chile and Seychelles).

Success of U.S. vaccines

Israel achieved herd immunity by vaccinating almost 60% of its population using the U.S.-made Pfizer vaccine. According to a chart published by Worldometer, the COVID death rate has fallen to almost zero in Israel.

Similarly, the United States exited the pandemic the week of March 20 when just 25% had been vaccinated, compared to 45% today. That was the week when deaths in the United States, according to the “Excess Deaths” statistics published by the CDC, stopped exceeding the threshold of what are considered to be a normal number.

Failure of the Chinese Vaccines

CNBC reported that Chile has been experiencing rising cases of COVID-19 despite having one of the world’s best vaccination rates. As Thomas Lifson noted in American Thinker, the CNBC article buried the fact that Chile was using a Chinese vaccine.

A similarly deceptive report came out Wednesday on the Bloomberg website, this time about the Seychelles where 62% of the population is fully vaccinated yet COVID cases are still rising. The headline of the story appeared to indicate that vaccines in general are ineffective, but, as in the Chile story, buried deep inside was the fact that Seychelles was mostly using a Chinese vaccine.

Vaccine Effectiveness

The two primary U.S.-made vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer) use the mRNA technology which is about 95% effective. The European vaccine (AstraZeneca) uses a spike protein technology that is about 70% effective. The Chinese vaccines (Sinovac and Sinopharm) use a killed viral particles technology which appears to be ineffective.

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines were actually the second and third mRNA vaccines developed in the United States to fight COVID-19. The first was the successful Inovio vaccine which Dr. Anthony Fauci’s NIH buried in seemingly-endless clinical trials.

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Click here to read it on the American Thinker Website:

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Jerome Powell and the Coming Inflation - we're published in American Thinker today
Howard Richman, 4/26/2021

by Howard Richman and Jesse Richman

Usually, the Federal Reserve acts as a counterweight when Congress and U.S. presidents follow inflationary policies. We haven’t had an incompetent Federal Reserve chairman since Arthur Burns and G. William Miller produced simultaneous inflation and recession, an economic malady known as “stagflation.” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell may not be as bad as Burns and Miller, but he does seem to be making one economic mistake after another.

Like Miller, Powell is that rare exception: a Fed chair without a background in economics. Being an American today is a bit like riding on a bus driven by someone who lacks a CDL. It might work out okay, but some white knuckles on the curves are well justified.

Powell’s First Mistake – Raising Interest Rates under Trump

Powell’s first mistake occurred when he raised interest rates during President Trump’s successful economic boom which occurred without inflation. President Trump’s economic advisor Peter Navarro indicated that this might have cost Trump the election (at about the 10 minute mark):

Everybody knows me and Mnuchin weren’t exactly bosom buddies. Whenever I wanted to put a little dig in Steve all I had to do was remind the boss [President Trump] that it was Mnuchin that appointed Jay Powell who the boss thought was the worst Fed Chair in modern history who cost us the election because that SOB raised interest rates well before he should have.

Powell’s increase in interest rates was not needed because President Trump’s supply-side economics was simultaneously increasing Aggregate Demand and Aggregate Supply, and thereby producing economic growth with little change in price level, as graphed below:

ADupASup.jpg

Powell’s Second Mistake – Getting Inflation Started

In response to the pandemic, Powell has engaged in policies that have massively increased the money supply, an increase that has not yet produced major inflation, partly because of time lags and partly because the pandemic has dramatically reduced the velocity of money in the economy. As pandemic restrictions ease, the velocity with which money changes hands will climb, along with inflation.

And Powell will let that inflation get going without doing anything about it. He promised, in a 60 Minutes interview, to delay any rise in interest rates, during Biden’s upcoming boom, until well after inflation takes off.

He may be hoping to avoid the mistake that he made by raising interest rates, unnecessarily, during the Trump boom. We have boldfaced the part of the interview in which he mistakenly confounded Trump’s and Biden’s very different economic strategies:

SCOTT PELLEY: What the Fed has done traditionally is use economic models to predict inflation and then raise interest rates, tap the brake if you will, before inflation happens. Is that what you're planning on doing?

JEROME POWELL: No, it's not. And really, what we've done is we've updated our understanding of the economy and therefore, our policy framework to the way the economy has evolved. The economy has changed. And what we saw in the last couple of cycles is that inflation never really moved up as unemployment went down.

Biden is following a very different economic strategy from the supply-side economics used by Trump. He is planning to raise government spending and taxation simultaneously. The result could be graphed as Aggregate Demand increasing while Aggregate Supply contracts:

ADupASdown.jpg

Powell and Biden may believe Keynesian theory which holds that government spending is more powerful than tax cuts for growing an economy. But economic research shows that changes in taxation are 2 to 3 times more powerful than changes in government spending. Specifically:

  • Christine Romer, former Chair of Obama’s council of economic advisors, and her husband Paul have found that changes in taxation have a powerful effect upon Real GDP with a multiplier value upon Real GDP of between 2.5 and 3.0.
  • Valery A. Ramey has found that increases in government spending have a multiplier effect upon Real GDP of between 0.8 and 1.5.

Under Biden, government spending and taxation levels will be pulling economic growth in opposite directions. But Biden’s spending increases will be so massive that, despite their weaker multiplier, they should overcome the opposing effects of his tax increases. (The spending increases will increase demand while the tax increases will reduce supply.)

Together, Biden’s massive increase in government spending and his increased regulations and taxes will boost inflation, especially when coupled with the massive increase in money supply Powell has engineered and the increased velocity with which money will change hands following easing pandemic restrictions.

But Powell plans to do nothing until the inflation takes off. When the Federal Reserve finally starts upping the interest rate, it will take at least 6 months before higher interest rates begin to have any effect. Meanwhile the rising inflation rate will get its own momentum due to inflationary expectations potentially getting embedded into almost every new contract that is negotiated.

Powell’s Third Mistake – Slowing Fossil Fuel Investment

Due to the danger of climate change forcing the U.S. to switch to renewable sources of fuel, Powell plans to discourage banks from making loans to fossil fuel developers. Republican senators have been objecting:

Last month, 12 Republican senators wrote a letter to Powell accusing the central bank of moving “beyond the scope of the Federal Reserve’s mission.”

“We question both the purpose and efficacy of climate-related banking regulation and scenario analysis, especially because the Federal Reserve lacks jurisdiction over and expertise in environmental matters,” the letter said.

Powell will be intentionally reducing Aggregate Supply, by reducing loans for private investment into U.S. fossil fuel production. That investment was one of the main drivers of economic growth during the Trump administration.

Powell’s Fourth Mistake – Endorsing Trade Deficits

Trump’s former economic advisor Peter Navarro predicted that the coming inflation will especially harm blue collar workers. Trends in that direction are already apparent in recent statistics and news. The U.S. post-Covid economic boom is already being accompanied by (1) rising inflation, (2) rising trade deficits, and (3) the moving abroad of planned manufacturing investment.

Navarro was especially concerned by Powell’s statement in the 60 Minutes interview that he is counting on increased trade deficits to prevent inflation. Specifically, Powell said:

[T]he economy has changed because the globalization of the economy and technology have enabled manufacturing to take place all around the world. It's very hard for people in wealthy countries to raise prices or to raise wages. It's hard for workers to raise wages when wages can move overseas….

U.S. blue-collar wages and U.S. manufacturing investment rose under President Trump, partly because Trump ended or renegotiated unbalanced trade agreements. But instead of endorsing continuing efforts to restrain trade deficits, Powell is counting upon the increased trade deficits to keep inflation low by restraining the wage demands of manufacturing workers.

America’s Economic Future

Powell’s first four-year term at the Federal Reserve ends in February 2022. At that point, the Biden administration will likely reappoint him to a second term so that he can continue to restrict loans to fossil-fuel developers and continue to keep his feet off the interest-rate brakes.

Eventually, Powell or his successor will discover that it is a lot easier to let inflation get started than it is to bring it under control. Once the Fed puts on the brakes, Biden’s sugar high will turn into a post-sugar crash due to rising interest rates and rising trade deficits.

The worst case scenario would occur if foreigners stop using the inflating dollar as the medium of exchange in international transactions, resulting in a crash in the dollar’s exchange rate, much higher prices for imports, and a huge cut in the American standard of living. China appears to be preparing for that scenario by rolling out a digital yuan that could be used as an alternative to the dollar for international transactions.

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Click here to read it an edited version of this piece without the graphs on the American Thinker website

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Viral evolution can go many directions
Frank Kirkland, 2/13/2021

Optimists keep telling me that viral evolution will make Covid19 weaker. I wish you were right

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Bezos forced out as Amazon's CEO
Howard Richman, 2/3/2021

Yesterday, Jeff Bezos was forced out as Amazon’s CEO. (In corporate slang he was "kicked upstairs.") Amazon's Board of Directors may have had enough of him furthering leftist causes at stockholders’ expense. His decision to shut down Parler chased away some future customers from Amazon’s web hosting services and caused many conservatives to stop buying from Amazon , although his successor is the executive who gave the actual order. More worrying to the financial community, it opened Amazon to law suits and government regulation. Morningstar.com, a financial website, reports:

The leadership transition at Amazon will take place as it grapples with unprecedented scrutiny.

The company is currently the subject of probes from the Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission, the European Union and other governing agencies about whether it participates in anticompetitive practices

A few days ago, Forbes.com discussed Bezos' commitment of $2 billion of Amazon's money toward fighting climate change:

After facing criticism about its environmental record in recent years, Amazon is launching a new $2 billion venture capital fund—as part of its “Climate Pledge” announced last September—that will invest in clean energy and other technologies to reduce the impact of climate change, The Wall Street Journal first reported

In May, Bezos created a palatial homeless shelter in one of Amazon's office buildings in downtown Seattle:

Amazon partnered with nonprofit organization Mary’s Place to open the Mary’s Place Family Center in The Regrade. The family shelter was built inside one of Amazon’s office buildings. The facility is kept separate from Amazon offices through private entrances and acoustical isolation. The family shelter is an eight-floor, 63,000-square-foot facility.

The space has a large dining room, an industrial kitchen with commercial cooking equipment, office space for Amazon’s legal team to provide support to shelter residents, and recreation spaces for children and teens.

Plazas and other public spaces surrounding the building were built to accommodate employees and shelter families.

Amazon's Board is responsible to Amazon's stockholders. Bezos will be free to pursue leftist causes, but not at stockholders' expense.

Click here to read this posting on the AmericanThinker website.

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The Democrats' Phony Impeachment Narrative
Howard Richman, 1/27/2021

The Democrat Party is currently attempting to impeach former President Donald Trump because he supposedly instigated the violent demonstration which took place in a doorway of the Capitol Rotunda on January 6. However, the evidence is in. President Trump did nothing wrong that day. Instead, Democrat Party propagandists created a false narrative that Trump and his supporters are violent insurgents. 

1. The first proof is the fact that President Trump called for a peaceful demonstration in his earlier speech at a peaceful rally that day:

We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated, lawfully slated. I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voice heard. 

Contributing to this proof is the fact that all video versions of Trump's speech were taken off the Internet by censors at YouTube probably because they didn't want any alternative to the narrative being presented by the Democrat Party's propagandists. They even expelled Trump from Facebook and Twitter probably to prevent him from countering their narrative.

2. The second proof is the fact that no intelligent person ever deduces a pattern from a single incident. It takes at least two incidents to form a hypothesis and at least three incidents to generalize a pattern. This incident only seems to be a pattern to those who have been consuming the Democrat Party's propaganda for the last four years. Jewish talk show host Dennis Prager described their anti-Trump propaganda narrative in a January 26 essay:

For four years, the media and their party, the Democrats, told us every day that Trump is a fascist, a dictator, a racist, and a white supremacist; that he was an agent of the Russian government—a real-life Manchurian candidate. We were also repeatedly told by the lying media (Trump’s accurate description of the mainstream media) that in Charlottesville, Virginia, Trump said there are “very fine” Nazis (see the PragerU video, “The Media’s ‘Very Fine People’ Myth”). Yes, the media told us with a straight face that a man with a Jewish daughter, Jewish son-in-law, and Jewish grandchildren said there are fine Nazis. Biden said he decided to run for president because of this lie.

In contrast, when there is incident after incident of fighting with police, a pattern can be reasonably deduced. For example, the leftist groups Antifa and BLM staged riots in city after city last year. They even fought police for several days at the White House in early June. These battles formed part of an attempted insurrection, according to a June 3 exclusive in the Washington Times:

Activists of the far-left Antifa movement began planning to foment a nationwide anti-government insurgency as early as November as the U.S. presidential campaign season kicked off in earnest, according to a law enforcement official with access to intelligence behind the shadowy group.

3. The third proof is the fact that the police waved the demonstrators toward an entrance to the Capitol Building which was only lightly defended by a few policemen. Antifa was there, pretending to be Trump supporters, and helped spark the riot. For more on these events watch this Rudy Giuliani video and explore the links in this American Thinker blog posting

Contributing to this proof is the fact that censors at YouTube took down Giuliani's videos, probably because they didn't want anybody to learn that there were alternatives to the Democrat Party's narratives. (Giuliani's videos can still be watched at rudygiulianics.com.)

4. The fourth proof is the fact that Germany's ruling party and press pulled a similar trick in order to discredit a huge peaceful demonstration by opponents of the coronavirus lockdown in Berlin on August 29. A German blogger explains their propaganda technique:

How do you manage to delegitimize a peaceful mass protest against the corona measures in such a way that the media report not about a protest by hundreds of thousands, but about the “storming” of the Reichstag?

Quite simply: you approve an application by a group of Reichsbürger to assemble directly in front of the Reichstag (N.B. the official applicant for this assembly was Ex-NPD-member Rüdiger Hoffmann) and station only three policemen in front of the west entrance despite the large police presence everywhere in the area. Then you let a crazy Q-Anon-chick scream into the microphone that “Donald Trump has declared freedom,” that “the police have laid down their weapons,” and that “everyone should now occupy the steps of the Reichstag,” and, presto, you have the images you need to dominate the coverage … a mob of a few dozen people with Reichsbürger flags “storming the Reichstag.”

Never mind the fact that the massive demonstration at the Siegesäule (i.e., Victory Column) organized by Querdenken 711 had absolutely nothing to do with this incident, which was carried out by a right-wing-extremist splinter group. The demonstration had already been delegitimized as a protest staged by Reichsbürger extremists and tin-foil-hat lunatics in the days leading up to it, and now the visual confirmation was provided.

Contributing to this proof are the close parallels between the two incidents, suggesting that those in Washington were copying the German technique. According to ZeroHedge:

All they actually had to do, in both Berlin and DC, was allow a small fringe group of angry protesters to gain access to the building, film it, and then pump out the “attempted coup” narrative. It made no difference whatsoever that the “domestic terrorists” (in both Berlin and Washington) were a completely unorganized, unarmed mob that posed absolutely zero threat of “staging a coup” and “overthrowing the government.” It also made not the slightest difference that Trump didn’t actually “incite” the mob (yes, I put myself through the agony of reading every word of his speech, which was the usual word salad from start to finish). We’re talking propaganda here, not reality.

Those who lived in the Soviet Union developed a healthy dose of cynicism which helped them read in between the lines of Pravda and Izvestia and figure out what was really going on. We need to learn to read between the lines of the Democrat Party's propaganda. Whenever they censor the alternative, they are indicating that they know they are lying.

Click here to read this piece in the American Thinker blog.

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Against violence
Jesse Richman, 1/11/2021

Last week I signed an open letter from political scientists calling for the immediate removal of President Trump from office. https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2021/01/07/hundreds-political-scientists-call-removing-trump 

I did so in direct response to the riot by Trump supporters at the U.S. Capitol.  This is a shocking and utterly unprecidented event.  It must be responded to in the most severe way.  The effort (successful for several hours but ultimately repulsed) to disrupt the orderly operations of the US Congress is a direct attack on the fundamentals of American democracy.  Trump no longer deserves to be president because he directly encouraged this violence, and was very slow to say anything even tepidly critical of it.  If Senator Sasse is right, Trump in fact was jubilant about the events at the Capitol https://www.vox.com/2021/1/8/22220840/sasse-trump-capitol-storming-impeachment. In any event he clearly reacted slowly and badly.  Telling rioters who have been breaking down doors in the US Capitol on live television "we love you" after telling them to go there is utterly beyond the pale.

I defended Trump when he was impeached the last time.  I believe that Trump is right about some key issues, including the need to balance trade.  This is not about policy.  It's about American democracy.... 

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UK scientists confirm my theory that COVID-19 is evolving into a more-contagious but less deadly strain
Howard Richman, 12/22/2020

There is no need to panic at the "news” from the UK that the COVID-19 virus has mutated into a more-contagious strain. I called this one in a blog posting in the American Thinker on November 19 called “COVID-19 is getting less deadly”:

https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2020/11/covid19_is_getting_less_deadly.html

Viruses always mutate quickly into more contagious but less deadly strains. The reason is simple. The more deadly strains show serious symptoms which cause patients to be isolated, preventing the deadly strain from being spread. Only mild strains that cause mild symptoms continue to multiply and spread.

This is one of the fundamental findings in the “Evolution of Virulence” literature. The UK report is not really news. COVID-19 has been evolving rapidly worldwide since August, as shown by skyrocketing incidence rates without corresponding increases in excess death rates. 

In the 5 weeks since my blog posting, the "excess deaths" in the United States, as reported by the CDC, have remained low even while COVID cases in the US, as reported on the worldometers website, have continued to rise exponentially.

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COVID-19 is getting less deadly -- I'm published in American Thinker this morning
Howard Richman, 11/19/2020

The Swedish COVID-19 statistics, as published by Worldometer, suggest that COVID is simultaneously becoming more communicable and less deadly. To see the latest, check out the Daily New Cases and the Daily Deaths on the Worldometer webpage for Sweden. Daily New Cases are rising, suggesting that the disease is getting more communicable. Meanwhile, Daily Deaths are falling, suggesting that the disease is getting less deadly.

NewCasesSweden.JPG

NewDeathsSweden.JPG

 

These results are not surprising to those who know about The Evolution of Virulence (pdf) in infectious diseases. Viruses, not having DNA, do not reproduce themselves as precisely as do higher organisms. As a result, there is much more genetic variation within their descendants, resulting in rapid evolution which:

  1. Increases Communicability. Natural selection favors those virus components that allow the virus to spread to more hosts.
  2. Reduces Deadliness. Natural selection disfavors those virus components that cause the host to die, because a dead host cannot spread the disease.

These factors have been studied extensively in wild populations of the animal world. The first causes the infectious period of a virus to lengthen. The second causes the virus to become less deadly. As a result, almost all viruses found in wild populations are intermediate in severity. They are neither so strong that they debilitate the host, nor so weak that the host can quickly overcome them.

We have excellent examples of intermediate-severity viruses in the human world – a bunch of different viruses known as the “common cold.”  They are not so strong that they kill or debilitate, nor so weak that they can be overcome in less than a week.

The public health authorities have been selecting for decreasing viral symptoms and thus decreasing deadliness in COVID-19. People who display obvious symptoms are getting tested for the virus and then isolated so that they cannot spread the virus to others. A virus without obvious symptoms can hardly be deadly!

As I noted at the beginning of this posting, the Swedish charts clearly suggest that COVID-19 is becoming more communicable but less deadly, just as scientific theory would expect. But what about COVID-19 in the United States? At first glance, the Worldometer webpage for the U.S. appears to show that more and more people are getting the disease and that more and more people are dying of it.

NewCasesUS.JPG

NewDeathsUS.JPG

But our Worldometer death statistics are collected differently from the way they are collected in Sweden. In the U.S. we get our death reports from hospitals, and we pay hospitals more money if COVID is included as one of the possible contributors to the death.  As a result, our statistics show death with COVID, not death by COVID. If we used the same method to calculate deaths by common cold we might conclude that the common cold becomes a deadly disease during sniffles season!

Fortunately, the CDC publishes another set of data (the Excess Death data) which allows us to separate out death by COVID from death with COVID. In the graph below I have plotted, in red, the Deaths with COVID published by Worldometer and, in blue, the Excess Deaths published by the CDC.

The CDC first calculates expected deaths by averaging the number of deaths for the same week over the last three years. Then it calculates Excess Deaths by subtracting the expected deaths from the actual deaths. I have added a third step: I have divided the Excess Deaths by 10 so that they would fit on the same scale as the Deaths with COVID. The results are displayed in the graph below:

DeathsWithCovid.png

Beginning August 15, there has been a clear divergence between the trends of the two sets of data. In recent weeks Deaths with COVID have actually been rising while Excess Deaths have actually been falling.

The most recent week, the one that ended on November 7, was the first week since the epidemic began in which Excess Deaths were negative. But that week’s death count will almost certainly be revised upwards as the CDC notes:

It is important to note that it can take several weeks for death records to be submitted to National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), processed, coded, and tabulated. Therefore, the data shown on this page may be incomplete, and will likely not include all deaths that occurred during a given time period, especially for the more recent time periods.

In both the U.S. and Sweden, COVID-19 is following the disease course predicted by scientific theory. The communicability of COVID has been rising, as shown by rising Daily New Cases, while the deadliness has been falling, as shown in the U.S. by falling Excess Deaths and in Sweden by falling Daily Deaths.

But even though COVID-19 is weakening, these data show that it is still deadly. And this is true in both Sweden and the United States. So don’t start acting recklessly! If you have symptoms, isolate yourself. Don’t spread COVID to others!

You won’t read about COVID weakening in the Democrat Party’s media (i.e., the main stream media and social media) until the presidential election has been decided. They need to pretend COVID is still extremely deadly, or their lame excuses for cheating would crumble (such as their claim that “social distancing” concerns prevented them from letting Republican poll-watchers get close enough to see what was going on).

But the science cannot be denied. Deadly viruses eventually evolve into more communicable but less deadly forms. COVID-19 is no exception.

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To read it on the American Thinker website, go to:

https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2020/11/covid19_is_getting_less_deadly.html

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How to fix the debates - Jesse and I are Published on the American Thinker blog this morning
Howard Richman, 10/7/2020

By Jesse Richman and Howard Richman

The first presidential debate of 2020 was a national embarrassment.  The interruptions and talk-overs numbered more than 90 by some counts.  The moderator struggled to enforce the rules yet also led Trump to accuse him of being a third debate participant. Demolition derby in place of debate.

For years we have been advocating a solution that would radically improve the presidential debate format.  It has also been proposed by a bipartisan group convened by the Annenberg Center

The best solution is simple, elegant, and fair. Let the candidates manage their time but let only one microphone be on at once.  This solution is also readily extensible to a debate in which the candidates are in different places to minimize risk from Covid-19.  It is sometimes called a ‘chess clock’ debate format.

Imagine this introduction by the moderator of the next debate.  

Welcome to the second presidential debate.  The rules are as follows.  Each candidate has forty-five minutes total speaking time during this debate.  You cannot speak for more than three minutes at a time before the other candidate gets a turn.  When one of you is using your time, the other will have a muted microphone.  To request to speak, push the button on your podium.  Your time will start when the other is done speaking. The first question is…

Such a simple set of rules.  Such a radical transformation of the debate.   

No interruptions.  Each candidate will have a live microphone only when using their time.  The epidemic of interruptions for instant rebuttals during the other candidate’s argument will be eliminated.  Instead, this format lets each candidate speak at will, but forces the candidates to take turns.  No more than three minutes each. 

No moderator cutting off candidates.  A clock with time to speak on the current question and total time will be visible for each candidate. The alternative way to get turn taking is to let the moderator or the networks mute candidates. This risks the appearance and actuality of unfairness and invites rhetoric attacking the moderator.  

It will be candidate driven.  No one has more incentive to raise the tough questions and tough follow-ups for an opponent.  Both will have time to pursue those questions and their answers.  The moderator will enter with a new question only when no eligible candidate requests time, or at pre-selected intervals. 

It will be fast paced. Candidates will know that they can always use additional time to rebut, but no candidate will want to grant an opponent the luxury of the only extensive closing statement, and candidates will have less incentive to waste time by answering any question with more words than necessary. 

It would work equally well for a ‘Zoom’ debate. Because of the turn taking managed by requests to speak and the clock, this format will work well even if the candidates, as a health precaution, are not able to be in the same room together. 

Minor candidates can also potentially be included in this format without giving them an unfair advantage, and large primary candidate stages can be similarly accommodated.  The key is to use a formula (based on polling, fundraising, or some other metric) to allocate a small amount of time to minor candidates.  They would not receive the (arguably inappropriate) equal billing with major candidates, but they would also have a brief chance to make their case.  

A debate structured in this way will be good television and good for our democracy.  It will move the moderator to the sidelines, allow for more physical distance during the debate, and prevent interruptions.

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To read this on the American Thinker website, go to: 

https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2020/10/how_to_fix_the_debates.html

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Evidence is in: Hydroxychloroquine works -- I'm published in American Thinker this morning
Howard Richman, 7/5/2020

I begin:

The media is doing its best to ignore the solid new evidence that hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) works. Although they claim to be pro-science, they only report scientific studies that agree with their narrative. Although they claim that black lives matter to them, they purposely keep knowledge about successful treatments away from COVID-19 patients, a disproportionate number of whom are black. Here are some details of the two new studies that almost all of them are ignoring:

To read it on the American Thinker website, go to: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2020/07/evidence_is_in_hydroxychloroquine_works.html

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Scientific Fraud in Anti-Choloquine Study?
Jesse Richman, 6/3/2020

Emergencies often present ripe opportunities for fraud, and apparently this includes a share of the medical studies purporting to examine treatment outcomes. 

A set of studies published in leading medical journals claiming negative outcomes from patient treatment as a result of Choloquine seem to be based upon fraudulent data. For more see this Guardian story... 

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Dr. Fauci and the Tuskegee Syphilis Study Victims - I'm published in American Thinker this morning
Howard Richman, 5/18/2020

I begin:

Although Dr. Anthony Fauci has lost his power to slow-walk a vaccine solution to COVID-19, he still retains his power to disparage HCQ (hydroxychloroquine), the most effective treatment against Covid-19. During the last few weeks, he has publicized two studies in which HCQ without zinc hasn’t worked with hospitalized patients. He has been so successful at disparaging HCQ that hospital use of HCQ has been declining.

TrumpAndFauciVaccineAnnouncement.jpg

[Click here to read it on the American Thinker website]

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Operation Warp Speed eliminates Fauci’s power to delay vaccines - I'm published in American Thinker this morning
Howard Richman, 5/17/2020

On Friday, President Trump announced Operation Warp Speed, a public-private partnership to develop a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year if possible. He put two “can-do” people in charge of the process – Glaxo Smith Kline’s vaccine expert Mancef Slaoui to oversee vaccine development and Army General Gus Perna to oversee logistics.

Not only will they facilitate testing of the available vaccines, but they will also arrange production of promising vaccines even before they have been approved. In contrast, during  President Obama’s Swine Flu (H1N1) epidemic, the CDC got vaccines approved quickly (just 7 weeks after Phase 1 clinical trials began), but then a shortage ensued while the vaccines were being produced.

Taking Vaccines out of Fauci’s Hands

President Trump just took the power to slow-walk vaccines out of the hands of Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of NIAID (one of the institutes of the NIH). When the first COVID-19 vaccine, the Inovio vaccine, was ready for clinical testing, Fauci buried it in a year-long Phase 1 clinical trial which began in April 2020 and is not scheduled to end until April 2021. (Fortunately, Fauci never got control over Bill Gates’ Moderna vaccine, which is making rapid progress, having already completed its Phase 1 clinical trial.)

President Trump officially announced Operation Warp Speed in the White House Rose Garden. Fauci stood behind him with hands folded in front of him (at the 24:00 mark) while Trump was saying, “And we hope to be able to do something by the end of the year, or shortly thereafter.”

TrumpAndFauciVaccineAnnouncement.jpg

Just three days earlier at a Senate hearing, Fauci had reiterated his claim that no vaccine could possibly be completed in less than a year to 18 months, even though in an earlier interview with Samantha Guthrie on the Today show Fauci had admitted that the coming Operation Warp Speed could get a vaccine out sooner.

Operation Warp Speed is a totally brilliant political move by Trump. He put a “can-do” leader in charge of vaccines, and “can’t-do” Fauci can’t object. Trump’s primary goal is to open up the economy ASAP. Firing Fauci would have hurt that effort. Trump has figured out how to neutralize Fauci’s obstructions without firing him....

[Click here to read it on the American Thinker website]

 

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Four questions that senators should ask Redfield and Fauci on Tuesday - I'm published in the American Thinker this morning
Howard Richman, 5/10/2020

I begin:

On Tuesday, health bureaucrats Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of NIAID, will testify at a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Republican Senators should ask them four questions about their failures to expedite deployment of vaccines and test the successful HCQ-zinc treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I conclude:

Instead, of taking the time to keep up with the research regarding zinc and HCQ, Fauci talks daily on the telephone with Andrew Cuomo of anti-Trump CNN, supposedly to ask him about his health.  Meanwhile, at the CDC, instead of expediting vaccines and testing treatments, Redfield calls for mail-in voting in the next election, a measure that would benefit Democrats.

Fauci and Redfield are playing political games while Americans die. Republican Senators need to ask them why they are failing to invoke the Accelerated Approval Process to get out a vaccine right away and why they are failing to test the HCQ-zinc treatment.

To read it on the American Thinker website, go to: 

https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2020/05/four_questions_senators_should_ask_redfield_and_fauci_on_tuesday.html

 

 

 

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The last time they politicized the treatment for an epidemic - I'm published in the American Thinker this morning
Howard Richman, 5/3/2020

I’ve got a piece in American Thinker this morning about the 1793 yellow fever epidemic in our nation’s capitol, which at that time was Philadelphia. The parallels with COVID-19 today are amazing,

Just as Democratic-Republicans disparaged the only successful treatment – quinine – in 1793 just because Alexander Hamilton endorsed it, Democrats disparage the successful treatment by quinine’s successor, hydroxychloroquine, today just because President Trump partially endorsed it. See:

https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2020/05/the_last_time_they_politicized_the_treatment_for_an_epidemic.html

 

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Zinc: The Missing Element in the HCQ/COVID-19 Debate - I'm published in the American Thinker blog this morning
Howard Richman, 4/26/2020

Here's a selection:

On April 21, Dr. Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) recommended against using the combination of HCQ and azithromycin for treating COVID-19 due to irregular heartbeats that can result. It based its recommendation upon a VA hospital retrospective study conducted without using zinc upon patients who were probably zinc-deficient, being elderly and about 2/3 Black.

In that study, the patients in the HCQ groups died at a significantly higher rate than the patients who had not received HCQ. But the higher death rate in the HCQ groups may have been due to the fact that the VA put sicker patients into the two groups taking HCQ (one of which also took azithromycin), while putting healthier patients into the control group that didn’t take HCQ. The GoodRX blog noticed this flaw. They wrote:...

One thing to note is that people who had more severe symptoms, which might partially explain the higher death rates, were also more likely to get medications...."

Even worse, Fauci’s NIAID never even considered the fact that the VA was treating a group that is known to be zinc deficient without adding zinc supplements. Nor did they consider the interaction between HCQ and zinc, such that HCQ either works better if combined with zinc, or HCQ can deprive patients of needed zinc if not administered along with zinc supplements to zinc-deficient patients.

Click here to read it on the American Thinker website.

 

 

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Fauci time and the Coronavirus Vaccine - I'm published in American Thinker
Howard Richman, 4/17/2020

The American vaccine’s Phase 1 clinical trials are bogged down. They began on March 3 and are not scheduled to end until June 1, 2021.

Why fifteen months for the first American vaccine’s clinical trials? The reason is simple. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of NIAID (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases), is conducting them in Fauci Time.  (Fauci is also conducting the clinical trials to see if Remdesivir is effective against COVID-19 in Fauci Time – those trials are not scheduled to end until April 1, 2023.)

Normally, during a health emergency, the U.S. gets out a vaccine within months. Take the H1N1 (Swine Flu) pandemic of 2009. The CDC has published a timeline:

  • April 15. First human infection.
  • May 5. School closings affect 607,778 students.
  • July 22. Clinical trials begin.
  • September 15. Four vaccines approved.

So, in 2009, the FDA started its clinical trials of a vaccine on July 22 and approved four vaccines seven weeks later. Meanwhile, in 2019, Fauci’s NIAID started its clinical trials on March 3 and plans to take 15 months to complete them.

U.S. regulations allow for two rapid approval processes for vaccines during a health emergency. One of them, called Accelerated Approval, is the process used to approve the H1N1 vaccines after less than two months of clinical trials. The other, called Emergency Use Authorization, is the process used to approve the anthrax vaccine so that it could be administered to the soldiers invading Iraq.

In the Accelerated Approval process, a single clinical trial phase determines whether the vaccine is safe and whether it creates the required antibodies. In vaccine terminology, these pathogen-specific antibodies are considered to be a “surrogate endpoint,” permitting the vaccine to be approved for use without field studies. For such vaccines, there is a “Phase 4” process during which the success of the vaccine is continuously monitored while it is being used.

The following are among the successful vaccines approved through the Accelerated Approval process:...

Click here to read it on the American Thinker website

 

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Testing Hydroxychloroquine as a Prophylactic -- I'm published in this morning's American Thinker
Howard Richman, 4/13/2020

There are three experiments getting started now that will determine whether hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) works as a prophylactic. A prophylactic functions almost like a vaccine, except that it has to be taken daily.

All three experiments are the type that researchers dream about. They are called double-blind studies because neither the subjects nor the people working with the subjects will know which subjects are taking an HCQ pill and which are taking a placebo pill. Both pills will look identical.

The subjects of all three experiments will be healthcare workers and/or first responders. The experimenters will follow the subjects closely to determine which ones catch COVID-19. All three experiments are being conducted by reputable top-notch institutions:...

To read it on the American Thinker website, go to:

https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2020/04/testing_hydroxychloroquine_as_a_prophylactic.html

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State restrictions on the use of HCQ
Howard Richman, 4/12/2020

I've gone through two websites (one published by the National Academy for State Health Policy and the other published by the American Medical Association) and have classified state restrictions regarding use of HCQ (hydroxychloroquine) to treat COVID-19.  I have classified those state policies into three groups:

  1. Legal Restrictions: IL, MI, MS, NY, OH, and OR.
  2. Pharmacy Discretion: KS , KY, LA, and SC.
  3. Not for Prophylaxis:  IA, ID, MO, NJ, NV, NC, RI TX and WI.

Others may look at the same charts and classify the states differently. The rules regarding Pharmacy Discretion and Prophylaxis are largely to prevent shortages from occurring in the event that there is not enough to go around.  The Legal Restrictions appear to be designed to prevent primary care physicians from prescribing HCQ based upon symptoms. In this posting, I will just discuss the states that have legal restrictions:

  • IL. Only those with a positive test result for COVID-19 may get a prescription.
  • MI. Those who prescribe HCQ or fill HCQ prescriptions without further proof of efficacy for treating COVID-19 may be investigated and lose their licence.
  • MS. Prescriptions limited to those who have been admitted to hospitals.
  • NY. Prescriptions are limited to those who have tested positive.
  • OH. Prescriptions are limited to those who have tested positive.
  • OR. Prescriptions are limited to those who have tested positive or have a clinical diagnosis.

And here's a table showing the deaths per case and deaths per million people in the states with legal restrictions, as compared to the national average of all 50 states:...

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Lots of studies of HCQ - none of which use zinc
Howard Richman, 4/12/2020

We will soon know whether HCQ (hydroxychloroquine) works by itself (none include zinc with the HCQ). I just searched clinicaltrials.gov. Eight new studies are testing the effectiveness of HCQ against COVID-19:

  1. Henry Ford Health System. Healthcare workers and first responders will take either HCQ or a placebo as a prophylactic.
  2. Pastier Institute in France. Healthcare workers will take either HCQ or placebo as a phophylactic.
  3. Duke University. Healthcare workers will get HCQ or placebo as a prophylactic.
  4. Gangnam Severance Hospital, South Korea. Those who have been exposed to COVID-19 will get HCQ, others will get no intervention.
  5. Rambam Health Care in Israel. Those with mild to moderate COVID-19 will get HCQ.
  6. Azidus Brazil.  Those who have moderate to severe pneumonia as an after effect of COVID-19 will get HCQ and an antibiotic.
  7. University of Calgary. HCQ or placebo will be given to patients within 96 hours of a positive COVID-19 result.
  8. Instituto de Investigacion Marques de Valdecilla Spain. Patients with COVID 19 will be compared to patients with Immuno-mediated Inflammatory Disease as far as their response to HCQ is concerned....

 

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Deborah Birx: 1 million Abbott Lab tests not being used.
Howard Richman, 4/10/2020

See this video from Wednesday's Coronavirus task force briefing at the 1:38:35 mark:

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Detroit hospital system starts test of HCQ as Prophylactic
Howard Richman, 4/9/2020

President Trump isn't the only one who is bypassing the Washington bureaucracy in an attempt to find a solution to COVID-19. The Henry Ford Health System in Detroit has announced the WHIP COVID-19 study to find out whether HCQ (hydroxychloroquine) works as a prophylactic. They are now asking for volunteers among healthcare workers and first responders, people who are likely to come into contact with those who are sick from the virus. It will be a randomized, double blinded study, and the first results will become available about 4 weeks after the experiment begins -- probably around June 1. 

They started the study in response to a request from Detroit's mayor and local health care experts, according to their April 2 press release:...

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Fauci now is part of the problem, not part of the solution - I'm published in April 8 American thinker blog
Howard Richman, 4/7/2020

The South Korean solution to the COVID-19 virus (widespread testing and the hydroychloroquine-zinc cure) is beginning to work in the United States. Americans, like South Koreans, will soon be back at work and school. But at Monday's Coronavirus Task Force press briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci ignored the success. Instead, he pretended that the only way the U.S. could get back to normal was through vaccines and new therapies. He was responding to a question directed to him by reporter Jonathan Karl at the 37:37 mark of this video:

Karl: Will we truly get back to normal before there’s a vaccine available to everybody?...

Fauci: … I believe with the therapies that will be coming online, with the fact that I feel confident that over a period of time we will get a good vaccine, that we will never have to get back to where we are right now. So, if that means getting back to normal, then we’ll get back to normal.

Fauci was being disingenuous. His own organization NIAID (one of the institutes of NIH) is slow-walking both therapies and vaccines. For example, NIAID is currently conducting a study on the effectiveness of Remdesivir, a drug which, along with chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, proved effective against COVID-19 in the Chinese test-tube studies. Here's NIAID's schedule for completing Phase 3 of its approval process:

  • Actual Study Start Date: February 2, 2020
  • Estimated Primary Completion Date: April 1, 2023
  • Estimated Study Completion Date: April 1, 2023

Believe it or not, that is not a misprint! Fauci was touting new therapies even while his own organization was slow walking the most promising of them so that it would not be ready until 2023! 

The same is true of vaccines....

[Click here to read it on the American Thinker website.]

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The solution to COVID-19 is in Sight! - we're published in today's American Thinker
Howard Richman, 4/6/2020

The solution to COVID-19 is in Sight! It is the South Korean solution: (1) widespread testing, and (2) treatment at home using a hydroxychloroquine-zinc cocktail.

The South Korea solution works! People there are back at work. The death ratios (deaths/recoveries; deaths/cases) are low. Unfortunately, the bureaucrats in the U.S. health bureaucracy are trying to stop it from happening in the United States. See the commentary that my son and I wrote in today’s American Thinker:

https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2020/04/a_solution_to_covid19_is_in_sight.html

 

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COVID-19 shows that imbalanced trade is killing US - we're published in today's American Thinker
Jesse Richman, 3/29/2020

by Jesse Richman and Howard Richman

We have been warning of the costs and dangers of imbalanced trade for decades.  With the election of Donald Trump, U.S. voters showed they got it.  But our country's elites in Congress and the bureaucracy have dragged their feet.  Perhaps with COVID-19, U.S. elites will recognize that imbalanced trade is killing the U.S. and finally get behind President Trump to fix it.

When a country configures its policies so that it consistently buys almost a trillion dollars more in goods from abroad than it sells, several things happen.  First, it stops making stuff.  Second, it goes deep in debt to foreigners.  Third, it becomes less resilient in the face of disasters and threats.

The consequences of imbalanced trade are dramatically apparent in the manifold weaknesses revealed by the current pandemic.  When China fought the virus, its medical workers had available top-quality respirators and full-body protective suits.  Millions of face masks were sent to the people of Wuhan, allowing each person to play a role in reducing transmission of the virus.

When American companies produce abroad, their factories may be taken over by the countries where the factories reside.  In fact, that is exactly what happened in China during the COVID-19 epidemic, as President Trump's economic adviser Peter Navarro pointed out in an interview with Maria Bartiromo on February 23 (see the 2:15 mark):

In terms of the immediate issue, face masks — the N-95 face masks, China put export restrictions on those masks and then nationalized an American factory that produces them there.

As the U.S. attempts to fight the pandemic that spread from China, our hospitals have dwindling supplies of the most basic protective gear and no possibility of providing our medical workers with the kind of protection China's doctors and nurses had available.

[Click here to read the rest on the American Thinker website.]

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  • [An] extensive argument for balanced trade, and a program to achieve balanced trade is presented in Trading Away Our Future, by Raymond Richman, Howard Richman and Jesse Richman. “A minimum standard for ensuring that trade does benefit all is that trade should be relatively in balance.” [Balanced Trade entry]

    Journal of Economic Literature:

  • [Trading Away Our Future] Examines the costs and benefits of U.S. trade and tax policies. Discusses why trade deficits matter; root of the trade deficit; the “ostrich” and “eagles” attitudes; how to balance trade; taxation of capital gains; the real estate tax; the corporate income tax; solving the low savings problem; how to protect one’s assets; and a program for a strong America....

    Atlantic Economic Journal:

  • In Trading Away Our Future   Richman ... advocates the immediate adoption of a set of public policy proposal designed to reduce the trade deficit and increase domestic savings.... the set of public policy proposals is a wake-up call... [February 17, 2009 review by T.H. Cate]