July 2, 2020

On Why We're Here.

This is what he said:
Right now, right this moment, there are Americans who are alive and who are healthy who will be dead by the fall. And there are Americans who already died who did not have to. All because of the failures of our government and more specifically, the president of the United States.

There is no other conclusion you can reach at this point,” he continued, noting how “we have lost every last charitable explanation for failures.

At this point, there is nothing left to say but that Donald Trump has gotten Americans killed and is going to get even more Americans killed in unfathomable numbers.
And then there's this:
What Trump said:
Trump: I think we're gonna be very good with the coronavirus. I think that at some point that's going to sort of just disappear, I hope.

Reporter: You still believe so? Disappear?

Trump: Yea, I do. I do. Yea, sure, at some point. And I think we're going to have a vaccine real soon, too.
Why we're here.

June 30, 2020

Message To Wendy Bell (Who's Sowing Doubt About The Science And That's Gonna Get Some People Sick)

Yesterday, KDKA Radio's Wendy Bell ranted about "the virtue signaling of mask-Nazis" saying:
By the way, the science about masks sucks because no body knows and no body can prove anything about these particulates, right?\
Um, no. Wendy is incorrect here. And the more her audience believes her the greater the chance they'll get sick. There's even some science to back that last statement up:
An April study about the effects of coronavirus media coverage analyzed two popular Fox News cable programs — and claims how one host talked about the threat of the coronavirus resulted in greater numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths.
The paper says viewership of Hannity relative to Carlson is associated with approximately 30% more COVID-19 cases by March 14, and 21% more COVID-19 deaths by March 28.
But let's look at the science that Wendy Bell says "sucks" shall we?

Two experts from Stanford University answer the question, "How do cloth face coverings prevent the spread of COVID-19?
[Larry Chu, MD, a professor of anesthesia and director of the Anesthesia Informatics and Media Laboratory]: In order to answer this, it’s first important to understand the concept of source control. We’ve learned that as many as 40% of people infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 may have no symptoms. But when they talk, cough or sneeze, they can still spread the virus to others in the form of respiratory droplets expelled into the air. Those droplets evaporate into fine particles that may linger. The mask traps these larger droplets before they can evaporate. So, wearing a mask regularly can prevent spreading at the source even when we don’t know we are sick. But masks are just one important way to prevent this disease from spreading. Washing your hands regularly and thoroughly and keeping at least 6 feet apart from one another are still vitally important.

[Amy Price, PhD, a senior research scientist at Stanford’s AIM Laboratory]: Many people argue that cloth masks can’t be effective because they can’t filter out viral particles, which are extremely tiny. But, as Larry explained, most of these particles leave the mouth and nose in much larger droplets that become smaller through evaporation as they move away from the body. Trapping droplets with the mask means not nearly as many viral particles escape. So, when all parties in a gathering are wearing well-constructed, well-fitting masks, it provides an extra layer of safety for everyone. If two people are wearing masks, the viral particles can travel about 5 feet away from each individual. When an infected person is not wearing a mask, those particles can float through the air 30 feet or more and stay alive for up to 30 hours.
Then there's some actual science (as opposed to two scientists answering questions about the science).

Here's the abstract from a literature review:
The science around the use of masks by the general public to impedeCOVID-19 transmission is advancing rapidly. Policymakers need guidance on how masks should be used by the general population to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, we synthesize the relevant literature to inform multiple areas: 1) transmission characteristics ofCOVID-19, 2) filtering characteristics and efficacy of masks, 3) estimated population impacts of widespread community mask use, and4) sociological considerations for policies concerning mask-wearing.A primary route of transmission of COVID-19 is likely via small respiratory droplets, and is known to be transmissible from presymptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. Reducing disease spread requires two things: first, limit contacts of infected individuals via physical distancing and contact tracing with appropriate quarantine,and second, reduce the transmission probability per contact by wearing masks in public, among other measures. The preponderance of evidence indicates that mask wearing reduces the transmissibility per contact by reducing transmission of infected droplets in both laboratory and clinical contexts. Public mask wearing is most effective at stopping spread of the virus when compliance is high. The decreased transmissibility could substantially reduce the death toll and economic impact while the cost of the intervention is low. Thus were commend the adoption of public cloth mask wearing, as an effective form of source control, in conjunction with existing hygiene, distancing, and contact tracing strategies. We recommend that public officials and governments strongly encourage the use of widespread face masks in public, including the use of appropriate regulation. [Emphasis  added.]
Are you paying attention, Wendy?

The science is there and it does not "suck."

The more people in your audience that believe you, the more they are at risk.

Is that OK with you?

June 29, 2020

GOP Candidate Sean Parnell Makes Excuses For Donald Trump

First, some background.

A few days ago the NY Times published a story that began with this:
American intelligence officials have concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops — amid the peace talks to end the long-running war there, according to officials briefed on the matter.
The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the delicate intelligence and internal deliberations. They said the intelligence had been treated as a closely held secret, but the administration expanded briefings about it this week — including sharing information about it with the British government, whose forces are among those said to have been targeted.
And according to The Times, the meeting took place earlier in the year, as the nation was shutting down due to Covid-19. They add that these revelations come as Trump is looking to "invite Mr. Putin to an expanded meeting of the Group of 7 nations."

The Washington Post followed with:

A Russian military spy unit offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to attack coalition forces in Afghanistan, including U.S. and British troops, in a striking escalation of the Kremlin’s hostility toward the United States, American intelligence has found.

The Russian operation, first reported by the New York Times, has generated an intense debate within the Trump administration about how best to respond to a troubling new tactic by a nation that most U.S. officials regard as a potential foe but that President Trump has frequently embraced as a friend, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive intelligence matter.
The officials said administration leaders learned of reported bounties in recent months from U.S. intelligence agencies, prompting internal discussions, including a large interagency meeting in late March. According to one person familiar with the matter, the responses discussed at that meeting included sending a diplomatic communication to relay disapproval and authorizing new sanctions.
Then there's CNN confirming:
Russian intelligence officers for the military intelligence GRU recently offered money to Taliban militants in Afghanistan as rewards if they killed US or UK troops there, a European intelligence official told CNN.
The usual denials have already arrived: You'll note that Trump can't even get the story correct. It's NOT about "attacks on our Russians" is it? It's about allegations that a Russian military intelligence unit paid bounties for those attacks.

So that's basically the story. Here's how Sean Parnell, (GOP candidate for PA-17) describes it in a series of tweets. He starts with this:
The fact that Russia and other countries like Iran and even China are involved in Afghanistan in some way should come as a surprise to no one. It’s been this way for over a decade. Spanning three presidential administrations.
Which is, of course, completely beside the point. The story is not about Russian involvement in Afghanistan, but the how the GRU offered bounties for killing US Troops, when Trump knew about it and yet did nothing in response. Sean is trying to divert your attention away from the real story.

Then there's this from Sean:
What I can say, with absolute certainty, is that clandestine operations or raw intelligence without context, like this Russian bounty story should not be discussed in a public forum.
But if you were to look at the reporting from The Times, The Post and CNN, you'll see that there's no "raw intelligence" or any discussion of "clandestine operations" there at all. He's trying to divert attention away from the real story -  about how American Intelligence Community concluded that Russia was offering bounties for American troops and how the Trump administration has yet to respond.

Even Liz Cheney (R-Wyo) tweeted:

Even Dan Crenshaw (R-Houston) agreed: And yet, for Sean Parnell, this is the way to go:
By the way, Sean, the story is accurate:
CNN previously reported that Russian intelligence officers for the military intelligence GRU recently offered money to Taliban militants in Afghanistan as rewards if they killed US or UK troops there, according to a European intelligence official. US intelligence concluded months ago that Russian military intelligence offered the bounties, amid peace talks, and Trump was briefed on the intelligence findings and the White House's National Security Council held a meeting about it in late March, according to the Times, citing officials briefed on the matter.
United States intelligence officers and Special Operations forces in Afghanistan alerted their superiors as early as January to a suspected Russian plot to pay bounties to the Taliban to kill American troops in Afghanistan, according to officials briefed on the matter. They believed at least one U.S. troop death was the result of the bounties, two of the officials said.
So IF Trump is telling the truth that he wasn't informed, WHY THE HECK NOT? The GRU offered bounties for American deaths in Afghanistan and he's not informed? How much sense does that make? And if he was informed months ago then doesn't that mean he's been lying to all of us about it?

But by all means, Sean, continue to make excuses for the guy. History will reward you for it.

June 27, 2020

Wendy Bell Is STILL Ok With Lots Of People Dying (Shame On Her For This)

Look at this Wendy Bell rant from today.

On the same day that Allegheny County announced yet another rise in the number of new Covid-19 cases, she spends a couple of minutes proudly preening about the lack of masks she's seeing while out shopping.

About a minute or so in, while ranting at Governor Wolf, she tells him:
Stop trying to circumvent the law. Stop trying to supersede our individual freedoms. Stop trying to rule with an iron fist and stop trying to scare us about this virus.

We understand what happens with coronavirus. People get sick. But people need to be exposed. We need to all become immune to this thing. Stop saying (she uses air quotes here) we need a vaccine, OK? We have a flu vaccine and only half the people get it. So everyone's going to rush out and get this vaccine? C'mon.
Evidently, she's talking so called herd immunity but look, it's herd immunity without the need for a vaccine.

This is dangerous. Very very dangerous. Wendy Bell is not a medical professional and yet she's pushing a line that may very well get lots of people sick.

(But isn't she married to a medical doctor? Have the two of them never discussed this?)

Let's look at some facts. What does the medical community have to say about herd immunity?  Well, there's this from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center:
To reach herd immunity for COVID-19, likely 70% or more of the population would need to be immune. Without a vaccine, over 200 million Americans would have to get infected before we reach this threshold. Put another way, even if the current pace of the COVID-19 pandemic continues in the United States – with over 25,000 confirmed cases a day – it will be well into 2021 before we reach herd immunity. If current daily death rates continue, over half a million Americans would be dead from COVID-19 by that time. [Emphasis added.]
That's a half million dead US citizens before herd immunity kicks in. That's about 3 times as many as have died so far.  Doesn't Wendy Bell know this? If not, WHY DOESN'T WENDY BELL KNOW THIS YET?

Perhaps she does and has decided not to tell her audience. Which is worse? Her ignorance or her cruel dishonesty?

Then there's this part about herd immunity that Wendy Bell evidently doesn't know (or, again, she does and she yet chooses not to tell her audience):
WHO has published guidance on adjusting public health and social measures for the next phase of the COVID-19 response. Some governments have suggested that the detection of antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, could serve as the basis for an “immunity passport” or “risk-free certificate” that would enable individuals to travel or to return to work assuming that they are protected against re-infection. There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection. [Emphasis added.]
So again, Wendy Bell comes up empty. The sad part is that if members of her audience actually believe her, lots them are going to get sick - and some of those will die.

Wendy, are you OK with that?  Or are you still on the fence about it?

Message To Wendy Bell

I just sent this message to "Wendy Bell Radio" Facebook page:
Didn't you say that the crisis was over? (Note: yes, you did.) Didn't you say that that mathematician from Israel proved that it'll die down in 70 days? (Note: yes, you did.) Wasn't that a few WEEKS ago? (Note: yes, it was.)

Then can you comment on the Allegheny County announcement today that there are 90 NEW cases?

Any comment on how wrong you were/are about the coronavirus?
I'll post any response I get from her or KDKA Radio.

June 25, 2020

Why Is Sean Parnell Approving Mike Cernovich?


We should get a few things out of the way - Fort Benning's been in the news lately as it's one of those Army bases named after Confederate Generals. In this case it's General Henry Benning. He was one of the Confederate generals at Lee's loss at Gettysburg and at Lee's surrender at Appomattox.

He was also one of the signers of Georgia's Ordinance of Succession and as such was part of the convention that agreed to this:
The State of Georgia is attached to the Union, and desires to preserve it, if it can be done consistent with her rights and safety; but existing circumstances admonish her of danger: that danger arises from the assaults that are made upon the institution of domestic slavery...

(For the record, Elihu Yale doesn't do much better on that front.)

But all this is secondary to the question, "Who is this Mike Cernovich, the guy who wrote the tweet so heartily approved by GOP candidate Sean Parnell?"

He's a white genocide conspiracy theorist.

And the Southern Poverty Law Center has more than a few things to say about Mike Cernovich:

Cernovich is one of America’s most visible right-wing provocateurs, known for boosting or generating massively successful conspiracy theories like #Pizzagate. He made his career on trolling the liberal establishment by accusing people of pedophilia or child sex trafficking. 

Armed with a law degree, Cernovich claims to defend “free speech,” in particular the freedom to harass women and make misogynistic, violent comments. He came to prominence through his role in #Gamergate, a coordinated campaign of harassment against women in the gaming industry. Bankrolled by a divorce and by the sale of his books, Cernovich operates at the fringe of the conservative mainstream, acting as a pass-through for thinly-sourced and conspiratorial scoops. In May 2017, he joined forces with popular conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to co-host a show on Infowars, moving even deeper into the world of conspiracy theories.

Sean, is this really a guy you'd want to have ANYTHING to do with??

As you approved of the tweet, I am guessing the answer is YES.

June 24, 2020

Donald Trump's Legacy

The Trump administration is ending funding and support for local COVID-19 testing sites around the country this month, as cases and hospitalizations are skyrocketing in many states.

The federal government will stop providing money and support for 13 sites across five states which were originally set up in the first months of the pandemic to speed up testing at the local level.

Local officials and public health experts expressed a mixture of frustration, resignation, and horror at the decision to let federal support lapse.

From Politico:

President Donald Trump on Tuesday insisted he was serious when he revealed that he had directed his administration to slow coronavirus testing in the United States, shattering the defenses of senior White House aides who argued Trump’s remarks were made in jest.

“I don’t kid. Let me just tell you. Let me make it clear,” Trump told reporters, when pressed on whether his comments at a campaign event Saturday in Tulsa, Okla., were intended as a joke.

June 22, 2020


From CNN:
Just fewer than 6,200 people attended President Donald Trump's rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Tulsa Fire Department said Sunday -- a figure Trump's reelection campaign is disputing as it also seeks to blame "radical" protesters and the media for it's smaller-than-expected crowd size.
And we should believe the Trump campaign...why?

How long did they preen with the idea that one million ticket requests were made? The event was first-come, first-serve and they could only get six thousand to show to a nineteen thousand seat arena?