Thursday, December 31, 2020

The Best of BeeLine-2020

Here is a Top 10 List for the Best of BeeLine for 2020. The first five are the most popular posts I wrote during the year based on the number of views. The second five are a few of my personal favorites out of the 153 blog posts I wrote during the year. 

If you missed reading these "Best of BeeLine" posts the first time around, here's another opportunity to get to "the shortest route to what you need to know" to start 2021 off right. You might also consider forwarding this post to several friends who might appreciate a blog that tries to put some of the complicated issues of the day in context.

There were plenty of those in abundance in 2020 and blog posts about Covid and the election clearly were the most popular topics I wrote about.

Total readership grew by over 35% during the year. This is on top of 25%+ growth last year and over 50% growth in readership in 2018. All of that growth is organic. I don't actively promote or advertise this blog. New readers almost always come from one of you passing it along to someone else.

If you enjoy BeeLine, please pass a recommendation on to your friends and family. I enjoy writing it but it is a lot easier to sit down, research and write when I know more are reading what I write.

If you want to make sure you don't miss a post, consider putting yourself on the BeeLine email list. You will receive an email the first thing in the morning when I post a new piece. You can sign up in the upper right hand corner on the web page. You need to be viewing the web version to do this as this feature does not show up on your phone. You will receive a follow-up email (from FeedBurner) that you will need to confirm to begin delivery.

Thank you to all my loyal BeeLine readers and a Happy New Year to each one of you!

The Best of BeeLine-2020

Most Views

Follow the Numbers, Not the Narrative     11/10/20

Written a week after the election in which I outlined how much the numbers and data coming out after the election didn't make sense looking at past elections and trends.

I also made a point then that has proved to be very accurate as time has passed and even more questions have been raised about the integrity of the election results.

Trump may not prevail in all of this. It is very much an uphill battle once the votes have been counted. It is going to require that votes that have already been counted will have to thrown out.

No one is going to want to make a ruling to invalidate votes be it election officials, state legislators or the courts.

However, just because it is hard does not mean it should not be done. After all, we are talking about the foundational element in our representative republic. If we cannot trust the integrity of the vote we don't have a country.

Turns Ahead    3/10/20

Written in the early stages of the pandemic before any lockdowns had been put in place. However, I predicted then that it was not far-fetched to predict the NCAA basketball tournament, the Masters and major league baseball season disrupted. It seemed crazy at the time but it proved to be exactly where we were headed. If anyone doubted it before, we were clearly in The Fourth Turning.

Bad Data Begets Bad Decisions    8/20/20

Covid is bad. However, what is even worse is the bad data that has been used to drive much of the policy decisions about Covid. It should be no surprise this had led to a lot of bad decisions.

Ending Institutional Racism    6/7/20

There is a lot of talk on the need to end institutional racism these days. However, who controls all the major institutions in the United States? Local government in big cities. The police departments in urban areas. Federal government bureaucracy. Public schools. Colleges and universities. Labor unions. Media. Interestingly, they are all controlled by Democrats and have been for decades.

Fear and Facts    8/18/20

One of the most interesting facets of the Covid-19 pandemic is the incredible divide between what people think and the actual facts of our current reality. It is a textbook case of the power of the media and of propaganda in shaping people's emotions, attitudes and beliefs.

Five of my Favorites

 It's Not Over Until One Side Accepts Their Fate    9/6/20

Anyone who thinks we are going to be living in peace after January 20 needs to read what I wrote last September. The election did not solve anything. It will likely bring us even more unrest than before. If election fraud is responsible for where we are it is an even bigger nightmare than we can even imagine.

Models and Reality    3/29/20

The blog post where I first started questioning what we were being told by the "experts" about our necessary response to Covid. Reality was not matching the models. It proved to be the beginning of a very slippery slope that we are still on.

Paradise Lost     8/16/20

At that time I wrote this "blue" Hawaii had had the strongest lockdown and mask requirement of any state for several months. It was also an isolated island that could control everyone entering the state. Despite that, Hawaii was experiencing the largest increase in cases in the country. It is very similar to what is occurring in California right now. At some point does anyone begin to think that we are following the wrong public health policies?

Middle Class Joe    1/28/20

No one can say that I did not warn people about Joe. Note the date. Pre-Covid and well before the South Carolina Democrat primary. 80 million (?) should have read this before they voted.

What Is It With Millennial Women?   7/2/20

Trying to make sense of why so many of the Black Lives Matter protestors are young, white Millennial women. 

Here's looking forward to a better 2021 and giving 2020 the hindsight it richly deserves.

Thank you for following BeeLine!

Monday, December 28, 2020

2020 in Pictures

At this time of year I have traditionally posted some of the best pictures I have taken with my iPhone during the year.

In the past this included pictures I took on my travels around the world.

You might have seen images the last few years from China, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Bora Bora, Tahiti, Scotland, Ireland, Normandy, Italy, Croatia or the Greek Isles.

There is nothing quite so worldly in my photos this year.

Like everyone else, BeeLine has spent much of the year closer to home.

However, I still was able to capture a few images to document the year.

Below are a few of the sights that I found on my handy iPhone.

Despite a year that has seen depressing, disheartening and discouraging news most everywhere you turn, we still live in a beautiful world if we just stop and look around us.

May the news and views of people everywhere in 2021 match these images (with the exception of those March, 2020 grocery store pictures below). 

Sunrise at Sandestin, Florida

Sunset at Sandestin, Florida

Moonglow at Santa Rosa Beach, Florida

The best beach in the world?
Miramar Beach, Florida

This is not the Soviet Union
Cincinnati, Ohio, March, 2020

This is not Venezuela
Cincinnati, Ohio, March, 2020

The Ark Encounter
Williamstown, Kentucky

Darke County Courthouse
Greenville, Ohio

Brooke Street Park
Alpharetta, Georgia

Idaho State Capital
Boise, Idaho

Boise River
Boise, Idaho

Stonelick Hills Golf Course- Hole #9
Batavia, Ohio 

My favorite photo of the year
Mr. BeeLine and youngest grandson
Two Great Americans

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Casting Your Cares

2020 has been tough on everyone.

It has been particularly challenging from a mental health perspective. The disruptions Covid has had on our social interactions has clearly taken a toll.

Gallup has done an annual survey of Americans regarding their health and wellbeing since 2001.

One of the questions it asks survey participants is to provide a self-assessment of their mental health and emotional wellbeing as excellent, good, fair or poor.

It should come as no surprise that the percentage of those rating their mental health either excellent or good took a nosedive in 2020.

Here is a graph of those Gallup results since 2001.

The effects of Covid on mental health are seen in hard statistics as well.

There has been an estimated 18% increase in drug overdoses since Covid measures took effect according to ODMAP which is a surveillance system that tracks overdose cases nationally.

In fact, in San Francisco drug overdoses have taken the lives of 621 people so far this year.

How many have succumbed to Covid?


Franklin County (Columbus) in Ohio has already had 551 confirmed overdose deaths this year and is expected to end the year with over 600.  Covid deaths for the year so far are 695. We hear a lot about the Covid deaths but we don't hear much about the overdose deaths.

At this point accurate data is not available on the number of suicides this year but indications are that this number is up from 2019.

What is known is that there have been more deaths from suicide among high school students this year than from Covid.

CDC Director Robert Redfield warned about the trends they were seeing on suicides among this age group in July. It is undoubtedly worse five months later.

"We’re seeing, sadly, far greater suicides now than we are deaths from COVID. We’re seeing far greater deaths from drug overdose that are above excess that we had as background than we are seeing the deaths from COVID. So this is why I keep coming back for the overall social being of individuals, is let’s all work together and find out how we can find common ground to get these schools open in a way that people are comfortable and they're safe."

The Gallup survey does not include people under the age of 18 but I thought there were some very interesting insights in the data they collected among different demographic groups.

Here are the complete breakdowns by groups.

I found two items in the survey to be particularly interesting.

First, notice how low Democrats rate their mental health. 

In 2019, only 30% rated their mental health as excellent. By comparison, 56% of Republicans thought their mental health was excellent. 44% of Independents felt the same.

That is a remarkable difference.

The good news for Democrats is they only dropped one point in 2020 vs. 2019. It is almost as if external events finally matched their dim mental outlook.

You need to also take into account that this survey was taken after election day when these Democrats should be feeling better since Trump was "defeated" in the election. It makes me wonder what their mental state would be if the tables were reversed right now?

The other interesting item is the fact that the only group who stated that their mental health state was BETTER in 2020 vs. 2019 is people who say they attend religious services weekly.

That seems to be a pretty strong endorsement of the benefits of a strong faith and a belief in something bigger and better than ourselves. 

What better message can I leave you with this Christmas?

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2020

What's Next With The Economy?

What's next with the economy?

What can we expect as we struggle to get beyond the Covid economy of 2020?

Let's first take a look at what 2020 has looked like.

We entered 2020 with unemployment at 50 year lows. The unemployment rate was at 3.5% as the year began.

By April it was at 14.7% due to the Covid lockdowns.

It was back down to 6.7% at the end of November.

However, that national unemployment is misleading as there are large differences in the unemployment rate as you look at different states.

New Jersey has a 10.2% unemployment rate. Hawaii and Nevada are at 10.1%.

California is at 8.2%. New York is at 8.4%.

On the other end of the spectrum, Nebraska is at 3.1%, South Dakota is at 3.5% and Iowa is at 3.6%.

Florida is at 6.4%.

Is it merely a coincidence that the five states above with high unemployment rates are under the control of a Democrat governor and the four states with the low unemployment rates have Republican governors?

There is little doubt that the stricter economic lockdowns instituted by blue state governors has come at a very high economic cost.

What I have found troubling since the beginning of the pandemic is how much of that cost has fallen on the working class in this country. This is a group that Democrats have traditionally stated that they are looking out for. It is certainly not apparent when looking at what has been done this year.

Personal income was down an average of 10% in the third quarter compared to the second quarter of 2020. 

This chart shows the change per state.

These changes take into account the fact that the second quarter was bolstered by Covid stimulus checks and extra unemployment payments that were not there in the third quarter.

One thing I found interesting in this graphic is how California's average personal income was only down 1.6% despite an unemployment rate of 8.2%. New York was down less than the national average as was New Jersey despite high unemployment rates. D.C. personal income was down only 1.9% despite a 7.5% unemployment rate.

On the other hand, personal income was down 29.6% in West Virginia, 24.6% in Kentucky, 23.6% in Oklahoma and 22.7% in Michigan. 

What is going on?

This appears to be pretty clear evidence of the bifurcated economy that has been created by Covid.

Technology, financial services and government have been largely unaffected or have actually benefited from Covid.

People who these sectors have done extremely well while others have been struggling. Those averages can be misleading in states like California. Techies are making a lot of money while almost one in ten are unemployed.

This is a chart of the stock prices of Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google and Netflix over the last year.

Covid has been very good for all of them.

It has been a good year for income on Wall Street with the increase in the prices of financial assets. Wall Street bankers have done well while others are out of work.


Despite Covid, if you had money to invest there was almost no place that you would not make money this year.

That has been the case for most of the Trump presidency (except 2018) as this chart from @Charlie Bilello indicates. Hat tip to Charlie for a number of the charts below.


Of course, we also know that government always gets paid no matter the situation. Very few government workers have had to suffer the loss of income during the Covid crisis.

Many got paid this year even when they did not work.

It is a lot easier when your revenues come from taxes that you can force people to pay or you can just print the money to pay your bills.

The printing presses have been running at full speed this year.


Many in the private sector have not been so lucky.

Here are the percentages of small businesses that were not open as of November 30 compared to January 1.

New York City        -28.5%

Chicago, IL             -32.9%

Detroit, MI              -32.6%

San Francisco          -39.0%

Washington, DC      -43.2%

Boston, MA             -42.1%

Atlanta, GA             -27.1%

Miami, FL               -21.7%

Dallas, TX               -21.6%

43% of small businesses are closed in Washington, DC while government employees have not missed a paycheck? How is that fair?

Congress finally appears to be on the verge of passing another Covid relief package that Nancy Pelosi has been blocking since the summer months. Apparently she was more interested in hurting Donald Trump than in helping Americans that were hurting economically.


The final package will be almost identical to a package that Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and the White House offered Pelosi in August.

Reports are that it will provide a direct stimulus payment of $600 to most Americans, $300 per month of additional unemployment benefits and direct subsidies for schools, health care providers and renters facing eviction. The airlines and other hard hit industries may get direct assistance.

How much will this help the economy leading into 2021?

The manner in which the prior $1,200 payments were spent does not suggest a big boost to the economy.

Less than half of those payments were spent according to this analysis.

About 30% were saved and another 30% went for debt payments.

Only 42% was spent.

The problem that the economy has now is that the velocity of money has dropped like a rock.

What is the velocity of money?

Velocity is the measure by which money turns over in the economy from one person to the next in the purchase of goods and services. It is the measure by which one dollar moves from one person to the next.

A dollar used to purchase something from a shopkeeper which in turn is used by that shopkeeper to go out to dinner which is then used by the restaurant owner to go on a vacation. That would indicate a velocity of three for that dollar.

Look at this comparison of the increase in Federal Reserve assets compared to monetary velocity this year.

Where has most of the money that has been printed gone?

It has not gone into support of the basic economy. After all, there are limited places to spend it if you can't spend it at restaurants, people are not traveling, going to concerts, attending sporting events and the like.

That is why the velocity of money is down.

However, that is also why the value of financial assets has exploded. There is lot of cheap money chasing stocks, bonds and other financial assets.

Where do we go from here?

Stock prices are at all time highs.

Housing prices are at all time highs.

Corporate bond yields are at all time lows.

Mortgage rates are at all time lows.

The Fed Funds rate is at 0%.


Where does anyone invest their money for a future return when you are sitting on top of the mountain?

And the mountain you are sitting on is made up of stacks and stacks of printed paper bills that have been created out of thin air?

For example, increased earnings have not driven the increase in stock market values.

Earnings are down an estimated 23%. However, overall stock prices are up 15%.

The S&P 500 is trading at the highest trailing twelve-multiple it has in over 30 years.


I don't think I have seen a tougher environment for trying to figure where to invest money in my lifetime. This is where we are as 2021 is upon us.

I wrote earlier this year that the United States was very fortunate to be in the economic shape it was when the pandemic hit. Can you imagine where we would be if the unemployment rate had been high and the stock market struggling when Covid hit?

GDP growth numbers show that the United States has fared better than most other countries in the world over the last year.

Many of the other developed countries in the world had negative GDP growth in the first quarter in which the United States still showed positive growth despite the lockdowns beginning in the middle of March.

Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Spain and the U.K. all were negative in the first quarter compared to the +.3% GDP growth in the U.S.

The United States was down 9% in the second quarter but that was still less than most major economies except China. 

The U.S. continued to outperform most other major economies in the third quarter.


What's next with the economy?

It is anyone's guess.

However, if you are Donald Trump it might actually be better to be denied a second term due to election shenanigans and fraud by the Democrats.

It does not look like there are a lot of great investment opportunities out there right now.

In addition, the longer the economic lockdowns continue in the blue states the harder it is going to be  for the economy to come back.

New York and California are already seeing the exodus of thousands of highly paid professionals.

Here are the change in average median asking rents in the 17 most expensive rental markets over the last year and from their record highs.


There are landlords who own these rental properties with loans on these properties on which the monthly debt payments will get harder to pay with every month that rents decline. They also owe real estate taxes to these cities which they will struggle to pay.

Rents on office and retail space in many cities are also not going to be paid.

The values on these properties will decline which should also cause real estate taxes to be lowered which will inevitably put more pressure on the budgets of these cities.

Every day small businesses stay closed the odds also get longer they are going to be able to reopen again.

Every closed business will inevitably mean tax collections will go down.

The Democrats economic playbook always seems to look first for government spending to be the engine for economic activity.

How large can the government deficits get?  How much money can be printed out of a thin air? How do you raise taxes in an economy on life support?

We saw Donald Trump position the country in a short period of time such that the wind was at our back before Covid landed on our shores from China.

The wind has changed. 

There is no wind behind us. We enter 2021 facing gale force winds.

We better have a Captain that knows what they are doing in steering the ship of state.

It will not take much for this ship to start taking on a lot of water. When this happens the first reaction is always to start bailing out the water. At some point you realize you can't continue to bail out the ship. You find you are in too deep.

It looks to me as if we are already in deep waters.

Standing on the shore may prove to be the best place to be the next few years

Donald Trump may find himself there and in time be very thankful he is. 

The rest of us may be find ourselves stuck on a leaky ship that we made clear we did not wish to get on seeing an approaching storm and with a captain and first officer who do not seem to have the slightest idea about what they were doing.

2021 is just over the horizon and the skies look awfully dark.

God help us!

Thursday, December 17, 2020

What's Next With Covid?

What's next with Covid?

We were told in mid-November by the experts to cancel all family gatherings or expect a surge of cases with the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays coming up.

A number of states took extreme actions in imposing further lockdown orders.

Governor Gavin Newsom of California earlier this month announced draconian orders in some regions of the state that included closing all restaurants for dining (inside and outside) and is requiring masks to be worn inside and outside.

It is not going well for the Governor. Almost one million California voters have already signed a recall petition that if it gets to the required 1.5 million signatures by March would require Newsom to face a statewide recall vote before his normal term ends at the end of 2022. This is actually the sixth recall petition effort against Newsom since he was elected. The others all failed to gain the required signatures so it is far from certain this effort will succeed either.

However, we may discover that even in liberal California there is a limit on what people are willing to have done to them by government.

As I wrote earlier in BeeLine, it appears that not many people took the advice of the experts and cancelled Thanksgiving travel and family gatherings.

Surprisingly, more people actually travelled this year for Thanksgiving than last year according to Liz Ann Sonders of Schwab.

Most of that travel was undoubtedly not done through the air. However, even TSA statistics show that four days during the Thanksgiving travel period had more than 1 million air travelers. Those are the first days that TSA has reported more than 1 million air travelers on any day this year since March 16!

TSA checkpoint numbers for 2020 (left column) and 2019 (right column)

For additional context, on April 14, 2020 the total TSA checkpoint number was 87,534!

We have a long way to go but we have come a long way from April.

What do the case trends look like since mid-November?



There is no evidence of an overall post-Thanksgiving surge. In fact, the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain areas have seen a major decrease in positive test results in the last month. There is evidence of increasing cases in the South and Northeast post-Thanksgiving. However, there is nothing to suggest that the travel and gatherings over Thanksgiving resulted in a dramatic surge of cases that were predicted by the experts.

Let's look at the three key states of California, Florida and New York.

I am always looking at trends in the these large states. I am particularly interested in California and New York as they have had the strongest lockdown and mask mandates since the beginning of the pandemic. Florida is known to have been more open and has not had a mask mandate in place for several months so that gives us a state that acts more of a control group.

You would think that if the lockdown and mask mandate measures were effective it would be apparent in looking at a comparison of these three states.

Can you see it?



Here is one additional chart comparison that includes those three states as well as New Jersey measuring deaths per capita since the pandemic began.

New Jersey is another state that has been stricter on lockdowns and masks than many other states.


California clearly has done a good job in avoiding a spike in deaths despite the explosion of cases.

However, this might be due to the fact that the California has the lowest median age of these states.

California      36.8 median age

New York      39.0

New Jersey    40.0

Florida           42.2

This fact makes Florida's record in managing Covid look even better.

The narrative is that lockdowns and mandatory mask orders are the keys to managing Covid. It used to be that you would look at the data above and conclude that Florida's experience suggests that public health guidance might not be correct. That is not the world we live in right now.

Will we ever see a clear-eyed look at the data in developing further public health responses to managing Covid? That is a big question when we try to discern what is next with Covid.

The biggest factor in what's next with Covid will be how effective the various vaccines are going to be that are now being deployed?

The most important question I see is whether the benefit of the vaccines will outweigh the risk of being injected with the vaccine?

Make no mistake that everything in medicine involves a trade-off between risks and benefits. There is nothing that is risk-free when you intervene with some type of medical procedure with the human body.

Medical intervention saves and extends many lives. However, each intervention carries risk. That is why in every instance around the world in which doctors have gone on strike that the death rate has actually decreased or remained the same while the doctors were not practicing. 

The benefits of intervention usually greatly exceed the risks. However, there are risks in all medical interventions.

I wrote about this subject last year in a blog post "Being A Smart Patient".

There is a reason that we often hear that a doctor's most basic responsibility is to "first do no harm".

Smallpox had a death rate of 20%-60% of those infected. It was over 80% with small children.

There is little question that the benefits of a smallpox vaccine outweighed the risks of receiving it.

You can easily say the same thing when you look at polio and the fact that 1 in 200 infections resulted in irreversible paralysis and among those as many as 10% died when breathing muscles became immobilized. 

Here is the most recent data on Covid infection survival rates based on data from 40 countries around the world.


Here is another interesting data set on Covid case fatality and infection fatality rates (far right column) from Minnesota.

What is particularly interesting about the Minnesota data is it breaks down the CFR and IFR between those in long-term care facilities and others.

The Minnesota data indicates a 99.90% survival rate if infected with Covid outside of an LTC facility.

The survival rate from the infection is 89.46% with Covid even if you are in an LTC facility in the state.


The potential benefits of the Covid vaccine are just not as apparent as the smallpox and polio vaccine looking at the numbers. This is especially true right now as we don't fully know all the potential side effects.

The FDA says that the side effects from the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are manageable but it must be remembered that testing involves a limited number of subjects. Those subjects were also generally not the very young or very old. They also were individuals who were generally healthy. These vaccines were also not generally tested on those with two or more comorbidities. Of course, these are the people who are at the greatest risk of Covid.

You can be sure that there were not very many nursing homes residents that were in the testing phase either.

I found this headline interesting as I saw that the Secretary of HHS Alex Azar said that we have the resources and capability to vaccinate every nursing home resident in the nation by Christmas.

Considering the risk profile it makes a lot of sense to provide the vaccine to nursing home residents first.

However, how safe will the vaccine prove to be with this population when it really has not been tested that thoroughly on people who are older and far less healthy than those in the trials?

The efficacy reported in the trials looks promising and I am rooting for the vaccine to be successful.

However, I also know that there are a lot of people with big bets on this working including Big Pharma, the FDA, the CDC, Dr. Fauci and President Trump.

People with this much to lose usually will go to great lengths to make sure they don't lose. However, that outlook also blinds them from things that they should see.

Most people in that position don't look into the fine print or want to consider negative information.

For example, the Pfizer study indicated that four subjects who took the vaccine ended up with Bell's Palsy as a side effect. This is a paralysis of one side of the face.

This was considered acceptable because it was explained that number was similar to what one would expect in the general population. However, when I saw that I checked the study to see how many in the control group had a case of Bell's Palsy during the trial. If four was expected in the general population for that size group you would expect that there would be four cases in the control group as well.

How many cases of Bell's Palsy were in the control group?


Is that a normal positive deviation or is there something there to be concerned about?

I couldn't help thinking about the cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome that cropped up shortly after the 1976 national swine flu vaccination program that ended up scuttling those vaccines.

The good news is that we should know a lot more about any short-term side effects soon since so many doses of the vaccine are to be administered before year-end. We should know fairly quickly if there are any immediate problems from that nursing home population.

That still leaves open the question of what about longer term side effects?

This is probably not as much a concern for those nursing home residents as it is to the health care workers and others who are scheduled for the first doses.

The biggest concern I hear voiced about the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is the fact they were developed using new mRNA technology. This is the first time it has ever been used in a human vaccine.

Some are concerned that it could potentially cause a problem named "Antibody Dependent Enhancement" in which the vaccine actually results in a worse situation for the person who received it if exposed to a future virus in the coronavirus family. This is a major reason that previous efforts to develop a vaccine other coronaviruses were not successful.

This usually did not allow the vaccines to get past animal trials. It should be noted that few animal trials were conducted with the Covid vaccine trials due to the compressed testing schedule.

I have also seen questions about the long-term effects the Covid vaccine might have on fertility. The concern is that the antibodies for the spike proteins of the SARS viruses might also work to cause infertility in females since there are genetic similarities in the spike proteins of Covid and those necessary for the development of the placenta in humans and mammals.

In fact, the question about the effects on fertility is clearly left open in the  leaflet that is being given to health professionals in the UK who are administering the Pfizer shots. It also makes clear that no animal studies on this issue have been done.

If I was a young woman in the health care field I would certainly not be first in line for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines in light of this information when I balanced the benefits and risks of receiving these vaccines.

The research I have done also indicates that the side effects are a bigger concern with the Moderna vaccine than with the Pfizer type.

One in five people in the test phase who took the Moderna vaccine suffered Grade 3 or 4 side effects after the second dose. 

This is what that means.

For many these side effects may be worse than the effects from the actual virus.

You have to also ask if this vaccine is going to be the game changer that many believe it will be why are we being told that masks will still be required and people should not travel?

At this point it is now known if the vaccine actually will stop the spread of the virus. All that is known from the trials is that people will not get as sick from Covid as they would without the vaccine.

How does that affect the risk/benefit analysis of the vaccine for you?


If you are interested in reviewing the FDA's Brief Document on the Pfizer vaccine you can read it here.

As history is written Covid will be the defining event of the Trump presidency.

If these vaccines are successful Trump should get credit for leading one of the greatest medical accomplishments in human history.

This is a tweet from President Trump on May 14

There was almost no one that believed it was possible. Most everyone in the media said that Trump would need a miracle to do it. 

This is a headline from NBC News from the day after Trump's tweet. This narrative was repeated often by the media over the course of the year.

I was skeptical myself about whether it could be done as I wrote in "Warp Speed or Wish and a Prayer" in May.

I am happy to admit I was wrong. What about the others?

Will Trump get the credit he deserves if these vaccines work?

The odds are probably no better than 50/50 he will and that tells you all you need to know about our country right now.

This guy who has over 21,000 followers on Twitter says we need to thank Joe Biden. He is not the only one saying this.

What exactly has Joe Biden had to do with any of this?


I can assure you that if things don't work out that 100% of the blame will be placed on Donald Trump. 

That is an easy prediction from a guy who does not like making predictions.

What's next with Covid in other respects?

We have found that normal and traditional rules no longer apply when it comes to the policy and public responses to Covid.

Facts, data and true science don't seem to matter much compared to the narrative.

That makes it difficult to predict what is next.

What's next depends more on the narrative than the facts.

That has been true for the last ten months. I do not see anything changing that right now.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Much More Than Bias

It has been a given for a long time that there is a strong liberal bias in the media.

That has been the case during most of my lifetime. It is something that we have come to expect.

However, the last four years have shown that we are no longer simply seeing bias. We are living in a world in which the media appears to be downright corrupt.

To make matters worse, that corruption not only exists within the traditional media structure but also extends far and wide within the social media world as well.

We have come to a point that our media is not just putting a biased slant on stories but is complicit in coordinating and promoting stories with the Democrats and blatantly censoring and ignoring stories which do not fit a defined narrative.

We have reached a very dangerous point that is disheartening and dispiriting for anyone who cares about the principles of freedom and fairness.

It seems that the media moved much beyond bias with the election of Donald Trump.

The media apparently could not fathom that their active support and biased reporting in favor of Hillary Clinton was not enough to insure her victory.

Donald Trump was not even sworn in until stories of Russian interference and collusion were circulating in the media in an attempt to delegitimize the Trump presidency.

We now know that those claims were originally concocted and funded by the Clinton campaign.

Those claims (and the media reports that amplified them) were later used by the FBI and others to begin formal counterintelligence investigations (against Donald Trump, his family and associates) that appear to have utilized unlawful FISA warrants in the "investigation".

This led to a special counsel investigation by Robert Mueller that took over two years and did not find any actionable wrongdoing involving Russian collusion by President Trump or his family members.

Along the way the media spent two years repeating Russian collusion stories and repeatedly claiming that the "walls were closing in on Trump" only to find at the end that Robert Mueller was a mere figurehead that had outsourced the investigation to an array of prosecutors who were Clinton partisan who still could find nothing on Donald Trump.

At some point we hope to find whether the special counsel John Durham will hold anyone criminally liable for these blatant abuses of power against President Trump and others. 

The same media was complicit in helping to fuel an impeachment inquiry involving a phone conversation President Trump had with the incoming President of Ukraine urging him to root out corruption in that country that potentially included the son of Vice President Joe Biden.

The Democrats argued that Trump was unlawfully trying to smear his potential political rival through the powers of his office.  The mainstream media quickly picked up on this narrative.

For example, here is a headline from NBC News in September, 2019 which claims there was no evidence for Trump's accusations about Hunter and Joe Biden profiting from his position as Vice President in dealings with Ukraine.

Source; NBC News

Trump was ultimately impeached by the House in a party line vote over these accusations but was acquitted by the Senate.

Through the entire episode the media viciously attacked Rudy Giuliani who had spent a considerable amount of time investigating the alleged Ukraine corruption scheme over the last several years.

Never mind that Giuliani was a former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York who brought down a number of  mafia kingpins in New York City.

The media portrayed Rudy as a doddering fool who did not know what he was doing and was making things up about any Biden corruption in Ukraine.

In fact, the media liked to repeat Joe Biden's continuing claims that any hints about any wrongdoing by his son had been thoroughly debunked many times. Biden called it a smear.

All of this might be rationalized as typical media bias if we did not know what actually transpired with this story over the course of the next year.

In mid-October The New York Post broke a story about the contents on the laptop of Hunter Biden which raised an enormous number of questions about exactly what Biden's son had been doing for the millions of dollars he had received from countries such as Ukraine and China. How did Hunter "earn" all that money that coincidentally occurred when his VP father was considered the "point man" in US foreign relations with those two countries?

What was the reaction from almost every media outlet in the United States about this story when it came to light?

Utter silence.

It was as if the story did not exist. 

If it was mentioned it was immediately dismissed as "Russian disinformation".

As an example, here is how National Public Radio (NPR) explained why they were not covering anything to do with the story.


Not really a story? A waste of time? A distraction?

By the way, NPR receives annual taxpayer support which included $75 million that went to its parent, the Center for Public Broadcasting, in the Covid relief bill in March.

Here is a headline from Politico in which it cited 50 former intelligence officials claiming the Hunter Biden story was Russian disinformation.

Of course, it did not end there. 

In that the media was repeating the Russian disinformation story this allowed candidate Biden to cite these reports as to why any questions about illegal activities about his son were false and had been thoroughly debunked.

In fact, Biden made that claim in the second debate with President Trump.

Earlier this year, during a presidential debate, Joe Biden had dismissed the laptop emails as part of a “Russian plan” and inaccurately cited a letter from dozens of former intelligence officials.

Biden declared: “There are 50 former national intelligence folks who said that what [Trump's] accusing me of is a Russian plan [or plant]."

Trump retorted, “You mean the laptop is now another 'Russia, Russia, Russia' hoax?” Biden said, “That’s exactly what I was told.”

The media still did nothing to investigate any claims about Hunter Biden even though his principal business partner (Tony Bobulinski) in his China dealings came forth and provided additional evidentiary material suggesting wrongdoing by the Biden family. This included the fact that good old Joe was supposed to get a 10% cut as the "big guy" in a deal that was being negotiated with a company controlled by the Chinese Communist Party according to Bobulinski.

Again, silence from the media.

Never mind that Joe Biden was running for the highest office in the land and not one mainstream media outlet was even willing to mention the story?

How big an affect did this censorship of the story by the media (including social media) have on the election?

We will never know for sure.

However, considering the small margins of voters that separated Biden and Trump in Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania it would not have taken much to completely change the election.

In fact, a survey done after the election found that 45% of Biden voters in seven swing states had never heard of the Hunter Biden story before they voted. 9.4% of Biden voters stated that had they known about it they would have shifted their vote away from Biden.

Since Biden's margin was less than 1% in these critical swing states you can see how large the potential effect was over the censoring and blackout of this one story in the media. 

It was not the only issue that Biden voters were not aware of. The list below shows a number of stories that voters stated they were not aware of.

How is this possible?

Quite simply, any bad news about Biden and good news about Trump got buried by the media. Is this simply bias or is it much more?

Blue=Negative story for Biden
Red=Positive story for Trump

In all, voters stated had they known about one or more of these stories that 17% of Biden voters would have changed their vote.

If you applied that number to Biden's national popular vote total of 81 million votes he potentially would have lost 14 million votes dropping his total to 67 million. If Trump picked up those changed votes, it would have increased Trump's total to 88 million. Even if Trump had picked up only half of those Biden voters (assume the other half did not vote or voted third party) Trump would have 81 million total votes.

Of course, we now know that there are strong suggestions that corruption involving Hunter Biden might prove to be true. It was not "disinformation" and it was not a "distraction". 

An FBI investigation has been ongoing into his business, financial and tax affairs for over two years.

It appears that Biden's brother, James Biden, is also under investigation.

Politico is no longer reporting this as just another example of  Russian disinformation.

NPR has also had to report that the Hunter Biden story was not a distraction.

The reality is that it is not Russian disinformation that we need to be concerned about right now. It is the disinformation and censoring of legitimate news by our own media. News and information that the people of the United States have a right to know and which is being intentionally censored and blocked.

Our Founders were very concerned about the dangers to our rights and freedoms if government took steps to infringe on the freedom of the press in our nation.

They protected the freedom of the press in the Bill of Rights.

The problem is that the First Amendment is  only focused on rights and freedoms that might be abridged or infringed by laws that the the government might undertake to target the press (media).

Our Founders seemingly never considered that the media might actually be as big a threat to our rights and freedoms as the government itself.

What do we do when it is the media that is actively working to abridge and infringe our rights and freedoms?

Would our Founders ever think it would come to this?

It cannot be explained by bias.

It is much more than that.

We all should be very, very concerned.