Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Before the sun set on America’s first day of Roe v. Wade having been consigned to the same place as Plessy v. Ferguson, talking heads began to blame Ruth Bader Ginsburg for not having had the decency and foresight to quit the court in a timely manner and guarantee an acceptable ideological successor. In all fairness to Ruth, NOBODY on the left EVER imagined that Donald Trump had a snowball’s chance in hell of beating Hillary. The future of abortion seemed bright and sunny on the morning of Election Day, 2016. There was no immediacy for Ginsburg. Once the unthinkable happened later that night, she had no choice but to hang on and try to outlast Trump.

She almost succeeded, missing by mere weeks.

So with all respect to my adversaries on the other side: you are wrong to tar and feather her corpse.

The miscalculation wasn’t hers. It was yours. 63 million dead babies weren’t enough for you, and in your craven lust for more and more, you failed to see that science had overtaken all of your arguments from uncertainty. You failed to see the winds of change blowing.

Most of all, you failed to believe in women, in their ability to have an unplanned child and still go on to college, law school, business school, medical school, the trades, etc… and succeed. You held to an unflattering and false dichotomy of either a baby, or success, but not both for women. In so doing you broke with the feminism of the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s that shouted out how women could have it all. But don’t feel too badly.

Ruth failed in this regard as well.

Her replacement on the Court is a woman who embodies the feminist proclamation of old, that a woman CAN have it all: A large brood of adopted and biological children, a supportive husband, a home, a stellar legal career. And Ginsburg’s replacement BELIEVES the feminist philosophy that you and Ruth only paid lip service to as you viewed babies as insurmountable obstacles to success. If this sounds harsh, there’s more.

Ginsburg’s replacement isn’t an outlier. Ginsburg’s replacement is merely one of millions and millions of women who have found that earning a decent living and raising a family at the same time is very feasible. They succeed where you and Ginsburg failed because they embrace the struggle that comes with holding it all together. For abortion’s cheerleaders the elimination of the child is the escape hatch from struggle, and you have tragically sold that lie to scores of millions of frightened, uncertain women.

So, go easy on Ruth. Save the tar and feathers for yourselves. She was no different than any of you. The lust for abortion blinded all of you to the advances of science and medicine. It blinded all of you to the powerful winds of change blowing across the land, winds that blew an unlikely former billionaire playboy right into the Oval Office. Neither she nor you ever took that possibility seriously. Neither did most Republicans.

Abandon your unbelief in women and embrace true liberalism.

Women really CAN have it all.

Just ask Amy.


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It finally happened.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s bishop has barred her from receiving Holy Communion because of her efforts to enshrine abortion in U.S. law through legislation she shepherded through the House of Representatives. Finally, after years and years of ensuring that Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider receives over a half-billion dollars ANNUALLY from the Federal Government, Archbishop Cordileone has applied a medicinal course of action. Predictably, many are up in arms over this perceived, “punishment.”

Let’s dig deeper.

This week I saw two images that I share here in juxtaposition. In one, Nancy Pelosi led a rally vowing to do all in her power to enshrine Abortion in American Law. VOWED. Right hand raised in defiant clenched fist against scores of millions she would see aborted in the coming decades, just as the 62 million aborted over the past fifty years–millions of whose demise she secured funding for.

And then there was the nursing school pinning ceremony and Florence Nightingale Pledge taken by former student and good friend, Laura, pictured above. A young Catholic woman, magna cum laude theology and philosophy graduate, former contemplative religious, now a newly minted Registered Nurse set to pursue graduate studies in midwifery– with right hand raised in a gentle open palm, ready to receive life into the world, and reciting the following oath, not with Pelosiesque anger and defiance, but with love and earnest sincerity:

I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous,  and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug...”

It goes on from there.

Two Catholic women. One lost beyond measure and neither deserving of Eucharist, as none of us is. But one of these women, 82 years old, has raised her right hand in a clenched fist and sworn a diabolical oath formed in the furnace of Hell to ensure that millions more babies will be slaughtered in what is sure to be her Congressional swan song. The other Catholic woman has engaged years of study in theology and philosophy, and took two tough courses in biology taught by me in undergrad as the base of her bioethics studies. She has furthered all of that in contemplative religious life, an accelerated nursing program, accelerated RN to BSN program, and now has her sights set on doctoral studies in midwifery. By the time she’s done, she’ll have almost fifteen years of higher education and six degrees, all in the pursuit of not just being a clinician, but a Catholic clinician who abides the highest-ever articulated code of morality and bioethics: that of the Catholic Church.

Archbishop Cordileone knows physicians and nurses like Laura. He sees the life that the Eucharist gives them and the fruit that it bears in their lives, and he sees Pelosi’s self-delusion, diabolical oath-taking, and venomous spirit, and he sees the sands in her life’s hourglass running out. So, he took medicinal action for the sake of her soul.

It’s not a cause for cheering or gloating.

This week I saw Pelosi in juxtaposition to the kind of daughter God is STILL calling her to be. She could kill all pro-abortion legislation in the House if she so chooses.

But her clenched right fist stands in stark contrast to a young nurse’s open right hand swearing before God to pass her life in purity, practice her profession faithfully, and to eschew all evil in her profession. The contrast should cause us to tremble with fear for Pelosi, for it shows how far she has fallen. It should occasion in us prayers for her conversion.

Pray for them both.

Pray for our bishops.

Pray for women in crisis pregnancies.

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Dr. Nadal: It’s been a while since we’ve had one of these interviews. Let’s just jump right in.

DR. NADAL: Sounds good. Shoot!

Dr. Nadal: Well, it’s been 14 months. You look good. COVID hasn’t killed you, but a bunch of your readers just might. Anyone ever tell you that with all of your constant admonitions about not letting up on vigilance, you make Cotton Mather look like the life of the party?

DR. NADAL: So I’ve heard.

Dr. Nadal: Dude, seriously…. what’s the latest concern? I hear Delta might not be that bad here in the US. What are your thoughts?

DR. NADAL: How are you defining bad? Cases? Hospitalizations? Deaths?

Dr. Nadal: Yes. All of the above. And while we’re at it, what happened to the strains being called by letters and numbers? What’s with the Greek letters lately? Sounds more like Fraternity Row than a pandemic…

DR. NADAL: Scientists are still using the alpha-numeric system of categorizing the strains. But “B.1.617.2” doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily as Delta does. It’s a new system of nomenclature and the WHO has convenient tables for the public to follow.

Dr. Nadal: Gotcha. What happened to referring to the origin of the strain, like the English or Indian strains, etc.?

DR. NADAL: People feel it’s less stigmatizing for nations, which I suppose is true. Too late for the people in Lyme, Connecticut, eh? It will be interesting when we exhaust the Greek alphabet in another year or so, but back to your question on how bad Delta is shaping up. We are in a massive surge right now with numbers today that match the peak of last summer’s surge, with no end in sight.

Dr. Nadal: Because?

DR. NADAL: Because the American people are pretty resolved to keep the throttle wide open on the economy. Because they are weary of the pandemic. Because most reject the use of masks…

Dr. Nadal: Sorry to interrupt, but why use masks when CDC says half the nation is fully vaccinated, with 57% having at least one shot?

DR. NADAL: Because you and I both know that the vaccines do not stimulate the branch of the immune system built into mucous membranes, the very places where the virus enters the body and begins replicating: the eyes, nose, mouth, nasopharynx, throat, digestive tract… The vaccines don’t produce antibodies there, so they don’t stop the process of initial infection or replication there. The vaccines produce antibodies and cellular immunity elsewhere in the body, which is why they have been highly effective at preventing serious disease in the immunized. In fact, 97% of all new hospitalizations are UNvaccinated people.

Dr. Nadal: So what’s the big deal with Delta? Why is it spreading more than twice as fast as the original strains?

DR. NADAL: A report a few days ago in the British Journal, Nature,tells us that people with the Delta strain produce up to 1,260 times as much virus as those infected with the original strain. So that means much, much more virus is being emitted by the infected, assuring that more people are receiving an infective dose.

Dr. Nadal: Dude, I think you made a mistake there. Do you realize what you just said? Not TWO times the viral load. Not TEN times the viral load. Not One Hundred times the Viral load of the original strain… ONE THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY times the viral load as the original strain?????!!!! You must have misread the article.

 Dr. Nadal: No mistake. Here’s the quote:

“Individuals infected with Delta also had viral loads up to 1,260 times higher than those in people infected with the original strain.”

Dr. Nadal: Do you understand the implications of those numbers?

 Dr. Nadal: I do. Fully. It means that infections are going to spread like wildfire, and we’re seeing increasing numbers of breakthrough infections in the fully vaccinated, along with an 8% drop in efficacy in the mRNA vaccines at preventing serious disease, and about a 10% drop in the J&J vaccine efficacy. I also agree with CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, that we may only be a few mutations away from the virus largely evading our current vaccines. It’s also going to force our bishops to revisit giving latitude for people to attend Mass virtually.

Dr. Nadal: Well, yeah. No kidding?! With 1,260 times more virus coming out of noses and mouths… Boy, you really DO make Cotton Mather look joyful!

DR. NADAL: Thanks…

Dr. Nadal: No, seriously. You haven’t played politics with this thing, and God knows nobody can accuse you of telling people what they want to hear, but let me ask you this: How bad do you think it’s going to get with Delta? It was pretty bad in India…

DR. NADAL: Yes. India is shaping up to be much worse than many surmise. The official death toll there is 421,000. Many believe that to be a gross undercount, and that the real death toll could be well over a million. But getting back to how this might play out here. We certainly have a more robust medical infrastructure here than in India, but we also have a population with a ghastly high number of obese, hypertensive, diabetic patients, as well as all the other comorbidities. We are seeing increased hospitalizations among the younger set with Delta, people in their 20’s and 30’s

Dr. Nadal: Sorry for cutting you off, but is that really fair to say? 89% of the 65+ population is vaccinated, so of course what we are seeing is younger people…

DR. NADAL: I know where you’re going with this, but let’s recall that so many younger people have NOT gotten vaccinated because the original strains caused serious disease in older people with comorbidities. The landscape has shifted beneath our feet and we’re seeing younger people who are healthy being admitted to the hospital in serious condition, and some are dying. We’ll know better by the end of August just how bad Delta is going to be.

Dr. Nadal: Best guess?

DR. NADAL: As we’ve discussed before, pandemics are behaviorally moderated. What signs do you see that people are remotely willing to return to masking, distancing, minimizing contact, or increasing rates of getting vaccinated? I’m not seeing that. BOTH political parties have politicized this. Dr. Fauci has lied repeatedly. CDC has made a hash of things. WHO has been even worse. I don’t blame people for being cynical and distrustful. It’s that cynicism and distrust, however, that’s going to boost our death toll to 700,000 by Christmas if we’re not really careful.

Dr. Nadal: So, do people have time to get vaccinated?

DR. NADAL: Given the speed at which Delta is spreading, time is not an ally. If people get their first dose tomorrow, we’re looking at 5-6 weeks before they possess full immunity with the mRNA vaccines. If they are on the fence, today would be a good day to discuss things with their physician, and I stress that repeatedly: Discuss the vaccine with your doctor before getting it. Make sure it’s okay for you with your unique health profile!

Dr. Nadal: Hey, speaking of vaccines, people have a lot of questions….

DR. NADAL: How about another sit-down in a day or two and let people digest this one first?

Dr. Nadal: Sounds like a plan. Did you have a graph from CDC showing the latest surge?

DR. NADAL:Yes. Post it below our interview.

Dr. Nadal: Until next time…

DR. NADAL: Ciao!

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The Mantra for the past ten months in many quarters has been the demand to show the science behind the establishment of infection rates that trigger closures of businesses, churches, schools, beaches, parks, etc. It’s actually a very good question, and since lives and livelihoods are on the line, it deserves to be answered respectfully (and perhaps with a little humor to leaven the subject).

One of the Nadal children asked the very same question. My response was that the book for managing the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic may be found in the Self-help section of the bookstore right next to the scientific book on raising perfect children. Here in Casa Nadal that sort of Brooklyn wit is seen as instructive and not sarcastic. It invites us to go deeper.

Parenting and medicine have much in common. They rely quite a bit on science to inform their judgements, but many of those judgements are more art than science.

{The gentle reader may infer a paternalistic attitude forming up here in the pandemic management, but nothing is further from the truth. No analogy is perfect, but given that public health officials are making decisions that will affect people against their wills, and have those decisions backed by force of law, the analogy isn’t that far off}

So, let’s get back to looking at the benevolent dictatorships we all call home. Every member of a family is different. Each one of the Nadal young adults is different–VERY different. Each one presents with a different risk profile with regard to circles of friends and the influence each circle has. Blessedly there are no bad circles, but there are certainly differences in how casual certain friends are with regard to following the rules.

When the decisions need to be made about who goes where with whom, and how late they stay out with a given circle, there is not a uniform standard.

That’s when the sparks fly.

In our COVID reality, different professions/occupations present with different risk factors for disease acquisition and propagation. There is no book that tells us how to proceed, at least not yet.

It’s being written and edited as we go through this experience in real time.

But just as there is no manual for parents (The “What to Expect” series and Dr. Spock only get you so far) that allows us to paint-by-number our way through life, and there is no manual for managing a pandemic such as this one, that does not mean that we are bereft of rock solid information, foundational principles, wisdom passed through the ages by mentors, and prior experiences. How we apply all that we have received to our emerging knowledge of the pandemic is ultimately an art that begets the science aspect of ongoing and future management.

Why do some states draw a line at 10% infection, and others at 15%? Well, why do some families permit kids to go to rock concerts and others do not? It comes down to risk tolerance based upon the unique set of prevailing factors in each home. Each mayor and governor must look at a blizzard of variables:

What is the overall population in my city/state?
What is the population density?
What is my current rate of infection?
What is the ratio of general hospital beds to population?
What is the ratio of ICU beds to population?
What is the predominant mode of transportation?
What is the socioeconomic status of my population?
What is the overall health of my population?
What are the percentages of multigenerational homes in my population?
How many of my homes have more people dwelling in the house/apartment than there are rooms in the dwelling?
What is my city/state’s ability to purchase and stockpile PPE?
How has my state’s case fatality rate compared to others?
How many illegal aliens do I estimate my city/state to have, and how cramped are their living conditions?
Do I have adequate public health outreach to the illegal aliens, homeless, mentally ill–who form shadow populations that live beyond the margins of society?
How robust is my public health infrastructure?
What are the eating habits of my population relative to frequency of dining out compared to eating at home?
What is the current capacity of my hospital system relative to supplies, ability to create makeshift COVID wards and ICU’s, etc.?
What strains of the virus are we isolating?
Are we seeing more infectious or more virulent strains emerging?
How much of a transportation hub is my state for interstate and international travel?
Could contact tracing work in my state/city?
What is my testing capacity?
What is my capacity to identify hotspots through testing?
What capacity do my hospitals have for treating early symptomatic COVID cases with Antibodies, Remdesevir, Ivermectin, etc… to prevent progression to full-blown critical status?

…and these are just a few that inform how we are to proceed. Now come the war games.

1.) What if I just do nothing and let the virus run its course?

Here it’s worth pointing out that the Washington Post published an excellent article with animated simulators last year. Check it out here.

2.) What if I shut down some services while keeping others open?

3.) What happens if I shut down all businesses?

For each of the war game scenarios, the answers to all of the above questions come into play in determining the best course of action for that given city or state. There is no, “one size fits all,” approach to pandemic management.

“Yes, but we’ve had shutdowns and lockdowns and they have not worked!”

The answer to that is yes, and no.

The shutdowns definitely slowed the rate of disease spread, and that saved lives. Many who might have been sickened in the first months of the pandemic did not get sick until much later, when monoclonal antibodies, convalescent plasma, Remdesevir, hydroxychloroquine, Ivermectin, high dose Vitamins C & D, azithromycin, doxycycline, budesonide, and anticoagulant therapeutic protocols were put in place. Also, we learned that severe hypoxemia in COVID does not necessarily warrant being put on a ventilator, and that ventilators killed quite a few patients…so much so that their use has been cut back substantially.

You don’t want to be in the initial wave of patients during a novel pandemic!

The initial shutdowns kept our hospitals from being completely overwhelmed and bought the medical community time to learn, and time to develop vaccines. Many people are going to be immunized, who might otherwise have perished, thanks to the shutdowns.

Laws and shutdowns work to the extent that people don’t cheat. But we have seen open defiance on a massive scale, and the results have been catastrophic.

Returning to the demands for the science behind the closures…

As mentioned, we don’t have a book. We’re writing it as we go. That’s unacceptable to many, and that’s understandable. But seriously, we’ve only gotten as far as we have in science and medicine because we stand atop the twin mountains of those who perished in previous epidemics and pandemics, and those whose efforts to learn and manage the unique parameters presented by each novel pathogen have given us the tools to manage outbreaks of those pathogens in the future.

Now it’s our turn.

Future generations will have a much more precise means of managing COVID outbreaks, if there are future outbreaks, because of our trial and error approach to learning disease management for this virus.

There’s no other way.

When our youngest gets to do things that our older children weren’t permitted to do at the same age, we hear about it. Our parental response is the universal parental response:

“I’m smarter now.”

Those earlier restrictive rules didn’t hurt them, and definitely kept them safe.

Be patient, folks. We’re getting smarter every day.

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I’m Now on MeWe

It seems that I’m not long for FB. The purge is underway. All of my penalties have been for posting lifesaving information on the COVID pandemic. So, I have opened an account on MeWe. It looks pretty good over there, and since the FB criteria for offenses are utterly arbitrary and capricious, I expect to be permanently banned by the summer. So this is my new home. Head over, open an account, and stop in for coffee!

See you there, and here! 🙂

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Hi, friends. FB has put me back in jail. This time it’s a 30-day stretch. Evidently their bots don’t like my posts on COVID. FB has put the “Artificial” in Artificial Intelligence.

I’d be obliged if folks could share this post. I’m still available through messenger, or here, or at my email: gerardnadal60@gmail.com

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As of today, January 8, a mere 6.8 million out of 20 million doses of COVID vaccine released for distribution in December have been administered. This is scandalous. Excuses abound, chief among them that healthcare workers are refusing vaccination in astounding numbers.


The point is?

Go to the next group on the priority list. The is a priority list, no?

Taking a trip down memory lane to 19.5 years ago when the 9/11 attacks were immediately followed by anthrax attacks. 2001 was the year when not only our security vulnerabilities were exposed, but when we realized that we had no plans on the shelf for the mass vaccination of the population. We were now in the age of bioterrorism, and we were naked and exposed.

Fast-forward to 2021.

We STILL have no plans on the shelf for rapid, efficient, mass vaccination of the public. Public health officers and military personnel who began their government service in 2001 will be retiring on 20-year pensions this year, and we still have no plans in place for vaccinating the public in an emergency.A full generation and we’re still groping for the light switch in the dark. This has been the greatest bi-partisan governmental failure in living memory. This entire operation has the look and feel of an ad hoc endeavor.

If not seeing to a distribution operation while the vaccines were in development is a failure of the Trump Team, incoming President Biden is about to dump a truckload of gasoline onto the fire. He is proposing to just flood the country will all the vaccine we have in stock. That’s not the answer at all. It will only make matters worse by adding a free-for-all carnival atmosphere where black marketeers will obtain stocks of vaccine illegally, where stocks of the temperature-sensitive and fragile vaccine will not all be stored properly (leading to spoilage), and where countless Americans will be injected with inert material, providing no protective benefit at all. Add to that the reality that the mad dash and haphazard distribution will mean people missing the optimal window for the critical second dose, which boosts the level of antibody made.

The issue isn’t availability. The issue is a lack of distribution logistics.

But this is the same government that spent trillions of dollars on Obamacare and couldn’t create a functional website for years to get people enrolled.

The solution begins with the mayors and governors. Every mayor should get his/her police chief, fire chief, and director of public health into the mayor’s office and let them know that they have 14 days to draft a plan to get the entire city/town vaccinated in a week, or they’re fired. Mayor Koch in New York was famous for that kind of management of civic planning. How hard is it, really, to find appropriate space, especially with so many businesses that went belly-up in the pandemic, and whose spaces go unoccupied?

The mayors then need to report their needs to the state, and the governors need to tap the state police and national guard for the safe and efficient delivery of vaccine stocks.

All of this should have been put in place during the anthrax attacks of 20 years ago and updated annually.

It’s time for some leadership in America.

It’s long overdue.

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{The Statue of Liberty is visible behind refrigeration trucks that function as temporary morgues at New York City’s South Brooklyn Marine Terminal. “If you’re driving by … you might just assume that this was some sort of distribution hub,” Time reporter W.J. Hennigan says. “But they are each filled with up to 90 bodies apiece.” (NPR)}

When it all began in March and April, NYC became the epicenter of COVID death in the United States. The reality was so harsh, so brutal, so traumatic, so beyond the experience of anyone alive under the age of 107, that those of us reporting on all major hospitals being ringed with six or more refrigerated trailer trucks (as pictured above) were denounced as liars, or worse. It was hard to get angry at them. It was as traumatic and terrifying here as it was unbelievable everywhere else. Then came the explanations/rationalizations.

We were told that the virus had already gone through the nation since October of 2019. Everyone had an Uncle Louie or Aunt Matilda who was really sick with some strange flu-like affliction that defied Nyquill. It was New York’s turn. That’s all. (No word on why WE had scores of refrigerated morgue trucks packed to the gills and 30-day wait lists for cremations)

We were told that New Yorkers were more susceptible to the virus than the rest of the nation. (An assessment I’d agree with if the viral manifestations were F-bombing and straightforward talk with the bark on.)

We were told that obviously the rest of the nation had hit herd immunity ahead of New York with strains of the virus that were milder than ours. (The first quasi serious-sounding assessment.)

We were told that Floridians and Texans had so much sun (in the winter) that their bodies were just little factories of Vitamin D production that we pale northern-types could only envy and That’s why they had practically no cases in the Sunshine State. (These sunny epidemiologists were nowhere to be found when cases spiked in late Spring and Summer, when Floridians shed their sweaters as the frigid 60-degree temperatures climbed into the 90’s and sunshine exposures increased ten-fold.)

We were told that doctors were categorizing every death as COVID to take advantage of the partial compensation the Federal Government was giving for patients on respirators. So follow the logic here. Docs put everyone within arm’s reach on a ventilator, including the passing janitors, in order to score $38,000 bounties from the Feds (a compensation, as the government asked hospitals to shut down all elective surgery in order to use those ventilators). Then after putting people with slight coughs on ventilators and killing 80% of them, they said it was COVID, in order to cash in.

No, seriously. That’s essentially what was being said: People not needing ventilation were being hooked up so hospitals could cash in, then their deaths were being called COVID when they really died from comorbidities hitherto stably managed.

And all to get a bounty for the hospital. Who knew that free money could make more liars out of physicians than the IRS and golf combined?!?!

Who knew that free money could make the best docs anywhere a pack of Josef Mengeles?

But that was the New York experience as told by an army of Google epidemiologists and microbiologists. Meanwhile, this new peer-review committee of Google scientists was telling this scientist (at it since the 1980’s), that he didn’t know what he was talking about as he refuted their echo chamber expertise.

I have no way of breaking it gently to the denizens of the Google Faculty Lounge, but, really, I’m not their peer. As Jefferson said in the Declaration of Independence,

…accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

What began as an understandable level of denial morphed into denial masquerading as political statement, and with that silliness (deadly, to be certain), it really is time to clear the faculty lounge and have the voices of those who actually are trained to deal in truth, who follow the science wherever it leads, being heeded for the first time in almost a year.

I and many others have predicted pretty much every turn of events throughout this pandemic. It’s not that we are the Amazing Kreskins of microbiology and epidemiology, but because there are laws of physics and biology that do not genuflect to politics. Those laws, when coupled with human behavior tell us which direction the pandemic will take two months distant. So, when not wearing a mask became the mark of a true Conservative, a true Catholic, the real scientists knew the squall would become the perfect storm.

If facts couldn’t shake people from their panic-induced denial, it was all but certain that they could never risk membership in their tribes by engaging in heresies such as mask-wearing. But here is where the well-rehearsed tropes of the late Winter and Spring would become so very deadly:

People began to believe their own press releases. As cases rose across the country on the heels of a maskless rebellion, it seemed that the doctors in the rest of the nation were as greedy and deadly as the New York doctors.

So profoundly entrenched in popular culture was the accusation that there were no increased deaths in the US, that the CDC in October published a report showing that indeed there was an increase in deaths, year-to-date, that slightly exceeded the COVID count. Read it here.

Indeed, Johns Hopkins reports that on October 23, the date that the CDC issued that report, there were 224,500 COVID deaths, so that tracks perfectly with the CDC estimate in the graphic taken from the article. (Of course, every time I mention this on FaceBook, at least 20 people from different states all tell me of the motorcyclist run over and flattened by a UPS truck that they scraped of the pavement and brought to the ER, where the docs promptly declared the cause of death to be… you guessed it…. COVID-19! And another $38,000 into the till!)

But now the nation is in serious trouble. Another of the great tropes fell today. The one where we were told that the flu is deadlier than COVID. According to CDC, an average flu season sees 35.6 K deaths. Today the US reached a milestone of 357,300 deaths. For serious adults, that’s ten times the number of deaths as an average flu season. (The Google epidemiologists will immediately discount the 321,700 motorcyclists run over by delivery trucks and grudgingly admit that they were wrong, that COVID kills just as many people as the flu.) We still have two more months to complete a full year of COVID, so it’s not impossible to imagine this thing being 13 times deadlier than the flu.

And then there was our being told by the deniers that a 99% survival rate argued against closures. That meant that if everyone in the country was infected, 3.28 million would die. Oops. So much for the flu being deadlier.(You can forgive the Google epidemiologists. Evidently Google doesn’t require inconvenient subjects like statistics for their degrees.)

This week the cracks in the dam have given way and the flood waters of misery are bursting forth all over the nation, no longer able to be denied. Los Angeles County has instructed their ambulances to leave the critically ill who can’t be saved and declare them dead in the field. This tracks with what happened here in NYC in the Spring, when paramedics were told that there were to be just two rounds of defibrillation and CPR for heart attacks and the show had to be wrapped up in 20 minutes instead of the customary 45, among other dire changes in protocol. (That, too, was denied by those west of the Hudson River) 

Los Angeles has such an overflow of patients that they are running low on deliverable oxygen, as the lines freeze up if too much oxygen is drawn from the storage tanks too quickly.

All across the South and West we are seeing shortages of beds and the silent appearance of the refrigerated morgue trucks.

{Acela Truck Co.’s refrigerated units range from 9 to 53 feet and have racks that each hold four body trays. “We’re very busy and have orders in all of the lower 48 states,” says CEO David Ronsen. (Amelia Anne Photography) CNN}

And STILL there is a hearty band of deniers who swear that California, having the strictest mitigation protocols and restrictions in the country, MUST have an undiscovered source of COVID infections. (They would just love to say it’s in the water, but California has little of that at the moment.) Having laws is one thing. Heeding them is another, especially when you move the illegal gatherings indoors and justify your 60-person Thanksgiving dinner as a funeral for the family’s turkey, in order to get around the 10-person limit for parties, etc.

But most Americans have awakened to some brutal reality: We are in the midst of a pandemic with an aerosolized virus that isn’t attached to a six-foot leash. Six feet gets you safely away from most of the droplets in a typical sneeze, but aerosols that linger in the air for three hours don’t travel six feet, then hang out and have a beer. We are in deep trouble because we have had unserious political leaders on one end of the spectrum, and opportunistic population controllers on the other. In between we have had public health officials repeatedly lie to the American people, squandering their credibility.

It’s a new year, and the deadliest wave of fatalities hasn’t hit us yet.

What we need desperately is adult leadership, and a population more willing to bite the bullet than take one.

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Dr. Paul Marik, Professor of Medicine; Chief, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine; Eastern Virginia Medical School, has spearheaded the use of Ivermectin in the prophylaxis and early intervention in treating COVID. This is a little over an hour in length and will be the best hour of information you’re likely to to encounter regarding the pandemic. My only issue with this conversation is that they condemn hydroxychloroquine based upon some of the most flawed studies ever conducted in modern medicine. But that’s a conversation for another day.

At this writing I am in FaceBook Jail (7 Days) for writing about this stuff. Questions and answers will be conducted here.

Here is the link to Marik’s website with research, protocols, etc… on Ivermectin:


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This pandemic has spawned an army of instant armchair epidemiologists not only from scientific and medical laypeople, but from scientists and physicians who, frankly, have no training or experience in epidemiology beyond some perfunctory medical school/grad school course. Their pontifications have been disastrous for public policy and public cooperation. Nowhere has this ignorance reigned more supreme than with the concept of Herd Immunity. I’ve written about it here, if the reader wishes to come up to speed.

Essentially, when at least 70% of a population has survived an infectious disease, the resulting immunity makes them unable to become diseased again. This sufficiently breaks the transmission chain so that the remaining members are unlikely to get ill, and if some do, they are isolated cases for the most part. Those few are protected by the immunity of the majority. It’s getting to 70% immunity that’s the nightmare. We have 248,734 dead as of this morning, and will have surpassed the quarter-million mark in two days (just 8 months into this pandemic). So when people say we should open the economy full-throttle with no mitigation protocols in place in order to achieve herd immunity, what they are saying is that we should suffer 4.8 million dead at the current case fatality rate of 2.1% as we get to 70% of 328 million people infected. 

That’s not medicine.

That’s butchery.

Our numbers are as low as they are because of all the mitigation efforts that have been employed. Eight months in and we only have 11,365,323 confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins. Now when we consider that up to 45% of cases can be asymptomatic, that puts us at around 24,000,000 total cases in the US, or 10% of the population. having been infected. 10% is not 70%. That leads us to our first bit of erroneous guidance from some, namely, that places such as New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Rhode Island who were hit hard earlier this year, and whose numbers plateaued throughout the late Spring and Summer, had achieved herd immunity at a much lower percentage (around 20% infected), as evidenced by their sustained plateaus.

The data suggest otherwise. Here are the graphical Data from Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center’s page on the states. Let’s look at the states that supposedly hit herd immunity and where they are as of this morning:


So what do we notice? New York is half-way to its Springtime peak.

New Jersey has just surpassed their Springtime Peak.

Connecticut and Rhode Island have just doubled their Springtime peaks.

Oops. That’s not supposed to happen when herd immunity has been achieved. But the beauty of being an internet sensationalist is that there are no governing bodies, editorial boards, etc. to hold one accountable. How many of the recently infected in the above four states believed themselves to be under the protection of a herd immunity they really didn’t understand?

{A note on the graphs. The very end of the data line usually dips down at the very end because of the uncertainty of the last-reported data, which are usually incomplete for a few days after initial reports. It takes a few days of consistent trending downward to accept that a true decline is in progress.}

{Also, the graphs represent the number of new cases per day}

Our armchair experts also suggested that the rest of the country, especially rural states, would experience no real impact because people were so spread out. I disagreed then and held out the following scenario:

When we reopened the economy people would hit the road and resume travel. They would feel safe in rural areas and not use mitigation strategies at the gas stations, truck stops, and fast food restaurants all along the Interstate Highway System, all of which employ local residents. The employees would contract the virus, bring it to their families, and then to their small, intimate country churches and local bars. The results would be catastrophic for rural communities. Five months later that’s exactly what has come to pass. Let’s look at what were held to be some of the safest places in the nation:

So let’s keep this short and sweet. Reaching herd immunity at anything less than 70% population infection is fantasy and wishful thinking. Believing it can happen at 20% is hallucinogenic.

We either get serious about mitigation and flatten the curve, or we see these numbers skyrocket beyond where they are now. With Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukkah, and the rest of the holidays and their shopping season upon us, I really don’t see reduction of numbers happening.

Quite the opposite, actually.

Herd Immunity? Forget you ever heard of herd immunity. That’s the result of either 4+ million dead from infection, or a good vaccination program. It benefits a lucky few, and even those will not be spared the sting of death among family and friends.

Mask. Distance. Reduce contact time. Frequent hand washing. Liberal use of hand sanitizer.

Rinse and repeat.

God Bless.

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Dr. Nadal: Welcome back to the hot seat. Tempting fate?

DR. NADAL: Sure. Why not?

Dr. Nadal: Well, let’s get right to it. There’s lots of talk about Sweden being the model for herd immunity with this virus. You look like you’ve swallowed a lemon at my merely mentioning it. What’s up?

DR. NADAL: Few people understand what herd immunity is, and the misperceptions that are out there are scary. Add to that Sweden’s disastrous policy of voluntary social distancing…

Dr. Nadal: You drifted off there. What’s so disastrous about the Swedish model? Don’t you think they’re doing a better job at protecting their economy?

DR. NADAL: Those are two separate issues. Let’s tackle the Swedish model first, and before that, we need to define what Herd Immunity is.

Dr. Nadal: You seem to be fond of saying that herd immunity is a result, not a process. That’s kind of confusing to people.

DR. NADAL: You nailed it. Herd Immunity is a result. Specifically, it is an end result, not a process. The concept of herd immunity is simple. If all the members of a herd, except a few, are immune to a disease then the few remaining members will have a vastly diminished chance of being infected by the pathogen and be protected by the collective immunity of the herd.

Dr. Nadal: Because…

DR. NADAL: Because diseases run through populations when members pick up a pathogen such as a virus. The virus amplifies greatly in number within the infected animal, who then spreads it to other members of the population, and so forth. If almost all the members of a population are immune, then the likelihood of any one susceptible member picking up the pathogen through random encounter is pretty slim. If per chance it does, the animal is surrounded by immune members and cannot pass it on through the herd. The same holds true for humans.

Dr. Nadal: And why is this a result?

DR. NADAL: I was getting to that. There are two ways to get to herd immunity. The first is you simply let all the members get diseased. The weak die and the survivors produce antibodies, those little y-shaped proteins that bind to the virus and mark it for destruction while also preventing it from being able to infect cells. The survivors also develop the ability to have white blood cells destroy any infected cells in the future. So that’s the first way to arrive at herd immunity.

The second way is to do mass vaccination of the population. In a vaccination we are injecting either the whole virus in weakened form, or parts of the virus we would like to see antibodies made against. That’s the simplified explanation.

Dr. Nadal: So which is better at prevention?

DR. NADAL: Well, let’s think about that for a moment. The Swedish model is the first case. Their program of voluntary social distancing has been an unmitigated disaster. They have a 12% case fatality rate while NYC has one at 5.7%…

Dr. Nadal: Sorry to interrupt, but Anders Tegnell, chief epidemiologist at Sweden’s Public Health Agency has said that they are mere weeks away from achieving herd immunity. That’s a good thing, right?

DR. NADAL: Wrong. Dead Wrong. As of April 28, that was Tegnell’s position. At that time about 25% of Sweden had been infected, again, with a 12% case fatality rate (CFR). In a country of 10.23 million people, another 50% would need to be infected at a minimum to reach herd immunity. That’s another 5 million people. At 12% CFR, that means 600,000 additional dead on the way to herd immunity. Tell me how you think that represents “prevention”.

Dr. Nadal: Well, I…

DR. NADAL: It’s slaughter. It isn’t medicine. It isn’t prevention. It’s putting Charles Darwin in the driver’s seat on national policy. That’s the absence of medicine. Vaccination is the only program of prevention that results in herd immunity. So it comes down to Darwinian Natural Selection or vaccination to achieve herd immunity, but that brings up a larger point, and the reason why I get dyspeptic at these discussions of herd immunity.

The goal right now, in the absence of a vaccine, is to save as many lives as we can until a vaccine is created. Social distancing and other mitigation measures slow the rate of transmission over time, and purchase valuable time to develop a vaccine as well as effective therapeutics.

But with that said, let’s just reiterate. Herd Immunity is the end result of Darwinian Natural Selection, OR the end result of a vaccination program. ONLY vaccination is a program of prevention.

Dr. Nadal: And what do you say to people who are suspicious of Dr. Fauci pushing for a vaccine?

DR. NADAL: My butcher’s name is Anthony. I’m really suspicious of Anthony because he’s always selling meat. Never any vegetables. Why do you think that is?

Dr. Nadal: Well, that 43lb. Turkey last Thanksgiving WAS impressive…

DR. NADAL: Dr. Fauci’s job, his life’s work, is to protect the nation from infectious disease. You don’t protect people from disease by sitting back and watching all the susceptible members of society die off from it and then pat yourself on the back for having achieved herd immunity by that means. That’s not prevention.

Vaccines save lives.

Dr. Nadal: You’re starting to piss off a lot of readers right now. There are those who say vaccines injure people and they point to the HHS Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)

DR. NADAL: VAERS is an open system where anybody can make a claim. There is no substantiation of any of those claims on VAERS…

Dr. Nadal: Wait, are you saying people don’t get injured by vaccines?

DR. NADAL: A very small percentage do. Very small. But did you know that 10% of the population is allergic to antibiotics? Where would we be in the war against infectious diseases if we mounted as vehement a campaign against antibiotics? It is the combination of vaccines and antibiotics in the years immediately following World War II that took the world population from just over 2 billion people to 7.5 billion people today. If that isn’t proof that vaccines save lives, then I give up.

Of course Fauci is pushing hard on a vaccine. So is every microbiologist and physician worth anything.

Dr. Nadal: So what do you say about people’s objections to using vaccines made with cells from aborted babies? Why put parts of babies in a vaccine?

DR. NADAL: The Pontifical Academy for Life under Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger gave guidance on when it is permissible to use vaccines that have made use of fetal cells for the purpose of growing viruses. Read it here.

There are cell lines, some from 1965, that use the descendants of cells obtained from aborted babies. Viruses are used to infect these cells, and the cells produce a bumper crop of viruses to be used in the vaccine. It’s the same principle as infecting chicken eggs with influenza virus in order to produce tons of flu virus for use in a vaccine.

Dr. Nadal: Then why do people say they are injecting our bodies with fetal cells?

DR. NADAL: People are mistaken about all sorts of things. The kernel of truth, however, is that when the cells are broken open, some DNA and protein from the fetal cells escapes the purification methods and ends up in the vaccine. We can do much better, and Dr. Theresa Deischer has developed ethically derived cells for use in vaccine production.

Dr. Nadal: So, what do you say to people who refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccination when it comes out?

DR. NADAL: Good Luck, and I respect your integrity.That’s a deeply personal decision and the individual who chooses that option is putting their life on the line for their principles.

Dr. Nadal: So, to achieve herd immunity, should the vaccine be mandatory?

DR. NADAL: No. This isn’t Smallpox. The goal here is NOT herd immunity. The goal is to save lives first, to offer our people the options. People with moral objections to the vaccine will benefit from the collective immunity of those who choose the vaccine, provided enough people avail themselves of the vaccine when one comes out.

Dr. Nadal: IF one comes out… We never got one for SARS or MERS.

DR. NADAL: True, but those outbreaks were more limited in time and scope. There’s way more effort being put in on this one.

Dr. Nadal: Well, we’ve certainly covered a lot of ground. I’ll give you the last word if you want to sum it all up.

DR. NADAL: Thanks. First, herd immunity is NOT the goal here, and I’ll repeat that. Herd Immunity is NOT the goal here.

The goal is preventing disease and saving lives. If the goal is herd immunity, then the Swedish model of voluntary social distancing, a 12% CFR becomes just one option.

We’re out to prevent infections. Right now that involves as much social distancing as we can tolerate economically. It involves aggressive use of Hydroxychloroquine, convalescent antibodies, more research and use of Remdesivir, etc. Ultimately, prevention is best achieved through the development of a vaccine.

The Catholic Church has issued guidance on morally acceptable use of morally problematic vaccines. Individuals should consult the document and their consciences should be respected.

Vaccines are far safer than antibiotics, and they save lives.

We have no absolute guarantees of safety in life, but we need a sense of proportion. I find that increasingly lacking in the public discourse. Without it, we simply cannot make intelligent, informed, or nuanced choices that will determine the length and quality of our lives.

Update: Clearly Sweden has not reached 25% infection rate. By their own numbers as of this writing they have had 25,265 diagnosed cases and 3,175 deaths, which yields a 12.57% CFR. I liked to play along for a moment with the delusion that they’ve achieved 25% infection rate, which they decidedly have not achieved. So, we go with the actual number of cases they’ve counted. 25K diagnosed cases yield a percentage 100x lower than they would like to believe. Applying the very real 12% CFR to 5 million infections will get us 600,000 fatalities. 25% population affected is a fantasy not grounded in solid data. It isn’t 25% infected. It’s 0.25% if the data shown below are to be believed. Hopefully that clears any misunderstandings.


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I’ve been getting a lot of headwind about where I stand on reopening. I’ll say it with crystal clarity, and thought that interviewing myself might be a better way of saying it in shorter bites.

Dr. Nadal: Tell me, do you think we should reopen the economy soon?

DR. NADAL: Yes. We need to. But… we can’t just rush back to work without some major changes, and I think the Trump Administration’s phased re-opening criteria make the most sense and guarantee the least amount of loss of life. With that said, I think we have a great deal of evidence that a great many people are going to simply ignore physical distancing and other mitigation criteria.

Dr. Nadal: Your point there leads to the observations by many around the nation that this just isn’t an issue in many other parts of the country as it is in New York City, so wasn’t this all an overreaction?

DR. NADAL: Right. The same way that widespread use of Vaccines and antibiotics were an overreaction to infectious diseases. Look, we have really good baseline data that show how infectious this virus is. The good news is that Dr. Birx has estimated the Case Fatality Rate at 0.7%. I think it’s a bit lower at 0.5%. So, that’s good news and bad news. The good news is that 99.5% of those who get infected will live. The bad news is that this is a highly infectious virus. If everyone in the nation were to get infected we could expect 1.64 million deaths without any therapeutic interventions. That’s not exactly your standard flu season. NYC got out of control before the rest of the country did when the shutdown came.

Dr. Nadal: So, you see, you sound like you’re saying we need to stay closed. In California, Stanford and USC did an antibody study that showed the infection rate was 50-85x higher than previously thought. What do you say to that?

DR. NADAL: First, on the 50-85x higher business. The Santa Clara study found a positive test result in 50 out of 3,330 people. That means that they are saying a whole whopping 1.5% of the population has been infected. That’s their 50-85% higher estimate than previous estimates. Get that? Look at the reverse of 1.5%. They are saying that 98.5% of the population could still get infected. Let me repeat that.

According to the wildest optimism, 98.5% of Californians are susceptible, which means the shutdown happened BEFORE things could get out of hand as they did in NYC. That said, the antibody test that these guys used has a 1.7% false positive rate, which means EVERY. SINGLE. TEST. RESULT. IS. IN. THE. MARGIN. OF. ERROR.

The study is worthless.

Those studies were rushed to an online outlet that does not do peer review. Guess why? We could talk about how unscientific the sampling was, but really, why bother.

Californians are hanging their hats on these “studies,” regarding reopening.

Dr. Nadal: But don’t you think…

DR. NADAL: Wait, let me finish this point. Most of the rest of the nation, even with wildly optimistic studies, remains uninfected. Here in NYC we are testing like mad and have come up with about 21% of NYC residents showing positive antibody tests. That’s way higher than the 1.5% from the fatally flawed studies in California. That means that 79% of NYC residents have not yet been infected. At least 98.5% of Californians have not been infected, if you recall that the flawed study showing a 1.5% infection rate was 50-85% higher in its estimate than previous estimates.

Dr. Nadal: But what are you saying? You seem to be talking out of both sides of your mouth, and what about the people who are committing suicide?

DR. NADAL: Actually it’s all consistent. This is a pandemic. We have options that suck. Options that suck badly. And options that are nightmarish. What we DON’T HAVE is the choice between some people dying and no people dying. You pick a course of action that is going to save the most lives, realizing that some demographic is going to get the short end of the stick, if I can put it in the most blunt language possible. We don’t have every hospital in NYC with multiple refrigerated morgue trucks parked outside and filled with the bodies of suicide victims. We DO have them filled with COVID cases that didn’t make it.

I’ve repeatedly called for the government to put on the full court press for mental health outreach. I’ve posted resources repeatedly for the same. It’s a pandemic, and there are no good options. Yes, suicides are elevated. And if we didn’t shut down? If we had 1.6-2.2 million deaths, and crashed hospital system, etc… do we not think that there would also be an elevated rate of suicide?

Again, and again, and again… it’s a pandemic. All the options suck. No matter which way leadership turns, people are going to die. That happens in pandemics.

By all means reopen, but follow the administration’s guidelines to do it safely.

Remember this as well. We cannot protect the vulnerable. Fully 60% of the American people have one risk factor. 40% have two risk factors, so factor that in when thinking about how to do this safely.

Dr. Nadal: Don’t you think you come off a bit calloused there?

DR. NADAL: It’s a raw reflection of reality. Not pretty, is it? If that sounds calloused, pray for the leaders who have to choose between options that are one worse than the other.

Dr. Nadal: So, we crashed the greatest economy in the world, and for what? Many think it wasn’t worth it.

DR. NADAL: It all depends on whose ox is being gored.

Dr. Nadal: Meaning?

DR. NADAL: I lost my private tutoring business here, so I get the economic pain. I’m one of the millions of unemployed. My pro-life work is unpaid. But let’s look at the initial goal of Flattening the Curve.

It’s been a wild success. We’ve had about 60K deaths in the past two months, with 95% of them happening in the past five weeks. That’s a frightful number…

Dr. Nadal: I don’t mean to interrupt, but aren’t we no worse off than a typical flu season?

DR. NADAL: Actually, we’re far worse off. In a typical 10-month flu season we incur about 37,000 deaths. We’ve had 60,000 so far in just about a month. You tell me.

Dr. Nadal: But people are saying that most of the victims have underlying medical conditions…

DR. NADAL: Yes. Same with deaths attributable to flu. I have heart and lung issues, but they are stable and well managed. I lead a normal, fully active life. If I contract this virus and it exploits those issues, destabilizes them, and kills me, what was it that was most directly responsible for my death? It was the virus. Even if you want to shave off 20% of coded cases, you’re left with 48K deaths in over a month, every major hospital in NYC ringed with stuffed morgue trucks, and 79% of the population yet to get infected. Tell me what kind of flu season that reminds you of.

Dr. Nadal: So back to the benefits of the shutdown…

DR. NADAL: Yes. We vastly reduced the numbers of people getting infected, so we reduced greatly the number of people who otherwise would have died. We also accomplished something else, We bought precious time to do clinical trials on Hydroxychloroquine, Famotidine, Remdisivir, convalescent serum, monoclonal antibodies etc. We also bought time to ramp up industry in vastly producing PPE, hand sanitizer, ventilators, tests for the virus, tests for antibodies, and on and on.

Dr. Nadal: But lots of people lost their jobs.

DR. NADAL: I know. I’m one of them.

Dr. Nadal: But…

DR. NADAL: No buts… I get it. Reopen according to the president’s plan. Just realize the risks you are all incurring in so doing. New York City is not an outlier. We are a cautionary tale. Once you hit critical mass the genie gets loose and there’s no stuffing it back in the bottle. I’ve been hearing a lot of smug arrogance and seeing people congregating en masse without face masks, etc.

Pathogens are apolitical. They exploit pride, arrogance, and ignorance.

And this one is unforgiving.

That’s really my last word on the subject of reopening. It wasn’t worthless to shut down. We bought time, advanced the research ball, advanced the production of the tools needed by our clinicians, developed more potential therapeutics, and most of all in the balance we saved lives.

Lots of lives.

Photocredit: https://www.inquirer.com/business/drugs/coronavirus-johnson-and-johnson-stoffels-wuhan-20200128.html

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Word this weekend comes of Vice President Pence and Attorney General Barr seeking to promote legislation that would accelerate the executions of mass shooters.

This is a really, really bad idea.

Putting aside my opposition to the death penalty for a moment, how does DOJ propose to streamline/abrogate the appeals process for one class of murderers and not for others? The courts will make a meal of this bill. Delving further, some of these mass shooters (Colorado movie theater, Sandy Hook) were clearly deranged human beings, meriting life incarceration in a psychiatric hospital. Streamlining the path to the gallows railroads the truly mentally deranged, whose disease state sufficiently mitigates culpability where execution is concerned. Such legislation fuels the just fires of outrage in the citizenry, leads to bringing capital charges where true justice finds such charges abhorrent, puts unbearable pressure on prosecutors and judges to deliver the shooter up to death, and speeds the timeline to death by denying the most unsympathetic of the condemned the one thing necessary to assemble mitigating and exculpatory evidence: Time.

If the horror of such crimes begets in us such a bloodlust for vengeance, that a thoroughly mentally and neurologically malfunctional and diseased young man as Adam Lanza (who took his own life) could be railroaded to the gallows, then these mass shootings will have only succeeded in diminishing and perverting us as a people by the perversion of our justice system.

For most of us, the profoundly mentally ill are not a part of our daily lives. They are both out of sight and out of mind, until their disease state erupts into acts whose lethality is as random and unfocused as their cognitions. Then we are overwhelmed by the realization that it could be any one of us, in any place, at any time who find ourselves in the sights of a diseased and deranged mind. In the face of this horrific uncertainty and true compassion for the slaughtered comes such legislative proposal. It is sweetly seductive precisely because it offers us the only control we have in the face of these shootings:

Swift execution of the shooter.

But if we enact law that will lead to unbearable pressure brought on prosecutors and judges with obviously insane shooters, then our entire judicial equilibrium becomes skewed and twisted as we snuff the life out of humans who merit our protection from the diseases that ravage their nervous systems and their minds. That our system of jurisprudence has always allowed for that is one of the noblest achievements in human history. That we may be willing to throw that away for a false sense of security, as such legislation has no deterrent effect on the mentally deranged, represents the biggest death of all amidst these horrors.

I say we’re better than this.

[Photo Credit: Deviantart.com]

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On Monday the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg repeating the error of Chief Justice Rober B. Taney in the Dred Scott decision of 1857. In her decision regarding whether fetal remains should be treated as medical waste, or cremated as required by the law under consideration, Justice Ginsburg took strenuous issue with Justice Thomas’ characterization of pregnant women as, “mothers.” This harkens to the infamous Dred Scott decision, where Chief Justice Taney ruled that no black, slave or free, could claim U.S. citizenship. The parallels are as striking as they are revolting.

In both decisions, Dred Scott and Box v. Planned Parenthood, opinions moved jurisprudence in the wrong direction, breaking with either previous court decisions, or with the Constitution itself. Prior to Dred Scott, Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution treated blacks in slavery as 3/5 a person for purposes of apportioning seats in Congress. So they were 60% of the way to personhood status under the law. The Dred Scott decision stripped them entirely of personhood status and went further to encompass free blacks as well.

In Roe v. Wade the justices declared that they could not tell definitively when human life began, and agonizingly deployed the medieval concept of Quickening in defense of this nebulous boundary between being human and non-human–a boundary that science has NEVER recognized at all. The product of human fertilization is a new human from the moment of fertilization. In the Box decision this week Justice Ginsburg took direct aim at Justice Thomas’ characterization of pregnant women as mothers when she said, “(A) woman who exercises her constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy is not a ‘mother’.”

So, blacks are not persons when we wish to own them as slaves, nor are even free blacks persons when their humanity points to the humanity of blacks languishing in chains. Similarly, pregnant women who wish to abort their children are not mothers if the humanity of wanted babies and motherhood status of the women bearing them might point to the humanity of unwanted babies and the motherhood status of the women seeking their demise. Again, and again, and again, we repeat the same tragic errors of history. Scores of millions suffer and perish because of that error. A singular error. It is this:

Either we see personhood as an intrinsic status that comes with being a human animal/organism, a human being, or we treat personhood as a status conferred on certain human organisms by an intellectual and political elite. We consistently choose the latter. There is no other explanation for the Dred Scott decision, or the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896 that upheld racial segregation in the South (The Democrats “do-over” for the Civil War and its results). There is no other explanation for the notorious Buck v. Bell decision that upheld the rights of the states to forcibly sterilize the developmentally disabled. There is no other explanation for the Nazi Nuremberg laws that stripped Jews of the personhood status, or for the infamous Koramatsu decision that upheld the right of the government to herd Japanese-American citizens into concentration camps during war based solely on their ethnic ancestry.

And then came Roe, Doe, and Casey.

We live in an age of tragic make-believe. Men are women if they believe hard enough. Women are men if they believe hard enough. One may wish away the biological reality evident in the mirror when one steps out of the shower. So, too, can one magically wish away the human identity and status of the child in the womb, and even one’s own motherhood status. In both, we engage in surgical mutilations to ensure the delusional ideation. It’s science denial on steroids.

Pope Benedict XVI had a prescient observation some years ago, one that goes a long way to explaining these tragic errors we can’t help repeating as a people:

“Where doubt over God becomes prevalent, then doubt over humanity follows inevitably. We see today how widely this doubt is spreading. We see it in the joylessness, in the inner sadness, that can be read on so many human faces today. Only faith gives me the conviction: it is good that I exist. It is good to be a human being, even in hard times. Faith makes one happy from deep within.

People such as Justice Ginsburg don’t see humanity as a fundamental good. They see it as a status, and themselves as the arbiters of who is granted that status. So this week’s Box ruling will go down as a split decision. On the one hand, the court upheld the part of the law in question that requires cremation of aborted fetal remains. That takes us a significant step toward recognizing the fetus as more than mere medical waste. On the other hand, Justice Ginsburg has staked out the same ground as Taney and the majority in Dred Scott.

Finally, it was never the vision of the Founding Fathers that God, and Judeo-Christian anthropology be banished from the public square. Freedom of religion was never in their minds the same as freedom from religion. It is why they set forth the idea of unalienable rights that come from a “Creator,” whom they identify as, “Nature’s God.” It is why they stated that the whole purpose of government is to secure the rights that come from God, which man cannot take away. It is why they further stated that whenever government becomes destructive of that purpose it is the right of the people to alter or abolish that government, and to elect new government that will be faithful to the end of securing the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness–the fundamental rights that come from God.

Taney and Ginsburg are two justices who committed themselves to being destructive of those ends. Those who cheer the words of Ginsburg are the very people hostile to religion, with doubts about God, and it shows in their doubts about humanity, beginning with their own.

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“What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ 29He said in reply, ‘I will not,’ but afterwards he changed his mind and went. 30The man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir,’ but did not go. 31* Which of the two did his father’s will?” They answered, ‘The first.’ Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you.”

The First Son
Last night the governor of Alabama signed into law the most restrictive abortion legislation in the nation, all but outlawing the procedure, and certain to set up a Supreme Court showdown. Aggressive pro-life legislation has been on the march this year, as well as aggressive and horrific pro-death legislation, expanding abortion into infanticide. The common denominator in all of this is President Trump. He has shifted the composition of the Supreme Court with two appointments, and filled hundreds of seats on the Federal Bench with conservative judges. His U.S. Attorneys and Attorneys General are no enemies of life.  And then there are his executive orders, his reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy, his defense of conscience protections for people of faith that were savaged under Obama, his full-throated embrace of the pro-life movement.

All of this from a billionaire with a bad-boy past, a reformed playboy who could have spent the waning years of his life steeped in luxury and the pursuit of libertine ways.

Instead, Donald Trump lives with his wife of fifteen years in the world’s largest fishbowl, along with his youngest son. Thrice married, he does not cut the squeaky-clean family man image of a Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, or the Bushes. One would have expected sterling pro-life efforts from such men so devoted to their first and only wives, and their children. Instead, the efforts ranged from tepid to outright hostility. The reformed playboy has been quite the surprise for many.

The Second Son
Supreme Court Justice, Bret Kavanaugh, is Irish Catholic, a graduate of one of the nation’s most prestigious Catholic high schools, Georgetown Prep, the perfect church-going, soup kitchen-volunteering family man. He is new to the Supreme Court, and the justice everyone is keenly watching; perhaps because he is the hand-picked successor of another Irish Catholic justice, Anthony Kennedy, whose rulings in many areas haven’t squared with the moral world view of his faith.

What is of concern to pro-life advocates is Justice Kavanaugh’s rock-solid regard for Stare Decisis, the legal principle that regards previous decisions as strong precedent for judging future cases with similar issues. There have been a string of decisions in the wake of Roe v. Wade that have all buttressed Roe. From that perspective, a challenge to the Alabama law may find sound footing in a court where Kavanaugh has assumed the swing-vote seat of his old mentor. But there is hope.

When asked during his confirmation hearing what he thought the greatest Supreme Court decision was, he enthusiastically offered up Brown v Board of Education. What is so remarkable in his answer is that Brown is a rare case of the Supreme Court reversing one of its prior rulings, specifically, Plessy v. Ferguson, the notorious case that upheld the institution of racial segregation. How to square the full-embrace of Stare Decisis with such a response?

The only answer is the obvious answer. There are some institutions that are so intrinsically evil that no law, no legal principle can be used to shield them without making a mockery of justice, of the law, of its practitioners. Such evil institutions strip the innocent of their human dignity and freedoms, and in the case of abortion, their very lives.

Our second son, like the first,  has been sent by his father into the vineyard to work. Our second son has had advantages over the first. He has had the fullness of truth revealed to him through his Catholic upbringing that the first has not enjoyed in his churches that embrace contraception and abortion. Our second son has also signaled that he has the capacity to break with bedrock jurisprudence to defeat malignant evil when malignant evil would use bedrock jurisprudence as both sword and shield.

So, in the not-so-distant future, how will our second son acquit himself? Will he, as with so many sterling family men before him, shrink from the will of the father? Will he go down in history as having performed less than a reformed playboy billionaire?

None of us is perfect, and President Trump is no exception. However, his late, “Yes!” to the will of the father is the stuff of the good thief on the cross and the first son in Jesus’ parable, a son with plenty of warts doing the will of his father. A work in progress.

It is the second son who remains untested. It is he who is in need of more prayerful support than the reformed playboy billionaire. The pressures on him will be greater than anyone can imagine. His presence on the court is the result of the first son’s ongoing obedience to the father’s will.

May he see that, and act accordingly.


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