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Hearsay

The Democrats have moved their impeachment inquiry fiasco to the next level with their public testimonies.  These are the same witnesses that were hand-selected by the Democrats for “closed door” sessions with the goal of presenting to the public the most incriminating evidence for impeachment.  Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff have actually “raised the bar” on their accusations and are now saying that the President has committed an act of extortion and/or bribery.  Like the conductor of an orchestra, Schiff is carefully conducting every minute of his symphony.  I did not waste any time watching the televised testimony knowing that the biased media would tell me what they thought I needed to know.  From what I have seen of the testimony there has been nothing of substance.  Everything in the testimony today was hearsay.  The Democrats proudly displayed their primary witness for the day, Bill Taylor.  I think the Democrats feel that the witness’s credentials somehow make him a more trustworthy observer.  Mr. Taylor is a graduate of the United States Military Academy and received a bronze star while serving in Vietnam.  Robert Mueller had a stellar record as a marine veteran and former head of the FBI.  His Russia probe was a total disaster however and made his Democratic backers look like fools.  Despite his outstanding record, Mr. Taylor did not speak with the President and therefore does not know why the military aid was temporarily withheld to the Ukraine.  He (Taylor) assumed that the aid was contingent on the launching of an investigation into the Bidens and Burissma.  Gordon Sondland, ambassador to the EU testified last week to essentially the same assumptions.  When Taylor initially texted Sondland regarding his concerns over the delay in aid, Sondland responded that there was no quid pro quo.  Sondland testified to that while under oath in his closed door sessions.  Once other witnesses contradicted Sondland’s testimony, he suddenly “remembered” the phone call in question.  Was that a simple memory lapse or was it perjury?  Perhaps the Democrats pressured him to say there was a quid pro quo.

One thing is certain, you can’t convict someone on hearsay alone.  There has been no firsthand knowledge or objective evidence to indicate that the President pressured Zelensky into investigating the Bidens.  The military aid flowed and no investigation was ever conducted (although it should have).  The Trump Administration has been a good ally of the Ukrainians, supplying military weapons, including anti-tank missiles.  Under the Obama Administration the Russians invaded the Crimea and annexed it without Obama doing anything to stop them.  Then when the Russians invaded the Ukraine, the Ukrainians bravely fought back.  Obama aid consisted of blankets and MREs (meals ready to eat).  The Obama Administration was cowardly in the face of Russian aggression in Eastern Europe but it was President Trump who provided real aid to the Ukrainians for survival.  Hopefully Republicans in the House and Senate will continue their steadfast support of this President who has been under continuous attack by the corrupt deep state.  The longer this unjust debacle continues the more the Dems are ensuring Trump’s second term.

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Trump’s Budget

More on defense & security, less on social programs.

The Trump Administration released their budget proposal. As promised our President is wanting to increase spending on defense and homeland security. They have also suggested limiting growth in many social programs. Under the previous Administration food stamps, disability payments and welfare programs increased exponentially resulting in a doubling of our national deficit to some 20 trillion dollars (even with cuts in defense). Chuck Schumer is screaming bloody murder and will no doubt depict Republicans as heartless. Our society has become one of entitlements and dependency. The Dems are relying on government dependency to remain in power and expand the Democratic base. Have we learned nothing from the events in Venezuela? How long can the burden of an entitlement society be borne by the working taxpayer? We are taking a long walk off a short pier. Many Republicans are reluctant to support such efforts fearing loss of voter support. We elected a president with courage, but we still have a Congress of cowards. Remember the parable, “Give a man a fish and you’ve fed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you’ve fed him for a lifetime.” Handouts are not helpful long term.

 

Tax Attack

The latest in the string of pre-election attacks on the President was launched from the bastion of reliable reporting, the New York Times. Once known as one of the nation’s premier newspapers it has become little more than a tabloid for the Left. They apparently obtained access to the President’s income tax filings and reported that Donald Trump paid no income tax in 11 of the past 18 years. They also noted that for the tax year 2019 he paid a total of $750 in income tax. This has now become a major Biden campaign ad proclaiming stating that teachers and firefighters pay more income tax than the President. As terrible as this sounds, Americans have complained for decades that the tax code favors the wealthy despite the graduated income tax payment scale. The unfortunate fact is many wealthy individuals do not have a typical income-paying job from which payroll taxes can be withdrawn. Lest the average shift worker decides to criticize the President, recall that we recently discovered that Amazon paid NO INCOME TAX on the billions of dollars that this corporation makes every year. How about looking at the lavish wealth displayed by Speaker Pelosi with her extravagant refrigerator and ice cream at a time when the economy was shut down. To be fair the income taxes of all Senators and Congressional members should be up for public display. How is it that Washington creates millionaires and billionaires in some cases? The system is rigged by the people who pass the laws and have the most to gain. The President has donated his presidential salary every year since his election and reported a $451 million loss this past year from all of his many enterprises. Under our present tax laws, losses are deductible from income as are many other expenses. Investment in equipment entitles businesses to certain deductions as is depreciation on that equipment. Wealthy Americans have learned sophisticated tax avoidance strategies to minimize their tax burden. In 2016 Hillary Clinton attacked Trump for not paying taxes and his response to her accusation was simply, “That show’s I’m smart.”

Tax evasion (not paying taxes that are owed) is illegal but tax avoidance is legal. Warren Buffet famously said that he pays less in taxes than his secretary but that once again assumes that he has little taxable income and much of his wealth is sheltered. Income tax rates are graduated but long-term capital gains tax rates (where much of upper class wealth is stored) are generally much lower. Taxes on stocks or real estate aren’t due until such time that the stock or real estate asset is sold. The wealthy often hold such investments until they have large capital losses in another area that offset any other capital gains. The tax bill passed in 2017 included many tax breaks for business owners that would encourage risk-taking and innovation. But these are tax breaks not available to the average person and benefit only the wealthy. Elimination of the death tax has benefited the wealthy by allowing them to pass assets tax-free to their heirs at the time of death. The 2017 tax law doubled the amount of a deceased person’s wealth that’s shielded from the estate tax from about $5.5 million to more than $11 million. If the NYT’s report on the Trump taxes is upsetting, just think of the billionaires that have not been brought to light by the NYT or any other newspaper. We should all encourage Congress to rewrite the tax code and eliminate the numerous giveaways that benefit the wealthy and increase the burden on the remainder of America’s working class.

Now It Begins

The President had not even announced his nominee for the Supreme Court to fill the seat of Justice RBG and the MSM was already attacking the front runner for the nomination, Amy Coney Barrett. The Left has two great fears: 1) that the Court will strike down Roe vs Wade and 2) eliminate the remnants of Obamacare. Neither decision would mark the end of the world as states and localities would address both of these rather than the federal government. When Judge Barrett was questioned by the Judiciary Committee in 2017 for her Circuit Court appointment, she stated that she would generally accept precedent and that the role of the Judicial System was to interpret the law not legislate. When running for president in 2016 Donald Trump to appoint conservative judges (and justices) who would follow the Constitution as written. He gave us a list of potential nominees to prove his point and true to form the President has followed through on his first two picks. At her hearing in 2017 the Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee made an issue of the fact that Judge Barrett was Catholic. Justice Ginsburg was Jewish and I don’t recall anyone making an issue of her religion. If confirmed, Justice Barrett would be joining five other Catholic Justices on the Court. It is illegal to discriminate when hiring for a federal position based on sex, race or religion. Senator Schumer has stated that he feels in the future Justice Barrett should recuse herself from any cases involving potential election disputes (potential conflict of interest) or those on abortion due to her Catholic beliefs. If that were the case, then the other five Catholic justices would necessarily recuse themselves from any abortion cases as well. One reason to appoint a ninth justice to the Court now is to have a full complement of justices in the event there is an election challenge!

The Judiciary Committee certainly can’t question her qualifications. Judge Barrett graduated the top student in her law class at Notre Dame (unlike Joe Biden who graduated 76th out of a class of 85). She served as a professor there and has been a Circuit Court judge since 2017. She worked with Justice Scalia and admittedly shares many of his philosophies. She is a mother of seven children, two of whom were adopted from Haiti. Instead of being praised as the ideal working mother with a career, the women of the Left are attacking her just the same. It seems the Left can never accept a conservative, especially a conservative woman, regardless of how accomplished. I would normally have suggested that the President wait until after the election to nominate a judge for the vacancy on the Supreme Court. But with all the money pouring into Democratic candidates and the potential for voter fraud with mail in ballots, I think it wise to act now.

Party of the Rich

Joe Biden has crafted a campaign slogan saying that “Trump is the candidate of Park Avenue and he (Joe) is the candidate of Scranton.” First of all Joe hasn’t lived in Scranton since age 10 so claiming he is from Scranton is a stretch. As for describing his party’s economic level, nothing could be further from the truth. The Democratic Party has become the party of pampered movie stars and athletes with their multi-million dollar salaries and extravagant lifestyles. You need only look at the party’s latest competition for the presidential nomination where two (possibly three) billionaires were running for president. Since the two major parties held their conventions donations to the Biden campaign have exceeded donations to the Trump campaign by a factor of ten or more. Former Democratic candidate Michael Bloomberg is giving $16 million to black and Latino felons in Florida. State law permits felons to vote if they have completed their sentence and paid all fees and other costs. Bloomberg will pay those fees and costs assuming these minorities will vote for Biden. The Florida Attorney General is seeking possible criminal charges against Bloomberg for vote buying. Traditionally the Republicans were thought to be the party of the wealthy, upper class. The Democratic party, on the other hand, was believed to be the party of the working class. Recent years has seen a complete reversal of those beliefs. Hollywood egoists, Silicon Valley brainiacs, and Ivy League elitists are the face of the Democratic party. These new Democrats have deep pockets and are willing to buy elections, including those of liberal prosecutors who in turn eliminate bail for rioters who are destroying our cities. The Republican party on the other hand is the working class and American farmer party. This movement was accelerated under Donald Trump who understood the average worker better than any politician. Trump emphasized the Republican philosophy of low taxes, minimal government and maximal responsibility for one’s actions. America as we know it was built on personal freedom and responsibility.

Unfortunately the media has been taken over by the socialist wing of the Democratic party and together they’re attempting to destroy traditional American values. Conservative politicians (and of course President Trump) are under continuous assault as well. The Democrats are pushing their big government, socialist agenda. Big government fosters dependency while discouraging self-reliance. Scripture teaches us to work hard and be self sufficient. In Thessalonians 3:10: “if a man will not work he shall not eat.” Although attributed to scripture it is a Chinese proverb that tells us, “Give a man a fish and you’ve fed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you’ve fed him for a lifetime.” The Democrats are pushing a socialist agenda of big government and dependency on that government for our basic needs. Such dependency robs a man of his self-esteem and his ability to provide for himself and his family. This election offers a simple choice: 1) Rich elitist Democrats offering socialism with its empty promises that has never worked before vs 2) Working class Republicans who offer traditional values of low taxes, abundant freedom and personal responsibility. I’ll take door number two!

Temper Tantrum

Like spoiled children who have not gotten their way, Democratic Senators are outraged that Mitch McConnell and President Trump are determined to move forward on a Supreme Court replacement for Justice Ginsburg. Nominating a judge to the Supreme Court in an election years has been done 29 times before so this is not “groundbreaking.” The Democrats are upset over the fact that the President will undoubtedly pick a conservative, constitutionalist judge and that will shift the balance of the Court toward a more conservative leaning. The role of the Supreme Court as originally intended was to “interpret the Constitution” not to make laws as has often been the case in recent in years. Democrats are still bitter over the Merrick Garland nomination by Barack Obama in 2016 (also an election year) that was never allowed to be reviewed in the Judiciary Committee nor voted on by the full Senate. Senator Schumer has declared “total war” in the next Congressional session if Republicans push through their nominee and fill Justice Ginsburg’s vacant Supreme Court seat. Among the battle plans in their total war the Democrats are threatening to eliminate the filibuster and expand the Supreme Court. By expanding the Court they could “pack” it with an unlimited number of liberal-minded justices. Franklin Roosevelt last tried “court packing” unsuccessfully in 1937. The late Justice Ginsburg also opposed the idea, believing that nine justices was the ideal number. The greater the number of justices, the greater the disagreement that tends to take place. Whatever number of justices that are eventually seated on the Court, it should necessarily be an odd number to assure that a decision will always be reached. The Constitution does not designate the number of justices to sit on the Supreme Court, but the current number of nine justices has been in place for over 150 years.

Schumer’s total assault on his Republican colleagues can only take place when and if the Democrats gain control of the Senate, maintain their control of the House and win the presidency. If they are successful in gaining total control in Washington, the Democrats could vote to add the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and even Guam as new states. If that were to occur it could add at least four and possibly six additional Democratic Senators to Congress. That prospect would possibly give Democrats permanent majorities in both houses of Congress. Speaker Pelosi is presently considering another impeachment of the President, since she believes that the House can impeach at will. She has not ruled out impeaching Attorney General William Barr as well. The Democrats are confident of sweeping majorities in both houses of Congress and winning the White House. If they are able to end the filibuster and add liberal District of Columbia and Puerto Rico as states they believe their control in Washington will last for many years to come. Politics has always been dirty business but it is getting dirtier by the day. It is little wonder that politicians have such a low approval rating among the public; they’ve earned it!

Placing Blame

The Democrats and their allies in the MSM are quick to blame the President for every rise in COVID-19 cases. Most medical experts are actually pointing to irresponsible behavior in young college-age students for most of the recent rise in COVID-19 cases. The media has been determined to blame everything that goes wrong on Donald Trump when most of his actions were done at the recommendation of his “expert” task force. From the very onset of the coronavirus pandemic, those experts haven’t always been correct in their assumptions. Yet the President remains the whipping boy for the MSM’s blame. Today is another example of mixed messages from medical authorities who can’t get their message straight. Early today the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published new information regarding the transmissibility of the coronavirus and recommended guidelines for prevention. The new recommendations suggested that the aerosolized virus remained airborne longer than previously suspected. As a consequence they no longer felt comfortable with the previous six-foot perimeter recommendation as the acceptable measure for “social distancing.” Later today they removed their new guidelines including the idea that the virus could spread beyond the 6-foot perimeter. It’s not clear why the CDC pulled the new guidelines because scientific research has shown that infected aerosol particles can remain airborne longer than was previously thought. I’m not sure why Dr. Redfield had the CDC pull down the new guidelines. Perhaps this is just a temporary move to refine the guidelines before publishing them once again. I think it will emphasize the need for facial coverings when indoors because that is where the risk will remain the greatest. Outdoor activities will always carry a lower risk particularly when humidity and temperatures are elevated. We will see what the CDC recommends as a new “safe” distance in a social gathering and whether that will be different for indoor vs outdoor activities.

The CDC has been criticized recently for contradictory messaging with respect to the testing of asymptomatic individuals, mask wearing and vaccine development. Although the Democrats/MSM fear political pressures are rushing the authorization and approval of a coronavirus vaccine, health officials and pharmaceutical companies pledge to follow every safety standard with no “short cuts” in the process. Some health experts are concerned that Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar will attempt to supersede authority over the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and expedite emergency use authorization of any effective vaccine. There are existing government regulations that would permit the Secretary of HHS to authorize the use of an approved vaccine if there is a public health emergency declaration. This applies to current vaccines but could theoretically be applied to coronavirus vaccines. I have every confidence in our scientific community and that the FDA and CDC will not permit the release of a vaccine that isn’t both safe and effective. I plan to receive the vaccine as soon as it is available to me. It’s unfair to blame a president for an inconsistent COVID-19 response when the advice he receives (from experts) is constantly changing. To think Joe Biden would have done a better job is truly laughable.

Attack on the Burbs

Joe Biden is courting the suburban vote and according to recent polls he is leading among suburban women. I suppose women prefer Joe’s low-key, quiet demeaner to the boisterous and sometimes foul-mouthed President. Politicians in Washington are famous for giving fancy speeches but doing very little in the way of meaningful accomplishments. Donald Trump has been plain spoken but has followed through on promises (promises made, promises kept). Suburban women need to realize that although Joe Biden appears to be a “nice guy” a Biden/Harris administration would certainly not be kind to the “burbs.” The Fair Housing Act of 1968 was passed to help end housing discrimination and create more diverse, inclusive communities. Under President Obama the Affirmative Furthering Fair Housing Rule extended that principles of the act. This rule tied federal funds given to participating localities (cities, counties, states, and public housing agencies “PHAs”) with offering an effective approach that would 1) overcome historic patterns of segregation and 2) foster inclusive communities free of discrimination. Biden wants to rezone much of the suburbs permitting the expansion of high density, low income housing units into single family neighborhoods. Most individuals move to the suburbs for the tranquility and safety of single family homes in quiet neighborhoods. With the violence taking place in many urban areas, suburban neighborhoods are more popular than ever. Today’s suburbs are fully integrated in most cities as capitalism has “spread the wealth” throughout our society. I doubt suburban women are wanting what a Biden/Harris administration has in mind. Altering the makeup of the community is only the beginning because they want to drastically change schools as well.

Many families move to the suburbs for better schools as well. Biden wants to end charter and private schools and improve the public school system. Joe is beholden to the teachers union who oppose competition and any “quality control” measures. Standardized testing will be removed and much of public education will be “centralized” according to federal standards. The Democrats have always been for big government; centralized education, healthcare and others. As Ronald Reagan said, “Government governs best that governs least.” The Biden/Harris administration has declared they will increase taxes, both personal and corporate. With that as his avowed economic foundation, Joe says he will “build back better” and create millions of jobs. Does raising taxes on everyone sound like a recipe for growth? He also promises to do away with fossil fuels. I’d suggest that everyone go to Prager University’s website and watch their short video on renewal energy. We can NEVER supply all our energy needs with renewables and would destroy the planet in the process of trying. Efficient use of fossil fuels and supplementation with renewables is the most sensible approach. To all those suburban women thinking of voting for Joe Biden, consider what he will do to your schools and neighborhoods before placing that vote.

SCOTUS Crossroad

The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has presented the President with an opportunity but one fraught with risks. Ginsburg’s death was no surprise since she was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2009. Even today pancreatic cancer is generally considered a terminal diagnosis with a five year survival of 5-20% depending on the stage of disease at diagnosis. She was hospitalized earlier this year and admitted to receiving chemotherapy. She was so dedicated to her work that she carried her briefs to the hospital so she could continue her work even during recent illnesses. She was nominated to the Court by President Bill Clinton in 1993 as only the second woman to serve on the SCOTUS. Despite her obvious failing health in recent years, she stubbornly refused to retire so as not to allow Donald Trump another Supreme Court pick. She was a reliably liberal vote in a divided Court and did not wish to see the balance shifted. Shortly before her death she made a statement to her granddaughter, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new President is installed.” She assumes that the President would not be re-elected to a second term. It appears that partisanship has found its way into every aspect of our lives, including the Supreme Court. The decision to submit a nominee to replace Justice Ginsburg will be made by the President, but I would suggest that he wait for the election results. With only 45 days remaining before the presidential election there may not be enough time for the Senate Judiciary Committee to review the candidate and vote. I believe a delay will motivate Christian conservatives to “get out the vote” and re-elect President Trump. In 2016 much of the Trump support came from his “list” of potential conservative SCOTUS nominees. The President’s first term has more than fulfilled his promise for the SCOTUS but for lower courts as well. By waiting until his re-election, the Democrats couldn’t complain that the process was rushed and not based on the “people’s will.”

The other consideration is the fact there are a number of Republican Senators who are in contested re-election contests, including Lindsey Graham, Susan Collins, Corey Gardner and Martha McSally. A Senate push to nominate a conservative justice 45 days before a general election may inspire the local Democratic electorate to defeat incumbent Republican Senators. Thus even should Trump be elected to a second term he would find it difficult getting a conservative nominee appointed to the Court. Should Biden win the presidency along with the Republican loss of Senate seats, we could expect a liberal nominee to the Court. Biden has already signaled he would likely nominate a black female to the Court. The Democrats are determined to play identity politics if they gain power. Both Biden and Harris have made Freudian slips by declaring the “Harris” administration. It appears that Kamala Harris will be the one calling the shots should the Biden/Harris ticket win the election. Although I think the President should wait, my guess is he will submit a Supreme Court nominee next week and Mitch McConnell will move forward. This should be interesting.

Reap What Ye Sow

The City of Minneapolis has been through some traumatic times since the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department. The four nights of continuous rioting and destruction resulted in an estimated cost to the city of over $500 million in damages. In a knee-jerk reaction the City Council voted to defund the city’s police department. They suggested removing the 911 call centers from police departments and placing them under civilian control. They suggested that some 911 calls could be handled by less-threatening civilian responders such as counselors, social workers and psychologists. It seems liberal-minded city dwellers believe that the mere presence of police incites violence. Perhaps the Minneapolis City Council also believe they could avoid more rioting and destruction of their city by appeasing BLM and Antifa. The Council members mistakenly think these domestic terrorists’ demands could ever be satisfied. The “protesters” are emboldened with each concession and it only serves to further their demands. It has been just two months since the City Council’s action and now the citizens of Minneapolis are crying foul over skyrocketing crime rates. At a Wednesday meeting some members of the City Council expressed alarm over a surge in crime that includes carjackings, robberies, assaults and shootings many of which take place in broad daylight. Residents are upset over the fact that 911 calls often go unanswered or the response times are exceedingly slow. Council members have pressured Police Chief Arradondo regarding the uptick in crimes. Members of his department have been accused of not enforcing the law or making arrests. The Chief pledged to address these issues with his departmental supervisors, however many officers are demoralized by the anti-police public attitude. Crime data corroborates what Minneapolis citizens have known for some time; violent crime as well as property crime and arson are up. There are more murders in the first nine months of 2020 than in all of 2019.

The Minneapolis Police Department has lost approximately 100 officers this year for a variety of reasons. That is more than double the number that would typically be lost in a normal year. The City Council began dismantling the city’s police department in July of this year. It started with removing $1 million from the police department budget and reallocating it to the health department to hire “violence interrupters.” These unarmed civilians are supposed to defuse potentially violent situations by non-violent means. The Council pledged earlier in the summer to dismantle the police department and replace it with a community-based system of public safety. From the uptick in crime it doesn’t appear that the criminals have chosen to cooperate with the Council’s non-violent approach to law enforcement. To send an unarmed violence interrupter into a dangerous situation is suicidal. The citizens of Minneapolis need to recall their current Council members and vote in new members with some common sense. Criminals take advantage of a “soft touch” approach. A zero tolerance approach to crime is the only message criminals understand. It worked in New York in the past and at this point I think the residents of Minneapolis are ready for a new technique that works. Minneapolis has learned its lesson; when it comes to law & order, you reap what you sow.

New Covid-19 Target

One of the primary bodily reactions to the COVID-19 virus is the overreaction of the immune system, most often referred to as the cytokine storm. Cytokines are small proteins generated within the immune system that elicits a given response from the body or from other specialized immune cells. Cytokines include interferons, interleukins and human growth factors. One of the most effective therapeutic options to date has been the use of anti-inflammatory medications, particularly corticosteroids (and evidence for colchicine) to slow or block the inflammatory response set in motion by the virus. A new study that was performed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee is now implicating another inflammatory mediator, bradykinin, in the immune overreaction. By employing the lab’s supercomputers researchers analyzed the lung fluid of nine severely ill coronavirus patients from Wuhan, China. What their analysis found was the most severely ill patients expressed genes that resulted in the greater production of bradykinin. Bradykinin is a peptide that promotes cellular inflammation while inducing arteriolar vasodilation through the release of prostacyclin and nitric oxide. The finding of elevated bradykinin levels more easily explains the vascular damage and multisystem effects that is seen with COVID-19. We know that the virus enters the body through the ACE2 receptors in the upper respiratory tract. The supercomputer identified a 200-fold increase in the expression of ACE2 receptors and an 8-fold decrease in ACE receptors in the sickest patients. It may be the imbalance of ACE2/ACE receptors that makes an individual particularly susceptible to a severe COVID-19 infection. From this study it appears that the ACE2 receptor may be the primary source for bradykinin production.

The vascular damage created from excess bradykinin could trigger pulmonary edema due to capillary leakage within alveoli. Bradykinin also contributes to the accumulation of hyaluronic acid, which when combined with pulmonary edema can cause acute respiratory distress. The class of drugs known as ACE inhibitors have successfully treated hypertension for many years. One of the side effects of these medications is a non-productive cough which was believed to be secondary to the production of bradykinin. It seems highly plausible that the non-productive cough of COVID-19 could be the result of excess bradykinin. The bradykinin theory offers a comprehensive explanation for why COVID-19 infections produce such a broad spectrum of symptoms. Nearly every reported symptom is something that could be explained by bradykinin. Even symptoms such as loss of taste and smell could be explained by lowered levels of ACE receptors. A small study of nine hospitalized patients tested a drug “icatibant” in COVID-19 patients. This medication blocks the body’s ability to produce bradykinin. After a short period of 10-35 hours on the medication, four of the nine patients improved enough to be removed from oxygen. This was an extremely small study and therefore no real conclusions can be drawn. It does add some credibility to the bradykinin concept and there were no reported side effects from icatibant.

Same Old Song

California Governor Gavin Newsom is blaming the horrific West Coast wildfires on his fallback excuse of climate change. The chief differences in this year’s fires from previous years is the greater loss of life in these wildfires and their widespread nature. I can’t recall a time when simultaneous evacuations were taking place in Oregon, Washington State and California. Wildfires and their associated evacuations are nothing new to California. The climate in California is such that 90% of the state’s rainfall takes place during the winter and spring months. During the “dry season” (April-October) an errant campfire or cigarette butt can trigger a fire among dry underbrush. Brisk Sant Ana winds (common this time of year) can take the smallest of ember and quickly build it into an inferno. Instead of blaming climate change Governor Newsom need look no further than his own destructive policies for these wildfires. Although it did not begin with his administration, liberal environmental policies have led to the mismanagement of California’s forests. Logging companies have been banned in California for many years leading to high tree density and dense underbrush, both of which greatly raises the risk for wildfires. Forests that are permitted to become too densely packed compete for essential nutrients such as water and sunlight. This competition often results in disease and even death in less healthy trees. Smaller trees on the forest floor are unable to get enough sunlight to grow and undergrowth may die from lack of nutrients as well. Controlled burns could remove dead underbrush while selective logging would remove the dead and diseased trees. Decluttering the forest creates a healthier environment for the remaining trees, plants and wildlife. Several years ago the California Natural Resources Agency suggested that there were some 150 million dead trees within California forests that should be removed. Proper forest management is essential to the well-being of the forest ecosystem. Environmentalists may be well-intentioned, but they don’t understand all the intricacies of forest management.

The West Coast wildfires are a tragedy in terms of humanity lost, wildlife killed and displaced, and the suffering caused by careless (and in some cases evil) human activities. As with most wildfires humans are usually responsible for initiating these fires. Occasionally lightning strikes trigger a fire but to blame wildfires on climate change is pure fantasy. Until the Governor is willing to listen to forestry experts these fires will continue every summer and fall. Efforts to affect climate change (although noble) will take decades to see any beneficial change. If the Governor is willing to heed the advice of forestry management he can save his forests in a matter of years. My personal impression of Governor Newsom is that he believes he knows best and is unwilling to listen to others because he already has all the answers.