General Uprising

This past week two retired Generals and former members of the Trump administration spoke out against the use of military troops to quell the violence that was destroying numerous American cities. The first to speak out was the previous Secretary of Defense, General Jim Mattis. Mattis said the use of federal troops was unconstitutional although they have been used in the past to stop the rioting and destruction in Los Angeles in 1992. The latest individual to attack the President for suggesting he might invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807 was the former White House Chief of Staff General John Kelly. Kelly was quoted as saying, “The troops hate it, they don’t see it as their job, they don’t want to be used in that way.” In the meantime Mayor DeBlasio and others refuse to call for additional resources such as state troopers or National Guard forces to stop the violence. As a result businesses are being burned and looted and innocent people are beaten and shot by violent thugs. Something had to be done and the President was willing to protect Americans by whatever means necessary. The President takes seriously his role in providing a safe environment for Americans and their families. Kelly doesn’t hesitate to deploy thousands of military forces on foreign soil protecting people who hate us. Yet he feels those same military forces are not permitted to protect Americans at home against gangs of hoodlums destroying cities and defacing cherished monuments. Anyone attempting to stop them are beaten (and in some instances killed). I served proudly in the military and took an oath that included, “support and defend the constitution of the United States against ALL enemies both foreign AND DOMESTIC.” Seems the General has forgotten the obligation to defend Americans against domestic enemies. Kelly believes that the military is more necessary for natural disasters than civil unrest. My opinion is just the opposite, the National Guard is more suited for natural disasters and the military is more appropriate for the type of violence and destruction of cities we are seeing now. I am in complete agreement with the President to use whatever force is necessary to stop the anarchy. The language of violent people is violence. We can’t respond to these domestic terrorists by any other means than force. What may begin as peaceful protests are simply a smokescreen for the imbedded arsonists and looters. Kelley expressed a desire that the military remain apolitical. Protecting the citizenry is apolitical!

I am deeply disturbed that distinguished generals and even the archbishop of Washington, D.C. have become politicized. The anti-Trump hatred has spread across Washington faster than COVID-19. Kelly is not even practicing what he preaches because he has become a political tool of the Left in his criticism of Trump. Our current president is the last gasp to save America as a great nation. If the liberal Left manage to defeat him we will go the route of other great empires who were destroyed by their own greed and incompetence. Schumer and Pelosi don’t care about Americans, they want power and control. The sucking sound you hear is your freedoms disappearing in the name of “protecting” you. A favorite oxymoron of mine is the following, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” Sheltering in place was only the beginning of government control in our lives.

Hydroxychloroquine Revival

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic there has been a love/hate relationship with the anti-malaria drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. Although some doctors were having treatment success with these drugs, there was a lack of clinical data to back up their use. The endorsement of President Trump was the death knoll for the medications. The MSM and much of the scientific community despise the President and will look for any evidence to refute his endorsement. Medical researchers continually emphasized the risks involved in using the two drugs. The Department of Defense (DoD) has been using these drugs for at least fifty years to prevent and treat malaria. Hydroxychloroquine continues to be prescribed for Systemic Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis since these drugs also have anti-inflammatory effects. When used for other conditions there have been few complications. Either drug can cause fatal arrhythmias particularly when combined with drugs that prolong the QT interval (electrical repolarization of the heart). In the treatment of COVID-19 these drugs have often been combined with a class of antibiotics called macrolides that also increase the potential for arrhythmia. The risks of the combination for causing an arrhythmia are magnified, especially in individuals with known heart disease. A large study published in “The Lancet” found a higher mortality rate in patients treated with either of the two drugs and a greater incidence of arrhythmias when treated with hydroxychloroquine. After the Lancet article appeared the World Health Organization (WHO) halted their international trial. Outside experts have since questioned the validity of the Lancet’s conclusions. Experts found inconsistencies in the origin of patient data and in the data itself. As a result the WHO has resumed its hydroxychloroquine trial. The WHO study includes thousands of patients from 400 hospitals in 35 countries. Such a diverse and wide-ranging study should hopefully provide some answers regarding the effectiveness of these medications in treating COVID-19.

The Lancet and others in the scientific community are part of the anti-Trump liberal agenda that wants to delegitimize our President. We still have doctors offering the medication both as treatment and preventive therapy. The use of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19 is allowed under the FDA’s emergency use authorization. It may be advisable to limit its use to inpatients (especially in the elderly) where individuals can be monitored for potential arrhythmias. Patients should have the option to make an informed decision if they wish to take the medication. As a member of the military I have taken chloroquine in the past with no side effects whatsoever. The MSM is driving a steady stream of fear and pushing a narrative that a $1000/dose drug (remdesivir) is the answer. Some studies have only produced equivocal results with the drug. Several weeks ago the National Institutes of Health (NIH) came out with their treatment recommendations and they were NOT recommending remdesivir as a proven treatment. The latest treatment studied was a two week course of therapy with interferon beta-1b plus the anti-viral drugs lopinavir-ritonavir and ribavirin. In a randomized trial the combination reduced the duration of viral shedding if begun within 7 days of onset of COVID-19 symptoms. Most researchers believe that COVID-19 is going to be with us for some time. The more weapons we have in our arsenal the greater will be our chances for survival of patients of all ages.

Police Violence

The past several days have been especially hazardous for law enforcement.  The riotous individuals infiltrating the crowds of peaceful protestors have declared war on police.  The delinquent behavior began with graffiti, smashing windows and burning police vehicles.  As the rioters were emboldened the behavior became increasingly violent and was directed at members of law enforcement.  While the police were supposed to restrain themselves and maintain a defensive posture in most cases, the thugs were  assaulting officers with rocks, bricks and finally firearms.  Numerous officers have been shot since the rioting began and at least two have died.  While the rioters are allowed to employ whatever form of weaponry they choose against the police, members of law enforcement are to refrain from retaliation.  Any form of force by the police would immediately be labeled as being “police brutality.”  It is a no win situation for the police and in today’s environment it appears the only ally of the police is President Trump.  The National Guard has finally helped to restore some calm in Minneapolis and Washington, D.C. but Mayor DeBlasio stubbornly refuses any assistance in New York City.  DeBlasio also has eliminated bail in his city for all but the most serious of crimes.  As a result when NYPD arrest the rioters and looters these offenders are simply released back out onto the street.  That lessens respect for society and the law and these criminals will not have learned any lessons.  They laugh at a justice system that gives them a free pass to riot and steal as they please with no fear of retribution.  The police violence we are witnessing is not being committed by police but rather against police by lawless civilians.  Why would a rational person choose to be a police officer when civilians are allowed to insult, assault and even shoot a firearm at them?  After risking their lives to apprehend a criminal, the mayor or a liberal judge puts criminals back out on the street.  Last night a police officer was approached from behind and stabbed in the neck while patrolling in Brooklyn.  A struggle ensued and two other officers suffered gunshot wounds.   The level of recent violence, prompted the President to suggest that he would use whatever force (including military forces) was necessary to quell the unrest.  The response from the Leftist MSM was predictable.  But even former Secretary of Defense Mattis strongly rejected the idea.  Trump’s tough talk was actually comforting at a time when it appeared that the nation was out of control

Some protestors are accusing law enforcement of committing racial genocide on African-Americans.  Statistics gathered by the Washington Post don’t substantiate those claims.  In 2019 there were 371 police shootings involving whites and 236 involving blacks.  In most of the shootings suspects were armed and there were only 10 incidents of unarmed blacks being shot by police.  In 5 of those 10 incidents officers were found criminally negligent.  During the same period (2019) 48 police officers were killed in the line of duty.  The vast majority of police are simply trying to enforce the law and have no malice toward any individual (or race).   Demands of the protestors include defunding the police and ending law enforcement altogether.  Such a society would be a lawless one ruled by criminals and gangs.  The destruction and looting that has taken place the past week would be a daily occurrence if there were no police to stop it.  The absence of police would not create an utopia because there are those who would view such a situation as an opportunity to take what does not belong to them.  When hoodlums begin roaming through your neighborhood you will be wishing there are police coming to the rescue.   To end law enforcement would end our nation as we know it.  A liberal takeover of government would create a society where criminals have more rights than law-abiding citizens.  In the name of preserving the civil liberties of criminals our own liberties would be sacrificed.  That is not the America I wish to live in.

Chaos in the Streets

American cities are burning as rioters and looters smash and grab, emptying large and small businesses alike and then burning them to the ground.  Police officers are overwhelmed by the shear number of thugs who roam the streets with bats, two by fours and firearms.  They fire bomb police and civilian vehicles and assault anyone attempting to stop them.  Mayors and governors are reluctant to call out the National Guard perhaps as a sign or weakness or further aggravating a volatile situation.  In the meantime rioters have a free reign to terrorize neighborhoods and take whatever they can “grab” in their arms.  The pictures of people pushing carts stacked with flat screen televisions is disturbing.  It is equally disturbing to see gangs of thugs attacking isolated police officers of attempting to run them down with cars.  I have never seen such lawlessness in my life and cowardly liberals and members of the MSM are fanning the flames of these riots.  Hollywood elitists are donating money, not to help burned out businesses, but for lawyers and bail to get these criminals back out on the streets.  These are not protestors by any means, these are rioters and thugs who have no regard for anyone but themselves.  They are certainly not honoring the memory of George Floyd as his own brother was pleading that this insanity stop.  For the first time in my life I am ashamed to say I’m an American.  Other nations who have always admired the U.S. for our freedoms and accomplishments are shocked by this uncivilized behavior.  If I were younger I would seriously consider leaving for another country.

Politicians have abandoned the people they are supposed to serve.  One of government’s primary roles is to protect its citizens.  Everyone likes to criticize the President but he is the only one willing to step forward with solutions.  In fact the Dems are trying to block the single action that is most likely to stop the madness, augmenting civilian police with military police.  Democrats in Congress are spastic over this action and will seek to block funding for any domestic troop deployment.  Democratic Senator Tim Kaine wishes to introduce an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act limiting the use of Defense Department funding against American citizens engaged in demonstrations.  The Posse Comitatus Act  prohibits the use of military forces in domestic law enforcement.  There is a way to circumvent this act by invoking The Insurrection Act of 1807 which permits the president to use U.S. troops to suppress a domestic insurrection if requested by a state governor.  The same Act contains a provision for the president to act unilaterally in certain extreme situations.  Most Americans agree with peaceful protesting but are fed up with the rioting and looting and are ready for it to come to an end.  Joe Biden gave a “feel good” speech but it lacked a single proposal to solve the violence.  How much of the country has to burn before Joe or any of the Democrats would do something to stop it? These are not protestors but anarchists.  Senator Chuck Schumer said the President’s actions were “blatantly unconstitutional.” Schumer also wanted the DoD Inspector General to launch an investigation into how the military is being used.   While Schumer is launching his investigations cities are being burned to the ground.  Now is the time for action and that is exactly what the President is doing.




Murder in the First

The second autopsy of George Floyd requested by his family determined the cause of death as asphyxiation by means of lack of blood supply to the brain.  The previous autopsy performed by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner also listed asphyxiation as the cause of death but that he (Floyd) had possible underlying health conditions and intoxicants in his body that may have contributed to his death.  The second autopsy was performed by Dr. Michael Baden who has performed numerous high-profile autopsies in the past.  Dr. Baden contradicted the prior suggestion that any other medical conditions or intoxicants could have contributed to Floyd’s death.  Initially former officer Derek Chauvin was charged with third degree murder and second degree manslaughter.  Dr. Baden feels that his findings justify a charge of first degree murder for Chauvin.  First degree murder is defined as an unlawful killing that is both willful and premeditated.  Baden reasoned that once Chauvin ignored Floyd’s pleas that was unable to breathe, Chauvin’s intent was to kill Floyd.  Since the incident we have learned that the officer and the victim knew each other and had worked at the same location at one time.  Perhaps there was “bad blood” between them and once Chauvin realized who they were arresting he decided to act upon their dislike for each other.  It certainly looks as if Chauvin may have been trying to kill Floyd when he continued the neck pressure for several minutes after Floyd became unresponsive.  Chauvin’s behavior was a total disregard for a human life, regardless of the color of the victim.  I’m not a prosecutor but it appears to me this latest information suggests a first degree murder charge is justified.  As for the other officers they should be charged with accessory to first degree murder and receive stiff sentences as well.  When we see injustice and don’t act to stop that injustice we are equally guilty.  The same goes for the peaceful protests that have been hijacked and turned into riots and looting.

Legal experts are concerned that the conflicting results of the two autopsies could confuse a jury.  The defense attorneys will likely focus on these differences and say that the experts can’t even correctly identify the cause of death.  There are numerous vital structures in the neck and the type of restraint used in this situation should NEVER be employed by police or anyone. When I saw the video I was more concerned that compression of the carotid artery (and possibly vertebrobasilar artery) would cut blood flow to the brain.  The brain is very sensitive to lack of oxygen, blood or glucose (sugar) and anything that interferes with any of these reaching the brain will result in a loss of consciousness.  All of America is disgusted by the actions of this individual and it does not represent the attitude and behavior of all police.  We must have a well-trained police force; the absence of police is anarchy, exactly what we have seen in our cities for the past week.  America isn’t perfect but if we work together we can certainly make it better than it is today.  I often quote the champion of racial justice, The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  He once said, “When faced with the choice between love and hate, I choose love.  Hate is too big a burden.”  Hate hurts the person harboring that hatred more than the individual it is directed against.  We have a lot of rebuilding to do both physically and emotionally.  We’ve done it before and can do it again!

Easy Pickens

Michigan recently announced that every registered voter in the state would receive an absentee ballot application for the November 2020 general election.  In Michigan alone that is 7.7 million absentee ballots that everyone assumes the Post Office will deliver into the proper hands.  The costs of this gargantuan effort are estimated to be $4.5 million.  The state budget is already $3 billion in debt and expected to rise even higher.  The state plans to pay for some of that with federal funds intended for COVID-19 emergency purchases.  The Michigan Secretary of State could justify use of these funds in this manner by saying he is protecting voters who fear social distance violations at polling stations.  Absentee ballots have been in use since the Civil War and were intended for voters who are unable to vote in person, due to disability or military deployment.  They must be requested in most states but are mailed to deployed military personnel and their spouses and Americans who are registered voters living overseas.  An absentee ballot differs from a mail-in ballot in that the voter must request one and give a reason why they can’t report to a voting station.  A completed absentee ballot MAY be rejected by voting officials if the ballot is not completed properly or falsified.  Previously Michigan voters could request an absentee ballot without stating a reason for the request.  Michigan voters also have the option of casting an absentee ballot at a local government office to avoid crowded polling stations.  Ballot security is a legitimate concern as ballots have been “lost” at the Post Office and ballot “harvesting” would be easy since large “crops” of ballots would arrive for sorting at the Post Office at one time.  If you believe there are no irregularities at the Post Office then you probably believe in the tooth fairy as well.  A story that examined postal thefts in Michigan several years ago found that over a 4-month period the type and number of thefts included:  over 5,000 Amazon packages, nearly 300 credit cards, 140 checks, and 60 medications. Postal inspectors at the time were “overwhelmed” by the number of thefts.  The 2020 presidential election has become critical to both parties and mail-in ballots would be easy targets for voter fraud.

At one time the New York Times was concerned about mail-in ballots.  An article published in 2012 titled “Error and Fraud at Issue as Absentee Voting Rises”  stated there was bipartisan agreement that mail-in voting is more easily abused than other method of voting.  It is more likely that mail-in votes will not be counted or be compromised in some manner.  A bipartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform in 2005 (chaired by Jimmy Carter) concluded that “absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud.”  They also stated that “vote buying schemes are far more difficult to detect when citizens vote by mail.”  Residents of nursing homes who vote by mail “are more susceptible to pressure, overt or subtle, or outright intimidation.” In Florida, this practice is referred to as “granny farming.”  A Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) study found 21% of the absentee ballots requested in the 2008 presidential election were not counted either because they never reached voters or were rejected for irregularities.  In a close election that could tip the balance in one direction or another.  It is a massive undertaking to go from sending ballots to a small number of voters who request them and mailing ballots to every registered voter.  Ballots would likely be sent to wrong addresses, inactive or even deceased voters, leaving countless ballots in circulation and open to fraud.   Not all registered voters are motivated to vote, voting at polling places sorts out those who are truly motivated to exert their constitutional rights.  It is also a way for officials to affirm that those wishing to vote are authorized to do so.  Voting in person frequently depends on voter enthusiasm.  With the current candidates there is a huge enthusiasm gap where only 24% of Biden supporters are very enthusiastic about their candidate.  When it comes to President Trump 53% of his supporters are very enthusiastic of their candidate.  Trump voters would walk over broken glass to get him reelected but Biden voters won’t get out of bed to vote for him.  The Democrats solution is to let them vote from their beds.





Therapeutic Options

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given the the green light to begin clinical trials on an investigational drug that prevents hospitalized COVID-19 patients from requiring ventilator support.  PhaseBio submitted an investigational drug application to the FDA for their drug PB1046 under a special program designed to speed drug development specifically for the treatment of COVID-19.  PhaseBio is a U.S. based biopharmaceutical company that specializes in drugs to treat the heart and lungs.  The hope is that this drug will be safe and effective in preventing the overly aggressive immune response known as “cytokine storm” that often leads to acute respiratory distress syndrome and the need for ventilator support.  The drug PB1046 is a type of vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) that has both anti-inflammatory properties and the ability to relax smooth muscle.  We have learned that the small intestines secrete hormones much like other endocrine organs.  The incretins, known to regulate blood sugar, are glucose-regulating hormones secreting by the small intestine.  Pharmaceutical companies have developed drugs that mimic incretins to help control glucose levels in diabetics.  The ability of VIP to relax smooth muscle produces bronchodilation and dilation of peripheral blood vessels.  Vasoactive intestinal peptide has an inotropic effect (enhanced contractility) on the heart and could play a role in treating (or delaying the onset of) heart failure.  Under normal circumstances VIP has an extremely short lifespan (several minutes) but PhaseBio has discovered a method of extending the half-life of the drug to several days.  This permits the drug to be administered on a weekly basis by means of an injection.  PhaseBio plans to enroll 210 patients at multiple sites in the U.S. in double-blind, randomized trials beginning in June.  The company hopes to report its results sometime in the fall and will be looking to see if the drug keeps high-risk patients from progressing to respiratory failure.  The drug is also being investigated for the treatment of pulmonary hypertension.

The question remains to be answered as to the seasonality of the COVID-19 virus.  If we expect it to follow the pattern of other upper respiratory viruses (including the influenza virus) then infection rates will fall as temperatures rise.  Transmission of respiratory droplets are enhanced by cold dry air where they remain suspended for longer periods of time.  The opposite is true in warm, moist air where respiratory droplets fall to the ground more rapidly.  Cold, dry winter weather increases our susceptibility by drying out nasal and oral mucosa.  Dry mucous membranes inhibit phagocytosis (WBC attack) of bacteria and viruses that enter the nose or airway.  Another reason that there is a decrease in viral infections during warm weather is the fact that individuals spend more time outdoors.  Any illness is less easily transmitted outdoors for a number of reasons.  Normally when outdoors we are not in as close proximity to family, friends or co-workers as when indoors.  Air movement is generally greater outdoors than indoors and outdoors we have the sterilizing effects of sunlight (UV light) which effectively kills bacteria, viruses and even fungi.   The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that influenza has killed up to 61,000 Americans annually since 2010 but most of those deaths occur from December through February.  Although influenza remains with us year round, there is definitely a seasonality to the peak number of infections.  It is hoped the COVID-19 will follow a similar pattern.  We are not powerless against the virus and can improve our odds of avoiding a COVID19 infection (or surviving one).  Eat a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables & lean meats or fish, exercise regularly (exercise boosts the immune system), sleep 6-8 hours a night, keep in touch with family & friends, and finally maintain a positive mental outlook.