Thursday, December 30, 2021

Maurizio Buratti COVID-19 Bias: Daily Beast Headlines "Facts" Not in Evidence

* This article compares two reports of the same event. One is objectively detailed by a

Daily Beast Logo
European News agency. The second is an updated version of a Daily Beast story that at first included no details other than to link the words anti-vaxxer, dies and Covid-19.  Links to both articles are at the bottom of the page as documentation for this review.  

It is bad enough that the American people have been subjected to a revolving door of conflicting information spread by its own government officials but when a reputable news agency like The Daily Beast chooses to taunt a dead man in hopes of shifting public opinion to a course of action that is as much supposition as fact, the result harms everyone, not just journalistic integrity. 

Opting for headlines rather than fact, even quality media outlets are now leaning into the repugnant practice of verbally hanging the body in the public square as proof that vaccines "save lives" and that vaccination is the only way out of this crisis (an opinion which is questioned by more than few well educated physicians).  Confusing their role in society with marketing or public relations, media has taken on emotion-based rhetoric akin to the old fashioned party line telephone line.  That in itself is dangerous on many different levels. 

According to both articles, an admitted anti-vaxxer, Maurizio Buratt, 61, was diagnosed with double pneumonia and died in a Verona, Italy hospital on December 28. Both state that Buratt stood by his anti-vaxxing position even after being admitted.  Neither article reports a positive COVID-19 test.  Only The Daily Beast article uses the Covid-19 term in its headlines as the cause of death.  

The ANSA article appears to have been researched and written by its own staff.  There is no reference to Twitter feeds or copying and pasting from another website.  On the other hand, The Daily Beast article comes almost entirely from two sources--the ANSA article and a local newspaper (Brescia Today). Interestingly, the local news account admits reporters had to ask the attending doctor repeatedly about COVID-19 before the doctor would "admit" to a COVID connection. As one reads the article however, the doctor's statement was to say it "seems" to be COVID--not to definitively label COVID as the cause of death.  Reporters apparently were looking for that phrase and targeted that information regardless of any other factors which might have come into play. 

Had The Daily Beast looked into the definition of "double pneumonia", it would have found that the condition can be caused by any thing that irritates the lungs to the point the body cannot remove fluid in a timely manner.  According to the World Health Organization (WHO),  an estimated 750,000 children died from pneumonia in 2019, the year before COVID hit. Causes listed on this website include multiple viruses, bacterial infections and even such common contaminants as mold or other fungi.  The webpage does not, however, mention adult pneumonia number but general figures found elsewhere report a case rate of between 15 and 20 cases per 100,000 people in industrialized countries **Italy would expect between 9000 and 12000 cases each year. 

Then there is he habit of news agencies going for the popular conclusion and skipping over other more relevant information. How often do reporters ask any other question that might change the viewpoint of the reader?   Did Buratt have a health directive that prohibited treatment that might have  saved his life? Was Buratt on any of dozens of medications that compromised his immune system? Were there any other health issues that came into play in his anti-vaccine beliefs?  And finally, was his "Communist" comment about healthcare an actual judgement of today's health care system or a cultural ideology left over from Italy's 20 year period of Fascist control?  The story isn't complete until these questions are considered.  To condemn a man for his beliefs without understanding his motivation is not just bad journalism but the sign of a closed minded industry. 

Too often in this political climate, it is the narrow-minded focus of major media that seeks to steer public opinion in one direction regardless of its basis in fact. Only when the news is reported objectively does it serve to educate the public rather than subdue it. 

ANSA News Article (Rome)

 The Daily Beast Article


Thursday, December 23, 2021

NBC's Climate Clique: A Future of White Christmases

CNN White Christmas Map

** Several days of snow since Christmas.  It's all in about perfect conditions not the calendar. This year is was just a little late.

More like a high school clique than a knowledgeable group of writers looking to spread good news on Christmas, NBC's climate change reporters share more similarities with the popular kids' table than many would like to admit.  We have all seen it and some of us have even been a part of that highly restrictive, narrow-focused mindset that feigns superiority while being ignorant of even the basic principles of good form. Thursday's Future White Christmas coverage during the NBC Nightly News airing was not only disappointing in its timing but also wildly prejudicial in blaming the unseen and undefined evil of our time--Climate Change.  

Declining White Christmases--Truth or Hype?

Climate change coverage today is a popularity game. There are three things you must have to be considered an enlightened media source. Those three things are simple: 1) Do not offer any scientific explanation, just trends 2) Use math to make things seem awful 3) Find an expert who belongs to the same doom-n-gloom club.  NBC does that very well. It is a shame they are not interested in looking at climate change as a function of changing times rather than the end-of-the-World scenario that gets viewer attention. 

Read on if you would like to get some relevant information that explains why different locations may or may not see snow for Christmas. 

A La Nina Year

On October 14, 2021, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) announced the official presence of the La Nina phase in the Pacific Ocean. La Nina years typically mean warmer and drier weather during the winter months for at least the lower half of the country.  Regardless of climate change, these years have always meant a year with little or no snow for many locations. NBC is well aware of this phenomenon and reported on it in October.  Instead of explaining that La Nina was going to make it more difficult for snow to form, this reporter went to the blame-climate-change format and took the easy, and politically correct, way out. 

Math Misused

To be expected, the reporter and expert compared trends by referring to mathematical differences between now and the 1980s.  Acknowledging that in 1980 ( which just so happens to be one of the most erratic weather years on record), half of the country saw snow while only 40% of the country now enjoys the event, the viewer is left with the impression that the country is losing our White Christmas legacy. While technically correct, using math as factual proof of climate change without understand how those numbers were obtained, amounts to spreading misinformation no matter how accurate the computation. Interestingly, several media outlets have published similar articles based on a NOAA press release which manipulates the number even further to tug at the emotional heartstrings of readers.  (Reminder: President Biden's climate change funding is being held up at the present time and NOAA may have written the piece in support of this funding)

Snow: A Fickle Flake

If you live in the band of the country where the Jet Stream moves up and down on a regular basis, your understanding of weather and climate change is completely different than those who live in the upper Northeast, the Pacific Coast and the Gulf Coast.  You learn early on that snow only happens under the right conditions and it is temperamental a best.  Just the right combination of air movement, temperature and moisture are needed.  If that doesn't sound like a rarity, factor in the weaker upper atmosphere that is the result of Clean Air policies and mining of gases such as oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide for use in the healthcare, cryogenics and food storage industries.  You see snow only occurs in the upper atmospher and when there isn't enough movement and moisture WAY up in the atmosphere, snow simply doesn't have the chance to form.  The future of our White Christmas may have more to do with how strictly the EPA regulates the atmosphere than anything else in the environment. 

Human Interference

 Have you heard the phrase "Comparing Apples to Oranges"? It generally means that people try to treat difference situations as the same (Apples and Oranges are both fruit) when they are basically very different (applies are many different colors, Oranges are. . well. . orange. You get the drift).  This happens all the time with climate change studies which from a science perspective makes most of the findings invalid.  These interesting facts show how we, as in humans, are likely more to blame by our simple presence than any weather related reason for a reduction in snow fall. 

  1. One third of the US population wasn't here in 1980. That's 100 million people who are giving off heat in an environment that has not changed that much. A simple one degree increase in ambient air temperature because of all those people would be enough to disrupt snow production. Sad but true.
  2. There are 80 million more vehicles giving off heat, regardless of fuel source, than 40 years ago. That is in addition to the approximately 175 million cars, truck and other vehicles that were in use in 1980.  A bit of additional heat is the difference between beautiful snow and cold rain. 
  3. The increase in buildings needed to accommodate 330 million people that now call the United States home extends into places that have never been used for homes before.  Buildings, like people and cars, give off heat and can warm the air near the ground causing any snow that does form to melt before it reaches the ground.  Larger buildings such as warehouses, high rise apartments and office buildings can break the flow of air that is necessary for crystals to form.  Progress comes with a cost.  

In Conclusion

By now, you are beginning to see that what authority figures and advocates call climate change might just be unrealistic expectations.  The world of fifty years ago was fundamentally different because there was less of all the things mankind must have to survive. The additional 4 billion people of the world have done nothing wrong  There is a price that mankind has paid in poorer health, less wealth and more chaotic lives because of our dependence on every convenience. That price includes less chance for a White Christmas in many areas of the country.  All we have to do to bring it back to reduce our heat signature (not related to carbon footprint) and welcome a more simplistic lifestyle.  

Regrettably, NBC, other media outlets and most of all our government is more interested in economic growth than bringing back predictable weather.  More is the shame that like high school, the kids at the popular table, make life miserable for the rest of us. 

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Build Back Better 2022: A Future of Waste and Demolition

** As of 1.19.2021, Biden has pledged to break BBB into sections. This is encouraging news for inflation and a test of how well the federal government meets its obligation to discuss, cooperate, and plan its actions.
**Written just hours before Senator Joe Manchin pulled the plug on BBB, this article is still very relevant as 2022 approaches. There is no question that this administration will lean into efforts to restore this spending package for no other reason than to say "WE DID IT".  It will not bring America Back (Excuse me? Did it go somewhere?).  It will send it further down the dangerous path of a country living on debt and  ignoring its failings.

 Like the French Revolution, the Fall of the USSR and a half dozen modern countries that have experienced financial collapse as the result of exceedingly high inflation and government inefficiency, it doesn't take a doctorate in Economics to see where BBB will take us.  Every household in America knows what comes from spending more than you have.  The United States is not immune to financial difficulties any more than its massive health care system save 800,000 people from dying of COVID-19.  American families should take steps to prepare for the unexpected.  It's not fear but good sense to take care of your household even if the government doesn't take care of theirs. 

And there it is again! Another politician tossing a line to see if he can reel in support for a political agenda.  With approval for the massive spending bill questionable with citizens, the next place to gain support is from local governments.  While it should not surprise the American people that this still occurs, it continues to be a disappointing feature of a Congress that is more concerned with its personal legacy than the welfare of its citizens.

This morning, President Joe Biden announced a plan to replace municipal water lines commonly called "lead" pipe in the United States.  With nothing more definitive than stronger EPA regulations, a ten-year goal and monies diverted from existing budget lines, the assumption is that those in fear of costly repairs may swing support to Biden's massive spending plan. 

With Biden's focus clearly on special interest groups in his first year, only 7% of all Americans are impacted by high lead levels in water according to the EPA website(15 to 20 million people).  Change the numbers to sections of pipe or distance and the task seems far grander than it is. Still, the potential is there that this move could lead to a decade or more of demolishing the old and re-landscaping every lawn and public served by public water lines.  Leave it to a politician to use a bulldozer and the law to handle a problem that could be solved with a bit of ingenuity and resourcefulness. 

Is Lead Really All THAT Dangerous?

Like most natural substances, lead is beneficial in many situations.  Once believed to be an ingredient in gold because of its weight, softness and resistance to corrosion, lead was one of the first metals used by mankind. Its only danger is when it is ingested in large amounts over a long period of time.

It is true that the metal is so popular that it has been used in many ways that it probably shouldn't have been.  Added to gasoline to stop 'knocking' in early engines, lead changed into lead oxide during combustion and became a primary component of air pollution. Used in early cooking utensils, as water and food storage containers, for children's toys and even house paint, lead quickly found its way into the human body with negative results.  The good news is that blood levels of lead in Americans have dropped by 90 percent since it was declared hazardous in the 1970s (NPR.org, Before it was Dangerous)

NJ.com photo
 

Cost vs. Benefit

But the material cost and labor needed to "dig up" every pipe in America that contains lead is far more invasive than even this country can imagine.  Under the direction of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a condition that has already been heavily mitigated as evidenced by blood tests and one that currently--by its own estimates--impacts less than 10% of the population, could suddenly expand to overly cautious levels. Depending on how the term "lead" is defined, the Federal government could condemn every building constructed before l960 when pipes were first coated with a zinc solution that keeps lead from leaching into the water.  Simply designating an area as one of high lead content could reduce the value of homes, hold up the sale of such properties or force renovations by homeowners who might not be permitted to connect lead-based plumbing to the newer approved systems. The unintended consequences such as removal of mature landscaping and destruction of sidewalks and roadways could well outweigh the expected benefits. 

With all due respect, Mr. President. Is this about improving the health of a truly disadvantaged group of people or diverting funds to create infrastructure that artificially inflates economic growth and employment numbers. 

The Political Value of Building

As a new country plus 200 or so years, the act of building has been the hallmark of America's national economy. Unlike Europe, Asia, India and the Middle East, the New World had land and no restrictions on how to use it.  Settlers built homes, road ways, industries and railroads without so much as a thought as to what might happen when the  population required more resources than could be individually attained.  That tipping point happened decades ago for this country's oldest cities.  Still, the overwhelming political viewpoint of Congress since the end of WWII is to tear down and build back, whether it is better or not. 

Waste as an Economic Initiative

Behind closed doors, economists and stock analysts support corporate inefficiency, large infrastructure projects and natural disasters. Called the "Broken Windows" principle, undesirable conditions, such as aging improvements, weather disasters, climate change and poor management, keep the economy going even though wealth and security are lost.  Both Biden's Infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better bill are based on replacing what this administration deems "broken" even if nothing is actually gained by the expense. Even sadder is that those communities and private citizens which acted responsibly will realize their efforts were wasted and unappreciated in the fight for federal funding that is sure to continue.

As Congress adds an additional $2.5 trillion dollars to the debt limit of this country, it is time to remember that not all improvements bring about a higher quality of life for the average person.  Feelings of safety and security do not come from gadgets and gizmos. Trust in leaders is not founded on a president who creates fear and anxiety to increase his statistical record for the history books.  Replacing all the lead pipes in America will be considered a great accomplishment--except to the minority who will suffer damage to their properties in the name of progress.  That is the minority that never seems to matter to a politician.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Tornado Relief: Reflections and Donation Tips

** Please give to the relief effort for these communities which lost so much. More importantly choose your form of help carefully. See more information about how to give below. 

Getty Image (General)

Forty couple years ago, I lived in Starkville, Mississippi and saw my first tornado.  In the light of day, this barely moving chubby rotation was more a nuisance than a danger. I was at work and stood in the parking lot watching its ghost-like shape move about 50 yards away. As it passed and disappeared into the pines that graced both sides of the highway, I heard the intermittent sound of breaking tree limbs.  I knew I was not in any real danger and went along with my day.  This was not the type of tornado that hit six Midwest states on the evening of December 10, 2021.

In much the same way that other parts of the country deal with Clipper system snowstorms or severe thunderstorms, tornadoes are a frequent occurrence that residents just live with.  Most are the chubby, poorly formed versions that cause some damage but not massive casualties.  But at night, a tornado is more dangerous first because it means it is strong enough to survive the cooling off of sundown and second because residences cannot anticipate the path of the storm. These residents had been well informed but at that speed and over that distance there was little hope anything in its path would remain standing even for the well-prepared.

As the news of the events rolled across my news feed, the media ramped up the donation and calls for action.  Not understanding that this was already a recovery operation before the news even hit the air, media created a scam artists paradise of opportunity to bilk caring people out of their donations.  Before rushing to click on any and every donate button that comes across your phone or email account, take some time to explore the CRT (not that other CRT issue) method of giving: use CAUTION, do some RESEARCH and give over TIME.  Consider the information below as well before giving. 

1. Disasters come on quickly but recovery takes time. If a charity wants money now, back off and research that option. Be cautious of large corporations and businesses that operate within the damaged zone. Giving to the relief effort through them might be considered a conflict of interest and become murky as time goes by.  Understand that you are giving freely with no strings attached when giving money to any for-profit business. There is no limit to the amount of time such businesses can hold on to your money and with a bit of creative book keeping, each of these businesses can profit greatly from your generosity. 

2. Even top quality charities have costs. Before giving research how much of your money will actually go to the cause rather than supporting the organization.  My rule of thumb is that if the CEO makes more in a year than I would make in ten years, its not a good choice for where to put my money. Consider giving locaally, rather than through the national organization. Also, if the charity advertises regularly for funds, question whether their focus is on fundraising or charitable work.  It is unlikely that a media outlet will give free advertising to every charity seen on their platform.  

3. State and local government managed relief funds for disasters are something new. Rising from the ineffective operations of FEMA and other nationally-based charitable sources, time will tell whether they serve the people well. On the plus side, they have fewer restrictions than private non-profit groups that are bound by long standing business models.  

4. Be patient.  Unless you are experienced in this type of recovery or know someone personally, stay home and wait for the dust to settle.  As relief efforts unfold, unique and more personal opportunities will become available.  After a few weeks, consider doing some research and adopting a school, day care or other public service that was destroyed. Even with insurance and FEMA help there will always be something that would be appreciated. A trophy case that was smashed, checks to the school cafeteria to help supply lunches to suddenly unemployed families, a new set of books for a library and the list can go on and on.  Direct giving may take some time but may be far more satisfying. Remember, this impacted a whole region, resources will be limited for the short term and outside funding can help in ways that other systems cannot.

5. Avoid GoFundMe accounts and sites that show up as "AD" in Google or other search engines.  The only way to stop scammers is to be exceedingly cautious even if your heart aches for the victims. 

Like any community, these towns will be changed forever but not necessarily disappear because of this tragedy.  The time for help will be weeks from now when the media goes away and the insurance checks have been issued. Regrettably, sellers will take advantage of this situation and the money will not go as far as it should.  Help will be needed then as much as it is needed now.  Caution, Research and Time are important for your donation to be used effectively.  



Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Covid-19: Omicron's Here, Nature Says, "I Told You So!"

** Nearly two years into the Covid-19 pandemic, the CDC has finally published an easily accessible webpage that outlines the risk factors for those susceptible to the coronovirus (see here). Please remember steroids are a treatment for respitory disease as well as a risk factor for infection.  Stay informed and healthy. 

** January 10, 2022 -- From Whoopi Goldberg and Savannah Guthrie to several members of Congress, journalists and politicians, alike, are coming to terms with their part in spreading the false narrative that coronavirus could be controlled.  Nature does what it needs to do to keep this planet  viable. It does not harm people without reason. Nature's rules for a health life are not necessarily the same as what popular culture promote. Coronavirus was here before 2020 and will continue to be here long after 2022 is over.  All the vaccines in the world will not change that.  Be Safe. Be Healthy.

**Update: Dec 10,2021 (reuters.com)- As of this date, the CDC has reported that of the 43 persons identified as positive for the Omicron variant, most are fully vaccinated and one third of them have received a booster. 

As I sit here this morning listening to the local and national news go on and on about Omicron, the latest Coronavirus variant, I cannot keep from shaking my head in sad resignation.  From the beginning of this very natural, to-be-expected crisis, Nature was not going to be cornered nor controlled. It had a message for humanity and like a good parent, it was, and still is, willing to cause some pain in order to see that this long over due reality check is delivered. 

No one is sadder about the lives lost than this writer.  In this small rural community, the death count does not make the evening news nor are there cameos of stressed healthcare workers pleading for people to get vaccinated.This community knows the cost of this pandemic--in friends and family that are now gone as well as the delay of future plans and the cautiousness which impacts every decision. 

Neither God nor Nature is punishing humanity for indescribable sins.  The responsibility for this outbreak is firmly on the shoulders of those who, like Dr. Anthony Fauci and public policymakers,  promote expensive healthcare over good health habits. As is taught in public health classes, natural health is a fine-tuned balance of environmental principles.  Cleanliness, proximity (social distancing) and adequate nutrition (not just food) support good health in a way that healthcare alone cannot.  When any of these factors is ignored or substituted with vaccines and drugs, pandemics occur.  This is the point Nature is trying to make. 

With every new variant, Nature says "I told you so!" and it will continue to shake its finger at those in power until modern civilization understands there are limits to how much it will bend for the sake of man's ego. The wish to rid the world of illness and suffering may be a religious goal but in terms of how this Earth operates, it is a desire of man, not a function of Earth's creation. 

In nature, illness has a purpose and that purpose is as much to support life as to hasten death. To live long healthy lives, immune systems must be tested from time to time.  Exposure is not enough for there to be a strong antibody response.  Ironically, modern medicine is based largely on countering the very principles of immunology.  No vaccine, antibiotic or drug works well unless it works in concert with nature. To come out of this, citizens around the globe need to embrace grandmotherly wisdom that served mankind for several thousand years when healthcare was more or less non-existent.

Illness Prevention Through Nutrition

The science of health is neither complicated nor difficult to manage. That said, the current mindset downplays nutritional needs in favor of drugs and strict lifestyle guidelines--neither of which is based on nature.  Health, like most natural processes, works best when moderation and the 'big picture' are kept in focus. Here, three basic suggestions and the reasons they work, are offered as one way to lessen the grip of COVID-19 regardless of vaccination status.

Protein Every Day at Every Meal

For fifty years, medical professionals have fostered a mindset that protein and fat are less desirable than plant based carbohydrates.  The problem, and ultimate consequence of this strategy, is a reduction in the body's ability to repair itself and effectively respond to infection and disease. Like making chocolate chip cookies without chocolate chips, a life without a steady influx of quality protein is missing something important when it comes to overall health. 

As COVID-19 challenges modern medical philosophy, those who follow a "healthy??" diet of fresh fruits, vegetables and grains need to understand that no amount of vaccine or booster shots can duplicate the antibody response fueled by high quality protein. Good protein sources include red meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk (not almond milk), cheese, nuts and dried beans.  Measurable amounts of protein every day at every meal are the best option for keeping cell tissues in good repair. This can also help avoid the side effects (diabetes) of a carbohydrate heavy diet. Minimum daily amounts should be calculated on weight, not age or caloric intake.  A good minimum for adults is 25 grams per day for every 100 pounds of weight. ( John Hopkins Protein List )

Rethink Alcohol Use

Throughout much of recorded history, fermented liquids such as wine, ciders, ales and spirits, served to supply people with a high quality jolt of micro-nutrients. Both tasty and capable of being stored for longer periods of time, these drinks complemented a meal with water being served as a source of fluid.  Today, however, changes in production and storage methods have altered the drinks themselves. Regrettably, modern vintages offer few benefits other than a mind altering buzz.

Setting morality and social recrimination aside, the bottom line is that today's alcoholic beverages are no healthier than a can of carbonated soda.  They can even cause the body to pause its immune response as it focuses on ridding the system of alcohol (a complex molecule that is broken down in the liver rather than the stomach). This process can increase the risk for contracting any type of communicable disease from Covid and the flu to some types of food-borne illness and hepatitis.  

The question to ask yourself is whether the risk of illness is worth the pleasure gained from the beverage. 

Stick to a Routine

Particularly during this pandemic, the last thing most of us want to do is stick to a routine. That said, as a living entity, the body works best when it can depend on a predictable lifestyle.  A sleep schedule, regular meals and daily down time are far better at preventing illness than public health advocates admit. While cleaning and hand washing have their place in daily life, there is such a thing as being too clean.  Allowing the body to run through its built-in system of prevention allows for the immune system to create antibodies to any and every attack on the immune system.  

As is evidenced by the cultural differences of daily life around the world and throughout history, there is no right or wrong routine as long as it works for the individual and can be maintained with little or no effort.  Do we really believe that for five thousand years, every living person on the planet worked hard enough get his heart rate up to 100 for at least five days each week?  Health comes in many forms as does ways to prevent major illness.

Forever COVID

As the world's mortality rate takes a slight jump and its population is estimated to drop for the first time since the Spanish Flu in 1917-18, what health professionals quietly keep to themselves is that the COVID virus is neither new nor controllable.  In fact, seasonal variations, like Omicron, happen so regularly during the winter months, no one bothered to test for it, until 2020. 

Moreover, experiments to produce a workable vaccine for animals and humans have been held in many facilities  for well over 40 years without conspiracy theories and wild accusations. No vaccine has ever worked for more than a few months.  That should tell all of Earth's citizen something about the future. COVID has always been here and is here to stay. 

Nature now has another high powered tool to use in its goal to bring human health back into balance with the environment.  As long as pharmaceutical companies promote artificial immunity over natural protection, Nature will be comfortably waiting to say, "I told you so!" when the next health crisis hits Planet Earth.