The inability of people to be persuaded by arguments of others with opposing views was a common theme found in the columns last week of both Rabbi Schonfeld and Warren Hecht. When I wrote my letter three weeks ago, opposing Rabbi Schonfeld’s proposal to criminalize those who refuse COVID vaccination, I, too, was a bit unsure of whether I could change any minds. While I personally have received many emails in support of my letter, I remain skeptical as to the overall impact a mere letter to the editor can have, given how strongly the current COVID vaccine narrative has been seared into most of us. The current narrative of our health officials, namely, “If we could only vaccinate everyone, we could end COVID,” is so pervasive, enjoying support from our lapdog press who willingly imbibe anything and everything our unelected health leaders pronounce, no matter how misleading, demonstrably false, or anti-science their pronouncements are.
The institutional advantage those in the pro-COVID vaccine camp enjoy is simply astounding. As Moshe Hill astutely pointed out in his article last week, Webster’s Dictionary very recently changed the term “anti-vaxxer” to include not only a person who opposes the use of vaccines but also one who opposes regulations mandating vaccination.
Similarly, “vaccine” used to be defined as a substance that provides “immunity” to a specific disease. Now, Webster’s Dictionary has literally changed the definition of “vaccine” and removed the “immunity” portion of the definition in an obvious attempt to cover up the fact that the COVID “vaccines” don’t actually provide immunity from COVID. All this to perpetuate the narrative that vaccines for all is the answer, as in the only answer to the current predicament we find ourselves in.
I pride myself on being an open-minded person, always prepared to change my opinions on matters when confronted with evidence that the logic my beliefs are based upon may be faulty. To prove one’s theory correct, it is necessary to examine the weakest parts of one’s theory and see if they hold up under scrutiny. I pointed out to Rabbi Schonfeld many of the questionable statements and actions, as well as some of the questionable non-actions taken by Dr. Fauci and our health leaders. While conceding that my list of facts was “impressive” and “may be 100 percent correct,” Rabbi Schonfeld nevertheless remains “totally unimpressed.” As both a communal leader and a non-expert in the area of infectious disease, I respect Rabbi Schonfeld’s decision to not respond on the merits.
I have a much harder time understanding why our leaders in the area of infectious disease refuse to be transparent about some of the questions that many of us COVID vaccine skeptics are grappling with.
How much longer will our health leaders continue their farcical, completely anti-science notion that vaccine “immunity” is superior to natural immunity, despite the mountain of real-world evidence to the contrary?
Why are the risks inherent in the vaccines completely disregarded by our health leaders? For the period of December 14, 2020, to December 3, 2021, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) reported 19,886 deaths (including 9,136 US deaths). While that may not be an extremely relevant statistic when deciding to vaccinate an 80-year-old with four co-morbidities, it most certainly is relevant when vaccine mandates are issued on five-year-olds who enjoy a near-zero risk of severe illness or death.
Why are effective treatments such as Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine completely ignored in favor of vaccines for all? By not acknowledging therapeutics, they are inadvertently fueling the skeptics who believe that the COVID vaccines are being universally pushed as part of a huge Big Pharma profit-making scheme.
While I’m not holding my breath on Dr. Fauci addressing any of these issues, wouldn’t it be nice if one of our local leaders, perhaps someone with the impressive credentials of (former KGH resident) Rabbi Dr. Aaron Glatt, Chief of Infectious Diseases at Mount Sinai South Nassau, would address these questions? Who knows? Maybe he can change some minds!
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer has one last chance to exercise his moral and ethical duty to his constituents before he leaves office. Stringer has claimed that he has no decision-making authority to divest the five city pension funds of their Unilever stock, thereby bringing the pension funds in compliance with NYS law. Scott Stringer is the manager and chief adviser to the City’s pension funds. Unlike NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, who paved the path for him to act, he is not the sole trustee of the pension funds under his purview. However, he can use his formidable authority, power, and influence to compel the city’s five pension funds to divest from Unilever stock in keeping with NYS’s anti-BDS law and New York City’s Administrative Code Section 6-114, “which prohibits city contractors and substantially owned affiliates from participating in international boycotts.”
Comptroller Stringer advocated and lobbied successfully for the City’s pension funds to divest from fossil fuels ($4 billion!), private prison companies, and coal companies. He orchestrated and fought successfully for pension fund investment in affordable housing. He successfully lobbied for increased abortion funding and used his considerable influence to target electronic cigarette ads directed at adolescents. He sent letters and hosted meetings with the managers of all five municipal pension fund leaders. He used social media and his status as Comptroller to compel the leaders of the pension funds to act.
Demand that Comptroller Stringer use his considerable influence and his status as Comptroller to compel the leaders of the City’s five pension funds to divest from Unilever stock immediately, in compliance with the NYS anti-BDS law and to protect the value of the pension funds for his constituents. Demand that Comptroller Stringer follow in the example of NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, who is in the process of divesting all state pension funds of Unilever stock.
The value of Unilever stock has already fallen 13% because of the actions of Arizona, New Jersey, Texas, New York, and Florida. Each act of divestment will bring Unilever closer to selling Ben & Jerry’s, which is the most practical solution for Unilever at this point.
We all must help to keep up the pressure on Unilever! The results of this effort will send a clear message to other corporations under pressure to engage in a boycott against Israel.
Please call and email Scott Stringer. Once he leaves office, it will be immeasurably more difficult to compel the pension funds to divest.
Office of the New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer (nyc.gov)
Write or walk in: One Centre Street, Room 517
New York, NY 10007
Silence is not an option.
Lynne Bursky-Tammam and Nessim Tammam
Yom HaShoah Mobilization Committee
I would like to respond to Izzo Zwiren’s article, “Rebbe Cried.” Izzo correctly points out that the moral fabric of our society is breaking down. The Democratic Party has morphed into something ugly. Case in point: Joseph Rosenberg was a violent pedophile who was attempting to kill Kyle Rittenhouse. The Democratic Party and our “fake” media claim he is a saint. Rittenhouse helped to put out a dangerous fire near a gas station and defended himself against Rosenberg. For these two crimes, Kyle is labeled a white supremacist and a murderer. Black Lives Matter supporter Darrell Brooks ran over 50 people at a Wisconsin parade and there is no condemnation at all. Biden refused to visit the unfortunate victims, and the Democratic Party has refused to condemn this dastardly act.
The DOJ and the FBI have given corruption a new name. The DOJ, by their inaction, is supporting the drug cartels operating at our border and open borders. Instead, the DOJ is focusing on parents who are complaining about the school curriculum. When the states passed common-sense laws that required voters to have ID, the DOJ went on the warpath. Another phony hero is Dr. Fauci, who was involved in Gain Research, which works on transmitting viruses from animals to humans. There is substantial evidence that this type of research caused the coronavirus breakout. In addition, Fauci has stated that he wants anyone coming into the US to be tested for the coronavirus, but he is not concerned with millions of illegals coming into this country. This is the height of hypocrisy. Biden praised Fauci and called him the “real president.” Now the Democrats want to pass a “Build Back Better” plan that will give the IRS more power to destroy people’s lives. We must daven for Hashem to protect us from this evil. We also must do our part. Contact Senator Joe Manchin at 304-342-5855 or 202-224-3954 and ask him to kill the bill.
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s “A Review of Capital Needs and Resilience at the MTA” (Report 14-2022 December 2021) is very informative, if you want a better understanding of the MTA Capital Program. After Superstorm Sandy (2012), the Federal Transit Administration provided billions in Recovery and Resiliency grants to the MTA. Most of the funding was approved in grants between 2012 and 2016. These critical projects should have been completed several years ago. Why nine years later is construction work still under way today, and other projects yet to start?
As of September 2021, the MTA has $2.555 billion worth of projects still in construction. This includes $1.964 billion NYC Transit, $145 million LIRR, and $399 million Metro North ongoing capital projects. The MTA also has $1.575 billion worth of projects not yet initiated. This includes $1.209 billion NYC Transit, $569 million LIRR, and $463 million Metro North. How do you make the case for Washington to increase funding when you can’t spend billions you already have?
Why wasn’t this work completed prior to COVID-19 starting in March 2020? Why weren’t contracts awarded for all those projects not underway prior to COVID-19?
Commuters, taxpayers, transportation advocates, transit reporters, and local elected officials deserve a detailed explanation from the MTA on how these billions of dollars are being spent.
Larry Penner is a transportation advocate, historian, and writer, who worked for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 NY Office. This included the development, review, approval, and oversight for billions in capital projects and programs for the MTA, NYC Transit, Long Island, and Metro North Rail Roads, MTA Bus, NYC Department of Transportation, along with 30 other transit agencies in NY & NJ