Do you find it disturbing that our unelected health officials make pronouncements regarding COVID-19 that sound so authoritative while brimming with such confidence, only to reverse themselves months or even weeks later? Are you as frustrated as I am at the lack of accountability?
I was thinking back to last year when the pandemic began. We were told by the people who “follow the science” that COVID could be found almost everywhere, even on surfaces. Do you remember how paranoid we all were, wiping down all our Amazon packages, letting our mail sit in the box for days outside and not being able to find a Clorox wipe in any store for months on end? Then, magically, this all went away in late 2020 when the CDC announced that the virus is mainly airborne, transferred person to person, and the chance of catching it through contact with a surface was miniscule.
As recently as last summer, President Biden told us, in his push for universal vaccination, that “you’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations.” Dr. Fauci similarly declared that if people got vaccinated, they wouldn’t have to worry about catching COVID. We now know that the vaccines have little to no effect on one’s chances of getting infected with COVID or transmitting it to someone else.
Then, in early 2021, the FDA approved a COVID vaccine produced by Johnson and Johnson. Some 17 million people took the vaccine. Less than ten months later, due to concerns over blood clots, the CDC no longer recommends people get the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, stating that everyone should opt for the mRNA vaccines only. I wonder how those 17 million people feel now.
These are but a few of the many examples of things our health “experts” either were wrong about or reversed course on. Has there been any reckoning for being wrong on so many things? Have we ever gotten an apology from any of our “experts” for all the false information they have purveyed throughout this pandemic? Have you at least noticed our infectious disease experts, with their ignorance exposed to all, modifying their approach to include a dose of humility with their latest pronouncements? The answer to these questions is a resounding NO, NO, NO!
Perhaps you are like me and found the ruse about COVID on surfaces annoying, had low expectations on the performance of the mRNA vaccines, and did not take the J&J vaccine. If so, you likely emerged from all this relatively unscathed; but consider a more ominous scenario that may already be underway: As each new COVID variant emerges, the pressure from our health experts increases on the public to add booster shots. Israel is already on their fourth shot. What if by next year when we are on our fifth or sixth shot, we are hit with this headline: “New data emerges that shows perpetual boosting is harmful to the human body.” What do we do then?!
I would like to respond to Warren Hecht’s article “Meadowsland.” Warren supports a CNN article that calls Trump out for anti-Semitism. Trump said that Congress used to be controlled by Israel. Now, because of Biden and Obama, the opposite is true. Trump goes on to say that the majority of Jews are not loyal to Israel because they voted for the Democratic Party even though the Dems hate Israel. Trump also stated that Evangelical Christians support Israel more than the Jews. I hate to say this, but Trump is right. About 80% of non-frum Jews and about 15% of frum Jews are not pro-Israel.
Warren has compared Trump to Haman and Hitler. Trump is the most pro-Jewish president in history. Trump has supported Israel. Trump has condemned the “Squad” when they stated that “Jews are not loyal to this country” and when they compared Israel to Nazi Germany. Biden praised Rashida Tlaib for her blood libel, and Kamala Harris said “right on” when a student accused Israel of genocide. The Democratic Party and most liberal Jews have no problem with the “Squad” and their anti-Semitism. In Warren’s article, “The Court,” Warren complains about some inflammatory language about Dr. Fauci in which he was compared to Mengele. This is the height of hypocrisy. Warren cannot compare Trump to Haman and Hitler and then complain when that type of language is used against Fauci. Although Fauci is a monster, I agree that this comparison is wrong. Having said that, to remind readers that Fauci has been involved in gain of function research. Gain of function research engages in dangerous experiments that transfer viruses from animals to humans. Fauci has also been involved in torturing dogs. Fauci also wants this country to lock down, but he supports open borders during a pandemic. Fauci is no Mengele, but he is a mad scientist and must be removed from his position. It is time for Warren to stop attacking our friends and focus on the moral abyss that the Democratic Party has become.
Thucydides, as well as having been a Greek general, is also considered to be one of the greatest ancient historians. His works are renowned for their breadth, objectivity, and accuracy.
Why is this relevant for a “Letter to the Editor,” you may rightfully ask?
As it happens, Thucydides lived through the great Athenian plague of 430 BCE, in which 25 percent of the population of Athens died. Thucydides also chronicled the advent of this calamity, its process as it swept through the city, and its aftermath, with the great precision, insight, and objectivity for which he is known. As an inhabitant of the ancient world, he was unable to benefit from the wonders of fact-checkers, the enrichment of relentless media bombardment, or the clarity that comes from extreme social political pressure in the forming of his opinions or in the drawing of his conclusions. Being so handicapped he had no choice but to rely on the antiquated tools of direct observation and eyewitness testimony for gathering information, and on logical thought as the only means for formulating his ideas. With no one to do the hard work of thinking for him and relying on these archaic skills, he and others arrived at the striking realization that those who had been infected by the Athenian plague and survived, developed the ability to ward off all future infection from said plague. Striking, I know!
Even more shocking is the fact that Thucydides’ wild idea about immunity continued to gain traction over the next 2,450 years and with nary a voice of dissent withstanding! For instance, in the tenth century, Persian physician Al Razi wrote a theory about acquired immunity, a phenomenon that he credited as conferring subsequent protection to those who suffered and recovered from smallpox. Throughout the ages, the implications of Thucydides, which first hinted at the inner workings of the human immune system, have been explored, expanded, and built upon by thousands of scientists. And it was only on the basis of this axiomatic understanding of the natural, protective immune response that the first vaccine to smallpox was created by Edward Jenner in 1796. All subsequent vaccines were built on this premise. Their efficacy relied on their ability to mimic the original pathogen through use of a pared down or artificial version of it as a way to induce an immune response that would hopefully come close enough to the response that the original pathogen would have induced, and thus confer immunity, a healthy and functional immune system being the key.
And that brings us to March 2020 when axiomatic understandings of science and biology (as well as those of sociology, politics, and morality – though those are subjects of separate but related discussion), which guided civilization throughout the vast majority of recorded history, were suddenly thrown into grave doubt. You may question what groundbreaking discovery or overwhelming, objective evidence or broad meta-analysis gave rise to this phenomenon. And you would be correct to thus wonder. That question I will leave to your curiosity, and perhaps you will research and explore it if you find the courage to do so.
If, however, you do happen to be sitting next to me in shul, at a kiddush, or at a Shabbos table, and I tell you that I’ve had COVID and therefore have the best possible immunity, and you respond in lockstep manner with the worn out groupthink of “we don’t know,” you may notice me chuckling under my breath, rolling my eyes, or imagining you dressed in bearskin, sitting on a rock in a cold, damp cave while assiduously working at striking rocks together in order to start a fire. Thanks to Thucydides, al Razi, Jenner, and many others, we’ve come a long way in 2,450 years, so yes – we do know!
Larry Penner, in his Letter to the Editor last week, misses very critical points.
When de Blasio first became mayor, he eliminated compensation for Committee Chairmanships that paid $10,000 each. So, I’m not quite following why Mr. Penner feels they are at “taxpayer expense.” Even if it were at taxpayer expense, why does this concern the author? He does not live in New York City. He does not pay local income tax.
Week after week, year after year, the author writes the newspapers complaining about problems. He is absolutely entitled to do so. Talking about the problem is good up to a certain point, but what exactly is the author’s solution?
The Hatch Act prevents me from running for paid partisan office, but I can run for unpaid party position. I’m the Treasurer and a District Leader for the political party I am enrolled in. I’ve also volunteered four hours over the past six Saturdays to an organization that assists the low income and indigent with legal services. I sent a resume to Adams’ transition team, although I received no response. I’m not deluding myself into believing I’m setting the political or volunteer world on fire. I’m trying. What is the author doing other than pounding out opinion piece after opinion piece?
Getting back to “at taxpayer expense,” the problem is not the politicians; it is the citizens. I had to knock on between five and ten doors to obtain one petition signature. In the freezing March cold (it used to be the blistering June and July heat). On the very hard Parkchester pavement. Before COVID, my parents came from New Mexico to New York at petition time and my father and I logged countless hours together in the car. The turnout rates for primary and general elections is around 20 percent. If the citizens do not vote, do not participate in the process, do not sign petitions, or as in the case of the author, fill the role of “keyboard warrior,” why does the author expect different results?
7 Metropolitan Oval MC
Bronx, New York
I have a suggestion for the national Democrats in terms of how they can be fiscally responsible and pay for the “Build Back Better” proposal without adding one cent to the national debt and the federal budget deficit: Have Congress pass Donald Trump’s 1999 proposal to institute a new “National Wealth Tax” of 14.25% on all individuals with a net wealth and net worth of $10 million and higher. That would generate more than enough new revenue to pay for it. Yes, he really did make that proposal. Just look it up. The opinion editor of USA Today loved it. So do I. I think it is the best idea he ever had.
Stewart B. Epstein
Rochester, New York
Drip, drip, drip – watch as your tax dollars go down the drain. The United States Secret Service recently admitted that almost $100 billion in CARE COVID relief fund benefits have been lost to fraud. One wonders how many more billions have been lost to waste, fraud, and abuse out of several trillion dollars Washington spends on thousands of other programs each year. In the rush to get CARE COVID-19 money out the door, it appears that everyone forgot to check and verify the eligibility for recipients of funding. Congress just passed a bill that the President signed authorizing Uncle Sam to increase our national debt by another $2.5 trillion from the present $29 trillion. Isn’t it about time we spend the same amount of energy to recoup $100 billion and more of lost funds before borrowing even more? Besides a National Debt Clock, we need to add a National Federal Fraud Clock. It should be placed behind the podiums in the chambers of both the House and Senate as a reminder.