If you have a comment or question, just click Read the rest of this entry »
The FDA is notoriously risk averse, but rational risk assessment must always balance the risk of action against the risk of inaction. Large scale Double Blind testing might be justified for an improved drug for a disease already effectively treated, but it is insanity incarnate in the face of a deadly pandemic.
In vaccine testing, Phase 1 and Phase 2 testing establish the general safety and dosage required to elicit a desirable antibody response. Those have been established for four vaccines, three of which are already under mass production paid for by Operation Warp speed. Phase 3 testing is underway, and administers the vaccines to a larger test group of about 30,000 for each vaccine, divided between active and placebo groups. Phase 3 testing may reveal some less common adverse reactions, but its primary purpose is to measure efficacy in the real world. The time required is open ended as the results cannot be used until enough infections occur in the placebo group to calculate a significant benefit. Because we are getting better at masking and hygiene, that could easily take 4 to 5 months.
But twenty thousand or more Americans are dying every month while we wait for a vaccine.
There is no conceivable risk that could have slipped past Phase 1 & 2 testing that could kill that many, and experience has shown us that even if the vaccines prove to not fully protect us, they will at the least reduce the severity of disease, and we have already paid for the vaccines anyway.
By November we will have 50 million doses on hand, and another 100 million in December, and again in January, enough to provide the first of two required doses to everyone over 70 immediately and to provide their second required dose in December plus the first dose for everyone over 60 with increased risk. By January, the death toll from COVID-19 could be near zero, but that vaccine does us no good sitting in freezers waiting for certainty while thousands die.
No one should be forced to take a vaccine they don’t trust, but rational risk assessment requires that the vaccines be released immediately to older Americans who wish to accept the small risk of the vaccine over the certain danger of the disease.
For healthy younger adults, and certainly for children, waiting for Phase 3 to complete might make sense, as they are unlikely to die if the contract the disease, but for those at significant risk of death from the disease, time is not on our side.
We deserve the right to try.
We tend to be reactive, and Governor Northam has given us plenty to react to. First with his arrogant and gloating attack on the 2nd Amendment, and then with his heavy handed approach to precautions in the Coronavirus Pandemic. But if we reflexively do the opposite of everything he mandates, regardless of the underlying issue, he is controlling us just as much as if we submit.
I have been appalled to see our members appearing in public demonstrations and meetings not wearing face coverings. Regardless of how you feel about masks, you are making a statement when you refuse to wear one.
I really don’t want to get into a debate about the effectiveness of masks in preventing the spread of the Coronavirus. They are, in fact, the single most important thing you can do protect your fellow citizens, but even if they were not, that is the PUBLIC PERCEPTION. For a political organization, perception is reality.
So, you may think you are demonstrating your patriotism and resistance to big government, and your fellow Libertarian and Tea Party members may agree, but the 95% of the public who are not in our movement see that mass refusal as a disregard for the lives of their elderly loved ones.
We in the Liberty Movement have gained considerable respect in recent years, standing against eminent domain abuse, police excesses long before BLM, discrimination based on sexual orientation, and big government in general, but every time we have a rally with no one wearing a mask, that respect goes out the window, and we appear to the public to be selfish ideologues willing to sacrifice their grandma to make a political point.
When you appear in public as part of a rally for one of our organizations, you are the face of the Liberty Movement, and if that face isn’t covered, you are damaging our image in the eyes of those we must win over for Liberty to triumph.
So, wear a mask when publicly representing us, or please stay home. Your presence without a mask tells the public that we are selfish fanatics with no regard for the safety of others. Right or wrong, that is the public perception and we do not need to drive people into the arms of big government.
When tragedies like the VA Tech and Parkland, Florida mass murders occur, we are all horrified and seek to prevent such things from happening again, but while that emotion is a good motivator, it is a poor way to find solutions.
Legislation born of emotion rarely accomplishes its intended purpose and too often has adverse, unintended consequences. Keep in mind that schools and universities did not become a common location for mass murder until after they were made ‘gun free zones.’
If we are to address the problem of mass murder, we should define what would constitute a solution.
Is marginally reducing the death toll by limiting the efficiency of firearms so that the toll was cut by half a solution? Of course not, so banning certain firearms or magazines is at best mitigation and what we want is a solution. In any case, keep in mind that the worst school shooting, at VA Tech, was accomplished with ordinary handguns and standard magazines. We now know that in the Parkland shooting, only 10 round magazines were used.
But the common factor at VA Tech, and in Parkland, as well as other shootings, was that the eventual mass murderer was known to be dangerous but the steps necessary to protect the public from their madness were not taken.
Both Seung-Hui Cho and Nicholas Cruz, the VA Tech and Parkland murderers, had committed crimes that would have made them ineligible to legally purchase firearms had they been prosecuted, but they were instead referred for mental health treatment, which they walked away from.
Medical privacy laws prevent reporting dangerously mentally ill persons to the National Instant Criminal Background Check system unless they represent an immediate and direct threat, so Cho and Cruz were not reported and were able to legally buy the firearms they used. But there are no privacy laws for felony convictions. Had they been prosecuted, Cho for stalking and Cruz for Assault with a Deadly Weapon, they would have been on the no-buy list.
We can still show compassion for the mentally ill, by making treatment a condition of probation, which would ensure compliance with treatment, but they would not be able to legally purchase firearms.
Proposed Constitutional Amendments 2016
Article I – Section 11A Right to Work.
Virginia is by law a ‘Right to Work’ State in that you cannot be required to belong to a union or other collective bargaining organization as a condition of employment. That law protects Virginia workers and companies from monopolistic practices by labor unions while allowing people to voluntarily participate in collective bargaining. That balance has contributed to Virginia’s relative prosperity and economic growth.
However, our ‘right to work’ status could be repealed at any time, with little warning, by the General Assembly and Governor simply by changing the law. Enshrining the Right to Work in a Constitutional Amendment would guarantee the Right to Work unless the Constitution were amended again, which takes a minimum of two years. That higher standard for changing the law requires that such a change be carefully considered and fully debated. Such a guarantee would also assure employers considering locating in Virginia that they can plan their operations here without fear of precipitous change.
The Tidewater Libertarian Party supports this amendment which protects our freedom and helps preserve a free and open market in the labor force.
Article X – Section 6B Property Tax Exemptions
Article X –Section 6A of the Virginia Constitution exempts from taxation the property of 100% disabled military veterans and their spouses, as well as the property of the surviving spouse of a member of the armed forces killed in the line of duty.
The proposed Amendment to section 6B would allow, but not require, localities to extend similar exemptions to the surviving spouse of certain emergency service workers who die in the line of duty. Localities would have to pass an appropriate ordinance to extend this relief.
The Tidewater Libertarian Party sympathizes with the intent of this measure, but asserts that there are better ways to accomplish this goal. In general, it is bad policy to exempt any group from taxation as that creates a constituency for raising such taxes for others. Taxes, when necessary, should be universally applied.
Localities already have the power to effect such relief by simply providing emergency services personnel with a life insurance policy paid to the surviving spouse as an annuity sufficient to cover property taxes.
This amendment, however well intentioned, is both unwise and unnecessary, and thus the amendment is opposed by the Tidewater Libertarian Party.
We support providing suitable insurance as an alternative.
Restoration of Civil Rights to Felons
Position of the Tidewater Libertarian Party
In general, the Tidewater Libertarian Party strongly supports the restoration of Civil Rights, including the right to vote, serve on juries and to keep and bear arms, to those convicted of felonies when they have completed their incarceration and probation, have made restitution to their victims when feasible, and demonstrated rehabilitation.
However, this must be accomplished consistent with the Virginia Constitution and the Rule of Law.
A government which will not be restrained by the Rule of Law is a far greater danger than any felon. Read the rest of this entry »
This is the version of the Guest Editorial in the Virginian Pilot today with hypertext links included.
“It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are, it doesn’t matter who said it. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.”- Richard P. Feynman
It was settled science.
The consensus was nearly total, and those who questioned the consensus were shunned in academic institutions and even arrested and compelled to recant. To state that the Earth was not the center of the universe was heresy.
The consensus was wrong, and the evidence of its error had been known for over one thousand years when Galileo was Read the rest of this entry »
Have you heard both sides of the issue of Climate change? Probably not. For a skeptic’s view, come to the Tidewater Libertarian Party General Meeting Saturday morning February 7th, 2015. Breakfast at 8:30, program begins at 9 AM.
George Mears is a local environmental engineer and project manager who lives in Suﬀolk and is employed by the Federal government. Attended U of Wisconsin, Madison, in the late 60s on and NROTC scholarship, graduating with a BS in Geology. While at UW, he studied Mid-‐Atlantic Ridge and Arctic deep ocean cores as a research assistant analyzing temperature and salinity proxy data and magnetic orientation of core samples over tens of thousands of years. Flew over 5,800 ﬂight hours in the Navy but over 1,000 as a pilot and Mission Commander during the late 70s in a squadron sponsored by the Naval Oceanographic Oﬃce that deployed with joint Navy & civilian science (Johns Hopkins, Scripps Institute, Woods Hole) crews to conduct worldwide ocean current, magnetic variation, Arctic & Antarctic ice and polar study and hurricane tracking and penetration missions. Following the Navy, he completed a Masters (Environmental Engineering, ODU, 1994) and has been employed since as an engineer and project manager performing environmental remediation, ocean, and civil engineering project work in both public sector A-‐E and Government engineering organizations and for clients that have included DOD, municipalities, EPA, Fish & Wildlife, the National Park Service, NOAA, and NASA.
Note: the following was submitted to the Virginian Pilot as a guest editorial. They chose not to print this one. It only guest editorial I have submitted that they chose not to run. I guess the debate is over at the Pilot.
“It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.” – Richard Feynman
NASA astronomer James Hansen first used the term ‘Deniers’ to describe those who questioned the orthodox view of global warming in 2006 in a transparent attempt to smear skeptics by associating them with Neo-Nazi Holocaust deniers, going so far as to suggest that scientists and officials who disagreed with the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming be tried in Nuremberg style trials for crimes against humanity. Such is the civility of the climate debate.
We are all familiar with the sad tale of battered women who keeping taking their abuser back because they fear they have no place else to go, until eventually, their abuser kills them. It is heartbreaking for Libertarians to watch our friends in the Tea Party and other liberty activist groups in the GOP follow that same dismal path. Read the rest of this entry »