Good News From CDC

The paranoia about scrubbing every surface with alcohol seems to make little sense.  4/5/21 CDC:

Findings of these studies suggest that the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection via the fomite transmission route is low, and generally less than 1 in 10,000, which means that each contact with a contaminated surface has less than a 1 in 10,000 chance of causing an infection 7, 8, 9.
So even if the surface is contaminated the risk is extremely low.  And unless someone with COVID has touched or coughed on that surface there is no risk at all.
The principal mode by which people are infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) is through exposure to respiratory droplets carrying infectious virus. It is possible for people to be infected through contact with contaminated surfaces or objects (fomites), but the risk is generally considered to be low.

Source: Good News From CDC

THE DYING BREED WILL NOT GO QUIETLY

Yes, some Instapundit readers will have a stroke, but others understand that there are a few honest liberals out there (Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi) who will call balls and strikes in a fair way. Add Ken Silverstein to the list. This guy was one of the first to expose the race-hustle racket that is the SPLC:

“Today, the SPLC spends most of its time–and money–on a relentless fund-raising campaign, peddling memberships in the church of tolerance with all the zeal of a circuit rider passing the collection plate. “He’s the Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker of the civil rights movement,” renowned anti-death-penalty lawyer Millard Farmer says of Dees, his former associate, “though I don’t mean to malign Jim and Tammy Faye.”

The guy can write like a house afire:

“President Joe Biden’s signed a $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill and while the usual pigs slopped up most of that at the national feeding trough, some money did go to us plebes. Sure, mega-rich dickhead Tom Brady got a government loan (under Trump) of just south of $1 million for his fraudulent “health and wellness” company. But why be bitter towards Brady — or the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or various Trump associates and family members who cashed in on Covid aid.”

And you have to love the honesty of a publication whose motto is “Shocking True Stories and Political Sleaze.” We should be so lucky if The New York Times were so self-aware. Many of the stories in Washington Babylon will anger you. I say “good.”

Source: THE DYING BREED WILL NOT GO QUIETLY: Yes, some Instapundit readers will have a stroke, but others un…

TRUMP VINDICATED AS JUDGE RULES MICHIGAN SECRETARY OF STATE VIOLATED ELECTION LAWS….

A judge in Michigan has vindicated President Trump by ruling that Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, broke state law when she unilaterally changed election rules concerning absentee balloting in the 2020 election. This ruling legitimizes a key claim made by the Trump legal team in its challenges to the 2020 election.

A major change imposed by Benson was loosening the signature verification requirement for absentee ballots. Michigan Court of Claims Chief Judge Christopher Murray ruled that this change violated Michigan Administrative Procedures Act.

The court made the following conclusion:

…nowhere in this state’s election law has the Legislature indicated that signatures are to be presumed valid, nor did the Legislature require that signatures are to be accepted so long as there are any redeeming qualities in the application or return envelope as compared with the signature on file. Policy determinations like the one at issue — which places the thumb on the scale in favor of a signature’s validity — should be made pursuant to properly promulgated rules under the APA or by the Legislature.

Over 3.1 million Michiganders voted by absentee ballot in November. Biden “won” the state by just over 154,000 votes, according to the state-certified results.

….

Michigan was not the only state where Democrat state officials unilaterally changed election laws, so this ruling certainly raises legitimate doubts whether Biden truly won the election without invalid votes.

Source: TRUMP VINDICATED AS JUDGE RULES MICHIGAN SECRETARY OF STATE VIOLATED ELECTION LAWS….

When the Good News is Racist

The Wall Street Journal reports on a U.K. government finding that the U.K. “is no longer ‘deliberately rigged’ against minorities”. Apparently this is bad news.

In July the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson responded by impaneling the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities. “We decided to step away from the heat and all that vitriol,” says its chairman, Tony Sewell, “and just take a cold look at the data on racism.” In doing so, “we examined ideas that weren’t to be questioned,” namely “the race industry’s articles of faith.” In its March 31 report, the commission concluded that while Britain isn’t yet “a post-racial society,” neither is it any longer a place where “the system” is “deliberately rigged against ethnic minorities.”

As a result, Mr. Sewell, who is black—only one of the 10 other commissioners is white—has come under blistering attack. It ranges from the achingly predictable (a profusion of “Uncle Tom” accusations on Twitter ) to the grotesque. A Cambridge professor of postcolonial studies likened Mr. Sewell to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels. A Labour member of Parliament suggested that he belonged in the Ku Klux Klan. Add in put-downs like “house Negro,” “token” and “race traitor,” and you have a picture of the liberal rage ignited by the commission’s refusal to endorse the belief that Britain is irremediably racist.

Mr. Sewell, 62, runs a charity that coaches black schoolchildren in science and math. “It’s a STEM pipeline program,” he says via Zoom from the study of his house in London. “It starts when they’re young and takes them up to university, using summer schools.” Thousands of black kids have been given a college opportunity they “didn’t have in the first place.” Yet he’s called an “Uncle Tom.”

He characterizes the abuse as “a sort of antiracism that borders on racism.” He also detects some desperation, “not only in black lobby groups but on the white left”: “they’re frightened of the report.” Since few ordinary citizens will read its 258 pages, its opponents have busied themselves spreading “distortions” in a bid to capture public opinion. He singles out the leftist Guardian newspaper, which published a sweeping condemnation by David Olusoga, a historian of slavery, who scorns the report as “poisonously patronising” and “historically illiterate.”

Wall Street Journal

Anti-black Crime Is Dropping

Kevin Drum is a liberal blogger but is always worth a read. He was with Mother Jones. He now appears to be on his own with his Jabberwocky blog. When liberals mocked Republicans for making the national security case regarding admitting scores of Syrian refugees, Drum said that stance was “absurdly out of touch.” He also said Senate Democrats forced him to side with the National Rifle Association when the Left wanted to push prohibiting those on terror watch lists from buying guns. There are serious constitutional issues with this policy, the least being the lack of due process and transparency. We had cub scouts get on this list, folks. 

And he also noticed how schools in Irvine, California, which reopened last September, really didn’t suffer a COVID spike. Drum is a liberal, he’s just not insane. 

Recently, he noticed something while analyzing FBI data on hate crimes since we’re a nation whose media establishment is obsessed with racism. Anti-black crime is dropping—and it’s not a little dip either. It’s a massive drop:

 A number of people, including me, have posited that the Obama era produced a white backlash that eventually elected Donald Trump president. There’s some evidence to support this, but it sure doesn’t show up in the hate crime statistics. Hate crimes against Black people plummeted by nearly half during Obama’s term and have pretty much stayed there ever since. This is despite the fact that presumably the Obama administration put a greater focus on hate crimes than either George Bush or Donald Trump.
Violent assaults on Black people have gone down by nearly half since 2005, far more than violent assaults in general. In this case, however, the decline has been fairly steady over the entire period.
The FBI is not the only authority on hate crimes and the NCVS is not the only authority on victimization. Still, they’re generally well respected and use the same methodology from year to year. This probably represents reality pretty well.
I have been accused—rightfully—of constantly telling you that things are better than you think. The reason is simple: Whenever I look into something, it very often turns out to be better than the media focus would have us believe.
In the graph, he noted that the number of racially-motivated incidents deemed anti-black went from 126 per million in 2004 to 70 per million in 2019.

Could it be better? Sure. We all could do better on the issue of race. We just can’t have that discussion now because liberal America is projecting a narrative for which the data simply does not exist. Why? It’s because white liberals are doing what they do best: being on the wrong side of an issue. Not even black Americans have the same feelings on the issue of racial resentment as white liberals, who go off the charts on this question. The Manhattan Institute did a lengthy study on the social constructs of racism in America and found that ideology is one of the key factors in determining your view on this subject. They also found that black men were more likely to die in car accidents than being shot and killed by police. I know, they’re truly skirting on the edge of being canceled by the woke Left. They provided nuance and data to back up their claims and analyses. 

You probably already knew the ideology hook to this, but it’s interesting to see how deep this issue goes. The Skeptic Research Center found that 44 percent of liberals thought that 1,000 unarmed black men were shot and killed by police last year. It was actually 27. And this misinformation feeds into and infests the wider Democratic-media establishment, which claims that America is an irreparably racist country that is becoming a shooting gallery thanks to white guys who can’t stand nonwhites. The data doesn’t support that claim. 

Townhall.com

When Will Liberals Reclaim Free Speech?

My fellow liberals in academia have abandoned ‘the great moral renovator of society and government.’

It’s the difference between “Liberal” and “Leftist”.

‘Professor, why are you so conservative about free speech?” Several students have asked me versions of this question recently, which speaks volumes about universities right now. I’m a liberal and a Democrat: I’m pro-choice, pro-ObamaCare and vehemently anti-Trump. But I’m also a strong supporter of free speech, which marks me as a right-winger on campus.

That’s because my fellow liberals have largely abandoned free speech to conservatives. Turn on Fox News, and you’ll see “cancel culture” decried in bright lights. But in the liberal press—and most of all in the liberal academy—free speech has become a rhetorical third rail. Sure, we’ll invoke it when Republican state lawmakers try to ban critical race theory. But in our own house, free speech is seen increasingly as a tool of repression rather than liberation.

Here’s how the argument usually goes: White people love free speech, because it lets them say any hateful thing they want. But the real burden of it falls on racial minorities, who are forced to absorb constant slights and slurs against their very existence. That’s why we need to police racist speech: to protect its victims.

The problem is that people will inevitably differ about which speech qualifies as racist. The term has become our own scarlet letter, an all-purpose way to prohibit ideas you dislike. So we need to defend the free-speech rights of everyone, even avowed racists. The best response to hateful speech is to raise your own voice against it, not to ban it.

Once you decide to swing the censorship hammer against racist speech, almost anything can look like a nail. A business-school professor who discusses a Chinese word that sounds like an American slur. A law-school professor who says that her African-American students underachieve academically. A math professor who criticizes diversity training. And so on.

All these examples are real, and in each case the faculty member was recently fired or suspended for the allegedly racist transgression. Most of my liberal colleagues stayed quiet about it, even when they believed these people were treated unfairly.

I get it. You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the free-speech winds are blowing these days. It’s prudent to keep your big mouth shut. But that’s anathema to a liberal university, which requires debating differences fully and openly.

It’s also hardly clear that this censorship will help the minorities it purports to protect. The University of Michigan instituted a code in 1987 barring speech that “stigmatizes or victimizes an individual” on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion or gender. In the ensuing 18 months, blacks were charged with violating the code in 20 cases. One black student was punished for using the term “white trash.”

When speech can be suppressed, the people with the least power are likely to lose the most. That’s why every great tribune of social justice in American history—including Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony and Martin Luther King Jr. —was also a zealous advocate for free speech. Without it, they couldn’t critique the indignities and oppression that they suffered.

In the antebellum years, slave owners tried to block abolitionist literature from the U.S. mail and even from the floor of Congress. But abolitionists fought back, invoking what Douglass called “the great moral renovator of society and government”: free speech. They kept writing and talking, censors be damned.

In the mid-20th century, government authorities routinely censored gay publications, which were deemed “obscene” and “degenerate.” But the courts ultimately allowed distribution of these materials, which in turn helped gay people connect and organize. The modern LGBT-rights movement owes its birth and growth to free speech. Ditto for black civil rights, women’s liberation and every other cause that the American left holds dear.

I’m glad that conservatives have embraced free speech, but I’d also like to see my fellow liberals reclaim it. We need the courage to speak up again for free speech, which remains the best vehicle for righting the wrongs of America.

Source: When Will Liberals Reclaim Free Speech?

If anyone looks at you askance when you say “I don’t believe a word I hear from the mainstream media”…

This video from Daily Caller is a stunning example of why people need to realise the mainstream media are not in the fact-reporting business: the first minute shows a Q&A session as the media reported it; the next two and a half minutes show exactly the same Q&A session – without their edits.

Source: If anyone looks at you askance when you say “I don’t believe a word I hear from the mainstream media”…

George Floyd, Update 5: Trial, Week 1

I think I’m going to advise the people I supervise to defer any field work until a few days after the verdict is handed down in this case.

Stately McDaniel Manor

How, gentle readers, can one tell when a criminal trial is a racist, political persecution?  How can one easily and quickly tell when the charges should never have been brought, but were because racist politics—politics wielded against non-blacks–demanded it?

View original post 4,124 more words

Chauvin Trial Day 7 Wrap-Up: a horrible day for the prosecution

Material that could easily result in acquittal, and riots if it’s not being widely broadcast in other coverage of the trial.

Lt. Mercil works in the MPD training division in charge of use-of-force training and policy instruction. He was active in that capacity during the period preceding the Floyd events during which Chauvin would have received his department use-of-force training and policy instruction, which is what makes Mercil’s testimony relevant.

Mercil is also a genuine fan of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), saying (as many practitioners do, in my experience) that he had “fallen in love with the sport.”  This was elicited on direct, led by Prosecutor Schleiter, no doubt to buttress Mercil’s credibility, as was the direct testimony of Mercil about his expertise in hand-to-hand force techniques as both a trainer and a street cop, and his mastery of MPD use-of-force policies.  Little did Schleiter know how Mercil’s credibility would shortly boomerang on the prosecution.

Schleiter did his usual routine, where he portrayed use of force options as being cast in absolute and binary terms.  If A, then B, if X then Y. Any variance of this was either out of MPD policy or at least “untrained by MPD” (an entirely different matter than being outside policy), and hence “wrong-act.”

Schleiter made use of the MPD use of force continuum, and presented it in the most childish and sterile context possible.  If at this level of the continuum, officer can do this, but not that, correct. Mercil dutifully answered in the affirmative. But if at that level of the continuum, officer can do that, but not this. Again, yes.

Schleiter would also pose simplified and hypothetical scenarios only minimally representative of what occurred with Floyd and ask if the use of, say, a neck restraint in that hypothetical would be reasonable.  Of course, the answer from Mercil, as intended that narrow and specific question, would be, no, unreasonable.

Missing from all of this direct, of course, was any context around the complex dynamics and circumstances that often surround a police use of force event.  That Schleiter wants to avoid any such discussion is understandable, because doing so provides an appearance for at least reasonableness, if not outright justification, for Chauvin’s use-of-force decisions and conduct with respect to Floyd.

Another common routine from Schleiter when doing direct on state’s witnesses who have any purported use-of-force expertise is to show them the photo of Chauvin apparently (but perhaps not actually) kneeling on Floyd’s neck and asking, “Is this an MPD trained neck restraint?”  Invariably the answer is in the negative.

That makes for a good headline, but in fact it’s not very informative on the actual issues of the case.  Why? Because just because a technique may not be an “MPD trained” technique does not make it outside of policy, does not mean it was legally unjustified, and certainly does not mean it contributed to Floyd’s death—which is what the trial is supposed to be all about.

Once again, Schleiter touched on positional asphyxia, and once again I feel obliged to note that this doesn’t really help the state prove Chauvin’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in the context of Floyd’s ingestion of a three-fold fatal dose of fentanyl.  Certainly, if I had to choose between two situations, one in which I was placed in a prone position while handcuffed for 10 minutes, and another in which I was forced to ingest a three-fold fatal dose of fentanyl, I know which I’d pick, and quickly. There’s simply no reasonable comparison between those two risks to life.

So, the direct of Mercil was really just more of the Schleiter show we’ve already seen with other state’s witnesses.  Kind of checking the boxes, but not even all the boxes needed to support the state’s narrative of guilt—and always by only exposing the jury to half the context, which is a dangerous ploy.

Basing your narrative of guilt on only half the context is a dangerous ploy because we, thank God, enjoy an adversarial legal system, and that means the defense gets to pop right up and expose the jury to the other half of the context, the half consistent with a narrative of innocence—and, in this case, they get to do so with your own witness.

And that’s precisely what happened with Mercil, and in a big, big way.

Nelson began by asking questions related to Mercil’s time as a street cop, with a particular emphasis on the tendency of suspects being subject to arrest to come up with all kinds of nonsense about why they shouldn’t be arrested that day.

Dangerous job, being a police officer? Yes. Are people generally unhappy about being arrested? Very rarely are they happy, Mercil answered.  Do suspects frequently engage in a wide variety of behaviors to avoid arrest, including fighting, arguing, making excuses?  Yes, they do, answered Mercil.

Indeed, when asked if he himself had ever disbelieved a suspect’s claim of a medical emergency as an apparent effort to avoid arrest, Mercil answered that he personally had done so.

All of this, of course, undercuts the part of the prosecution narrative that is relying on Floyd’s purported pleas and excuses about claustrophobia and anxiety and crying out for mama. Perhaps all of that is real—but a reasonable officer must also consider that maybe much of it is simply an effort to avoid arrest.

Nelson also once again put the use of pressure and body weight techniques in a favorable light. The state wants to present Chauvin’s knee in a negative light, as deadly mechanical asphyxiation, or as a “blood choke” as attested to by MMA Williams.  In fact, however, the use of pressure and body weight to restrain a suspect was adopted by the MPD because it was a lesser intensity of force than the prior practice of using strikes—either barehanded, or with batons, or even with weighted gloves—to compel compliance.  Mercil concurred.

The take home message for the jury is that Chauvin’s knee, far from being a public execution in a public street, was a lesser force than would otherwise have been required.

Whereas Schleiter wants to pretend that all of Chauvin’s use of force and other decisions should have been based solely on the needs and desires of Floyd, Nelson once again had the state’s witness concede that under the MPD critical decision-making model the officer must consider a wide breadth of factors beyond just the suspect, including the officer himself, his partners, any bystanders—especially angry or threatening bystanders.

Schleiter had described use of force in a very static and binary way—once a suspect stops resisting, the officer should immediately stop his use of force, period. But Nelson got Mercil to agree that if that suspect had been forcibly resisting the officer only moments before, that would be a factor weighing in favor of continuing to apply force even after apparent resistance had ceased.

That is, it’s not just what’s happening in the moment that counts, but what happened prior to that moment, as well.  (Schleiter pulled this trick again with the last witness of the day, a Jody Stiger from LAPD acting as an expert witness for the state, and I don’t expect it to work out well there, either.)

Additional factors that a reasonable officer would take into account in deciding how much force to apply and for how long included a disparity in size between the officer and the suspect—and as we know, the 6’ 6” 230-pound Floyd was substantially larger than the 5’ 9” 140-pound Chauvin—as well as the circumstance in which a suspect not only fought police, but fought multiple officers—exactly as Floyd did in this instance.

When asked if additional use-of-force factors included if the suspect was believed to be on drugs, and whether being on drugs could give a suspect exceptionally great strength, Mercil agreed to both statements.

When asked explicitly if any of the video of the event showed Chauvin placing Floyd in a “choke hold” (in this context meaning a respiratory choke but the term has been used with careless disregard for accuracy) Mercil was obliged to answer that it did not.

When asked if a carotid choke, or what MPD would refer to as an “unconscious neck restraint” required both of the carotid arteries to be compressed, Mercil answered that it did. So much for MMA expert Williams’ testimony to the contrary.

Further, when asked how quickly unconsciousness occurred when a carotid choke was placed, Mercil answered “less than 10 seconds.”  Clearly, then Floyd was not being subject to a carotid choke for the large majority of the 9 minutes or so Chauvin had his knee in place, and likely never during that period.

When asked if Mercil trained officers that a suspect who had become unconscious could regain consciousness, get back into the fight, and perhaps even be more aggressive than previously, Mercil responded that he did.

This, of course, is a rationale for Chauvin maintain his knee across Floyd’s back even after Floyd lost consciousness.

As noted above, Nelson also explored with Mercil whether there were circumstances in which it would be appropriate for an officer to maintain a neck restraint for a substantial period of time, and Mercil conceded that there were.

Sometimes to maintain the neck restraint for however long it took EMS to arrive, asked Nelson? Mercil answered that he, personally, had maintained restraint on suspects for the duration required for EMS to arrive.

To ensure the point: The state’s own use-of-force expert testified on cross that he personally had engaged in use-of-force conduct that the state had been using to demonize Chauvin as an unlawful killer. That’s not a good day for the state.

Nelson also again re-emphasized the reality that the officer involved in a use-of-force event must consider not just the suspect, but also the presence of an angry and growing mob observing what might well look like an ugly use of police force, and Mercil agreed that was the case.

On the issue of providing timely medical care, an issue the state pushes with particular energy, Nelson had Mercil agree that while MPD policy is to provide care as soon as possible, that must take into consideration the safety of the scene, and that the MPD policy actually requires that it first be safe for the officer to provide care before the officer has the duty to provide that care.

Indeed, factors such as whether a suspect had just been fighting with the officers was huge in determining whether an officer could reasonably provide care—especially if that “care” would be chest compressions requiring the suspect to have their handcuffs removed.  Mercil answered in the affirmative.

Later, on re-direct, Schleiter would attempt to diminish the damage of this bit of testimony by asking Mercil if bystanders merely taking videos would constitute a reason to not provide care. The answer, of course, was no.

But that merely provided Nelson with the lay-up opportunity on re-cross to ask whether a mob shouting insults and outright threats would constitute such a reason—and that was conduct of the mob in this event—and the answer to that, of course, was yes.

Similarly, Nelson hit back on the state’s emphasis on the whole “recovery position” narrative in the context of hypothetical positional asphyxia.  Might there be circumstances that would prevent putting a suspect in a recovery position?  Mercil answered that there were.

If that all sounds bad enough for the prosecution, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

It was at this point that Nelson showed Mercil a series of photographs captured from the body worn camera of Officer Lane, and showing Chauvin’s knee on Floyd from the angle down Floyd’s proned body.

Photo 1: Where’s Chauvin’s leg in this image? On Floyd’s neck? Or on his shoulder blades and back. Mercil: Shoulder blades and back.

And in photo 2? Same. Photo 3? Same. Photo 4? Same.

This, of course, fundamentally undercuts the prosecution’s narrative of guilt that it was Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck that killed Floyd.

Are there circumstances like those already discussed where would be appropriate to maintain presence of leg across shoulder blades and back in order to ensure control of the suspect?   Yes, there are, Mercil answered.  For as long as 10 minutes?  It’s possible.

Ouch.

In other words, the use of the restraint can be justified not only to compel compliance of the suspect in the first place, but to ensure that the suspect maintains compliance moving forward—especially given the experience and concern that unconscious suspects can revive and be even more violent than they were prior, even if that restraint is being held in place for as long as 10 minutes. And that’s not just for the safety of the officer, but also for the officer’s partners, for bystanders, and even for the suspect himself.

Just devastating for the state’s narrative, and all of it coming from the state’s own MPD use of force expert.

And there’s more. RTWT.

 

Source: Chauvin Trial Day 7 Wrap-Up: a horrible day for the prosecution