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Here's an "optimistic", (perhaps...) BUT reasonable assessment of cv19 and what its real impact upon the world may be.

From an MD who has been and is working on the frontline in Sweden.

https://sebastianrushworth.com/2020/08/04/how-bad-is-covid-really-a-swedish-doctors-perspective/

(warning: this link contains opinions that may be enjoyed by Sue Denim.)

 

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6 hours ago, antrin said:

Here's an "optimistic", (perhaps...) BUT reasonable assessment of cv19 and what its real impact upon the world may be.

From an MD who has been and is working on the frontline in Sweden.

https://sebastianrushworth.com/2020/08/04/how-bad-is-covid-really-a-swedish-doctors-perspective/

(warning: this link contains opinions that may be enjoyed by Sue Denim.)

 

Interesting and, for what it's worth, overall I agree with this view.

I am not denying that covid is awful for the people who do get really sick or for the families of the people who die, just as it is awful for the families of people who die of cancer, or influenza, or an opioid overdose. But the size of the response in most of the world (not including Sweden) has been totally disproportionate to the size of the threat.

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10 hours ago, theknickerwetter said:

Do you think she is fair and democratic :lol

She is the elected leader of the party which is in government in a democratic system and she is certainly fairer and more democratic  than the Westminster cabal.

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8 hours ago, antrin said:

Here's an "optimistic", (perhaps...) BUT reasonable assessment of cv19 and what its real impact upon the world may be.

From an MD who has been and is working on the frontline in Sweden.

https://sebastianrushworth.com/2020/08/04/how-bad-is-covid-really-a-swedish-doctors-perspective/

(warning: this link contains opinions that may be enjoyed by Sue Denim.)

 

Maybe, in hindsight, The Cap'n was correct about Sweden although as ever scientific opinion is not universal :rolleyes:, what they did have going in their favour is making a decision early about social distancing and what restrictions to take and sticking to them - it was never the free for all that the PotUS has allowed in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The lead story on the virus today is closing pubs & restaurants and as a means to keep schools open, again I think this is wooly thinking by the government bracketing the two together - social distancing seems to be difficult to maintain as the evenings wear on at pubs but it's not as if people go on restaurant crawls.

I've always said we should err on the side of caution so supported the lockdown but 6 months on perhaps we are in a better position to say how we focus our prevention strategy until a vaccine is available.

Oh and FWIW I am maintaining my hygiene regime with regards to my facemasks, both Steampunk & Saints varieties...

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On 8/7/2020 at 2:03 AM, oaksoft said:

It's hard to stop acting like an ass when I'm constantly exposed to your wittering buffoonery..

Now, go and talk shite elsewhere and stop wasting my time with your infantile pish.

I'll just leave this here 😎

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32 minutes ago, insaintee said:

Thanks for these two interesting but unconvincing links.

 

The first produced by number-crunching people, who have their place, but who recognise that their reports are not scientific evidence that masks work in the public domain but that because lots of countries have adopted them it is worth ding...

The second stresses that the effectiveness of masks has been proven but only in clinical settings, and those findings are possibly not  attributable to wearing masks in public.

The doctor I linked to above in Sweden on the front line is honestly upfront saying that his 'report' is necessarily anecdotal.  

Same as, if you read the phrasing of your two links - they're also admitting "wearing masks is a good thing" is just as anecdotal as his was

Good to know.

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18 minutes ago, antrin said:

Thanks for these two interesting but unconvincing links.

 

The first produced by number-crunching people, who have their place, but who recognise that their reports are not scientific evidence that masks work in the public domain but that because lots of countries have adopted them it is worth ding...

The second stresses that the effectiveness of masks has been proven but only in clinical settings, and those findings are possibly not  attributable to wearing masks in public.

The doctor I linked to above in Sweden on the front line is honestly upfront saying that his 'report' is necessarily anecdotal.  

Same as, if you read the phrasing of your two links - they're also admitting "wearing masks is a good thing" is just as anecdotal as his was

Good to know.

Forunately it is not you that needs convinced, it public health officials and experts. Not wish to dis your *ahem* scientific credentuals 

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2 hours ago, insaintee said:

Forunately it is not you that needs convinced, it public health officials and experts. Not wish to dis your *ahem* scientific credentuals 

You're perfectly right that - in the wider world - it's PH Officials and experts that need to be convinced.

But I wasn't responding under some illusion that you'd posted those links on this venue because you'd thought this would be the best place such people might find it.

There was silly me, thinking that you posted it in here, so that us dreary, ordinary punters might learn something! 

 

Ah well...  :rolleyes:

 

Edited by antrin

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These are the government’s Covid alert levels published in May.

We’re at level 2 just now.

Says that there should be no or minimal social distancing measures in place at this level.

Why isn’t this happening?

9D3F1F85-B67B-432B-B36C-22074908EC3D.jpeg

Edited by Sue Denim

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7 hours ago, smcc said:

She is the elected leader of the party which is in government in a democratic system and she is certainly fairer and more democratic  than the Westminster cabal.

Wake up and smell the coffee

 

PICKING what to write about this week isn’t easy – I could happily unpack what I think is going on with Cherrymandering, the SQA debacle, the return of lockdown in Aberdeen, the virtual admission that Sturgeon misled parliament about a crucial meeting, the latest nonsensical stuff coming out of unionism…

But are they really separate issues at all? Or is something systemically wrong with our political system and our democracy?

Let me start by doing something which isn’t done enough; stating specifically the foundational principles on which Scottish democracy is based (remember the 1998 Scotland Act anyone?). This isn’t a random system – it has specific elements for specific reasons.

Scotland’s entire political system is designed around the intention of cabinet government and parliamentary government (alongside powerful committees). It expects a professional and autonomous civil service to facilitate the elected government, but also to stand as the first line of defence against unlawful actions and to answer to the nation’s democratic institutions.

It has a series of checks and balances on executive power written into its ‘constitution’ (which isn’t actually codified in one place). It assumes a mass party-political system in which the priorities of the system are driven by the large-group participation of ordinary people who ‘own’ and govern the parties they choose to join.

It is built on the assumption of a plural democracy in which a competent group of opposition parties hold government to account. It is based on a diverse free press to monitor all of this and it assumes this takes place in a society with a broad and active civil political culture.

So does it not seem of great concern that every single one of these foundations has crumbled to a point where asking us to believe they are fit for purpose is a very big ask indeed.

Let’s look briefly at each.

Cabinet Government

There is no longer any point in pretending (not that anyone has been pretending): Scotland suddenly has a hacked-together presidential system forcibly imposed on top of a democracy which is not designed for it.

I’m weary of writing about this – I’ve spoken to five cabinet members about this exact issue and not one of them has sought to pretend that government policy is made in cabinet. This is reflected in the fact that the first minister barely mentions it and the media never shows any interest in it.

Every week, the UK media discusses what will be on the agenda for the Westminster cabinet meetings; this isn’t even a subject of mild curiosity in the Scottish press, and everyone knows why.

Presidential systems generally have checks and balances built in, like legislatures in which the president does not sit and can’t fully control. We, on the other hand, have one politician who governs according only to what she wants.

Let’s take the SQA debacle; like everything else, it seems clear to me that the only real consideration was how the exam problem would make the first minister look. She clearly wanted a slight improvement – but not too much. In other words, to look like last year with a slight uptick.

It’s plain as the nose on your face that the methodology was retrofitted to achieve the outcome. Fearing that the Scottish Government would catch a Daily Mail backlash if poor kids got decent results, it was made sure that they didn’t.

Had I pages and pages to spare, I would document dozens of examples where government in Scotland has been calibrated primarily to the interests of a first minister who behaves like a president in a system ill-equipped to deal with this concentration of power. It is why virtually everything this government has done in five years has failed – you can’t weld a presidential model onto a parliamentary democracy without consequences. They’ve been dire.

Civil service

Another consequence of this presidential model is that the civil service and its agencies have all gained the clear signal that they will always be protected if they work in the interests of the first minister.

Let’s look at the SQA again – it at no point ever behaved as if it was answerable to Scotland’s democracy. A government agency refusing to talk to a Westminster parliamentary committee would be virtually unthinkable; in Scotland, it’s pretty routine. The first minister will keep every loyalist in their job no matter what, so there is only one incentive.

This is an acute problem at the centre. The ‘independent’ head of the civil service in Scotland thinks nothing of aligning herself with the First Minister in what she calls a ‘war’ with her predecessor which is absolutely and purely political. The civil service has no business being within a country mile of this stuff.

When even one of Sturgeon’s most loyal sidekicks states the bleeding obvious – Evans should resign or be fired – what does Sturgeon do? Extend her contract. Contempt is a currency for this administration.

What Evans and those below her should have been doing was the core business of, you know, providing the government with regular written briefings on the unfolding virus crisis around the world. That is not what it was doing; it seems to have been trying to work out how to provide the least information it could to another parliamentary committee.

Much more is going to come out on this, and again and again the conclusion returns; it is hard to identify where the Sturgeon team ends and the civil service begins. This might seem obscure to some of you, but it’s hard to overestimate how dangerous this is.

I may be critical of many UK institutions – and the civil service no less so – but its scrupulous independence (I’ve seen it in person a number of times) is why endemic governmental corruption isn’t one of the UK’s problems. I’m not sure you can say that in Scotland now.

Checks and balances

The first and most important check on the Executive (the government) ought to be the Legislature (the parliament). But since every SNP politician knows that one act of dissent and their internal career is over (forget constituency support from HQ for their next election), there hasn’t been a single dissenting vote this entire parliament.

And since either the Tories or the Greens (alternating) give them a majority at the drop of a hat, they don’t seem to see parliament as a decision-making body so much as a theatre.

As for the other checks and balances – well, when parliamentary committees can’t get crucial information from the civil service or its agencies, they can’t function. And while there just isn’t space to cover the other ways this administration is degrading other little transparency and accountability measures, I’ll give you just one example.

How many countries in the world made the first act they took when Covid hit to effectively suspend freedom of information laws and float abandoning jury trials and the suspension of elections more than a year in advance? Not Trump. Not Putin. Not Bolsonaro. Sturgeon.

Party

It is I think finally possible to write in public what everyone has been saying in private; SNP HQ is utterly corrupt and has been for years.

This is an entity in which the person in charge of the rules can receive a very serious complaint of sexual abuse, suppress it, be publicly exposed for this – and not only face no consequences but be there corrupting the party’s decision-making processes months later.

Everyone, in my experience, has been saying that SNP HQ is an utter disgrace for five years. I talk at SNP branches a lot, and when I do I am the picture of diplomacy (you don’t go to someone else’s house and criticise the wallpaper). Three years ago, I was asked at one meeting why the SNP’s political campaigns are so incompetently organised.

I gave a diplomatic non-answer. Asked again, I suggested there was a quality deficit in HQ. A respectable-looking older woman immediately got to her feet and shouted “Peter Murrell is a disgrace!”. The room burst into loud and unanimous applause and shouts.

I know a group of business figures in the party were proposing a vote of no confidence in Murrell (based on the fact no Chief Exec could be that bad and keep their job in their sectors). They backed off when they were told (effectively) that Sturgeon/Murrell would burn down the whole house if they tried.

“It’s an indivisible package,” one told me, “unless we are willing to rip the party apart”.

HQ routinely (and remarkably openly) smears internal critics. It rigs things to favour preferred candidates. It simply ignores serious complaints if they’re about ‘the wrong person’. It is toxic and nasty, but people have believed they have no option but to stomach it.

The real truth is that it doesn’t pretend to act for the party as a whole, but only for the leader and a small clique organised around her. It is a stain on Scotland’s democracy.

Opposition

The great majority of these above failures are the direct result of the Sturgeon/Murrell regime and can be traced back directly to their household. But even I can’t blame them for the opposition.

It’s barely worth covering this so obvious to everyone is the state of things but Labour is more hobby than party and the Tories are obsessive and irrelevant. Both are transfixed by the constitution and, frankly, their hatred. They don’t seem to want to recover – go read Hothershall and you’ll get the idea.

Among them there is only one who has asked effective, competent questions on a regular basis. I may have had my differences with Neil Findlay, but our democracy will miss him. So unusual was the competence of his questions that Sturgeon could get away with ‘choking up with emotion’ and refusing to answer.

(This isn’t completely fair, particularly on the Greens who individually have done great work, and others like Adam Tompkins, Iain Gray and Monica Lennon who have had their moments. But this ain’t an opposition.)

Every time Sturgeon fails (which is a lot), they manage to fail worse. What’s a democracy without an opposition?

Media

Is Scotland’s media incompetent and biased or under-resourced and powerless? I swing between emphasising either view on a daily basis. Let’s just say a bit of both – but it’s definitely not working.

It’s hardly worth detailing this, but let me give one case study. Last year, Nicola Sturgeon announced that she intended to make Scotland a ‘world leader’ in 5G. For anyone not technically literate, 5G has a very short transmission distance and so roll-out in sparsely populated and mountainous territory is very difficult.

There are only three players in the technology side: the US, China and Finland. Scotland isn’t at the races, so it can only be roll-out she meant. So what is her plan for overcoming the enormous physically difficulties in making Scotland a ‘leader’?

Just so we’re clear, this claim is as off-the-wall and impossible to support as anything Donald Trump has said. So was she questioned on this? Nope – the newspapers wrote it up and moved on. She wasn’t mocked for weeks like Boris Johnson or Trump (or Corbyn or May or Cameron) would have been.

And earlier in the year, when the UK Government announced the banning of Huawei equipment (delaying roll-out for two years at the UK level), did the Scottish media ask Sturgeon how this would impact on her (non-existent) plans to be world-leading? Nope, they did not.

Scotland is a country in which the first minister can blurt out utterly ridiculous bursts of unsupportable braggadocio with no consequences at all.

This is a minor matter, but it tells the story. Right now, it is my belief that the Scottish Government’s point-blank refusal to put in place the pre-symptomatic randomised test and trace system Common Weal detailed, costed and called for four months ago is going to lead to substantial new lockdowns – if not another national lockdown.

Every day Johnson is held to account for the failures of his test and trace system, and yet I’m dubious Scotland’s is actually better from what I can see. Up here, the first minister says she’s done it, so the journalists are satisfied.

Civic Scotland

Where are you? Where are the academics documenting the decline of democracy in this country? Where are the health or wellbeing charities holding the government to account for its Covid response?

Where is the vibrant and wide-ranging debate about our economic future given the crisis we face? Where was there a proper public debate about what to do about this year’s exams?

The little players (like Common Weal or Living Rent or Friends of the Earth) are carrying much, much more of the civic weight than they should be. This is deeply unhealthy.

Why? Partly the ‘complicity strategy’ started by Tony Blair and loved by everyone since (make charities reliant on you for income and they stop talking and put their hands out). Partly its the desperate lack of funding available in Scotland. And partly it’s because they all know what happens if you’re marked down as a ‘dissident and enemy’ in the Sturgeon/Murrell era.

Should you worry?

This should worry you deeply. This is not abstract. This is a real and present danger to Scotland’s democracy.

But you shouldn’t despair, because while not all of it is temporary, one of the core reasons for all of this is that Sturgeon/Murrell won’t be around forever – perhaps not much longer, by the looks of things – and at this stage almost anything would be better for our democracy.

And there is nothing at all in the above which cannot be fixed – and fixed quickly – by a government actually keen on democracy.

But I beg you; please greatly up your vigilance between now and then, because there is one final element of democracy they haven’t quite managed to degrade yet. The people.

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18 hours ago, Cookie Monster said:

The list:

Economic Growth
  • 4.2 percent growth in the second quarter of 2018.
  • For the first time in more than a decade, growth is projected to exceed 3 percent over the calendar year.

Jobs
  • 4 million new jobs have been created since the election, and more than 3.5 million since Trump took office.
  • More Americans are employed now than ever before in our history.
  • Jobless claims at lowest level in nearly five decades.
  • The economy has achieved the longest positive job-growth streak on record.
  • Job openings are at an all-time high and outnumber job seekers for the first time on record.
  • Unemployment claims at 50 year low
  • African-American, Hispanic, and Asian-American unemployment rates have all recently reached record lows.
    • African-American unemployment hit a record low of 5.9 percent in May 2018.
    • Hispanic unemployment at 4.5 percent.
    • Asian-American unemployment at record low of 2 percent.
  • Women’s unemployment recently at lowest rate in nearly 65 years.
    • Female unemployment dropped to 3.6 percent in May 2018, the lowest since October 1953.
  • Youth unemployment recently reached its lowest level in more than 50 years.
    • July 2018’s youth unemployment rate of 9.2 percent was the lowest since July 1966.
  • Veterans’ unemployment recently hit its lowest level in nearly two decades.
    • July 2018’s veterans’ unemployment rate of 3.0 percent matched the lowest rate since May 2001.
  • Unemployment rate for Americans without a high school diploma recently reached a record low.
  • Rate for disabled Americans recently hit a record low.
  • Blue-collar jobs recently grew at the fastest rate in more than three decades.
  • Poll found that 85 percent of blue-collar workers believe their lives are headed “in the right direction.”
    • 68 percent reported receiving a pay increase in the past year.
  • Last year, job satisfaction among American workers hit its highest level since 2005.
  • Nearly two-thirds of Americans rate now as a good time to find a quality job.
    • Optimism about the availability of good jobs has grown by 25 percent.
  • Added more than 400,000 manufacturing jobs since the election.
    • Manufacturing employment is growing at its fastest pace in more than two decades.
  • 100,000 new jobs supporting the production & transport of oil & natural gas.

American Income
  • Median household income rose to $61,372 in 2017, a post-recession high.
  • Wages up in August by their fastest rate since June 2009.
  • Paychecks rose by 3.3 percent between 2016 and 2017, the most in a decade.
  • Council of Economic Advisers found that real wage compensation has grown by 1.4 percent over the past year.
  • Some 3.9 million Americans off food stamps since the election.
  • Median income for Hispanic-Americans rose by 3.7 percent and surpassed $50,000 for the first time ever in history.
    • Home-ownership among Hispanics is at the highest rate in nearly a decade.
  • Poverty rates for African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans have reached their lowest levels ever recorded.

American Optimism
  • Small business optimism has hit historic highs.
    • NFIB’s small business optimism index broke a 35 year-old record in August.
    • SurveyMonkey/CNBC’s small business confidence survey for Q3 of 2018 matched its all-time high.
  • Manufacturers are more confident than ever.
    • 95 percent of U.S. manufacturers are optimistic about the future, the highest ever.
  • Consumer confidence is at an 18-year high.
  • 12 percent of Americans rate the economy as the most significant problem facing our country, the lowest level on record.
  • Confidence in the economy is near a two-decade high, with 51 percent rating the economy as good or excellent.

American Business
  • Investment is flooding back into the United States due to the tax cuts.
    • Over $450 billion dollars has already poured back into the U.S., including more than $300 billion in the first quarter of 2018.
  • Retail sales have surged. Commerce Department figures from August show that retail sales increased 0.5 percent in July 2018, an increase of 6.4 percent from July 2017.
  • ISM’s index of manufacturing scored its highest reading in 14 years.
  • Worker productivity is the highest it has been in more than three years.
  • Steel and aluminum producers are re-opening.
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and NASDAQ have all notched record highs.
    • Dow hit record highs 70 times in 2017 alone, the most ever recorded in one year.

Deregulation
  • Achieved massive deregulation at a rapid pace, completing 22 deregulatory actions to every one regulatory action during his first year in office.
  • Signed legislation to roll back costly and harmful provisions of Dodd-Frank, providing relief to credit unions, and community and regional banks.
  • Federal agencies achieved more than $8 billion in lifetime net regulatory cost savings.
  • Rolled back Obama’s burdensome Waters of the U.S. rule.
  • Used the Congressional Review Act to repeal regulations more times than in history.

Tax Cuts
  • Biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history by signing the Tax Cuts and Jobs act into law
    • Provided more than $5.5 trillion in gross tax cuts, nearly 60 percent of which will go to families.
    • Increased the exemption for the death tax to help save Family Farms & Small Business.
    • Nearly doubled the standard deduction for individuals and families.
    • Enabled vast majority of American families will be able to file their taxes on a single page by claiming the standard deduction.
    • Doubled the child tax credit to help lessen the financial burden of raising a family.
    • Lowered America’s corporate tax rate from the highest in the developed world to allow American businesses to compete and win.
    • Small businesses can now deduct 20 percent of their business income.
    • Cut dozens of special interest tax breaks and closed loopholes for the wealthy.
  • 9 in 10 American workers are expected see an increase in their paychecks thanks to the tax cuts, according to the Treasury Department.
  • More than 6 million of American workers have received wage increases, bonuses, and increased benefits thanks to tax cuts.
  • Over 100 utility companies have lowered electric, gas, or water rates thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
  • Ernst & Young found 89 percent of companies planned to increase worker compensation thanks to the Trump tax cuts.
  • Established opportunity zones to spur investment in left behind communities.

Worker Development
  • Established a National Council for the American Worker to develop a national strategy for training and retraining America’s workers for high-demand industries.
  • Employers have signed Trump’s “Pledge to America’s Workers,” committing to train or retrain more than 4.2 million workers and students.
  • Signed the first Perkins CTE reauthorization since 2006, authorizing more than $1 billion for states each year to fund vocational and career education programs.
  • Executive order expanding apprenticeship opportunities for students and workers.

Domestic Infrastructure
  • Proposed infrastructure plan would utilize $200 billion in Federal funds to spur at least $1.5 trillion in infrastructure investment across the country.
  • Executive order expediting environmental reviews and approvals for high priority infrastructure projects.
  • Federal agencies have signed the One Federal Decision Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) streamlining the federal permitting process for infrastructure projects.
  • Rural prosperity task force and signed an executive order to help expand broadband access in rural areas.

Health Care
  • Signed an executive order to help minimize the financial burden felt by American households Signed legislation to improve the National Suicide Hotline.
  • Signed the most comprehensive childhood cancer legislation ever into law, which will advance childhood cancer research and improve treatments.
  • Signed Right-to-Try legislation, expanding health care options for terminally ill patients.
  • Enacted changes to the Medicare 340B program, saving seniors an estimated $320 million on drugs in 2018 alone.
  • FDA set a new record for generic drug approvals in 2017, saving consumers nearly $9 billion.
  • Released a blueprint to drive down drug prices for American patients, leading multiple major drug companies to announce they will freeze or reverse price increases.
  • Expanded short-term, limited-duration health plans.
  • Let more employers to form Association Health Plans, enabling more small businesses to join together and affordably provide health insurance to their employees.
  • Cut Obamacare’s burdensome individual mandate penalty.
  • Signed legislation repealing Obamacare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board, also known as the “death panels.”
  • USDA invested more than $1 billion in rural health care in 2017, improving access to health care for 2.5 million people in rural communities across 41 states
  • Proposed Title X rule to help ensure taxpayers do not fund the abortion industry in violation of the law.
  • Reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy to keep foreign aid from supporting the global abortion industry.
  • HHS formed a new division over protecting the rights of conscience and religious freedom.
  • Overturned Obama administration’s midnight regulation prohibiting states from defunding certain abortion facilities.
  • Signed executive order to help ensure that religious organizations are not forced to choose between violating their religious beliefs by complying with Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate or shutting their doors.

Combating Opioids
  • Chaired meeting the 73rd General Session of the United Nations discussing the worldwide drug problem with international leaders.
  • Initiative to Stop Opioid Abuse and Reduce Drug Supply and Demand, introducing new measures to keep dangerous drugs out of our communities.
  • $6 billion in new funding to fight the opioid epidemic.
  • DEA conducted a surge in April 2018 that arrested 28 medical professions and revoked 147 registrations for prescribing too many opioids.
  • Brought the “Prescribed to Death” memorial to President’s Park near the White House, helping raise awareness about the human toll of the opioid crisis.
  • Helped reduce high-dose opioid prescriptions by 16 percent in 2017.
  • Opioid Summit on the administration-wide efforts to combat the opioid crisis.
  • Launched a national public awareness campaign about the dangers of opioid addiction.
  • Created a Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis which recommended a number of pathways to tackle the opioid crisis.
  • Led two National Prescription Drug Take Back Days in 2017 and 2018, collecting a record number of expired and unneeded prescription drugs each time.
  • $485 million targeted grants in FY 2017 to help areas hit hardest by the opioid crisis.
  • Signed INTERDICT Act, strengthening efforts to detect and intercept synthetic opioids before they reach our communities.
  • DOJ secured its first-ever indictments against Chinese fentanyl manufacturers.
  • Joint Criminal Opioid Darknet Enforcement (J-CODE) team, aimed at disrupting online illicit opioid sales.
  • Declared the opioid crisis a Nationwide Public Health Emergency in October 2017.

Law and Order
  • More U.S. Circuit Court judges confirmed in the first year in office than ever.
  • Confirmed more than two dozen U. S. Circuit Court judges.
  • Followed through on the promise to nominate judges to the Supreme Court who will adhere to the Constitution
    • Nominated and confirmed Justice Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
  • Signed an executive order directing the Attorney General to develop a strategy to more effectively prosecute people who commit crimes against law enforcement officers.
  • Launched an evaluation of grant programs to make sure they prioritize the protection and safety of law enforcement officers.
  • Established a task force to reduce crime and restore public safety in communities across Signed an executive order to focus more federal resources on dismantling transnational criminal organizations such as drug cartels.
  • Signed an executive order to focus more federal resources on dismantling transnational criminal organizations such as drug cartels.
  • Violent crime decreased in 2017 according to FBI statistics.
  • $137 million in grants through the COPS Hiring Program to preserve jobs, increase community policing capacities, and support crime prevention efforts.
  • Enhanced and updated the Project Safe Neighborhoods to help reduce violent crime.
  • Signed legislation making it easier to target websites that enable sex trafficking and strengthened penalties for people who promote or facilitate prostitution.
  • Created an interagency task force working around the clock to prosecute traffickers, protect victims, and prevent human trafficking.
  • Conducted Operation Cross Country XI to combat human trafficking, rescuing 84 children and arresting 120 human traffickers.
  • Encouraged federal prosecutors to use the death penalty when possible in the fight against the trafficking of deadly drugs.
  • New rule effectively banning bump stock sales in the United States.

Border Security and Immigration
  • Secured $1.6 billion for border wall construction in the March 2018 omnibus bill.
  • Construction of a 14-mile section of border wall began near San Diego.
  • Worked to protect American communities from the threat posed by the vile MS-13 gang.
    • ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations division arrested 796 MS-13 members and associates in FY 2017, an 83 percent increase from the prior year.
    • Justice worked with partners in Central America to secure criminal charges against more than 4,000 MS-13 members.
    • Border Patrol agents arrested 228 illegal aliens affiliated with MS-13 in FY 2017.
  • Fighting to stop the scourge of illegal drugs at our border.
    • ICE HSI seized more than 980,000 pounds of narcotics in FY 2017, including 2,370 pounds of fentanyl and 6,967 pounds of heroin.
    • ICE HSI dedicated nearly 630,000 investigative hours towards halting the illegal import of fentanyl.
    • ICE HSI made 11,691 narcotics-related arrests in FY 2017.
    • Stop Opioid Abuse and Reduce Drug Supply and Demand introduced new measures to keep dangerous drugs out the United States.
    • Signed the INTERDICT Act into law, enhancing efforts to detect and intercept synthetic opioids.
    • DOJ secured its first-ever indictments against Chinese fentanyl manufacturers.
    • DOJ launched their Joint Criminal Opioid Darknet Enforcement (J-CODE) team, aimed at disrupting online illicit opioid sales.
  • Released an immigration framework that includes the resources required to secure our borders and close legal loopholes, and repeatedly called on Congress to fix our broken immigration laws.
  • Authorized the deployment of the National Guard to help secure the border.
  • Enhanced vetting of individuals entering the U.S. from countries that don’t meet security standards, helping to ensure individuals who pose a threat to our country are identified before they enter.
    • These procedures were upheld in a June 2018 Supreme Court hearing.
  • ICE removed over 226,000 illegal aliens from the United States in 2017.
    • ICE rescued or identified over 500 human trafficking victims and over 900 child exploitation victims in 2017 alone.
  • In 2017, ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) arrested more than 127,000 aliens with criminal convictions or charges, responsible for
    • Over 76,000 with dangerous drug offenses.
    • More than 48,000 with assault offenses.
    • More than 11,000 with weapons offenses.
    • More than 5,000 with sexual assault offenses.
    • More than 2,000 with kidnapping offenses.
    • Over 1,800 with homicide offenses.
  • Created the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) Office in order to support the victims and families affected by illegal alien crime.
  • More than doubled the number of counties participating in the 287(g) program, which allows jails to detain criminal aliens until they are transferred to ICE custody.

Trade
  • Negotiating and renegotiating better trade deals, achieving free, fair, and reciprocal trade for the United States.
    • Agreed to work with the European Union towards zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, and zero subsides.
    • Deal with the European Union to increase U.S. energy exports to Europe.
    • Litigated multiple WTO disputes targeting unfair trade practices and upholding our right to enact fair trade laws.
    • Finalized a revised trade agreement with South Korea, which includes provisions to increase American automobile exports.
    • Negotiated an historic U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement to replace NAFTA.
    • Agreement to begin trade negotiations for a U.S.-Japan trade agreement.
    • Secured $250 billion in new trade and investment deals in China and $12 billion in Vietnam.
    • Established a Trade and Investment Working Group with the United Kingdom, laying the groundwork for post-Brexit trade.
  • Enacted steel and aluminum tariffs to protect our vital steel and aluminum producers and strengthen our national security.
  • Conducted 82 anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations in 2017 alone.
  • Confronting China’s unfair trade practices after years of Washington looking the other way.
    • 25 percent tariff on $50 billion of goods imported from China and later imposed an additional 10% tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods.
    • Conducted an investigation into Chinese forced technology transfers, unfair licensing practices, and intellectual property theft.
    • Imposed safeguard tariffs to protect domestic washing machines and solar products manufacturers hurt by China’s trade policies
  • Withdrew from the job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
  • Secured access to new markets for America’s farmers.
    • Recent deal with Mexico included new improvements enabling food and agriculture to trade more fairly.
    • Recent agreement with the E.U. will reduce barriers and increase trade of American soybeans to Europe.
    • Won a WTO dispute regarding Indonesia’s unfair restriction of U.S. agricultural exports.
    • Defended American Tuna fisherman and packagers before the WTO
    • Opened up Argentina to American pork experts for the first time in a quarter-century
    • American beef exports have returned to china for the first time in more than a decade
  • OK’d up to $12 billion in aid for farmers affected by unfair trade retaliation.

Energy
  • Presidential Memorandum to clear roadblocks to construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
  • Presidential Memorandum declaring that the Dakota Access Pipeline serves the national interest and initiating the process to complete construction.
  • Opened up the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge to energy exploration.
  • Coal exports up over 60 percent in 2017.
  • Rolled back the “stream protection rule” to prevent it from harming America’s coal industry.
  • Cancelled Obama’s anti-coal Clean Power Plan and proposed the Affordable Clean Energy Rule as a replacement.
  • Withdrew from the job-killing Paris climate agreement, which would have cost the U.S. nearly $3 trillion and led to 6.5 million fewer industrial sector jobs by 2040.
  • U.S. oil production has achieved its highest level in American history
  • United States is now the largest crude oil producer in the world.
  • U.S. has become a net natural gas exporter for the first time in six decades.
  • Action to expedite the identification and extraction of critical minerals that are vital to the nation’s security and economic prosperity.
  • Took action to reform National Ambient Air Quality Standards, benefitting American manufacturers.
  • Rescinded Obama’s hydraulic fracturing rule, which was expected to cost the industry $32 million per year.
  • Proposed an expansion of offshore drilling as part of an all-of-the above energy strategy
    • Held a lease sale for offshore oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico in August 2018.
  • Got EU to increase its imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States.
  • Issued permits for the New Burgos Pipeline that will cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

Foreign Policy
  • Moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
  • Withdrew from Iran deal and immediately began the process of re-imposing sanctions that had been lifted or waived.
    • Treasury has issued sanctions targeting Iranian activities and entities, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force
    • Since enacting sanctions, Iran’s crude exports have fallen off, the value of Iran’s currency has plummeted, and international companies have pulled out of the country.
    • All nuclear-related sanctions will be back in full force by early November 2018.
  • Historic summit with North Korean President Kim Jong-Un, bringing beginnings of peace and denuclearization to the Korean Peninsula.
    • The two leaders have exchanged letters and high-level officials from both sides have met resulting in tremendous progress.
    • North Korea has halted nuclear and missile tests.
    • Negotiated the return of the remains of missing-in-action soldiers from the Korean War.
  • Imposed strong sanctions on Venezuelan dictator Nicholas Maduro and his inner circle.
  • Executive order preventing those in the U.S. from carrying out certain transactions with the Venezuelan regime, including prohibiting the purchase of the regime’s debt.
  • Responded to the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime.
    • Rolled out sanctions targeting individuals and entities tied to Syria’s chemical weapons program.
    • Directed strikes in April 2017 against a Syrian airfield used in a chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians.
    • Joined allies in launching airstrikes in April 2018 against targets associated with Syria’s chemical weapons use.
  • New Cuba policy that enhanced compliance with U.S. law and held the Cuban regime accountable for political oppression and human rights abuses.
    • Treasury and State are working to channel economic activity away from the Cuban regime, particularly the military.
  • Changed the rules of engagement, empowering commanders to take the fight to ISIS.
    • ISIS has lost virtually all of its territory, more than half of which has been lost under Trump.
    • ISIS’ self-proclaimed capital city, Raqqah, was liberated in October 2017.
    • All Iraqi territory had been liberated from ISIS.
  • More than a dozen American hostages have been freed from captivity all of the world.
  • Action to combat Russia’s malign activities, including their efforts to undermine the sanctity of United States elections.
    • Expelled dozens of Russian intelligence officers from the United States and ordered the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle, WA.
    • Banned the use of Kaspersky Labs software on government computers, due to the company’s ties to Russian intelligence.
    • Imposed sanctions against five Russian entities and three individuals for enabling Russia’s military and intelligence units to increase Russia’s offensive cyber capabilities.
    • Sanctions against seven Russian oligarchs, and 12 companies they own or control, who profit from Russia’s destabilizing activities.
    • Sanctioned 100 targets in response to Russia’s occupation of Crimea and aggression in Eastern Ukraine.
    • Enhanced support for Ukraine’s Armed Forces to help Ukraine better defend itself.
  • Helped win U.S. bid for the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
  • Helped win U.S.-Mexico-Canada’s united bid for 2026 World Cup.

Defense
  • Executive order keeping the detention facilities at U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay open.
  • $700 billion in military funding for FY 2018 and $716 billion for FY 2019.
  • Largest military pay raise in nearly a decade.
  • Ordered a Nuclear Posture Review to ensure America’s nuclear forces are up to date and serve as a credible deterrent.
  • Released America’s first fully articulated cyber strategy in 15 years.
  • New strategy on national biodefense, which better prepares the nation to defend against biological threats.
  • Administration has announced that it will use whatever means necessary to protect American citizens and servicemen from unjust prosecution by the International Criminal Court.
  • Released an America first National Security Strategy.
  • Put in motion the launch of a Space Force as a new branch of the military and relaunched the National Space Council.
  • Encouraged North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies to increase defense spending to their agree-upon levels.
    • In 2017 alone, there was an increase of more than 4.8 percent in defense spending amongst NATO allies.
    • Every member state has increased defense spending.
    • Eight NATO allies will reach the 2 percent benchmark by the end of 2018 and 15 allies are on trade to do so by 2024.
    • NATO allies spent over $42 billion dollars more on defense since 2016.
  • Executive order to help military spouses find employment as their families deploy domestically and abroad.

Veterans affairs
  • Signed the VA Accountability Act and expanded VA telehealth services, walk-in-clinics, and same-day urgent primary and mental health care.
  • Delivered more appeals decisions – 81,000 – to veterans in a single year than ever before.
  • Strengthened protections for individuals who come forward and identify programs occurring within the VA.
  • Signed legislation that provided $86.5 billion in funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the largest dollar amount in history for the VA.
  • VA MISSION Act, enacting sweeping reform to the VA system that:
    • Consolidated and strengthened VA community care programs.
    • Funding for the Veterans Choice program.
    • Expanded eligibility for the Family Caregivers Program.
    • Gave veterans more access to walk-in care.
    • Strengthened the VA’s ability to recruit and retain quality healthcare professionals.
    • Enabled the VA to modernize its assets and infrastructure.
  • Signed the VA Choice and Quality Employment Act in 2017, which authorized $2.1 billion in addition funds for the Veterans Choice Program.
  • Worked to shift veterans’ electronic medical records to the same system used by the Department of Defense, a decades old priority.
  • Issued an executive order requiring the Secretaries of Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs to submit a joint plan to provide veterans access to access to mental health treatment as they transition to civilian life.
  • Increased transparency and accountability at the VA by launching an online “Access and Quality Tool,” providing veterans with access to wait time and quality of care data.
  • Signed legislation to modernize the claims and appeal process at the VA.
  • Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act, providing enhanced educational benefits to veterans, service members, and their family members.
    • Lifted a 15-year limit on veterans’ access to their educational benefits.
  • Created a White House VA Hotline to help veterans and principally staffed it with veterans and direct family members of veterans.
  • VA employees are being held accountable for poor performance, with more than 4,000 VA employees removed, demoted, and suspended so far.
  • Signed the Veterans Treatment Court Improvement Act, increasing the number of VA employees that can assist justice-involved veterans.

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2 minutes ago, theknickerwetter said:

The list:

Economic Growth
  • 4.2 percent growth in the second quarter of 2018.
  • For the first time in more than a decade, growth is projected to exceed 3 percent over the calendar year.
blah blah blah

Two things.

1) Did you personally attempt to fact check ANY of this nonsense?

2) Do you know your internet usage can be and is routinely tracked and can be tied to you personally whether you use Tor or a VPN?

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2 hours ago, antrin said:

You're perfectly right that - in the wider world - it's PH Officials and experts that need to be convinced.

But I wasn't responding under some illusion that you'd posted those links on this venue because you'd thought this would be the best place such people might find it.

There was silly me, thinking that you posted it in here, so that us dreary, ordinary punters might learn something! 

 

Ah well...  :rolleyes:

 

You can learn something 

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1 hour ago, antrin said:

I did.

I  learnt that the links in your post were about meta analyses, not scientific proof that masks work.

Amd worse than that, the very first key finding on page 1 states quite specifically that they need to be properly constructed and properly fitted. So we're no further ahead in our knowledge.

In other words, insaintee is yet another pseudo-expert on face masks who apparently doesn't bother reading the articles he posts.

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On 8/7/2020 at 9:31 PM, Sue Denim said:

SAGE estimates 81,500 people to die as a result of lockdown measures @bazil85

Personally, I think this is on the low side. Totally dwarfs any possible number of lives saved (which is probably zero)

03EAE7B7-3817-4C17-9C46-62F88F42C72C.jpeg

At least you are softening on your wrong lockdown view. 

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On 8/7/2020 at 6:18 PM, antrin said:

 

 

 

That "More than zero people were saved due to lockdown in the UK, that is fact." may be debateable.  And may be a likely outcome.

However your first post above - that I point out is merely opinion - had nothing to with that. Why drag it in unless to muddy your waters?

Your petty obfuscation does you no favours.

Because it is a discussion forum, points being made progress as the forum does. The point is fact though, his aim was to lower it down to a very pedantic level and he succeeded. 

 

Edited by bazil85

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On 8/7/2020 at 3:35 PM, Slarti said:



No, we aren't in agreement. You say it's a fact, I say it's probable, IMO, that specific people have been saved but possibly at the cost of others dying.

If the odds it didn't can't be calculated, how have you managed to work out the odds that it did? It is a dichotomy, it either has or it hasn't, if you don't know the odds for one, you can't know the odds for the other. If you know the odds for one, then you know the odds for the other.

Exactly how did you determine the odds can't be calculated anyway? Another unsubstantiated claim?

You can disregard what you want, it won't make you any less wrong.

Dice! emoji38.png

Of course it boils down to that because you made the claim that it was a fact. All I want to know is how you determined it was a fact. Because you say so?

No, it's your opinion.

Again, no, it's only your opinion. Maybe you should wait for the validation study before you claim anything as fact. Even if a validation study did prove you were right, it does not mean that it is a fact just now. How do you not understand that. If we go to your dice ( emoji38.png ), if you said "it will be a six, fact" and it came up a six, that does not mean that your claim was a fact, it just means you guessed correctly.

It's not pedantic, it's reality. You are now admitting that you are claiming this is true without an assessment being done. Thanks for admitting it's only your opinion.

 

Again you double down on your pedantic argument, I have said I have no interest in getting into a debate on the semantics of the word "fact" I won't change my view on this because lockdown has saved people's lives.

You got what you wanted out of your engagement which is an argument and I am willing to continue that with you but regarding your desperation to debate if it's a point of fact or otherwise, I won't be going into that with you. My view will remain the below. If we again take the dice example, if the event is in the past, I don't need to see a validation study to know it'll be fact that at least one six was rolled lol. That's where you can't grasp you are being pedantic.  

Lockdown has saved more than zero lives in the UK, fact. No amount of moon howling will get me to move on that view. 

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