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Latinas Are Pushing a Political Revolution in South Texas—to the Right

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Monica De La Cruz, Mayra Flores, and Adrienne Peña Garza, all from Hidalgo County, hope to flip congressional seats across the region.

Monica De La Cruz on the campaign trail.

Adrienne Peña Garza remembers the insults at least as vividly as her triumphs. In 2018, Peña succeeded in her campaign to lead the Hidalgo County Republican Party, based in McAllen, becoming the first Hispanic woman to sit as chairwoman. As someone proud to call herself raza (a word Mexicans use to describe themselves as a race), a woman of color, and a Latina, the win meant something special to Peña: it wasn’t just for her, but for South Texans who looked like her. That feeling of warm pride, however, soon clashed with the caustic burn of scorn. When she began leading meetings at the HCRP office, two women swung a sledgehammer outside, smashing open a coconut. The symbolism wasn’t subtle. With the shell cracked, Peña could see the brown on the outside and the white on the inside.

In 2018, that disdain from fellow Mexican Americans was not unusual for Republicans in Hidalgo County, especially with then-president Donald Trump in the Oval Office. In response to the indignities, Peña formed deep connections with the other Latinas who came in the HCRP office doors. In particular, Peña remembers when she met Monica De La Cruz and Mayra Flores. De La Cruz, a local insurance agent, started attending meetings the same year that Peña was elected head of the local party, and eventually volunteered as a precinct chair. In 2019, Flores, a respiratory nurse whose husband is a Border Patrol officer, began coming in for events supporting immigration agents during the government worker furlough. Peña recalls how the two immediately brought fresh energy into the office, as if someone had turned on music in a room that had been quiet. “I just thought, ‘Wow. You’ve got that something,’” Pena says. “‘And we need your help.’”

Through 2019 and 2020, the women worked to increase Republican turnout in South Texas, with Flores running the HCRP’s Spanish-language outreach. For the most part, they toiled outside of the spotlight. Even when De La Cruz announced a bid to try to unseat two-term Democratic congressman Vicente Gonzalez, national Republicans—and even the statewide GOP—paid little attention to her campaign. South Texas was still a blue firewall, a place where it seemed Republicans had no chance of winning. Some counties there had not elected a Republican in more than one hundred years, and in 2016 Trump hadn’t mustered even 30 percent of the vote in Hidalgo County, where Gonzalez’s district was anchored. Most of the time, the local news painted conservatives such as Peña as outspoken but hopelessly outnumbered in deep blue South Texas, like horseflies biting cattle down in the Rio Grande.

Then everything changed. The political world of deep South Texas was rocked in November of 2020 when Trump smashed expectations in all the counties along the Rio Grande, transforming once-clear political boundaries in Texas into disputed territory—and leading Democrats around the country to question whether they were losing Hispanic voters. Republican politicians from Governor Greg Abbott to U.S. House minority leader Kevin McCarthy made pilgrimages to South Texas in the months after the election. Money and resources have followed: hundreds of thousands of dollars have poured into midterm races for House seats, and the Republican National Committee opened new Hispanic community centers in Laredo, McAllen, and San Antonio. On the local level, Republican organizations like “Project Red Texas” have paid the filing fees for a bevy of local candidates across South Texas.

Overnight, local underdog political leaders, such as De La Cruz, Peña, and Flores, became conservative celebrities. The attention has both stunned and emboldened the Hidalgo County women. After the election, Peña had her name in publications as high-profile as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. (When a photo of her ran on the cover of this magazine, she and her family bought over a hundred copies.) This year, after Peña launched her reelection campaign for HCRP chair, she received a video endorsement from Donald Trump Jr.

Flores, meanwhile, saw her star rise most vividly on social media. On both Instagram and Facebook (where she was already popular before the election), she gained tens of thousands of followers from all over the country. She declared a bid for Congress shortly after the 2020 election. “#SomosConservadores,” she captioned a post last February announcing a bid for Congress to represent the Thirty-fourth Congressional District, which spans the western RGV and parts of the Gulf Coast, and extends as far north as  San Antonio. After her announcement, Thomas Homan—the ICE director turned Fox News talking head—gave his endorsement, as did Texas congressional representatives Beth Van Duyne and Pat Fallon.

De La Cruz also saw her celebrity skyrocket. In 2020, when she ran against Gonzalez in Texas’s Fifteenth Congressional District, which stretches like an exclamation mark from the Rio Grande Valley up north to Seguin, the incumbent had expected to coast to victory, as he had in 2018 when he won almost 60 percent of the vote. De La Cruz nearly took him down, coming within three points. Then, following Trump’s lead, she refused to accept the loss, baselessly alleging fraud. When she made it clear she would run again in 2022, McCarthy, the minority leader, declared her a GOP “Young Gun,” one of the upstart congressional candidates whom the party will throw money behind in this election cycle; endorsements from Senator Ted Cruz and Houston congressman Dan Crenshaw soon followed. The Fifteenth, fresh off a round of redistricting to make it more favorable for the GOP, is considered the only truly competitive congressional seat in Texas, and De La Cruz has enjoyed immense support from all levels of her party.

Republican victory this November is far from a given; South Texas has yet to elect a single Republican member of Congress. If De La Cruz and Flores both win their races, however, they wouldn’t just be the first in their party to be elected in the Fifteenth and Thirty-fourth districts, respectively—they would also be the first women elected to Congress from anywhere in deep South Texas, the borderlands from Laredo down into the Rio Grande Valley. Meanwhile, if Peña wins reelection to chair the Hidalgo County GOP in March, she’ll be one of four Latina GOP chairwomen in the RGV’s five counties.

This marks a remarkable shift: for generations, South Texas border politics have been dominated by men—and often their male heirs. Politically powerful families, some with towns named after their ancestors, have frequently passed down political offices like heirlooms. Other onetime political newcomers, such as Representative Henry Cuellar (the child of migrant workers, and the incumbent in Texas’s Twenty-eighth, anchored in Laredo), have held office for decades, forming powerful grips on local politics.

That female candidates—Latinas—are now the most poised to change South Texas politics is not a complete coincidence. Trump improved his approval rating among Hispanic women in 2020 significantly more than in many other demographic groups. And besides their conservative ideologies and expansive political platforms, candidates like De La Cruz and Flores offer a vivid sense of something new. Many voters, even those who will vote blue this year, are tired of the unwieldy Democratic Party program in South Texas, which, as with any party machine that spends decades in power, has become convoluted, rigid, and prone to insider politics.

But perhaps the clearest answer to why women like De La Cruz, Flores, and Peña find themselves at the forefront of conservative politics in South Texas is simple: they’re the ones who were there, doing the work, organizing and striving before anyone was paying attention.

At her office in Alamo, Monica De La Cruz greets me with the industrial-strength warmth of a consummate politician. During our late January interview, an ear-to-ear grin that spreads up to her eyes never fades. It’s a face set with the sort of confidence I’ve known dancers to practice in the mirror, but De La Cruz might not need to feign happiness. Things seem to be going her way. She’s got hundreds of thousands of dollars in the war chest, and none of her eight primary opponents in the Fifteenth can boast her eighteen endorsements from current members of Congress. If she makes it to the general election, she’ll no longer need to face an incumbent: after Republican gerrymandering redrew boundaries, the incumbent, Vicente Gonzalez, chose to run to the east in the Thirty-fourth, a district the Republican-led Legislature packed with Democratic voters, where Flores is running. Meanwhile, the Fifteenth—already mockingly known as “the fajita strip” for its farcically long shape—got sharpened down like a pencil, as Republicans shaved out counties that favored Democrats, turning a district that favored Biden by 2 points into one that would have favored Trump by 3. Local Democrats, forced to scramble at the last minute to find a replacement for Gonzalez, have not coalesced behind any one candidate.

Despite De La Cruz’s newfound political stardom, her campaign still has some of the trappings of her underdog 2020 run—what she calls her “true grassroots” first effort. De La Cruz’s office is a nondescript building off U.S. 83, where she works as an insurance agent. (Incidentally, Apple Maps will navigate a person to a nearby used car dealership if one searches for her office on the app.) But today De La Cruz speaks like someone who already has an office on Capitol Hill. Her answers acrobatically return, without fail, to bullet points from her stump speech. When I ask why she first decided to run, she brings the question back to border control: she says the thousands of migrants crossing the border in 2019 convinced her of a need for change. When I ask her how, if she wins, she intends to represent disparate constituencies in her large district, she brings the question back to border control: “The number one issue from the south to north is border security.” When I ask what she plans on doing when she first gets to Washington, she once again brings the question back to border control: “The first thing I’ll do if elected to Congress is to meet with our Border Patrol leaders and be their voice.”

Unsurprisingly, De La Cruz’s first campaign commercial, released in January, also focuses on the border: it was filmed largely in front of the wall in Hidalgo County. In the spot, De La Cruz emphasizes her identity as an American: “I’m Monica De La Cruz and I love America,” she says. She then holds up a photo of her grandmother. “As a mom, I teach my kids to follow the rules, just like my grandma did, when she legally immigrated from Mexico. But Joe Biden abandoned us, and our border, transforming our country with drugs, gangs, and violence.” As she speaks, images of asylum seekers crossing the border flash on screen with what look like stock images of cocaine bundles and tattooed gang members. 

Focusing on immigration is an interesting pitch to make in TX-15, where more than a quarter of residents are immigrants, and many voters have families with mixed status—a parent, a tío, a cousin who is undocumented. I ask De La Cruz if she worries about alienating would-be voters who think her rhetoric—like Trump’s messaging—portrays border crossers as dangerous criminals or, at its worst, denigrates Mexican Americans as an entire ethnic group. De La Cruz’s answers are not conciliatory. “If the people in South Texas were frustrated by President Trump’s narrative of the wall and of people coming illegally, then this district would not have swung eighteen points in his favor,” she said.

The data undercuts that argument a bit. Besides the fact that Trump and De La Cruz both lost in 2020, De La Cruz’s support largely came from far from the border. While she handily won more northern—and much more Anglo—counties like Guadalupe (roughly halfway between San Antonio and Austin), her vote total plummeted closer to the border, and especially in majority Hispanic districts. In Hidalgo County, De La Cruz flopped: she didn’t manage even 40 percent of the vote.

Another fact that makes De La Cruz’s emphasis on the border peculiar is that the border is not the primary issue for most voters in South Texas. Polling from Cambio Texas, a progressive advocacy organization that has headquarters based not far from De La Cruz’s office, in Pharr, found that among South Texas voters who supported Trump, the most important issues, by far, were the economy and health care. Of the 512 voters surveyed, only 14 percent said border security or immigration was their primary concern. (The border wall itself can also be a wedge issue among conservatives. Even among voters who want to see enhanced border security and who support the Border Patrol, the idea of a physical barrier—an ugly scar along the river with a dolorous environmental impact—can give some pause. In recent years, I’ve spoken with Republicans in Zapata and Starr counties who want to see a wall on much of the border—just not in their backyard. They’re worried it could cause flooding.)

De La Cruz’s emphasis on the wall, however, might not be entirely about courting voters in TX-15: instead, it’s about securing national endorsements, as well as fund-raising from Republicans around the country. According to FEC filings, more than 40 percent of De La Cruz’s campaign contributions have come from outside of Texas, with maximum contributions reached by donors including a hedge fund CEO in New York City and a ski resort owner in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. De La Cruz offers a vision made to play nationally among Trump voters: a Latina who is an American first; a Mexican American whose family came legally; and a border resident who wants to see Trump’s wall completed.

Indeed, although she says it’s exciting to see Latinas carrying the GOP banner in South Texas, De La Cruz stresses that her candidacy isn’t about ethnicity; it’s only about America. “The fact that women leaders like Adrienne, like Mayra, are willing to sacrifice their careers, the time with their family, in order to be leaders in this movement and awakening is just a testament of this country,” De La Cruz says. “And the fact that truly, anyone, everybody has an opportunity—whether you’re male or female, whether you’re Hispanic or non-Hispanic—if you’re willing to sacrifice and work hard for the opportunity, the road to the American dream is there.” (For De La Cruz, part of that sacrifice has been her privacy. In the midst of a bitter divorce, publications as varied as the Washington Post and People have broadcast the sordid details of her clashes with her estranged husband.)

Where once De La Cruz bonded with Peña and Flores over feeling ignored by the broader party and disrespected by local Democrats, today there’s a sense of excitement. De La Cruz speaks as if she’s already won her race, and, in a way, she has won something: she’s being taken seriously, dead seriously, by both national Republicans and national Democrats.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CZelyc9syK0/

Like tens of thousands of others, I first encountered Mayra Flores through her social media. On Instagram and Facebook, she’s cracked the code of the conservative mass media: a mix of political memes, earnest prayers, and constant, seething resentment. On Facebook, she’s called for a militarized response against immigration across the border (“Send Troops To Our Southern Border Not Europe,” read a recent post). On Instagram, she talks about Democrats “destroying America.” She’s also made at least a subtle appeal to followers of QAnon-style conspiracy theories, captioning some photos with “#Q” and “#QAnon,” as well as with the conspiracy movement’s slogan (“Where we go one, we go all”).

I was surprised, then, by the Mayra Flores whom I met for coffee at He Brews Life Cafe, an evangelical coffee shop in McAllen. Flores spoke with clear compassion for undocumented immigrants and families arriving at the border, she seemed eager to represent both Republicans and Democrats in her district and work across the aisle in Congress, and she explicitly condemned the QAnon web of conspiracy theories and its supporters. She spoke with an optimism that belies the odds stacked against her: even if she clears the primary, the Fifteenth, as currently constructed, went for Biden, and Gonzalez has over $2 million to spend compared with the $180,000 Flores has raised.

Flores does not read like your average Republican candidate for Congress. She was born in Burgos, Tamaulipas, Mexico’s easternmost border state with Texas, where she still has relatives who have been waiting for years for visas as the region becomes more dangerous. At six years old, she immigrated with her family to the Rio Grande Valley, where her parents had come to work the fields. In her adolescence, Flores worked alongside them, picking cotton in Memphis, Texas, to raise money for clothes and school supplies. Growing up, Flores saw firsthand the discrimination that the undocumented face in this country. When she traveled with her family to pick onions in Georgia one year, she saw managers denigrate and underpay some of the workers. When she asked her father why they were being treated that way, he answered, “Porque no tiene papeles”(“Because they don’t have papers”).

Flores’s intense pride in her mexicanidad (her Mexican-ness) can seem at odds with her willingness to parrot Trumpian messaging that portrays Mexico as a country overwhelmed with violence, sending criminals and drugs across the border. She admits that the issue of immigration is difficult for her. She struggles to find the rhetorical nuance that captures the unique perspective she has, as someone who is both Mexican and American and as an immigrant married to a Border Patrol agent. Her idiosyncratic position means that she has felt out of place politically in the Republican Party at times. She remembers a GOP operative once telling her he couldn’t trust her or other Hispanic candidates in Congress because “Y’all always vote Democrat.” She also says she’s had Democrats tell her to go back to her own country and call her a slur for border-crosser.

But she says she’s been a conservative all her life, and describes volunteering and meeting other Hispanic Republicans as the culmination of a long awakening. Despite her father’s Democratic politics, Flores says she was raised with “strong conservative values,” among them a fierce work ethic and undying bootstrap-ism. The most animating political issue for her is abortion. “How can you say you have South Texas values if you’re not pro-life? South Texas is pro-life,” she says. (Much as De La Cruz pivots reflexively back to the border, Flores repeats that second sentence many times over the almost two hours we speak.) Flores says that once, while she was marching in an anti-abortion rally in a MAGA hat, a man accosted her in Spanish, calling her “vendida,” the word for sellout, traitor. “Eres hipócrito,” she shot back at him. She continued, in Spanish: “You’re here marching for the lives of the innocent, but in November you’re going to vote pro-abortion? Shame on you. You shouldn’t be here.”

Flores can comprehend why tensions run high, especially in an immigrant community. When I ask if she worries that her fearmongering on the border might demonize others like her, she’s quick to agree that one must be careful with one’s language. “Absolutely I understand—and that’s when I say that there are good people coming. They want to come here for the American dream and work hard,” she said.

When pushed, it becomes clear how Flores supports aggressive border enforcement while still caring about those crossing the border: Though her campaign’s immigration messaging focuses on protecting Americans, she believes a tightly controlled border is also in the best interests of would-be immigrants. “There are good people wanting to come here,” she says. “But I don’t want the good people to go through that journey; I don’t want them to sacrifice that much. So how do we help them and guide them to do it the right way?” She also believes a stricter enforcement of immigration laws domestically is necessary to prevent undocumented immigrants from being exploited for their labor. It’s a restrictionist talking point already popular among politicians (including those in the Biden administration): that deterrence—making the border impossible to cross—is actually compassionate, because it discourages people from making the dangerous journey northward.

The theory does not often dwell on how many migrants coming north are also leaving a place where it’s impossible to stay. When I ask Flores what should be done about the those already here who are hoping for legal status, or those arriving on the border desperate, she again invokes her family waiting for visas in Mexico. “The people already in line, we should focus on them first,” she says. When I ask again what is to be done with the others not in that line, she says, “We absolutely need bipartisan immigration reform.”

Flores’s contradictions and complexities are a form of indigestion, as she tries to metabolize her own lived experience with the orthodoxies of conservatives in the Trump era. Nowhere is the strain more apparent than in her social media presence: her organic political beliefs and bold perspective on what Hispanic conservatism can look like has earned her a dedicated following. But she’s also consumed and regurgitated all the key takes that have gone viral in conservative media spaces; she believes the election was stolen from Trump. (In our interviews she said she condemned the January 6 insurrectionists. But on the day of the violent attempted takeover of the Capitol, she posted a photo on Instagram of what appeared to be crowd on the DC streets, with the words “PROUD AMERICAN” in bold over it.) She’s strongly in favor of beefing up voter ID laws. And while the memes slamming Democrats are often hilarious, they add up to a clear point: “owning the libs” is, for Flores, a legitimate political priority.

What’s behind the rise of Latinas in GOP politics in the valley? There’s a unique politics brewing among South Texas conservatives. Candidates speak in the same way as progressives on issues of identity, using the language of “representation,” but repurposed for a conservative audience. In interviews, Peña often brings up the fact that she’s the first Hispanic woman to chair the Hidalgo Republicans. And Flores gets solemn when she talks about how she feels about running for Congress as a Mexican-born Latina. “When elected in November, I will be the first Mexican American [born in Mexico] in the Republican party,” she says. (That’s not entirely true: New Mexico Republican politician Octaviano Larrazolo, the first-ever Hispanic member of the Senate, was born in Chihuahua in 1859; but Flores would be the first since Larrazolo left office in 1929.) When it comes to why Latinas are leading a political charge from the right, Flores attributes it in part to the fact that our communities often look to our matriarchs for moral guidance.

For the national Republican party, the value of identity is simpler and more strategic: putting a Latina like De La Cruz in Congress could send a clear message that the party is serious about shaking its long-term image as a white men’s club; that the tent is getting bigger. And in Texas, where Hispanics are on the precipice of becoming the largest ethnic group, Republicans’ ability to attract Hispanic voters is a matter of political survival. Candidates like De La Cruz and Flores know that and are capitalizing on that newfound power. After being ignored for decades, they have a voice in Texas conservatism. “Everywhere I go, I tell the party, you need to start investing in Hispanic community now,” Flores says. “I tell people it’s beyond Mayra Flores, it’s beyond Monica De La Cruz—if we don’t start investing in the Hispanic community to vote Republican now, we will lose the state in ten years.”

This article first appeared in Texas Monthly

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Corruption COVID Politics Reprints from others.

Capitol Police Issue Statement About Truck Convoy Arriving in DC Around Time of Biden’s First State of the Union

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The Capitol Police have issued a statement saying that they are upping security around DC ahead of truck convoys expected to arrive in the city around the time of Joe Biden’s first State of the Union address.

The State of the Union is scheduled to take place on March 1.

The department said that they are coordinating with other agencies, including the Secret Service and National Guard.

“Law enforcement agencies across the National Capital Region are aware of plans for a series of truck convoys arriving in Washington, DC around the time of the State of the Union. As with any demonstration, the USCP will facilitate lawful First Amendment activity,” Capitol Police said in a statement on Friday.

“The USCP is closely coordinating with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, including DC’s Metropolitan Police Department, the United States Park Police, the United States Secret Service and other allied agencies to include the DC National Guard,” the statement continued.

The department “has received reports of truck drivers potentially planning to block roads in major metropolitan cities in the United States in protest of, among other things, vaccine mandates. The convoy will potentially begin in California early as mid-February, potentially impacting the Super Bowl scheduled for 13 February and the State of the Union address scheduled for 1 March,” according to a memo obtained by The Hill on Feb. 9.

According to a recent report on Newsmax, the protest against COVID-19 mandates is scheduled to begin before the end of the month — but the exact start date was not provided.

The organizers claim that they have 1,000 truckers ready to participate “right out the gate,” but that it will likely grow as it moves from California to DC.

“I think you’re going to see it grow as we move across the country,” organizer Brian Brase said. “Initially, we’ve projected potentially a little over a thousand trucks right out the gate to start.”

Canada aggressively cracked down on the Freedom Convoy in Ottawa this week, after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked Canada’s Emergencies Act.

On Thursday, Ottawa Police arrested two of the main organizers. According to the Freedom Convoy Twitter account, Tamara Lich and Chris Barber have been charged with “counseling to commit mischief.” Barber is facing an additional charge of “counseling to commit obstruction.”

The following day, Friday, the department moved in with full-scale violent mass arrests.

BREAKING: Trudeau’s goons move in on #FreedomConvoy. Mass arrests in Ottawa. Fascism on full display. Sickening.
pic.twitter.com/as1OyrxPlm

— Kyle Becker 🚚🚜🐎 (@kylenabecker) February 18, 2022

This article first appeared on The Gateway Pundit

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Corruption COVID Politics Science

Natural immunity gets another boost from two new U.S. studies

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CDC and Johns Hopkins studies show strength and duration of natural immunity protection

Two newly released studies show the power of natural immunity following recovery from COVID-19 sickness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says “previous SARS-CoV-2 infection also confers protection against severe outcomes in the event of reinfection.” Johns Hopkins found that natural immunity developed from prior variants reduced the risk of infection with the Omicron variant.

Natural immunity was six times stronger during the Delta wave than vaccination, according to one news report about the CDC study. The report published Jan. 19 analyzed COVID outcome data from New York and California, which make up about one in six of the nation’s total COVID deaths. “Whereas French and Israeli population-based studies noted waning protection from previous infection, this was not apparent in the results from this or other large U.K. and U.S. studies,” the CDC said.

Dr. Benjamin Silk of the CDC told the media last week, “Before the Delta variant, COVID-19 vaccination resulted in better protection against a subsequent infection than surviving a previous infection.”

“When looking at the summer and the fall of 2021, when Delta became the dominant in this country, however, surviving a previous infection now provided greater protection against subsequent infection than vaccination,” he added.

Omicron has become the focus of the pandemic as Washington state and the nation enter the third year of battling multiple variants of the SARS-CoV2 coronavirus. Until this past week, Omicron accounted for nearly all the new cases detected in the state. Early reports seemed to indicate it ignores both vaccine immunity and natural immunity.

Johns Hopkins Dr. Marty Makary says this is a pandemic of the non-immune. A new Johns Hopkins study shows natural immunity following recovery from COVID sickness is stronger and lasts longer than vaccine immunity. Tweet by Marty Makary
Johns Hopkins Dr. Marty Makary says this is a pandemic of the non-immune. A new Johns Hopkins study shows natural immunity following recovery from COVID sickness is stronger and lasts longer than vaccine immunity. Tweet by Marty Makary

Clark County Public Health reports 72,239 total cases since the pandemic began. This means all those who have recovered now have natural immunity and protection. The two new natural immunity studies should boost public discussion regarding vaccine mandates by Gov. Jay Inslee.

This impacts citizen discussions about children in schools with or without vaccines. It also impacts the mini initiative petition the Clark County Council will consider. Should there be mandates when natural immunity provides protection as good if not better than vaccines alone?

The new CDC report was concluded before Omicron arrived on the scene. “After two years of accruing data, the superiority of natural immunity over vaccinated immunity is clear,” writes Dr. Marty Makary. He is a surgeon and public policy researcher at Johns Hopkins University.

Last week, the CDC released data which demonstrated natural immunity was 2.8 times as effective in preventing hospitalization and 3.3 to 4.7 times as effective in preventing COVID infection compared with vaccination, according to Makary.

One of the arguments that public health officials have used to discount natural immunity, is they claim they don’t know how long it lasts. Makary noted the U.S. is one of the few countries that ignores natural immunity.  The NIH has $42 billion in resources, but has refused to study it.

“You could do the study with about 100 people,” Makary told Brian Kilmeade. “You just invite people who were infected in New York two years ago and test their blood.”

Dr. Makary and his colleagues at Johns Hopkins therefore did their own study. “We found that among 295 unvaccinated people who previously had COVID, antibodies were present in 99.9 percent of them up to nearly two years after infection. We also found that natural immunity developed from prior variants reduced the risk of infection with the Omicron variant,” he reports.

“We found that immunity was strong, nearly two years out from the infection,”he said. “So it is now settled science. Natural immunity is durable and effective for as long as the infection has been around.”

Omicron is likely to go through the entire U.S. population. Makary noted that Dr. Fauci said everybody will get it. “If Omicron is nature’s vaccine for those who have not had access to or been eligible for vaccine, what are we doing immunizing those already immune?” A booster shot offers only a modest and temporary benefit.

The World Health Organization reported natural immunity following recovery from COVID-19 sickness is more robust and longer lasting than vaccine immunity. The WHO study showed cellular immunity elicited by natural infection also targets other viral proteins, which last across multiple variants rather than targeting just the spike protein. Graphic courtesy of World Health Organization

The World Health Organization reported natural immunity 
following recovery from COVID-19 sickness is more robust and 
longer lasting than vaccine immunity. The WHO study showed 
cellular immunity elicited by natural infection also targets 
other viral proteins, which last across multiple variants 
rather than targeting just the spike protein. 
Graphic courtesy of World Health Organization
Ali Mokdad, an epidemiologist at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, said he believes about half of the U.S. population will be infected with Omicron during the next three months, with most cases being asymptomatic.

The CDC found COVID-19 rates among the vaccinated with no previous infection were 6.2 times lower in California and 4.5 times lower in New York than among the unvaccinated with no previous infection.

However, among the unvaccinated with a previous infection, the COVID-19 rate was 29 times lower in California and 14.7 times lower in New York.

The individuals most protected against infection were those who had previously had COVID-19 and were also vaccinated. Their infection rate was 32.5 times lower in California and 19.8 times lower in New York.

The CDC study and the Johns Hopkins study confirm what more than 100 other studies on natural immunity have found, Makary emphasized: “The immune system works,” he said. The largest of these studies, from Israel, found that natural immunity was 27 times as effective as vaccinated immunity in preventing symptomatic illness.

Last September, Heidi Wetzler highlighted doctors from the St. Elizabeth Healthcare System in Ohio submitted a compelling letter to their administration logically and completely outlining their concerns with vaccine mandates. Their very first point states that “Natural immunity is at least equal to and likely superior to vaccine immunity, yet this has not been a part of the discussion for unclear reasons. A majority of healthcare providers in our system are declining the vaccine due to prior infection and already having sufficient immunity to COVID-19.”

Wetzler shared those who had SARS-CoV-1 in 2002-2003 were still found to be immune 17 years later, and those who survived the influenza pandemic of 1918 were still immune to the H1N1 outbreak in 2009-2010 a stunning 92 years later.

Researchers followed more than 52,000 Cleveland Clinic employees for five months in 2021. More than 1,300 of those employees already had a documented COVID infection and did not get vaccinated.

The study released last June, found none of them were re-infected during the five months they were monitored. They concluded those with laboratory-confirmed symptomatic COVID infection are unlikely to benefit from vaccination, and vaccines can be safely prioritized to those who have not been infected before.

The orange line corresponds to people who’ve been previously infected but not vaccinated; the yellow line to those who’ve been previously infected and vaccinated; and the green line to those who’ve been vaccinated but not previously infected.

The orange line corresponds to people who’ve been previously 
infected but not vaccinated; the yellow line to those who’ve 
been previously infected and vaccinated; and the green line to 
those who’ve been vaccinated but not previously infected. The 
y-axis gives the percentage reduction in the number of 
infections, compared to those who haven’t been vaccinated or 
previously infected. For example, a value of 90% means there 
would be only 10 infections for every 100 in the comparison 
group. The x-axis gives the number of days since the relevant 
event. 
Graphic courtesy of Danish Study — Statens Serum Institute

A Danish study published in December confirms that natural immunity protects better against infection than the vaccines. It shows vaccine-induced immunity wanes rapidly, beginning a few weeks after vaccination. At the five-month mark, protection is well below 50 percent. Natural immunity, by contrast, is robust: a full year after infection, protection is still above 70 percent.

The study shows hybrid immunity – conferred by the combination of vaccination and previous infection – is slightly better than natural immunity. However, the difference is small compared to that between natural and vaccine-induced immunity.

“While those who’ve already had Covid should be perfectly free to get vaccinated, there’s no obvious need for them to do so,” said Noah Carl of The Daily Sceptic. “The tricky part may be getting this message through to politicians.”

A May 2021 statement from the World Health Organization made the following points.

  • Within 4 weeks following infection, 90-99 percent of individuals infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus develop detectable neutralizing antibodies.
  • The strength and duration of the immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 are not completely understood and currently available data suggests that it varies by age and the severity of symptoms. Available scientific data suggests that in most people immune responses remain robust and protective against reinfection for at least 6-8 months after infection (the longest follow up with strong scientific evidence is currently approximately 8 months). (Emphasis added)
  • Some variant SARS-CoV-2 viruses with key changes in the spike protein have a reduced susceptibility to neutralization by antibodies in the blood. While neutralizing antibodies mainly target the spike protein, cellular immunity elicited by natural infection also target other viral proteins, which tend to be more conserved across variants than the spike protein. (Emphasis added)
  • The ability of emerging virus variants (variants of interest and variants of concern) to evade immune responses is under investigation by researchers around the world.

“Public-health officials have a lot of explaining to do. They used the wrong starting hypothesis, ignored contrary preliminary data, and dug in as more evidence emerged that called their position into question,” Makary writes in his column.

“Many clinicians who talk to other physicians nationwide have long observed that we don’t see reinfected patients end up on a ventilator or die from Covid, with rare exceptions who almost always have immune disorders.”

He was asked if there was a variation in the strength of the immunity in the Johns Hopkins study. According to Makary, “99 percent of these subjects we studied had antibody levels that were almost as effective and consistent as they had in the earliest time of their recovery,” he said.

Essentially 100 percent of new infections now are Omicron, he noted. The data shows it is less dangerous than influenza, according to Makary.

A 3.8 percent increase in protection

Kilmeade asked if you were vaccinated, and then you had COVID or you got the virus and then got vaccinated, does that double your immunity?

“It increases it by 3.8 percent,” Makary responded. “So hybrid immunity is more effective. But remember, the vaccine gives you almost a sugar high of antibodies that will wear off in terms of its protection against getting the infection. Your protection against hospitalization and severe disease is still solid with vaccinated or natural immunity.”

“We’re really not seeing new vaccinations at this point,” he said. Makary believes people are so hardened by what they see as excessive government policies, they’re probably not going to get vaccinated. Chances are, they have natural immunity.

He also mentioned that “no healthy child has ever died of COVID that we know of.”

In South Africa, where officials first sounded the alarm about Omicron, the government in December eased protocols. They are betting that previous encounters with the virus have given the population enough immunity to prevent significant levels of severe illness. The Omicron wave there subsided quickly with modest hospitalizations. Scientists think one reason is that so many people — close to 80 percent — had previously been infected by earlier variants.

CATO

Last fall the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an emergency temporary standard (ETS) requiring businesses with 100 or more employees to enforce a vaccination‐​or‐​testing regime. That has since been overruled by the Supreme Court..

The CATO Institute weighed in, including the following.

Universal vaccine mandates are irrational in ignoring naturally acquired immunity from infection and recovery, which has come to be referred to as “natural immunity” in public discussion. This single‐​minded focus on vaccination as the exclusive means to acquiring immunity is largely novel. 

Contrary to conventional belief, states typically do not have “vaccine” requirements for children to attend school or any other purpose; they require evidence of immunity to certain viruses, whether through serological testing that evidences the presence of relevant protective antibodies or evidence of prior history “diagnosed or verified by a health care provider.” 

Virtually all countries in the Western world that impose some form of vaccine passport or mandate recognize natural immunity to Covid as qualifying for at least six months post‐​recovery.

If OSHA had reviewed the medical and scientific literature regarding the relative protective efficacy of natural immunity compared to vaccination, it is unlikely that the agency would be successful in establishing a factual basis for forced vaccination of Covid‐​recovered individuals. Given the trivial — if any — benefit to either the individual or the public from compelled vaccination of Covid‐​recovered individuals, that evidence of elevated adverse effects requires an especially high standard of proof by regulators to overcome.

Fighting for those terminated

Makary also spoke about those who have been terminated over refusal to get vaccinated. “By firing staff with natural immunity, employers got rid of those least likely to infect others,” he said. “It’s time to reinstate those employees with an apology.”

He writes in The High Cost of Disparaging Natural Immunity to Covid that “Public-health officials ruined many lives by insisting that workers with natural immunity to Covid-19 be fired if they weren’t fully vaccinated.”

“It’s time to reinstate American workers who were fired under the vaccine mandate, for a number of reasons,” he told Kilmeade. “Number one, it was unfair. Number two, we have therapeutics now that really mean no one should be dying of COVID. And number three, it turns out, many of them had natural immunity.”

“The risk of somebody who has natural immunity getting hospitalized is 3 per 10,000,” he said. “That’s identical to the risk of somebody with hybrid immunity, that is a vaccine and natural immunity. So getting the additional vaccination (booster) did nothing to change the numbers of hospitalization. That’s the honest data.”

“When employers fired workers with natural immunity, they got rid of the workers least likely to spread the infection,” he said. “That’s the great irony. The data are now in. It’s clear.”

Makary noted a disconnect in numbers being reported by public health officials. A California study of Omicron cases found only one death among over 52,000 cases. Yet the state is reporting much higher numbers of COVID deaths.

Reported COVID-19 deaths in California have begun to rise rather quickly during the Omicron wave of the pandemic, yet remain far below peak levels reached a year ago. Graphic courtesy San Jose Mercury News

Reported COVID-19 deaths in California have begun to rise 
rather quickly during the Omicron wave of the pandemic, yet 
remain far below peak levels reached a year ago. 
Graphic courtesy San Jose Mercury News

Termination Stupidity

Makary mentioned COVID-19 case numbers showing a steep decline for the past two weeks. In some parts of the country the virus is still peaking and hospitals are going to be strained. The hospitals are not necessarily strained from the influx of patients alone, he noted. “We normally have a massive influx of patients every winter, from a number of respiratory pathogens,” he said. “Sometimes it’s a bad flu season.”

“The difference is this time, we’ve got a massive staffing shortage,” Makary said. “One in five workers in health care have left. If you look at what happened at Washington State, they fired 55 workers from this hospital system called Multicare. They were so short staffed, they told people who tested positive who were working, even if you have COVID come back into work. Even if you have symptoms, we are that short staffed. That’s the problem with the staffing crisis that people don’t know about.”

According to an internal memo dated Jan. 6, MultiCare hospitals in the Puget Sound area moved into “crisis levels of staffing.” The impetus for the move was the rise in hospital visits, though not all due to COVID.

Consequently, the hospitals modified their return-to-work process, ordering staff “to work even if they are experiencing mild symptoms but are improving.” But a MultiCare staffer claimed that unless a staffer has a fever, “they want us coming in.” COVID-positive staffers are not required to disclose their status to patients or coworkers.

Makary believes we’ve got to reinstate all these workers. He noted that 50 to 60 percent of all truck drivers are not vaccinated. We have got to get the country moving, including the supply chain he said.

“People don’t just die of viral replication,” he said. “They die of hopelessness, poverty, and all kinds of substance abuse and mental problems. We’ve been blowing that data off. Those soldiers who were dishonorably discharged need to immediately be reinstated with their rank and back compensation, including restoring that period of lost pension pay.”

Omicron behaving like a different virus

Makary spoke to the reality of fighting Omicron. “It’s really not COVID; it’s acting and behaving like a different virus.” He pointed out there’s only been one death in 52,000 Omicron cases in the Kaiser Southern California study, which is lower than influenza.

Yet other news reports indicate Omicron deaths are increasing at a faster pace than during the Delta wave of COVID-19 last summer. As of Thursday, California was averaging 157 new COVID deaths a day. That’s more than last summer but less than a year ago.

Over the weekend, one case of natural immunity has been making headlines. A North Carolina man who said a hospital refused to carry out a kidney transplant because he’s unvaccinated against COVID-19. He is willing to “die free” rather than comply with their vaccine requirement. He is in need of a kidney transplant due to it operating at 4 percent, requiring him to get dialysis three times a week.

Chad Carswell said he’s had the coronavirus twice before and believes getting the vaccine should be a personal choice, not a requirement. Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem said both the donor and the recipient must be vaccinated.

“The reason it is recommended is to provide protection for the patient. Transplant patients are at high risk for severe illness if they don’t have preexisting immunity prior to being transplanted,” the hospital said

Carswell has preexisting immunity. The CDC and Johns Hopkins studies show his immunity is likely more robust than if he’d been vaccinated three or more months ago.

As Noah Carl noted in his review of the Danish study, there’s no obvious need for people who have recovered from COVID to get vaccinated.

“The tricky part may be getting this message through to politicians.”

See also: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/newsroom/news-releases/in-covid-19-vaccinated-people-those-with-prior-infection-likely-to-have-more-antibodies

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Categories
Corruption Crime How sick is this? Politics

Where’s Trudeau? Western Canada: Violent Leftists with Axes Attack Canadian Gas Pipeline Company — Try to Torch Vehicle with Workers Inside, Cause $MILLIONS in Damages

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Canadian company Coastal Gaslink is building a 670 kilometres (416 miles) pipeline project across British Columbia to safely deliver natural gas across the Canadian province.  Natural gas is one of the world’s cleanest and safest energy sources. It’s used for many purposes – to heat our homes and operate household appliances, to make crop fertilizer, fabrics, plastics and other everyday products.

The project will help heat Canadian homes in the long dark winters.

But pro-China leftists hate the idea and want the pipeline shut down.

On Thursday night, after Prime Minister Trudeau declared the Emergency Act earlier in the week, at least 20 violent far-left terrorists broke into the Coastal Gaslink company and caused millions of dollars in damage to costly equipment.

The destruction was incredible.

Here’s your violent protest, Justin.

The Vancouver Sun reported:

Violence has erupted at a Coastal GasLink pipeline work site in Northern B.C., leaving workers shaken and millions of dollars in damage.

Very early Thursday, just after midnight, Coastal GasLink security called RCMP for help, reporting it was under attack by about 20 people, some wielding axes.

RCMP Chief Supt. Warren Brown, commander for the north district, called the attack a “calculated and organized violent attack that left its victims shaken and a multi-million dollar path of destruction.”

Coastal GasLink said in a statement the attackers surrounded some of its workers in a “highly planned” and “unprovoked” assault near the Morice River drill pad site off the forest service road.

“In one of the most concerning acts, an attempt was made to set a vehicle on fire while workers were inside,” said the company in a statement. “The attackers also wielded axes, swinging them at vehicles and through a truck’s window. Flare guns were also fired at workers.”

 

This post appeared first on The Gateway Pundit.

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Categories
How funny is this? Opinion Politics Reprints from others.

Jonah Goldberg Joins CNN!

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The Never Trumpers are still needed on TV because they’ll cheer the harassment of Trump supporters in the run-up to the 2024 election.

Only a week after I wrote an article about the final extinction of the Never Trumpers (“The Cruise Is Over”) a remarkable thing happened: Jonah Goldberg announced that he was joining CNN. Finally, he was embracing his new role as the laughingstock of the Right. Think about: Jonah gets to do zoom calls now with Jeffrey Toobin! (I’m sure those two will be fast friends.) He gets to lecture the public using his imaginary doctorate as the “Asness Chair of Applied Asininity” along with fellow academic Don Lemon! This was the height of perfection in terms of comedic timing, and I want to personally thank Jonah for humiliating himself so publicly.

 

The thing you have to understand about Jonah is that he’s no longer even the most popular pundit in his own family. How do I know this? Because I noticed a number of links attached to some of my recent Substack articles coming from Lucianne Goldberg’s website. That’s right: Jonah’s mother prefers to read Emerald Robinson. Can you really blame her?

Jonah has fallen very far and very fast in the world and hubris has been the lube that greased those skids all the way. A prominent Washington think tank expert once told me a remarkable anecdote about Goldberg and Stephen Hayes back in 2016. While Trump was busy beating Hillary Clinton, these two magazine editors were busy sending out dinner invitations to other conservatives to inform them that any pro-Trump journalists who came to town would be targeted and drummed out of the business. Their self-appointed mission, in other words, was to police conservatives. Goldberg was still at the National Review, and Hayes was running the Weekly Standard — and both of them believed that they controlled conservative journalism in America.

Now they’re both a year or two away from starring in Jenny Craig diet commercials.

Shameless people do shameless things. Stephen Hayes was just picked up to be a “conservative analyst” at NBC News — Chuck Todd even put out a statement about it. Any serious conservative intellectual who got a compliment from Chuck Todd would ordinarily go into hiding — but Hayes has signed up to be the court jester for NBC because he doesn’t really have any core beliefs. He claimed that he couldn’t stand Tucker Carlson’s view anymore but joining a network that promotes anti-white bigots like Joy Reid and Russia Hoax diehards like Rachel Maddow is just fine with him. Does that sound conservative to you?

Trump broke these people. There is simply nothing that they won’t do (or say) in order to be viewed as his opposition. That’s why Bill Kristol is now a fundraiser for Democrats. That’s why Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger are working with Nancy Pelosi That’s the most important thing that you must understand. The Never Trumpers are still on TV because they provide the intellectual justification for jailing Trump supporters on flimsy pretexts in the run-up to the 2024 election. Does this sound like hyperbole to you? The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) just released this bulletin about “misinformation” on February 7th:

While the conditions underlying the heightened threat landscape have not significantly changed over the last year, the convergence of the following factors has increased the volatility, unpredictability, and complexity of the threat environment: (1) the proliferation of false or misleading narratives, which sow discord or undermine public trust in U.S. government institutions; (2) continued calls for violence directed at U.S. critical infrastructure; soft targets and mass gatherings; faith-based institutions, such as churches, synagogues, and mosques; institutions of higher education; racial and religious minorities; government facilities and personnel, including law enforcement and the military; the media; and perceived ideological opponents; and (3) calls by foreign terrorist organizations for attacks on the United States based on recent events.

To the Biden Administration lackeys at DHS, the term “domestic terrorist” is simply code for Trump supporters. The White House has put out a “National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism” that is probably the most Orwellian document ever produced by the U.S. federal government. It’s also completely unconstitutional — but, these days, who cares about that in Washington? The creeping authoritarianism of the Biden regime continues to grow because the GOP establishment also wants Trump supporters muzzled. How else are Mitch McConnell and Mitt Romney going to get their party back now that GOP voters have deserted them?

Just watch as Goldberg and Hayes (and Kristol and Boot and all the rest of the Never Trumpers) cheer on the Biden regime’s harassment of Republican voters in the coming years. We are watching the United States fall into tyranny — and they’re going to support it every step of the way. How’s that for a prediction of the ultimate fate of the author of Liberal Fascism? He’s going to end up denouncing everything he once defended. He’s going to end up as Jennifer Rubin with a beard. It reminds me of a delicious quote: “If you can’t be a good example, then you’ll just have to be a horrible warning.”

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Categories
Corruption Economy Elections Politics

‘The brand is so toxic’: Democrats fear extinction in rural Pennsylvania and across the country

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“The hatred for Democrats is just unbelievable. I feel like we’re on the run.”

  • By Steve Peoples/The Associated Press

(Smethport) —  Some Democrats here in rural Pennsylvania are afraid to tell you they’re Democrats.

The party’s brand is so toxic in the small towns 100 miles northeast of Pittsburgh that some liberals have removed bumper stickers and yard signs and refuse to acknowledge their party affiliation publicly. These Democrats are used to being outnumbered by the local Republican majority, but as their numbers continue to dwindle, the few that remain are feeling increasingly isolated and unwelcome in their own communities.

“The hatred for Democrats is just unbelievable,” said Tim Holohan, an accountant based in rural McKean County who recently encouraged his daughter to get rid of a pro-Joe Biden bumper sticker. “I feel like we’re on the run.”

The climate across rural Pennsylvania is symptomatic of a larger political problem threatening the Democratic Party ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. Beyond losing votes in virtually every election since 2008, Democrats have been effectively ostracized from many parts of rural America, leaving party leaders with few options to reverse a cultural trend that is redefining the nation’s political landscape.

The shifting climate helped Republicans limit Democratic gains in 2020 — the GOP actually gained House seats despite former President Donald Trump’s loss — and a year later, surging Republican rural support enabled Republicans to claim the Virginia governorship. A small but vocal group of party officials now fears the same trends will undermine Democratic candidates in Ohio, Wisconsin, Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, states that will help decide the Senate majority in November, and the White House two years after that.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party continues to devote the vast majority of its energy, messaging and resources to voters in more populated urban and suburban areas.

In Pennsylvania, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a leading candidate in the state’s high-stakes Senate contest, insists his party can no longer afford to ignore rural voters. The former small-town mayor drove his black Dodge Ram pickup truck across five rural counties last weekend to face voters who almost never see statewide Democratic candidates.

Fetterman, wearing his signature hooded sweatshirt and gym shorts despite the freezing temperatures, described himself as a champion for “the forgotten, the marginalized and the left-behind places” as he addressed roughly 100 people inside a bingo hall in McKean County, a place Trump carried with 72% of the vote in 2020.

“These are the kind of places that matter just as much as any other place,” Fetterman said as the crowd cheered.

The Democratic Party’s struggle in rural America has been building for years. And it’s getting worse.

Barack Obama won 875 counties nationwide in his overwhelming 2008 victory. Twelve years later, Biden won only 527. The vast majority of those losses — 260 of the 348 counties — took place in rural counties, according to data compiled by The Associated Press.

The worst losses were concentrated in the Midwest: 21 rural counties in Michigan flipped from Obama in 2008 to Trump in 2020; Democrats lost 28 rural counties in Minnesota, 32 in Wisconsin and a whopping 45 in Iowa. At the same time, recent Republican voter registration gains in swing states like Florida and North Carolina were fueled disproportionately by rural voters.

Biden overcame rural losses to beat Trump in 2020 because of gains in more populous Democratic counties. Perhaps because of his victory, some Democratic officials worry that party leaders do not appreciate the severity of the threat.

Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee, who recently announced he would not seek reelection to Congress this fall, warns that the party is facing extinction in small-town America.

“It’s hard to sink lower than we are right now. You’re almost automatically a pariah in rural areas if you have a D after your name,” Cooper told The Associated Press.

Democratic candidate for the Pennsylvania U.S.senate seat in the 2022 primary election, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, center, talks with people during a campaign stop at the Mechanistic Brewery, in Clarion, Pa., Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022.

Keith Srakocic / AP Photo

Democratic candidate for the Pennsylvania U.S.senate seat in the 2022 primary election, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, center, talks with people during a campaign stop at the Mechanistic Brewery, in Clarion, Pa., Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022.

Even if Democrats continue to eke out victories by piling up urban and suburban votes, former Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota fears her party will have “unstable majorities” if they cannot stop the bleeding in rural areas.

“Democrats have the House, they have the Senate, the presidency, but it’s an unstable majority. By that, I mean, the narrowest kind, making it difficult to advance ideas and build coalitions,” said Heitkamp, who now heads the One Country Project, which is focused on engaging rural voters.

She criticized her party’s go-to strategy for reaching rural voters: focusing on farmers and vowing to improve high-speed internet. At the same time, she said Democrats are hurting themselves by not speaking out more forcefully against far-left positions that alienate rural voters, such as the push to “defund the police.”

While only a handful of Democrats in Congress support stripping such money from police departments, for example, conservative media popular in rural communities — particularly Fox News — amplifies such positions.

“We’re letting Republicans use the language of the far left to define the Democratic Party, and we can’t do that,” Heitkamp said. “The trend lines in rural America are very, very bad. … Now, the brand is so toxic that people who are Democrats, the ones left, aren’t fighting for the party.”

To help win back rural voters, the Democratic National Committee has tapped Kylie Oversen, a former North Dakota state legislator, to work with rural organizers and state party rural caucuses as the chair of the national committee’s rural council. The DNC also says it’s sharing resources with people on the ground in rural areas to help improve training, recruiting and organizing.

So far, at least, those resources are not making life any easier for Democrats in northwestern Pennsylvania.

At one of Fetterman’s weekend stops in rural Clarion, a group of voters said they’ve been effectively ostracized by their community — and even family members, in some cases — for being Democrats. One woman brings her political signs inside at night so they aren’t vandalized or stolen.

Eugenia Barboza, 22, talks about being a college student and politics while living in a small town, Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022. in Clarion, Pa.

Keith Srakocic / AP Photo

Eugenia Barboza, 22, talks about being a college student and politics while living in a small town, Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022. in Clarion, Pa. The Democratic Party’s brand is so toxic in some parts of rural America that liberals are removing bumper stickers and refusing to acknowledge their party affiliation publicly.

“You have to be careful around here,” said Barbara Speer, 68, a retired sixth grade teacher.

Nearby, Michelle’s Cafe on Clarion’s main street is one of the few gathering points for local Democrats. A sign on the door proclaims support for Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ rights and other progressive priorities.

But the cafe owner, 33-year-old Kaitlyn Nevel, isn’t comfortable sharing her political affiliation when asked.

“I would rather not say, just because it’s a small town,” she said.

One patron, 22-year-old college student Eugenia Barboza, said the cafe is one of the few places in town she feels safe as a Latina immigrant. Just down the road, she said, a caravan of Trump supporters met up to drive to the deadly protests in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021.

Barboza said she’s grateful that Democrats like Fetterman are willing to come to rural areas, but she isn’t hopeful that it’ll change much.

“It would take a lot more than just him,” she said. “It would take years and years and years.”


Well gee, they brought it on themselves, didn’t they?

 

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Categories
Just my own thoughts Uncategorized

“Gig-Speed WiFi” ? HA! False advertising.

Hits: 23

For the past few months, Comcast — the major internet provider in my area — has been advertising “Gig-speed” WiFi connectivity.

They claim you can run multiple wireless devices at the same time without interfering or slowing things down.

Well, I have the necessary equipment, and I’m paying for it. But am I getting what I’m paying for?

When I test the ETHERNET speeds — using PC Magazine’s Speed tester https://pcm-intl.speedtestcustom.com/ — at all times of the day and night I can’t get above 650 MEG/s. And that is on Comcast’s own server located 100 miles away. Of the other three choices offered to test, the closest one to me (~15 miles) couldn’t even crack 500 Mb/sec!

So, if I can’t get “Gig-speed” over the cable, how can they claim I can get it over a wireless connection?

How they do it is with the old “your results may vary” trick. In this case it’s worded thusly: “Speed not guaranteed.”

Now, I can understand some throughput speed degradation during busy times, but ALL the time?

What’s interesting is that the UP load speeds for all tests remain remarkable similar, no matter which connection/provider I was testing.

Verdict: FALSE ADVERTISING.

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Categories
Biden Pandemic Child Abuse Corruption COVID Drugs Politics

FDA Official Says US Government Plans to Push Annual COVID-19 Shots

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In this still image from undercover video footage, Ryan Cole, an executive officer at the Food and Drug Administration, speaks about vaccines. (Courtesy of Project Veritas)

By Zachary Stieber for The Epoch Times February 17, 2022

An executive officer at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said in a newly released video that President Joe Biden’s administration plans to push annual COVID-19 vaccine shots.

Christopher Cole, executive officer of the medical countermeasures initiative at the FDA, made the comments to the journalism group Project Veritas.

“Biden wants to inoculate as many people as possible,” Cole told an undercover reporter with the group. “You’ll have to get an annual shot. I mean, it hasn’t been formally announced yet because they don’t want to rile everyone up,” he said.

Right now, all Americans 5 and older are advised to get a two-dose primary regimen of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines. All Americans 12 or older are also advised to get at least one booster dose five months after their second shot.

Cole said that drug, food, and vaccine companies “pay us hundreds of millions of dollars a year to hire and keep the reviewers to approve their products.”

He also said that annual shots would become “a recurring fountain of revenue” for the vaccine makers, referring to them as Big Pharma.

“It might not be that much initially, but it’ll be recurring—if they can get every person requiring an annual vaccine, that is a recurring return of money going into their company,” he added.

Cole didn’t respond to requests for comment, including an email, a LinkedIn message, and a voicemail at his office.

An FDA spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an email, “The person purportedly in the video does not work on vaccine matters and does not represent the views of the FDA.” The spokesperson didn’t respond to a followup question.

Cole later told Project Veritas that he is a manager in an office of the FDA that does not work on vaccines but that does help “oversee the approval of the COVID vaccines for emergency approval.”

Cole said his comments about having to get a COVID-19 vaccine annually was a comparison to how many Americans get a flu shot every year.

He also confirmed that he believes the FDA will ultimately grant emergency authorization for at least one vaccine for toddlers—the FDA delayed its decision on that front on Feb. 11—and that he is not in communication with the president, but “from what he’s said, he probably wants to inoculate more people than not.”

Cole said he was on a date when he made the remarks.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment and White House press secretary Jen Psaki didn’t address the matter during a briefing on Wednesday.

Biden and his administration have pushed virtually every American to get vaccinated, asserting its the best protection against COVID-19. They’ve also downplayed natural immunity, or protection enjoyed by people who recover from COVID-19, drawing criticism from some experts.

Dr. Robert Malone, who helped create the technology the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are built on, described the Project Veritas video as a “smoking gun.”

“What we have is an agency that has been completely distorted by the huge amounts of capital that await all their employees once they leave their agency,” he said on Steve Bannon’s show. “They have a strong incentive to behave in these ways, to do whatever’s necessary to comport with the interests of Big Pharma, and now you’ve got a smoking gun, thanks to Project Veritas.”

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Categories
Opinion Politics Uncategorized

Another inner city mayor upset with white progressive reporters

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The far left just can’t win with inner city black mayors. They ask softball questions, praise race baiting, and just do some good old fashion ass kissing. But still get yelled at. Let me explain. MSM is mostly white. Male and Female. White folks who think that they know what’s best for Blacks. So now Black Inner city mayors are upset when on occasion those white reporters do their job.

NY mayor Adams said this.  “I’m a Black man that’s the mayor but my story is being interpreted by people who don’t look like me. We got to be honest about that. How many Blacks are in the editorial boards? How many Blacks determine how these stories are being written?”

A Black Woman who doesn’t buy his crying.

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Categories
Corruption Economy Politics

‘We Will Hold the Line’: Freedom Convoy Organizers Say They’re Not Deterred by Emergencies Act

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OTTAWA—Freedom Convoy organizers say they will continue to protest on Parliament Hill despite the federal government’s declaration of a state of emergency.

“We are not afraid. In fact, every time the government decides to further suspend our civil liberties, our resolve strengthens and the importance of our mission becomes clearer,” organizer Tamara Lich said on Feb. 14 in anticipation of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoking the Emergencies Act over the protests demanding an end to COVID-19 mandates.

“We will remain peaceful, but planted on Parliament Hill until the mandates are decisively ended. We recognize that there is a democratic process within which change occurs. We have never stepped outside of that process, nor do we intend to.”

Trudeau is the first prime minister to use the Emergencies Act. The act replaces the War Measures Act, which was last used by Trudeau’s father, then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau, in 1970 during the October Crisis when Quebec separatists kidnapped and killed Quebec cabinet minister Pierre Laporte.

The act gives the state additional powers to deal with the protests and blockades, such as providing legal tools to cut funding to protesters, as well as freezing the corporate accounts of companies whose trucks are used in any blockades and removing their insurance.

The province of Ontario and the city of Ottawa have also declared states of emergency over the protest.

Epoch Times Photo
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to reporters about the ongoing protest in Ottawa and blockades at various Canada-U.S. borders, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Feb. 11, 2022. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

The protest was initiated by truck drivers opposed to COVID-19 vaccination mandates for cross-border travel. As convoys of truckers made their to Ottawa, many supporters joined the movement, which turned into a large-scale protest against all COVID-19 mandates and restrictions. Many protesters who converged into Ottawa on Jan. 29 say they intend to stay in the capital until COVID-19 mandates are lifted.

Separately, protest convoys set up blockades at border crossings in Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, and British Columbia. The blockade at the Ambassador Bridge connecting Windsor to Detroit, which accounts for hundreds of millions of dollars in trade between Canada and the United States, was cleared over the past weekend. The protest at the Coutts border crossing in Alberta ended on Feb. 14, as did the protest at the Pacific Highway Border Crossing in Surrey, B.C.

“The Emergencies Act will be used to strengthen and support law enforcement agencies at all levels across the country. This is about keeping Canadians safe, protecting people’s jobs, and restoring confidence in our institutions,” Trudeau said.

“The police will be given more tools to restore order in places where public assemblies can constitute illegal and dangerous activities such as blockades and occupations as seen in Ottawa, Ambassador Bridge, and elsewhere.”

Lich said Canadians “should be surprised” that such “an extreme measure” is being used against peaceful protesters.

“We have countless vulnerable people in our crowd, including children, the elderly, and the disabled, who cannot be met with force by a genuine liberal democracy. The right to peaceful protest is sacrosanct to our nation. If that principle is abandoned, the government will reveal itself as a true tyranny and it will lose all of its credibility,” she said.

Epoch Times Photo
Children participate in the Freedom Convoy protest against COVID-19 mandates and restrictions in Ottawa on Feb. 9, 2022. (Jonathan Ren/The Epoch Times)

Lich said she realizes some people are opposed to the protests, but noted that a democratic society “will always have non-trivial disagreements and righteous dissidents.”

“There are many reasons for us opposing the mandates,” she said. “Some of us have been mistreated by our government, including many of our indigenous communities, who have personally experienced medical malpractice. Some of us simply want bodily autonomy and oppose the mandates on principled grounds. No matter our reasons and opinions, it is how the government responds to its citizens that determines the fate of the country.”

Addressing the prime minister, Lich said, “No matter what you do, we will hold the line.”

“There are no threats that will frighten us.”

 

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Any threat especially against law enforcement or politicians will get you banned.