Keeping It Clean

by baldilocks

The place in which I live at present is the first one in my entire life where I have no on-site access to a washer and a dryer. Even when I lived in homeless housing, there were laundry facilities. (Bad part: you had to keep a close eye on your clothes; I lost a beloved pair of jeans to thieves during my blessedly short stint.)

As a result and beginning in 2015, I have perfected the fine art of handwashing my clothes. When I moved here, I had almost no money for weeks afterward, but I had soap, water and the need for clean clothes. So, I adapted and overcame.

Later on, I bought a small scrub bin and whenever I had a little extra money, I’d head over to the laundromat, but that has become a rarer occasion for three reasons: 1) I almost never have any extra money, 2) I discover that my clothes are cleaner when I handwash them, and 3) I have been grossed out more than once by the detergent and fabric softener containers on the machines.

 The reason I’m bringing it up is because various municipalities – including Los Angeles – deem laundromats as essential facilities which must be kept open and I don’t dispute that. What I find ironic, however is this: laundromats seem like a good place for the spread of icky things like the coronavirus.

All I’m saying is that those of you who don’t have machines at home might consider hand-washing your own clothes. Tip: use borax and white vinegar for odor issues. Vinegar also gets rid of mold and mildew – though I can’t find any evidence that has any effect on viruses — and it won’t bleach out colors.

And you don’t have to get near any strangers who are giving you the side-eye in return.

Hand-washing clothes takes time and some extra work, but time is something we all have a little be more of, so there’s that.

By the way, a year or so ago, one of my fans bought me the following. Comes in handy.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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It’s okay to blame the Chinese government

Memo
To: Journalists
Re: China and Covid-19

Here are some suggestions about news coverage going forward:

The pandemic started in China because of inadequate sanitary conditions and a lack of law enforcement.

China’s government covered up the virus as it leaped across the world. If you are going to use Chernobyl as a simile, it’s China’s Chernobyl, not that of the United States.

China silenced doctors and dissidents who tried to publicize news of the virus.

Italy and Iran have high numbers of infections and deaths because both countries created strong relationships with China. The Black Plague started on the old Silk Road; the Wuhan virus started on the new Silk Road.

China has launched a massive disinformation campaign, including calling racist the use of the Wuhan virus. That hasn’t stopped DaTimes’ Paul Krugman from calling it the “Trump virus.”

China claimed it bought time for the rest of the world. No, it didn’t. It misled the world.

China expelled journalists from DaTimes, DaPost, and the Wall Street Journal. It was barely a blip on the radar screen because you were frightened China might do the same to your news organization.

The World Health Organization refused for months to declare a pandemic and instead thanked China for “making us safer.” The WHO has refused to allow Taiwan membership, due undoubtedly to Beijing’s influence over the WHO’s purse strings.

Here are some suggestions on what you should report on:

It is only since the outbreak of the pandemic that Americans have learned that China is the primary supplier of U.S. medicines. Eighty percent of America’s “active pharmaceutical ingredients” come from abroad, primarily from China (and India); 45% of the penicillin used in the country is Chinese made; and nearly 100% of the ibuprofen.

America’s broader economic dependence on China needs to be reduced. Materials such as rare earths, 80% of which come from China, should be produced at home when possible, while the U.S. military needs to limit its exposure to Chinese goods for everything from transistors to tire rubber.

Washington must ensure that China does not capture the global semiconductor chip-making industry, which is a priority for Beijing. To surrender a vital part of the digital economy would put America in a position of permanent dependence on China.

It’s time to stop pandering to China!

CNN Letter to Sean Davis (with apologies to Abe Lincoln & Horace Greeley)

There are many who seem confused by the MSM’s behavior toward China, Russia Iran and even towards the efforts to arrest the spread of the Corona / Wuhan Virus in the US. This behavior has drawn harsh responses from conservatives and confusion to those who believe the media operate in the pubic interest. For those who might be confused this letter might explain their actions:

CNN offices,
Atlanta, March 22, 2020.

Sean Davis The Federalist:
Dear Sir.

We have just read your tweet of the 21st. addressed to ourselves through that medium & previous statements through the Federalist. If there be in it any statements, or assumptions of fact, which we may know to be erroneous, We and other mainstream media do not, now and here, controvert them. If there be in it any inferences which we may believe to be falsely drawn, We do not now and here, argue against them. If there be perceptable in it an impatient and dictatorial tone, We waive it in deference to a fellow member of the media although as you are on the right you don’t really deserve such deference.

As to the policy We “seem to be pursuing” as you say, we have not meant to leave any one in doubt.

We would save the Union from Donald Trump. We would save it the shortest way under the Constitution or outside of it. The sooner the national authority of our allies in the Deep state in general and the Democrat party in particular, can be restored; the nearer the Union will be “the Union as it was.” before those horrible days of the internet, Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge in the days before he decided to join our noble cause.

If there be those who would not save the Union from Donald Trump, unless they could at the same time attack Communist China or Putin Iran and save the nation from the spread of the Corona Virus , We do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy Communist China, Putin or even Iran, We do not agree with them.

Our paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union from Donald Trump, and is not either to save or to destroy Communist China, Putin Iran or even the Corona Virus. If we could save the Union from Donald Trump without helping Communist China, Russia, Iran or even the spread of the Corona virus we would do it, and if we could save the Union from Donald Trump by directly helping Communist China, Russia, Iran and the spread of the Corona Virus we would do it; and if we could save the Union from Donald Trump, by helping Communist China, Russia, Iran and the spread of the corona virus in some cases and hindering Communist China, Russia, Iran and the spread of the Corona Virus in others we would also do that.

What we write, broadcast and report about Communist China, Russia, Iran and the Corona Virus,we do because we believe it helps to save the Union from Donald Trump; and what we forbear, we forbear because we do not believe it would help to save the Union from Donald Trump.

We shall do less to help efforts to fight the Corona Virus in the US whenever we shall believe what we are doing hurts the cause of defeating Donald Trump in November, and we shall do more to help efforts to fight the Corona Virus whenever we shall believe doing more will help the cause of defeating Donald Trump in November. We shall try to correct errors when shown to be also errors in our efforts in obtaining that goal of Trump destruction; and we shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be in aid of that effort to destroy Donald Trump.

We have here stated our purpose, shared by other members of the media on TV, online and in print according to our view of the official duty of the media to destroy conservatism in general and Donald Trump in particular; and we intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men every where could be free of Donald Trump in particular and conservatism in general.

Yours,
CNN.

If you wish to read a slightly modified version of this letter which was sent by some fellow named Abe Lincoln to a newspaperman by the name of Horace Greeley on August 22nd 1862 in response to critiques of his actions concerning fighting of the American Civil War you can read it here.

Higher ed: Not ready for prime time

By Christopher Harper

As most colleges and universities cancel in-person classes, many of these institutions are woefully unprepared to teach students online.

When a started teaching online in 2005, I had more than two months of training, and I still had questions. In the current transition, teachers are being asked to get ready, without significant help, in a week or less.

I’ve watched some of the training videos from my university and from national organizations, which are utter torture from bad audio to inane content.

I wanted to learn how to teach online. Many professors professors consider the teaching method as inferior. One colleague sent around a post that tried to convince people to fail in the changeover to online classes because it would give the administration more leverage to force people to do it in the future.

Since I have taught online courses for many years, I have often told my colleagues that the data don’t back up the contention that in-person classes are better.

The real problem is ego. Many professors have a captive audience classroom environment as the master or mistress of the universe, doling out precious bits of knowledge to the students.

It’s not surprising that a survey by Inside Higher Ed found that many professors think online classes do not meet the requirements for a successful learning experience.

Forty-four percent of those surveyed said they taught a course better than anyone else could do so online. Thirty-eight percent said it was possible that both experiences could be equal. Eighteen percent had no opinion.

The survey also found that the more prestigious the school, the greater the ego from its professors.

“The ratios change significantly by subgroup of faculty members. Community college instructors, for instance, are more likely to agree than disagree that online learning can achieve equivalent outcomes in the classes they teach by a 53 to 31 percent margin, while the ratio for private college baccalaureate professors is 15 percent agree to 72 percent disagree,” the survey found. See https://www.insidehighered.com/news/survey/professors-slow-steady-acceptance-online-learning-survey

Ironically, those who have taught online classes found the experience made them better teachers.

“When those instructors were asked how their online experience has most improved their teaching skills, 75 percent said they think more critically about ways to engage students with content,” the report found.

What’s interesting about the research is that colleges and universities often talk the talk of technology but often do not reward those who use it. That’s because most of the people making the decisions are former faculty members rather than professional managers.

Less than a quarter of those surveyed said their institutions reward teachers who do online courses in tenure and promotion cases. Also, those who teach online don’t make any more money.

Students generally applaud the availability of online courses because they provide greater flexibility in scheduling a balance between class and work. Also, students said the availability of online material makes it easier to study for exams. Although online platforms offer the ability to collaborate with other students, surveys find that individuals prefer to do such work in a face-to-face environment.

Although college administrators debate whether online courses cost less, I am convinced they do. The problem is that higher education still has to allocate funds for the administrative maze that colleges have created in recent years. As a result, it’s difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Whatever the case, a grand experiment is about to commence. I hope it ends well even though most colleges and universities aren’t prepared for the experiment.

Obama’s failures during the 2009 pandemic

 By Christopher Harper

Just after announcing a national emergency to combat the N1H1 virus in 2009, President Obama went out for a round of golf. Later, he appointed Elmo, the Sesame Street character, as the national spokesperson on how to combat the virus. See https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/01/AR2009090103135.html

All told, nearly 13,000 died from the virus. But President Obama got nary a mention of criticism during the year-long battle against the virus.

Contrast the media coverage of the 2009 outbreak with the press attacks on President Trump. DaTimes went so far as to call COVID-19 “the Trumpvirus.” See https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/26/opinion/coronavirus-trump.html

After looking through the archives of DaTimes and DaPost, I found almost no serious analysis of what Obama did wrong in 2009.

In April 2009, the virus was a combination of bird, swine, and human flu viruses further combined with a Eurasian pig flu virus, leading to the term “swine flu.”

The Centers for Disease Control estimated the following illness and death rates from April 2009 to April 2010:

–CDC estimated that about 61 million people were infected.
–About 274,000 people ended up in the hospital.
–About 13,000 people died, mainly people over 65.

The leading suggestions from the Obama administration at the outset of the pandemic included washing hands and sneezing into one’s arm. 

An internal report, which was completed six months after the outbreak of the virus, suggested that the president appoint one official to coordinate the efforts. See https://www.medicalcountermeasures.gov/BARDA/documents/2009%20pcast-h1n1.pdf

Trump made his vice president the coordinator almost immediately, although he faced widespread criticism for the choice.

As the crisis worsened, Obama and his team ramped up the production of a vaccine. By October, an estimated 120 million doses were supposed to be available. Only 15 million hit hospitals, with people waiting in long lines to get the vaccine.

In one of the rare criticisms of the Obama effort, DaPost wrote: “The federal government’s unprecedented campaign to protect the nation against the swine flu pandemic has gotten off to a sputtering start, frustrating parents, pregnant women, and others anxious to get immunized against the new virus.” See https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/22/AR2009102204707.html

Compare the stumbling performance of the Obama team to the 2009 crisis with that of the Trump administration. Maybe the media should do the same, but that’s not going to happen because today’s journalists don’t let the facts stand in the way of a good story. 

A Basic Compare and Contrast

The letter of the day is I

by baldilocks

It turns out that you can compare apples to oranges.

On Monday, Iran’s Ministry of Health released new data concerning the coronavirus. It said that 66 people have died from the virus while 1501 have been infected. But given the Health Ministry’s propensity for lying, the figure for those dead and infected is likely much greater.

The rampant spread of coronavirus in Iran was a problem largely the result of the Islamic Republic’s own making. In early February, Iranian officials were aware of a potential problem in the city of Qom, where a shrine holy to Shia Muslims served as a breeding ground for the transmission of the virus. Yet authorities took no action to quarantine the city or even warn residents to take safety precautions. The shrine still remains open to visitors and video has recently emerged showing people licking the shrine.

By the time health officials began taking action, it was a case of too little too late. Iran’s Deputy Health Minister, Iraj Harirchi, downplayed claims made a city lawmaker that deaths from COVID-19 had reached 50 and said that he would resign from his post if that assertion was accurate. A day later, Harirchi became a victim of COVID-19 and was under quarantine but not before he was observed coughing on those adjacent to him during the previous day’s press briefing. Several other Iranian diplomats and parliamentarians have since been infected, and at least two have died including a senior adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran’s bumbling and incompetence in dealing with the health crisis can be attributed to the Islamic Republic’s unwillingness to acknowledge weakness and vulnerability.

(…)

Iran’s handling of the crisis stands in marked contrast to how its arch nemesis Israel is addressing the issue. While Iranian officials are spewing little else but propaganda, the Israelis are at the forefront of inventing cures and treatments for the coronavirus.

The Migal Research Institute, an Israeli company based in Galilee has announced that they are on the cusp of developing a coronavirus vaccine. The company had been developing a vaccine for coronavirus in chickens and recognized that they could tweak their vaccine to combat coronavirus in humans. According to Migal’s CEO, David Zigdon, a vaccine for humans could be ready in a few months.

In addition to vaccinations, the ability to rapidly test for the presence of coronavirus is critical. To that end, researchers at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University have developed technologies that drastically reduce the time needed to analyze saliva samples for the presence of COVID-19. This technology reduces the time to analyze a sample from an hour to approximately 15 minutes.

There are more interesting details, but back to the fruit …

Both are good; similar but different. Neither is better than the other.

However, when the apple releases its seeds to fall to the ground, it preserves its progeny and bears more apples. And when the orange withholds its seed, it and all its seed rot away.

Choices matter.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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They Tell No Tales

Not suspicious at all

by baldilocks

A mystery has taken hold of me.

Phil Haney was a founding member of the Department of Homeland Security – an agency that investigated him nine times and found nothing untoward. And this very same agency scrubbed its own records that Haney had been using to investigate Islamist terror networks in the United States.

Vaguely, I remember his name from my early days of blogging. He’s back in the news again; unfortunately for being dead.

From Carmine Sabia:

A man who had already exposed President Obama once and was about to do it again has been found shot to death in California.

Police originally labeled the death a suicide but now say that the initial reports were “misinformation” and the case is still open.

Haney blew the whistle on the Obama Administration for, he said, asking him to scrub the records of potential radical Islamists that the Department of Homeland Security was investigating prior to Obama’s election.

Last Friday he was found dead in his car less than three miles from his home from a single gunshot wound to the head, police said.

The initial reported said Haney “appeared to have suffered a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound” and “a firearm was located next to Haney and his vehicle,” Fox News reported.

A new press release from the Amador County Sheriff’s Office now says that the death was not a suicide and that the investigation is “active and ongoing.”

“On February 22, 2020 the Amador County Sheriff’s Office released initial details regarding Philip Haney being found deceased in our jurisdiction. Mr. Haney was located in a park and ride open area immediately adjacent to State Highway 16 near State Highway 124. Highway 16 is a busy state highway and used as a main travel route to and from Sacramento. The location is less than 3 miles from where he was living.

According to other reports I’ve read, Haney was a committed, active Christian. A widower, he was planning to remarry this year. Not exactly a prime candidate for suicide; I guess that’s why that angle was dropped.

I’m reading his book See Something, Say Nothing, published in 2016. It is an indictment of the Obama Administration as lackeys of global jihad and I’m look forward to reading about the San Bernardino and Orlando Islamist attacks, which could have been prevented, according to Haney.

Seems that a lot of highly placed people might benefit greatly by sending Mr. Haney into the next world.

I’m also planning to read Haney’s essay Green Tide Rising; suffice it to say that it’s not about climate change.

I’m a nobody, so it should be easy to explore this without becoming dead myself. But we’ll see.

By the way, I’m “reading” the book via Audible. It seems that dead-tree versions of it are unavailable — at least on Amazon.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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Let’s dump recycling

By Christopher Harper

As I pulled out my two garbage bins this week—one for trash and one for recyclables—I was stuck by how yet another fraud was created and perpetuated by the left.

Recycling may not be the biggest threat to the nation. Still, sorting metal, plastics, and other items costs millions of dollars and accomplishes little.

Fostered by the environmental movement in the 1970s, recycling used to make some sense. In Philadelphia, where I live, the city loses $9 million a year. If Philadelphia and other cities simply used available space for garbage dumps, schools could be built, taxes could be lowered, and funds shifted to better uses.

The Property and Environment Research Center has analyzed recycling in an attempt to educate people about the “myths” of rubbish. These myths include:

–The country is running out of space;
–Trash threatens people’s health and the ecosystem;
–Packaging is a serious problem; and
–Recycling saves resources.

The modern era of waste disposal and recycling can be traced to the spring of 1987 when a garbage barge named Mobro 4000 spent two months and 6,000 miles touring the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico looking for a home for its load.

The Mobro set off in March 1987 with 3,200 tons of New York trash, originally intended for a cheap landfill in Louisiana. Hoping to cut transportation costs, the company behind the Mobro’s
voyage attempted to interest Jones County, North Carolina, in accepting the trash. Before the deal could be finalized, local officials wondered if the entrepreneur’s haste signaled the presence of hazardous waste. North Carolina rejected the trash–as did others–including the original site.

The problem WASN’T a lack of space. New York simply wanted a cheaper place to send its garbage. The “problem” erroneously became that landfills were UNSAFE.

Since the voyage of the Mobro, new techniques have made landfills even safer.

Nevertheless, the United States turned to China to send recyclables. But China upended global recycling markets in 2017 when it stopped importing most plastic and paper because most cities co-mingled materials, including waste from computers. The decision sent prices of scrap plastic and recovered paper tumbling, creating a crisis for municipalities that had relied on such sales to subsidize curbside recycling.

Recycling has become more expensive than tossing items into the trash. In 2016, it cost New York City $18 a ton more to collect and process recyclables than to dispose of regular refuse. See https://ibo.nyc.ny.us/iboreports/ten-years-after-assessing-progress-on-the-citys-solid-waste-management-plan-supplement-2017.pdf

Some efforts are growing to return to glass bottles to replace plastics, with deposit charges. That’s what we did before the recycling craze, and it worked.

Keep in mind that the left created the recycling mess in the first place—a system that costs the country millions of dollars. Just think what it will cost for their plans to combat “climate change” and whether any of their “green” ideas will actually work.

The Case for Getting Rid of the CIA and the FBI

by baldilocks

This morning, I shared this very long piece by Angelo Codevilla, who outlines what close observers have figured out for themselves.

What, then, is CIA good for?

Its founding myth combines a historical falsehood with reference to technical circumstances that have not existed for at least a generation. (…)

The truth that analysis of Intelligence must include a multiplicity of sources, and that a central repository of information is needed for that, was always the strongest argument for the existence of some sort of central facility where “all source analysis” could be done. But, since at least the 1980s, computers have made it possible and imperative for all analysts, regardless of their location, to access everything securely. Nowadays, ironically, CIA’s insistence on managing the access and distribution of information is the biggest barrier to universal, all-source Intelligence analysis.

Today, CIA is good for confidential meetings with the New York Times, the Washington Post, NBC News, etc., through which it joins—if it does not lead—campaigns to shape domestic American opinion.

What is the FBI good for?

Once upon a time, FBI foreign counterintelligence officers were cops first. Like all good cops, they knew the difference between the people on whose behalf they worked, and those who threaten them. They had graduated from places like Fordham, a Catholic, blue-collar university in the Bronx. Like T.V.’s Sergeant Joe Friday, they wore white shirts and said yes, sir, yes, ma’am. Unlike CIA case officers, FBI officers mixed with the kinds of people they investigated, and often went undercover themselves. The FBI jailed Capone and dismantled the Mafia. Because it used to take counterintelligence seriously, it was able to neutralize Soviet subversion in the USA. The old joke was that, in any meeting of the U.S. Communist Party or of its front groups, a majority of attendees were FBI agents. The only U.S. Intelligence penetration of the Kremlin was the FBI’s recruitment of a U.S. labor activist whom high-level Soviets trusted.

In the late 1970s, that began to change. Director William Webster (1978-87) refused to back up the officers who had infiltrated and surveilled the New Left’s collaboration with the Soviets against America in the Vietnam War. Webster also introduced contemporary political correctness into the FBI. Asked by the Senate Intelligence Committee why his FBI had neither infiltrated nor disrupted the Jim Jones cult that resulted in the deaths of 900 Americans in Jonestown, Guyana, he answered that he would no more have interfered with that religion than with the Catholic Church. Not incidentally, the Jim Jones cult was associated with the Democratic party.

Thus FBI officers became standard bureaucrats who learned to operate on the assumption that all Americans were equally likely as not to be proper targets of investigation. They replaced the distinctions by which they had previously operated with the classic bureaucratic imperative: look out for yourselves by making sure to please the powerful.

Take a cup of coffee or tea and read the whole thing. And I should point out that I’m old enough to remember when it was considered paranoid and crazy to believe that the intelligence agencies were domestic enemies of the American people.

Their concerted efforts against Donald Trump, however, have turned out to be a vast miscalculation.

Do I think that these agencies could be scrapped? Yes, but one might liken it to surgical removal of an aggressive cancer: expensive and painful, the body will need time to recover, and the surgeons will have to monitor the patient for new growth.

It can be fixed but it will never be over.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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China, socialized medicine, and me

Hundreds of people wait to register to see a doctor in Guangzhou, China.

By Christopher Harper

If you want to see what socialized medicine looks like, China is a classic example—a system unable to meet the needs of many patients in normal times that crashes into chaos when a crisis occurs like a coronavirus.

During my travels throughout China over the past five years, I was able to see the system up close and personal. See https://datechguyblog.com/2018/06/05/healthcare-in-china/

While the wealthy can pay for the best care with foreign doctors, most people are relegated to overcrowded hospitals. In the countryside, residents must rely on village clinics or travel hundreds of miles to find the closest facility.

The country does not have a functioning primary care system. China has one general practitioner for roughly every 7,000 people, compared with the international standard of one for every 1,500 to 2,000 people, according to the World Health Organization.

Another major issue, particularly in a crisis like a coronavirus, is the system for handling patients at hospitals, which often is the place where most people go for treatment.

When I went to a hospital in Guangzhou, the third-largest city in China in the southern part of the country, I registered to see a doctor and waited for one hour to see a physician to diagnose a persistent cough.

I sat in a large waiting room to see the doctor—where you can get sick from some of the other 60 to 70 people with a variety of illnesses.

The doctor seemed competent during my five-minute visit, but I then had to go for tests, waiting for another two hours with 50 other people because the hospital closes for lunch from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

It took only a few minutes to get the results of an EKG, but the blood tests came after two hours.

I then saw another physician—in my case, another hour of waiting—before receiving three prescriptions to soothe my chest cough. It took another 30 minutes to have the prescription filled. Again, those waiting for prescriptions amounted to roughly 100 people.

By the time I was done, I’d been around hundreds of people, with a variety of diseases that I could have gotten, and they were exposed to my illness.

All I had was a chest cold and needed a prescription for some medicine. A visit, which would have taken me 15 to 30 minutes with my family doctor in the United States, took more than six hours in China.

But there’s more. At the time I was getting my chest cold diagnosed, hundreds of thousands of children were found to have been injected with faulty vaccines, amplifying the already existing frustration with the health care system.

In recent years, scandals have erupted over bribes to physicians from those who could afford to pay to move to the front of the line for critical treatments.

In my experience in China and elsewhere, socialized medicine may be adequate as long as there is no serious health threat.

Here’s what every voter should ask a Democrat candidate for president: Would you prefer socialized medicine fighting the coronavirus or the current system that exists in the United States? For me, the choice is pretty simple.