Politically Speaking – June 2, 2020

June 2, 2020

Our friend Rich Lowry points out this week the positive news that recent signs point to us being on the other side of the curve in the pandemic — the story of the century — that sadly killed people, destroyed a thriving economy, and left in its path a devastating memory in all our minds forever. I can only hope and pray it continues on the same course.

So with that said, as the coronavirus statistics and bad news was turning to positive news, another chain of events took the headlines with the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota at the hands of a police officer that had his knee on Floyd’s neck for nine whole minutes. There are very few across America that are not heartsick over watching a man die at the hands of a bad officer that swore to protect life, with three other officers watching and doing nothing. In my opinion those three were as guilty as the officer that carried out this atrocity. All four are a disgrace to the uniform, giving a punch in the gut to those officers that give their all to protect each and every one of us and ours every day. Sadly, this tragedy came at the hands of the worst kind of people — bad cops.

There are those that have taken this as an opportunity to destroy cities across the country by looting, and by burning down whole blocks of businesses, destroying the livelihood and lives of thousands of innocent people. Somehow, I don’t believe that George Floyd would condone this behavior, as his family has pleaded for this destruction to stop.

Make no mistake, it’s everyone’s right to peacefully protest unless the protest becomes criminal. According to the latest news, some of these people were bused in and have done much of the looting and burning. Sadly, many states are having to call out the National Guard and the military is on standby.

While Al Sharpton says destruction of black-owned stores in Minneapolis is “reckless,” I say the destruction of any store is reckless!

With all that said, I usually am not at a loss for words, but right now I am. I’m heartsick about the chain of events, starting with the murder of a man that happened to be black by four (yes, four) men that took an oath to protect us and carry out the laws of the land, not break the law of the land.

In my final thought let me remind each of you that there’s only one race, the human race! This is how I was raised, to see the person, not the skin color.

What’s happening now isn’t about a man murdered, but about destroying our country by some who I believe are being paid to do just that, not by good people who are protesting a murder.

Let me finish by saying I stand shoulder to shoulder with those peacefully protesting the wrongful death of George Floyd. However, I don’t support those burning and looting. Those people are not grieving the murder of George Floyd. Let me finish by saying that there are good cops taking a knee in prayer with those in peaceful protest. God bless America

Until next week.

On to my friend, Editor of the National Review and well known talk show contributor Rich Lowry.

The Rich Lowry Column

Yes, There’s Good News on COVID-19

It’s not March anymore.

The coronavirus has taken a heartbreaking toll on Americans, but the course of the virus is not the same as it was a few months ago. We are on the other side of the curve. There are encouraging signs all over the country, and no early indications of a reopening debacle.

The question now is whether the media and political system can absorb good news on the virus, which is often ignored or buried under misleading storylines.

The press has a natural affinity for catastrophes, which make compelling viewing and good copy. The pandemic is indeed a once-in-a-generation story. So, the media is naturally loath to shift gears and acknowledge that the coronavirus has begun to loosen its grip.

Meanwhile, progressives and many journalists have developed a near-theological commitment to the lockdowns, such that any information that undermines them is considered unwelcome, even threatening. This accounts for the widespread sense that no one should say things have gotten better … or people are going to die.

Usually, when it is thought the public can’t handle the truth, it is a truth about some threat that could spark panic. In this case, the truth is information that might make people think it’s safe to go outside again.

Almost all of the discussion about reopening is framed by worries that we will reopen too soon, not that we might reopen too late. That is literally unthinkable, even as we have entered a new phase.

As data analyst Nate Silver pointed out last week, the seven-day rolling average for deaths is 1,362, down from 1,761 the week prior and a peak of 2,070 on April 21. That’s still much too high, but the trend is favorable.

Testing capacity, such a concern for so long, has really begun to expand after hitting a plateau for weeks. Testing nationally on some days has been in the high 300,000s or over 400,000. The issue in some states now is not capacity, but actually finding enough people to test.

Scott Gottlieb of the American Enterprise Institute notes that the positivity rate, or percentage of people testing positive, has continued to fall throughout May.

The press has often, out of sloppiness or willfulness, tried to create negative news around the reopenings. CNN recently tweeted, “Texas is seeing the highest number of new coronavirus cases and deaths just two weeks after it officially re-opened.” As Sean Trende of RealClearPolitics pointed out, the seven-day rolling average of new cases had indeed been trending up, but the seven-day rolling average of the number of tests had gone up, too — which would naturally turn up more cases. The key indicator is the positivity rate, and it was down in Texas.

Headlines noted that Florida recorded 500 new cases in one day. It generated fewer headlines, and perhaps none, when Gov. Ron DeSantis explained that the state had received a dump of 75,000 test results, yielding the 500 new cases, for a minuscule positivity rate of 0.64%.

It’s not as though we haven’t had a cataract of unassailably legitimate bad news over the past few months. We’ve been experiencing a wrenching public health crisis and a steep recession on top of it. There shouldn’t be a need to obscure favorable trends. We can handle the truth.

© 2020 King Features Synd., Inc.