Yes, we can: Celebrate the end of Trump

Finally, Twitter poisoned hatred, racism, sexism, isolationism, turbo-capitalist agitation, anti-Obamacare ideology, hatred of the Antifa and antisemitic conspiracy-myths have to leave the White House – However: Will reason come back or irrational coronamaniac among Democrats prevail?

That is truly good news: Donald Trump is history. Finally, after more than four years, including his run for presidency in 2016! His violent, sexist agenda (“grab her by the pussy”), his antisemitic anti-Soros, anti-“Globalist”-ideology, his pro-climate change maniac, his fracking-is-cool, super-turbo-capitalist, anti-ecologist activism, his embracement of the neo-Nazi like “Proud Boys” live on TV during the first Presidential Debate with Joe Biden, his even funny “Voting for Biden is Socialism” fantasy – since when is the contradictio in adjecto of a “Democratic Party Socialism” (read: capitalism with a smile on its face) translating into Socialism? –, his post-truth Qanon-like extremist agenda, his lies and conspiracy myths will no longer harm the United States of America and the entire world.

As early as September 2016, I wrote about the Far Right and Trump:

It is well-known neo-Nazi tactics these days to make an outrageous statement, and then to step back a little bit. Blinking with the eyes to their followers is part of the game. Look at Trump and you know what I mean … The core message of the racist movement in Germany these days goes like this: The AfD wants to ‘get rid of Merkel’. That was the slogan of their big rally in the heart of Berlin, Nov. 7, 2015, with neo-Nazis joining them, including agitators against America who say that ‘Germany is run by NSA’ and the US, as right-wing extremist and antisemitic agitator Jürgen Elsässer’s Compact Magazine did on that day. Elsässer is also known for public speeches like at Potsdamer Place in the middle of Berlin, like in April 2014, where he agitated against ‘Rockefeller, Rothschild, Soros’, Jews and money.

The Pro-Israel camp in Germany and in vast parts of the US aligned with Trump. That shameful development, associated with the support of the German right-wing extremism of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) led me to break with my American donors and most parts of the German pro-Israel camp. Bibi did the same mistake as right-wing American Trumpists, and collaborated with the nastiest and most disgusting of all American Presidents in history, while sidelining the Democrats.

For Zionism, both Bibi and Trump are devastating, regardless of the great achievements of Netanyahu when it comes to the Arab world and the diplomatic relations with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and probably vast parts of the Arab world – that is historic and tremendously important.

At least, Trump will be history by January 2021. Trumpism, though, will be an essential part of America and the Western world today, and that is and remains a shame, thanks to folks like Hannity from Fox News or in Germany sites such as Achgut.com, Axis of the Good, and uncounted others, including rural weaponry maniacs in the US or pro-Tump, pro-Putin German “Corona-sceptics” and followers of the old “German Reich”.

But now we are in 2020 and in the times of the pandemic turn. What is the pandemic turn? The pandemic turns means that the state can stop the entire society of living as a society, regardless of the rational or irrational predictions of a pandemic or epidemic.

When I saw the No. 3 of the Democratic Party Jim Clyborn, one of their two House of Majority Whips, speaking after Biden’s victory, something struck me. It was not only his age (born 1940), making him just another too old for politics person like Trump, Pelosi or Biden, it was something different. It was his remarks on Fox News, that he knows about the “Spanish Flu from 1918” and that Trump failed to deal with Corona. That is irrational, to say the least.

The Spanish Flu killed some 50 million people, out of 1,8 billion people on earth at the time. These were 2,7 percent of the world population. Corona just killed 0,015 percent of today’s world population (1,2 million people out of 7,8 billion). But even more striking was the average age of death of the Spanish Flu: 28 years! Most old people over 70 were even spared, they might have had immunity from another serious flu epidemic, the Russian Flu of 1889/90.

Clyborn seems to be completely out of touch with reality, when it comes to Corona. He might have ignored most of the research done in that field ever since march 2020, when American star epidemiologist John P.A. Ioannidis warned about a fiasco in the making. Most recently, the WHO published the latest study by Ioannidis, counting like an official WHO working paper. In it, Ioannidis shows that the infection fatality rate of Corona worldwide is at maximum 0.23 percent. Most studies he dealt with, are from Corona hotspots or countries hard struck by the virus like the US or Brazil.

If we take all countries on earth into account, that number will even be lower. Most countries have not many Corona deaths (like in Africa or Asia), they might have had some infections, but taken the fact that way over 80 percent of people infected by Corona have no to mild symptoms, you understand that Corona is much more specific than the flu. People under 70 are not at all in danger from Corona. And young people should stay away from older people or visit them in accordance with the needs of old people like in nursing homes or residential areas – to isolate the old and elderly was a huge crime and killed thousand of people with dementia in Wales and England in spring 2020 alone.

Israel has a huge debate about young professionals, how they can live without restrictions, while protecting the elderly! The governments around the world ignore these scholarly facts and still pretend that the entire society is in danger. That is nothing but a lie! Period.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the official public health agency in the US, declared that for people under 50 Corona is less dangerous than the seasonal flu, for people age 50–69 it is like a severe flu, and for people over 70 it is more dangerous than the flu. That is why the average age of death of Corona in most countries is over 80 years (in Germany 82 years). Republican Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis emphasized these CDC numbers on his legendary press conference on September 25, 2020, when he lifted most of the lockdown restrictions of his state.

He also mentioned, that 25 % of young people age 18-24 in the US alone in summer 2020 had suicidal ideas and were depressive. Mental health is a huge issue when it comes to “social distancing” and irrational politics, based on fear, and not on data.

I fear, that the Clyborns in the Democratic Party will remain unreachable for scholarly research when it comes to Corona. Corona is a serious threat, no doubt about this. But it is a very accurate understandable threat for a very specific group of people – completely different from the Spanish Flu of 1918! The Spanish Flu was 180 times more lethal than Corona, to be sure! People could become sick of that flu in the morning and by late afternoon they were dead. Corona is completely different, even the majority of people on Intensive Care Units in hospitals survive Corona. In Germany, we have zero percent excess mortality in 2020 so far. We might have excess mortalitiy in 2021 and the following years due to postponed cancer operations and screenigns or due the huge and unprecedented economic crisis.

The worst mistakes of all governments was the closure of theaters and cultural institutions. The only way to deal with a crisis is art, culture, cinema, lectures – and a vibrant debate, rallies, social contact, regardless if with or without distance. We would have needed our intellectuals to guide us a path to a realistic analysis of the situation. But the first thing the maniac governments closed were universities, theaters, cinemas and cultural institutions. They wee not “systemically relevant”, while hardware stores were (particularly in a country such as Germany).

What America and Israel and all of us deserve, is a rational analysis of the Corona threat. Panic and antidemocratic action like in Germany, are damaging democracy while not saving a single life of a 85 year old nursing home resident. Nursing homes have been hugely underfunded by the government, as up until 2020 old people did not count at all – let alone workers in these facilities, often immigrants from Eastern Europe.

Currently, Germany has its second lockdown, all cultural sites and restaurants are closed – despite the scientific evidence, that less than 3 percent of all infections happened in restaurants. Even visiting a museum with a few people is illegal. These irrational politics indicate the very low level of democracy, Merkel and all her fellows stand for, including Macron or Johnson.

That was among the reasons one of the best-known restaurants in the heart of (East-) Berlin, the Ständige Vertretung, close to the German Parliament, the Bundestag, made a video, attacking the German government. The two restaurant representatives ordered chancellor Angela Merkel, finance minister and vice-chancellor Olaf Scholz, head of the state of Bavaria Markus Söder, head of the State of Berlin Michael Müller and his Senator for health Dilek Kalayci to stay away from their house.

Hundreds of thousands of car construction workers and millions of others are still working, and they have their lunchrooms, but much smaller restaurants with hygiene concepts suddenly may not work anymore. That is irrational and just panic driven politics. I fear, the Democratic Party will run on this panic driven politics as well and might turn the US to not just another lockdown, but also to (useless) mandatory face mask wearing and ignoring to do the most important: protect the vulnerable.

That is the starting point for the Great Barrington Declaration from October 4, 2020, by Professors Jay Bhattacharya from Stanford, Martin Kulldorff from Harvard, and Sunetra Gupta from Oxford:

The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk. We call this Focused Protection.

Adopting measures to protect the vulnerable should be the central aim of public health responses to COVID-19. By way of example, nursing homes should use staff with acquired immunity and perform frequent PCR testing of other staff and all visitors. Staff rotation should be minimized. Retired people living at home should have groceries and other essentials delivered to their home. When possible, they should meet family members outside rather than inside. A comprehensive and detailed list of measures, including approaches to multi-generational households, can be implemented, and is well within the scope and capability of public health professionals.

Amon the co-signers are:

Dr. Ariel Munitz, professor of clinical microbiology and immunology, Tel Aviv University, Israel, Dr. Eitan Friedman, professor of medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Israel, Dr. Motti Gerlic, professor of clinical microbiology and immunology, Tel Aviv University, Israel, Dr. Uri Gavish, biomedical consultant, Israel, Dr. Udi Qimron, professor of clinical microbiology and immunology, Tel Aviv University, Israel

 

plus 11,832 Medical & Public Health Scientists, 34,087 Medical practitioners and 620,456 Concerned Citizens (as of November 8, 2011). This indicates the remarkable support of the Great Barrington Declaration by Israeli scholars in the field of microbiology, immunology and epidemiology, virology and public health.

 

In an interview, Gupta said the following:

We should have dealt from the outset with this pandemic as an international problem. Instead it was ‚let’s lockdown my country, let me protect my citizens‘, which is incredibly individualistic.

She also emphasized:

„I think the lockdown is really individualistic in its general construction. Things that we normally disperse within the community, such as individual risk, and individual blame. Now I see young people being terrified, even though they realise the risk to themselves is low, that they might infect a friend who will then give it to their grandparents. This chain of guilt is somehow located to the individual rather than being distributed and shared.

We have to share the guilt. We have to share the responsibility. And we have to take on board certain risks ourselves in order to fulfil our obligations and to uphold the social contract. So I’d like the politicians to remind people of that, because that’s what they’ve been elected to do – to see the social contract is being properly transacted.“

In a similar vein, Kulldorff said:

I am aligned with the Left when I defend the COVID-19 strategy in my native Sweden. But here in the United States, when I defend very similar strategies implemented by the Republican governors of South Dakota and Florida, I am perceived as being aligned with the Right. It is a little weird. Among my infectious disease colleagues that favor an age-targeted strategy rather than lockdowns, most are left-wing progressives, while most of my Twitter followers are on the Right.

In the same interview with the socialist magazine Jacobin in the US, Kulldorff and his colleague from Harvard, epidemiologist Katherine Yih, spoke with sociologist Nicole Aschoff. Yih pointed out:

Progressives should be advocating for a sustainable, communitarian approach that is informed by the knowledge that the virus will spread until herd immunity is achieved, acknowledges the need for stringent protections of the vulnerable in order to minimize deaths, and recognizes the harm caused by crude across-the-board lockdowns and their disproportionate impact on workers and people of color.

The pandemic has laid bare the glaring and growing inequalities in our society, if they weren’t evident before. We must continue to fight for a radically fairer society, including, of course, Medicare for All. The need is greater than ever.

The current Corona politics worldwide, though, are lethal – for the developing countries in Africa and Asia. They suffer from hunger, as the Peace Nobel Prize Laureate 2020 clearly says: The World Food Programme (WFP) of the United Nations. The virus itself is far from being a pandemic on the same scale worldwide – it is mainly a European and American (South and North America) pandemic, if we look at the numbers. But the collateral damage is unbelievable huge – canceled tourist trips to almost the entire world, cut off economic relations, delayed vaccination programs in Africa or Asia (like against measles), increase death and hunger:

As COVID-19 pushed countries everywhere to lock down, the equivalent of 400 million full-time jobs have been destroyed, and remittances have collapsed. The impact has been felt hardest by the 2 billion people who work in the informal economy around the world – mainly in middle and low-income countries. Already only one day’s work away from going hungry, in other words living hand to mouth. You and I have food in the pantry in a lockdown. We have enough food for two or three weeks. These people don’t have that luxury. If they miss a day’s wages, they miss a day’s worth of food and their children suffer.  They don’t have the money to buy their daily bread in those circumstances. This inevitably creates a risk of rising social tensions and instability.
The report concludes:
We need $4.9 billion to feed, for one year, all 30 million people who will die without WFP’s assistance. Worldwide, there are over 2,000 billionaires with a net worth of $8 trillion. In my home country, the USA, there are 12 individuals alone worth $1 trillion. In fact, reports state that three of them made billions upon billions during COVID! I am not opposed to people making money, but humanity is facing the greatest crisis any of us have seen in our lifetimes. It’s time for those who have the most to step up, to help those who have the least in this extraordinary time in world history. To show you truly love your neighbour. The world needs you right now and it’s time to do the right thing.

 

Surveillance technics like Corona Apps, panic driven government policies of defamation of any kind of critics of  Corona politics are damaging our democracies like nothing damaged them ever since 1945. Sociologist Michel Foucault (1926-1984) or Public Health scholar and philosopher Ivan Illich (1926-2002) would habe been the best people to analyze the biggest crisis of our world since 1945. We are missing them. I co-published and edited books on Corona so far this year (in German), following, among others, both Foucault and Illich. You can also find a fascinating essay “On Corona Days” by Sajay Samuels, transposing some of the critic by Illich in our crazy Corona times.

Having said this, we still should very much celebrate the defeat of Trump by Biden – that is a historic and long overdue achievement of the democratic voices in the United States, with consequences worldwide!! Equality, anti-racism, anti-sexism, and the fight of antisemitic conspiracy myths must become the bottom line of American politics, again – or for the first time, finally.

Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris, by the way a true find of the Jewish state of Israel, who herself is childfree, which might be a good indication for more feminist policies in the White House, might be a great help in that respect as well. She will be the first woman to become Vice-President in the history of the United States of America – and the first black woman, the first daughter of immigrants (from India, and Jamaica, respectively). That is a fantastic symbol of the American dream, of “Possibilities”, as Joe Biden framed it in his victory speech on November 7, 2020.

Finally, to become a reliable political power again, America should rather listen to scholars or to the Great Barrington Declaration and distance itself from unscholarly politicians, who nothing but fuel panic and confuse 1918 with 2020, like No. 3 of the Democratic Party, Jim Clyburn.

About the Author
Dr Clemens Heni is director of The Berlin International Center for the Study of Antisemitism (BICSA)
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