Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Trump DOJ Defends Reality and Fair Play in Women's Sports Against Unfair Trans Rules

This week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a "Statement of Interest" in support of female athletes suing the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) over its transgender policy. CIAC has claimed that federal law requires schools to allow biological males to compete in women's sports, while the female athletes claim this constitutes unfair discrimination in violation of Title IX of the Civil Rights Act. The DOJ statement clarifies that federal law does not require or support the CIAC policy.

"Allowing biological males to compete in all-female sports deprives women of the opportunity to participate fully and fairly in sports and is fundamentally unfair to female athletes," Attorney General William Barr said in a statement Tuesday. "Sports are an important part of education and character development and provide an arena where individual discipline can result in achievement and recognition. The purpose of all-female athletics is to ensure that women have an equal opportunity to participate, compete and excel in this important part of life."

"Title IX has been a major step forward in the long fight to achieve this equality. As reflected in Title IX, the basis for single-sex athletics, is rooted in the reality of biological differences between the sexes," Barr argued. "Clearly then, eligibility to participate on a single-sex team must be based on objective biological fact. Girls should not be forced, through the dismantling of Title IX, to be sidelined in their own sports."

Three female high school athletes filed the lawsuit in February. Among them is Chelsea Mitchell, the fastest biological girl in Connecticut, who nonetheless lost four state championships to male competitors who identify as female. "It’s very unfair for me and the other girls to race against biological males. It has inspired me and the other girls to stand up and fight for our right to compete and to have a fair competition," Mitchell told PJ Media. "Every race I’ve ever run against the biological males, I’ve lost. It’s definitely very defeating."

The lawsuit explains that "male puberty quickly increases the levels of circulating testosterone in healthy teen and adult males to levels ten to twenty times higher than the levels that occur in healthy adult females, and this natural flood of testosterone drives a wide range of physiological changes that give males a powerful physiological athletic advantage over females. Inescapable biological facts of the human species [are] not stereotypes, ‘social constructs,’ or relicts of past discrimination."

The suit lists 8 broad physiological athletic advantages males enjoy over girls and women after the onset of puberty, including larger lungs, larger hearts, an increased number of muscle fibers and muscle mass, higher myoglobin within muscle fibers (enabling faster transfer of oxygen to those muscles), larger and longer bones, increased mineral density in bones, and height. Due to these advantages, sporting events have long had different standards for girls and boys. Even the pro-transgender Journal of Medical Ethics has condemned the "intolerable unfairness" of the Olympic Committee's pro-transgender rules.

Yet CIAC claims its hands are tied on the issue, arguing that "federal law" requires this unfair state of affairs. Under former President Barack Obama, the DOJ interpreted Title IX's prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sex to apply to transgender identity. Under Trump, the DOJ has reversed this stance, arguing in a Supreme Court case that the authors of Title IX could not have meant to include transgender identity in the meaning of "sex." The Trump DOJ did not join the Connecticut high school girls' lawsuit, but it did file a "Statement of Interest" to make it clear that the CIAC is wrong about federal law.

"They are incorrect," the statement of interest argues. "Title IX and its implementing regulations prohibit discrimination solely 'on the basis of sex,' not on the basis of transgender status, and therefore neither require nor authorize CIAC’s transgender policy. To the contrary, CIAC’s construction of Title IX as requiring the participation of students on athletic teams that reflect their gender identity would turn the statute on its head."

"One of Title IX’s core purposes is to ensure that women have an 'equal athletic opportunity' to participate in school athletic programs. ... Schools realize that purpose primarily by establishing separate athletic teams for men and women and by ensuring that those teams are on equal footing," the statement argues. Far from being required by Title IX, CIAC’s transgender policy is in tension with 'the core of Title IX’s purpose.'"

Gender dysphoria — the persistent and painful sense of identifying with the gender opposite one's biological sex — is real, but it does not change biological reality. Even experimental "treatments" like cross-sex hormones and transgender surgery cannot alter a person's DNA and development — even in the womb, males and females develop differently. The DOJ is right to champion the biological and plain meaning of the term "sex" against transgender activism.


Coronavirus: Questions over modelling behind UK’s strict restrictions

His name is forever tainted with a seriously flawed forecast about foot and mouth disease that resulted in the unnecessary slaughter of millions of livestock that saw pyres burning across Britain and cost farmers their livelihoods.

That was in 2001, and now the man who convinced then-Prime Minister Tony Blair to take such extreme action to handle the foot and mouth outbreak is behind Imperial College data that the UK government is relying on to inflict the most extreme social isolation measures in the coronavirus pandemic.

Professor Neil Ferguson heads an Imperial College, London team that has claimed 510,000 people in the UK would die from coronavirus if nothing was done, and by introducing various distancing measures, the curve could be flattened so as few as 20,000 people would die.

Given Professor Ferguson’s unquestionable influence on UK action, and possibly by extension Australia’s two-person social distancing policy that came into effect overnight, his numbers are being carefully scrutinised by others.

Early in March, Professor Ferguson and his team originally underestimated, by as much as half, the numbers of people who might require ventilators, prompting a drastic change in policy by Boris Johnson to try to suppress the virus rather than mitigate the crisis.

Before the UK went into lockdown, Professor Ferguson’s team warned 260,000 people would die if the less restrictive measures remained in place. But just days ago, Professor Ferguson told a parliamentary committee the numbers of deaths would be “substantially less than 20,000,’’ and his team predicted it could be as low as 5,700 – less than the annual toll from seasonal flu – with at least two-thirds of deaths in people who would have died anyway from underlying health conditions.

After an outcry about his changing stance, Professor Ferguson insisted he had been consistent throughout the crisis and that the revised prediction of the potential death toll was because of the strict lockdown put in place by the British government after following his advice.

Professor Ferguson claimed over the weekend that the lockdown would have to stay in place until the end of June, claiming any lift of measures earlier, say in May, would “be optimistic’’.

Yesterday Deputy Chef Medical Officer Jenny Harries mirrored Professor Henderson’s epidemiological assessment, warning it could take six months before a semblance of normality began to return.

Dr Harries said the lockdown measures would be reviewed in two to three weeks.

She said: “If we are successful and have squashed the top of curve we say that’s brilliant but we cannot suddenly revert to a normal way of living, (for those efforts) it will be wasted and we would see a second peak over the next six months.’’

Dr Harries predicted that it would take three to six months before society could get back to normal, warning: “It’s plausible it could go further than that’’.

The British government has effectively put the nation under house arrest and sparked nationwide anxiety on the basis of Professor Ferguson’s mathematics, most severely impacting those aged over 70, who have been told to remain indoors.

Some police forces have hotlines to dob in a neighbour if they exercise more than once a day – an ominous Stasi-like development.

All the while the British economy is tanking, with predictions the unemployed will rise to 2.75m and GDP plummeting 13.5 per cent.

Another professor, Michael Thrusfield of Edinburgh University has claimed Professor Ferguson’s “severely flawed’’ errors 19 years ago led to the cull of more than six million animals that did not need to die.

Another government study also found Professor Ferguson and his team at Imperial College used models during the foot and mouth crisis that “were not suitable for predicting the course of the epidemic and the effects of control measures. The models also remain not validated. Their use to predict the effects of control strategies was therefore imprudent.”

The same Professor Ferguson predicted as many as 69,000 deaths from swine flu in 2009 when only a few hundred died.

Professor Ferguson’s coronavirus gloom, contrasts with a study led by Sunetra Gupta, professor of theoretical epidemiology at Oxford University, who believes fewer than one in a thousand of those infected with coronavirus need hospital treatment, with most having mild or no symptoms. He also believes that millions of Britons may have already had the disease.

Another critic of the Imperial College study is John Ioannidis, a professor in disease prevention at Stanford University. He told The Telegraph UK: “The Imperial College study has been done by a highly competent team of modellers. However, some of the major assumptions and estimates that are built in the calculations seem to be substantially inflated.”


Coronavirus pathogen has been spreading in humans for decades, study finds

COVID-19 could have spread among humans for years or even decades before now, a team of scientists has discovered in an alarming new development.

The virus may have jumped from animal to humans long before the first detection in Wuhan, according to research by an international team of scientists.

Researchers from Australia, Britain and the US sought clues about the disease’s past and found it might have jumped from animal to humans long before the first detection in the central China city of Wuhan. In fact, these scientists have speculated that it could have been as long as a decade.

The study was released on March 17 in the scientific journal Nature Medicine.

It was conducted by Kristian Andersen from the Scripps Research Institute in California, Andrew Rambaut from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, Ian Lipkin from Columbia University in New York, Edward Holmes from the University of Sydney, and Robert Garry from Tulane University in New Orleans.

Dr Francis Collins, director of the US National Institute of Health, said the study suggested that coronavirus had crossed from animals to humans long before it became capable of causing disease in people.

“Then, as a result of gradual evolutionary changes over years or perhaps decades. The virus eventually gained the ability to spread from human to human and cause serious, often life-threatening disease,” he said in an article published on the institute’s website on Thursday.

They’re not the only scientists to notice the trend.

Italian professor Giuseppe Remuzzi has noticed “strange pneumonias” in Italy since last November, which means the virus could have reached Europe before anyone knew about it.

Prof Remuzzi, director of the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Milan, said he would not be surprised if some asymptomatic carriers had travelled around China or even abroad earlier than December.

He said the unusual cases of pneumonia in November and December could mean that virus was already circulating in Lombardy, Italy’s worst-hit region, before people were aware of what was unfolding in Wuhan.

A Beijing doctor working in a public hospital treating COVID-19 patients said numerous cases of mysterious pneumonia outbreaks had been reported by health professionals in several countries last year.

“There will be a day when the whole thing comes to light,” said the doctor, who did not want to be named.

In December, doctors in Wuhan began noticing a surge in the number of people suffering from a mysterious pneumonia.

Tests for flu and other pathogens returned negative.

An unknown strain was isolated, and a team from the Wuhan Institute of Virology led by Shi Zhengli traced its origin to a bat virus found in a mountain cave close to the China-Myanmar border.

It has now infected every corner of the globe.


We've been had, and Trump knows it

While President Trump closed the U.S. border against entry from China at the end of January, his overall instinct was right.  The CCP virus was nasty, but no worse than a supercharged flu.

Health professionals overwhelmed Trump and his inner circle with doomsday scenarios, bullied by panic-obsessed virologists and epidemiologists — begging for attention and copying the alarmist playbook from the climate/global warming extremists, allied with the MSM Trump-haters.

And now the government has completely suffocated economic demand, creating a depression, an unnecessary calamity that is destroying lives, livelihoods, families, and fortunes for a generation.  It is becoming apparent that the end-of-the-world predictions, computer models warning of an apocalyptic black plague worldwide, are all wrong.

Those paying attention were warned that the worse-case scenarios were hysterical, by the likes of Stanford epidemiologist John P.A. Ioannidis.

In dramatic fashion, U.K. Imperial College scientist Neil Ferguson published a doomsday scenario on March 16.  Now, just ten days later, he has reversed his outlook, essentially settling on a prediction no worse than a bad flu season.

Most telling, the two U.S. public health icons, Drs Fauci and Birx, are both saying the extreme models that provoked extreme measures bear little resemblance to the actual data on the ground.  From the New England Journal of Medicine March 26 co-authored by Fauci:

This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS, which have had case fatality rates of 9 to 10% and 36%, respectively.

Re: Dr. Birx from The Hill:

Birx, speaking at a White House press briefing, singled out a recent study on the United Kingdom that originally predicted 500,000 people would die from the virus and has since been revised down to predict 20,000 deaths in the U.K. She said the data the government has collected does not show that 20 percent of the U.S. population would be infected with COVID-19, cautioning against predictions that say so.

"When people start talking about 20 percent of a population getting infected, it is very scary but we don't have data that matches that based on the experience," Birx said.

"There's no ... reality on the ground where we can see that 60 to 70 percent of Americans are going to get infected in the next eight to 12 weeks," Birx later continued.

Perhaps Trump had no other option than to go with the flow when this crisis unfolded.  But he is not usually a slave to consensus.  He was elected because he is a contrarian.  His contrarian antennae have already sent signals that he must reset the economy, pronto.

Trump wants America to reopen by Easter.  Despite his ambition being ridiculed and criticized, he's right to pivot from hysteria to rebound.


Coronavirus: Lockdown a blunt instrument with no guarantees

The Canberra Gallery has been caught in the grip of Labor’s cynicism, turning the Prime Minister’s daily press briefings nastier and more distracting than they should be.

The situation is fluid, and evidence-based economic modelling is in short supply. There is no precedent to follow, no off-the-peg solution and the antidote may be more than a year away. It is a time when wiser heads hedge their bets and prepare to alter their judgments as the facts alter, sometimes by the hour.

The noisier participants, however, have headed quickly in the opposite direction, seeking comfort in the certainty of fresh dogma. The word “lockdown” is their latest totem, just as “Gonski” and “Stop Adani” were not long ago. Once again they’ve responded to a complex challenge with a flight to simplicity, chaining themselves to a gate that long ago seemed to be coming off its hinges.

The lockdown non-solution is social distancing on steroids. We don’t yet know how good it is at separating people from stray coronavirus cells, and the evidence from locked-down nations like Italy, Spain and France looks worse by the day.

We do know that it separates people from jobs and businesses from customers to a far greater extent than intended. The interdependency of the global economy has passed beyond the point where it can be mapped. When you start pulling one thread out of the economy, the rest of it unravels.

On Friday, 17 days after 16 million people were locked down in northern Italy, the country recorded its highest number of deaths in a single day — 919.

Even allowing for the different circumstances in Australia, it is hard to imagine that an Italian-style nationwide lockdown heavily enforced would reduce the spread fast enough to stop our medical services being swamped.

This should come as no surprise to older practitioners in the field of public health.

The sharp reduction in the number of toddlers drowning in backyards in the 1980s and 1990s wasn’t achieved by banning domestic swimming pools.

Neither did we bring HIV/AIDS under control by placing advertisements in The Australian Women’s Weekly. It was controlled with a targeted, scary campaign, the memory of which causes many who watched in their teens and 20s to break out in a cold sweat even today.

Australia stopped toddlers drowning by enforcing the installation of fences and childproof gate locks combined with a strong public health message.

The approach that works, in other words, is to focus on saving the vulnerable, none of whom want to end up in a crowded intensive care unit facing a lonely death.

A poll on the weekend by Roy Morgan demonstrates that voluntary self-isolation is a feasible strategy, avoiding the need for the authoritarian approach some appear to prefer.

In the poll, 84 per cent of those over 65 years of age said they were already self-isolating. Pictures of a crowded beach, then, are an inadequate guide to public behaviour in this crisis.

Most people are relying on their own common sense. With clearer advice from public health officials and some assistance and community goodwill, we can ensure that most of those at risk sit out this pandemic in the comfort of their own homes.

Nobody knows if a full lockdown, the indiscriminate stopping of almost all human activity outside the home, will end the pandemic or how long these draconian measures will have to stay in place. We do know, however, that such measures will come at an enormous cost to employment, welfare and families.

We know, too, that some of the countries doing better in the face of the pandemic, such as Switzerland, Belgium and South Korea, have slowed the rate of infection and death to manageable levels while expressly rejecting this blunt-edged strategy. Circumstances vary so much between nations, however, that we are unlikely to find a universal policy solution until we get a vaccine.

In the meantime, Australia must devise its own solution, informed by the epidemiological data now emerging from the worst-hit countries, and tempered by our knowledge of what happens when sections of our interlocking economy shut down and the human misery that follows.

It seems the total lockdown strategy would damage the economy beyond all recognition if kept in place for very long. The price would be paid not just in jobs and wages, but in loneliness, mental illness, family violence and perhaps even suicide.

In a situation like this, the least-worse solution will always be the one that takes account of the welfare of people. We cannot yet say with any confidence when it will be safe for the elderly to leave their homes. We do know, however, that the view from the worst window of the worst home in Australia is better than the view of the ceiling seen through a ventilator.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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