Electoral College

Monday, 23 November 2020

Many people think the Electoral College should be eliminated. I agree with them (probably not for the same reason), but they may not have thought this proposition through.

Wouldn’t elimination of the Electoral College mean MOAR “democracy” because Presidents would be elected directly by popular vote, rather than indirectly? Perhaps, but why not eliminate the President and the national government entirely, if MOAR “democracy” is the goal?

An article on Mises brought this thought to mind. Here is Rosanna
Weber:

“What does self-government, which democracy relies on so heavily, mean for the individual? All power lies with the masses, ergo the masses are sovereign according to democratic principle. But the mere act of electing politicians-our representatives-is a contradiction to sovereignty itself. It is virtually impossible to represent the sovereign, because being “sovereign” means to make one’s own decisions. They cannot be made by someone else, otherwise sovereignty will have shifted hands. At best, the sovereign can employ someone to fulfill his demands, but it won’t come as a surprise that this is rarely what politicians do. Politicians rarely regard themselves simply as delegates or agents of a group of voters. And even if they did, it would be impossible to represent all of the voters, and various minority groups would be left unrepresented.”

Many states today have rules/laws that state the Electors chosen by popular vote (the winner of the popular vote in a state takes all the electors) are bound to vote in accord with that popular vote. This leaves them without any discretion or will of their own with respect to the task of voting for President. They are reduced to puppets.

I would like to apply this principle to every other level of our “representative” government, or just eliminate the Electoral College along with all the other “representatives”.

If that is done, something will have to fill the vacuum. Why not private enterprise? For example, a neighborhood wants security – it can hire a private security firm. The same neighborhood wants fire protection, it can hire a fire protection firm. If those firms provide poor service, the neighborhood might fire them or cut their pay. There would be no voting involved, except by the payment of money. I know this might require
neighbors to get to know each other (how could I suggest that?), so they could work together securing these services and then administering those services.

I think we can choose between delegating and getting involved and getting our hands dirty. The MOAR involved you are and thus the dirtier your hands, the MOAR “democracy” you have and the less official government.

Freedom and responsibility are just the two sides of the same coin.

Choosing Electors for the Electoral College is State Business

November 13, 2020

I tend to think the current “election” fiasco is much ado about nothing. To the best of my knowledge there is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that requires a “popular” vote for President. Instead the Constitution says in Article II:

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

The Constitution does not require a popular vote for President. It does require that States choose Electors in the manner directed by the State Legislatures.

Last summer a case came before the Supreme Court. Some Electors from the State of Washington apparently did not vote as the Washington legislature had directed them and they were fined. The Supreme Court answered that it was fine for the Washington legislature to tell them for whom to vote and to fine them:

CHIAFALO ET AL. v. WASHINGTON CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF WASHINGTON No. 19–465. Argued May 13, 2020—Decided July 6, 2020
When Americans cast ballots for presidential candidates, their votes actually go toward selecting members of the Electoral College, whom each State appoints based on the popular returns. The States have devised mechanisms to ensure that the electors they appoint vote for the presidential candidate their citizens have preferred. With two partial exceptions, every State appoints a slate of electors selected by the political party whose candidate has won the State’s popular vote. Most States also compel electors to pledge to support the nominee of that party. Relevant here, 15 States back up their pledge laws with some kind of sanction. Almost all of these States immediately remove a so-called “faithless elector” from his position, substituting an alternate whose vote the State reports instead. A few States impose a monetary fine on any elector who flouts his pledge. Three Washington electors, Peter Chiafalo, Levi Guerra, and Esther John (the Electors), violated their pledges to support Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. In response, the State fined the Electors $1,000 apiece for breaking their pledges to support the same candidate its voters had. The Electors challenged their fines in state court, arguing that the Constitution gives members of the Electoral College the right to vote however they please. The Washington Superior Court rejected that claim, and the State Supreme Court affirmed, relying on Ray v. Blair, 343 U. S. 214. In Ray, this Court upheld a pledge requirement—though one without a penalty to back it up. Ray held that pledges were consistent with the Constitution’s text and our Nation’s history, id., at 225–230; but it reserved the question whether a State can enforce that requirement through legal sanctions.

Held: A State may enforce an elector’s pledge to support his party’s nominee—and the state voters’ choice—for President. Pp. 8–18.(a) Article II, §1 gives the States the authority to appoint electors “in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct.” This Court has described that clause as “conveying the broadest power of determination” over who becomes an elector.

The Court quoted the Constitution:

Article II, §1, cl. 2 says: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

The Court also cited the Twelfth Amendment as evidence that Electors were to vote as directed by their states. Here is the text of the Twelfth Amendment:

The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and all persons voted for as Vice-President and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate;

The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;
The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President.[a]

The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.[1]
(Note: This provision was superseded by Sections 1 and 3 of the Twentieth Amendment in 1933.)

The twelfth Amendment basically required votes for Vice-President and President be specified. The idea was to avoid having a President from one party and Vice-President from another.

Here is how the process is supposed to work:

Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 of the Constitution, empowers each state legislature to determine the manner by which the state’s electors are chosen. Following the national presidential election day (on the first Tuesday after November 1),[14] each state counts its popular votes according to its laws to select the electors.
In 48 states and Washington, D.C., the winner of the plurality of the statewide vote receives all of that state’s electors;[15] in Maine and Nebraska, two electors are assigned in this manner and the remaining electors are allocated based on the plurality of votes in each congressional district.[16] States generally require electors to pledge to vote for that state’s winner; to avoid faithless electors, most states have adopted various laws to enforce the electors’ pledge.[17]

The electors of each state meet in their respective state capital on the first Monday after the second Wednesday of December to cast their votes.[15] The results are counted by Congress, where they are tabulated in the first week of January before a joint meeting of the Senate and House of Representatives, presided over by the vice president, as president of the Senate.[15][18] Should a majority of votes not be cast for a candidate, a contingent election takes place: the House turns itself into a presidential election session, where one vote is assigned to each of the fifty states. Similarly, the Senate is responsible for electing the vice president, with each senator having one vote.[19] The elected president and vice president are inaugurated on January 20.

As you can see the Electors are chosen and then they meet in their State capitols on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December to cast their votes. Those votes are then sent to Congress to be counted in the first week of January. This would mean that elections would not be settled until January and if no candidate had a majority, the question would go to the House of Representatives.

I have come to the conclusion that any issues of election fraud with respect to the office of President of the United States are issues for the Legislatures of the states in which fraud may have taken place. According to the Constitution,

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress:….

Nothing was said about the method of appointing the Electors. The State Legislature could choose its Electors via dice, dartboard, drawing from a hat or whatever it deemed fit. It would appear that a State Legislature could also accept fake ballots, if desired.

World Economy Is Dependent Upon Fed Inflation

Thu 08 Oct 2020 06:43:56 AM EDT

The world “economy” is dependent upon Fed inflation and Fed inflation isprobably dependent upon Congressional spending. After all the Federal Reserve banks must pledge collateral” for each dollar they want to create and they have created quite the mountain of them since this past spring. Government treasuries supposedly produce good collateral. I guess the collateral is good as long as you can force tax payers into making payments. I hope no one deludes him/herself into thinking that tax “dollars” are helping people other than bankers. It is all about monetizing debt! They create it and you work.

Here is Fed Chairman Powell:

‘”Too little support would lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship for households and businesses,” Powell said in a speech delivered to an economic conference. A too-slow recovery would also exacerbate existing inequalities, Powell said, which would be “tragic.”

The Fed chairman has consistently urged Congress to put more money into the recovery, but the remarks on Tuesday are some of his bluntest to date.”

He is lying of course.

President Trump is falling for this nonsense too. He will never fulfill his promise to drain the swamp. He is actually hoping to fill it:

“After yanking the rug out from under stimulus negotiations in Congress Tuesday afternoon, causing stocks to swoon, Trump today corrected his error and tried to push the rug back under the stimulus negotiations, and in addition promised voters a huge stimulus deal if they reelect him, while Biden is promising voters a huge stimulus deal if they elect him.”

He and Joe are in a competition to out spend each other for votes. That “spending” will be funded of course by many trillions in government bonds, which will be collateral for all the shiny new “dollars” the Fed will inject into “the system” – I mean the banks. Oh, and guess who is on the hook for all that debt. Do you think it is the Fed and its cronies? No, Virginia, it is the dear working shmuck also known as a tax payer, or as Goldman Sachs likes to say, “muppets”.

Here is Wolf Richter from WolfStreet again:

“Upon the news that Trump was trying to push the rug back under the stimulus talks in Congress, stocks related to retail spending soared today.”

Here is Wolf on the beneficiaries of all this “largess”:

“This bonanza today followed another billionaires-came-out-on-top report by UBS and PwC, cited by Reuters. The rally in stock prices since the stimulus and central-bank shenanigans kicked in globally pushed the wealth of just over 2,000 billionaires finally over the well-deserved $10 trillion mark, beating the previous record of $8.9 trillion at the end of 2019. Between April 7 and July 31, billionaires in the technology, healthcare, and industrial sectors saw their wealth (the many billions) increase by 36% to 44%. No billionaire’s billions left behind.”

What did Mr. Powell say again? Oh, that’s right – he claimed all this “stimulus” is meant to benefit “main street”. Hmmm.

Ever wonder how banks make a living in this absurdly low interest rate environment. Oh, that’s right – most households don’t have access to the same cheap credit that corporations enjoy. Their “credit line” is credit cards that charge 29 percent interest:

“How are banks supposed to make any money in this zero-interest-rate environment if their credit card assets that they charge 29% on are dwindling? That was a rhetorical question. Well, OK, that’s why the Fed gets frazzled when consumers pay down their credit cards. Let’s be honest, that’s abuse of stimulus.”

MOAR “stimulus”!

The Fed Will Inflate Until It Can’t

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Recently we read that the stock market was going down. This author,
who is selling a book, claimed that the lamestreet media is crying out
the stock market will go down further.

Maybe he has something here besides the book promotion.

Is the “media” priming us for MOAR Fed inflation? Why does the Fed have to inflate?

The politicians wish to avoid responsibility. This way they can spend massive amounts of “money” on the electorate without raising taxes. Interest rates on bonds indicate their prices. The higher the interest rate, the lower the price. Owners of bonds consider them assets, because money goes into their pocket as a result of that ownership. What happens when the supply of anything goes up, while the demand remains constant? The price has to go down. The federal government has been increasing the supply of U.S. treasury bonds. There is no way to measure the real demand for them, because the whole treasury market is manipulated by the FOMC and the Fed. The Fed and the FOMC arrange for a buying spree to soak up those extra bonds and keep the prices up.

The Fed exists to prop up prices for assets, like bonds. MOAR than the “lender” of last resort, it is the “buyer” of last resort and guess who ultimately guarantees the prices of those assets. If you guessed “the tax payer”, go to the head of the class!

Why would the banks need to prop up these asset prices? It is their balance sheets. If the “value” of the asset side goes down too much,their capital goes down. If their capital goes down too low, they can’t lend anymore. If they can’t lend anymore, they close.

All this makes Chairman Powell and his boys the most powerful group in town and basically makes this stupid Presidential election a sham. The man or woman in the White house means almost nothing.

If you don’t believe me, perhaps Chris Whalen, who used to work at the
Fed can persuade you:

“The primary dealers as a group almost got blown out in March, like most restaurants in lower Manhattan right about now. The Powell Fed knows that direct support for the Treasury market via QE is a permanent fixture on the economic scene.

And they know that the dealer banks have zero appetite for supporting a failing Treasury market, meaning that the Fed of New York is the market. Indeed, the Fed’s supposed change in policy regarding inflation targeting was really just window dressing, lipstick on the proverbial pig. The economists will talk about inflation, but the reality is in more or less continuous open market operations.

Just as with downside of manipulating interest expense, the economist fraternity misses the punch line. Inflation must be higher because the Fed must continue to buy trillions in Treasury debt and agency MBS each year. No matter who wins the presidential election in November, have no doubt that Chairman Powell is the most important man in town.”

I would take the “economist fraternity” a little farther. Most
“economists” depend upon Fed “money”. I think that makes most of them shills.

Have a good day!

Kashkari Wants to Bury You in Debt

August 3, 2020

Mr. Kashkari (ironic name for this guy), president of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank is claiming that we will have a better economic recovery if we lock down again in an effort to contain the SARS-CoV-2 virus:

“Neel Kashkari, president of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, said the nation needs to control the spread of the virus, which is increasing across much of the country, to get back on a path to economic health.”

He went on to say this:

‘He also said that Congress can afford large sums for coronavirus relief efforts, though Republican lawmakers are looking to lessen the amount of supplemental aid for unemployed Americans as part of the next relief bill.

“Right now, the U.S. can fund itself at very, very low rates. Congress should use this opportunity to support the American people and the American economy. I’m not worried about it,” he said. “If we get the economy growing, we will be able to pay off the debt.”’

I think this is a banker’s game – bury people in debt and make them slaves. There is a reason that debt instruments are called “bonds” – they put people in bondage. What does Mr. Kashkari think will happen to loans, mortgages and leases as businesses are closed for another month to six weeks?

We also get this line of malarkey from MSN Money:

“It’s a rapid reversal in fortune. Early on in the pandemic, the dollar soared after investors sought safety in U.S. assets like Treasuries while the virus stormed through Europe. But with cases now exploding at home, the ineffectual American response to the disease has become a millstone for the currency, spurring concern about lasting damage to the U.S. economy that could keep interest rates and growth low for years.”

MSN Money blames dollar weakness on “…the ineffectual American response to the disease….”

I do not believe this for one second. I don’t know about you, but I like to buy low and sell high. Right now the dollar’s price or purchasing power is declining. Here is why:

“Absolute power and lack of accountability by the Fed are generally defended on one ground alone: that any change would weaken the Federal Reserve’s allegedly inflexible commitment to wage a seemingly permanent “fight against inflation.” This is the Johnny-one-note of the Fed’s defense of its unbridled power. The Gonzalez reforms, Fed officials warn, might be seen by financial markets “as weakening the Fed’s ability to fight inflation” (New York Times, October 8, 1993). In subsequent Congressional testimony, Chairman Alan Greenspan elaborated this point. Politicians, and presumably the public, are eternally tempted to expand the money supply and thereby aggravate (price) inflation. Thus to Greenspan:

‘The temptation is to step on the monetary accelerator or at least to avoid the monetary brake until after the next election. Giving in to such temptations is likely to impart an inflationary bias to the economy and could lead to instability, recession, and economic stagnation.’”

Mr. Greenspan told us here that “money” printing is the cause of “…an inflationary bias to the economy….” I think he misused the term “inflation” here to refer to a general rise in prices or general decline in the purchasing power of the USD.

Lets take a look at how hard the Fed stepped on “the monetary accelerator” beginning in February 2020. The week ended February 19, 2020 the total assets held by the twelve Federal Reserve Banks stood at $4,171,570 millions (4.171 trillion). That means the twelve Federal Reserve Banks had the exact same amount in liabilities. The liabilities are basically “money”. Some of that “money” is what the banks call reserves and that “money” stays on “deposit” at the Fed for the most part. Now we will fast forward to the week ended June 4, 2020. The total assets held by the twelve Federal Reserve Banks at that time was $7,165,217 millions (7.165 trillion).

In the space of twelve weeks the Fed nearly doubled its liabilities. This means that the “money” supply nearly doubled. The increase in twelve short weeks was only slightly less than what occurred over about three years from 12/2007 to 12/2014 ($3.623 trillion). I know that a substantial portion of that increase will stay within the banks and will not come out to Main Street, although in theory it could. Historically the banks held almost nothing in “reserves”. It wasn’t until September 2008 that the banks began to hold such a huge amount of “reserves”.

Here is why banks are willing to leave those “reserves” on “deposit” at the Fed:

“On October 3, 2008, Section 128 of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 allowed the Federal Reserve banks to begin paying interest on excess reserve balances (“IOER”) as well as required reserves. The Federal Reserve banks began doing so three days later.[5] Banks had already begun increasing the amount of their money on deposit with the Fed at the beginning of September, up from about $10 billion total at the end of August, 2008, to $880 billion by the end of the second week of January, 2009.[6][7] In comparison, the increase in reserve balances reached only $65 billion after September 11, 2001 before falling back to normal levels within a month.”

What we have seen is a huge and unprecedented increase in “bank money”. Essentially this was stepping on “…the monetary accelerator….” Mr. Kashkari and his shill MSN Money are using the SARS-CoV-2 as cover. The strategy recommended by Mr. Kashkari will simply create MOAR “assets” for the banks or IOU’s as the Congress borrows every MOAR “money” to bail out the locked down businesses. Oh, and I wonder what businesses will receive that bailout “money”. Will small “Main Street” businesses receive it? I doubt it. I suspect it will be the large corporations that are important to our “representatives” in Washington.

So, as the supply of “money” goes up, its price or purchasing power goes down. It may be too late to sell already, but it is no wonder that dollar is being sold.

Have a nice day!

Meaningless “Data”

July 24, 2020

We are bombarded daily with “statistics” regarding “new cases”. These “statistics” are worthless and in-fact are harmful. These “statistics” incite panic. We do not get meaningful statistics until we speak about people with clinical signs of the disease (symptoms).

Here is a perfect example from Reuters:

“July 20 (Reuters) – Florida reported 10,347 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, the sixth day in a row the state has announced over 10,000 new infections.

Florida reported 92 new deaths on Monday, bringing the state’s death toll to 5,183. (Writing by Lisa Shumaker)”

That is the entire “story”. It is utterly worthless. Obviously the intent here is to create fear. There was no discussion regarding the identification of the new “infections” and it was only implied that “92 new deaths on Monday,” were from COVID-19. This article by Neil A. Kurtzman, MD explains why these “statistics” are worse than worthless:

“It should be obvious from the data above that all the testing we have done and continue to do has likely confused more than enlightened. The virus is real and in the wild. How should we effectively deal with it? The best indicator of our status is how many people are in the hospital because of a clinical diagnosis of viral pneumonia. More specifically, how many are in the ICU. Note that testing here is unnecessary, as the assumption today is that any case of viral pneumonia is caused by the coronavirus.”

Have a good day!

Repetition and Practice Bring Fluency and Understanding

July 15, 2020

Barbara Oakley wrote an interesting article that asserts, “The building blocks of understanding are memorization and repetition.”

I totally agree with her. True knowledge of any subject comes from intimacy with it and that means spending a lot of time with it or “memorization and repetition.” It is hard work.

The problem with focusing relentlessly on understanding is that math and science students can often grasp essentials of an important idea, but this understanding can quickly slip away without consolidation through practice and repetition. Worse, students often believe they understand something when, in fact, they don’t. By championing the importance of understanding, teachers can inadvertently set their students up for failure as those students blunder in illusions of competence. As one (failing) engineering student recently told me: “I just don’t see how I could have done so poorly. I understood it when you taught it in class.” My student may have thought he’d understood it at the time, and perhaps he did, but he’d never practiced using the concept to truly internalize it. He had not developed any kind of procedural fluency or ability to apply what he thought he understood.

Tesla v. Toyota and “Green” v. Nuclear

Wed 08 Jul 2020

Here is an interesting comparison of Toyota v. Tesla. Toyota builds practical, reliable and energy efficient automobiles, while Tesla sells a dream of “green” energy.

“Currently, Tesla’s market cap is worth $259 billion compared to $206 billion for Toyota. Why did investors push Tesla’s stock up to $1,400 a share ($259 billion market cap) when its total revenues in 2019 were only a little more than Toyota’s net income profits? As you can see, Toyota posted $19 billion in net income profits on total revenues of $278 billion compared to Tesla’s $862 million net income loss on $24.3 billion in revenues.

Again, a perfect example of the investor mindset today. Profits don’t matter, just technology, regardless if it continues to lose money.

And, if we look at the comparison of car sales, Tesla’s U.S. EV sales were only 8% of Toyota’s North American sales in 2019. Toyota sold nearly 2.4 million cars and trucks versus 192,500 units for Tesla.”

I realize that a Tesla has no emissions at its tail pipe, so it looks good, but there are emissions. The emissions just take place out of sight. Think of the emissions involved in the mining and shipping of the materials for the batteries. There are emissions from generating the electricity to charge the batteries. Most electricity is still generated by some fossil fuel. Many people don’t realize that wind power and solar power actually cause us to burn more fossil fuel.

We are accustomed to having a constant supply of electricity, so that when we flip a light switch, the light immediately shines. We also want a steady supply of electricity at a relatively constant voltage for our computers and televisions. If the voltage dips too much they shut off. Wind and solar do not provide a steady supply of electricity, like we
desire. The reason we have a steady supply is fossil fuel power plants.

Fossil fuel power plants cannot come on line and begin to deliver electricity at the “flick of a switch”. It takes substantial time to get them up and running. Therefore, fossil fuel power plants have to be “standing by” to take up the slack when the wind stops blowing or the sun goes behind clouds and the output from “green” sources drops. This means that we are burning fossil fuels just to keep the “back-up” power plants idling. This is very inefficient.

Another question is how much fossil fuel does it take to build the equipment for solar and wind and then to put it in place along with all the wires for transmission.

Here you can watch a former “green” energy reformer explain why “green” energy does not work and damages the environment.

He had data that showed nuclear power is cheaper and safer than all the other competitors, including wind. He compared Germany, which has a lot of wind and solar, with France, which is mostly nuclear. France had much lower electricity costs and had a steady supply of it, consistent with modern demands. Nuclear power plants emit nothing to the atmosphere.

If our aim is to reduce CO2 emissions, our best bet is probably nuclear power plants. They produce steady power, as we demand, and produce no CO2 while running. They cost less, are more efficient and their waste is contained.

I think what we are seeing with Tesla stock is a maniacal bubble, like the Dutch Tulip mania.

“Lame Street” Media Prefers This Not Be Seen

An article was written in 2005 (15 years ago) on NCBI (a government website), which supports the notion that chloroquine is effective against SARS – a coronavirus:

Background

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is caused by a newly discovered coronavirus (SARS-CoV). No effective prophylactic or post-exposure therapy is currently available.
Results

We report, however, that chloroquine has strong antiviral effects on SARS-CoV infection of primate cells. These inhibitory effects are observed when the cells are treated with the drug either before or after exposure to the virus, suggesting both prophylactic and therapeutic advantage. In addition to the well-known functions of chloroquine such as elevations of endosomal pH, the drug appears to interfere with terminal glycosylation of the cellular receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2. This may negatively influence the virus-receptor binding and abrogate the infection, with further ramifications by the elevation of vesicular pH, resulting in the inhibition of infection and spread of SARS CoV at clinically admissible concentrations.
Conclusion

Chloroquine is effective in preventing the spread of SARS CoV in cell culture. Favorable inhibition of virus spread was observed when the cells were either treated with chloroquine prior to or after SARS CoV infection. In addition, the indirect immunofluorescence assay described herein represents a simple and rapid method for screening SARS-CoV antiviral compounds.

Alina Chan on SARS-CoV-2

May 21, 2020

J.C. on a Bike discussed a recent preprint of a paper by Alina Chan. Here is some of it:

“…Our observations suggest that by the time SARS-CoV-2 was first detected in late 2019, it was already pre-adapted to human transmission to an extent similar to late epidemic SARS-CoV. However, no precursors or branches of evolution stemming from a less human-adapted SARS-CoV-2-like virus have been detected. The sudden appearance of a highly infectious SARS-CoV-2 presents a major cause for concern that should motivate stronger international efforts to identify the source and prevent near future re-emergence.”

“SARS-CoV was observed to adapt under selective pressure that was highest as it crossed from Himalayan palm civets (intermediate host species) to humans and diminished towards the end of the epidemic (15–18); this series of adaptations between species and in humans culminated in a highly infectious SARS-CoV that dominated the late epidemic phase. In comparison, SARS-CoV-2 exhibits genetic diversity that is more similar to that of late epidemic SARS-CoV (Figure 1, Supplementary Table). In fact, the exceedingly high level of identity shared among SARS-CoV-2 isolates makes it impractical to model site-wise selection pressure. As more mutations occur and, ideally, when SARS-CoV-2-like viruses from an intermediate host species are identified, it will become possible to model selection pressure as was done for SARS-CoV.”

A virus’s host environment tends to select against most random mutations. In other words, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If a virus finds itself in a new host environment, it needs to change as was observed with SARS-CoV, or it can’t replicate. Ms. Chan’s findings suggest SARS-CoV-2 was already well “adapted” to human hosts and right now no one has identified the host that preceded humans. This suggests/supports the idea that SARS-CoV-2 came from GoF studies.