As the year draws to a close, thoughts inevitably become reflective. I reflect on the year just past and on the one to come. There were big changes for me, both personal and professional. This year I celebrated the 30th anniversary of my 39th birthday. I recovered from Covid. I also celebrated 40 years of marriage to the woman of my dreams, my true soul mate. Next year, I will begin the seventh decade of my life and I foresee big changes, retirement or at least a major slowing down of clinical practice being one of them. It has been a good run.
My update on Covid vaccines
If a cold is a organ grinder monkey, influenza is King Kong, and Covid is King Kong on steroids.
R. T. Bosshardt
I have known Kurt for over 53 years. We have been best friends since high school, are now both physicians (he a family practitioner and I a plastic surgeon), and still maintain weekly contact. He is my workout partner at the gym. He is also my personal physician. I take his medical advice seriously.
Kurt and I sit down once a week for an hour to just talk about things- our lives, medicine, the craziness of the world around us. Recently, our conversation has focused a lot, of course, on Covid. Our takes are a bit different. He is a pragmatist and focuses on what works and what doesn’t. He calls me an idealist but, on reflection, I would qualify that by calling myself a cynical idealist. By that I mean that I see the world in ideal terms but also accept that it just isn’t that way, largely because people are imperfect and unpredictable.
Our conversation this morning turned on vaccines. He received his vaccination with the Pfizer product in December. I chose to wait for the Novavax vaccine and planned to treat myself using the FLCCC protocol in the event I became ill before it was available. I weighed my risks and elected to chance Covid given that my risk of dying was less than 1 %. He has not been ill all year despite repeated exposure to Covid patients. I came down with Covid in July. I followed the protocol and came through it, but it was a miserable experience, on par with a severe case of influenza for my wife and me. (go to page 2 below)
What is wrong with Critical Race Theory
I am not an academic. I am simply an American who happens to be a white male, arguably the most maligned group in America today. I have never believed, or acted as though I believed, that someone is in any way inferior to me simply because of their race. I am not colorblind. I have eyes to see every human being for what they are. I also believe that immutable characteristics should be irrelevant in judging persons. Critical Race Theory purports to explain inequites seen in society and correct them. It claims to be the answer to racism. I am skeptical and here is why.
Critical Race Theory sees everything through the lens of race and racism. Racism underlies all of human history. All motivation and actions are, at their core, race-based. There is no such thing as altruism or just doing the right thing for its own sake as race underlies all behavior. Critical Race Theory advocates speak incessantly about race until one begins to give in to its ridiculous propositions through sheer exhaustion and desire to just make them and the issue go away. It is not unlike a whining child to whom adults give in just to shut them up. One of the most vile aspects of CRT is that it defines American history by its worst racial moments. Slavery, Jim Crow laws, red-lining, and scattered incidents of inter-racial violence or injustice are proof positive of America’s systemic and structural racism and sufficient justification to take down the entire edifice of American jurisprudence, social programs, and education. It completely ignores the abolitionist movement in which blacks and whites fought slavery, often at great personal risk. It ignores the Civil War in which over 620,000 white, military-age males, or one in ten, died to end slavery. It ignores the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to our Constitution, the Civil Rights Movement, legislation such as Brown vs Board of Education, and well-intentioned, but flawed, efforts to equalize opportunities for black and other non-white Americans such as affirmative action. It ignores the tremendous progress made in correcting the wrongs of the past and efforts to insure equal opportunity for all going forward. We still have a long way to go, but CRT acts as though no progress has been made at all. CRT pushes the virtues of diversity, equity, and inclusion or DEI. Let’s look at those.
Diversity- CRT claims to promote diversity but it is one-dimensional sort of diversity. The diversity of CRT is restricted to those non-whites that agree with the premise of CRT. All whites are racist unless they agree with CRT. Even then, they must declare and acknowledge their intrinsic racism before they are accepted into the CRT family. Blacks and others of color who disagree with CRT are excluded as racists. Diversity of thought is not tolerated as all who disagree with CRT are de facto racist. CRT promotes the false dichotomy that there is only white and non-white. You are one or the other. Skin pigmentation is everything, ignoring the fact that nearly all of us, if you go back far enough, are of mixed heritage.
Equity- This is where the roots of CRT in Marxism are most evident, perpetuating the Marxist view that divides mankind into one of two groups: oppressor or oppressed. The goal of CRT is not reform or an attempt to further humanist or Judeo/Christian values, as did the Civil Rights Movements. CRT advocates repudiate the leaders of that movement, including the Rev. Martin Luther King himself. The goal is revolution and a total destruction of the current “system”, which is intrinsically racist. This includes values such as meritocracy based on ability and hard work, the nuclear family, and free enterprise capitalism, which CRT claims simply perpetuates white privilege and white oppression. In its place will be some vaguely envisioned utopia in which whites (bourgeois) will be put in their place and everyone will share equally in the spoils of society, according to their need, not their contribution. This is nothing more than equality of outcomes and is Marxism, pure and simple. All that has been done is replace the bourgeois and proletariat with white and non-white, respectively. Every attempt in human history to transform this ideology into reality has resulted in enslavement of the population and the deaths of tens and hundreds of millions.
Inclusion- CRT elevates group identity above all else. It is not even enough to be white or black, although these are the foundational identities; you must subscribe to CRT ideology. This is why CRT advocates can call blacks who do not agree with CRT “Uncle Toms” as exemplified by President Biden’s comment to black interviewer, Charlamagne, “If you have trouble deciding between me and Trump, you ain’t black.” Individual identity does not exist in CRT. Acceptance into the CRT family requires either the right skin pigmentation or subscribing to its racist ideology. Whites are only accepted if they deny their “whiteness”, accept their undeserved white privilege, apologize for their intrinsic, universal racism, and subscribe to CRT’s premises. CRT is inclusive only to the extent that all adherents to this ideology must agree on specific tenets. These include the belief that America is systemically racist, i.e. that our laws are geared to maintaining a white privileged status quo. It maintains that individuals are defined by the group they are in, according to skin pigmentation and that being white is sufficient proof that one is racist. Ibram Kendi goes so far as to assert the self-contradictory position that to claim one is not racist is, in and of itself, a racist statement. That claim is not allowed in CRT. You are either racist or antiracist. Antiracism is a term coined by Kendi to exemplify the false dichotomy of CRT. The two are inseparable and indistinguishable, despite the assertions of some who do not understand this and believe that antiracism is simply another way of denouncing racism.
Rather than unite us, CRT will perpetually divide us according to immutable characteristics such as skin color, which is the definition of racism. According to CRT, we are judged solely on skin color and found wanting, regardless of how we may think, what we say, or how we act. Nothing matters except our skin color and willingness to accept CRT ideology as gospel. It is telling that the originator of the term “antiracism”, Ibram Kendi, will not accept any challenge to defend his position in a debate with another person of color who disagrees with him because, to disagree with him is racist, and he will not debate racists. That alone should tell you something of the intellectual bankruptcy of CRT.
Richard T. Bosshardt, MD
No longer a Fellow- why I am leaving the American College of Surgeons
After 28 years as a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, I am done. Although it breaks my heart, I will no longer be Richard Bosshardt, MD, FACS. If you want to know why, read on.
When I was in my surgical training, I first noted that some of the attending surgeons had the initials, FACS after the MD behind their name. I learned that this stood for Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (ACS). The ACS represents all surgical specialties.
Fellowship in the College was more than just a matter of applying, paying a fee, and getting a certificate. To be considered, you had to have an unrestricted medical license and be board-certified in a surgical specialty by a member board of the American Board of Medical Specialties. You had to have been in a full-time practice in one location for at least one year. You had to have unrestricted hospital privileges and no reportable actions against you. You had to have references from two Fellows of the College. Once you were elected to Fellowship, there was a ceremony at the annual meeting of the ACS, very much like a graduation ceremony, in full cap and gown, at which new Fellows pledged to always adhere to, and uphold, the highest standards of surgical practice and always place the care of their patients first and foremost. (Please continue to page 2- see below)
I Am a Surgeon
The year was 1984. I was a chief resident in general surgery at the US Naval Hospital, Oakland, CA. I and my two co-residents were finishing the last of five years of training in general surgery. By now, we were functioning as nearly independent surgeons, operating on our own patients and helping train the residents behind us. We were allowed to operate without an attending surgeon present most of the time, but were expected to request assistance if we needed it on complex or difficult cases. By this time, we had enough knowledge and surgical experience to feel fairly confident in our capabilities.
Surgery is a strange amalgam of confidence coupled with humility. Confidence is a must in a profession where you are cutting people open as a matter of routine. Humility is equally important. People and the human body are simply too complex to be approached without some trepidation and with great respect. There has to be a balance, however. The over-confident surgeon is just as dangerous as the overly-timid one.
One of the traditions of our program, indeed, of most surgical training programs, was to send off the graduating residents with a banquet. It was attended by all of the residents and attending surgeons and their spouses. The graduates were toasted and roasted in equal measure in funny and, sometimes, embarrassing ways. For that evening, the general surgery service at the hospital was covered for emergencies by one of the other surgery services so that we all could attend and the day’s surgery schedule was shortened as well. For the graduating residents, it marked the transition from resident to attending surgeon and was highly anticipated.
My Take on the Covid Vaccines
“With Covid-19, we have thrown caution to the winds.”
I am no virologist, infectious disease specialist, or even a family physician, just a lowly plastic surgeon. Even so, friends, family, and even my own staff turn to me and ask what they should do about the Covid vaccine. Should they get it? Am I going to be vaccinated? I have reviewed this issue for a while to try to formulate a reasoned, evidence-based approach. Finally, I am ready to provide an answer. Happily, it is a validation of the approach I had already chosen for myself.
To begin, let’s review a little about vaccines in general and the Covid vaccine(s) in particular. My source? Dr. Paul Offit https://www.paul-offit.com/about-paul-offit-md, a pediatrician with impeccable credentials in the area of vaccines and co-discoverer of the rotavirus vaccine (more on this in a moment). My information came from a recent interview with Offit on the Peter Attia, MD podcast https://peterattiamd.com/pauloffit/.
The anti-vaccine movement stems from a fraudulent paper published in Lancet in 1998 by Dr. Andrew Wakefield and retracted soon thereafter, when it was proven that Wakefield falsified his data https://briandeer.com/mmr/lancet-paper.htm. The entire story can be accessed in the book, The Doctor Who Fooled the World, by Brian Deer. Suffice it to say that, despite a few residual outliers who simply refuse to accept the facts, it is a medical certainty that autism is not caused by vaccines, specifically in the case of Wakefield’s paper, the measle/mumps/rubella vaccine.
Offit worked for 26 years to develop a vaccine against rotavirus, which causes fever and diarrhea in children between 6 and 24 months of age. Before the vaccine, nearly every child in the US was infected by age 5, with 75,000 hospitalizations, mainly for dehydration, and 60 deaths annually. Worldwide, rotavirus killed 500,000 children per year. Offit made the point that a rotavirus vaccine that pre-dated his had a severe side effect that could not have been predicted, even by extensive studies, and was taken off the market within 10 months. This becomes important later, when discussing Covid vaccines.
To understand the unprecedented nature of the available Covid vaccines, you have to understand how vaccines are developed.
Covid’s Four Horsemen
If you are like me, you are probably exhausted from all the discussion regarding the virus, SARS-CoV-2 and Covid-19, the illness it causes. A lot of discussion had understandably focused on the rate of serious illness and death from Covid. The rates of both have been frightening (although the true rates are not really known for many reasons not germaine to this post) and served as justification for unprecedented measures to end the pandemic. If it were not for that, Covid would have been regarded as just another annoying seasonal virus, little different from the other coronaviruses, rhinoviruses, RSV (respiratory syncytial viruses), parainfluenza, and others we have not yet identified. We live with those as a matter of course. We now have enough experience with the “novel” virus unleashed on the world by the Chinese Communist Party to know that it uniquely spares children, poses relatively little risk to healthy adults, and is most dangerous to adults over 70 years-old and those with certain chronic medical conditions.
Those conditions are medically termed co-morbidities and include illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, asthma and other lung problems, obesity, diabetes, immune-related conditions of every sort, kidney disease, and so on. Among them are four that are noteworthy because they are so common and so commonly associated with serious illness and death from Covid. These are obesity, type II diabetes, hypertension, and metabolic syndrome. The last is basically a melding of the first three. In addition to having in common the fact that they greatly increase the risk of serious illness and death from Covid is the fact that they are all largely preventable.
The Moral Bankruptcy of the Democratic Party
“If hypocrisy were currency, Democrats would be billionaires.”
Recent events have uncovered the unquestioned moral bankruptcy of the leadership of the Democratic Party, from the new administration on down. Dating this is not unlike trying to date some other antiquity; the origin tends to be lost in the mists of time.
I first took note of it during the Obama administration, but it really boiled to the surface during the Trump years. Something about The Donald sent democrats into a foaming frenzy, with calls for his impeachment even before he took the oath of office, including newly elected representative Rashida Tlaib’s rant on the floor of Congress, “Let’s impeach the mother*cker!” That frenzy never let up for the next four years overshadowing even major accomplishment of his administration. They never got beyond his admittedly boorish personality to look at what he was actually doing, some of it quite good. The nail in the coffin was the CCP virus and the pandemic, in which the administration could do nothing right and was blamed by the democrats and their mouthpiece, the mainstream media, for the many deaths, notwithstanding most seemed to come from states with democratic governors. This alone likely cost Trump a second term.
If hypocrisy were currency, democrats would be billionaires. Among other things, Trump was perhaps most accused of being boorish and uncivil, yet who can forget the spectacle of Nancy Pelosi tearing up the draft of the president’s State of the Union address in front of Congress? Trump now stands accused of inciting civil unrest in the wake of a relatively small mob of idiots storming the capitol building (while tens of thousands of peaceful protesters and Trump supporters were virtually ignored by the press), yet Pelosi and Kamala Harris are given a bye on doing exactly that during last summer’s “mostly peaceful” protests and riots. Democrats who accused Trump of being an autocrat, dictator, and threat to our constitutional freedoms now push for establishing enemy lists of Trump supporters and propose they be “re-educated”. Leading the charge is Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, the darling of the radical progressive left. The hypocrisy is so thick, you could cut it with a knife.
President Biden is on record as being against executive orders, going so far as to state, “This isn’t a dictatorship; you have to get the votes.” In a monumental irony that has not gone unnoticed, his first two weeks in office has been a frenzy of executive orders such that he now holds the record for more of them than any other president in such a short time span. He signed 22 in his first week, compared to 4 for Trump. Nearly all were clearly intended to reverse Trump’s policies, without regard to whether they had merit or not. Among them was a pledge to return to the discredited Paris Accords, cancellation of the Keystone pipeline with loss of thousands of jobs, a reversal of Trump’s progress in border security, cancellation of the 1776 project, resumption of indoctrination of federal government employees in critical race theory (which blames literally every wrong in society on racism and white oppression), and a likely reset of our relations with Iran, ignoring the gains made by Trump’s hard line against the rogue nation, and the unprecedented achievement of the Abraham Accords.
You would think, the democratic party would be satisfied at having defeated Trump and move on with their agenda to remake America in the image of a progressive, quasi (for now)-socialist state, but it is more than just morally bankrupt and hypocritical; it is also vindictive. It is not enough to have unsuccessfully impeached Trump while he was in office. Now, the goal is to impeach him after he has left, something never before attempted. Victor Davis Hanson has likened this to Achilles dragging Hector’s dead body around Troy, which had the unintended effect of making the unpopular Hector into a martyr. Hanson warns democrats of something they seem to have forgotten, “Americans hate one thing more than a sore loser, and that is an arrogant, vindictive- and bullying- winner.” Trump may be a billionaire, but against the might of the federal government, who is the bully now?
In accusing Trump and Trump supporters of being immoral, or worse, it seems democrats are simply upset that someone else is swimming in their pool.
Gamestop and the r/wallstreetbets end game
“You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.” Harlan Ellision
This is going to be a long one. I am stepping way out of my comfort zone on this one, but I consider it a good object lesson on being careful about opining on things you know nothing about. For me, one of those things is finances, Wall Street, and the stock market. Toss hedge funds and things like short sells into my bag of ignorance. When I heard about the short selling of Gamestop and the alleged David versus Goliath shake up of Wall Street, my first impression was “Go, David!”. There is something satisfying about “sticking it to The Man” and, since the debacle of 2008, Wall Street has been on many people’s sh*t list because of the perceived inequities between big Wall Street firms and its major players and us, the little guys. On the other hand, as the analysis below shows, “we” are Wall Street. If we take it down, what happens to all the retirement accounts, pension plans, and savings of those of us who are not millionaires and just trying to build a nest egg for the future? When the dust settles billionaires and companies may have been stung, perhaps a few even bankrupted, but at what cost? A few gamers, or “retards” as they call themselves, may have made a lot of money, but the rest of us will be left with little, if anything, to show for all the fireworks.
Most people will never read beyond the mainstream media and online reports. Read on if you want to read an insider’s analysis and educate yourself. If you find yourself overwhelmed- it is in depth- just go to the bold, italicized sections, which are the heart of the matter, rather than the nuts and bolts. Enjoy
New Years- a time for resolutions
“A resolution is a promise to yourself that you haven’t broken….yet“
Now that the New Year has been rung in, leaving behind a year like no other, what next? If you are like me and most other people, you have probably made some resolutions for the New Year. The beginning of a new year is a natural starting point for making changes, which is undoubtedly why the tradition of making resolutions began. My definition of a resolution is a promise you make to yourself that you haven’t broken…. yet.
Breaking resolutions is as much a tradition as making them. I think many people set themselves up for failure. There are a number of principles that can help you to keep resolutions in 2021.