Michael Fumento

Michael Fumento is a journalist, author, and attorney who specializes in health and science. He can be reached at Fumento[at]gmail.com.

Most Recent Articles by Michael Fumento:

The Dark Side of Artificial Intelligence

Mar 8, 2018 — Michael Fumento

The Dark Side of Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) is cool.

I often have to write in different languages and was shocked to find that overnight Google Translate went from being a joke to “knowing” even my best foreign language better than me. The reason: an AI program called “Deep Learning.” An Echo device with Alexa software has been a godsend to my extremely elderly parents who like most people their ages are technophobic, plus my father has very poor eyesight. I’ve written extensively on vehicle safety and I’m convinced that autonomous vehicles can eliminate the overwhelming majority of the 37,000 annual vehicular deaths in the U.S. each year.

Tariffs Cry “Blame Canada!” But Everyone Will Suffer

Mar 6, 2018 — Michael Fumento

President Donald Trump has announced plans to impose a stiff 25 percent duty on imports of steel and 10 percent on aluminum. This shortly after slapping heavy tariffs on washing machines and solar panels. Even those with protectionist inclinations need to know these metals aren’t the industries to protect. Few mining jobs would be saved, while the cost of finished goods will rise and encourage offshoring. And in terms of trade war, it looks to be the equivalent of Sarajevo in June 1914.

Imports make up about a third of the 100 million tons of steel used by American businesses every year, and more than 90 percent of the 5.5 million tons of aluminum. That’s a lot. But let’s be clear that this isn’t about dumping (a country subsidizing exports or in some way selling them for less abroad than at home), notwithstanding Trump’s claim at a 2016 campaign rally in Pittsburgh that “China is dumping steel all over the United States, okay? It’s killing you.”

Trump Right to Take Hatchet to International “Orbital Turkey”

Feb 23, 2018 — Michael Fumento

Trump Right to Take Hatchet to International Orbital Turkey
Houston, we have a problem.

That’s the way boosters of the International Space Station (ISS) see reports that the forthcoming Trump Administration budget essentially eliminates NASA funding for the orbital International Space Station (ISS) after the current authorization ends in 2024. Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz is leading the attack, blaming the “numbskulls” at the Office of Management and Budget. “As a fiscal conservative, you know one of the dumbest things you can do is cancel programs after billions in investment when there is still serious usable life ahead,” he said.

New Import Duties Will Harm U.S. Consumers and Companies

Feb 10, 2018 — Michael Fumento

New Import Duties Will Harm U.S. Consumers and Companies
President Trump, with a nice big push from the U.S International Trade Commission (ITC), has slapped duties on two vastly different imports, solar panels made in China and all washing machines regardless of country. And that ITC has done him—and us—wrong.

Prices for those imports will go up and, for at least one product (solar panels) there will almost certainly be a net U.S. job loss, even as the tariffs expose the U.S. to both direct and indirect retaliation as well as litigation before the World Trade Organization (WTO) that has the power to remove the duties.

Don’t Panic Over the Latest Flu Fraud

Jan 23, 2018 — Michael Fumento

Don't Panic Over the Latest Flu Fraud
Flu fear is in the air! Emergency rooms are swamped. Sore throat? Nasal congestion? Get thee to the hospital! Now!

We know we should believe this because the media tell us so.

The hype:

  • “Get Ready, Some Medical Experts Are Predicting the Worst Flu Season In History,” declares a CNBC headline.
  • “Here’s Why the Flu Is Especially Bad This Year,” says Time.
  • “Five Things You Should Know About This Year’s Very Bad Flu,” proclaims The Washington Post.
  • We repeatedly hear of “deadly flu” and are told in dire terms that over 100 Americans have died from it as of January 11.
  • The anti-viral Tamiflu could be very helpful, but there are localized shortages. (Because of the hype, of course.)

Why No “Berlin Airlift” for Puerto Rico?

Oct 5, 2017 — Michael Fumento

In June 1948, Soviet forces blockaded rail, road, and water access to Allied-controlled areas of Berlin. Within two days the US and UK air forces had begun a supply chain from bases in in western Germany, maintaining it until May the following year. In all, the Berlin Airlift delivered 2.4 million tons of food and supplies under hostile conditions to about 2.5 million people, including all their food, gasoline, and coal for heating and electricity generating.

Yet Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory with 3.4 million souls, two weeks after being body-slammed by the fiercest hurricane to hit the island in 90 years, is receiving little aid. This is apparently primarily because of a bottleneck at the island’s sole container port, San Juan. There is disagreement over the causes of that bottleneck, but fact is it can be bypassed.

Special Ops Should Be Off Limits to Women

Aug 16, 2017 — Michael Fumento

In an historic 2015 announcement, Defense Secretary Ash Carter declared all combat positions would now be open to women. But for some it was not welcome news.

In strong opposition was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford. Carter had no military background before taking the Pentagon’s top civilian job under President Obama. (Nor did he stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night or play a military person on TV.) In fact, his doctorate is in theoretical physics. Dunford, meanwhile, is a Marine general with several tours of duty in the Iraq War, plus Afghanistan. At the time of the Carter announcement, Dunford presented evidence that women suffered drawbacks not only in the more obvious areas involving strength and stamina, but were even much less capable of hitting a target. All of which Carter simply pooh-poohed as “just not definitive, not determinative.”

The Immorality of U.S. HIV/AIDS Overspending

Jul 24, 2017 — Michael Fumento

Seven of 22 the members of The Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS have now resigned. This was one of those public displays of moral exhibitionism to which we’ve become accustomed: They announced their rationale in a Newsweek op-ed, writing that they can no longer be effective under a “president who simply does not care.”

Their alleged main grievance was proposed cuts for HIV/AIDS funding in President Trump’s proposed budget. The actual amount of those cuts is irrelevant, in that such proposals are essentially generalized recommendations. The real complaint is the very thought that previously sacrosanct funding should be considered for reduction at all.

How the Asbestos Hysteria Led to the Grenfell Tragedy

Jun 24, 2017 — Michael Fumento

There was no single cause of the tragic 24-story Grenfell Tower conflagration in London. The British newspaper The Telegraph lists eight factors, including lack of dual staircases, lack of sprinklers both outside and inside, and sub-standard fire doors—none of which at this time appear to have violated the law. But nothing contributed more to the sheer speed of the spread, blocking both exits and preventing rescues, and hence the horrific death toll, than what’s called “cladding.” That’s a covering or coating on the structure.

According to The Telegraph, fire safety experts warned as much as 18 years ago that the cladding used on buildings such as Grenfell Tower—used to improve both energy efficiency and aesthetics—posed a deadly threat because it essentially turns a high-rise into a chimney, funneling the heat upwards. Why? Partly it’s “breathing space” between cladding panels allowing oxygen to enter and partly because the cladding was made of aluminum and . . . polyethylene. “Ethyl” means a petroleum byproduct. And while petroleum byproducts may be good for heating and cooling insulation, petroleum burns.

The Paris Agreement Had No Teeth

Jun 13, 2017 — Michael Fumento

The Paris agreement had no teeth. It was voluntary. Double voluntary, in fact. Nations could choose their reduction levels and there was no enforcement mechanism. Nevertheless, the U.S. withdrawal has prompted warnings of environmental catastrophe, with David Gergen calling it “one of the most shameful acts” in America’s history.

Yet if it’s actions that count, the United States is doing pretty well.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration earlier this year reported that U.S. emissions of CO2 have dropped to the lowest level since 1991. This is almost entirely because utilities are replacing closing coal-fired plants with those that burn far-cleaner, and now cheaper, natural gas.

Gunshot, not Lethal Injections, Is Most Humane

May 3, 2017 — Michael Fumento

Lethal injection executions, back in the news, just aren’t working. For a variety of reasons. While they are bloodless (so is strangulation, starvation, and being broken on the wheel), it appears they often are not painless. They most certainly are not quick, sometimes taking hours. They arguably violate the Hippocratic Oath in having a doctor perform them, yet you hardly want an amateur to perform them. And drug companies don’t want their products associated with causing death. Go figure!

So that’s it, right? The U.S. is out of tricks. (Canada abolished the death penalty long ago.) Or so capital punishment opponents would like us to think, as a backdoor means of ending the entire institution in the U.S. But while there may be serious moral grounds for ending executions to consider, it’s not logical to ban it strictly on grounds that there’s no form that’s totally painless, bloodless, and quick. Presumably the victims of the perpetrators did not die in such a manner.

How the United Passenger Suckered Us

Apr 16, 2017 — Michael Fumento

You’ve been snookered folks! By that poor elderly doctor who was involuntarily dragged from his seat, had his face smashed in, and was beaten unconscious by the evil airport security at the behest of United Airlines.

Because there’s no evidence any of that was true. It was in fact a premeditated temper tantrum gone viral, comprising one 69-year-old Vietnamese-American David Dao, a medical doctor who lost his license, planning a lawsuit from the moment United first politely asked him to give up his seat. He demanded to be dragged, did an excellent impersonation of Ned Beatty’s character in that horrific scene in Deliverance, and struck his lip on an armrest. From the many videos taken by numerous passengers, obviously from numerous angles, there’s no evidence of a beating, a “serious” concussion, or bodily damage beyond that lip.

A Peace Prize for Aiding and Abetting the World’s Largest Drug Cartel?

Oct 20, 2016 — Michael Fumento

There have been some curious recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize such as terrorist Yasser Arafat. Yet somehow it’s managed to lower its prestige even further with its award to Colombian President John Manuel Santos for his efforts in negotiating a “peace accord” to end “a half-century war with communist guerrillas.” As educated Colombians seem to know with their rejection of the treaty (albeit narrowly) there are no “communist guerrillas” nor is there any real war. Rather, Santos made a cushy treaty with a narco-terrorist group that in terms of sheer numbers makes Pablo Escobar’s Medellín Cartel look like a Boy Scout Troop. We’ll see why.

The official announcement makes it appear the committee was both seeking to reward Santos for brokering the agreement, to encourage Colombian voters to rethink their referendum vote, or both. Yet the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) long ago ceased being either communist or guerrillas. At one time, they and other rebel groups were ideologically driven and sought to violently overthrow the government. Today, however, their ideology is “plata” (money).

The Weighty Issue of Body Armor and Women in Combat

Sep 2, 2016 — Michael Fumento

The highly emotional debate over whether women should be allowed in combat positions in the U.S. military is back. The latest firefight was prompted when the only female officer enrolled in the Marine Corps’ Infantry Officer Course dropped out after failing to complete two conditioning hikes, according to Corps’ Training and Education Command. As a result, “There are no female officers enrolled or slated to attend” the course.

Hillary Clinton, of course, supports it, because she’s a “huge supporter of women being able to break whatever glass ceilings are holding them back.” But so, alas, does Donald Trump.

But this is an issue where neither politics nor ideology has any place—because it’s a matter of life and death. The purpose of the military should be to accomplish violent overseas missions with minimal casualties. The military is not a democracy, and its purpose isn’t to provide equal opportunity or break “glass ceilings.” It is highly discriminatory, based not on skin color or religion but ability.

The Media’s Harmful Flossing Follies

Aug 15, 2016 — Michael Fumento

Toss the floss! Turns out dental flossing is barely useful, even worthless perhaps. So reported the Associated Press (AP) and subsequently more than 150 news outlets, including such as the Washington Post (”The Shaky Evidence for Flossing”) and New York Times‘s more powerful “Feeling Guilty about Not Flossing? Maybe there’s No Need.” One Web site proclaimed “dentistry is a scam.” Well, okay actually that was just Kanye West.

Only problem is they’re wrong. But denture companies everywhere must be rejoicing.

Ultimately all this comes down to the old maxim that “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” More specifically, few studies have been done on flossing. There are several reasons for this but the most ironic is that the benefit is so darned obvious and has been observed by so many experts for so long.

Major League Baseball Throws a Spitball at Puerto Rico

May 14, 2016 — Michael Fumento

It’s a common theme of mine that the American spirit is growing steadily weaker. One way in which we see that is the propensity to become hysterical at the least provocation, the proverbial elephant afraid of the mouse. Witness the ongoing hysteria over the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

The latest victim is the impoverished U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, which has struck out with Major League Baseball. A two-game series scheduled for the territory is being moved to Miami. Why? The Major League Baseball Players Union put a squeeze play on Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred to relocate the games, scheduled for the end of May, after several players expressed fears about getting and possibly transmitting the Zika virus.

We Cannot Afford “Free” Wind and Solar Energy

Mar 12, 2016 — Michael Fumento

While driving the mostly empty and flat 1,000 miles from Houston to Colorado Springs recently, I noticed something I hadn’t seen much just a few years ago—lots of wind farms dotting the landscape, but none anywhere near even small population centers. And another funny thing, though: Invariably, many of the turbines weren’t moving and one of the largest appeared to have about 100 turbines, yet I counted just three in action.

How can this be? Having paid for the land, the turbines, and those long transmission lines don’t providers want a maximum of the machines going? Nope. Because, you see, wind farms – and solar farms for the same reasons – don’t make their money by generating electricity. They do it by generating government subsidies.

Oh Zika, Where Is Thy Sting? (Not in the US or Canada)

Feb 18, 2016 — Michael Fumento

The buzz is that everyone is at risk for contracting the mosquito-borne Zika virus. Why not? Since the successful effort to “democratize” HIV/AIDS in the 1980s as a threat to everyone, everywhere, every major disease outbreak has been presented as a worldwide threat. (Ebola’s gotten that treatment three times now.)

But no. Despite admonitions from the public health agencies and headlines like the Washington Post’s “Why The United States Is So Vulnerable to the Alarming Spread of Zika Virus,” and despite President Obama’s request to Congress for $1.8 billion to fight the disease, Zika has little chance of spreading from person to person in the U.S. And even in countries where it is a real concern the threat has been exaggerated.

The Latest Car Hysteria—Diesel VWs

Oct 9, 2015 — Michael Fumento

We’re under assault by a Teutonic Terror. About half a million US diesel cars and 11 million worldwide sold by Volkswagen AG, including VWs, Audis, Seats, and Škodas, appear to have software that tricks emissions tests. Actual emissions are “40 times higher” we’re told. And people are dying.

“Quatsch!” as they say in German. Nonsense! It’s just another car mass hysteria, like “runaway” Toyotas a few years ago and runaway Audis before that. At least one freaked-out occasional car reviewer engaged in public self-flagellation: “I was fooled by Volkswagen’s diesel hype—and I’m sorry,” she blubbered. She went on to attack the entire notion of clean-running diesel cars and concluded, “Two of my closest friends are asking me what will happen with their cars; I have no idea.”

Our Enemies’ Dream: An Equal Opportunity Military

Sep 14, 2015 — Michael Fumento

Surprise! A study released by the Marine Corps shows that all male units greatly outperformed mixed gender units in just about every capacity. The women performed their tasks more slowly, fired weapons with less accuracy, and sustained far more injuries during training than their male counterparts. Male Marines with no formal infantry training outperformed infantry-trained women on each weapons system! Nevertheless, unless Congress intervenes the military must start integrating women into combat units in January.