Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Social Cost of Masks

I went back to the doctor
To get another shrink
I sit and tell him 'bout my weekend
But he never betrays what he thinks

--The Who

Thomas Massie notes another problem with masks. In addition to doing nothing from virus protection standpoint, masks impair social exchange. 

When faces are masked, we learn less about, and from, others.  Transaction costs increase. Social power declines.

That's what statists want.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Ceremonial Compliance

It starts when you're always afraid
Step out of line
The man come and take you away

--Buffalo Springfield

Trevor Bauer rants about the inconsistencies associated with the so-called 'bubble' arranged by MLB for playoff games.

You're catching on, Trev. This isn't about so-called science or safety. It's about looking good and complying to institutional norms. 

"It's all for PR sake," he concludes.

Indeed. Ceremonial compliance in order to acquire or maintain legitimacy.

Monday, September 28, 2020


"Wreck it."
--Bobby Mack (For Love of the Game)

As Ron Paul notes, Soviet Communists often called dissidents who disputed party line norms 'wreckers.' Today's wreckers are those who question 'science' such as global warming and virus response

Wreckers are told to cease disputing the wisdom of 'experts' because the 'science has been settled.'

Wreckers know better than their 'betters.' Science is never settled. Those who claim otherwise are statists disguised as scientists. True scientists are always questioning in efforts to get closer to the truth.

When you are being told to be quiet because the science has been settled, then you know you're on the right track.

Be a wrecker.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Agenda Driven

"I think we all understand your real motivation here, Vera."
--Howard Prescott (The Secret of My Success)

Posts like the one Tara Ross comments on reinforces the hypothesis that the motivation for synchronized lockdowns goes beyond merely fear and self-preservation.

Factions that believe in authoritarian rule to achieve various objectives ranging from degrowth to climate control see opportunity to restrain liberty.

Now that they have shown themselves how seizing power is possible, they want to use what they have learned to achieve long held agendas.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

We're In!

"You know what we get today, Brooks? We get to play BASEBALL!"
--Jimmy Morris (The Rookie)

Big shout out to the Cincinnati Reds on clinching a playoff birth last night. Left for dead a couple weeks back, the Reds strung together a big streak culminating last night with a dominating performance against the Minnesota Twins.

Now hoping we can win at least one of the final two games of the series to seal an above .500 season.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Litigate the Lockdowns

"The law must be engraved in our hearts and practiced every minute to the letter and spirit. It can't even exist unless we're willing to go down into the dust and blood and fight a battle every day of our lives to preserve it. For our neighbor as well as ourselves."
--Justice Michael Lightcap (The Talk of the Town)

A week or so back, a federal judge ruled Pennsylvania's lockdown order unconstitutional. Court cases are surfacing elsewhere.

This to me has been the intuitive approach since the beginning. Litigate the lockdowns, and the authoritarian case collapses.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Superstition Over Science

We're making things I've never seen before
Behind bolted doors

--Oingo Bingo

In an Harvard Business Review article on the topic of evidence-based management, Pfeffer and Sutton (2006) cited research suggesting that the vast majority of medical decision are evidence-based. When I first read that claim years ago, I was skeptical of its validity. Unfortunately, the CV19 hysteria has substantiated it many times over.

How many policies recommended or enacted by health agencies over the past few months are grounded in conclusive evidence? Few. Masks, surface cleaning, handwashing, asymptomatic spread...

Superstition over science.


Pfeffer, J. & Sutton, R.I. (2006). Evidence-based management. Harvard Business Review, 84(1): 62-74.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Misleading PCR

You fell and cried as our people were starving
Now you know that we blame you
You tried to walk on a trail we were carving
Now you know that we framed you

--The Who 

A retired Pfizer (PFE) scientist explains what these pages have already noted. Even a seemingly low 0.8% false positive rate creates misinformation when underlying infection prevalence is low.

He suggests that, in the UK, broad 'Pillar 2' testing using the PCR amplification methodology to diagnose cases has resulted in about 90% of official case counts to be false.

Moreover, he claims that PCR (i.e., polymerase chain reaction) techniques are better employed as laboratory research tools rather than for population disease screening. The large degree of amplification required to pick up a strand of viral genetic code is prone to significant error. In particular, PCR tests cannot distinguish between living virus and a short strand of RNA that broke into pieces some time back.

His analysis tells him that UK health officials have used faulty case counting using PCR tests that deliberately misled legislative bodies and the public.

The same is true for the US.

position in PFE

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Publisher vs Platform

I read the news today
Oh boy

--The Beatles

As noted here, Twitter claims that it is not a is a 'platform' company. It merely provides a platform for the work of others.

This is a bogus claim.

Twitter makes editorial decisions when it picks and chooses among content that is posted on its site in order to convey or suppress a point of view.

It is plainly a publisher.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Death Audits

"I need to finish."
--Christian Wolff (The Accountant)

Alex Berenson grabs a small sample of death certificates in Milwaukee to demonstrate the subjectivity of CV19-related death counts.

My sense is that the only way we'll get an accurate count of true CV19 deaths is to audit these death certificates for proper disposition.

The public health complex will resist this with all its might, of course.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Vine and Whine

"Sure don't look none too prosperous."
--Tom Joad (The Grapes of Wrath)

When Christ speaks in parables, God's wisdom is revealed as if a brilliant light had just been switched on. He tells the story and, click, we suddenly see.

We have recounted several parables previously, including the Parable of the Talents, the Lost and Found Parables, and the Parable of the Rich Fool. In today's gospel, we are treated to the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16).

Jesus tells us that the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who goes out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the workers on the wage to be paid at day's end, the landowner sets them to work in the fields.

Several times during the day, the landowner finds groups of people standing around town and not being productive. He tells them to go to his vineyard and work, and that at the end of the day he will pay them what is just.

At the end of the day, the landowner told the foreman to pay the laborers in reverse order starting with those workers who had arrived latest in the day. To their surprise, the late arrivers were paid a full day's wage. When they saw this, those who started working at the beginning of the day anticipated a bonus because they had arrived first and had worked more hours than the late arrivers. 

To their disappointment, however, they were also paid a full day's wage like the others. They complained to the landowner, whining that, although they had worked longer and harder than the late arrivers, they were paid the same daily wage. The landowner then replies,

"My friends, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?" [emphasis mine]

Christ concludes, "Thus, the last will be first, and the first shall be last."

What do you see when the light switches on? I see God's message of helping idle people become productive late in life, the divine nature of contracts and property rights, the danger of envy and covetousness, and the chasm between earthly and heavenly notions of 'fairness.'

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Rogue State Sweden

Clarence Beeks: Let me would be from Austria. Am I right?
Ophelia: No, I am Inga from Sweden.

--Trading Places

In order for active agency in public health and politics to 'work', all jurisdictions must be on the same page. If one state breaks from the pack, then it makes poor decisions much more difficult to cover up.

During the CV19 situation, Sweden has been the rogue. It has refused to fall in line with the pandemic party line. No hard lockdowns, mask mandates, or other popular countermeasures.

First came pressure to conform. Then ridicule.

But now Sweden's results are visible to all--to the consternation of lockdown authoritarians worldwide. 

Friday, September 18, 2020

False Positives and Prevalence

Dark side's calling now
Nothing is real

--John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown Band

The false positive rate (FPR) of CV19 diagnostic tests is currently being quoted at about 0.8%. Pretty low, right? Not if current prevalence (i.e., infection rates) are also low.

An FPR of 0.8% means that, out of every 1000 people tested, eight will be indicated as having the virus who are actually infection free. If 1000 are tested and ten test positive, then only two are likely to actually be infected (10 positive tests - 8 false positives = 2 true positives). The already low unadjusted prevalence of 1% (10 positive cases/1000 tested) is actually 0.2% (2 true positives/1000 tested).

When prevalence is low, false positives comprise the majority of cases and skew indicated prevalence much higher than it really is.

Now, let's suppose that 1000 people are tested and 100 test positive. At a 0.8% FPR, then the number of true positives = 100 - 8 = 92. The unadjusted prevalence of 10% (100 positive cases/1000 tested) drops to 9.2% (92 true positives/1000 tested).

Even at lower FPRs, diagnostic tests can mislead if prevalence is low.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Mask Hysteria Not New

"What happens to us in the future? Do we become assholes or something?
--Marty McFly (Back to the Future)

When we look back at it retrospectively, the CV19 pandemic may have spawned some of the most unintelligent and ill-advised public policies in history. Mandatory mask wearing seems the poster-child for the hysteria. Although both supporting theory and evidence are marginal at best, mask mandates have become centerpieces of public health countermeasures. 

However, mask hysteria is not a new phenomenon. During the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic, people similarly gravitated toward mask mandates...

Perhaps it shouldn't be surprising. People see a respiratory virus, and they believe that covering mouths will help--theory and evidence be damned. Or maybe its simply about virtue signaling--institutional pressure to conform for the 'common good.'

This time around, mask wearing includes a political element. Surveys suggest that the vast majority of Democrats regularly wear masks while far fewer Republicans do so.

Why should this be? Not sure, but it would be interesting to research whether similar political divisions regarding masks existed during the Spanish flu.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

It's About Time

"Get on the wire. Tell them how to bring those sons of bitches down."
--General William Grey (Independence Day) 

A federal judge has ruled Pennsylvania's lockdown orders unconstitutional.

As Judge Nap observes, this is an 'it's about time' ruling. No emergency grants dictatorial powers to government officials at any level. There is not pandemic exception written into the Bill of Rights.

Let's hope similar rulings start surfacing in other juridictions.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Geographic Patterns

You take what you need
And you leave the rest
But they should never
Have taken the very best

--The Band

Another nice picture of seasonal/geographic virus pattern in the US. Northern latitude states toward the front, southern states toward the back.

The pattern is readily apparent. The mortality curve in northern states generally peaks earlier and at higher levels than in southern states.

The exception is Louisiana which, as noted previously, essentially imported the virus for Mardi Gras from outbreaks already in motion in northern states.

This empirical relationship should be at the forefront of public health officials and media reports.

But it isn't. Why not?

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Turn the Table

Tommy Williams: What's he in here for?
Ellis Boyd 'Red' Redding: Murder.
Tommy Williams: The hell you say!

--The Shawshank Redemption

With CV19 case counts clearly declining despite huge testing rates, lockdown enthusiasts are losing their main source of fear mongering. How will they keep their narrative going from here? The 'long haul' hysterics don't seem to be getting much traction. What keeps the panic alive?

I think they will try to convert excess deaths caused by lockdown to deaths caused by the virus. Mortality will surely increase due to lower standard of living from less production and trade, health procedures that were cancelled or delayed, and other causes.

Lockdowners might simply claim that those deaths are COVID caused--i.e., they wouldn't have happened if the virus didn't arise. Or they might claim that the deaths are being caused because relief packages were not large enough to support those damaged by 'essential' countermeasures.

As in the movies, the perps will try to turn the table and others for their crimes.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Regulations as Restrictions

In violent times
You shouldn't have to sell your soul
In black and white
They really, really ought to know

--Tears for Fears

Professor Bylund notes that regulations are restrictions--i.e. they limit behavior. Regulations can either force people to a) restrain from engaging in behavior that they would otherwise do, or b) engage in behavior that they would not otherwise do.

Bylund suggests that people often confuse what regulations actually do with what they believe will be the ultimate outcomes associated with implementing regulations. For example, air pollution regulations do not 'clean the air.' They restrict behavior--in this case the emission of enumerated pollutants. 

However, these restrictions do not necessarily lead to cleaner air. Forcibly limiting the emission of a certain substance might result in increased emission of a less-cost effective pollutant.

We can easily apply this notion to the regulations bundled into CV19 lockdowns. Proponents view these regulations as reducing health system burdens and mortality. In reality, the restrictions imposed by lockdowns reduce economic production and trade as well as social interaction--all of which are far more likely to increase health system load and mortality in the long run.

Stated differently, lockdown regulations thought by some to lower costs are almost certain to explode them higher.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Two Holes

There seemed no way to make up
'Cause it seemed you mind was set
And the way you looked at me
It's a look I know I'll never forget
--Phil Collins

I was born nearly 19 years after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In my younger years especially, the Day of Infamy and the war that followed seemed so distant. My visions of it are in black and white--shaped by the old war movies. Today, Pearl Harbor's most tangible artifact is the memorial above the remains of the USS Arizona.

Today marks 19 years since the 9/11 event. Most of those born today will undoubtedly look back on the day that changed my world similar to how I viewed the day that changed the world of my parents and grandparents. Static. Remote.

After all, the tangible remains available to them consist of two holes in the ground.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Support Group

Sometimes in our lives we all have pain 
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there's always tomorrow

--Bill Withers

Tech-led selloff finds major indexes sitting on their 50 day moving avgs.

Whether those levels serve as support will be first test of severity.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Same As It Ever Was

And you may ask yourself
Am I right, Am I wrong?
And you may say to yourself
My God! What have I done?
--Talking Heads

Although the latest example of surrendering freedom in the name of security seems unprecedented, it can be seen as the latest in a long train of capitulations and compromises.

Typically, people don't first vote on it. Instead, liberty is compromised, then people consent to it. Government expansion happens first. People adapt to and live with it second.

People trading God's precious gift for some earthly good. Same as it ever was.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Elderly Choice

I felt all flushed with fever
Embarrassed by the crowd
I felt he found my letters
And read each one out loud
--Roberta Flack

Even among those skeptical about lockdowns and other CV19 countermeasures, there has been broad agreement about staying away from the elderly--to keep them and other vulnerable groups isolated from exposure to the virus.
However, many elderly people are realizing that they do not want to waste their remaining time in isolation. They want to live.

No worldly policy can rightly dictate who gets to live a full life. We have all been equally endowed with that right by our creator.

Old age does not disqualify freedom of choice.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Over Reporting Deaths

In violent times
You shouldn't have to sell your soul
In black and white
They really, really ought to know
--Tears for Fears

Some people claim that CV19 death counts are accurate or in vastly under reported. Why, then, do we see the following practices?

1) With vs From. Counting deaths of people thought to have CV19 (either now or in the past) rather than deaths of people who die because of CV19.

2) Legacy Death Laundering. Looking at past records (possibly months ago) for deaths that can be attributed to CV19 and reporting their occurrence today.
Under reported? No way. These bogus practices tell us health officials, politicians, and their media lackeys are all working to over report CV19 deaths.

We have a classic agency problem.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

With vs From

Purple haze
All in my brain
Lately things
They don't seem the same
--Jimi Hendrix

Analysis of Swedish mortality data indicates that fatalities with CV19 assigned as direct COD are about 15% the 'official' country death count.
Stated differently, far more people die 'with' the virus than 'from' it--something that overt data manipulation really told us already.

Suspect that analysis of US data would indicate similar.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Critical Race Theory

Dean Yeager: Your theories are the worst kind of popular tripe, your methods are sloppy, and your conclusions are highly questionable. You are a poor scientist, Dr Venkman.
Dr Peter Venkman: I see.

Critical race theory (CRT) is a collection of propositions related to the social justice movement--e.g., that so-called 'white privilege' and 'institutional racism' restrain upward mobility of black people. Calling this 'theory' is like putting lipstick on a pig. It is a rhetorical device meant to cast legitimacy on an amalgamation of popular tripe.

Not surprisingly, agencies under the Obama administration had been using taxpayer dollars to indoctrinate CRT on the masses. Thankfully, the Trump administration is ending this indoctrination program.
Government should not support 'training' of any type. The CRT situation demonstrates why.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Contextual Rot

"You're dead, son. Get yourself buried."
--J.J. Hunsecker (Sweet Smell of Success)

A classic practice of shyster journalism is to interview a target that you want to blacken, collect pages of conversation from him/her, and then cut and past small snippets out of the original context to fit your very different context.

Clay Travis demonstrates here. Out of 28 pages of interview quotes, the Washington Post writer hell bent on producing a hit piece selected 94 words to fit his narrative.
As Travis observes, many people don't have the resources to defend themselves against media ambush. Fortunately Travis does.
We're all fortunate, really, since Travis is willing to endure discomfort to expose contextual media rot.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Atlas Strength

We know you've got to blame someone
For your own confusion
But we're on guard this time
Against your final solution
--Red Rider

President Trump's appointment of Dr Scott Atlas of the Stanford biomedicine group to his White House CV19 team strikes fear into the authoritarian lockdown crowd. Not surprisingly, the appointment has fostered smear pieces from the mainstream media aimed at discrediting Atlas.
It won't work.

If Atlas is able to wrestle the podium away from Anthony Fauci and broadly share his evidence-based approach with the American people, then the game is up for the lockdown crowd.

Let's hope that Atlas intends to flex his strength.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Needing Fear

Danny Costanzo: What's wrong with being careful?
Captain Logan: Careful gets you killed in this line of work. You think about getting shot and you get shot.
--Running Scared

There is a certain faction of the lockdown crowd that is fearful. They NEED to be fearful.

If they did not fear for their lives and that things are terrible, then they would need to admit that their view of the world was wrong.

The psychic pain of that specter is perceived as greater than the cost of their charade. So their psychosis persists.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Reset and Degrowth

"Now, if my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour, you're going to see some serious shit!"
--Dr Emmett Brown (Back to the Future)

Building on yesterday's post of coordinated authoritarian policies meant to effect large-scale social change, we have this quote from a WEF bureaucrat:
It is easy to postulate that a degrowth mindset provides a unifying force among factions that require a 'reset' by the strong arm of government to advance their agendas.