More must-read articles

The current focus of this post relates to the Coronavirus chaos, vaccines and implications. Note: Many more articles follow these latest nine.

Looks Like Sweden Was Right After All

 

Looks Like Sweden Was Right After All  By Mike Whitney, via Unz Review, 12 July 2020

 Why is the media so fixated on Sweden’s coronavirus policy? What difference does it make?

Sweden settled on a policy that they thought was both sustainable and would save as many lives as possible. They weren’t trying to ‘show anyone up’ or ‘prove how smart they were’. They simply took a more traditionalist approach that avoided a full-scale lockdown. That’s all.

But that’s the problem, isn’t it? And that’s why Sweden has been so harshly criticized in the media, because they refused to do what everyone else was doing. They refused to adopt a policy that elites now universally support, a policy that scares people into cowering submission. The Swedish model is a threat to that approach because it allows people to maintain their personal freedom even in the midst of a global pandemic. Ruling class elites don’t want that, that is not in their interests. What they want is for the people to meekly accept the rules and conditions that lead to their eventual enslavement. That’s the real objective, complete social control, saving lives has nothing to do with it. Sweden opposed that approach which is why Sweden has to be destroyed. It’s that simple.

Of course, none of this has anything to do with Sweden’s fatality rate, which is higher than some and lower than others. (Sweden has 543 deaths per million, which means roughly 1 death in every 2,000 people.) But like every other country, the vast majority of Swedish fatalities are among people 70 years and older with underlying health conditions. (“90% of the country’s deaths have been among those over 70.”) Sweden was not successful in protecting the people in its elderly care facilities, so large numbers of them were wiped out following the outbreak. Sweden failed in that regard and they’ve admitted they failed. Even so, the failures of implementation do not imply that the policy is wrong. Quite the contrary. Sweden settled on a sustainable policy, that keeps the economy running, preserves an atmosphere of normality, and exposes its young, low-risk people to the infection, thus, moving the population closer to the ultimate goal of “herd immunity”.

[ZH: in Sweden (pop. 10.25m) – where there was no lockdown, huge international criticism of its strategy, and one of the highest fatalities per head in the world – only 70 people under 49 years old have died of Covid-19, out of 5,482 total virus deaths (1.3%) so far. For context, average annual deaths in Sweden over the last 5 years for under-49-year-olds have been 3,417.  ]

Presently, Sweden is very close to reaching herd immunity which is a condition in which the majority have developed antibodies that will help to fend-off similar sars-covid infections in the future. Absent a vaccine, herd immunity is the best that can be hoped for. It ensures that future outbreaks will be less disruptive and less lethal. Take a look at this excerpt from an article at the Off-Guardian which helps to explain what’s really going on:

“Sweden’s health minister understood that the only chance to beat COVID-19 was to get the Swedish population to a Herd Immunity Threshold against COVID-19, and that’s exactly what they have done…

The Herd Immunity Threshold (“HIT”) for COVID-19 is between 10-20%

This fact gets less press than any other. Most people understand the basic concept of herd immunity and the math behind it. In the early days, some public health officials speculated that COVID-19’s HIT was 70%. Obviously, the difference between a HIT of 70% and a HIT of 10-20% is dramatic, and the lower the HIT, the quicker a virus will burn out as it loses the ability to infect more people, which is exactly what COVID-19 is doing everywhere, including the U.S, which is why the death curve above looks the way it looks.

Scientists from Oxford, Virginia Tech, and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, all recently explained the HIT of COVID-19 in this paper:

We searched the literature for estimates of individual variation in propensity to acquire or transmit COVID-19 or other infectious diseases and overlaid the findings as vertical lines in Figure 3. Most CV estimates are comprised between 2 and 4, a range where naturally acquired immunity to SARS-CoV-2 may place populations over the herd immunity threshold once as few as 10-20% of its individuals are immune….

Naturally acquired herd immunity to COVID-19 combined with earnest protection of the vulnerable elderly – especially nursing home and assisted living facility residents — is an eminently reasonable and practical alternative to the dubious panacea of mass compulsory vaccination against the virus.

This strategy was successfully implemented in Malmo, Sweden, which had few COVID-19 deaths by assiduously protecting its elder care homes, while “schools remained open, residents carried on drinking in bars and cafes, and the doors of hairdressers and gyms were open throughout.

One of the most vocal members of the scientific community discussing COVID-19’s HIT is Stanford’s Nobel-laureate Dr. Michael Levitt. Back on May 4, he gave this great interview to the Stanford Daily where he advocated for Sweden’s approach of letting COVID-19 spread naturally through the community until you arrive at HIT. He stated:

If Sweden stops at about 5,000 or 6,000 deaths, we will know that they’ve reached herd immunity, and we didn’t need to do any kind of lockdown. My own feeling is that it will probably stop because of herd immunity. COVID is serious, it’s at least a serious flu. But it’s not going to destroy humanity as people thought.

Guess what? That’s exactly what happened. As of today, 7 weeks after his prediction, Sweden has 5,550 deaths. In this graph, you can see that deaths in Sweden PEAKED when the HIT was halfway to its peak (roughly 7.3%) and by the time the virus hit 14% it was nearly extinguished.”

(“Second wave? Not even close“, JB Handley, The Off-Guardian)

In other words, Sweden is rapidly approaching the endgame which means that restrictions can be dropped entirely and normal life can resume. They will have maintained their dignity and freedom while the rest of the world hid under their beds for months on end. They won’t have to reopen their primary schools because they never shut them down to begin with. Numerous reports indicate that young children are neither at risk nor do they pass the virus to others. Most Americans don’t know this because the propaganda media has omitted the news from their coverage. Here’s a clip from the National Review which helps to explain:

Kari Stefansson, CEO of the Icelandic company deCODE genetics in Reykjavík, studied the spread of COVID-19 in Iceland with Iceland’s Directorate of Health and the National University Hospital. His project has tested 36,500 people; as of this writing,

Children under 10 are less likely to get infected than adults and if they get infected, they are less likely to get seriously ill. What is interesting is that even if children do get infected, they are less likely to transmit the disease to others than adults. We have not found a single instance of a child infecting parents.”

(“Icelandic Study: ‘We Have Not Found a Single Instance of a Child Infecting Parents.’“, National Review)

This is just one of many similar reports from around the world. Most of the schools in Europe have already reopened and lifted restrictions on distancing and masks. Meanwhile, in the US, the reopening of schools has become another contentious political issue pitting Trump against his Democrat adversaries who are willing to sacrifice the lives of schoolchildren to prevent the president from being reelected. It’s a cynical-counterproductive approach that reveals the vindictiveness of the people who support it. In an election year, everything is politics. (Watch Tucker Carlson’s short segment on “Kids cannot afford to stay locked down.“)

Here’s a question for you: Have you ever wondered why the virus sweeps through the population and then seemingly dissipates and dies out? In fact, the virus doesn’t simply die-out, it runs out of people to infect. But how can that be when only 1 of 7 people will ever contract the virus?

The answer is immunity, either natural immunity or built up immunity from other Sars-Covid exposure. Here’s more from the Off Guardian piece:

“Scientists are now showing evidence that up to 81% of us can mount a strong response to COVID-19 without ever having been exposed to it before:

Cross-reactive SARS-CoV-2 T-cell epitopes revealed preexisting T-cell responses in 81% of unexposed individuals, and validation of similarity to common cold human coronaviruses provided a functional basis for postulated heterologous immunity.

This alone could explain WHY the Herd Immunity Threshold (HIT) is so much lower for COVID-19 than some scientists thought originally, when the number being talked about was closer to 70%. Many of us have always been immune!

(“Second wave? Not even close”, JB Handley, The Off-Guardian)

What does it mean?

It means that Fauci and the idiots in the media have been lying to us the whole time. It means that Covid-19 is not a totally new virus for which humans have no natural immunity or built-in protection. Covid is a derivative of other infections which is why the death toll isn’t alot higher. Check this out from the BBC:

“People testing negative for coronavirus antibodies may still have some immunity, a study has suggested. For every person testing positive for antibodies, two were found to have specific T-cells which identify and destroy infected cells. This was seen even in people who had mild or symptomless cases of Covid-19..

This could mean a wider group have some level of immunity to Covid-19 than antibody testing figures, like those published as part of the UK Office for National Statistics Infection Survey, suggest…..And these people should be protected if they are exposed to the virus for a second time.”

(“Coronavirus: Immunity may be more widespread than tests suggest“, BBC)

Now, I realize that there’s some dispute about immunity, but there shouldn’t be. If you contract the virus, you either won’t get it again or you’ll get a much milder case. And if immunity doesn’t exist, then we’re crazy to waste our time trying to develop a vaccine, right?

What the science tells us is that immunity does exist and the reason the vast majority of people didn’t get the infection— is not because they locked themselves indoors and hid behind the sofa– but because they already have partial immunity either from their genetic makeup or from previous exposure to Sars-CoV-2 which was identified in 2002.

It’s worth repeating that the reason everyone was so scared about Covid originally was because it was hyped as a “novel virus”, completely new with no known cure or natural protection. That was a lie that was propagated by Fauci and his dissembling Vaccine Mafia, all of who are responsible for the vast destruction to the US economy, the unprecedented spike in unemployment, and the obliteration of tens of thousands of small businesses.

As the author points out, we should have known from the incident on the Diamond Princess (Cruise Liner) that immunity was far more widespread than previously thought. Readers might recall that only 17% of the people on board tested Covid-positive, “despite an ideal environment for mass spread, implying 83% of the people were somehow protected from the new virus.”

Think about that for a minute. All of the passengers were 60 years old or older, but only 17% caught the virus. Why?

Immunity, that’s why. What else could it be? Cross immunity, natural immunity, or SARS-CoV-2 T-cell immunity. Whatever you want to call it, it exists and it explains why the vast majority of people will not get the highly-contagious Covid no matter what they do.

It’s also worth pointing out that even according to the CDC’s own statistics, the Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) is a mere 0.26% whereas “According to the latest immunological and serological studies, the overall lethality of Covid-19 (IFR) is about 0.1% and thus in the range of a strong seasonal influenza (flu).” (“Facts about Covid-19”, Swiss Policy Research)

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So the death rate is somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 in every 500 (who contract the virus) to 1 in every 1,000. How can any rational person shut down a $21 trillion economy and order 340 million people into quarantine, based on the fact that 1 in every thousand people (mostly old and infirm) might die from an infection?? That was a act of pure, unalloyed Madness for which the American people will pay dearly for years to come. Once again, the US response was crafted by people who were promoting their own narrow political, social and economic agenda, not acting in the interests of the American people. We should expect more from our leaders than this.

So what does all of this say about the sharp spike in Covid positive cases in the south and the chances of a “second wave”?

There’s not going to be a second wave (The massive BLM protests in NY city has not produced any uptick in deaths, because NY has already achieved herd immunity. In contrast, Florida will undoubtedly experience more fatalities because it has not yet reached HIT or the Herd Immunity Threshold. Cases are increasing because younger- low-risk people are circulating more freely and because testing has increased by many orders of magnitude. At the same time, deaths continue to go down.

On Wednesday, US new cases rose to an eye-watering 62,000 in one day while deaths are down 75% from the April peak. This shouldn’t come as a surprise because the pattern has been the same as in countries around the world. The trajectory of infections was mapped out long ago by UK epidemiologist and statistician, William Farr. Take a look:

“Farr shows us that once peak infection has been reached then it will roughly follow the same symmetrical pattern on the downward slope. However, under testing and variations in testing regimes means we have no way of knowing when the peak of infections occurred. In this situation, we should use the data on deaths to predict the peak. There is a predicted time lag from infection to COVID deaths of approximately 21 to 28 days.

Once peak deaths have been reached we should be working on the assumption that the infection has already started falling in the same progressive steps. …

Farr, also illustrated that those who are the most ‘mortal die out’, and in a pandemic are those in most need of shielding….(So, Farr saw the wisdom of the Swedish approach a full 180 years ago!)

In the midst of a pandemic, it is easy to forget Farr’s Law, and think the number infected will just keep rising, it will not. Just as quick as measures were introduced to prevent the spread of infection we need to recognize the point at which to open up society and also the special measures due to ‘density’ that require special considerations. But most of all we must remember the message Farr left us: what goes up must come down.”

(“COVID-19: William Farr’s way out of the Pandemic”, The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine)

What this tells us is that the fatality rate is a more reliable barometer of what is taking place than the spike in new cases. And what the death rates signals is that the virus is on its last legs. We are not seeing the onset of a second wave, but the gradual ending of the first. Also, the fact that tens of thousands of young people are contracting Covid-19 without experiencing any pain or discomfort, confirms that immunity is widespread. This is a very positive development.

Here’s how Dr. John Thomas Littell, MD, who is President of the County Medical Society, and Chief of Staff at the Florida Hospital, summed it up in a letter to the editor of the Orlando Medical News, He said:

“Why did we as a society stop sending our children to schools and camps and sports activities? Why did we stop going to work and church and public parks and beaches? Why did we insist that healthy persons “stay at home” – rather than observing the evidence-based, medically prudent method of identifying those who were sick and isolating them from the rest of the population – advising the sick to “stay at home” and allowing the rest of society to function normally.”

(“Second wave? Not even close”, JB Handley, The Off-Guardian)

Why? Because we were misled by Doctor Fauci and the Vaccine Gestapo, that’s why. In contrast, Sweden shrugged off the dire predictions and fearmongering, and “got it right the first time.”

Hurrah for Sweden!

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A stock-take of New Zealand’s management of Covid-19

A stock-take of New Zealand’s management of Covid-19  By Dr Muriel Newman, NZ Centre for Political Research, 10 July 2020

At Labour’s annual conference last weekend, Covid-19 dominated Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s address: “Our strong health response now gives us an economic head start, the ability to move from responding to Covid-19, to recovering and rebuilding… So today my ask of you is simple. Don’t put on the brakes when now more than ever is the time that we need to speed up… let’s keep up the momentum… Let’s keep rebuilding.”

The Prime Minister outlined the steps her Government has taken to help the economy recover from the hit caused when she imposed ‘the strictest constraints placed on New Zealanders in modern history’. A record $50 billion in borrowing has been providing wage subsidies, loan guarantees, job creation, re-training, and additional welfare support – leaving $20 billion of unallocated spending to ‘assist the recovery’. And while the generous funding pledges now being announced almost daily do not amount to “treating” under the Electoral Act, the scale and proximity to the election are most irregular.

With the PM pitching for a second term on the basis of her track record of managing the Covid-19 crisis, let’s do a quick stocktake of how the two main parties have responded to pandemics.

John Key’s National Government faced the swine flu pandemic in 2009, which affected up to 1.4 billion people world-wide and caused 600,000 deaths, while Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Government has, of course, been dealing with Covid-19, which, at this stage, has 12 million notified cases and 550,000 deaths.

Swine flu is caused by the H1N1 influenza virus and the pandemic, which originated in Mexico, lasted for around 19 months. Altogether, it was estimated that of the 430,000 symptomatic cases of H1N1 in New Zealand, around 116,000 visited GPs, some 1,100 were hospitalised, and 119 patients were admitted to intensive care units. Of the forty-nine deaths attributed to the disease, 86 percent had underlying health complications, most notably, respiratory illnesses, obesity, and substance abuse.

To deal with the pandemic, the National Government adopted the Ministry of Health’s Influenza Pandemic Plan – a mitigation strategy designed to manage an outbreak in such a way as to prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed, whilst reducing the impact on society and the economy. While border controls were introduced, and some schools and businesses temporarily closed to reduce the spread of the disease, there was minimum economic and social disruption.

Fast-forward to 2020.

When reports of the spread of Covid-19 emerged in January, the Ministry of Health’s Influenza Pandemic Plan was again enacted. Border controls were introduced, work began on testing and tracing, and an Alert Level system was developed.

By mid-March, with fewer than 50 reported cases and no deaths, but more New Zealanders arriving home from infected areas, the Ministry of Health recommended that the country move to Alert Level 2 for a month. This involved stricter border controls, the introduction of social distancing and good hygiene measures, increased testing and tracing, a restriction on gatherings to 100 people, and a recommendation that those at the greatest risk from the disease – namely the elderly and anyone with underlying health conditions – take extra care.

Two days after introducing Level 2, the Prime Minister, warning of tens of thousands of deaths, ordered the country to Level 3 for two days, and then to Level 4 for a month.

This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator former Cabinet Minister Barry Brill has analysed the Ardern Government’s response to the pandemic and reminds us how the Prime Minister over-rode the Ministry of Health’s recommendation for “a 30-day pause at Level 2” with her Captain’s Call to lock the country down:

“The Prime Minister impulsively chose to disregard this official advice and instead leaped to the world’s most masochist restrictions – the Lockdown – with the resounding battle-cry of ‘go hard, go early’, and hang the expense!

“Political instincts and theatre easily trumped all the evidence-based science. There was no cost-benefit analysis of any kind. The PM’s historic Captain’s Call was apparently influenced by alarming forecasts from three academic computer models – one from the Imperial College of London, one from Otago University, and one from Auckland University… In announcing her extreme Lockdown decision, Ms Ardern signalled that ‘the worst case scenario is simply intolerable’. All three unvalidated models have since been thoroughly discredited by both peer reviews and real-world events.”

Barry reminds us that in spite of the media and others treating the Prime Minister as a hero for keeping us safe, that is not the reality. He argues that Jacinda Ardern’s Lockdown was “the worst policy decision ever and almost surely resulted in a net loss of New Zealand lives… In retrospect, there is no evidence that our extreme Lockdown saved the life of a single New Zealander.”

We certainly know that in spite of the frail elderly being clearly identified as the group most vulnerable to Covid-19 – especially those in rest homes – Jacinda Ardern’s lockdown wasn’t able to keep them safe. Almost three-quarters of the country’s 22 deaths were of rest home residents.

While they died in spite of the lockdown, many other New Zealanders died as a result of the lockdown: mothers and babies lost their lives due to the disruption in regular health care; gravely ill people were too afraid of the virus to seek medical help from doctors or hospitals; suicides were triggered by financial ruin caused by the lockdown; cancer sufferers were unable to access life-saving tests, operations, and treatment.

Many deaths never made the headlines – like the case of a frail elderly gentleman with a chronically sore foot who lived alone but had friends who ensured he ate properly and took care of his foot. Without their support, by the end of the lockdown he had developed gangrene and died just a few weeks later – a victim of the lockdown.

Governing a country means carefully weighing up policies to ensure the damage caused by unintended consequences do not outweigh the benefits being sought. While government agencies usually provide Cost-Benefit Analyses and Regulatory Impact Statements to outline the pros and cons of policy options, as well as identifying costs and risks, Jacinda Ardern used no such analyses to inform her lockdown decision.

In fact, a new report from the OECD, which has analysed the effectiveness of the responses of various countries to the Covid-19 pandemic – not only in keeping infection and death rates low but also in minimising economic and social disruption – has ranked New Zealand ninth, with South Korea first, Latvia second, and Australia third.

Those highly ranked countries relied more on stringent isolation and quarantine measures, border controls, comprehensive testing and tracing, and good hygiene and social distancing practices, rather than on harsh lockdown restrictions.

This week’s news that Britain is opening its borders to 70 countries with returning passengers not required to self-isolate, highlights a significant flaw in Labour’s Covid-19 response.

Instead of following the Ministry of Health’s plan to manage the virus – as John Key had done during the swine flu pandemic – Jacinda Ardern decided on ‘elimination’. As a result most New Zealanders have developed no immunity to the virus. In an increasingly infected world, that will never be able to eliminate Covid-19, the Prime Minister’s strategy – which depends on our borders remaining closed – has left New Zealanders isolated and extremely vulnerable.

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark along with Sir Peter Gluckman, a former Prime Minister’s Science Advisor, and former Air New Zealand chief Rob Fyfe believe that this is unsustainable and they argue that New Zealand needs to ‘re-engage with the world’: “Just after COVID hit our shores, initial discussions centred on adopting a ‘flattening the curve’ strategy. This involved accepting there would be some influx of disease, but by using behavioural and hygiene measures, viral transmission would be slowed and our hospital system would not be overloaded.

“But soon after cases started appearing, a clear shift in strategy was made – sometimes expressed as ‘keep it out, stamp it out’. In epidemiological terms, elimination of the virus became the goal. But it required huge effort and sacrifice by all New Zealanders – the burden of which will continue to echo for many years.”

They ask, “Is New Zealand prepared to hold itself in its state of near-total isolation for the indefinite future?” Other countries “have not adopted the elimination strategy. While we pin our hopes on a vaccine, it could be much further away than the hype suggests. Can we afford to wait out another year, two years, or even more in almost total physical isolation? And at what cost? This is not just affecting tourism and export education, but also the many ways in which New Zealand projects and leverages its place in the world.”

They conclude that unless New Zealand has global connectivity “we will rapidly progress to a position of relative disadvantage”.

These are important questions to which our Prime Minister has few answers.

It’s becoming clear that around the world countries are now beginning to treat Covid-19 as ‘just another flu’, shifting to a management strategy so life can return to “normal”.

That new normal comes with caveats of course, such as good hygiene and sensible social distancing – as well as facemask use in an increasing number of countries. Since the majority of infected people are now known to be asymptomatic, facemask use in public is seen as an effective way of helping to stop the spread of the virus.

It is something that many New Zealanders called for, but the Director General of Health refused to recommend their use – no doubt because of insufficient stocks of masks.

Professor Mark Woolhouse, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Edinburgh recommends that since Covid-19 is ‘not going away any time soon, if at all’, alternative approaches are now needed: “The chances of dying from Covid-19 are at least 10,000 times greater for the over-75s than the under-15s. Our priority should be to protect the old and others at greatest risk.”

He believes, “When the reckoning comes we may well find the cure turned out to be far worse than the disease. I fear history will judge lockdowns as a monumental mistake on a global scale.”

It is becoming increasingly accepted that countries that are trying to “keep the virus out” are doing a grave disservice to their citizens.

Oxford University’s epidemiologist Professor Sunetra Gupta believes that closing borders in the long term is unsustainable: “You can only lock down for so long unless you choose to be in isolation for eternity so that’s not a good solution. Being self-congratulatory, ‘we have kept it out’, is misplaced.”

She says that instead of lockdowns, governments should be focussing their energies on shielding the elderly and those with comorbidities to protect them as much as possible. She also warns, “There is no way lockdowns can eliminate the virus … and so it’s not at all surprising once you lift lockdown in areas it will flare up again. In places where it has already swept through, a proportion of people are immune and you are not seeing it come back.”

So while in 2009 John Key followed the Ministry of Health’s pandemic plan and the country moved on once the swine flu epidemic had abated, in 2020, Jacinda Ardern ignored the warning that eliminating flu viruses is impossible in the long term and imposed such harsh State controls that ‘fortress New Zealand’ has become our reality.

As the election approaches and our future hangs in limbo, the major parties are asking voters to ‘trust’ them to manage the country out of the difficulties we now face, including massive debt, skyrocketing unemployment, collapsing businesses, and chaotic border controls.

Meanwhile, seemingly oblivious to this crisis, Labour’s probable coalition partner, the Green Party, is proposing a tax policy that would completely undermine economic recovery through an annual wealth tax on everything, income tax increases, higher minimum wages, and a guaranteed income for those not in employment that would reduce the incentive to work.

Since Labour hasn’t ruled it out, New Zealand’s future could be even worse than we had thought!

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Read it and weep: sorry tale of a Covid catastrophe

Read it and weep. Sorry tale of a Covid catastrophe  By Maurice Newman, The Australian, 6 July 2020

When the history of COVID-19 is written, it will be a sorry tale of ­ineptitude at the highest levels of world medicine — how global politics, cover-ups and fashionable causes left the world, Taiwan aside, lamentably unprepared for an inevitable pandemic.

The World Health Organisation is the United Nations agency primarily responsible for inter­national public health, yet its record is disturbing. It is accused of medical malpractice for knowingly promoting useless malaria drugs which led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of African children. Along with the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, it covered up UN culpability in a Haitian cholera epidemic, responsible for more than 10,000 deaths. And despite Zimbabwe’s life expectancy plummeting from 61 to 44 in less than two decades, it appointed Zimbabwean despot Robert Mugabe a “goodwill ambassador”.

This unprincipled mindset seems to have permeated medical research. In an article, The Truth Wears Off: Is There Something Wrong With The Scientific Method?, The New Yorker warns that “all sorts of well-established, multiply confirmed scientific findings have started to look uncertain”.

Biologist Richard Palmer from the University of Alberta believes scientists selectively report data, disregarding what they don’t want to see. “Our beliefs are a sort of blindness,” he says.

Stanford University epidemiology professor John Ionnidis expresses “increasing concern that most current published research findings are false”. In an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, he looked at the 49 most-cited clinical research studies in three major medical journals and discovered that of 34 replicated claims, 41 per cent had effectively been falsified.

The Wall Street Journal cites a dramatic upward trend in retraction notices, including for fraud. The latest high-profile withdrawal is a hydroxychloroquine study in The Lancet. HCQ has become highly politicised since President Donald Trump used it as a COVID-19 prophylactic. Indeed, despite many doctors claiming significant success with early onset coronavirus patients, the FDA has banned its use in the US.

Does politicisation of medicine explain why, despite the 2002 SARS experience, preparation for COVID-19 was so derisory? Was the pandemic declaration delayed until March for political reasons? According to the South China Morning Post, Chinese authorities knew of multiple coronavirus cases in early November. They ­officially advised the WHO on ­December 31. A month later, an international health emergency was announced.

That interval gave Beijing sufficient time to complete new hospitals, stock up on medical equipment and prepare a propaganda offensive. Even then, the emergency declaration was accompanied by a disarming advisory that: “Based on the facts on the ground, containment is possible.”

Taiwan is not a WHO member. It dismissed the official line as ­disinformation and rapidly implemented its own plans. In January, when Beijing imposed a lockdown in Wuhan, Taipei closed its borders to mainland Chinese arrivals. With a similar population to ours [Australia], it has recorded seven deaths.

Similar border closures quickly followed in Australia, Singapore and the US, earning a WHO rebuke for breeding “fear and ­stigma”, and causing “more harm than good”.

Like polite members of a college, most countries dutifully downplayed the unmistakeable warning signs, insisting that their early COVID-19 responses were based on the “best medical advice” — in other words, based on WHO-Chinese propaganda.

It’s why New York Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot recommended people “not to change any plans due to misinformation spreading on coronavirus”. She, and mayor Bill de Blasio, who encouraged New Yorkers to “Get out on the town, despite coronavirus”, simply followed the WHO script. Like London mayor Sadiq Khan, who reassured Londoners they “faced no risk” on public transport.

It explains why health authorities were silent when the Italian government bowed to the WHO’s warnings about racism by not quarantining thousands of returning Chinese workers, and why Spain suppressed publication of new COVID-19 cases to maximise participation in feminist marches.

Once the epidemic’s seriousness became impossible to hide, cautious mitigation became draconian suppression overnight. Alarmist simulation models appeared from nowhere. The Imperial College London predicted there would be 500,000 deaths in the UK and 2.2 million in the US. Australia’s deputy chief medical officer warned the best we could expect was 50,000 deaths out of five million infections. When was this known?

The prospect of hospitals being overwhelmed panicked governments everywhere. Apocalyptic projections were accepted as Holy Writ. Fear crowded out critical examination of the evidence, let alone proper consideration of the massive, potentially more harmful, economic and social consequences of prolonged lockdowns.

A pop-up hospital was built in Canberra and respirators and ­additional beds were hastily procured. In the event, the beds and respirators overwhelmed patients. Despite dire predictions, just more than 100 Australians, 44,000 Britons and 132,000 Americans have died so far.

Surely such a dismal track record calls for caution? But no. Ahead of Black Lives Matter marches, politics intervened again. A Seattle public health spokes­person rationalised: “We can’t let COVID-19 distract us from our resolve and show how it is possible to break down the historical institutional racism that affects our communities every day.”

Victorian authorities also put this “worthy cause” ahead of public health. Having translated social distancing rules into 53 languages and fined thousands of individuals for breaking them, the government exempted 10,000 Melbourne BLM protesters from prosecution. Now, a rattled Premier Daniel Andrews is desperate to ensure that this double standard and the government’s bungled quarantining and testing protocols are not linked to the latest spike in infections.

The sad truth is, COVID-19 was foreseeable and, potentially, preventable. It has exposed a medical-political complex unsuited to its primary duty of protecting public health. Even in democracies, when ideology calls, governments have demonstrated scant regard for the wellbeing of those they represent. As a consequence, this pandemic has inflicted on a trusting world needless deaths and unnecessary economic hardship.

It is a very sorry tale indeed.

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The Brave New Normal

The Brave New Normal  By CJ Hopkins, anti-empire.com, 2 July 2020

Hello Brave New Normal Brought to You by Zombie Totalitarian Cultists – “It is irresistible…The chance to be a part of something like that, and to unleash one’s hatred on those who refuse to go along with the new religion”

“When you are talking to them, you’re not talking to them. You’re talking to the agents. You’re talking to the machines. Try it sometime. You’ll see what I mean. It’s like talking to a single algorithm that is running in millions of people’s brains”.

It was always going to come to this … mobs of hysterical, hate-drunk brownshirts hunting down people not wearing masks and trying to get them fired from their jobs, “no mask, no service” signs outside stores, security staff stopping the mask-less from entering, paranoid pod people pointing and shrieking at the sight of mask-less shoppers in their midst, goon squads viciously attacking and arresting them …

Welcome to the Brave New Normal.

And it isn’t just the Maskenpflicht-Sturmabteilung. The new official narrative is omnipresent. The corporate media are pumping out hysteria about “Covid-19 hospitalizations” (i.e., anyone admitted to a hospital for anything who tested positive for the coronavirus) and “major incidents” (i.e., people at the beach). Police are manning makeshift social-distancing-monitoring watchtowers in London. There are propaganda posters and billboards everywhere, repeating the same neo-Goebbelsian slogans, reinforcing the manufactured mass hysteria. Dissent and nonconformity are being pathologized, “diagnosed” as psychopathy and paranoiaMandatory vaccinations are coming.

You didn’t think they were kidding, did you, when they started introducing the Brave New Normal official narrative back in March? They told us, clearly, what was coming. They told us life was going to change … forever. They locked us down inside our homes. They ordered churches and synagogues closed. They ordered the police to abuse and arrest us if we violated their arbitrary orders. They closed the schools, parks, beaches, restaurants, cafés, theaters, clubs, anywhere that people gather. They ripped children out of their mother’s arms, beat and arrested other mothers for the crime of “wearing their masks improperly,” dragged mask-less passengers off of public buses, gratuitously beat and arrested people for not “social-distancing” on the sidewalk, shackled people with ankle monitors, and intimidated everyone with robots and drones. They outlawed protests, then hunted down people attending them and harassed them at their homes. They started tracking everyone’s contacts and movements. They drafted new “emergency” laws to allow them to forcibly quarantine people. They did this openly. They publicized it. It’s not like they were hiding anything.

No, they told us exactly what was coming, and advised us to shut up and follow orders. Tragically, most people have done just that. In the space of four months, GloboCap has successfully imposed totalitarianism — pathologized totalitarianism — on societies all across the world. It isn’t traditional totalitarianism, with a dictator and a one-party system, and so on. It is subtler and more insidious than that. But it is totalitarianism nonetheless.

GloboCap could not have achieved this without the approval (or at least the acquiescence) of the vast majority of the masses. The coronavirus mass hysteria was a masterstroke of propaganda, but propaganda isn’t everything. No one is really fooled by propaganda, or not for long, in any event. As Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari noted in the opening of Anti-Oedipus:

“The masses were not innocent dupes. At a certain point, under a certain set of conditions, they wanted fascism, and it is this perversion of the desire of the masses that needs to be accounted for.”

I am not going to try to account for the “perversion of the desire of the masses” here in this essay, but I do want to dig into the new pathologized totalitarianism a little bit.

Now, I’m going to assume that you understand that the official “apocalyptic pandemic” narrative is predicated on propaganda, wild speculation, and mass hysteria, and that by now you are aware that we are dealing with a virus that causes mild to moderate symptoms (or absolutely no symptoms at all) in 95% of those infected, and that over 99.5% survive … thus, clearly, no cause for widespread panic or justification for the totalitarian “emergency measures” that have been imposed. I am also going to assume that you watched as GloboCap switched off the “deadly pandemic” to accommodate the BLM protests, then switched it back on as soon as they subsided, and that you noted how their propaganda shifted to “cases” when the death count finally became a little too embarrassing to continue to hype.

So, I won’t waste your time debunking the hysteria. Let’s talk pathologized totalitarianism.

The genius of pathologized totalitarianism is like that old joke about the Devil … his greatest trick was convincing us that he doesn’t exist. Pathologized totalitarianism appears to emanate from nowhere, and everywhere, simultaneously; thus, technically, it does not exist. It cannot exist, because no one is responsible for it, because everyone is. Mass hysteria is its lifeblood. It feeds on existential fear. “Science” is its rallying cry. Not actual science, not provable facts, but “Science” as a kind of deity whose Name is invoked to silence heretics, or to ease the discomfort of the cognitive dissonance that results from desperately trying to believe the absurdities of the official narrative.

The other genius of it (from a GloboCap viewpoint) is that it is inexhaustible, endlessly recyclable. Unlike other official enemies, the “deadly virus” could be any virus, any pathogen whatsoever. All they have to do from now on is “discover” some “novel” micro-organism that is highly contagious (or that mimics some other micro-organism that we already have), and wave it in front of people’s faces. Then they can crank up the Fear Machine, and start projecting hundreds of millions of deaths if everyone doesn’t do exactly as they’re told. They can run this schtick … well, pretty much forever, anytime the working classes get restless, or an unauthorized president gets elected, or just for the sheer sadistic fun of it.

Look, I don’t mean to be depressing, but seriously, spend an hour on the Internet, or talk to one of your hysterical friends that wants to make mask-wearing mandatory, permanently. This is the mentality of the Brave New Normal … irrationally paranoid and authoritarian. So, no, the future isn’t looking very bright for anyone not prepared to behave as if the world were one big infectious disease ward.

I’ve interacted with a number of extremely paranoid corona-totalitarians recently (just as a kind of social experiment). They behave exactly like members of a cult. When challenged with facts and basic logic, first, they flood you with media propaganda and hysterical speculation from “medical experts.” Then, after you debunk that nonsense, they attempt to emotionally manipulate you by sharing their heartbreaking personal accounts of the people their therapists’ brother-in-laws’ doctors had to helplessly watch as they “died in agony” when their lungs and hearts mysteriously exploded. Then, after you don’t bite down on that, they start hysterically shrieking paranoia at you (“JUST WAIT UNTIL THEY INTUBATE YOU!” … “KEEP YOUR SPITTLE AWAY FROM ME!”) and barking orders and slogans at you (“JUST WEAR THE GODDAMN MASK, YOU BABY!” … “NO SHOES, NO SHIRT, NO MASK, NO SERVICE!”)

Which … OK, that would be kind of funny (or terribly sad), if these paranoid people were not just mouthpieces echoing the voice of the official power (i.e., GloboCap) that is transforming what is left of society into a paranoid, pathologized, totalitarian nightmare right before our eyes.

They’re kind of like the “woman in red” in The Matrix. When you are talking to them, you’re not talking to them. You’re talking to the agents. You’re talking to the machines. Try it sometime. You’ll see what I mean. It’s like talking to a single algorithm that is running in millions of people’s brains.

I can’t lie to you. I’m not very hopeful. No one who understands the attraction (i.e., the seduction) of totalitarianism is. Much as we may not like to admit it, it is exhilarating, and liberating, being part of the mob, surrendering the burden of personal autonomy and individual responsibility, fusing with a fanatical “movement” that is ushering in a new “reality” backed by the sheer brute force of the state … or the transnational global capitalist empire.

It is irresistible, that attraction, to most of us. The chance to be a part of something like that, and to unleash one’s hatred on those who refuse to go along with the new religion … to publicly ridicule them, to humiliate them, to segregate them from normal society, to hunt them down and get them fired from their jobs, to cheer as police abuse and arrest them, to diagnose them as “abnormal” and “inferior,” these social deviants, these subhuman “others,” who dare to challenge the authority of the Party, or the Church, or the State, or the Reich, or Science.

Plus, in the eyes of GloboCap (and its millions of fanatical, slogan-chanting followers), such non-mask-wearing deviants are dangerous. They are like a disease … an infestation. A sickness in the social body. If they refuse to conform, they will have to be dealt with, quarantined, or something like that.

Or they can just surrender to the Brave New Normal, and stop acting like babies, and wear a goddamn mask.

After all, it’s just a harmless piece of cloth.

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The lockdown is causing so many deaths

The lockdown is causing so many deaths  Interview with Dr Malcolm Kendrick, Spiked Online, 27 June 2020

Few would disagree that the UK’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has been a shambles. We are now in the 14th week of a three-week lockdown and excess deaths are among the highest in Europe. But while the received wisdom is that lives could only have been saved by locking down harder, earlier and for longer, the benefits of lockdown remain unproven, while the costs of lockdown are starting to mount. Dr Malcolm Kendrick is a GP and author of Doctoring Data: How to Sort Out Medical Advice from Medical Nonsensespiked caught up with him to get his take from the frontline.

spiked: Do you think the Covid statistics are accurate?

Malcolm Kendrick: It is very difficult to tell. It is clear that different countries are recording deaths differently. Death certification is not a precise science. Normally, when someone dies, you have got a reasonably good idea what they died from. But if a person who is 85 drops dead, what do you put on the certificate? I do this, so I know it is not very accurate. GPs were advised to put Covid-19 on the certificate if they suspected somebody had it, even if there was no test done. We are in a strange situation where we are probably both over-recording Covid-19 and simultaneously under-recording it. Will we ever know what the real statistics were?

We are over-recording it because elderly people die quite often, and we may say they have died of Covid-19 but not know that was the case. Therefore there will have been a number of people who died of other things who have been recorded as dying of Covid-19. Equally, there will be people who died of Covid-19 but the GP did not know, so did not put it on the certificate. It really depends on how people decide to record the death.

The really concerning thing is that if all the deaths taking place during lockdown are put down as Covid-19 deaths, we are going to miss the fact that the lockdown policies have caused an increase in deaths from many other things. There has been a 50 per cent reduction in people turning up to A&E. It is clear that people just do not want to bother the doctors. And a number of these people will be dying. If we muddle the Covid-19 statistics in with the other statistics, we might think the lockdown has prevented a certain number of deaths, when it has actually caused a large number of deaths.

spiked: Was there any danger of hospitals becoming overwhelmed from Covid?

Kendrick: The clarion call was to clear the hospitals of patients. There was a point when my local hospital was a quarter full. Staff were wandering around with nothing to do. You hear this idea that all NHS staff have been working 20 times as hard as they have ever done. This is complete nonsense. An awful lot of people have been standing around wondering what the hell to do with themselves. A&E has never been so quiet.

This initial response was understandable, but it quite rapidly became clear that it was an overreaction. The problem then was that it was essentially decided that wherever beds could be found, patients would be put in them, whether tested or not tested, positive or negative. They basically just started throwing people out into the intermediate care sector.

The average age of death from Covid-19 in the UK is around 82, and most of those people have comorbidities. I said to our managers that we had to test people and could not just be throwing them into nursing homes. But that is what they did. Homes were virtually ordered to take elderly patients. We had one nursing home that ended up with 12 deaths in a week.

The health service treated elderly, vulnerable people as figures on a piece of paper. The lack of any brain power being applied to this was amazing. They had one objective – to clear the hospitals – and everything else was subordinate to that. Of course, they will never say this is what happened. But that is precisely what did happen.

spiked: You’ve described our policy as an ‘anti-lockdown’. What do you mean by that?

Kendrick: How many people aged 15 or under have died of Covid-19? Four. The chance of dying from a lightning strike is one in 700,000. The chance of dying of Covid-19 in that age group is one in 3.5million. And we locked them all down. Even among the 15- to 44-year-olds, the death rate is very low and the vast majority of deaths have been people who had significant underlying health conditions. We locked them down as well. We locked down the population that had virtually zero risk of getting any serious problems from the disease, and then spread it wildly among the highly vulnerable age group. If you had written a plan for making a complete bollocks of things you would have come up with this one.

spiked: Was there a reluctance to confront the potential damage caused by lockdown?

Kendrick: You cannot just spend all the money in the world on something, because that money needs to pay for other things. NICE has a cut-off point for expenditure. They are willing to spend £30,000 to achieve one extra year of high-quality life. This has been the policy for 20 years. The last figure on how much this will cost the UK government was over £300 billion. Even if you divide that by 500,000, which is the total number it was initially suggested might die, you still end up with a figure that is about £600,000 per death. You cannot dissociate money and health.

We are spending as much on Covid-19 as we would spend on the NHS in three normal years. You have got to ask the question of what we are going to get from that. Refusing to engage that question is political cowardice. Politicians have just said they did what everyone else did and so we cannot blame them for anything that has happened. It was only Sweden that did not go down that route, and Japan, too, which has had very few deaths.

I have looked at the impact of social upheaval in the post-Soviet Union countries in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Russia had five million excess deaths in that period due to economic problems. That is how powerful the effects can be. We are going to see the downsides of lockdown policies around the world.

It will probably be okay for Britain – we will be a bit worse-off for a while. But some countries in Africa, South Asia and South America are just going to obliterate themselves trying to model their response to Covid-19 on a lockdown they just cannot afford. South Africa is already bursting at the seams. We have to look at this with a global perspective. This is going to be extremely costly and destructive of huge sections of the population.

Even just the health costs are huge. We had a patient who had lung cancer. He was very unwell and was being treated with chemotherapy, but they just stopped treating him. He died. His life expectancy was not great, but in my mind it is absolutely a case of cause and effect – the stopping of his chemotherapy meant he gave up hope, despaired and died. That is going to be a theme.

These figures are hard to measure, because it is difficult to say with certainty that an individual did not contact the doctor because of Covid-19, and that is why they died. But this is happening.

This has cost us at least £300 billion. It is going to destroy the health of a lot of people. And for what? All of these factors are of considerable importance, and I know they are just going to be swept under the carpet. If you are not willing to accept that you might have done more harm than good, you cannot look at the situation accurately or objectively.

If you are someone who says, ‘this is bollocks’, you are dismissed as not caring about people, as wanting people to die. Dare question the orthodoxy and you face a full broadside. People want to be seen as caring. But the economy is pretty important. If you do not have an economy, you do not have a health service. If you do not have a health service, everyone dies.

spiked: We were pushed into lockdown by modelling. What did you make of those models?

Kendrick: Epidemiologists would rather overestimate a threat by 100 times than underestimate it by 10 per cent. These models will always hugely overestimate risk. Everyone has to say things will be really serious because they would look terrible if they said things would be all right and they were not. If they are proved wrong, they can say it was just as well to warn people because it could have been terrible even though it did not end up being so. This approach is taken without any cognisance of the damage that the advice they have given has caused.

Take the Imperial College modelling. It said 80 per cent of people might get infected. That has never happened with a virus. It was also predicated on the idea that everybody was equally likely to get the virus and nobody had any internal immunity against it. This also turned out to be nonsense. It also assumed a death rate of 0.9 per cent. This figure might be right for people with symptoms, but not for the wider population. The modelling was based on the worst possible scenario. And unfortunately, Imperial College seems to have an immense influence.

spiked: What other questions are not being asked at the moment?

Kendrick: One issue is how long immunity lasts for this virus. If immunity only lasts for a short time, it cannot work. This does not seem to be being discussed. If the vaccine raises antibodies, it will have an effect. But if the virus mutates or we lose our immunity, we are in trouble. It is not clear that getting the virus actually makes you immune to it in the future, and it is not clear a vaccine would either. What then? Has anyone thought that through?

We are probably all going to get Covid-19 and we are all going to keep getting it. The only purpose of lockdown was to protect the health service from being overwhelmed, which did not happen. The end result is that lockdown was a waste of time. It cannot be continued forever.

They have been trying to get a vaccine for HIV for the last 30 years and they have not managed it yet. There is a reason for that, and it is probably the same reason why they will not get a vaccine for this.

Malcolm Kendrick was talking to Fraser Myers.

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Coronavirus: Too many ‘experts’ were crying wolf over COVID-19

Coronavirus. Too many ‘experts’ were crying wolf over COVID-19  By Judith Sloan, The Australian, 25 June 2020

I’ve been reading John Kay and Mervyn King’s Radical Uncertainty: Decision-Making for an Unknowable Future. Written before­ the COVID-19 outbreak, its themes are extremely relevant to any analysis of today’s circumstances. It is highly entertaining and wide-ranging. Kay and King make the important distinction between risk and uncertainty. While it’s possible to place prob­abilities against particular contingencies in risky situations, uncer­tainty involves no such numerical specifications. The authors use the two terms puzzles and mysteries to make the point. Puzzles may be difficult to solve but, with effort, intelligence and resources, robust answers can be produced. This is not the case with mysteries.

What starts off as a mystery can become a puzzle over time. And, in the best cases, the ultimate solutions emerge. But many puzzle­s or problems are what are called wicked, as opposed to tame. There is often contradictory and changing evidence, the aims of the exercise are many and also changing, and often are not compatible in the sense that they can all be achieved at the same time.

The bottom line is that life is tough for policymakers faced with complex situations with inadequate information and the absence of a proven framework to answer the question “what is going on here?’’.

Their professional lives are made even more complicated by grandstanding “experts” whose motivations often include public exposure and adulation. Having worked for years in some labor­atory out the back, or cranking the handle of the computer with ­masses of data (often wildly inaccurate), their time in the sun has fin­ally come. Think epidemiol­ogists, infectious diseases specialists and climate scientists.

One of the main problems Kay and King identify is experts’ tendency to convert mysteries into puzzles before there is reliable information on the values of the key parameters that drive the models. Assumptions are por­trayed as “truth” and the implications of the models are seen as a reliable guide for decision-making.

Early this year, various international experts presented expect­ed infection and death rates arising from COVID-19 using statistical models. Mostly, those figures today look preposterous.

Australians were led to believe there would be between 50,000 and 150,000 deaths, numbers sufficient­ly large to scare most people. (It was rarely mentioned that more than 160,000 people die in Australia each year.) Estimates overseas were equally ridiculous, including from Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London’s School of Public Health. He claimed there could be up to 500,000 deaths from COVID-19 in Britain and up to 2.2 million in the US.

Many epidemiologists are scrambling to salvage their reput­ations. Some even suggest there are shonky scientists out there who have been making extravagant claims. There are good ones and bad ones, evidently. The fact almost all of these scientists hold publicly funded positions in well-known institutions makes this claim difficult to sort out.

Then there is the irrefutable ­response that the predictions were wrong because social distancing and lockdowns flattened the curve. That’s really just the equivalent of “heads I win, tails you lose”. Take this explanation from Ferguson: “My (recent) evidence to parliament referred to the deaths we assess might occur in the UK in the presence of the very intensive social-distancing and other public health interventions now in place. Without those controls, our assessment remains that the UK would see the scale of deaths reported in our study (namely, up to about 500,000).”

This sort of statement leaves many issues unanswered. What is the real evidence that particular types of social distancing and lockdowns affect the course of the virus? Does preventing families meeting in groups really matter compared with allowing large sporting events or music festivals? Does the closure of sit-in restaur­ants, pubs and clubs really make much difference? Does the shutting of international borders and enforced quarantine for all arrivals effectively contain the virus?

These are research questions scientists could have spent their time on. But it was never going to be enough to leave it to the scientists, because the practicality and sustainability of imposed restrictions are also critical public policy considerations. Psychologists and economists both have roles to play in this context.

It’s not too early to make the claim that the scientists were far too quick to claim COVID-19 was a puzzle rather than a mystery. Of course, coronaviruses had been identified in the past, but this variety­ has characteristics that are only now becoming clearer.

By presenting the situation as one based on risk (but with assumed­ and highly contestable values attached to the parameters) rather than uncertainty, arguably the key policymakers jumped the gun in terms of making decisions with profound social and econo­mic consequences for many­ ­people without anything close to adequate evidence.

This doesn’t mean all the measures have been wrong. After all, decision-making in the contex­t of uncertainty means policymakers will mostly err on the side of caution. What is baffling­ is why more attention wasn’t paid to the ability of the health system ­(including intensive care unit ­capacity) to deal with the disease. Let’s face it, COVID-19 hasn’t laid a glove on our healthcare system at any stage.

A bit of humility on the part of the scientists also wouldn’t go astray. They also might care to ­re-read the fable about the boy who cried wolf.

JUDITH SLOAN, CONTRIBUTING ECONOMICS EDITOR

Judith Sloan is an economist and company director. She holds degrees from the University of Melbourne and the London School of Economics. She has held a number of government appointments, including Commissioner… Read more

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Coronavirus – how the US took leave of its senses

 

Coronavirus – how the US took leave of its senses  From HumansAreFree, 21 June 2020

Millions of Americans remain subjected to unprecedented restrictions on their personal lives, their daily lives, their family’s lives.

The coronavirus lockdowns continue in many places. You may not know that because it gets no publicity, but it’s true. And if you’re living under it, you definitely know.

As a result of this, tens of millions of people are now unemployed. A huge number of them have no prospects of working again.

Many thousands of small businesses are closed and will never reopen. More Americans have become dependent on drugs and alcohol, seeing their marriages dissolve, and become clinically depressed.

Some of them delayed their weddings. Others were banned by the government from burying their loved ones in funerals.

Some Americans will die of cancer because they couldn’t get cancer screenings, some unknown number have taken their own lives in despair.

Others have flooded the streets to riot because bottled up rage and frustration take many forms.

The cost of shutting down the United States and denying our citizens desperately needed contact with one another is hard to calculate. But the cost has been staggering.

The people responsible for doing all of this, say they have no regrets about it. We faced a global calamity, they say. COVID-19 was the worst pandemic since the Spanish flu. That flu killed 50 million people.

We had no choice. We did the right thing. That’s what they’re telling us. Is it true?

The answer to that question matters, not just because the truth always matters, but because the credibility of our leaders is at stake here.

This is the biggest decision they have made in our lifetimes. They were able to make it. They rule because we let them. Their power comes from us.

As a matter of public health, we can say conclusively the lockdowns were not necessary.

So the question, now and always is, are they worthy of that power?

That’s not a conversation they want to have. And right now, they don’t have to have that conversation because all of us are distracted and mesmerized by the woke revolution underway outside.

They just created a separate country in Seattle. Huh? We’ll bring you the latest on that. But we do think it’s worth four minutes taking a pause to assess whether or not they were in fact lying to us about the coronavirus and our response to it.

And the short answer is this: Yes, they were definitely lying.

As a matter of public health, we can say conclusively the lockdowns were not necessary. In fact, we can prove that.

And here’s the most powerful evidence: States that never locked down at all – states where people were allowed to live like Americans and not cower indoors alone – in the end turned out no worse than states that had mandatory quarantines. The state you probably live in.

The states that locked down at first but were quick to reopen have not seen explosions of coronavirus cases. All of this is the opposite of what they said would happen with great confidence.

The media predicted mass death at places like Lake of the Ozarks and Ocean City, Md. – places where the middle class dares to vacation. But those deaths never happened.

In the end, the Wuhan coronavirus turned out to be a dangerous disease, but a manageable disease, like so many others. Far more dangerous were the lockdowns themselves.

For example, in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, panicked and incompetent governors forced nursing homes to accept infected coronavirus patients, and as a result, many thousands died, and they died needlessly.

This is all a remarkable story, but it’s going almost entirely uncovered. The media would rather tell you why you need to hate your neighbor for the color of his skin.

The media definitely don’t want to revisit what they were saying just a few weeks ago, when they were acting as press agents for power-drunk Democratic politicians.

We were all played. Corrupt politicians scared us into giving up control over the most basic questions in our lives.

At the same time, they gave more power to their obedient followers, like Antifa, while keeping the rest of us trapped at home and censored online.

Back then, news anchors were ordering you to stop asking questions and obey.

Chris Cuomo, CNN anchor: All right, so while most Americans are staying inside – or should be, right, if they’re not out protesting like fools – they’re not happy about being told to stay home. Staying home saves lives.

And the rest of us should be staying at home for our mothers and the people that we love, and to keep us farther apart, will ultimately bring us closer together in this cause.

Our collective conscientious actions – staying home.

Oh, if you love your mother, you will do what I say. It turns out cable news anchors don’t make very subtle propagandists.

And then Memorial Day arrived in May, and some states started to reopen. Millions of grateful Americans headed outdoors for the first time in months, and the media attacked them for doing that. They called them killers.

Swimming with your kids, they told us, was tantamount to mass murder.

Claire McCaskill, MSNBC political analyst: Frankly, a lot of the people in those crowds – they thought they were, you know, standing up for what the president believes in and that is not to care about the public safety part of this.

Robyn Curnow, CNN host: Look at this. I mean, this is kind of crazy, considering we’re in the middle of a global pandemic.

I mean, as one person quipped, you know, that’s curving the curve. That’s not flattening it.

Don Lemon, CNN anchor: Massive crowd of people crammed together, as if it were just an ordinary holiday weekend despite the risks of a virus that has killed more than 98,000 people.

Boy that montage was the opposite of a MENSA meeting. Has that much dumbness been captured on tape ever?

The last clip you saw was from May 25th. That was just over two weeks ago. “Ninety eight thousand people are dead. How dare you leave your house? You don’t work in the media. You’re not essential.”

But it didn’t take long for that message to change completely. In fact, it took precisely five days.

Here’s the same brain dead news anchor you just saw less than a week later. He is no longer angry, you’ll notice, about Americans going outside.

As long as they are rioting and burning and not doing something sinful, like swimming with their children, he is delighted by it.

Lemon: And let’s not forget, if anyone is judging this – I’m not judging this, I’m just wondering what is going on.

Because we were supposed to figure out this experiment a long time ago. Our country was started because – this is how: the Boston Tea Party. Rioting.

So don’t – do not get it twisted and think that, oh, this is something that has never happened before. And then this is so terrible, and where are we in these savages and all of that. This is how this country was started.

Yes, don’t judge. This is how this country was started – by looting CVS and setting fire to Wendy’s. Of course, you took American History. You knew that.

Andrew Cuomo’s brother must have been in the same history class because he had the same reaction.

Chris Cuomo: America’s major cities are filled with people demanding this country be more fair, more just.

And please, show me where it says that protests are supposed to be polite and peaceful.

Because I can show you that outraged citizens are the ones who have made America what she is and led to any major milestones.

They are here to yell, criticize, blame, and shame.

Citizens have no duty to check their outrage.

Wow. So, one minute they were mass murderers for going outside. Now, they’re Sam Adams. They’re patriots. They’re American heroes.

If all of this seems like a pretty abrupt pivot, fret not. Rioting is not a health risk as long as it helps the Democratic Party’s prospects in the November election. Rioting will not spread the coronavirus.

Sounds implausible, but we can be certain of that, because last week, hundreds of self-described public health officials signed a letter saying so.

They announced that the Black Lives Matter riots are a vital contribution to public health. In effect, they’re an essential medical procedure.

But that doesn’t mean you get to go outside. You don’t.

Thanks to coronavirus, you do not have the right to resume your life, and if you complain about that, it’s “white nationalism.” That was their professional conclusion.

Does a single American believe any of that? No, of course not. It is too stupid even for CNN to repeat, so they mostly ignored it.

That’s an ominous sign if you think about it. It means these people are done trying to convince you, even to fool you.

They’re not making arguments, they’re issuing decrees. They think they can. They no longer believe they need your consent to make big decisions to run the country.

Once the authority stops trying to change your mind, even by deceit, it means they’ve decided to use force – and they have.

During the lockdowns, people whose loved ones died were not allowed to have funerals for them. Think about that. It’s hard to think of anything crueler, but it happened to a lot of people. They claimed it was necessary.

It was not necessary. And we know that because now that a man has died whose death is politically useful to the Democratic Party, the authorities have given him three funerals and not a word about a health risk.

Or consider King County, Wash – that’s where Seattle is. Restaurants in King County are operating at just 25 percent capacity. That’s the law now. Nonessential businesses are allowed just 15 percent capacity.

The effect of that is economic disaster. Most small businesses run on very small margins. They can’t survive for long, and in fact, many have failed.

What should they do? They should join Antifa, obviously, because in King County, Wash., Antifa can do whatever Antifa wants to do.

They have taken over an entire six-block section of downtown Seattle, and that’s fine with health authorities. There is no social distancing required. They’re essential.

Are you getting the picture? Is it adding up to a message? Yes, the message is we were played. We were all played.

Corrupt politicians scared us into giving up control over the most basic questions in our lives.

At the same time, they gave more power to their obedient followers, like Antifa, while keeping the rest of us trapped at home and censored online.

In other words, they used a public health emergency to subvert democracy and install themselves as monarchs. How were they able to do this?

The sad truth is, they did it because we let them do it. We believed them, therefore, we obeyed them.

If there’s anything good to come out of this disaster, it’s that none of us will ever make that mistake again.

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Doug Casey on How Fake Science is Used as Propaganda

Doug Casey on How Fake Science is Used as Propaganda  By Doug Casey, Internationalman.com, 18 June 2020

 
 

International Man: The Lancet recently retracted an anti-hydroxychloroquine study, which the media had used to attack Trump.

Trump had admitted to taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventative measure against the coronavirus. The media then went into a frenzy. The talking heads often cited The Lancet study as proof hydroxychloroquine was dangerous.

The bottom line is that bogus research made its way—likely deliberately—into one of the most prestigious peer-reviewed medical journals in the world. People then used this “science” as a political weapon.

What is your take on this?

Doug Casey: I’d say the whole charade is tragic, except that “tragic” has become the most overused word in the language today. It bears a short discussion.

Look at the recent death of a small-time career criminal, George Floyd. It’s as if “tragic” were part of his name. It’s as if people no longer understand the meaning of the word. A tragedy used to mean that a heroic protagonist succumbed to a cosmic force. There are no heroes in the degraded melodrama, just villains, where a costumed thug murdered a street thug under the color of law.

Sorry to go off on a tangent. But it’s a timely instance of another word whose meaning has been twisted. It’s Orwellian, like so many other things in our devolving society.

Let’s talk about something that’s actually tragic: the corruption of science over the last couple of generations.

I’ve subscribed to Scientific American, Discover, and New Scientist for many years. During this time, I’ve noticed a distinct change in their respective editorial policies. They’ve all been politicized, captured by the PC left. These popular magazines are nowhere near the quality they once were. But this is just symptomatic of a bigger problem.

You might recall the 2018 hoax where three academics, disgusted with widespread incompetence and dishonesty in research, submitted absurd “spoof” papers to twenty leading journals. They were written in gobbledygook, full of made-up facts and flawed reasoning. But most, as I recall, were peer-reviewed and published.

If you research the subject a bit, you come to the conclusion half the peer-reviewed papers—absolutely in “soft” fields like psychology, sociology, political science, race and gender studies, etc.—are unreadable, dishonest, useless, and pointless.

Why might this be? If an academic wants to advance in today’s university system, he has to publish research. It’s Pareto’s Law in action, the 80–20 rule. It’s pretty reliable, 80% of this sort of thing is crap because it’s written mainly to fabricate credentials, not advance knowledge.

This is a bad thing.

It’s causing the average guy, who may not know anything about science but still has some respect for it, to lose that respect. That’s because science has become politicized.

You can see it with the conflicting information about COVID-19. Is it deadly or just another seasonal flu? Does it affect everyone, like the black death, or mainly the old and sick? Does almost everyone who contracts the virus get very sick or die or only a tiny percentage? Should you quarantine or live normally?

So far, as near as I can tell, the great virus hysteria has gone from being the next black plague to basically a big nothing. It’s not nearly as bad as the Asian Flu from the 50s or the Hong Kong Flu from the 60s. Forget about the Spanish Flu—there’s no comparison whatsoever. The main effect of COVID isn’t medical; it’s the hysteria that’s destroyed the economy. And political actions are even more insane than those after 9/11.

Politics thrives on hysteria. The politicization of everything is the real problem. And it’s not just about the total disruption of society and multitrillion-dollar deficits. For instance, I’ve played poker with a bunch of guys in Aspen every Monday night for years. Now, even though the lockdown in town is easing, the group is breaking up because most of them insist that everyone wear a mask. I won’t, nor will a couple of other guys. So, between that and a few guys who are now scared to socialize no matter what … game over. It may also mean the end of a larger Friday business lunch group I belong to that’s been around for decades.

There are millions of similar small rips in the social fabric taking place everywhere now. And they’re largely justified by “the science.”

The real problem is that the knock-on effects of the virus will last much, much longer than the trivial virus itself—which will soon burn out and be forgotten. The political, economic, and social changes, however, will linger for years, as will attitudes toward “science.”

International Man: What are the implications of people corrupting the scientific process to launder their political propaganda to shape mainstream opinions?

Doug Casey: You might think this is a new thing, but the left, in particular—who have always been advocates of social engineering— love using “science” to further their political agenda.

The first important instance of this was Karl Marx and his notion of “scientific socialism”—a totally bogus idea.

Since he first promoted it over 150 years ago, the concept has become ingrained in the culture, especially academia. People have been taught to believe there’s such a thing as “scientific socialism,” and that it’s not just inevitable, but desirable. In fact, it’s pseudoscience. But that’s just the first example of corruption of science in modern times.

Keynesianism is another example. Keynesians believe that they can manipulate the economy as if it were a machine.

A machine is a horrible analogy for the economy, however. It’s not a machine or a factory where you can pull levers to make magic happen—which is precisely what the Keynesians (who run the economic world today) think they can do.

The economy is more like a rainforest, which is very complex. It can’t be manipulated from outside by apparatchiks enforcing rules. And if you do try to manipulate a rainforest from outside, you’re likely to destroy it.

Keynesianism is a perfect example of scientism (that’s the use of the vocabulary and trappings of science for inappropriate subjects). You can see scientism used everywhere in the humanities and “soft” sciences. This is usually to legitimize some type of state intervention.

Sociology and psychology are basically about social engineering. They’re not generally scientific so much as scientistic. They often try to put a scientific patina on forcing people to interact with each other in prescribed ways.

But it goes way beyond just sociology and psychology. English departments are notorious for using leftist literary works to insinuate certain ideas in students. Economics departments use arcane math formulas to describe human action—pure scientism, with lots of ideological baggage. Marx himself was primarily a historian. Many college degrees today are completely bogus and worthless. An example? There are degrees in gender studies.

The trend is way out of control. Ridiculous scientific concepts that started with Marx are everywhere.

The same people—by that, I mean those with Marxist, socialist, and Keynesian outlooks—are behind the global warming frenzy, which is full of pseudoscience, fudged numbers, and bogus statistics.

The latest manifestation of all this, of course, is the COVID hysteria.

But behind it all is state funding of science—Big Science. It started in earnest after World War II.

Government funding is authorized by politicians. They make decisions for political reasons. In order to qualify, you have to come up with results that are politically acceptable, which itself is the best reason for not having any government funding.

But some might ask: Without the government, where would Big Science get the billions needed for giant projects?

In fact, most of the capital that goes into scientific research from the state would still go into science; knowledge has value. But money would be allocated economically, not politically, thereby creating more wealth—much more than today, when much is wasted on politically caused boondoggles. Most government science spending is necessarily misallocated.

The increasingly political nature of science funding has served to discredit the idea of science itself.

International Man: The Democrats liken themselves as the so-called “Party of Science.” What do you think?

Doug Casey: It’s nonsense, but it’s very clever marketing on their part.

They get away with it because the Republicans are basically the party of business. And more importantly, the people who vote Republican tend to be traditionalist and religion-oriented.

That’s a problem because scientific thinkers tend to see religion as irrelevant, dangerous, or even laughable—at best, as an inaccurate or bogus way to describe the world.

Democrats, on the other hand, are notoriously secular and non-religious. Coincidentally, so are most scientists. That’s resulted in some unfortunate confusion. Democrats, illogically, seem to believe that just because they’re secular, they must be scientific.

The fact is, however, that the Democrats are not the party of science.

In fact, they’re the party of pseudoscience, bogus science, and scientism. Science doesn’t mix well with politics—or religion.

But Democrats are clever marketers, linking themselves with science to differentiate themselves from Republicans, the party of tradition and religion.

When you think about tradition and religion, it can bring to mind flat earth theories, geocentric astronomy, Torquemada, the persecution of Galileo, and witch trials. Democrats love to paint themselves as rational advanced thinkers and Republicans as superstitious atavists.

Of course, religion and science have been at each other’s throats forever. Another reason I’ve always said the Dems are more the evil party and the Reps more the stupid party. But a pox on both their houses…

International Man: Events like this seem to be a prime reason why a growing number of people are losing confidence in previously credible institutions and the self-anointed “experts.”

What does this mean?

Doug Casey: Tens of millions now have college degrees that they think mean something. In fact, they’re worth less than a high school diploma was before World War 2. People go on to get PhDs, which, it’s always been said, stands for “piled higher and deeper.”

Especially since World War 2, government has gotten vastly bigger and involved in everything. Huge mistake…

The government’s role is simple—to protect people from coercion: protection from domestic coercion, which implies the police force; protection from transnational coercion, which implies an army; and providing justice within the country, which implies a judicial system.

The government shouldn’t do anything else.

But since it’s now involved in absolutely everything, you need “experts” to decide what’s to be done.

We see this today with people like Dr. Anthony Fauci, who’s nothing more than a lifelong bureaucrat. He’s lived in the swamp his entire life, and he’s a typical technocrat. He believes he knows what’s best for you.

People like Fauci have assumed tremendous power over other people and the way society works. He’s a clever politician and has been effective at backslapping and backstabbing. And wheedling his way into a high bureaucratic position. The government is full of people like him.

Another important thing about COVID is that they call it a “health crisis.”

That’s untrue for several reasons. First, health is something that you take care of yourself. It’s personal, not public. As wonderful and as advanced as medicine has become, it’s of little use for maintaining your health.

You maintain your health through proper diet, exercise, and good habits. Medicine is about repairing damage if you have a serious injury or illness. It overlaps, obviously, but is essentially very different from health care.

Anyway, COVID has been dressed up as an excuse to not just destroy the economy, but in many ways, destroy society itself. Similar to global warming, Keynesianism, Marxism, and other forms of scientism.

It’s one of many signs of how society is degrading at an accelerating rate.

I don’t know what the next massive boondoggle is going to be after this is over. You might recall the police state pictured in the excellent movie “V for Vendetta” was brought into being because of a fake virus epidemic. Talk about life imitating art! If things keep going in this direction, the US will start looking like the old USSR.

International Man: Society is degrading at an accelerating pace. What can people do to protect themselves?

Doug Casey: Unfortunately, the whole world seems to worship democracy. Democracy, however, is really just mob rule dressed in a coat and tie. Worse, that trend is not only still in motion, but it’s accelerating.

What can you do to protect yourself? It’s becoming a situation of sauve qui peut—every man for himself. That’s where gold comes in.

I’ve always been a fan of gold—always for savings and often as a speculation. It’s been great, and gold bugs have done very well. It’s gone from $35 to over $1,700. And it’s going much higher.

It’s a great way to save money and build capital over time. At the moment, I’m speculating in gold mining stocks, which are extremely cheap. I expect the next mania to be in them.

But I don’t have any political solutions for people, except to stop looking to politics as the solution to problems. And stop acting like a bunch of chimpanzees looking for a leader.

Politics is the problem, the cause of most of today’s problems. It’s not the solution.

Editor’s Note: Economically, politically, and socially, the United States seems to be headed down a path that’s not only inconsistent with the founding principles of the country but accelerating quickly toward boundless decay.

It’s contributing to a growing wave of misguided socialist ideas.

That’s exactly why Doug Casey and his team just released this new video outlining what it’s all about and what comes next. Click here to watch it now.

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Coronavirus: Inflated pandemic estimates weaken climate forecasts

Coronavirus. Inflated pandemic estimates weaken climate forecasts  By Adam Creighton, The Australian, 17 June 2020

Tony Abbott’s suspicion that climate change modelling was “absolute crap” soon will resonate more broadly — so spectacularly bad was expert modelling of the spread and lethality of the coronavirus, faith in all modelling must surely suffer.

Why trust the experts to forecast the climate decades into the future when they were so wrong about a disease related to the common cold?

Official coronavirus and climate change modelling share catastrophic predictions. Unfortunately for virus modellers, reality dawned a lot sooner and it has delivered an F for fail.

The pandemic has damaged the credibility of “experts” and highlighted the limits of “the science” and the misplaced hubris of the political class.

On whatever measure you choose — deaths, infections, rate of transmission — the epidemiological models that convinced governments to take a sledgehammer to their economies, now mired in unrest, have proved scandalously pessimistic and out by orders of magnitude.

We were told the virus’s spread would be “exponential”. It wasn’t; transmission was falling before mandatory lockdowns scared the daylights out of people.

The infection fatality rate, we were told, would be about 1 per cent; it’s closer to 0.2 per cent, akin to a severe flu. Apparently, lifting lockdowns early would see cases surge; they haven’t. And we were all vulnerable — but most weren’t; the median age of death is well over 80. Driving is more dangerous. At least half of deaths globally have been in aged-care homes, which were already locked down. We understood you could catch COVID-19 again — also wrong. We closed schools and wore masks, but the evidence we needed to do so is scant.

The raw numbers speak for themselves. The death toll globally is on track to be smaller than the flu pandemics of the 1950s and 60s, when the world’s population was less than half that today.

Indeed, if you put the number of global deaths last year, this year, and next year (about 60 million each year) on a simple column chart you’ll struggle to see the ­impact of COVID-19.

Future historians will be shocked at the disproportionate response. At least they will chuckle at SAGE, the acronym for the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, the expert panel advising the British government, which has presided over the worst performance of any country.

But it wasn’t only the British. Experts in Sweden warned 100,000 would die by June if it didn’t lock down as the rest of Europe had, yet fewer than 5000 were lost. Experts said 420,000 might die in Japan without a hard lockdown. Fewer than 950 did.

Our own experts at the Doherty Institute said 5000 intensive care unit beds would be required, even with strict isolation and social distancing; fewer than 50 were needed. For anyone here who is worried about a second wave of COVID-19, we’re still waiting on the first one.

Climate modelling was struggling even before the pandemic, given the planet has warmed about half as much as forecast by the first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report in back 1990.

“Almost the entire alarm about global warming is based on model predictions. If you just look at the last 30 to 40 years of data, nothing spectacular has happened, there’s no sign temperature increase is accelerating,” says Benny Peiser, founder of the Global Warming Policy Foundation in London.

It’s remarkable we put so much faith in expert models, given their history of failure. The Club of Rome in 1972 notoriously forecast that growth would collapse as the world’s resources ran out, ignoring human ingenuity and the shale revolution.

Financial models failed to account for — indeed they probably facilitated — the global financial crisis. And as almost every utterance by a central bank governor since has reminded us, economists struggle to know what happened last month, let alone forecast the impact of a policy change tomorrow.

“In the late 1990s, models suggested the entire Great Barrier Reef would bleach every year by 2020, but in the last 15 years parts of the reef have bleached on only three occasions, with each event affecting only one-third of the reef,” says physicist Peter Ridd, a former professor of James Cook University.

In the last 15 years parts of the Great Barrier reef have bleached on only three occasions.

It’s remarkable we put so much faith in climate modelling, given it is a far more complex task. “Climate sensitivity” — the size and speed of the response of global temperatures to a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere — is harder to predict than a spreading virus. Even if we knew it, drawing implications about future economic growth is even more heroic.

“The big mistake that’s clearly been made is the failure to systematically appraise the models that underpin policy with actual data,” notes Gordon Hughes, a former professor of economics at the University of Edinburgh, speaking on a panel about the pitfalls of mathematical modelling last month.

By April, we knew the coronavirus was not as dangerous as feared yet modellers and governments doubled down on the catastrophe narrative. It’s almost July and people in our capitals are wearing masks in their own cars.

How can we avoid the hysteria next time? It won’t be easy. All the incentives are stacked in favour of dodgy doomsday modelling; apocalyptic scenarios allow politicians to increase their power and appear caring. Public health experts enjoy more prestige. And some of the media naturally prefer models with horrifying forecasts to draw eyeballs.

Humans have a natural tendency to focus on extremes — what psychologists call a “negativity bias”. Models are almost cartoons, highly simplified versions of reality. History has proved a better guide to the future. It’s a pity we’re wasting res­ources on a royal commission into the bushfires. How and why authorities have overreacted so much, and how we can avoid doing so again, would be a better line of inquiry.

ADAM CREIGHTON, ECONOMICS EDITOR

Adam Creighton is an award-winning journalist with a special interest in tax and financial policy. He was a Journalist in Residence at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business in 2019.

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