Strategy and Tactics?

Let’s round up a couple interesting points. This is all highly speculative on my part, I have little idea what to do. First off, from Clarissa’s blog a couple days ago:

I engage in exactly zero discussions with liberals / leftists / Biden voters / ‘democratic socialists’ / pandemicians / anti-racists or whatever they call themselves. I don’t try to reason with them, I don’t offer evidence, I don’t explain my position. I’m open to discuss shopping, recipes, weather, gossip, etc. But the moment they start on with vaccines, Trump, horse dewormers, insurrections, etc, I change the topic or use the bathroom. There can be no debate with people who hold the power to wipe you out of productive life on a whim. The very act of engaging in a discussion perpetuates the massive lie that there is free and open debate.

Recall that Clarissa grew up under the Soviet Union. Her point: we’re way, way past the point of talking this out. It’s like Mao’s Hundred Flowers campaign: people were encouraged to criticize the regime, on the principle that even the regime could use some constructive criticism. All Mao really wanted was to identify those who needed culling – and culled they were.

It’s not that, by now – heck, by April of 2020 – I had written enough badthink on this blog alone to mark me for culling. I’d assume the majority of the people reading this are in the same boat, have said too much. That train has left the station. It’s that those in the grip of the insanity are not in the least interested in, or even capable of, being convinced. Clarissa continues:

I’m talking right now about normal everyday people who have been duped by propaganda. The actual stormtroopers at NYTimes – these are horrid people working for a horrid organization. Only days ago they knowingly perpetuated the lie about 900,000 pediatric COVID deaths. This is a despicable thing to do but it’s one in 25 even worse thing the paper did on that day.

OK then. Confronting Normie is a non-starter. Got it. What I and mine have been doing: as much as possible, simply don’t comply. It’s that ‘as much as possible’ part that killing me at the moment. It’s not my goal to get other little people in trouble, especially churches. One thing near the top of Our Evil Overlord’s agenda: crush churches out of existence, or, at least, drive them underground. People freely attend churches, hang out and talk with each other, spreading badthink. Can’t have that. So, while I don’t usually wear a mask in church (in direct defiance of the state health authorities) I have one on my person, in case the stoolies are on duty. Oops! Musta slipped off there!

But shopping for food? Well, the sad reality is that all I’m likely to do would be putting some low paid worker bee on the spot to tell me to mask up – how is that different from confronting Normie? Not saying I *like* this, but that I want to get out of this alive, not make grandstanding statements.

That said, I’ve now gone to In-n-Out twice since they stood up to the San Francisco Cat Fanciers. Both times, once near dinner time, but once in the middle of a Saturday afternoon, drive-through lines around the block and walk-in lines out the doors and into the parking lot. Two different outlets. In-n-Out was very popular before all this, but not that popular by half. Is this a positive development? How is this going to help, other than getting people to show up at Tiananmen Square, as it were, the better to mow them down?

Or is it the scariest thing to our betters? To see people not complying? Sadly, I kind of doubt it. First of all, there is no uniform group of people doing ‘this’ – however ‘this’ is defined. We may imagine a conspiracy involving thousands, but that’s unlikely. A conspiracy involving dozens or maybe even hundreds -sure. But the major victory here is sidestepping any need for rational (however evil) cooperation: the Faucis and Fergusons of the world don’t believe their own B.S., but they do believe what’s happening is beneficial to them, and, since they can’t imagine otherwise, beneficial to the world.* And it’s what their betters want.

Years of training in bureaucracy and deceit (but I repeat myself) have created legions of such creatures. These Front Row Kids have learned to get ahead by delivering what the people above them want, and have driven any interest in whether what they want is true or good – that never entered into the equation. They have learned to hold those poor, benighted back row kids in utter contempt, for, to even acknowledge the possibility that those not playing the game might have a point about anything has been rendered unimaginable, far too emotionally risky, an attack on their own fundamental sense of self. We *must* be wrong! They *must* be right!

So the cake chart looks like this:

  • On the bottom are those who will not comply. A thin layer.
  • The next layer up are those who comply under duress. A much thicker layer. (I straddle the these first two groups – I do put on a mask to shop, but won’t get the jab.)
  • Then comes those who comply out of reflexive obedience, who don’t really believe this stuff but find making a fuss about it too inconvenient.
  • Then the great mass of those who have been convinced, because they have been trained to view only authority as convincing.
  • Next, the useful idiots: BLM, Antifa. BLM imagined they were much higher up on the cake, flexed their anti-jab muscles, and promptly got memory-holed. If they prove too unmanageable, people know people who do things. Stuff will happen. But as long as they remained useful, they were darlings.
  • Then the Borderline Personality cases and sociopaths of varying degrees, who live to lord it over people. The voluntary enforcement police. Lots of medical professionals, nursing home staff, and ‘educators’ fall into this class – they fell into their professions because it gives them the power to abuse people. This ‘pandemic’ merely poured gasoline on their open flame.
  • Then the bureaucrats, climbers, suck ups. Truth? What is that? Fauci is legion.
  • Then those who imagine they are in charge. Gates, Zuckerberg. They’d get the pillow in a minute if they proved difficult. But the idea that they run the world is simply too intoxicating, and because they think themselves geniuses, they eagerly embrace it. Arrogance make you stupid, and they are very, very arrogant.
  • Then the tiny group who might, on some level, actually be in charge. They, I imagine, are nameless by design. They names we know are no more in charge than Brandon.

Now, there is not and cannot be any sort of consensus among such a mishmash. Even the top layers are at odds, fearing those above and despising those below, all wanting most of all to keep their positions or, better, to move up. If they do move up, they hate those at their previous level more than any others, if possible. Looking for clear goals and agreement in such an environment is a fools game. But I imagine there’s enough agreement among enough of the small group at the very top of this thing to keep the general direction clear.

Example: the top wants the ‘pandemic’ to continue. The level of bureaucrats, climbers, and suck-ups, including most especially the media, will execute this without question. There’s no memos needed -everybody in this layer knows this is the game, or they have already lost their jobs. Thus any good news is simply hunted down and buried, and any lies that promote the panic become banner headlines. (And, to drive sane people crazy, the ‘corrections’ are put at the bottom of page 23 in small print. They don’t care they’ve lied, they issue corrections as a way of rubbing their lies in our faces.)

And, finally, the Father of Lies is at the top. He will burn everything down, especially all the layers immediately beneath him, once he sees he is losing. And the layers immediately beneath him will enthusiastically comply! To their own destruction. And – here’s the problem – do everything in their power to take as many of us down with them as they can.

Strategy? Get the hell out of here. Away from the insanity, as much as possible. ‘Here’ being far too close to the bluest of blue cities in an insane state. Lay low, and ride it out. Homestead-lite. Dispose of the tech toys. (Except that Linux machine to write on, VPN, and? I guess I’m weak – should just go samizdat?) Provide a fall back for the kids, who aren’t as free to pick up and move – or don’t yet think they are.

Tactics? Working on it. Don’t engage Normie seems worth considering. I’ve long held far, far too optimistic a view on the reasonableness of the average American. This fauxdemic has been cold water to the face. And lay low.

*One of the more maddening bits in all this: Fauci’s claim that he lied about masks for everybody for our own good, saying at first that they weren’t needed and then saying they were mandatory. He establishes a principle: Fauci and his ilk will lie their asses off to us – for our own good. What they imagine to be our own good remains unknown and, on this principle, unknowable, because they would lie about that, too! For our own good! And yet – people defend him and comply. Sad.

Looks Like It’s Burgers Tonight

At In-N-Out!:

UPDATE: Bwahaha!! 50+ cars in line; I went inside where the line was shorter. I told the nice lady that I was here specifically because of what went on in San Francisco. Waiting for my food, another lady came up to me and told me she said the same thing! Other people nodded. I said “let’s make these people rich.“ Bwahaha!

The Big Picture

Ed Feser, a very smart man and excellent writer, wrote a piece a couple days ago titled Covid-19 vaccination is not the hill to die on. As usual, it’s all very well thought out and clearly presented, what I’ve come to expect from Dr. Feser. My objections to it have little to do with the points he’s making, but rather from the big picture he assumes, a big picture I utterly reject.

Here’s the Big Picture based in reality: We have repeatedly forgotten. We have used the Memory Hole, and then rewritten what just happened. We suppress the cognitive dissonance with one Just So story after another. Our situation under the endless lockups and mandates, the maskings and travel restrictions, the wanton destruction of a million small businesses, the enforcement of compliance by a million Karens backed by medical, media, and government hacks and sociopaths, is not an environment within which doing as we are told and making seeming rational concessions is going to result in anything positive.

Our situation most closely parallels an abusive boyfriend/enabling girlfriend relationship. We, the abused public, are supposed to believe that it’s our fault, if only we would do exactly what he says, then he’d stop hitting us. And when we bring up his lies, we only get hit some more, so we’d rather believe that his lies are out fault, too, than confront him and get hurt some more. And only people who don’t understand us keep saying it’s his fault, that we have to stop listening to him! No! He’s a good boyfriend! Things will be fine once we learn to do as we’re told!

Dr. Feser chooses to largely ignore this history of lies and manipulation, or pretend they didn’t happen, or were somehow not the official positions, so that he can coolly argue from philosophical principles. Those principles, and his logic, are impeccable. But they are an irrelevant diversion. Implicit is the assumption that, if we just go along with the experimental drug jab, that, somehow, our violent boyfriend will finally calm down and things will be OK. If you keep in mind what has actually happened rather than swallowing the latest Just So story, the questions become: why not this hill? What would the right hill look like? In reality, we KNOW it’s not going to stop on its own, because it hasn’t yet for reasons that change after the fact, over and over. If not now, when?

Spelling it out, since many seem to have forgotten:

A. From the very first, from February and March of 2020 on, everything presented through the press about the SARS-2 outbreak was distorted, if not out and out lies. Every factor that could be used to terrify people was amplified; every factor that mitigated against panic was ignored or lied about. Examples:

  • The experience of Wuhan, where about 1,000 had died as of March, was always presented as if the population of dead people was effectively random, as if anyone could catch SARS-2, suffer severe sudden respiratory distress, and drop dead on the street. In reality, all but a very few of the dead were elderly sickly people. Healthy people were at very slight risk, just as they are now.
  • We all heard about Li Wenliang, the Chinese doctor who, according to the story, tried to warn everybody about SARS-2 in December 2019, then, contracted the disease and died in February – but not before posting a selfie with him on a respirator.* That he was one of very few people, as in single digits, who, in a city of millions, had not been sickly, elderly, or, usually, both before catching the bug was not emphasized.
  • We heard all about the Diamond Princess cruise ship, and the 14 people who, over the months following, died. We didn’t hear about the several thousand people on the ship – most people! – who didn’t even catch the virus, despite near-ideal conditions for spreading it: packed together, nowhere else to go, sharing facilities, breathing the same air. It was not emphasized that all 14 people who died were elderly passengers, that no member of the crew died. What the Diamond Princess demonstrated: that elderly sickly people are at some risk, but that the risk to younger, healthier people is effectively zero.
  • We did not hear about the USS Theodore Roosevelt 24×7, where out of 5,000 crew, only 3 got seriously ill and only one died – and he had underlying heart conditions. Why the one and not the other? We heard only horror stories where everyone was assumed to be at mortal risk; we did not hear about stories where no one reasonably healthy was at much risk at all.

B. Once the Coof spread to Italy, people totally freaked out, again assuming the Coof was something that could kill anybody. The average age of the Italian victims was 81 years old. Almost all the deaths took place in nursing homes – where old, sickly people go to die – or in hospitals – where the seriously sick people are. Nowhere was the overall poor state of Italian healthcare discussed, nor the standard practice under Italian nationalized medicine of rationing by age: old people go to the end of the line in virtually all cases. Once again, the data screams that younger people were at minimal risk.

By the time Covid had spread throughout Europe, the numbers from Wuhan, the Diamond Princess, Iran, USS Theodore Roosevelt, and Italy were readily available to healthcare people and governments. Any cool heads looking at those numbers (and there were thousands of us!) saw the obvious screaming from the numbers: This disease it not a meaningful threat to reasonably healthy people. Old, sick people are at risk. All the numbers that have come out since have confirmed this. Yet, rather than taking rational steps to protect the vulnerable, an entire mythology was created, under which millions of Americans would die if extreme steps to isolate the healthy from each other were not taken.

What this graph shows: People over 75, who have a high overall risk of dying, also have a high overall risk of dying if they catch COVID; that, conversely, if you are under 50, your risk from COVID is, effectively, zero – COVID adds nothing to your overall background risk. (REMINDER: everyone eventually dies of something. Risk is never zero until you are dead.) Also note that this is ‘deaths involving’ and therefore overstates COVID’s lethality. Graphs from anywhere in the world from every stage of the ‘pandemic’ show the same outcomes.

C. The whole idea of lockdowns was sold as ‘flattening the curve’. This is a slightly technical concept: the theory is that, by slowing the spread of a highly contagious disease, we can keep hospitals from being overwhelmed. In other words, millions would die who would have lived if only they had received proper medical care. Note and do not forget this: All the huge projected death numbers used to justify the lockups are based on two assumptions: that Covid was going to inevitably spread like wildfire, and that – IMPORTANT! DON’T FORGET – that Covid is imminently treatable, so that proper treatment circa 2020 would prevent millions of deaths. Thus, lockups would save lives by making sure proper medical treatment was available to those who did contract the virus.

Flattening the curve was said to be important because the *models* show that *most* of the *projected* deaths result, not from simply contracting the disease, but from patients not being treated due to the healthcare system getting overwhelmed. This is important not to forget: the models projected that so many people would get sick and require hospitalization that there would not be enough healthcare capacity to take care of them, that the death toll would rise out of control – the ‘people dying in the streets’ scenario – unless we ‘flattened the curve’. At no point in this argument is there a reduction in people who would die regardless of hospitalization – in a rare nod to reality, the models all assumed there’s a baseline number of people who are going to die no matter what ‘we’ do, it’s only excess deaths caused by lack of hospital capacity that lockdowns to ‘flatten the curve’ address.

DO NOT FORGET THIS! Lockups were justified to flatten the curve. The theory under which this was done does not support or even suggest the idea that lockups would somehow reduce overall deaths except insofar as those deaths resulted from hospitals being overwhelmed.

So, follow the logic: the curve – technically, the area under the curve – represents the number of people who will die no matter what ‘we’ do. “Flattening the curve” means taking steps to prolong the outbreak, so that the number of people who get sick and die at any one time never gets too high for the healthcare system to handle. 15 days is what the models suggest as the ‘right’ amount of time to lockup everybody. After that, lockups merely prolong the outbreak without saving any lives. That’s what the argument, as bodied forth in the models, says.

What happened instead:

  • Lockups were announced across the nation starting in March of 2020.
  • They quickly became indefinite, in direct contradiction to the theory under which they were imposed.
  • At no point anywhere in the nation were any healthcare systems under any real threat of being overwhelmed. The closest was New York, where a navy hospital ship and a National Guard field hospital were deployed, only to never admit a single patient, and, after a few weeks, to be quietly taken down & withdrawn. Side note: and you never heard about this, right?
  • By the end of April, 2020, Covid deaths had fallen to very low levels – but the lockups were not lifted. Never was an objective threshold announced that would trigger the end of the lockups, because no such threshold existed.
  • Locally (Bay Area, CA) the rules for lockdowns were as follows: churches were specifically closed; homeless encampments (of which we have many) were specifically exempted. Because?
  • In April, just as the death numbers were collapsing (just as Spring broke out across the country, and as was widely predicted by those of us who correctly viewed the Coof as another seasonal virus), states around the nation announced a switch to mail-in ballots. On what basis was the now-fading virus assumed to be a threat 7 months out, the kind of threat lockups would prevent?

In sum: lockups – specifically, the lockup of healthy people showing no symptoms of Covid – were imposed under one theory, a theory under which lockups of longer than 15 days were not helpful. Then, somehow, the reasoning changed, or rather, fear led people to accept the extension of the lockups without any logical explanation. Despite the collapse of Covid deaths at the end of April 2020, state governments committed themselves to keeping the Coof lockups in place through elections, by switching to mail in ballots, for which there was no other excuse. REMEMBER THIS.

D. Lies, damn lies, and statistics. From Day 1, the reported numbers around this panic have been nonsense. The media went with whatever sounded scariest, without any regard to what the numbers mean. A partial list:

  • What is a COVID death? Is is counted the same in Wuhan in January as in New York in March or California in 2021? By even talking of death totals across states and across time, let alone talking about cumulative worldwide totals, we are assuming that always and everywhere a COVID death means the same thing. Is this true? In Wuhan and China in general, it seems a Covid death is one where sudden acute respiratory distress resulted in death. That’s certainly what Dr. Wenliang meant by it – that was what he was raising the alarm about back in December of 2019. In the US, since about April of 2020, what the CDC lists is deaths ‘involving’ Covid, which, according to their methodology, is any death where the death certificate lists Covid in either part A – the sequence of events that lead to death – or part B – any contributing factors. Until October of 2020, a diagnosis of Covid was encouraged if the victim showed any 2 symptoms even without a positive test (after October, a positive test was required.) The only two symptoms where Covid differs from the flu are: loss of taste & smell, and sudden acute respiratory distress. Thus, someone in a nursing home, who has a 6-7 month median life expectancy once they are rolled in past the front door, who had a fever and a cough, or had aches and trouble breathing, was to have Covid listed at least in part B regardless of all underlying conditions and without a positive test result. Over half, and perhaps as high as 2/3, of all deaths ‘involving’ Covid have been among nursing home patients; 2/3 have been among elderly people. DON’T FORGET: about 60% of the time (the other 40% are dementia patients, who take longer to die) gramma or dad are in the home because they are dying of something. Having Covid show up as ‘involved’ in their deaths is not what a sane person means by ‘Covid killed them’. Yet these deaths ‘involving’ Covid are routinely reported as Covid deaths, AND rolled in with the deaths in China and the rest of the world as if the numbers represent the same thing.
  • The CFR, or Case Fatality Rate, is still reported as ‘your chances of dying if you get Covid. No. That’s would be the IFR – the Infection Fatality Rate. For an infection that causes NO or MINOR symptoms 98%+ of the time, the difference between the two numbers is likely to be extreme. Here’s why: if I have no symptoms, I’m a lot less likely to seek medical care, get tested, and become a ‘case’. Early on, before the terror set in, somebody with no symptoms was not getting tested; it was very likely somebody with minor symptoms was not getting tested. It’s a guess, but I’d guess that cases are outnumbered by infections by a wide margin: many millions of Americans and people worldwide have been infected, had no or minor symptoms (and acquired a high level of immunity!) but never became cases, because what sort of rabbit goes to the doctor for a cough and a low fever? One that goes away in a day or two and is treatable with Tylenol? Very sick people are thus overrepresented in case numbers, meaning the case fatality rate significantly overstates lethality.
  • Put the two together: deaths ‘involving’ Covid divided by ‘cases’ = CFR. Deaths ‘involving’ seriously overstate what a normal sane person means by ‘died from’; cases understate infections. Getting all basic math here: the CFR thus overstates risk. That’s how people have come to think they have a 1.7% (the current number off the CDC website) of dying if they get the Coof.
  • As of last week, about 435 Americans under 18 have had their deaths attributed to Covid – had deaths ‘involving’ Covid. There are between 70 and 75 million such kids in America. Vastly more have died of pneumonia than have had their deaths attributed to Covid. Is this information, available right off the CDC website, widely known? Why not? Why are we even talking about giving an experimental drug to kids who are at microscopic risk?

Note: these are the official numbers readily available from the CDC or John Hopkins. If you look at the numbers reported through the press (and then referenced by political hacks), it gets much worse. One recent example: Apoorva Mandavelli is an award-winning science reporter. She recently reported:

  • Over 900,000 kids had been hospitalized since Covid broke out. Correction: actual number was over 63,000. Ms. Mandavelli was off by a factor of 15.
  • Sweden and Denmark had started offering single doses of the Moderna ‘vaccine’ to children. Correction: Sweden and Denmark had halted the use of the Moderna ‘vaccine’ for children.
  • The FDA is meeting next week to authorize the Pfizer/BioNTech ‘vaccine’ for children. Correction: this issue will be discussed next month.

Note what’s going on here, and in similar ways in a limitless number of other examples: Basic information that 5 minutes of googling around could get good, properly sourced confirmation for is instead reported without sources on Page 1 and then ‘corrected’ on some back page. The errors only go in one direction:

  • 900,000 versus 63,000. Where did the 900,000 number come from? People should get fired over this level of incompetence, instead of receiving ‘science’ ‘journalism’ awards. (Also note no context is provided – that 63,000 number over 19 months is completely mundane, the sad but simple reality that a certain number of kids end up in the hospital every year.)
  • The Swedish and Danish governments published some announcement about their policies regarding use of the Moderna ‘vaccine’ for children – right? Otherwise, where did this ‘information’ come from? How could an award winning ‘journalist’ get something so basic so wrong?
  • Again, the FDA scheduling a discussion of using the Pfizer/BioNTech ‘vaccine’ on children has to have come from some official notice somewhere, almost certainly available online. How could an award winning ‘journalist’ get something so basic so wrong?

In all three cases, the ‘errors’ favor panic: huge numbers of children are being hospitalized! Sweden and Denmark are jabbing children! The FDA is rushing a meeting to approve jabbing children! OH NO!!!! I have yet to see an error made in the other direction.

E. Following ‘the Science’. Let’s say I was telling you about a baseball game I saw where the home team was down 19 runs in the bottom of the 9th, when 20 consecutive batters hit home runs on 20 consecutive pitches to pull out the victory. Or that I’m a lawyer who came across a case in the morning, had it heard at noon, appealed, and had the appeals court rule in the afternoon, appealed again and was heard by the Supreme Court that evening. Do those scenarios sound plausible? The more you know about baseball and our legal system, the less plausible they seem, if utterly ridiculous implausibility can be called less plausible.

So, to pick one example: within days of the beginning of masking mandates, we were being told that 70 studies had confirmed that masking slows the spread of Covid. Now, those of us familiar with how real science works saw immediately that the very idea that 70 studies could be conceived of, spelled out in sufficient detail to perform, funded, and executed, then undergo the criticism and review essential to science, all within a few months or weeks, AND that all 70 of those studies reached the same conclusion, is every bit as unlikely as 20 consecutive home runs in the bottom of the 9th or getting the Supreme Court to hear your case on the same day you first filed it. In other words, completely laughable.

Yet, in this and in all other cases involving Covid, raising any question about any study or report presented as ‘the science’ immediately got one labelled a crack pot, a denier, and, ultimately, a *terrorist*!

We few who are scientifically literate, who know that only con men and frauds tell you to ‘follow the science’ without having reviewed and understood the evidence first, have been protesting in vain since Day 1 of this preposterous panic. No, the ‘science’ has not shown:

  • That Covid is particularly deadly to the vast bulk of people. Rather, it is a threat to shorten the lives of those already dying of something else – people in nursing homes, for the leading example. Otherwise, to everyone else, it is not even as deadly as the common flu.
  • That lockups, masking, social distancing, and travel restrictions of healthy people, and the destruction of millions of small businesses, are somehow necessary to prevent millions of deaths.
  • That asymptomatic people are a significant disease vector. This is a *theory* for which there is precious little *evidence*, yet all lockups, masks, social distancing, travel restrictions of healthy people are based on it.
  • That ‘vaccinating’ children protects anybody. Kids are at effectively zero risk (as close to zero as bitter reality allows) so the jab doesn’t protect them, and since asymptomatic transfer has not been shown to be a serious problem, all we are doing by giving kids the jab is allowing old people to imagine they are safer while putting kids at risk of side effects.
  • That the lingering effects of Covid are any worse than the lingering effects of pneumonia.

And so on. The absolute horrific face of satanic anti-science: attempting to use government force to silence critics. No, no, a thousand times no! Criticism is not optional in science! Any claim must, as in MUST, have the evidence supporting it presented to the scrutiny of adversarial critics, and answer their objections. Then, and only then, is any claim considered to have been supported by science – and even then, such claims are conditional and tentative. That’s how science works. The very idea of authority apart from evidence, of ‘scientific consensus’, is a certain sign con men and frauds are at work. ‘Expertise’ counts for exactly nothing – evidence is everything.

F. Just So stories. At every point, in the unlikely event anyone even notices that the story has changed and that our leaders have contradicted themselves, out roll the Just So stories to explain away the contradiction so that we can continue to panic. It has become an art form – raise the obvious contradiction inescapably embedded in the various panic claims, and no intelligence is spared in coming up with an story that explains the contradiction away. A few examples:

  • When Fauci at first said masks for the general public were not a good idea, and then changed to saying that masks were absolutely necessary, he told the following Just So story – he had to lie to us the first time for our own good, so that medical professionals could get all the masks they needed, and only when supplies for the medical profession were secured, did he dare tell everybody to mask up. DO NOT FORGET THIS. Fauci has stated as a principle that he will lie to us for our own good. AND because we little people are not allowed to question the claims of our self-appointed betters, our own good is exactly and only what Fauci says it is. If he feels it is for our own good that we stay panicked, then he will – by his own admission – lie his ass off to keep us panicked. These are the people we are trusting for information, indeed, we are officially ‘terrorists’ if we fail to trust them!
  • That asymptomatic people are a serious threat to spread Covid. On the off chance that we notice that there’s no good evidence this is true, we are told the Just So story that it might be true, there are anecdotes, and thus we need to act as if it is true, otherwise we are putting everybody at risk. Thus, the need for those restricting our rights to provide the evidence is reversed: they can restrict our rights unless we provide evidence that they shouldn’t – and they are the sole judges of all evidence. We’re simply ‘terrorists’ if we don’t go along.
  • That the same measures that have utterly failed to end the ‘pandemic’ have somehow ended the flu. Flu deaths have all but disappeared worldwide since March, 2020. The obvious explanation: since the flu and Covid have almost exactly the same symptoms, flu deaths have been misattributed to Covid. The Just So story: the same masks, socials distancing and lockups that have failed to stop one airborne respiratory virus – Covid – have miraculously stopped another airborne respiratory virus of the same size that uses exactly the same vectors. 20 homers in the bottom of the 9th!
  • That the claim that Covid can be successfully treated REQUIRED by the flatten the curve argument doesn’t disprove the complete lack of any good treatments that is the sole justification for the rushed approval of the ‘vaccines’ and the subsequent mandates. If I can’t be saved from Covid by routine medical care, then ‘flattening the curve’ doesn’t work; if routine medical care can save me, then vaccines are not needed. I can just hear the Just So stories being generated to explain this away. Reality: we were being told whatever story was believed to trigger enough panic so that we would comply with restrictions of our rights. When lockups were being justified, one set of stories; now that vaccines are being mandated, another set of stories.

There is plenty more to be said, but I’m stopping here for now. Bottom line: REMEMBER. REFUSE TO MEMORY HOLE INCONVENIENT TRUTHS. We have been lied to over and over again. We have been manipulated and abused. Notice that I didn’t even discuss here whether the experimental drugs being mandated are safe and effective. I merely point out that the people who insist that we get them in order to travel, to socialize, to buy and sell, to live a life not as a cockroach ARE THE SAME PEOPLE WHO HAVE LIED TO US OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

Therefore, for me, this ‘vaccine’ mandate is the hill to die on, as is this latest masking command. I will not comply. Dr. Feser’s logic is impeccable; his implied premises – that we are dealing with sane people with good intentions – is, frankly, crazy. We are not dealing with people of good intent. We are the abused girlfriend. Nothing we do is going to appease our crazy, abusive boyfriend. He has no intention of reforming. He like things just they way they are, where he gets to bully and belittle and gaslight us. If you disagree, please state the objective, measurable events (that make any objective sense) that would cause our leaders to announce an end to the Covid panic. Well? I’ll wait.

* In a fashion that could not have been any more striking or convenient, the heroic young doctor with the pregnant wife stands up to the Communist government, gets censured and threatened for spreading panic, then becomes one of the very few healthy people who dies of Covid – but only after posting pictures of himself in a lovely state-of-the-art hospital room wearing a respirator. Please note: in reality, Wuhan is a third world hell-hole, slums and tenements and poverty everywhere, where the likelihood of any sickly elderly commoners getting admitted to anything like the room in the doctor’s selfie is zero. But it makes for good propaganda.

Corrections & Context

From Clarissa’s Blog this morning:

Clarissa’s comments are, as usual, worth the read.

One quibble: this situation, where wild claims that support a particular program are published on the front page in large type, while the retractions, if any, show up in small print on page 27, has not been going on merely since 2016, but has been the standard practice over my lifetime. I’ll grant that it seems to have gotten worse and more dramatic, in the sense that the false claims in need of retraction are more perniciously and dramatically wrong.

Sagan, my favorite expertologist, as in an expert in expertise, famously predicted that any US bombings in the oilfields along the Kuwait/Iraq border would cause drastic, all but irreparable ecological damage, and produced diagrams showing the noxious cloud being dispersed by winds that don’t exist (the path he described was opposite the prevailing winds in the area) toward areas away from the desert where they could do damage. Note that Sagan was a run of the mill college astronomy professor, with no more expertise in ecology or meteorology or the chemistry of oil fires than anybody else could be expected to have – but he was, by almost all accounts, and expert! Not only did the failure of any of his predictions fail to damage his reputation, he went on to make all kinds of ominous predictions completely outside his area of expertise – climate change, nuclear winter – that have proven false or at least highly questionable. Yet he is still called a ‘great scientist’ in all the best circles.

Anybody remember any retractions or corrections? Me, neither.

And so on and so forth. Over my lifetime, every politician who has failed to obsequiously fall in line with current dogmas has been ‘literally Hitler’, and proclaimed dead certain to provoke – pick one or more – nuclear war, economic collapse, a return to the Dark Ages, enslavement of women, blacks, gays, etc. When none of this comes to pass – and note, not that bad things don’t happen, just that the predicted bad things don’t happen – there is zero accountability. The Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect kicks in with a vengeance, and the experts’ general expertise as anointed expertologists remains undimmed. Our compliance is demanded.

So, above: the claim was made, somehow, that 900,000+ kids have been hospitalized since the pandemic began. Where did that number come from? No explanation – it just sprang up from nowhere, I guess. I laugh a bitter laugh to even point this out: wouldn’t an investigative journalist feel compelled to find out?

The ‘real’ number is ‘over’ 63,000. Well? Is that bad? Good? How would you even tell? Let’s do a little math and use a little common sense. 63,000 divided by 18 gives us, roughly, the monthly average hospitalization of children = 3,500. Multiply that by 12, gives us an approximate yearly number. There are about 70-75 million kids in America – let’s us 70.

42,000 / 70 million = 0.06%. So an American kid, all things being equal, stands a 6-in-10,000 chance per year of being hospitalized since the ‘pandemic’ began ‘raging’.

But things are never equal. Using common sense, a rational person might notice that there is a small number of very sick kids in America – cancer, serious birth defects, serious asthma or allergies, and so on. These kids, who make up a small fraction of all kids, make up a large fraction of kids being hospitalized. My own experience: we have 5 kids, one of whom had serious asthma and was hospitalized 3 times before his teens. The other 4, not once. So it’s not like the ‘risk’ of hospitalization is uniform – some kids are much more likely to get hospitalized than others. Inquiring minds want to know: is it the same subset of sickly kids accounting for the usual percentage of hospitalizations, or are different kids getting hospitalized?

More important: is 63,000 a lot? Who knows? Also, to hospitalize or not is a decision – have the decision criteria and tendencies changed over time? How? Again, an investigative journalist might be assumed to feel compelled to find out…. I slay me.

The other retractions are more run of the mill, things anyone with internet access could check – if they wanted to. That these sorts of trivial facts are routinely misreported simply means nobody want to get them right.

At what point do we decide a certain witness is a pathological liar? I reached that point with the media in about 1985. This is not some sort of ‘fake news’ thing – it’s simply a natural immunity to the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect.

A key point about 1984 is that the memory hole *worked* – your average Winston Smith would simply forget. It’s long past time to remember.

Pens & Music: Update

In case anyone wants to know…

On the way back from teaching my 8th/9th grade history & lit class (today’s reading was Book II, CH 6 of Thucydides Peloponnesian War, and selections from Strunk & White, as I will be assigning essays next week), stopped by Hobby Lobby to see what they had, calligraphy-supply-wise.

Didn’t expect to find staff nibs, and didn’t, but got a nice fresh eraser – 40-year old erasers don’t work so well – fresh ink, and what they sell nowadays instead of architectural/technical pens, super fine felt-tips used, evidently, for drawing cartoons. On the plus side, these kiddie toys do work, and, even at $3.50 a pop, cost under 25% of what the nice architectural pens are going for. It’s just not as satisfying to use them. And get off of my lawn!

Per the suggestion of Piper in the comments to the last post, the working parts of the real pens are soaking now in rubbing alcohol:

Some parts float, some sink.

I’m going to let them soak a while. A bit afraid to try them – the plumbing, so to speak, in the nib itself is all but microscopic, so any dried ink in there is impossible to get at mechanically and all but impossible to even see. Once I load it up with ink to try it out, cleaning it up again will be a mess. So – letting it soak a good while. Unlikely to work, but, if it did, how cool would that be?

Tried out the freshly scrubbed little racoon hands this morning. Results were – not good. Out of 12 staves on my test page, 4 came out clean and complete. The other 8 had skips and, worse, messy ink blotches. The trickiest part is laying the nib down on the paper cleanly to start a set of lines – that’s where things tend to go wrong. Even though I tested each ‘load’ of ink on scrap paper before starting a new set, still got big ol’ blotches a number of times. Because I’m getting tired of this and just want it done, resorted to white out and using my new cartooning pen to freehand in the missing lines. Not ideal.

Youngest son scrounged up some ink only about 10 year old, that our late oldest son had bought – he did a little calligraphy himself, because of course he did. (I don’t know if I’ve gotten across just how freakishly talented that kid was.) ‘New’ 10 year old ink was smoother. Better all in all than yesterday. Result are usable for at least the initial layout of the final fair copy.

This is about the fifth try. Hoping the splotchiness of the white-out will not be evident in the copies. We’ll see.

Tomorrow, take it down to Kinkos/Fed Ex and get some copies. Then finish the Gloria and the rest of the Mass. Then see if I can find people to perform it….

Leaving for SoCal and the black tie gala in a week, meaning we also have a week to prep the house for tenting for termites – step 1 in the ‘sell-the-house’ process required to get the hell out of here. L.A. just passed more restrictive vax passport regulation. One must present proof of the jab to get into most venues except grocery and drug stores. Not at all totalitarian! At least it missed by one vote becoming instantly effective – we’ll be in and out of LA before it goes into effect.

To recap: all the Coof restrictions are based on one assumption: that there is serious risk of asymptomatic transfer of the virus, such that a person showing no symptoms is a serious threat to infect others by simply breathing the air others breath or touching surfaces others touch. So far, no evidence, as in none, showing this is true – but it might be true, as in, it’s not logically impossible that it’s true. It would sure behoove those taking away rights to prove it – but we’ve reached the point where even asking to see the evidence is conclusive proof the person asking is a terrorist.

Pop quiz: what would such evidence look like? You’d need to present cases where someone got sick from COVID after having had no contact with someone with an active infection for the preceding several weeks, AND then show that such cases make up a meaningful percentage of all infections. Then, and only then, could lockdowns, masks, and social distancing, let alone vax passports, be justified. And even this is based on the unsupported assertion that the Coof is a particularly deadly disease – which, according to the CDC’s own damn statistics, it only is to the sickly elderly. People under 50 who aren’t already dying of something else are at ‘eaten by a bear’ level risk.

Since the virus is still here, all the restrictions taken so far have been failures, ‘Just So’ stories to the contrary notwithstanding. The reasonable assumption at this point is that virtually everyone has been exposed, meaning a large percentage of people are immune to at least some degree. The virus will mutate into less and less virulent forms over time. It ain’t going away, and the steps have proved worthless. Declare victory and stop already, will you?

How Panic Kills

  1. Misdiagnoses, or You Find What You’re Looking For

Say, way back in 2019, somebody shows up in the ER having trouble breathing. In those dark times, the staff would start checking through a list of possible causes – in some order: asthma, allergies, pneumonia, heart attack, overexertion, and, no doubt, a dozen other things. In many cases, getting the diagnosis right is time-critical; in the best of times, getting it right and getting it right quickly is difficult.

Now fast forward to 2021. Guy shows up in ER with exactly the symptom described above. What happens? A COVID test, or perhaps a diagnosis without the test. If, as often happens, there are a number of causes for a particular symptom – I have asthma AND a cold AND (possibly asymptomatic) COVID – how much longer, if ever, before anything other than COVID is diagnosed?

Now multiply this across all medical care: you have the entire medical world whipped into a frenzy over COVID, such that it is very unlikely that anyone who presents with any symptom attributable to the Coof is not immediately tested, diagnosed, or both. Such a person is then above all treated as a disease vector and deprived of human contact and comfort, and only later, if ever, correctly diagnosed

Real numbers of people are going to have proper treatment delayed or skipped in favor of treating the virus – and die as a result. Anecdotes to this effect are numerous.

I say: it is Pollyanna-ish to imagine a very real number of deaths have not resulted from precisely the situation described above.

2. Removal of Oversight in Care Facilities.

I’ve written about this at length, most recently here. Summary: The old sick people who who make up the bulk of people incarcerated in care facilities are usually no fun to care for. As they decline toward their deaths, they require more and more – and more and more unpleasant – care. Further, while many who work in nursing homes are doubtless saints, that sort of work is going to attract a certain number of emotionally sick people, people who get off on lording it over helpless people, up to and including out and out sociopaths.

Back again to 2019. The constant trickle of visitors to nursing homes helped ensure some modicum of care was provided. Visitors notice messes that need cleaning up, unpleasant smells, inmates who have soiled themselves, etc. Good nursing homes are often described as ‘those where you don’t smell urine when you walk in” – and this state is largely due to the hell visitors raise when they do smell it. Yet somebody, usually a minimum or near minimum wage worker, is required to clean up the urine, the feces, the bedding and clothes and, indeed, the patient.

About 100 times a day.

This sort of work is no fun, and, I’m sure, gets less fun over time. Yet, if you are trying to provide a decent last few months and dignified death, it’s work that must be done. Visitors ensure it happens regularly.

Now terrify this minimum wage staff with the thought (unfounded, if they are otherwise healthy) that they are likely to catch and die from COVID if they interact with the patients. Then ban all visitors. What do you imagine is going to happen to the level of care? Even the people who are doing an honest job are going to be severely hampered by fear, and those who figure no one cares, especially if they never find out, if granny lives another few months, are just gets it over with now, are unchecked. Infections, dehydration, bedsores, hunger, filth – these are last straws that can kill old, sick people before their time. These are what happens when all civilian oversight is removed.

3. Stress.

I have not looked at the numbers for a while now – it is not good for my health to dwell very long on the CDC website – but, last I checked:

  • Suicides – up
  • murders – up
  • fatal overdoses – up
  • accidental deaths – up

Violence in general is up. Whipping a couple hundred million people into a state of irrational panic and fear is going to have consequences.

Logic and Just So Stories

The current panic is being fanned with a combination of logic fails and just so stories. Given two or more possible explanations, the most obvious and Occam’s Razor compliant one is dismissed or ignored in favor of another whose only real recommendation is that it keeps the panic going. The number of Just So stories, evidence-free speculations that then become enshrined unchallengeable TRVTH any questioning of which is ‘misinformation’ and brands anyone who talks about it officially as a ‘terrorist,’ grows daily.

Let’s hit a few low points:

  1. Near-Zero Flu cases since March, 2020.

Obvious Occam’s Razor Compliant explanation: Flu infections are being either misdiagnosed as COVID cases, or the patient has both COVID and the flu, and the flu is never tested for. Logic: since in almost all cases, symptomatic COVID has identical symptoms to the common flu – aches, fever, congestion, headache – someone presenting with those symptoms is very likely to get diagnosed with the Coof. In the current panicked circus atmosphere, a doctor is not likely to start with a flu test, and is unlikely to follow up a COVID diagnosis with a flu test. The unique COVID symptoms – sudden acute respiratory distress and loss of taste and smell – seem to appear in only a fairly small percentage of cases.

The Just So Story: Steps taken to stop COVID – masks, lockups, social distancing – are nearly 100% effective against the flu, even if demonstrably ineffective against COVID, such that the flu has been eliminated while COVID still ‘rages’. Logic: somehow, masks, lockups, etc., are very effective against one of two airborne respiratory viruses of exactly the same size and with exactly the same vectors, but utterly ineffective against the other. Further, the unmasked scofflaws have been spared the flu despite being assumed to be a reservoir from which the Coof has continued to spread.

Note: the CDC recently issued guidelines recommending that patients be tested for the flu even if they test positive for COVID, recognizing that a positive COVID test result doesn’t mean the observed symptoms are caused by COVID, which very often has no symptoms at all. It is logical to conclude that the CDC recommendation means flu testing werrte not being done – otherwise, why recommend it?

2. We’ve Been Masking Up for Over a Year, yet the ‘Pandemic’ is Still ‘Raging’

Obvious Occam’s Razor Compliant explanation: Since we’ve been masking up for over a year now, and yet the ‘pandemic’ is still with us, the simplest conclusion to draw is: masks are ineffective against COVID. Logic: All the pre-COVID studies, from 1918 until 2020, that showed that masks are not effective against airborne reparatory viruses, and current experiences, are most simply and logically explained by accepting the findings of these earlier studies. Masks are pointless, from a public health perspective. Fauci was telling the truth when he said people should not mask up.

The Just So Story: Sure, masks didn’t and don’t stop the virus, but things would have been so much worse had we all not masked up! Logic: There is precisely as much direct evidence for this Just So story – zero – as there is for the opposite theory: that not masking up would have made thing no worse and possibly better. Since masking has a cost – there is no free lunch – and is an imposition on people minding their own business, it is incumbent upon those making the claim and imposition to produce convincing evidence that masks work – and there is none. (No, the mere existence of ’70 studies’ doesn’t count as evidence, especially when contradicted by scores of studies done before 2020. Evidence would be a marked reduction in deaths, say, where masks are used, measured in a scientifically valid manner.) The tendency of frightened people to readily accept that which increases their fear and reject that which mitigates it is sufficient explanation for the near-religious belief that masks help against a virus that nonetheless continues to spread despite widespread masking.

Note: Reality rarely conforms to what is discovered in lab studies and predicted by nice theories. We require masks, the story goes, because COVID virions are deadly! If masks work, they are trapping those deadly COVID virions. These virions are then rubbed up against your face wherever the mask touches you, and get all over your hands every time you handle the mask, and get all over whatever surfaces they come in contact with. Therefore, if we believe that masks ‘work’ and are therefore full of deadly COVID virions, the protocol would be: scrub down and glove up before putting on, taking off, or touching the mask; scrub your face and anywhere else the mask touched, dispose of any used masks as the hazardous material they are by definition, and never, ever stuff one in your pocket, throw one in the trash, or toss one in the car. Also, masks should be changed every hour or so, hands gloved, scrubbed up, while touching nothing, then scrub up again afterwards, and put everything that came in contact with the mask – gloves, cleaning materials – in hazardous disposal. No one does this because no one truly believes masks work, that COVID is dangerous, or both. They believe it is important to conform.

3. We Must Get Vaccinated AND Keep Locked Up and Masked Up

Obvious Occam’s Razor Compliant explanation: If any of these measures, singly or in any combination, worked as any sane person understands ‘working’, the ‘pandemic’ would have ended long ago. A ‘vaccine’ that doesn’t keep you from getting sick and doesn’t keep you from spreading the virus simply doesn’t work. Therefore, the vaccine – and the lockups and masks – simply don’t work if the ‘pandemic’ is still ‘raging.’ Logic: If we are to introduce the concept of risk reduction, then we must consider ALL risks, not just risks specific to COVID. When we do that, we discover that vaccines, even if they are considered completely safe and completely effective, reduce overall risk for people under 50 by all but immeasurable tiny amounts. For children, it is utterly ridiculous – kids under 18 are at microscopic risk from COVID (about 400 total attributed deaths over 18 months on a population of 65 million kids. And those attributions are highly questionable) that any risk whatsoever from the vaccine – and no drug is ‘completely safe’, aspirin has killed people – is unacceptable. Hey, teacher – leaves those kids alone! If old people want the vaccine, sure, feel free. Making people take the jab if they don’t want to is outrageous, given the tiny reduction in overall risk.

The Just So Story: If everybody gets vaccinated, we reduce the overall risk from COVID by a significant amount. Sure, vaccinated individuals will still get get sick and even die, and still spread the disease, but by reducing the frequency and severity of infections, we improve the overall situation. Refusing to get vaccinated isn’t just putting yourself at risk, but putting the entire population at risk. Anyone who refuses to get vaccinated is a threat to this overall strategy, and must be ostracized, kept out of restaurants and bars, and will be labeled a ‘terrorist’ so as to be designated for further steps as needed, up to an including incarceration in a quarantine camp. Individual rights mean nothing in the face of the existential threat of COVID. Note here the casual totalitarianism of these claims – one is labeled a terrorist if one questions any part of this imminently questionable Just So Story. Yet – NONE of the underlying assertions is supported by EVIDENCE. Is asymptomatic transfer a serious problem? There is no evidence it is, and plenty of evidence it isn’t. Meaning: if I’m not sick, I pose no material risk to anyone else, even if I’m a ‘case’ of COVID. Therefore, if I simply stay away from people when I’m sick, I provide as much protection to everyone else as if I were vaccinated, even assuming in the face of all evidence, that the vaccines are both effective and harmless. (To be clear: what the evidence so far suggests is: these experimental drugs are somewhat effective for some limited time, and are mostly safe, for most people, at least over the short haul. They’re hardly a silver bullet.)

Note: The underlying ‘problem’ here for the pro-mandatory-vax crowd is the lack of dead bodies. Seriously, if people were in fact dropping like flies, such that everybody knew multiple otherwise healthy people who had died of COVID, then you’d have very little trouble selling people on all kinds of steps to prevent it. But they’re not. I am one of millions of people who personally know NOT A SINLGE person who has died of COVID. I know 1 person – an 87 year old friend from church – who was hospitalized, and she recovered in a couple days. The fact is, almost nobody knows any otherwise healthy people who have thus died. if they know anyone, it’s almost certainly someone who was elderly, sickly, or, most commonly, both. I have friends who have hardly stepped out of their home for 18 months because 3 elderly, sickly relatives of theirs, who could have dropped dead at any moment without surprising anyone, COVID or not, had deaths, as the CDC puts it, ‘involving’ COVID. These poor souls are incapable of admitting the obvious: COVID, if it did anything at all, merely accelerated the deaths of their relatives, and not by much. They weren’t living another decade no matter what, and most likely not another year. Harsh, but true. By now, for me personally, dozens of friends, family members, and acquaintances have had COVID. Every single one has completely recovered. Given that just under 1 out of 100 Americans dies every year, this is actually a little surprising. But there it is.

BUT – everyone has also been subjected to endless news stories about tragic deaths. There are always going to be tragic deaths. The only real question is: are there more tragic deaths than usual? The answer, looking at the numbers, is no, there are not. It’s called ‘life’ and life isn’t fair or kind.

Do You Imagine This is Rare?

Clarissa links to an article on an investigation into nursing home deaths in Quebec:

COVID-19 was repeatedly cited as a cause of death at the Herron nursing home to obscure the fact that dozens of elderly residents died from thirst, malnourishment and neglect, a Quebec coroner’s inquest heard Tuesday.

In an emotional testimony, an auxiliary nurse recalled how the facility in Montreal’s West Island was already poorly run before the crisis, how most of its staff abandoned their posts when the coronavirus struck, and how the local health authority then took over in a high-handed and inefficient manner.

She described discussions over whether to triage residents in such a way that those who were dying wouldn’t be fed. And she recalled harrowing scenes: a woman’s body left unattended in a room shared with her husband, and nurses quarrelling in front of grieving family members.

As I’ve been saying for months now, if you have spent any time in nursing homes, this sort of behavior would be what you’d expect. Nursing home work is often horrible and depressing, and we all should be grateful to the many decent people who are willing to do it, most at near minimum wage. Even the best of them are likely to get overwhelmed or emotionally and physically exhausted. For every sweet old lady, there’s a cursing old man who needs his diaper changed, two old people who don’t know who or where they are but still need to be fed and cleaned, a gasping unconscious woman clinging to life, some seething person who will hit you if you get close – all dying, it’s just a matter of how soon. If you smell urine and feces when you walk in the door, chances are some overworked, underpaid, disrespected person hasn’t gotten around to cleaning up a mess – for the 50th time that day.

And that’s the good ones! Such work attracts a certain kind of sociopath, the sort of people who get off on being in charge of helpless people, both the patients and the help. And, having been sociopaths all their lives, they are good at hiding it from us civilians.

Now add an unprecedented level of terror: minimum wage workers thinking that they’re going to catch the Kung Flu and die if they care for the sickly elderly in the appallingly intimate way their job demands. Then remove all oversight – no visitors! And then imagine unleashing the sociopaths, who most often are in charge. Give them an easy out: anyone who dies can be said to have died of COVID! Who is going to challenge that? Who is even there to challenge that?

Even in the best nursing homes, staffed by the best people with the best intentions, the added stress of the panic-mongers is going to make life very, very hard on both the patients and the staff. Grannies are going to die – sooner, I mean, they are all in there to die – from loneliness and despair once the visits for which they stay alive are removed; caregivers, despite their best intentions, are now worried, hurried, and stressed out. Administrators are overwhelmed. And COVID can be a nasty bug, one that can sometimes kill a sickly old person and, indeed, an overwhelmed, overworked staff member!

Best case, the panic and lockups have sped the deaths of thousands and possibly killed some of the overwhelmed staff; worst case, thousands and thousands of deaths were attributed to COVID, but caused by neglect and casual indifference. The bad news: in most cases, the actual cause would be hard to figure out, since the people involved were almost all already dying. Worse news; because the people involved were already dying, many people won’t care they died a little sooner. Worst news: nobody is going to be allowed to investigate this on any larger scale, or, if somehow such an investigation were to take place, it is not going to be allowed to become widely known.

Remember: at least half, and possibly up to 2/3rds of all COVID deaths are among nursing home patients. Even without COVID, around 2/3rds of all deaths in America happen among the sickly elderly – the exact sort of people who are likely to be in a nursing home in the first place.

Pictures, Visualizations, Graphs

Pictures are said to be worth a thousand words.

Maybe. Consider Euclid, Book I, Proposition 16:

In any triangle, if one of the sides is produced, then the exterior angle is greater than either of the interior and opposite angles.

Diagram found here

Euclid is a language unto itself. The words are part of the language, but few people, it seems, can understand the words without the diagram, even if they only picture the diagram in their heads. I know I can’t – I immediately construct the picture in my mind, at the very least. Once you’ve got the picture, then the words help you walk through the proof.

But the picture itself doesn’t tell you what you are to prove from it. Those 2 dozen words in italics that describe what the picture is for do that. This picture might be worth a thousand words, but those thousand words don’t include what the picture means.

I’ve mentioned before how I was epically terrible at Greek, back in collage, yet epically great at Euclid. It’s just a knack, and I’ve done little with it, but I was that annoying kid who could just read the proposition, look at the diagram, and, 9 times out of 10, produce the proof without having to look at the text. Other people could glance at the rules for forming verbs in Greek, and just get them, while they were a plate of spaghetti to me. Just one of those things.

I watched the other students struggle their way through Euclid. I never had that experience, the glory, even, that some people had when the brilliant truth of Euclid’s modest claims broke through – but it was beautiful. Some kids had very limited ideas of what was true, and seeing how the logic of a Euclidian proof compels agreement was the dawn of a new world to them. I think I had a similar experience in 4th grade, when I first understood how the hard sciences can prove something true. Given a set of assumptions and definitions and the rules of logic, a really well-constructed experiment can really prove something, within, of course, the limitations of the observations and definitions.

But I digress. The point here: diagrams don’t speak for themselves You have to speak their language to understand them, and sometimes need many additional words of explanation. One more point: practice makes perfect. If you, like a St. John’s freshman, are working through Euclid pretty much every day, you start to get the hang of how he works, so that each successive proposition tends to make sense more quickly and easily than the last. (This is offset by the generally increasing complexity of the propositions, but you get the drift.)

I write all this to explain to myself how it is that diagrams such as the one below don’t seem to impress people:

So let’s spell it out:

  1. This chart displays deaths by age band by week per 100,000 people in that age group.
  2. The order of the lines on the graph are the inverse of the order of the ages in the list to the right. That is, the bottom group in the list is the top line in the chart, and visa versa.
  3. The y-axis scale peaks at 50 deaths per week, which the line for weekly deaths in the 75+ Years group slightly exceeds at a couple of points. This means that a little more than 50 age 75+ people per 100,000 died over a week a couple of times.
  4. Conversely, at no point are any deaths per 100,000 of those under 40 evident. Given the scale, where 1 death per week is noticeable as a slight bump, this means that, at most, something well under 1 death per week per 100,000 occurred for those under 40.
  5. For those under 50, the peak weeks might be as high as 1 per 100,000 at a couple of points. Since the under 40 are invisible at this scale, if you add them all together to get a weekly deaths per 100,000 for all those under 50, your total weekly deaths per 100,000 over the 7 age groupings added together reaches a max of about 1 at two points over the last 18 months.

But what does this all mean? It means, first, deaths among the elderly have been high, and deaths among those under 50 have been low, with deaths among those between 50 and 75 being measurable but much lower than those 75 and over. For those under 40, deaths per week doesn’t even register at this scale.

One more piece of information not presented here is the age distribution across the population. That’s not the point of this diagram, which is expressly concerned with deaths per 100,000. But to get your arms around what this means in terms of total deaths, you’d also need to consider how many people fall into the various categories.

Here’s a 2019 distribution from the Kaiser Foundation:

(aside: I can never seem to find population distributions by age expressed with the same age banding that the CDC uses. I’ve wasted time backing into the numbers, but it just seems odd that the data is most generally presented with wide age bands that one cannot easily change. So this is going to be sloppier than I’d like, but I think the point will still be clear. End gripe.)

The US population is estimated at about 332M. Almost a quarter of that population, or about 78 million people, are under age 18. Last I checked, about a week ago, 380 Americans under 18 – children – had deaths ‘involving’ COVID (that’s the CDC’s language, not mine). As Briggs points out, that’s less than half as many children as died of pneumonia over the same period. And before you go there, recall that pneumonia also can have lingering or permanent effects on those who survive it.

On the other end, 16.5% are over 65, or about 55 million Americans. Backing into the numbers on the chart above, at the two peaks in April 2020 and January 2021, it looks like as many as 75 people 65 and older died per week. Multiplying that per 100,000 number by the 550 units of 100,000 in 55 million, you get peak weekly deaths in the 65+ age groups of about 41,000 deaths. Peak weekly deaths ‘involving’ COVID for people 65 and over were about 100 times the TOTAL deaths of children over the entire 18 months of the pandemic.

Therefore, taking these CDC numbers at face value, COVID is a threat to the elderly, and not a threat to children. The overall risk of death for children is not significantly increased by the presence of COVID in the environment. Indeed, the overall risk of death for those under 50 is not meaningfully increased by the presence of COVID in the environment.

This situation was evident, as in screaming from the page, with the very first Imperial College report back in March of 2020. But do you hear about it on the news? No?

Yesterday’s Homily

The soul of humility is obedience. Without the willingness to set aside our own wishes in obedience to proper authority, claims of humility are empty. That’s why St. Thomas, in his prayer after communion, includes “Let this Holy Communion strengthen us in love and patience, humility and obedience, and all the virtues.” Love is first – without love, no other virtue lives. Love endures in patience. But the very next virtues listed are humility and obedience – humility, the virtue corresponding to the fear of the Lord, and obedience, by which this humility is made real.

Yesterday’s homily was not about any of this. Instead, we were treated to the spectacle of a man inexplicably proud of his intellect – of which, in the years I’ve known him, has been on display with enlightening infrequency – telling us that love of self, neighbor, and God demands we do exactly what the latest COVID panic mongers demand, that failing to get vaccinated and wear masks means – he was specific – that we, the guilty, love not God, our neighbor, nor ourselves. He didn’t explicitly add: and are going straight to hell, but the implication was strong.

Further, he used the example of poor Cardinal Burke as the sort of “moron” who doesn’t mask or get vaccinated and thus, by ending up in the hospital (he has since recovered, thank God) with COVID, proves the truth of his position. The blessed cardinal is a man who is a) elderly, b) extremely busy and probably exhausted, c) probably interacts with thousands of people in a typical week, and d) is under insane levels of pressure and spiritual attack. And he recovered, like 99.9%+ of people who aren’t actively dying.

So imagine me and mine, who along with dozens of other people, are sitting OUTDOORS IN THE SUNLIGHT at mass, unmasked, hearing this dim bulb call a saintly man, who incidentally is vastly and demonstrably his intellectual superior, a “moron” for failing to do as he is told by such genius humanitarians as Fauci, Brix, and Ferguson. My wife tried to talk with him after mass, with the predictable dismissive results. (I was loading up the car w/ grandma at the time, and hadn’t even noticed she’d gone until she was almost through. I’m also a coward with a temper – bad combination for rational discourse when I’m pissed off.)

The totalitarianism of postmodernism has found ready adherents in the well-schooled. This Dominican (!) teaches at the local ‘catholic’ boy’s high school – ‘catholic’ in quotes, as they are of course too inclusive as to take a stand on anything as icky as Catholic dogmas. (Their sister school, the girl’s school next door, prays “In the name of the Creator, the Redeemer, and the Sanctifier” because that Father-Son stuff can offend some poor snowflakes, and they want to be inclusive. While this girls school did allow for a Pro-Life club, they likewise allowed – on campus – an organized protest *against* the Pro-Life club. Very Catholic and inclusive.) I’ve had occasion to get to know the products of these schools – fine young cannibals, all. Any attempt at discussion of the faith is met with utter ignorance and indifference. Very well schooled rabbits.

Yet this priest’s high self opinion, expressed in meandering stories of his adventures in lieu of homilies with any reference to the feast or readings, compel him to attempt to shame and anathema a group of fine people who have had it with the lies he, himself, cannot acknowledge, lest his world crumble and he dies!

And that’s what we’re up against now: the panic rabbits have built their entire identities on obedience, on doing as they are told, on getting the pat on the head, the gold star, the participation trophy. This priest, as a high school teacher, is even more integrated into this system and has his identity and sense of self-worth even more tied to conforming and getting others to conform. Doing as he is told is the highest virtue, while defying the authorities warrants heavy anathemas. That’s been his life for 40 years.

Getting back to humility and obedience: Thomas notes that true authority, the authority we must always obey, comes from doing the will of God. A king is legitimate insofar – and only insofar – as he is doing God’s will. Yet I think Thomas, while perhaps having something to say about the idea that legitimate government rests upon consent of the governed, would agree with the sentiments of the signers of the Declaration of Independence: “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security.”

The philosophical errors here are certainly overshadowed by the glorious vigor of people yearning to be free.

Thomas would of course be very, very circumspect regarding when a long train of abuses becomes intolerable, because he had knowledge of what it’s like when there is no king or other legitimate authority. Better to endure, and be obedient, whenever possible. Our sterling example in this was another St. Thomas, St. Thomas More. He harbored few illusions about Henry, yet loved and obeyed him to the very end – except when such obedience would contradict the law of God.

And we should be just a circumspect, and be humble in our judgements. In my case, I have made the judgement – and may God have mercy on my soul! – that obedience to these authorities causes more harm than good, and that the authorities have long since abandoned any defensible claim of legitimacy other than mere inertia. Therefore, I will not comply, except insofar as my noncompliance would get an innocent person – a store clerk, for example -in trouble. And that’s on a case-by-case basis.