Ghost in the machine

Posted On: Saturday - June 5th 2021 5:40PM MST
In Topics: 
  Music  TV, aka Gov't Media  Artificial Stupidity

That was weird. At the hotel, I'd been in the room for 3 hours, when the TV just came on out of the blue. I don't even touch them anymore since about 5 years ago when reruns of Seinfeld quit coming on regularly. The remote on this thing was right where the housekeeper left it (no more idiotic COVID wrappers, as Peak Stupidity reported on last year in Stay away from the remote!. I just had to take that one home to scan it.)

The sound was on, but there was no picture besides the initial welcome screen - they are computers now, after all. Besides being pissed that anything was coming at me out of the idiot plate, I was kind of worried that this might happen again in the middle of the night. I went to the outlet behind and below the thing and pulled out the thickest AC cord, which looked like it traced out to the TV. The TV was still on.

Wait, OK, there was another cord going to a transformer, but the TV needs AC, right? I pulled that other one anyway. The TV was still on! Whoaaa! It was getting eerie by this point, and yeah, that DC power just went to a box on the back for processing the signal, anyway. The sound was clear. Fine, in case I was missing some other outlet, I pulled AC power out of the back of the TV. I said "you've GOT to be kidding me", to nobody there, as I STILL heard the TV. (I believe it was a hockey game, so I guess it could have been lots worse.)

I went back around the front of it and finally noticed that there was no picture, but the sound was on ... but, oh, OK, coming from another TV in the little living room area! Whewww, there was no ghost in the first machine, anymore, that is. I had to go the the 2nd TV and unplug its AC power out of the back of it.

Silence, yea! I guess they had both been turned on via a remote control in another room. The whole thing was still a little ghostly.

I am reminded by that of the old Police album Ghost in the Machine. Those red LED segments on the album cover were still pretty modern-TECH-like back in that time. They were supposed to be the heads of the 3 band members. The biggest hit on that album was Every Little Thing She Does is Magic, a good song, but maybe I've heard it too much. This one today is an obscure one, but another good one. Rehumanize Yourself was written by the drummer Stewart Copeland, along with Sting (who wrote most of the songs).

This album was recorded by the band on the island of Montserrat in the Caribbean and partly in Quebec, as the band wanted to get far away from the record company people, 40 years ago now, from January through September of 1981.

I would call the heyday of The Police the period of their 1st three albums, the 2 French-named ones and the latter made of nonsense words, Outlandos d'Amour*, Reggatta de Blanc, and Zenyatta Mondatta. That was over just 3-year period, 1978 through 1980. Of course, they were still good for a long time afterward, but most rock bands had only a few prime years, it seems to me.

* "Outlaw of Love"
** OK, part French, with the meaning said to be "The White Race" or a play on words to mean "White Reggae".

Comments (18)

You too can be an Influencer

Posted On: Friday - June 4th 2021 6:57PM MST
In Topics: 
  General Stupidity  Humor  Media Stupidity

Whitney Rife - Hair color: Blonde, Hair style: Best o' the '70s, Occupation: Influencer

The young lady above, along with other Americans these days, is self-employed as an Influencer. What the ...? I know, that was my reaction when I read for the first time about an influencer a few months back. Nope, not a just a youtuber, but an influencer. I suppose you may have to be a youtuber first though.

The world has forever been full of people trying to influence other people. One Dale Carnegie even wrote a book about how to "win friends and influence people". However, people still had JOBS! It sounds as though being an influencer of other people is a full-time job now. I can imagine myself being in HR (no, I can't really) and pulling up a resume with the following:
Joe Q. Public

Work History:

1996 - 1999: McDonalds cooking Associate
1998 - 2001: McDonalds Manager
2002 - Replaced as manager by AA hire
2002 - 2005: Stoner travelled the world to find myself.
2006 - 2008: Starbucks Barista
2014 - 2018: After time off for Political Science degree - Starbucks Barista.
2019 - Present: Influencer
I guess I need to get hip. There are not so many jobs in buggy whip production anymore. I do like that this influencer position is one that doesn't require a 4-year degree and one that someone can't easily be Affirmative-Actioned out of it. If they edge out the job of media personality, that'd be a positive too.

I am only picking on the influencer up above due to having read this article - Influencers Offered “Thousands of Dollars” to Post Selfies While Getting Vaccine, so there's a Kung Flu tie-in here.
Whitney Rife told her more than 400k followers on Tuesday that she received an invitation from two campaigns that offered to pay her to promote the vaccine to her audience.
I gotta give this young lady a lot of credit for this part:
“If you want to get the vaccine, get the vaccine,” Rife said in an Instagram story. “To each their own. But I did just want to make a little note that I received two vaccine campaigns paying thousands of dollars to go and get the vaccine and record it and take a selfie while getting the vaccine. I’m just going to throw that out there.”

Rife went on to say, “I would never accept a campaign like this, but be careful with what you’re being influenced on.”
Uhh, "to each his own" and wouldn't it be "influenced about"?

That article also has tweets from a bunch of celebrities showing us how easily it was to get jabbed for the Kung Flu. If we don't hear from a few of them for a while can we assume these influencers are down under the influence of influenza?

Comments (13)

National Healthcare: Socialism at its finest - Part 1

Posted On: Friday - June 4th 2021 8:36AM MST
In Topics: 
  Healthcare Stupidity  Socialism/Communism

I could tell this was going to be a multi-part post right away. Too many thoughts were already in my head about the subject to make this concise. I'll start here with my motivation for writing this, and then an important point of clarification on the BUSINESS of healthcare vs. the SCIENCE of healthcare. We'll have to get to the ranting on the stupidity of this long-on-going transition from freedom to constraint in this, yet another important area of of lives, in subsequent posts.

It's the younger people who seem to be in the mindset that, yes, America's healthcare system sucks, and, yes, the US Feral Gov't better take full control so it'll be all better. I'm trying to remember an instance of the US Feral Gov't taking control and making something all better before ... Civil Rites? Nah, that's not a good one, wait ... the passenger railroads? No, oh, but that reminds me, the FAA and the airlines? Well, not that bad a use of government to create safety rules, but then the Feds don't economically ruin , oops, run, things.

Oh, yeah, this is not the rant part. These former Bernie Bros. or whatever they are now and plenty of people of the alt-right and all over the political spectrum otherwise bring up, "at least we need to fix healthcare. Make it free, FREE, I tells ya', or single payer." I'm not sure if they even know what that means, but as long as this single payer is not THEM, it's great. "Single payer" is nothing but a euphemism for "government run".

I believe the young people can not imagine any other way. They see a broken economic mess in the business end of healthcare. I do too. They don't know the history of how this business got to the wretched state it's in. I do. They don't see any way out that doesn't involve, not just the Feral Gov't, but MORE Feral Gov't. I'll get back to all this.

When one gets into discussions about the "old way" and the mess now, and what could be, he will hear "people would just die of cancer because there was no colonoscopy", "you would have died already of a heart attack if this were 1965", and "they had to cut you open in the operating room to do this, when now it can be done through a small hole in the ... whatever." Oh, sure, that's all true. The science, engineering, technology, and just overall body of knowledge and toolkit of procedures has grown immensely over the last half a century.

This 1/2 century happens to overlap the same time period in which the field of healthcare has gone from operation in a reasonable facsimile of a free market to a morass of governments-of-all-kinds, Big Biz, and lawyers. A friend's group of doctor's offices with 50 employees had 11 of them working on nothing but the collections end - dealing with patients, insurance companies, and these governments. That's over 20% of the employees doing non-productive work, healthcare-wise. They have to get paid too.

In a discussion of the changes in healthcare in America, the changes in the SCIENCE must be separated out from the changes in the BUSINESS. Oh, but then the Socialists will tell you that "see, it's the Government, with the research funding, blah, blah..." As much as I see all the politics in the doling out of science funding just as much as any other, I'd say that this is better than our money being doled out to support the warfare state, the welfare state, and all the rest. However, that's not the history of how the amazing developments in the science of medicine happen.

Ideas happen to people, not governments. Bright doctors figure out new procedures. Doctors know they could to this new thing or that, were special tools or pieces of equipment existing to do this or that part, but that's impossible. Then, engineers look into these impossibilities and figure out some really cool things, maybe in partnership with said doctors, that make these new methods now possible. The biomedical device field has been filled with small businesses, at least in the past. No doubt many of the inventions would not have been possible without newly created materials also.

I don't personally think government help has been necessary to improve the field of medicine scientifically. If anything, I'd say government involvement has been the usual hindrance. Government or not, the great changes in medical diagnostics and procedures have helped Americans avoid dying earlier from the big killers. They have saved people who would have died in the hospital from car wrecks in the old days, or helped them to more fully recover. They have saved children's lives. There's no argument on whether the science of medicine having changed is a good thing. That's not where the problems lie. Is the point of any arguing on the science just to confuse the issue?

We'll get to the business end of things, where the problems lie, in Part 2. It's time for something more light-hearted for the next post though.

Comments (7)

Residual effects of the Kung Flu ... PanicFest

Posted On: Thursday - June 3rd 2021 5:48PM MST
In Topics: 
  Curmudgeonry  Kung Flu Stupidity

It's time to get back anecdotal here at Peak Stupidity. In our locale, the PanicFest has tailed off quite a bit over the last month or so. (It helps a lot to have a decent governor.) There are residual effects, and I'll explain one. The first anecdote is just something I wanted to have fun with on here.

Face Diapering - normal mode / backflush mode

We've all done it, putting on our underwear inside out, due to being in a hurry, maybe dressing in the dark early in the morning ... It's normally not so embarrassing, depending on one's relationship situation. The thing about these face diapers is that they can also be put on the wrong way. How embarrassing is THAT?

Well, for me, since I have nothing but disdain for the whole deal, not at all. Back last fall when I was still putting them on in stores some of the time, I'd keep the same one of these medical ones in my pocket for weeks. Oh, I'd change pants still - don't get me wrong - but I'd transfer this thing along with the cash and car keys. It's not like you can't get these for nothing now, but it's to show my disdain. I may have put one on inside-out the odd time.

A guy who was sitting with us outside a few weeks back had his face diaper inside out. We gave him a hard time, not really caring what the heck he did, but then the conversation turned to what the effect would be. Assuming he'd worn it before the other way, I realized that this was basically back-flush mode. Just like with any kind of filter, one may want to send the fluid the other way and flush particles out of the system. "Hey, good idea. You can flush out more of those Kung Flu germs every time you exhale." Only, wait a minute! What is the purpose of the masks again? I forget. Was it to protect him or us? This guy was no kind of 6 ft. away. Back-flush mode should only be accomplished in a proper facility ... perhaps a virology lab ... in China.

Now, back to the gym.

(Image from the old post Scenes from the Kung Flu Summer re-Panic - Part 11.)

Yes, I've still seen people in the gym wearing face masks while exercising. Not my business - knock yourselves out ... literally.

There are residual effects of the Kung Flu, they say. There may be residual effects of the disease, but there are definitely residual effects of the PanicFest. It seems that some people are so used to having "can't do it - COVID-one-niner" as an excuse to not do something, that they don't want to go back to the old ways.

At a particular gym at one hotel, there was no cleaning stuff for the machines whatsoever. Now, that doesn't bother me getting on the machines, as I've long been in the "if it doesn't kill you, it only makes you stronger" mindset for many years. (Hopefully that'll keep up.) I've always made the effort to wipe them off AFTER using them, though. Before the Kung Flu, there were at least small towels for that. Then, if open at all, they went hard-out on the wipes and sanitizers of all flavors during the PanicFest.

At this place, the towels have been gone, I guess due to the CONTAGION!, and now, since this thing is supposed to be over, the wipes and fluids are gone too. You've got nothing to wipe off the machines with. It was like this the next day too. A guy who came in to clean the place, a friendly enough guy, replied to my query about this with "Oh, I come in and clean it twice a day." "Yeah, but I usually wipe off the machines with something." "It's OK, I'll come in here a 2nd time later on." OK, whatever. It's not like we have a country full of people all antsy about germs or anything.

Comments (5)

You're not gonna believe this shit ...

Posted On: Thursday - June 3rd 2021 10:51AM MST
In Topics: 
  Websites  Humor

William Tenenbaum, 31, is lying in critical condition according to medical staff at Allendale County Hospital after being mistaken for a deer by two local hunters.

According to the two hunters, Tenenbaum was dressed and painted in the colors of a deer and was wearing antlers which made him unrecognizable to the two men.
“It was the first time in my life that I’d seen a deer stand up and walk on its two legs. That’s when I went for a clear shot to the lungs,” Harry Perkins, 72, told reporters, visibly shocked.
It took me 2 minutes or so to finally realize that, no, this isn't real. It should not take that long!. That's what has me not just smiling at this nice job by the World News Daily site - here, but shaking my head as well.

See, the problem is that this could be funny at all. If you went back 10 years, well, better make it 20, this couldn't be a joke. "Whaaa? It's not Halloween. Plus, you'd wear the suit to a party, not out in the woods. I don't get it, I mean, you need to work on this one... maybe just start over."

This story could be true now. The World News Daily put enough different humorous lines in there to finally clue me in, but it's hard for these types of sites to keep up. First, the joke has no reason to be funny, because it's too stupid an idea. Then, it could be funny for a short period. Then, it's no joke anymore because this sort of thing happens twice a week in this country, and it's no laughing matter!

Anyway, at first glance here, this WND site is just as funny as The Onion was to me years ago. I'll have to check it out more. OK, one more excerpt:
“When he was eight he believed he was a porcupine, then at 12 a squirrel, now he’s a deer. It could be worse, he could be a homosexual,” his mother argued when reached by phone.
Heh, heh! That's where I was pretty sure this was bogus. You can't just go saying THAT.

Comments (5)

Back to the excess death count - Could it be infants and illegal aliens?

Posted On: Wednesday - June 2nd 2021 6:48PM MST
In Topics: 
  Immigration Stupidity  US Feral Government  Kung Flu Stupidity

This post is written to make a conclusion regarding the numerical discrepancy wondered about in Mortality Addendum, as based on the post before that, Hey, what's the deal with excess deaths, anyway?

It's not like there's no problem still, with the CDC's self-described method of estimating this "excess death" count still, no matter what the deal. I just wondered why, though the American "normal" death numbers calculate as going up considerably due to aging. the CDC mortality rates for age groups applied to the US Census population numbers in these age groups don't match "normal" deaths for each year (as, again, coming from the CDC). I think I have a definite cause of the discrepancy that's one small portion, and an indefinite idea of one that could account for all the rest.

Infant Mortality:

Thankfully, infant mortality is still slightly increasing in America, but the numbers make an upward correction to my CDC morality rate x Census Bureau population numbers.

I found out that those 1-4 y/o numbers don't count the deaths of anyone under 1 y/o. They've got a reason for that, I suppose, as deaths during delivery are fundamentally different from deaths from other causes. I should have noticed this, as it would have read "0 - 5" if it were actually "< 5 y/o". OK, well, those infant mortality numbers vary from ~23,000 in '15, trending slowly down to ~21,000 in '19. These are not negligible, being from 12% to just under 20% of the discrepancy in total deaths I ran into.

Next, OK, we're using official numbers for calculating American deaths, but even with adding in infant mortality, we are 160,000 to 85,000 deaths short. Well, Grasshopper, answer the mystery of who is not counted in the census, yet still dies in America, and I won't keep fucking with you with that pebble in my hand trick. Oh, could it be....

Illegal Aliens?:

(Not all illegal aliens are young Mexicans, Guats, and Salvadorans. Don't know about this guy. It's a file photo.)

See, you would have expected a photo of those lovely human-trafficked DACA girls and boys, being thrown over a fence somewheres near Laredo, Texas. We think of all these illegal immigrants as being young, strong, and healthy, except when they need the emergency room for minor items, on our dime. Nah, there are plenty of illegals, lots of them Chinese who get here via overstaying what was once a legitimate non-immigrant visa of some sort.

It sounds crazy that this is a factor. However, when I think about it, deaths are deaths, and when the old Chinaman kicks it from old age , NOPE COVID-one-niner, ka-ching! it's an American death. When that 0.30% blood-alcohol-leveled Mexican goes through the red light and happens to buy it (usually, it's the sober family he plows into), that's an American death. Yet, my calculations using Census Bureau counts won't include these people.

We don't know how many illegal aliens reside in this country, but I'm pretty damn sure it's not the 11 million that was bandied about from 2001 on. Ann Coulter brought up 30 million, and I'll go with that. If they're going to pull numbers out their asses, we can too! They are not the same in terms of proportions in the ages brackets as the Census-counted American population. We don't know these quantities either. Let's just say 30 million illegals live here. Even if their mortality is 1/2 the rate as in the CDC charts, they are 9% of Americans, to it'd be (just rounding down) 4% more deaths. That and infant mortality would account for every bit of the discrepancies discussed last week.

So, there you go. I wish we had just some sample age demographics of the illegal alien population, but that's probably not possible. If we did, we could back-estimate the number of illegal aliens from total deaths each year minus those calculated the way I did. So, there'd be that... which is not nothing - in fact it's a big damn deal still, a lot more than the Kung Flu virus itself really is.

Comments (5)

We need to talk about Kevin - Lionel Shriver

Posted On: Wednesday - June 2nd 2021 10:14AM MST
In Topics: 

What's this novel got to do with stupidity? It's the usual situation here: I read the whole book, it's my blog, so this will be a post. This is not the first novel Peak Stupidity has written a review on, but novels ought to have shorter ones, right? Only, for the last novel* by this author, Lionel Shriver, we had a 6-parter! That was a big exception as that last one I reviewed, The Mandibles, was a very realistic dystopian near-future story with a lot in it that would be useful to, or at least argued about, by we preppers. (That's at least on the economics side of things - not guns and ammo, gardening, or back-up power.) See Introduction, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Conclusion.

When I mention that book, people often recommend this one. We Need To Talk About Kevin is a POWERFUL book. That's the first thing I thought of after finishing it. I can't say that "I couldn't put it down", because it is 400 pages, after all, and I had stuff to do. It's just a hell of an emotional story, and Lionel Shriver is a great writer.

Kevin from the title is the son of the narrator, and he ends up shooting and killing and injuring a bunch of his high school classmates** at the end of the book. Wait! No, that doesn't spoil the book. Seriously! See, we are told that from the beginning, and even on the book jacket, so you're gonna know that soon enough, even if not from Peak Stupidity. Miss Shriver wrote this novel as a bunch of after-the-fact letters from the narrator Mom to her ex-husband, the Dad of this excitable boy*** Kevin. Really, Kevin is not the excitable boy type, but a child who never seemed to like, much less get excited about, anything at all in this world. That includes his Mom. Kevin is in jail during the duration of the book, as one might expect.

As with the conversation used to explain many parts of the story in The Mandibles, these letters sound just too hifalutin and literary to be real letters. That doesn't really detract from the realism in this one. Since the author has a huge vocabulary and amazing grip on the English language, she's writing of what she knows. Even if the narrator Eva's ex-husband Franklin didn't really need to read this kind of writing, the narrator could have been really writing like that, were she a writer, and she IS in the story. There are no reply letters, so it's one-sided anyway.

Lionel Shriver's writing of what she knows*** means that you're going to read everything from the viewpoint of a long-term NY City dweller, and you know what that means. The perspective about the rest of America, seen mostly in one chapter (letter) in which the author describes to her boy what she doesn't like about it, is from that of a New Yorker. There's her mention of the NY Times as if it's a very important part of life, and I have to except just this one part [top of page 207]:
For some reason I imagine it will reassure you that I still get the Times. But I seem to have misplaced the grid I once imposed on it to determine what parts were worth reading. Famines and Hollywood divorces appear equally vital and equally trifling. Arbitrarily, I either devour the paper soup to nuts, or I toss it smooth and cool on the stack by the door. How right I was, in those days; how easily the United States can get on without me.
That the United States could get on swimmingly without the NY Times is something the author may not be able to fathom. BTW, as for leaving the US, Eva had made a career as a travel writer, owning a company that produced books for the low-budget young travelers going abroad. The feminism one would expect comes out in this book, but only in small doses, and Miss Shriver even shows the narrator going off the reservation of that subject, with her choice of a husband. Then the parenting*** part, the biggest subject of the novel, eschews any feminism, other than the subject of choosing to be a parent or not.

What about the subject of guns? The novel has loads of mentions of real school shootings that had happened up till the finishing of the book, from Eva and Kevin. (Eva is always writing about the past, until the very end, keep in mind.) Lionel Shriver does have the expected ignorance about guns in general, as with the one scene near the end of The Mandibles. Hell, every time she mentions a semi-auto rifle in here, it's called an "auto". Trust me, if a big gun control agenda seemed to be the theme of this book, I'd have turned it back in to the library about 1/2 way into it. Believe it or not, it is not.

I ask the Peak Stupidity to believe me when I say it's worth ignoring this minor New Yorker**** mindset to enjoy this gripping novel. After the beginning of the novel, with its description of Eva and Franklin's happy marriage, we hear about Eva's very tough decision making about whether to have a kid. Her bio-clock has come mostly around to 12 O'clock, but that feminist mindset tells her that enjoying the child-free life is more important. OTOH, Franklin is keen to be a family man. As soon as Kevin is born, there is no normal mother/child bonding, and the boy is seen to be a problem right away.

Then, we get to read lots about the upbringing of this mass murderer, as few snippets of Eva's interactions with people after the fact are described, including visits to her son in the pen. The family life is described, which includes the signs of what's coming from Kevin, as Franklin the husband, being an all-American Dad type and a glass-half-full guy about his son, just can't see it all coming. Each chapter, which is another letter, starts with some current events, and then discusses Eva's thoughts on portions of this family life and what were the things going wrong.

It's great reading, and even after one gets to page 400, the end, there is a nice quick honest auto-bio by the author. (It has some interesting things about the publishing world too, as nobody wanted this one, in general.) Then, the author discussed the reaction to the novel. Miss Shriver notes in these afterthoughts (included in at least the copy I had) that the Amazon and other comments on her novel had some great discussion based on the readers' different takes on what the real conclusion of the story was. Was it about nurture, that Eva was never fit to be a Mom, or was it nature that caused Kevin to kill all these kids? Of course it's not a real story, but throughout the book, I was under the impression that the author was conveying that it was nature. There are some bad seeds, and you may get the one in a million that is just a step beyond and just plain evil. I am so glad to have experienced the opposite!

5 stars go to We Need to Talk About Kevin from Peak Stupidity. Thank you so much for the great reading, Lionel Shriver.

PS: One very minor weirdness in the book is that all the years that begin in a "1", as in before the year 2000 are written with a capital "I" (with the crossbars - don't know what font you're looking at right now) instead of the number one. This is everywhere, and even the publisher's address on the copyright page is in zip code I0007, and the book was reprinted in 20II. Well, during that reprinting, someone must not have had the extra funds to pay for all those ones, or something. It's a number, right?! I could have sold her I000 "1"s for a discount. Who does this? I don't have The Mandibles on me now, so I can't check if that's a Lionel Shriver idiosyncrasy.

* I'm not purposefully trying to sound like the literary type, such as John Derbyshire ("I decided to look up some more books from this guy", to paraphrase from interesting monthly "Diary" article), much less a Ron Unz with "I wanted to look into this more, so I read 14 books about it yesterday" - I mean, I believe him, I guess, but it may be more beneficial for him to just step the hell outside. I'm usually not able to even read the books that just come my way via recommendations and availability from the library.

** Yeah, and to be correct, one teacher and a cafeteria worker too.

*** That is, with the exception of motherhood itself, which she admits that she was worried about, in her afterward about the book at the end.

**** Oh, wait, she never says she lives there, but she is "based" there, and in London. Yeah, based there, but not "based". Steve Sailer has made fun of that expression before, cluing me in to notice it more.

Comments (4)

David Cole's got an agenda too, but it's a distraction

Posted On: Tuesday - June 1st 2021 9:50AM MST
In Topics: 
  Pundits  Kung Flu Stupidity

Peak Stupidity does not want to get into full pundit-on-pundit mode here. From that post of ours:
In the article linked to near the top, and hundreds or thousands like it "printed" every day, the people under discussion in the article are often other pundits. "Pundit-A's article last week, was subject to a nasty review by Pundit-B, who received lots of likes, but also was torn to shreds by Pundit-C, who is not always right, so let me set him straight here." This crosses over into the TV-pundit world too. "Pundit-C will be interviewed by TV-Pundit-D on his show come Sunday morning, and I will point out his stupidity on my blog Monday and interview Pundit-E about it"

It's all in their pundit world, and one wonders how important all the discussion is, even though it may be about all the major problems of the day. It could be VERY IMPORTANT stuff for the public to know about (some of the time), but these guys need to think about once in a while that, hey, not 10% of the American public has ever heard the names of any of you people, and maybe 2% read any of you people consistently! What's the point, then?
Exactly! (Well, I wrote it.). So it's not really that important in politics which pundit wrote what about this other pundit's opinion, when an insignificant percentage of Americans read any of it to begin with. However, those who do care can still learn something.

Commenter Adam Smith brought up a David Cole article in Takimag called House of Faucistein that compares theories of the origins of the Kung Flu*. I am in agreement with one of Mr. Cole's main points, which is that all the theories - straight-outta-bats, Chinese shoddy Virology lab safety**, or purposeful bioweapon (American OR Chinese) - have had only circumstantial evidence given by their supporters. I've got two things to say about that part

1) In the middle of the article, the writer makes some fun of "Phrenology Today cover model Ron Unz 's (thanks for the tip, Adam - I had to look it up, before I could LOL) theory of this being an American bioweapon. As I've written to Mr. Unz himself, all the evidence is circumstantial - pretty much guesswork.

2) It doesn't sound like Mr. Cole has read Mr. Nicholas Wade's*** article that we discussed and linked to here. That's not the be-all-to-end-all, but it's based on scientific theory, at least, and NOT circumstantial evidence.

Though this column is so sarcastic that I couldn't really tell what David Cole is getting at for quite a while, besides maintaining that all Kung Flu origins theories are flimsy, it's that Americans will be led to find some theory to use for their politics anyway, but are being patsies for the Chinese. In this he picks on the GOP and even Tucker Carlson, who seems to be a real truth seeker IMO.

After reading this, I remembered a column by David Cole, somewhat coincidentally, seeing as I don't read him all the time, from March 2020. I found it there on Takimag - Speak the Truth, Shame the Chinese. That column was not so sarcastic. It's a big expose of those "wet markets", and he gives a history of past incidents such as the SARS virus in '03, saying:
As the Chinese people fought for their right to spread zoonotic diseases, Chinese activists fought to keep the West from noticing.
So let’s not forget.

Remember that COVID-19, like SARS, began because of specifically Chinese customs, practices, and fetishes.

Remember that during and after the SARS outbreak, the Chinese knew that the wet markets were a danger, yet they were allowed to prosper.

Remember that experts predicted that a bigger, badder SARS would eventually be born from the wet markets. COVID-19 is the most predictable calamity in modern history.

And remember that a ban on Chinese wet markets would have prevented COVID-19. This was the most preventable calamity in modern history.
So, using just as flimsy evidence as the other Kung Flu origin theorists do, and without seeming to have read one piece of readable scientific support for the shoddy-lab-safety, Mr. Cole is sticking with his story that it's the wet markets. As one can read above, he is under the impression that Americans and other Westerners should DO SOMETHING about it, or SHOULD HAVE for years.

Sure, cut off the travel to/from China when these new strains come out. Give out travel advice. Bring immigrations levels WAY down, permanently. Send infected Chinese visitors home. It's not the business of America and anyone else to tell these Chinese people what they can sell out in the streets of Wuhan, though. It's not our business. Maybe we should tell people in Africa, Thailand, or San Francisco, Provincetown, Mass, and Key West, Florida to stop screwing each other in the ass? That would stop a lot of virus spread too, wouldn't it?

I believe Mr. Cole was frantic about his guess of the cause of the Kung Flu, wanting ACTION YESTERDAY! was because he is a Panicker. From just above that last excerpt from his March '20 article:
And now we have COVID-19, which has disrupted the entire world. One-third of the earth’s population is under some sort of lockdown. Livelihoods are ruined, economies destroyed, hundreds of thousands are ill and tens of thousands are dead. And the Chinese government, the Chinese diaspora, the political left, and the media want you to forget how COVID grew from the willful failure of China to learn the lessons of SARS.
There's a Panicker if I've ever seen one.

Mr. Cole hasn't thought deeply enough. Maybe the (mostly southern) Chinese taste for weird-ass creatures to eat has caused these viruses. However, the Chinese didn't force American State Governors to close down small business, then even beaches and swimming pools. They didn't make the face diapering laws (though they probably did make a hell of a lot of money off of the sales of 'em). No, the PanicFest is on the American governments and the American people who fell for this. The PanicFest is a much more important issue than the origins of the Kung Flu. The PanicFest was used in China to add more layers of Orwellian control and in the US to add another layer of the Police State, supplementing that born out of 9/11 20 years back.

People like David Cole and Ron Unz are on the wrong side of the PanicFest and, in their small ways, have helped enable governments to not let this "crisis" go to waste. Each can stick to his different pet theory till Kingdom Come. Nobody's gonna change either of their minds, I'm sure. Yet they are both greatly distracted by the real problem.

* Gonna have to stick with this one for the most part, as it's one of the topic keys.

** The 1st two are not mutually exclusive though, as some say the virus came from the lab to the "wet market" where Chinamen buy strange animals to eat, some of which could transfer this virus. I guess the fundamental cause there is still shoddy safety at the lab.

*** Not a scientist either, but just a science wiiter.

Comments (21)

Something to celebrate on this Floyd Memorial Day

Posted On: Monday - May 31st 2021 8:17PM MST
In Topics: 
  Humor  Race/Genetics

Was it actually Sunday, and we just make it Monday to give government officials another day off in which they can't screw with us?

(I don't know the tweeter. I don't receive 'em - I just screenshot 'em.)

I've heard this same joke regarding someone else, but who it was eludes me.

I'll do some reflecting about what the real Memorial Day is about too. I was on a Civil War book reading kick about 20 years back and have a WWI movie in the DVD player to finish watching.

Comments (11)

A State of Fear

Posted On: Monday - May 31st 2021 2:01PM MST
In Topics: 
  Books  World Political Stupidity  Kung Flu Stupidity

You gotta go to the Russia Today site to get the real news sometimes, just as the Russians would have had to grab a bootleg Wall Street Journal back in the 1970s. I found a couple of interesting articles back on May 19th, this one about a book called A State of Fear regarding the still-ongoing Kung Flu PanicFest in the UK. Russian times says New book exposes UK’s unethical psyops team that ramps up anxiety over Covid-19 to control a compliant public.

This post is not a book review, but I'll just excerpt a few passages from the RT article:
By any measure, the coronavirus situation in Britain should be looking pretty rosy by now, as Covid-19 cases are down, hospital admissions are down, deaths are down and vaccinations are up. The NHS has not been overwhelmed, the pubs are open and the kids are free to hug their gran. So, why the glum faces?
Well, in general, when you live in 1984 Oceania on steroids, you're not gonna smile so much.
Something seemed off kilter last night as the TV news screened images of holiday-hungry Brits arriving in Portugal, a teenage cancer survivor hugging his nan after a year of forced separation and a bunch of lads in a Barnsley pub drinking pints and watching the football play-offs.

These scenes of jollity were tempered with news from India of a new variant that had arrived in the UK and was proving wildly virulent, perhaps threatening the freedoms we had longed for, if its spread continued unabated. The message was clear: restrictions on our freedom might have eased from Monday, but we could be back in lockdown unless we can manage this latest ‘scariant’ from the sub-continent. Stay alert. Stay afraid.
That's the same story here. "We're almost through this folks, due to your safety minded-people in your face diapers. We've got a new President who CARES ABOUT SCIENCE!, and therefore a new vaccine, approved just after election day." "Oh, but wait... one more thing ..." [/Totalitarian Columbo]

RT article writer Damien Wilson:
I’m sorry, but this time I just don’t buy it. Enough with the scare tactics, the dashboard of death and the prophets of doom. It’s quite clear the vaccine is working. I’ve had both doses on the very clear understanding that it works, and I don’t expect I’ll be hospitalised or die even if I do at some point contract the virus.

But PM Boris Johnson and his government are addicted to fear and the control it gives over a compliant public. As journalist Laura Dodsworth makes the case in her new book, ‘A State of Fear: How the UK Government Weaponised
[SIC!] Fear During the Covid-19 Pandemic’, the British public needs to push back on this constant bait and switch aimed at keeping us all in a perpetual state of anxiety.
You people brought on this perpetual state of anxiety yourselves by believing in government and following its edicts. That's the root of the problem. Now, they know they can fuck with you forever.
But things quickly soured (the deterioration). No sooner had thousands boarded their flights to the sun than BoJo announced it was inadvisable to travel to countries on the UK’s amber list, that the Indian variant posed a major threat to those who refused to vaccinate, that plans were being drawn up for a return to the loathsome local lockdowns, and that ‘freedom day’ on June 21 was most probably a non-starter. The abuse continued.
Yes, but as a loyal spouse errr, subject of the government, you all still come back for more.
As Dodsworth discusses, fear diminishes over time, but by announcing an easing of restrictions, the government faced losing the psychological grip over a malleable public that it had worked so hard at establishing and then enforcing by draconian emergency laws.
See, that's no good...
Aided and abetted by what the author calls its team of “unelected psychocrats” – the behavioural [SIC!, OK I can't keep this up.] insights experts who advise the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) – the government has encouraged the use of fear to control people’s behaviour during the pandemic. One unnamed member of that team, the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (SPI-B), said they were “stunned by the weaponisation of behavioural psychology” on the British public.

Another anonymous member told Dodsworth, “In March [2020] the government was very worried about compliance, and they thought people wouldn’t want to be locked down. There were discussions about fear being needed to encourage compliance, and decisions were made about how to ramp up the fear.”

Gavin Morgan, one SPI-B psychologist who was prepared to be named, admitted, “Clearly, using fear as a means of control is not ethical. Using fear smacks of totalitarianism. It’s not an ethical stance for any modern government.”

Establishing control was relatively easy. A straightforward effort was in the choice of data and graphs that were shared with the public at the regular press briefings from Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and Chief Medical Officer for England Professor Chris Whitty. Professor David Paton, a professor of Industrial Economics at Nottingham University, called the duo’s appearances “the ultimate psyop”.
I don't usually suspect a conspiracy when it's likely more an intense mass of parallel stupidity and/or evil, but this story seems to fit that bill. Government and the Lyin' Press worked together to keep the Brits cowering.

I've excerpted about half the article, but the rest is worth reading. Here's how the writer Mr. Wilson ends it:
The creepy ‘psychocrats’ pulling the strings have been rumbled, and as awareness grows of their role in the government’s inept management of the pandemic, they’ll scuttle under the furniture like cockroaches caught in the light, leaving the politicians fully exposed and expected to explain themselves. And then the real fun begins.
No they won't, and you wish.

Comments (17)

Mortality addendum

Posted On: Saturday - May 29th 2021 8:39PM MST
In Topics: 
  Kung Flu Stupidity

Firstly, Peak Stupidity apologizes for the big gap in posting, compared to normal operations, in addition to the fact that there'll be only 4 real posts this week, counting this one. It's not that I got burned from the work for Wednesday's post I had to get my thoughts together on some number discrepancies from that post.

Upon looking at the actual death numbers from the years '15 to '19, I realized that they are a few percent higher than the numbers calculated from the spreadsheet. That total death number for each year is buried in a note underneath one of the other graphs in each of those CDC .pdf files. Yet, this is the file with the mortality rate for each age group. These were multiplied by census data on ages of Americans, if you recall.

I came upon 2 things to explain this discrepancy, one small, and one potentially large but somewhat unknown. See if you can think of what that 2nd one is, considering that the CDC got death certificate numbers from health departments, while the US Census Bureau gets its population numbers by, well, going around and taking a census (or collecting forms thereof). Not everyone answers the census, in particular a certain crowd that lives "in the shadows"

I'll have a post on this on Monday. In the meantime, here are just a few numbers from my spreadsheet calculation for 2020. (The Census numbers for 2020 were in a format of death rates for every age to the year, so I had to just do a slightly different job.)

Whoa, that's even more of a difference from the base number of the '15 '19 average. No, the reader may complain that "if they are all off, what's the point?" The point is the difference between the CDC's stated method vs. calculation expected death numbers for a normal year. Again, I don't trust their methods. If you don't trust mine, I can dig it, but then I'll explain what I think makes up the difference for each year, seeing as the CDC's own total doesn't match their age-based rates x the population groups.

Another thing to back up what I showed Wednesday was this study, done by or for the National Institute of Health just last month. It was pointed out to me by a commenter called "Turtlelamp" on that same iSteve thread. This one deals with the EXACT same problem. They looked at the March-August '20 period only, and don't mind their certainty of how many excess deaths were actually OF the Kung Flu:
An average of 1 370 000 deaths were reported over the same months during 2015 to 2019, for a crude excess of 301,400 deaths (128 100 non-COVID-19 deaths). However, the 2020 U.S. population includes 5.04 million more persons aged 65 years and older than the average population in 2015 to 2019 (a 10% increase). After population changes were taken into account, an estimated 217 900 excess deaths occurred from March through August 2020. [my bolding]
That's a difference of 83 1/2 thousand in just 6 months!

Please don't think that Peak Stupidity is going into analytic-hysteria mode. I'm sick of the whole thing, but I wanted to do this to point out discrepancies to the iSteve crowd. I don't care where the origin of the damn thing was either, as opposed to Ron Unz with his big crusade. The real story here is the PanicFest.

Comments (17)

Hey, what's the deal with excess deaths, anyway?

Posted On: Wednesday - May 26th 2021 7:10PM MST
In Topics: 
  Kung Flu Stupidity

This post is NOT a stand-up comedy routine, but the Kung Flu PanicFest itself is a lot closer to one.

Let's talk "excess deaths" today. This is something I did preliminary number-crunching on a couple of months ago already, but never got around to doing rigorously (see postscript). A late Steve Sailer PanicFest post - Weekly Total Deaths Finally Returning to Normal - got me going again. His big EXCESS DEATHS! graph shown there is from this CDC page.

(The reader can go to either of the links above to see this better. I'm just trying to show the shape here, shrinking it way down to fit this page though.)

What are excess deaths? Simply, it's the number of fatalities in America in a time period minus the "normal" number of fatalities. Sound simple to you? No, well first of all, what is normal? One can average out a few years to get that, which ought to take out some of the variability from bad flu years, lulls after bad flu years, wartime (not a factor yet, luckily), etc. You get some sort of average, but ...

Here's my problem right away with this CDC graph. That orange "normal" curve is too damn level! If one understands that the American population is aging fairly quickly historically, as I do, one can see that this base curve CANNOT be write. Please look at it greatly enlarged on that CDC page. It hasn't gone up at all from January of '17 to May of '21. There's something wrong.

Last Fall, when Steve Sailer and others started bringing up this excess death business, their point was that, no matter what kind of shenanigans are going on, more people dying mean it must be the Kung Flu having a big effect. That's not a sure thing either, but then I'll get to that in another post. In this post, I'm looking at something very simple. It does not involve "cases", deaths FROM vs WITH Covid-one-niner, or anything medical. It's just pure numbers, from the US Census Bureau and the CDC itself, the latter regarding "regular" deaths (if that's a thing).

Months ago, I went search for exactly what the heck was going on with this base curve. From the methodology notes at the bottom of the same CDC page linked-to above (and by Mr. Sailer), one can read the following:
Weekly numbers of deaths by age group and race/ethnicity were assessed to examine the difference between the weekly number of deaths occurring in 2020 and the average number occurring in the same week during 2015–2019 and the percentage change in 2020. [My bolding]
Whoa, whoa, wait a cotton-pickin' minute here. That average may not cut it. So, I went and found some nice US Census tables, even conveniently in .xlsx (spreadsheet) format. Here's a sample from the '19 one**, but I found them for '15 - '19:

Very good stuff. These (with the other 4 years) are nothing but information on the ages of Americans. One can see from a few of these that the higher-age brackets are getting bigger. It's no huge change, but it's enough to matter.

The next thing I needed was "normal" mortality numbers for these different age brackets. It took me an hour or so of searching to find Statista (which is nothing more than a site that sucks in statistics from elsewhere and displays them, I believe) page with this info. The only bad thing was the brackets there are 10-year ones. While I was writing comments under that latest iSteve post, I found out that this info. came straight from the CDC (yes, CDC again!) .pdf files like this one for '19. In fact, the CDC one for '17, with bar graphs for '17 and '16, was missing the under 5 y/o and 5-14 y/o age bracket, exactly as Statista was. (I just used a 4 yr. average instead of 5, but see next paragraph.) Here's a sample from the '19 CDC .pdf report:

Alright, so I went to the mattresses spreadsheets at this point. I combined the 5 year-wide brackets into 10-year ones, got each of the 5 years + average '15-'19 in 6 columns. All these were multiplied by the average of the '15-'19 mortality rates for the ages. (Those morality rates barely changed at all, except for the 85+ one, so that's why average or current year, same diff.) I totaled "normal" deaths for each 10-year age bracket up for each year and that '15-'19 average. Here:

(That last row "85" should say "85+". Calc thought I was doing an operation. It is smarter than me, so ...)

See those 2 numbers at the bottom? (Image-wise, I had to cut them off from the right side of the spreadsheet and paste them underneath). Those are the gist of this post. Taking the '19 normal death numbers minus that CDC '15-'19 average gives a difference of > 101 thousand more deaths. That's not even thinking of 2020, when the Kung Flu "hit us like a ton of ... something..."*** Subtracting the '15 normal deaths from '19 gives 217 thousand more. It's just that Americans are getting older. It doesn't look that was being taken into account for properly.

While writing comments on iSteve, I found a NY Times article that alleged the CDC did some linear regression for this base curve. I worked out a number for 2020 for that. However, I'm not sure how the NY Times alleges the CDC did that. It may have been much more complicated. However, that doesn't change the fact that the damn "Excess Death" graph has that orange curve that doesn't reflect a population increasing in age, period!

They'll be more philosophical ranting about this in an another post to come soon.

PS: I finally got my spreadsheet foo going from, well, it's been quite a while. I'm doing nothing at all fancy, but I just needed to get to a certain, USABLE computer, as in usable for computing, and get going. It was pretty fun really, and man, did it save a lot of time versus calculating and writing on paper. I was even able to import in numbers from those census bureau site .xls files. (I'm using OpenOffice Calc - we've come a long way from Lotus 123... actually NOT, in usability, though I'm sure in computing power and memory limits.)

I'm happy with my lack of errors, though, from my calculations of this past Sunday. After lots of crunching, the death numbers, if off at all, were off by just single digits out of hundreds of thousands.

So Peak Stupidity did not meet its 1st promise made in Unz Review comments, but we've met are fall-back goal. It's still Wednesday, right?

** Careful clicking on this though - it will open up your Excel program. You can get it to open another program, such as OO Calc.

*** I would use 2020 American population numbers by age, but I couldn't find the exact same format. I did recently find it for EVERY year of age. Hell, I got spreadsheets, so I'll work on that shortly.

Comments (13)

A blast from the past, and Jimmy Buffett

Posted On: Tuesday - May 25th 2021 7:37PM MST
In Topics: 
  Music  History  Science

We are extremely bad about missing anniversaries of historic events here at Peak Stupidity. I'd thought I was only a week late, but this one is a year and a week late, I realized today.

Mt. St. Helens in Washington State looked like this* before May 18th, of 1980:

A couple of months over 41 years ago, in March of 1980, many earthquakes, not damaging at 4 to 5 on the Richter scale, and build-ups of magna pushing out portions of the rock gave loads of warning that "this thing is gonna blow". The few people that lived in the area, other than lodge owner Harry Truman** staying at the shore of Spirit Lake, evacuated upon orders of Governor Dixie Lee Ray. This story was on the news as I recall, quite a while before the event. On May 17th, 50 carloads of property owners went up to retrieve their important stuff.

There aren't that many good pictures. Not everyone and his brother had a camera on him back then.

At 8:32 A on the 18th of May, after no significant warning signs earlier that morning, a huge landslide of 0.7 cubic miles of material moved down the mountain at 110 - 155 mph. That exposed the magma and steam under pressure which proceeded to blow up the top 1,300 ft. of the mountain. Wikipedia has a pretty good account here, and I'll give a few more factoids taken from there.

A pyroclastic flow consisting of very hot volcanic gases, ash and pumice formed from new lava, as well as pulverized old rock, moved down the mountain northward, accelerating quickly to around the speed of sound. It ended up covering 230 square miles. More than 4 billion board feet*** of timber was destroyed or damaged.

An ash cloud blew out and up to 12 miles high. The winds aloft ended up dropping it mostly to the northeast, covering eastern Washington State and many areas well east in fractions to a few inches of ash. The total area covered was 22,000 square miles. Ash continued exiting the volcano for 10 hours. A total of 540 million tons, or 0.3 cubic miles (uncompacted) of ash was thrown out.

From 55 to 60 people were killed by the volcano, most by asphyxiation and some by burns. Harry R. Truman was one of them. Spirit Lake, near which the man died at his lodge, is filled with blown-down trees to this day.

I was young at the time, and didn't realize what a major event the eruption of Mt. St. Helens was.

Mt. St. Helens from a Piper Chieftain, 20 years ago and 21 years after the eruption:

I don't know. No, I don't know. I don't know where I'm agonna go when the volcano blows.

For the Parrotheads, this is a really fun song, even by Jimmy Buffett standards. It was released 9 months before the Mt. St. Helens eruption, as the title song of the Volcano album****. Hey, White Man's reggae. No bitching about the White Man, just about nature. Sweet!

OK, Mr. Buffett used to write lyrics that would date the music occasionally, and this is one. I'll include the last part:

But I don't want to land in New York City.
Don't want to land in Mexico.
Don't want to land on no Three Mile Island
Don't want to see my skin aglow.
Don't want to land in Comanche Sky Park
or in Nashville, Tennessee.
Don't want to land in no San Juan airport
or the Yukon territory.
Don't want to land no San Diego
Don't want to land in no Buzzards Bay.
Don't want to land on no Ayatollah.
I got nothing more to say.

Let's see. I get the reasons for about half of those. How 'bout you?

OK, one more lyric line: "You better love-a me now or love-a me not." What a great songwriter!

The Coral Reefer Band (at the time) was:

Jimmy Buffett – vocals, acoustic guitar
Keith Sykes – guitar, background vocals
Barry Chance – lead guitar
Andy McMahon – Fender Rhodes
Mike Utley – piano, organ, clavinet
Harry Dailey – bass guitar

(Wiki has info on more musicians playing on this song.)

* It did have visible changes since early that Spring due to the build up.

** Harry R. Truman, not to be confused with Harry S. Truman, was a businessman, bootlegger, prospector, and lodge operator.

*** One board foot is one square foot of 1" thick lumber.

**** That album has quite a few good ones. The hit single Fins is good, but I like Boat Drinks better, along with Chanson Pour Les Petits Enfants ("Songs for the small children").

Comments (4)

Chaos under Covid - Josh Rogin

Posted On: Tuesday - May 25th 2021 10:56AM MST
In Topics: 
  Trump  China  Books  Kung Flu Stupidity

This is a book review addendum, if you will, of the last chapter of the Josh Rogin book Chaos under Heaven that Peak Stupidity posted a long review on this past Saturday. The reasons for this post are that I'd not quite finished the book when I wrote that review, and that the final chapter, which is about the Kung Flu virus, its origins, and its effect on US-China relations, was one that I'd told Ron Unz in a comment I hadn't read yet.

That latter bit is interesting, as Mr. Unz wrote an uncivil reply comment to me* under his 2nd-to-latest (I haven't bothered with his latest) post on his American bioweapon theory of the Kung Flu's origins - "The Truth" and "The Whole Truth" About the Origins of Covid-19**. The reply was to my simple quick question as to whether Mr. Unz had read Mr. Rogin's Chaos under Heaven. Mr. Unz dismissed the book with the words "Isn’t he that WaPo lab-leak Neocon? I’ve never heard of his book, but why in the world would I want to read that sort of garbage?"***

Well, that brings up the material from our main review. Mr. Rogin is somewhat of a neocon, as we explained there, but his view of the Trump Admin. - China relations was pretty balanced. Mr. Rogin is especially no fan of Steve Bannon. What's really funny here is that the last chapter of Chaos under Heaven, just called "The Coronavirus" is very very much like the Nicholas Wade paper Peak Stupidity discussed and Mr. Unz touted in his post I refer to as supporting his American bioweapon theory.

Mr. Wade's paper DOES NOT support Mr. Unz's theory. Yes, it supports 1/2 of it, only the point that the virus is not likely, per Mr. Wade, to have come from natural mutation/replication animal progression origins. In this last chapter of his book, Mr. Rogin's writing is so close to that of Nicholas Wade's, if Mr. Wade didn't get it directly out of Mr. Rogin's book, then they both got it from the same sources. There are two examples of this: 1) The point about those bats with very similar deadly SARS viruses in caves in Yunnan**** not being obviously able to fly 1,000 miles with this virus and 2) The story of 6 miners in those caves getting wicked sick with same COVID-type symptoms, with 3 of them dying from it. It's nearly the same wording. Mr. Unz mistakenly, IMO, used Mr. Wade's article to bolster his case, but then this book ought to be the same in that respect.

I'll leave Mr. Unz's opinions behind now and continue with this chapter of the book. Just to stay in some sort of order, the biggest deal for Josh Rogin, way before the PanicFest of '20, was the "Wuhan Cables" ***** of early '18. This was about what was going on at the Wuhan labs. American health and science officials went to the Wuhan labs in late '17 and found out how lax the safety standards and personnel training was for a lab doing dangerous research. Higher level diplomats came in March '18 and sent two, what, strongly-worded cables? Though kept secret, the author himself was instrumental in digging them up from some sources and getting them to government officials. Back then, nothing much was made of it.

Once the news of the virus got out, in late '19 and early '20, there was an initial friendly call between Trump and Xi about it. As usual, Trump believed the guy and dismissed the worry very early on. Not much later, when the PanicFest started in earnest, he tried to do the right things (at least trying to cut travel from China early on).

I'll skip most of the rest of the Trump administration politics on the Kung Flu for an attempt at brevity. The big point I want to make is that Mr. Rogin is very dismissive of the bioweapon theory, on the CHINESE end and has nothing to say about that of an American bioweapon theory of origin. (With all he writes about Wuhan, Dr. Shi - the bat lady, if you recall, and the germs themselves, it would not even be thought of, from a reading of this book.)

The author brings up Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton's Chinese bioweapon charges of 2/16/20. Mr. Cotton is a neocon, though only of the "invade-the-world" variety, not the "invite-the-world". (He's very good on the immigration invasion issue, per VDare.) Mr. Rogin maintains that Senator Cotton screwed up the politics with these charges, as the arguments against it and vituperation from the Chinese made the Wuhan lab origin theory go more into the background. One thing this say is, contrary to Mr. Unz's not-having-read-the-book view, Mr. Rogin is not some complete Neocon warmonger on this.

There's some interesting stuff here, with a little deviation from the Wade article too. A number of other very similar viruses to the SARS-Cov-2 (the BIG ONE! ) are mentioned, one important one being what was called RaTG13. That one was found in the bats out in Yunnan and then in the Wuhan lab bat shit samples. It was then experimented on with special genetically-engineered mice, plenty of them sent readily from that UNC research center - Chapel Hill, NC, with ACE2 receptors in their lungs so they could get sick from this virus in the same way as humans.

What deviates from Nicholas Wade's article is that Josh Rogin discusses much subterfuge and covering-up by the Chinese lab people including Dr. Shi. She, OK, Shi, is not made out to be the diligent honest bat-shit lab scientist here.

There's a bit of confusion here for me on the point of these two similar viruses. The author is careful not to say explicitly that "gain-of-function"****** work was done. Then again, how did that first RaTG13 virus get to be the SARS-CoV-2 one? Was it the mice? Is that not the same as gain-of-function work? I don't know.

Another point of mine is this: What specifically makes the work done in that lab, and the same with similar work in America, NOT bioweapons research? Is it just the intention? Is it the lab name, called a "Virology Lab - level BSL-4", rather than "Department of Offense Bio-Lab"? Either way, the stuff can be deadly. All you do to turn gain-of-function results into a weapon is get a vial and get on a plane. (Bring plenty of wipes!)

Man, I just can't keep these things short, as I just read this and want to include all the interesting parts. Let me get back to the Trump/China politics during the Kung Flu PanicFest era just to summarize them per Josh Rogin. Trump and all of the administration finally got wise to all the bullshit out of China during the summer of '20. They realized that the huge damage to the American economy, from the Kung Flu - no, it was from the ensuing PanicFest, actually - was a bigger deal than their measly round 1 trade deal and other politics. It was pretty late to play hardball. Additionally, the Chinese were using the Kung Flu PanicFest to exert influence all over the world, threatening the loss of, well, shit like defective face masks for one...

Mr. Rogin, being from CNN and the Washington Post after all, was not happy with the last Trump moves. Along with other moves, they involved the administration's looking into the cultural-sabotage outfit Confucius Centers, sending home "researchers" in science/engineering who were associated with the Chinese military, and closing of the Houston, Texas Chinese consulate that was full of spies. Talk aboutcher no-brainers!

With the exception of the epilogue, the author must have finished writing sometime in the Fall of '20, as the election hadn't happened yet. I've got 2 or 3 problems with his take on the American politics of election '20, which I'll likely post about.

Where Josh Rogin himself stands on the panicker/non-panicker spectrum is obvious from just one paragraph on page 283. As the author traveled with National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien to Scottsdale, Arizona to a conference about the CCP's global ambition and influence. He ends that section ("The Gloves Come Off") on that sequence of political events with the ominous one-sentence paragraph:
Two weeks later, O'Brien was diagnosed with COVID-19.
OMG! I think we're supposed to shake in our cheap China-made boots here.

Josh Rogin sure seems to have a lot of inside knowledge of this last chapter of the Trump Administration's China politics. This is very interesting stuff that Kung Flu origin worriers really ought to read. I'll take exception to those 3 items of stupidity to expected out of a Lyin' Press writer later. What it still comes down to is that I trust even this Washington Post reporter more than I do the Chinese Communist Party.*******

* Later on in the thread, though, Mr. Unz was much more civil in another couple of replies and even thanked me for linking to a John Derbyshire column. The Derbyshire column was on his OWN SITE, BTW! Ha, I guess he really is a busy guy with all that writing, skimming/chiming-in, and software work. I was really surprised that Mr. Unz was so glad Mr. Derbyshire had pointed out his writing, even when stating that he (Mr. D) didn't think Mr. Unz's theory that likely compared to the Wuhan lab screw-up theory. Though Mr. Unz is a big shot in some ways, I guess Mr. Derbyshire is much more known as a writer.

** It has 943 comments as of now, but they won't be displayed with the post without the reader clicking at the bottom - a smart thing, IMO, as if you don't want to read comments, unlike me, you can load a much smaller amount of text.

*** Then, the insult had to come out - the guy is just high strung - claiming I have written nothing intelligent about China (that he's skimmed, anyway) from 11 times being there, while he has written papers and read lots of books. OK, Ron. I told the guy to visit sometime in '19, dammit. I really did want to know what he'd think if he went there.

**** It's out there way southwest of Wuhan, directly north of Vietnam.

***** WTF is a diplomatic "cable" now anyways? Did the message go under the sea?

****** What crappy terminology there! That's a subject for another quick post.

******* It could be that the book audience is slightly different from the Lyin' Press/TV Infotainment crowd, so the same lies won't fly in this format.

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Content Note: "Excess Deaths" calculations to come likely on Wednesday

Posted On: Monday - May 24th 2021 8:41PM MST
In Topics: 
  Websites  Kung Flu Stupidity

No, this is not a "site note", which in the past has meant I'm getting screwed in the ass by some change with SSL or hosting. This is an apology post about missing some content today.

I'd promised in the comments under this Steve Sailer post on the Kung Flu, or Flu Manchu as some are wont to say., to put up a post today with the following: From reading the CDC's own web site, their method of calculating "excess deaths" does not well take into account the aging of the US population.

Rather than write more tonight, I will explain in the post or two to come on this. Anyway, for readers from the unz site, I didn't meet my goal, as today got extremely busy. There are loads of other posts to write, so I think I'll put those in while I decide how to present my numerical story.

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