The Coming Covid Curveball

It seems like every morning we wake up to the news that some entity, public or private, is unveiling a "bold new initiative" in response to "the unique challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic," which everyone who has been paying attention knows they've wanted to do already.

Take baseball. I'm a big baseball fan, but not of current MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, a man who doesn't seem particularly fond of the game he presides over. Others have noticed this -- here's an article from a few months back entitled Does Rob Manfred Hate Baseball? and another called Rob Manfred Is Ruining Baseball. The gist of them is that Manfred, worried that baseball is less exciting than the other major sports, has spent his five years as commissioner whittling away at the things that make the game unique. For the most part his rule changes have been aimed at making the games shorter, but his efforts have been for naught -- the average game is now three minutes longer than it was when he took over, and viewership is down.

This, of course, hasn't deterred Manfred. He's pushed ahead with plans to, for instance, institute a new, Reality TV informed playoff format whereby,

The team with the best record in each league would get a first-round bye, and then the other two division winners and the wild-card club with the best record could end up picking their opponents in a televised seeding showdown.

This is, to put it mildly, gimmicky as hell.

For the most part Manfred's tinkering has been confined to the edges of the game, and he would probably tell you that that's why it hasn't had the desired effect. That, unfortunately, he has been cursed with conservative, history obsessed fans who are resistant to alterations which make today's game less like the one played by Joe DiMaggio and Hank Aaron. Which is to say, he'd probably dislike me as much as I dislike him.

But a man can dream, and for years we've heard whispers that Manfred's great aspirations included increasing offense by imposing the Designated Hitter on the National League, which has resisted this innovation since the 1970s; starting extra-innings with a runner on second base to speed things up (or, a fan might say, limit the amount of baseball fans were getting for free); and contracting the Minor Leagues, so that MLB resources could be directed away from entertaining yokels in, say, Dayton, OH or Montgomery, AL, and towards virtue signalling social justice initiatives which get lots of applause from the great and the good.

And then came the miracle Rob Manfred had been been praying for: the Wuhan novel coronavirus, which, thanks to the incompetence of politicians like Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio, spread like "a fire through dry grass” throughout the nursing homes of the northeastern United States (as healthcare analyst Avik Roy has pointed out, 42 percent of U.S. deaths from Covid-19 have occurred in the 0.6 percent of the population who reside in nursing homes and assisted living facilities).

But, more to the point, it gave him an excuse to make big changes to the game purportedly for the sake of player safety. And what changes did he implement? Imposing the DH on the National League; beginning extra innings with a runner on second; and the elimination of up to forty-two minor league teams.

I think that this is a pretty good (and comparatively innocent) illustration of what is going on across America right now.

California, for instance, raised its gasoline tax again this month, so that it now sits at 50.5 cents per gallon. Why would California's politicians be so foolish as go ahead with this hike during an economy-destroying pandemic (what you might call Pulling a Trudeau)? Well,

“Driving is way down, so in theory this is a great time to catch up on highway investment,” observed Ronald Fisher, an economics professor at Michigan State University. While less driving temporarily means less revenue from a gas tax, it also means less disruption from road work. Fisher also pointed out that the state typically contracts with private companies to perform such infrastructure repairs, which means proceeds from the higher gas tax could actually serve as a stimulus for the California economy in the form of job creation.

Right...

In another example from the Golden State, Gov. Gavin Newsom has formed a Recovery Task Force to address California's dire financial situation in the wake of the pandemic. It is co-chaired by uber-environmentalist and failed Democratic Presidential candidate Tom Steyer (a bad sign), and, shockingly, it has concluded that green energy has the potential to be a “huge job creator," according to Steyer. As if this were something which had just occurred to him. Environmentalist Hal Harvey concurs,

[Steyer's] right. Clean energy can be the economic engine for California.... The path is clear: Decarbonize the electric grid, then electrify everything—creating good jobs and thriving clean tech industries along the way.

Which is to say that the powers that be are using this moment of disruption to enact their preexisting agendas. They're taking advantage of your exhaustion, your inclination to give in, in the hope that sometime soon everything will go back to normal. And that's why we need to be especially vigilant right now.

At the center of baseball is a psychological game between pitchers and batters, where the former works to make the latter think that one pitch is coming his way, and then throws him another. Fastball inside, fastball outside, fastball inside, fastball outside. And then comes the curve, and the batter who isn't looking out for it finds himself walking slowly back to the dugout.

Keep yours eyes open. Don't let them sneak the curve past you.

'So Where Are the Deaths?'

In their continuing efforts to destroy President Trump's re-election prospects, the American and international news media have once again turned to their Great Green Hope, Covid-19, to continue wreaking unnecessary havoc with the world's economies and thus take down Orange Man Bad and replace him with the semi-animated hologram of the soon-to-be late Joe Biden, with Kamala Harris or Michelle Obama (or Barack Obama, for that matter) as the power behind the Resolute desk.

Having failed with Russian collusion, Ukrainian impeachment and, latterly, the twin thuggery of Black Lives Matter and Antifa, they're back again with Infection = Death. Problem is, very few are dying of the Wuhan Flu any more, as Heather Mac Donald notes:

The coronavirus doomsayers could not even wait until the fall for the apocalyptic announcements of the dreaded second wave. Because the red states recklessly loosened their lockdowns, we are now told, the US is seeing a dangerous spike in coronavirus cases. ‘EXPERTS SKETCH GLOOMY PICTURE OF VIRUS SPREAD: FAUCI TELLS OF “DISTURBING” WAVE, WITH A VACCINE MONTHS AWAY,’ read the front-page lead headline in the New York Times on Wednesday. ‘VIRUS SPREAD AKIN TO “FOREST FIRE”’ read another front page headline in the Los Angeles Times on Monday, quoting Michael Osterholm, one of the media’s favorite public health experts. Osterholm had told NBC’s Meet the Press: ‘I’m actually of the mind right now — I think this is more like a forest fire. I don’t think that this is going to slow down.’

The ‘this’ is an uptick in daily new cases from 19,002 on June 9 to 38,386 on June 24. The high to date in new daily cases was on April 24 — 39,072. Since April 24, the daily case count started declining, then began rising again after around June 9. What virtually every fear-mongering story on America’s allegedly precarious situation leaves out, however, is the steadily dropping daily death numbers — from a high of 2,693 on April 21 to 808 on June 24. That April high was driven by New York City and its environs; those New York death numbers have declined, but they have not been replaced by deaths in the rest of the country. This should be good news. Instead, it is no news.

Of course it's not news. A rapidly declining death rate is of zero interest to the news divisions, because it doesn't further the narrative that the world is coming to an end (not that we don't deserve it!). They'd rather toss around dubious and misleading statistics such as this Business Insider report:

While about 0.1% of people who got the flu died in the US last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the coronavirus' death rate is currently about 5.2%, based on the reported totals of cases and deaths. That makes the coronavirus' average death rate 52 times higher than that of the flu.

That figure is certainly incorrect, and by several orders of magnitude. As testing for antibodies increases, the rate will continue to fall, as it's already doing in Britain:

While both the number of people in hospital and the number of hospitalised people dying are falling, deaths are falling at a faster rate. The number of people in hospital with Covid-19 is halving every 29 days, while deaths are halving every 16 days. Prof Carl Heneghan, who carried out the analysis, said the pattern of falling death rates in hospitals was also being seen in other countries, including Italy.

"We should be investigating what's changed," he said. "It's a radically different disease we're looking at if the death rate is 1% rather than 6%".

No kidding. It's a numerator/denominator problem, but in plain English: the more people who've had it (even if asymptomatic, as many were and are), the lower the fatality rate. I know math is hard, but try to keep up:

When calculating the mortality rate, we need:

  1. The number of actual cases. We need to know the number of actual cases (not merely the reported ones, which are typically only a small portion of the actual ones) that have already had an outcome (positive or negative: recovery or death), not the current cases that still have to resolve (the case sample shall contain zero active cases and include only "closed" cases).
  2. The number of actual deaths related to the closed cases examined above.

Considering that a large number of cases are asymptomatic (or present with very mild symptoms) and that testing has not been performed on the entire population, only a fraction of the SARS-CoV-2 infected population is detected, confirmed through a laboratory test, and officially reported as a COVID-19 case. The number of actual cases is therefore estimated to be at several multiples above the number of reported cases. The number of deaths also tends to be underestimated, as some patients are not hospitalized and not tested.

If we base our calculation (deaths / cases) on the number of reported cases (rather than on the actual ones), we will greatly overestimate the fatality rate.

The higher the count, the lower the fatality rate.

This study considered New York City, the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States, and the metro area responsible for most of the American cases and deaths. Keep in mind that the vast majority of deaths have occurred in people over 65 with comorbidities, including obesity -- which may also account for the racial and ethnic disparities: in New York City, the breakdown is White 7 percent, Asian 11.1 percent, multi/none/other 14.4 percent, Black 17.4 percent, Latino/Hispanic 25.4 percent.

Something else of interest:

19.9 percent of the population of New York City had COVID-19 antibodies. With a population of 8,398,748 people in NYC, this percentage would indicate that 1,671,351 people had been infected with SARS-CoV-2 and had recovered as of May 1 in New York City. The number of confirmed cases reported as of May 1 by New York City was 166,883 [source], more than 10 times less.

Therefore:

Mortality Rate (23k / 8.4M = 0.28% CMR to date) and Probability of Dying

As of May 1, 23,430 people are estimated to have died out of a total population of 8,398,748 in New York City. This corresponds to a 0.28% crude mortality rate to date, or 279 deaths per 100,000 population, or 1 death every 358 people.

And yet the hysteria is once again rising. The media is using increased testing and reporting as a scare tactic, especially if the "positive" tests have occurred in a red state such as Texas and Florida; everything is political, including life and death. Forget about "flattening the curve," which was meant to distribute the same number of infections over a longer period of time, so as not to overwhelm the hospitals. Now, nothing but the complete eradication of Covid-19 via a totally safe vaccine will satisfy the Left in its rabid desire to demand that the impossibly perfect always be the moral enemy of the good enough to muddle through.

Ms. Mac Donald concludes:

There are no crises in hospital capacity anywhere in the country. Nursing homes, meat-packing plants, and prisons remain the main sources of new infections. Half the states are seeing cases decline or hold steady. Case counts are affected by more testing; the positive infection rate captured by testing is declining. The current caseload is younger, which is a good thing. The more people who have been infected and who recover, the more herd immunity is created. Meanwhile, daily deaths from heart disease and cancer — about 3,400 a day combined — go ignored in the press.

But the drum beat to halt the still far too tentative reopenings gets louder by the day. It should be resisted. The lockdowns were a mistake the first time around; to reimpose them would be disastrous for any remaining hope of restoring our economy. The damage that has been done to people’s livelihoods and future prosperity will continue to outweigh the damage done by the coronavirus. The only vaccine against poverty and resulting despair is a robust economy.

Get it. Get over it. Get on with it.

Welcome to 476 A.D.

The world's most obnoxious teen girl is at it again. With the grownups having abdicated all responsibility across the western world, and the barbarians at the gates, think of Greta Thunberg as, well... Romulus Augustulus, empress of all she surveys. For now:

Greta Thunberg says the world needs to learn the lessons of coronavirus and treat climate change with similar urgency. That means the world acting "with necessary force", the Swedish climate activist says in an exclusive interview with BBC News.

She doesn't think any "green recovery plan" will solve the crisis alone. And she says the world is now passing a "social tipping point" on climate and issues such as Black Lives Matter. "People are starting to realise that we cannot keep looking away from these things", says Ms Thunberg, "we cannot keep sweeping these injustices under the carpet".

She says lockdown has given her time to relax and reflect away from the public gaze.

So who is Romulus Augustulus, you ask?

Ms Thunberg has shared with the BBC the text of a deeply personal programme she has made for Swedish Radio. In the radio programme, which goes online this morning, Greta looks back on the year in which she became one of the world's most high-profile celebrities.

The then 16-year-old took a sabbatical from school to spend a tumultuous year campaigning on the climate. She sailed across the Atlantic on a racing yacht to address a special UN Climate Action summit in New York in September. She describes world leaders queuing to get pictures with her, with Angela Merkel asking whether it was okay to post her photo on social media.

The climate campaigner is sceptical of their motives. "Perhaps it makes them forget the shame of their generation letting all future generations down", she says. "I guess maybe it helps them to sleep at night."

Her Majesty is upset. She came into this world expecting perfection, and the adults have let her down. In fact, they have deliberately destroyed her slim chance of happiness by their willful inaction on the "climate emergency" that's visible all around us. Why, just look out the window!

End of the line.

It was in the UN that she delivered her famous "how dare you" speech. "You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words", she told the world leaders gathered in the UN Assembly. She appeared on the verge of tears as she continued. "People are dying," she said, "and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you?"

She knew it was a "lifetime moment" and decided not to hold anything back, she says now. "I am going to let my emotions take control and to really make something big out of this because I won't be able to do this again".

Still, the Empress is disappointed in her subjects, who have not lived up to her ideals, and that the glory that was once Rome -- er, Sweden.

She describes travelling back from the UN to her hotel on the subway and seeing people watching the speech on their phones, but says she felt no urge to celebrate. "All that is left are empty words", she says. The phrase reflects her deep cynicism about the motives of most world leaders.

"The level of knowledge and understanding even among people in power is very, very low, much lower than you would think," she told the BBC. She says the only way to reduce emissions on the scale that is necessary is to make fundamental changes to our lifestyles, starting in developing countries. But she doesn't believe any leaders have the nerve to do that. Instead, she says, they "simply refrain from reporting the emissions, or move them somewhere else".

The teenager believes the only way to avoid a climate crisis is to tear up contracts and abandon existing deals and agreements that companies and countries have signed up to. "The climate and ecological crisis cannot be solved within today's political and economic systems", the Swedish climate activist argues. "That isn't an opinion. That's a fact."

Indeed, Her Serene Highness has much, much more to say to her subjects -- but hold! There's someone knocking at the gates. A fellow by the name of Odoacer.

The Deep State Goes Green

The RAND Corporation was for years a well-respected international policy think tank -- the name derives from Research ANd Development -- with somewhat shadowy connections to the worlds of government, private industry, and the intelligence community. It does get much more Deep State than RAND.

Lately, it's pretty much gone all-in on "social justice" and all its fashionable attendant causes. As we're seeing, "climate change" has now been married to Covid-19 in the hopes that the lockdowns will not only cut down on emissions, but also get folks used to the idea that they'll soon become a permanent fixture in many ways, thus helping to "save the planet." This is also known as "propaganda."

Case in point:

The spot notes that the government will be investing heavily in restarting the economy, and of course comes down on the "green side" of the false choice is offers between "polluting" industries and renewable unicorn farts. "For climate change, we know we need significant transformations to address this problem. We know that society must transform to address climate change."

Somehow, we all sense that "transformation" is not going to be a suggestion, but a command.

Why the Wuhan Flu Turned Violent

After a week of violent rioting -- aka, "largely peaceful protests" -- over the death of a man nobody had ever heard of a fortnight ago, the rationale behind the continuing home imprisonment of law-abiding citizens over the phantom menace of the Wuhan Flu no longer make any sense, if it ever did. Trading the economic and social health of nations indefinitely for a variant of the seasonal flu was always a bad bargain, but now that the doctors' scheme has been revealed as purely political, it's time to stop.

The great Covid-19 pandemic was always a #NursingHomeDisease. It disproportionately struck the elderly who also had underlying health problems (comorbidities) that were exacerbated by the opportunistic Chinese bug. Let the facts be submitted to a candid world:

The Most Important Coronavirus Statistic: 42% Of U.S. Deaths Are From 0.6% Of The Population

According to an analysis that Gregg Girvan and I [Avik Roy] conducted for the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, as of May 22, in the 43 states that currently report such figures, an astounding 42% of all COVID-19 deaths have taken place in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Let that sink in: 42% of all COVID-19 deaths are taking place in facilities that house 0.62% of the U.S. population.

And 42% could be an undercount. States like New York exclude from their nursing home death tallies those who die in a hospital, even if they were originally infected in a long-term care facility. Outside of New York, more than half of all deaths from COVID-19 are of residents in long-term care facilities.

This is astounding. The Forbes piece goes on to note that in Ohio, a full 70 percent of the deaths attributed to the virus occured in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities; in Minnesota, the figure is 81 percent. Most of the damage, however, has been in the New York City metropolitan area, with tentacles as far south as Virginia and reaching north up into New England.

Another way to cut the data is to look at nursing home and assisted living facility deaths as a share of the population that lives in those facilities. On that basis, three states stand out in the negative direction: New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

In Massachusetts and Connecticut, COVID deaths per 10,000 nursing home and assisted living facility residents were 703 and 827, respectively. In New Jersey, nearly 10 percent of all long-term care facility residents—954 in 10,000—have died from the novel coronavirus.

The tragedy is that it didn’t have to be this way. On March 17, as the pandemic was just beginning to accelerate, Stanford epidemiologist John Ioannidis warned that “even some so-called mild or common-cold-type coronaviruses have been known for decades [to] have case fatality rates as high as 8% when they infect people in nursing homes.” Ioannidis was ignored.

Instead, of course, states such as New York deliberately forced the disease-incubating nursing homes to accept Covid-19 patients, with results we now all can see. Combine this with the deliberate cruelty of restricting access to the dying, and you have a hell on earth that only a Democrat could have created.

The bogus excuse for the lockdowns, now strikingly apparent in retrospect, was that we didn't want hospitals overwhelmed with the millions of patients and half a million deaths in Britain alone that "experts" like Professor Pantsdown of the Imperial College in London had predicted.  Nor did we see the deaths linked to "climate change" and air pollution that Harvard experts were forced to walk back. No wonder Dr. Fauci barely shows his face any more.

In short, nearly everything they told us about the second coming of the Black Death turned out to be wrong. And for this, our betters ravaged the economies of the West, bullied the honest citizenry, and suspended the Bill of Rights -- and then when the riots came, excused them on the non-medical grounds that "racism" (a neologism in common usage only since about 1970) is a worse health threat than, well, Covid-19. [What follows is not a parody.]

Public Health Experts Say the Pandemic Is Exactly Why Protests Must Continue

There has been a lot of concern on how the protests over the past several days may produce a wave of coronavirus cases. This discussion is often framed as though the pandemic and protests in support of black lives are wholly separate issues, and tackling one requires neglecting the other. But some public health experts are pushing people to understand the deep connection between the two.

Facing a slew of media requests asking about how protests might be a risk for COVID-19 transmission, a group of infectious disease experts at the University of Washington, with input from other colleagues, drafted a collective response. In an open letter published Sunday, they write that “protests against systemic racism, which fosters the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 on Black communities and also perpetuates police violence, must be supported.”

This is pure neo-Marxist bunkum, of course, a collectivist bit of agitprop that might have come from the Soviet Union in the 1970s. Indeed, the hive mind behind this tripe argue that the protesters are actually performing a public service by their selfless willingness to act as guinea pigs who can test the limits of the unconstitutional lockdowns for the greater good.

The letter and the experts who signed it make a case for viewing the protests not primarily as something that could add to cases of coronavirus (though they might) but as a tool to promote public health in and of themselves. Protests address “the paramount public health problem of pervasive racism,” the letter notes. “We express solidarity and gratitude toward demonstrators who have already taken on enormous personal risk to advocate for their own health, the health of their communities, and the public health of the United States.”

The real reason, though, is propaganda, as this Slate story eventually gets around to admitting:

By Tuesday afternoon, more than 1,000 epidemiologists, doctors, social workers, medical students, and other health experts had signed the letter. The creators had to close a Google Sheet with signatures to the public after alt-right messages popped up, but they plan to publish a final list soon, says Rachel Bender Ignacio, an infectious disease specialist and one of the letter’s creators. The hopes for the letter are twofold. The first goal is to help public health workers formulate anti-racist responses to media questions about the health implications. The second is to generate press to address a general public that may be concerned about protests spreading the virus.

There is a linkage between the coronavirus hoax and the riots -- it's just not what they say it is. From the moment Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 presidential election, the Left has been determined to destroy not only the Trump presidency but also the very country that allowed such an enormity to occur. They -- the DNC, the big media, academe -- have thrown everything they have into the fight, and that they have now turned to outright violence in its late stages ought to tell you something, both about the "resistance's" history, and the future it has planned for you.

David Suzuki and the Great Climate Carnival

Radical environmentalism and "climate science" have become highly profitable for those who have taken upon themselves the role of the conscience of mankind. The hucksterism of our new-age evangelists has been preserved in amber in Sinclair Lewis’ Elmer Gantry, as pertinent today as it was in 1927. It’s a good read (and a great movie), exposing the confidence game of those who prey on the public’s gullibility, whether, like Gantry, they are selling farm equipment or flogging a seminarian’s version of probity—or in its current manifestation, appealing to the global conscience of the uninformed. As lucrative scams go, climate-and environment—or Big Green, for short—is hard to beat. 

Readers will be familiar with some of the more notable Gantrys in the climate trade. Al Gore is probably the most prominent of the climate camarilla, with a carbon footprint of Sasquatch proportions and highly dubious credibility. A UK court ruled that his global warming movie, An Inconvenient Truth, contained at least nine salient falsehoods, in particular with respect to his claim that Hurricane Katrina was caused by global warming. The court found that the film was scientifically unsound and little more than a form of “political indoctrination.” In his book, Media Madness: The Corruption of our Political CultureJames Bowman cites Gore and “other self-appointed trustees of the alleged Global Warming crisis in the pressure group, the Alliance for Climate Protection, [who] make money which they can then use to influence real political events, such as elections.” I have provided a close reading complete with sources about the shenanigans of Gore, et al. in my 2012 monograph Global Warning.

Canada does not lack for its share of green-celebrity hypocrites. One remembers the late Maurice Strong, with a net worth of $100 million, a leader in the international environmental movement, president of the council of the University for Peace and executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme—activities which one would expect to militate against acquiring his fortune as an unrepentant capitalist and investor in the oil and mineral industry and as CEO of Petro-Canada and Ontario Hydro. Apparently, Strong never experienced a moment of cognitive dissonance or a single pang of conscience as he marched along the royal road to prestige, acclaim and wealth, investing handsomely in what he publicly condemned.

Strong’s practice and example pale before the exploits and influence of David Suzuki. A fruit fly geneticist by training who once compared human beings to maggots, Suzuki repurposed himself as Canada’s reigning environmentalist and climate guru, a beloved TV personality, and a counselor to humankind. With a personal fortune of $25 million, this mini-Al Gore, is one of the more conspicuous barkers in the Canadian media and environmental carnival who preached some 20 years ago that we had only ten years before environmental collapse. Yet his vaticinal authority remains intact among the naïve and impressionable since he offers a signal example of theocracy at work in the presumably scientific domain. After all, we must believe in something, however fraudulent. 

A contemporary Savonarola, Suzuki expressed his inner totalitarian for all to see, stating on February 28, 2008 at a conference held at McGill University in Montreal that politicians should be jailed for denying “climate consensus.” Eight years later he was still on the moral rampage, declaring that then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper should serve prison time for “willful blindness” to global warming. True to form, Suzuki is a sworn enemy of Canada’s energy sector, comparing the oil sands industry in the province of Alberta to slavery, dismissing the devastating economic impact of its closure, and working to block every new pipeline proposal—for which the University of Alberta, an institution that stands most to lose from the assault against oil, has awarded him an honorary science degree. Go figure.

Suzuki has hosted The Nature of Things, a popular CBC television series, since 1979 and has gone on to almost every conceivable award and citation the world has to offer. Suzuki does look a bit like God in His Sistine incarnation, a resemblance which no doubt facilitates his attempt to remake the world in his own image. But journalist and author Ezra Levant claims with considerable credibility that Suzuki is profiting from multi-national American organizations that finance his campaigns against Canada’s oil sands production, as Vivian Krause shows in a damning exposé in the Financial Post from April 19, 2012.

According to Krause’s research, Suzuki has built his foundation with millions of U.S. dollars. The total value of the top 30 U.S. grants alone was US $9-million, equivalent to $13-million Canadian, including:

US$1.8-million from the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation (“Hewlett”), US$1.5-million from the David & Lucile Packard Foundation (“Packard”), US$1.7-million from the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation (“Moore”), US$1-million from the Wilburforce Foundation, US$955,000 from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, US$930,000 from the Seattle-based Bullitt Foundation and at least US$181,000 from the Philadelphia-based Pew Charitable Trusts.

As far as I can tell, Suzuki’s largest Canadian donor is the Claudine & Stephen Bronfman Foundation, which has granted at least $6-million (2000-10). Since 2008, Power Corp., the Lefebvre Foundation and the Trottier Family Foundation have given annual donations of at least $1-million. Anonymous donors are also reported for $1-million or more. For 2010, the Sitka Foundation, run by Ross Beaty and his family, gave $407,000 and the Jim Pattison Foundation gave $200,000.

As the Toronto Sun reported in October 2013, “Green sage David Suzuki has some expensive tastes for someone who wants to shut down the carbon economy within a generation…. Suzuki, who’s made a name for himself fighting for the environment and against development, owns four homes, [including] a sprawling mansion in the Kitsilano neighbourhood of Vancouver, worth approximately $8.2 million.” According to the Sun, he also owns property on two Gulf Islands, Quadra and Nelson, sharing the latter with a fossil fuels company, Kootenay Oil Distributors.

In a defensive response a week later, the David Suzuki Foundation, whose corporate motto is "One Nature," retorted:

For starters, please note: David Suzuki is not the head of a corporation. The David Suzuki Foundation is a registered Canadian charity and David Suzuki has never been a paid staff member. In fact, he is one of our most generous donors and volunteers. He has lived in the same house for decades, a home he has shared with his in-laws and in which he has raised his daughters.

As for the claim that David owns land with an “oil company”, we did what journalists are supposed to do before running a story. We checked with the company’s owners, a couple living on the Sunshine Coast. They told us the husband’s father ran the company in the 1950s and ’60s to distribute oil to households and small businesses, mostly for furnaces. When the company folded, they used the assets to buy into co-owned land on remote Nelson Island, and it has not operated as anything other than a holding company since the late 1960s. David and a friend, who knew nothing about the company, bought into the property many years ago with the express purpose of protecting it from development. He has made other investments in real estate to provide for his retirement and family.

We would also like to take a moment to set the record straight: Although Sun Media consistently refers to David Suzuki as a saint, he isn’t. He has received many awards and honours, including being named a Companion of the Order of Canada, but he has not been sainted or knighted, and he’s human, not infallible. He’s a 77-year-old grandfather who has devoted his life to communicating the wonders of science and finding solutions for our shared environmental problems. But mostly he’s a human doing what he can to make a positive difference.

We find it strange that anyone would be opposed to protecting the air, water, land and biodiversity that we need for our health and survival, but recent attempts to tarnish the reputation of David Suzuki, as well as the Foundation and other environmental groups, show that some people view short-term profit for the fossil fuel industry as more important than protecting the planet.

It seems he can do no wrong and remains a revered icon to most Canadians, true believers who have drunk the climate Kool-Aid liberally served up by our do-gooder educators, social justice missionaries and the hallowed saviors of mankind who proliferate among us. Those for whom climate and environment have assumed the force of an ersatz religion have undertaken no sustained inquiry into the subject, dismissing contrary evidence as purely heretical and not worth consulting. They have followed neither the data nor the money trail. North America's Elmer Gantrys are home free.

Authoritative volumes like Elaine Dewar’s Cloak of Green (now rendered unaffordable), John Casey’s Dark Winter, Norman Rogers’ Dumb Energy and Bruce Bunker’s The Mythology of Global Warming: Climate Change Fiction vs. Scientific Facts, among many other excellent studies, have been placed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum of the Church of Environmentalism. When the environmental acolytes and climate votaries rise to a position of authority, like our current prime minister, who is determined to phase out the oil and gas industry that is a central pillar of the economy, the damage they can do is incalculable. 

And obviously, their efforts are abetted and empowered by the celebrity Greenies who have made their fortunes and reputations exploiting the rage for utopia that inspires the ignorant and deluded, those who seek perfection at the expense of reality. Suzuki is the poster boy for these enablers, the “go-to guy” for the country’s major political parties, in particular the Greens and the NDP. Suzuki famously feuded with Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last year over the pipeline issue:

It just shows what a joke the whole declaration of a climate emergency is. I mean, if it’s a climate emergency, first of all, when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, I don’t think the Republicans said, “Oh, that damn Democratic president wants to take us to war and is going to destroy the economy.” Everybody joins together in that emergency. It’s got one purpose, which is to win the battle.

The battle here is in terms of the amount of carbon that’s accumulating in the atmosphere. We’re way beyond and heading to a total by the end of this century that really puts into question whether human beings, as a species, will be able to survive. It is a climate crisis, but we’ve been saying that for over 30 years. And all of the posturing that’s going on, from Mr. Trudeau being elected, and Mr. Harper, who was prime minister for 9 and a half years, who never once said climate is an issue that we’ve got to take seriously. He said reducing greenhouse gas emissions is “crazy economics.”

It’s all about politics. It’s not a serious commitment to meet the climate challenge. And approving the pipeline is only–you know, what do we expect?

But they've recently made up as Trudeau’s Alberta-bashing, pipeline-busting antics have moved into high gear. It should come as no surprise that Suzuki, who is riding out the COVID pandemic in his posh Quadra Island residence, appears to have welcomed the crisis and its restrictions.

I was looking up at the sky today, and it was filled with geese … we’ve had pods of killer whales coming through, and I have the sense that Mother Earth is saying, ‘Phew, thank God, these busy people are giving me a break,’” Suzuki said. “And I hope that people who live in places like Shanghai and Beijing, in Delhi or Bombay, are looking up and seeing what it can be like when air is the way it should be, invisible and odourless.

Such a childish fantasy should be enough to put the ancient oracle out to pasture, and the entire climate-and-environment boondoggle along with him. But, of course, it won't.

The Revolution Will Be Delayed

We can thank the Wuhan virus for small favors:

International negotiations designed to address the sweeping global threat of climate change will quite likely be delayed by a full year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Britain, the host of the talks, which were initially scheduled to be held at the end of this year in Glasgow, proposed on Tuesday that they be postponed until November 2021. A decision is to be made Thursday by countries that make up the rotating governing board of the United Nations agency that sponsors the talks.

“Given the uneven spread of Covid-19, this date would present the lowest risk of further postponement and the best chance of delivering an inclusive and ambitious COP,” British officials said in a letter to countries in the accord, using shorthand for Conference of the Parties, the formal name of the meeting. The conference is meant to rally world leaders to chart ways to avert the worst effects of climate change, including fatal heat waves and flooded coastal cities.

The next round of talks, the 26th annual COP, is the most important session since then. Countries are expected to announce revised climate targets in order to reach that global target, which remains elusive.

That's funny -- I thought climate seer and international scold Greta Thunberg told us in January that we only have eight years left to prevent global catastrophe:

Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg called on Tuesday for far tougher action to limit climate change, telling the World Economic Forum in Davos the world has just eight years left to avert severe warming. Thunberg, 17, speaking on a Davos panel with three other youth delegates from around the world, also expressed doubts that the world could develop technologies in coming decades to suck carbon dioxide from thin air to limit rising temperatures.

“A lot,” she said, when asked what she wanted in the coming year or so. “Especially that we start listening to the science and that we treat this crisis as the crisis it is.” Governments are due to meet in Glasgow, Scotland, in November, seeking to ratchet up the ambition of the 2015 Paris Agreement. The deal aims to limit warming to “well below” two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times, while pursuing efforts for a tougher ceiling of 1.5°C.

So now it's only seven years. What are we going to do? Luckily for the world, by that time St. Greta will be in her mid-twenties, no longer a "Swedish teenager." Her numinous nature will by then have worn off, the media will have lost interest, the demon Trump will be out of office one way or another, the world will still be spinning on its axis, and we'll have found something new to worry about.

Spike This

If you haven't yet twigged to the British website Spiked, it's about time you did so. The online publication describes itself as "the magazine that wants to change the world as well as report on it. We are committed to fighting for humanism, democracy and freedom." It expresses that admirable commitment via articles by some of the best young British writers, who daily deconstruct modern shibboleths such as "climate change," the Greenie weenies, and, latterly, the hysteria over the coronavirus. Like us here at The Pipeline, the gang at Spiked clearly sees the link between the overreaction to the virus and the longer-term agenda of the "climate change" privateers, who seek to destroy the Western way of life in the guise of rescuing it. A sample:

Covid-19 is a frightening dress rehearsal of the climate agenda

Months into the pandemic and many unknowns still cloud our understanding of the virus. The basic parameters of its transmission rate are still contested by scientists. Rather than shedding light, experts from prestigious institutions descend into acrimonious, politically charged, point-scoring debates. Even the grim daily ritual of the body count is slated as either an overestimate or a grotesque underestimate. But the biggest unknown yet is the damage the virus and attempts to control it have done to society and the economy, and how we will recover. From this wreckage, the green blob has re-emerged from an all-too-brief period of obscurity with a list of demands that will destroy any hope of recovery.

From the outset, there has been a palpable sense of green jealousy of the virus as it stole attention from the climate fearmongers. For half a century, greens have been prognosticating the imminent collapse of society. Yet with each new generation, deadlines to stop the destruction of the planet pass without event. In reality, the world’s population has become healthier and wealthier, and we live longer lives than ever before. Panic about the virus achieved in days what greens have been demanding for years: grounded planes, empty roads, and a halt in economic growth.

Experience of coronavirus shows that the kind of fear, panic and mistrust ramped up by doom-laden forecasts has had severe consequences for humanity. Fear of the virus has threatened to dissolve the essential relationships of mutual dependence between human beings, almost in an instant – and on a greater scale than anything Gaia can throw at us in her angry revenge. Greta Thunberg’s maxim – ‘I want you to panic’ – should cause environmentalists to pause and consider what they actually want for society.

But such reflection is unlikely to be forthcoming. After all, lockdown gives greens what they have always wanted: the abolition of flight, and of travel deemed ‘unnecessary’ by technocrats; and the prohibition of goods which have been designated ‘non-essential’. Indeed, this is apparently what a green utopia looks like.

Read the whole thing, of course, if only for this line:

Green platitudes are nothing more than a veneer of bullshit for no-mark politicians to hide behind.

The key is that the "green economy" is a malignant fantasy of New Ludditism, a branch of cultural Marxism that openly seeks the destruction of the Western way of life. Its embrace by callow and mendacious politicians the world over is a triumph of stupidty and short-term thinking over reason, facts, and history.

So what if it comes disguised as "environmentalism"? The devil is the devil no matter what he's wearing, even if it's nothing at all.

 

'Climate Change' -- Minorities Hardest Hit

Like the coronavirus, which seems to disproportionately injure African-Americans and other minorities, "climate change" appears to be fundamentally racist. Regarding the Wuhan bug, don't take my word for it -- Al Jazeera, NPR, and the BBC all sing ecumenically from the same hymnal:

This is pure racialist bilge, of course, deriving directly and selectively from the cultural Marxist notion of "proportionality" that has come to infect almost every aspect of our public policy thinking, from "disparate impact" in housing and labor issues (a tendentious derivative of the Civil Rights Act of 1964), to Title IX sex discrimination (from the 1972 Education Amendments Act) to the current shibboleths of "diversity" and affirmation action. It ignores, for example, the very real differences among ethnic groups regarding susceptibility to certain diseases -- Tay-Sachs disease among Ashkenazic Jews, skin cancer among the Anglo-Irish, sickle cell anemia and hypertension among blacks. On the Left, however, the only possible explanation for any racial disparities in any field whatsoever is racism -- except of course, when it comes to sports. A predominantly black NBA or an overwhelmingly white NHL are, at least for now, perfectly fine.

As has become clear, the collectivist Left has decided to conflate the Wuhan virus with their overall fascist fantasy of "climate change," and now regard the unconstitutional lockdowns and other restrictions on personal autonomy and freedom as a dry run for what's to come next. "Progressives" regard the de facto outlawing of communal religious services, for example, as an unalloyed good -- not because it "flattens the curve" or saves lives, but because the abolition of religion has been a mainstay of their political philosophy since at least Rousseau and, latterly, Marx. So it's no surprise they've racialized something as impersonal as the Wuhan virus in order to continue their ur-Narrative of Western social racism and economic exploitation, and are now connecting it to "climate change" via the Rousseauvian myth of the noble savage:

When the wildfires hit Australia last year, Bee Cruse was horrified at the sight of the red sky, the black ash falling like snow, and the smoke choking the whole East Coast. The fires were a direct reminder of the British genocide against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people like her, and the tearing of them from country and their traditional ways of land management.

In an article for Vox, Cruse, a Wiradjuri, Gomeroi, and Monaroo-Yuin storyteller, told me, “We see and feel the spirit of our animals and our land; they are our ancestor spirits. We don’t own country, country owns us; we come from her to protect her. When country hurts, we hurt. When our animals, our spirit cousins, cry, we cry.”

What Cruse was describing was climate grief, a psychological phenomenon that affects Black and Indigenous peoples, and other people of color, in uniquely devastating ways.

This sort of thing used to be called superstition, but we're too sensitive for such blunt talk these days.  The whole corpus of Western civilization, from its art to its faith, to its sciences, is now being called into question by an alien philosophy of nihilism imported from central Europe, which elevates relativism and a bogus egalitarianism above all else. If all cultures are equally good (objectively impossible), then why shouldn't we heed the animal spirits?

WHO, hoo.

What's new today is not connecting primitivism to moral virtue but to take the principle of egalitarianism to the next level, and argue that true egalitarianism means that not only are some people simply more equal than others (Orwell roasted that concept in Animal Farm) but are, in fact, superior. As British historian Tom Holland illustrates so convincingly in his recent book on Christianity, Dominion, much of the atheist Left's credo is derived directly from Christianity ("the last shall be first"); my addition to his refreshingly apolitical argument is that it's now being used as a club against the genuine article.

Those paying attention have long seen this coming: it's the notorious Rule No. 4 of the Marxist agitator Saul Alinksy, mentor to both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama: "Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules. If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules." La Rochefoucauld's famous observation that "hypocrisy is a tribute vice pays to virtue," becomes clear when viewed in a religious context, since otherwise there would be no need for hypocrisy were it not traveling under the cloak of Christian virtue.

Just as we are seeing with the COVID-19 outbreak, environmental racism forces people of color, especially Black and Indigenous peoples, to bear the brunt of global disaster. We are not only disproportionately affected by the climate crisis—breathing in more pollution, living in communities with higher temperatures, suffering from more medical conditions, experiencing more natural disasters, and being displaced at much higher rates—but we carry the pain of the climate crisis deep inside us.

Since the earth's population is disproportionately "non-white," and most people live in what we used to call Third World countries with the attendant substandard levels of hygiene, waste disposal, and medical technology, this is exactly what one might expect; it's not a plot, it's a result. Now throw in hand-me-down notions of Freudian psychology exported from Vienna to the Outback, you have a concatenation of neo-Marxist resentment:

In its 2014 report, Beyond Storms & Droughts: The Psychological Impacts of Climate Change, the American Psychological Association (APA) found that the climate crisis was affecting human mental health across the globe. Anyone can experience climate grief, regardless of their identity. But for us, our grief—and our anger—is rooted in centuries of painful history, and the current ecological violence hurled at our communities.

“Just like other stressors that people of color experience, ecological grief is often magnified,” said Dr. Tyffani Dent, a licensed psychologist and author, in an interview. “People of color know…society is going to make sure we’re impacted first, and impacted the hardest,” Dent said.

You can see where this argument is heading: the world would be much better off without the Age of Exploration, the Industrial Revolution, fossil fuels, and electricity, and the medical breakthroughs in the treatment of infectious diseases; in short, the Third World would prefer to live without the ministrations of the Renaissance and its cultural successors in the West, minus Marxism. And thus in savagery, in the sense of "primitivism." So out with the lot of it:

Xiye Bastida, a youth climate activist, a member of the Indigenous Mexican Otomi-Toltec nation, and an organizer of Fridays for Future, says that her climate grief is deeply tied to her Indigenous identity. “For Indigenous people, climate grief comes from when they’re first displaced by fossil fuel companies, by drilling, by fracking infrastructure that makes Indigenous communities be moved from their place of origin, their place that they have a relationship with. (Our) relationship with the land is the first thing that we care about,” Bastida said.

For Black and Indigenous peoples, you could argue that the history of our oppression is the story of the Anthropocene itself—the current geological age defined by the dominant influence that human activity has had on mass extinction, climate, and the environment. Without colonization, the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and the genocide and oppression of Indigenous peoples around the world, we likely would be living in a different reality.

That's for sure. But the current trend in historical "scholarship" -- as evidence by the absurd "1619 project" of racial grievance and historical revisionism recently published by the New York Times -- is not enlightenment but revenge:

Research has bolstered the idea that white supremacy has led to the climate crisis. Scientists from University College London found that the mass genocide that accompanied the colonization of the Americas in the 15th century permanently altered Earth’s climate, due to “a huge swathe of abandoned agricultural land” that “pulled down enough carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to eventually chill the planet.”

Ravenous for the mass production of lucrative commodities such as salt, cotton, and sugar, the slavemasters and colonists stripped the land in what’s now known as Canada and the United States, the Caribbean, and South America, murdering countless Africans and Indigenous peoples along the way. Worldwide, the memory of indescribable racial terror informs the climate grief of our people.

Of the brutal savagery of "indigenous peoples" like the Aztecs pre-colonization -- which included human sacrifice and cannibalism -- nothing, of course, is said. And when such peoples got their hands on the conquistadors, the violence was horrific. But that is human nature, as red in tooth and claw as Nature herself.

There's much more to this absurd essay, but it does illustrate just how deeply cultural Marxism has penetrated Western thinking, and how open we are now to prima facie ridiculous notions of our own villainous complicity in a plot that must have started very, very long ago indeed. The history of civilizations indicates that all things must pass, from the Roman Empire, to the Incas of the Americas, to the the Islamic Mughals in India, to the U.S.S.R. All the Third World has to do is wait, and all will be well again.

 

Is the Air Cleaner?

Earlier this week I had a post about the ridiculous 'The Earth is Healing Itself' meme going around, which is an outgrowth of the idea that we are currently living through an environmentalist fever dream. Americans are losing their jobs, people are driving less, even fewer people are boarding airplanes, and, as a consequence of those things, less energy is being used and fewer fossil fuels are being burned. Can't you just feel how much cleaner the air is? And after only two months of lockdown! The Earth is healing itself! All it took was a little economic devastation, a huge death toll at our mismanaged nursing homes, and the empowering of a bunch of sanctimonious scolds named 'Karen.'

Except, well, it turns out that by any scientific measurement, the air doesn't appear to be noticeably cleaner than a few months ago:

According to the EPA’s air-quality monitors, levels of particulate matter — known as PM 2.5 — are not lower now and have, in fact, been higher recently than the median level of the last five years. Consisting of particles smaller than 2.5 microns, PM 2.5 includes natural sources such as smoke or sea salt, as well as human-caused pollution from combustion.

In Philadelphia, a city health commissioner said, “I would expect our air pollution levels will probably go down because the number of vehicles in the streets are less.” Recent particulate-matter levels, however, have been close to the five-year average. In Dallas, the levels of PM 2.5 are higher than average. In Boston, they are slightly lower.

Todd Myers, environmental director of the Washington Policy Center, wrote the above in an NRO piece examining a claim that  is backed up by very little scientific evidence, but a lot of environmentalist hope and hot air. Why is that?

Opposition to cars is a major theme in left-wing environmental politics, and it is simply assumed, without looking at the data, that less driving equals cleaner air. The large gap between the political rhetoric and scientific reality is a reminder that costly environmental regulations should be based in real-world data, not ideologically driven assumptions.

What that data tells us is that the vast majority of air pollution is naturally occurring, such that "[e]ven a significant reduction in the human contribution makes only a small difference." There are exceptions to this, including cities like Delhi, which actually have seen noticeable improvement in air quality. This, Myers says, highlights the fact that "that pollution often goes hand in hand with poverty." It doesn't, however, tell us very much about which environmental policies the United States should pursue.

Myers closes with the observation that various pollution-related regulations over the past half century have improved America's air quality quite a lot, and we should be grateful for that. It doesn't follow from this, however, that more regulations -- particularly ones that try to prevent people from driving or flying -- will reduce pollution even more, as our present experience is demonstrating. At some point, the law of diminishing returns kicks in.

It'd be nice if the Greenies would give the data a nice long look and just accept this fact. But I'm not gonna hold my breath.