Now It's Six Months to Doomsday

Stop me if you've heard this one before:

World has six months to avert climate crisis, says energy expert

The world has only six months in which to change the course of the climate crisis and prevent a post-lockdown rebound in greenhouse gas emissions that would overwhelm efforts to stave off climate catastrophe, one of the world’s foremost energy experts has warned. “This year is the last time we have, if we are not to see a carbon rebound,” said Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency.

“The next three years will determine the course of the next 30 years and beyond,” Birol told the Guardian. “If we do not [take action] we will surely see a rebound in emissions. If emissions rebound, it is very difficult to see how they will be brought down in future. This is why we are urging governments to have sustainable recovery packages.”

Carbon dioxide emissions plunged by a global average of 17% in April, compared with last year, but have since surged again to within about 5% of last year’s levels.

Now, hold on there, pardner. What we have here is an argument from authority, which posits that we must accept the equation that carbon dioxide = pollution. Furthermore, we must also accept the thesis that the entirely unnecessary coronavirus lockdown has been a happy event that has reduced said "pollutants" to near-optimal levels, but that the bad old days will soon be upon us again if we don't stop the increase in pink elephants... er, carbon emissions, right now.

The corrupted "scientific" Left has been moving in this direction practically from the start of the coronavirus hoax. As I wrote on this site recently:

It's long been obvious that the panic over the coronavirus -- and the draconian "solutions" to it -- is all part of the warmup for "climate change" strictures as we go forward. Having accustomed both the European and American publics to the thoroughly unconstitutional restrictions placed upon the citizenry in the name of "safety," the surging Left will use them as the template for how they plan to destroy the Western economies and functionally enslave the people as the sheep shout hosannas for having been saved from the invisible bug. They're prepared to elide the public's temporary fixation on the Wuhan virus, which has put some "green energy" projects on the back burner, and bring on their punitive Green New Deal as soon as the immediate crisis is over.

By leveraging a variation of the annual flu into a hair-on-fire international, media-fueled panic, the "climate-change" crew has succeeded in getting many of their policy prescriptions implemented in a flash by preying on peoples' fears and politicians' limitless thirst for exerting power. Throw in the manipulated figurehead of a damaged Swedish teenage scold standing in for the Oracle of Delphi, climatology division, and you have a movement that was only briefly shouldered aside by the mayhem of BLM/Antifa, but is now roaring back.

The media is doing its part to slow the reopening of the economies by constantly harping on the number of new Wuhan Flu infections, especially in the United States -- handy, because they can beat President Trump with it, laugh at the red states who are now discovering the extent of the virus via the very same testing the media was shouting for  two months ago -- as if infection = death. But simplistic equations is what the America media is all about these days.

According, the IEA is now prepping its part of the battlespace with a new report, which begins:

The unprecedented health emergency and economic crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic risks to be a setback for clean energy innovation efforts at a time in which faster progress is needed. The report quantifies the needs for technology innovation and investment for a cleaner and more resilient energy sector at net-zero emissions. It identifies key technology attributes that can help accelerate innovation cycles.

This is a lie, of course -- far from being a "setback," the lockdowns provide the framework the Left has long been seeking for the imposition of draconian economic measures. For our own good, of course.

The report also offers five key innovation principles for delivering net-zero emissions. It highlights issues requiring immediate attention, such as the importance of governments maintaining research and development funding at planned levels through 2025 and considering raising it in strategic areas.

Ever helpful, Britain's left-wife Guardian sums up the report's key findings:

[The IEA has} set out the first global blueprint for a green recovery, focusing on reforms to energy generation and consumption. Wind and solar power should be a top focus, the report advised, alongside energy efficiency improvements to buildings and industries, and the modernisation of electricity grids.

Creating jobs must be the priority for countries where millions have been thrown into unemployment by the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdowns. The IEA’s analysis shows that targeting green jobs – such as retrofitting buildings to make them more energy efficient, putting up solar panels and constructing wind farms – is more effective than pouring money into the high-carbon economy.

Proving once again the validity of our own John O'Sullivan's Law that "all organizations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing," the IEA was founded in 1974 in response to the Arab oil embargo and resulting "energy crisis," an event that gave the U.S. soaring gasoline prices, the 55-mph speed limit and the wholly useless Department of Energy under Jimmy Carter. The eventual weakening of the cartel got American speed limits back to where they ought to be, and the advent of fracking and American energy independence brought prices down. The DoE, of course, is still with us.

Originally, the IEA was supposed to keep the supplies of oil coming in order not to crippled the Western economies. Now, having been taken over by a cabal of its enemies (the late Robert Conquest's Third Law of Politics), it works precisely against its initial objectives and mandate. But such is the way of all Western institutions these days.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Covid Hysteria: Worse Than a Crime, a Blunder

With parts of America and Europe still in lockdown, was the massive overreaction to the Wuhan Flu, aka Nursing Home Disease a crime or a blunder? As a French official during the time of Napoleon said of the execution of Louis Antoine du Bourbon, "C'est pire qu'un crime, c'est une faute." Which is to say, were the loss of civil liberties and the massive economic destruction of the unconstitutional lockdowns simply malicious and punitive, or is the damage irrecoverable, with all the attendant political consequences whose effects will be felt at the ballot box this November?

Some folks at the Foundation for Economic Education are beginning to smell a rat:

The 'experts' may have subjected us to a blunder greater than any since the Iraq War.

The Iraq War WMD debacle is arguably the greatest expert “fail” in generations. The holy triumvirate—lawmakers, bureaucrats, and media—all failed to sniff out the truth. If any of them had, a war that cost trillions of dollars and claimed the lives of 100,000-200,000 people likely could have been avoided.

It would be difficult to surpass the Iraq blunder, but emerging evidence on COVID-19 suggests the experts—again: lawmakers, bureaucrats, and media—may have subjected us to a blunder of equally disastrous proportions.

The evidence? How's this for a dispatch from the Dept. of Now They Tell Us?

Antibody Tests Point To Lower Death Rate For The Coronavirus Than First Thought

Mounting evidence suggests the coronavirus is more common and less deadly than it first appeared. The evidence comes from tests that detect antibodies to the coronavirus in a person's blood rather than the virus itself. The tests are finding large numbers of people in the U.S. who were infected but never became seriously ill. And when these mild infections are included in coronavirus statistics, the virus appears less dangerous.

"The current best estimates for the infection fatality risk are between 0.5% and 1%," says Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. That's in contrast with death rates of 5% or more based on calculations that included only people who got sick enough to be diagnosed with tests that detect the presence of virus in a person's body.

And the revised estimates support an early prediction by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a leading member of the White House coronavirus task force. In an editorial published in late March in The New England Journal of Medicine, Fauci and colleagues wrote that the case fatality rate for COVID-19 "may be considerably less than 1%."

Mon Dieu!

Wait -- what?

The new evidence is coming from places such as Indiana, which completed the first phase of a massive testing effort early in May. Indiana's program began soon after coronavirus cases began appearing in the state. The governor's office contacted Nir Menachemi, who chairs the health policy and management department at Indiana University's Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health.

The governor wanted basic information, such as how many people had been infected, and how many would die. At the time, "it was really difficult to know for sure," Menachemi says. "And frankly, not just in our state, but in any state." That was because health officials only knew about people who had been sick enough to get tested for the virus. And that number can be misleading, Menachemi says.

In other words, based on the faulty premise that infection=death -- aided and abetted as usual by a hysterical media that always runs with the worst-case scenario first -- the major economies of the West put a loaded gun to their heads and pulled the trigger.

For Menachemi and his team, it was like finally getting a glimpse of the entire coronavirus iceberg, instead of just the part above the water. And the data allowed them to calculate something called the infection fatality rate — the odds that an infected person will die. Previously, scientists had relied on what's known as the case fatality rate, which calculates the odds that someone who develops symptoms will die.

Indiana's infection fatality rate turned out to be about 0.58%, or roughly one death for every 172 people who got infected. And the results in Indiana are similar to those suggested by antibody studies in several other areas. In New York, for example, an antibody study indicated the state has an infection fatality rate around 0.5%.

Studies suggest a healthy young person's chance of dying from an infection is less than 1 in 1,000. But for someone in poor health in their 90s, it can be greater than 1 in 10.

To translate that into plain English: the very elderly are more likely to die of something than healthy young people. But will this stop people like Fauci from continuing to insist that the destruction of civilization the price we pay for allowing him and other doctors to continue to exercise an undue influence over the public policies of the U.S., Britain, and elsewhere? Of course not:

Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the U.S., said Sunday that the ban on British travelers entering the U.S. is likely to last months. Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, told The Telegraph that the U.K. travel ban is expected to be lifted in “more likely months than weeks.” The infectious disease expert said the travel restrictions could last until a vaccine is ready, adding that it’s possible they are lifted sooner.

The other travel bans from the European Union, China and Brazil are also expected to last for “months” based on “what’s going with the infection rate,” Fauci said. The expert predicts the virus could “go on for a couple of cycles, coming back and forth... I would hope to get to some degree of real normality within a year or so, but I don’t think it’s this winter or fall.”

“This will end,” Fauci said, according to the newspaper. “As stressful and devastating as it is, it will end.”

Good to know. Now please go away, take Scarf Lady with you, and let the rest of us enjoy life.

When Science is the Servant of Politics

Last week I embarked on a piece about how some scientists were making science the servant of their political opinions. Servant is perhaps too kind and vague a term; a better one might be ventriloquist’s dummy. When I started writing it, my expectation was that I would be making this argument about a range of scientific topics. Only the first would be medical science.

But some doctors forced medical science into so many political contortions in that week’s news that I never really managed to get onto other scientific disciplines. The money quote from a statement of 1200 medical professionals connected with the University of Washington’s Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases was as follows:

[W]e wanted to present a narrative that prioritizes opposition to racism as vital to the public health, including the epidemic response. We believe that the way forward is not to suppress protests in the name of public health but to respond to protesters demands in the name of public health, thereby addressing multiple public health crises.

And in the last seven days, this argument—that Black Lives Matter protests are uniquely aimed at improving public health, damaged as it is by racism-- has spread to Britain where large crowds turned out for BLM rallies accommodated by the police who were otherwise fining people for meeting in “crowds” of more than six—and to partisan politics in the U.S. where public health professionals were critical of the GOP for pushing ahead with plans for a Republican Convention while tamely hoping that BLM protesters will wear marks.

The public reaction to these medical self-contradictions has been stronger in Britain than in America, partly because the lockdown regulations have been more stringent and more toughly enforced (with police handing out thousands of fines) than in the U.S. Allowing some people to protest and (not incidentally) to indulge in violent rioting in a self-righteous frame of mind, but fining others for attending a parent’s funeral has created a lot of free-floating anger. And one side-effect is a rise in skepticism towards other claims of both medical scientists and their brethren in other disciplines.

Take the Covid-19 claims first.

Britain’s media and opposition have been strongly critical of the handling of the Covid-19 crisis by the Boris Johnson government, suggesting that Ministers had ignored the advice of its SAGE committee of scientists and demanding that the minutes of SAGE now be published. Well, the minutes have now been published, and they show that Ministers followed the advice of SAGE more or less to the letter. If mistakes were made, they were scientists’ mistakes more than ministerial ones (though Ministers have to take responsibility for them on the proper constitutional grounds that “advisors advise, ministers decide.”) Well and good.

One example of this advice was particularly spicy, however. ICI’s Professor Neil Ferguson earlier in the week suggested that the lockdown had been imposed one week too late with the possible result that as many as 20,000 people had died needlessly. But when the SAGE records were released, they showed that the committee, including Ferguson, had voted unanimously for the previous policy because a lockdown would guarantee a second spike of the disease in the Fall.

When that policy changed, it did so in response to Ferguson’s own computer projections showing that Covid-19 was likely to spread very quickly and overwhelm the National Health Service. And as Dan Hodges in the Daily Mail points out, at the time he had pronounced the timing of the lockdown imposition to be about right. Ferguson’s computer projections, however, have since been subjected to savage criticism by information scientists who claim that it is worse than useless. Ferguson himself has changed his informal guesstimates of the course of the virus more than once. Other groups of scientists specializing in the field of infectious diseases have reached very different conclusions. And it’s in the nature of science that they can’t all be right.

We should all admit our own ignorance in these matters, of course. My own judgment—based on previous pandemics but shared apparently by many epidemiologists—is that we won’t know the full destructiveness of Covid-19 for another year at least. Today’s news from Beijing that a serious new outbreak of the disease has occurred and all the local food markets have been closed warn us that some of the early apparent treatments may prove temporary All the scientists’ projections are interesting, and some may prove accurate. But it is the progress of the actual virus in the world that will tell us which ones are right and which wrong.

That’s a highly significant conclusion because some areas of science are highly speculative and others over-reliant on computer projections. That’s true in particular for climate science where almost all of the claims of climate “emergencies” and the need for “urgency” to “combat” them come to us from computer projections that we must now treat skeptically.

The Global Warming Policy Foundation exists to test forecasts against reality on the ground. The IPCC is usually at the soft end of climate alarmism but it has been part of the skeptic camp on the question of weather extremes and if they are caused by global warming. This last week the GWPF published a study by the phyicist Ralph Alexander: which reached the following conclusion:

If there is any trend at all in extreme weather, it’s downward rather than upward. Our most extreme weather, be it heat wave, drought, flood, hurricane or tornado, occurred many years ago, long before the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere began to climb at its present rate. The recent atmospheric heat waves in western Europe pale in comparison with the soaring temperatures of the 1930s, a period when three of the seven continents and 32 of the 50 US states set all-time high temperature records, which still stand today.

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Professor Alexander lays out the evidence for the good news. We can examine it. It happened in the real world not in a virtual reality of guesstimates piled on guesstimates. Nor in a world of utopian politics and well-intentioned authoritarianism.

We have to get back to doing that more of the time.

'What Is Climate Change?'

That's the question posed by the all-activism all-the-time BBC in Britain. Some of us fondly remember the days when the Beeb meant I, Claudius or various adaptation of 19th-century English novels, but now it's devolved into a tiresome Leftist scold, trying to frighten the children and mental defectives into believe the world is coming to an end:

In order to believe this arrant hooey, you must believe that CO2 keeps the planet from freezing but at the same time -- because of "an incredibly delicate balance" that seems to have evolved entirely by chance -- you're just going to have to take it on faith that we humans are bollixing everything up: and all in just 50 years! The fact that half a century is just about within the lifetimes of everybody reading this post is entirely coincidental, of course, because like the Holy Ghost, "you can't see it, you can't smell it, but it's actually all around us, and it's at the heart of our climate crisis."

The key to understanding the Religion of Climate Change is making you believe that you are the problem. That's why they're so insistent upon locating this "crisis" within living memory.

Here's more coordinated harum-scarum with an English accent. (Weasel words, as always here at The Pipeline, are highlighted in bold.) Notice how, at the outset, "global warming" -- we're back to that again -- is immediately linked to another phantom menace, Covid-19:

While Covid-19 has shaken much of human society, the threat posed by global warming has not gone away. Human activities have increased carbon dioxide emissions, driving up temperatures. Extreme weather and melting polar ice are among the possible effects.

The Earth's average temperature is about 15C but has been much higher and lower in the past. There are natural fluctuations in the climate but scientists say temperatures are now rising faster than at many other times. This is linked to the greenhouse effect, which describes how the Earth's atmosphere traps some of the Sun's energy. Solar energy radiating back to space from the Earth's surface is absorbed by greenhouse gases and re-emitted in all directions.

Oh-oh!

This heats both the lower atmosphere and the surface of the planet. Without this effect, the Earth would be about 30C colder and hostile to life. Scientists believe we are adding to the natural greenhouse effect, with gases released from industry and agriculture trapping more energy and increasing the temperature. This is known as climate change or global warming.

Note the Note at the bottom of the graph: "Average is calculated from 1951-1980 land surface temperature data." Why not calculate the "average" from say, 476 A.D. and the Fall of the Roman Empire to the turn of the sixth century? Wouldn't that be just as representative of what the ideal "average" ought to be? Cherry-picking a 29-year period within most of our lifetimes is sure to make some point -- but "warming" isn't it. Global-warming "science" is like taking the batting average of a marginal player on a hot streak in spring training and projecting it out over the course of a ten-year major league career.

But that doesn't stop the Beeb or the other climate-change nutters, of course, who are now frightening the horses with images of the volume of sea water swelling as it heats up, soon to overrun all the world's major land masses. Where's Noah when we need him?

There is uncertainty about how great the impact of a changing climate will be. It could cause fresh water shortages, dramatically alter our ability to produce food, and increase the number of deaths from floods, storms and heatwaves. This is because climate change is expected to increase the frequency of extreme weather events -- though linking any single event to global warming is complicated.

No kidding! But as long as we're on the subject, warming/change will affect the poor and people of color hardest, so why not give up beef you selfish bastards and stop using fossil fuels to move about and heat your houses because as warming/cooling/change happens you're going to be plenty warm/cold anyway and so just die already and save us the trouble of killing you.

They didn't actually say that. But you know they mean it.

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.

Physician, Heal the Sick -- Not the World

In the last few days the world has been given a series of privileged insights into the difference between the scientific mind and the minds of scientists. The first insight was freely provided by a group of 1,200 medical professionals (many connected with the University of Washington’s Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) who had previously supported enforcement of the lockdown to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

According to a laudatory CNN report they had now discovered a legitimate exception to its regulations. If you wanted to join the protest demonstration on behalf of Black Lives Matter, they strongly urged you to do so. Indeed, it seems from the letter that they would shortly be joining protests themselves.

[W]e wanted to present a narrative that prioritizes opposition to racism as vital to the public health, including the epidemic response. We believe that the way forward is not to suppress protests in the name of public health but to respond to protesters demands in the name of public health, thereby addressing multiple public health crises.

It sounds like an excerpt from the plot of a James Bond movie in which a Bond super-villain recruits “top scientists” to spread a deadly virus that would decimate the ranks of “woke” radicals who might otherwise obstruct his plans for world domination and one million dollars. As it happens, the plot of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is eerily similar to it.

And though spreading the Covid-19 virus is not the intention of the 1,200 medics, it’s a risk a risk they are plainly prepared to take. They say as much when they present a narrative that prioritizes opposition to racism over public health, “including the epidemic response,” on the grounds that “racism” is the greater threat to public health.

This is starting to become a familiar claim. As I argued in a recent article, there’s a growing tendency among doctors and other professions to expand their professional role into a political one. The high priest of this tendency is the editor of the Lancet, Richard Horton:

He argues that doctors as doctors have a professional obligation to become political activists and to engage in civil disobedience when they think that a political issue has bad medical consequences for their patients—or indeed for any doctor’s patients. His editorials have made The Lancet notorious for the range of topics, including directly political topics—inequality, for instance, or Iraq war casualties -- which they pronounce to be medical issues for which they have their favorite prescriptions ready.

The weakness of this claim—a disabling weakness--is that while doctors may be experts in combating epidemics, they are no more expert at combating racism than the Man on the Clapham Omnibus. The BLM protests, with their accompanying riots, are at least as likely to be exacerbating racist feelings on both sides of the barricades as of ameliorating them. Nonetheless, some doctors follow Horton’s example and fall easily into the habit of thinking that because they know what’s best for us on matters from coughs to cancer, they know best for us in a more general sense. And when they issue their political prescriptions, they are drawing not on their medical training, but on their political opinions and nourishing the authoritarian temptation in doing so.

One doctor, Justine T Lee MD, made that very clear in a tweet when she responded to someone who had pointed out the inconsistency of forbidding patients to break the lockdown for social reasons while allowing it to attend a protest: "Thanks, I hear you. Well the second wave is coming regardless, and I assure you I’d much rather care for COVID pts who were fighting for a cause after 400 yrs of systemic oppression, than for patients who were out protesting for haircuts + brunch." Further:

Well, I hear Dr. Lee too—at least I think so. If she’s saying that trying to prevent a  second wave of Covid-19 infections is futile and therefore a serious reason for breaking the lockdown justifies the slight extra risk of doing so, she has the germ of a respectable argument. But she loads the dice when she cites “haircuts and brunch” as bad reasons. What if the reason is saying goodbye to a dying relative? Most people would think that more important than attending even a protest guaranteed to be peaceful. And if she thinks that the extra risk of infection is a large one, why does she favor exposing to it those people whom she believes to be inspired by a high and idealistic social morality?

Don’t get me wrong. I have no doubt that if I were Dr. Lee’s patient, she would give me the best of care and advice despite my retrograde political views. But when she turns to the universe of patients out there, her judgment is quite as likely to be influenced by her political passions as is my own. And the judgment of Richard Horton and The Lancet is no less subject to the same distorting bias.

Indeed, an example has come to light in the same week as the 1,200 medics signed their manifesto asserting in effect that attending the Black Lives Matter protests would improve public health. Two distinguished medical journals—The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicineretracted two articles which had suggested that the drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine were “not associated with improved outcomes for patients” suffering from the Covid-19 virus.

The retraction was made at the request of the authors of one of the studies when they discovered that the underlying data on which they relied, supplied by a company, was not in fact reliable. That was important news because The Lancet’s study went so far as to argue that, in the dry tones of medical journalism, use of the drugs “also corresponded to higher mortality.” That in turn had led to the cancellation of other global tests of the drugs, perhaps delaying a valuable treatment for Covid-19 patients and causing loss of life.

Or perhaps not. We have a mystery on our hands, and there will now be a serious investigation into what went wrong and who is to blame.  But the political background to this—namely, that President Trump has urged doctors to consider these drugs as cures and that his opponents have poured scorn on him for doing so—is relevant. Many people have desperately wanted to proof that these drugs would not cure Covid-19 and might harm those patients who tried it.

Did that lead to deliberate fraud by someone? Obviously not the authors of the study who themselves exposed its fragility. Or was the desire to see the drugs discredited so strong for political reasons that it made its reviewers and the Lancet’s editors less skeptical than they should have been? And what does that say about the value of scientific peer review when passions run high?

These questions go well beyond medical science since as Horton himself has argued in relationship to climate change policy:

And yet science itself is strangely reticent. The Royal Society is the UK's leading scientific academy. It is dedicated to promoting excellence in science. But its activities to scale up political action to address the climate crisis are anaemic. The Royal Society has projects on low carbon energy and greenhouse gas removal. Its policy initiatives include work on energy, environment, and climate. But the Royal Society's actions are empty of passion, devoid of campaigning, and seemingly disengaged from politics.

To which we should respond: Well, shouldn’t science be “empty of passion, devoid of campaigning, and disengaged from politics”? Most of us would say yes. And if there’s a large second wave of infections in the cities that have hosted the protests and demonstrations, most people will say it louder. Most doctors too.