Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Corona Deaths, Germany, FDA


"We have a culture here in Germany that is actually not supporting a centralized diagnostic system," said Drosten, "so Germany does not have a public health laboratory that would restrict other labs from doing the tests. So we had an open market from the beginning."

Remember why the US was slower on testing than Germany ... the FDA.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Great Society, Amity Shlaes

Excellent book, bit on longish side for what it covers, but that doesn't bother me. Best read after reading "The Forgotten Man" first.

My synopsis of that work,

The short version of "The Forgotten Man" (TFM) is that Hoover and others started the policies that would cause the depression in the late '20s by trying to reduce the money supply, raise taxes pass tariffs (Smoot Hawley), and increase Government control and projects (eg. Hoover Dam). Hoover and the Republicans started the descent, but FDR and the Democrats weakened and prolonged it by pushing the failed policies harder, and most damaging, actually attacking business and criminalizing individual business practices. In some cases, the rules were completely irrational, as in the NRA insistence on "straight killing" of chickens disallowing customer selection and differential pricing that went all the way to the Supreme Court in Schechter. When FDR and the New Dealers lost, he was furious and embarked on his "packing the court" attempt to circumvent the Constitution.

The degree to which the Democrats, the schools, and the MSM have propagandized the "New Deal", The Depression" and especially FDR himself is incredible. The spectacle of a very rich man "going after the rich" while sailing on his yacht may be the poster child case for "consistency is not an issue". By raising taxes, criminalizing business behavior after the fact and moving the Government into new areas (utilities, unions, pricing, etc), he managed to simultaneously reduce the prospective return for risk taken (by tax rate increases) while drastically INCREASING the risk on both the business front (regulation, government takeover, unions), but also add in the prospects of CRIMINAL PROSECUTION, even if the act was not "illegal" at the time it was done. An amazing combination of horrible policy, no wonder he managed to prolong the Depression until WWII forced him to change his policies so business could get busy and win the war.

We have been "progressing" toward tyranny at the hands of the "progressives" since TJR!

"Great Society" (GS) takes us from the "lead up" (Ike / JFK) into the promise that America could "do it all" ... guns, butter, defend against Communism, end poverty,  ensure "equal rights" (and likely outcome), go to the moon, and MORE .... all without raising taxes or wrecking the economy.

The GS "succeeded" in losing the war, increasing poverty, exploding the deficit, exploding taxes, burning the inner city, blowing up morality ... hey, at least we went to the moon!

From page 116, "...the civil rights bill was establishing a precedent. A law that defined new rights at a national level was taking away from individuals the authority of their own conscience and substituting a federal, national conscience to overrule them. And who knew whether the federal government's conscience would always be better?"

The biggest thing the book made clear to me is exactly how the party of Slavery and Jim Crow became the "Party of Civil Rights".

On p 152, "The OEO "Equal Opportunity today" allowed that it would welcome experiments, including those where community action organizers paid by Washington where "facilitating opportunities for the poor to participate in protest actions" "

The Democrats and the unions CREATED the protest movement! The "Port Huron Statement" was funded by Walter Reuther, president of the UAW! Saul Alinsky, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton were all federally paid to foment protest! The federal agencies created as part of the GS funded and encouraged the people who encouraged and took part in demonstrations and riots. 

On page 201 "The War on Poverty welfare benefits actually encouraged men not to work" ... average family welfare check was up to $238 a month, wages were at $220.

The sad story of the book is that between FDR and LBJ, they all but completely destroyed the greatness of America -- LIMITED GOVERNMENT!

A more complete and expert review here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Tracking Corona Chaos

I continue to calmly track the Corona pandemic here.

My biggest concern is that we LEARN! I'm a believer that everything including our next breath is in God's hands, and that he has given us reason as a gift to balance our emotional selves, in the best cases producing wisdom. The fear of God is the beginning of such -- without it, it is nearly certain we will be driven by our own fears, pride, envy, self righteous, desire to be "right", "poplar", "virtuous", etc.  Science / statistics CAN help, but I'll argue below in this case we seem to be ignoring standard scientific / medical procedure. (eg, FIRST do no harm!)

In short, we are all affected by "Original Sin / Sinful Nature". Sadly, we all have it -- as a panic attack sufferer, fear vs trusting in God and worship of knowledge vs God (gnostic heresy) are biggies for me ... we will refrain from a complete list in the interest of brevity.

My second worst concern is that we have fallen into a state of being WAY too prone to panic, and WAY too media / ideologically driven. Why did we not do what we have done in the past?
  1. Isolate vulnerable populations (we have done that, GOOD!) 
  2. Isolate areas -- like why are we still flying in the US? Certainly in/out of major cities? 
  3. Do random testing (including presence of antibodies) to get a good picture of what our actual situation is. If we already have a high infection rate (which we well may not know since 80% of cases are mild), then it is already too late for the "lockdowns" to work -- keep the vulnerable isolated! 
  4. If we DO see definite hot spots of infection rates, THEN lock THOSE areas down. Encourage people not to travel to / from those spots. 

My third concern is "the halting problem". Like debt, it was quite easy to get into this "distancing". How are we going to decide to get out of this? We are doing a lot of harm -- not just to money. People NEED to work and have social interaction, for both their mental and physical health. They need communion -- both Holy and secular.

My favorite statistics on Corona remain cases / deaths per million ... you need to scroll down to a table and then sort by the 2nd from right column highest to lowest if you want to find cases, right column for deaths. DATA is a wonderful thing, how look at it to turn it into information is critical 452734983 is data ... 452-73-4983 is information.

My view a week into "lockdown" is that we badly failed the "First do no harm" test on this one ... and when you compare to our reactions to previous pandemics there is a definite learning opportunity.

The 1st chart below is CERTAINLY influenced by amount of testing ... although Germany has done a lot of testing, so it's total cases are likely pretty close to right. The obvious question is "Why is the US not generally doing random testing"? When faced with a large data set, that LEAPS to the mind of any non-panic or agenda driven person.

Cases Per Million:
  • I threw out the top 7 due to small population.
  • Little countries with lots of people packed closely and fairly old population are near the top.
  • The top infection rate countries have socialized medicine which typically means wards with 8+  people. A 2017 post showed 18 patients per ward was common. Current data is HARD to find! (I'm guessing because they are not very proud of it) Does anyone else think that a ward system might not fare well in an epidemic?
  • Note China, USA, Germany near the bottom with the rate of infection / million CASES being .0002. Car fatality rate per 100k population is "10ish" ... TEN, not "point oh something". Again, I'm comparing cases rate to death rate for context, death is a lot more serious than catching Corona (see second chart).

    More testing may increase the infection rate, however Germany is one of the best tested countries, so we can have some hope their numbers are going to hold. I have no faith in Chinese numbers. 

Death Rate Per 1 million people (same source), top 7 excluded due to low population:

  • Since we are talking deaths per million, big is better all else being equal (which it never is) Switzerland 8.5 mil, Italy 60.5 makes a difference, as does how tight they are packed ... like mountain valleys. 
  • Similar point, an honorable statistician would throw out Monaco and Gibraltar and others ... however, most of the stats we are being fed are pure "total deaths", certainly evidence of statistical / media malpractice! 
  • For the use and China don't make this list ... US 3/mil, China 2. Again, someone looking to honestly understand vs confuse would go to regional / local analysis. Good map for that here

Death rate by age:

There is VERY good news here ... if you are are under 40 you have a .2% chance of dying of Corona.  If you are 0-9 years old, it's 0 so far.

It is interesting that the Worldometer site does not include H1N1. This from WikiPedia:

It is estimated that 11–21% of the global population at the time — or around 700 million–1.4 billion people (out of a total of 6.8 billion) — contracted the illness – more than the number of people infected by the Spanish flu pandemic,[6][10] with about 150,000–575,000 fatalities.[7] A follow-up study done in September 2010 showed that the risk of serious illness resulting from the 2009 H1N1 flu was no higher than that of the yearly seasonal flu.[11]

So, "500K" vs a "billion", and "30K" vs 400K fatalities SO FAR. So we must be careful ... this might be different. We are being confidently told that it IS! Good to watch what actually happens, we clearly do know it is being treated in an VERY unusual manner.

Apparently the UK started random testing at the end of February, so there ought to be some good data from there on rate if one can find it.

Some information on handling epidemics. ... staging is the norm.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Breaking The Two Party Doom Loop

A classic case of false advertising. My title would  be "OMG Trump Got Elected! How to get us back to the single party Deep Totalitarian State we had FINALLY got!"

“Our expert respondents perceive a consistent, ongoing decline in the overall quality of American democracy from 2015.”

Indeed ... the Civil War could have been a sign of decline ... or maybe FDR court packing, a plethora of unelected alphabet unconstitutional bureaucratic agencies with their own judiciary, etc, etc.

Only one other time in American history has the party system resembled this arrangement: the 1860s, when the United States fought a civil war and then tried to recover from one.
Well, actually 1800 as well. The conflict has been the same from the start -- between those who desire a centralized ever more powerful federal government not burdened by the restrictions of following the written Constitution and the separation of powers vs those who believe in the liberty provided by following the written Constitution which specifies divided and LIMITED government.

"Control vs Chaos". America was founded as a "center right" country with that bias to the creativity of "chaos" ... the unknown, the free, the unpredictable, vs the "control" of monarchy, giant centralized bureaucracy, the "central committee", the "experts". We were founded to be more Han Solo than Darth Vader.

At least he is a little honest ...

As a lifelong Democrat, I tend to see the Republican Party as driven by radical extremists and primarily responsible for the escalating breakdown of democratic fairness.
I'm not going to spend a bunch of time giving the counter argument to all he has to say ... go look at my comments on goodreads if you want more of that.

What is the "doom"? It is limited government to this author, as it has been since the beginning of the "progressive" era. Why does he want "4-6" political parties? To weaken the impact of voters -- the same reason the Framers architected 3 branches of the government. They wanted it to be LIMITED! "Divide and Conquer" (in this case conquer the electorate). "A house divided cannot stand" (or at least not be as strong as it could be if it was united.

We were SO close!

At the height of the hidden four-party system, from the late 1960s to mid-1980s, American democracy was far more responsive and flexible than today, and landmark legislation flowed out of Washington, solving some big public problems.
A good counterpoint to this narrative is in the book "The Great Society" by Amity Shlaes which argues in a continuation of her excellent "The Forgotten Man" .

A lot of the book just repeats old leftist mythology ... "The Southern Strategy" or the execrable "Dog Whistle Politics".  Much of leftist orthodoxy is based on the loaded question, the classic, "Have you stopped beating your wife yet" is easily transformed to "Do you even know how racist you are?"

If you are a true believing leftist and want to "win", I highly recommend
"Rules For Radicals" -- it is more honest than this book and the methods it espouses have made a TON of "progress" in moving this country to the totalitarian state Drutman desires.

Would ranked choice voting and a handful of chaotic parties assist in that effort? Probably. However mass panic leading to marshal law as we may be experiencing as I write this may well achieve it without wasting time reading this fictionalized view of America history.

Sexual Morality In A Christ-less World


This book reminded me of a Dennis Prager post that impressed me. 

In the ancient world, sex (like life in general) was simply about power. Sometimes the perpetrator vs the penetrated had higher status, however, if you were in power, might made "right" -- being powerful meant you got to do whatever you wanted. The idea that being in power meant that "the gods smiled on you", meant that you were inherently just. Julies Caesar for example:

Julius is “Every woman’s man and every man’s woman.”Despite the raised eyebrows with Julius playing the woman in sexual encounters with men, he was given a pass by society because he proved his strength and manliness through his many military conquests
The idea of morality being something other than mere power is a Judaeo / Christian concept ... thus as Prager points out, it comes very close to "proving" God. If there was not revelation, why would the powerful even consider giving up ANY of their privileges?

It was Christ that instituted the idea of wives having rights equivalent to members of mans own body, and using the idea of the Church being "the bride of Christ".

The theme of the book is that what many in our culture think are "advanced ideas" about sexuality, they are in fact ancient -- and there is more to come.

"For more than a thousand years pederasty was the norm. More than the norm, in many circles it was actually considered the purest form of love."
 The Greeks and the Romans considered sexual relations between men and young boys to be "pure love".

While many "moderns" consider Christians to be "prudish" or "old fashioned" the "modern" pagans are in fact returning to the "moral" outlook of the ancient pagans -- including the sacrifice of children, now euphamised  as "abortion".

One  theme of the book that is certainly uncomfortable to many Christians (including me)  is that homosexuality is not some "special sin", like blaspheming the Holy Spirit often is claimed to be (a discussion for another day).

Contrary to popular accusations, Christian opposition to homosexuality is in no way based on hatred of homosexuals. The Bible is equally firm that heterosexual intercourse outside the estate of marriage is wrong; no one suggests that the prohibition against heterosexual immorality is born out of hatred for heterosexuals.

Many a man addicted to porn feels smug in his sin because "I thank God I am not a homosexual".

Practicing Jewish men pray each day  ... “Blessed are you, LORD our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has not made me a woman.” Prior to that he also blesses God for not making him “a Gentile” and “a slave”. 

I'm not sure I'd go with "no one suggests that the prohibition against heterosexual immorality is born out of hatred for heterosexuals" as Rueger does. I think many do find homosexuality to be a far worse sin than adultery or fornication -- ALL of us are prone to seeing our own sins as being "less sinful" than others sins -- however, God;s ways are NOT our ways, and part of submission to Christ is accepting HIS morality rather than attempting to justify ours.

The other theme of the book that I find important is understanding how or view of "being human" has changed:

The historic Western understanding of the human person was that we are fundamentally religious creatures.
Sex education in schools builds on this fundamental cultural belief that everyone is born a “sexual being.”

Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, etc started Western civilization down the path of man's intellect and spirit being what identified him has human vs animal. Animals don't do philosophy at all. The "ancient enlightenment" was that the "higher" human was able to have at least significant rule over his animal  parts through cultivation of those "higher" aspects of his being.

The "modern" idea is the thought that we are primarily animals -- and that any thought of "higher functions" creates dangerous distinctions and is "false consciousness", "privileged" or "whiteness".

If the physical rules, then eventually physical power rules -- and we can expect the ancient (and obvious) idea of might being right will increasingly replace the "2000 year reign" of Christian morality.

Diamond Princess, Corona


A generally worthwhile article, the following especially interesting.

The only situation to date where an entire, closed population was tested was the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship, as Stanford epidemiologist John Ioannidis observed last week. Among seven hundred passengers and crew members, seven died, for a 1 percent mortality rate — low given the close and prolonged exposure among the passengers. A cruise ship’s population is much more elderly than the general population and thus more vulnerable to disease. Ioannidis suggests that a reasonable fatality estimate for the US population as a whole could range from 0.05 percent to 1 percent; he settles for 0.3 percent. If 1 percent of the US population becomes infected, under a 0.3 percent fatality rate, 10,000 people would die, a number that would not move the needle much on the existing level of deaths due to various types of influenzas, Ioannidis notes.
In the current world, one thing is very certain, the greatest focus of the MSM is to get Trump removed -- at ANY cost ... lives, dollars, future growth, continued reduction of faith in any institution -- JUST GET TRUMP OUT!

The press is working overtime to ensure maximum hysteria. The New York Times outdid itself on Saturday, following a weeklong run of terrifying front-page banner headlines. A blood red map of the US above the fold purported to show infections by July 1 if no restrictions were imposed on public life — a completely counterfactual projection, since numerous restrictions have already been imposed and more are being added daily. The headlines above the fold contained the usual blend of Trump-bashing and fear-mongering: ‘PRESSURE ON TRUMP AS MILLIONS ARE KEPT HOME’, ‘Mixed Signals From President Sow Confusion’, and ‘Virus Tightens Grip on Nation’. This at a time of 214 deaths and 17,000 infected, compared to the 36 to 51 million infected by the flu this season, and the 140 to 350 flu deaths a day.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Corona, Swine, Time

Before you get turned off by the fact I look at history, take a look at current WHO actual tracking for perspective.

Having lived through the Swine Flu panic of the 1970's, I'm thankful to it for for being a heavy contributor to my skepticism of the "brilliance" of government, media, and "experts" in general.

More than 500 people are thought to have developed Guillain-Barre syndrome after receiving the vaccine; 25 died. No one completely understands the causes of Guillain-Barre, but the condition can develop after a bout with infection or following surgery or vaccination. The federal government paid millions in damages to people or their families.
However, the pandemic, which some experts estimated at the time could infect 50 million to 60 million Americans, never unfolded. Only about 200 cases of swine flu and one death were ultimately reported in the U.S., the CDC said.
So government screws up, vaccine kills 25, flu kills 1 ... and we won't even talk about economic cost. Oh, and some of us don't actually believe everything the government tells us -- making us "deniers",

Most of our media and government minders are "progressive" ... history is bunk, best forgotten, and we are MUCH smarter now! So no reason to bring up the past mistakes. (unless it is McCarthyism, Watergate, or a few other select cases, but I digress )

Naturally, this one COULD be different -- that is how predicting the future ALWAYS is. As for me, I remain a student of history -- which after all is all that science is based on -- the assumption that the next time an experiment that has produced "X" results in the past is done, it will with produce "X" results again! Induction, the Thanksgiving turkey problem  -- "humans are benevolent creatures that care for turkeys, "proven" anew each day of its life until Thanksgiving."

We all live by faith the question is "In what?"

Fast forward to H1N1 in 2009.

Working with admittedly sparse data, a research team led by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated the global death toll from the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic at more than 284,000, about 15 times the number of laboratory-confirmed cases.
The team estimated that 80% of those who died were younger than 65, which is in accord with previous observations that the pandemic H1N1 burden fell heavily on younger people, unlike the pattern for seasonal flu.
CDC estimates there were 60 million h1n1 cases ... the REPORTED cases will always be far less, because thankfully, the vast majority of people that get the flu just get it, deal with it, and life goes on. The GOOD NEWS of Corona is that the vast majority of people who get Corona will not know they had it.

Stranger still is the fact that testing for H1N1 in the US was stopped in July of 2009 because "it had already been declared an epidemic"!

Here in the present day, AS OF TODAY we have 168k confirmed cases and 6600 deaths due to Corona.

Unlike H1N1 the evidence so far is strong that Corona kills the old vs the young.

Overall, China CDC found, 2.3% of confirmed cases died. But the fatality rate was 14.8% in people 80 or older, likely reflecting the presence of other diseases, a weaker immune system, or simply worse overall health. By contrast, the fatality rate was 1.3% in 50-somethings, 0.4% in 40-somethings, and 0.2% in people 10 to 39.
Add into this, people with compromised immune systems, smokers, and those living in areas with heavy air pollution are more at risk.

At the end of January, lots of media was complaining that Trump was overreacting to Corona ... not so much now. I believe that we can be very certain the media will remain anti-Trump, so at least something is certain!

We also know we are in an insane tribal time ... a council woman in Denver suggests it is a is a good idea to spread Corona to Trump supporters. It isn't hard to find people hoping that Corona "ends Trump". I'm not a huge media follower ... I think we all know that we are tribally divided and that fact affects how we see global happenings. For ALL of us ... me included.

Based on what I see, these are my thoughts:
  • It seems likely that the reaction in the US erring on the side of unreasonable caution as it did in the 1970's Swine Flu -- hopefully with less negative affect.
  • In hindsight, it appears that there was an under-reaction to H1N1  ... 280K deaths skewed to the young vs the old seems more frightening ... yet, it wasn't, and the deaths may be higher since testing was stopped in the US. 
  • It is pretty clear that Corona is not well understood, so perhaps that is the reason for what appears to be an overabundance of caution -- "fear of the unknown".  (did we not have that in 2009?) 
  • OTOH, the evidence we DO have ... hitting mostly the elderly, many cases so mild they are not reported, etc would "normally" lead to an indication that things like the NCAA tournament would not need to be cancelled. Advising elderly to stay home and watch on TV would seem to be sufficient caution in "normal times". 
My firm bias is that like most issues in our time, the response to Corona has become tribal -- if you are of the "Progressive Tribe", you MUST believe in what the "general global authority" says, so you do. To doubt that authority is to doubt your secular faith in science and progress.

I fervently pray that God will provide us with another golden opportunity to shift our faith and become "Post Secular". 

Here's hoping we will look back on Corona as the point where the tide of unreason and wishful thinking turned. (yes, I know that is unlikely -- hope is good)

However, even if Corona  "fizzles", the "powers that be" will have their ready explanations for why they were still right. In the early '80s when crazy "Ronnie Raygun" made the claim that we would consign the USSR to "the ash heap of history", the MSM and the intelligentsia called him a dangerous madman. When the USSR fell, those powers gave Gorbachev all the credit.

In any case, I fervently pray we LEARN ... as we didn't from the 70's, 80's and many other cases were our "expert powers that be" plainly showed their feet of clay.

Fear of God remains our only hope to maintain a bit of humility, which is required for learning! 

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Gentle Regrets, Roger Scruton


A brutally honest autobiography that expresses the guilt, shame, and redemption of a versatile and courageous intellectual, recently passed.

Sir Roger excels in appreciation of opera, architecture, wine and culture -- areas that I am but a philistine. The linked review does a great job of introducing the book.

On page 35, as Roger realizes that he is not going to be able to live an honest life by going with the dominant direction of postmodernism ... "What, I asked do you propose to put in the place of the bourgeoisie that you so despise, and to whom you owe the freedom and prosperity that that enable you to play on your toy barricades"?

Roger sees that reality is not only "particles and progress", and that the impulse to attack is born of a hatred of history, tradition, and ultimately God.

p 117 ... "It was only since becoming part of a family that I have become fully aware of the depth and seriousness of the opposition between the family and the State. The family has become a subversive institution -- almost an underground conspiracy -- which is at war with the State sponsored culture."

I'll be reading more of Roger.

Friday, March 13, 2020

FDA Too Slow For Corona


Kudos to the NY Times! (something I rarely say).

As anyone who has ever worked in a large bureaucratic organization, public or private knows, any such organization is always being pulled toward SLOW. "analysis paralysis", "turf wars", "red tape", "byzantine rules", etc, etc

When business gets big enough so that many of the people believe that "safety" is MUCH preferable to any sort of risk, then "CYA" (Cover Your Ass) becomes the rule. In government, with no competition and no profit motive, it is always the rule of the day. Even in war, it is a large factor.

So, we see that the FDA failed to do its job on Corona.

The liberal answer to this will be MORE BUREAUCRACY! (if the bloodletting failed, do it earlier and more aggressively). The conservative answer is LESS government, more market, more competition! It's an important choice.

But the approval process for laboratory-developed tests was proving onerous. Private and university clinical laboratories, which typically have the latitude to develop their own tests, were frustrated about the speed of the F.D.A. as they prepared applications for emergency approvals from the agency for their coronavirus tests. 
Dr. Alex Greninger, an assistant professor at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, said he became exasperated in mid-February as he communicated with the F.D.A. over getting his application ready to begin testing. “This virus is faster than the F.D.A.,” he said, adding that at one point the agency required him to submit materials through the mail in addition to over email.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Capitalism, Government, Harvesting The Young

In February, college sophomore Trevor Hill stood up during a televised town hall meeting in New York and posed a simple question to Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the Democrats in the House of Representatives. He cited a study by Harvard University showing that 51% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 no longer support the system of capitalism, and asked whether the Democrats could embrace this fast-changing reality and stake out a clearer contrast to right-wing economics.
I can only guess that Trevor and even the author of the column do the breathing thing, and I further assume that their feet were on the ground .... however it seems questionable if their "heads are there to move them around" -- although I'm sure he is smarter than a college freshman.

Assuming this, they are also subject to the effects of markets -- and government, which they conveniently fail to talk about. The US economy was definitely "mixed". The BOistan economy is about as "capitalist" as a casino in Vegas. It is rigged to allow DC which our founders would have thought would be full of "servants" to be the wealthiest area in the country to win, just like "the house" in Vegas. It can't be otherwise -- if you don't MAKE, you have to TAKE -- in Vegas from your gambling patrons, in the case of government from the citizens and future citizens.

There are a set of things in the universe that "just are" -- they aren't "good or bad", they ARE! Accepting the reality of what IS can be hugely helpful, both personally and societally -- it is like having basic clue on reality. (a REALLY high bar for 18-29 year olds!)

Therefore, "Government" is IN the market system as well, as everything/everyone is, and obviously has to be. The government takes resources from some parts of the economy, takes a portion for themselves,  and gives to others to protect and expand their interests through buying/selling goods, votes, benefits, taxes, just as all of us do. The big difference between government and the rest of the market is that it never produces anything -- it only moves resources around. It is a bit like the financial sector, but with no profit motive, and FAR fewer controls. (

The government MAKES the rules, and decides where, when, and on whom they will be enforced -- very rarely will the government itself, or any of it's favored friends -- Democrats, media, unions, higher education ... but I'm just repeating myself.

Before BOistan, there was a nation called the United States. That nation had a magical thing called LIMITED government. There were checks and balances as well as Constitutional restrictions  (that nation actually followed a written constitution) on how powerful the government could become.

These restrictions were modelled after markets. When there is a huge need for a product, the price goes up and more providers start to provide that product causing the price to go down until there is a "balance" where price provides a constant indicator to the market as to how much to provide. If there were really big needs, the government could get things like "2/3 majorities" or "Constitutional Amendments", but otherwise it had to live with it's limits.

Government got rid of the limits, so it is now like the Mob entering a market. The market is  STILL "a market", it is just "black / corrupt / criminal" -- like the market for drugs in prison. Let's take healthcare as an example -- first The Mob (government) decides who can play in the market through licensing, regulation, fees, taxes, etc. Then they execute "pay-offs" -- certain groups, say unions, elderly people, the poor, doctors, etc are "paid off" ... provided "protection", or "deals", with at least the tacit assumption that they will support the Mob (government / Democrats). Some are provided lucrative deals -- like the doctors and the lawyers. Since most of the politicians are also lawyers , it helps to think of lawyers as highly paid hit men. Usually they just financially destroy you -- but if they have to, prision, and even the death penalty is in their power.

Sometimes other "protection rackets" rise up -- to provide "insurance" for a price. In the medical crime area we call it "insurance" (wink, wink). There is usually an uneasy peace with the various insurance providers -- the Mob (gov) would like to have ALL the action, but given proper kick-backs, cover, etc, they see it as beneficial for the "insurers" to have a piece of the action.

Mobs (gov) tend to be greedy. Where individuals formerly went to a doctor who dealt with their problem one on one with minimal mob/gov oversight, good doctors that provided good service at a good price were successful, and bad doctors found other employment.

As gov/mob increasingly entered the picture, certifications, costs of entering the profession, limits on how many doctors there could be, regulations, taxes, fees, records, kickbacks, requirements for increasingly expensive "insurance" (mobs breed mobs), etc grew without bound -- more and more players desire a piece of the action, and since the gov/mob is getting pay-offs from all of them, they encourage that generally non-productive (for us, VERY productive for them) "growth".

"The Real Problem" always comes down to human nature -- we tend to fall into believing that "someone else will solve our problems" -- and the "someone else" in this mortal coil always becomes corrupt and creates greater problems than what they were supposedly solving. Eventually economic collapse, violence, poverty, hopelessness, etc result because the "Real Problem" is **US**!!!!!

If that wasn't bad enough, look at the people who the article is listening to -- Americans 18-29! The eternal fount of a lot of things -- wisdom definitely not being one of them!!

You will always see the "mob/government" trying to increase the set of people who support them, which will always mean things like surveying younger people, lowering voting ages and reducing any sort of restriction on voting (citizenship, ID, etc), because while there is indeed a "sucker born every day", as the suckers age, some of them learn by experience and become aware adults -- no matter how much the gov/mob works to prevent that, however, the encouragement to dependence becomes ever stronger.

FICA, Medicare, Welfare, low income housing, etc, etc all seek to make a greater and greater percentage of people dependent on the government, and both intentionally and unintentionally weakening family, church and local community. 

As we saw in the USSR, are starting to see in China (Hong Kong riots, Corona), North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela,  etc, the "dream" (nightmare) of socialism rises until if fails massively and people are reduced to living by the raw "survival of the fittest" -- and then the natural mechanism of ACTUAL Capitalism (not corrupt crony capitalism) arises, wealth /' culture / religion result, and the cycle begins again.

Since most people find history boring, we get to repeat it with war, starvation, corruption, etc at various levels of horror -- the "fruits" of our fallen nature.

Corona Turning Point?


One can only hope ... agree that the BIG question may well be "before November or not"?

If it is a "not", then recovery is likely at least 5 years away if Trump loses.

The path of INTELLIGENT globalization, keeping most / all critical industries / technologies in the US and controlling immigration to only those likely to benefit the US are all key -- and in opposition to Democrat agendas.

I am pretty certain that in less than ten years, coronavirus will be seen as a turning point that favored the U.S. economy over that of China and perhaps other third-world countries. Let’s hope that becomes clear by the Fall.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Socialist Sweden Heaven Myth


Socialism vacillates between being driven by mythology, wishful thinking,and pure falsehood. Follow the link -- we already know what the wagest of socialism are!

Sanders’s vision of Scandinavian countries, as with much of his ideology, seems to be stuck in the 1960s and 1970s, a period when these countries were indeed pioneers in creating a social market economy. In Sweden, government spending as a percentage of gross domestic product doubled from 1960 to 1980, going from approximately 30 percent to 60 percent. But as Swedish commentator Johan Norberg points out, this experiment in Sanders-style democratic socialism tanked the Swedish economy. Between 1970 and 1995, he notes, Sweden did not create a single net new job in the private sector. In 1991, a free-market prime minister, Carl Bildt, initiated a series of reforms to kick-start the economy. By the mid-2000s, Sweden had cut the size of its government by a third and emerged from its long economic slump.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Corona, The Socialist Virus


Read the post ... it is a real life experience and it just might awaken your latent common sense.

First of all, split crotch pants for toddlers are common in China.

Second, as everyone is now aware, we HAVE the socialist virus, and HAVE had it since at least FDR. Like any contagion, it spreads, and like all the serious contagions it is extremely likely to kill, or at least severely injure the host (in this case the US).

Here is a little first hand insight to how people live under socialism in China.
Over the next several days and weeks, we would experience the amazing culture of China, in several different cities. But some things stood out to this germophobic American. I watched a man hock up something from his chest and spit it on the floor, right next to us, in a restaurant. No oysters for me, thanks. I’ve suddenly lost my appetite.

We visited a Hutong (inner city - where the locals live) and saw raw chickens, skinned and bleeding, just laying on the floor, waiting to be thrown on a restaurant grill…for public consumption. No FDA or USDA or food inspectors or “codes” to comply with, here. But why? This is the last purely communist country on earth. You’d think there would be red tape everywhere. What was happening here?
Well, "what was happening" is what happens in all cases were there is no competitive pressure. A race to the bottom. Why would "government officials" care and work hard to cast a watchful eye when they could not be voted out? Think public housing or public transportation in the US.

If you maintain the thought that "humans are basically good", "Shantung Compound" is strong evidence against that faith.

It is easy to get confused here -- you might validly observe that the FDA and USDA in the US are more likely to be OVER protective. True. Consider however that in the US the coffers of the bureaucracy for extending itself are close to unlimited, so more rules, inspections, etc generally mean more power and money for the agency, we still have freedom of speech to complain,  and the ability to exert a little control over even the bureaucracy through voting.

In China, the government already HAS all the power, plus media control -- they are not going to be "voted out"!

As you watch the virus spread, watch which countries are hit worse and consider what type of government they have. MAYBE the US will be hit worst ... maybe it is me that learns, and if that is the case, I will. What about you?

I read the book "Guns, Germs, and Steel" and failed to blog on it. One of its contentions was that the Europeans basically used "germ warfare" against the Indians ... although there is a lot of questions about how much understanding there really was of germs in the 1400s - 1700s.

Today we at least scientifically have a decent understanding of germs and immunity, but it seems pretty clear we still generally lack a "common sense" understanding. We scientifically know that peanut allergies among other things are "caused" by lack of exposure allowing the immune system to properly adapt at the correct phase of development.

Children are being raised in a much to antiseptic environment in the US and Western Europe, so their immune systems are less developed and they are more vulnerable to viral and bacterial infection. If you have ever traveled to Africa, India, or other such places, you have taken a battery of inoculations against things we have not had to worry about in the US for a long time.

It is very likely that our population will suffer the same effect as the American Indian -- pathogens bred in less developed, or differently developed nations will be transported here and attack our less developed immune systems. Perhaps this turnabout is cosmic justice? Or maybe it is just the price of "outsourcing" our common sense to "experts".

Will socialism kill us because it breeds killer pathogens in socialist nations that get introduced here to kill millions? Or will the political socialist pathogen continue increase it's domination of our system until we are living and dying in squalor here at home?

Unless we become more aware, it is likely one or the other.


Monday, March 2, 2020

Killing The Extended Family Was a Mistake


A fairly concise statement on a maior reason why America has a large wealth gap.
If you want to summarize the changes in family structure over the past century, the truest thing to say is this: We’ve made life freer for individuals and more unstable for families. We’ve made life better for adults but worse for children. We’ve moved from big, interconnected, and extended families, which helped protect the most vulnerable people in society from the shocks of life, to smaller, detached nuclear families (a married couple and their children), which give the most privileged people in society room to maximize their talents and expand their options. The shift from bigger and interconnected extended families to smaller and detached nuclear families ultimately led to a familial system that liberates the rich and ravages the working-class and the poor.
It's the Atlantic, and Brooks, so the flight from religion is largely ignored ... and it is always hard to empirically decide the "chicken and egg" between economics, technology, sociology, culture, religion, etc ... it's a bit of a "scramble".

When you put everything together, we’re likely living through the most rapid change in family structure in human history. The causes are economic, cultural, and institutional all at once. People who grow up in a nuclear family tend to have a more individualistic mind-set than people who grow up in a multigenerational extended clan. People with an individualistic mind-set tend to be less willing to sacrifice self for the sake of the family, and the result is more family disruption. People who grow up in disrupted families have more trouble getting the education they need to have prosperous careers. People who don’t have prosperous careers have trouble building stable families, because of financial challenges and other stressors. The children in those families become more isolated and more traumatized.

In any case, more supporting information for what we know -- the cost of "it's all for ME, the individual" is very high!